Tag Archives: Don’t-tell-anyone

Synchronicity and thebookcast.com

There is a strange synchronicity in my life at times, and discovering Laurie Boris’ interview on thebookcast.com this morning was one of those moments.

Laurie Boris is one of my favourite authors, indie or otherwise, and I reviewed her novel, ‘Don’t Tell Anyone’, a few months ago. You can read the review here, but the important thing is that I absolutely loved the book. So imagine my delight when I saw that Laurie was being interviewed about ‘Don’t Tell Anyone’!


It’s a great interview, and I learned some things about Laurie, and the book, I did not know. For example, I wasn’t aware that Laurie is a pantster just like me!

In writer lingo, a pantster is the opposite of a plotter who outlines the whole story before beginning to write. Pantsters let their characters dictate where the story will go. Hence ‘writing by the seat of your pants’.

But where’s the synchronicity?

Glad you asked. The reason I was browsing thebookcast.com was because another favourite author – Candy Korman – suggested I should see how the interview process works… before doing my own interview tomorrow! I’d like to say I’ve been as cool as a cucumber about my upcoming interview, but that would be a lie. I’ve been dreading it.

Now, however, I feel as if there is some kind of cosmic inevitability about the whole thing. Two of my friends, and favourite authors have done it, and Laurie also happens to be the editor of Vokhtah. Synchronicity, fate, call it what you will, it feels… right.

I have no idea when my interview will be broadcast but I’ll let you know as soon as I do. For now I’d just like to congratulate Laurie on a job very well done. ‘Don’t Tell Anyone’ is a brilliant book, and I hope this interview brings it to the attention of a greater audience. It’s a book that needs to be read.





The Ups and Downs of Being Dead – a review

Back in December 2012, I wrote a review on a feel-good novel about dying. That novel was ‘Don’t Tell Anyone’, by Laurie Boris, and it’s still one of my favourite stories, but today’s novel comes a close second. It’s all about being dead.

ups and downs‘The Ups and Downs of Being Dead’ was written by M.R. Cornelius,  and is a hard novel to categorize. Part science fiction, part ghost story and part love story,  it fuses all three categories into a seamless whole because the core theme is about personal growth.

Confused you yet? I thought so. Let’s go back and start at the beginning.

The story begins with the death of Robert Malone, a successful, 57 year old businessman. As Robert detaches from his body, he sees the cryonics team get to work preparing his corpse for freezing.  But there is one slight problem. Robert was not supposed to be awake to see any of this. He assumed he would die and wake up decades later, when technology was sufficiently advanced to thaw him and cure his cancer.

What is he supposed to do for the next seventy odd years while he waits for technology to catch up? As a ghost, he can’t work a computer, drink a scotch or influence the world of the living in any way. All he can do is sulk,  until two ‘greeters’ take him under their wing.

Greeters are the ghosts of earlier cryonics patients who volunteer to show new arrivals the ropes. They teach Robert how to walk through walls and doors, catch buses and survive in his new, unwelcome state of ghosthood.

Maggie, a dear little-old-lady of a ghost with a will of iron, is determined to help Robert accept the possibilities of his new ‘life’. But first he has to come to terms with his old life, which was less than happy.

And so Robert’s journey begins. Along the way he discovers his wife has been unfaithful to him, and then has to stand in impotent horror as their drug addicted son shoots her. How much responsibility should Robert shoulder for the way his family has turned out?

As a woman who used to be married to a driven entrepreneur, I found myself nodding an awful lot during Robert’s soul-searching. However if  ‘Ups and Downs’ had been about nothing but finger wagging, I would have lost interest very quickly. Luckily, ‘Ups and Downs’ was also incredibly funny in spots, and the love story that develops between Robert, and an ordinary ghost called Suzanne, really touched me.  You see Suzanne has no body to reanimate, so when Robert is thawed, their time together will be over.

If you want to know how the story ends you’ll have to buy the book. For now I’d like to say a few things about the science fiction elements. The story spans 70 odd years so you would expect everyday consumer technology to change, and it does. The author weaves the technology into the story so cleverly that it never overshadows the characters, but it is there, and as a sci-fi buff I was delighted with some of the gadgets Cornelius comes up with. The all seems quite… plausible.

The only part of the story I thought I might have trouble with was the whole ‘ghost’ thing. I don’t believe in ghosts, at all. Yet despite my skepticism, I found myself accepting the supernatural aspects of the story without feeling uneasy. Part of the reason for that was because the author did not indulge in any metaphysical mumbo jumbo. Being a ghost was just something that happened. There are a couple of nice passages where the ghosts discuss how becoming a ghost might happen, but it is done in a natural way, as if they’re discussing a dip in the stock market, or a spate of bad weather.

And finally a word about that character development/personal growth I mentioned. There were a couple of small areas where the author could have been a tiny bit more subtle, but overall, Robert’s growth over the decades of waiting feels right. And makes the ending such a pleasurable, uplifting climax to the story.

There is nothing average about ‘The Ups and Downs of Being Dead’. In fact I’d call it a must-read for anyone who is sick of the same, tired old themes. I loved it. 😀





Don’t tell anyone – a most surprised review

dont tell anyoneI had Laurie Boris’ third novel – Don’t tell anyone – sitting on my Kindle for over a week before I started reading it. Why? Because of the elephant in the room called cancer.

Cancer is one of those taboo topics none of us want to think about, and I knew one of the characters in ‘Don’t tell anyone’, would have breast cancer.

My hesitation was further complicated by the fact that I’ve had my own brush with cancer. All my tests have been negative for over two and a half years, but it just so happened that I was waiting on the results of my latest tests last week, so…

I’m happy to say the test results were all negative, but even if they had not been,  ‘Don’t tell anyone’ would have cheered me up!

I can see a lot of you re-reading that last sentence with puzzled expressions. Why would a book that talks about cancer cheer anyone up?

The answer, as they say in the classics, “is complicated”.

‘Don’t tell anyone’ is a character driven story that revolves around the relationships between Liza, a thirty-something woman, her husband Adam, her sixty-five year old Jewish mother-in-law, Estelle, and her gay brother-in-law Charlie.

All four characters are immensely likable, although I have to say that Charlie was my favourite, by far. He’s sexy, funny and lovable, all in one. He and Liza have been friends since college but there are things in their shared past that need to be resolved. In fact, resolving the past is key to the relationships in this family.

All of us have issues with family members. Most of those issues get swept under the carpet, year after year, because they are too hard to resolve without a huge fight, and the potential of destroying the family in the process. But when someone in your family is diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer, everything changes.

The discovery that Estelle has lumps in both breasts, and didn’t do anything about them for five years, turns the family dynamic on its head, undermining the comfortable assumptions they had all been living with for so long.  In the process, long-held secrets are exposed, secrets like the fact that Estelle’s mother and grandmother, both died of breast cancer.

But while the discovery of Estelle’s cancer exposes some secrets, it also breeds new ones. How can Liza tell her husband that his mother wants to commit suicide rather than suffer the fate of her own mother and grandmother? Worse still, how can Liza reveal that Estelle has asked her to help with the suicide?

That particular secret eventually leads to a revelation which almost destroys Liza’s marriage. But not for the reason you might think. I can’t tell you any more because that would spoil some of the best parts of the story. What I can say, however, is that lancing all these boils leads to both growth, and resolution, and that is part of the reason I loved the story so very much.

I believe anyone reading ‘Don’t tell anyone’ will be able to relate to Liza, Adam and Charlie. However I, personally, related to Estelle the most, and her part of this finely crafted story was what cheered me. There is a rightness to Estelle’s life that touched me on so many levels, and that rightness permeates the story.

As a writer myself, I feel an enormous respect for Laurie Boris, and more than a little envy. Her understanding of the human psyche is exceptional, and her mastery of the craft of writing is flawless. It could not have been easy weaving all these complex characters and relationships into something that reads, and feels, so right, and yet she makes it look easy. I wish I could write like this, I truly do.

In my not-so-humble opinion, ‘Don’t tell anyone’ is a story that everyone should read. No ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ or ‘maybes’. Read it you lot, or miss out on a novel that is at least 6 stars out of 5.

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