Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Masquerade in Venice

My favorite romance novel, Masquerade in Venice, written by Velda Johnston, copyright 1973,  is a keeper because it inspired me to join up and write my first NaNoWriMo manuscript. I still have that draft, and one day I might even clean it up and submit it somewhere, but for now it's fine "resting" in my filing cabinet. I'm not a romance writer, but it's nice to dream.

I first came across this sweet and lovely book one winter when I had the flu but was just well enough to go to the library for some much-needed reading material. I'd been in bed for days and had been too sick to read anyway, but I was at the point where the only thing I had energy for was reading, so off to the library I went. Except when I got there, nothing appealed to me. 

Rows and rows of new books and all I could say was, "Bleh." Then I saw an old-fashioned, plain blue "library bound" copy of Masquerade in Venice and knew this was exactly what I wanted. I took it home, read it, and loved every word. Then I had to give it back. (The big problem with library books, in my opinion!) A few months later, I wanted to read it again, and when I went to the library--it wasn't there! No one knew what had happened to it--it was gone. Stolen, lost, vanished into the ether. It no longer existed. Time passed and something worse happened: I forgot both the name of the author as well as the title, so I couldn't even buy a copy. I gave up.

Then one fortuitous day at a writer's group meeting, the group was holding a second-hand book sale, and bingo, there it was in paperback: Masquerade in Venice. My book! Mine, mine, mine. The original price printed on the cover was $1.25 and I got it for .25 cents. Good deal? You bet.

It had been a few years since I'd read it, and it was a joy to re-read. Then a good friend suggested we sign up for NaNoWriMo and I thought, if I could write a book like Masquerade in Venice, that would be time well-spent. And it was, even if the one thing I learned was that I'm not a romance writer. Which is okay. We can't write in every genre, but it's good to explore, learn, and discover what is, and is not, our true calling. The key is to have the courage to take the journey: nothing ventured, nothing gained. Seeing Masquerade in Venice on my keeper shelf reminds me of that maxim every day. 

How about you? What book(s) keep you on the journey? Let me know, and I'll see you tomorrow with the letter "N."


Susan Brody said...

Valerie: what a good story! Obviously, the great love affair between you and this book was meant to be! I haven't written my own A to Z entry today yet, but oddly enough, it's also going to be about Venice. Coincidence? Or A SIGN????

Lexa Cain said...

When I was young, I definitely had some romance favorites; I voraciously read Harlequin and Cartland novels. But my ability to read for pleasure has vanished in the last few years. I can't get my inner editor to shut up! :P

I'm really glad you weren't disappointed on your re-reading.

Valerie Storey said...

Yes, a sign! Thank you, Susan--I've never been to Venice, but am looking forward to reading your post.

Valerie Storey said...

Lexa, I know what you mean. That inner editor can be a real kill-joy. Hope you can get past the gatekeeper one day and go back to some just-for-fun reading!

Rita said...

I love this post! It brings back fond memories of books I cherish. My favorite cherished book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I first read it as a teenager, I should take it off the shelf and read it again someday. I think 95% of my books are keepers, even the paperbacks! Some people think I am silly for hanging onto paperbacks but it is all the same words, the same story. I am going to have to put Masquerade in Venice on my wish list while hunting books at charity book sales.

athousandliveslived said...

Awesome post!

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My theme focuses on books and the title starts with the letter of the day!

Valerie Storey said...

Thank you, Rita! I loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, too. In fact, it was a recent selection at my book club here in Albuquerque. We all enjoyed it very much. As for the paperbacks--most of my books are in pb form, and I've always preferred them to hardbacks. Easier for moving and traveling, LOL!