Thursday 7 January 2016

Book Blitz & Giveaway - Before Goodbye by Mimi Cross

Before Goodbye
Mimi Cross
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: January 1st, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Book Description:
Music means more than anything to high school student Cate Reese; it’s also what unites her with Cal Woods. Devoted classical guitar players, Cate and Cal are childhood friends newly smitten by love—until a devastating car accident rips Cal out of Cate’s life forever. Blaming herself for the horrific tragedy and struggling to surface from her despair, Cate spirals downhill in a desperate attempt to ease her pain.

Fellow student David Bennet might look like the school’s golden boy, but underneath the surface the popular athlete battles demons of his own. Racked with survivor’s guilt after his brother’s suicide, things get worse when tragedy darkens his world again—but connecting with Cate, his sister’s longtime babysitter, starts bringing the light back in.

As Cate and David grow closer, the two shattered teenagers learn to examine the pieces of their lives…and, together, find a way to be whole again.

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“We need,” Mom says, “to nudge the Arts Council.” (Or something to that effect.)

Dad sighs. Or shakes his head. Or mutters a response.
Mom briefly replies. Or applies mascara. Or blots her lipstick. Their eyes meet in the mirror above the table in the hall.
This is the daily ritual.
Dad asks why she can’t catch the last ferry, why she has to stay
over in New York. Mom lists the reasons. The list shall not exceed the amount of time it takes to finish applying her makeup. After that, no matter what Dad’s saying, she’s out the door.

Often, there will be a last-minute skirmish, with bags or a coat, gloves or an umbrella. There will most likely be keys involved. House keys. Car keys. Today it is the latter.

“Shit!” The daily ritual is by no means silent. “Cate? Do you have my car keys?”

“Why would I have your car keys? I don’t even have my license yet, remember?”

“Damn. We have to deal with that.”

“Yeah we do, we’re not in Manhattan anymore. Or at least, I’m not.”

Mom blinks a few times, fast. “Catherine. You and your father had all summer—” She cuts herself off. Cuts us all off, whenever she can.

Dad clears his throat, but he doesn’t stand a chance. He hasn’t had his coffee yet. Mom’s had a pot. And even if he matched her cup for cup, Dad’s nocturnal. He paints all night.

Dad’s in a hurl-paint-at-the-canvas phase. He’s like Jackson Pollock, maybe with bigger issues. Sometimes when I go into the barn, he’s standing in front of the giant easel he’s rigged up and doesn’t even know I’m there. Sometimes he does, and we have a sort of conversation.

“Are you coming in for dinner?” Daub, daub, brushstroke.
“I’m buying.”
“Hmm. Maybe.” Splat.

Other times he’ll turn away from the canvas and actually look at me. Although it’s more like he’s looking through me. That’s him in work mode.

At that point, I might repeat the question, but more likely, I’ll give up and leave.

Occasionally, when I’m at the door, he’ll have one last thing to say. Like,

“Ah.” Swish.

I’ll turn at the sound— and find the canvas transformed. Something light made dark by lines of black. Something pleasing turned terrifying by a dripping arc of red, as if the painting has suddenly begun to bleed.

Dad’s paintings are beautiful and frightening. They sell for a lot, which is good and bad. Mom says that while his work is selling so well he’ll never slow down. But Dad will never slow down, period. Painting’s what keeps him alive. I’m not sure how I know this.

If I want to stay clear of Dad, I stay out of the barn. Avoiding Mom during the mayhem of her morning routine? Is trickier, but necessary.

Talking to my mother at this time, even to tell her the whereabouts of the item she’s seeking, is to risk getting caught in the cross fire of clicking heels and verbal abuse. It’s basically volunteering to be a target for her double-barreled gun of criticism and blame.

Dad’s moods can be equally turbulent, but he mitigates his mercu- rial personality with art. Colors it with oils and acrylics. On the days he doesn’t paint, it just depends. Is he excited about a new idea? Did he get the grant he applied for? The gallery exhibit he wanted?

Dad has works in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Whitney, and the Guggenheim. But that isn’t enough, will never be enough. There is no “enough” when it comes to art, apparently, which is why it scares me. That and it’s messy.

I love Dad’s paintings though, and I love Dad. He loves me. But his veins are filled with paint instead of blood, and if I asked him what he loves about me? What he loves about Mom? He wouldn’t be able to tell me. He’d have to paint a picture.

He might make a sketch first. Or scribble a list, the way I do, to get my thoughts lined up.

Dad’s love list would be a visceral thing: Heart. Soul. Love pump. Playground. Scarlet. Vermilion. Crimson. Red.
Apples. Temptation. Strawberries. Rhubarb. Cherries. Compassion. Garnets. Bed. Rubies. Pearls. Pearls.

Don’t cast your pearls before swine, Cate.
Now I watch him and my mother for a minute longer, wondering how Dad would even know if I were casting my pearls.
The answer is, unless my pearl casting was connected in some way to one of his pieces, he wouldn’t. And neither would Mom.

It’s not surprising that they have no idea today is the first day of school.

About the Author
Mimi Cross was born in Toronto, Canada. She received a master's degree from New York University and a bachelor's degree in music from Ithaca College. She has been a performer, a music educator, and a yoga instructor. During the course of her musical career, she's shared the bill with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Sting. She resides in New Jersey.

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  1. Congrats on the new release! It sounds like a very emotional story.

  2. Love the excerpt and cover.