I’d planned for HUI to be released on the 15th.
My new goal is to have it out any day now, and that’s what I’m concentrating on.
In addition to the a first chapter excerpt found here. I’ve included a couple of brief excerpts from the book:
The very first woman he’d given his heart to was Nuri, his mother.
He loved her, not because she was exceptionally good or kind, but that she was resourceful. In a city where people were dropping in the streets from starvation, Nuri not only made sure they had food to eat, but that they shared their rations with others.
“See, your mother looks like a movie star in this photo,” his second mother, Eun-mi told him, her wrists shaking as she handled a black and white photo of Nuri. Posing in the large gathering space known as Kim-Il-sung square, Nuri could’ve passed for a flapper from some old Hollywood movie. Clothed in a long trench coat, Nuri’s mouth was darkened with lipstick and her teardrop shaped eyes appeared even larger, helped by liner that flared upwards from each eyelid. She wore a beret, so only the midnight curls framing her face could be seen. That small photograph shaded in black and gray was all he had to remember her by.
Each time his own eyes were enhanced with liner prior to a performance, Hui was reminded of her. Nuri’s beautiful heart shaped face was his face, and it had saved his life.
“Be glad that others can clearly see Nuri in you. This way, any man would be proud to call you his son,” Eun-mi had said. “Your mother had a talent of making friends of her enemies, and she has passed this gift on to you.”
Hui could no longer recall his Omma’s voice. But he had fond memories of walking along Kim-Il-sung square, marveling at the Grand People’s Study house, and the Juche Tower, a monument just across the Taedong river.
Of the five reviews three were so-so, one was glowing, and the last read more like an endorsement for Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova, after the writer compared Natalia’s version of Kitri to hers.
Still, this was one of the only times her name had been mentioned as a professional dancer. Imani was over the moon with happiness. But that last review . . .
“You’re thinking too hard on one review.” Hui told her.
“How’d you guess?”
“Because I do it too. I think to myself, ‘everyone said I was good. Why does this one writer want to tear me down?’ But when I read the review again, I find the criticism makes me stronger. I say to myself, ‘I will not let this bring me down. I will take comfort in the good, while I work on what I can improve. Maybe next time that writer will enjoy my performance.’ ”
“I wish I could be like that. Right now I just feel like punching this critic in the face.”
He laughed, grabbing a pillow to shield himself from her glowering expression. “One of my reviews said, ‘newcomer Imani Fairchild’s Kitri lifted the very much over-rated Hui in the role of Basilio.’ ”
Her eyes widened at that. “You’re lying.” When he stopped laughing and swore it was true, she got angry. “No shit? Someone dared to write that?”
“It’s what I would write, and what I say happened tonight.”
Her voice grew softer as she leaned in close, their lips only inches apart. “You were wonderful, like you always are.”
“No. Some things . . . were not right.”
A tender kiss from Imani silenced him. After he pressed her down on the bed, their kisses deepened. As her mouth widened to receive his tongue, her legs parted so he could settle inside her thighs. Hui couldn’t think of a better way to end the evening, loving how she writhed underneath him. Nuzzling against her neck, he confided, “But you . . . you were a vision. I say to myself, ‘she is kicking your ass out there. Get it together.’ ”
Groaning over his praise and the need to scream at how slowly he worked his way in, Imani tried to hurry things along by arching up and scoring his butt with her nails.