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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Critique/Review (for writers) (05/06/10)

TITLE: Daniella, My Love
By Laury Hubrich


My boss threw a new assignment at me. I reached out and caught the thing just in time. The rust-colored cover didn’t hold much promise so I put it aside where it got buried under a ton of paperwork.

The book, by day’s end, floated to the top and dashed any plans I had of a mindless evening in front of the television. I walked away from my office grumbling like a teen with homework under his arm.

My job at the Metropolis Daily News consisted of reading books ‘hot off the presses,’ so the cliché goes. My reputation, well known throughout the country, was said to be synonymous with brutality, and the hate emails that rested in my inbox attested to that description. Secretly I feared for my life. Writers are a fickle bunch – unstable, moody. I always wrote it the way I saw it and I declared on numerous occasions that I would never change.

Dinner finished, I couldn’t put it off any longer. I jumped over the couch and landed perfectly, legs sprawled, head rested on the pillow, book in hands. Ready to begin an evening of boredom, I cracked open the object of my disdain: Silhouette of the Breeze by Julio Caraxa. The name reminded me of a telenovela.

By the time I reached page five, or perhaps earlier, I was hooked. The whole novel enraptured me. The ebb and flow of the story, written to perfection, caused me to hold my breath and the next moment laugh in relief. When I came across Spanish words, I repeated them aloud, letting them roll off my tongue, truly a delight to the senses. So much different than so many other books I’d read and reviewed.

It is the book I wished I’d written. It’s me from the inside out. It pulled at my heart, hopelessly entangling me. Page 487 snuck up on me along with the sun that filtered through the blinds. I read the last sentence then closed the book with a sigh. I slapped myself to break the trance and said, “Get a grip, Joe.” I couldn’t go soft, not when a daily column with a by-line stood in my path: my dream job.

Sitting at my computer, I let my fingers wander about the keyboard as if they had a mind of their own. Fifteen minutes later I read through the review and couldn’t believe my eyes. Me, Joe Beaner, gave a book high ratings. I knew my editor would not like that one bit. I prepared my finger to hit the delete button but something stopped me.

The book…called to me. Weird as it sounds, it really did. I closed my eyes and found myself transported to the middle of Barcelona. The sights and smells overwhelmed my senses. I looked to my right and there stood the main character, Daniella. She smiled at me but then, true to plot, the girl and I ran into the nemesis, the evil Femer. Not one to avoid trouble, Daniella stood her ground. I would have fled but her hand held tight to mine.

I relived each scene there on my couch. Never had I been caught up in a book. I chose to throw caution to the wind – I hit send to my editor along with a letter of resignation. I set off down the city street, eager to find mystery and intrigue along the way. Normal and mundane no longer enough anymore, I needed freed from cautiousness. I needed…Daniella. There my quest began; my life intermixed within the storyline of the book, the book I deemed written just for me.

A force possessed me to look for my Daniella, yet I had a breaking point. On the verge of giving up, I received an email from the author, Julio Caraxa. My review helped launch him to a bestseller and to show his gratitude, he asked to meet me. A raven-haired woman walked in and introduced herself. Julio, a pen name, turned out to be Daniella Coraxa. We clicked instantly.

Daniella and I finished another bestseller on our second anniversary. We waited together for the very first reviews and then let out a sigh of relief, good or bad, for we knew that criticism is our friend, it’s what sells books. After thirty-six years together, Daniella, my love, still wraps herself around my heart, a true life mystery, indeed. We hold hands and I smile, intrigued at this woman I know…yet I don’t.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Mona Purvis05/13/10
Wow. Interesting. Hopefully, we have all had some writing impact our lives strongly.
It seemed a little unbelievable that writing one good review would cause him to quit his job.
I fully agree writers are moody, fickle...unstable at times.

Angela M. Baker-Bridge05/17/10
Never thought anyone could write a love story on the topic Critique! Very imaginative...
Joanna Stricker05/17/10
Ah, true love conquers the harshest critic. The about-face change in the MC's views was funny; and of course, the happy ending was a definite must in my book. Your treatment of the topic was clever.
Catrina Bradley 05/18/10
I cannot stop grinning! (And my jaw is starting to hurt.) It started when cool Joe turned into a mushy blob while reading the novel. I absolutely LOVE everything about this story. I know that isn't very helpful, but it's true. :-)
Beth LaBuff 05/18/10
There's a lot to like in this story. I especially enjoyed that the writer used a pen name (and surprised your MC). :) Great work!