Monday, June 24, 2013

C. S. Lakin Takes Us Into Reality Rather Than Fantasy in Innocent Little Crimes!

“Hi Dad,” she said, plunging into the abyss. “Hey, you look great. How ’bout I come in for a few minutes? I brought you some mementos from Hollywood. Mom, I know how much you love ‘Days of our Lives.’ ”
"Her father shoved his hand out, inches from her face. “You know you are not welcome in this home.” He cast an angry look around at the small clusters of his whispering neighbors who had suddenly appeared on the sidewalk in front of their homes. “I don’t want a spectacle here, so leave!”
 “Oh, come now, Dad. Aren’t you going to invite your own daughter in?” A stickiness spread in her armpits and sweat dripped down her sides. She shifted the bulky bouquet to her other arm.
“Young lady, I will remind you what Saint Paul said to the Romans: ‘And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness—’ ”
"Lila joined in sing-song with her father, “ ‘— malice. Full of envy, murder, strife . . .’ ”
"The Reverend waited for Lila to stop talking. Then he bellowed. “ ‘Disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless. They know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die.’ ” He shoved the words into Lila’s face. “We all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, young lady, ‘so that each one may receive good or evil according to what he has done in the body.’ I’m through listening to your blasphemy.” George Carmichael’s face and neck flushed red. His nostrils flared like an impatient horse. By this time, the crowd lining the sidewalk began to resemble a minor congregation, gathered around the small wooden podium of her father’s doorstep. Someone waved a sheet of paper in the air.
 “Hey, Lila, how about an autograph?”
Lila tried to focus. “Fine, Dad. I was only paying a friendly visit. But remember, your beloved apostle Paul in Hebrews said not to neglect showing hospitality, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
“How dare you quote Scripture to me, young lady. You use Scripture to fit your whim, like Satan when he tested our Lord Jesus . . .”
Innocent Little Crimes

By C. S. Lakin

After reading Lakin's fantasy series, this novel was quite a surprise--in a good way. There is one word driving the drama--revenge... It plays through the entire book to a somewhat climatic ending--somewhat, because the only difference for me was that I thought everybody was going to be killed! LOL

I'm not a fan of "fat jokes" as you might guess, but the sensitivity of one individual to being ridiculed for her weight may affect their entire life. That's what happened to Lila Carmichael...

She turned that ridicule into a comedy act that led to stardom for her--sorta like the Kathy Griffin type I gather from what was said... but looking more like Roseann Barr at various weights...Me? I sometimes enjoy Roseann's humor:

Roseanne Barr Quotes
“Women complain about PMS, but I think of it as the only time of the month when I can be myself.”
“Women should try to increase their size rather than decrease it, because I believe the bigger we are, the more space we'll take up, and the more we'll have to be reckoned with.”

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.”

Main things about Lila was that she was intelligent, had a long memory, and was a great performer who made big bucks!
And she kept track of the people who "done her wrong... which included her father..."
The days passed endlessly. She stared at a picture of Jesus on her wall and asked him why it was taking so long to die. When her parents weren’t home, the only sound she heard was the clock ticking. Like waiting in limbo, or Purgatory. 
"One afternoon, her father lost his temper. “Get down on your knees, you Jezebel!” Shut up! she screamed inside her head. Standing at the window, her back to her ranting father, she made a fist. As her father raved in mid-sentence, she pummeled that fist through the glass, shattering the air with a loud crack and sending shards flying. Her father fell silent as he watched the rivulets of blood pour down Lila’s arm. That evening he put her in a straight jacket and fastened her to the bed. 
"Her mother wouldn’t even come into the room. George Carmichael left the gaping hole in the window uncovered, and the rain and wind blew in, soaking Lila’s curtains and floor. He turned off the heat in the house and left her in bed in the cold. He would force the devil out of her. Each night, in the dark, he sat at the foot of her bed and mumbled fervent prayers, working himself into a sweat. By then, Lila was so weak and malnourished that she lay without expression, staring into the blackness. How long this went on, she had no idea. 
"Only, one day she found her bindings loosened and the house empty. Dying was taking forever and this religious torment was a punishment in hell. Slowly she sat up, the first time in days. Kicking the bed pan off the night stand, she wobbled over to the broken window and looked out. Every muscle in her body ached from confinement. The glare from the bright sunlight hurt her eyes and the smell of cut grass filled her nostrils. Somehow, summer had arrived. 
"After removing the loosened straight jacket, she leaned her weight against the window sash and pushed. The window lifted easily. She found some old clothes in one of her dresser drawers and, in slow motion, put them on. They hung from her limbs. As she hobbled down the street, the world tilted around her. She knew if she just kept walking, she’d get somewhere. Hours later, the smell of pizza assaulted her nose. How long had it been since she tasted food? Suddenly, there she was, in front of Jo Mama’s. She hesitated a moment. What if she ran into someone she knew? But it was summer. Most students were home for the break. All her “friends” had graduated or left for the summer and had surely long forgotten the pathetic Lila Carmichael.
Needless to say, Lila's (actually Delilah, as named by her mother even at her father's anger...)  father was a hell's fire type of minister. For one, he had wanted a boy to carry on his ministry. When that didn't happen, he started a regiment for Lila to memorize the Bible. When she failed, he withheld food...

At 18 she left, leaving a note, that was all...

She had tried for and got a scholarship and went on to college, mainly just to get away from home. Fortunately, she was placed in a room with Millie and they became friends. Both were overweight and could support each other...
“You know, I bet you’re wondering what
 happened that night. Why I blew my
big chance at stardom on the college
stage. Well, I’ll let you in on a little
 secret.” Lila leaned close in conspiracy.
 “I brought you all here this weekend to
 tell you the whole story. Not everyone
 from Thespians, but just this
 cozy group. Because each of you played
 your own important little part.”

Millie got involved with the Thespians, mainly to maybe meet a guy who would date her. When she found out how involved Lila was with movies, acting, she coaxed her to become involved. And she had the chance when the administrators decided to ensure students outside of the Thespians group could try out for lead roles.  She got the part to be the lead female, which Della would normally have played, with Davis playing the lead male

They were just about ready and having their last rehearsal. Lila was in seventh heaven. She had fallen in love with Davis during their many rehearsals which required kissing...and Davis seemed to love her too. But something happened that night as everybody was leaving.

They planned this to make sure
Della would play the lead—
the lead she wanted from
 the beginning. Lila’s eyelids grew
 heavy and her thoughts crumbled
 into pieces. She tried to imagine
 Della playing her part,
Davis holding Della in his arms.
Lila never showed up for the performance! And she was never seen by any of the Group after that, although they all knew she had become a success!

Fifteen years pass and readers learn about the present lives of each of the small group of friends within the Thespian group. At a crucial point in each of their lives, they get an invitation for a Reunion of the Thespians to be hosted by Lila...

It was Payback Time...

By now, readers of Lakin probably realize that there is a moral to most of her books...  She knows that all of us perform Innocent Little Crimes... Oh, ours might not be so visible, or we might not have them seen by others... But we open our mouths and say something we really don't mean by accident... Some say things by design, wanting to hurt or humiliate, while others say things as a joke or to win a bet. Davis, for instance, had won the bet... But the results were not what any expected...

When I had to take a medical leave from work due to job burnout, a woman said to me, "Come with me to church--you need to get right with the Lord..." Hey, it had not been me that had caused my burnout! I was OK with my Lord! Yet, some Christians say things that just don't make sense and come across as a voice of condemnation rather than of love and kindness. Fortunately, my pastor and his wife had already given loving guidance for me, but, still, that woman's comment remained with me...

Would Delilah have been different if she'd had a loving, kind, father that shared the grace of Jesus with her and his wife rather than a man who, for instance, forced his daughter to commit the Bible to memory or not get something to eat? Oh yes, I do think so. When she arrived at college, she was not prepared to understand that all may perform innocent little crimes, and deal with them as best as she could.  Instead, the crimes changed Lila...and the world paid her lots of money to they could laugh at her...

Ok, OK, I probably shouldn't have said this in advance of your reading this... But, I do highly recommend it...Tell me you disagree! I'd love to argue about it with you... LOL


About the Author   
C. S. Lakin writes novels in numerous genres, focusing mostly on contemporary psychological mysteries and allegorical fantasy. Her novel Someone to Blame (contemporary fiction) won the 2009 Zondervan First Novel competition 2009 (published October 2010). Lakin’s Gates of Heaven fantasy series for adults (AMG-Living Ink Publishers) features original full-length fairy tales in traditional style. Already in print are the first books in the series, The Wolf of Tebron, The Map across Time, and The Land of Darkness, with four more to follow. Her contemporary mystery Innocent Little Crimes made the top one hundred finalists in the 2009 Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest, earning her a Publisher’s Weekly review stated her book was “a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breaths the whole way through.”   
Lakin grew up collating television scripts for her screenwriter mother. As an adult, Susanne assisted in developing series for television, and while raising two daughters and running a bed and breakfast inn in northern California wrote her first three novels and a cookbook. 
She currently works as a freelance copy editor and writing mentor, specializing in helping authors prepare their books for publication. She is a member of The Christian PEN (Proofreaders and Editors Network), CEN (Christian Editor Network), CAN (Christian Authors Network— regular blogger), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and two regional writers’ groups. She edits for individuals, small publishing companies, and literary agents.   
In addition to her mysteries and fantasy series, she has also written the first book in a Young Adult sci-fi adventure series: Time Sniffers. She recently completed Intended for Harm, a contemporary take-off on the biblical story of Jacob and Joseph and is developing a swashbuckling dog memoir in the style of Moby Dick entitled A Dog after God’s Own Heart. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA, with her husband Lee, a gigantic lab named Coaltrane, and three persnickety cats.
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