September Harvest ~ Nightmare or Prophecy?

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2021

I’ve finally returned to writing fiction. It’s a great feeling to have completed a novella. There was nothing to bake or melt and pour. In other words, no sweets were made and I only made a few batches of soap for an upcoming book.

The first draft of September Harvest was written in a month. It was the easiest and hardest book I ever wrote. During it, I was doing online retail therapy. I’d watched many videos about malls, dying malls, dead malls and abandoned malls. I watched and listened to the soundtracks of the past. Whether you call it Muzak or elevator music, it was wordless and brought back memories. Yet listening to it made me write better and helped create that long ago and far away era. And as I wrote the Northbrook Mall section, I thought it should live up to its name with an exotic landmark center court area. The Palm Beach Mall was my inspiration. Although photographed circa 1968, I imagined being in that mall back then. People dressed more formally than they do nowadays. Salesmen and managers wore suits and ties. Customers and retail employees had a more stringent dress code than that of 2021.

Being able to use the photograph wasn’t an option as it wasn’t in the public domain, and I’d already decided to change the “wonderfall” fountain to a standard cascading type of fountain. But the bridge over the pond surrounded by tropical foliage was an element that had to be in the Northbrook Mall. It was the landmark centerpiece and most noted feature.

The photo that inspired the cover.

Finding a cover artist to recreate the mall wasn’t an easy task. The first person I found via a search had the promise that all emails were answered in 24 hours. To date, my email has been ignored. I contacted another cover artist, but my suggestion wasn’t deemed possible. I kept looking and found a talented artist who had several images of buildings and people in her portfolio. I had quickly learned that some artists specialized in drawing animals, others in portraits, and some in drawing fantasy landscapes. Would I like a watercolor, oil painting or colored pencil rendition?

I wrote out detailed instructions and even included an excerpt from my novella which described the fountain area. I asked that the ladies on the bridge be changed to the main characters in the novella. A few days later, I received the image and here it is…

What is September Harvest About?

Laurie Caswell loves her life… but a nightmare leaves her terrified of the future…

It’s 1979 and Laurie’s living a great life as a bookstore clerk at the Northbrook Mall. She’s excited to go out with her boyfriend to see a movie, have a drink, and spend a happy evening together. When he leaves, she’s rocked to her core by a nightmare.

A nightmare of a future where her mall is dead, overweight, black-clad people cover their faces like common criminals.

People seem more focused on their light-up book-like devices than her, but the year 2021 holds darker, more sinister dangers. Dangers she desperately wants to wake up from and escape. Laurie just wants her normal life back… but whatever she’s experiencing might not be willing to let her go so easily.

Where to buy:

Amazon: September Harvest
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Out of the Blue: A Novel ~ Meet Sylvia’s Mother

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014-2015

out of the blue a novel by lisa maliga

It all began in the summer of 1979 …

Sylvia Gardner is a naïve library clerk who lives with her dysfunctional mother in Richport, Illinois. Vivian tells her daughter not to trust men because they only want to use her. After being dumped by her first boyfriend, Sylvia falls in love with an English actor after watching him on a PBS drama. Researching Alexander Thorpe’s life and career for two years, she saves her money so she can visit him in his Cotswolds village. She stays at the Windrush Arms Hotel, soon discovering they share a secret connection.

Complications ensue when Harry Livingstone, the hotel’s drunken proprietor, takes a fancy to the young American. As in her dreams, Sylvia and Alexander get together – but with unexpected results.

In this flashback scene we learn more about Sylvia’s mother.

Her mother would’ve disliked Alexander, even though he was a well-known actor. She would have referred to him as a dissipated old lecher for he was a man. An older man. And of course since he was a man, he wanted to get his rocks off. Vivian feared her daughter would wind up as unhappy as she had been once she got married.

After all, her mother had married an older man—Fred Gardner was almost a dozen years older than Vivian. But after the divorce and the move into the apartment complex, Sylvia found a small beige photo album when moving boxes in the garage. She sat down on a lawn chair and opened it up. A smiling Vivian looked at the camera. It was taken from the waist up and she recognized the canary yellow polyester minidress that her mother had bought back in 1969. It was always worn with white vinyl go go boots. Her dark hair was center parted and hung in loose curls just past her narrow shoulders. Her mom looked a lot younger in that picture. She turned the page and saw a bearded man standing next to Vivian. His long hair was thick and curly. A folded red bandana was wrapped around his head. Who was that man?

If you’d like to read more, OUT OF THE BLUE: A NOVEL is available at the following online bookstores:

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