About Lori Berhon

Lori Berhon is a New-York based novelist and playwright. Her work is distinguished for its intelligence and for the vivid humanity of even her most impossible characters. She is actually taller, slimmer and far more elegant than she appears to be.

2 Anniversaries, 2 Kindle Countdowns!

May 1, the annual commemoration of International Worker’s Day, seems like the perfect time to shout-out to readers about the novel I like to think of as the ANTI-Atlas Shrugged, Under the Bus. Click here for a preview chapter

And on April 26th, I celebrate the anniversary of the publication of The Breast of Everything (Happy Birthday, Mam!). Click here for a preview chapter

What better way for me to celebrate than to run a special Tag Team Kindle Countdown?!  From April 24th through May 5, one or both of these novels will be available at irresistible prices.

  • The event kicks off on Thursday April 24th, with of The Breast of Everything. The special price of 99 cents remains in play until the afternoon of April 27th, then a bump up to $1.99 through May 1.
  • On Sunday, April 28, Under the Bus joins in, available through Mayday afternoon at the worker-friendly price of 99 cents (!), then rising to the only marginally higher $1.99 through the afternoon of May 3, with a final 60% discount price of $2.99 until the Countdown ends on May 5.

Spread the word!

One Post to Update Them All

If you follow me here–or anywhere–you’ll have noticed that, despite having all the usual channels, I don’t post much at the best of times. When you’re a slow writer, like me, there just isn’t time. It’s tough enough to juggle novel-writing and making a living with maintaining contact with the humans I love. Over the last year, having been not-so-gently nudged from salaried employment to contract work, I’ve been scrambling more furiously than ever.

And now, I’m heading into NaNo. The book I’d been working on has run over by about five months and is still 2 chapters shy of a complete draft (and several hundred hours shy of a final one). And even so, I’m heading into NaNo. That probably sounds counterproductive to you. Unless you’ve experienced NaNo the same way that I have. As I blogged back in 2011, “NaNo is not to be missed.” It seems somewhat ironic (in the classic, not the millennial, use of the word) that the “jolly little workplace comedy” I was kicking off that year is the same bear that I’ve been fighting to finish off (it turned out to be neither so jolly nor so little after all).

This will be my fifth consecutive November writing marathon. I look forward to it with a mixture of excitement and dread. I expect a particularly difficult run this year, a combination of escalated time pressures and a project that is fraught with emotional baggage. The book I’ll be working on, Chasing Fireflies, is something I’ve been waiting my entire adult life to write. Waiting and preparing. In my mind, the novels I’ve written before–whether completed or not–have been training to write this one. Am I finally ready? No matter how much you prepare, you never feel as ready as you’d like to be. Even if I am ready–enough–is NaNo the right engine to kick it off? NaNo is relentless; it’s brilliant at pushing me forward by not allowing me the luxury of deliberating over every word. But for this novel, I want to deliberate; I want to write with the beauty and fluidity of a much better writer than I am. I know (and yes, I understand it’s probably a self-fulfilling prophecy) that if I manage to push through and “win” another NaNo, I’ll end up with mostly dross.

And yet, I’m doing NaNo. Because the focus and the confidence it gives me are a gift to be treasured. I write nearly every day of the year, but it’s the month of November, National Novel Writing Month, when I feel most like A Writer. On the other hand…don’t expect to read any of my work anytime soon!

Taking a Powder

Why, when you suddenly want something you haven’t thought of for ages, is it always a surprise to find out it’s extinct?

This summer, my office is further away from my gym than in summers before. If I work out during lunch, there isn’t time to shower afterwards. Having only limited success in making the stiff gym towels absorb the sweat that pools under my boobs (the male and the flat-or-perky-chested have no idea what I’m talking about!), I find myself facing a long uncomfortable afternoon.

One day, ready to cry from a bra band rasping my ribcage like sandpaper, I had a vision from my childhood. Back then, before adult bathing evolved into its current state as an indulgence limited to mineral spas and whirlpools, and/or involving sports rehabilitation or aquatic sex, baths were as common as showers. Bath products were a popular gift for Moms, as well as an allowable quasi-cosmetic for pre-teens to dabble in. Drug store and dime store shelves were thick with floral-scented suites from soap companies, and name brands like Jean Naté, Love’s Fresh Lemon and Yardley Lavender. Women whose lifestyles were more sophisticated (though this well was before anyone said “lifestyle”) would be encouraged to “layer” their signature scent by surrounding their bathing experience with products that matched their carefully selected signature perfume. At any price point, bath product lines offered soaps, bubble bath or bath salts, bath oils, after-bath lotions and toning “splashes” (think after-shave for the body) and, my current craving, body powder.

Powder. The solution to all my woes!

That evening, I rummaged through my bathroom shelves and found I had some options on hand. One was a souvenir of a visit to New Orleans. It’s not surprising that a city where you can still buy bespoke parasols and any number of stunning hats would continue to pursue a dainty dryness in the face of heat and humidity. I’d purchased some lovely Hové body powder, fine grained and silky, after sniffing more than a dozen delightful options in their equally delightful shop. But as much as I like the scent, Bayou d’Amor has both too much Bayou and too much Amor for slapping on after the gym.  I also had a bottle of Lush’s Silky Underwear dusting powder. I’ve been using this for years, and love the feel of it against my skin. But the jasmine, like the Hové fragrance, lacks the refreshment factor that I’m pining for (pine; now there’s a scent I could go for right now!).

So I hit the drug stores in search of a solution. And quickly learned that body powder (like NYC dime stores) seems to have gone extinct. Maybe it would be more accurate to call it an endangered species. If you like smelling like a baby’s neck, or don’t mind trailing the bracing menthol of Gold Bond, you’re fine. But there were none of those neutral adult citrus or lavender notes I was hoping to find.

When shopping local fails me, I turn to the web for a source. Googling “talcum powder,” I found the reason for the holes in the shelves. The Big C. Having not had babies to powder, and for years not needing anything beyond Silky Underwear, I’d missed out on this scare; but the American Cancer Society notes that talc that contains asbestos has been proven carcinogenic. The jury appears to still be out on non-asbestos talc, but the industry has clearly had to do some major regrouping.

As I learned by next googling “dusting powder,” the fix was to trend towards cornstarch-based options. And if you’re wondering why I don’t just use plain cornstarch and move on, it’s because cornstarch on its own feels too dry against my skin (not to mention making me feel like a baked good). I need to have some softeners added, like the Lush people do. Fortunately, the “dusting powder” search brought up several fragrances with the potential to satisfy my suddenly pressing demands, all on the Caswell-Massey website.

Caswell-Massey, a company I’m chagrinned to have entirely forgotten about. During the 70’s and 80’s, I used to feel so elegant buying soap in their Waldorf Astoria shop. That shop is now gone (I guess I’m not the only fickle New York shopper). Another thing I forgot about, which since disappeared . Fortunately, there are a couple of stores in my office neighborhood that carry the line so I can go and sniff for myself.

No, extinct isn’t the right word. When you suddenly want something you haven’t thought of for ages, it may just be that its natural habitat has disappeared and you have to work a little harder to find where it’s gone. Or maybe its had to adapt to change, and you’ll have to hope it hasn’t evolved out of recognition.