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COPPER LILIES

By Bradon Nave

 

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Genre: NA Coming of Age

Published: February 9, 2016

 

About the Book

image 1In 1986, twenty-three-year-old country girl Nora Brown decides it’s time for a change…

Complacent and bored with her life in rural Oklahoma, Nora leaves her bigoted father and all she’s ever known to pursue a new life in San Francisco. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, Nora, a registered nurse, believes she can be an asset to the community. Bunking in a tiny apartment with a longtime friend, Nora secures a job within a large hospital and begins volunteer work for an organization that cares for those afflicted with the disease.

She is soon faced with the horrors of AIDS—a reality she wasn’t quite prepared for…

Just as the courageous group of caregivers and volunteers have their emotional strength depleted to the point of no return, the group rallies together and pushes forward, remembering their mission—if they aren’t there for these people, who will be?

Nora wasn’t expecting to find him here, to “fall in love among the ashes…”

Along her journey, she meets a diverse community of lionhearted survivors. And then there’s Donald, another volunteer who fights alongside those with dwindling hope. Nora and Donald grow closer as the war on HIV rages around them.

They watch their friends waste to nothing, yet no answers are being offered. The only comfort is the solace they find in each other. After months of hardships, another crippling loss shakes the foundation of Nora’s faith.

Their struggle is not only about HIV/AIDS—but about how the nation responds, and the humanistic choice to be unsung heroes.

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Book Review

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of COPPER LILLIES by Bradon Nave for the purpose of an honest review.

COPPER LILLIES by Bradon Nave is definitely a reminder of what it was like when the HIV/AIDS crisis was first brought to the attention of the world. Bradon Nave has written it as though he were there in San Francisco and witnessed it all first-hand!

Mr. Nave has written strong characters who are each very memorable for their strength and passion.

One of impressionable moment for me was the revealing of the reasoning for the book’s name:

“My garden,” he said solemnly.

“It’s beautiful.” I moved closer to him.

“I can’t really garden… and a real flower for each one of them would break me. Even a nickel for each one of them would break me. Real gardens die anyway. Flowers just fade and die,” the man said as he looked to me. The dim light’s reflection danced in his streaming tears as his haunting gaze seemed to steal my breath.

“I don’t know what you mean, Charley,” I forced from my throat. Witnessing my friend’s pain without knowing what was behind it was becoming unbearable.

“Each one represents one of them, Nora.”

“Who?”

“One of the countless faces in the newspaper that ends up in the trash. This is my memorial to them. This is my garden to them. This is their garden.”

Like a little girl on the playground, face down in the dirt after tripping over her shoestrings, I felt the wind knocked from my lungs— I couldn’t breathe. Each painted plant, each penny represented one of many that had lost their life to this horrendously cruel monster.

“Charley!” I blurted out. “There are so damn many!”

“I know! And I add more every week. Every week from our paper and New York’s.”

“You’re so beautiful. This is so beautiful. A penny rose garden?” I asked, assuming he’d named his masterpiece.

“No, they’re lilies. My favorite. They’re copper lilies.”

Nave, Bradon. Copper Lilies (Kindle Locations 1851-1866). Limitless Publishing LLC. Kindle Edition.

This exchange between Nora and Charley nearly took my breath away. As do many moments with deep emotional content in COPPER LILLIES!

Reading COPPER LILLIES took me back to that horrible time when HIV and AIDS was all so new and greatly feared.  No one, including the medical and scientific communities, truly knew much about the disease. So many ignorant people laid blame by singling out the gay community, calling it the “Gay Plague”. Homophobia was running as rampant as the disease itself. I learned by watching those around me, in small town America, how NOT to behave. Then in 1999, I learned how to deal with it from a beloved high school friend who die from AIDS related complications.

COPPER LILLIES is written very well. However, I believe the story could have been told without the copious use of profanity.

I give COPPER LILLIES by Bradon Nave four steaming hot Room With Books coffee and recommend you read it if you have the stomach for a high dose of reality!

 

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Divider

©July 30, 2016

Patricia, Room With Books

 

Excerpt

I was lucky I had him. I didn’t move to San Francisco in search of love. I would frown upon someone for falling in love among ashes. Perhaps I wasn’t actively seeking love; rather, longevity.

It seemed nothing was solidified; nothing was guaranteed to return a smile the following day. Even if it were not my pain, per se, to simply witness the pain of loss from afar was enough to plummet my ailing psyche back into the pit it was attempting to crawl out of. Donald was my rope. A thin rope at first, but our threads were growing in number. I had to be sure I didn’t hang myself.

After spending the rest of the day together, Donald and I ended our day’s adventure in the confinements of his bedroom. He laid me down on his bed, gently kissing my neck, and I knew without a doubt that the interaction would go no further than heated kissing and clothed entanglement. I made that abundantly clear prior to his closing of the bedroom door.

There would be no raunchy stories for Gwen to salivate over the following morning. I didn’t feel dirty, and for once the oppression of guilt momentarily subsided. I was allowed to find mild pleasure without feeling disgraceful or distasteful.

His touch brought a rush similar to the feeling I’d experienced on country Oklahoma roads with local high school all-stars a few years prior, but there was something much more.

The physical effects he had on my body were coupled with the idea that he might be something solid. That he might be there day after day. That he might not fade away.

“You’re beautiful,” he whispered.

“You’re hairy,” I replied hastily, evoking a chuckle. “You’re beautiful too.”

“Beautiful?” He momentarily halted the tongue massage on my neck.

“Handsome. Hairy and handsome.”

“And a distraction?”

The question caught me off guard.

Initially I assumed he’d be little more than that, a distraction. A distraction from everything going on around me. Gradually, I had accepted the idea that exploring realms beyond friendship and preoccupation with this gentleman was something I could be okay with.

“No.Yes and no. What am I?”

“A girl,” he said playfully, scanning my face for hints.

“You’re not just a distraction. Something to take my mind off of Buddies and the hospital, yes; but I like you.”

“Me too.”

“You too?”

“I like you. But you’re my escape. Sometimes I feel like there’s no escape. I can either close my eyes and see their faces, see Toby’s face, or I can see yours. I miss him. Maybe I miss him too much.” His eyes were dry yet flooded with pain.

There was no way the average farm boy from rural Texas could digest losing one of his closest friends in such a short period of time. Had he been back home and his buddy been killed in an accident, Donald would have had monumental support and guidance throughout the grief process. Here, everyone had a Toby, a Logan, all of our friends were losing friends. Attempting to share feelings with our social group would only add turmoil to their grief-stricken lives.

“I can be that. I’d like to be that,” I muttered as I kissed him.

The passion left our fingertips quicker than it mounted in them. He ran the tip of his index finger under my eye, tracing it to my earlobe. It was as if we bottled the explosive emotions for another night and took comfort in companionship. I wasn’t trying to be a hero, but I certainly wasn’t trying to write a love story either. At this point, I was comfortable moving through this experience with this person and allowing myself a temporary reprieve from my constant over analyzing—whatever happens, happens—just let it be, and it will be.

 

Meet the Author

Bradon Nave

Bradon Nave was born and raised in rural Oklahoma. He attended a small country school during junior high and high school, and graduated with only three people in his class. After graduate school, he decided to devote his spare time to his passion of writing. Bradon currently lives in Piedmont, Oklahoma, with his wife and two young children.

When he’s not writing, he loves running, being with friends and family, and being outdoors.

Connect With the Author

WEBSITE ~~ FACEBOOK ~~ GOODREADS

 

Other Books by this Author

A DARKER DECEMBER

KEEPING THE TARNISHED

THE YEAR THE LAKE WENT LOW

JESSIE KASPER (BEFORE WE FRACTURED #1)

KACEY MUNROE (BEFORE WE FRACTURED #2)

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Keeping the Tarnished Limitless Publishing Friday Post @BradonNave @LimitlessBooks

KEEPING THE TARNISHED
A Psychological Thriller
by Bradon Nave 
 
“No one is disposable.”
– SYNOPSIS –
Johnny Tregalis leaves home the minute he turns eighteen, but he’s the only one who knows why…
Arriving in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Johnny has nothing—not even a plan. Local veterinarian Jackson Everett notices the boy, who reminds him of his own teenage son, and offers him a bed for the night.
Meeting Jackson’s wife Graye, his son Jared, and four-year-old daughter Bryce, Johnny sees a family he could never imagine. He’d been raised by his abusive father after his mother disappeared with his younger brother, and he’s sure he’ll be packed off to a shelter in the morning. He can’t believe it when he’s invited to stay indefinitely.
Johnny refuses to discuss his traumatic past as he attempts to fit in…
The Everetts try to help the profoundly troubled teen, but he seems to be at the mercy of his own mind. He’s held captive by flashbacks, excruciating night terrors, and a mounting inability to distinguish delusion from reality. How can he possibly recover, go to school, have friends…have a life?
Physical scars only hint at deeper psychological devastation…
As the shocking truth comes to light, Johnny struggles to overcome years of abuse, poverty, and despicable horrors to become part of a real family, but is he strong enough to defeat his demons? The Everetts realize Johnny’s journey is now their own, but they face a daunting task.
How much sacrifice is too much when all you can hope for is keeping the tarnished?AVAILABLE NOW➤➤➤ http://amzn.com/B017081L3Y
= MEET BRADON NAVE =
Bradon Nave was born and raised in rural Oklahoma. He attended a small country school during junior high and high school, and graduated with only three people in his class. After graduate school, he decided to devote his spare time to his passion of writing.Bradon currently lives in Piedmont, Oklahoma, with his wife and two young children.
When he’s not writing, he loves running, being with friends and family, and being outdoors.

Keeping the Tarnished Release Day Blitz @BradonNave @HeaBookToursPR

KEEPING THE TARNISHED 
by Bradon Nave
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: Nov. 3, 2015
– SYNOPSIS –
Johnny Tregalis leaves home the minute he turns eighteen, but he’s the only one who knows why…
Arriving in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Johnny has nothing—not even a plan. Local veterinarian Jackson Everett notices the boy, who reminds him of his own teenage son, and offers him a bed for the night.
Meeting Jackson’s wife Graye, his son Jared, and four-year-old daughter Bryce, Johnny sees a family he could never imagine. He’d been raised by his abusive father after his mother disappeared with his younger brother, and he’s sure he’ll be packed off to a shelter in the morning. He can’t believe it when he’s invited to stay indefinitely.
Johnny refuses to discuss his traumatic past as he attempts to fit in…
The Everetts try to help the profoundly troubled teen, but he seems to be at the mercy of his own mind. He’s held captive by flashbacks, excruciating night terrors, and a mounting inability to distinguish delusion from reality. How can he possibly recover, go to school, have friends…have a life?
Physical scars only hint at deeper psychological devastation…
As the shocking truth comes to light, Johnny struggles to overcome years of abuse, poverty, and despicable horrors to become part of a real family, but is he strong enough to defeat his demons? The Everetts realize Johnny’s journey is now their own, but they face a daunting task.
How much sacrifice is too much when all you can hope for is keeping the tarnished?
– PURCHASE –
Midnight. Finally. The moments leading up to it had crawled slower than one of the maggots behind the kitchen trashcan, etching its way blindly through the coffee grounds and eggshells. He grabbed his weathered book bag full of a few clothing items and $188.00 in cash, and then stuck his leg out the window, arching his back as he felt his foot touch the ground outside. He pushed against the house, dragging his other leg across the bottom of the window frame as he lost his balance and fell backward to the ground. He didn’t care. He had been outside of this rundown shack a million times, but never had he been outside and free. Even if this freedom were short lived, and he went in the ground tomorrow, he owned it for this moment.
Quickly, he sprang to his feet, grabbed his bag, and began running in the direction of the cornfield near the end of the farmhouse drive.
The air was eerily still on this night. All was silent with the exception of a few chanting crickets and the occasional cry of the whippoorwill sounding out over the horizon. The moonlight illuminated the decrepit barn to the north of the house, as every single cornstalk in the field up ahead seemed to be reflecting the moon’s rays.
The yellow light bulb atop the wooden pole near the end of the drive was bright and buzzing in a calming manner. Several fat toads sat at the base, waiting for unfortunate insects to fall to the ground from their dizzy escapades near the globe at the top of the pole.
He ran past the half-built clubhouse his father and Uncle Doug had begun several years prior. He never understood if Doug was actually his uncle, but the men had wanted to build a ‘guy’s getaway’ for the three of them. He paid little attention to the details. He’d seen it all before hundreds of times, and he hoped to never see this place again.
Leaping over old car parts and garbage, he finally reached the corn. Although it wasn’t tall enough to hide him completely, it was all the cover he needed to make an effective escape. His heart raced wildly as he ran feverishly over the soft earth through the chest-high stalks. He began to smile through his heavy breathing, running—sprinting—excited as if he were scratching off the winning number on a substantial lottery ticket.
The prospects raced through his mind, and no adversity outside of his former confinements seemed to scare him. Starvation, disease, injury: nothing conjured concern except the idea of returning. He couldn’t go back, not now, now that a glimmer of hope had been resurrected.
As he bounded through the field like a fawn that had been mercifully released from the jaws of a predator, he felt as if he were being lifted off the ground; as if he were flying, and nothing in this world or the next could anchor him.
The taste of freedom was that of a bloodied lip, cornstalks, and the occasional mosquito; it was delicious. He knew he would leverage everything to maintain all he had in that moment, which was merely a tattered wardrobe, his father’s liquor-cash reserve, the worn clothing in the backpack, and a desperate desire to exist.
Hyper-vigilant and full of life, one would never have known only seven minutes prior he was a prisoner of technicality and his bedroom. Like a thief in the night, lowly and cunning, he darted through the cover, running on what seemed to be an endless rush of endorphins and adrenaline.
He was running for his life; this reality gave him wings.
The air was heavy and stagnant and seemed to fill his lungs with a thick, boggy perfume. He knew for certain that, if there were a higher power within the heavens, it would not have him come this far to go back. Even if he were found right now he knew he would die before he went back, and he would die a free man. Yes, a man. No longer a boy and no longer bound to his bedroom—to that shack—by the law. With a head full of dreams and the legs of a gazelle, he shot through the field, promising himself to never look back.
– ABOUT THE AUTHOR –
Bradon Nave was born and raised in rural Oklahoma. He attended a small country school during junior high and high school, and graduated with only three people in his class. After graduate school, he decided to devote his spare time to his passion of writing.Bradon currently lives in Piedmont, Oklahoma, with his wife and two young children.
When he’s not writing, he loves running, being with friends and family, and being outdoors.