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The Musings of James Paddock
First Breath… a story that will leave you breathless

Posted July 13, 2020 (Revised from original post November 19, 2014)

Maureen Turner's First Breath - From a drawing Jo gives life to James, a man any woman would fawn over. Must Jo sacrifice her happiness to keep him alive?

Maureen TurnerWho are they, these Indie Authors of the world; specifically, who are they who write fiction… the story tellers? With simple words on paper they manage to create entirely new worlds into which readers can escape to discover great friends, unbeatable heroes and fantastic lovers, where another entire parallel universe comes alive. What is it that keeps them going, these writers? As one who fits the description, I can attest that it sure isn’t the big sales or the dream of hitting the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. It is the recognition from readers that keeps us returning to our reams of paper or our computer screens, me and all my Indie Friends.

One such gem of a writer was Maureen Turner of Gloucestershire, England, a stone’s throw across the big pond from here in Florida, USA. She appeared to be a perfect fit as a featured author with her books of fantasy romance and fantasy/sci-fi romance. After taking a peek at her photo and reading through her bio I came away with a picture of the lovely Maureen–a Jack Russell rescue dog, Woody, by her side–whipping up out-of-this-world stories with some rather bizarre plots. The question I have to ask is, does Woody contribute or just give moral support? I envision her writing sessions going something like this:

Maureen: “What do you think, Woody? The Warrior Angel… How about I describe him as a tanned golden-haired surfer by the name of Malchediel?”

Woody: Tilts his head and then sighs and drops his chin to his paws.

Maureen: “Really? I’m glad you agree. His job will be to protect Amy, a Nephilim girl on Earth. Next question… Wings or no wings?

Woody: Lifts his eyebrows and rolls his eyes until they almost disappear.

Maureen: Laughs… “You’re such a clown.”

I completely understand Woody. My cat, Squirrel, was the same way. We all need our muse.

So I started perusing through Maureen Turner’s titles…

There was the Wings Unfurled Series where Malchediel (Malchediel Warrior Angel – Wings Unfurled Book 1) is tasked to protect Amy, a Nephilim girl on Earth. Does he forget that angels are not allowed to fall in love with Mortals? In Amy, Nephilim Freedom Fighter – Wings Unfurled Book 2, Amy, Nephilim Freedom Fighter, will Amy ever forget Malchediel? Are they destined to find each other?

And of course, no writer is complete without a series of short stories to wet the literary appetite. In Maureen’s case the book of short stories is entitled, Purgatory. It is a wonderfully diverse collection of a dozen shorts, some from a perspective that you would never imagine (Corona) some thought provoking (Purgatory) some very moving (Halloween); all captivating.

And then I found First Breath, Maureen Turner’s story that garnered most of my attention and urged me to click the buy button. With so many books already on my reading list, I, sadly, can’t purchase them all. For some reason, however, First Breath found its way to the top.

And so, here is my take on First Breath by Maureen Turner…

First Breath by Maureen TurnerJo, a young woman barely beyond a girl, following a night of depression, awakens to discover the pencil drawing of a handsome man she’d created as a teenager, gone, leaving behind a blank sheet of paper still attached to her bathroom door, the image itself having morphed into a three-dimensional pile on the floor of her bedroom. The man, no longer a drawing, was very much alive, trying to pick himself up off the floor, confused and disoriented and, like she, panic-stricken.

After getting beyond the terrifying discovery of this man in her bedroom, Jo begins to realize he is everything she ever imagined: her creation; a real-life figment of her dreams. And because she’d created him, all his history, his memories that is, are her memories. He could recall things about her childhood that she had long forgotten.

Could she have really wished this hunk into existence?

Head librarian at the local library in the town of Marlham, England, Jo finds it a challenge to explain this handsome man’s sudden appearance in her life, but between the two of them they concoct a name, James Smith, and an amnesia story that gradually becomes accepted among her friends and colleagues, and eventually, the community, even to the point of securing a driver’s license and passport.

And of course, he becomes her lover and all is well and beautiful in Jo’s life… until…

Jo has come to believe that James entered her life as a result of her unhappiness which gradually faded away until all that was left was total and unmitigated bliss. Then one day she notices the drawing paper from which James took his first breath, until then completely blank, still attached to the back of her bedroom door. The image is returning, starting with the feet, and she becomes convinced that because she is happy it’ll continue to return until one day the real-life James will cease to exist, that he came into her life only long enough to pull her from her depressed state. She is so certain of this that she convinces him to move away, to London, to continue on with his life, his education and career, without her, to break all contact with her. It’ll devastate her but he will be alive, a sacrifice she has no choice but to make.

And that is where First Breath really finds ground and where I kept wanting to pick it up to find out what was going to happen next. Were they ever going to get back together, would he ever find out that when he left her behind she was with child, that he was to become a father, this figment of Jo’s wish for the perfect man? Months go by and then years and I hold my breath from chapter to chapter.

Could this ever have a happy ending? I dare not reveal anymore.

I wonder if Maureen knows how close to her own life, the lives of fiction writers, she has come in the creation of James? Novelists create characters out of pen and paper (digitally in recent time) and before they know it, the characters become very real. The authors live with them, eat with them, sleep with them until one day it comes time to release them into the world so that they may truly live. James’ appearance from Jo’s drawing is, really, not too much unlike a full-fledged novel coming to being from the imagination of a writer. Maureen Turner created Jo and James and then a bizarre story around them. She made it all believable and then she released it to the world.

Wow! is all I can say. What a story.

Maureen Turner lives in Gloucestershire, England with her husband and her Jack Russell rescue dog and is a member of the Dean Writers Circle. She writes fantasy romance and fantasy/sci-fi romance.

To find out more about First Breath and Maureen Turner,
check out her listings on Amazon US or Amazon UK.


Leave a comment

July 14, 2020 at 4:38 am
Maureen Turner from Gloucester, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom wrote...

I am blown away by your wonderful comments on my debut novel First Breath. It\'s a wonderful feeling to read glowing comments from readers. When those readers are themselves, accomplished authors, it\'s an added bonus. Thank you James.

July 14, 2020 at 7:55 am
Dusty Books wrote...

Thank you, Maureen, for your comment. Accomplished? I'm not so sure. Persistant, yes. I didn't mention it in the post, but the new cover is great!



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Who is
James Paddock?
James Paddock
James Paddock is author, novelist, playwright and stage actor, not to mention husband, father, proud grandfather and very proud great-grandfather of many beautiful and intelligent children. Still calling Montana his home, James spends his twilight years writing novels, short stories and plays, in between walking Florida beaches, playing pool and hanging out with his wonderful wife, Penny.


April 2021

>Resources for Writers

March 2021

>Sloth Shifter

February 2021

>Angels of Maureen Turner

November 2020

>Angels & Mortals

>Monti Gets Shot

July 2020


>First Breath

January 2020

>The Puzzle

March 2019

>I Hate Typos

September 2018

>Saving Ebony: Page-Turner

August 2018

>Smilodon - The Trilogy

>Cool Characters in Butte

>Resources for Writers

>Characters & Timelines

>Itchy Fingers

>The Montauk Monster?

>Who is Dusty Books?