Author Archives: Bob Mayer
Later, as a cancer victim, he questions the medical establishment, which often treats patients like statistics, not human beings. By writing his memoir, Jay moves toward a greater understanding of himself and impersonal systems, including the military establishment that tarnished the dream he once coveted – a career as an officer in the United States Army.
Jay’s questioning of the war in Vietnam; indeed, the honor code at West Point during that era may not be ‘popular’ with some, but it does offer insight and an important historical record of the challenges and the tragedy of that period in our history.
A writer has a larger obligation to stand for something – something ethical and true. Moving out of one’s comfort zone, finding our voices and our “truth” are integral components of creative expression. As writers, we must continue to challenge ourselves and our readers.
Accepting the status quo often seems at odds with the writer’s lot in life, or, if it isn’t, it should be. We write that which is the unspoken, the unmentionable . . . challenging ourselves and our readers to dig deep, and in the process, take away life’s lessons; whether or not our book has “marketing potential,” isn’t the point.
Our work, as Ursula K. Le Guin, fantasy and science fiction writer, says, often lies in realizing the difference between the “production of a marketable commodity and the practice of an art.”
And yet it is almost impossible to move beyond our books’ rankings on Amazon, how many reviews and “stars” readers have awarded them on any given day.
“Sales strategies, in order to maximize profits, are not the same thing as responsible book publishing”; authorship is not “letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant and tell us what to write” . . . Le Guin says.
In that regard, I am an activist. I have written three books – two memoirs and A Portrait of Love and Honor: a novel based on a true story. Together they form a trilogy dedicated to and inspired by my late husband, John M. Cavalieri, Class of ’71 USMA. My books reflect what I felt offered readers life lessons and a message that some may not always feel comfortable in wanting to hear; by standing up to the system and not taking the easy way out, there is a price to be paid.
In our 17-year marriage, John and I often challenged the “status quo” both in the workplace and as members of our church before his death from cancer in 1994. As a journalist, it was my job to dig deep and seek answers and truth for readers.
In A Portrait of Love and Honor, Ava Stuart, Jay’s editor and the woman he falls in love with, moves beyond disillusionment in her own life to hope and renewal. She finds the connection and intimacy that comes when we fully love another person. Together, Ava and Jay find meaning and honor in a world that is often not very honorable.
About A Portrait of Love and Honor: A Novel Based on a True Story
Newly-divorced and on her own, 40-something Ava Stuart forges a new life. One day, at a signing in the local library for her novel, a tall, dark-haired man walks in and stands in the back of the room. Jay Scioli is a wanderer – a man who has said good-bye to innocence, the U. S. Army, and corporate America. His outlook on life having changed, his health shattered by illness, he writes a memoir. In his isolation, he searches for an editor to help him pick up the loose ends. Time may be running out. He is drawn to the striking and successful Ava. Facing one setback after another, their love embraces friendship, crisis, dignity, disillusionment. Their love story reflects a reason for living in the face of life’s unexpected events.
Based on a true story, A Portrait of Love and Honor takes the reader from the halls of the United States Military Academy at West Point during the Vietnam War to a moving love story between two people destined to meet.
Susan G. Weidener is a former journalist with The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has interviewed a host of interesting people from all walks of life, including Guy Lombardo, Bob Hope, Leonard Nimoy, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and Mary Pipher. She left journalism in 2007 and after attending a women’s writing retreat, wrote and published her memoir, Again in a Heartbeat, a memoir of love, loss and dating again, about being widowed at a young age. Two years later, she wrote and published its sequel, Morning at Wellington Square, a woman’s search for passion and renewal in middle age. Her novel, A Portrait of Love and Honor, completes the trilogy, inspired by and dedicated to her late husband, John M. Cavalieri, on whose memoir the novel is based. Susan earned a BA in Literature from American University and a master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania. An editor, writing coach and teacher of writing workshops, she founded the Women’s Writing Circle, a support and critique group for writers in suburban Philadelphia. She lives in Chester Springs, PA. Her website is: www.susanweidener.com.