Painting Celia by Maya Bairey

United States, Portland

Maya writes books about real people who feel really stuck.

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Painting Celia by Maya Bairey

Her characters find solutions inside themselves but are helped by their relationships, both platonic and steamy.

While writing on the side, Maya has spent 30 years in coding and corporate content management, most of that at Intel. She’s authored dozens of smaller websites and written over three million words, published under other author’s names. This novel is the first time Maya has agreed to let her own words go out into the world.

When she is not writing in her rainbow-filled nook, Maya cooks from scratch, travels to large cities and isolated spaces, and protests via street performance with the Raging Grannies. She’s mostly lived in Portland, Oregon and the Big Island of Hawaii. When her husband of 32 years races their sailboat Pearl, Maya watches from the balcony overlooking the Columbia river, tea and laptop and cat Dory close at hand.

Maya’s novel Painting Celia presents a moving, contemporary romance tale about growth, love, and self-expression. As we immerse ourselves in the relationships of the book’s leading characters, Celia and León, we explore their emotional depths, grappling with self-doubt, yearning for connection, and ultimately, finding love.

The Characters’ World
Celia, a wealthy woman dealing with her traumatic past and social anxiety, longs for an outlet to express herself, seeing art as her answer. León, a young, passionate painter from New York City, becomes her tutor and, eventually, a figure who stirs deep, emotional upheavals within her. Through their vividly narrated journey, we perceive an intimate connection, a dance of tension, desire, vulnerability, and, ultimately, surrender.

Celia’s Transformation
Celia’s journey is a painstaking metamorphosis that involves dealing with her crippling self-doubt, fears, and residual guilt. As a woman who’s internalized her mother’s abuse, she struggles to see her worth, despite her array of skills, including posing for artists, cooking, and maintaining her comfortable home.

Yet, she seeks growth, exploring therapy, engaging with friends who understand her, and attempting to find a medium of artistic expression that will reveal her latent talent. León’s entrance into her life, though unexpected, turns out to be the change she so desperately seeks. Through the support of her friends and her evolving relationship with León, she begins to replace fear with anger and then with action. As the story unfolds, Celia learns to choose herself, gaining newfound confidence and competence.

León’s Journey
León, on the other hand, is an artist who lives his life in vivid colors. He’s a born expresser—passionate, honest, and eager to understand his feelings. Yet, he grapples with self-deception, often justifying his desires under the guise of art. Despite his exterior confidence, he struggles with feelings of insecurity about his personal worth.

His life takes a turn when he experiences an artistic plateau, realizing that he isn’t genuinely connecting with his emotions. He tries a geographic cure by moving to Los Angeles, a change that ends up fueling his insecurities and pressing financial concerns. However, as León’s relationship with Celia unfolds, he learns empathy and self-restraint, leading to a profound self-transformation.

The Unfolding Story
Through Celia and León’s relationship, the narrative of Painting Celia explores themes of vulnerability, transformation, and love. The author’s evocative and sensual language creates a captivating atmosphere that draws readers into the characters’ emotional landscapes. This depth of storytelling leads us to empathize with Celia’s struggle for self-expression and León’s journey to genuine self-understanding. Amid moments of tension, passion, hesitation, and intimacy, we witness a captivating dance between two souls navigating the complexities of their individual journeys and their evolving relationship. This intimate exploration of their emotions makes Painting Celia a rich and deeply resonant (and spicy!) contemporary romance novel.

Maya writes the stories she can’t find. Her characters are unique, atypical, and roundly human.

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