Posts Tagged Contemporary Fiction

“Heart Spring Mountain: A Novel” by Robin MacArthur


Heart Spring Mountain

Heart Spring Mountain: A Novel

by Robin MacArthur

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Fiction/Saga

In this evocative first novel, a young woman returns to her rural Vermont hometown in the wake of a devastating storm to search for her missing mother and unravel a powerful family secret

It’s August 2011, and Tropical Storm Irene has just wreaked havoc on Vermont, flooding rivers and destroying homes. One thousand miles away—while tending bar in New Orleans—Vale receives a call and is told that her mother, Bonnie, has disappeared. Despite a years-long estrangement from Bonnie, Vale drops everything and returns home to look for her.

Though the hometown Vale comes back to is not the one she left eight years earlier, she finds herself falling back into the lives of the family she thought she’d long since left behind. As Vale begins her search, the narrative opens up and pitches back and forth in time to follow three generations of women—a farming widow, a back-to-the-land dreamer, and an owl-loving hermit—as they seek love, bear children, and absorb losses. All the while, Vale’s search has her unwittingly careening toward a family origin secret more stunning than she ever imagined.

Written with a striking sense of place, Heart Spring Mountain is an arresting novel about returning home, finding hope in the dark, and of the power of the land—and the stories it harbors—to connect and to heal. It’s also an absorbing exploration of the small fractures that can make families break-and the lasting ties that bind them together.

 

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“The Woman at 72 Derry Lane” by Carmel Harrington


72 Derry Lane cover

The Woman at 72 Derry Lane

by Carmel Harrington

On a leafy suburban street in Dublin, beautiful, poised Stella Greene lives with her successful husband, Matt. The perfect couple in every way, Stella appears to have it all. Next door, at number 72 however, lives Rea Brady. Gruff, bad-tempered and rarely seen besides the twitching of her net curtains, rumour has it she’s lost it all…including her marbles if you believe the neighbourhood gossip.

But appearances can be deceiving and when Stella and Rea’s worlds collide they realise they have much in common. Both are trapped in a prison of their own making.

Has help been next door without them realising it?

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“An Intention of Flowers (Work of Art Book 1)” by Ken La Salle #Excerpts


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Work of Art coverTitle: Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers

Author: Ken La Salle

Genre: YA / Contemporary Fiction

Oily pavement.

Thick tempera paint.

A parking lot filled with history, fear, and regret.

A young man named Joseph Arillo sits in the parking lot and paints the pavement with flowers.

And Andy Hollis steps in it.

As the new art teacher at Santa Ana High School, he’s too curious about Joseph’s Flowers and unravels both of their lives in his pursuit for answers.

He learns that it’s all part of a rite of passage, an absurd test started by Joseph Arillo’s father, the suspiciously world-renowned artist named only Tom. Which also connects to the drama teacher at Santa Ana High, Katie Bustos. Whose daughter, Desiree, may or may not be dating Joseph. Who is putting himself in danger from a local gang, the lot’s mysterious history, and the police.

Andy puts himself in danger of losing his job, his home, and his freedom. If he can’t solve the riddle of Joseph’s Flowers, both of their lives will go up in smoke – despite any help from Winny, the old, Slovakian bureaucrat at school, or his students, or Tom himself.

But is Tom trying to help? And is Joseph really up to his father’s test?

And is Andy really fit to be a teacher? He doesn’t understand kids, can’t get to school on time, and… doesn’t appear to care about art or families or anything. But Joseph’s Flowers will challenge everything Andy believes: about himself, about the world, and most importantly of all about art.

Before Andy and Joseph are finished, they will witness the power art has to provide inspiration, to waken our hearts, and to shatter everything you ever believed about humanity.

An Intention of Flowers is the first book in a 5-book series, modestly titled Work of Art, about growing into the person you always wanted to be, making the most of what you have to give and not just what you have, and the power in each of us when we chose to be ourselves.

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~ Author Bio ~

Ken La SalleAuthor and occasional philosopher and monologist, Ken La Salle’s passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue collar roots, which have given his writing a progressive and environmentalist view. You can find a growing number of his books and performances available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com.

Links

Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/KenLaSalle

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kenlasalleAuthor

YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/theKenLaSalle

Website link: http://www.kenlasalle.com/

Amazon page link: https://www.amazon.com/Ken-La-Salle/e/B004U6OFQ0/


Book Excerpts

Excerpt 2

I stopped for a minute and looked at her, taking in the ludicrous sight of this old woman barring my exit. “Winny, do you understand what this means? What you just told me? Do you know what’s going to happen to Joseph?”

“Do you know,” she asked, “that I’m going to lose my car? That you’re going to destroy my credit rating? Is that the way you want to pay me back for bailing you out?

“Listen, Winny. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what you did for me. I do. But can you imagine what’s going to happen to Joseph? Do you want that poor kid going to jail, too?”

“No… I don’t.”

I could see her relax her stance just a little so I stepped forward and said in a softer tone, “Then, you need to let me help him. Please.”

She was lost in thought for a moment, but then she looked up at me and said, “No. I can’t let you do that. Bailing you out makes you my responsibility and I will stop you by whatever means necessary.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning,” Winny said, “that I have a gun in my purse and I am willing to use it if I have to.”

I looked at the little purse she carried. There was no way a gun could fit in that purse. Winny was bluffing and she wasn’t even that good at it.

I couldn’t wait any longer. I puffed up my chest and stepped forward. “I’m going, Winny. I don’t care if I have to move you aside.”

Turns out, her purse was big enough to hold a gun. She pulled it out and pointed it at me without hesitation. “Don’t you listen?” she asked.

“Of course, I listen,” I replied, backing away. “I just thought you were lying, that’s all.”

“Someone threatens you with a gun and you think they’re lying? What the hell’s the matter with you?”

She took a step toward me, herding me into the living room. I moved out of her way like any good sheep. I’m no fan of guns. “Well, when they do that in movies, it always turns out to be a bluff.”

“Movies?” Winny asked.

“Old movies, mostly,” I told her.

“How stupid are you?”

Winny’s question hung in the air, filling the apartment, waiting for an answer. But I wasn’t going to argue. “I can be just as dumb as you need me to be. Just do me a favor and put the gun away.”

“Oh, come on,” she groused. “It’s only a .22.”

“You were going to kill me with a .22?”

“Who said anything about kill?” Winny took her seat on the recliner and spun it in my direction. “I figured I’d shoot you in the foot or in the leg. You’d bleed pretty badly but you probably wouldn’t die.”

Excerpt 3

The first time I met Joseph Arillo, I didn’t expect I’d go to jail or even get beat up as a result. And yet, that’s exactly what happened.

Joseph was sitting out in the middle of a parking lot the first time I saw him. He was a small kid, not the kind you’d notice, practically invisible. In a downpour, he’d probably weigh a few pounds but it would all be water caught in that long, brown hair of his that went straight down his back. He had brown skin like everybody else in Southern California, except perhaps for me, and wore threadbare clothes like a badge. I was walking out of the liquor store, Rod’s Liquor on the corner of 14th and Main, carrying my morning Strawberry Quik and…

“What’cha got there?” I asked him.

He didn’t answer. He didn’t even look at me.

What he was working at caught my attention, though. There he was, on his hands and knees, practically lying down on the cracked and weathered asphalt… painting.

I opened the ice cold Quik and took a swig. Nothing went down better after a jog than a Quik. You might say that was why I never took off any weight but the hell with you; I didn’t ask.

I walked around to watch him work and to see what he had done. He didn’t move. He didn’t appear defensive or concerned in any way. There, on the ground between the oil stains, faded parking lot lines and various other markings – tire marks and graffiti – this young man was painting… “What is that? A flower?”

He had a silver Sharpie in one hand and a butter knife in the other. He was working the silver onto the concrete around circles of bright red paint, creating the sheen on what would undoubtedly be rose petals. Whenever he made a mistake, he’d take an old, brown brush and dab it out or go back with the Sharpie – but he hardly made any mistakes.

I knelt down and took a look at the pen in his hand. “What’s that? A one inch fine? Where’d you learn to get that kind of detail with a one inch fine?”

“I’m good,” were his first words to me.

“You’re painting flowers in a parking lot, kid. You’re not Michelangelo.” I noticed his choice of paint cans was interesting: old Advil bottles. Big ones. The kind your arthritic grandmother might have. “Still… What’s with the flower?”

Nothing. Not even a glance.

 


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“An Intention of Flowers (Work of Art Book 1)” by Ken La Salle #Excerpts #Giveaway


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Excerpt 2

I stopped for a minute and looked at her, taking in the ludicrous sight of this old woman barring my exit. “Winny, do you understand what this means? What you just told me? Do you know what’s going to happen to Joseph?”

“Do you know,” she asked, “that I’m going to lose my car? That you’re going to destroy my credit rating? Is that the way you want to pay me back for bailing you out?

“Listen, Winny. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what you did for me. I do. But can you imagine what’s going to happen to Joseph? Do you want that poor kid going to jail, too?”

“No… I don’t.”

I could see her relax her stance just a little so I stepped forward and said in a softer tone, “Then, you need to let me help him. Please.”

She was lost in thought for a moment, but then she looked up at me and said, “No. I can’t let you do that. Bailing you out makes you my responsibility and I will stop you by whatever means necessary.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning,” Winny said, “that I have a gun in my purse and I am willing to use it if I have to.”

I looked at the little purse she carried. There was no way a gun could fit in that purse. Winny was bluffing and she wasn’t even that good at it.

I couldn’t wait any longer. I puffed up my chest and stepped forward. “I’m going, Winny. I don’t care if I have to move you aside.”

Turns out, her purse was big enough to hold a gun. She pulled it out and pointed it at me without hesitation. “Don’t you listen?” she asked.

“Of course, I listen,” I replied, backing away. “I just thought you were lying, that’s all.”

“Someone threatens you with a gun and you think they’re lying? What the hell’s the matter with you?”

She took a step toward me, herding me into the living room. I moved out of her way like any good sheep. I’m no fan of guns. “Well, when they do that in movies, it always turns out to be a bluff.”

“Movies?” Winny asked.

“Old movies, mostly,” I told her.

“How stupid are you?”

Winny’s question hung in the air, filling the apartment, waiting for an answer. But I wasn’t going to argue. “I can be just as dumb as you need me to be. Just do me a favor and put the gun away.”

“Oh, come on,” she groused. “It’s only a .22.”

“You were going to kill me with a .22?”

“Who said anything about kill?” Winny took her seat on the recliner and spun it in my direction. “I figured I’d shoot you in the foot or in the leg. You’d bleed pretty badly but you probably wouldn’t die.”

Excerpt 3

The first time I met Joseph Arillo, I didn’t expect I’d go to jail or even get beat up as a result. And yet, that’s exactly what happened.

Joseph was sitting out in the middle of a parking lot the first time I saw him. He was a small kid, not the kind you’d notice, practically invisible. In a downpour, he’d probably weigh a few pounds but it would all be water caught in that long, brown hair of his that went straight down his back. He had brown skin like everybody else in Southern California, except perhaps for me, and wore threadbare clothes like a badge. I was walking out of the liquor store, Rod’s Liquor on the corner of 14th and Main, carrying my morning Strawberry Quik and…

“What’cha got there?” I asked him.

He didn’t answer. He didn’t even look at me.

What he was working at caught my attention, though. There he was, on his hands and knees, practically lying down on the cracked and weathered asphalt… painting.

I opened the ice cold Quik and took a swig. Nothing went down better after a jog than a Quik. You might say that was why I never took off any weight but the hell with you; I didn’t ask.

I walked around to watch him work and to see what he had done. He didn’t move. He didn’t appear defensive or concerned in any way. There, on the ground between the oil stains, faded parking lot lines and various other markings – tire marks and graffiti – this young man was painting… “What is that? A flower?”

He had a silver Sharpie in one hand and a butter knife in the other. He was working the silver onto the concrete around circles of bright red paint, creating the sheen on what would undoubtedly be rose petals. Whenever he made a mistake, he’d take an old, brown brush and dab it out or go back with the Sharpie – but he hardly made any mistakes.

I knelt down and took a look at the pen in his hand. “What’s that? A one inch fine? Where’d you learn to get that kind of detail with a one inch fine?”

“I’m good,” were his first words to me.

“You’re painting flowers in a parking lot, kid. You’re not Michelangelo.” I noticed his choice of paint cans was interesting: old Advil bottles. Big ones. The kind your arthritic grandmother might have. “Still… What’s with the flower?”

Nothing. Not even a glance.

Excerpt 4

One by one, they filtered out. Donathon left next. Then, Hosanna.

Graciela stayed behind.

“Was there something you needed?” I asked.

“I just wanted to…” she said, stopping herself.

“What?”

Graciela had risen from her desk, as if to leave, and now walked to the windows and looked outside. “You know, our last teacher, Mister Farmer? He used to have us turn our desks to the window and draw one thing – just one thing – outside the window. Then, he’d grade it. He always told me to draw more because I would focus on something too narrow. I wasn’t drawing enough.” She stopped talking and just stood there, looking outside.

“Yes?” I asked.

Turning back to me, she asked, “How do you draw just one thing and then get told you’re not drawing enough?”

“I don’t know,” I told her.

“Because I think that’s why Alex is so pissed off. You want him to draw one thing and he wants to draw everything. Mister Farmer probably told him he was drawing too much.”

“Graciela, part of my job is to help you understand the expectations that will be put upon you in the real world.”

“Why?” she asked. She sat down across from me. Now, I guess we were getting down to it.

My answer didn’t require a lot of thought. “Because it would be wrong of me to give any of you false assurances about what you’ll be when you grow up.”

“Your job is to stifle our dreams?” she asked.

“That is not what I said.”

“Because I don’t need you to stifle my dreams, Mister Hollis. Alex doesn’t need you to stifle his dreams.”

Wow. I must have struck a nerve. “Listen,” I said.

“No. I want you to listen,” she countered, and her calm approach, her downright adult-ness about it pretty much shut me up. “You don’t think Alex gets enough people telling him he’s not gonna be an artist? Nobody ever says it to me because everybody assumes I’m gonna do something else with my life. You know? Make money. But this is all Alex has. He’s all about his art. And this is where he goes to draw everything and ignore the people who tell him to draw only one thing.” She rose from her seat and picked up her book bag. Where the other students were dressed in summer casual shorts and t-shirts, Graciela Kim dressed smart in slacks and a ruffled top and her hair was kept neat. But after that little outburst, a few stray hairs fell in front of her face and for the first time I saw more than just competence in there. I saw just a hint of passion as well. And I wondered if Alex Alfaro had ever seen that, too. “I’m sorry,” she said.

“Don’t be,” I told her. “I’m new at this. I don’t know if you know that.”


Work of Art coverTitle: Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers

Author: Ken La Salle

Genre: YA / Contemporary Fiction

Oily pavement.

Thick tempera paint.

A parking lot filled with history, fear, and regret.

A young man named Joseph Arillo sits in the parking lot and paints the pavement with flowers.

And Andy Hollis steps in it.

As the new art teacher at Santa Ana High School, he’s too curious about Joseph’s Flowers and unravels both of their lives in his pursuit for answers.

He learns that it’s all part of a rite of passage, an absurd test started by Joseph Arillo’s father, the suspiciously world-renowned artist named only Tom. Which also connects to the drama teacher at Santa Ana High, Katie Bustos. Whose daughter, Desiree, may or may not be dating Joseph. Who is putting himself in danger from a local gang, the lot’s mysterious history, and the police.

Andy puts himself in danger of losing his job, his home, and his freedom. If he can’t solve the riddle of Joseph’s Flowers, both of their lives will go up in smoke – despite any help from Winny, the old, Slovakian bureaucrat at school, or his students, or Tom himself.

But is Tom trying to help? And is Joseph really up to his father’s test?

And is Andy really fit to be a teacher? He doesn’t understand kids, can’t get to school on time, and… doesn’t appear to care about art or families or anything. But Joseph’s Flowers will challenge everything Andy believes: about himself, about the world, and most importantly of all about art.

Before Andy and Joseph are finished, they will witness the power art has to provide inspiration, to waken our hearts, and to shatter everything you ever believed about humanity.

An Intention of Flowers is the first book in a 5-book series, modestly titled Work of Art, about growing into the person you always wanted to be, making the most of what you have to give and not just what you have, and the power in each of us when we chose to be ourselves.

Goodreads Button


~ Author Bio ~

Ken La SalleAuthor and occasional philosopher and monologist, Ken La Salle’s passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue collar roots, which have given his writing a progressive and environmentalist view. You can find a growing number of his books and performances available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com.

Links

Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/KenLaSalle

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kenlasalleAuthor

YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/theKenLaSalle

Website link: http://www.kenlasalle.com/

Amazon page link: https://www.amazon.com/Ken-La-Salle/e/B004U6OFQ0/

 


Giveaway

Enter Ken La Salle’s giveaway for a chance to win one of 5 copies of An Intention of Flowers.

E N T E R


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“An Intention of Flowers (Work of Art Book 1)” by Ken La Salle #BookTour


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Work of Art coverTitle: Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers

Author: Ken La Salle

Genre: YA / Contemporary Fiction

Oily pavement.

Thick tempera paint.

A parking lot filled with history, fear, and regret.

A young man named Joseph Arillo sits in the parking lot and paints the pavement with flowers.

And Andy Hollis steps in it.

As the new art teacher at Santa Ana High School, he’s too curious about Joseph’s Flowers and unravels both of their lives in his pursuit for answers.

He learns that it’s all part of a rite of passage, an absurd test started by Joseph Arillo’s father, the suspiciously world-renowned artist named only Tom. Which also connects to the drama teacher at Santa Ana High, Katie Bustos. Whose daughter, Desiree, may or may not be dating Joseph. Who is putting himself in danger from a local gang, the lot’s mysterious history, and the police.

Andy puts himself in danger of losing his job, his home, and his freedom. If he can’t solve the riddle of Joseph’s Flowers, both of their lives will go up in smoke – despite any help from Winny, the old, Slovakian bureaucrat at school, or his students, or Tom himself.

But is Tom trying to help? And is Joseph really up to his father’s test?

And is Andy really fit to be a teacher? He doesn’t understand kids, can’t get to school on time, and… doesn’t appear to care about art or families or anything. But Joseph’s Flowers will challenge everything Andy believes: about himself, about the world, and most importantly of all about art.

Before Andy and Joseph are finished, they will witness the power art has to provide inspiration, to waken our hearts, and to shatter everything you ever believed about humanity.

An Intention of Flowers is the first book in a 5-book series, modestly titled Work of Art, about growing into the person you always wanted to be, making the most of what you have to give and not just what you have, and the power in each of us when we chose to be ourselves.

Goodreads Button


~ Author Bio ~

Ken La SalleAuthor and occasional philosopher and monologist, Ken La Salle’s passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue collar roots, which have given his writing a progressive and environmentalist view. You can find a growing number of his books and performances available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com.

Links

Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/KenLaSalle

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kenlasalleAuthor

YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/theKenLaSalle

Website link: http://www.kenlasalle.com/

Amazon page link: https://www.amazon.com/Ken-La-Salle/e/B004U6OFQ0/


Book Excerpts

Excerpt 1

“It’s a ritual. You understand? The intent is to force all of the childhood memories out of the boy and leave the man remaining. But that’s not exactly what happens. Sometimes, it causes brain damage and the boys lose their memory, their identity, even their ability to speak. The fact that they survive at all means they have cheated death and now they are ready to be men.”

“Okay,” I said, drinking my beer. “What’s your point? What’s that have to do with – ”

“That’s only one example, Mister Hollis. Just one! In the Amazon rainforest – back when, you know, it still existed – the Satere-Mawes had an equally brutal ritual. They would capture bullet ants. Do you know what bullet ants are?” Of course, I didn’t. So, he took another big pull from his beer and told me. “They’re called bullet ants because being stung by one is so severe that it hurts like being shot by a bullet. They live in trees and warn passers-by of their hive by falling down on you. They’re a full inch long. And after they fall on you, they shriek – yes, they shriek – and then they sting you, which is like being shot by a bullet. And that’s just from one, single ant.”

Tom stepped back into his furniture storage room and returned with a stool. He sat on it and said, “Now comes the best part.”

“There’s a better part?” I asked.

“The Satere-Mawe tribe gather these ants by the hundreds and make gloves out of huge leaves, putting these ants inside the gloves. Then, they have their young men place their hands inside these gloves. The ants are woven into the gloves in such a way that when you put your hand inside of them, the ants begin stinging. Every sting is like being shot and they leave their hands in there for two minutes – five minutes – ten minutes! Ten minutes of agonizing pain. Soon, their bodies are convulsing from the toxins. Their arms grow stiff, useless, twisted appendages wrecked with agony. This agony lasts for days, days filled with uncontrollable spasms, useless limbs. For a Satere-Mawe boy to become a man, he doesn’t go through this ordeal once. The boy must endure this twenty times.”

“That’s… that’s horrible,” I said.

Tom finished his beer and said, “And then, there are the Vanuatu Land Divers, who throw themselves off of 98 feet tall towers, breaking bones and sometimes dying. There’s the Matis Hunting Trials that include pouring poison into the boy’s eyes, injecting frog toxin with a wooden needle, beatings, whippings – ”

“Wait,” I said. “Hold on. Why are you telling me these things? What could this possibly have to do with your son?”


Giveaway

Enter Ken La Salle’s giveaway for a chance to win one of 5 copies of An Intention of Flowers.

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#Review “Fender: A Novel” by Brent Jones


Fender front cover


Author: Brent Jones

Publication Date: August 21, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Drama

5/5 Stars!

Tear Jerker!

Engrossing and heartbreaking from the beginning, Fender draws the reader in as Brennan Glover tries to deal with his grief over losing his wife and young daughter in a car accident.

After a less than stellar childhood and the subsequent suicide of a good friend and band-mate, I don’t feel Brennan was ever whole, and definitely not healed. Losing his family is such a tragic way just intensified Brennan’s pain… and guilt.

Brennan’s bond with Fender has been like a lifeline to him since the day he found the abandoned pup during a storm. At his lowest moments, it’s Fender… or thoughts of Fender which bring Brennan back from the brink. Still not sure how I feel about the conversation with Fender. Pretend? Supernatural? Brennan’s own psyche trying to give him resolution? I don’t know, but those scenes just ripped my heart from my chest and dribbled it around the room.

I enjoyed the scenes with Rocco and Franky also. Average friends will try to find words of comfort during the bad times… or at least get you drunk, but these two—with all their own drama and quirks—were exceptional. Road trips usually take time to plan and organize, but Rocco and Franky put their lives on hold with little notice to help Brennan find a way to heal.

The best scenes were when they were all confrontational. The jokes and sarcasm disappeared and true, raw feelings showed through. Their friendship was important to Brennan, yet he still took it for granted for most of the story, his pain, unanswered questions… and guilt always at the forefront of his mind.

Which is why I’m not sure if I even like Brennan.

I don’t agree with Rosie’s HORRID parents that Brennan was beneath their daughter, but I also don’t feel he rose fully to the challenge of family man, always caught up in the torment and indecision of his own mind. His passive aggressive nature was his biggest problem and flaw.

The bombshells Mrs. Posada and later, Rocco drop definitely change my opinion of Brennan… and Rosie. I must admit though, other than when Brennan and Rosie first met, I didn’t think too much of Rosie anyway.

The trip home is emotional. Disclosures and admissions still weigh heavily on everyone’s mind, especially Brennan’s. And then there’s Fender bringing closure, of a sort, at his own expense.

Fender is a well-written story with complex characters (except for the HORRID Hutchins) I believe will appeal to most readers, regardless of preferred genre. Just keep the tissues close by!

Enjoy!


Blurb:

 

How far must we travel to find our way home?

Nothing could have prepared Brennan Glover for the car crash that claimed the lives of his wife and six-year-old daughter. Stricken with grief, the only things that get him through each day are breaking his sobriety and clinging to Fender—the family dog and the sole survivor of the crash.

Desperate to distance Brennan from tragedy, his two closest friends take him on the cross-country road trip they had always talked about. But what begins as an effort to mend his broken heart ends up unraveling a secret that changes everything he thought he knew about his family. Can a journey of six thousand miles lead Brennan to acceptance and new beginnings?

From finding the good in an often cruel world to learning to say goodbye to those we love most, this sophomore release from author Brent Jones is sure to leave readers longing for home, wherever that may be.

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Purchase Fender

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About the Author

Brent JonesFrom bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his freelance career as a social media manager to pursue creative writing full-time. Fender and The Fifteenth of June are his first two novels.

Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, (sometimes) vegetarian, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex. Subscribe to his newsletter (AuthorBrentJones.com) or follow him on social media (@AuthorBrentJ) for updates.

Author Links:

 

Website/ Blog: http://authorbrentjones.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBrentJ/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorBrentJ

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorbrentj/

Newsletter: http://authorbrentjones.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=25780171a7af1a527bbe46e27&id=27b15978b2

 

 

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“Fender: A Novel” by Brent Jones #BlogTour


 

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Author: Brent Jones

Publication Date: August 21, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Drama

Blurb:

fender-cover1

How far must we travel to find our way home?

Nothing could have prepared Brennan Glover for the car crash that claimed the lives of his wife and six-year-old daughter. Stricken with grief, the only things that get him through each day are breaking his sobriety and clinging to Fender—the family dog and the sole survivor of the crash.

Desperate to distance Brennan from tragedy, his two closest friends take him on the cross-country road trip they had always talked about. But what begins as an effort to mend his broken heart ends up unraveling a secret that changes everything he thought he knew about his family. Can a journey of six thousand miles lead Brennan to acceptance and new beginnings?

From finding the good in an often cruel world to learning to say goodbye to those we love most, this sophomore release from author Brent Jones is sure to leave readers longing for home, wherever that may be.

Add to https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35673296-fender?ac=1&from_search=true

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EXCERPT

Brennan sat on the living room floor staring at his polished shoes, his back pressed against the leather sofa, a bottle of Jim Beam in his left hand, a lit cigarette in his right. Traces of afternoon sun peeked through lush drapes, adding a hint of color to an otherwise dark and empty room. He tilted the bottle back and flicked ash in an empty drinking glass between his legs, trickles of silver smoke rising up past his face. He was too stricken with grief to hear the front door open.

“You here, Bee?” Rocco entered with Franky in tow. He lowered his head, taking in the scene before him. “We’re so sorry.” He offered Brennan a sympathetic frown, his forehead wrinkled with worry. “How’re you holding up?”

Brennan flicked more ash in the drinking glass without responding.

Rocco let out a deep breath, added, “It was a beautiful service.”

Brennan kept his head down, making no effort to suggest he had heard Rocco.

“Should we come back later?”

“It’s all right if you wanna be alone,” said Franky.

Brennan raised his eyes with pronounced difficulty. He was immediately turned off by their concern, which looked a lot to him like judgment and shame. Rocco, evidently concerned about his drinking, and Franky, concerned because Rocco was concerned. “Go ahead,” said Brennan. “Say it.”

“Say what?” asked Rocco, exchanging a glance with Franky.

Brennan dropped his cigarette in the glass, raised the Jim Beam to his lips. “Say I shouldn’t be drinking again.”

“What you’re going through right now, Bee, I understand—”

“Oh, you always understand, Rocco. Don’t you? Not thisss one, though. You fucking can’t. You didn’t loosh yer family.” Brennan could hear himself slurring.

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“He’s saying he’d be fucked up, too,” Franky chimed in. “That’s all.”

Brennan hadn’t taken a drink since the day his daughter was born—hadn’t smoked a cigarette since that day, either—and he knew drinking himself senseless was no way to honor her memory. Just this one time, he had told himself. I need this today. But so far, it had brought him no peace. It only heightened his sense of hopelessness.

A faint jingle echoed down the hallway, getting closer, a senior beagle with a limp and fresh stitches emerging at last. Franky knelt down, extended his hands. “Fender,” he said in a singsong voice, scratching behind the dog’s ears. “Who’s a good boy, Fender? Who’s a good boy?”

Fender parked himself at Franky’s feet—not out of obedience or affection, but sheer exhaustion. He was normally playful and energetic—even at twelve years old—and never allowed anyone to enter the house without barking to alert his humans. But at that moment he whimpered, sullen and subdued, rubbing his snout against Franky’s leg.

“When’s the last time he ate?” Rocco asked.

Brennan shook his head.

Rocco motioned to Franky. “Why don’t you take Fender out for a bathroom break? Maybe fill up his food and water bowls, too.”

Franky nodded and Fender followed him out of the room.

Rocco sat on the floor next to Brennan. “Listen, Bee, I get that this is tough.”

Brennan rubbed his temples and said nothing. He was a sensitive man, emotional, fragile at times, and now near speechless. He could almost feel himself shutting down, giving in to the pain, letting go of the world. It felt like he was drowning in a sea of sorrow, violent waves of grief washing over him, and he was losing the will to keep his head above water.

Rocco touched Brennan’s shoulder. “Me and Franky want to take you away for a little bit. It’d do you good.”

“Now?”

“Yeah.” Rocco motioned to the Jim Beam. “I think now’s good. You’ve been outta work for a couple months. I’ve got vacation time saved up at the office, and Franky can walk away from roofing anytime. We were thinking of taking that trip to California we’d always talked about.”

“We talked ’bout ’at shit when wurrr kidsss.”

“Yeah, I get that, but we could still do it. We’d make a road trip out of it, just like you, me, Franky, and Colin—” Rocco winced, having unintentionally drudged up the past.

“My family was just kilt in a car crasssh,” said Brennan. “And you think the best place furr me ish out on the open road?”

Rocco nodded. “I do, Bee. You need to get away and clear your head.”

Brennan listened without speaking, his line of sight again lowered toward his shoes. Tears spilled down his cheeks.

“You can’t stay here by yourself. It’s—it’s too much. It’s too much for anyone to have to handle.” Rocco glanced at Brennan through narrowed and swollen eyes. “Our hearts are heavy, too, and we all need to grieve. But nothing good can come of you sitting here alone and drinking. You need something to take your mind off it.”

Franky returned a minute later. Fender hobbled behind him, his movements labored and graceless, his eyes wet and dark. He positioned himself near Brennan in slow motion. Fender was the last member of the Glover household to see Rosie and Abby alive, and the only survivor of the crash that killed them both.

“Did he eat?” asked Rocco, gesturing toward Fender.

“Not much.” Franky changed gears without blinking. “What’d he say?” He asked the question as if he and Rocco were alone in the room.

“Bee says he’s gonna think on it,” Rocco said, standing. He looked down at Brennan before walking out. “You will give it some thought, right? That’s all I’m asking.”

The house was quiet again, but Brennan was certain nothing could silence the storm in his heart. He ran his finger over the tattoo on his left shoulder through his shirt, as he often did during difficult times. He knew its intricacies by heart—the anniversary of Colin’s death inked in a simple script. He once thought losing his best friend had prepared him for anything life might throw his way, but now he knew better.

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Purchase Link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073X3B148

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fender-brent-jones/1126985689?ean=9781548891190

About the Author:

From bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his freelance career as a social media manager to pursue creative writing full-time. Fender and The Fifteenth of June are his first two novels.

Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, (sometimes) vegetarian, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex. Subscribe to his newsletter (AuthorBrentJones.com) or follow him on social media (@AuthorBrentJ) for updates.

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1 Audio copy of Fender

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