UPDATE: HOW TO BE ALIVE IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.
My new novel will be released on Monday, June 30. Also known as, this coming Monday (also known as very soon!). It was long journey from those first words on the computer screen to holding the print book in my hand for the first time and I am excited to finally share this story with you. So excited, that I’m sharing the first bit of it with you here:
S.O.S., in glowing red letters on the car’s console. One-touch assistance in case of an emergency. I wondered what would happen if I pushed it and screamed. The familiar small town landscape passed slowly outside my window. I could have walked home faster. I just wanted to be home.
“There’s Joan and Peter Townsend,” Mr. Harrison said, to no one in particular, lifting four fingers of his left hand from the steering wheel and giving a nod.
“Such a lovely couple,” his wife echoed from the back seat, which she had insisted on taking. “They brought you a casserole, didn’t they Jennifer?”
“Uh-huh,” I muttered and nodded. It was actually a Jell-O salad.
“So thoughtful …” she repeated, her voice very far away now. We turned onto my street.
“You’re sure you don’t want to come by our place for a while? Lots of the cousins will be there,” Mr. Harrison asked, again.
“No, thank you.”
“I hate to think of you in the house alone,” Mrs. Harrison offered gently from the back seat.
“My friend Sarah is coming in for the service tomorrow. She’ll be here soon,” I said as Mr. Harrison swung the car into the short driveway next to our — or I guess more correctly, my house. “Thank you for the ride, though, and the offer to visit.” I meant for there to be some emotion with the words. There was none.
“Of course,” Mr. Harrison said.
“We’ll see you tomorrow, then,” Mrs. Harrison said quietly. “10 a.m. at First Presbyterian,” her voice caught on the last word. It wasn’t so much that I needed a reminder of the location of my fiancé’s memorial service as that she needed to speak the words about her son. We all did. Even spending the last hour finalizing service details with the pastor hadn’t solidified our understanding that Tanner was gone. That this perpetual fog we were living in was not a dream. He would still be gone tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.
Here’s the full synopsis:
College sweethearts, Jen and Tanner, have big plans laid out for themselves. World travel and the next great American novel are surely just within their reach, as soon as they escape Parktown College and its small town life. Their engagement, as graduation looms, seems like the perfect end to their college career and the start of their adventure together.
Fast forward eight years and everyone is achieving their dreams, except Jen. Still unmarried and stuck in the same small town, the only thing she’s writing is course recommendations for the students she advises at her alma mater. As Tanner toils away in the family business, their old dreams fade.
With all remnants of the old plan stripped away, Jen is forced to figure out exactly what she wants in life and how to move forward. Through a series of unexpected turns and old flames reignited, Jen finally learns the one thing they didn’t teach her at Parktown…
How to be Alive will be available in paperback at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (online) and as a e-book at all major online retailers starting Monday.
Thank you so, so much for reading my words and supporting my writing.