As part of my efforts to drum up some publicity for The Lesser Evil, I have signed myself up to Orangeberry Book Tours, which allows writers with blogs to host each other on their sites. This is more than just an obligation, however: I am genuinely thrilled to throw open the doors to my blog and hear from other writers. To build up professional and social networks in this way is a profoundly exciting opportunity, and I am chuffed to be participating.
John Zunski, author of the coming-of-age novel Cemetery Street, is the second author to be featured on this blog, and I am very happy to present the following book feature, prepared by John. Take it away, John!
Missing Person Alert!
Can you help? I’m looking for someone and I’m offering a reward! It’s a person whose name I don’t know – I don’t even have their physical description; if their likeness was on a milk carton, I wouldn’t know ‘em. I know it’s not much to go on, but, you may know this person, or someone similar. They have to be out there – somewhere. I’m looking for someone who hasn’t loved and lost. If you find such a person, would you do me a favor?
Would you ask them if they could relate to my novel Cemetery Street?
If you have loved and lost, Cemetery Street is dedicated to you. For persevering through bittersweet memories and endless speculation of what could have been. If you’re up for an adventure, you could laugh, cry, and blush with protagonist James Morrison as he learns that the bonds established early in our lives echo into our futures, shaping who we are and how we relate to the world.
If I may be so bold:
An Excerpt from Cemetery Street:
“Get up!” she cried. “Run!” she smiled over her shoulder. The earth shook beneath our feet. “Faster! Faster!” Her voice swirled in the wind. “Feel it?” she shrieked, her hair dancing behind her. “Feels great. Just great!” Her laugh pierced the freight’s roar. Swimming through the train’s blast, she reminded me of a salmon – always heading upstream.
Moments earlier, she danced across a warped balance beam forty feet above the river. “If I lose my balance, even for a second – a second – I could die!” Ignoring our pleas, her forehead etched with concentration, she continued. “For what? Like there has to be a what! Would you say I died in vain, died for the thrill?” Her arms flailed. “Yes,” she answered. “Died of stupidity! Died for nothing, what a way to die! I like that. There isn’t pressure in nothing.”
Me, I’ve always felt pressure – even in nothing, even today. So I watch, I’ve always watched! Even today – I watch a snowflake slide down the front of her headstone and crash to the ground. I watch countless others stick atop her headstone. When I grow tired of watching, I run my hand over the smooth granite wiping away heaven’s frozen tears.
A breeze rustled the trees, their bare limbs swaying to the sound of her voice. I turned praying she would be sitting on the sandstone bench like she was thirteen years ago – Indian style, her wild mane speckled with snow flakes. I imagine her gaze staring across the dozing river, past the distant rushing traffic, into eternity. My gaze was met by a dusting of snow atop the bench. Disappointment consumed me. “People who do nothing but watch, feel nothing but disappointment,” she once scolded.
Today would have been her twenty-seventh birthday. Ten days ago was the first anniversary of her death. Two days from now the world will be standing on the cusp of a new millennium – without her; it will be so empty, it will be dawn without the sun.
“Happy Birthday Bug,” I whispered. “I have a surprise. It’s your favorite.” Careful not to spill a drop, I poured the steaming coffee on the ground in front of her stone. “How did you guess?” I watched the snow
evaporate. “Yes, you’re right. Of course I remembered. How could I forget? ” I tell her.
“If eyes are the gateway to the soul,” she wrote prior to her accident. “Our memories are its gatekeepers.” Like a dutiful gatekeeper, I guard our memories. “Out of memory comes ritual,” she said, hiding in the breeze. “Out of ritual – meaning, out of meaning – warmth, out of warmth – love, out of love…”
“Us,” I whispered to the wind. “Beyond anyone, I remember you!”
“I didn’t forget,” I stroked the polished granite’s face. “It’s your recipe,” I confided as I placed the pie pan atop the coffee soaked soil. I retreated to the bench and cast my gaze over the sleepy river and past the rushing traffic, listening for echoes of her laughter on the wind.
If you made it this far, I think you deserve a reward. If you know a person who hasn’t loved and lost, or, would like to wander down Cemetery Street and get to know memorable characters, click here and enter code sn56n. You can download a free e-copy in the format perfect for you. Warning! Four out of five romantics agree that you’ll need to stock up on tissues.
Thank you Shane for being a kind host, and thank Shane’s followers for allowing me to feel the warmth.
John is the author of Cemetery Street and Shangri-LaTrailer Park. He lives in the mountains of Montana
with his wife Tammy, their dogs, and an occasional meandering bear. He’ll be releasing Nightwatching – a ghost story, later in 2012. You can catch The Barroom Chronicles, a weekly series about the insanity of owner a small-town bar on his blog