It’s September, and like every month since March 2020, things don’t feel normal or safe. COVID-19 rages; police continue to brutalize Black and Brown people; far too little is being done to combat climate change. In 2016, the majority of Americans believed we lived in a democracy that–although far from perfect–was doing all right. Now, in 2020, many of us fear that without a regime change in the November election, American democracy will die. So please vote for change if you care about preserving our democracy
Anyway, in the midst of all this, my novel, It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way, will be released by Evolved Publishing on September 14th. Set primarily in Arlington, MA in 2012-2013, the story isn’t about racial injustice, global warming, or contagious illness.
It is, however, filled with flawed characters facing serious challenges, and it delves into themes like sexual assault, sexual harassment in the workplace, mental illness, the invisible scars of war, intergenerational friendships, and feelings of isolation in elderly Americans. On Wednesday, September 16th, from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., I’ll be giving a free, virtual Author Talk on some of these issues, with a focus on how women in all three of my novels deal with sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. Many thanks to Ginger Galaini of the Dale City Neighborhood Library in Virginia for making this opportunity possible. If you’d like to participate in this interactive discussion, please click on the link above.
It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way has been superbly edited by Jessica West, and the cover art and design are by the wonderful Kabir Shah. It also includes lots of references to the great Jim Croce, whose music provided the soundtrack for much of my youth.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
Molly keeps rushing into relationships with the wrong men, brought about by a violent incident during her teen years, which skewed her judgment. Now she’s drinking too much, taking foolish risks, and allowing a predatory male to sexually harass her at work.
A chance encounter with Fred Flaherty, her 72-year-old divorced neighbor, leads to a tentative friendship. Fred, a Cold War veteran and ham radio operator, has suffered considerably over the decades, but also dreams of a better future. As summer becomes autumn, the two neighbors share stories of personal loss, bond over their passion for Jim Croce’s music, and develop trust and mutual respect.
This is fortunate, because winter is about to bring on challenges neither could have predicted.
And in the spirit of giving back to readers, I’d like to offer some free audiobook coupon codes for my other two novels, Leaving the Beach,* and Living by Ear.* Both are narrated by the amazing Gryphon Corpus, who possesses the unique gift of breathing human life into fictional characters. As I listened to Gryphon’s narration of these stories, I was so mesmerized that I often forgot I’d written the words.
I hope you’ll check them out! If you’d like a coupon code for either audiobook, please tell me in the Comments section below, or email to: mary(at)pocomotech(dot) com
*Both audiobooks are sold on Audible and various other audiobook outlets. However, the free codes I can offer for Leaving the Beach can only be redeemed on Audible, and the free codes I have to offer for Living by Ear are redeemable only on Authors Direct. The good news is that redemption and downloading are very straightforward. And if you need assistance, I’m most happy to help!