10 days until Valentine’s Day! What does your lover want even more than chocolate? (Trick question. Your lover wants chocolate AND other stuff.) May I suggest a copy of Not On Fire, Only Dying?
You may have heard about its desperate, marginalized characters and Lola’s [possibly?] missing newborn, but did you know it’s also a love story? It is, truly. It doesn’t shy from ugliness but it believes deeply in hope and redemption and, yes, love.
Not On Fire, Only Dying is available from the publisher, Twisted Road Publications, your fave indie bookstore, or from one of the big guys—Right now it’s discounted at both B&N and Amazon. Thank you for the love you’ve shown me and my book over the months since its release. I already have my gift (but I’ll always accept chocolate).
Excerpt (from Chap. 5): For the last year Marko has loved Lola from afar, following their one and only time together. Now they’ve just made love a second time.
The night outside is endless black, rising into space. He has stripped off his sweater, at last, and everything else. He is curled around Lola, her bottom resting in the damp curve of his lap. His spine juts like the bony seam of a tortoise shell.
“Is he dead, Lola?” he whispers. He strokes a fingernail along her arm, watches the goose bumps appear and disappear.
She says nothing, but he knows she’s not asleep. Her breathing is light and irregular. For a moment she doesn’t breathe at all.
“Our baby,” he presses.
“Fine, Lola. Your baby.”
“Don’t you really want to ask, ‘Is he real?’”
This takes her a moment. “As real as I am.”
“Is he dead?” Marko repeats.
He would rather be quiet. He wants to be here, with her, for as long as she’ll allow. Let her speak in riddles, or say nothing at all.
But now he’s asked, he must know.
It’s not her fault, so sick and no one watching her. Her sickness metastasized, but no one checked. She kept the extent of it hidden from everyone, even him. It’s not her fault, if one day she got confused. If she forgot the baby was real and fragile. It’s not her fault that being needed panics her.
They will bear the detective’s disgust together. Marko will stand beside Lola and explain that no one helped her, not even him, and she can’t be held responsible. He won’t let her live in a room without visitors. He’ll come as often as they allow and bring everything she likes: her cigarettes, cream for her coffee, the Swedish fish candy she told him she ate as a child. He’ll smuggle in tiny wedges of hash for her to pinch into sandwiches, to take the edge off the fluorescent lights. What else? He would find out what else.
Hold me responsible, he’ll tell the detective. I should have kept myself curled around her like this, always.
Or he’ll help her disappear, if that’s what she wants. There’s a throb of pain, at the thought of losing her again. But he will help her, however much it hurts him.