Sunday, June 14, 2009


Update on where you can win a copy of Talking to the Dead (in addition to right here on Fiction Matters)!

Enter to win at Susan Meissner's blog Edgewise (until Friday only!). She is the author of The Shape of Mercy, a book I love and highly recommend! She has an interview with me posted as well.

David C Cook is featuring an interview with me and giving away a copy of the book!

And the lovely Lena Nelson Dooley has an interview posted and is giving away a copy of the book on her wonderful blog.

Steena Holmes come on down! You're the next winner!!

You can email me at with your snail mail address and I'll pop it in the mail!

Woo Hoo! I hope you enjoy it! And if you do, be sure to tell your friends about it.

Didn't win? Don't despair! It's Monday - and that means another giveaway!

Here is a taste of the book - Not chapter one which you can read on my web site. But a different section of the book:

Singing my mother’s favorite song with Kevin in our kitchen reminded me that I hadn’t spoken to her since the day she brought me the stack of books, over a month ago. She wouldn’t contact me first, I felt sure. After Dad died, she made it clear to Heather and me that she would let us know when she was ready to talk, that she needed some space to adjust.

So the next morning I grabbed the keys to Kevin’s car, and the stack of books I didn’t read, and went to see her. Standing in the kitchen of the house I’d grown up in, I held a small, heavy object that looked exactly like a flat brown rock. I looked at my mother. “What’s this?”

She glanced at my hand. “It’s a baking stone. It promotes even cooking.”

“You just stick it in there with the bread or cake or whatever?”

“No, dear,” she said. “First you have to heat it up in the oven. Then you put whatever you are baking on top of it.”

I cocked my head to one side. Who was this woman who heated rocks? I couldn’t imagine her doing this when I was growing up. “How long does it take?”

She folded, unfolded, and then refolded a dish towel. “It really shouldn’t take more than forty-five minutes or so.” She threw me a quick glance that seemed to say, “Please don’t tell your dead father.” Dad would have never understood his wife’s desire to cook rocks. I
could almost hear him sputtering, “Waste, that’s what it is! Running the electric bill sky-high just to heat a rock. Ridiculous.”

“It’s good for pizza, too,” she said, running her hand over the round, flat surface.

I put the stone down. “You like pizza now?”


I looked around the kitchen. I knew it like I knew my own childhood. But things weren’t the same here. There were changes I’d failed to notice when I first came in. Changes since Dad died. Beside the baking stone sat a new recipe box with the words BITE ME stamped on the top. The artificial roses that had sat perennially on the kitchen table had been replaced with massive, living gladioli from the garden. The faded lace curtains had been replaced with cotton ones the color of butter. The wallpaper—a blue and purple riot of tiny flowers I had long ago stopped noticing—was now a clean wall of paint, a soft, hazy green that drifted before my eyes like a summer memory. My father’s presence was nowhere to be seen. If he walked in now, he
would look out of place.

“Are you cold, Kate?” my mother said.

My hands were running up and my arms, warming them in the already too warm kitchen. I dropped them to my side. “Is it going to get better?”

She took a long breath, and then let it out. She knew what I was talking about. “It’s going to get different.”

“I know life is different now, Mom. I meant—”

She raised a hand in a “shush, I’m talking” gesture. “I don’t mean ‘life is different.’ I’m referring to the way you’re feeling. About losing Kevin. About grief and loss and sadness. It changes.” She stared down at the counter as if searching there for some lost secret. “It seems to me that feelings are the most unreliable things.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I know. I don’t mean to be vague.” She took in a long breath. “When I lost your father, I felt like my life was over. Literally. That’s what it felt like. But it wasn’t true. My life wasn’t over. It kept going. It keeps going.” She shrugged one shoulder and turned away from me. “I feel differently today than I did in those first weeks after losing your father. I feel like my life has possibilities.”

I traced a pattern on the countertop with my finger. Possibilities sounded better than questions and a memory filled with gaping holes. Better than a future that could not be fathomed or understood. “That’s good, isn’t it?”

She turned and looked at me for a long moment. “Is it? My feelings when your father died turned out to be wrong. My life wasn’t over. Who’s to say these new feelings will turn out to be right?”

“You mean—”

“I mean the one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t trust your feelings.”

“So what can you trust?”

“Kate, honey, I honestly have no idea.”


I bid you good luck, and good writing!


Steena Holmes said...

WOW! I'm so super excited now! I just read the blurb - can't trust your feelings - that was good.
Thank you!

Beth E said...

Excellent excerpt. I'm trying again...

Koala Bear Writer said...

Steena - congratulations!!! :)

I'm reading Talking to the Dead right now and loving it. I can totally hear Bonnie's voice in the writing, and I like that sense of the author in the writing. :)