If that adorable cover doesn’t get you interested, the great reviews sure will … and the excerpt that has me already holding my breath.
The Thing Is
by Kathleen Gerard
Publisher: RED ADEPT PUBLISHING http://redadeptpublishing.com/
Release Dates: E-book – Feb 9, 2016 / Paperback – March 9, 2016
Genre: Women’s Fiction/General Fiction/Romance (PG) /Romantic Comedy/Contemporary Fiction
Can a woman mired deep in the throes of grief have her heart and soul rallied by a therapy dog named Prozac who has supernatural wisdom and a canine Mensa IQ?
Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she’s not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.
Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.
Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it’s still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.
Author Website: http://thethingis-thenovel.blogspot.com/p/buy-book.html
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-thing-is-kathleen-gerard/1123327681?ean=2940152772616
“A story brimming with humor and heart, and an ending that’s as unexpected as it is satisfying.” — Claire Ashby, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of When You Make it Home
“Great story! Unexpected, delightful, uniquely creative…Kathleen Gerard not only understands the canine brain, but she gets people too. The Thing Is reminds us of how intricate and interwoven relationships are—and Prozac teaches us about grace and unconditional love.” — Melody Carlson, author of The Christmas Joy Ride, Finding Alice, and The Christmas Dog
“Everyone could use a little Prozac. Kathleen Gerard’s heartwarming and uplifting book will have you heading to a pound as soon as you put the book down (if you can ever manage to do it). An absolute page turner, The Thing is provides all the proof you’ll ever need that dogs are truly nothing less than Four Legged Angels.” — Mary Curran Hackett, author of Proof of Heaven and Proof of Angels
“A truly humorous twist on the issue of human frailty interacting with animal charm…offers a new take on grief recovery, which is both lighthearted and insightful!” — Trudie Barrares, Amazon “Vine Program” Top Reviewer
“Kathleen Gerard captures the powers of caring, connection, and resilience in her wonderful novel, The Thing Is. Prozac, the book’s funny and wise canine hero, helps humans of all ages overcome their losses and grief, find happiness and adventure, and renew their joy in love and life.” — Susan Sipprelle, award-winning documentary filmmaker at Tree of Life Productions (Over 50 and Out of Work; Set for Life; Soldier On: Life After Deployment)
“A triumph! A gem of a story!” — Maggie King, author of Murder at the Book Group
“Kathleen Gerard is a sterling storyteller who held my heart in her hands from start to finish. I recommend The Thing Is to everyone who is a pet lover (or not) and to anyone who is grieving or facing the unknown. The Thing Is brings hope, happiness, and new beginnings. This is my BEST read this year…kudos to Ms. Gerard. You nailed it!” — Fresh Fiction
“Is this an endearing book about a dog? Yes. But it’s more than that. The devastating ache of loss throbs through its pages from beginning to end. Even though the story is tempered with a good dose of humor and tail-wagging cuteness, be prepared – it’s an emotional read with a capital E.” — Scranton Book Examiner
Always keep a camera close by at weddings, baptisms, and bar mitzvahs.
That was the cardinal rule of survival I’d devised when trying to navigate my life as a shining example of unexpected spinsterhood. The world, I’d learned, traveled in pairs—like Noah’s Ark—or with families. But people, perfumed and ready to party, could never resist mugging for a photo. Latching on to a camera could create a sense of security and purpose, something to hide behind. In my case, I had a tendency to cut off people’s heads in pictures. But that didn’t matter. Aiming a camera—a point-and-shoot or even just my smartphone—and pressing the shutter was a simple enough task that could occupy my time while couples were out on the dance floor.
The thing was that, after a while, there were only so many pictures to take and so many trips to make to the ladies’ room. At some point during social events, I always found myself alone at my table, surrounded by empty chairs, dirty plates, crumbs, and soiled napkins as I slugged back another sip of wine and wished—wished so hard that it hurt—that they’d hurry up and bring out the cake to signal that the party would soon be over.
That was the very dilemma I was facing at the bar mitzvah that day. The firstborn son of my old college roommate, Sarah, was celebrating his coming of age, while I was sitting alone at my empty table. I forced an admiring smile as dolled-up couples and pimply-faced teenagers crowded the dance floor, shaking and shimmying to a live rendition of “That’s the Way I Like It.”
At first, I didn’t even realize that Sarah’s youngest, five-year-old Jed Jr.—JJ—had climbed onto the chair next to mine. But when I felt a tug on my sleeve and heard him ask, “How come you don’t have a husband?” his presence was announced, loud and clear.
“How come you don’t have a wife?” I countered.
“‘Cause I’m too little,” he said. “What’s your excuse?”
I laughed. JJ certainly had no inhibitions. And he was a real cutie. His fair skin, disheveled angelic-blond hair, and saucer-like blue eyes guaranteed he’d break hearts someday. “Well, not everyone is married.”
“Mommy says your husband died.” Thanks, Sarah!
“He was my fiancé. Not my husband.”
“What’s a fiancé?”
I had to stop and think. Even though I wrote books for a living, award-winning romantic sagas with convoluted plots and subplots, my trying to define the word fiancé for a precocious child was like reconciling the meaning of the universe into a single sound bite.
“Well, before people get married, they get engaged, like when a man gives a ring to his future bride. Did you ever hear of that?”
“Of course. Everybody’s heard of that, dummy.” So much for little Prince Charming!
“Well, before the wedding, that’s what a bride or groom is called. After the engagement ring is given, you would say, ‘He’s my fiancé,’ or in your case, you would probably say, ‘She is my fiancée.'”
“How did your fiancé die?” What’s taking so long with that damn cake?
“Well, the thing is…”
I froze and stared at a tiny drop of red wine that had spilled on the starched white tablecloth, suddenly transported back three years to the night of my thirtieth birthday…
Kyle and I were having a beautiful, candlelit dinner on the patio at Andrea’s, my favorite Italian restaurant. We watched a mango-colored July sun slip down into the evening sky.
Kyle held up his glass. “Happy birthday, Meredith. I’m looking forward to spending all of your birthdays with you.”
That was the same thing he’d said when we’d first celebrated together on my twenty-third birthday…
Our bellies full of pasta, crab-filled calamari, veal parmigiana, espresso, and tiramisu, we walked arm in arm back to the lot where we’d parked the pickup. Kyle kept whistling the birthday song…
A St. Florian medal and a replica of Kyle’s fireman badge dangled from a chain looped over the rearview mirror. I leaned toward Kyle, and the light from the dashboard illuminated the warm pools of his brown eyes as I pressed my lips tenderly to his…
And then a jolt—the urgent sound of a fist rapping upon the driver’s side window. “Yo, get a room! We’re waitin’ for this spot. You leavin’ or what, dawg?”
My heart pounded in my chest.
The menacing, crazed face of an eighteen or nineteen-year-old kid filled the square window frame. He was wearing a ski cap, and lots of gold chains surrounded his neck.
Kyle reached to open the door.
“Don’t,” I said, my fingers firming around the sleeve of his polo shirt and his rock-solid arm.
“You only promised me dinner, not fireworks. C’mon. Let’s go.”
“No,” Kyle snapped. “This is exactly what’s wrong with the world.”
Even with both my hands clamped to his arm, Kyle swung open the door and forced the kid to take a step away.
“You stay here,” he ordered. “I’ll be right back.”
“Kyle, please,” I pleaded, but he broke free from my grasp and hopped out of the car…
Kathleen Gerard’s work has been awarded many literary prizes and broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR). Kathleen’s woman-in-jeopardy novel, IN TRANSIT, won “Best Romantic Fiction” at the New York Book Festival. To learn more visit http://www.kathleengerard.blogspot.com
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