Excerpt Chapter One: The Swing

I remember that morning. Sun glistened on ripening apples

and honeybees gamboled from flower to flower. I stood mesmerized

in the backyard unknowingly rejoicing in the perfection

of life. How could I know otherwise? I was a nine-year-old

girl who only knew how to be happy.

    I rose early to explore my tiny tree-lined neighbourhood kissing

the edges of the salty Pacific. It was a magical place. Gina, Chelsea

and I were inseparable. In the afternoon, like many that summer,

we raced to the beach and with tentative steps waded into the too

cold ocean before scampering out to warm ourselves against a

sun soaked stone wall. Reveling in the simple joy of a vanilla ice

cream cone, smooth and intoxicating like the wavering scent of

honeysuckle, we tried to make the ever-shrinking treat last until

the afternoon heat forced us to slurp the melting remnants.

Later, we chased dogs in the park until exhausted we fell to the

ground laughing our guts out as hounds and mutts licked syrupy

vanilla from our chins.

    And when the night grew dark my friends came up to my

place where we splayed in the backyard spying the heavens for

celestial bodies. Stars, magical impressions, crystal-like, wavered

hypnotically like unreachable gems at the bottom of a midnight

blue lake. We laughed at our imaginings, travelling in spaceships to

new worlds, strange, enticing worlds where curious and curiouser

revelations defied our perceptions.

    I was sound asleep when Kate came to my room. She shook

my shoulders until I woke and in between gasps she wiped tears

away with the back of her hand as she told me Mac was leaving

us. I didn’t understand. Wasn’t this another of my father’s business

trips? I wanted to sleep.

     Kate wanted to wrench out all the pain. Her head lay heavy

on my back as warm tears soaked my nightie. Her words faltered,

unable to find a way forward, she sat up, clenched my fingers in

warm dampness and tried to assure me that we were going to take

care of each other. I knew differently. I understood I would be the

one to take care of her.

    Her girlfriends came over. Kate told them about the breakup.

These women who had partied in our home and laughed at the

uncertainties of life morphed into a pack of wolves feasting on

fresh meat. Their eyes transformed into tiny slits, angry green slits

of hate. They called Mac names, told Kate her marriage was over

and the life she knew was never coming back.

I hated them . . .

Storm Rolling Into Darkness is coming soon from @FriesenPress. You can preview

the contemporary women’s fiction here:

http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000041772371/Graham-Duncan-Storm-Rolling-Into-Darkness

The Love of A Child

Andie Burrows may be a cynical Gen Xer but even as weary as she is, she is not immune to Rom, the ten-year-old autistic son of Andie’s hangin-out friend, Seth McCallister.

Rom is in many ways a typical boy. He’s curious about almost everything, he asks questions whenever he sees something he doesn’t understand and like most boys his age he’s awkward around girls. Except Andie.

He loves Andie unconditionally.

Maybe it is his vulnerabilities always on display that attracts Andie. Maybe it’s because Rom is oblivious to pride, greed, cruelty, and the banality of life or maybe it is his gentle soul—all the same, Andie is unable to resist and unable to love him back.

“I don’t know how to embrace life—even as Rom embraces me with his perfect love.”

 Storm Rolling Into Darkness with be published by @FriesenPress this spring.

 If you would like to know more about autism spectrum disorder check out Autism Speaks at http://www.autismspeaks.ca/about-autism/what-is-autism/ or at @autismspeaksCAN

Thank you.

Welcome

I’m not exactly sure about the origins of Storm Rolling Into Darkness. I do know that when I began writing this novel, Andie Burrows, the protagonist, grabbed a hold of me and insisted I tell her story, her way. I didn’t have much choice. She was impossible to ignore and in the two years it has taken us to complete this story, Andie’s unshakable spirit has held me captive.

Right from the beginning she challenged me to capture the longing of a child. She insisted that when innocence is taken away too soon, it charts a dispirited road to adulthood. Andie Burrows is an intelligent woman, a part-time university instructor and full-time cynic, who chooses to dismiss every day inanity by remaining distant and unengaged.

The truth is she’s falling, has been for a long time. That she drinks too much only complicates the few relationships she allows herself. I’ve been blunt in chronicling the choices she’s made; fidelities betrayed, repeated self-degradation and defiance in the face of a chaos spiralling out of control. She’s never let me forget about that little girl she abandoned a long time ago.

I have more to share about Andie, the people in her life, and her amazing journey as she attempts to love herself again. Please come back again.

Storm Rolling Into Darkness will be published by FriesenPress in spring, 2017.

Thank you.