Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tragedy Loves Company with Guest Blogger: Jennifer Howard

 Meet author Jennifer Howard 
today at the Book Boost!

On April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic sank while on its maiden voyage. The world was stunned, and with over 1,500 casualties, it became one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history, according to Wikipedia. The history geek in me has always been attracted to this story, long before Leo and Kate tugged at my heartstrings in the movie version. And I know I'm not the only one. Why are we drawn, like moths to flame, toward such tales? Simply put, it is because of the tragedy.

What binds us together, as a human race? That very same thing--tragedy. For, while we may not all personally know one another, we all know tragedy, in some form.  The human existence demands this to be so. Tragedy, like a tightly woven thread, is a tie that connects us all.  Tragedy can also be amazing fodder, not only for works of artistic expression, but also for inspiration necessary to rise above the desperation that it brings.  Such inspiration can help one to climb up and out of life's deep valley, back toward the peaks of one's awaiting mountain.

I have used the overcoming of tragedy as inspiration to push forward in my own life. A little over a year ago, my father passed away from cancer. The suffering he faced, along with my mother's, as his supporting partner, was beyond imagining. Losing him was one of the toughest things I have ever had to deal with. But, there was a silver lining to this very dark cloud, for me. Writing helped save me; it helped to heal the tragedy of his loss.

I have written for as long as I can remember. Writing is as much a part of me as my eye color or my very weird toes. As a youth, I devoted much time and energy to it. It saw me through many "tragedies" then--being ignored by a crush, growing out of touch with a friend, breaking up with the boy I just knew was "the one". As I aged and did find "the one"and responsibilities grew. Life's demands made it possible for me to put that part of me on a shelf, along with favorite tomes and collections from my past.

I promised to revisit them all soon, and often. Did I? Of course I didn't. And then, dad passed. I glanced back at the many years behind me, then up toward that part of me, still sitting on the same shelf--dustier, but truly no worse for the wear. The old cliche hit me with full force, that life truly is too short. So I dusted off that part of me, and picked up the pen again, from where I had left it lay so many years ago. It was just like being reintroduced to a dear, old friend.

The words flowed, and thus, my book, The Healing Heart, was created. The title is appropriate to its story, and it is equally appropriate to my own story. Writing healed my own heart. It helped me to overcome my tragedy and made me whole again, in the process. Not a day passes that I don't miss my father. But when life's tragedies, such as this, become too weighty, I can pick up my pen and find clarity. And I know, in my heart, that my dad is looking down from Heaven, smiling because of it.

 A Note from the Book Boost:  What a beautifully written post, Jennifer.  Thank you for sharing your story with us and I'm sorry for your tragedy, but appreciate the route you've taken in order to heal.  Please tell us more about your book.


The Healing Heart is a quirky, fun, funny work of contemporary romantic fiction that follows Jamie Hansen as she tries to move on in life after losing her husband, Paul, to a heart attack. Jamie is prepared to simply live her life and be grateful for what she had while she had it.

She doesn't have any expectations for another chance at love, so she is blindsided when she literally runs into handsome real estate broker, Conley Michaels. Join Jamie on her crazy, introspective, exhilarating, maddening, flirty, self-doubting, madcap roller coaster ride toward love!

Because, Jamie will find out, when it comes to love, lightning truly can strike twice!


My sister in law always says to beware when a black cat crosses your path.   So this morning, when a white dog crossed mine, I had to chuckle.  I will have to ask her about that one.  Weird, I know, but that’s just my sense of humor.  I have never been one to believe in superstitions.  No salt being thrown over a shoulder, no helping a turtle cross the road safely in the hopes of gaining lavish wealth.  And as for umbrellas, I would gladly do a passionate tango with a widely open one—inside the house, thank you very much—just to tell lady luck to kiss my tail!  ‘You’re sooo jinxed’ my dear sis would say, but hey, just call me a rebel.

No, luck, in my lowly opinion, is a fallacy, like that fairytale someone reads to you as a child before bedtime--you know the one.  Then off go the lights and you close your eyes to dream and ponder and wish.  But that precious glass slipper is nowhere closer to being placed on your dainty hoof the following morning when you wake than it was the night before when you slumbered.  That is, unless you grandly cajole your mother until she takes you downtown, princess dress in tow, and purchases you an ample substitute.  This one would be made of sparkly jelly material, not glass of course.  Practicality does matter, girl! 

All that to say, luck, much like dreams, wishes, and fairytales, is self-made.  Rule #1:  Become the catalyst that brings about your desired result!  Or, you can sit back and allow someone or something else to do the dirty work for ya.  But if so, never say, ‘if only’ or ‘I wish’, or I would say refer back to Rule #1 please, and stop being so pouty!

I was pondering such deep philosophical realms after my brief encounter with the white dog as I drove my daughter to school.  Same path, day by day, same hazy early morning fog—along the road and in my brain—same life, same me.  Not that those are bad things, mind you.  Eighty five percent of me was perfectly content and serene maneuvering down this, my ‘road less traveled by.’ That 85% wouldn’t bat an eye at diving right into my daily show without a look back, or forward, or around, even.  But the other 15% of me, now she’s a little bit trickier.  She sits perched on the edge of her seat, waiting for the unusual, the unknown, to come barreling into her at full force, like a kid waits the evening before a visit from ol’ Saint Nick.  She would have been jumping with glee and spinning cartwheels were she able to anticipate what was going to happen in this, my ‘so called life.’

Want More Jennifer?

Visit her on the web here:

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.


Sheila Garrett said...

I, too, am happy and proud that you have picked up your pen again! Loved your blog post!

Anonymous said...

Sorry that it took the loss of your Dad to inspire you to write again. If this book is an example of your writing, we have missed out in the past years. Continue the good work and good luck to all of your endeavors.

Patricia M. Cutlip