Former rock star and world-class drinker Joshua Traxon leaves LA for small town VT, escaping tragedy, finding love…
Josh Traxon, a former rock/reality TV star, moves from L.A. to Vermont, after a failed reality TV show and the death of his lover Sasha, for which he blames himself. He and his spunky pug Pickle soon meet their beautiful neighbor, Laurel, her young boy, Ethan, and her mother, who Josh often spars with. Laurel’s ex-boyfriend Barry tries to stir up trouble, but with his wit, humor, and a little bravado, Josh dispatches him—and wins Laurel’s affections. Narrating directly to the reader at times, Josh humorously and candidly describes his fondness for chess, his dog, and his embarrassment and guilt in being a womanizer for much of his life. His love of tequila and whiskey, however, is a problem, and much of that is tied to his shame in lying about the auto accident in California that killed his girlfriend.
As Laurel and Josh grow closer, he notices her getting sick often, but his focus remains on himself and dealing with his past. As his drinking intensifies, Laurel expresses concerns, and he admits the details of the accident to her. He decides he owes Sasha’s father the truth—that Josh had been behind the wheel, not Sasha—and plans a trip to Connecticut to confess. Laurel accompanies him, and despite her hesitations, she falls in love with him as he recounts poignant and hysterical details of his youth. But soon after arriving, Laurel gets sick again. Josh thinks she’s pregnant with Barry’s baby, but she tells him she has cancer. They share a tender moment before she sends him away to visit Sasha’s father, though he doesn’t want to leave. During the tense visit, Josh realizes (through words Sasha had spoken to him years earlier and the father’s current actions) that he’d sexually abused her, and Josh attacks the man physically.
When Josh returns to Laurel, they talk more about her illness, cry, and make love. The next morning, as Josh recounts memories of living there, he mentions his dog Timber and that there was a heart-shaped stone his mother found and placed on his gravesite. Laurel says they must go get it, and Josh agrees. They meet the man who owns his childhood home, and he shows Josh the stone, which he’d dug up years earlier. The two of them end up playing a chess match that Josh loses, which is a rare event for him. The man tells him he can take the Timber Stone, which Josh does.
Back in Vermont, all Josh wants is to get drunk but an unexpected visit from a boy in town keeps him sober, A battle with Laurel’s ex, Barry, gets Josh briefly thrown in jail. After, he visits Barry at his home to agree to disagree, but to care for Laurel like grown-ups. Josh discovers Barry likes chess and they end up playing, though Josh beats him handily. When Josh arrives home, he discovers Laurel is in the hospital and goes to see her. She looks frail and ill, though he tries to lighten the mood with humor and levity. But Laurel’s cancer has progressed rapidly.
She lives only weeks longer, and at the very end, they share a heartfelt moment where they talk and listen to music together, and she gives him a letter. It details her love for him, her joy in meeting him, and hopes that he will continue having a relationship with her son, as Ethan also loves Josh. Shortly after her funeral, Josh is talking with Ethan in his backyard and Ethan mentions a special spot he and his mother had for picnics. Josh gets the Timber Stone and asks if he can leave it in that spot. Ethan agrees, they cry, and then Josh mentions how he now has a family, a purpose.
A few weeks later, a newly sober Josh drives down the coast to spread Laurel’s ashes, as she’d have wanted. He realizes his relationship with fame has evolved, how he’s discovered what’s truly important to him now—sobriety and being there for young Ethan—and how he wishes he’d learned that lesson, and met Laurel, sooner. Still, he’s grateful for the brief time they had together, and how because of her, he’s found out who he really is, and can now thrive in his awakening.
Release Date: October 26, 2022
Publisher: Hear Our Voice LLC
Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1957913179; 306 pages; $14.05; eBook $.99; FREE on Kindle Unlimited
The daylight had stretched itself over the landscape of my front yard, bending off the bright white corners of the outside trim and spilling into pockets that had been dark an hour earlier. A lone beam ricocheted off one of the white gutters that hung from the piece of roofing that covered my front porch, illuminating a patch of grass that was withered and amber in color. In L.A. ninety percent of the grass looked that way, and if you were lucky, you’d get a patch of hunter green, shaggy growth here and there on your lawn, which in total was no bigger than a card table. This particular patch, however, wasn’t the result of poor soil or climate, but instead, the ball of wrinkles and eyeballs I was carrying.
When I lived out west, one of the roadies and guitar techs for my band, Jeremiah Stoven—what a name on that guy—showed up at my place with this nine-week-old puppy. It was wiggling and whining to get out of his arms, dead staring me, so he let it go and the dog was about to stroke out trying to climb up my leg. I sat down on the floor, and his wrinkled, smushed-in face released this maniacal tongue that wiped across every inch of my cheeks and chin as Jeremiah told me their dog had four puppies and this was the last one. He knew I was a dog nut and said he wanted me to have it. Ballsy move, just showing up with it, aware that I’d always been enamored with the critters. I hadn’t had a dog in ages, so Jeremiah said, “It’s time, dude,” and just left the two-pound hairball with me, almost four years ago now. Have to say, it was a near genius move on Jeremiah’s part, arriving pup in hand, never letting me get a word in, and then vanishing as the canine was pissing on my Fender jazz bass. The little bugger had some accidents early on, but he was a quick study to housebreaking.
Pickle had decided, for reasons that only his tiny, deranged mind could know, that when he peed in the front yard of his new place, it would only happen on this one, now brownish spot of turf. He’d storm out of the house, perform his ritualistic dance of what I’d always called “devil circles,” where he’d speed in figure eights confined to a small stretch of earth, then explode into random darts and weaves with his tongue dangling and flopping like an uncooked slice of bacon out of the side of his mouth. Then, without warning, he’d make a beeline to ‘the spot’ and take a leak. I guess this lunatic expulsion of energy was formally called “the zoomies,” according to whatever experts study dogs going batshit nuts, and it was completely normal, but a sight to behold. He’d always done the frantic running, zoomy whatever it is, but the peeing on that specific patch was new behavior. Of course, I had just taken a small animal that had known the same home for his entire life across the country and plopped him in a place that looked entirely different than anything he’d experienced. There was one dainty tree in our backyard in L.A. that wasn’t any taller than the fence that bordered our property, and now he’s surrounded by hundreds that dwarf most of the houses we had on our old block. Go ahead and take a leak wherever you want, buddy.
Dave Abare was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and has spent most of his life in and around the Connecticut area. He became enamored with writing at a very young age, writing his first book, “Troll Island” at eleven years old. This work was never published, thankfully, but it was the beginning of a passion that has only intensified over his adult years.
His love of music led him to begin a part-time gig as a music writer, interviewing bands for his own “Fanzine” in the mid-eighties, including such Metal icons as Slayer, Metallica, and Anthrax, as well as bands such as Van Halen, Blues Traveler, Motorhead and Big Head Todd and the Monsters for other publications. In the last several years, Dave has spent his time working on short stories, poems, and his debut novel, “The Swing Over the Ocean,” which was, in his words, “a bit of a mess” in terms of editing, etc., but an invaluable self-publishing learning experience. Most recently, he’s completed work on his second novel, “The Timber Stone,” which is available for pre-order now.
In addition to writing and music, Dave enjoys reading, travel, cars, and Pugs (and all critters), as well as frequenting local New England wineries and breweries, with Tree House Brewing Co in Charlton, MA being his favorite. You can follow him @AbareDavey on Twitter or look for his Facebook Author Page.