I am pleased to host JASON ZANDRI, author of – As Life Goes: Elementary on his book blog tour. Here her shares an excerpt from the first chapter.
For my last post of this tour for “As Life Goes: Elementary” I would like to present, for your reading pleasure, an alpha read of a portion of Chapter One of “As Life Goes: The End of the Innocence”.
Matthew Sanford pulled his red Chevrolet conversion van along the curb in front of the three-family house where Melissa lived with her mother. He looked at the time on the dash; it read 6:15 a.m. He quickly glanced back over at her sister’s apartment next door when Diane stepped out.
Matthew got out of the van and walked around behind it.
“Good morning, Matthew,” Diane Wakeford said to him while she pulled the door closed and locked the deadbolt with her key. “Are you taking Melissa and the gang to the beach again?”
“Hi Di; yes, we decided to go since none of us had to work today,” Matthew said dragging his fingers through his slightly long brown hair. “Well, Tim had to work but then he got someone to cover for him.”
“I hope Missy is chipping in for gas,” Diane said stepping out to the sidewalk. “Having a car is expensive with the service, fuel, and the insurance. She works too; she can pitch in.”
Matthew looked into Diane’s striking blue eyes. Every time he did, he could see Melissa and he always graced the feeling with a warm smile. This conversation was no different. “She offers. Almost every time. I always tell her no. I get a few bucks from the guys. I just feel better about it like that.”
Diane smiled at the consideration the young man paid to her little sister, who was no longer as little as when they all first met seven years ago. “You know Matthew,” she said smiling at him and turning just slightly to keep the sun out of her eyes, “you’ve turned into quite an impressive young man in so many different ways, but least of all how you treat people.” Diane’s tone turned slightly somber for a moment. “Don’t ever let the travails of life take any of that wind out of your sails.”
Matthew just looked at her for a moment. He wasn’t sure exactly how to take the comment. “Is everything okay, Diane?”
“Oh sorry,” she said quickly recovering her normal, happy tone, “I didn’t mean to be a wet blanket on your beach day. Just some things on my mind. So who are you picking up today?”
Matthew didn’t fully dismiss Diane’s demeanor but he let it go for the time being. “After I get your sister here, I’m going to swing around to get Tim and his girlfriend Patti. Then I am going to get Mike and Lesley,” he said dragging his foot slightly on the sidewalk. “I think Missy said Alecia and Carrie wanted to go, so I’ll get them too. It’s why I start so early. By the time we fetch everyone and get out of town it’s after eight.”
“And you go all the way to Misquamicut?” Diane asked.
“Yep,” Matthew said clearly. “It’s a nicer beach. It’s a fun ride in the van. We listen to the music and then we spend the day there.”
“Are you still stopping on the way home in Old Saybrook for Pizza?” Diane asked taking a slight step backwards and glancing down at her watch.
“It’s the ritual,” Matthew replied with a grin. “I figure we have a couple more weeks of opportunity then it’s back to Sheehan for senior year. We might not get the chance next summer depending on who’s going where and doing what for college, work, and other things.”
The popping sound of the neighboring door pulled Matthew’s attention and he turned to see Melissa coming out in her yellow two-piece, covered only by a flimsy pullover. She smiled to the two of them and came down the stairs. “I was waiting for you to come inside and get me,” she said smiling lightly with the early morning summer breeze blowing her long black hair behind her. “But I see I am no competition for the engaging conversation of the illustrious Miss Wakeford,” Melissa said playfully as she bounded over to Matthew’s side.
“Well good morning, Miss Bancroft,” Diane responded spiritedly. “I see you’re wearing the minimum amount of bathing suit as required by law.”
“Oh geez,” Melissa said tugging on her pullover and adjusting her top, “you sound like Mom now.”
“The only reason you get away with that outfit with Mom is because she knows you’re going with Tim and Matthew,” Diane said in a partial motherly tone. “Otherwise she’d never let you out of the back yard with it on.”
“Really?” Melissa said turning her comments away from the original playful tone. She looked herself over. “Matthew,” she said plainly, “is this suit ‘too much’”?
“I think it’s fine,” he said looking her up and down once plainly. “You could almost pass for a girl,” he said lightly teasing and quickly backing up.
“You jerk,” she responded back, playfully taking a swing at him. “Paul likes it.”
“Ah, the new guy,” Matthew said coolly. “What happened with Chris?”
“Well,” Melissa said switching her beach bag between her hands and stepping towards the van, “come to find out we wanted different things,” she said simply.
“Such as?” Matthew said moving over to open the passenger slider for her to get into the van.
“I wanted him to be… I don’t know, decent, I guess,” she said climbing in.
“And what did he want?” Matthew said partly closing the door.
“Dumb whore, Jenny.”
Matthew whistled lightly and closed the door. “Guess I won’t ask what that’s all about,” Matthew said looking at Diane.
“Good idea,” Diane said quietly. Matthew came around to the back of the van to cross over to the driver’s side. “Matthew?” Diane said quickly before he stepped all the way around.
Matthew turned back and looked at her. Diane hesitated for a moment with her mouth slightly open. “Have fun today,” she said with hesitation in her voice.
Matthew stared for a moment and looked at her. “Okay,” he said with a small smile. “Was there something else?” he asked taking a small step forward towards her.
Again, Diane hesitated. “No,” she quietly responded. “Just have fun. And be careful.”
“Yes, Mom,” Matthew said jokingly.
Diane curled her hand up into a fist, shook it, and puckered her face tightly. Matthew laughed out loud. “Did you want a ride to the store?” he said wiping his eyes which teared up from laughing.
“No thank you,” she said politely, “I like the short walk and it’s nice out.”
Matthew waved slightly and turned to get into the van.
About As Life Goes: Elementary
“Every new beginning starts from nothing. Understanding that you can have everything in the love of one person, isn’t that worth the risk of personal capital? Isn’t that kind of love worth it?” – Diane Wakeford
“Have I ever told you, you’re the nicest boy I’ve ever met?” – Melissa Bancroft
“I will have the friends I want. I don’t care what boy likes me or what boy I like. You’re an awesome friend. I am not giving you up because we’re going to different schools or for any one person either.” – Elizabeth Wellsworth
Mark Sanford returns to his hometown with his son Matthew in tow to rebuild their lives. Recently divorced, and with the mother totally abandoning her parental responsibilities, both father and son are beginning their fresh start together.
Matthew begins to make new friends in the neighborhood and at school while he tries to find his place among people that have been friends with one another for years at elementary school.
Mark takes over the reins of the former family corner store with the help of a young woman looking for work. The ability to love and trust that woman entering his life is difficult for him because of all he has lost. For Matthew, that “first love” is difficult to understand without a motherly influence and with a father that has been deeply hurt.
As Life Goes: Elementary – Links to Excerpts
As Life Goes: Elementary – Excerpt I
As Life Goes: Elementary – Excerpt II
As Life Goes: Elementary – Excerpt III
Books and links
Before Another Sunset (The Sunset Series Book 1)
Another Sunset (The Sunset Series Book 2)
I Hero: The Beginning
I Hero: Nathan Returns
As Life Goes: Elementary
As Life Goes: The End of the Innocence – (expected November 2015)
As Life Goes: The Reunion – (expected April 2016)
As Life Goes: The Wedding (expected July 2016)
As Life Goes: The Funeral (expected October 2016)
I Hero: Untitled Book 3 (Expected first half 2016)
I Hero: Untitled Book 4 (Expected second half 2016)
I Hero: Untitled Book 5 (Expected first half 2017)
Social Media links
Twitter – @GUNDERSTONE https://twitter.com/gunderstone/
Facebook Author page – https://www.facebook.com/jzandri
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonzandri
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+JasonZandri/
Author blog – The GUNDERSTONE Review https://gunderstone.wordpress.com/
ABOUT JASON ZANDRI
Jason has been working in the information technology field in one form or the other since 1996. He is currently employed full time at Bloomberg LP as a Systems Engineer in the R&D group. Jason lives in Wallingford Connecticut, with his wife Renata. He is the father to four children, three boys and 1 girl – 11 years (Andrew), 9 years (Angela), 7 years (Adam) and 6 years old (Alex).