Posted in Blog tour, suspense on February 1, 2013

seconddaughter blog tour


You try turning out all right after you overhear your mother wishing you hadn’t been born.

It had started out well. Umbrellas tangled. A storybook romance followed. A wonderful wedding. A beautiful, sweet first daughter. They were complete, a family, happy.

And then they went and had another daughter.

Her charming and witty father Theodore starts disappearing, then worse, starts coming back. Her once allegedly sweet older sister Regina angrily resents her, and the sisters are at constant war. Her mother Helen is so busy what-iffing about the life she might have had that she overlooks the life she is actually having. Everyone blames Debra for pretty much everything as the family slowly, then quickly, then one day explosively disintegrates. Along the way there are secrets and lies, heartbreaks and betrayals, plus the dramatic unexpected death of a central character at a pivotal moment. The now young woman finds herself living awkwardly alone with her embittered mother when the phone rings—and her mother’s secret past suddenly crashes back into the present.

Their life may be about to change forever; or rather, perhaps, revert back to what it should have been all along.

But not exactly because of that phone call, as it turns out.

Because of the remarkable second daughter. For what Debra Gale has is unyielding determination. What she has is an irrepressible capacity to love.

And now at last what she has is a chance.

The complex dynamics of a changing family. Mother, daughters, sisters, and the father who both divides and unifies them. That dramatic unexpected death, plus more than the ordinary amount of banana cream pie. Welcome to The Second Daughter: a funny but poignant, unusual but beautiful love story.



Almost everything was gray. The warm rain dropping from overcast skies, the dirty wet

pavement, the faded sidewalks; the apartment buildings in their long depressing dark rows. It was an old city street scene from black-and-white television, complete with the rounded windshield- wiping vehicles streaming by, the businessmen in their dull hats and raincoats pushing through the lunch-hour crowd, and the un- mistakable sense that everything everywhere was about to change.


And there, at the corner of Seventeenth and Waterhouse, at one of the payphones, was a delicate woman in a shiny pink rain jacket with matching pink boots and umbrella. She was cradling the phone against her slender neck while holding a cigarette in her left hand and her little pink umbrella in her right. She was laughing, displaying a nearly perfect smile as she did so between short breaks for sharp puffs.

The payphone next to hers was empty.

Her back turned, she was telling her friend Jacqueline some- thing she had just learned about their old geezer of a gynecologist way back in high school, Dr. Monroe. Suddenly something caught violently on her umbrella and knocked it from her hand.


The enormous teddy bear of a man who’d uttered this strange sound was standing in the rain at the payphone next to hers and laughing loudly, his oversized black umbrella tangled with her little pink one in the large puddle between them.

“Mister!” she exclaimed.

“Sorry, sorry!” he said, still laughing. He bent over, picked up her umbrella. “I suppose this is yours?”

There was a long rip across it. “That was a gift from my mother,” she said.

1am very pleased to meet you.”

“Well, she has great taste,” the man said quickly. He then got a good look at her face. “Whoa! And apparently some pretty good DNA.”

“May I have my umbrella back, please?” “Of course, of course.” They looked at each other in the rain. “Hey,” he said, gazing at her. “No fair taking my breath away.” “No fair attacking from behind, I would say.”

He smiled. “Right-o. Sorry about that. Hey, listen,” he pointed at the rip in her umbrella, “you’re getting wet.”

“You have a keen eye for the obvious, Mister.”

“One of my many strengths!” He winked as he raised his um- brella over both their heads. “Please, let me make it up to you. Let me take you to coffee. Right now and not a minute later. I know a terrific place around the corner. They import their beans.”

“I’m sorry?” She looked at him. He was actually quite good- looking beneath that unruly hair and that thick dark beard; and his intelligent blue eyes, behind those thick-rimmed glasses, were warm and inviting. He was a little large for her taste perhaps, but large in a gentle way, an almost cuddly way. She sort of wanted to press his belly.

“Seriously, it’s the latest thing. They come from Central or South America somewhere, they make a fine beverage—none of the local dishwater brew, if you know what I mean. And the owner is a friend of mine. My treat, of course. How about it?”

How about it, indeed, she thought. Picking up random men on the street was not exactly her style; but then again her life lately had seemed awfully quiet, and here was some noise suddenly blowing into it.

“I prefer tea,” she said softly. “They import their tea leaves too!” “Also I have to go back to work.” “Ah, work—I’ve heard of that!” he laughed. “So let me take

you to dinner tonight instead. I know another place, really nice. How about it …” he peered at her through his thick glasses, “whatever your name is, pretty lady in pink?”

There was a brief pause. “Helen,” she said quietly, extending her hand. “Theodore.” He took her hand firmly yet shook it delicately. “I am very pleased to meet you.”

They arranged to meet for an early supper at Cozzen’s Café, a trendy new spot that had just that weekend received a rave review in The Citizen Inquirer. When Helen suddenly remembered she was still holding the phone with Jacqueline on the line Theodore bowed his head, winked at her, and took his leave, withdrawing himself and his massive umbrella—without, Helen only realized much later, making the phone call he was presumably intending to make at the adjacent payphone.

Jacqueline, who had heard the whole thing, was beside herself with excitement.

“What did he look like?” she demanded. “I don’t know,” Helen said. “You don’t know?” “Hm. Think ‘bear.’ With glasses.”

“That doesn’t sound very attractive.” “And yet he is.” “Oh,” Jacqueline said. “And how old is he?” “I also don’t know. Our age? Maybe younger. Or older.” “That’s very illuminating.” “I suppose,” Helen said, “we are done talking about Dr. Mon-

roe?” “Helen,” Jacqueline said, “call me as soon as you get back from

the date tonight. And please tell me things that would make Dr. Monroe turn over in his grave.”

J Jeffrey Coffee Girl SketchFinal

Author Bio:

J. Jeffrey stands about six foot three and likes poetry. He has been known to climb the occasional mountain and tame the occasional lion. He sings opera as an amateur but is trained as a masseur, and he is extremely partial to his wife’s green tea perfume. He drinks too much coffee, and gets lost a lot. Two words: Florence, Italy. Pastry for breakfast, over the crossword puzzle, preferably after noon. Soup for lunch, preferably late afternoon, over another puzzle (the first having been solved). His favorite drink (after coffee) is red wine. He knows a word or two but will not play scrabble. Regrettably, he believes he might be happy if only you would think him as funny as he thinks he is. But most importantly, he is not to be trusted. He writes biographies full of lies, or are they novels full of truths? Such a fine line.