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The A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2013   has been tiring yet exhilarating so far! I’m co-hosting it on Amlokiblogs, so drop me a comment there if you have something to say about the challenge itself. On this blog, I’ve been featuring mostly indie-published book excerpts for all of April. I love reading, and supporting author-friends, and this is a good way to do both.

Today, for L, I give you a romantic novel: Leave of Absence by Tanya J. Petersen

Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence

Elevator Pitch: Oliver Graham is utterly bereft and laden with guilt in the aftermath of the deaths of his wife and son, and Penelope Baker wrestles with schizophrenia and the devastating impact it’s had on her once happy and successful life. Join them on their tumultuous journey.


“I’m already in pieces, Dr. Willis.  My heart, my life, everything.  It’s like Humpty Dumpty in the nursery rhymes that Maggie and I used to read to our little boy.” 

His eyes began to swim.  “The moment I saw them sprawled on the sidewalk, bleeding and dying, I fell off the wall and shattered, and nothing can put me back together again.” 

He choked on a sob but steadied himself and continued.  “Not sitting here talking about it, not sitting around a table listening to music, not playing with clay or making puppets or gluing pictures on paper.  None of that stuff is going to help me because none of that stuff will bring back my wife and son.  Tell me how in the hell any of this will do any good at all.” 

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Shawn Yankey says:

    This sounds like a book well worth checking out. Thanks for the tip.
    Shawn at Laughing at Life 2

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      Hi Shawn! Thank you so much for participating in the A to Z Challenge and noticing Leave of Absence. I’m happy that you think it’s worth checking out. I appreciate it. Love your blog Laughing at Life 2, by the way. I enjoyed the chuckles this morning!

  • vishalbheeroo says:

    hey Damyanti, every challenge is worth looking forward to and all the best in your endeavors. Seems to be a poignant story on losing one’s own.

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      Challenges are indeed worth looking into. Thanks for looking into this one. Thanks, too, for way you described Leave of Absence. That’s a great sentence to depict one of the things I wanted to accomplish with the story. I checked out your website, and I’m looking forward to going back to read your short story. I love your statement in your site’s title, “Scripting the story of life.” That’s what I try to do in my writing! Not to worry, though — I won’t steal your line! I just like it. Thank you for looking at Leave of Absence.

  • kayreusser says:

    Thanks for following my blog. I hope it blesses you. Take care,

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      I just followed the link to your blog. I love exploring blogs, for they are rich in ideas, and the exchanges with others is very stimulating and fun. You have a very nice writing blog!

  • Betty Alark says:

    Sounds tragic yet interesting! Real life always is an interesting read!

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      Hi Betty! I love reading novels about real life. I love to read for character connection, and for me, it’s easy to connect to realistic characters in real-life fiction. Interestingly, the other day I ran across I term I hadn’t before seen. It was a description of fiction that is based on reality/fact, and the term used was “faction.” I always took faction to be a word in and of itself meaning something completely different! I’m not a fan of hybrid words, but I suppose “faction” works for factual fiction. 🙂 Thanks for checking out Leave of Absence!

  • That’s so sad, but beautifully written.

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      Thank you for saying that, Just Ermie. I’m glad you like the writing! There absolutely is sadness in the book, but tenderness and hope, too. Thanks for checking out the books in the A to Z challenge.

  • The book sounds sad, but life is often sad and beautiful at the same time.

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      Hi there! In writing this, I wanted to portray the realities, not the stereotypes, of schizophrenia, depression, loss, etc. You’re so right — life sometimes is sad, but it is beautiful, too. I tried to include elements of each in Leave of Absence.

  • tanyajpeterson says:

    Thank you! It was challenging to pick an excerpt for this. I considered several options, but I kept coming back to this one. I’m glad you like it!

  • Roshni says:

    Very promising! The excerpt was very powerful!

  • My first visit here. I love the accessible format you have for these reviews. Useful, succinct, and well done. Cheers, Dave.

  • That one sounds very emotional.

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      I read for character and emotion, so that’s how I like to write, too. I know that not everybody thinks this way, but I like to really “feel” when I read/write.

  • elegsabiff says:

    I must be going through a phase, every book I have looked at recently starts with loss and bereavement. From the fact you’re promoting this one, I can only presume it is the current fashion and I am probably missing out on wonderful books which cheer right up after the obligatory weep in the first couple of pages.

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      The theme of loss is woven throughout the story, but it’s concurrent with the theme of the healing power of human connection. Damyanti is featuring terrific books throughout the month for this challenge, and she has a variety to appeal to many different people. Thanks for visiting the blog, and I hope you discover things that you want to read!

  • tanyajpeterson says:

    I agree. Thanks, Damyanti! And thanks, Sridevi, for stopping by to check out all the books, including Leave of Absence. I really appreciate your taking a look!

  • Thank you for introducing us to so many new books Damyanti 🙂

  • Cynthia says:

    I really need to do more reading all these books you’ve listed so far sound great.

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      I love using book blogs to find great new books. I agree, Damyanti has chosen awesome books for this months’s A to Z challenge. Okay, that sounded like I was complimenting myself, but I didn’t mean it that way! I’ve been checking out all the book features this month because I’m always looking for new books (as evidenced by my growing TBR list). I hope you’ve found some that interest you!

  • kristin says:

    Sounds heartbreaking but I want to know what happened and what happens so I guess I will be checking it out.

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      Thanks for checking it out! I’m glad that you want to know what happened and what will happen. To me, those are high compliments (although I’m not conceited enough to think that you were directing compliments at me personally!!). I’ll admit that it is a heartbreaking story, but it does offer hope and positivity, too. But I won’t say more and ruin it.

  • Nancy Jardine says:

    I love reading about all the books out there but now that I’m writing I don’t get through my TBR list. very quickly.

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      Oh, I can relate to that, Nancy. Because of writing, I do move through my TBR list slowly. I love to read, though, so I always have a book to read and do a little bit of reading each day. I use the excuse that it strengthens me as a writer. Wait. We shouldn’t need excuses to read!! Good luck with your reading and writing.

  • Sad story, boring cover.

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      What’s so nice about blogs and challenges like this is that it exposes us to all sorts of different books. I always see some books that grab me and some that don’t. Thanks for looking, though!

  • Thanks for this, will check it out. Though I have about six books with me which I haven’t started reading yet 🙂

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      Oh my gosh, I hear you, Sulekah. My list of books that I have on my Kindle and on my physical bookshelf (I like eBooks, but I still love the traditional paperback) just keeps growing. There are things that I can’t wait to get to, but I know it will be awhile. Good thing books don’t expire like dairy products!

  • I have read a lot about not using adverbs in writing – but the use of utterly to describe how bereft Oliver is hooked me in 🙂

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      🙂 That is awesome! I love that of all the descriptions I’ve agonized over, written, rewritten, all the while choosing words intentionally (everything about writing has to be intentional), “utterly” is what hooked you in! That’s pretty cool, actually. Thanks for being interested!

  • afshan18 says:

    THANKS for informing about the new book !

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      And THANKS to Damyanti for choosing to feature Leave of Absence. And THANKS to everyone here for taking a look. I sincerely appreciate it.

  • KayEm says:

    A story of the human spirit triumphing over such heart breaking odds – had to visit your website to find out more. Just bought it on Kindle. Am looking forward to reading it.

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      Wow, KayEm! Thank you! I really appreciate that. Feel free to get in touch with me about it if you want to (there’s a contact form on my website as well as buttons for various social media sites). That goes for anyone, actually. I love comments and questions and interacting with people in general, but don’t feel obligated to do so, of course. I hope you enjoy the book!

  • I am surprised I didn’t visit your blog, before, its always nice to know about more books….

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      I agree. I’ve discovered that book blogs are a great way to discover books to read, and I like that they provide more info about the books than a store does. It’s fun!

  • Rosie Amber says:

    Sounds like a sad book to me.

    • tanyajpeterson says:

      Hi Rosie! The book is indeed sad, but it is also hopeful. I wanted it to be realistic, so it’s both. Not everyone likes that, of course. 🙂 So many different reading preferences is a good thing because it means there are so many different types of books!

  • That sounds like my kind of read. Off to check it out on Amazon. Thanks for the lead, Damyanti.