Title: Tumbling Down
First in Series: Amanda J. Wilde
Contemporary Women's Fiction > Psychological
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ISBN (Ebook) 978-1-945517-14-3
ISBN (Paperback) coming soon
ISBN (Hardcover) coming soon
ISBN (Large Print) coming soon
“It’s all in the past where the past should stay.”
Amanda has stepped around the darkest shadows where the demons of a traumatic childhood lurk to build a normal life for herself; satisfying career, married, owns a comfortable home with a backyard just big enough to throw a Frisbee. Even with the recent events of her husband losing his dream job and his father, and her mother flying off to Vegas to remarry, she's optimistic things will improve. 'This is normal. Focus on work — everything will be fine.'
But in the back of her mind, a haunting premonition dream from her childhood plays like a TV left on too loud, day and night, in an apartment down the hall. She tries to brush it off as nothing more than a nightmare of a damaged child. But her premonition dreams have always come true; sometimes like a newsreel flash before the event, a literal play-by-play, and at others, they need a bit of deciphering.
In the dream, she was a child hiding in the hydrangeas, watching her own funeral.
"So tragic," a mourner said, "only thirty-two." At eight, thirty-two was a lifetime away.
Amanda J. Wilde turned thirty-two on Christmas.
On a humid August morning in Chicago, she’s awakened predawn from a deep sleep under the oak in her backyard by her old dog and a ghost from her childhood.
The vivid nightmares, premonition-dreams, and sleepwalking have all returned, along with Ghost and his cat — who woke her as a child when her life was in danger.
She can no longer ignore the dream.
Within a matter of days, tragic events cause the thin walls between the present and the past to blur with sadistic twists. Amanda heads down a dangerous path, clinging to the slippery edge of a mental breakdown, where she's forced to untangle the damaging psychological events of her childhood from the life she's built as an adult.
The clock is ticking on the year of her death.
Rich with emotion and driven by suspense, Tumbling Down reminds us that life is often forged by events that threaten to destroy us.
*Contains violence, alcohol, and profanity.
*Published briefly as Butterfly Bones (2015), Tumbling Down (2021) includes deleted scenes to follow the author's original manuscript and intent.
Amanda's journey continues in Refuge.
Amanda J. Wilde series reading order:
TUMBLING DOWN: page 209
*In this scene: an unconscious, Amanda is having a conversation with her younger, mouthy self.
A cloud passes over the parking lot, dimming the sun on the glaring white gravel. She lies there, staring up into the blue sky, unblinking, flat on her back like roadkill in the dirty parking lot, her hands in front of her face. I notice a slight movement, a twitch of life, as she lets a butterfly walk across her fingers, moving it from hand to hand as if it’s climbing stairs.
“Remember that time, when we were sick with a flu, and Daniella brought home the yellow kitten?” I remember. “He told me his name was Jass. But she insisted, since he was left behind the club, his name had to be Jazz. He told me the best stories that week — how he used to live on a big old sailing ship, then on a little island with a girl. He had lived way more than nine lives. He said he never understood where humans got that silly notion. Daniella said it was just the fever talking, but I know it was Jass. He was so beautiful with those big bright green eyes of his and yellow tiger stripes. When he curled up on my neck at night and purred me to sleep, he’d just melt my heart like butter.”
She kicks rocks. Kicks the dust up from the gravel, angry, scuffing toes hard into the dirt under it, “They took him! Fuck.”
After a few minutes, walking around with the butterfly riding her shoulder, she calms down. “Nothing’s permanent, you know? Nothing’s really what it seems. We create rock-solid illusions for imagined security.”
She stops and watches the butterfly flutter on her shoulder. “But we were happy with Daniella and Zita. We laughed so loud. Remember laughing loud?”
“Just a kid—”
“True. Just a kid. A month and a day, before life went all catawampus on our ass, and Hell arrived with the Devil’s runny eyes glaring from the rearview mirror.”
She has her hands on her hips while walking around in a circle, talking more to the butterfly sitting on her shoulder than me. “There’s a chance we were a part of a mad doctor’s experiment. I mean, they know damn well, by the time we’re five, our view of the world and how we fit in it are set like Jell-O. A bit squiggly and wiggly, but pretty damn solid. You can slice and dice it any way you please, but it’s still going to be Jell-O solid.”
The butterfly flaps its wings, testing them before taking flight.
As it flies up through the trees, she waves goodbye.
TUMBLING DOWN: page 277
She skips across the gravel, turns to approach me, extending one foot out high, and wobbles. “You’re supposed to say, take one giant step. Then I say, Mother May I? And you reply, Yes, you may.”
She takes a big step toward me. “No? You really should play along here.” She turns and stomps off. “That’s life! One fucking Mother May I step at a time! Screw it up, and you lose!”
I close my eyes to the parking lot’s sunny glare, to the ugly old whitewashed church, and her shouting, allowing cool darkness to pool around me.
“You know,” she shouts, “if dreams are the children of your soul, you’re an unfit parent! You thought you had it all together. You didn’t. You thought the past was scrubbed out. It wasn’t. All you did was put sweet icing flowers, sugar bells and a bridegroom on top of a pile of stinking horse shit!”
“Can you leave? Please.”
“Fuck no. And you don’t want me to. Deep down, you know I’m telling you the truth. You know you don’t have the damn answers of how to fix this shit. You showed us all that when you wrecked our sweet car. My point is— Your way of covering up the shit, trying to make it smell nice, does not work! This ain’t kitty litter we’re standing in.”
“I have not covered anything up. I’ve moved past it. It’s all in the past. Where the past should stay.”
“You’re not here or there. You’re both. Different time. Different day. Don’t you get it? You just winced at the pain of that belt. Why did you wince if you were not there feeling it?” She waits for an answer, but I don’t have a logical explanation. I feel bruised and taste blood.
She rubs her hair up, then grips handfuls of it as if she wants to pull it out. “Every day, you make a new choice for who you are. And you—
You just go along with what they want. You’ve invented a you, that isn’t us. And it is not working. It can’t work. Ever.” Her voice catches. “You amputated me, and your whole creative soul with a chain saw. I’m a bloody stump!”
“A little graphic.”
She exhales loudly and walks away. “The butterfly was a clue — a gift. Remember how we used to dream of flying away with our own butterfly wings? Beautiful wings that would take us up and far, far away. For a while there, I could feel those butterfly bones growing under my skin. They itched. I just knew our wings were going to pop out and grow so big.”
She picks up a handful of rocks and starts throwing them as hard as she can, one at a time, into the woods like a physical exclamation point after every word. “But, then, one, day. Smack! Just, like, that. You’re all wrapped up in a homemade straitjacket. You decide you have had enough and quit. You give up. Give in. Quit on me. On us!”
She takes a deep breath and sits on the gravel as if she’s surrendering.
“And now — look around. Look where you are. You’re bleeding to death on a poor old tree. There was a time you would’ve preferred to climb it. You know it will probably die because of you.” She sighs and bats at the hem of the dress. “Do you think suicide is inherited? Any lemming tendencies? No? But stupid might be, huh?” She snorts a laugh. “That was a trick question about lemmings; the myth is a cruel Hollywood creation.”
What reviewers have said:
"...one of the most creative, evolved stories I've read in a long time.
The writer weaves an eloquent story that both enchants and challenges us to look at our own lives. What would our younger self think of us now if we could meet? This is more than a five star read. The characters are vivid and three dimensional. The writing style is brilliant. The story is a mix of emotionally complex women's fiction with quirky paranormal twists that pushes this to another level of story-telling that is truly extraordinary. I highly recommend it!"
"I've been numb for a long time, grief, depression but this book made me feel something. I cried, I got emotionally invested in Amanda and her view of life. A wonderful insight in how we compartmentalize our life to survive. The book has a rhythm to it, it sweeps you up and you are right there, in the zoo, in the kitchen with the Barbie dolls, its a magical book. Reminded me of Alice Hoffman and I adore her books.
Thank you Savannah Redman, its always a joy to find a new writer worth reading."
"...I had every intention of reading the first couple of chapters and then go back to it later. 2.5 hrs later and I had read it cover to cover. This book grasped and held my attention right from the first page and exceeded all expectations. The characters are well developed and the story line is is fascinating. What is real, what is imagined ? ...If you enjoyed The Time Travellers Wife..."
"Here is a book that is an absolute must for your summer reading - or winter too as it is just that good. Where have you been all of my life, Savanna? You are a born writer and obviously a student of Jung in character analysis and dream development. I loved the shifts in polarities - from young to old, from light to dark, from love to fear and then back again. Amanda is a great character and definitely someone I would love to get to know. Her life reveals so many of the problems facing women today, and possible solutions also. I also loved the mystical that was entertwined - it adds a lot to rounding out the entire plat. Savanna has a real knack and I hope this is just the first in many to come."
"...from the opening page as Amanda experiences a lucid dream, we're thrown into a multi-sensory world, seeing the shadow of black branches against a violet sky, hearing the buzz of insects, smelling the scent of honeysuckle, feeling the chill of cold dew om our bare feet. And from the first pages we also know that Amanda may long for a normal life but she is ANYTHING but normal. This is a surprising book. As the story unfolds, it expands, brought alive by Redman's beautifully vivid writing"
"...a terrific novel about dreams, both literal and metaphorical. It is about a complicated woman living a complicated life. The genre straddles the line between chick lit and lit fic with a dash of paranormal thrown in and Savanna Redman makes it all work because her writing is just that good."
"This book held me suspended between the main character's reality and her dreams. I was on edge throughout the book, not wanting to put it down until I had resolution. The main character, Amanda, became so much a part of my own psyche that at different times, I wanted to hold her, shake her, scream at her, cry with her....she is multi faceted, as is this book. The descriptions are so vivid that I was able to see the colors, smell the smells, and feel the textures as if I was the character, and not the reader.
And just when I thought I had things figured out, BOOM! I was catapulted again into a whole new place."
"A friend of a friend mentioned this book on a Facebook post and I thought I'd give it a go - not really expecting anything special as Im a bit picky about what I read - if I'm not "into it" after the first chapter, I generally cant be bothered to plough on. But WOW! I enjoyed this book SO MUCH I cannot wait to read book 2! It was so well written and the author has a really unique style of writing. I was gripped from the start and basically read the whole thing in one sitting, in between shooing my husband and toddler away from disturbing me. Its a great book, a great story and its only just beginning. Bring on Book 2! Im SOLD!"
"This book is an inspiration to create and to break out of boundaries, those of our own making and those that others have built for us."
"Drawing us in with vivid prose, Savanna Redman delivers a moving and thought-provoking account of a woman forced to take a deeper look at her life's choices: questioning deeply held beliefs as she moves from denial and tragedy to fighting for survival. The narrative plunges backward in time to reconnect with her haunted younger self and dreams she left behind in the battle to survive."
"A captivating novel prompting flashes of self-discovery and enlightenment around the myths we create by combining a bit of magic from dreams and omens, mysticism around an amulet, and the wisdom of listening to the inner voice, it invites us to look beyond the surface and dive into our own subconscious."
Other books by Savanna Redman
Crossing Paths (a short story)
The Goddess Colorizing Journal (Adult coloring book for women combining goddess mythology, beautiful drawings, and famous quotes on creativity with a full-page journal.)