Friday, November 16, 2012

Indie Book of the Week and Guest Post Excerpt: Twelve Months by Steven Manchester

This weeks Indie Book of the Week is a very special read. One that won't soon be forgotten, Twelve Months by Steven Manchester!


Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full.

About The Author:

Steven Manchester is the published author of the national best seller, Twelve Months, as well as Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy, Jacob Evans, and several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or his four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing.

My Thoughts and Review:

This was a beautifully rich tale of not only death but of life. To living each day to its fullest, not having regrets, reliving those memories and people that made life so much fun and to knowing that even though you have to say goodbye, it doesn't have to be the end, sometimes it can be a beginning too.

Manchester wrote an emotional read about one man’s journey through the last year of his life and asked all the hard questions along the way. What would you do if you only had twelve months left to live? Where would you go? What would you see and who would you spend it with? Would you make the most of the time you had left?

Don spends the next months doing those things he always wanted to do with the people he cares about the most.

The first half of the story was a little slow as Don was diagnosed with cancer and started to reminisce about his childhood and how, even then, death played a role in his life. He contemplated his life like I think all of us would after learning that we only had twelve months to live. And while it did make the story a little slow going it never was dull. In fact there were even some humorous parts thrown in.

This is definitely one of those stories that you will need a box of tissues handy by the end. Don spends a lot of his time with his family, but especially with his two grandkids. There is a line in the story that just really got to me and I thought I needed to share it in this review.

As Don is talking to his grandkids he pulls a treasure box down off a shelf and looks at his two grandbabies and says, “Every man finds a treasure in his life and you two are mine.”

If you want an endearing, heart wrenching, emotional read that will capture your heart and really make you think about each day that we have here, each person we share it with and about the things that really matter in life, this is one story you do not want to pass up.

I give this 4 Very Solid Stars!

Paperback & Kindle 

Twelve Months excerpt

Though there were empty tables up front, Vic escorted Bella and me to a darkened back room where no one else was seated. The table sat in the center of the room and was very nicely decorated. I could tell by Bella's face that it seemed peculiar to her. As we took our seats, Vic lit a candle. “I’ll be right back,” he said.
Bella started to question it, but I shrugged it off. “There must have been reservations for the other tables up front?” I suggested.
She nodded, and then noticed a man seated on a stool a few tables over. He was holding a guitar and squinting at some sheet music.
He looked over and smiled. “I hope you guys don’t mind, but I’m trying out tonight for a weekend gig at this place.”
“Oh, that’s great,” Bella said, with no idea Gary had already landed the job.
“Not a problem,” I added, acting as though I’d never spoken to the man. And through an acoustic set of love ballads, Gary was just as convincing.
Bella had no idea but the order had already been carefully spelled out – drinks first, Pinot Grigio for her; beer for me, and the itinerary would begin. Vic approached with both drinks on a small round tray. “Appetizers tonight?” he asked.
I smiled. “Why don’t we start with an order of little necks in garlic and oil?”
Vic nodded once and headed for the kitchen, while Gary swooned, “You say it best when you say nothing at all…”
Bella leaned into my ear and whispered, “How did he know I wanted white wine?”
I was into my second shrug when Vic returned to the table with a gorgeous arrangement of long stem red roses. Without a word, he placed them in front of Bella and rotated the vase until the card faced her. “Your appetizer should be out in a few minutes,” he said and strutted away again.
Gary was already on his second number when Bella plucked the card from the arrangement. It read: “Bella, I love you, forever – Don.” She looked up to find the entire restaurant staring at us.
“And always will,” I whispered when she leaned over and kissed me.
After the steaming appetizer and another round of drinks, Vic placed a silver platter before my glowing wife. It held a scrolled sheet of parchment secured by red ribbon. She looked up at him, but he never let on. She glanced over at me. “What…”
“Open it,” I said, while Gary strummed away in the background.
She did. It was the one thing she'd always wanted from me, but had never gotten – until now.


Moments of Destiny

 From the moment I met you,

I knew there was a fire between us

that even hard, driving rain could never put out.

 From the moment we spoke,

I knew I’d spent my entire life

in search of your deep and passionate love.

 From the moment we kissed,

I knew my heart was no longer mine

and I’d finally found my future.

 From the moment we laughed,

I knew there would never be enough time

to share all the things I needed to share with you.

 From the moment we danced,

I knew, at last, what the phrase ‘better half’ meant

and surrendered to your gentle touch.

 From the moment we walked hand-in-hand,

I knew I’d discovered my partner

and that my dreams were suddenly within reach.

 From the moment we lay together,

I knew I’d made it to heaven

and thanked God for blessing me with you.

 From the moment you agreed to be my wife,

I knew my journey was now worth taking,

through days of sunshine –

or nights of hard, driving rain.

 As her watering eyes read the final verse, the musician stopped playing, the restaurant went silent and I went down to one knee. I opened the ring box. “Isabella,” I said, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you be my wife…again?”

She never hesitated and dove into my arms. For a while, we just hugged.
“I love you so much,” she cried into my shoulder.
“I know,” I said. “But…”
She pushed away from me and looked into my eyes. “But what?”
“But I need your answer?” I said, grinning.
“Yes…the answer is YES!” she gasped and jumped back into my arms.
The crowd shared a collective sigh, and everyone was clapping when Bella and I returned to reality. It took a few moments before each table returned to its own conversation and half-eaten meals.
Chuckling, I introduced my beautiful wife to Gary, the musician. As they shook hands, Gary admitted, “I was so nervous.”
I bought the man a beer when Vic delivered two previously ordered dinners to our table. Though Bella couldn’t touch hers, I ate and listened to Gary fill the room with a soothing melody. By the time the chocolate covered strawberries arrived for dessert, Bella was emotionally spent. She grabbed me once more for a kiss. “This has been the perfect night,” she whispered.
“And for all these years…you’ve been the perfect wife, my dear.”
As we left the restaurant, another round of applause carried us to the front door. I opened it for my new fiancĂ© – only to discover a white stretch limousine idling at the curb. She quickly turned to me. “It’s not over?”
I shook my head. “It’ll never be over for us.” As we made our way to the limo, waves of nausea threatened to drown me. This is Bella’s perfect night, I told myself, our perfect night. Whatever you do…do not throw up now!


  1. This sounds like one that would be a good reminder for many. Live life to the fullest and don't let it go by without enjoying it. It seems like we all get swept in to our daily routine and just barely managing to pay the bills, buy groceries etc. I would that we could sometimes just go on a last minute vacation or something. If I had 12 months left I'm sure I would no longer let myself worry about money. I would want to see and experience everything! And I still have nearly the whole world to explore!

  2. Everything you said is so true Candace!!

  3. Fantastic review. This book sounds really thought provoking.

  4. had an emotional read this week as well. I totally cried while reading Letters in Cardboard Boxes and no doubt I will bawl reading this, It sounds wonderful. Loved that excerpt so touching!

  5. Heidi, I think this time of year always calls for one or two. ;)

  6. Awesome review, this sounds like such a touching novel with many messages. I need to be in the mood for this type of book and requires lots of tissues, chocolate and wine!

  7. That song Live Like You're Dying by Tim McGraw popped in my head while read the blurb. Then I got a little misty-eyed from the post! Gah, don't do that to me! :D Seriously, this is obviously a very emotional book, and it sounds really good.

  8. I knew you were just a big softie Christy! ;)

  9. I read this a few weeks ago and bawled through the last 50 pages or so. It's such a great book! I'm glad you liked it too!