And while I’m thinking about it, Jessica Chastain. And Lasse Hallstrom for director.

Continuing the casting fantasy of my book A Coward’s Guide to Living, the pivotal role of the red-headed Reverend Rose Beecham should go to Jessica Chastain. As Beecham is described as an unusually good looking minister, Chastain is the natural choice.

Her previous roles as a gambling entrepreneur (Molly’s Game), political operative (Miss Sloane), and author (The Help), position her as perfectly suited for the demands of a minister.

And as her last role as Tammy Faye Baker was that of a minister’s wife, she can take the pulpit for real in this one.

Lasse Hallstrom would be a great director for this. His story telling in The Cider House Rules; The Shipping News; Haachi, A Dog’s Tale; and The Hundred Foot Journey, among others, points to his understanding of the human condition in all its forms.

A Day-Glo, Chromium Yellow Panda Bear? Well, of course. And now you can find out why.

That Panda Bear is only one of the characters in my new book, A Coward’s Guide to Living. In this coming-of-middle-age story, Jacob Will is charged with getting his life together via a most unusual method. He must commit a number of little deaths, “killing” those things preventing him from living a genuine life. Be assured, no animals or people were harmed during his quest.

His adventures will take him across the United States in an an attempt to fulfill that charge. Why did he destroy an expensive bottle of Champagne? What’s the meaning of that tattoo? And will he sue the manufacturer of a metal detector? Will he discover what love is?

These and more questions are answered in A Coward’s Guide to Living. Available now through Amazon on Kindle and paperback.

Two out of two fortune tellers say…

Amidst his travels in attempting eleven little deaths of his own (really himself), Jacob Will visited a fortune teller. Not because he thought he’d find any answers, but strictly for entertainment. He was not entertained.

Nor was he when he tried his luck with the machine version. There was an unanimity of opinions. But would he heed their advice?

Not a hero – not by any standard measurement.

A hero was not how Jacob Will would ever describe himself. Growing up, he didn’t have the heroes young boys normally had. Since sports were not a thing he was interested in, it didn’t matter what records were set by athletes, they held no attraction. Likewise movie stars, though he did, as most boys at a certain age, fantasize about the unattainable females he saw on the screen.

Though, embarking on his journey of middle-aged, self-discovery, he was in one way a hero – though not in the mythic realm. But more in the sense of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey, that of an adventure: enduring, maybe prevailing, but coming back changed – transformed.

Unlike Homer’s Odyssey, there were no Sirens nor Scylla and Charybdis to contend with. But he would have to experience life, his own rocks and hard places, as he hadn’t yet. Would he survive? Only his Eleven Little Deaths will determine that.