“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Chicago wife, mother and finance executive Claire Cummings, arrives at work one morning to discover her friend Julia has embezzled millions and vanished. Blindsided and devastated by the betrayal, she’s sent home pending further investigation. Claire’s bizarre death the following day sends everyone reeling, guessing and looking for her in all the wrong places. In no time, she's addicted to an enchanting menagerie of tricks and techniques for getting the living's attention, but most people are harder to reach than she'd ever dreamed.
She's still a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend. She'll move heaven and earth to keep it that way.
Swallowtail is a haunting story about life, love, loss and just how far we’ll go to control it all.
What would you do if all the rules changed, and you were suddenly bestowed powers beyond your greatest imagination?
Forty-one year old Dana Quinn, closet writer, career waitress and three-time psych ward patient has just lost her last family member. For Dana to go on, she must create a life meaningful enough to answer her eternal question: why did she survive the accident that killed her family? Never married, in and out of an institution where her writing saved her, Dana works a dismal job with a few friends she’s managed to keep. Feeling lost and hopeless in the weeks following her aunt's unexpected death, Dana discovers a letter and takes her aunt’s advice to walk away from her life in Queens and return to her family farm in Iowa and write herself well one more time. For over thirty years Dana believed the farm had been sold and did her best to forget it. But what if everything in the house is exactly as they left it? Nothing can stop her from walking through that door. On the road she adopts a one-eared dog and finds a new best friend in former New Yorker, Stu, who’s given up designing off-Broadway sets to care for his ailing mother back in his hometown. Chokecherry, her father’s beloved farm, is not at all what Dana expects and far more than she bargains for. By firelight, Malcolm the caretaker reveals the cryptic history buried in the tunnel, and why the big barn strikes fear in the hearts of those who enter it. Despite its tragic past, the farm also possesses an undeniable capacity to heal the broken hearts of those who embrace it. In fact, it seems to be a magnet for broken hearts. Just as Dana and her friends form a tight bond and rise to the challenge of helping Chokecherry realize its full potential, a supernatural ability she’s tried to repress for years, nearly kills her. Dana’s forced to fight for a life she wants—a life that finally answers her eternal question in ways she never could’ve imagined.
They Can Never Know (2018)
For over fifty years, Cleota Ferguson has kept her head down and done as she was told. She managed to outlive her abusive husband, but that’s about it and not by much. Time is running out and the money already has, when she accidentally discovers the means to live a completely different life. Her meth-making stepsons are the last people who can ever discover what she’s found. Forget putting her in a home. They’ll put her in the ground right behind the barn. Sometimes you have to disappear to truly find yourself.
What would you do if your last chance at happiness required you do everything you’re afraid of?
Angel Dad: Always Considerate, Even in the Afterlife (2018)
When I attended a Jonathan Louis psychic-medium event in 2010, I didn't really expect my dad to come through. I certainly never expected him to blow my socks off with so many specific details. I've received many messages from my dad over the past 20 years, most of which are included in this book. My loyal readers will enjoy fun and interesting insights into the relationship that inspired my first novel, Swallowtail. New readers may experience a shift in perspective as they inevitably reflect on signs they may have received from loved ones on the other side.
Thank you for reading my work. Writing a novel is fun, but also like simultaneously performing open-heart surgery, brain surgery and occasionally an exorcism, on one's self. Everyone has at least one great book in them. If you have the slightest urge to write, do it. You won't regret it.
A captivating novel about love, redemption and the supernatural.
Sheri Meshal's Swallowtail is a luminous first novel, suffused with a glowing belief in the human spirit and the redemptive power of love and forgiveness. Swallowtail will transport you as it pulls back the veils of altered existence and consciousness and renews our faith in the undying nature of the human spirit and the ultimate power of sacrifice.
Swallowtail's Kirkus Review:
In Meshal’s debut novel, a loving wife and mother must find a way to comfort her family after a traumatic loss: her own disappearance. Claire Cummings starts her workday at a small-town bank with a discovery that her close friend and colleague has absconded with millions of dollars of the bank’s money. Claire feels betrayed and deeply shaken when she comes under suspicion and is suspended from her job. The next day, while trying to chase down a stray cat in a parking lot, Claire is hit by a car and killed. However, the peace she feels on “the other side” shatters when she realizes that her family and friends don’t know she is dead—they only know that she’s missing. She uses all of her new supernatural abilities to place signs in order to communicate to them where she is, but she soon finds that she has to defy the new rules of her celestial world. Meshal tells a beautifully nuanced story. Throughout, she weaves intriguing details into a compelling story; for example, it turns out that Em, Claire’s youngest daughter, can repeat what her mother says from beyond, but because she has a speech impediment, the messages aren’t always understood by others. Also, just when it seems that the initial embezzlement subplot has been forgotten, it returns with a supernatural twist. Meshal skillfully blends past lives, celestial lives and earthly lives in ways that never feel forced, and she doesn’t rush her characters into self-discovery but seamlessly leads them there. In the end, the story builds to an unexpected, powerful climax. A captivating novel about love, redemption and the supernatural.
© 2016 by Sheri Meshal