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Under the Blue Moon

Joan Schweighardt

When Lola, a dog trainer/groomer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, crashes her car near a homeless shelter, she lands amid a crowd of well-wishers eager to help her yet transfixed by the sight of the guy who broadsided her running from the scene pursued by police. Amid the drama, the pain, the noise, and her own confusion, a man concealing something—a gun? a bomb?—under his shirt catches her eye. She has no idea that the “terrorist” is Ben, a former architect intent on ensuring himself and his eighteen-year-old cat, Siggy, a good meal and a safe spot to sleep—away from the ledge where he lives under an overpass with two other homeless guys.


The shock of Lola’s brush with death forces her to confront an old grief, sending her on a hunt for a second chance at a meaningful life. Ben yearns to find a job and get back on his feet (thereby regaining both his dignity and his daughter’s love). Their individual pursuits put them on parallel paths that offer not only chance encounters with each other but glimpses into the mysteries of luck, love, art, compassion, and what it means to be human in difficult times.

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“Hard luck, bad choices, and tragedy stalk the characters of Under the Blue Moon. So do love, compassion, and sometimes, a second chance. The story does not follow clichéd expectations; the characters, Lola and Ben, don’t become friends or redeem one another. But the reader’s appreciation of each character’s journey is enhanced by the experiences of the other.  This story is filled with heart, loss, and the fleeting triumph of good.”

—Claudia H. Long, author of Our Lying KinNine Tenths of the Law, and other novels

“Reading Under the Blue Moon brings to mind Teddy Roosevelt’s maxim about walking softly and carrying a big stick. This little book is a gem of tenderness as it looks at a hard-hitting reality. It also brings to mind the expression, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Yet it never preaches. It just quietly does what it should, and I found myself wishing fervently that everyone everywhere would read it and change the world.”

—Kate Niles, author of The Basket Maker and other books


“Schweighardt skillfully tackles a rarely addressed theme in fiction through the character of Ben, someone who could be any one of us, successful in one moment and living on the streets in the next. Juxtaposed is Lola, a woman overwhelmed and fragmented by a traumatic event. We are moved by the humanity and vulnerability of these characters and thus we can have hope for them.”

—Phyllis M Skoy, author of A Turkish Trilogy and the memoir Myopia

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