Donuts in an Empty Field (For the Love of Donuts Book 1)


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Letting go of anger is life’s greatest challenge.

Vanessa Smith hasn’t been the same since her father’s death. A hero until the end, he died saving a restaurant owner’s wife and son from a burning building. Nessa has always blamed the boy, Ben, for her loss, and her thoughts are consumed with ways to make him as miserable as she is.

Nichole Adams knows Nessa can never heal until she learns to let go of her hatred, but bringing back her best friend is proving more difficult than she could’ve imagined. In a last ditch effort to break Nessa’s obsession, Nichole hopes signing up for the local food challenge is just the thing to bust her out of her shell.

A single choice defines the road ahead for Nessa. Doing the right thing isn’t easy, but living with the consequences of doing nothing might be worse.

Released June 3rd, 2016

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Digital Media Kit_Rachel Barnard_Donuts in an Empty Field (For the Love of Donuts Book 1)


My thoughts linger on Dad, but I push them away.

I grab four soufflé sample cups and expertly fill them with our more seasonal flavors: candy cane, eggnog, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon roll. I swoop up to Nichole at her table and present the four with a flourish.

“I noticed you went right for vanilla, for a wild child that is highly unusual,” I say to her.

She drops her spoon back into her cup with a clunk. I pick up the first sample cup.

“Candy cane aka peppermint. A familiar flavor disguised as a seasonal favorite. It goes by many names throughout the year: mint, Girl Scout cookie something or other, etc., but ultimately it is recognized during the holiday season in its home as candy cane.” I hold out the miniature serving and whip it back and forth under her nose, as if scents are wafting up from the yogurt. She inhales deeply and scrunches up her nose. “Come on, Nichole, you can’t go through life as a Plain Jane vanilla. You have to branch out.”

“I branch out with everything that I do, can’t you leave my ice cream and frozen yogurt blandness alone. I LIKE vanilla,” she counters.

“Ok, well you can’t deny this next one.” I set down the candy cane and pick up the eggnog. “THIS is a classic and undeniably a favorite. For three out of twelve months it makes its debut and everyone is clamoring for it.”

“Ugh, not the pumpkin spice!” Nichole interjects.

“No! You Starbucks peon. Anyways, that’s the next one. No interrupting. I’m working on my sales pitch here.”

Nichole tips her head toward the door as its familiar tinkle brings me back to reality. Working a real job is not as much fun as I thought it would be. It’s just full of interruptions and cranky people.

Nichole’s Playlist:
Clocks by Coldplay
Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N’ Roses
How You Remind Me by Nickelback
Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
Here It Goes Again by Ok Go
Money by Pink Floyd
Iron Man by Black Sabbath
Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes
Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
Photograph by Nickelback
Call Me When You’re Sober by Evanescence
Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz
Lose Yourself by Eminem
Umbrella by Rihanna
The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani
Rockstar by Nickelback
Paralyzer by Finger Eleven
Raspberry Beret by Prince

Vanessa’s Playlist:
Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
Clocks by Coldplay
Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
Explosive by Bond
Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners
Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder
Here It Goes Again by Ok Go
One Night in Bangkok by Murray Head
Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode
Bittersweet Symphony by the Verve
Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles
Don’t Bring me Down by Electric Light Orchestra
Baba O’Riley by The Who
Crazy by Gnarls Barkley
The Luckiest by Ben Folds
Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day
Mad World by Tears for Fears

Why would someone pick up and read this book?

Donuts in an Empty Field is for a young adult audience, specifically teenagers or emerging adults who want to read about a protagonist who’s working through grief and how to be a best friend amidst personal issues. This book is also a fun insight into the teenage mind and what really goes on after school.

What does this book say about society?

Grief is very personal and others can’t and won’t always understand how you are healing or what you need to heal. Sometimes teenagers act out for a reason, and in Vanessa’s case, she has a lot of things on her mental plate and she needs help. She needs a best friend to help her interact with the world sometimes.

What can someone learn from this book?

Letting go of anger is life’s greatest challenge. How can Vanessa let go of her anger toward this boy who caused the death of her Dad? How can anyone let go of what some might call righteous anger? What does it mean to move on and live your life, even after something like the death of a parent happens? Those who read Donuts will be able to better understand and potentially answer these questions.