Katie and Duncan stood on the edge of the playground clutching their backpacks, their expressions solemn, like they had been abandoned for weeks and had made the best of it by eating melting snow and the rotting contents of their Planet Box lunch containers.
“Where were you?” Katie said.
“Meeting,” Alana said, swinging Katie into her arms and dropping a kiss on top of Duncan’s toque. “How was kindergarten, sweetie?”
Duncan interrupted. “You always have meetings. Can I have a play date?”
Alana ran an inventory of the fridge contents. “No, we need to go get groceries. I’ll buy you a snack.” She wished this meant organic carrots or blueberries, not sushi and sugary yogurt drinks. Greg Wilson’s future children would probably gorge on organic carrots. Who was she kidding—carrots? They’d probably skip over carrots and go straight to kale.
She hustled the kids into the back seat while Katie expostulated regarding their grade two reading buddies and how she didn’t want to be matched up with Duncan because he was her brother. Alana made sympathetic noises in the appropriate places, then froze when she spotted Therese, the chair of one of the Regional Environmental Board subcommittees, strolling past.
“Driving again?” Therese said with a smile. “I thought you lived within walking distance.”
Alana’s smile turned weak and unreliable, and her relief at being out of the meeting evaporated. Somehow as an “environmentalist” in a small town, she was always either in a meeting or on trial—and she wasn’t actually sure which was preferable. Alana fought the urge to show Therese the SUV odometer, to highlight the lack of kilometers on the vehicle, while mumbling something about usually walking, and wanting to buy a Prius but not being able to afford one.
She coughed out a semblance of a laugh. “Yes, I know it’s terrible. But I had to work up until the last two minutes before school got out.” It was her pat line that probably convinced nobody and made her feel like a fraud.
Therese cocked her head to the side and offered a quizzical toothless smile. Therese was an environmentalist; she wouldn’t be on one of the board subcommittees if she weren’t. And Alana realized that she was beginning to live in fear of environmentalists—which was kind of funny, because until recently she had hoped she was an environmentalist. But real environmentalists would manage their meetings better and arrive at school on foot early, bearing zucchini chia seed muffins. At least she no longer had to apologize for Blaine and his suit-wearing, Audi-driving ways, now that she and Blaine were no longer married. But even so, the glaring SUV and decided lack of muffins threatened to out her at every turn.
Title: Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist
Author: Jennifer Ellis
Genre: Romantic Comedy / Women’s Fiction
Alana Matheson always tries to do the right thing for the environment, even when it means boycotting school meatball day, forgoing the use of makeup, or getting entangled in a bet with her non-chicken-loving ex-husband over which of them can be the most environmentally conscious.
So when a mining company proposes developing a mine right in the middle of the community watershed, well, of course Alana is going to be on the front lines opposing the development.
Except she isn’t. To her own shock and dismay, she finds herself taking a job… with the mining company. Worse, she finds herself drawn to her attractive and mysterious boss, Nate: a capitalist mining executive. The enemy.
Alana struggles to do right by the community, deal with her feelings for Nate, and maintain her own environmental morals. But as the conflict over the mine heats up, it gets increasingly difficult to be on the “wrong side,” and both Nate and Alana are cracking under the pressure.
Part satire, part serious, Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist is about the cast of characters who seem to pop up in all environmental disputes, and how all of us fail sometimes to do the right thing for the environment, in both big and small ways.
Jennifer lives in the mountains of British Columbia where she can be found writing, hiking, skiing, borrowing dogs, and evading bears. She also works occasionally as an environmental researcher.
Jennifer writes science fiction, romance and dystopian fiction for children and adults, including Apocalypse Weird: Reversal in Wonderment Media’s Apocalypse Weird world and A Pair of Docks, which was a bestseller in children’s time travel fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies, most notably Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel, which hit #16 in the Kindle Store.
She may or may not have a Ph.D. and dabble in tarot card reading and cat sitting.
You can subscribe to her blog for the latest book news and industry insights at www.jenniferellis.ca. She tweets about writing, cats and teenagers at @jenniferlellis.
5 winners will receive an eBook copy of “Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist” and one winner will receive a $10 Amazon giftcard!