Fiction Fest: Counting on ‘Counting Candles’

Counting Candles 2x3 WEB

Have you ever wondered if you’ve had an impact for good on the world or considered your life to be too ordinary to be of significance? Such is the story line in Dustin Bradshaw’s new novel, “Counting Candles.”

About the book:
As accountant James Smith approaches his 40th birthday, he concludes that his life is tedious, ho-hum, dull, and, well . . . mediocre. He can’t imagine the vast ways that those around him are affected by his simple, caring acts. This tale of the extraordinary impact of ordinary lives is sure to touch your heart.

Counting Candles” will be released on June 10 and will be available in bookstores and from online retailers.


“No, nobody, is perfect,” James said out loud to the mirror while absentmindedly touching his cheek where Molly had kissed him, “Definitely not me.”

James looked up at the words on along the top of the mirror. Molly had joined the ‘word craze’ and had her favorite inspirational sayings printed in fancy lettering and placed strategically around the house. This one read, “YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE.” He didn’t know why she had chosen that phrase for them both to read every morning when they dressed for work, but right now it caused a hollow pit in his stomach.

The words reminded him of the very worries he has been feeling all week: Do my actions do enough? Have I done enough? This weekend he was turning forty years old. James sighed. He has nothing against getting older, theoretically. But with the celebrated ‘big day’ coming up, he had begun to reevaluate his life. He realized, returning his gaze to his very average, greying reflection in the mirror, that he could sum his forty years of life up into two very depressing twin words: mundane and mediocre.

He was turning forty years old and what does he have to show for it? Nothing. The emotional stress of that recognition physically hurt. The clutching grasp of failure was tightening its grip on his lungs and it made it hard to even breathe.

James once again read the words on the mirror and wondered if he did make a difference. Nothing stuck out worth highlighting. Life was just life. Making the turn to forty shined a spotlight on all the holes in James’s life. The whole idea was depressing.

He heard the floor creak in the bedroom, signifying that Molly was up and going to wake the kids. He hurried into the shower. He had wasted enough time already.