Okay, so the title might be a bit of hyperbole. I think that’s what marketing people do. I don’t have marketing people, so I have to exaggerate all by myself. But hey, have I told you about The Other Place, other than in two of my last three posts? That’s more marketing, as I understand it. Granted, my understanding of marketing may be flawed.
So, to go back to where I left off hitting you over the head with posts about my new novel, The Other Place, that I kept telling you was going to be out soon: it’s (drum roll) out now!
[Steamers, confetti, etc.] Use your imagination. My mind is knee deep in confetti right now.
I’ve put together this sell sheet, which I hope you find enticing. It’s the sort of thing marketing people would do for someone who has marketing people. I did it myself, right after I washed my own damned windows.
Here are purchase links for those now sufficiently enticed:
For all others, I will talk to my marketing people about what they can do to up the enticement level. We’ll see what they can come up with. Meanwhile, there are unpaid internship opportunities available in my marketing department for anyone who wants to help me spread the word (e.g. share a post, tell a friend, throw confetti at strangers).
Thank you from the bottom of my corporate empire (which is the level within my corporate empire where I work).
It’s amazing how a little dose of parenthood can change your perspective. I suppose this is true in regard to human children too, but I’m thinking about the parenting of adopted insects.
For Big Man’s birthday, we got him a butterfly kit. This is a plastic cup of caterpillars and some mysterious earthy substance that we assumed was their food.
The caterpillars looked dead when we took their plastic habitat out of its box. At that point, our emotional attachment to them went no deeper than figuring out how to return a box of dead insects for a full refund.
The caterpillars were not dead; they were sleepy from their long, dark journey from the caterpillar factory. With a little light added to their world, they came to life, eating the mass of brown stuff and growing at an impressive rate. At the moment we discerned the change in their sizes, our emotional attachment to a cup full of bugs began.
They were supposed to climb to the lid of the container and there attach themselves for cocoon construction. We all gasped with awe at baby’s first steps as one, then another, began the climb. They must have been still a little hungry, because one after another they came back down for a snack, putting us all on an emotional roller coaster as they went up and down without attaching themselves to anything.
At last one of them hung from the lid and began the transformation. There was rejoicing throughout the land. One by one, they all followed suit, with the exception of one confused late bloomer. We wrung our hands over him, speculating upon whether he was ill or just daft. Finally, he joined his comrades and we all breathed easier.
We transferred them to their netted nursery. How long was it supposed to take them to be (re)born? No one knew. Days of doubt followed. One morning, there was a real, live butterfly clinging to the netting, his cocoon an empty shell. More rejoicing ensued.
It’s so hard to get children to smile for the camera.
Another butterfly appeared, then another and another. All but one had emerged victorious. While we waited and worried about the last, we cut up tangerines and carefully set the fruit inside the cage for food. I busied myself making our babies happy and comfortable, careful not to let anyone escape.
This made me realize that if a cousin of these precious creatures had flown into the house from outside, my wife would be chasing it with a bottle of Windex and a fly swatter. She’s not fond of insects, except the ones that are family.
We prepared ourselves for the worst regarding the remaining cocoon. Just when we had given up hope, there was movement. The butterfly struggled, but could not free himself. It was heartbreaking to watch him entangle himself deeper in silk and cocoon wreckage.
My wife prodded me to help him. With a toothpick I tore away his sticky fetters. I freed him, but alas, his wings were malformed. At my wife’s bidding, I set our poor Tiny Tim down next to the fruit, so the doomed child might live out his days in comfort.
The day came to send the kids out on their own. All but one found their way out into the open air. The last stayed by the fruit. My wife was convinced he was refusing to leave his wounded buddy. He might have just been hungry. The next day, the injured one expired. We gave the last healthy butterfly another chance to go. Having a clear conscience, he did not stay for the eulogy.
I wonder where the kids are now. Have they stayed nearby or are they off to see the world. I hope they don’t come home to visit. We don’t like insects in our house.
You know how sometimes a guest will come on a talk show and all they want to do is plug their new movie? Well, this is kind of like that, only worse. This is how it would be if Johnny Carson (because I’m old and can’t stay awake to watch the current shows) used his own show to plug his new movie.
Here I am (for the second week in a row, no less) corrupting my own cozy little family blog with book promotion. Well, at least it’s not a movie. Either way, it’s dreadfully annoying, right?
Blame my kids. They’re growing up, and they don’t inspire so many cute stories by doing adorable things as they did when they were toddlers. Yeah, Big Man still refers to pulled pork or ground sausage as “chicken” sometimes, but how many heartwarming stories can you squeeze out of that? Face it, teenagers and pre-teens are just not the blogging goldmine that little kids are. In a sense, my creative team has gone on strike forever.
So, we’re left with book promotion.
The book will be out later this month. Meanwhile I got a pre-publication review from BookLife. Apparently, they ran out of space for the part where they say, “Best book ever!” but that’s okay, I prefer they don’t put too may spoilers in the review anyway. Here it is: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Actually, I didn’t put an author photo on the cover, so that cut down significantly on the ugly.
This fascinating supernatural tale from Nagele (A Housefly in Autumn), told in an offhanded style that keeps readers off balance, opens with five-year-old Emma’s asking, at a family dinner, about “The Other Place.” She has recurring dreams of a mysterious being, The Gatekeeper, who takes her from present-day Pennsylvania to a late nineteenth century farm where she sees an older girl, Mary Ellen, who looks very much like Emma. For mysterious reasons, the Gatekeeper repeatedly forces Emma to get the other girl in trouble by setting fires—and he threatens to harm Emma’s parents, Rob and Marcia, if she disobeys. Rob and Marcia alternate between dismissing Emma’s dreams to fearing that she might be losing her grip on reality, echoing the thinking of Alex and Janet, Mary Ellen’s parents. That couple frequently beats Mary Ellen, as punishment for the fires, and The Gatekeeper urges her to take murderous revenge.
Quick paced and unsettling, The Other Place offers readers teasing mysteries to work through along with Emma’s parents. One surprising thread: what is the connection between The Gatekeeper and the song version of William Hughes Mearns’s poem “Antigonish”? As Emma’s dreams increasingly seem like they might be real, she finds herself inside Mary Ellen’s mind, fighting to keep Mary Ellen from being driven to murder, while Rob and Marcia eventually accept that their daughter is not delusional, they struggle to save both girls from The Gatekeeper.
Nagele weaves an intriguing story about families, childhood, the supernatural, self-sacrifice, and innocence both lost and saved, though the pace and pared-down language come at the expense of fleshing out the characters, especially Emma and her family. Scenes of abuse and terrorized children will put off some readers, but Emma’s fight to save Mary Ellen from evil is admirable, her determination and kindness shining through. The Other Place is rich in detail of the places past and present, and readers of horror-tinged historical mysteries will be intrigued to learn more about Glenn Miller and William Hughes Mearns.
Sorry Johnny, but you know how it is when the writers go on strike.
There was a time when I used to post twice a week. That might not seem too ambitious to those who post every day, but it was a quick turnaround in my blogging world. Then, I scaled back to once a week, then once a month. Now, I post when I can get to it and I have something to say I haven’t already said before.
When I started blogging, I had one kid, a toddler. Now that kid can dunk a basketball, and his two brothers aren’t far behind. I spend a lot of my time in the car, going in circles. I do lots of little circles, from school to home to a different school, to a practice field, back to the first school, back home, to a third school, back to the practice field, to a gym, to a different practice field, back to one of the schools (I hope it’s the right one, because I can’t remember which kid I’m picking up), back to the gym, and back home—and then probably out to get pizza because nobody had time to make or eat anything. After that, I try to figure out which kid is missing and where I should have picked him up.
For better or worse (I can’t decide which), I still have my day job.
Another thing I’ve been doing since before I began blogging is writing other things. Some of those things come to something, and some don’t. And some are still in flux. A piece of writing making its way out of flux and into something is this:
Everyone who buys the book gets a back cover too! It’s a special service I provide to my readers.
If all goes to plan, this book will be out next month, which for those of you reading this old post years into the future, is May, 2023. In anticipation of that sublime but unspecific date, here is a marketing blurb. In my world of hungry boys, this would be a snack to hold you over until dinnertime.
Emma and her parents share recurring dreams, in which they are a different family, living 100 years ago in an unfamiliar place, and heading toward tragedy. When Emma’s parents discover their dream family actually existed, it becomes clear that these visits to the past are more than mere dreams—they are playing an unseen role in this historical family’s lives. As the century-old history of this troubled family materializes, it reveals the truth that the impending tragedy spells doom for both families. Only five-year-old Emma has the power to avert disaster, but it will require extraordinary courage against overwhelming evil for Emma to save both families from destruction in The Other Place.
I’ll come back with more between now and publication, but if you get tired of waiting, you could always check out my other books by clicking the “This guy should write a book” tab at the top of the page.
Meanwhile, I’ve still got lots of work to do, and lots of kids to drive around town, so wish me luck.