What’s New

Book Bargains, libraries

Who Doesn’t Love a Trashy Novel?

Hello Book Nerds of Bloglandia!

So we can all admit there’s some pretty trashy novels out there, right? But what about books that are literally in the trash? As a book lover, it boggles my mind that anyone would throw out a book. Actually, it sounds like the set up for a book nerd-themed horror movie!

After all, why throw out a book when you can pass it on and expand another person’s mind with rollicking tales, high-stakes adventure, and loads of literacy?

Well, in Turkey, there’s some garbage collectors who felt the same way.

See, Durson Ipek was out doing his garbage route one day when he found a bag of books chucked in the bin. He kept it and encouraged his fellow workers to do the same with books they found. Eventually, they had collected a couple hundred books that were in terrific shape.

And what did they do with those books?

These book heroes started a library!! The original library was in a disused brick making building and opened in 2017. And it received a HUGE amount of support from the community and the local government.

Today, this trashy library has over 6000 books in its collection, including a children’s section, fiction, comic books, books devoted to science, and even foreign language works.

I wonder what Oscar the Grouch would think of the library?

Anyway, you don’t have to go digging in the trash to discover something new to read (unless you want to, I won’t judge….much). All you need to do is browse the book bundles below.

Please, Please, PLEASE Do Take a Peek….

I know you’re used to seeing mostly fantasy and sci-fi bundles from me, but since The Undead Mr. Tenpenny has a strong paranormal mystery as its central plot line, I’ve also been invited to join in on some marvelous mystery collections this month.

As with all these bundles, this is an affordable and effective way for me and all the hard-working indie authors involved to get our books noticed.

Trouble is, while good for my budget, I’m only allowed to participate if I get readers to browse what’s on offer. So please do check out the bundles…I mean, it beats digging around in the trash, right?

And yes, your bundle browsing is a huge support!! You don’t have to buy a thing, but please do take a peek…you never know, you might just discover your next favorite author.

And of course, if you do buy anything, let me know what you selected. I’m always curious about what you’re reading!

Here’s what’s on offer this month in mystery, thrillers, fantasy, and more….

Explore what’s new in cozy mystery..

Get some thrills, solve some whodunnits…

How about a few fantastic deals…

Or perhaps some SFF Adventure for less than $5!


 Thanks for browsing… It really is a wonderful way to show your support!

***

Let’s Stay in Touch!

Sign up for my newsletter (there’s a free gift if you do!)

BookBub | Instagram | Twitter

Listen to The Book Owl Podcast

Apply for my Review Team

 

 

Oscar Image from https://www.kidsnews.com.au/arts/sesame-street-farewells-creator-of-big-bird-and-oscar/news-story/4805b295d1ff6cdf4a0bb9565f76c785

Book History, Episodes, libraries

24. The Lucky Book of Kells

 

It’s a few days early for St. Patrick’s Day, but The Book Owl just couldn’t wait to share with you the luck of the Irish…or rather, the luck of one of Ireland’s most famous books and how its story weaves together with the history of Trinity College’s Old Library (aka “The Long Room”). It’s a tale of Viking marauding, roofs collapsing…and cow banning.

Mentioned in This Episode….

Like what you hear?

The (Rough) Transcript

Hey everyone, this is Tammie Painter and you’re listening to the Book Owl Podcast, the podcast where I entertain your inner book nerd with tales of quirky books and literary lore. 

Setting the Mood

It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s windy, and you’re in a tiny boat after fleeing from your peaceful island home that’s just been invaded by one of the most feared groups of the ages. There’s no cover, and you can only hope your boat doesn’t capsize.

And worst of all, you’re in charge of making sure a precious book makes it safely to where it needs to go. A book in which one page alone would have taken weeks to produce.

No pressure or anything.

Intro

Boats? Books? Icky weather? Clearly, we’re preparing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the podcast.

Okay, so your St. Patty’s Day festivities may be more beer oriented than book oriented, but I figured the day that celebrates Ireland’s most famous saint, would also be the perfect day to tell you all about Ireland’s most famous library and the most famous book within that library.

And yes, with St Patricks Day still 6 days away, I’m a little early with this but that’s just the way things worked out. And hey, you can always listen to it again on the 17th.

Thank You and Sales Pitch

But before we step through the doors of Trinity College Library to get a peek at the Book of Kells, I just want to offer one quick thank you to everyone who purchased my darkly humorous paranormal mystery tale, The Undead Mr. Tenpenny, since it launched a couple weeks ago. You put a big smile on my face and gave me a nice boost in the Amazon ranking system….for a few days.

And of course, if you didn’t get your copy yet, it’s never too late to pop into that link in the show notes. Oh, and if you did get a copy and you have read it, be sure to leave a review on Bookbub, Goodreads, or wherever you bought it…thanks!

Plans Changed

I initially had planned to make this a two part celebration with one episode dedicated to Trinity College Library and another dedicated to the Book Of Kells, but there just wasn’t a whole lot of information on the library, which I found really odd. So what I’m going to do instead is blend the two histories of these two topics until they come together in a nice little bookish mesh.

Well, that’s the plan, anyway.

Oh, and one more thing before we start, I know, long intro, sorry. Over on Instagram, I’m not only celebrating all things Irish, but also coping with being unable to travel by sharing a picture from my trips to Ireland every day in March. So, if you’re on instagram be sure to follow along! 

Okay can we start this damn episode, already?

A Little Explanation

Now for those of you who don’t know, The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript. And no that doesn’t mean it comes with a nightlight. “Illuminated” in this case means decorated with drawings or dolled up with fancy capitals. These were typically religious texts and would have been created on calf vellum by scribes literally working their fingers to the bone.

And for the numbers people out there, The Book of Kells itself measures 33 cm tall by 25 cm wide, or 13 inches by 10 inches. And inside there’s currently 680 pages of illustrations that include some Christian iconography, but also curious Celtic animals and knots, and elaborate interlaced borders. Oh yeah, and there’s text too, which consists of the four gospels as well as some other religious essays. 

Research has figured out that the Book of Kells was created sometime in the late 800s to early 900s. Based on the handwriting and the style of the images has shown that the book was likely filled in by three artists and four scribes.

And that research also shows they used pigments such as red and yellow ochre, oak gall for black, and woad for purple. But they were also using lead and arsenic, so probably not a long-term career being a scribe.

But onto the history, and for that we have to go back even further to the 500s. 

St. Colmcille Hates Cows

So in 521 common era a guy is born to the royal Niall family of Ireland. A few years later, he’s grown into a bit of troublemaker so he takes a copy of the gospels. The church asks for it back, he refuses, and a big old battle ensues. Now, the Niall family didn’t gain power by being friendly and altruistic. They were warriors. As such, they won the battle and loads of people died.

The guy feels bad for so many people dying for his foolishness so he undergoes a form of self-penance and leaves Ireland. He eventually ends up on the island of Iona off the coast of Scotland where he founds an abbey. And this guy becomes known as St. Colmcille, or St. Columba if you want to Anglicize things.

And for as tiny as this island is, it’s barely 3 miles long by a mile wide, it becomes a huge religious center, St. Colmcille becomes super important, and Iona becomes a site of pilgrimage as well as the burial place of 60 kings from Scotland, ireland, and Norway.

And just as a funny side note, Colmcille had some strange convictions. See, at the time, there were mied religious houses, so nuns and monks would share the same residence, and if I remember right, they might even marry. Well, Colmcille was having none of it and wouldn’t even allow the wives of the men building his monastery to stay on the island. He also banned cows. Why cows and women? Because he said wherever there are cows there are women, and wherever there are women, there is mischief. Which is true.

Of course he also banned frogs and snakes from the island, but it’s an island in northern Scotland so I’m wondering how many there were to begin with.

Anyway, back to the story. St. Colmcille dies in 597, and it’s thought the Book of Kells might have been started in honor of the 200th anniversary of his death. And it was started on Iona.

Notice I said it was started there.

The Vikings Arrive

Because right around this time there were these pesky mustachioed fellows roaming the seas, popping onto shore and raping and pillaging treasure.

The monks of Iona either got some warning the Vikings were coming, or managed a lucky escape before the Vikings got to their treasure, because they sent a handful of their brothers in a small boat with the relics of St. Colmcille and the illuminated manuscript they’d begun.

A few relics were lost, but the boat and the book eventually make it to the abbey at Kells in Ireland.

And it’s in Kells where the book is finished, and is why it’s known as the Book of Kells.

Losing It

So fast forward another couple hundred-ish years and for the first time the book is mentioned in the Annals of Ulster. It’s the 11th century and the reason its noted down is because it got stolen. Yeah, you know someone got in trouble for that one.

Why would someone steal a book? Especially in a time when so many people were illiterate? Because these illuminated manuscripts weren’t sitting around for people to thumb through. There were part of religious ceremonies and often kept in fancy cases in or near the high altar. And the Book of Kells’s case was made of gold.

That’s what the thieves were after. Which is a lucky thing, because it appears they took the case, then discarded the book, which was found (I don’t know exalt how long after) buried in the dirt with its case missing. This did do some damage to the book, including losing several pages, but for the thing to have survived at all is crazy lucky.

Quick Jump Through History

Okay big history jump again. This time to 1592 when Queen Elizabeth decides to build a university in Dublin. Then Lizzie dies, we go through a few kings, and then Oliver Cromwell goes right through the neck of Charles I. Crowell then brings his forces to Ireland. And I won’t go into all the history, but this guy had some serious anger issues.

He ends up in Kells in 1653/54, destroys most of the abbey the Book of Kells was kept in, and turns the church into a stable for his horses. Luckily, again this is a very lucky book, the church folks had gotten the Book of Kells out of there before his arrival and to the safety of Dublin Castle. And in 1661 Henry Jones, who then becomes Bishop of Meath once Crowell is taken care of and King Charles II is in power, presents the Book of Kells to Trinity College where it’s found a happy home ever since.

The Library

So in 1712, the library of Trinity College was begun. It would take 20 years before what is known as the Old Library or the Long Room would open. And it’s not because they were being careful architects that this took so long. They actually ran out of money soon into the project. In the end it ended up costing 20,000 pounds, which is about 1.4 million pounds today, or around $2million. And the library opened with 25,000 books to fill its shelves.

In 1801 Trinity College Library was made a legal deposit, which means it receives one copy of every book published in Ireland and the UK. And if that sounds familiar, The British Library, which I talked about way back in Episode 7, is also a legal deposit. 

So, this is great, right? It establishes the library really is legit. Well, the problem was the library wasn’t built for all the books that were now flooding in. See, the original library was built with a flat-ish roof and with book cases all along its length and walls. Well the weight of all those books started pushing the walls of the library outward and the ceiling by was about to collapse.

Thankfully, smarty pants came in and by 1861 had redesigned the Old Library to have an upper gallery and a weight bearing vaulted ceiling, making it look like, as some people say, a cathedral of books. On the shelves are 200,000 of the library’s oldest books, there’s also marble busts of famous authors and other literary sorts, a Celtic harp that was supposed to have belonged to Brian Boru (it didn’t), and one of the few realigning copies of the 1916 Easter Proclamation that insisted on Ireland’s independence form the UK and was read in front of the General Post Office. 

And again, for you numbers lovers, the Long Room is 65 meters long, and that’s 215 feet for the non-metric folks out there. And it’s this Long Room that you’ll likely see if you look up Trinity College Library, but the library itself is still a working library where people can go to do research and make use of the collection of texts.

On Display

It’s also right about the time the Old Library was redesigned that the Book of Kells goes on display to the public. 

And as a personal note, I have visited the Trinity Library and the Book of Kells…and unfortunately, the page it was turned to on the day I was there was almost all text and not very impressive. The manuscripts at the Chester Beatty Museum, which I talked about in episode 11, were far more ooh and ahh inspiring. 

Now, I can’t complain too much because I did get in for free (because I know people), but If I had to pay the 15 euro or whatever it is to get in, I’d have been annoyingly disappointed. However, the Long Room was even better than I expected, so I guess that balances it out a bit.

Still, if we’re ever allowed to travel again and you do get to Dublin, and you want to see gorgeous illuminated manuscripts, I’d say to try the Chester Beatty first, then do Trinity College Library if you have the time and money….unless you know people. There’s also another way to get in for free, which I also did, but it’s not exactly legal, so I won’t tell you.

Wrapping Up

I think that’s all I have for Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells. If you want to see some pages from the book and some images of the library, I’ll put a link in the show notes for Trinity College Library. They also have a couple virtual exhibitions on there that are a great way to procrastinate for a bit.

Updates

And now it’s the time for updates. The podcast is plugging along. The show is nearly a year old, which means I need to start making some decisions. The website and domain name will expire in one more year, so as 2021 progress, I’ll need to ponder over whether to keep the show running, or to turn off the mic on this little project. This show does take a long time to put together and I’m not sure what exactly I’m getting from it, other than some interesting research, so…

As for writing, I’m done with The Uncanny Raven Winston Book Two of The Cassie Black Trilogy. Hoorah! It is on pre-order and comes out on 13 April and I’ll be sending it to my review team soon to see what they think. 

And I have to say, this was such a fun book to write because much of it takes place in London, and so it was a great way to travel to one of my favorite cities during lockdown. And Book Three, The Untangled Cassie Black just needs a couple more read throughs. That one is also on pre-order and comes out 18 May, and it’s going to feel a little weird to have this trilogy done and dusted.

Outro

Okay my book loving friends, that is it. If you enjoyed the show, you can either show your support by purchasing one of my books (links in the show notes) or by simply telling one other person about the show. And with that I will hoot at you next time.

Credits

The book owl podcast is a production of daisy dog media, copyright 2021, all rights reserved. The theme music was composed by Kevin Macleod. Audio processing by Auphonic.com. Video creation by Headliner.app

Book Bargains

Three Ways to Change Your Brain with Fantasy Fiction

Hello Book Nerds of Bloglandia!

Studies show that reading changes your brain for the better in many, MANY ways. Of course, us bibliophiles already knew our brains were tiptop thanks to our love of books, but it’s nice having the scientists confirm that for us.

So really, the book bundles below aren’t just a way to promote the hard work of indie authors like myself, they’re a way to help keep your brain healthy. Isn’t that wonderful of me?

But before we get to your brain boosting book bundles, a quick reminder….

Please, Please, PLEASE Do Take a Peek

As with all these bundles, this is one of the most affordable and effective ways for me and all the fabulous authors involved to get our books noticed.

Trouble is, while good for my budget, I’m only allowed to participate if I get readers like you to browse what’s on offer. So please do check out at least one of the bundles…after all I am helping improve your brain, so it’s a fair trade, right?

You don’t have to buy a thing, but please do take a peek…you never know, you might just discover your next favorite tale.

Alright, Onto the Triple Hit of Brain Juice

The first collection of books was put together by the fantabulous fantasy author Laura Greenwood and features a nice pile of urban and contemporary fantasy stories just waiting to improve your brain function.

***

This second group of make-your-brain-happy books was cobbled together by Jay Toney, author of tantalizing tales, and features all manner of fantasy and sci-fi adventure. And every book should be on sale for $5(USD) or less. Bargain brain boost!!

***

And last but not least, this terrific collection of neuron nudgers steps into the paranormal side of fantasy, because there’s nothing like escaping reality for a little cerebellar serenity.

 

Happy Browsing!!

Of course, if you do buy anything, let me know what you selected. I’m always curious about what you’re reading! Oh, and if you want to see an article about those brain studies, you can find one HERE.

***

Let’s Stay in Touch!

Sign up for my newsletter (there’s a free gift if you do!)

BookBub | Instagram | Twitter

Listen to The Book Owl Podcast

Apply for my Review Team

Episodes, Having Fun

23. Super Sappy Letters of Love

 

The Book Owl is a little belated, but this episode is all about the lovey-dovey, super-gushy story of love letters. From that very first Valentine (which may not actually exist) to the oldest (and sappiest) love letter in English, it’s time to use words to bare our souls!

Mentioned in This Episode….

Like what you hear?

The (Rough) Transcript

Hey everyone, this is Tammie Painter and you’re listening to the Book Owl Podcast, the podcast where I entertain your inner book nerd with tales of quirky books and literary lore. 

Intro

Now, I know I’m running a little late with this, but when I was trying to come up with an idea for this 23rd episode of the podcast, it was right around Valentine’s Day and love was in the air. Of course I am head over heels for books and could have maybe come up with a lengthy poem about that lifelong adoration, but since I’m not at all poetic, I thought I’d step away from books this time, and instead turn to another form of writing: the love letter. 

But before we jump into this lovey dovey, super gushy episode, give me just a few moments to share a special announcement. 

The Big Announcement

As you know, I usually save my updates for the end of the show, but I’m a bit too ecstatic over this week’s update to wait that long. So, the big news is, shoot, I should have found a drum roll soundbite, anyway the big news is…

My latest novel The Undead Mr. Tenpenny launched its way into the world on Tuesday. The book is available at all major ebook retailers including Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Tolino, and on my very own Payhip BookStore, for slightly less than you’ll pay at the other stores. It’s not a huge discount, but you know. The book also available as a paperback. I know Amazon has it, and if it isn’t already, it should be showing up on other retailers soon.

I don’t want to gobble up too much time here, so I’ll wait until the end of to read you the book description and share some reviews from a few people who have already read the book and who truly gave me the confidence to go ahead with the publication of this novel. So, more on that later. And of course, whenever you’re ready to go do some book shopping, the links and details you need are going to be in the show notes.

A Quick Thank You

And one quick bit of thanks goes out to Jonathon, aka “Jonny”, Pongratz who has been enthusiastically commenting on and sharing the show on his own Jaunts & Haunts blog. 

He’s also been tossing stars around like a Hollywood sidewalk designer with all the reviews he’s been doing on my stories lately. And if you want to see those reviews, the link to his website will be in the show notes. And just as a free bit of “thank you” advertising, Jonny has also just released his own new novel. It’s called Reaper: Aftermath, and you’ll find out all about it if you head to his website at JonathonPongratz.com

Okay, so we have a show to get to.

St. Valentine – Who Are You??

As you might know, Valentine’s Day — besides celebrating all things chocolate — is celebrated in honor of St. Valentine. But who in the world is this guy and what does he have to do with the 14th of February, or with sending gooey sweet cards to your loved ones?

Well, no one really knows. Okay, that’s not exactly true, but in the book that records all things saintly there are three people, and in some accounts seven people, who all fit the bill for being St. Valentine. So what we end up with is kind of a hodge podge of various stories blending into one person over the years. And there really are a lot of bits and bobs to all the Valentine histories, but like a cheap bottle of red wine, I’m going with the blend because it’s far less confusing. 

So our mash up guy had the family name of Valens, which means worthy, and his name got Romanized into Valentinius, or Valentinus, whichever you prefer. I like Valentinius, and it’s my podcast, so that’s what you’re going to get. 

Valentine Proves His Stuff

Valentinius was a Christian priest or possibly a bishop in the third century common era. And this was before Emperor Constantine went and converted all the Romans to Christianity, so being a Christian was still something that was looked down upon by the Roman powers that be. And by looked down upon, I mean you were likely to get sent to the lions if you got a bit too mouthy about your faith.

Since this new religion wasn’t very well tolerated, Valentinius was arrested for trying to spread the word, or for marrying couples in the Christian tradition, again, whichever story you prefer. It’s kind of a choose your own adventure of religious history, right?

Valentinius was put under house arrest in the home of Judge Asterius (who may or may not have had a chubby friend named Obelixius, and if you don’t get that joke, go look up some Belgian comics). Anyway, one day Valentinius and the judge get chatting about religion, as you do. The judge said, “If your god is really so great, and if you believe in him so damn much, then make my blind daughter see again and I’ll do whatever your Christ-loving heart desires.” That’s not an exact quote, by the way.

So of course, voila! Valentinius makes the blind girl see, the judge converts to Christianity and sets all his Christian inmates free, including Valentinius. Not seeing what a lucky break he’s gotten, Valentinius goes back to his rebellious ways and starts trying to convert people again. 

Valentine Doesn’t Learn

The emperor is having nothing to do with this and arrests Valentinius again. But as with the judge, the two get to talking. These people seem to have a lot of conversations with their prisoners. Anyway, the emperor finds out he kind of likes this Valentinius guy. It’s nearly a bromance in the making when Valentinius commits a huge Roman ruler faux pas and tries to convert the emperor. The emperor is like, “Nope, not gonna do it” and sentences Valentinius to be beaten and beheaded. 

And, as the legend goes, while Valentinius is waiting for his execution, he makes friends, or possibly more than friends, with the jailor’s daughter. On the night before hs death, he writes her a note thanking her for her kindness and signs it: Your Valentine. But you know, in Latin. 

The Valentine Scandal

Or so the story goes.

See, none of the records have Valentinius writing that infamous note, and it’s likely it was just an embellishment added to his tale in the 18th century. Which I would just bet is when the greeting card industry was looking for a new marketing scheme.

Anyway, so Valentinius was executed on the 14th of February 269 common era. He was made a saint, I think in 496, if I’m reading things right, but his saint’s day, that would be Valentine’s Day, really wasn’t seen as much more than any other holy day for at least another 500 years. Because it’s not until some time around the years 1100 to 1200 that the day becomes a time to celebrate love and to give your sweetheart a token of our affection…including love letters…because, you know, there were no Hallmark stores yet.

And just as a little side note, in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 6th of July, so if you forgot to get your sweetie something special this Valentine’s Day, you can try to point out that you’re really not late, but do so at your own risk because that excuse might earn you a smack upside the head.

Famous Love Letters

This whole Valentine and his letters thing got me wondering about famous historical love letters, and this did end up being a fun bit of research. I know this isn’t exactly book-related, but as I said, it is a form of writing and so it does fit with the theme of the podcast.

And there were a ton of examples of famous love letters, but I’ll just run through a handful, then we’ll get to the gushiest, the most dramatic one, which is also the oldest love letter written in English.

One of the oldest love letters is actually in the Bible. I know, this is turning into a very religious epidote, but I promise it stops soon. So this is the Song of Solomon and that book of the Bible is basically just one long, and at times pretty sexy, love poem. And it is pretty gushy.

“Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves.”

Which is far better than thinking about all those stinky animals on Noah’s Ark.

Alright, so of course, amongst the famous couples of the world we have Napoleon and Josephine. Napoleon was gobsmacked by Jo the moment he saw her, and as a young lieutenant he wrote to her obsessively. For her part, she barely replied. Quite the coquette our Josephine!

In one letter he writes,

“A few days ago I thought I loved you; but since I last saw you I feel I love you a thousand times more… I beg you, let me see some of your faults: be less beautiful, less graceful, less kind, less good…”

Yeah Jo, if you could just suck a little bit, I wouldn’t be tormented by loving you. Nah, he’d probably love her all the more.

A very famous love letter, made even more famous by a movie starring Gary Oldman is Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved letter. We still don’t know who he wrote it to, but man, this guy had it bad…He writes,

“I can only live, either altogether with you or not at all. What longing in tears for you — You — my Life — my All — farewell. Oh, go on loving me — never doubt the faithfullest heart

Of your beloved, L

Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.”

Sorry, is it getting warm in here?

The Oldest Love Letter in English

So the oldest love letter written in English was in fact a Valentines’ Day letter, written in 1477. It comes from a collection of correspondences of the Paston family, and the whole collection gives a really good glimpse into life at that time. And in the show notes, I’ll include a link so you can see the actual letter itself.

It’s written by Margery Brews to John Paston, who is her fiancé. And this letter, so gushy, I wonder if Margery might not be embarrassed that we’re reading it to this day. In the letter it seems like something has come up that maybe her dad isn’t cool with the engagement, but Margery will never give up on her John. 

She’s actually a little scary. 

She writes, and I’m pretty sure this is how she would have said all this..

Unto my right well-beloved Valentine John Paston, squire, I am not in good health of body nor of heart, nor shall I be till I hear from you. For there knows no creature what pain that I endure, And even on the pain of death I would reveal no more. 

And then she goes on saying her mom has been pleading their case, but she’s been getting nowhere for her efforts. But this won’t deter our Marge.

But if you love me, as I trust verily that you do, you will not leave me therefore. For even if you had not half the livelihood that you have… I would not forsake you. 

So basically, even if he’s poor, shed still want him. Then, even though she says her friends have tried to dissuade her from making this promise she swears…

And if you command me to keep me true wherever I go, indeed I will do all my might you to love and never anyone else. My heart me bids evermore to love you truly over all earthly things. 

Finally and quite dramatically, she concludes…

And if they be never so angry, I beseech you that this bill be not seen by any non-earthly creature save only yourself. And this letter was written at Topcroft with full heavy heart.

Yeah, I don’t know John, she sounds a bit clingy…just saying.

Anyway, that is it for love letters, one of the sappiest but also most endearing forms of writing that anyone can do…if they dare!

Reviews are Love Letters to Authors

Alright, as promised, it’s time for more about my book release. And speaking of love letters, I just have to give a big hunk of love to my early readers. As you know from earlier episodes, I had lost a lot of confidence in The Undead Mr. Tenpenny, but I pushed through and sent it out to some brave readers. 

And they didn’t hate it! In fact they’ve loved the humor, the characters, and the story line, and they really gave me the final push to actually release the book. Basically, those reviews were more meaningful than any love letter. So, if you ever think a review doesn’t matter, think again and leave that review!

The Undead Mr. Tenpenny Description

Okay, here’s the description for The Undead Mr Tenpenny, there’s also links in the show notes to some videos to celebrate the book launch – you know, just in case you want to see the face behind the voice, and of course there’s links to do a bit of book shopping.

Okay, so the tagline is

Work at a funeral home can be mundane. Until you accidentally start bringing the dead back to life.

And the description reads,

Cassie Black works at a funeral home. She’s used to all manner of dead bodies. What she’s not used to is them waking up. Which they seem to be doing on a disturbingly regular basis lately.

Just when Cassie believes she has the problem under control, the recently-deceased Busby Tenpenny insists he’s been murdered and claims Cassie might be responsible thanks to a wicked brand of magic she’s been exposed to. The only way for Cassie to get her life back to normal is to tame her magic and uncover Mr. Tenpenny’s true killer.

Simple right? Of course not. Because while Cassie works on getting her newly-acquired magic sorted, she’s blowing up kitchens, angering an entire magical community, and discovering her past is more closely tied to Busby Tenpenny than she could have ever imagined.

If you like contemporary fantasy with snarky humor, unforgettable characters, and paranormal mystery such as Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, you’ll find it hard to pry yourself away from this first book of the Cassie Black Trilogy.

A Little Praise from Early Readers

And I’ll just quote a few of those reviewer love letters before I let you go…

The Undead Mr. Tenpenny is a clever, hilarious romp through a new magical universe that can be accessed through the closet of a hole-in-the-wall apartment in Portland, Oregon.

—Sarah Angleton, author of Gentleman of Misfortune

When I saw the book title…my first thought was, “another zombie apocalypse”. A wonderful surprise greeted me with an entertaining story that was written with humor, a great story line and new twist on the undead.

—J. Tate, Eugene Reviewer

…suffused with dark humor and witty dialogue, of the sort that Painter excels at…a fun read for anyone who enjoys fast-paced, somewhat snarky, somewhat twisted, fantasy adventures.

—Berthold Gambrel, author of Vespasian Moon’s Fabulous Autumn Carnival

Wow and wow again! I absolutely loved this book! You get such a feel for the characters and the story is so fast paced you don’t want to put it down.

—Goodreads Reviewer

Outro

Okay my book loving friends, that’s it for this love-filled episode. If you enjoyed the show, I’d love it if you shared it with just one other person, and if you’d like to show your support, please go get a copy of The Undead Mr. Tenpenny from your favorite retailer! Have a great couple weeks, and I will hoot at you next time.

Credits

The Book Owl Podcast is a production of Daisy Dog Media, copyright 2021 all rights reserved. The theme music was composed by Kevin Macleod. Audio processing by Auphonic.com

Updates

It’s Time to Celebrate The Undead Mr. Tenpenny!

Hello Book Lovers!

Don’t get confused, it is indeed Wednesday, not my usual Thursday posting day. You’ll be hearing about this announcement in tomorrow’s episode, but I just couldn’t hold off celebrating yesterday’s release of The Undead Mr. Tenpenny!!

Below, I’ve pasted all the information you could ever want about this darkly humorous paranormal mystery/contemporary fantasy…okay, it’s probably more info than you could ever want, but seriously, I’m super excited about this book, the reviews it’s earned, and the trilogy as a whole.

So, if you haven’t already seen this on my main blog, keep scrolling to see….

  • The Sales-y Bit – with links to buy ebooks and paperbacks of The Undead Mr. Tenpenny
  • The Happy Bit – reviews from a few of my early readers
  • The Goofy Bit – the Book Launch Video Extravaganza where I share the stories behind the story of Mr. Tenpenny
  • The Informative Bit – with the book description and a sample chapter

Enjoy! And I will be back to hoot at you tomorrow with the super sappy, lovey-dovey Episode 23!

(reposted from TammiePainter.com/blog)

Hello Bloglandia!

Break out the bubbly because it’s finally time to say…

Happy Release Day to The Undead Mr. Tenpenny!

Ugh, and what a slog it’s been to get to this day.

As some of you know, I had planned the release of this book for last fall, but I think we can all agree that no one’s plans for 2020 panned out quite as they should have.

I’m glad I waited, though. Working through the trilogy as a whole has really brought a nice cohesiveness, consistency, and, and, and, argghhhh, I can’t think of another suitable word that starts with CO. Colorado-ness? No, probably not.

Anyway, the series is far stronger thanks to the delay and I’m thrilled to get the first installment out into the world.

Okay, let’s get going with this launch, let’s look at what readers are saying, let’s get you a sample chapter, and let’s make sure anyone new is brought up to speed…

Let’s Get This Out of the Way

Before we get too deep into the celebrations, I need to try to sell you stuff.

To anyone who pre-ordered The Undead Mr. Tenpenny, THANK YOU! It’s always a thrill to see I have a few eager beavers out there.

For those of you who haven’t ordered the book yet, but are ready to get your copy, the links you need are right here…

EBOOKS….

PAPERBACKS

These are a little more complicated because, other than Amazon, I’m not sure exactly which retailers are carrying the book just yet.

  • For Amazon paperbacks (available now):
  1. Follow this link: https://books2read.com/CassieBlack1
  2. Tap the Kindle icon
  3. Select the paperback option on the book’s Amazon page.
  4. Or go directly to your region’s Amazon store and enter the book’s Amazon Identifier: B08WVC5D8N (this gives more accurate results than searching for the book title)
  • For Non-Amazon Retailers (more stores will be rolling out over the next week or so…sometimes the paperback gods don’t move as quickly as I’d like):
  1. Search or ask for the book by its title, or
  2. Search for the book by its non-Amazon ISBN: 978 138 697 7674

Maybe You’re Not Convinced Yet?

Okay, if you’re still not quite convinced this book is for you, perhaps a few comments from some delighted readers might entice you…

“The Undead Mr. Tenpenny is a clever, hilarious romp through a new magical universe that can be accessed through the closet of a hole-in-the-wall apartment in Portland, Oregon.”

—Sarah Angleton, author of Gentleman of Misfortune

“When I saw the book title…my first thought was, “another zombie apocalypse”. A wonderful surprise greeted me with an entertaining story that was written with humor, a great story line and new twist on the undead.”

—J. Tate, Eugene Reviewer

“Man oh man, did I love this book! …The plot was great, and got even better as things progressed…. I think the biggest pro of this book is the characters.”

—Jonathon Pongratz, author of Reaper: Aftermath

“…suffused with dark humor and witty dialogue, of the sort that Painter excels at…a fun read for anyone who enjoys fast-paced, somewhat snarky, somewhat twisted, fantasy adventures.”

—Berthold Gambrel, author of Vespasian Moon’s Fabulous Autumn Carnival

“…a fun and entertaining read. Great wit too.”

—Carrie Rubin, author of The Bone Curse

“Wow and wow again! I absolutely loved this book! You get such a feel for the characters and the story is so fast paced you don’t want to put it down.”

—Goodreads Reviewer

Or Maybe You’ve Never Met Mr. Tenpenny

There’s three ways to learn more about this book: You can peruse the description below, you can read a sample chapter (also below), and/or you can watch some goofy videos.

For the goofy videos…

If you haven’t caught the first two parts of “The Undead Mr. Tenpenny Book Launch Video Extravaganza”, here’s your chance. More parts are coming soon, and I know you’d really hate to get behind on the show, but I refuse to be held responsible if you lose your lunch at the sight of me.

  • Part One (beware, there’s talk of pustules) can be seen HERE
  • Part Two (in which I explain how a funeral inspired an entire trilogy) can be seen HERE
  • Part Three (in which you can learn the furry secret behind the names in the books) can be seen HERE
  • Part Four (where I tell you all about my favorite part of the novel…the desserts!) can be seen HERE
The goofy face behind the words.

If you’re looking for that description…

Work at a funeral home can be mundane. Until you accidentally start bringing the dead back to life.

Cassie Black works at a funeral home. She’s used to all manner of dead bodies. What she’s not used to is them waking up. Which they seem to be doing on a disturbingly regular basis lately.

Just when Cassie believes she has the problem under control, the recently-deceased Busby Tenpenny insists he’s been murdered and claims Cassie might be responsible thanks to a wicked brand of magic she’s been exposed to. The only way for Cassie to get her life back to normal is to tame her magic and uncover Mr. Tenpenny’s true killer.

Simple right? Of course not. Because while Cassie works on getting her newly-acquired magic sorted, she’s blowing up kitchens, angering an entire magical community, and discovering her past is more closely tied to Busby Tenpenny than she could have ever imagined.

If you like contemporary fantasy with snarky humor, unforgettable characters, and paranormal mystery such as Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, you’ll find it hard to pry yourself away from this first book of the Cassie Black Trilogy.

  • Selected as one of Apple’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021
  • Winner of the Novel Excerpt Prize from the League of American PEN Women
  • Finalist in the Yeah You Write! Novel Contest

And Finally, Here’s a Quick Excerpt…

Prologue – The Unexpected

I work in a funeral home. I’m used to seeing all manner of dead bodies. I’m used to bodies ranging from young to old, fat to thin, dark to pale. I’m used to the peacefully deceased to the horrifically killed. I’m used to them lying there still, silent, and slowly decomposing. 

What I am not used to, is them getting up and walking away. 

Which is why when Mr. Boswick — he of the untimely coronary embolism — started drumming his fingers against the cold surface of the metal work table as I added the final touches to his makeup job, well I’d like to tell you I kept my cool, that I maintained my composure, but that’d be a lie. 

Nope, I screamed like a baby boomer who’s just lost every dime in her 401K, then promptly upended my tray of cosmetics as I jumped several feet backward. Five weeks and two walking bodies later, and I’m still scraping beige powder out of the oddest places.

As the cloud of talcum-soft haze filled the chilly workroom, Mr. Boswick sat up with a grunt, put his hands to his ears, and gave me the dirtiest would-you-shut-the-hell-up look I’ve ever seen on a guy — dead or alive.

Still giving me The Look and moving with uncertain slowness, Mr. Boswick eased himself off the table. His legs trembled a little as his feet and legs took their owner’s weight for the first time in several days. I could have taken him then. I could have just pushed him over and hogtied him, but let me tell you, no matter how many zombie movies you’ve seen or novels you’ve read, no matter how well you can suspend belief, you still go around living your life assuming the Zombie Apocalypse is something that happens to other people.

And so, rather than attack, double tap, or run, I stood there getting coated in Dewy Chiffon dust while Mr. Boswick took two clumsy steps with his hands held out like an unsteady toddler. 

He looked back and forth between the two doorways in his line of sight. First one, then the other, then back to the first, then he headed toward Door Number Two. Unfortunately, this first effort at post-mortem decision making landed him in our storage closet, but we here at Wood’s Funeral Home don’t deduct points for guessing. Standing amongst a year’s supply of paper towels and bottles of extra-strength cleaning solution, Mr. Boswick turned to me with a question on his heavily made-up face.

I suppose I should have rushed over, slammed the closet door, locked him in, and burned the place down to save humanity, but at this point my neurons were more than a little numb with shock and were refusing to chat with one another. Instead of being the hero, I pointed to Door Number One above which shone the green glow of an exit sign. Mr. Boswick gave a little nod of thanks before shuffling to and out the door.

With my brain operating about as quickly as a dial-up modem from 1992, I glanced down at the metal work table. To all appearances it was empty, but I reached out and patted it just to make sure all the chemicals I work around weren’t giving me hallucinations. With a grimace, my hand landed on a cold, smooth surface that was definitely lacking the corporeal remains of Mr. Boswick. Then my eyes caught the photo of him I’d been working from. The photo his family had loaned us.

His family! If he tried to get to his family—

And there we have it, folks. Miracle of all miracles, Cassie Black’s brain is functioning once again.

 

More Fun for the Week Ahead….

Daily details of what’s in store….

  • Monday – The Inspiration for The Undead Mr. Tenpenny (with video)
  • Tuesday – Release Day! Links and a repost of a stellar review. (no video, phew)
  • Wednesday – Double dose of videos. 1) The secret of my character names, and 2) Why my magic system made me drool more than once
  • Thursday – Oops, I forgot to tell you about the book. I do so in this post (with video) where I might also toss in a sample chapter.
  • Friday – I had too much fun with cultural references in the book, and thought I’d share a few (with video)
  • Saturday – Paperback show off!! What not to do with paperback design, and the final result after fixing it (with video)
  • Sunday – A break from my books to post about what I read in February
  • Wednesday (3 March) – Finally, what’s coming up next (with video)

***