A Quick Word from our Author

YES!!!!

I have just sent back what I believe to be the final changes on Ren Faire at the End of the World. All that remains for me is the Dedication, Acknowledgements, and the back cover. With luck, my publisher can set a publication date so that I’ll be eligible for next year’s Ohioana Book Festival.

After that, back to squirrels and lacquered kites.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled internet browsing.

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Hold your hands up & go “Wheeee!”

Things are speeding up for my writing stuff. Last week, I signed a contract for all three books of the Arcanum Faire trilogy with Post Mortem Press: Camp Arcanum, Power Tools in the Sacred Grove, and Ren Faire at the End of the World. This week, Phil Rogers finalized the design for the third book’s cover. It is awesome, just like the previous two. We’ll be making special arrangements for a cover reveal in the next few weeks.

Through the auspices of the nice people at Broad Universe I have been able to afford to put Camp Arcanum on NetGalley for a month. There are no reports on the number of downloads or reviews before the end of the month, but we’ve gotten several “thumbs ups” for the cover in the first five days. I will put Power Tools up in November and follow with Ren Faire in December.

If you are interested in picking up the first book and being paid for it, check out FlipLoud. They are a social media promotion group that enters readers into a drawing for a gift card for purchasing a featured book. If you are seeing a lot more sex, magick, and power tools on the internet, it is all their fault.

https://fliploud.com/product/camp-arcanum-by-josef-matulich/

One last thing. I will be going down to Louisville this weekend for Imaginarium. With my literary wing man  Sheldon Gleisser in attendance, I will rubbing elbows with other authors, speaking on panels, and learning to drink like a writer. Though I may be sticking to coffee if I give myself too much of a headache Friday night.

http://www.entertheimaginarium.com/

Lots of stuff happening as we slide down the slippery slope to Samhain.

It was all done by elves.

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“Oh yeah, there’s the second half of that conversation.”

The other day, I was at the Cube Farm the other day when the subject of a co-worker came up. This person, who I will call Michael, is an older man who on his best days looks like Agent Gibbs after being tortured in Paraguay for a couple of months. One of my teammates said that Michael had been looking out of sorts lately.

I mentioned that it was understandable. I remembered that he had lost his adult daughter some time in the last year. Having gone through something like that myself, I empathized completely. I had not gotten any of the details of his situation because we were not close, he never showed any sign of wanting to be close, and I don’t enjoy gossip.

The women in my unit went over that topic for a bit, covering the juicy and painful tidbits in what I charitably considered an attempt to comprehend his situation. Then, one of the middle-aged mothers said:

“My God, that’s terrible. I would just die if I lost one of my kids.”

Another woman said pretty much the same thing a minute or two later.

Oh yeah, there’s the second half of that conversation, I thought to myself. The part where my friends and co-workers set off another grief spiral with the best intentions.

I had brought the subject up, I know. This meant that, though my insides began twisting up on themselves, I really didn’t have the right to tell them in gruesome detail what does happen when you lose a child.

You don’t have the luxury of laying down and dying when you have another child that isn’t old enough to understand what has happened to everyone they know.

You don’t have the luxury of laying down and dying when you are the only one your spouse has to understand their pain.  When you are the only one that simply holds on and utters no helpful platitudes. You two go on in proximate silence, each afraid to bring up something that opens another wound, afraid to show that you are bleeding. When both of you are suffering, it eats you up inside to see the other in pain when there is absolutely nothing to ease it.

You don’t die after you lose a child. You act as if you were dead, no sign of grief, no sharing, no opportunity to lance the infection and get beyond it. Most couples who lose a child don’t carry on as a couple for long.

If you’re lucky, you both find a way to heal. Your life becomes a minefield.

Days and months go by without incident. Then, there is a little girl with pigtails like hers. Maybe, it is an older child with CP in a wheelchair, one that got much further than your child had a chance to. Maybe it’s just a child that is happy and alive.

You stop, then, though only blown up in your heart. You grieve, maybe even weep on a bad day.  Darkness prevails for a while. You have a bad day.

You leap back in the stream of normal life and feel it safe to talk about the good times, or the outlandish bad times that boggle the imagination. You pass for normal until the next time you step on a landmine.

Then, you grieve and get back under the horse. You might even write a stupid blog post.

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I Caught my Cat

Since our neighbor’s cat has taken up a haphazard Catch and Release program in the adjoining apartment, we have been having occasional problems with rodents. I’m not talking about the three wayward cavies we inherited from our son, dim-witted rotund beasts approaching a good size for Peruvian Barbecue. Though they take up roughly the same amount of floor space as our  love seat and offend my wife’s wolf-like sense of smell, the guinea pigs are not the rodents I am most annoyed with this week.

We have a mouse.

Having a sly, slinking, disease-carrying vermin is bad enough when you only have the evidence of gnawed waffle boxes and droppings behind the coffee maker. This one has gotten bold.

I was sitting at my desk the other morning with the cat at my right hand. We leave a stool there of just the right height to allow my to simply reach down and skritch Kestrel’s neck. His food bowl is on the floor two or three feet to the right. As I typed and the cat awaited the next round of skritches, something moved off to my left.

As I sat perfectly still, a small darkish blur loped out of the kitchen, past my book bags, and directly under my seat. Only then did it realize that I was there and zipped back out to the kitchen. My cat, descendant of ancient hunting cats of the African plains, remained in meat loaf mode on the stool, apparently lacking limbs, curiosity or any motivation.

That’s when the glue traps came out.

I set one trap on the counter where the little bastard had left fecal calling cards. I left one behind a piece of equipment that sat next the cat’s bowl. Two more were set in the space between the stove and the cabinet and along the path he took in and out of the kitchen. The open trays of sticky polymer each were topped of with a dab of peanut butter to taste and left to do their jobs.

Two days later and no sign of the mouse. I told my wife that I believed that the mouse had been intimidated by my reputation and fled to Argentina. There, he found a nice local mouse, settled down and had lots of little ex-pat mouse babies.

I left the traps in place, willing to bet on the side of rodent cunning.

About two hours ago,  my cat began acting more strangely than usual. He thumped around the hardwood floor, making a clicking noise like falling poker chips as he moved. As I got up and approached the disturbed but embarrassed feline, I could see a black plastic tray measuring two inches by four stuck to the under side of his tail.

For some reason only known to cats and the Goddess, our cat chose to wheel his hindquarters around behind the equipment in the living room to get another angle at his water bowl.  When he settled down to have a long slurp, he set his tail across the glue trap.

The big problem in situations like this is that the Catching is easy, the Releasing involves some pain and anguish. I snagged the beast before he decided to bolt and somehow adhere himself to a wall or the underside of a table. I took the tail in my right hand and the tray in my left. With utmost  gentleness, I tried to separate the two. Kestrel tried to imitate the tone used for the Emergency Broadcast System.

I pulled the cat free and found three large clumps of black fur held fast in the goo. His tail was not denuded, but there was enough hair to make one adult male eyebrow or a decent Charlie Chaplin mustache.

I still have not seen a second sign of the mouse, but I think the cat and the cavies have warned him off.

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In my Car after IT

For those not familiar with it, there is a charity event known as Red Nose Day. It is to raise money for sick children through comedy. On that day this year, one drug store had a bin of red rubber clown noses one could buy. I laid down my dollar for sick children everywhere and stuck the red rubber nose on the edge of the passenger side visor in my HHR.

Sunday, I took my son to see IT. (Sorry Sheldon, he couldn’t wait.) After two-plus hours of jump scares, music stings, and creepy atmospherics, I got back into my car to go home.

In the dark parking lot.

Alone.

I reached up to open the sunroof and let in a little cool air. That’s when I noticed the red rubber clown nose peeping out from the space between visor and roof.

My first thought was: “Oh my, how did that get there?”

I followed up with “Surely Pennywise couldn’t squeeze himself int a space that small.”

Which is why transdimensional psychic vampire clowns don’t hunt old farts like me. Not enough excess emotional energy to let out a shriek of terror when appropriate.

 

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See Me in Circleville

I know this is short notice, folks; it requires wit, discipline, and lung capacity to get back under the horse. Be that as it may, I will be joining other local Ohio authors in the Author’s Alley adjoining Keystone Books & Gifts today.

Along with both of my books, I will have news of my third. Stop by if you’re in Southern Ohio.

 

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Time to Get Back Under the Horse

Michael handed the knives back to Eleazar.

“I think I’ll wait on that second throw.”

Eleazar refused to accept the proffered blades.

“Don’t be discouraged, man.”

Eleazar pushed him back to the firing line.

“You’ve got to suck it up and face your fears,” Eleazar urged. “When you get trampled by a horse, you have to dust yourself off and get right back under it.”

Michael looked at him in dismay. Eleazar shrugged.

“I got that from my Uncle Albert,” said Eleazar. “He took his own advice a little too often.”

– Camp Arcanum

 

I have not been up to the madness of the convention circuit and general self promotion, but now I have finished the third book of my Arcanum Faire and recovered from last year’s pnuemonia. So, with a new book under my arm, I have made plans to promote the crap out of myself. I promised to clean up afterwards.

Next Saturday, I will be in Circleville at Keystone Books & Gifts’ first Author Alley event. Stop by between 9 am and 3 pm to see me and other Central Ohio authors.

https://keystonebooksandgifts.com/happening/author-alley-at-keystone-books/

I will also be a guest at Imaginarium down in Lexington KY on the first weekend of October. Unsure what they will have me talking about, but there is always some way for me to embarrass myself.

http://www.entertheimaginarium.com/

There are other things on the horizon which are less than definite. I hope to be able to slip in under the radar of the Ohioana Book Festival’s radar in April and we have plans for a Book launch party at The Alley and an event at the Book Loft. Those last two will depend on the final release date for “Ren Faire at the End of the World.” If you want to nag my publisher to finalize that, feel free. I promised him that I’d stop.

There are other opportunities within a day’s drive of beautiful downtown Riverlea, but I am always open for more. Any of you people connected with conventions, as con-com or attendee, that believe I might be a good fit as a panelist or bad example, please feel free to throw me under the horse.

authorjosefmatulich AT gmail DOT com

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Poem full of wind

There was a time I would go down to Bernie’s Bagel every day. I would nurse a single cup of coffee for hours and write poetry on the back of the paper place mats. I have not indulged in that kind of Bohemian lifestyle for a long time, but I did write a poem today.

Take it for what it’s worth:

 

If a breeze

murmurs through the trees,

does a cross wind

simply grumble?

 

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Various People Looking Dumb at the Worthington Farmer’s Market.

A nice older woman speaking to the owner of a obviously mixed breed dog.

“So what kind of dog is he?”

“Brown.”

#

The author walks into a coffee house/art gallery the size of a supply closet. The name is redacted out of a sense of fair play. It sits directly off of the main drag of charming Downtown Worthington, a spot the pentagenarian passes twice a week. The pleasantly vague man with the black hat and the mustache says:

“So, you’re new here!”

“No,” says the very young cafeinnista, “we’ve been open a year and a half.”

The man with the black hat is feeling more vague and less pleasant.

#

The author dissembles by examining the art work on the walls: paisleys and polkadots painted on plywood planks. Rothko has nothing to worry about here. Considering how long he has been dead, Rothko has nothing to worry about.

Hoping to redeem some of his lost coolness in the eyes of totally uncaring strangers, the author orders a coffee. Not the usual ‘Murican coffee that he drinks night and day, that comes from a can you can use to store fishing weights afterwards. No, he orders something he’s never tried before, something experimental and cool that won’t make him look like somebody’s disreputable uncle who’s wandered off before morning medication.

It sounded like “Marquisdesado”.

As the caffeinista falls to her task with the focus and energy others might mistake for hatred of all Mankind, the author pays at the iPad and looks over the snacks left to snag the attention of customers that must wait while the Ritual of the Coffee is performed with stainless steel spoons, chalices, and foam. There are cupcakes in sealed plastic containers. Each treat is covered with hand-piped polychrome flowers and leaves, all very pretty and realistic. Almost a shame to eat them.

The day-glo orange labels on the  containers read: Mom’s Vintage Treats.

“Vintage,” says the vague man in a hat. “Does that mean they’re all really old?”

“No,” says the check-out person, “they’re just… just…”

“Vintage style?” the author suggests.

“Yeah. Yeah, inspired by vintage snacks.”

“So, they’re only supposed to taste really old?”

The checkout person stops talking.

#

“Marquisdesado up!” the caffeinista calls out as if the customer is not less than two meters away. Everything in this establishment is less than two meters away.

The vague man in the hat and mustache takes up his paper to-go cup, noting that he has received doses of Nyquil in larger cups. He politely thanks one and all and leaves while he is still allowed. He suspects there is a crawlspace filled with uncool customers below his feet.

The author waits until he is down the sidewalk and out of the line of sight before he takes his first sip. He has never been a member of frou-frou coffee society, and this will probably not be his membership ticket.

Marquisdesado tastes like burnt insoles and leaves the author with the same emotional hangover as binge-watching nun porn. If it hadn’t cost nearly as much as a pound of generic coffee, he would have thrown it out.

Instead, he continues to sip the bitter draft until it is gone and can harm nobody else. His nipples feel like they are slowly turning inside out.

#

The author wrote an entire blog post referring to himself in the third person. He wound up looking pretentious and dumb.

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The Vague Book

I am almost finished with Book Three of my Arcanum Faire trilogy, something I have been working on for the last two years. If there is going to be any catalog of work left when I go paws to Jesus, I’ve got to turn things out faster than that.

As an exercise in speed, hopefully without sacrificing quality, I am taking a fallow screenplay project and turning it into a novella. I won’t tell you which of my old stories, but it was one that I abandoned when a big name director made a pitch trailer for essentially the same film. He has done nothing with it since then, but I am moving on.

The plan is to have it written, re-written, and formatted for self-publication within three months. This should provide a glowing sense of achievement and another item for sale at event tables by Halloween.

In the first two days, in spite of three trips downtown to the Pride Festival and Father’s Day activities, I was able to lay down the first chapter. A whopping eight-hundred words, but eight-hundred more than I had on Friday.

Keep your eyes on this space for news of my progress.

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