If we were trying to have coffee today I’d no doubt be all excited! It’s release day for my latest novel. PENUMBRA.
Some people make a big deal about release day. For me it is a bit anticlimactic…okay, it’s official. Distribution is a little wonky today too. This month my publisher is expanding the print copies into a new supplier. We have been exclusively Amazon for a while. Now Amazon will provide print copies sold on its platform and the new supplier will be able to more easily provide copies to bookstores and libraries.
Of course with anything new, the publisher had no real guidance into how long the new books would be in limbo. When they are available, they’ll be available. To make matters worse, the print copies on Amazon are delayed as well.
It’s a good thing I didn’t plan anything big for release day. Today’s big “release” activity? I cut the grass!
Okay, tomorrow is the big day! I know, I’ve bothered you all week, but I just wanted to be sure I got the word out.
This will mark three books published in 10 months. It’s not quite as amazing as it sounds. For one thing, for a number of reasons I had a three-year-hiatus in publishing, well, except for my companion cookbook. So, this pretty much puts me back on track for a book a year. It amounts to the four books of the Traces of Treasure Series, and the stand-alone historical novel The Hag Rider (my other Summer of 2020 release).
I managed to cobble Penumbra together in a little over five months, from the first page to the final revision and signed contract. My first book, The Fever, took close to three years. Writing is like any other journey. There are left turns and right turns, and any number of hard stops. One encounters bumpy roads and pitfalls. Actually, in writing, we create a lot of bumpy roads and pitfalls.
Anyway, thanks for coming along for the ride. There will be more to come, most certainly. I have assembled quite a crew of characters who are meant to take this series forward, but I probably won’t feature ALL of them at the same time as I did in Penumbra.
Look for Penumbra on Amazon tomorrow, in Kindle, KindleUnlimited, & paperback. I’m working on getting copies into some bookstores as well but with my small publisher, this is a work in progress.
I guess it is time for another review! Bonnye Reed is another prolific Goodreads reviewer with almost 2900 reviews posted. She’s reviewed several of my books and I am gratified that she has so far liked my work:
I am pleased to refer Thomas Fenske to friends and family. He writes a tight, intriguing story set in the desert southwest – or as we know it, God’s Country. His characters are contrary but honest, and his background and scenic descriptions are spot-on. The addition of mystical and possibly unhappy spirits is an added bonus. I have enjoyed everything I have read from Thomas Fenske, and this is another five-star effort.
Penumbra is stand alone, the fourth in the series Traces of Treasure. Sam and his girlfriend Smidgeon along with several of their friends get drawn into another intriguing search for missing treasure. They travel over the desert SW, driving from Van Horn, TX north into the White Mountain Wilderness north of Ruidoso, NM, and back around and through the Mescalero Reservation and Tularosa, Alamogordo, and several trips through Roswell – back in the age of payphones and Roswell without aliens everywhere. It was a good trip, very nostalgic and satisfying. It was also back in the ago of mandatory 55 mph all across the US, but the drudgery of travel in that time period is left out thank goodness. Most of us remember that all too well. .
Mixed into Penumbra is a posse of good friends, conscientious law enforcement, polite, helpful people, and excellent food – I enjoyed that part of traveling back in the day. You will, too. And the bad guys are satisfyingly bad. Definitely a win-win novel.
I am blushing when I read such high praise. You can judge for yourself.
Penumbra will be available on Amazon Saturday, August 1, in Kindle, KindleUnlimited, and Paperback. Pre-order Kindle NOW at Amazon!
Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.
You can find more information about him and his writing at http://thefensk.com
There are three days until the release of Penumbra!
Today I’d like to share a little bit about the story. This is the fourth installment of the Traces of Treasure Series and, like the others, it involves a search for a treasure. The first three eventually became a trilogy, one story led directly to the next. I fooled myself into thinking they could each stand-alone, and to some extent, I guess they can, but they are definitely tied together. Penumbra, though, is a story unto itself. We have the same characters, but we are not as concerned about their past exploits this time. Events move quickly and although there is some sense of their community of friendship, they are too busy doing what they are doing to bother much about the past.
What they are doing is trying to find the lost boyfriend of an acquaintance of cafe owner Smidgeon Toll. Of course, the pendulum of fate has made another pass: HE was on a quest for a lost treasure. In order to find him, Smidgeon and her boyfriend must enlist the aid of their friends to first get on his trail, then discern more about this treasure he was after. Along the way, they encounter a huge, centuries-old mystery, confront a crew of bad guys who kidnap and murder their own way in pursuit of the loot. New friends join the quest as well, including Ximena, who I mentioned a few days ago.
Another new friend is Bea Welbourne, a special collections librarian at a nearby university. Bea has no reason to become involved, but she’s intrigued by the tale she’s heard and is even more intrigued by the trail of clues she manages to uncover. She’s no stodgy librarian, she is smart, fit, and can hold her own out in the wilderness. When told she doesn’t need to help them, she simply responds that she enjoys a bit of excitement. She certainly gets more than she bargained for.
I don’t want to say too much more, because I’m getting into spoiler territory, but suffice it to say, there are many veiled layers concealing the core of this mystery. All the pieces fit together, but it takes a while for our hardy crew of treasure-hunter, investigators to a conclusion. It is full of twists and turns, with criminals lurking and popping up when you least expect it. And there are several supernatural things complicating matters at several turns. Oh, and the cover? You’ll see all of that in the story.
With less than a week to go before publication, I’m going to let you in on a few of the surprises in my August release, PENUMBRA.
For the first of these surprises, I’d like to introduce you to a new character, Ximena. Well, actually, she’s not quite a new character. We’ve met her twice before, in the first two books of the Traces of Treasure Series. She was a young girl in The Fever, a passenger in a car Sam encountered at a gas station in Fort Stockton Texas. She served as a translator for her aunt, an old bruja woman who discerned the danger surrounding Sam’s life and gave him a small stone that contained the power to help protect him.
After surviving the troubles in The Fever, Sam managed to lose track of the stone and danger followed him again in A Curse That Bites Deep because of its absence. The old woman sensed this and perceived the peril that Sam faced, so she looked him up to warn him. The young girl, now a few years older, served as the driver for her aunt.
In Penumbra, this girl is now a young woman of about nineteen. Her aunt recently died, passing the torch of responsibility to her young charge, who we learn is Ximena (pronounced Hi-men-a). Although new to brujeria, she does not take this duty lightly.
Brujeria is a form of spiritual belief akin to witchcraft in Latin American cultures. Ximena has been well instructed, and as we will find out, possesses perceptions and powers that go far beyond even a loose interpretation of normal.
Consider this passage from Penumbra, when Sam is about to encounter some of the bad guys unarmed.
..the phone rang again.
“Sam! Where are you?”
“We just pulled into Carlsbad. Ximena made me stop and call you.”
Smidgeon’s heart skipped a beat. “What?”
“She suddenly pointed at a payphone on the side of the road and said I needed to call you right away. Is there anything wrong?”
“I just got off the phone with Holly. She told me that Earl called and let her talk to Dave. He’s in Carlsbad with Earl and Ding. She is supposed to come by herself along with the paper and meet them at a small store on Lea Street at 5 in the morning. She said it is on the west side of town.”
“I have the paper.”
“I know that. I was just fixing to call Mule to ask him what we should do when you called.”
“Call Holly, and tell her to stay put. I’ll handle it.”
“Sam, how can you face off with Earl and Ding? You don’t even have a gun.”
“I have Ximena.”
She’s young and she’s short, about five feet tall, but she’s already proven that she can handle herself in a tense confrontation.
What can she do? What does she do? Well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it?
Penumbra, the fourth book in my Traces of Treasure Series, is an adventure mystery that continues the adventures of Sam, Smidgeon, and Lance, along with a few other friends and characters. Yes, the ghosts are back as well, more ghosts than you might expect. The first three books in the series are basically a trilogy, but this continuation of the series is quite capable of standing alone. But I have to warn you: after reading this one you will be hooked; you will definitely want to go back and read the other three. Just saying …
My latest novel, A Curse That Bites Deep, will be published October 1!
My publisher, in association with most of the major eBook retailers, have decided to offer the a 25% discount on eBookpre-orders until the official release day. On the first of October it goes back to normal price.
That’s a crisp one dollar bill off, folks! It will reserve your copy and it will be available on release day.
This is a sequel to my debut novel, The Fever, and continues the story. Ah, but things take an evil turn in this one. People are dying, suspicions run high, and poor Sam seems to be in the thick of things.
The pre-release of my novel A Curse That Bites Deep is in full swing. Well, except for Amazon. All of the other major ebook retailers have their pre-buy links up and you can reserve your copy for a 25% discount. Links are available on the “buy” button on my web page: http://thefensk.com
Hopefully Amazon will get with the competition and activate it soon. Then I’ll be able to market the book in earnest.
The book is a sequel to The Fever and everybody is back. Well for a while, anyway. There is evil afoot and Sam seems to be at the center of it all. There are a few surprises and a few murders and a good mystery to be solved.
I’m looking for reviewers so if you review books and might be interested drop me a line …
There’s an email link on my web page as well as more information about both books and me. http://thefensk.com
If we were having coffee I’d have to tell you about the find. I mean, we all seem to spend half our lives trying to find something, either our glasses, the car keys, or the remote control. Sometimes it’s something we hung onto for six years and threw away as useless only last week. Sometimes, it is something we weren’t even looking for. Those are the best, especially when it is something significant or remarkable.
That’s what this conversation is about, something I found that was both significant and remarkable. And I wasn’t looking for it, either, but I’m glad I know where it is now.
What I found was the original note I wrote detailing the basic premise of my novel, The Fever. I remember the fact of writing it but here was the remarkable thing: I didn’t know I had dated it. I don’t date anything, but I did this time. It was written 30 years previously THAT SAME WEEK. I’d come across it from time to time but hadn’t seen it since long before I wrote the novel. The mere fact of writing it down pretty much committed the few facts I jotted down to memory, but the note itself had been floating around the house for quite a while. I hadn’t planned on writing anything that day in 1986. My wife and I had gone to San Antonio for a weekend getaway. She was several months pregnant and had decided to take a nap after some of our running around and I retired to the hotel bar to let her sleep for a short while. Bored, I asked for some stationery and wrote down a page of notes.
There wasn’t a lot of detail but at the heart of it was this: “Shift to flashback – ten years earlier. Scene: Jail holding tank (Austin?) Protagonist is incarcerated >> befriending grizzled old-timer who has been manhandled by police during arrest. He was punched in the throat and is coughing up blood. Our hero holds his head up and gives him water and talks to him but he is dying. At this point he is told certain details of the lost Franco mine in West Texas. They seem to be the muddled words of a dying wino but the hint of truth rings clear. The information seems to be a bit more than an empty legend. The man dies and the information is quietly filed away.”
The novel has all of that, although I later found a bit of Texas folklore to use as the goal — not sure how I concocted the “Franco” mine, but it was the idea I think. But the injured wino in jail, making his deathbed confession remained the catalyst of the story over all the years of speculation, writing, and revision.
The note ended up with: the hero beginning to … “research the legend. The information he was given jives with the legend — and then some. The fire burns in his breast now and he tries to find every and any shred of evidence he can. He studies historical records, oral histories, geologic maps, & topographic maps >> IF it exists — maybe he can find it.”
All remained central to the story. Even the “fire burns in his breast now’ … later naturally applied itself to the title: The Fever.
It’s ironic I find it right now too, I’d tell y ou … here, right on the cusp of the publication of the sequel to The Fever. I never envisioned an extension to the story, but now there is not only an extension, there is even a third book in the works.
All from my decision to take a short break in a bar in San Antonio Texas.
Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina. He is the author of The Fever and A Curse That Bites Deep (Due out October 1). More info: http://thefensk.com