94 Years Young

momIf we were having coffee I’d be lamenting the fact that I am once again missing my mother’s birthday.  I live across the country from my mom, who turns 94 today.  I’d raise my mug in toast and say “Happy Birthday, Mom!”

The photo is my favorite picture of my mom,   High School graduation photo.  FYI, that’s pre-war … and I’m sure she was all piss and vinegar as they say.  She got married right after the war and I came along third in line to the throne with two following.

There’s a little-known secret about my early years …   my parents were remarkably cyclic … four of my five siblings were born five years apart.  Only my older sister was out of sequence.  She’s four years older than me.

What this means is that when I was a toddler/young hellion, and my older brother and sister started school. me and my mom were home all day … just her and me.  She was the typical 50’s housewife then … stay at home.  When she was a fledgling mother she had two infant/toddlers at the same time.  By the time I emerged from that cycle, for 2-3 year until my younger sister came along, it was just her and me.  By the time that was over, she had started working again.  Both younger sisters knew the joys of daycare but me, I never experienced that.  Oh, she had periods of at-home time with them, and of course with my older siblings, but I had her all to myself during those few great years.  I’m not gloating, I just feel fortunate. I’ve done a lot in this life, but those are some of my fondest memories.

So, Happy Birthday, mom!

Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina, far from his mother in Houston.  His second novel, A Curse That Bites Deep, was just published this month.




Weekendcoffeeshare-Video Tales


img_6284If we were having coffee I’m sure I’d eventually end up talking about the video.  “Video?  I thought you were a writer,” you might ask.

Then I’d explain that there is a lot of business to being a writer and videos are one of the newer things.   “Oh, you mean like movie rights?” You might ask innocently.

No, not movie rights, that’s another thing entirely.  Getting started in this business requires a lot of outside work that does not include writing.  Some of it does, though, like this blog.  Having a blog is part of a writer’s business, and thankfully, it includes writing.

I think every writer goes through this.  One tends to see the dream of being published with a limited vision, like looking at the world through a paper towel tube.  The concentration is on words and revision and editing.  Once the contract is signed there is a new harsh reality to actually having a book published:  you have to help market the danged thing.  There is a LOT of competition from other writers, especially in the world of independent writers.  A new author must master a number of different new skills, like blogging and tweeting to get the word out.  Website design is another skill.  Of course, if a writer has deep pockets, they can pay someone to do these things for them.  The idea is to get yourself noticed ahead of all the others.  Sadly, you are just one of many.

“But what about the video?” you’d ask, thankfully getting me back on track.

Video trailers are one of the latest things.  I paid for my first one, one for my first book.  I was really late in the game for that one.  It’s not bad, a little funky.  It was cheap.  You get what you pay for.  I was going to pay the same people for a new one.  I had an idea and thought I’d work up something to more explain my idea.  Decided to use Power Point to see if I could work out my idea.  I’d never used it before.  I’m fairly technical but I had never really had a reason to use it.  Microsoft bundles it in with Office … so it was there.

It didn’t take too long for me to realize that I could actually use this.  A book trailer is generally text based, so why not?  What I wanted to do required specific timing … visual effects that were timed with a specific musical score.  This presentation software had functions that facilitated that.  It took some time, especially to fine tune the timings, but I managed to work it out.  Then I found out it would even export a video file.  That’s a little funky, and it messed up the timing a little but I anticipated some of the blips and re-edited and managed to work through them.  I’m sure I could use some other video tools but I already had this and gave it a shot.

Is it perfect?  Naw.  Is it okay?  I think so.  It introduces the story and builds suspense and introduces the mystery.  The music is raw and edgy but I think it fits the video nicely.  Check it out here … tell me what you think.


Note: replaced link with newer version. 

Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.  His latest novel, A Curse That Bites Deep will be published October 1 — presales of ebooks are available now.  More info at http://thefensk.com

Judgement day

Great News!

Judgement day

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 eBook pre-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.

More information and quick buy links can be found on my web page:http://www.thefensk.com

If you have already caught THE FEVER … you won’t want to miss this continuation.
If you haven’t caught THE FEVER … yet … well, there is still time!


Coming Soon!

Just got the cover for the new book, A Curse That Bites Deep. This is a sequel to The Fever and continues the story.  Yes, there’s the whole plot line about the  gold mine but it is a great murder mystery too.   The book will be available in October, with eBook preorders starting in September.

I suggest you subscribe to my mailing list so you won’t miss the publication news. I’m running a giveaway, for  a  paperback  copy of THE FEVER to one lucky new subscriber who joins my list between now and August 15.  Sorry, US mailing addresses only.
Go to http://thefensk.com and click on the subscribe button, then click the link in the verification email.

Get “The Fever” Free in July

Awesome! Thanks, Kristin. Reminder to new readers, she has a link back to her recent review of the book. Catch The Fever!

The Edifying Word

Author Thomas Fenske is participating in a freebie at smashwords.com this month. For the month of July, all e-book versions of The Fever are free at Smashwords. Read my review from the end of May – it’s definitely worth giving it a read!

Details here. Use code “SFREE”

When you give it a read, please stop by and let me know what you think!


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I just have to ask …

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.comIf we were having coffee, once we got all nice and settled into our (hopefully) comfy chairs, I’d have to ask you the question

 What question?
 Well, let me digress for just a moment.  The week began with me starting to work through the edits on my latest novel.  It’s only my second book, so the process is still a bit awkward for me.  I mean, I take direction and corrections quite well and, God knows, I, have, a, problem, with, commas.  But my editor zinged me on my use of what I thought was a common colloquial expression. 
My character, I said, ate with a coming appetite.  This was part of a narrative section.  
At first, I thought this was absurd, but I also trust my editor so I did some research.  I found only a few references, but at least there were some.  I was relieved to find out that it actually exists; I’m not totally crazy.  Heck, there is even a blog with “The Coming Appetite” as the title, but it was obviously not as common a phrase as I presumed. 
Perhaps it was regional, I thought.  I’m from Texas originally, so I asked on a popular Texas-oriented FaceBook page and my query generated an enthusiastic response.   Ninety-five percent of the responders had never heard of it. I was deflated.  Still, there were a few points of light.  
What is it supposed to mean?  It means you didn’t think you were very hungry and perhaps began to eat by just picking at your food but as you started eating you found you were hungrier than you thought, so your appetite comes on after  you begin eating.
 So … after another sip or two, I would ask the question:
Have YOU ever heard the expression?
 Oh, my character?  I rewrote the sentence … it turns out he was pretty hungry after all.
I’m not giving up on it, but I will likely work the term into dialogue somewhere, where it belongs.
Thomas Fenske
 P.S.  Keep an eye out for the new novel, A Curse That Bites Deep, due out this fall.
Oh, don’t worry, I’m sure to mention it over coffee sometime …

Is It or Isn’t It?

Somebody asked me the other day about the headline on my website:  “Not Just Another Lost Gold Mine Story”

Well, beyond the obvious answer (it isn’t!) … there is a story behind the comment. 
I had entered The Fever in a contest where the winners would be considered for distribution to movie and television producers. Hey, I thought, The Fever would make a great movie! In fact, when I was first attempting to write the story, I seriously considered doing it as a screenplay instead. But in the early days I was just as successful in avoiding writing a screenplay as I was in avoiding writing a novel.  

Anyway, one aspect of this contest was that they would give you feedback on your submission. They did. They pointed out that it looked like a good story and all but it seemed to be “just another lost gold mine story.”

“Great,” I thought to myself, “I knew I should have rewritten Freaky Friday instead!”  

Oh, I’m fairly pragmatic about such things, and saw this feedback as more of a problem with my submission materials rather than the quality of the work itself. I think submissions like this are a bit like grant writing, there is an art to it and it is a skill I haven’t quite mastered, along with writing book blurbs and good headlines I guess. 

 But there you have it … I wanted to emphasize the fact that it ISN’T just another lost gold mine story. The hero Sam realizes he has become stagnated and his isolation is holding him back. He finally figures out that he HAS to change or he’ll never find what he’s looking for.  

I think that’s good advice … I probably need to change the headline and blurb to something new before too long.  

Thomas Fenske http://www.thefensk.com

Let Me Explain

I guess I’m still learning this blogging stuff but one thing I have managed to figure out is that it needs a catchy title.  My original title, “Thomas Fenske, Author,” although descriptive, ironically lacked originality.  Then one day I thought about my first web page, cobbled together by hand back in 1993. “Okay, You’re Here, Now What?” was the banner that splashed across the page and it reflected my awe at arriving on the web scene … Basically all dressed up and no place to go (well, except everywhere).
Back in the very early days of the wild wide world of webs it seemed oddly appropriate, but after I changed it to that name here, well, it was too long. And it didn’t make as much sense now. Note to self, your own private jokes often don’t play well to a crowd. Twenty five year old jokes even less.

Still, I needed something in that spot so I tried just shortening  it to “Okay, You’re Here” and that made even less sense.  Sigh.

So I revisited the problem and  came up with “A Smidgeon’s Toll.” Yeah, it still doesn’t make a lot of sense but at least it is hopefully intriguing. And it has some bearing on my published and soon-to-be published writings.  You see, Smidgeon Toll is a major character in both books and should have an even bigger role in a planned third edition of the growing series.  She’s the short, spunky, outspoken owner of a cafe that has a prominent place in both books. Her name came from her grandmother who blurted out, “Why, she’s just a smidgen of a thing” the first time she saw her as a tiny baby.  Smidgeon is just an archaic (quaint, right?) spelling of the same word.

So, we’ll see how this one goes … unless I change my mind again.
What do you think?  Do I need to change the title again?

Two reminders: You can get more information on my novel The Fever at http://www.thefensk.com  and I am still hosting a giveaway for one Kindle copy of The Fever at Amazon: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/de2b8b0acbf85b6f