“Okay Mr. Pepik, now I’m gonna wash your piu-piu. Do excuse me.”
Maria de Jesus tore the seal on the patient’s catheter diapers and very carefully inched the soiled pad out from under him, replacing it deftly with a towel. Mr. Michael Pepik had a catheter tube running from the eye of his penis, and Maria de Jesus began by wiping it down. She then raised her arm into the air and said “Turn.” After a couple of seconds, a large man came shuffling over with a broad smile. “
~ Excerpt From “Maria de Jesus (Hibernaculum employee) part 1” ~
So Amy is this cool woman I met on Facebook, who is a never-stop entrepreneur like me, working her shapely fanny off every day at her business, and then… going home and writing a damn novel! What?
I was so impressed with Amy’s hustle, and her writing too, that we decided to publish her. Two women entrepreneurs getting it done together! I am so pleased (with the help of my indefatigable spouse, Dave) to launch the first book in the Maidskill Mystery Series, JUST A HOUSECLEANER, a cozy series by Amy Willard:
When Patsy finds her friend and client, Ronnie, has passed away in her living room, Patsy’s only thought is how to take care of Ronnie’s dog and estate. But someone in Ronnie’s life has other ideas. Can Patsy, still grieving the loss of her friend, help save her friend’s estate?
View the official book trailer:
The paperback is coming in the fall, but you can start reading the book right now, FREE, on Kindle Vella!
AND HAVE YOU MET AMY???
(not to be weird, but isn’t she cute? I am not as photogenic as Amy!)
Amy is a lifelong entrepreneur who currently runs her own housecleaning business, FOR REALS! And is starting down the cosy mystery path with JUST A HOUSECLEANER, her first book, but the second one is almost done!
See an interview with Amy too!
And she was nice enough to mention me, for which I am very grateful. Hire me as your editor folks! I’m not half bad at it!
Amy is just the greatest, and that’s what’s so wonderful about being a publisher and an editor, meeting creative fun people, who work hard, get it done, and you just wanna hang out with them, all the time. Amy and I, if we were in the same town, forget it! Ain’t nuthin’ gettin’ done. Luckily, we’re several states away from each other. But we are simpatico!
Good luck Amy! I hope your book knocks it out of the park!
For better or for worse for Anthony Doyle, I am/was his editor for HIBERNACULUM. I read it when it first came in as a submission, and I read it awhile back, probably pre-2021, and I read it again this year and part of last, as we got it (at long last) ready to go. Anthony is exceedingly kind and patient as we did all our DPP move stuff. And, in this case, I do think it served him as we’re a better publisher over on this coast than we were on the last coast. But that’s aLways the way. As I said to the poets of Old Scratch Press as they prepared to choose their first three books for publication, (more or less my direct quotation): the one who goes first gets his/her/their book done right away, which is a huge relief, and so exciting, and, as the press grows and changes and moves forward it will get (hopefully) better at everything, and so the later books will benefit from that.
Delayed gratification is a bitch; it is true, but it is also true that things usually improve when they have experience behind them to lead the way.
HIBERNACULUM now, is getting a better company than the company it found and signed up with. And I am glad of that.
As part of that, HIBERNACULUM is going to get some advertising, some paid, and some social. And today, for the social, I went back through the book again, looking for good quotations to make into ads. For me, that meant re-reading it (I’m a fairly fast reader), not the whole thing, but substantial chunks.
I collected a fair few quotations, by which I mean over 30. The book is so damn quotable.
Dave and I made a deal with each other a while back that if we were going to keep doing all the work associated with publishing people, we were going to have to love, like this: LUV!! the books.
Anthony’s writing would make the cut easily six times over.
And here’s the thing about this damn book.
It starts out like most books, neat, clean, crisp white pages, chapters, titles, headers, all nice and normal.
And it ends like this:
It ends on notebook paper, torn from a spiral notebook, and hidden.
The book is fiction, and there is all story there, and you get to know and love the characters very well and much. But Anthony digs in. And so, why would the world come to have places where people could go to hibernate? Why would we need human hibernation? The answers range, and include vanity, conservation, rest, but also poverty, desperation, and ending up on notebook paper. Which humans get which kind of hibernation?
And that’s always the question in life, which humans get which kind of life, right?
And HIBERNACULUM makes me cry a little, every time, and it’s not because it’s bleak, but because it’s such great writing. I mean, think of the genius of David Sedaris. He makes most people laugh, but he makes me cry too, because the writing is so damn good.
So I go on an innocent hunt through HIBERNACULUM looking for quotable parts, and I end up all welled up, and wishing I could just, gosh, when I was a kid I would take a glass of ice water and a book into the back yard and lay on an old webbed lounge in the sun, and read until I was skin-cancer red, and I wish I could do that with this book right now, take it out to the yard, to the beach, on a long subway ride, in a hot tub, somewhere with no one to talk to me, with the fuck-off I’m reading signals just beaming around me like a cone of silence, and just read, and read, until I had read the whole thing. Again.
Dave, my spouse Dave, that one, makes fun of me because I get so excited about the books we choose to publish, and also some of the ones I edit-for-hire.
Well, what can I say, it is true.
And maybe that’s why I’m not worried about AI, because, even without AI, people are out there self-publishing a hot lot of crap writing. And I can spot it a mile away. Tropes, cliches, interruptions to the flow, 8.9% dashes without knowing what the hell dashes are for, no semi-colons, predictable tripe.
This damn book, this HIBERNACULUM starts like a day at the spa, or MOMA, and ends on, well, not even on notebook paper, but I’m not giving it completely away. It sparks thought; it glows, and it swims in my mind, and I come back to it again, and again, and-
I want to say that I have been watching KITCHEN NIGHTMARES, the original series, for the first time, and Gordon Ramsey has turned up my obscenity settings, and they were already pretty high, but I just mention it in case because-
HIBERNACULUM, this is a fucking great book.
And Devil’s Party Press, a company started by an old lady and her reluctant? but talented spouse, may never be Random House or Doubleday.
But Doubleday and Random House didn’t get HIBERNACULUM.
And, if you like to read, if you like reading that sticks with you, that you’ll have to tell people about, I hope you choose HIBERNACULUM instead of some big bestseller that has all the breaks a guy like Anthony deserves, but couldn’t get through the noise to find. It would be a literary crime if this book wasn’t published.
HIBERNACULUM is on Kindle Vella right now, and it’s pre-ordering for July, with special goodies for folks who pre-order.
If you read it, would you let me know? I want to know which part really stuck with you… see if we match up.
What would my life have been like if I hadn’t started doing this? What would Anthony’s be like? Would his book have ever gotten out?
The above image shows you what it looks like when you go into Kindle Vella (KV) to read. I read on my laptop or my phone. I don’t own a Kindle or an iPad or tablet.
In my opinion, it is a bit strange, because it is trying to mimic a book page, but it ends up being long and thin.
But, I love it. It’s fun getting it ready, posting it. I love creating my goofy polls, which, honestly, no one is taking, but I am trying to make them anyway, just in case, and, also, because they give you a little insight into me.
In many ways, this is not the kind of book me, today, would write. I had the idea, I sadly must admit, quite some time ago, but being an adjunct I never had time to finish it. And that is why I started saying, “Finish your damn novel!” because it is what I say to myself, inside my head, all the time.
This book, frankly, was inspired by the book, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Bien, and not by The Godfather by Mario Puzo, though I read that too, as a kid, and loved it, but I was under the age of 10, and I haven’t read it since. LOL. No, this definitely was sparked by my O’Brien loyalty. I love that novel, and I taught that novel as often as colleges would allow me to, for over 20 years. O’Brien’s writing is some of the best. I would venture to say I have whole sections of the book memorized. And, of course, I’ve sold many copies of the book for the man.
(Small side story, I wanted to go to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, but I never applied, because my boyfriend begged me not to. My grad school poet friend applied and got in, and she told me that O’Brien came as a guest lecturer, and she and he were an item. I asked my friend to ask O’Brien to sign my book, but she refused. I don’t know whether or not her story was true, but I know that soon after our friendship fizzled because she would always make plans with me, and then cancel them because she brought some guy home from a bar. “Oh, Baby Di,” she would say, “I miss you, but I need to fuck Jake some more today. Can we exchange those theater tickets for next week?” More or less, she has what I really thought I wanted, a published book of poetry (or two) and a full-time creative writing gig. Her parents could not be persuaded to be interested in their children, and I think we shared that need for attention from some authority figure. In any case, I never got my book signed. I wonder if she got hers signed.)
This is not the kind of book I thought I would write, but have loved writing it and sharing it. It feels so different from me in topic and tone, but I do like my wordplay, and that definite feels like me to me.
I’m going to put in the first chapter here, in case venturing to KV is not your thing, and I’d love to know what you think. My biggest hope is that the book, though on a stereotype, the mafia novel, does not come across as “been there done that.” I hope I have freshened it up a bit.
Will releasing it on Kindle Vella first create any buzz for the eventual paperback? I don’t know, but I really am loving the process, and I hope Simona finds herself some readers.
Last week’s chapter/episode was called “Waking the Dead,” and it was the first chapter where Simona, the mother of Angel (who is, of course, Simona’s son) is alive, and we both see and hear her, the priest, Father Vuono, and Angel’s father, Remo. This week the chapter/episode is called “Waking the Living.” Can Angel get his shit together to do what his boss needs him to do? His Uncle Chickie is sure gonna try to get Angel to do just that.