I hope you’re having as much fun listening to the story of Edmund Filliput as I am having reading it to you. This week, as you might expect, the Spirit of Christmas Present catches Edmund up to the lives of the people we met with the Spirit of Christmas Past. You might not expect what happens in Stave 4, but that must wait until next Friday.
Unless, of course, you want to skip ahead and read the rest of the story right now. You can do that by grabbing the ebook wherever fine ebooks are sold, like here or here.
You can also order them in paperback or hardcover format from any online bookseller, and I’m thrilled to add that the paperback is now on the shelves of OtherWorld Books & More and Novel Bay Booksellers in Sturgeon Bay! Your local bookseller should be able to order it for you.
I’m finding the hardcovers are coming off the presses a lot more slowly than the paperbacks, but I’m very pleased with the quality of both. I hope you will be, too. (Insert smiley face emoji here)
Slowly but (sometimes I realize) surely, I have been chipping away at the block of stone that is my quarry of incomplete fragments of thought and bursts of creativity. I am pleased that I have had a big little victory this fall in shipping Ebenezer: A sequel of sorts to A Christmas Carol out the door, and I am eager to follow that up and find another finish line in my wandering way.
I know I have to shift my attitude. I have at least 10 unfinished creative projects and often express frustration that I have failed to bring them to a conclusion. The fact is, however, that I have taken steps along the path in every case. They are not my “unfinished novels” — they are my “works in progress.” Do you see the distinction?
Even if I only nibble at the edges of this one or that one, I should be celebrating the newly etched teeth marks rather than bemoaning how much of the elephant I still need to eat. Wow, talk about mixed metaphors — I have meandered from the stone quarry to the undigested elephant in three quick paragraphs.
What am I doing? Where am I going? The eternal questions. It does help to stop along the way, to rest and regenerate, and see where I am and where the journey has delivered me at the moment.
We often ask “What am I doing? Where am I going?” in a tone of despair, but it occurs to me that perhaps that is the wrong tone. Rather than moaning about meandering, we should exclaim, “Look what I’m doing! See where I’m going!”
We will see that we are traveling along a glorious path through a wilderness, exploring our way on everyday paths that wind this-way-and-that in newly discovered directions all the time, if we would just lift our heads and see what surrounds us. The sun rises and sets every day, but the swirls of weather and billions of interactions around the planet make each a different day, a kaleidoscope of experience.
By shifting the focus from “unfinished” to “in progress,” I cease moping about not having “enough” of my projects done (what does “enough” mean anyway?), take the wheel and start enjoying the ride.
I think Ebenezer turned out nicely, if I say so myself. I’m looking forward to what comes next.
When we met Edmund Filliput last week, he was in a dour mood on Christmas Eve, and a cheerful man in a top hat bought him a cup of coffee and a bowl of beef stew and offered to introduce him to some old friends of his that very night.
Today we follow Edmund home, where his dreamless sleep is interrupted by the first of those old friends, whose identity should not surprise anyone who has guessed who the happy stranger was. (And I did not try very hard to disguise him. What’s the name of the story again?)
I’m celebrating my new novelette by reading it in podcast form, a chapter a week, during this Christmas season. Of course, if you’re impatient for what comes next, the book is available for purchase in several formats.
I have to confess I’m surprised to find that so far, orders of the hardcover edition are outpacing orders of the paperback, which in turn are outpacing orders of the ebook. I’m also gratified, of course, by people’s willingness to spend a little more, not just for the physical book, but the one designed to last a bit longer.
I’m having fun bringing the story to life in what will eventually become my first audiobook. I really must go back and do the same with some of my other stuff. The fun should not have been a surprise; my online life began, after all, with a podcast serialization of my first novel, The Imaginary Bomb.
The rendition of “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful” that appears in these podcasts, by the way, comes from my collection of 78 rpm records. The singers are the Trinity Choir, and the record is Victor 16996; “Joy to the World” is the B-side. Among information on the label are the facts that “Adeste Fideles” was translated from the original Latin by the Rev. Fred Oakeley (1802-1880) and the melody is by Marcas Portugal (1763-1834), both morsels that I didn’t know before.
The invaluable 78discography.com tells me that the song was recorded on Oct. 6, 1911, three months to the day after the choir performed for the B-side. The record, which still sounds magnificent to me after 112 years of wear, felt like the perfect accompaniment to this story.
Thanks to everyone who has sent kind words of encouragement about Ebenezer and, of course, God bless us, every one!
One Facebook reader, upon hearing that Ebenezer is a sequel of sorts to A Christmas Carol and having seen Alaistir Sim’s immortal portrayal the night before, wrote, “maybe now we can find out if Ebenezer got back together with Alice.” Doh! I did think about putting a Mrs. Scrooge into the story, but she — whether her name is Alice or Belle — will have to wait to see if there’s ever a sequel to this sequel. I borrowed several characters from the original tale, but not that one. Dang!
(This is not to suggest there isn’t a bit of romance in the story, of course.)
The early reaction has been mostly positive, although so far most readers have been friends and family, who can be forgiven if they’re biased. I look forward to seeing what the “outside world” has to say, but thank you to everyone who took the time to read Ebenezer already and offer kind words.
And the audience for my podcast reading of Stave 1 has so far garnered five time as many listeners as the Uncle Warren’s Attic reboot earlier this fall, so my voice career is apparently not over after all. Thanks for listening!
And thanks most of all to Mr. Dickens, who conceived a Christmas carol in prose so endearing that it still packs a punch these 180 years later.
I am pleased with how my little Christmas story has turned out and thrilled that the day has come to send my fable out into the world. Thanks to everyone who pre-ordered Ebenezer, my “sequel of sorts” to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and now it’s here. If you pre-ordered the ebook, it ought to be in your hands already, and the print editions ought to be on their way soon — famous last words.
The paperback proof arrived Wednesday, so I am able to post the obligatory selfie, and I got a notice Thursday morning that the hardcover proof is going into the mail — I’m guessing today because Thursday was the Thanksgiving holiday. For what it’s worth, that translates to about a week from order to delivery for the paperback and a little bit longer for hardcover.
As my Christmas gift to you, and in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, I will be reading the story to you on the five Fridays leading up to Christmas Day, a chapter a week. You can press the “play” button above or (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise) find the podcast on iHeart Radio and Amazon Music by searching for “Uncle Warren’s Attic.”
This is a mere novelette by word-count standards, but it’s the first fiction I’ve completed in almost a decade, and my intention is to grow as an artist from here. And I would be remiss not to say, as I do in the “About the author” blurb, that this is the first work of fiction I completed after Red’s passing, but her love infused it with life.
For that reason I am committing all of the revenue I receive from the sales of this book to what I’m dubbing the C.J. Townsend Memorial Fund. I plan to tithe all of my book income, but Ebenezer is my “tithe book,” that is to say, this particular book is the first fruit of the next phase of my life. I’m not sure how I will disperse the proceeds of this fund yet, but since Carol Jean was an artist whose chosen medium was gardening, I’m sure a significant amount will go toward projects that are green and growing.
My goal in writing Ebenezer was to rehabilitate Ebenezer Scrooge’s reputation not as he was before that fateful Christmas Eve — a silly old humbug — but as the good and generous man he was as he lived the rest of his days. Whether I’ve had some success in that attempt is now up to you. Enjoy!
My thin little novelette will be available in print-on-demand Friday after all. I was a tad worried because of some formatting issues, but they’re worked out now. All’s well, so you’ll be able to purchase Ebenezer in at least three forms:
I’m still working on the audiobook – toying with the idea of introducing it here over five weeks, like Mr. Dickens did with his own Christmas fable. Check here on Friday to see if I went through with that idea.
I added Ebenezer to the My Books page last night, so my sequel to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is feeling more real all the time. As always preparation for the print edition is lagging behind, but I expect to have it out there by Friday, Nov. 24, just like the ebook.
My throat developed a bit of a frog a couple of days ago, so plans to whip up an audiobook are temporarily delayed, and this is new territory for me, so I may have already missed some deadline for posting the audio version, but it ought to be out there by Christmas at least. This is my first entry into the wild world of holiday fables, and I fully expect to be lost in the deluge, but it’s fun to dip my toes into these waters.
Social media is full of memes about how awful it is to play Christmas music or put up decorations before Thanksgiving, but why the heck not? As the song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, so why not extend it as long as we can?
I’m all in favor of creating an atmosphere of hope, peace, and tidings of great joy, and I wish we could have it year-round like Mr. Scrooge exercised it in his later years. Of course, some songs and carols get a little old rather quickly — I’m looking at you, drummer boy — but I love to hear angels sweetly singing over the plains or merry gentlemen resting during this festive time of year.
And do we really care that it’s still two weeks before Thanksgiving? Will the world end if the baby in the manger sleeps in heavenly peace for six weeks instead of four?
I turn on the TV and see politicians wrangling with one another, and people shooting and lobbing bombs, and fear and loathing rising over the hills, and my first thought is that we need a little Christmas, right this very minute. And to argue over the point is pure humbug.