My apologies to Carol Ann, but it's been a long time a'comin. Almost forty years, in fact (well, 39 and 5/6ths years, peep the date below)...
Yessirreee, ma'am! It's release day for my second novel, Our Own Precious Places! You can purchase a copy online by clicking here, BUT if you're a local yokel, it's also available beginning tomorrow at Wordsmith Bookshoppe in Galesburg, or at the Colony Store in historic Bishop Hill. I'm a big believer in keeping the monies as local as possible, when possible! All you gots to do is give them a call and they'll get you set up with a pretty damn good time, if I do say so myself (all book-related though - don't be asking for anything else on my watch, mmmkay?)
Here's the nickel synopsis of Our Own Precious Places:
There are places where we’ve all left pieces of ourselves behind. Memories either bloom to burst like the plum tree did for so many years or fester all quiet in a dark place. Cuz so much depends on sunlight, don’t it?
Our place is what ground us; it is what we come home to. It can also confine us, ultimately preventing us from becoming our best selves. Set in rural Illinois and voiced by seven different protagonists, Our Own Precious Places explores this dichotomy of place - how it both comforts and constrains us. It delves into the lives of the Owens family as they grapple with the ordinary events that make up a life, and shows how one act of violence can shake a family down to its very roots.
Viola, the matriarch, opens the narrative with how she met her husband Frank, and how each of her six children were born into their proper places in her family. In turn, from youngest to oldest, Viola’s children - Nellie, Teeny, Chester, John Robert, Alma and Margaret - tell their stories of how they came to find their own places in this family and in the state of Illinois, amidst the turmoils of war and lies and infidelity and heartache. Viola returns at the end to lay bare an old secret that will rock the foundation of the family and forever alter what it truly means to find a place of one’s own amidst the calamity of being human, even in a quiet place where cornstalks outnumber humans, a thousand to one.
All of that to say - it's about a family that's got plenty o' problems. Sounds relatable, amirite? Makes life - and literature - more interesting, at any rate. Like Tolstoy wrote, All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Ole Leo would know - he and the missus had THIRTEEN kids.
Tolstoy at age 35... (probably not, but that's what I'd look like at that age with a baker's dozen of children - honestly, I'm not that far off now, except his beard is longer)
So pick up or reserve your copy of Our Own Precious Places today (or tomorrow, if you've got lots of laundry to do, like me - I won't judge, promise). Enjoy - and don't forget to leave a review on your favorite book-nerd platform!
(Thanks to Dad for the 43-year-old photo - bonus points if you noticed that I'm wearing a Fighting Illini t-shirt!)
Gracias, danke, thank YOU as always, for reading and reading well!