My long-awaited Goodreads Giveaway launched, but alas, I missed the opening moments. It started Thanksgiving night, when I was distracted by family, cute nephews, turkey, three kinds of pie, the UConn/Syracuse game. At the moment the giveaway started, I was nursing a third glass of wine and listening to my brother-in-law’s fishing stories (and the merits of using fresh shrimp for bait). So much for seizing the marketing moment and being prepared. When I got home the next day, to vaguely figure out when the thing was scheduled to start, I already had 127 requests.
I think my numbers are decent, considering it was Black Friday and all, but I do find myself scrutinizing the other offerings, and coveting their numbers. I admit to some annoyance when I see a really uninteresting—or even amateurish—book racking up the big numbers. Why???!! But I still have 30 days to go: The giveaway officially ends with the year, at midnight December 31st. Which was probably a mistake on my part, because who’s going to be looking for free books on New Year’s Eve? I guess we’ll see…
Another mistake I made was making the description too short. This is partly Goodreads’ fault: they only give you this tiny window to type your description into. And I thought that brevity might be a good thing. But practically everyone else has humongous descriptions. You should see John Irving’s—yes, I’m competing with him, along with some other noteworthy writers. So herewith is the description I probably should have written, along with—if I can manage it, being a complete technophobe—the ‘widget’ Goodreads gave me to direct you to the site.
“Lonely, lost-boy Evan Claver, a childhood cancer survivor, finds himself at 19 yearning for the guidance, approval and attention of a mentor, or father-figure, an older man to help him figure out his life’s meaning and purpose. For several years he has fixated on the author of a spiritual treatise, whom he credits with curing his illness, a monk named Theophane, or simply, Theo. Evan sets out to track the man down at his abbey in rural Pennsylvania, only to find the monastery disbanded and Theo long gone. But he learns enough to track Theo down—to a small town in western New York State, where Theo has become secularized, now a widowed history professor at a tiny college.
Evan manages to secure a room that Theo—now Professor Barlowe—is renting out in his own abode. But the relationship does not go well at first: Barlowe is cranky, imperious, impatient and deeply suspicious of this strange boy who has turned up in his house; and Evan finds himself subject to endless derision as well as humiliating tasks, unconsciously picking up the role of lowly novice to Barlowe’s abbot. The book follows their academic year together, as their relationship flounders in a comical way but then begins to gel through small crises, epiphanies, revelations and drama. Their roles slowly begin to blur and dissolve, as both men realize they each have something valuable to learn and gain from the other.
But the biggest threat or challenge to the men’s bond is Persephone, Barlowe’s graduate assistant and Evan’s history instructor. She is drawn to both men, and plays them against each other, letting them compete for her sexual favors. Eventually this game leads to a crucial showdown between the men—“
I’m getting into ‘spoiler’ territory, so I’m stopping the description right there. It should be clear this is a character-driven narrative: both Evan and Barlowe are very flawed, troubled but appealing men, decent and loving at heart but never quite able to express that. Persephone’s a bit of a bitch, but she turns out to have a heart after all, too. This book reflects my basic faith in people and their innate goodness, that there’s hope for us all, but I’m not trying to be the next Flannery O’Connor, honest. So, go and read it. It’ll be on sale at Amazon next week in paperback form (you’ll have to wait until January for the ebook version) Or, enter the giveaway. Hope you win!
Book Giveaway For The Novice Master
The Novice Master
by Kathy Cecala (Goodreads Author)Release date: Nov 30, 2015Enter for a chance to win one of 30 signed/first edition copies of the contemporary novel THE NOVICE MASTER by Kathy Cecala. This new-adult, coming-of-age tale describes a quirky student-mentor relationship between a naïve college freshman and his imperious professor, complicated when both desire the same woman. [close]