It's been nearly 228 years since Fin Button, Jeannot Botolph, and the ragged crews of the Rattlesnake and the Esprit de la Mer helped bring an end to the American Revolution. I visited Ebenezer, Georgia last month to pay my respects and I'm happy to report that the church that Peter built is still standing. The oldest continuous congregation in the country still meets there every Sunday. I gave a couple of copies of The Fiddler's Gun and Fiddler's Green to the Georgia Salzburger Society, the descendants of the immigrants who settled the town, and as I drove away I broke into a sweat at the thought of those people, so intimately familiar with the area's history, cracking my book open and reading it. After all, I'd rearranged dates to fit my needs, I'd renamed important town characters to suit my ear, I'd even sent pirates to pillage their church. These folks might end up really angry with me. I hope not, though. I hope they see through all that and recognize that I was trying to honor their legacy in my own small, and no doubt flawed, way.
The books are also my humble ode to the great, audacious, and unlikely heroes that attended the birth of our country. So in celebration of Independence Day, they are just $7.00 each (for a limited time) in the Rabbit Room store, or you can buy the Fin's Revolution Bundle (both books) for $12.00.
If you're ever in the Savannah area, drive up the road and visit Ebenezer and the orphanage museum. Raise a toast to independence. And tell them Fin Button sent you.
When I wrote Ben Franklin into Fiddler’s Green and implied his involvement in Fin Button’s adventures, I had no idea that it would turn out to be true. But the National Geographic Channel aired a documentary last week suggesting just that. It seems Mr. Franklin employed a veritable fleet of pirates and privateers, often with the specific intent of freeing captive American sailors. I nearly fainted when I read that because it seems lifted right out of the pages of the book. Amazing. Could the Revolutionary War era privateer being excavated in the show be the Rattlesnake? Alas, I don’t have cable TV so I didn’t get a chance to watch it and find out for myself. Here’s hoping that the episode will find its way to Netflix soon. Check out the details here.
Famed literary critic Dawn Marie only reviews about one book each year. She’s a busy woman, but when she reviews, people listen. She’s like Oprah--without the free cars. I consider it a distinct honor that her most recent selection is Fiddler’s Green. Watch her review. Be moved.
Back in December, the demand for The Fiddler’s Gun was a lot bigger than I expected and the book sold out completely right as Fiddler’s Green was hitting the bookshelves. That’s a good problem to have, but it’s difficult to sell the second book in a series when the first is no longer available. Yikes! So for the past couple of months I’ve been scrambling to get an improved second edition off to the printer. Good news! The books came in today and they’ve now been shipped out to the distributor. If you ordered from the Rabbit Room store, your book is already in the mail.
So the question everyone has been asking is this: “What’s new in the second edition?” . . . Read the entire post
Fiddler’s Green is now in stock and shipping from the Rabbit Room store. I couldn’t be more pleased with the final product. It looks, feels, and smells fantastic and I can’t wait for readers to open it up and trip through its pages. I’ve signed about 400 copies in the last 24 hours and they’re being shipped out to patrons across the country (the world even). Until my hand wears out, all orders from the Rabbit Room will be signed. Get yours before the carpal tunnel syndrome sets in. If you haven’t read The Fiddler’s Gun yet, check out the Fin’s Revolution Bundle that includes both books plus a digital version of The Fiddler’s Gun: Letters.
If you’d like to read it with your book club check out the special bulk pricing of the Fin’s Revolution Book Club Bundle (includes 10 copies of both books plus the digital version of The Fiddler’s Gun: Letters, custom bookmarks, and discussion guides) or the Fiddler’s Green Book Club Bundle (10 copies, custom bookmarks, and discussion guide.)
If you’re just looking for a few to give as gifts this Christmas, there’s also a Fiddler’s Green gift pack available (5 copies). The book will be available to bookstores nationwide on December 7th and Amazon will start shipping theirs around December 15th. If you want it sooner (and signed), the Rabbit Room is the only option (and my preference, of course, since artists make much more from Rabbit Room purchases than they do anywhere else.)
Last weekend, as part of the Authors in the Schools program of the Kentucky Book Fair, I had the pleasure of visiting Elkhorn Middle School to talk to their eighth grade students about reading, writing, and storytelling. After reading a chapter from the book we had a delightful discussion about the creative process and the reasons why we read and write. It was a real pleasure to meet and speak with the students and I was pleasantly surprised by the insight they brought to the conversation. When asked why we read fiction, one boy answered, “Because even though the stuff that happens might be fake, there’s still something true about it if it’s a good book.” That’s one smart 8th grader.
The day after, I had the honor of being one of the authors hosted by the Kentucky Book Fair and had the opportunity to meet and talk with readers from across the state. I shared a table with two young adult authors, Emily Ecton and Jessica Verday, and spent the day signing books, regretting that I can’t actually play the fiddle I made, and trying to find my car keys which were lost for most of the afternoon. It was a lot of fun and meeting Emily and Jessica was delightful.
The presses are rolling, the binders are binding, the box-packers are box-packing, the--you get the idea. The good news is that the wait is almost over. Fiddler’s Green is on the way. The books will be delivered next week and the Rabbit Room store will begin shipping them out to patrons immediately.
If you missed the chance to become a patron, never fear, pre-sales are now open and will begin shipping out after the Thanksgiving holiday. The book will be available December 7th from Amazon and bookstores nationwide. Bookstores are unlikely to stock it unless you ask for it, though, so don’t be shy, let them know you want to see it on the shelves.
And just in case you’re not convinced, read what Sarah Clarkson, author of Read for the Heart had to say about the book. Then head over to the Rabbit Room store and secure yourself a copy. “Fiddler's Green is the sort of story that sated all my desires as a reader. I wanted adventure, and the fiery Fin Button and her intrepid crew whisked me away on an impossible quest. I wanted keenly described, colorful lands full of adventure, and this tale sails into foreign ports and castles, follows knights and pirates from dungeon to high sea battle. Most of all, I wanted the sort of story that would sail me deep into the regions of the soul, and this tale took me right there, filling my heart with the haunting music of the Fiddler's Green. With Fin, I was invited into a beauty that offered a glimpse of redemption, and a step down the road that will take me home. Keen in insight and imagination, redemptive, and epic in scope, Fiddler's Green is a book to be savored again and again.” . . . Read the entire post
(Note: This is adapted from my portion of the "Perfected in Weakness" session at Hutchmoot 2010.) It's popular in our culture to think that we are defined by our strengths. If you go to a job interview, what do they ask you? They want to know what your strengths are, right? If someone wants to describe who they are or what they do, what do they say? They rattle off a list of strengths. I graduated from MIT. I work for NASA. I've been married for 12 years and have four kids. I hold the world record at Donkey Kong. We play up the things we're proud of or those things we think make us valuable in the eyes of others.
We don't mention our weaknesses. We downplay them. We hide them. I think we're trained to hide them for most of our lives. And in some measure, it's rightly so. It would be a depressing world if we described one another by our weaknesses, wouldn't it? Hi, my name is Pete Peterson and I'm lazy. I can't do math. I judge people before I know them. I secretly think I'm better than everyone else and my love of sweet tea and sandwiches is probably killing me . . .Read the entire post
Author's Note: I've always been a fan of H.P. Lovecraft. I love his weird words and the strange way he's able to evoke things that are both awe-inspiring and horrific at the same time. His stories, even the bad ones and those that are merely repeats of others, stick in my mind for days after I read them partly because he never lets the reader see everything, he leaves you with glimpses, impressions, reactions. You have to let your mind fill in the blanks and what your own mind comes up with is often more disturbing than anything he could have written.
When I decided to write a 'ghost story' about my brother's house and its location on Stephens Hill I succumbed to my desire to write in the style of Lovecraft. Anyone who's a fan will recognize the structure, word choices, and even a certain (slightly altered) name. As much as I like the way the story turned out, it's so clearly Lovecraftian that I can't really claim it as my own and prefer to think of it as an homage to a master of the genre.
Fiddler’s Green is the end of a story that began a long time ago with a map and a buried treasure. You may recall that I buried my family's Christmas presents in the woods one year, giving out maps so they could find them, and how that was the genesis of the idea for The Fiddler's Gun. But that's not the map I'm talking about. The real map was nothing more than a faint outline in the mind's eye. It was a fleeting vision of a young woman--an American revolutionary named Fin Button. Over the last ten years, I've trusted Fin's lead and followed her into some strange and wonderful places. I tried my best to keep up and she always kept a few steps ahead, always confident that she knew just where she was going. And like any good map should, she beckoned me toward a fair and hidden place and bade me dig.
I spent most of this year digging, not with a spade but with words. And now that the treasure chest, Fin's story, has been unearthed, and dusted off, and carried out of the wilderness, I'm honored to announce that it's time to start handing out keys so you can all see what's inside. . .Read the entire post