Thanks for hosting me here, Melissa, to mark the third and final book of the Grumbles the Novel series being published.
In a nutshell Grumbles the Novel is a comedic romp through a dystopian countryside filled with zany pirates, a power hungry Weatherman, three twins (and that’s not a typo!) and our love leery couple Pettie Grumbles and Hector who can never quite get together on the same page.
It’s been quite the adventure getting the story out, but now that it is, I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride. In the passage below, our heroine finds a secret stash of books and suddenly forgets all about saving the world. See if your favorite book gets a mention. Books, reading and print and how we can distinguish between reality and illusion is one of the many themes that run throughout the Grumbles Novels.
All thoughts of saving the world were off, mostly because it was still dark and nothing was happening yet, but partly because the smell of books and dust made me forget giving out sound advice to a lifetime of widget workers! A small fortune sat on neatly stacked shelves with enough reading to savor until the last Oracle crumbled under the sands of time. I touched a copy of Wuthering Heights, brought it up to my nose, and inhaled. Books. Paper. Print. Oh ho-ho! I grabbed some of the graphic novels. They would be easier to stash in the messenger bag, and worth more on the street. Sex and violence were timeless commercial commodities, even if they weren’t exactly great for the soul when coupled together. For the sake of doing things in equal measure, actual literature wouldn’t hurt either: Shakespeare, Clarissa, and Ulysses. I didn’t know a single person who’d ever read more than the cheater notes on Joyce’s brilliant but seldom-read, hardly enjoyed tome, but it was a first edition and worth a for- tune, so actual readability didn’t matter. Just give me a quiet place and a comfortable chair and a don’t-disturb-me-till-I’m- done sign, and I’ll be just fine.
“Except today’s Spudapalooza.”
I heard Telmemydoom’s voice, a speech bubble interrupting the slacker readeritis to which many-a-Grumble had succumbed. I hated that voice. “Leave me alone!” I yelled at it.
This is bad, it continued. Very, very bad.
I turned away from the late twentieth-century stories, when mysteries, celebrity memoirs, and fifty shades of vacuous prose had swayed the day, the escapist fiction for the middle class as the politicians rewrote the lay of land, plundering their industrialized nations for themselves and their financial services, robber-baron, lobbyist friends. I thumbed through a good story by a great author; it had only sold a handful of copies. Beautiful writing, but where’s the plot? I asked myself. And do we really need beauty when there’s not enough food and a billion people still drink from their potties? But isn’t that the point, I countered to myself, the transcendental nature of beauty? Even from there, I could hear Telmemydoom and The Oracle invoking themselves to get on with the attempted murder, kidnapping, and mayhem involved in saving the world.
Suddenly, a noise closed the jaws of my rusted trap thoughts. Then I heard it again, faint at first, but clearly a whistling. Next, I heard a key rattle in the lock. A second later, Toga appeared in the doorway, wide-eyed in panic, still clutching a comic book and gesticulating to the front door….
And so begins the long day for Pettie Grumbles as she goes up the mountain to meet the Weatherman and fulfill her secret agent mission by making it snow.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief excerpt.
About the author:
Karen Faris lives in Rochester NY with her husband and son. She writes a meta-fiction blog on her website based on characters from her Grumbles novels and is a contributor to Rewriting Mary Sue, a website devoted to strong women writers and role models. https://rewritingmarysue.squarespace.com
She has just finished writing a sweeping family saga of love, loss and endurance entitled The Winds of Change.