Cover Unveil: Death and Douglas

July 10, 2017 — Meet Douglas Mortimer. He’s very important to me. He’s been living with me since 2010, right after I submitted the manuscript for my first book, The New England Grimpendium. He’s been through a lot in the intervening years. Like, a lot a lot. And now, this fall, he’s finally ready to meet you. Courtesy of Sky Pony Press.

Douglas is 12 years old. His parents run a funeral home in New England. But it’s not just a funeral home. It’s the family home. It’s where Douglas sleeps. Where he does his homework. Where he plays his video games. His basement is a morgue. His playground is a cemetery. His life is death.

And he’s good at it. Better than most adults, really. Until one day, on the cusp of Halloween, when the morgue two floors below his bedroom starts filling with murder victims. And that, well, changes things. It means there’s a murderer stalking the streets of his hometown of Cowlmouth, and it means that he has to face the fact that death isn’t always the natural spool of credits that we hope for. So he and his friends decide to try to solve the mystery behind the killer of Cowlmouth.

After about a decade of writing professionally, this is my first fiction book. And, after four nonfiction books and about 800 nonfiction articles, it was about time. Why I chose a spooky book should be pretty obvious from my nonfiction bibliography, but why I chose a middle grade audience is less obvious. I’m still not sure, honestly. But I can tell you that it’s at least because of authors like John Bellairs. And Ray Bradbury. And Alvin Schwartz. So many others.

And it's also at least because I want to be 12 years old again.

It’s the kind of book I hope both kids and adults will dig. We’ll talk more about it all when the book officially streets this September, but you should know (and can probably guess) that it takes place in the fall. Has a killer carnival. And climaxes on Halloween night.

But you can pre-order it right now. Today, I want to show you the cover, a cover that gives Douglas a life I could never have accomplished by myself. It was created by Lisa K. Webber and, obviously, she did an awesome job. She was that bolt of lightning in Frankenstein that really made Douglas live for me.

And now that I’ve seen him somewhere besides my own imagination, I want him to be the star of his own Cartoon Network cartoon.

So head on over to Amazon or your much cooler local bookstore and pre-order it. Douglas and I thank you in advance.