OLD NEWS IS AN OXYMORON

 But here’s some old news anyway, for posterity’s sake if nothing else.

The following article about RESET appeared Dec. 16, 2011 in the Cadillac Newspaper, prior to our second Saturday at ENTITY. It included a graphic of the front cover, and directions to the place in a sidebar.

It was an honor to be interviewed and written about by Jeff Broddle. He has a talent for getting the story.  Brian

“Mann did the book’s illustrations, drawing the rich landscapes Cool envisioned in his escapist story of an archetypal journey on a parallel Earth.”

 LeRoy sci-fi author hosts book-signing in Marion

BY JEFF BRODDLE   CADILLAC NEWS 

MARION — Art, writing, publishing, the end of the world — any topic will be up for discussion as some of the creators of the fantasy science-fiction novel “Reset by Marian Evans” welcome the public to the ENTITY art gallery in Marion Saturday.

Although the book is titled “Reset by Marian Evans,” it was authored by LeRoy resident Brian Cool, who has been selected as ENTITY’s Artist of the Month for December. This self-published novel is subtitled “a post-apocalyptic dream where prophecy meets legend.”

Meet Cool and one of the book’s contributing artists, Steve Mann, at ENTITY, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Explaining the title, Cool said, Marian Evans is a creation of his own mind, based on an author who lived 150 years ago. Hint: Marian Evans is the real name of the 19th century English novelist George Eliot. The mystery of Marian Evans’ identity is one of the threads of the novel’s plot.

Mann did the book’s illustrations, drawing the rich landscapes Cool envisioned in his escapist story of an archetypal journey on a parallel Earth. Cool also gives Linda Smith credit as part of the “Reset Crew” for creating the painting that became the book’s cover.

The book begins with a woman being drafted into the Army in a civil war set in the modern-day United States.

She is nearly killed, and after going AWOL, finds work in a mining camp. A passing comet causes a nuclear winter, leaving the woman as the sole survivor.

As the story progresses, readers discover a mythical island, a hidden race of human beings and the unfolding of a prophecy.

“This book is, in a way, an introduction to my world,” Cool said.

The novel also is available on Amazon.com in both print and e-editions.

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RESET RECOGNIZED BY STATE REP.

I came home from the December 17th book signing in Marion to a strange surprise.

I deposited the box of remaining unsold books on the kitchen table, and Karen handed me a folded white card. I saw that it was from one of our state representatives. I waved it toward the bag for paper trash, and stepped in that direction. 

She put her hands on her narrow hips and said, “You might want to read it.”

Steve Mann and I had been venting earlier in the day about the government getting itself almost to the point of shutting down, yet again. What a confused bunch. I was mad at the whole big batch of politicians. Let ’em shut ‘er down, let us watch ’em go, then let us lock the doors behind them. Watch us replace the lot with a whole new crew that can get the f**k along.

What did I want with a card from one of them?

I was mad because, as far as I could tell, WOW, they had given themselves leave to go home for the holidays, but they hadn’t been the sort of good old boys and girls who deserved a merry anything–Hadn’t been for some years now. Two more months to live, say the doctors. But there was all probability that they would be back to their arguing and posing as soon as they were back in position.

Although, I guess we could just limp along two months at a time until the world ends next December?????????

I opened the card, noting that it was from Phil Potvin. I remembered him from when he came to one of the Leroy Township Planning Commission meetings to introduce himself to the commission members. His family owned the big concrete business up in Cadillac.

It said . . .

“Dear Brian,

Congratulations on your new book, RESET by Marian Evans.  Using illustrations by local artist Steve Mann only adds to your book.  Nice job.                                                                                       Merry Christmas, Rep Phil Potvin”

Well I sure never expected that.

I paperclipped the card into my RESET notebook.

I do appreciate the card, and I do hope he actually gets the book and reads it. And what the heck, Season’s Greetings and best wishes in the New Year to Phil and all the other representatives, Senators, Congressmen, Republicans, Democrats and all.  Okay, now get in there and fix it, thank you very much. Brian

LATEST ARTICLE WOWS ME

” . . . ominous scenarios of catastrophic galactic alignments, savage solar storms and other deadly astronomical phenomena which could spell the end of humankind.”

 

LeRoy man publishes book, plans signing

By Randy Johnston

 

Special To The Osceola Edition

LEROY — Market master for LeRoy’s Farmers Market and Planning Commission clerk, Brian Cool, is now a published author. 

His debut novel, “Reset by Marian Evans,” was released in November and is available at Entity photography and art gallery in Marion and on Amazon.com.

Cool’s inspiration for the novel, an intriguing blend of fantasy and sci-fi, is the current fascination with end-of-the-world myths, prophecies and predictions popularized by articles, books and movies appearing almost daily. 

They paint ominous scenarios of catastrophic galactic alignments, savage solar storms and other deadly astronomical phenomena which could spell the end of humankind.

The story of Willow living in the year 2112 on Aerda, sister plant to Earth, may parallel a cataclysmic finale for our own planet. As readers follow Willow’s adventures, they glimpse Cool’s personal vision of what’s to come for us. Is it impending doom, or a new beginning?

The novella-length work, about 130 pages, is enhanced with a striking collection of eight full-page black and white illustrations by local artist, Steve Mann. They let us peer into Willow’s world and bring her tale to life.

Cool, a LeRoy resident for 38 years, lives with his wife on the family centennial farm. Mann lives in Reed City with his wife and family.

What’s next for the creative pair? Cool is already working on a second sci-fi novel he plans to publish in 2012. Mann is considering a number of projects including a series of cartoons and a memorial portrait of a U.S. Marine who died in Afghanistan.

To meet Cool and Mann, stop by their next book signing at Entity to learn more about the collaboration between author and artist and pick up an autographed copy of “Reset.” 

Cool is Entity’s Artist of the Month and both he and Mann will be at the gallery Dec. 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Visit Cool’s blog for free writing tools and a schedule of future promotional activities. Contact him through his blog with questions or comments about his work or to post reviews of the book. (www.becool2112.wordpress.com/) If you have a project that requires illustrations, a book cover or other artwork, contact Mann at (231) 250-5777 for a consultation.

Entity is at 202 E. Main St., Marion. If you are interested in exhibiting your work in the gallery or learning more about the Artist of the Month program, call owner Susan Hall (231) 743-9895.

 

Note: the newspaper version included an image of the front cover.

Connections or Coincidences in Marion–Who Can Tell?

What does the word ‘entity’ mean to you? I had to look it up tonight after realizing what a lame definition I’d given ma the other day when she asked. This is of course in relation to last Saturday’s event in Marion at ENTITY.

Mom thought it meant a ghost. I was thinking along those same lines, venturing that it meant the soul, whether within the body or without. Well, live and learn. Although, I am not sure that a dictionary definition can do justice to this word entity, especially after spending the day at a place by that name.

entity — a real being; reality; existence; a material substance.

Entity, Susan Hall’s place on Main Street, which as far as I can see, combines several parts to achieve the whole–Molly’s A New Day, Sue’s Artist of the Month program, her sales of her photographs, her SO Photography studio, and so on–has a certain something about it. It is a fixed place, yet on the move, existing to achieve its potential. It was a good spot to spend the day–big, bright. Pretty things about. Though, I do think a frame shop in one corner is in order—worth looking into I’d bet.

I signed and sold a few books there on Saturday.

I already knew how I wanted to sign my book–that is, unless people requested something specific. Above my scrawl of a John Henry I penned this, “to envision is to invite change” or alternately, “to envision is to create change”. It means something in relation to the story, as well as to the publishing of it. It was inspired by none other than Ralph Nader, and his new novel.

Novel?  ‘Utopian handbook’ he calls it . . . no really. It has actual people for its characters; Warren Buffett, Ted Turner . . . no really it does. He said so. The title is about as bombastic as it is preposterous, Only the Superrich Can Save Us–and yet, possibly possible. He was interviewed on NPR the other day.

Ralph talked about his newest work (a hard thing for writers to do sometimes, as you just said it ALL in your book, right?), and then, then he mentioned what it was that he wrote when he autographed a copy. I took note, as I hoped to be signing some books myself soon—it was this,  “To imagine is to envision.”

. . . and I thought, Ralph, I love ya bud, but that says nothing. It’s redundant. More than me just saying, “it’s redundant”. Unless there’s some hidden meaning, available only to those who read the book . . .

Anyway, thank you for your endless optimism, and of course for your ceaseless activism. And thanks Ralph for writing the book that will finally inspire the rich folk to divide up their riches amongst us, and thereby save us.  I’ll be optimistic with on you on that for a day or two, a week at most. Long as you don’t mind me mooching off your line a bit. I think I know what you meant to say.

Reporter Randy Johnston came in to talk to Steve and me. That’s three, in as many days. She came to get a story for the Osceola Pioneer newspaper, having seen the recent article announcing the Artist of the month. That’s ME. Marian Evans—and under her umbrella; Linda, Elaine, Steve, and myself.

It was good to meet Randy, and talk with her about a writing group she attends. She too is writing a book. I was thrilled that she made the connection between George Eliot and the quasi alias in RESET’s title.

I’m on a roll here, having gone to the Cadillac News on Friday, just to drop off a flier, and giving an impromptu interview to Jeff Broddle. It was good to finally meet him. I did some reporting for the Waterfront in Lake City, and I will carry that with me always. Newspapers do well to give us these people, who will long be remembered in their community for the way they give of themselves to each story, year after year. Jim Creese, Myrtle Holmes, Jack Batdorf, and Bob Redman, my old boss up in Lake City, are just a few names that come quickly to my mind from papers close by.

I will do as many interviews as I can, not just to promote book sales, but for the chance to meet another writer.

Steve drove. He picked me up on his way. It was a 25 minute drive northeast of home. On our way back home, we stopped at the Shell station in Marion to pick up the latest Marion Press. We both wanted the paper for a copy of Thursday’s article about the book. It’s a publication with roots a hundred and twenty-two years deep, with Jenny Gray at the helm. And what a writer she is!

Later at home, Karen and I were going through the paper–she loves a newspaper too–and she pointed out that, in the story on Christmas doin’s around Marion, Butch and Kate Ruppert were giving horse drawn wagon rides,. We’ll be seeing them soon to help set up lights at the pavilion in LeRoy, and then again next Saturday at Christmas doin’s around town when we will be setting up the LeRoy Farmers’ Market for a holiday sale–they are giving rides there too. What fun! And the article’s byline? Randy Johnston. She writes for three papers!!

Then, Karen pointed out an old familiar name, and we were suddenly saddened to learn of the death of the man who spent a week at our place milling the 10,000 board feet of lumber for our house. Bill Hower died in 2006, but on the anniversary of his death his family had remembered him in the paper, and so now we remembered him again too. A good man there.

And then there was the following article.

ENTITY PRESENTS December Artist of the Month: Brian Cool

MARION — Brian Cool, an author from LeRoy, is ENTITY’s artist of the month and will appear there on Saturdays, December 3 and 17, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Cool has written his debut novel, “RESET by Marian Evans.” It’s a true northern Michigan creation. Photographer/designer Elaine Edstrom of Traverse City produced the cover.  Artist Steve Mann of Reed City penciled the interior illustrations.  The painting on the front cover is the work of Traverse City artist Linda Smith.  So, one might think that Cool’s book, has something to do with the tip of the Mitt.  It’s actually a work of science fiction—an adventure in another time, on another world, but the story poses universal questions.

The author and his wife live and work close to the land, on their family’s sprawling centennial farm. Their home, which the couple built, is a round house of cordwood masonry with a sod roof. “Occasionally we let the goats up there,” says Cool.

Cool is a self avowed Jack of all trades: Master Citizen Planner, woodsman, gardener, Market Master for the LeRoy Farmers’ Market, clerk for the LeRoy Planning Commission, and amateur builder. So when does he find time to write a book?  Come to ENTITY and find out.

On his blog (www.becool2112.wordpress.com/) Cool says, “this is a chance to promote the talents of my illustrator Steve Mann, and the artwork of Reset cover painting artist, Linda Smith, as well as the work of cover designer Elaine Edstrom, all of whom contributed invaluably to make this a work to be proud of. We are all excited about this opportunity,”

Some of the “Reset Crew” members also plan to attend.

The article was accompanied by a picture of the front cover.

It is not lost on me that my first outing to promote this book with a public appearance and all, is in Marion, and there is a scene in the book that was in part inspired by an interesting and controversial true story from near Marion, and the title includes the name of a fictional author, Marian.

I should have been a day or two quicker on the fliers, because what was also not lost, is what a slow day it was, except for one burst of everyone-all-at-once. All of which I was prepared for, since I was prepared for almost anything.  Sue had said it was common for the place to be empty for long stretches. She’s got a few ideas to turn that around.

Me too, next time I’m there–free homemade cookies and gourmet coffee! I will offer a free workshop on self-publishing–I’ve learned a few things that others may find helpful. So why not pass it forward? And I’ll offer a printed pack of my Tools for Writers, for sale.  I made the tools in an attempt to write better, and keep organized. The first set, MS Tracker tracks all of the important aspects of publishing each story. The second set, Identity Builder, helps flesh out the character skeletons in your mind. I’m working on a third set called Place Builder.

Steve left his portfolio up there at Entity for people to peruse. He will take orders from it for prints. Or, he will render a portrait, based on photos. He’s very good at re-creating an old faded photograph of some lost loved-one, enlarging it or changing it as requested. Uncanny.

One of the most common questions I get on my book is about the title.  Of course I’m not the first to use such an odd kind of title.  There is a long-standing–though rarely used–tradition in the field of fiction, especially sci-fi, to do what I was attempting. I wondered if the technique had a name. I couldn’t find one, so I made one up (until someone smarter tells me otherwise). The Latin name quasi alias, sounds as good to me as anything else might, meaning roughly ‘fictional author’, or, ‘as if written by another’.

The title RESET by Marian Evans is like, Pandora by Holly Hollander a novel by Gene Wolfe, or I am a droid by C-3PO by Mark Cerasini, or Rules of the Universe by Austin W. Hale by Robin Vaupel. These works are clearly only titled as written by another, as the true author’s name appears on the cover.

A similar case would be Washington Irving’s Rip van Winkle “taken from the posthumous papers of historian Diedrich Knickerbocker”. Knickerbocker was the name originally used by Irving as a sort of gimmick to present his satire.  These are not quite pen names.  But they are another tool in the writer’s bag of gimcrack and gnoodlery to use to invite the reader to suspend belief, and give-in to the story as early as possible.

Rained all day.

There weren’t many people out walking the streets of Marion. Driving either. We’ll stir up a bit more of show next time I‘m sure. I’m just glad to help in my own small way, to add to ENTITIES identity.

Brian

Introductory Post to The Real Marian Evans.

It’s Thanksgiving day here in America, and it is in the spirit of giving thanks that I offer this. Part tribute, part educational project, here’s my contribution to the Marian Evans Memorial, which is embodied in the totality of information about her to be found in print and on the web.  There is no definitive source, and that is as it should be, so this is not an attempt to be that.

Don’t expect scholarly.  I’m just a common guy.  I’ll include something old and something new about Marian with each post.  Old as in, from before a century ago—new as in, anything I might find interesting.

Here’s a bit of both, for starters.  I’ve already mentioned a certain old book left me by my father–a century old copy of Silas Marner— The Weaver of Raveloe, that belonged to my aunt Marian when she was a schoolgirl.  Here’s an excerpt from that book.  It’s taken from the introduction, page 18, and is written by Cornelia Beare instructor in English, Wadleigh High School, New York City.

George Eliot began her literary work as a translator, essayist, and editor—novel writing was at first a side issue.  When she did take it up, her habits of thought were already formed; the translator’s exactness, the scholar’s careful and minute analysis, the critic’s care for perfection of form are all found in her work.  Brought up as she was among the middle class and with plenty of opportunity to know the working class from her father’s position, she is at her best in presenting to us the thoughts and lives of the workers.  No other writer has quite her gift of entering into the personality of the character and interesting the reader in the seemingly trivial details, the sordid tragedies and comedies of peasant life.  Nor is this all.  Her works deserve to rank as classics to be placed among the truly great examples of modern art, because they never lose sight of the fact that literature, fiction, though it may be, has a higher aim than merely to entertain—its true purpose should be to teach and guide, to put before us the working out of the great truths which shape life, that, by seeing this, we may guide our own lives aright.”

That was from Merrill’s English Texts, published in 1908.  This is what my aunt Marian was reading as a 10th grader!  Wonder what they’re reading these days?  More from that book in a later post.  I promise.

Here’s an excerpt from the afterword to my recent book, Reset by Marian Evans.  Keep in mind that I was not trying to portray the Marian of my title as being the one, the only, the real and true Marian of Victorian England, but yes, she is definitely the inspiration. Quirky title and all, I hope it helps to introduce more people to the work of the girl that was George Eliot.

“Yes, my name really is Cool. German immigrant ancestors adopted the spelling because they thought it would be cooler than K-u-h-l. 🙂

“I originally wrote and planned to publish this story using a pen name, Marian Evans, for several reasons, but decided to publish it under my own name for several others. The perceived benefits of using a pen name, compared to the real complications involved, are hard to balance. Growing up with a name like Cool, I knew it was likely that some people would think my real name a pseudonym anyway. I mostly wanted to avoid any limelight that would inevitably follow someone who writes as well as I hope to. I also wanted to avoid any controversy provokeable by the uneasy thoughts I might put on paper. 

‘So, I created Marian, and she wrote Reset. I think she’s good, if a little strange. But alas, “words weren’t made for cowards,” says Happy Rhodes. Heeding her advice, I must take the credit, the blame, and any fame, if people recommend this story to others. 

“—What’s that? Umm . . . Marian asks me to note that she was NOT conceived and created by me.

“Fine fine–I don’t think I need to point out that (shhh) her initials are M.E. In return, she may be kind enough to refrain from explaining, yet again, that it’s just as likely that she created me, and that I am but a crazy dream of hers.

“Her name sounds like another writer, whose name and works are as liquid on the page, who was obliged to publish as a man, that her words might sell. I always wondered what that says about a man, which is all I meant to point out through the similarity to the late great Mary Ann Evans-Cross (one spelling). She had skill and grace with the written word that far exceeds my own.”

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, LAUNCH

                                                                                                                                              

My plan to market RESET by Marian Evans includes; doing a number of interviews for various media sources (which I will post here), a stint in December as artist of the month at Entity in Marion, Book Signings (to be announced), and a hundred other little things, but first . . . I want to give credit where it is due by holding a Prelaunch Party for those who have helped.

Like any good book, it has taken the efforts of many people to make it a reality, as the following excerpt from the print version will show.

LOVE AND APPRECIATION    

Thanks to Mom for religion–to Dad, for the freedom to question it; to both of you for my life, and for your guidance and love.  

To my team of beta-readers, for encouragement, but most of all for your criticisms: Amanda, Blake, Charles, Christina, Elaine, John, Julie, Karen, Larry, Liz, and Mike. Thanks again. I’m sure it wasn’t easy with those early drafts.

Cover Magic: Linda Smith of Traverse City MI for the use of your painting Sunset on the Bay. I was impressed when I first saw it, stunned actually. Your work with metallic compounds can cause ghostly optical effects when viewed in different lights. I was visiting friends up north, and right there on their diningroom wall was Willow’s little boat on the beach, and seagulls in a different sky. Photographer/Designer Elaine Edstrom, owns and loves the painting, so it became rather obvious who should do the cover design. Thank you ladies.

In the small town of Reed City MI, lives a big man, Steve Mann, a relatively unknown artist, whose natural talent I’ve long admired. Steve, I can’t tell you how happy it made me when you agreed to do the illustrations. But, had I gone ‘mainstream’, would I suggest to the publisher that we use your work? Well, it’s just not done that way. Their loss. I hope we can do it again soon.

Thanks to Ms. Belgowan, now Mrs. Maskill, for trying to teach us Pine River kids to write right, and for providing the spark all those years ago (through one of your homework assignments), for Willow Walker.

Thanks to Roger Peel of Luther MI for tech-help.

Thank you Karen and Christina, for your infinite patience and love. Also for all your help on this thing, past present and future.

And thank you reader. Marian says thanks too.

(I have one Matthew Davis to add to that list for help with the e-book version.)

What a team to have on my side! Now to try to get them all under one roof.  

prelaunch party invite

I’M HERE

“Go forth little blog post, be brave, make us proud.”

“Testing . . . testing . . . 1 2 3, Brian here calling from the GreenPole . . . anyone out there? If so, an ass is an animal.”

Today was an eventful day. Karen and I finished our work at the Maple Hill field, on Patsy and Fagan’s place, harvesting evergreen boughs. We totaled our weights, and did so-so if we can sell it all to Patterson’s. Then, since we finished early, we figured we might as well press the last of our apples, which makes for our tenth and last pressing of the year–a small task at only thirteen gallons. Still too much. Shared some with neighbors. Apples galore this year. Tomorrow the press goes into storage till next summer.  

Sandra stopped by in the evening to bring us some books, one of which was an old Foxfire Book, bless her soul. While we were visiting, Christina called us with the news that my book, Reset by Marian Evans, is now for sale on amazon.com. Exciting, and quick! I hope people like it, on the whole, though I know there’s probably a little something in it somewhere to engender the criticism, maybe anger even, of some. I trust.

I find it somewhat ironic that as I publish this story, in which a comet passes between planet Aerda and its moon, wreaking unforeseen events, asteroid 2005 YU55 will sail on by earth tomorrow, nearer than our own moon. It’s only a matter of time and, SPLAT! Which takes care of all of our petty seven billion problems rather tidily, but, I just can’t shake this hunch that we could really be something, us humans, rather than a plague on this planet.

We are long overdue for a meteorite on par with those famous dino-killers. Let’s get our heads out of our animals brothers and sisters, and get to work on the reality of that eventuality. Get that in the bag, turn this climate change thing around, then let’s get us a real purpose. Let’s be the best thing that ever happened to this planet. It’s us or the ants. Actually ants aren’t so bad. They might do better than us, if ants wore the pants.

We are celebrating tonight with some cider gone hard, sending thanks to CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing, looking forward to getting book in front of people now. Goodnight. B.