Good news, we have the final artwork for the cover the The Man from Mittelwerk designed by Tim Barber of DissectDesigns and it looks great. (See below.)
Bad news, logistical issues in the publishing industry are going to delay the book until Fall 2022. Apparently supply chain issues, trucking strikes and the demand for shipping materials is causing pretty much every book out there to be delayed several months.
Nonetheless, we are moving ahead on all fronts. We have two short stories: a prequel that Mike wrote (The Perfect Setup) set before WWII and a bonus chapter I wrote (Leaving Detroit) set in 1950. We’ll post these on the www.mzurlocker.com web site in the coming weeks. We’ll be using these and other short stories in order to generate awareness and a mailing list for marketing.
We also had a couple of additional nice quotes from other authors including James R. Benn author of the highly acclaimed Billy Boyle WWII series and from James Kestrel (who may or may not be Lee Child*) author of my favorite book of 2021 Five Decembers.
“A fast-paced, smart debut novel that blends noir and Lovecraftian elements. If you like J.J. Abram’s alternate history Overlord, this book is for you.”
—James Kestrel, author of Five Decembers
“From the dark caves of a Nazi slave labor complex to sunny southern California, The Man from Mittelwerk delivers on all fronts. Snappy dialog, a fast-paced narrative, and complex moral questions all combine to make this hard-boiled thriller a winner. Think Chinatown meets The Boys from Brazil - superb!”
—James R Benn, author of the Billy Boyle WWII mysteries
If you aren’t familiar with James R. Benn’s Billy Boyle series, I encourage you to take a look. A couple of my personal favorites are The Rest is Silence and A Blind Goddess. Benn’s books are extremely well-researched and wonderfully told. He’s also a super nice guy.
Let me know what you think of the cover and how you’re doing with all the insanity in the world these days. In addition to my day job, I’m doing my best to keep up with running and learning the piano. How about you? Don’t hit reply, instead send email to ZUrlocker@hotmail.com
(*) But probably isn’t. I think.
It’s Christmas Eve!
So here’s wishing everyone a happy Christmas and all the best for the holidays. And, of course, a good book to curl up with when the weather outside gets dreadful == whether we’re talking northern blizzards, southern heatwaves, or equatorial monsoons. Stay happy, stay healthy, and keep reading.
- Christopher Huang
I wanted to keep everyone up-to-date with the latest on The Man from Mittelwerk. Good news, the book is still finished and slated for publication in April next year. We have received the final proofs from the publisher and are correcting some minor grammatical errors while also sneaking in a few other fixes. Hopefully we will get the cover artwork in the new year.
While not ruminating over the final edits Mike and I are working on a couple of short stories to provide more background on the main character, private detective Jack Waters. Eventually we’ll post those on the web site.
We also had a couple of nice quotes from other authors:
“A compelling page-turner with a chilling what-if scenario drawn from the truth.” — Rick Mofina, USA Today bestselling author of Her Last Goodbye
“A thrilling, at times devastating, sci-fi noir adventure that juxtaposes Nazi human experimentation against modern pursuits of power.” — Tal M. Klein, The Punch Escrow
For fans of WWII historical fiction with a noir angle, you must pick up James Kestrel’s Five Decembers. It’s been widely reviewed by the New York Times, LA Review of Books and more. It’s the best book I’ve read this year. He’s received well-earned praise from no less than Stephen King called it “One hell of a good story.”
Finally, let me wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’d love to hear from you and what books you’ve enjoyed this year. But don’t hit Reply. Instead email me at ZUrlocker@hotmail.com.
News! Good news, and not-so-good news.
Let’s get the not-so-good news out of the way. I’ve received word that the release of Unnatural Ends might be delayed another two or three months, though nothing is confirmed yet. This is, apparently, down to some marketing strategy: Inkshares wants to put some extra effort into getting this book into the public eye, and there might be something to aiming for a release in the spring as opposed to the middle of winter. They’re weighing the pros and cons now, and I’m trusting them to do what’s best.
In much better news, we now have a cover!
Credit goes to Tim Barber of Dissect Designs, who’s done some amazing work on a number of other Inkshares titles. For Unnatural Ends, he’s taken the fractured family situation at the core of the story and expressed it as a jumble of mismatched pieces forced together. Brilliance, I think.
Now we just have to wait for Inkshares to work their marketing magic (consider telling your local library) and for the book to make its way to the bookstore shelves.
We have progress, ladies and gentlemen! Cat’s Paw has always been only a working title, one I’ve wanted to change for well over a year now. And we’ve come to a decision: the book formerly known as Cat’s Paw will be published as Unnatural Ends ... a far better title, mainly because it does not conjure up pictures of cute kittens when you run it through Google.
Which also means these updates will need a new header:
If you head over to Amazon, you’ll find we also have a cover, though my understanding is that this is not final. The cover artist is still working on something much better. Still, having even a placeholder cover brings home the idea that this is really happening after all. I’m sure that, given the time this has taken some of you must have begun to give up, or cease to believe ... I know there was a sense of unreality about the whole process for me as well, towards the end.
Meanwhile, the proofs have come and gone. I heard mention of printing at the beginning of the next month, though I’m assuming that’s about the Advanced Reader copies for reviews and the like before the actual release. As I said: we have progress.
I’ve been remiss in sending out updates as we worked on yet-another draft. But now, some news: The Man from Mittelwerk is finished (huzzah!) and slated for publication in the first half of 2022.
It only took three years, 13 drafts and several major rewrites. Nonetheless, the book went through final copyediting (2,600 changes, ulp!) which called out innumerable grammar and consistency issues. The editor also helped us strengthen the emotional impact in key scenes.
It took several late nights of bleary-eyed Track Changes editing to work through the easy edits. Then I passed it to my brother and co-author to deal with the harder issues, while I was out cycling in the rain for a week. He got through it, undid many of my changes, and handed it back to me. I undid only a few of his changes, finished some items he didn’t want to touch and voila, a finished manuscript.
The next step is for the text to be laid out in a proper design, followed by a final round of proofreading and getting a cover designed. Since we’re done with the writing, I built a web site with some mocked-up covers, created in homage to a few authors you might know.
I’m really proud of the what we’ve written. It’s been a lengthy process, but the book is all the better for all the revisions. I shared a copy with another tech industry author, Eric Maikranz and he said:
“The Man from Mittelwerk is a mind-bending thriller that will keep you turning pages.”
– D. Eric Maikranz, author of The Reincarnationist Papers
So not too shabby.
If you haven’t read Eric’s book I highly recommend it. It’s a fascinating exploration of reincarnation and what happens if you remember your past lives. His book was the basis for the Mark Wahlberg time-travel CGI extravaganza Infinity. (Spoiler alert: The book is better!)
As always, thank you for your support of this long-suffering project. Let me know what you think of the fake covers below, what you’re reading and how you survived quarantine. But don’t hit reply to this email. Instead email me at ZUrlocker@hotmail.com.
I hope you have not forgotten me. It has been quite a while, and I admit that things have progressed far slower than I’d hoped. I feel that much of that is my own fault, and that has made me reluctant to post any updates. However, it looks like we’re finally over the slump, and have something real to report.
The book went into copy edits just last month, and should be moving on to the next step within the next week or so. Apparently we have a publication date set for February 2022, so here’s hoping things go according to schedule.
As I’m writing this, the International Agatha Christie Festival is just entering its last day. I was invited to say a little something about Christie’s post-WW1 world, though the ongoing plague means my contribution has had to be online only. Rather a shame not to be there in person, but being "online only" means the video is now available on YouTube. Check it out here: Agatha Christie: Clues to the Post-War World. While you’re there, why not check out some of the other online talks and events for the festival?
Cheers to everyone; stay healthy, and happy reading.