Cover Reveal: The Alchemist’s Notebook

I’m pleased to announce the cover for my upcoming novel The Alchemist’s Notebook is finished. This fantastic cover, designed by Clarissa at Yocla Designs, perfectly sets the mood for this story, and I know it will grab a lot of attention when it goes on sale in May.

The Alchemist’s Notebook is an urban fantasy novel that takes place in a world where alchemy, sorcery, and mysticism are an equal part of reality as chemistry, physics, and biology. Here’s a quick blurb from the back cover:

The Alchemist's Notebook by Kevin Wohler

As Salt City’s only alchemist, Malcolm Ward has been minding his own business for the last ten years. His shop, The Village Alchemist, caters to mages, mystics, and magic wannabes—including Tommy DeLuce, the mayor’s son. But when a fire elemental kills Tommy, the city council demands that Mal investigate.

The trail from the fire elemental to Tommy isn’t exactly a straight line; it’s more like a circle. An elemental means alchemy, but everyone assumed Mal was the only alchemist in town. Now he’s taking it personally.

Malcolm’s alchemical mojo is a bit rusty, so he’ll need help from his friends in the metaphysical community to uncover the truth about Tommy’s death. And he needs to do it soon, before more customers go missing.

The Alchemist’s Notebook is the first book in The Village Alchemist series. It is scheduled to debut on Amazon.com in May, from Bottle Cap Publishing, and will be available in ebook and print format.

Say “I Love You”

Heart illustrationEarlier this week on Twitter, Six Words from SMITH (@sixwords) posted a challenge asking for love advice in six words. I decided to play along, as I often use such Twitter writing prompts as a break from my daily work.

You should know, I came to love late in life. I was 35 before I married my soul mate. Although Rachel and I had known each other for more than a dozen years, we didn’t start dating until 2004. We dated for only a few months before I popped the question, and we married less than six months after our first date.

While I may have been a little rough around the edges at first, I quickly learned a thing or two about being in a committed relationship. I’m no expert, but after a decade of marriage, I think I know what works and what doesn’t.

So I drew from my personal experience.

Although my tweet didn’t exactly explode the Interwebz, it did get a little attention (beginning with my wife). As the week rolled on—and as Valentine’s Day approached—it occurred to me that six words wasn’t enough to encapsulate what I needed to say.

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Entertainment vs. Art

2016As a new year begins, folks become introspective. We think about the year gone by and wonder what the new year will bring.

I’m about half way through editing my first completed novel in more than a decade. And I’ve come to that point where I have to ask myself if it’s good. The answer to that is a resounding yes. It has strong characters, a great plot, and I think it brings something unique to the genre.

Is it art? Well, no.

My last novel was, well… “unpolished” would be a nice way to put it. Looking back on it, I see so many things wrong I can’t begin to salvage it. Yet it had one thing going for it: it had a strong moral message.

But you see, that’s the problem. In my younger years, I felt that writing should convey some truth, some deep meaning, that would elevate it from mere novel to “work of art.” These days, I’m not so concerned about art.

As I look back on the Great Works (capital G, capital W) of literature, I’m struck by two things.

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Career Advice I Have Ignored Without Consequence (Almost)

Staff Meeting

No matter what anyone tells you, never be afraid to spice up the staff meeting with weird pictures. Most people will never notice.

Career advice. You can’t avoid it. Websites like Monster, Career Builder and LinkedIn thrive on providing career advice to young men and women entering the workforce.

But that doesn’t mean you have to take it to heart. Career advice is not “one size fits all.” What works in one company (or one department), may not fit in the next.

And not everyone who gives advice is looking out for your best interest. For instance, any advice from your boss is probably intended to increase “productivity” and improve the company’s “bottom line.” Whatever.

I’ve been given a lot of advice over the years. As I look back on 25 years of job-seeking, interviews, annual reviews, and promotions, I have to admit that most of the advice was pretty useless. Much of my success in my job came after I had given up on trying to get promoted. Many of my best opportunities came when I was on the verge of being shown the door.

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Monkeys I Have Known

Old monkey house at the Kansas City Zoo

The origin of my obsession with monkeys and apes. The iconic monkey house at the Kansas City Zoo. Sadly, it is no longer there.

It’s December 14th. Do you know what that means? Quick, check your calendar. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

That’s right! It’s Monkey Day!

December 14th is the day when all simians, the higher primates—humans and great apes, gibbons and monkeys (Old World and New)—come together to celebrate the many things we have in common.

In years past, I’ve let Monkey Day be a springboard for my creativity. From my inaugural Monkey Day post “Unleashing My Inner Monkey” to last year’s “5 Ways to Be a Better Monkey,” I’ve tried to find a way to connect to my simian siblings. This year, I’ll let my pictures do the talking.

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