About the Book
How do you pen your own destiny when you’re destined to control a magical pen?
Arnie Schmidt is an unremarkable seventeen-year-old nerd who works at his uncle’s accounting firm. Nothing exciting happens to him. Ever. The most exhilarating experience he had was sharing an elevator with his office crush once. It was a pleasure never to be repeated!
When his high school bully gets a job in the mail room and starts to make moves on Arnie’s dream girl, Arnie thinks his dull existence is over. However, a chance encounter at a yard sale changes his boring life forever.
An endless array of peculiar circumstances emerge, transforming Arnie’s average existence into one more extraordinary. One moment, he’s planning the epitaph on his tombstone, the next he’s trying to keep a vintage relic from sending him to an early grave and upsetting the entire balance of the universe.
What’s a timid number cruncher to do? Can Arnie protect his newfound treasure before it’s lost or stolen? Only time—and the unparalleled power of an enchanted fountain pen—will tell!
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About the Author
Tasha is a book nerd, editing ninja, and design geek. She has degrees in journalism, business, and law. She is the award-winning author of Fabric of a Generation and Pharaoh’s Shadow.
After spending most of her childhood reading in the dark, after hours with a flashlight, she now prefers to curl up in a comfy chair at her local coffee shop.
She covets a seaside cottage full of antique typewriters, where she can write young adult magical realism books, historical fiction, and take on editing gigs to pay for her fountain pen addiction. She sometimes also obsesses over modern Jane Austen renditions and what it would be like to meet Shakespeare. To learn more about her, visit TashaMadison.com.
Arnie imagined two of the parish priests smashing together at warp speed like mindless matter dusting the galaxy with endless chatter. He envisioned their collision creating a tiny black hole that would open a bubble of interdimensional space large enough for him to experience amusement for a fraction of a second longer than Father Humphrey’s humdrum speech on life after high school.
Arnie watched mournfully. The length, width, and depth of his reality succumbed to the mind-bending precision of each tick-tock of the Sacred Heart Cathedral’s gilded clock. Arnie calculated the sum of abandoned hymnals and deserted prayer books. He computed the ratio of candles to altar furniture. He tallied the pews and the number of teens bored in them.
Sixty. Tick. Tick. The number of seconds in a minute.
Thirty-six hundred. Tick. Tick.
The number of seconds in an hour.
Eighty-six thousand and four hundred. Tick. Tick. The number of seconds in a day.
Seconds. Minutes. Hours. The wasted moments revolved around Arnie like a cluster of stars as the clock hands skirted their way around the decorative sphere.
When Arnie ran out of things to count, he began to pen his epitaph in his head. It seemed fitting, given all the time ambling away from his grasp. He felt certain the youth retreat his parents sentenced him to would still be ticking away when he had perfected his inscription.
Here lie the mortal remains of Arnie Schmidt.
Child of two loving parents.
Brother to none.
Proud Math Camp attendee.
Destined to remain a monument of unrequited love.
Arnie’s parents pleaded with his Uncle Gregory to mentor their son. They struggled to understand their number-cruncher child who boasted the brains to get into MIT but lacked the ambition to try. However, his parents’ promise of an internship at his uncle’s successful accounting firm turned into a meager position in the company mail room. Arnie assumed he would start as a junior clerk. He remembered the awkward conversation well.
“What’s this, Uncle?”
“The mail room, of course.”
Arnie nodded as he pushed up his glasses. “Um … Yes … I see that.
But, why … uh … are you … well … showing it to me?”
Uncle Gregory smiled. “I make all my accountants start here.”
Arnie squirmed under his gaze. He totaled the number of shelves and determined the likely quantity of envelopes stuffed into them. His eyes widened at the clutter of stamps, scales, and labels scattered about the room. He estimated the reduction of output per hour based on various primary and secondary inputs being wasted, mismanaged, or used inefficiently. Uncle Gregory visualized the mathematics of Arnie’s future mail room adjustments whirring among his nephew’s gray matter. He smiled knowingly.
Arnie shrugged. There was certainly plenty to keep him busy, and he didn’t mind busy work when it served a practical purpose.
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