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REBEL FALLS @ P&P

Few things more gratifying or humbling for a writer than to appear at Politics & Prose, the prestigious independent bookstore in Washington, D.C. Thanks to everyone who attended (a SRO crowd) and special thanks to my friend E. Ethelbert Miller for being in conversation with me last Sunday afternoon.

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Great review from Booklist

It's 1864, and amid the ongoing U.S. Civil War, an impassioned Rebecca "Rory" Chase has just buried her last remaining family member. Spurred to action, she disguises herself as a man to enlist in a New York State Union regiment, but she is quickly found out.

Downcast and frustrated, Rory returns home to Auburn, where she is approached by her childhood friend Fanny Seward, daughter of Secretary of State William Seward. It turns out that Rory can defend her beloved Union. Two Confederate rebels suspected of planning a coup have been sighted along the Canada border.

She signs on as a courier, or spy, and is sent to Niagara Falls to uncover what she can of the rebels' complex plot. As Rory works to befriend the Confederate targets, she reconnects with people from her mother's past.

When the rebels' plans intensify, Rory finds herself in a race against time and significant odds. Based on actual yet long-obscured events, Wendel's absorbing novel is rich in dramatic history, while his depiction of Rory's internal conflicts brings depth to her high-stakes mission.

— Leah Strauss, Booklist

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On the road again

Cover blurbs for REBEL FALLS have arrived from Ken Burns, SiriusXM's Larry Kirwan and more. I'll roll more of those in the weeks ahead.

But recently I've been focusing on appearances in support of my new historical novel.

Going on tour always has its ups and down, shocks and surprises, so I detailed several in my latest Substack column,  https://timwendel.substack.com/p/book-tour-trials-and-tribulations

See why I'm not the biggest Harry Potter fan.

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Editing process? Finished

The final, final edits for REBEL FALLS are finished. The historical novel, based in Niagara Falls during the waning months of the Civil War, will be out this spring from Three Hills, the trade imprint for Cornell University Press. 

Filmmaker Ken Burns, novelists Mary Kay Zuravleff and Burt Soloman, poet E. Ethelbert Miller, and SiriusXM host Larry Kirwan have endorsed the novel. I'll send along more of their comments in the new year, along with the amazing book trailer from Bill O'Brian.

For now, I'm thrilled to have the edits behind me and to receive this final note from production editor Jennifer Kelly, "By the way, our proofreader was absolutely enthralled with the book."

Pre-orders are being taken here, as well as at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 

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Ken Burns on REBEL FALLS

Asking for cover endorsements or 'blurbs' is among the most humbling things I know of. But then you have a lightning bolt moment like this.

Here's Ken Burns assessment of 'Rebel Falls,' my new novel, which will be out this spring:

"Once again, Tim Wendel finds a riveting story to tell, this time in a little-known theater of our most complicated of wars.  Instead of great armies on familiar fields, this saga leads us to the shadowy world of spies and the improbable battleground at our northern border.  Wendel's narrative is strong, emotional and driven by one of his best characters yet, a heroine with more than her fair share of grit and bravery."

 

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Cover for Rebel Falls

Here's the cover from REBEL FALLS, my historical novel, which will be out this spring.

 

The story opens in the summer of 1864. That's when Rory Chase, a young woman with a troubled past, reluctantly returns to Niagara Falls and the border with British Canada. Her assignment? Somehow keep Confederate spies John Yates Beall and Bennet Burley from seizing the lone Union gunship remaining on the Great Lakes.

 

 If Beall and Burley can commandeer the U.S.S. Michigan, they plan to bombard Cleveland and Buffalo on the eve of upcoming presidential election. This will certainly end Abraham Lincoln's chances of a second term.

 

Based upon true events, REBEL FALLS tells a forgotten chapter of the epic struggle. A time when the clash wasn't between armies and generals, but spies and unlikely allies. A place of extreme beauty where the Civil War briefly hung in the balance.

 

Many of the old landmarks from the American side of the Falls -- the Cataract House hotel, the Ferry Landing and the Suspension Bridge -- are the sites for major scenes and reveals.

 

A hardcover Spring 2024 release from Three Hills, the trade imprint for Cornell University Press, REBEL FALLS has garnered advance praise. "This is history that goes down smoothly," writes Burt Solomon, author of THE MURDER OF WILLIE LINCOLN. "You feel like you're there."

 

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Historical novel out in 2024

Suspension Bridge, Niagara Falls

Late in the summer of 1864, a young woman with a troubled past reluctantly returns to Niagara Falls and the border with British Canada. Her assignment? Somehow keep rebel spies John Yates Beall and Bennet Burley from seizing the lone Union gunship remaining on the Great Lakes.

 

If Beall and Burley can commandeer the U.S.S. Michigan, they plan to bombard Cleveland and Buffalo on the eve of upcoming presidential election. This will certainly end Abraham Lincoln's chances of a second term. To a desperate attempt to stop them, Secretary of State William Seward turns to inexperienced agents like Rory Chase, his daughter Fanny's best friend.

Soon time runs out for Rory and the Union operatives. Can they stymie the Confederates before the Michigan falls into rebel hands? In a climactic scene atop the Suspension Bridge spanning the Niagara River, during a raging blizzard, Rory has a final chance to redeem herself.

 

Based upon true events, REBEL FALLS tells a forgotten chapter of the epic struggle. A time when the clash wasn't between armies and generals, but spies and unlikely allies. A place of extreme beauty where the Civil War briefly hung in the balance.

 

A hardcover Spring 2024 release from Three Hills, the trade imprint for Cornell University Press, REBEL FALLS has garnered advance praise. "This is history that goes down smoothly," writes Burt Solomon, author of THE MURDER OF WILLIE LINCOLN. "You feel like you're there."

 

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Indie Book finalist

ESCAPE FROM CASTRO'S CUBA was named a finalist in the 2022 New Generation Indie Book Award competition in the Action/Adventure (Fiction) category.

This is a case where I didn't even know the novel was in the running as the good folks at Nebraska Press entered it on my behalf. Thanks, gang.

ESCAPE is the sequel to CASTRO'S CURVEBALL, which was completed during my time in the Johns Hopkins Writing Program. (It was my thesis project.)

Nebraska Press now has ESCAPE and CURVEBALL available in print and ebook. I narrated the audiobook for ESCAPE.

 

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'Ghosts of Cuba'

Thanks to Greg Rienzi for the terrific review of ESCAPE FROM CASTRO'S CUBA in the Winter issue of the Johns Hopkins magazine. He detailed my inspiration for the new novel. How I couldn't get Cuba out of my mind after my fourth trip to the island in early 2017. One of the amazing characters I met on this visit was our 80-year-old landlady, who first came to Havana as a member of Castro's revolutionary army. 

Greg's piece closes with a quote from Billy Bryan, protagnoist of the new novel and its prequel, CASTRO'S CURVEBALL: "Cuba is beautiful, but has a dark heart."

True, so true.

In addition, here's an online chat Greg and I had about ESCAPE for the JHU Hub -- https://hub.jhu.edu/magazine/2021/winter/escape-castros-cuba-wendel/ 

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ESCAPE is CASEY Finalist

ESCAPE FROM CASTRO'S CUBA is a finalist for the CASEY Award, given annually to  the 'best' baseball book published this calendar year.

What surprised me the most about the news is that ESCAPE is the only novel among the finalists and, frankly, works of fiction rarely make the cut for the CASEY.

It is a stacked field of CASEY finalists, with Joe Posnanski's THE BASEBALL 100, Lonnie Wheeler's bio about 'Cool Papa' Bell and Dave Jordan's collaboration with slugger Dave Parker also in the running. Of the nine finalists, three are from University of Nebraska Press, which underscores the fine work editor Rob Taylor is doing there.

With ESCAPE being the only novel in play, I sort of feel like I've already won. And I'm not just saying that. As you know, getting traction for a piece of fiction is an uphill fight, so it makes your day when you hear that you're in the running for something like a CASEY.

Thanks to Mike Shannon and the folks at Spitball magazine for the honor.

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