Juggling Kittens

September 21, 2016
Votes: 16
Audience Adult
Word Count 60-80k (average/short)

Editing, Production, Marketing & Sales

Cover design by Don Kramer
Published Through Pandamoon Publishing
Pitch Perfect Pick

Author’s Summary

Ellis Mazer is a soon-to-be father, a first year English teacher, and a directionless twenty-something entering the directionless 2000-somethings. Violence provided by the backdrop of 9/11 feeds Mr. Mazer’s seventh graders the essay fodder that almost makes his job bearable. Then, when a little girl disappears from her rural Arkansas mobile home, teaching writing turns into a layup drill.

Soon after that, however, Spencer—trailer trash with more ring worms than friends—stops coming to school. Ellis discovers that he may be the only person who even notices, much less cares. What begins as a good-natured attempt to deliver some make-up work tumbles headlong into a quest deep into hillbilly noir in an attempt to verify that there is still some good in what appears to be a crumbling world.

Ellis is pitted against a preacher’s son whose sociopathic tendencies have seeped into the fabric of small-town life, and he is partnered with The Drew—full-time assistant principal, part-time private detective—who wears both his old coach’s whistle and his monotonous family life like veritable Albatrosses. He explores each dark crevice of backwoods Arkansas as both a literal nightmare of gothic possibilities and an analogous depiction of his inner struggles with adulthood.

Reluctantly, Ellis comes to the realization that Spencer’s disappearance is directly linked to whatever happened to that little girl. Unfortunately, others have made the same discovery. Somewhere in a stack of ungraded essays, Spencer has revealed the horrific truth behind the brutal murder and burial of a six-year-old girl. And it doesn’t much feel like anyone wants that truth to emerge. Even Ellis is unsure of how much he cares. He only knows that in order to believe in his ability to be a husband or father, for some reason, he must find Spencer.

Among the swirling depravity of society, the crippling panic of impending parenthood, and the mounting scrap heap of seventh grade essays, one Arkansas town sees two kids go missing. Ellis Mazer only wants to find one of them. And if he can pull that off, he might not ever become a good teacher, but he might at least become a good person.

Short Description

Ellis Mazer is a soon-to-be father and first-year English teacher in a small Arkansas town dealing with the disappearance of a little girl from her mobile home. But when one of his own students stops coming to school, Ellis discovers that he may be the only person who cares.


Caring ain't easy.

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