The Recall Notice: a romantic-comedy novella with a cinematic flair

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This blog post is separate from the ongoing Lawn-Cutting Crew story. Peter and the gang will return soon!

If Ted Sully ever did anything right, it would certainly be news to him.

As far back as he can remember, he’s failed at everything he’s tried. He can’t hold down a job, he’s never had a long-term relationship, and he feels like he’s disappointed everyone he knows.

In fact, the only thing he’s good at is drinking — it’s a hobby he pursues with reckless abandon.

Only a few months shy of his thirtieth birthday, Ted finds his life at a crossroads. He has no job, very little money and nothing much to live for. So when his estranged mother invites him to dinner and says she has some very exciting news — news she claims could change his life — Ted can’t help but be intrigued.

His mother tells him that she received a letter from a private school Ted once attended called the Lake of Life Academy. According to the letter, the school used experimental education methods that have since been proven to cause deep-seated, psychological trauma. Come to find out, most of the school’s graduates have grown up to become lonely, detached, isolated substance-abusers — just like Ted.

“This explains it!” his mother says, waving the letter at him excitedly. “This explains why you’re such a worthless deadbeat!”

“Great,” Ted says, rolling his eyes. “I knew there had to be a reason.”

The school is asking for all former students to return for a two-week rehabilitation course. In effect, they’re issuing a recall.

“A recall?” Ted asks, grimacing. “What am I, a faulty appliance?”

But his mother insists that he attend. And why not, she asks. He has nothing else going on. No wife, no girlfriend, no job, no life. Plus, she promises to help pay his rent. The only condition is that he has to promise to give up alcohol the entire time he’s there.

“But what I am supposed to do during happy hour?” he asks, crossing his arms and frowning.

So Ted travels to the Lake of Life Academy, which is a small, isolated school nestled deep in the Northern California forest. The campus surrounds a large lake, and it also doubles as a summer camp, complete with cot-lined cabins and a cafeteria that serves mystery meat.

There, he meets George, a nerdy, awkward reject with oversized eyeglasses and zero self-confidence, as well as Clara, a shy, introverted young woman who dreams of being a puppeteer, and who immediately sees the best in Ted.

Ted’s journey unfolds in author Allen Coyle’s new novella, The Recall Notice, which appears in serialized installments on Amazon’s Kindle Vella.

The Recall Notice, a romantic comedy novella available on Kindle Vella
The Recall Notice is a romantic-comedy novella available on Kindle Vella.

A romantic comedy featuring funny dialogue reminiscent of the works of Neil Simon — as well as tender, dramatic character insights like those found in the movies of Alexander Payne — The Recall Notice offers a clean, wholesome, intelligent reading experience that anyone can enjoy — without any sex, vulgarity or violence.

Though not prudish, it deftly touches on such timeless themes as finding love and seeking meaning in life, but without the R-rated passages that some readers would rather skip. Mostly, it offers lots of laughs and entertaining exchanges — like the kind you find in cinematic romcoms, but which are rarely reproduced in literature.

Appearing on Kindle Vella, the first three chapters are free. All subsequent chapters can be “unlocked” with tokens, which readers can purchase from Amazon directly.

Because The Recall Notice’s chapters are relatively short, they require fewer tokens to purchase. In addition, the story is scheduled to run at a total of 31 chapters, making it the ideal bite-sized beach read that can be devoured in parts or in one relaxed sitting (once all parts are published, of course). The story is scheduled to conclude in mid-August 2022.

For cinematic comparisons, think of About Schmidt or Frasier, with their insightful character studies and laugh-out-loud conversations.

For literary comparisons, think of the raucous Sideways trilogy by Rex Pickett, or the brisk, introspective novels of Emily Giffin.

The Recall Notice combines the expressive elements of literary fiction with a breezy, readable style to create a fun, entertaining story that’s also poignant, meaningful and reflective of the human condition.

Be sure to check it out on Kindle Vella — and remember, the first three chapters are free!

Author: Allen

I’m a humorist and fiction writer, as well as the author of two books. One is a collection of humor, and one is a collection of short stories. Both books are available on Amazon. I always wanted to write a comic strip, but I can’t draw. Not even a stick-person. So that’s why “The Lawn-Cutting Crew” is a comic strip without drawings. I hope you enjoy!

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