In the spirit of focusing on some positive developments from this week, there were no forty inch snow storms to discuss and school returned to session. Granted, I only saw my students for a few days until we switched back to remote so that was a bit of a downer.
Book two in the Marcus Files is now almost at a 50k word count with an expected first draft to be completed by January 23rd. Yes, that's a firm date. I like having some deadlines even though as an independent writer I can clearly set my own timelines. Nevertheless I like the idea of having concrete time goals knowing this year I have some ambitious plans for my writing.
In non writing news, four vintage travel posters arrived last week. Since I'm unable to travel at present, it's nice to have an advertisement for Tuscany, London, Prague, and USSR (I said vintage). I also got a cool Hunting in Poland postcard that at some point I'll take a photo of and share. I mention these because I believe in this uncertain time between Covid-19 and here in the States, political turmoil, infighting, and disruptions (an understatement) we should be focusing on things that bring a smile to our weary faces.
We need to lift out heads out of the sand and find positive moments and experiences that drive us forward not only as people, but as an entire culture. With that in mind, this week I've added a few random pictures that might get the ball rolling. If not, would you mind taking a few pictures and sharing?
We made it to 2021! That's an accomplishment if I ever knew one, right? For me, December 31, 2020 was a day of much reflection and looking back. It was an eventful year, pandemic excluded, in many areas of my life. Aside from buying my first house, the big thing for me was the return to writing. I had stepped away from the craft at the end of my tenure in Italy. For a variety of reasons I wasn't able to get back on track until this fall.
Now neck deep in my fourth book in three and a half months, I'm in a good place, far better than I have been writing wise since my most productive writing year 2015-2016. Sitting here in my writer's nook, where I now have a barrage of pictures and reminders of my travels over the years, I feel like I am in that creative groove. When people ask George Martin why he hasn't finished his latest book, he is quick to mention all the traveling he has done and how he needs to have fewer distractions. While I'm no George Martin, I can relate to being stationary for the first time in a while. 2020 made many of us take a step back. We didn't have a choice but to spend more time at home.
While I have always enjoyed my living space, this is the first time I have all my writing materials in the same area. Heck, I even have a white board in my loft. Sure my students think that's for teaching math, but let's be serious now. I bought the board to brainstorm and for quick references.
Now that 2021 is here, I have some ambitious goals. I plan to write five to six new books this year and release at least five taking into account the pieces from last year. I have decided to finally write to market as well. If you are a Science Fiction fan I might be your new favorite author when The Marcus Files appear later this year.
Fantasy fans there are a few books coming out you might find favorable. As for my quirky fiction titles with a mashup of romance, comedy, and family drama, those books will be put on the backburner for the time being. I do have a few future ideas but I think any works from that area will be pet projects in the future.
I'll get you updated as things progress. If you are looking for some of my older works, My Shenandoah Love, A Second Chance, and From West Virginia, with Love are now all available on Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Apple. Luza and the three follow up books will likely be making their way to other outlets at the end of January.
Be sure to take a look at my Youtube Channel. I'm treating it like another blog. Winnie wants me to pass along she is looking for more friends on Instagram. That's all I got for today.
I wish you well in 2021. Just remember anything can be better than 2020. :)
If you haven't noticed, I have a new book out. Influenced by my time spent living in the Shenandoah Valley and my school exchange trips to Russia, I created a fun story that follows a down on his luck therapist who is unable to find the right woman. I always enjoy books and movies where families meddle and are eager to set their loved ones up on dates. Knowing this often creates a train wreck, I wondered what it would be like if this one therapist is fed up with his family's suggestions and wants to revisit his past. After that premise, I wrote the story fairly quickly. Fast forward a few years, after several rewrites, titles, and book covers, we have From West Virginia, with Love. Take a look at the cover below and the summary if you feel inclined.
Meet William Chase Jones, a successful therapist plagued by bad relationships. The good doctor is looking everywhere to find the right woman. His family, especially his constantly scheming brother Paulie, want in on the action. After another horrible date and the recurring memory of a Russian woman from his past, Chase decides that he needs to go overseas to find the woman that haunts his dreams. While he is optimistic of finding her, he must come to grips on how reality is quite different than a memory seventeen years in the making.
From West Virginia with Love is a fun, quirky love story. Not everything is what it seems and sometimes it takes traveling halfway around the world to realize who you are and who you want to share a life with.
We had a wee bit of snow in central New Hampshire on Thursday. In a throw back to life prior to Covid-19, at work we had not only one snow day, but two snow days. The students were confused as to why we got two consecutive days off, but then again they might have been tired from shoveling out of this epic snowfall. 40 inches of white stuff in a short period of time can set anyone back. I know there are muscle groups in my body that are a bit thrown off not only from being used, but used to exhaustion.
I'm calling it now that the remaining snow storms of this upcoming winter season will be either nonexistent or we will get slammed every time. Here's hoping to the next storm being well under 40 inches. Then again, the forecasters said we would only get 3-6. They can't be wrong again can they?
Some say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Knowing this, here are some pictures from the Christmas tree I picked up on Wednesday. I will share that this is the first real tree I have purchased alone as an adult.
There was one time in Florida, maybe 7 years ago, where a friend and I bought a real tree, so aside from those two instances fake trees have been the norm since college. Whether it is due to the pandemic or just the uniqueness of living alone, I appreciate the beauty in this small purchase. I can feel the spirit of the season. The tree truly lightens the mood, especially as I trudge like many of you through this challenging holiday period sequestered away from family and friends.
Enjoy the photos! Please remember it is okay to take one day at a time.
Make no doubt about it, winter has arrived. Some in the northern hemisphere are thinking it's still a few more weeks away, but mother nature has spoken. As I type this, a nor'easter is visiting my home. We started off with rain and now the snow is coming down. Granted 8 inches is nothing to balk at, but I'm familiar with storms where we get dumped on. I'm talking 20-32 inches of snow in a given storm.
Since I returned from Italy, I have yet to experience one of those storms, but I think we're due here in New Hampshire for a big one. For readers that might wonder what a storm of that magnitude is like feel free to see my face in the picture above. I think fondly on when I ran during one of these bigger storms. I didn't go out for 2 hours, but I did go out for about an hour, fighting through the snow and wind. Really the wind is the bigger of the two issues.
When a big storm comes in you really shouldn't be out and about driving around. As for today's baby storm, the hardy New Hampshire population is still driving around despite the accumulation and the slick roads. I saw one guy towing his boat because you know it's December and clearly it was time to get it out of the water.
In my youth I was known to follow such trends, but now I race around before the storm to get groceries and check off errands. It's far better to sit at home and watch the snow fall, then worrying about whether I'm going to drive off the road. Now a walk, sign me up for that, as long as the wind isn't whipping. There really is something magical about the falling snow hitting the ground and the peacefulness of the entire scene. Think Narnia and you'll get the picture.
If you are lucky enough to participate in this weather, please enjoy it safely. And for those that are in warmer climates, I'll make sure to tell you how much I miss and love you when February comes around.
Another Thanksgiving has passed and the great tradition of Friday shopping continues. I remember 21 years ago when my girlfriend's grandmother was heading out at 4am to go to Ames to see what deals awaited. Fast forward to the present and many people are waking up, jumping online, and seeing what deals await online.
In the spirit of Black Friday, many of my books are free through the weekend on Kindle. Feel free to take a look and download one, two, three, or all that are available.
For my fellow writers or those who are about to undertake some writing, I wanted to share my recent play list for Seli. I often find when I write that some songs motivate me more than others. Granted, I tend to jam out sometimes and lose my focus, so I have added the staples that bring me back to reality and to the scenes I am about to write.
Enjoy the list below and may you all have a fun extended holiday weekend.
(The list is in no particular order. I actually use YouTube when I'm writing)
The Psychedelic Furs - Love Your Way
Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence
The Cure - Just Like Heaven
The Cure - Pictures of You
Go West - King of Wishful Thinking
Taylor Swift - The Last Time
Taylor Swift - Can’t Stop Loving You
Alice DJ - Better off Alone
New Radicals - You Get What You Give
Alanis Morissette - Ablaze
Warren G - Regulate
Fine Young Cannibals - She Drives Me Crazy
Mazzy Star - Fade Into You
Chainsmokers - Something Like This (done by the Color Music Choir)
Capital Cities - Safe and Sound
Madonna - Crazy for You
Surf Mesa - I love you baby
Kygo and Whitney Houston - Higher Love
Nico and Vinz - Am I Wrong
And when I really had to focus:
Paul Collier - Various Pieces
Piano Music from Best Romantic Classical WavesDVDcom: Relax Music & Nature Sounds Videos
Welcome to Thanksgiving in 2020 where many of us will be spending time at home, alone. When I write alone I mean likely in a small family gathering as opposed to what many of us are used to during this start to holiday season.
2020 has been a weird year for sure. Between it being an election year, a divisive climate in general, and then a pandemic that has worn all of us down, it's been a LONG year.
Instead of dwelling on all of these things, I will simply wish all of you a good day tomorrow. If you are looking for anything new to read, I have a promotion running through the weekend for free Kindle copies of many of my books.
For non-readers or people not in the mood to read, get started on those holiday movies. I know I bought a few today. Love Actually is on the books for tonight.
Happy Turkey Time or in my case Shepherd's Pie :)
I crossed the 50,000 word marker today during my afternoon writing session. I wasn't sure if I was actually going to make it today because there was a difficult scene this morning that was extra emotional. This happens occasionally in the writing process. Characters take the author in different directions and the next thing you know, for better of worse the highs and lows of a character's journey can be taxing even to the creator of the piece.
Overall though it was a productive week. At school I had parent conferences on Tuesday and Thursday which made me have to be extra creative with finding adequate time to write. My weekday writing time is typically after my afternoon workout and dinner. I have tried to set aside 90 minutes a day. Originally it was 60 minutes, but I found that I needed to give myself more time because I am editing as I go through the writing process. Some days I have to go back and read over the previous day's work. Or I have to pull out the other books in the Luza series to make sure I'm staying true to the world, the characters, and what they can and cannot do.
Again the writing process is going well. I think a first draft will be finished by next weekend. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and be safe!
The writing process never ceases to amaze me. I typically start off slow and then as the characters come alive, everything speeds up. That has been true again with the latest book. As I write this quick update I'm around 34,000 words. I'm pretty confident that either next Saturday or Sunday I'll be over 50,000 words which in itself will meet the NaNoWriMo challenge.
I'm not sure how long this book will be but I think the first draft will end up somewhere around 60,000 words, maybe 65000. Usually at this stage of the book I can see the progression of the story. I certainly know where the characters are going. It appears this book will lead into another. Maybe if all goes well, a third book too which would meet my goal of a 7 book Luza series.
More to come next week.