We are fast approaching the end of April and I for one am happy May is on the way. April is always a daunting month. As an educator after we return from February break, the weeks that follow are always taxing. The students realize they still have four months of school and when reality sinks in, good behavior disappears for many. To add more fun to the mix, New Hampshire weather is confused to say the least.
Winter tries to hang on for as long as it can, and meanwhile we are hankering to enjoy better weather. We had seventies for two days before a shift back to the thirties, followed by rain, sun, and then snow again. Mud season showed up for a few weeks which meant I foolishly went for a joy ride on a back road only to quickly regret my afternoon jaunt. Let's just say mud was not the issue, but the fresh unpacked dirt added by the town's finest did wonders for my car and my soul.
I am grateful for a reprieve from it all. I wonder what May has in store for us. Last year she started off the month with a snow storm, as a cruel joke for those locked in by the pandemic. This year with boats already in the water, she can try her best, but flowers are shooting up through the ground and I hear summer is fast approaching.
Here's hoping to a quick transition to lupine season.
I don't know about you, but when the spring weather arrives I am quick to get in my car and get back to nature. In a way it doesn't make sense because I could very well have visited these places in the previous months. But I believe between more sunlight and fairer temps (was 36 degrees yesterday) I am getting out of hibernation mode. To that end, I'm looking forward to the real end of winter. There are glimpses of spring between the river flow and the visible signs of grass. The storyteller in me is eager to see and experience this transitional time, where my mind can wander, and my spirit can soak in the renewal of a new season.
If you have a chance, get out and about and see what beautiful places you can find.
The Indie journey began ten years ago this week. I remember it well in that I had finished my first draft of Running with Vince. A long-awaited story that had been on my mind since my twin brother passed, I finally sat down and over a period of two weeks wrote the 40k word story. Admittingly so, I was too eager for my own good. I wanted to release the book as quickly as possible and figured that if the bones were strong, typos, grammatical errors, and even my homemade cover would be overlooked. I mean who didn’t want to read this twin inspired tale?
I read over the book once and deemed it good to go. Within days, I released the book on Amazon in both paperback and eBook form. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of downloads. Granted, within days I was also surprised to see who was downloading it, especially from my place of employment. Pride turned to mortified, knowing the vulgar vocabulary my main characters used and the fact many students and faculty at this private school were reading this story.
Despite the rollout mistakes, the book was still received positively. We all experience loss, so reading a book that dives into that subject matter through these twin brothers and their final road trip together, was a success from my perspective.
I look back at the first release and marvel at the last ten years. There have been so many highs and lows. After the release of RWV, I got the rights back to A Lightworker’s Perspective and Our Place by the Sea. A few years later, after a second edition of RWV, I felt inspired to write a follow up book, Swimming with Angels and then the bug took over. SWA didn’t get as many downloads but the book itself was received more positively by those that read the book than the first book in the series.
Other releases would follow and while there were hiccups along the way and at times a love-hate relationship with Indie publishing, the road has been a worthwhile one. I’m glad that I have returned in force these past six months after a two-year break following the release of Lane.
Ten years in and there have been twelve releases (not counting the ALP and OPBTS) and at least two more on the way in the next six months. I have lofty goals in the years ahead, but the best one has already been accomplished. Despite the roller coaster and never breaking through commercially, readers continue to find my books, and many have enjoyed the stories that I wanted to share. We all have different measurements of success but knowing that I have been in the industry now as an Indie for ten years and in books for sixteen is pretty cool onto itself. Here’s to another ten and in the very least, tripling my output.
In the spirit of talking more and writing less, there is a ten minute update on my YouTube channel for this week. I have to admit, I enjoy doing these short video clips, almost as much as I like sitting down and working on a new book.
I do appreciate the opportunity to give a glimpse into the creative process and what the steps are. Publishing a book is more than writing a first draft and saying that it is good to go. Even in elementary school the teacher stressed the need for revision and proofreading. When I first got into independent publishing, I will admit I fell into some of those common pitfalls. A major one was trusting other people to make it perfect and as a result having a hands-off approach after the initial draft was sent off for review. That was a big mistake, but one I think I have learned from.
With ten years experience going it my own way, I am the first to stress the need for editing, proofreaders, copyeditors, and the like. I am also all for getting a professional to create the book cover among other aspects of the creation process.
In the independent world, you are the master, the director of your project, but there is something said for getting assistance along the way to get the best product out for the masses to read.
This shouldn't come as a shocker or a surprise to those who have been following my podcast or this blog, but the book is done early. The Varissian Affair will be making it's way to the masses this week. On Tuesday, eBook copies will be available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, and Apple to name the major vendors. Paperback copies will only be available on Amazon.
A book link with all available online retail vendors will be uploaded in the coming days.
The second book in the series will be ready by June as it goes through the editing process and the third book either late summer or early fall. In the meantime, I am turning my focus to my Secrets of Luza/Seli series.
Thank you for your continued support. I hope you enjoy the new book.
I hit a milestone yesterday by finishing the edits on The Varissian Affair. It took me several days to work through the notes and decide what I wanted to keep or use. The next phase is to get the paperback out for one more read and then the book will be ready for release. At this point I'll hit my goal of mid-April. I could push it and get the book out by the end of this month, but the plan from the beginning was always April 16th.
I'm excited for this book to come out. I haven't published anything new since the release of Valo and Lane. That was in the summer of 2018. Granted, there have been new editions of books since (mainly in late 2020 and early 2021) including From West Virginia with Love, but nothing created from scratch.
Those that have been following this blog know that I have been busy since the fall on a variety of books. The Varissian Affair will mark the first of several new releases in 2021. The Thresher is ready for the copyeditor. Seli is too. Book three of the Marcus Files is in the draft phase as is book two of The Secrets of Luza. All is falling into place which is a good thing.
If you haven't read the description for TVA, take a look under the book section. I will be setting up a preorder a few weeks before release for those that are interested. Should you be a fan of Star Trek Deep Space 9 especially, I think you would enjoy the storyline.
Speaking of Lane, for a throwback Thursday, take a look at the cover creation phase. Lane went through several cover renditions. The one on the left was one of the earliest versions. It didn't resonate well with me or with my beta readers. There was a stronger connection with the second cover and it has remained that way three years later.
As we transition from winter to spring, I can't help but reflect on loss. For over a year many have had to adapt their lives in unforeseen ways to deal with this pandemic. Some have lost family members, friends, and coworkers. Meanwhile others have had their lives uprooted in ways they had never imagined. Even as the pandemic continues to wage war, there is hope. Between the vaccines, more effective treatments in hospitals, and with people taking necessary precautions and safeguards we will mitigate further losses.
While we come out of this dark season, the fact remains there will be other losses not only from Covid-19 but from our natural cycle of life. Knowing this, we need to take a step back and appreciate those important to us, the roles they play, and the love we share. The pandemic has taken many people too soon, but it's not the only culprit, the only player in this game.
There is a temptation to pretend that life is back to normal, when that is so far from the truth. Pandemic or not, this is the time to continually reach out to our loved ones and be there for them even at a distance. Time is precious and regardless of world events, we need to cherish these moments and the little things, especially for those in our lives.
When we don't take a step back and appreciate those who we connect with the most, we could find ourselves alone, in despair, and regretful. I'm not advocating immediate travel, but I'm suggesting if you haven't been reaching out, cultivating those bonds you do share, there is no time but the present.
Be safe, be well, and be love.
Hard to believe the month is over. I think this means spring is on the way even here in New Hampshire. I don't know about you but I am eager to get out and about more and do the exploring I did during last summer. I had grand intentions to do just that during this winter season but it was for naught. I bought new cross country skis in October with a plan to be a ski junky on the weekends, but after I pulled my hamstring at the end of December, my skis have been on quarantine. I am holding out that I might be able to get a few trips in during the month of March. Then again, running would be a good activity to do as well.
During the entire pandemic I have for the most part been physically active, especially with long runs, but the last few months have been a grind even for me with only hour long walks to clear my mind and keep my body healthy. I'm hopeful with spring and more vaccine availability, life may return to some form of normalcy in the weeks and months ahead. Here's praying, right? :)
Vacation has arrived, whatever that means this school year. I took advantage of this Sunday afternoon to go for a drive. The sun is out, temps are in the low 30s, and the day is beautiful. While I didn't brainstorm any new ideas, I simply enjoyed being out and exploring new roads. I have lived in the Lakes Region fulltime for almost a year (this March is the one year anniversary) and I'm still learning the side roads not in my immediate area but to the north.
Today I found a few points of interest including a boardwalk that goes out into a vast marsh. Surrounded by mountains and water, the place is picture perfect. Had there not been a ton of snow on the ground, I would have parked the car and ventured out. On another side road I found some amazing mountain views and will plan to explore some more during this free week.
If there is one beneficial thing to the pandemic I would say the continued focus on learning more about my home area is a positive. For the second year in a row, I'm not traveling out of state or overseas, so I am taking advantage of seeing what my region has to offer. Should you be in a similar situation, I would recommend doing the same.
Valentine's Day is upon us and I have to admit the muse to my heart is Tahir Marcus. That's right, my main character in the Marcus Files is pulling at my heart as I dive into book three of his continued exploits.
While my focus is on his journey, I have been busy the last week tying up loose ends. I finished reading over The Thresher and yesterday I passed The Varissian Affair onto the copyeditor. I'm excited to continue on through the publishing process, with the plan that my readers will get new material for the first time in several years by April.
In addition to the writing, Manning Lake Press, my personal publisher where all phases of the book publishing process take place is getting a website. You'll notice the logo on my personal webpage. By April the domain and website will be fully operational. As an homage to my childhood summer home, Manning Lake, will always have a big place in my heart.
Finally, for my fellow teachers, I debated about putting some commentary on teaching overseas on my YouTube channel and decided for the time being to hold off. Still, I should share that while I love talking about my books, truth be told, there would be fewer books if I had not taking the leap and taught in Europe. By the time I had ventured across the pond, I was looking into leaving education. Not only did the experience reenergize my soul, but I was able to live in a different culture that has renewed my writing as well.
If you ever have any questions about my application process, feel free to reach out. I figured as well with my Brindisi and Me book coming out later this year, it doesn't hurt to inform others who are looking to expand their teaching horizons.