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.
Not much new to report this week. I finished reading over The Varissian Affair and will be shifting to The Thresher today. If all goes as planned, I should be done with edits by next week and then onto book three in the series.
I expect it to take around a month to get a first draft done. In effect, the first season of The Marcus Files will be complete. Granted, I could always decide a fourth book is in order, but for the arc that I have developed the first three books should cover most of the storylines.
After that's done we will evaluate where I'm going writing wise. I am drawn to doing my rewrite of the Brindisi and Me memoir in April before tackling the follow up books to Seli.
For more updates, listen to my latest vlog where you can hear my continued saga with setting up a Facebook author page.
There appears to be winter storm on the way. I'm holding out that it won't be forty inches of white stuff, but if it does accumulate that much I will make sure to take lots of pictures for your entertainment. Today should be a slower day than the last week where I have been revisiting old books and updating my backlist. At this point, all of my books are wide, meaning Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google, and some other vendors. My intention is to grow my readership for my diverse list of books and see what happens.
With all of that done, I am returning to the Marcus Files and will dive into edits. Expect more updates in the weeks ahead on that series. In the meantime, if you haven't read Luza, I have a free promotion for the first three books as a boxed set.
In non writing news, I have a goal over the next month to learn how to stop while cross country skiing. For some reason, I still can't figure out how to turn and stop without throwing my body down into a snow bank. Yes, I know I can watch YouTube videos to see how, but isn't trial and error the way to go? All I can add is that stopping on downhill skis is substantially easier. What do you think?
It is a cold one in New Hampshire this morning. I was ready to go out for an early morning walk when I noticed the wind chill was close to minus ten. Instead of fighting the good fight, I decided to move up the weekly blog writing time. Today will be a fun day as I should finish The Thresher. I crossed the 90,000 mark yesterday and have arrived at what I am dubbing the final sequence.
What makes it interesting to me is that I know the events of this book go directly into a third book. In a way it's like a television show where one watches one episode and then on to the next. My plan is to have three books a year with a shared storyline. Consider the three for this year to be season one. I don't know about you but reading a 270000 word book all at once seems daunting so breaking it into more manageable 90k marks makes sense to me.
On a different note, I will be going wide with the Luza books starting this Monday. You'll be able to find the entire series on Kobo, Apple, Barnes and Nobles, and eventually Google Play to name a few spots in addition to the Amazon home.
Concerning social media, it appears my attempt to get my author page on Facebook running again is a no go. The powers that be flagged the account as a potential scam, and stated the account didn't confirm to the community standards. I sent a picture to confirm who I was, but it wasn't good enough. True to form there was no email or phone number to direct my complaint to over their concerns.
I suppose because I wasn't spewing hate or stirring up unnecessary drama among family, friends, and the world wasn't a good enough reason to keep my new profile and author page. The fact that my regular page consisted of family members with the same last name was a clear sign of a scam. I find the irony that I have been indefinitely blocked after being on the site for three days when it took them how long to pull President Trump's page and numerous hate groups?
I don't mean that to be political. I'm just stating what in the algorithm dictates an author page is a community concern? To make a long story short, you can find me here. You can find me on Winnie's Instagram page, YouTube, and Goodreads.
That's it for me on this blustery Sunday. Enjoy the day and the week ahead.
I admit I love long weekends for the extra time I get to spend writing. Today I got in another 5,400 words and crossed the 68,000 mark for The Thresher. I hope to get another 10k in the next two days and then finish up the book next weekend.
It's pretty remarkable for me because in effect once completed that would be four books in four months and a total of 330,000 words. I've never had this much of a run with writing, but I think it has more to do with a combination of factors. For the first time in years I am in a quiet place that allows me to focus on the writing process. My entire house, not just the writing loft is comfortable. Having white boards to jot down quick notes and goals has proven a good purchase as well.
Another factor I think is not being to travel due to the pandemic. With no extra distractions or road trips on the horizon, my imagination is the preferred location. Finally, I shifted my focus and decided it was time to hunker down and write again.
Regardless of the commercial viability of my new stories, I have enjoyed every step of the process and that has been a saving grace in this time of Covid-19.
For those anxiously awaiting my new science fiction book, here's a glimpse at the cover below.
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?