I intended to update this over a month ago, but time has gotten away. Now as I stay a prisoner to my couch, half listening to the clanging noise of whatever the tenants are doing above me with a few choice words for added flavor - I thought it would be no better time than now to write.
"Words don't come easy," plays in the background and I struggle to breathe from my introduction to our dear COVID fairy. Yet, I can attest that up until the last few days of bed rest, my time in Poland has been a fairly smooth transition. To say the country has changed in the five plus years since my last visit would be an untrue statement simply because I hadn't seen enough on my initial trips to make a real judgement. I think having only spent time in Warsaw and Gdansk for a few days at a time didn't give me a proper sense of what this country had to offer.
What I can share that's changed from my last stint in Europe is the prevalence of scooters. Whoever had the wherewithal to put money into that investment, is making a killing throughout Poland. Personally, I could do without the drunk tourists racing in the wee hours of the morning or the families out for their tours using sidewalks as some deemed right of way. Had I any sense of coordination, I would likely partake in these time saving devices to get around town, but for the time being I'll remain content navigating the cobblestones on my two feet. Then again I wouldn't have to navigate around every dog walker, baby carriage, and cyclist either, but I know winter is coming . . .
Having never been to Krakow until my move, I will share it's a great city, one with a solid reputation. Compared to Warsaw, Krakow has a welcoming spirit, with lots of history, buildings of character, and green spaces to enjoy. There is even a dragon guarding the castle walls that breathes fire throughout the night. For the DC comic fans, there are enough bats to get the Caped Crusader excited and this runner a bit nervous for his early morning runs along the river.
I have yet to find a good slice of pizza in this part of the world, but then again maybe I should be looking for potato and meat dishes. Like any true American, McDonald's Golden Arches called me in for a consultation and I'm proud to report that the McChicken is better here than at home. I imagine there will be more to report in the weeks and months ahead. Stay tuned and let's enjoy what fall has to offer.
Two weeks exactly and I'll be on a plane to Europe for a new teaching assignment. My lofty goals of going to Canada have been replaced with added time in Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. It's always interesting to me how fluid my travels are, but truly I like having the ability to shift gears, especially when I know my time stateside is coming to an end.
Some coworkers and family continue to ask when will I return to New Hampshire for the long term. I don't have a firm answer simply that life brings change. I believe if one is already looking several years ahead at different potentials, then the present is overlooked. Living in the moment is key, especially in the crazy times we all live in. Not to mention, I haven't even gotten on the plane yet.
To that end, the summer break continues to be a holding pattern. I filled much of my time consolidating my belongings and whittling them down to two bags. It's been a bit crazy because at the beginning of the year I had a two bedroom house with a writing loft. Now, my writing haven is gone. Even Microsoft Word isn't working properly on my new computer, which hopefully isn't a sign that no new books are on the horizon. I have saved one book for my trip. Surprisingly, I didn't take Rusty Star (no room), the Marcus Files, or any of my Luza books. The only book I will take is From West Virginia with Love.
Whether it's for nostalgia reasons, I'm not sure. I wrote the book when I lived outside Tampa, The story takes place in the Washington DC area and in Crimea. In my adult years I have spent more time in greater DC, so I wanted to create a story in a region I know well. (On a side note Luza takes place in Lakes Region, New Hampshire) As for Crimea, I often look back on my student exchange time on the Black Sea. In Yalta, my eyes were first opened to life outside the USA and how even with cultural differences, we are all connected. I know that my month living in the old wine vineyard, stirred my soul and created this desire to travel and live in different areas.
In regard to the novel, creating Chase and his search for love was a fun ride. Having a paperback copy with me will remind me of the journey I continue to take and the many twists and turns to follow. I'm curious if you had one fiction book to choose for your travels, what would you take?
My journey on the train has come to pass. I only took the train to Washington DC but elected to fly back for the return trip. I wish I could say I was eager to ride another eight plus hours, but I made a novice error on the way down that I paid for the remainder of my trip. Note to self, don't turn only your neck and look out the window the entire journey. Let's just say the stiffness in my neck, back, and shoulder have only now begun to recede. I wish I could say this is simply about getting older, but truly I was like a little kid focused on every tree, building, body of water, and scenic vista that crossed our path. My neck did not share the same level of interest, clearly.
On the return trip to Maine I found myself on a prop plane, a Cessna that sat seven passengers in total. I was the lucky one to ride directly behind the pilot. I made sure to not make any drastic movements, like kick the seat or lunge forward during our flight. Only 1500 feet high, I didn't want to tempt fate.
Having never flown on a Cessna before, this was a real treat. We flew along the Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine coastlines. For the first time I was able to get a different vantage point of home and while the engine/turbines/propellers were quite loud, this was a beautiful journey. I can see why people shell out the bucks to take fall foliage flights.
Now in Vacationland for the next three or so weeks, I'm thinking about a return trip to Lubec or Eastport. With tourist season underway, the easternmost points in the state are less populated by the throngs of New Yorkers, Jerseyites, and Connecticut types that have taken over the roads these past three years. I'll be sure to share some photos when I get a chance and update when I can.
In the meantime here are some recent snapshots from my latest lakeside retreat. There is something special about summertime in northern New England.
Summer is fast approaching, thankfully. Here in New Hampshire, Memorial Day weekend is the beginning of the season, but truly things don't get rolling until mid June. Once schools get out, then it's time for summer camps, lake side fun, and more relaxing for many families. As for me, I will be doing my fair bit of travel with stops in Maine, Maryland, New Brunswick (fingers crossed), Nova Scotia (hopefully), and Poland. After two summers of laying low, I decided it's time to shake things up a bit.
I'll do my best to update my travels. The first leg will be an old school bus and train journey to Maryland. I could fly but to be frank I have a love-hate relationship with Southwest. As the dominant airline in my area, one must fly them or else. For whatever reason my last two flights on them have been delayed. I also detest the herd line up with the free for all for getting seats. It aggravates me enough to not fly this trip.
Usually I make the pilgrimage south by car, but with gas prices and traffic, it's not saving me tons.
I do enjoy the open roads and yet traveling by train seems like a fun alternative. The last time I took a train longer than an hour was in Russia, twenty something years ago. This will be a nine hour journey. Regardless of how it goes, I expect some good people to watch and some food for my creative mind. I can see it now my next book will be The Man on the Train.
That's the latest from my end. I will share that I'm reading a fascinating book on survivors of polygamy. Not sure if the book will manifest into new ideas, but God's Brothel is worth a look.
My final draft of Rusty Star is back from my copy editor. I'm reviewing the edits and comments, hopeful to be done on my end in the next few weeks. This will be a first compared to previous releases in that I'm waiting until I'm done with the final read prior to getting the cover done. Typically, I have a cover or two created way before this point in the production process.
Truth be told, I think the book cover creation is my favorite part. There's something about seeing that catchy picture and the title in a large font that says, "Here I am, read me." I don't know it just makes me happy and I realize that it's almost time to shift to another project. This time is a slight shift because I want to see things from a different perspective.
I want the story itself to be good to go and formatted completely. It can be frustrating when the cover is complete, but one is still waiting for the edits to come back. While it might be a week, it could be another month. In old school publishing that was how things were done, but as an Indy, you don't have to do things in that order. I know some authors who create a cover before even writing a single word. Granted, I think that's jumping the gun and downright misleading, simply because some use the cover to sell advance copies for a book they haven't and will never complete.
Thankfully, that's not the case here. We got an 89K word novel almost ready for press. Stay tuned, it won't be much longer.
I can't tell you the number of times over the last nine years I have had a blog up only to take it down. There have been countless versions from video updates to themed articles to simply random musings on life. In the end, I tend to remove the blog when I feel like it no longer serves, or I simply grow tired of updating the thing.
Truth be told, I know that my website is ground zero for book updates. As much as I yearn to stay away from writing weekly or monthly blogs, how else are you going to know when a new book is on the horizon? Unless you have already joined my mailing list, the chances of you being in the "know" is limited.
With this in my frontal cortex, we are trying a new approach to the website. To begin there are multiple sections now that give you a book cover tease on my diverse and growing catalogue. I know some like the separate genre categories, but frankly I think with a focus on the more current books or series is enough with the older pieces thrown into one page.
I also have a FAQ section that covers some common questions you might have for an Indy like myself. Finally, we have reintroduced the blog, which could turn into something of regularity or sparse updates at best.
Knowing I have a new book that will be released in late May or early June, we can assume more contact for the time being. A cover will appear in the coming weeks and a summary as well. In the meantime, check out The Marcus Files. Those three books should keep your interest, especially if you are a fan of science fiction and brooding characters.
I'm reminded daily of my loss, seventeen years and counting. My twin and I shared a unique bond. Even now, I can feel his presence and the zest he had for life. Running with Vince was inspired by his passion for living life to the fullest and the legacy we leave behind for others. It's hard to believe this book came out in 2011 and yet even now this story of two brothers on a final road trip together continues to serve those who lost a loved one.
There are three books currently in the series. I have to admit the second book in the series has my favorite cover. I love the spaceship especially as it brings me back to my youth with Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, and other science fiction books, tv, and movie series. Writing this book, I liked the fact that we were finally off planet and among the stars. Being alone in space, certainly puts one's life in perpsective don't you think?
Four books with at least one spin off, Luza was my fan fiction to Narnia and a big thank you to my students, nieces, and nephews. With talking animals, teenage angst, bullies, and hunters among other challenges; Keira not only has to overcome more obstacles than most, but she also finds that she has an entire kingdom to consider.
Sixteen plus years as a published author, Jonathan has been independent the last eleven. With readers across forty-seven countries and six continents, he has readers around the world. Writing across genres, he loves good dialogue and flawed characters.