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About the Books

Six Months

I knew it had been a bit since my last post, but I didn’t realize my last one was six months ago. It’s rather exhausting just to think about what all has happened in those six months. I don’t really have any deep thoughts or words of wisdom to offer. Most of 2020 was survival mode for many of us, myself included. I’m not here to get into the weeds on that and spill my guts of what I think about this topic or that topic that made 2020 what is was.

I, like others, was hopeful 2021 would bring a better since of hope. I’m not sure it has. I’m not sure it hasn’t.

Some friends asked if I would write a novel about a pandemic to which I responded: NO!

I had no desire to write a story about such a thing. The sting of 2020 is still fresh for me. Writing about a pandemic is not something I want to do/re-live. Hard pass on that one.

BUT … The third book in the Echoes Trilogy, well that’s a different matter. I can tell you this was the most difficult book I’ve written to date. I was way out of my comfort zone and had to do a lot of research to write what I thought would be good naval battle scenes and such. Last year threw some added delays in the writing process overall. But apparently last year was good for some writers because editors are booked up right now. Awesome for them!

I don’t know when Echoes #3 will release yet. October was a goal, but I knew it would be a stretch to hit that mark. The novel just finished up with the copyeditor and is in the work queue for my proofing editor. So the book might release Nov or Dec. Not sure yet. Cover art is in the very early stages of development. This task has its own snag … I don’t have a title yet. Oops. That’s kind of a big thing for a novel and cover art. 🙂

So until that all gets sorted out, I’ll continue to be run ragged by a puppy and happily shoveling snow in the frozen north. I’ll also try to get back to my monthly-ish posts instead of once every six months. As you’ve probably noticed from prior posts, time tends to zip right by on me, so no promises!

 

 

Categories
For Fun

Puppydom

It is safe to say that writing activities have taken a significant blow with the introduction of Rowdy into everyday life. I knew it was coming, but didn’t know it would have such a strong impact. We’re still working out our schedules, so while he is being lazy this morning (he played ALL day yesterday), I get to tackle the keyboard for a little while, but only a little while. His nap will recharge him then I will be at his mercy until he winds down again a bit later.

Now, that is not to say that this boy makes me miserable. He doesn’t. He mostly doesn’t. When he is snoring and dreaming and kicking me at night, it’s rather miserable but somehow cute at the same time. When he is a total bed hog and steals my pillow, it’s annoying for sure. But his face and those big frickin brown eyes earn him a lot of slack.

He has quadrupled in size in the two months that I’ve had him and still has a ways to go before he is full grown. In the interim he is all legs and lanky and clumsy as hell. He makes me laugh A LOT.

 

Oh, remember the bed hog thing? He likes my work chair now too, especially when I give in and let him have it while I’m standing and working. I know I am sometimes the one being trained here. I’m okay with that too. And I don’t make training him always easy for him to learn. His name for one. He kinda knows it now, but I make things more difficult by giving him a plethora of nicknames. Here are a few:  No. NO! STOP! Give me the book! Wait. Hang on. Rowdy McRowdypants (that just came out one day). Legs. Dude. Hot mess. Good boy. Bad boy. Weirdo. Leaf eater. Chair thief. The Hound. Bed hog. Stop being an ass. No, biting! Here’s your toy. No, not me. The toy. OW! Bastard. STOP BITING.

You get the idea.

Most of the puppy teeth have fallen out and have been replaced with his blunter permanent teeth. Thank you, puppy tooth fairy for that gift. Holy crap the needle teeth were destroying me daily for a while … even when I was wearing Bitter Apple chew deterrent on my hands, arms, shoes, shirt, etc. It helped, but it didn’t completely stop the shark attacks. Thankfully he is moving beyond the Must Chew on My Human phase.

Lately when I get tagged with his teeth, it’s when we’re playing and he goes after a toy to grab it before I can throw it, and he misses the toy and gets me instead. Oof. Those hurt, but he doesn’t get in trouble for them since it wasn’t intentional. The blunter teeth hurt but don’t tend to produce a blood-letting session like the needles did.

Junior (another nickname) is still napping so I must end this and flip over to working on the third Echoes novel to wrap that guy up. Aiming for the end of Sept to finish the first draft!!

Categories
For Fun

Wandering-Ish

I made the move last Sunday to the new spot for my bare bones belongings to dwell, and it took about five days for me to get mostly organized/somewhat puppy-proofed. I had to rearrange furniture a bit after realizing my first layout was flawed. The giganto crate for Rowdy needed a place to go and I had to add a desk to the mix when it was clear Rowdy is not quite ready to just nap and chill and quietly play with his toys all day while I work. Instead, he’s into EVERYTHING and only naps to recharge for the next round of making me nuts. So he is contained with me in the bedroom so I can work and keep an eye on him.

Most of my conference calls are spent with me on mute. When I have to come off mute, I’m usually apologizing right away for the squeak toy noise in the background. Rowdy has plenty of quiet toys, but noooooo, he can’t play with those when I have a call. But if I can hear a sqeaker being squeaked to death, I at least know he’s not chewing on something else like electrical cables or the bed frame. (For anyone concerned about him swallowing a squeaker, he is not a toy eviscerator like some dogs. And he does not get squeak toys or stuffed toys without supervision. I am well aware of the dangers of those types of toys and monitor him accordingly).

He loves eviscerating boxes though. I mistakenly thought that would be a quiet “toy” for him to destroy but he finds a way to make it as noisy as possible including growling or barking at the box while he tears it to pieces. Again, it’s not furniture or electrified, so have at it, dude.

This pack. I’m dying to get back into this pack again. Travel has been significantly hampered with all things COVID, and I’m itching to go wandering. This time last year was my sabbatical, and I desperately miss being a turtle, carrying my belongings on my back, and finding new places to get lost. I had plans to go back up to Montreal this summer. Not happening. So local wandering is what is happening. I just have to sort out doing it with a pup in tow. His leash walking skills range from about a C+ to B-, so I can’t go on long walks with him yet. We’re working on it though and practicing vehicle travel with short drives while he is crated. He isn’t ready for riding in a seat with a harness. That will be a while.

My weekends have me back to writing which feels great. I’ve been in too much of a state of flux to really sit down and write on the weekends, so I’m thrilled to have that routine back … in between Rowdy wrangling sessions when he is awake and wreaking havoc.

That it is now mid-July is a bit terrifying. Less than three months to the release of Echoes of Darkness–that’s exciting! The terrifying part is I’d planned to have the third Echoes book done by the end of the summer. I gotta tighten up which means wrapping up this post and getting back to that first draft. I finished one chapter this morning already and want to get another two done by Sunday night. Time to get back to the writing work! 🙂

Categories
About the Books

Three Months in a Flash

Apparently three months have passed since my last post. I truly did’t know that had happened and where those three months went, but as I look back over my calendar, I can start to see where/how things turned into a blur.

April:

Plague. Quarantine. (Yes, I wear a mask in public). Work. Interior formatting finished for Echoes of Darkness. Started setting up Echoes of Darkness on IngramSpark. Learned the hard way the difference between Library of Congress Control Number and US Copyright (I needed an LCCN and somehow landed on the copyright site and applied for one of those instead. Got the LCCN too once the error was found. Now I know!)

May:

Plague, masks, and quarantine continued. Work. Murder hornets (I think these guys were May. Might have been April. Don’t know. Don’t care. Plot hole – they disappeared from the 2020 dystopian sci fi apocalyptic shit show (for now)). Finalized cover art for Echoes of Darkness. Finalized set up for IngramSpark to order and receive ARCs. YAY!

May continued: Started packing to move out of my Augusta apartment to go nomadic again. Some writing here and there.

June:

Plague and quarantine continues (no shocker there). Still wearing a mask in public. Work. I got a haircut (much needed since I was turning into a woolly mammoth and happily wore a mask to get it done)! Finished packing up my apartment and threw everything except bare bones into storage again. Met a neighbor my last couple of days in Augusta and made a new long-term friend and soccer fan buddy. I even told him I was fairly miffed that we just met and I was leaving. He is from Ghana and is a wonderful young man! We’ll certainly cross paths again. He said he and his roomies called me The Ghost Neighbor since they never knew if I really lived there or not in the unit next to them. It was both hilarious and true. I was rarely there.

June continued:

Black Lives Matter exploded onto the scene globally and I cannot begin to tell you how happy this makes me to see the world uniting though the reasons and circumstances are so tragic and have been tragic for so long. I’m glad some police reforms are happening finally. I have friends that are police officers. I can tell you that they would NOT be my friends if they were shit heads like the ones in the news killing people. (No, I’m not an officer. Never have been. Never will be. No, I don’t know what their jobs are like. But I can tell you this: I worked as an ICU and ED nurse for ten years. Us having to restrain patients at times for our and their safety was common. I can tell you that I and my coworkers NEVER placed a choke hold on a patient. We NEVER restrained them to the point of unconsciousness or death. If you think working in the hospital means it is a safe place to work, do give it a try and have that thought process crushed into oblivion. Does hospital work equate to police work? No. But there are clearly right and wrong ways to restrain someone).

Bangor Maine Police Department. Want to see how a PD operates within their community to foster a relationship with that community that makes them not just loved by the locals but loved world wide? Check them out and their fb page. Bangor, ME has around 33K residents. The Bangor PD fb page has 310+K followers. Yes, you read those numbers right. This is me last fall at the PD with the Duck of Justice (DoJ). Yes, they have a duck. It’s very popular.

If you think that my support of BLM means I hate the police, well, you don’t know me at all and you are wrong. Save the whales doesn’t mean fuck all the other fish. Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean everyone else can piss off. It just doesn’t. If you’re pissed by my support of BLM, it is your right to feel however you want. And please feel free to unsubscribe/unfollow/un-whatever for us to part ways if you want. I’m okay with that.

June continued (holy crap June has been busy!):

ARCs started shipping out, and I have more to get in the mail soon. All online retail outlets have Echoes of Darkness ebook and print ready for pre-order. YAY!

I got a puppy.

This is Rowdy. He is the cutest, snuggliest Boxer pup you’d ever want to meet … until he is tired and needs a nap. Then he turns into a land shark/piranha-needle teethed-demon dog from hell. I’ve had him for two weeks. I’m sleep deprived. He is not. Writing time has taken a sharp down-turn in volume. Sigh.

July:

The plague will continue. I will continue to wear a mask in public. I’ll continue to work the IT job and write when I can. I’ll move again. Not sure when, but it’ll happen at some point. I’m currently staying with friends in MA and will shift to a room rental/house share with another friend in MA. I’m still based out of Leeds, ME and a ME resident, but I’m once again operating in nomadic mode and some of my stuff will be housed in MA. My Augusta apartment was a glorified storage unit where I sometimes slept. The place in MA will be a similar set up until I sort out my longer term living situation and buy/build a home in Maine. So if (likely WHEN) I fall off the grid again for a bit, you’ll know why. 🙂

Categories
About the Books

Boredom is Not Allowed

I cannot claim to never be bored, but it certainly has not been an issue lately even with self-quarantine practices in place. I’m doing my part to stay home, and I’m fortunate to still be employed and able to work remotely. I’ve done remote work before, so I’m used to the routine around that process.

My biggest recommendation to people new to trying to adjust to remote work is to still wake at the same time as you would on a regular work day and get dressed. Don’t sleep in. Don’t work in your pajamas. This helps me mentally get in work mode on many different levels.

And I can’t get bored when I have plenty of book-ish things to do when I’m off work. Boredom is simply not an option. The third novel in the trilogy isn’t finished yet for a first draft. I also need to wrap up some research for that novel to enhance the world-building I’m creating for Dani and her crew for the final showdown with the Wardens.

For the first two novels, I have waded into areas of unfamiliarity that required research so I could make things more believable within the larger context of the fictional world I created. This third book has been the biggest challenge and the toughest to write from a research perspective. It’s worth it though.

World-building is a massive undertaking for any writer. Even after all the development is done for the story, the reader only gets about 10% of it. That’s not to say the reader is getting ripped off. Any more than that 10% would bog the story down. But it’s the writer’s job to make sure that 10% that the reader sees is rich, believable, and appropriate for the story. It. Is. Not. Easy.

So while I get back to my regular weekend routine of writing, enjoy the cover of the second book in the trilogy, Echoes of Darkness, and …

Be kind. Stay well. Stay home.