Category Archives: Writing

A Gathering of Writers

About a month ago a I saw a notice for a writers gathering on Sunday, Jan 2, in Bella Vista. It’s been close to a year since I’ve gone to any writing event, either as a participant or observer. That was a small group, but it was good. So, I put this event on my schedule and looked forward to it.

There’s just something about being with other writers. I can’t explain it. It just gives me a boost, and makes me write all the more.

So yesterday I got home from church after picking up lunch from Wendy’s and dropping recyclables at the AARP recycling center. That gave me an hour to eat, rest a bit, and drive the fifteen minutes to the venue. I got there at exactly the time it was supposed to start, and found…

…one other car there—a pickup, actually—with one man in it. He rolled down his window and said he was calling the organizer to find out what was going on. Two or three calls later he got the word: It was cancelled.

Disappointed, I drove the fifteen minutes home, got some coffee, and checked the website. Now, when I first heard about this event, I didn’t see it on the organization’s website. Rather, it was on a Facebook page for the Ozarks region, a place where a number of organizations share their information. Now, I checked the organization’s Facebook page and, sure enough, there was the notice that the event had been cancelled.

Shame on me for not double-checking, or for not going to the organization’s own Facebook page instead of to that other page.

Ah, well, I went to The Dungeon with the mug of coffee, but didn’t feel much like writing. I looked over a few things, did some planning, but, otherwise, just pulled up some oldies on YouTube and listened to them. That, is always time well spent for me.

2018 Writing Plans

2017 is gone; 2018 is here. It’s time to develop writing plans for this new year, and publish them for the world to see. Okay, not the whole world—just the blogosphere. And, I know, not very much of the blogosphere. Alright, just a handful of readers or fellow writers. I’ve thought about this for months. What should I write next?

Will 2018 see a third novel added to this series?
Will 2018 see a third novel added to this series?

First, let me inventory my works-in-progress.

  • Adam Of Jerusalem: I began this a few months ago. It’s the prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant, showing things that went on in Augustus’ family before his involvement with writing the Gospel of Luke. I found the book somewhat more laborious than expected, and haven’t just rushed to my computer to work on it. I don’t know if that means it’s ill-conceived or not.
  • The Gutter Chronicles, Volume 2: The second volume in my workplace humor series, poking fun at my own business, I began this more than a year ago (maybe two years ago), got 25% into it, and put it aside. I picked it back up again in November, and found the writing easy and fast. Holiday activities caused me to lay it aside for a while, but I’m ready to get back to work on it. It will be novella length, maybe 35,000 to 45,000 words, and I’m perhaps 40 percent there already.
  • Stephen Cross of Ipswich: This is a genealogy/family history book. Stephen Cross and my wife’s great-great-whatever-aunt, Elizabeth Cheney, married in 1672 and resided in Ipswich Massachusetts. I did this research as part of broader research on Elizabeth’s father, John Cheney, the immigrant ancestor of the family. Of all of their children, I found the least on Elizabeth. So last year I hit the research hard, and pulled a lot of information and sources together. The full book on John Cheney will have to wait a few years. Meanwhile I thought, since I have all this information on Stephen and Elizabeth, why not publish it as a smaller book? It may not sell much, but, who knows, maybe a few of their descendants will be interested.
  • Thomas Carlyle Chronological Composition Bibliography: I’ve written about this before on the blog. It’s a labor of love for me, partially to serve as my own research aid for Thomas Carlyle. I’ve worked on it off and on for close to three years. I’d say I have another year, maybe more, to go. I imagine I’ll work on it some this year, between other projects, or when the intense research bug flares up, but I don’t anticipate it will be a priority.
  • Carlyle’s Chartism Through The Ages: This book, a study of Carlyle’s short book/pamphlet Chartism, is close to 80 percent done. What’s left is some editing, seeking some copyright permissions, and writing a couple of my own essays to go with it. I could finish this in 2018 if I put my mind to it. Perhaps I’ll at least work on it, but I don’t think it will make the to-do list.
And, perhaps, a fourth to this one?
And, perhaps, a fourth to this one?

Second, I’ll list the works in “gray-cell gestation,” taking up creative space but which haven’t yet found their way to pixels or pen.

  • Documenting America: Constitution Edition: I’d like to write and publish a book in this series each year. This is the one I plan on doing next. So far I’ve done nothing on it, other than to brainstorm.
  • The next Sharon Williams Fonseca short story, tentatively titled “Tango Delta Foxtrot”. This will be only 4,000 or so words. The plot line has come to me—most of it. I should just knuckle down and do it, and perhaps I will.
  • A newly conceived book on life freedoms. This has come to mind from watching my grand-children grow and develop, but has solidified in being a care-giver for my mother-in-law. I’ve noticed that children get these freedoms in stages, and senior citizens lose them in stages. Parents and care-givers should perhaps understand these things. I have no qualifications to write this book, other than being a careful observer of the human condition. Having to qualifications, I should put this out of my mind and find other things to do. But, alas, it keeps tying up gray cells that I should apply to other works. I may find I’ll have to write it just to get it out of my system.
  • Publish one of my Bible studies, though not sure which one. I’ve prepared eight (I think that’s the right number) Bible studies to teach to our adult Life Group at church. I’d like to someday get them published. I don’t that they will sell, but I did a lot of work on them; why not put them in publishable form? Unfortunately, to do so will take a lot of work. I have notes, but not publishable notes. Yes, a lot of work.

These nine items are all candidates for my 2018 writing to-do list. I’d love to put them all on it, but, realistically, I can only accomplish a fraction of this. So, here’s the list in the order I hope to do them.

  • Finish The Gutter Chronicles, Vol. 2. Finish by the end of February; publish by the end of April.
  • Finish Adam Of Jerusalem by the end of the year; publish in 2019.
  • Begin work on Documenting America: Constitution Edition. I hope to be working on this by October.
  • Write “Tango Delta Foxtrot”. At present I’m not going to put a publishing target date on the list.
  • And, one other item, which is really planning for 2019: Decide on which of my Bible studies to publish in 2019.

I’ll revisit this list every quarter, as has become my standard practice, and report any changes on my blog.

When Busyness Leads To Weariness

Sold one of these this week.
Sold one of these this week.

The good news first: I sold 5 books this week.

Two of them were direct sales to someone who buys all my print books when they come out. The other three were on-line at the Kindle store, most likely to a man from church I met with this week. He has a book idea and wanted to discuss the self-publishing process with me. We met for lunch in my office on Tuesday. He mentioned particular interest in two of my books, and those are two that sold. Maybe he bought those, and a third one as well. That puts me at 70 sales for the year. Not great, but certainly better than last year.

Meanwhile, on the engineering front, I’m now up to four problem projects I’m dealing with for this one client. I wrote about this situation before. My wife asked me how long I would be dealing with these. I told her 1 year, 1 month, and 1 day, my (then) countdown to retirement. These are consuming just about all my work time, forcing training issues into the background.

And then, two different people have asked me to work on specifications for their projects. One is a mostly done spec that needs correcting. The other is a spec for a project that’s part of a nation-wide rollout program for which we have standard specs. That will be about a day’s job. The spec to edit may only take a couple of hours.

Put into this mix a trip to St. Louis next week (maybe) to see the site of one of these troubled projects, and you have a real problem as to time to do anything. I’ve written nothing this week. Christmas is coming, and right now it looks like I won’t have any writing time till after that. Maybe, I suppose, I might be able to carve out an hour here and there, but that’s about all.

It’s making me very weary. I had three nights this week where I slept poorly. Last night was better, but I’m not yet caught up. A heavy day of yard work and other chores awaits tomorrow. I sense a very weary Saturday evening, and falling asleep either on the couch or in my chair.

A Little Progress

We just concluded a good Thanksgiving weekend. Four glorious days of nothing more than sitting around at home, a quiet home. Our family gathering will be for Christmas this year, due to our son’s work schedule. So, it was just me, the wife, and the mother-in-law. I had considered inviting an older couple to join us on Thursday. I should have, for they spent the day alone. No, not quite alone, for they did some neighborhood things in their retirement complex.

Thursday was cooking, a late walk, and cleanup. Plus watching some television. Friday we thought about going to look for a new car. But Lynda couldn’t find what she wanted on-line, so we decided against it. I cleared away leaves, then went to The Dungeon to write. This was probably 3:00 in the afternoon.

But what to write? For the last two months my new composition has been Adam Of Jerusalem, the prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant. I’m only in the second chapter, and have been laboring under it, as ideas and inspiration have been in short supply. Lately I’ve started to think more about the sequel to The Gutter Chronicles. It resides on my computer at work (actually, on our cloud storage, somewhere in the ether). From time to time I open the file and consider working on it. On our trip to Indianapolis and Branson this summer I brought a printout of it with me, and edited the three and a half chapters written so far.

Beyond that, I hadn’t worked on TGC-V2. But people at work have been asking me, “When will there be another Gutter Chronicles?” “Are you working on a sequel to The Gutter Chronicles?” On the other hand, no one is telling me, “Are you going to write a prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant? Knowing I could get 30 to 40 sales of a new volume of TGC, and maybe some sales of the first one, I decided to spend some time on it at home this weekend.

So, on Friday, I decided to work on TGC. Although the computer file was not available to me, I opened new file. With the manuscript in hand to see where I left off in the fourth chapter, I began. I worked only a little more than an hour Friday, and had just shy of 750 words in my new file.

It is now Tuesday morning. I had to interrupt my writing of this post yesterday, and I never got back to it.

On Saturday, after yard work, and after deciding I wouldn’t do my Wal-Mart run till Sunday, and after deciding we wouldn’t go out to look for a car, I went to The Dungeon and wrote. An hour or so later, I had a total of 1500 words. Sunday, after Life Group and church, bringing lunch home, going to Wal-Mart with Lynda for groceries, I sat down to write about 3:00. I stopped at 5:00 to fix something for supper, went back after supper, and wrote till 9:30 p.m. By that time I had 4,463 words as my three-day total.

That felt good. I hadn’t really thought through the two chapters I worked on (well, just a little), as I had Norman spend time with his love interest, and then introduced the CFO character, so I was quite pleased at how the words flowed. Clearly this is the book I should be writing now.

Last night I was unable to spend time writing, as the hours after supper were consumed with checkbook balancing, bill paying, and stock trading. Tonight will be a TV show we like to watch (The Curse of Oak Island), so probably no writing tonight. But tomorrow night may look good. I think I’ll plan on it.

Will This One Be The One?

Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, was a good day. It was just the three of us this year, as our large, family gathering will be a Christmas, a change from our normal routine. I fixed a turkey dinner, but without all the side dishes. We ate our full and have plenty of leftovers. Yes it was a good day.

"Mom's Letter" was the first in the series. This is the cover my son did for it.
“Mom’s Letter” was the first in the series. This is the cover my son did for it.

But, we couldn’t find much on television that was of interest to us. So Lynda wanted to see the latest episode of The Curse of Oak Island. She couldn’t get it in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. So I fired up the Roku, had to re-set a password (since it had been a while since we’d used it), and found the show. I had seen it, but it was good to watch it again.

We decided “why not watch some back episodes?” I intended to go to last season, which was season 4, and watch some of the later ones. Somehow, though, I went back to Season 1, so I decided to just start with the very first episode. It was almost as if I hadn’t seen it before, it was so long ago.

One thing that struck me was the similarity of the rhetoric. The searchers for treasure were saying the same thing in Season 1 as they are in Season 5. The narrator’s shtick hasn’t changed at all. It’s always one more search will get us there; we’re inches from the treasure; today may be the day; this new find gives us the motivation to keep on going. That much hasn’t changed, so far into the fifth season.

Published in May, 2011, I've sold a whopping 54 copies of this.
Published in May, 2011, I’ve sold a whopping 54 copies of this.

It suddenly occurred to me that that’s exactly how I am with my books: hoping this next one will be the breakthrough book, the book that gets widespread attention and lots of sales. My first publication was the short story “Mom’s Letter”. I had no expectations for it to sell. It was a story I wrote for a contest (that I didn’t win), and I self-published it because I didn’t have anything else quite ready, so I published it to see what the mechanics of self-publishing were like.

 

This was my first book to write, fourth publication. It remains my highest selling book.
This was my first book to write, fourth publication. It remains my highest selling book.

I was intending to publishing my first novel, Doctor Luke’s Assistant, but I didn’t feel like it was ready. So I pulled together my newspaper columns, expanded them, added fifteen new ones, and had Documenting America: Lessons From The United States’ Historical Documents. I didn’t have high hopes for this one either. It sold 30 or so copies in it’s first year.

It wasn’t until the next year, 2012, that I finally published Doctor Luke’s Assistant. It became, and still is, my highest selling book at 128 copies, adding seven to the total so far this year. Now, you’re going to note that 128 is NOT a lot of copies, and if that’s my highest selling book, how low are the others? Good observation. I had high hopes for my next book, The Candy Store Generation, being a political book in a political season. But it sold poorly: 15 copies its first year and a few each year since.

I was very surprised when this one didn't sell.
I was very surprised when this one didn’t sell.

Then came my baseball book, In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People. I thought it was good enough to sell, and would be popular. Alas, not. I sold a few more in 2016, when the Cubs won the pennant, but it still hasn’t sell.

My point is, with each publication (now 26), I’ve thought “this will be the one, the one to breakout.” But each one disappoints. I don’t do a lot of marketing, just Facebook posts. I did one Facebook ad that resulted in no sales. I’ve interviewed authors on this blog, who have sometimes reciprocated. Each of those has resulted in no sales. I did an hour long radio interview, which resulted in no sales. I haven’t done any paid ads yet. Maybe that’s what I need to do. But I’ve thought my publishing should pay for itself, and so far haven’t seen my way clear to buy an ad. Perhaps I’ll change that in 2018.

Even dropping the e-book price to $0.99 has resulted in no sales.
Even dropping the e-book price to $0.99 has resulted in no sales.

So I’m much like the people searching for treasure on Oak Island. Just keep going, sinking costs—in my case the cost of time—into the endeavor a little at a time, hoping for change, for lightning to strike. My recent publication, When Death Changes Life: The Danny Tompkins Stories, is a boxed set of six related short stories, reaching all the way back to “Mom’s Letter”. I set the price of the e-book at $2.99, and the print book at $6.00. I sold zero. I do have three pre-orders of the print book, which will happen next week once my copies arrive.

I have two works-in-progress. One is a prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant, which is more laborious than expected. The other is the sequel to The Gutter Chronicles. I actually have people at work asking for this, so maybe I should turn my attention to it. I could sell 30 copies without difficulty, and might sell 10 to 20 of the first one to people who are new at work.

But will either of these be a breakthrough book? I can hope, I suppose, because without hope there’s no reason to go on. Hope is starting to grow thin, however.

Worn Out

As I mentioned in prior posts, my schedule at my day job has suddenly changed. While still having the title of Corporate Trainer, I’ve been assigned three projects—failing projects—to manage. One of our project managers became overloaded, items weren’t handled well, and the projects moved from construction to crisis. I’ve come up to speed on each of them, one after the other, and am now tackling outstanding issues. Supposedly, two other projects, all for the same client, are waiting for me to deal with, but are not yet assigned.

So, Friday evening rolls around. End of the work day. Time to go home and forget about them, get some writing done, get my weekend work done, worship God and study His word on Sunday, and get some more writing done. I told the wife I was hoping to write 5,000 words over the weekend.

I get home Friday, and I have to prepare supper. I did a simple one, including some frozen and fresh stuff. I decided I would put off writing until Saturday (which is what I usually do), and just sit in my chair, watch television, and read. My current read is Day of Battle by Frank Atkinson, about WW2 in Sicily and Italy. I was now in the section on the invasion of Italy. This was the operation my dad was scheduled to be in when his transfer to the Stars And Stripes came through, and he was plucked off an LSI to go to Algiers, with a very high air priority. But that’s a story for another post. Since Dad soon found himself in Italy, with a mobile edition of the Stars and Stripes, I find this part of the war particularly interesting.

Alas, I fell asleep in my reading chair while watching TV. That’s not unusual. I enjoy my little naps there. It wasn’t a long nap. Soon I was back awake, watching TV. I multi-tasked, however. I took a geotechnical report from the third problem project and re-read it. I had read it earlier in the day, didn’t quite understand it, so printed it with the idea of reviewing it in depth over the weekend. I got that done.

I slept well Friday night, was up early Saturday morning, and got to work with personal filing. I usually let this pile up for a month or so, then do it over a couple of hours. Lately I’ve been doing this Saturday mornings, before anyone else is up. I don’t want to go outside and create noises there that will disturb the others. So I worked on this and got a lot done, including sorting through and marking miscellaneous receipts that I need to enter in the budget. By 9:00 a.m. I was back upstairs, ready to work outside, mainly removing leaves. But…it was now raining, with strong wind. Outside work was impossible. Lynda was to drive to Oklahoma City that day, and my main work was helping her get packed and on the road. I did that, and she got away about 1:00 p.m.

But, before she left, I sat in my chair, intending to catch up on
Facebook and other websites, and promptly fell asleep. Again, this was a short nap. I shouldn’t have been tired as I hadn’t done much physical work that morning: just walk between where I put stuff for filing and where the file cabinet is. Before long I was up and helping Lynda get on the road.

So finally, around 1:30 p.m, I went downstairs to begin writing. I had an hour I figured before heading to Wal-Mart for the weekly grocery trip. I activated the computer, opened Word and my files, opened a browser, and…the computer was barely functioning. The browser kept crashing, Word was crawling. I closed out of everything and headed to Wal-Mart.

That chore done, I went back to the computer around 4:00 p.m. and…same thing. I did a re-start and went upstairs, deciding to just read and/or watch college football. I think the minute my head hit the chair I was asleep, and slept for at least an hour. I woke up later, and couldn’t believe the time.

I pondered all of this. On a day when I had little physical work, I had three naps in my chair, one of them a long one. What was causing me to be so tired? I finally figured it must be just the pent-up emotions of the week, and the physical toll that took on my body. The intense work on the newly assigned projects, trying to keep my training activities going, plus the annual training exercise Tuesday and Wednesday, and, well, I was emotionally and physically drained. Must have been.

Saturday after supper I decided to just read, a most enjoyable activity for me. Sunday was a restful day with Life Group (I didn’t have to teach), church, a two-mile walk, and down to The Dungeon for writing, only to find the computer never did restart and it was still sluggish. I did a couple of hard boots and it still didn’t do anything. The third time it worked, while I was on the phone with Geek Squad. Naturally, as soon as you call for help, it works. Apparently the slowness was related to an update that hadn’t finished updating. Multiple hard boots is somehow the answer for this.

So I sat down to write, having only 30 minutes before I would have to go upstairs and prepare supper. I couldn’t do it. It just wasn’t enough time. I think I completed a paragraph and did a little more, maybe 100 words. Alas.

I don’t know if working with these projects is going to leave me so tired I won’t be able to write. Somehow I’m going to have to figure it out.

What’s Consuming My Imagination

This is the e-book cover. The print book cover will be very similar.
This is the e-book cover. The print book cover will be very similar.

It’s been a while since I wrote anything new on my works-in-progress, or even about what new things have come to mind. I guess it was less than a month ago that I laid out my 4th quarter writing plans. Nothing has changed in these plans—officially, that is. I published When Death Changes Life as an e-book, and am about a week away from having it published as a print book. So that’s good. I haven’t yet resumed work on Adam Of Jerusalem or The Gutter Chronicles: Volume 2. However, Sunday afternoon I actually wrote a little on AoJ. And today I looked at prior edits to TGC with an idea of typing them later. So both works are simmering, and may boil soon.

But, I find my gray cells consumed—my creative gray cells, that is—by two other things. Some things I’ve been discussing with my grandchildren, especially my oldest one, have gelled into what could become a book, or more likely two small books. For now I’m titling this Nine Life Freedoms Gained and Lost. For some time now I’ve noticed how my grandchildren have developed, and how freedoms have come to them. The first freedom is learning how to walk, which is a freedom of mobility. How much more territory can a toddler claim than a crawling infant?

The second freedom is when you are potty trained, and free from diapers. This is a freedom of control over bodily functions. It gives you great freedom of movement; you aren’t tied to a toilet any more, or, worse, covered in a diaper. It signals physical growth.

I started thinking of these somewhat over a year ago, maybe even two years ago, as I watched my grandchildren develop. Since they live four hours from me, and I see them five or six times a year, I see their development in spurts, not continuously. I’ve noticed these freedoms they develop into. I’ve thought about the additional freedoms they will someday have. I’ve expanded this into a total of nine. This was all sort of organic, I guess you would say. I was mainly trying to understand the growing up and maturing process, not thinking about writing a book.

I’ve also noticed over the same time period how these freedoms are lost to people as they age. The ability to walk is lost in whole or in part as your legs grow weaker with age. Incontinence is the manifestation of loss of the freedom of control of body functions. The other freedoms, gained during childhood, youth, and early adulthood, are slowly lost with age. Perhaps not all of them, and perhaps some not at all, but all can be lost. It is when one of these freedoms is lost that the person requires a caregiver. The caregiver has to help the person who has lost one of more of these freedoms.

This has been rattling around in my head, consuming so much of my creative gray cells that I’ve had little energy left for actual writing. That it could possibly become a book became evident to me in the last month. But would it be a book for parents, for caregivers, or for both? The latter didn’t seem like a good idea, and the first one seems to be too crowded a field. That meant it would be a book for caregivers. Today in church it hit me that perhaps I have two books here: Nine Life Freedoms Gained, which would be for parents; and Nine Life Freedoms Lost, which would be for caregivers. They wouldn’t be large books. I’m somewhat leery of starting them. For now they are nagging ideas. At some point I’ll put a little more on paper. Perhaps that will free up my mind for other things.

Speaking of other things, a new book idea came to me a week or two ago. Yes, yet another book idea. This one came to me as a title. I was studying in Romans for teaching Life Group when this idea came. I was thinking of Paul’s impact on the early church, and how the story and teachings of Jesus were disseminated. The title came to me: And So It Begins: The First _____ Years of Christianity. It would be non-fiction, but would draw from what I have written or plan to write in my church history novel series.

This book, if I ever write it, is further down the road than is the freedoms books. It will be after AoJ and one more book to be sandwiched between Doctor Luke’s Assistant and Preserve The Revelation. I’ve already written some ideas for the contents. Once I get them put in a notebook, and hence retrievable in the future, their activity within my mind will soon die, and I can concentrate on current work.

Time for a Pity Party

I was introduced to the concept of a Pamper Party some years ago, when our daughter was a teenager, and decided to throw herself one. It was interesting to watch her

I was introduced to the concept of a Pamper Party some years ago, when our daughter was a teenager, and decided to throw herself one. it was interesting to watch her going through the activities. She felt good about herself afterwards.

I don’t expect that a Pity Party will produce the same results, but I’m ready to throw one for myself. What’s so bad that I’m ready to hold a pity party? Perhaps nothing, at least nothing of monumental significance. But it seems that too many things are not going right right now. Major projects aren’t getting done. Minor projects aren’t even getting started. And I have no desire to write right now. Haven’t written anything except this blog for over a month.

My latest publication, When Death Changes Life, doesn’t count as writing. That was just boxing up short stories that were already written and re-publishing them as a short book. Since it didn’t include any new writing, it wasn’t writing.

So, what’s so terrible that I need a pity party? I’ll just use the dishwasher as an example. That’s clearly a first world problem, but it’s a problem nevertheless. It started going out some months ago. I didn’t catch it before it started doing damage to the ceiling in the basement. Finally I had our plumber come to verify where the damage was, and he confirmed it was the dishwasher. That was in late August or early September. Back in 2012 we put in a new refrigerator that we got at Lowe’s. I looked, and saw they had a matching dishwasher. But it’s noise level is higher than what’s currently available. I could live with that, but I need buy-in from my wife. So far I don’t have it. So we need to go to Lowe’s to see what’s available. Or, any other place that sells dishwashers.

I told Lynda I wanted to get this done this weekend, that I wanted us to go together to Lowe’s either Saturday or Sunday to decide on what to get: the matching one or a quieter one. She said fine. Saturday morning was full of work inside and outside the house. Then came the Wal-Mart run, which I made alone. That brought us to sometime after 4, maybe closer to 5 p.m. I still had to study my lesson for Life Group, and I was dead tired, so I didn’t ask to go to Lowe’s. Sunday was Life Group and church (I went alone), followed by lunch and a quick nap. At lunch we learned that Lynda’s mom was totally out of her insulin. She took the last pen from the box in the fridge and didn’t tell us. Since we don’t normally go looking for her insulin, we didn’t know until she had to take it for her meal and found the problem.

So, I called the pharmacy. It turned out the prescription wasn’t refillable without a doctor’s consent, which of course we wouldn’t get on a Sunday. So I spoke to someone at the pharmacy about an emergency fill, and they said they would. It would be ready by 2:00. I decided to wait until 3:00 to go, after my nap. When I got there it wasn’t ready, them saying they were waiting on the doctor’s authorization. So, I went through the whole emergency thing again, and finally got the prescription. I looked for a new jar-opener pad (ours being close to disintegrated, and me not remembering to get one on my normal Wal-Mart trips) but couldn’t find one. So I bought a package of Reese’s cups and went home.

By then it was 4:00 p.m. I still had supper to fix, and had planned a meal with a lot of fixing. I started that at 4:45 p.m. and was on my feet till 6:45. During that time I washed a boatload of dishes (because, of course, we don’t have a working dishwasher), cleaned some dead stuff out of the fridge, and threw the garbage into the woods. We ate dinner. My new main dish turned out very nice.

By that time, I was more tired than I had been on Saturday. I decided not to bring up a visit to Lowe’s, and my wife didn’t bring it up. So we didn’t go. One of my main goals for the weekend was unfulfilled, and was no closer to fulfillment. The wife has headaches all the time. I’m not sure she will ever want to go, nor will she want to leave the decision up to me.

Well, the pity party should be over, except much more has happened of late.

  • Despite having 26 items for sale, with a new item added, I have zero book sales in October. Zero. Obviously I’m not writing the kind of things people want to buy. I can’t see my way clear to spend the time needed to learn the tasks necessary to place advertisements, so my writing sales seem to be at a standstill.
  • I can’t write with all these things hanging over me.
  • We are no closer to replacing either of our ancient vehicles than we were two months ago when we decided to do so.
  • Once the dishwasher is repaired, I’ll have to see about getting the ceiling in The Dungeon fixed.
  • I found it very difficult to prepare for the Life Group lesson I taught yesterday; hence I don’t believe I taught a good one. I don’t think I teach next week (though who knows, since I never hear from my co-teacher before Friday evening, sometimes not till Saturday evening, when I receive a text “whose week is it to teach).
  • For the last two weekends/weeks I guess I’ve way over eaten. My weight have ballooned, and six months (or more) of weight loss is wiped out. I don’t know if I have the strength to do it again.

Okay, pity party over. I probably shouldn’t have written any of this. I do so knowing almost no one will see it. Or maybe it really will be no one.

Writing This As I Go

I don’t know if I wrote in this blog before that I’ve been sick of late. Sometime around September 20 I began coming down with a cold. It never hit me hard, and was never a head cold. It was a chest cold. I suppose it could have been bronchitis, but I never seemed to run a fever. While the cold was never deep, it sure lingered. All the coughing I did wore me out. We had the trip to Oklahoma City the last weekend in September to October 1, and the cold seemed better.

The next week, however, it came back again. I lost another day of work, worked some short days, and seemed to be better. However, the weekend of Oct 6-8 I was still coughing hard, and a little too much. I rested that weekend. Didn’t work around the house, didn’t go to church. I read and slept, slept and read, watched television. I did go to Wal-Mart for a grocery and medicine run, but that was about it. I didn’t even write a blog post for last Monday (which I normally do on Sunday), and so missed a blogging day for the first time in a while.

Monday I went to work, coughing much, much less than I had been. I got even better day by day as the week progressed. This past weekend I was able to follow a normal weekend schedule. I’m working on all eight cylinders.

So what am I up to, and what’s on my mind, and what will I do next? Yesterday I finally published When Death Changes Life to Amazon Kindle. Today I’ll try to add it to Smashwords, and tomorrow or Wednesday get the print book up. I’m feeling more confident with both interior formatting (which is 98% done) and cover creation, so I don’t think there will be a big lag with the print book.

Then, I need to work on one of three writing projects: either the prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant, or the second Gutter Chronicles, or the next Sharon Williams stories. I wrote about that recently. Other plans have been running through my brain, and I may be changing up what I do after these three.

I’ve also been thinking about premonitions. I’ve had a fair number of them in my life, and almost all of them have come true. I don’t want to catalogue them here, but some of them have been amazing. One was recently, something concerning our church, which turned out to be almost 100% true. I’ve come to the point of wondering why I get these. Is God alerting me in advance of things that are yet to come? Or is something else going on.

I think I wrote some not to long ago about genealogy discoveries I’ve made recently, specifically finding/confirming who my maternal grandfather was, and making contact with other, previously-unknown family members. That took quite a bit of time in late-August and early-September. It’s still on-going. I’ve made contact with almost all my new half-first cousins. I’m not trying to figure out how we can all keep in contact with each other, and get to know each other better.

And, of course, that leads me to much work to do finding out more about ancestors I previously knew nothing about.

Meanwhile, it’s almost time to begin to prepare for the holidays. The kids will be coming for Christmas this year, not Thanksgiving. So we will have much work to do to get the house in shape and decorated. We’ve actually begun some of that, dealing with piles of clutter.

I have more random thoughts to write, but the workday is upon me. I’ll end this. On my to-do list this week is to develop a list of blog posts to facilitate being on-time and

4th Quarter Writing Plans

I may tweak this cover more, but I think it's close to what I'll use.
I may tweak this cover more, but I think it’s close to what I’ll use.

We are now in the ninth day of the fourth quarter. Time for me to lay out my writing plans for the next three months. Well, writing and publishing plans, that is. Without further introduction, here’s what’s definitely in my plans.

  • Publish When Death Changes Life, the boxed-set of the Danny Tompkins stories. I have the master file completed, the e-book cover completed, and just need to start the actual production. I hope that, one week from today, I can announce that it’s published.
  • Work on The Gutter Chronicles: Volume 2. As I’ve said before, I got through the fourth chapter of this (maybe two years ago), and just stopped to work on other things. This is something to do on my computer at work, in my morning me-time and on the noon hour. I believe I could complete the writing of this before 2017 comes to a close.
  • Work on Adam Of Jerusalem. The prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant, I wrote the first chapter of this a month ago (or maybe more than that), but stopped. This is work to do at home, in the evenings.

These are the three things I will definitely work on during the next three months. However, a few other items are on my radar, and may—I emphasize, may—capture the time of a few of my gray cells and find themselves coming to be in tangible form.

  • The next short story in the Sharon Williams Fonseca CIA agent series. It’s tentatively titled Papa Delta Foxtrot. I have the plot somewhat roughed out. At between 3,000 and 6,000 words, I should be able to fit this in. I need to be a bit more inspired to do so.
  • Continued work on my two interrupted Thomas Carlyle projects. These are affectations for me, as they will never make any money. But, hey, none of my other writing makes any money, so why not work on these? The Chronological Composition Bibliography is something I pull out every now and then and get a little more done on. I’m actually at a point in his career where it would be easy to finish this. I should just do it. The book about his Chartism is also fairly fare along. I think a month of concentrated work would see it to completion. If I get bored or stuck working on other things, I may just spend time on these two.
  • Expand my research notes on the Stephen Cross and Elizabeth Cheney family into a small genealogy book. I actually pulled this out about two weeks ago to make a judgment on how much work this would require. I decided it’s more than I want to tackle right now, so I set it aside. However, if other things don’t pan out, maybe, just maybe, this will capture some of my time.

So that’s my plans as of right now. I have other things in the planning process, but I don’t expect to be working on them any time soon. Perhaps I’ll do a post on them in a week or so.