Category Archives: Writing

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.

Book Sales – 3rd Quarter 2017

The third quarter is in the tank. Barring any late sales posted to Smashwords (which rarely happens, now that they have a faster reporting system), here are the totals.

………1Q…..2Q…..3Q…..4Q….Year
2011….2…….7……11…..15…..35
2012…16…..73……45…..22…156
2013…14…..22……16…..13….65
2014…..7…..48……25……2…..82
2015…11…..25……38……9…..83
2016…. 9……6…….10….17…..42
2017…17…..22……22
Total sales to date—524

The third quarter sales break down as follows.

Documenting America: Civil War Edition – 18

In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People – 2

Thomas Carlyle’s Edinburgh Encyclopedia Articles – 1

“Growing Up Too Fast” – 1

Of these sales, 17 were paperbacks, 5 e-books. Of the 17, 8 were books I sold personally. Of the 22 total sales, perhaps 16 or so were to people I know. A cousin bought four of DA:CWE. A coworker bought the short story. I knew all the people I sold books to. So my readership isn’t extending to more people, at least not in a big way.

I published one new item this quarter, the civil war book. That captured most of my sales, indicating my back list isn’t selling well. Still, I’m not unhappy about my 3rd quarter sales. More is always better, but I’m glad for what I have. The Thomas Carlyle book was a surprise. I haven’t sold one of those since January 2015, and this is the first paperback of that. I never figured on it being a big seller, so, again, I’m not unhappy about it.

So, here’s my table of sales for the year.

2017-3Q Book Sales

 

 

Hard to get Blogivated

Yes, look at the title. I created a new word: blogivated. Here’s what I propose for a dictionary definition:

blogivated (n): anxious to write a blog post; full of ideas for blog posts; willing to use valuable time to write blog posts

Today, I’m not very blogivated. Actually, I should say tonight I’m not very blogivated, because I’m writing this on Thursday evening to post Friday morning.

This is how the final print cover came out. Better than the draft, I think.
This is how the final print cover came out. Better than the draft, I think.

Why not, you ask? I could say busyness is distracting me, and it would be true. As I’ve written recently, I’m super busy at home, and a bit busier than normal at the office. In situations like those, it’s hard to concentrate on blogging.

And yet, to some extent the dam has broken. I feel a number of things have broken free, and I’m able to see through to a less-busy time. Some of these have been writing related. As I reported before, I was able to pull together the print cover for Headshots. It was accepted by CreateSpace on the first submittal; I ordered my proof copy, which hopefully will be here Friday. Assuming it’s good, I could authorize publication tomorrow. That would be great.

First cut at the e-book cover. It's better than I expected for a first cut. I think I'm learning.
First cut at the e-book cover. It’s better than I expected for a first cut. I think I’m learning.

In trying to decide what to do next, I worked some on four different works over the last month. I wrote and typed a few pages in Adam Of Jerusalem, the prequel of Doctor Luke’s Assistant. I pulled together the Danny Tompkins stories together into one volume, edited them, and on Thursday even pulled together an e-book cover. It’s not final, but it’s actually ahead of schedule. I worked a little on a genealogy book, titled Stephen Cross of Ipswich. I’m sure I’ll publish it, and after the work I did this week on it, I have an idea of how much effort it’s going to take. I also worked a little more on Thomas Carlyle: Chronological Composition Bibliography. I have no immediate plans for this one, but will hopefully, someday, publish it, perhaps next year.

All of that is progress. I still have many things to do. Such as purchasing a newer van. Such as selling my pick-up. Such as replacing our dishwasher. Such as making trips to OKC and KC in the next month. Such as preparing to teach Life Group this week. Such as filing financial papers, on which I’m a bit behind (though checkbook and budget is up-to-date). Such as arranging for repairs in The Dungeon from the faulty dishwasher before we quit using it. Yes, plenty to do, still.

But the real answer as to why I can’t get blogivated right now is I feel like my blogging has been fragmented lately. I have had, or perhaps I should say I haven’t taken time, to plan out some posts. I try to stay three to four posts ahead in planning what to blog about. Right now, and for the last month or even longer, I’ve had no plan. The day before Monday and Friday comes, and I have to think about a blog post and write it. As you know, some days I’ve not done a real post, just a “sorry for not posting today.” I should have said, “Sorry for not being blogivated today.”

Tonight, when leave The Dungeon (remember, I’m writing this Thursday evening), I believe I’ll work on a blog schedule. Just knowing what I’ll be posting and when should help me to be blogivated more than I am now. Yes, that’s what I’ll do.

Getting Things Done

It’s really hard for me to sit down and write when I have other things to do. I don’t really want to bore my readers with all that I have to get done right now, but it’s a substantial list. Some of them major. There’s one, two, or even possibly three weekend trips coming up. Although, my wife has said she really doesn’t want to go to the 50th reunion of her high school class, so maybe scratch one of those trips—unless she changes her mind at the last minute.

The schedule for one trip is finally set. Although, we have to make arrangements for Lynda’s mother, who can’t really be left alone much any more. We started the process, but haven’t heard back yet. I’m formulating a plan b, just in case.

I’m still dealing with the IRS over the 2015 tax year and the ID theft we encountered. I have more than $1000 refund due that hasn’t been paid. I thought this was taken care of more than a year ago. Alas, not. I started the ball re-rolling on Wednesday, and it looks like maybe this time it will happen, and I’ll have my money before the end of the year. I hope so, because…

…getting a new car is another big thing we need to do. I started looking in mid-August, which got Lynda going, since she was afraid I’d make a deal on it, a deal she probably wouldn’t like. We are in agreement on what to get (though she’s a bit more restrictive than me), and which old vehicle to trade or sell. So this ball is rolling. Fortunately, we have a spare vehicle right now, and can afford to wait a while if needed.

Then, we were having a leak from the kitchen down to The Dungeon. I couldn’t tell what it was, or even where it was since there aren’t any pipes above where the leak was. I had the plumber come out Tuesday, and he isolated the problem as the dishwasher. It’s 30 years old, and we knew we were going to have to change it. Today I went to Lowe’s, where we got the replacement fridge from, and began the process of looking. The cost won’t be as bad as I thought it might. Although, there’s that finished ceiling to repair.

Add in a few things such as the genealogical research I’m obsessed over right now (soon to be at a wrapping up point, for now), trying to finish reading a difficult book (and finally being down to near the end of it), being asked by a friend to read another difficult book (and making early progress on it), trying to get an e-book ready for publication, and stumbling on making the print book cover (but maybe having figured out a way), and four or five other things, and, well, I just haven’t felt like writing.

Wednesday I felt awful. I think it was tension building up over all these balls needing to be pushed or juggled, one or the other. Getting the IRS thing taken care of Wednesday didn’t do much for me. Even getting the one weekend trip scheduled and the other (potentially) cancelled didn’t do much. I was dragging at work and at home. Finally, yesterday, getting a couple of minor things done, things not even significant enough to mention here, and the weight seemed to lift off me. I also stopped by Lowes and started looking for the dishwasher.

Just as it was an accumulation of things-to-do that built up, causing the stress, so it was the adding up of getting a few things done that relieved it to a large extent. I feel like I can see light at the end of my tunnel.

I’m still not going to write yet. I want to get the one book finished, and the e-book published in print, before I’ll spend any significant time on writing. But, at least last night and today, I know I’ll get there. It also helped to sell a couple of books yesterday!

Thinking Of My Next Writing

What to write next?

Sales haven't been "robust". Not even steady. But it's already at #10 on my list of books as to total sales.
Sales haven’t been “robust”. Not even steady. But it’s already at #10 on my list of books as to total sales.

I finished writing Documenting America: Civil War Edition in June, published it as an e-book in July, and as a print book in August. Sales haven’t been great, but better than lots of what I’ve published. Then, in August, I began work on another novel. It’s a prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant, tentatively titled Adam Of Jerusalem. I wrote two nights in manuscript. Later, when I typed it, I was surprised I had over 1,300 words.

Meanwhile, I have several other books that I’ve started. Here’s the full list and approximate degree of completion, without explanation of what each one is. It includes one I’ve not mentioned previously on this blog

  • The Gutter Chronicles, Volume 2: about 20% done
  • Thomas Carlyle’s Chartism Through The Ages: about 50% done
  • Thomas Carlyle: A Chronological Composition Bibliography: about 60% done
  • Stephen Cross of Ipswich (a family history): about 75% done
  • Adam Of Jerusalem: <5% done

Any of these will make a fine place to direct my efforts. At the same time, two as of yet unstarted items are on my radar, and are consuming brain power, coming into focus.

  • the next short story in the “Sharon Williams Fonseca: Unconventional CIA agent” series
  • the next book in the Documenting America series, most likely on the Constitution

Either of those would be good also.

The cover theme has been black and white. A graveyard featured in this one, and will on the combined volume.
The cover theme has been black and white. A graveyard featured in this one, and will on the combined volume.

However, I believe, instead of any of these, that my next writing/publishing project will be to collect the six Danny Tompkins short stories into one volume and publish it, both as an e-book and print book. The stories aren’t selling on their own (the six having had 39, 9, 10, 4, 4, and 1 sale respectively from first to last). Perhaps they’ll sell better as a volume. This has been on my radar for a while. A problem was what to call it. The Danny Tompkins Stories was not a good title. I’ve been thinking about this, and finally came up with what I think is a good one:

When Death Changes Life

That matches the theme of the stories, which is teenage grief at the loss of a parent, and adult dealing with the old grief. I’ve even thought about a cover for it, a cover that will fit the theme of the individual covers but will be different, no just re-using one of the others. On Wednesday I did a quick check of how large a print book of these will be. With title, copyright page, and author’s works, if should run around 70 pages. True, that’s small, but large enough for a print book. I suppose the e-book will sell for $2.99 and the print book for $5 or $6. Maybe, at those prices, I’ll be able to get a little traction with it.

Publishing Tasks Wear Me Out

After a four day weekend trip to Meade, Kansas, for the funeral of my wife’s aunt, we returned home Monday evening, around 6:15 p.m. That’s what I call getting in in good time. After unpacking and relaxing a little, I went to The Dungeon, with the intent of resuming my writing career.

The e-book has been available for two weeks, but I'm just now working on the print book.
The e-book has been available for two weeks, but I’m just now working on the print book.

However, I saw that I had two directions to go in, and that one was necessary and one was optional. On the weekend I had spent some time reading for research into my next church history novel. I could continue with that, as well as re-read what I’ve written in my workplace humor novel, and decide which I would do next. Those two, together, form one direction: a writing path.

The other direction was publishing tasks. I need to get the print version of Documenting America: Civil War Edition finished and published. I need to get the print version of Headshots finished and published. On Monday evening, as I sat trying to make the decision, the former needed only a little work, while the latter had the interior done (I think; it’s been a while since I did it), and the cover needs to be done. I also need to get recent books listed on Goodreads, and a couple of short stories added to Smashwords.

I could see right away that the publishing tasks were more important right now. Yet, I couldn’t do them. Just something about them made me want to not start them. The same was true Tuesday and Wednesday. I couldn’t make myself do them. The DA:CWE cover it on my computer at work, and the interior on my computer at home. I guess it’s also on OneDrive, but I don’t really know how to use that or access it from work. But at work, in my personal time, I couldn’t make myself work on the cover. At home, I couldn’t make myself finish the interior. Consequently, Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday I got nothing done on my writing/publishing.

Yesterday was different. Thursday morning, before work started, I pulled up the cover in G.I.M.P. Just using that program makes me want to vomit. But, I didn’t really have much to do. I had one block of text I needed to change the font on, move an image a little, and I was done. I couldn’t figure out how to make the text changes. I looked in the manual, in some on-line tutorials, all with no help. Finally, I looked closer at my cover, and could see that the text, which was placed in the cover by someone else for the last book in the series, wasn’t a text layer at all; it was an image that couldn’t be changed. I quickly deleted that layer, created a text layer and put the text in with the correct font. I had the cover done and saved at 8:05 a.m.

Then, last night I took a look at the interior. I had finished it a couple of weeks ago, but wanted to give it one more look-through, just to make sure. I did that, and judged it “done”. I e-mailed it to my office (because I don’t know how to use OneDrive) to make the PDF today. I’ll do that shortly. At that point, I’ll have the cover and the interior files done, and on the same computer, and so will do the upload. I hope to have the finished on the noon hour today.

It won't be long before I'll be working on the print version of this.
It won’t be long before I’ll be working on the print version of this.

That brings me to Headshots. I think this weekend I’ll see what I can do with that. If the interior is really done, all that will be left is the print cover. That will have to wait until next week, unless I wake up my old computer (which had G.I.M. P.) and try to do it there. They say it’s to rain much of the weekend. How I would love to get Headshots done.

Adding books to Goodreads is easy; there’s just a few steps to go through. Adding the short stores to Smashwords will take a little formatting, but that should be only 30 minutes for each. Who know? Maybe by Sunday I can have all my publishing tasks behind me, and Monday I’ll be ready to get back to writing tasks. I’ll give you a report then.

I Was Talking About the Gray Cells

The temporary cover is almost exactly like the one I ended up using.
The temporary cover is almost exactly like the one I ended up using.

In a recent post, I mentioned how my mind was starting to focus on things I might be writing next. Documenting America: Civil War Edition is finished. All except the print version, that is, but I think I’m not more than two days away from having that done and submitting it for checking by CreateSpace.  I have a few publishing tasks awaiting me that don’t involve writing, such as getting the Headshots print version done. And making corrections to the Smashwords edition of Preserve The Revelation so that it can be pushed out to other vendors via Smashword’s premium catalog. Yes, I have much publishing to do.

But that’s not writing. With one book finished, it’s time to work on the next. But what to work on? I have two obvious choices:

  • Seems like a long time since I wrote this, but it's only five years.
    Seems like a long time since I wrote this, but it’s only five years.

    The Gutter Chronicles, Volume 2. The first volume of what I hope will become a series, of workplace humor about the engineering business, has been out since 2012. It’s one of my five highest selling items, mostly to people who work where I do. A couple of years ago I started the next volume, and got into chapter 4 (of a planned 15 chapter book), when I set it aside to do other things. I have the book mostly planned out, the humorous stories pulled from my past or manufactured. All that remains it to decide to write it and get it finished. Hopefully, I can find my scattered notes.

  • This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and "Preserve The Revelation" will be the fourth.
    This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and “Preserve The Revelation” will be the fourth.

    Adam of Jerusalem. This will be a prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant. It’s been on my list of things to write for some time. A few plot elements came to mind early, but not how I’m going to get it done. How do you squeeze a prequel ahead of a book when you never planned on it when you wrote the first book? You can’t go back and unwrite, or rewrite the second in the series. But ways of doing this have been coming to me. I’ve figured out how I want to open the book, and what the inciting incident will be. A few other scenes have come to mind.

What to do? The Gutter Chronicles makes the most sense, and I suspect I’ll at least give it a try. However, the gray cells have been giving me more ideas for Adam of Jerusalem. What to do? I could wrap up TGC Vol 2 in 30,000 words; AoJ will take about 80,000.

As an example of what I mean by the gray cells activating, until recently I have having a hard time figuring out how to show Adam’s slide from Judaism to adopting Roman ways. As mentioned above, I had decided what would be the inciting incident for this, but how to make it work in the story without violating anything I’ve already written in Doctor Luke’s Assistant. Well, the way to do this came to me recently. I don’t have every scene worked out, but it’s clear how I can accomplish this. I’m not receiving similar clarity on The Gutter Chronicles—although I’m further along with that book. Perhaps that will be less of gray cells stimulation and more of in-the-seat perspiration.

While these two books are prime on my to-write-next list, they aren’t the only candidates. The next short story in my Sharon Williams Fonseca series has been coming to mind. It will be set in Paris. Also on my mind is a book about the Stephen and Elizabeth (Cheney) Cross family of Ipswich, Massachusetts, in the 1600s. Last year I spent a month of intense work on this couple. It is intended to be a chapter in a book about Elizabeth’s father, John Cheney of Newbury. When I finished the Crosses, I saw I had between 60 and 80 pages (formatted as 5.5×8.5 pages), and was shocked. John Cheney had ten children who grew to adulthood. The work before me seemed to massive to continue with, so I set the project aside. However, I have the Cross portion done, and, I figure, why not publish it as a small, stand-alone family history? It would take perhaps another month of tidying up, expanding the narrative a little, and doing all the publishing tasks. I may do that, but not as the next book. Maybe after I finish whichever one I choose to do next.

So, while the gray cells are active, and I can sense writing in the near future (such as in August, if not some in July), I don’t know which book is next. Today will be a day of publishing activities. Tomorrow, who knows? I may take some time at work to read what I’ve already written on TGC. If I like what I read, perhaps that will be next.

Book Sales – 2nd Quarter 2017

Here’s the quarterly table:

………1Q…..2Q…..3Q…..4Q….Year
2011….2…….7……11…..15…..35
2012…16…..73……45…..22…156
2013…14…..22……16…..13….65
2014…..7…..48……25……2…..82
2015…11…..25……38……9…..83
2016…. 9……6…….10….17…..42
2017…17…..22
Total sales to date—502

So, the 2nd quarter was a little better than that 1st, and certainly better than the 2nd quarter last year. It’s a little deceiving, however. My sales by month were: April 13, May 5, June 3. So sales were trailing off. The April peak was due to my personally selling some print books to acquaintances at work and church. Once those were done, sales trailed off.

Once again, I did no advertising this quarter. My only promotions were a few Facebook posts, and talking my books up in person when the opportunity seemed right.

Here’s my sales table for the year. Note that I had one sale at Kobo. Kobo has reported that I had a sale, but not of which book. So that the table would be right, I applied the sale to “Growing Up Too Fast”. They should report for June in about two weeks. When they do, I’ll correct the table, if needed and edit the post. Click on the table to see it in readable size. Note: I did come back and edit this post to show one additional sale, but it’s not the Kobo sale. In June I sold a an e-book copy of Documenting America: Lessons From The United States’ Historical Documents – Homeschool Edition, to a library through Baker & Taylor Blio. First sale through that bookstore, and, so far as I know, first sale to a library.

At the end of June, I have almost as many sales as I had for all of 2016. With luck, I'll pass 2016 in July.
At the end of June, I have almost as many sales as I had for all of 2016. With luck, I’ll pass 2016 in July.

So, I still haven’t given you the post about the gray cells awakening. I plan on doing that on Monday. This last week I was working on getting Documenting America: Civil War Edition published. That took all my gray cells for a few days.