Are We Boomers Really Sociopaths?

I think Gibney's cover is horrible. But his book's selling better than mine, so what do I know?
I think Gibney’s cover is horrible. But his book’s selling better than mine, so what do I know?

I mentioned before that I’m currently reading A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America, by Bruce Gibney. I’m now more than halfway through it, maybe as much as 2/3rds. I probably won’t finish by this weekend; maybe next. When I do, I’ll post a full review here, as well as at Amazon and Goodreads.

As I said in another post, I took interest in this book because of the book I published back in 2012, The Candy Store Generation: How the Baby Boomers Are Screwing-Up America. Similar title, obviously a similar subject. I had to read it. Fortunately, his publicist gave me an advance reader copy, no charge. That’s great.

Mine is self-published, and the quality of my graphics, compared with Gibney's, demonstrates that.
Mine is self-published, and the quality of my graphics, compared with Gibney’s, demonstrates that.

I’m just about to the point where Gibney is going to give some solutions, I think some overall solutions. So far he’s been outlaying the problem as he sees it. As I did, he covers how the Boomers took over the leadership in the U.S.A. in the 1990s, though he talks more about their influence as a voting block before that, and how that influence caused their predecessors to make some bad decisions. He also has a different definition of Boomers than I did. He says it’s those born from 1940 to 1964, and only the white people. Most sociologists place the start of the Boomers as 1946. However, in my book, I did say that those born from 1940 to 1945, the “Elvis Wave” of the Silent Generation, had much in common with the Boomers, especially the Elvis Wave of the Boomers (born 1946-1950).

The main premise we each have is about the same: The Boomers are guilty of intergenerational theft by piling up the massive debt this country has. It was $16 trillion when I published my book. It’s $20 trillion now. While we have the same premise, we have different conclusions as to why the Boomers have performed so poorly in leadership. I say it’s because the Boomers relied too much on government to solve problems better solved by the individual. He says it’s because the Boomers relied too little on government. Same problem exhibited by the same symptoms, but a drastically different conclusion.

The one thing you can say we agree on, as another way of stating the premise: The Boomers did not provide a firm basis of government finance to support the services they had the government provide. I say it’s because they demanded too many services; he says it’s because they wouldn’t tax themselves enough to pay for the services. Perhaps it’s two sides of the same coin. Either way, the coin was stolen from the Boomers’ children’s retirement fund, and from their grandchildren’s college fund.

As I get further into the book, I may find that Gibney’s conclusions aren’t quite what they appear to be on my incomplete reading. We’ll see. One thing he did less than me was try to explain why the Boomers are the way they are. I took a whole chapter on that, based on what I lived through and how, looking back over years and decades, I can see how that caused us to have certain characteristics. He touches on that a little, but focuses almost exclusively on the results the Boomers have produced, rather than on what caused their “pathology”, as he would call it.

Hopefully, when I finish reading Gibney’s book, I’ll be able to say something more positive about it. At the moment, I think my book is better. I may be a little biased, however. Back to reading, writing, researching, and making a mess in The Dungeon.

Misstatements On Television

I don’t have a lot of time to write my post today. My workday was busy before I got to the office, and it’s become hectic since then.

I was going to give an interim report on the book I’m reading, but thought of a different, shorter topic. Yesterday was a leisurely day for me, as the Lord’s Day should be, especially one so important. I even was able to watch a little television. In that watching I heard some incredible misstatements.

First, on a morning news program, when the commentator at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City talked about what the pope was doing, he said, “The pope is giving mass right now.” No, the celebrant doesn’t “give” mass, he/she “celebrates” mass. Okay, that’s somewhat minor. I’m not in a denomination that celebrates mass (thought I grew up in one), so this didn’t offend me. I found it amusing, though possibly some people around the world would be offended by this reporter’s ignorance.

The second one was on a show on the History Channel in the evening, about the search for Jesus’ DNA and determining if any relatives to Him could be found. It was a 2-hour program, kind of interesting (different than the usual Easter program of the Bible story). At the start of the program, they made it clear that the Bible said Jesus had no descendants, and that they were looking for relatives. That is, they said that in the program. In the various trailers leading up to it, they acted like they were looking for Jesus’ DNA descendants.

Right at the end of the program, they actually said that. I didn’t write it down, so can’t give you the exact quote, but it was essentially, “With this DNA research, we hope to be able to find Jesus’ descendants.” The entire program they made it clear they were looking for relatives of Jesus—i.e. people descended from a common ancestor with Jesus.  Then, at the end, they resorted to yellow journalism.

Very disappointing. I may write the History Channel and tell them so.

Taxes Almost Done

Yes, I’m very, very close to having my taxes done. Normally I do them much earlier than this, around the end of February and first of March. But, this year at that time I was working on Preserve The Revelation and “Growing Up Too Fast”, either editing, writing, or publishing. They were done toward the end of March. I needed a break, so didn’t begin them for a few days, maybe around April 3.

I won’t take a long time explaining this. Our taxes are complicated. Our stock trading partnership, my writing sole proprietorship, my work, Lynda’s social security. It makes for lots of forms, and worksheets from the instructions. I have Excel spreadsheets built to do the calculations. All I have to do is come with the W-2, the 1099s, and deductions statements. This year my paperwork was well organized. I also have to check my spreadsheets against the forms and instructions for the tax year, in case something has changed.

I had the Federal done, and began working on the State. My spreadsheet links the State to the Federal, and rounds the Federal amounts to 00 cents, as Arkansas requires. Everything flows quickly from the Federal to the State. But, at the last minute, the State wanted me to attach Federal form 8889. I scrambled, and found that form 8889 is REQUIRED if you have an active Health Savings Account, as I do. I’d never heard of this before, but apparently I should have filed it every year since I had the HSA, about six or seven years. Since my HSA is funded with pre-tax dollars, I have no tax consequences. However, I still have to file it. I had two stressful days learning about and then completing Form 8889. But it’s done.

The status is: My Federal and State forms are done, printed, signed, copies, and mailed. My partnership calcs are done, the forms printed, and signed. All except for one form that I forgot about printing. I couldn’t do it at work today, so I’ll do it at home this evening and mail it all Monday. I also do taxes for my mother-in-law. I did the calcs on them last night, concluded she didn’t owe any taxes, and so decided to set them aside for a couple of days and take a break.

During these last two weeks, engrossed in taxes as I’ve been, I’ve done almost nothing for writing. That should change this weekend.

Reading a Book Like One of Mine

I published "The Candy Store Generation" in July 2012. Thus, I'm more than four years ahead of Gibney.
I published “The Candy Store Generation” in July 2012. Thus, I’m more than four years ahead of Gibney.

A woman I worked with alerted me to a program coming up on National Public Radio, about a book named A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America. I immediately took notice, because of my book which, by its title, would seem to cover the same ground: The Candy Store Generation: How the Baby Boomers Are Screwing-Up America. My co-worked had read mine, liked it, and thought I should know what else was out there.

I looked into the book. It’s by a man named Bruce Cannon Gibney, who, it turns out, is not a Baby Boomer, but of the next generation, usually called Gen X, but sometimes called the Baby Busters. It’s current rating on Amazon is 3.1 stars (it was a little higher when I first looked at it).

I decided this was a book I should read. But, always looking for other authors to interview on this blog, I reached out to Gibney’s publicist and requested an e-mail interview. She responded back that he didn’t have time for that, but they would be glad to give me a book to review. Obviously, I accepted.

It arrived Thursday, and I started reading it that night. It has a long Forward and a long Introduction. Consequently, I’ve only read through chapter 4. I hope to do a chapter a night, or perhaps two when busyness allows. I’ll be back to report what I think. I will say this, however: Gibney’s graphics are far, far better than mine. That goes to show how a publisher can add value to a book.

Book Sales: 1st Quarter 2017

My best 1st quarter so far, one sale better than in 2012
My best 1st quarter so far, one sale better than in 2012

Well, I had my best first quarter ever in terms of book sales. I sold 17, which is one more than the first quarter of 2012. Of course, then I had four items for sale, now I have twenty-four. So it’s a lot fewer sales per title.

Thirteen books came in two batches. An internet friend bought six of my short stories in one shot, and a woman in my office bought seven short stories in one shot. The other four were on-line purchases by people I don’t know. Actually, that’s not true. I’m sure the one person who purchased the newly released Preserve The Revelation is an online writer-friend.

The table below shows how they are distributed among my publications. Note also that this shows a sale in April. So I know the second quarter won’t be a goose egg. You’ll have to click on the chart below to enlarge it enough to read it.

DAT Book Sales 2017 Table on 2017-04-07

 

A Jumbled Weekend

Perhaps I should have spent time cleaning my work area, which is en-route to non-functional.
Perhaps I should have spent time cleaning my work area, which is en-route to non-functional.

Weekends are almost busier for me than weekdays. Sure, on weekdays I have to drive 15.5 miles to the office, work a 40 hour week (plus some), fight evening traffic, and come home mentally exhausted. But somehow that seems more organized, more manageable, than do my weekends.

It started with ducking out of the office a little early Friday afternoon. I thought we needed milk, so I stopped by Braum’s on the way. When I pulled into their parking lot my phone rang. It was the wife, saying she was ordering pizza for supper from Papa John’s, and hoping I hadn’t left the office yet. I had, but Braum’s was less than a mile past Papa John’s, so I said I could easily backtrack a little. She placed the order on-line, something she’s tried a number of times before without success, as her computer always locked up at the last step. This time it worked, so I drove back south, and waited the 25 minutes for the pizza. Thus, I arrived home at my usual time.

Friday night I went to The Dungeon after supper. I had numerous tasks I could work on, from filing, budgeting, book research and publishing, and income taxes. I decided to use my time to fix the cover for the Smashwords edition of Preserve The Revelation. It was only 1340 pixels wide, and the minimum width is 1400 for inclusion in their premium catalog. That was graphics work I could do, so I did it. It’s now awaiting Smashwords’ manual check to see that it’s okay. I hope to get that on Monday. The premium catalog is important, because through that the book is pushed out to Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and other vendors. Without that, it just sits at Smashwords, where nobody buys anything these days.

The Dungeon can be depressing, at times. I really, really, really need to spend time cleaning it.
The Dungeon can be depressing, at times. I really, really, really need to spend time cleaning it.

I was in The Dungeon only an hour. Went upstairs, and for the rest of the evening I divided my time between vegging out, a few minor tasks, and research/organization in Documenting America: Civil War Edition. I had printed the book that week, and so had a good copy of what I’ve done so far. I saw that I was farther along than I thought. I made a table of where each of the thirty chapters stand. That will help me to plan what to work on next.

Saturday, I slept in (till 8:00 a.m.). By 9 I was outside, doing yardwork; specifically, continuing to rake leaves in the back yard. It’s a gravel yard, and getting leaves off it is more difficult than off a lawn. I don’t want to rake the gravel off, so I have to be careful how I rake. I had only the lower, rear portion still to go, a strip about 20 feet wide by the width of the lot, which is 120 to 150 feet. I was able to do only a little more than half. The remainder will be an easy task for next Saturday.

Inside, my next task was helping my wife get on the road to Oklahoma City, where she’s to spend a week plus helping our daughter with the grandchildren during an especially busy time. But first I had to make the weekly Wal-Mart run, for groceries and prescriptions she needed for the trip. This included bringing some boxes of children’s clothes up from the basement and loading them into the van. We store quite a few boxes of those clothes. She got on the road around 4:00 p.m.

At that point I went to The Dungeon, and decided that the income taxes were the next thing I needed to do. I had made a good start a couple of weeks ago, so the work I had left was to fill in a few items from the tax forms we received, finish my writing business profit/loss, and hence Schedule C, and plug that into form 1040. I then moved on to our stock trading business taxes. Surprisingly, that went fast. I had those done by around 6:30 p.m. Well, not exactly done, because I’m not sure about one item. Figuring out whether what I plugged into the spreadsheet is correct or not will take a couple of hours, something I’ll probably do tonight. Then all that’s left are the State taxes, and I’m done for another year. Oh, yeah, and the mother-in-law’s taxes as well.

Saturday night I did some more reading and research for DA-CW Ed, profitable research into source documents, and went to bed at a decent time. It helped that I didn’t have to teach Life Group this Sunday.

Today was Life Group and church. I knew I needed to get some walking in, so after lunch walked about 1.5 miles. I didn’t push it. Although I walk a fair amount, I’m out of shape due to having not walked while I had a cold recently. But I got it in, and wasn’t too worn out afterwards. No more, that is, than a 45 minute nap wouldn’t cure.

So I was finally at my computer, in The Dungeon, for my prime couple of hours of writing work. I spent the time copying source documents into my Word file for DA-CW Ed. That might not sound like much, but I had to look for them on-line, to hopefully save typing them. I was able to do that, as well as find a couple of source documents for the Battle of Gettysburg, documents that had previously eluded me. I also modified the file for my most recent short story, “Growing Up Too Fast”, for Smashwords, and uploaded that. Smashwords accepted it, and it’s now awaiting the manual check for inclusion in the premium catalog.

That brings me to Sunday evening. After some light cleaning that’s been nagging at me, and leftovers for supper, I read in the source documents. The first step is deciding what to excerpt from them to keep in the book. Several of them are long, over 3,000 or even 4,000 words. I’d like the excerpt to be between 700-1200 words, but will go more words when I need to. I made good progress in that. I’m not ready to give a new estimate of how close I am to completion, but definitely got closer to that goal.

So, a busy weekend. With progress. With a fulfilling feeling. Now on to the workweek so I can rest a bit.

Research: On to the Next Book

It's published as an e-book at Amazon; print book and other e-book formats will follow soon.
It’s published as an e-book at Amazon; print book and other e-book formats will follow soon.

Preserve The Revelation is published. It’s not selling, but it’s published. The proof copy of the print book should arrive today. I’ll get the e-book up for Nook, Kobo, Apple, etc. this weekend. Time to move on to something else.

That something else is my next book, Documenting America: Civil War Edition. There’s a long story to this book that I’ll try to make short and simple. My first full-length book to publish, back in May 2011, was Documenting America: Lessons from the United States’ Historical Documents. I enjoyed writing that. I found so many available documents, in this information age where digitized historical documents come online every day, that I knew I could make it into a series. Before long I had more than a dozen titles, all of which I knew I could easily write.

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.

I decided my next one would be on the Civil War. The first one didn’t concentrate on one era in US history. Instead, I selected a variety of documents that interested me, from 1711 to 1898. It was fun, finding the documents, excerpting them, writing something about their historical significance, and tying them to an issue we face today. I had actually written a number of them as published and potential newspaper columns. When I decided, in February 2011 that I would make it into a book, it came together quickly.

Fast forward to mid-2013. I was searching around for what book to write next. The US was in the midst of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. I decided to make that the next one. I decided what the year limits would be, made a quick outline of the first few chapters, and wrote the first chapter. At the same time I was writing first chapters of three other books, to see which one felt right. Alas, Operation Lotus Sunday flowed easiest, and I wrote and published that. Once that was done I picked up DA-CW Ed again, added more to the Table of Contents, and wrote a couple more chapters. For some reason, it still didn’t feel right, and I went on to other things.

The next time I looked at it was early 2015. The sesquicentennial was about over. I had lost that window. Not that such a deadline was critical, but if I wanted to gain a few sales from the Civil War interest that the anniversary was generating…

What am I saying? When have any of my books ever found interest from current events? The election of 2012 didn’t help The Candy Store Generation, even though it included a discussion of that election as the campaign was being waged. The Chicago Cubs’ drive for their first pennant in 108 years last fall didn’t help sales of In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People or Headshots, not one bit. The idea that I thought Civil War anniversaries would help my book to sell was, at best laughable, and at worst delusional. I guess one can always dream.

I've already started thinking about the cover to the Civil War Edition. It takes me a long time to make a cover on my own.
I’ve already started thinking about the cover to the Civil War Edition. It takes me a long time to make a cover on my own.

Still, I took up the book again and worked on it, taking it up to about forty percent complete before I once again set it aside, somewhere around February 2015. Why did I do that? I still planned to write the book. But as I dug into the source documents behind the major events of the Civil War, two problems hit me full blast. One, I got tired of all the battles. When you write about a major war, battles will be predominant in the contents; you can’t avoid that. Second, I would read the source documents and start falling asleep. No joke; they were either boring me or I simply couldn’t concentrate on them. Still, from time to time over the years, I pulled the book out, even as I was working on other things, and either researched, wrote, or edited what I already had.

Now it’s 2017. No meaningful Civil War anniversaries will come up for decades. Yet, with my novel done and published, and trying to decide on what to publish next, I decided to return to DA-CW Ed. In January, I returned to my main source document, the Annals of America, and read. Lo and behold, I was able to read with amazing retention and clarity. I’m not sure what the difference was between early 2015 and early 2017, but it was a huge difference. I went to Atlanta for a conference in February, took my source book with me, and read and read and read and didn’t get tired of it.

So, what’s the status of the book? I have thirty chapters identified, which will be the final count. I have source documents in hand for all but one of those, and it’s possible I even have it for that one, reading it pending. I have my Word file created and correctly organized. I have about twelve chapters fully written (subject to editing, of course), and I have the source documents in my file for all but about eight of the chapters. Last night I added the Siege of Vicksburg source document, and began editing it. In terms of organization, I’m about 95 percent there. In terms of source documents, I’m about 60 percent there. In terms of original writing—hmmm, that tougher to figure. Maybe not more than 20 percent. Still a lot of battles to write about and draw lessons from.

Last December, I established a goal of having this published in May 2017. That’s only two months. I’m not sure I can do that in time. My actual writing will begin this weekend (if I get my income taxes done, that is; otherwise it will be next week or weekend). I’ll blog about my progress from time to time, or will post it on my Facebook author page.

“Preserve The Revelation” is Published

The final tweak to the cover changed the beasts' eyes to glowing red.
The final tweak to the cover changed the beasts’ eyes to glowing red.

Some time ago I posted about my church history series of novels. And in several places I’ve posted about the book in that series that I’ve been working on, Preserve The Revelation. As I wrote elsewhere, I finished the book January 14 this year, and set a goal to have it published by March 8.

It took longer to achieve than I expected. I made three rounds of edits, plus one extra edit of the first chapter. Each of these rounds took a week or two. I missed the deadline. Fortunately, when you self-publish there’s no real significance to a deadline. Can’t get your work done by one? Shrug it off and set a new one. So that’s what I did, sort of. I just decided I’ll get it done ASAP. That date turned out to be Thursday just passed, March 23, 2017. That’s when I got it up on Kindle.

This is my sixth novel (one of which is really a novella), and my 24th item published. That kind of perseverance feels good, though it hasn’t translated yet into sales, consistent sales. March will be a good month for sales, totaling maybe 14 to 16, depending on if I get any for PTR. So far I’ve sold one copy. Hopefully I’ll sell a couple more this month, and more the next month.

The print book cover.
The print book cover.

Since Wednesday, I completed the formatting for the print book, and finished uploading it today. Now waiting on CreateSpace to approve it. Print covers are significantly more complicated than e-book covers. I’ve done a couple of my print covers, but didn’t want to tackle this one. My internet friend Veronica Jones-Brown did both covers, the e-book first, then the print. I should hear in a day or two whether everything is okay with it. I’ll then order a proof copy. If all goes well, about a week from now I should have the print book for sale. Between now and then I’ll get the Smashwords formatting done. I think it is formatted correctly already, but need to run through it once or twice more.

So my work on PTR is almost done, probably less than two hours time total to go. What’s next? I’m already working on my next book, which will be a non-fiction title. You’ll be hearing about it in these pages before long.

 

Reading Sherlock Holmes

Last weekend I finished the Sherlock Holmes stories. This has been a four-year journey, I think. I’ve blogged about it before, but, to be honest, I don’t feel like searching my archives and linking to the earlier story. Perhaps I’ll add it later.

An original Sherlock Homes illustration, by Sidney Paget.
An original Sherlock Homes illustration, by Sidney Paget.

My wife and I started reading S.H. about four years ago. I picked up the two-volume set produced by Barnes & Noble from their bargains table. I would have preferred to get the three-volume set published by Norton, for they have the chronological order of the stories identified—the order that Holmes’ adventures took place, that is, not the order they were written in. But I bought the B&N ones, so that’s what we read in. I also have a paperback of some of the stories, and I downloaded a couple of files for my Nook. As we started, we passed the B&N book back and forth and read aloud. As we got further into them, and a story was in an alternative volume, I read from that and my wife kept the other.

At some point our joint reading petered out. The language isn’t archaic, but you can tell it’s not quite modern. References in the stories aren’t always clear, so you have to decide to plow (or ‘plough’ at Watson would write) on with limited understanding or consult the endnotes. Whatever the reason, we got through the first volume and a little way into the second before we quit.

I don’t like to leave a book unfinished, so at some point I picked it up again. I read 1/3 of it, set it aside, and about a month or two  picked it up again, and, as I said, finished it last weekend.

My judgment of it…doesn’t matter. Holmes has been around for 125 years; his position in the legion of detective heroes is solid; A. Conan Doyle’s standing among authors couldn’t be higher. So whether or not I liked the Holmes stories doesn’t matter. But, this is a blog that includes my opinions, so I’ll give it. I liked the Sherlock Holmes stories, but not as much as I expected to.

The way detective stories are written has changed over the years. Now writers give clues in the story so that the reader can figure the story out along with the detective-hero. Doyle didn’t do that. Holmes has knowledge the reader doesn’t. He sends telegrams we don’t know about till after the fact. He goes places and sees people the reader knows nothing about. Partly this is because Watson is the point-of-view character. The story is always solved, but the reader is unable to assist.

If I were rating the Sherlock Holmes opus on Amazon, I’d give it 3.5 stars. But the big question I always answer about the books I review here: Will I keep it in the library, and will I read it again? I will definitely keep it. If life gives me enough years, and enough time in those years, I’ll read it again. For sure I’m going to re-read the second Holmes novel, The Sign of the Four. I must have been reading or listening without comprehension on much of that, for at the end of the book I couldn’t have told you much about it. As for the rest, re-reading will be when leisure and interests converge, sometime in the future, probably the distant future.

“Growing Up Too Fast” Is Published

The cover tries to keep the theme for the series that my son started for me on the first story.
The cover tries to keep the theme for the series that my son started for me on the first story.

As I’ve mentioned on these posts, my main work-in-progress these last several months has been my novel Preserve The Revelation. However, while writing it (since last September), other things have come to mind. One of them was a new short story, an unplanned one in the Danny Tompkins series. That had been bubbling up in my mind since around last October. I wrote a few notes about it, to preserve them. I even started the story in manuscript, lost it, and started it again on another sheet of paper.

I found the first paper, merged the two beginnings, and wrote maybe 500 words. All of this, mind you, in odd moments after finishing my work daily on PTR. It was February 14th that I sat and typed what I had, then kept going. In early March I finished the story, took a week or so to read and tweak it. All of this was on days I was letting PTR simmer, to give me time to get a fresh perspective on it. At some point that included starting work on the cover. It all came together this past week. I uploaded it to Amazon on Thursday, March 16. By Friday everything had synced up on all of Amazon’s systems, so I announced it on Facebook. So far, no sales. I haven’t yet put it up on Smashwords and other sites.

"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.

The story is this: Daniel Tompkins, now in his sixties, comes to a better understanding that, due to life circumstances, he missed much of his teen years. This affected his adult ability to relax and have fun. He ponders how to break free from this baggage of youth.

This series started in 2010 when I wrote “Mom’s Letter“. It was the story of the day Danny learned his mother had entered the hospital to die, something that happened while he was at scout camp, something he hadn’t seen progressing as the summer wore on. Later in life he found a letter his mom wrote to him at camp that week. That started a flood of memories, and inspired Daniel to write a poem about it.

The second in the series.
The second in the series.

I first wrote that story for a contest, one that a lady in church told me about. I submitted it (didn’t win), and later expanded it beyond the word count allowed by the contest. The best part of the story was in those extra words added. I ran the story through an on-line critique group, and two real life critique groups. When I made the decision to self-publish, I didn’t want to start with a book, so I decided to use this to learn how to do it. It first went live for sale on Amazon Feb 15, 2011.

The third in the series, and the first I did the cover for.
The third in the series, and the first I did the cover for.

I never thought of making that into a series. It was a story I wanted to tell. But then I thought, perhaps Daniel had other memories of when he was young Danny who had just lost his mother.  Could these memories help some other teenager who faced similar circumstances? The story of the wake and actual funeral seemed the logical thing to do next, so I wrote “Too Old To Play“, the title taken from the poem that’s included in the story, a poem that pre-dates the story. Then came “Kicking Stones“, featuring Danny’s memories of returning to school after his mom’s death, told with the metaphor of kicking stones on the walk to and from junior high. This had a lot of Daniel’s inner thoughts and reflections.

#4, a cover I also did.
#4, a cover I also did.

Then came “Saturday Haircuts, Tuesday Funeral“, which featured Danny’s father, how he coped with his wife’s death, and raising three teens on his own. Then, since I’d focused on the dad in a couple of stories, I decided I’d better do one on the mom. So I wrote “What Kept Her Alive?”, which showed the struggles Danny’s mom went through and how her life was perhaps prolonged because of the activities she took part it, activities she could do from her invalid’s couch.

What Kept Her Alive Cover
This cover, of a stamp collection box and a few stamps in front of it, isn’t doing what I’d hoped it would do. I may re-do this one.

So now, the series is complete. No, really. I know I said that after the last one, but I feel a sense of completion with publication of “Growing Up Too Fast”. I do plan on republishing each of the earlier ones, to tweak the covers to be more alike, and to add links to all stories in the series in each book, now that they are all published. I’m also thinking of combining them into a “boxed set.” We’ll see; maybe later this year when I have a lull in writing and publishing activities. I will, of course, keep you all informed should that happen.

Author | Engineer