This summer, writing has taken a backseat in my life. I haven’t completely abandoned creative writing, but time to give it much focus simply hasn’t been there.
What have I been doing instead? Well, in early June we babysat our three grandchildren for almost two weeks, then their parents arrived and stayed with us a few days. They went on a ten day road trip, coming back in early July for a couple of days. That has a way of taking up a lot of your time.
Then there was my wife’s family reunion the last weekend in July/first of August. I was reunion planner. I know, that sounds strange, doesn’t it? But I was, and it took a fair amount of work. Part of that was completing a formal edition of my family history book. Seth Boynton Cheney: Mystery Man of the West, focuses on the patriarch of the family, but it’s much more than that. 292 pages of biography, photos, maps, document images, and pages and pages of data I’ve collected on a number of ancestors in the family. My goal was to have it published by June 15, to give people plenty of time to order it before the reunion. I came very close to making it. The book was done by the 15th and a proof copy ordered. It then took me to June 27th to have all the corrections made and have it published.
Then there’s stock trading. That took a back seat to the reunion, but since that I’ve hit it in a big way again, trying to make some money to augment the retirement funds. I’m actually not doing too badly for the year. I have losses, but almost none since April, with a string of winners since then helping to recover from other losses. Unfortunately that work isn’t going to change very soon.
Work at CEI has been about normal. I submitted abstracts for presentation of two technical papers, one of which was due Friday. I came within about two paragraphs of completing it then. I printed it out and have it at home with me. Hopefully tonight I’ll be able to read and edit it and figure out those couple of paragraphs I lack. Tomorrow I’ll be able to type the changes and upload it sometime in the morning. I advised the organization that I’d be on that schedule, and they said that was fine.
So, back to the short story. It is the last in the Danny Tompkins series that explores teenage grief at the loss of a parent. The subject for this story eluded me for half a year. Finally around May I knew what it would be, and I wrote a few paragraphs. The hindrance of the “blank page” having been overcome, I came back to it from time to time, as I could carve out a little time for it. Slowly it came to being.
On Friday I worked on it a little on my noon hour, and realized I wasn’t sure how to end it. This one ends the series of five stories, so the ending needed to be both for the story itself and for the series. This afternoon I sat down to work on it, first editing what I had. As I did that the idea for the ending came, it being a little different than I’d thought it would be. It reads more as a memoir than a story, but it’s done, and it’s as good as I can make it, so I’m going with it. I did the Kindle version formatting this afternoon. I was about to work on a simple cover for it, but realized I can’t get to the photo I was going to use. So I’ll have to take another photo, which I’ll do when I go upstairs. I know exactly what I want with it.
My goal is to have this available on both Amazon and Smashwords by Wednesday, August 19. It will be close, but I think I can do it. Smashwords doesn’t take much more formatting than does Kindle, and the same cover works for both. With luck I’ll have it all done tomorrow evening, and the books will be out in time. I also need to go back and add links to all five stories to the ones already published. That I’ll do before the week is out. Then, next weekend I’ll begin promotion of the new story and the set.
After that, I have another story started in a different series. I need to finish and publish that. Then, I’ll see. I know which two novels I’ll work on next, and which book-length non-fiction. We’ll see which of those bubbles up to the top. The busyness doesn’t appear to abate in the months ahead. Another reunion that includes a long road trip awaits. A business trip will take me away for a couple of days in September, and another might do the same in October. But I’ll be writing. I’ll keep my few fans updated here.