Monthly Archives: December 2016

Like a Taxicab Ride in Panama

Like a Taxicab Ride in Panama

As I write this, I am sitting in a rented room in Bethania, a section of Panama City, Panama, listening to my dad snore peacefully behind me.

And if you had told me two weeks ago that this is where I would be today, I would have told you that you were batshit crazy.

For a summary of the complete story, you can read And…I’m in Panama at my other blog The Deadly Nightshade.

And as for my writing projects, let’s just say that they now resemble something similar to a taxicab ride in Panama.

If you have not been to Panama then I will describe it. The taxis, as well as the rest of the cars, weave in and out of traffic in incomprehensible ways. The drivers laugh when I squeak in terror. They find it amusing. However, most of the cars I’ve been in are in varying states of damage, including one that had a spiderwebbed front windshield from an impact on the passenger side. Not terribly reassuring. It is also isn’t reassuring that THEY have seatbelts but I usually don’t.

But I was talking about writing projects, wasn’t I?

Sometimes your goals get to take a major weave and shift from what you planned. From the moment I answered that phone call on December 19th, I’ve been weaving in and out of shifting priorities in all facets of life.

In the end, I’ve found myself keeping a log of all of my Facebook updates as well as starting an actual manuscript that details this “beautiful mess.” (Thank you Jes, for that apt description). The manuscript is titled When God Laughs and I hope that it will serve first as memoir, but also as inspiration and even a cautionary tale.

I have called it this because, less than five hours after announcing, “Today is a WRITING day!” I received the call that would change all of our lives and send me 2,000 miles to the south, to my father’s side in the hospital. And ever since the saying, “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans,” has been repeating in my head.

What would you do when faced with a terrifying challenge? I found myself tasked with leaving the USA for the first time in my life, traveling to a foreign country, and learning to get by without speaking more than maybe 30 words in Spanish. I had to find my father’s hospital, assess the situation, and then work on getting him back out of the country with an expired visa.

It has been a wild ride, believe me.

I’ve also been very, very lucky. Dad has good and generous friends here who have helped out in a myriad of ways. They have been lifesavers.

I have a couple of days left here in Panama. We fly out first thing on Sunday morning. And my dad is not well. He is frail, malnourished, and faced with multiple medical issues.

When God Laughs will be a story that nearly all of us can relate to. At some point our bodies will break down – either through natural use or abuse. There will be a time when we might not be able to do the most simplest of actions – cook for ourselves, clean ourselves, or maintain a house.

And what do we do? How do we structure our lives in a way that allows for a smooth transition from independence to dependence? What are our expectations for that day?

When God Laughs will detail our own journey – mine, Dad’s and our immediate family – as we learn our way, find our footing, and learn to thrive within this new paradigm.

And I’ll keep working on Shicksal Turnpike too.

For as long as I am able, my father will always have a place with us. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

December Update

December Update

What Do I Have to Lose?

Back when I was preparing Gliese 581: Departure for it’s final revision and upload to Amazon, a friend of mine said, “Wait! Why aren’t you sending this to a publisher or agent?”

I thought about it for a few minutes and replied, “I’ve just never had luck with traditional publishers. And I guess the idea of going to an agent and asking them ‘pretty please’ to take 20% of any potential income just seems silly to me.”

My friend was concerned for me, though. “It’s a good story, it has such potential. Aren’t you limiting yourself by self-publishing?”

And, as much as I would like it, the chances of me becoming a female Hugh Howey (author of Wool, which went viral and ended up earning him a publishing contract) are pretty small.

So I told myself I would give it six months.

My first fiction book, War’s End: The Storm, sits at six reviews. My second work fiction, the sequel to The Storm, A Brave New World, sits at five reviews on Amazon.

So in terms of total reviews, Gliese 581: Departure, now at 21 reviews, has been a screaming success. And I’ve made about half of my investment back (not counting hours put in writing and editing) so that’s something.

But it is time to push it out into the bigger world.

I bundled it up and mailed it to a potential publisher today. They may look at it and say, “Wait? It’s already self-published? Forget it!”

And if they pitch it into the circular file and move on, I’ll try again. After all, the postage was right at $3.00 when you include the SASE. They may say “no” – and the next guy might say “yes.”

Being self-published, having the book up on Amazon, might be a death knell. But then again, it might not. The times, they are a-changing and self-publishing is slowly becoming less of a bad thing.

We will see, I guess. What do I have to lose?

Two Weeks of Writing Immersion

I have declared us done with homeschooling until after the New Year. Specifically, nothing but fun and relaxation from now until Tuesday, January 3rd for the kiddo.

And that means I get to write!

I am hoping I can knock out a good chunk of the needed parts of Schicksal Turnpike in the next two weeks. I would love to have it edited and some advance reader copies out there and ready with reviews by the time I upload the book to Amazon in the spring.

A Special Present – Just For You

A few years ago, long before I finished Gliese 581: Departure, I wrote a short story titled Forward Reach. It is set approximately 30 years after the events chronicled in Departure. It has been sitting there, unloved, in a file folder on my computer for far too long.

Earth after the devastating plague is a very different one from the Earth of today. The image of families, of mothers and fathers raising 2.4 children is a thing of the past and Forward Reach offers a glimpse into that world, and the effects of the planetary breeding and repopulation program.

On Christmas Day, as my present to you, you will be able to read the story here.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Schicksal Delayed

Schicksal Delayed

I had really hoped to get Schicksal Turnpike finished and published by the beginning of this month. Obviously, that has not happened. The reasons for this are two-fold:

  • Edits are taking longer than I had hoped
  • I need a very specific cover photo for the book – which means waiting until spring

As far as the edits go, I’ve been looking at the timeline of the chapters and realizing I was rushing through some areas. I need to add more detail and slow things down a bit, explain parts better. And when you combine this with my ridiculous daily schedule that is filled with:

  • Homeschooling the kiddo
  • Keeping house (making all meals etc)
  • Running my housecleaning biz (b/c writing still doesn’t pay the bills)
  • Identifying/preparing/teaching new classes (b/c writing still doesn’t pay the bills)
  • Renovating The Cottage (mainly on the weekends, but still)

It doesn’t leave much of a window for writing. At the moment, I’m limited to around one hour per day, although I’m looking at ways to increase that to at least two hours per day.

I’m one of those weird birds who wakes up early in the morning. Lately it has been at the late hour of six a.m. because of menopause-induced night sweats, but I’m hoping to get on a more even keel soon. Five a.m. is often some of the best writing time for me. Weird but true!

As for the photo of the book – I need it to be Cliff Drive, at night, in the rain, in the springtime. And no, I’ve seen zero photos that fill that requirement. So guess who will be up at Cliff Drive with camera in hand, some future rainy spring evening? My heart is set on it and nothing else will do.

But that’s fine. I will finish the edits on Schicksal, which include writing at least two more chapters and editing the other half of the book. I will probably send it through a couple of beta-readers after that, allowing for any errors my proofreaders and myself missed, and when spring comes, shoot the perfect picture and publish the book on Amazon.

I hope to follow it with the first book from the Chronicles of Liv Rowan shortly after that, possibly by August at the latest.

The plans of mice and men…

Which reminds me of the quote, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

Here’s to a very literary year in 2017!