In a previous post, I discussed the recent home renovation project that consumed most of June for me. I painted a large portion of my second floor through the middle of the month and the renovation was completed as of June 29 with the installation of new carpet! Now, approximately 80% of our second floor has new carpeting.
Since then, I have been busy reassembling our dining room and library with little or no time at all for writing. In fact—and to my chagrin—my SF novel-in-progress took a back seat for the entire month, but that wasn’t entirely unexpected to be honest.
To make matters worse, a severe storm struck my area on July 1, causing a partial roof collapse at my workplace, accompanied by flooding and a natural gas line rupture to the generator that provides power to a portion of our IT equipment in the event of a main power failure—which also occurred.
As a member of our IT Infrastructure team, I was called in to assist with disaster recovery implementation, an activity that required participation not only from my own immediate team, but various members of our corporate parent’s IT group as well as vendors of the two or three of the major hardware and software platforms we rely on.
After a continuous 50-hour conference call, during which I slept no more than 4-6 hours, our systems were restored and business was able to resume. Unfortunately, the disaster occurred on my birthday, forcing me to cancel all plans with my wife and family. A final critical issue remained outstanding into Monday that I was not able to resolve until July 4…so that holiday was also lost.
It has been a brutal four weeks, friends. I am exhausted to the point of burn out and as of this writing, we are still working through new and unexpected problems, while I’m still working to put my house back in order.
On a high note, the Bethlehem Writers Group announced the winners of their 2017 short story contest and I am proud to have taken an Honorable Mention (as I mentioned before!) with my story “So Hungry…,” which will be published in the fall edition of the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable online magazine.
Also, I look forward to my book signing at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, DE on Thursday, July 13 from 11AM to 1PM. The titles available for purchase at the signing include my paranormal mystery novels, Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side as well as the speculative fiction anthologies Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity and Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, and of course, Beach Nights!
Lastly, I will be meeting with Firebringer Press publisher Steven H. Wilson next week to discuss the release of my paranormal mystery novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters later this year.
Once the mayhem subsides, I hope to return to work on my SF novel in progress and resume some semblance of a normal routine.
Enjoy your summer!
For me, this summer has begun with a challenging and exhausting home renovation. We’re repainting an area of the house that has not been touched in 14 years—specifically, our library.
With five packed bookcases, two recliners, two tables, and more “stuff”, and the fact that the library shares ceiling space with the adjoining stairwell and hallway, it’s no wonder that we left it alone for as long as we did. However, the carpet is in dire need of replacement and I thought that since we’ll need to move furniture to make that happen, I might as well repaint these areas.
As of this writing, I have patched and sanded where needed, primed, and applied the first coat of paint. The second coat of paint will be applied tomorrow evening and then I can clean up. After that, it’s touching up the window trim and inside the hall closet. The carpet installer will be out next Monday to measure for the estimate and provide samples. It’s a family-owned business and we had them out last June to replace the carpet in our bedroom–which I also repainted a few days in advance. They did a fantastic job and as such, we called them first.
On top of this, two high-profile projects at my FT job are keeping me busy and will consume part of my upcoming weekend and well as my summer. As you might have guessed, I have not written at all this week and probably won’t next week either, but over the past two to three months, I did manage to write three more chapters in the first draft of my SF novel-in-progress while also editing submissions for Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity, the third volume in our series of speculative fiction anthologies.
The first volume is called Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity (released in 2014), and the second, Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, was released last August. Our third collection has a tentative release of summer 2018.
On the short story front, I have two submissions out into two separate contests. The first is the Rehoboth Beach Reads Short Story Contest in Delaware, sponsored by Cat & Mouse Press and Browseabout Books. I won second place last year and my story was published in the resulting anthology, Beach Nights.
I already had a new story ready to go by the end of 2016 for this year’s contest, which is themed Beach Life. Winners will be announced around August 7-8. Watch this space for updates!
The second story is a paranormal tale set in New Mexico and was submitted to the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable annual contest. I was informed last month that the story made into the final round of judging and is now in the hands of NYT bestseller Carrie Vaughn to select the top three winners. Winners will be announced by July 1, which would make a marvelous birthday present for me! Stay tuned.
Lastly, when Podiobooks merged with Scribl.com, I was disappointed to see that the reviews for my audio books did not migrate over… then I stumbled upon my audio books at LibriVox and not only do they have the older Podiobooks reviews, but new reviews that I had not seen before. My exciting discovery for the week!
Just when I think the saga has reached its end… Many of you recall that last year, I took second place in the Rehoboth Beach, DE short story contest with my paranormal tale, “Tower Sixteen.” That story, plus 22 others, were published in the anthology, Beach Nights by Cat & Mouse Press in November 2016.
Last month, the Delaware Press Association bestowed four awards on Beach Nights including best anthology, best edited collection, as well as two awards for individual stories.
Well, yesterday I learned that Beach Nights and editor Nancy Day Sakaduski just won two awards from the National Federation of Press Women: First place for anthology and second place in the editing category!
Here is a statement from the judges wherein, I am proud to say, my story “Tower Sixteen” is specifically called out along with “Flight of the Songbird”, which took first place in the initial Rehoboth Beach contest last year.
“What a fun and inviting collection! A wide range of stories nicely presented (including typography) and well edited. I realize judges chose the stories, but I can see your development and guidance as well. It seems while there is great variety, these are nicely edited and of high quality. These stories overall have excellent, memorable first lines – unlike collections where the reader feels the story could have started 2 pages in! Keep watching for that with your authors – that they show characters and actions, rather than describing them in exposition to set the scene. The very best of these do that. I was particularly taken with Flight of the Songbird and Tower 16, actually – I would agree with your judges on the strength of those stories. I also loved how you ordered the stories for flow, so the award winners are sprinkled throughout. Very interesting for the reader to discover those along the way. Nice work!”
Taking a few hours out of my summer vacation to sign books at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, DE on July 13 from 11AM to 1PM.
The titles I’ll have on hand include:
Browseabout Books is located just a block and a half up from the boardwalk at 133 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
Sorry for the delay since my last post. Once spring arrives, my workload around house and yard often becomes all-consuming. I was also a writer guest at the Great Philadelphia Comic Con for two days and had a great time with writer pals Bob Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, Peter David, Russ Colchamiro, and new friend, Heather Hutsell.
It was great to see some excellent celebrity guests as well including Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5, TRON, and more) and Paul Freeman (Raiders of the Lost Ark, and more). There were many others, but those were the only two gents from whom I sought autographs. I had met Mr. Boxleitner about 15 years ago at Shore Leave where I had a Babylon 5 photo signed, but this time around, I wanted to get a few TRON items autographed. As an Indiana Jones fan, it was fantastic to meet the gracious and genial Paul Freeman (Belloq).
One lesson I learned at this con is that I’ve reached a point where I’m starting to run out of room to display all of my books. I know, that’s a good problem for a writer to have! So, the display is going vertical, ladies and gents. I ordered a six-shelf book rack, which just arrived today.
Although I’ll rearrange the books for better visibility. I was just toying with ideas when I set up the above picture.
Even though I’m not doing any more cons for the remainder of 2017, I do have three or four single-day library events and book fairs lined up where I can use this and of course, when I’m back on the con scene next year.
My reasons for taking a hiatus from the convention scene are many. First, I’m doing two fairly expensive home renovations this summer. Secondly, the sheer number and complexity of upcoming projects at my full-time job are daunting and will require some weekend and after-hours work. Thirdly, my writing time has been significantly drained by the editing work on the third volume in the Middle of Eternity series. Finally, I’m just burned out and I simply cannot do everything and be everywhere.
The first draft of my science fiction novel was supposed to be completed last year, but again, home projects and prepping the second anthology for publication consumed the first half of 2016. I managed to complete only the first four chapters in the novel. Disappointing.
Even after Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity was released in July 2016, I ended up spending a large portion of my writing time recording two of my three stories from that book on audio for podcast, which turned out to be an utter waste of about three weeks since a decision was made not to podcast anything unless ALL of the stories would be recorded. Well, most of the other writers either had no time, no interest, or no resources to record their stories. Thus, the podcast was cancelled.
I did manage to complete four short stories for various publications and contests between August and December. Then, as now, my novel saw only a modicum of progress, but two more chapters have since been finished. Still, the paltry progress is frustrating.
On the bright side, I shall be stepping down as editor of the Middle of Eternity series after book three is submitted to the publisher, which should permit me to fully focus on the SF novel.
What else have I been up to in my writing life? Well, one of those four short stories that I wrote in the latter half of 2016, “Once More, With Feeling,” was just published in a mixed genre anthology titled, The Write Connections, published by the Greater Lehigh Valley Publishing Group.
Two more of those stories have each been submitted to separate contests, the first (“So Hungry…”) to the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable paranormal fiction contest, and the second (“The Celestials”) to the annual Rehoboth Beach Reads short story contest sponsored by Delaware publisher, Cat & Mouse Press. I took second place in the 2016 Rehoboth contest and my story was published in the anthology, Beach Nights. Even if I don’t win one of the top three monetary awards this time around, I hope to at least see my story published in this year’s anthology, Beach Life.
The fourth story (“The Forest for the Trees”) will be included in the upcoming Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity, tentatively slated for release in July 2018. That tale is an 11,000-word fantasy piece set in late 17th century Finland. So much research was involved in the great famine of the time as well as Finnish mythology.
Speaking of Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity, I am off to edit a few more submissions this evening. The good news is that I have a three-day weekend ahead of me and maybe—just maybe—I can make some time to write…
Lastly, there is a good chance that my paranormal mystery novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters (written and submitted to the publisher in 2014), will finally be released in October as an ebook and audio book! Many of my readers have asked when the next story starring psychic-medium Miranda Lorensen will be released. Well, this is it, folks! It’s Miranda’s origin story and also involves her daughter, Andrea, who has a paranormal adventure of her own. Catch more of Miranda in my first two novels, Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side.