Category Archives: Teaching
Whenever a year ends and a new one begins, we tend to look back to what’s happened as well as look ahead. It’s as if we have this need to analyze and review the past to help us determine how to make the future better. Maybe learn something from our experience. Maybe help us cope. Because hope is a powerful emotion.
Andy knew school would be a drag. He just never expected evil to lurk in its corridors.
When a heinous crime is committed behind the secretive walls of a boarding school and Andy Olson decides to investigate, he’s drawn into a conspiracy that reaches to the highest level, forcing him to choose between exposing the truth and protecting himself.
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve had a pretty tumultuous year because of the election. And while I don’t want to make this a political post, I can say that the hostile climate in the country really zapped my creative energy. I found myself reading posts and articles, get angry, get sad and do it all over again the next day. All that emotion made it difficult to function as a writer.
Two Books Released in 2016
Thankfully, much of the turmoil didn’t happen until later in the year, so with the help of my publisher, Lodestone Books in the U.K., I was able to get my second book in the ESCAPE FROM THE PAST trilogy, THE KID, published in February. Then in December, the last book in the trilogy, AT WITCHES’ END was released. It amazes me to look back at a visit of an old ruin in May 2012 and after four and a half years have an entire trilogy completed and out there in the world. It’s a pretty cool feeling that is hard to describe.
I also began sharing my fiction writing knowledge, I’ve been accumulating since the late 1990s, with other writers through workshops. I taught classes at the library, did some workshops at high schools and will begin teaching at Ivy Tech later this month. I was also accepted as a presenter at the Historical Novel Society National Conference, a cool project I very much look forward to.
Two more manuscripts have been completed. One is currently at an editor, the other is being shopped with literary agents. My new project for the year is a story set during prohibition. This time I’m using a female protagonist, slightly older, and with a hefty dose of romance. Yes, sex is in it too. I don’t know if it’ll be enough romance to fall into the “Historical Romance” genre, but I’m trying things out.
I also accepted a German to English translation project for a murder mystery party book which has been a blast. I’m always amazed how my brain figures out how to word things in English. It feels like I’ve got this giant computer on my shoulders. You throw German sentences in and get English ones coming out. Cool!
Looking Ahead to 2017
New stuff for 2017 includes trips to Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and Chicago because my new story takes place there. I’ll be teaching workshops, attending author fairs and conferences, book clubs and bookstores. Of course, I’ll be reading and writing up a storm.
My dog, Mocha, is getting old, her little face is all gray and she’s having trouble climbing stairs. So, I’m trying to brace myself for her departure to the happy hunting grounds. I don’t know what else the year has in store for me and my family, but I’m prepared to face whatever is coming head on.
And finally I’m grateful for so many things. I sometimes pinch myself that I’m able to write fulltime without having to work a job someplace. I’m grateful for my loving family and friends, and I’m humbled to have readers who choose to read my books. It’s such an honor.
In closing I want to wish you a peaceful New Year that brings you success and happiness. And while hope is good and often keeps us going, maybe you’ll try something new this year, something daring and different. Maybe you’ll go after your dream. Keep hope in your heart, but also take action and make it real. Remember, it’s never too late.
Sending you peace and kindness,
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Attention NetGalley Readers
And now about my blog…
I just read an article on Writer Unboxed (WU) about the life of an author and money and feel the urge to piggyback onto it. I agree with the writer that there is a lot of misconception out there, not only among readers and the general public, but even authors themselves.
It’s human nature that we most remember the big book deals where a debut author is handed a six-figure check, then sells the movie rights and becomes filthy rich overnight. If you’re a new writer/first-time author and expect such success, you may want to put down that pen or set aside that typewriter.
I’ve got news. You’re in it for the wrong reasons. While immediate success does happen once in a great while, it is rare. Most authors never see close to those figures, not even with their second, third or fifth books. Which brings me to the main reason for my blog. If you’re considering the career of an author, you’ll want to dig deep into your soul and find out if you’re passionate about spending thousands of hours researching, writing, editing, discarding and restarting.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s definitely cool to write a book. But to write a good one, you’ll need to pay your dues and that, my friends, takes time. What I’m trying to say is that a true writer doesn’t care so much about the money. It’s great when it comes in, but it is not a determining factor to be a writer. Ask a painter why he paints, ask a musician why he plays, they’ll tell you because they must. It’s no different for an author. We must.
So while it’s wonderful to envision fame and fortune, I’m going to put my nose to the grindstone and write another novel. Something set during the prohibition. Not sure yet, but my brain will lead me there. Ask me in a few months.
In other News
To prepare for the release of the last book in the ESCAPE FROM THE PAST trilogy, I’m currently doing a blog tour for ESCAPE FROM THE PAST: THE DUKE’S WRATH. Here is the schedule:
- September 27, 2016 – My name is Sage: Review
- September 28, 2016 – Freda Hansburg: Interview
- September 28, 2016 – Books, Dreams, Life: Book Spotlight
- September 30, 2016 – Indy Book Fairy: Book Spotlight
- October 2, 2016 – Jessica and Gracie’s Tree: Review
- October 3, 2016 – The Book Adventures of Emily: Review
- October 6, 2016 – Celtic Lady’s Reviews: Book Spotlight
- October 7, 2016 – Laura’s Interests: Review
- October 10, 2016 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy: Interview
- October 10, 2016 – Reeca’s Pieces: Interview
I hope to see you at one of the author fairs this fall. I’ve been really enjoying meeting readers and book lovers, chatting about the background of my novels, historical research and the writing life. I just spent a great day at the Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, Indiana. Nathan and Anne are great hosts and very passionate about books. Scroll down and see the lineup of events.
Here are a few places I’ll be presenting or teaching.
- October 7, 2016 – Mad Anthony BookFest: The good and bad of living in the Middle Ages
- November 13, 2016 – Monroe County Public Library: FREE Workshop: Dialogue in Fiction
- January – April, 2017 – Ivy Tech Community College: Three consecutive workshops on various aspects of fiction writing and publishing
- June 2017 – Historical Novel Society: Going Medieval: How to Infuse the Middle Ages into your Novel