A Month into Winter

Not that the Phoenix valley has much of a winter, but this year was more wintery than the past two; December’s highest temp was 73º but the previous two years it was in the low 80s.

For the first time in 15 years, I’m not knee-deep in songwriting. I’ve participated in February Album-Writing Month since 2006, some years writing as many as 32 songs in a single month. I want to write at least one to celebrate my 15th FAWM, but I’m having a hard time dredging up the feeling.

I’m also 6 months or so behind on delivering the third Jake Calcutta story. And don’t get me started on the third Irish Adventure; poor Web Martin ended his second adventure on a low note and I’ve been meaning for years to lift his spirits with another chapter in his life.

The family band used to practice music 5 days a week. We’ve been up in the music room twice in five months. I’ve barely strummed my brand new 3/4-size Orangewood guitar. It’s beautiful, easy to play, great-sounding, and parked beside my desk. But, parked. In the same stand as my Blueridge tenor, the most wonderful musical instrument I’ve ever owned.

Moving my mother into assisted living absolutely trashed me physically and emotionally. Getting herself evicted in under 90 days because she’s so uncooperative was a gut-kick to Best Beloved and I after all the time, energy, and money we spent making it happen.

I usually ignore my age; I don’t celebrate birthdays, and the only reason I know my age most of the time is that it ends with the same number as the year. I haven’t been conscious of anything special about turning 60 the end of last month, but I have been feeling old, slow, a bit bleak.


Progress on Love Runs Out, Including a Draft of the Cover

20 out of 48 chapters written. Turns out this pass through is action and dialog, and I’ll need a third pass for description before editing. But at a chapter a day, even with time off for good behavior travel to Wisconsin, that pass will be done end of September, and the book finished by end of October.

Assuming editing and formatting can be done in 6 weeks, it’ll be out before year end. (We don’t work the latter half of December, so come the 15th thereof I’m history until 2019.)

Unless I have a major epiphany before then, the cover will look a lot like this. (Click to enbiggen.)


A Still, Small Voice Passes the Midpoint

AStillSmallVoice-cover20151020e-flat-3DIn multiple ways, the next Phil Brennan mystery A Still, Small Voice passed the midpoint this week.

I’ve written 35 of 64 scenes.

Over 42,000 of a projected 75,000 words, my longest book by far.

And sentence #6 of 12, the Midpoint, where Phil changes from Wanderer to Warrior, from flailing and failing to winning.

It will be written before we go away for our year-end sabbatical, during which my beta reader will review it for sanity (where appropriate.)

The underlying theme has made writing some scenes emotionally challenging, in ways beyond the usual Resistance.


Progress Report on ‘A Long, Hard Look’

It’s edited and proofread, and almost ready to be formatted.

James, the world’s greatest proofreader, found some logical inconsistencies in the story.

Tom, the editor, agrees with me that, in his words, “It isn’t an equation, its an ebb and tide of hypotheses.”

So, today I check the proofreading notes, make my final font choices, and send it off to Leigh Anne Aston to be formatted.

She’ll have it back by Monday(ish) and then we upload it to CreateSpace, order and check the printed proof, and then you all order a handful of copies each for your reading groups, friends, family, and others.

Yeah. That’s the plan.


A Profound Truth About Coming Unglued and Getting Unstuck

In the past couple months more than one person has, out of the blue, asked me what was wrong. I’ve noticed it myself: more tough mornings, more cancelled work days, more struggle to create, then flopping into TV-watching or eating instead.

During the past year I’ve been aware that there’s a seismic shift making its way from my inside out.

During the past six months I’ve realized it’s the rest of what I started 10 years ago.

The rest. As in, perhaps it’s the end of an era and, by definition, the beginning of one.

the bridge over the River Laune in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, Ireland
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