Thursday, April 6, 2017

This is a test, this is only a test...

Anybody who knows me might have noticed that my online presence has diminished considerably over that past year or so.  Part of this has to do with the fact that as I've focused on my latest writing project, I've let my career as a self-published author dwindle.  My newest book is not the typical genre novel that can thrive on its own.  This one is the type of story that will need a home with a traditional publisher to succeed. And so I've spent less time marketing myself and my books online and withdrawn more into writing mode.

It also can be said that the state of the world these days finds me wanting to spend less time online in general.  I do want to know what's going on.  I still read the news, and watch it on TV, but I find that too much of it can be overwhelming.

Which leads me to my current test.  About a week ago I managed to accidentally destroy my smart phone beyond repair.  That itself is a long sad story, but the upshot was that for the first time in years, I was left without one.  Digging through an old drawer, I did manage to find a very old Nokia "dumb" phone.  I figured, hey, at least I can throw my sim card in there and have a voice connection while I wait for a new phone to arrive.

It was at that point, when I was about to order a new smart phone, that I began to ask myself a question: Do I really want a smart phone at all?  Do I want to have this thing in my pocket that is always calling out for my attention?  Do I want constant news updates?  Do I want to be a slave to that dopamine burst I get every time I check my texts, or email, or stock prices, or Facebook notifications?

I saw a television interview recently in which an expert claimed that the average person spends about 4 hours per day on their phone.  Do I want to waste twenty-eight hours per week on this electronic device?  Well, as you might guess, my answer to all of these questions was, "No, I do not."

That leads to more questions, however.  Don't I want a camera in my pocket at all times?  How about online maps?  What if I need a ride-share?  Are giving up these things worth the trade-off?

Now that I am one-week into my test, so far I haven't missed my smart phone one bit.  Well, except for the picture I would liked to have taken of a bunch of wildflowers in the desert.  But what would I even have done with it, really?  Probably never have looked at it again.

So I'll see how it goes.  I really do find that the distraction of a smart phone is quite annoying.  Most people, studies also show, check their phones on average once every six and a half minutes, all day long.  We are a society addicted, and I for one am going cold turkey.

I don't expect this experiment to last forever.  At some point I will probably cave.  Most likely that will be whenever I go traveling next.  It is hard to live in the modern world without this device.  Unfortunately, I find it somewhat hard to live with it, too.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A New Year Begins...

I suppose I'm a little late for a New Years post, being as this is already the 5th of January, but Happy New Year anyway!  I hope things are starting well for everybody, despite which side of the political spectrum you might find yourself on.  Either way, it should be an interesting year...  As for me, I'm starting things off with cover re-designs for all of my books in the Bachelor Series:

I've put these books back on the Kindle Unlimited subscription service, which means they will be free to read for subscribers, plus Amazon will allow me to make these titles free for five days each for everybody else over the next three months.  If you'd like to know when these giveaways go live, you can enter your email address in the box to the right to sign up for my newsletter.  I've been very lax about posting any updates there, or here on the blog, but I'll try to do better in the new year.  Here's to hoping that everyone finds at least a bit of romance in 2017!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ahhh... First Draft Complete!

After a year of research and writing, I just today completed the first full draft of my latest project!  It feels pretty good to have it done.  This novel is tentatively titled Enemies: A War Story and it follows the tale of two young men from Chicago who embark on an epic journey in 1941 and end up caught between warring nations.  It is a long and convoluted story but I plan to start posting some chapters here soon.  In the meantime, revisions await!  This is still going to be a long process but at least I'm making progress.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Still Here...

For anyone who has popped in to this blog in the last six months, things have been awfully quiet!  After five years of writing romance novels, a memoir and a thriller, I've finally immersed myself in a project I've wanted to get to for the past ten years.  Yes, it is a novel.  No, it isn't a romance, or a thriller.  This one is based on a true story from WW II.  It's not your typical war story, in any sense.  I'm not quite ready to reveal it yet, other than to say that it involves an epic journey and takes place in the U.S., Germany, Japan, and even Mexico.  This is quite the compelling tale, and I only hope that I can do it justice.  I am excited to be making good progress.  A first draft is not too far off.  Will this be the book that finally lifts my career off the launch pad?  I don't know.  What I do know is that it is a story that I just had to tell and I can't wait to share my version of it with the world.  And so, in that light, it is time for me to get back to work.  I'll try not to go six more months without checking back in here. :-)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Welcome to Spring!

So long winter...  Today is officially the last full day of winter, and here in the Eastern Sierra in California, it certainly felt like spring.

This is not a bad place to spend this time of year.  It's great for writing, and for taking some time off like I did this morning by heading down to one of the many hot springs in the area.

This one is called "Wild Willy's" and it is pretty rare to catch it empty like this.  With temps in the 60s and clear skies, the only hard part is heading back home to try to get some work done!  Well, as they say, you've got to make hay, or in this case get a good soak in, while the sun shines!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Hard at work on my next book...

Well, they said it was an El Nino year here in Southern California.  It was supposed to be non-stop rain over the course of this winter, yet lately it has been more like summer!  Here in Laguna Beach, where I'm currently working on my next book, the temps have been in the 80s for weeks (mid-20s Celsius).  For the last few days we've had a bit of a cool down, but the heat is forecast to return this weekend!

Not that I'm complaining.  I always love a warm day in winter.  It feels like you're cheating somehow, like playing hookie from school.  I also can't complain about being able to sit and work in outdoor cafes in the middle of February.

Currently, I'm plugging away on my next book which is a departure from my recent romantic endeavors.  This one is fictionalization of a true story from WW II.  I won't say any more about it now, except that the circumstances are truly extraordinary.  This makes it fun to write, but it also involves a whole lot of research.  So far so good as I chip away at it.  In the meantime, happy winter to everyone (or summer, if you're down under!).

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Happy 2016!

Wow, another year is upon us!  I've been a bit slack about updating this blog, but thought I'd stop in exactly one month since my last post for a brief update.  New for this year, I've taken the leap into audio books with the first of the Bachelor Series, Bachelor Number Five, now live as an audible version.  You can check out a sample on the book's Amazon page.  Just click on the link below the cover image.

It was a fun process, choosing a narrator and then going back and forth with comments on both sides as she brought the story to life.  I have to admit, it was a bit odd hearing a perfect stranger interpret my characters, but fun nonetheless.

Now I'm here in my native California, working on a brand new project.  Actually, I've got two going at once.  I'm part way through another bachelor book, called Bachelor Pad, but I'm also working on a historical novel as well.  Right now I'm concentrating on the historical one, though I'll probably end up skipping back and forth depending on my mood!

I hope everyone out there has had a nice start to the new year.  Happy Reading!