Thursday, June 17, 2021

Summer Writing... Well, An Attempt

 Sometimes when a writer struggles with coming up with a new idea, they occasionally return to their roots.

Back in 2009, upon the suggestion of an online friend, I signed up for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. For the uneducated, it's a whirlwind writing challenge that borders on insanity where participants attempt to write a 50,000-word novel within the 30 days of November. I was successful in that first attempt, and that year's project became the basis of what would eventually become my second Gary Celdom story, Barbadian Backlash. Nearly 12 years, and what has become 21 self-published books later, I have not forgotten what introduced me to this crazy world of "author-dom."

However, in recent months, I've found I have struggled with coming up with ideas, or finding the will to write. Most often, I attempt to place the blame on my day job, or my co-current studies where I'm pursuing my Bachelor's degree in English with a Creative Writing concentration. But I need to be honest with myself: I've lost my writing mojo. 

After releasing my latest book, The Prairie Fire Ablaze, the final volume in my Prairie Fire Trilogy (after releasing the first book in the series back in 2014), I've racked my brain, trying to figure out "Where do I go from here?" I've contemplated working on a fifth Gary Celdom book, but part of me wasn't feeling the vibe, and I didn't believe I could give Gary the proper respect or attention it deserved. 

Then, the other day, I watch the music video for a song that's been utilized for a current vacuum cleaner commercial (No joke!), and I was bit by the inspiration bug: How about I attempt to write a rom-com trilogy, but from a male main character perspective. It also helped that a few years ago, I read a friend's rom-com/"chick lit" trilogy that I loved, so I'm hoping to draw some inspiration from that, as well. But when to start writing it? November is a good four months and a bit from now, and I don't think I could wait that long. Fortunate for me, there is a mid-term variant of the month-long writing challenge that introduced me to this world of writing abandon.

Camp NaNoWriMo is a sister challenge to the November tradition; usually held in April and July. It's the same premise as the original, but with more flexibility. Instead of the stringent 50,000 words in 30 days structure, participants can choose their word count goal for the month. Considering my schedule for July, which includes a book signing event in Louisville, Kentucky mid-month, I've decided I will attempt to write 15,000 words within 31 days. This averages out to roughly 500 words/day. It might not be a complete novel, but at least it could be the start of one. 

I know it won't be easy, and my muse has been quite fleeting as of late. But at least, I'm willing to give this the ol' college try. And when you're a part-time university student with a full-time job, that's all one can really do.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Guess Who's Back, Back Again?

 The more things change, the more they become convoluted, and you end up having to revert back to how things were.

For the past year, as some of you know, I've been hosting my blog on another webhost. However, the costs involved were astronomical, and required a "premium subscription" to host the site. The only real function I needed was my customized web domain name, but in order to utilize it, the former webhost demanded I renew for the previous 3-figure "premium subscription." To say I thought it was a cash grab was an understatement.

Fortunately, I did some research, and discovered I could return my blog to my former home, and keep my personalized domain name for a fraction of the cost. Granted, it meant I had to extend my contract for another year, so Blogger will be the new home of "TONanookPublishing.com" until May 2023. Gone will be the store, which was the reason I switched webhosts in the first place, but I have a store on my crowdsourcing site. So, no worries there. (FYI, if you'd like to purchase signed paperbacks of most of my titles, you can surf on over to: https://ko-fi.com/dief/store and check out my wares there.)

Speaking of which, this leads to question: What in the bluest of blue hells have I been up to lately? Well, I'm still doing my day job; although, since August, I've been working a modified 3 days in the office, 2 days working from home schedule. However, that is slated to change next month when people will start coming back to the office more frequently, and a pre-COVID working schedule by the end of June 2021. Some people will be eager to get back to their familiar surroundings, while others are still hesitant. Unfortunately, I don't make the rules and regulations in the organization, so I'll be following requests, as needed.

On the book front, I finally released the final book of my contemporary romance series set in rural Saskatchewan. The Prairie Fire Ablaze was unleashed to the world on April 6, 2021, and looks at a budding relationship involving the black sheep of the family, Rebecca. Don't worry, I didn't paint her favorably to start, but it's more of a story of redemption and forgiveness as she tries to earn back her family's trust and love. I think it's a good conclusion to the trilogy, and I hope you, the reader, will enjoy how I wrap things up. (Just don't hate me for the huge plot twist later in the book. LOL)

Signing-wise, I'm just over three weeks until my first appearance of the year, after COVID nixed everything in 2020 (and in some instances, this year, too). In 2021, I will be in Tampa on June 5th, Louisville, Kentucky on July 17th, and in Clearwater Beach, Florida this October 21st to 24th. But that's not to say I'm not booked for 2022. Next year, my touring schedule will involve two trips back to my former homeland, with stops in Niagara Falls in May 2022, and London, Ontario the following August. But the big one will be my attendance at a HUGE mystery writer convention slated for Minneapolis in September 2022. It's undetermined at the present if I will be allowed to sign at the event, but it will be exciting to be exposed to such an environment.

That's all for now from me. Thank you everyone for sticking with me through these troubling times. Until next time, stay safe, get your vaccinations, mask up if you're still hesitant, and happy reading!