Don’t call it a comeback! (… but okay, it’s a comeback)

22 May 2014

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Yes, indeed – after two years plus, I have returned to the blogosphere! (Loud, clamorous applause.) It’s been a long, difficult time – full of personal growth, adjustments to circumstances, and a few hospital visits – but I’ve come through (most of) it and am, I think, the better for it.

However, right at the start I must admit that I’m returning with an ulterior motive. Namely, promotion. You see, in the 25 months since I put this blog into mothballs, I’ve become a published author.

No, really, I have! In December 2013, I released my first e-book, a short-story collection entitled “Labors of Love: Three Short Tales of Hard-Won Romance.” I followed that up in April 2014 with another collection, “Survivors’ Tales: Stories of Lives, Loves and Dreams that Go Against the Odds.” (Both of these links are for the Kindle edition; Amazon also has an free app you can download to read them on your PC, tablet or smartphone.  If you have a Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader, you can go here and here.) They’re only short books, but I’ve been told not to “despise the day of small beginnings” – and let’s face it, one has to start somewhere. Besides, I think they’re really good (granted, I’m biased, but still).

And this is only the start. My hope is to have six books in circulation by the end of the year:

  • The Glory of a King – a romantic novella; aiming for a May 30 release.
  • One World, Infinite Possibilities – a collection of Earth- and near-Earth-based short science fiction stories; late June/early July.
  • The Slave Auction – my first novel, a post-apocalyptic/quasi-medieval romance; September.
  • An Unwanted Arrangement – another novel, this one set among the nobility of a similar-to-Earth world; November.

The two novels, if things work out, will become the first books in their respective series. And by “if things work out,” I absolutely mean “if they sell enough copies.” Because, while I write because I can’t not write (to quote Judy Blume), I publish to support my family. I sell books, I have money to support them better. I don’t sell books, I don’t have that money. That’s, alas, the way the world works.

So at least part of the time, this blog will be devoted to promoting my books in the hope that people will like what they see and buy them. I’ll also be talking about the state of Christianity in America, my wife’s and son’s disabilities, politics, movies, sports, pop culture and whatever else chances to tumble out of my flea market of a brain – just like I did from 2009 to 2012. But the books, and the process of making them, will make up a goodly percentage. And if you’re inclined to help, the best way you can do so is to click the links above, buy my writings (don’t worry, they won’t break the bank), read them, love them, leave positive reviews for them and tell your family/friends/neighbors/co-workers/missionaries that come to your door to do the same. It’d sure help. And I think you’ll like them, so it shouldn’t be a hardship.

Glad to be back. Let’s do this.

 

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So hard to get started in 2012

6 February 2012

It’s only taken me five weeks to write my planned New Year’s Eve post.  Impressive, huh?

In all seriousness, I didn’t plan a month-plus layoff from this blog — it’s just kind of happened.  Every time I went to write something, there would be a distraction, or something else would come up, or I couldn’t get the words together, or I’d be too depressed, or … well, you get the idea.  Writing is not easy for that exact reason: it’s too easy to be taken off-track by almost anything that comes along.  It takes a discipline that I haven’t been exercising, or at least not exercising enough.

And then there’s the depression thing.  I’m thankful that (these days at least) I don’t get depressed seriously enough that I just quit functioning, or require medication to get moving again.  But something about the calendar turning over to 2012 really sent me into a funk.  Mostly, I suspect it was thinking back and realizing that I was barely recovered from the events of 2009 — Sean’s illness, my mom’s death, my continuing unemployment, my wife’s job difficulties, etc.  It’s a lot to move on from (especially when most of them have still-ongoing repercussions), but now I’m finally able to start working on the on-moving.  (Thus, the Churchill quote.  Seemed to fit.)

And so it goes, as Linda Ellerbee used to say. But at least, thank Heaven, it goes!

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Beginning the “busy season”

22 November 2011

I’m writing this on November 22, two days away from Thanksgiving.  Which means that I’m two days away from what we at Chez Anselmeau call “the busy season.”

It’s kind of a funny thing, the holiday season around our house.  (And if anyone from the evangelical thought police is bothered that I just said “holiday season” instead of some other phrase, all I can say is — tough beans.)  We never planned it this way, it’s just how things worked out.  But starting Thursday, almost every commemorative event in our lives — and all the attendant celebration and gift-giving — will land in the next twelve weeks.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s the rundown:


Penn State, and the betrayal of trust

15 November 2011

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.  It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. (Luke 17:1-2)

For the last few days, I’ve wanted to write regarding the situation at Penn State University.  Easier said than done.  A lot of writers, far better than I and with far more information and insight, have written about it.  I won’t attempt to duplicate their work — I just have a few things that have been sitting on my chest, and that I want to get off.  Forgive me if this comes out as a jumble, but my mind is a jumble when it comes to this, so bear with me …

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More problems with (and lessons from) pain

10 November 2011

Yeah, another long absence from blogland on my part.  My intentions were good.  I had topics ready to go.  There have been no problems with my computer.  And yet there I wasn’t.

The reason?  Because I was having trouble thinking straight enough to write.  And the reason for that was a serious bout of pain in my right leg.

I was diagnosed earlier this year with “chronic tendinosis.”  What that phrase means is that the tendons in my right ankle and lower leg can get stretched out of shape very easily and will hurt like nobody’s business, causing problems with activities like walking, standing, sitting and lying down.  What that phrase ALSO means is that a long battery of tests, my doctor can identify the symptoms (no duh, so can I!) and slap a label on them, but she doesn’t have a clue what causes it or how to cure it.  As diagnoses go, “chronic tendinosis” is about as helpful as what Warren Zevon was once told by his doctor.

So since just before Halloween (for which I had a blog post prepared, which now will have to wait until next year), I’ve been limping around in great pain, with my ankle swelled up to almost the size of my calf, often unable to relax the muscles or flex it in any direction because of the pain.  I had prescription Naproxen and Flexeril around from the last flare-up; the Naproxen had no effect, while I can’t tell if the Flexeril helped because it knocked me unconscious.  Finally I resorted to a steady diet of three ibuprofen every four hours plus occasional applications of Icy Hot, and things started improving.

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After that vacation … I need a vacation

13 October 2011

Okay, I’m back!

And where was I?  Well, right here, but … well, I should explain.

Last week and the one before, school was out in our local district.  I’ve mentioned before that the schools hereabouts operate on a schedule that could best be described as “screwy.”  Well, this is one example of that: a two-week vacation smack at the beginning of autumn, when most school districts have barely gotten going on their year.

What that meant at Chez Anselmeau is that for sixteen days straight (including the bookending weekends), the four of us were all together for the most part.  The Supermodel, Charlotte, Sean and I have gotten to spend a great deal more time with each other – working on more projects, sharing more meals, and having more conversations and more adventures than is normally possible when my wife is off teaching and my kids are off learning.

They went back to school on Monday.  It’s Thursday, and I’m finally beginning to recover from all that togetherness.

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Discipline is never as easy as it looks …

10 September 2011

(Subtitled: Where Was I Last Week?  And Where Will I Be Going Next?)

Less than a month ago, I wrote here about the blessing of having a self-imposed schedule, and how I was hoping it would add some more discipline and purpose to my life.  I closed that post with the words: “It’s a blessing and a half; all I have to do is keep doing it. Which is, I know, the hard part.  But at least I’m off to a good start.”

Well, this last week, the “keep doing it” kind of fell apart.

It wasn’t that I was so swamped I couldn’t keep to it, or that I was so lazy I didn’t do much of anything.  I scrubbed and bleached and wiped down a goodly portion of the bathroom, and mopped the kitchen floor.  I got everyone to work/school on time.  I was even writing — part 3 of my Iron Man fanfic series “Vignettes” (a follow-up to the now-complete “Hearts and Souls”) was released to the world on Wednesday.  So it’s not like I was totally hopeless.

But maybe having everyone home on Monday for Labor Day threw me off a little.  And … well, you know me — I always want to do better.  (Feel free to point at me and yell, “PERFECTIONIST!”  I’ll just nod and smile ruefully.)  This last week gave me plenty of room to do better …

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