Well, finished first draft of Black Robes that needs a new title because the old one is taken. Black Robes, a name given to the American Indians has been taken by someone else. The book, as usually happens, focuses on more than the Society of Jesus, which is not unexpected. Creating a fictional narration is challenging because of the factual foundation, which is complicated, involving multiple major actors, notably the religious, the Indian tribes, the US civilian and military actors, settlers and miners. A little overwhelming. Most challenging are the religious and their rites.
Also started to write my Christmas story, again built around Blue Mountain. The theme about speculators aiming to develop Blue Mountain and the resistance to their efforts looks like a rich story. Look forward t having a first draft no later than end of June.
Well, Rachel and I finished Return to Blue Mountain in time to deliver them for Christmas to the grandchildren and great grandchildren and a few other families with small children. It is now available on Amazon.
This was the second children’s book about Blue Mountain and the people and animals surrounding it. Return to Blue Mountain, as the second story about Blue Mountain gives me the idea of a third for next Christmas! The Blue Mountain series! Already have some thoughts about that. These guys from New York have this idea of a ski resort on Blue Mountain and….
Now on to the painful and rewarding process of the Black Robes saga. I have a start but I need to get moving, on a roll. Not easy.
If all goes well the little grand kids and great grand kids will receive Return to Blue Mountain by Christmas! It will be published on Amazon which is only a step above publishing myself. Rachel Harris, who I discovered at Harford Community College has served as the illustrator, cover designer and master of the mysterious process of format manipulation or prestidigitation. Her drive for excellence, of getting it right, serve both her and me well. I get the proof today and hopefully by tomorrow I can place the order for the kids. The bio on the back says this is my seventh book, actually the eighth and I plan to do at least eight more.
Oh, about Black Robes, it is not forgotten and most days I think of what I will write about. Hopefully, by the new year I will be well into the writing. Not even sure about the title.
Sometimes, when you manage the process of publishing books, when you don’t have your own research folks, use anybody as an editor if you use anybody at all, and you wrestle with file formats like PDF, JPG, Epub, Mobi and whatever else, it brings out the feeling that wouldn’t it be nice to be John Grisham or the Patterson factory because they have only to write with a smart editor to help them.
And then I think no, I like the stress, the challenge despite having to deal with so many things beyond just writing. When books don’t sell, which is always so far, it gives you something to hide behind, that I would be successful if and then list in my mind all the reasons including the ones I mentioned.
But there are compensations. Thinking about a book, like the one I am trying to write about the Jesuits in the northwestern wilderness, it takes me all kinds of places. I have admitted to myself that I am ill prepared to address the enormous reach of the book I think about, and that is what makes the whole thing worthwhile.
Just trying to get it right, enjoying your words whether anybody else does or not, is a pretty good way to start and finish the day.
I had hoped we, Rachel, the illustrator and I would have Return to Black Mountain ready for all the grandkids, great grandkids, nieces and nephews for Christmas. Rachel is doing her best, but being the illustrator and the designer is a lot to take on and she just might do it.
I look at my calendar nd saw I was projecting finishing Black Robes by November .I figure I have completed about twenty percent of the book so I have six days to complete the remaining eighty percent!
My idea about the book was to focus almost exclusively on the Jesuits, which is, in itself a very rich topic. But research has led me to think of a very different book, one that takes in the Interior Indian tribes, the military, our government and a dynamic very different than the one I began with. For example, the behavior of the Indian tribes in the area between the Rocky Mountains and the Cascades is loaded with possibilities, the life of one of the main characters, the son of an Irish immigrants brings the Seminole uprising and the Mexican-American war into the picture, and on and on. So much to understand as the backdrop to the story. To incorporate and distill all that pops up while keeping the plot and sub-plots in focus will be a challenge. In the back of my mind, what is the story I want to tell.
Stubs is complete! It is listed and sold on Amazon. Selling is the problem, as always. Writing, with some struggles was fun. As mentioned, it started with a forty year old manuscript which I ceased to follow after the title. It was a someone I knew, which I may have mentioned, also.. The ending in the book was quite different than real life but the result was the same. I started writing Stubs out of obligation to my earlier effort and had some doubts along the way. But I am pleased with it. I think it turned out well.
I don’t know if other authors, successful or no, feel the way I do but I really like what I write. I often go back and read and say to myself this is really good! Maybe its just me. In fact, the way I got hooked on writing twenty years ago when I read the first pages of The Circle aloud. Wow. It was an epiphany.
Still working on another children’s book and a fiction book about Jesuits in the American west in the 19th century. Fascinating subject.
Have submitted a request for a cover for Stubs. Will be sending a request to format the interior in next week or so. I think Stubs is a good story, thought of Sinatra signature song, I Did It My Way. It fits the man called Stubs.
Rachel showed me some of her artwork for Return to Blue Mountain. Looks good. She is taking the initiative to make her art work reflect and enhance the story.
Have not forgotten the Jesuits and barring a loss of enthusiasm will complete before the end of the year.
I completed the first edit of Stubs and it is a story, hopefully a good one with strong characters and no obvious inconsistencies or contradictions. I hope its not too preachy which I tend to do and a clear picture emerges of good guys and ladies, and bad ones, and flawed ones which elicit the reader’s sympathies.
The way my year shapes up, I hope to have Stubs, Return to Blue Mountain and Black Robes complete by the end of the year.
From the beginning, I knew but would not admit that I would not abandon Stubs, that I would throw the forty year old manuscript into the recycling can and forget him. So what I did was look at the old manuscript, shape it, and come out with the story of Stubs. Stubs was born eight years before me but his world and mine were not so different. I looked at the first draft last week and will rework it in a modest way and have what will be the best I can do. As I write, and it must be true of most writers I begin to form the characters to the point where they begin to speak to me, telling me what I should write what I should go back and change.
Rachel is working on the illustrations for Return to Blue Mountain and we need to have periodic talks on progress. Like Rescue, would like to have it ready for the grandchildren and great grandchildren for Christmas. On the near horizon, work on Black Robes, and continuing thoughts about the book.
On my mind is what Katherine the great did when the Jesuits were disbanded. She recognized what they had to offer and invited them to teach in Russia! Until today, the Europeans and their progeny just couldn’t and can’t get along with the Russians. A never ending tale, I guess.
Rescue on Blue Mountain finished, both printed and ebook versions available on Amazon! I added the exclamation point as an after thought since exhibiting expressive behavior is not in my bones. Need to ask Simple Nerds to post it as available on this website. Finished first draft of Stubs and will try to finish editing by end of June. Rachel showed me first pieces of art work and I am encouraged about Return to Blue Mountain. By the end of July I hope I am “into” the Black Robes book. Envision finishing before the end of the year. I think in many ways I rushed through the first version of Stubs and at this point I don’t want to do the same thing on Black Robes. It is too interesting and challenging a subject.