I can't believe how quickly summer has flown by! In less than two weeks, my kids will be heading back to school. I've tried to make the most of this time, but I was juggling many different things, and it seems like the entire summer has been a constant scramble. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I feel like I haven't had a summer at all.
After finishing my new koi fountain, my wife and I spent a lot of time cleaning up and landscaping the yard. I tilled and fertilized, installed new sprinklers, and planted new grass. I hauled what was left of the old aquaponics system to the dump, along with the lumber scraps from the previous couple years' worth of projects. I also hauled off the remnants of my old garage recording studio, which my sons tore down last winter. Currently, my guitars and recording equipment are housed in the loft, which is my new office.
I'm also in the process of getting rid of my old shed. This was another project I hadn't sought: the roof leaked last winter, leading to some water damage, and a rat (or several) moved in at some point and destroyed a lot of stuff, not the least of which were several prints of boat plans I had saved. I found myself facing a complete rebuild, which naturally led to thoughts of a complete re-design. Ultimately, I decided I'm just too busy and too exhausted to take that on right now. I ordered a shed online. Nothing fancy, just one of those plastic things. If nothing else, it buys me some time to finish up everything else. But that still leaves me with a couple truckloads of junk to haul to the dump, and a lot of cleanup and reorganizing.
In the meanwhile, I've done my best to write a little each day, in the mornings before making breakfast for the kids. I allowed them to sleep in a little -until 9:00 or 9:30- which gave me a little over an hour to write. Throughout the late mornings and afternoons, I spent time with the kids and worked on household chores and projects. I also made an effort to spend "extra" time with my kids at least once a week doing something special, like a trip to the archery range, or a hike in the redwoods.
In the midst of all this, my oldest son, who has joined the local union and become an electrician, has developed an ongoing issue with migraines. He's tried several different medications and we hope he's finally getting a handle on it now, but during the first half of the year, he missed a lot of work. Which meant he was at home. And I've learned that having anyone at home tends to make writing an exercise in futility. To write effectively requires concentration. Anything that distracts, even in the smallest way, makes it difficult (if not impossible) to immerse oneself in the story. Thankfully, I am getting better about working through or around these distractions. But I'm also very much looking forward to some quiet time this fall.
So here's what writing I have done, and what I expect for the year:
He Said, She Said II: Written and revised. Will undergo another revision before seeing the editor, and then at least one more revision and final edit. Hope to publish in October or November.
Hank Mossberg, Book V: Written and revised. Needs minor revisions before going to my editor. Should be ready by October???
Iron Horse Book IV: First draft only. Needs major revisions. Publication by the end of the year if not sooner.
Valkyrie Book II and He Said, She Said III: Both started and ongoing throughout the fall. Probably won't be ready for publication until winter or early next year. I'm further along with HS/SS, but I know readers are chomping at the bit for more Val, so I'm trying to make it a priority. Be patient with me, please!
Hank Mossberg, Book VI: Not yet started, but I want a first draft done before I publish Book V. Hint: there will be a cliffhanger between these two books, and I refuse to make you guys wait a year to find out what happens. Thankfully, as an Indie author, I don't have to :)
Whew. Looking at that list, I don't know whether to jump for joy for all the progress I've made this year, or kick myself for not working faster. The truth is that I'm behind schedule, which is disappointing, but I do tend to bite off more than I can chew. I guess it's my way of pressuring myself to work harder and achieve more -sort of the way a boss might, if I had one. I don't know if it's a good thing or not. I tend to feel pretty stressed out this time of year, just from trying (and failing) to live up to my own expectations. But don't think I'm complaining. I wouldn't trade this for the world.
My next update on the subject will probably be when I'm getting ready to publish. Until then, I'm going to work hard on getting caught up so I can publish as many of these titles as possible before year's end. As always, tune in to this blog for updates, and sign up for my newsletter if you haven't yet!