Why a Writer’s Brain

I was in class the other day. One of my students was reading one of my scripts out loud that his group will be performing in the coming weeks. At one point he stopped and looked over at me and asked, “How do you think of this? This is good. I never would have thought of this.” In all fairness, at his age, I wouldn’t have thought of it either. It took me many years to develop a writer’s brain.

I not even sure what a writer’s brain is, but if I had to nail down some sort of definition, it’s the ability to make connections which may not be obvious to others. Why it happens, I don’t know. But as I’ve recounted in different posts in the past that there’s some sort of trigger which flashes across my mind, giving the moment rise. It allows a single idea to take on a new life or at least potential for a new life. That’s when ideas are born.

Here’s an example. Maybe. I’m currently living in Saudi Arabia. Yes, the desert. It rains on average about once a year. Yesterday was that day. It flooded my street because the city has no drainage because, well, it rains only once a year. So when it does rain, everything shuts down, even if it’s not much of a downpour.

Yesterday, however was an impressive rain which lasted several hours. I couldn’t go anywhere without trudging through water. And as I was trudging through water towards my Thanksgiving Day dinner, I started thinking about water. Saudi Arabia spends an untold amount of money on fuel to power their desalination plants which provide the necessary water to support its tens of millions of people. (Hint, hint: California take note. But that’s another post) I have no idea how much oil it takes to power one plant for one day. I’m sure it’s a lot. Multiply that over the entire country and you can see the amount of energy it takes to produce the country’s water. Now, of course, Saudi has plenty of oil, so it works well for them.

However, as I was walking ankle deep in water, it struck me. All of this water is free. There’s a free blanket of water covering the city. This is a massive amount of water. Free! How many places just take it for granted? That’s why Saudi has tried seeding the clouds in order to produce more free water. Just imagine how a whole society could change if over time they were able to produce more water from the sky for them to use. And then my brain takes over. There’s a story in there somewhere. There’s a story of greed, of political motivation. It might be a science fiction story, of how a new breakthrough changes the way clouds can be seized and countries start “stealing” water from the sky, which begins to change the climates of neighboring places and …

My street yesterday. Looks about the same today.

This is how my brain works. It’s not likely I’ll ever write a story like that, but it’s the small connections in life which allow my brain to think of the possibilities and it allows the creativity to flow. Once it starts flowing, it won’t stop. That’s the most exciting part.

I currently have two new stories in the works. An Asian fantasy (inspired by something a friend said) and a contemporary tale about a social media mogul (inspired by reading the news). I’m loving the potential for both of these and can’t wait to have more time to write them.

A New Horizon

There’s a Jewish saying that I used as part of my theatre shows a few years back: “Man plans, God laughs.” Who can argue with that? We control so little in our paltry hands. Of course, we’re not privy to the future, but we are privy to our passions and our gifts. We were made to be forward thinking people, regardless of where the future actually takes us. We only have the next day, the next footstep, the next moment, the next laugh. If its our last, may God know we went down treasuring life and all of its possibilities.

So with those profound thoughts behind me, I’m excited to share a few things which are on the horizon for me. I’ve been teaching theatre here in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for these past six years, but I have decided recently that this school year would be my last. Of course, my writing pursuits have been sprinkled in to my time over these past 6 years as my schedule would permit it. I’ve been able to publish seven novels during my time here, but the rigidity of the school year always seems to keep me from pursuing other ideas and ventures. Well, no more. I’ve be moving back home to the states in June 2023 and will be looking at a lot of different non-teaching options. Of course, I want to be involved in theatre somehow, but my focus will be on writing, writing, and writing. Here’s a few items I anticipate will be happening in the early parts of 2023.

First off, I’ll be revamping this website. Stay tuned! Secondly, I’m in the early planning stages of a brand new yet-to-be-named newsletter that will be 100% free and will have a lot of exclusive content. The newsletter will be offering free short stories and other writings which will not be available anywhere else. I’m excited about a lot of the ideas I have! Also, it will include a running memoir, of sorts, of my twenty-five years of living overseas, as well as my thoughts on a lot of different topics. It will be unique, fun, and hopefully packed full goodies exclusively for my email subscribers. Again, this will be free. Look out for the new email list signup, which will be available in the next month or so.

Of course, my novel writing will continue. I’m super excited about my new one I just started. Sorry, can’t give any details at this time. I’m also planning on trying out Kindle Vella with my first serial story. I have an interesting idea I’m hoping to explore next week when I’m on break. Lastly, I’ll also be looking into offering my services for freelance work as 2023 unfolds.

If you get the idea that I want to write, well, you would be correct. Thanks to all the support you’ve given me, and let’s see what the next chapter will bring.

Christmas in ’45 – The New Novel This Week

An exciting week! October 1! My brand new novel CHRISTMAS IN ’45 releases this Saturday on Amazon Kindle. What about paperback? Well, it slipped out early and is available now.

If you are interested in grabbing a FREE Kindle version of the novel, you have three more days to enter the Goodreads giveaway.

I started writing this novel back in December 2021. It’s a short novel, which came together fairly quickly. I wrapped up the first draft in late February.

What’s it about? It’s a story told from the perspective of a nine-year-old girl, who finds out on Christmas Eve 1944 that her father has been killed in the war. My goal was to create a story which takes the readers through the mind of this girl as she processes this tragic loss over the backdrop of the final year of the war. All her realizations come to a head on Christmas Day in 1945 – the year anniversary of her father’s death.

The three main characters of the story are all female: Roberta, the daughter, Tricia, her mother, and Roberta’s grandmother. It’s a story about Roberta wrestling with the concept of death in different contexts and trying everything she can to discover the truth about what happened to her father.

What are reviewers saying?

“Classic historical fiction … an outstanding book in so many ways.”

“I used a whole box of tissues and still had tears streaming down my face.”

“A simple storyline with a complex and poignant message.”

I’d be honored if you give it a try. Paperback available now. Kindle version on October 1st.

Yes, ice skates play an important role in the story!

$300 Back to School Giveaway – Join in!

I’ve teamed up with TheKindleBookReview, and you can win yourself a $300 Amazon Gift Card and help promote my new novel at the same time!

There it is! See it on the right? Christmas in ’45. It’s set to release on October 1, and I’m already getting some great feedback from some of my advanced reader reviewers.

Check out my new one and other books you might enjoy while being in the running for a $300 gift card!

Thanks for the support, and remember, if you like the read, please leave a review. That will go a long way in helping others find the book too.

Reading the Christmas Proof

I’ve been reading the printed proof of my new novel.

It releases October 1. My first Christmas novel. A historical fiction account of a little girl trying to make sense of her father’s death in World War II.

A proof read for me is a post-edit final-type of read. (Though it may be correctly stated that authors never like to say final read because we are the nervous type that always want to do it once more.) Nevertheless, I have been really enjoying the read-through for a variety of reasons and it has indeed improved the manuscript in several ways.

A proof read will help find those persnickety little things that might have been missed. The missing question mark, for example. I think I’ve added three so far. There was one repeated word that needed to be deleted and a few very minor issues of italicizing and whatnot. It will just help clean up the final released version.

The sounds of a proof read may be the most important thing, however. By reading it out loud, I get to hear the language and this is where I catch things like a repeated word in two consecutive sentences, for example. There’s nothing mechanically wrong with that, but the sound is wrong. It feels lazy and there’s always a better word to use the second time to add more flavor to the text.

Mainly, I’ve just enjoyed re-following this young girl’s story. It’s been a couple months since my last read-through, and I’m always amazed at what I forget about the story – even though I wrote it. When writing, I’m so immersed in the universe of the story that I will remember every little detail, even if I don’t write them down. But after I let it sit awhile, the universe begins to fade and I get to rediscover little nuggets I had forgotten. It’s pretty cool when that happens.

If you like historical fiction, Christmas stories, and heartfelt tearjerkers, then this story is for you. The Kindle version is available for pre-order on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B6RWCN6B/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i6

Pre-release reviews of the book are starting to show-up on Goodreads. You can read them here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61410539-christmas-in-45

Release Day – THE LOST LINEUP – Novel #11 is Here!

Every new novel release day is a celebration of sorts. A celebration of an idea being brought from infancy to fruition. It’s hard for me to imagine that I ever would have gotten to this point – eleven novels out of my mind and into the world, but I’m grateful for the creative journey I’ve been on and will continue to be on.

The Lost Lineup is the follow-up to the story A Diamond for Her, my first baseball novel released last year. The idea for a sequel came fairly easily. I felt that the story of the gods of baseball needed to be explored a little more, and even if the protagonist Raymond Blythe was no longer around, it didn’t mean his story had to end. No, there’s much more here and who knows? Maybe a third book could be in the offering at some point.

But on this release day, I’d like to leave you with the first chapter of the book. It’s short and to the point. The gods of baseball, loitering around their field of dreams, waiting for the grand architect to show up and help them build the perfect game.

EXCERPT: THE LOST LINEUP – Myth #1: He Appears from the Trees

The downpour lasted an hour. Petra never moved from the mound. He gazed into the forest, arms at his side, alone in the middle of the diamond like a granite monolith playing homage to the weathered past, which had strewn its destruction but left beauty in its wake. The giant rock god lifted his face toward the rain as it pelted him straight on and flowed in small branch streams down his canyon gullies. No eyes peered out from the dripping pines. Melodic notes from the rain pattered and popped through the trees like a cacophony of glottal stops and tempered beats, providing a soundtrack to the dismal afternoon. Petra growled at the dark pregnant belly of the sky.
“Ilios. Show yourself!”
The sun spurned his command, and perhaps for spite, coaxed a streak of lightning along the backside of Petra, knocking loose a gargantuan boulder. Petra whirled around and picked up the rock, whipping it parallel to the ground right over home plate and into the forest to its rear.
“Dasos! You never could have hit that one. Come on. I want to play!”
“Wait for the rain to pause,” a deep voice from the pines reverberated through the plip-plop of the dripping water.
“That’s all you ever say. Wait! Wait for it to stop raining. Wait for me to step into the batter’s box. Wait for Ilios to shine his tired face.” He paused and wiped the wetness from his brow. “Wait for him to come. Dasos, I’m tired of waiting. I’m—”
At that moment, determined footsteps sloshed through the matted pine needles in the trees behind first base. A hand pushed back a branch to reveal a clear view of the field. The giant rock god, alerted to the sound, turned his head.
“Dasos, he’s here.”
The forest god, an equally-sized authoritative monolith as Petra, peeked over the edge of the tree tops.
“So he is here. Finally, the wait is over.”
“Yes,” said the voice from the trees. “But it’s not just me. We will all be here. Soon enough.”
For one short moment, a synchronized smile slid across both of the gods’ faces. The time had come.

KINDLE – only $0.99 thru July 4 – Paperback $16.95

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway!

I’m giving away 100 copies of the Kindle version of my new novel releasing July 1, 2022.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/347532-the-lost-lineup

This is a crazy, fun book. Adventure, baseball, history, historical characters, and lots of mythology surrounding the gods of baseball. I’ll be posting a couple excerpts in the next week for a sneak peek. But for now, hit the link above and enter the Goodreads giveaway before the end of the month. Thanks for your support.

Batter up! THE LOST LINEUP on pre-order.

The editing process is over. (But it is really ever over?) The formatting complete. Thirteen months since the release of A Diamond for Her, the sequel and book 2 of the Myths & Tales of the Winasook Iron Horses is in pre-order. It’s set to release on Kindle and Paperback on July 1, 2022.

As I had mentioned before, I always wanted to write a baseball book in the vein of WP Kinsella, so now that I’ve written two of them, and WP Kinsella is an actual character in the sequel, I’m beyond happy! It’s turned out better than I hoped. I had so much fun writing this quirky story with intrigue, adventure, and absolute hilarity — all around the greatest sport ever.

You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy this book. It’s true! I’ve heard from many who thoroughly enjoyed it without following baseball. But if you do like baseball, I hope you feel like you’ve dripped yourself in the pool of nostalgia.

The Lost Lineup Kindle ebook pre-order:

Novels 11 & 12 Releasing in 2022

It’s official. This will be the first year I’ve ever released two novels in one year. I’ve been remarkedly steady since I began publishing in 2012 – one novel a year. I believed the trend would continue. I finished my 11th novel on writing trip to Tbilisi back in late October. It’s the sequel of my baseball series: Myths & Tales of the Winasook Iron Horses. This one is entitled The Lost Lineup.

I had no inkling what the next story would be. I was busy doing the final edits of the book over the Christmas holiday when it hit me: I should write a Christmas novel. People love to read Christmas books. I had previously published three Christmas short stories and thought it might be fun to try a novel-length Christmas story. But what about?

I often head back to history for ideas and I thought of a simple premise: a nine-year-old girl finds out that her father was killed in WWII on Christmas Eve 1944. The book would be about how the girl processed the death until the next Christmas – thus the title would be Christmas in ’45. Okay, I had the idea. Now would I have the time to write?

Well, on March 27, I finished the first complete draft of this novel. Novel #12. It’s a short novel, my shortest, but I kept it short on purpose because of how I only told the story from the girl’s perspective. I’ll write more about that process on a later post, but I’m really happy how this challenging story turned out, and I decided that it will release on October 1, 2022.

Lots of fun to look forward to in the coming months as I prepare these novels for release. The Lost Lineup is currently with my editor, and I should have the edited version ready soon. Then ARCs will be sent out as I continue to hone my Christmas story.

Stay tuned! 2022 is going to be a great year.