Quotidian Update 8.2i.a

We got about an inch of snow out of our most recent storm. It’s enough to quench Bear’s yearning. It was the real thing. Cold, night, drifting sparkling flakes. The happy snowplow came by at light speed. The sun is rising in a foggy sky. Tonight we’ll be getting real San Luis Valley winter temperatures. They’re predicting -4 F (-20 C). Of course, there are days coming when -4 will be the daily high.

I’m a few days over six months out from my non-invasive hip replacement procedure. Rehab continues. A month or so ago I added a simple yoga routine to help me develop more flexibility and balance. It was difficult at first, but I was happy just to realize that I could do — on a very low level — most of the poses I wanted to do. It gets easier every time, and now I think anyone who saw me would recognize what I’m doing. I’m not a major yoga enthusiast, but I learned several years ago how really good and helpful it is. ūüôā

I’ve also “run” a couple of times. I know I’m running because Bear runs beside me. I think the last time I attempted it, it might have been recognizeable to anyone that I was running (poorly, slowly, awkwardly). I have run 20 yards at a time. I would probably run farther but Bear would (I think) think we’re in it for the long haul and take off. Mostly I’m afraid of falling and yoga is helping me overcome that fear. Down on a yoga mat you’re essentially in the “post fall” position. I don’t expect to return to running. My knees wouldn’t be able to handle it, but I want to be ABLE to run 50 yards. It’s a funny goal for a person who used to run miles and miles, but it’s OK with me.

The Schneebelis Go to America is moving along on its trajectory to being a book. This past Saturday I set it up for Kindle and it’s available for pre-order on Amazon under its real title,¬†The Price.¬†I am waiting for a second proof copy to arrive (tomorrow? day after?) at which point I’ll finish it and it will be a legit paper back. I’m using LULU rather than Amazon’s platform this time. There’s no advantage to it other than their product is nicer. The paper is higher quality and the binding more stable. The downside is that it’s more expensive and I will make less per book sold, but obviously I’m not in it for the money. It will be available in all the usual place on December 5. It looks like there will be a little book review blog tour for it. I hadn’t thought of it, but one of my readers did. If you’re interested in participating, let me know. I now have the book in all formats thanks to help from readers of my blog. ‚̧

I’ve begun research for what I think will be my next project which, I think, is going to be the story of Martin of Gfenn’s teacher, Michele, who (according to my own story) got in trouble in Verona (you either had to be there or read the book, Martin of Gfenn) and was exiled to Z√ľrich as punishment. I’ve always known (because I invented him?) that Michele fell in with a bad crowd (in this case “bad” is truly subjective). Anyway, Michele is — or at least aspired to be — a Goliard. I think he will fail at this, as it seems for a lot of medieval humanists it was a passing phase. It’s not easy living “beyond the pale.” A person can get hungry out there. I really won’t know until I get there. Meanwhile, I’m learning, reading about them and soon reading more of their (very secular) poetry.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/rdp-monday-quench/

The Price — Looking for Reviewers!

After a lot of soul-searching (not really but it sounds good) I’m self-publishing The Price, ¬†final novel in the Schneebelungelied. Why? I dunno. I had so much fun designing it, and I like how it turned out. By now I’ve had so much experience building my own books that I like doing it. It might be my favorite part after the initial inspiration. ūüôā

I will be releasing The Price on December 5, about three weeks before Christmas. It will be available in Kindle and as a paperback. The Kindle version is available for pre-order for $5.00.

The novel is 70,000 words, roughly 200 pages — definitely not¬†War and Peace.

I was thinking it would be cool to get some advanced reviews. If you would like to do that for me, I will email you an ePub version you can read on your Kindle or phone or? I will also have one paperback I can share next week sometime. All I ask is that you post a short review on Goodreads and Amazon and on your blog if you want. If enough people volunteer, I’ll set up a blog tour to drive readers to your site. I’ve also built The Price a “webpage.” https://marthakennedytheprice.com

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/11/10/rdp-saturday-seethe/

“Schneeballs?”

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Cold morning out here in the real west (no surprise). I’m sad that one cup of coffee is (for good reasons, not the least of which the second doesn’t taste that good) the limit. That one cup is so good…

The chilly draft in my 90 year old house swirls around my wool-socked feet. I have two manuscripts on the table here, and one has been printed into a book. The best part of that is that I spelled the faux title of my own novel wrong. Never mind it’s the name of members of my own family. I’m an endless sense of amusement and frustration to myself.

The thing of printing a manuscript into a book is that it’s very helpful to me in the proofreading process. This isn’t a legit book in terms of formatting and other stuff, but it’s book-like.

It’s been edited professionally, something I wish I had been wise enough to do for¬†Martin of Gfenn. Every subsequent book has had that advantage and it’s major. There’s also the thing (with a self-published book) that each time you need to deal with the manuscript you risk typos. At this point with¬†Martin of Gfenn the typos are mostly spacing problems, still, who wants that?

In any case, yesterday when the book-like-thing arrived I thumbed through it and realized (for the first time) that I like the story. I saw what I have done — I have written a love story that’s not smarmy and predictable. I have created a complex female protagonist with integrity, passion, and genuine feelings. My male protagonist (antagonist?) never overcomes his flaws or sees them; he’s consistently himself and worthy of Aescylus or some guy like that.

When I started this book, I fought it all the way. I didn’t want to write about a woman, and there was nothing about the male hero that I liked.

One thing that happens when a person writes fiction is they soon discover that the people in the stories are not “their creations” at all but the emerge all on their own and demand to be themselves.

But they’re pretty loose about how you spell their names…

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/11/01/rdp-thursday-loose/

Progress… and Audiences

I’ve finished (finished? ha ha ha ha) the edits on¬†The Schneebelis Go to America aka¬†The Price.¬†It’s been a long haul but I don’t think I can bitch with any justification because no one is making me do this and it’s a purely elective and rather minor activity in the grand scheme. In the scheme of my life, though, it’s pretty important, I guess.

I don’t think the book is very good, but I’ve done what I often do, I’ve gone to a self-publishing platform and I’m “publishing” one copy so I can see it as a book and do a read through in a different format than this screen or 8 1/2 x 11 pages.

I’m still not sure if I’ll go to the trouble of trying to sell it. The books I’ve already written didn’t (and don’t) sell so why would I?

Am I discouraged? No, not in the least. Since 1998 when I began writing¬†Martin of Gfenn¬†(that’s 20 years ago) I’ve gone through a very wide range of experiences as a writer. I suppose it’s a kind of maturation.¬†Martin of Gfenn is my best book, but it still has typos. The other two novels benefited from professional editing. And I consider¬†My Everest to be another thing completely.

I can’t answer for why other people write. I write because I like to, that’s the biggest thing. If it works it’s just a lot of fun. When I was teaching, writing was a thing apart from hours and hours in the classroom, and it was something at which I could succeed on some level. Teaching remained a career where I never got tenure and constantly taught part-time — not my fault, it didn’t mean I was a bad teacher, it just made more sense economically for schools to hire part-time vs. tenured faculty. That frustration and relentless impotence about my future was good training for submitting novels to agents.

But there are other audiences and different successes. A few years ago I decided I wanted my one remaining (in her right mind) aunt, the youngest of my mother’s sisters, to know who I am. I had a very intense feeling she needed to know that I was OK, that I have a good life and a little something about what I do. I sent her Martin of Gfenn¬†which she loved. I followed it with¬†Savior¬†and¬†The Brothers Path and explained that those two novels were fiction based on what I knew about my grandma’s family — my Aunt Dickie’s mother’s family. — our family. She loved¬†The Brothers Path and had her church book club read it.

Her last letter to me was March 2017, and in it, she told me how the book club had liked the book and what was going on in her life. And she asked me to keep writing the story of my grandma’s family. Whether this book is any good or not, my Aunt Dickie would have liked it. She died just before Thanksgiving last year.

 

Schneebeli News

I contacted my wonderful editor, Beth Bruno,¬†about “The Schneebelis Go to America” (working title). I knew something was missing and, deep down, I knew what, but I didn’t want to write it. Sometimes…

I didn’t even know if the book said what I was trying to say — it’s been a tough one to write as the protagonist is unsympathetic,¬†and the destination was not one I would choose. But when I looked at it earlier this spring I saw it is a good story, the people seemed real to me (after months of not looking at it) and I wanted to give my Aunt Dickie the last wish she expressed to me, “Keep telling the story of my mother’s family.”

So I asked for help.

An editor your hire is your ally. Beth has worked with me on two books — Savior and ¬†The ¬†Brothers Path.¬†¬†We’ve worked on my manuscripts at all levels. I knew if she could see what I am doing, she would support that. If it wasn’t clear to her, she’d let me know. A good editor is a skillful reader.

Today I heard from her. I am so happy I contacted her. She read what I hoped to write.

…this is a touching story about family with its focus on marriage and how two people in love can still find it impossible to move ahead because their life goals are so different. Love doesn’t conquer all after all. They explore difficult issues of love, loyalty, compromise and taking risks at various choice points in their lives.
The reason I think it deserves a longer ending that allows the story to develop further is that I don’t think enough happens after the family reaches America to give the reader some sense of whether the trip was worth it or not. The fact that their passage wound up being on a death ship only makes letting the survivors cope for a few weeks that much more important. Otherwise, the loss of Verena and Elisabethli is for naught and teaches Hans Kaspar nothing at all. The part about the ending that I do like is seeing Conrad come into his own and go forth into the future with a sense of purpose and readiness to create a family that honors Verena’s memory.
Again, I found myself caring deeply about these people because what they are going through is so real — not only from the standpoint of your wonderful writing but also from the historical truths they portray.

 

Her edits couldn’t come back to me at a better time, either. My hip rehab has hit the next level which I recognize from last time. I’m at the “I feel pretty good; I get tired and need to nap; I take short walks that wear me out; God this is boring,” moment. My body is interested in healing the physical trauma now that the shock is over. I can fall into a deep nap at any point in the day, “Sorry sweet cheeks, we need a nap,” says the incision, the joint, the bone, “move over.”