Where I’ve Been, and Where I’m Going

It’s been quite awhile since I unblogged (January 9th, 2022 to be precise).

The quick and dirty of what’s transpired since then? Lessee…

I didn’t make it out of the Quarterfinals for the Self-Published Science Fiction Competition. The panel of judges didn’t find BLOODLINES to be very…inspiring. Yeah, let’s stick with that. I won’t go into the gory details (and they were pretty ugly). I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me.

It bothered me A LOT.

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn as a novelist is not everyone will enjoy what you write, and they have no problems excoriating you when they don’t. Oh well. Life goes on, and that too did pass. I’m thankful I had She Who Must Always Be Obeyed to pull my head out of my ass and get me to realize I’m still a good writer, despite the competition’s less-than-stellar result.

I joined a wonderful three-person critique group led by my friend Adrian, which also includes traditionally-published urban fantasy author Patricia Jackson. You can find her work here: FORGING A NIGHTMARE. The two of them are making me into a better writer by providing insightful critique and commentary. And they’re just great human beings, which is the most important thing, if you ask me.

My creative drought crushed me throughout the first eight months of 2022, despite being a part of the critique group. I’ve managed to cobble together 9 chapters so far. Lately, I’ve decided to write through the drought, essentially vomiting up whatever words that come to mind as I try to at least tell the story. The beauty of editing is I’ll be able to cut, refine, polish and correct what could very well be some of my worst writing to date.

Writing is akin to pottery: you start with a lump of shapeless clay and through time, dedication, attention to detail, or just plain stubbornness, you get the damn thing done. Maybe it isn’t the prettiest flower in the bed, but water it enough times and it’ll either grow, or drown the rest of the bed. Ok, probably not the best analogies…but I think you see my problem.

My work-life has been nothing short of hectic. Probably the best production year of my career, the highest production total in the seven years since we opened our doors, and the mental exhaustion shows. This has certainly contributed to my lack of creativity, but is not the sole reason for it.

I have managed to read 8 books so far. You can find out about what I’m reading HERE. (Spoiler alert – it’s on this very same website!) Most of what I’ve read have been indie/self-published by authors I’ve discovered on Twitter. And these stories rival traditionally-published work for quality, story-telling, prose, cover design art, you name it!

I didn’t travel much, either. Orlando in March, and Boston in July. The Orlando trip was our company’s annual sales conference which included a black-tie event, several dinners, a costume party and live music. For those who don’t know me, I’m an introvert by nature. Asking me to hobnob with a few hundred of my peers is a tall task, and one that I don’t do very well. Still, it was nice to be recognized for our team’s accomplishments, and I am very thankful to work for a great company and boss who lets me be me (most days).

Going to Boston was a blast! I took the family to Portland and Ogunquit, Maine. The boys and She Who Must Always Be Obeyed dipped their toes in the delightfully frigid ocean up there. We grabbed delicious ice cream in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Went on a whale watch in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

(If you’ve never done a whale watch, you should. Seeing those magnificent mammals in their natural environment was both spectacular and moving.)

We caught a game at Fenway, wandered the streets of the North End, grabbed some New England sports gear at TD Garden, and ate far too much oh-so-good-but-oh-so-bad-for-you fried food. The best part was seeing my brother, my dad, and most of my cousins. We don’t have any family down in our neck of the woods, so spending time with all of them was priceless.

New adventures for both of my boys starts Monday. One commences high school, and the other will be in seventh grade. When we attended the high school open house last week, I was dumbfounded by the size and scope of the high school. I graduated in a class of just over 100. Back in the 80s, my high school had around 500 students. My eldest’s freshman class numbers somewhere between 500 – 600 students! And their sporting teams are GOOD! They win championships (not all the time, mind you).

With the high school years upon us, I know I only have 4 more quality years with him living at home. I blinked, and he’s a freshman. I blinked again, and my youngest is in seventh grade! Naturally, I’ve gotten wider and balder, so if there was ever proof that time flies, it’s when I look in the mirror rather than gawk at how tall my kids have grown.

Seriously, though, time does fly. My youngest’s bar mitzvah is this November. Before you know it, he’ll be the one going to high school.

I’m so proud of the young men they’re becoming. They’re both good kids, with big hearts and the right attitudes. I’m hopeful for the future…so long as there are more kids like mine out there and fewer Mitch McConnelled, brain-washed, religious intolerant, ass-backward thinking morons who decry difference, individuality, and the inalienable and inarguable right for women to control their bodies. Fuck those people.

(That’s about as political I’ll get on here…although I do reserve the right to be political whenever I want since it is my blog and all…but I digress…)

So, what else has happened these past 7-8 months? I played tennis and made some new friends. I learned how to play Texas Hold-Em (I’m terrible, so you definitely want me at the table so you can fleece me dry). Saw the fabulous musical Trading Places based upon the book and movie of the same name.

Oh, I had COVID! That was…less than fun, but I am thankful that my family believes in the virtues of science and getting vaccinated (oops, political again) because I can only imagine just how bad it could’ve been had I not been vaccinated. I participated in a couple of podcasts and realized I have both a face and a voice that’s not for radio or television or any streaming service, for that matter. But they were fun! I babbled a lot about nothing in particular (what else is new?).

The audiobook for PIECES OF EIGHT is currently in production. I’m going with Todd Menesses again who narrated BLOODLINES. Be on the lookout for that release sometime in September or October (or sooner, I hope!).

Oh, and as of today, there are over 4,000 copies of BLOODLINES and PIECES OF EIGHT (combined) out in the wild in some form of media. And BLOODLINES is creeping closer to 100 ratings/reviews on Amazon!

So that’s it! I probably missed something, but I think I at least hit the highlights and crushed the landing, as usual. Maybe not the Triple Lindy, but hey, only Thornton Melon can do that.

Write on, folks. Write on.

One thought on “Where I’ve Been, and Where I’m Going

  1. Peter, for what it’s worth, I absolutely loved Bloodlines. I think about it all the time, and I look forward to listening to Pieces of Eight when the audiobook releases You can count me in as one of the first in the (digital) line. You’re a damn great writer, and a damn great person. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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