January 2021 Newsletter: A Strange Christmas; an Ailing Back

January 6, 2021 – Hello, and welcome to a brand new year. Hopefully, you all had an enjoyable holiday season, whether some of it was via video chat instead of in person and/or more of a stay-at-home thing.

For the first time I think ever, I did not spend most of the Christmas season at my parents’ house in Wisconsin. And we also didn’t have all the kids and their significant others over for a night of food and games like we have the past few years. Too many risk factors with too many people and too much pandemic stuff these days to risk it.

But we did do the video chat thing instead. And that worked out well. Christmas Eve was devoted to a video chat with my mom and dad in Wisconsin as well as with my brothers (and whomever they had with them) in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Christmas night went to our girls, who are all in Indiana. Gift opening, eating and drinking, chatting, shenanigans, etc. A good time. Hopefully, we do this in person next year.

Below are a few Christmas decorations I saw while on my recent walks.

Writing

One of the autographed copies of my second book, Wicked Columbus, Indiana, that can be purchased from Viewpoint Books in Columbus, Indiana.

With all the publishing I’ve been doing (see next segment), I haven’t done much writing. But our writers group did get together this week for a Zoom chat, and nobody else on the chat had been writing either. So there’s that. We’ve all been doing lots of other creative stuff, though: music, editing, book layout, working with illustrators, etc. So we’re still creating stuff, and that’s good.

I do think of my novel in the works, 3 Months in Dublin, from time to time, gathering ideas on how to proceed when I get back to it.

And I autographed several of my Wicked Columbus, Indiana, books that are now on sale at Viewpoint Books in Columbus, Indiana. You can get one of those (as well as my other book, Murder in Wauwatosa) straight from me, too. Just send me an email and I’ll let you know how.

Publishing

This is what I’ve done most of in recent months: editing, designing, hiring editors and graphic designers, working with authors on content decisions, talking to potential new authors, updating social media and websites, marketing, etc.

Really quick overview of some of the major happenings with PathBinder Publishing:

The cover for the first edition of Greg Stidham’s book that PathBinder is in the process of updating. The second edition should be out shortly.
  • ChampioN Underdog, The Improbable Success of the 1995 Northwestern Football Team by Tim Chapman was released at the end of December and got off to a great start. We just started marketing in earnest.
  • Gary D’Amato and his book, A Perfect Childhood: Growing up in the 1960s with Baseball, The Beatles, and Beaver Cleaver,was the subject of an hour-long interview on WTMJ radio with Gene Mueller in December.
  • We’re getting really close to publishing Blessings and Sudden Intimacies by Greg Stidham, a retired intensive care unit physician living in Ontario whose career was spent mostly in Memphis, Tennessee. Covers are in the works. The insides have bene designed. Waiting on any final corrections/changes to that. A few weeks from now, we should have it available.
  • Retired clinical psychologist Michael Simon’s book has had a slight title change. We’re going with The Two Roads of Life: Navigating Yourself and Family to Health and Contentment. We’re working on the covers as well as finalizing appendix materials. This should be out within the month or so.
  • The Red Coat and Love, Hope, the fifth and sixth children’s books written by my wife, Kimberly S. Hoffman, are both in the illustration process. When that’s all done, we’ll just need to get covers completed. Sometime in February perhaps?

Reading

Still reading Beauty in the Wreckage, by fellow Columbusite of the Hoosier persuasion, Brandon Andress. I have purchased other books. I keep reading so much for the job, I end up reading less for pleasure. That’s my excuse.

Ailment of the Month

Ever lock up an SI joint? Don’t. Hurts like the blazes. Almost couldn’t put on my socks and shoes for several days. The SI joint is the sacroiliac joint. There are two of them in your lower back, and they sit on each side of your spine. Their main job is to carry the weight of your upper body when you stand or walk and shift that load to your legs.

Mine lock up every now and then, especially if I’m not doing my planks as I’ve been instructed by my chiropractor. Oops. Then I have to go to the chiropractor to get unlocked, get my surrounding muscles to not hate me, and use heat and ice.

A week later, things are finally starting to feel normal again.

Miscellaneous

My buddy, Packy, the border terrier, along with some of his Packer buddies.
  • I made my goal of walking every day in 2020. A minimum of 7,971 steps for 366 days. The original goal was 8,000, but one night I forgot to look at my MaxBuzz step counter and ended up 29 steps shy that day. Oh, well. My goal the year before was 7,000 steps each day (which I missed by about eight days). So it’s all good. Along the way, I found $98.47, took a bunch of cool photos, and dropped a few pounds. Down 35 from my career high about five years ago. Don’t think I’ll get back down to my college weight, but that’s fine. Another five pounds or so would be nice, though. See some photos of my recent walks in the slideshow above.
  • Being a sports fan (and former sportswriter), I do keep tabs on my Wisconsin teams. Pandemic-infused college football season left the University of Wisconsin with just seven games, but one of them was a trouncing of Wake Forest in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. I had never heard of Duke’s brand of mayonnaise, but I now know that it has twang. My Green Bay Packers finished the regular season as the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, meaning any playoff game they play in prior to the Super Bowl will be played at the “frozen tundra,” Lambeau Field. It can get awfully chilly there. I went to a playoff game in January there last year. Not this year though; no fans allowed at the games. Looking forward to some basketball success, too. The Milwaukee Bucks have had the best record in the NBA the past two seasons, and Wisconsin is ranked in the top 10. So, go teams!

Future

Late this month, my wife and I have set up a video chat to present a program on how to be a writer (and associated topics) for a Girl Scout troop based in the San Francisco Bay area.

Who knows what else may happen? I guess we’ll find out.

That’s it for this month. Have a good one!

Paul

Helpful Links

PathBinder Publishing website

PathBinder Publishing on Facebook

PathBinder Publishing on Instagram

Paul on Instagram

Paul/PathBinder Publishing on Twitter

Paul J. Hoffman author page on Facebook

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