February 10, 2021 – While I’ve spent the better part of the past six months publishing books for other authors, all of a sudden, I got a bunch of ideas for books I can write.
This in addition to the half-written first draft of 3 Months in Dublin that went on hiatus when I purchased PathBinder Publishing last May. I do keep coming back to that book in my mind, but haven’t actually opened any of the files and worked on it in quite a while.
I got an idea for another book I could write while writing my PathBinder Publishing newsletter last month. As I was bemoaning the end of the football season for my team, the Green Bay Packers, I was reminded of the time when I was six years old and ran the entire length of the field after attending my first Packers game. By myself. I think it was against the rules. I was a bad boy!
Hey, I still have the ticket stub. Looky there!
Anyway, writing a bit more about that experience reminded me of all the interesting events I’ve been involved with through athletics, whether that was as a participant, fan, sportswriter, parent, or coach. So, I started writing down some of the things I could talk about if I did write such a book:
- Getting to interview one of my very first sports heroes, baseball legend Hank Aaron, and also getting grilled by famed sportscaster Howard Cosell on the same surreal night.
- Changing my strategy midseason so that the youth soccer team I was coaching went from a bunch of frustrated kids who never won to a bunch of enthusiastic kids who never won. We did tie most of our game, though.
- Storming the football field after my high school’s team miraculously upset a team for which my cousin served as an assistant coach.
- Getting kicked out of a Milwaukee Brewers game with my brother when I was 10, but not actually leaving the stadium, finding new seats for the last part of the game, and witnessing Hank Aaron’s second-to-last career home run, a shot that won the game.
- Hitting a walk-off, three-run home run in a Milwaukee municipal league softball game against a team that routinely kicked the ever living snot out of us.
- Interviewing a surly, naked Willie Shoemaker in the jockey’s shower after a horse race in the Chicago area.
- Winning a one-lap media cycling race on a borrowed bike at Miller Brewery in Milwaukee. That lap featured one really steep incline. I nearly ran out of breath and everything!
For the purposes of the book, these stories would include some perspective on what the moments meant to me then, and now. You know, like maybe I actually learned something by going through them.
A day or two after I came up with this idea, I woke up with a couple of sentences running through my head. They were: “Life wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty good. Until April 8, 1972. That’s when I died. And then everything went to hell.”
Well, that’s weird. But it sounded like a good premise to a story. Lots of ways that can be taken. Who is speaking? How old were they when this happened? I have so many questions. And why that date? Why did April 8, 1972, come into my brain so clearly? It was a Saturday; I looked it up. I was about four months shy of my ninth birthday. I have no idea if anything significant happened in my life that day.
I had another idea for a book, too, but the other two have been more prominent in my mind recently. Let’s see if I make time to flesh them out.
Really quick overview of some of the major happenings with PathBinder Publishing:
- We just published two books by retired doctors: Blessings and Sudden Intimacies: Musings of a Pediatric Intensivist by Greg Stidham, a retired intensive care unit physician living in Ontario and The Two Roads of Life: Navigating Yourself and Family to Health and Contentmentby former clinical psychologist Michael Simon of Washington, D.C.
- We’re within weeks of releasing Love, Hope: Children Express Their Emotions During the Coronavirus Pandemic, the fifth children’s book by Kimberly S. Hoffman, my wife. We’ve got the paperback formatted except for the covers. Then, we will format the hardback and e-book, and voila, it’ll be available. We’re also in the illustration process of getting her The Red Coat book out. That centers on a story of love, gratitude and compassion from the Great Depression.
- Oh, I also published a second book by Rob McCuen under my first publishing venture, 18% Gray Publishing. Tales from the Crypt of an American Working Class Hero: More Confessions of a Bipolar Rock and Roller is a follow-up to last spring’s hit release, Shut Up and Listen – Me vs. Me: Confessions of a Bipolar Rock and Roller. It’s got wacky stories and smack-you-in-the-face lyrics by one of Milwaukee’s longtime musicians.
I finally finished Beauty in the Wreckage, by my pal and fellow Columbus, Indiana, resident, Brandon Andress. I have been a slow reader lately with my other ventures. I am now on Little Cruelties by Irish author Liz Nugent. Here’s a glimpse into that book: “William, Brian, and Luke: three boys, born a year apart, trained from birth by their wily mother to compete for her attention. They play games, as brothers do…yet even after the Drumms escape into the world beyond their windows, those games — those little cruelties — grow more sinister, more merciless, and more dangerous.” And Liz’s sister-in-law, Lucy, Nugent is CEO of Tallaght University Hospital in the country of Ireland in the Greater Dublin area, the city of which my main character in 3 Months in Dublin goes to a soccer/football match between the Shamrock Rovers (also known as the Hoops) and the Bohemians. It’s quite a grand time had by JP and his new friends. Liz said so on Twitter this morning, so it must be true. The part about Lucy, not the part about my book.
The Marian Keyes (Not Memorial)*
Ailment of the Month
Nothing specific this month really. Just the mid-winter blahs that make me sleepy all the time combined with a small doses of aching snow shoveling back and the cataracts keep getting worse so I need to see the eye doctor again thing. Yawn.
*I stole the idea for my Ailment of the Month section from Marian Keyes’ newsletters. She always has such wonderfully interesting ailments to discuss. She’s very much alive, so I cannot call this section “memorial” in any way; that word is reserved for the unliving. She is also an Irish author. I read one of her books. It was lovely. This section is dedicated with high praise. So, let’s not say “stole.” Let us instead say “parodied” or “copied with high intentions” or some such rot.
- Because people ask … I’ve managed to keep my continuous streak of walking a minimum of 7,971 steps each day going for more than 13 months now (8,000 every day but that one pesky day I fell 29 steps short of my real goal because I forgot to look at the total before I went to bed). I found $4.09 in loose change in January, a good start to 2021.
- My wife and I did a Zoom video chat with Girl Scouts in both the San Francisco and Cape Cod areas last month. We are supposed to get paid in Thin Mints, I believe. I will eat one sleeve in mere moments, I swear!
- I’ve been posting author advice on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn every Wednesday. Search for #WednesdayWritersWisdom to see info on these topics: Choosing what to leave out; Pros and cons of handwriting vs. typing: It comes down to what your goals are; Different Types of Editors; 5 Easy Exercises To Help You Write Believable Dialogue; 33 Writing Tips: Expert Advice for Nonfiction Authors; How to Start a Novel Right: 5 Great Tips; How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 20 Helpful Tips; How to write YA fiction: 10 YA tips; 365 Creative Writing Prompts; 10 Top Tips on How to Write the Best Book Blurb; How Authors Can Find Their Ideal Reading Audience; Tips For Querying Literary Agents Every Writer Must Know.
That’s it for this month. Have a good one!
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