Saturday, 23 June 2018

Signing Appearances, and Another Camping Attempt

With the first day of Summer 2018 come and gone a few days ago, I'm beginning to look ahead to what should be a busy summer for me. Not just because of my day job, but also due to a fully packed slate of writing and promoting.

On the writing side, in just over a week, the July 2018 session of Camp NaNoWriMo is about to commence. Lately, my NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo attempts have fallen well short of my intended targets, chalking up the blame to my work schedule and lack of concentration due to my two dogs (who I love dearly) barking at the neighbors in the apartment complex my wife and I reside within. However, I've decided to put my foot down, and commit (or, at least, attempt to commit) to writing 15,000 words for the upcoming month. That averages out to roughly 500 words a day, every day, for the 31-day span. With the 4th of July falling in the middle of the first week this year, I intend to make some serious in-roads on a new project I'm planning on starting: the second official book of my Phil Bennett spin-off series of cozy mysteries.

The intended title, The Fluffy Felony, features Phil, Maggie, and Biscuit, attending a reunion at a dog rescue resort in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, the resort where Maggie had originally received Biscuit from. Since it's a cozy mystery, I'm planning on having dognappings occur as the crime being committed. I'm also trying to determine if I should give the dogs a human voice when conversing with one another. I know that sounds a little corny, but it should help make the story more interesting.

Now, I know you're wondering, "But Doug, what do you know about dog rescues?" This is where it gets interesting. For years, my wife has volunteered with an actual dog rescue resort in Iowa, named "Fluffybutts Rescue Resort." The dog rescue will be the basis for the one I'll be writing about in TFF. In fact, I had the pleasure of attending a similar reunion back in the summer of 2016, so the book will be loosely based on that reunion. It's bound to be an exciting project, and one I can't wait to start writing.

That being said, there will be a couple days in the middle of July where writing will have to take a backseat, as I will be appearing at the 2nd Tampa Indie Author Book Convention on July 14th and 15th. This will be the first of three signing appearances I'll be doing this year. The others will be Readers & Writers - Tampa 2018 taking place on August 25th, a mere two weeks before I fly out to Kansas City, Missouri to take part in my last signing of 2018, Show Me Your Books on September 7th and 8th.

At all three events, I will be signing copies of all thirteen titles I have published under my three author personas. However, Show Me Your Books will have a special bonus: the official release of my fourteenth title, a novella from my Phil Bennett line, entitled Wickedness in Wichita.


This novella features Phil, along with his two spectral guises, Amber and Karen (Yes, Karen Prairie from my Gary Celdom series makes another appearance in the Phil storyline.), attending his first ever author signing event in Wichita, Kansas. While there, shenanigans befall the protagonist. It's a fish out of water tale, but with a message of acceptance in the end. 

The electronic version of the book is available for pre-order now on Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Apple Books in advance of its' release on Friday, September 7th, at the Show Me Your Books event in Kansas City, MO (which is what WiW is loosely based upon.)

That's all for now, as my wife and dogs will be up soon, and I have to get ready for my usual Saturday morning routine. Readers, if you're going to be in Tampa in 3 weeks, or late August, or in Kansas City in early September, I hope to see you there. Until next time, may the books you read be entertaining, and the formatting be bearable.

~ DJM

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

It All Started With A Comment About "Gunless"

One of the big questions a married couple are asked is the one about how did they 'meet' in the first place. In the ever evolving world of online relationships, this query has become more common than in days before the internet. The answers vary from couple to couple, but the answers always tend to be fascinating to most. Whenever this question is posed to me, regarding how I met my wife, I usually quip, "It's a long story; takes two hours to tell." The quote is a nod to my favorite television series, Due South, and it does loosely translate into how the two of us 'met.' However, the circumstances behind it are more involved than that.

My wife will say that she's always been a history buff; taking fascination in the two World Wars of the 20th Century. Most films done by Hollywood tend to focus on the second incarnation that spanned between 1939 and 1945, but rarely do any focus on the first conflict between 1914 and 1918. There is the odd movie that does, and in the case of my wife, while surfing Amazon Prime Video or Netflix (I can't remember which exactly), she stumbled onto a Canadian film about the Battle of Passchendaele. Naturally, this piqued her interest. What she didn't account for was the lead actor being drop-dead gorgeous. That actor was Paul Gross. After watching the film, she decided to go on a search for other projects he had been in. This, in time, lead her to watching Due South.

She bought the series on DVD, and fell in love with the quirkiness of the show about a fish-out-of-water Mountie living in Chicago with his deaf wolf companion, solving "good deed" crimes with his Chicago PD detective friend. However, since the show originally aired in the 1990's, she had few people around to talk about the show. So, she decided to go the 21st Century route and went online, looking for people to discuss the show. That's when she stumbled onto an online message board that discussed the series and other off-topic things that might tickle the fancy of others.

I had been a member of this message board for six years before my wife joined, and I admit, at first, I thought she was just another female fan who liked the series. However, it would be a couple of weeks before we first interacted. I can't remember what prompted the first time I commented (probably a discussion about Paul Gross' other roles), and I made mention of a western film he had recently produced called Gunless. That would open the door to what has evolved into what we are today.

That one little comment lead to private messages about Canadian cuisine (which we later discovered a mutual admiration for the French fries-cheese curds-gravy concoction known as "poutine"). That lead to phone and Skype conversations. That also lead to us meeting five times in-person; including a joint appearance at the last RCW 139 fan convention in Toronto back in 2014. However, it was during that second meeting, two weeks after a nasty ice storm had befallen Southern Ontario, when on December 30, 2013, I pledged my initial commitment to her. Two years later to the exact day, I packed up all of my things, and moved "due south" (see how that ties in?) to Florida where a week afterwards, we said "I do" at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in front of a Justice of the Peace among a small audience of close family and friends.

Nearly two-and-a-half years later after we said our vows, my wife and I are still the best of friends and each other's soulmate. But it wouldn't have been made possible had I not made that comment about Gunless. That comment was made five years ago today, on May 29, 2013. To my always loving wife, I say we've had our share of ups and downs during that time, but it's been one hell of a ride I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. I love you more and more each day, and I hope the next five years of knowing each other will lead to five more years after that, and so on, and so on.

Happy "First Contact" Anniversary, sweetie.

Friday, 16 February 2018

I'm Not Quite Dead Yet

Isn't it funny how the holidays and real life can keep one secluded from certain social aspects in life? In my case, it turns out it was the upkeep of this blog, once again.

Yes, the Holiday season has come and gone once again, as has Valentine's Day, and my day job has kept me quite busy as of late. Some days, I confess it has been a struggle to actually sit down and write. Mind you, it can be tough to concentrate on such a task after working an 8-hour day when you have two small dogs barking for constant attention. Don't get me wrong, I love them to death, and I know they miss me like crazy when I'm gone, but it does put a crimp in a creative muse's style. But that's not to say that it hasn't been active during my prolonged absence from this page. (What has it been this time? Almost 3 months now? Oy!)

First off, before the holiday, I quickly whipped up my fifth poetry collection. Entitled, A Little Box of Poems, it continues my trait of "reflective poetry" with a hodgepodge of 49 poems detailing my thoughts and feelings over the past few months. Some of them have a message of homesickness, which I do confess I have from time to time, but while I might be miss my former homeland, I've taken a relatively firm root down here in Florida.

Shortly after, purely on a whim, I quickly merged my four Gary Celdom stories together into one handy-dandy digital download. If you haven't had the opportunity to read any of my tales about my hallmark aging Toronto detective, his partner-cum-girlfriend, the ghost of his former fiancee, and his best friend who moonlights as a writer, Gary Celdom Case Journals Anthology: Volume 1-4 is the e-book you should purchase. No worries about downloading all the stories in 3-4 separate tomes. Here, you can get them all at once. Plus, I think the purple cover with the Toronto skyline at night is pretty freakin' sweet. Sorry, paperback lovers, this anthology is for digital download only, but you can still get the stories in paperback by picking up Gary Celdom Case Journals: Volume One, which contains the first two of Gary's stories, Rouge Numbered Week, and Kawartha Christmas Caper.

As for what is currently on tap for yours truly, writing-wise, there's a couple projects I have on the horizon. I'm currently toiling away on a contribution for an anthology being composed in conjunction with the Show Me Your Books author signing event I'll be appearing at this September in Kansas City, Missouri. This event will be my second signing event in 2018, as I will also be making my return to the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention happening this July in Florida.

My other project, which I hope to start writing in May once I finish my anthology contribution, is something I've been toying about for a couple weeks now. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say I've been following the weather reports lately, and there seems to be a "Dirty Red Cloud" forming off the Pacific Northwest Coast. ;-)

That's all I have for now. Time to get back to my day job. Thank you everyone for understanding of my absence, and I hope to be back again soon.

- DJM

Friday, 24 November 2017

Thanksgiving Weekend 2017 Reflections

I know I haven't updated this blog in a month (qu'elle surprise!), mostly because my day job has been laying more boots to me than a nobody getting beaten up by a big-name pro wrestler in the ring. But I believe I should catch you guys and gals up on what's been going on in my writing world as of late.

For those who recall the last time I posted on here, I was in the midst of participating in OctPoWriMo, a writing challenge where participants attempt to write and post 31 poems within the 31 days of October. As someone who has written 140 poems in 5 weeks, one would think it would've been a piece of cake for me. Alas, work got extremely hectic during the last week and a half of the month (Damn you, midterms!) and I abandoned the challenge after 22 days. A disappointing effort from yours truly, I admit; however, the poems, technically, could be used as fodder for a future 5th poetry collection somewhere down the line, provided time and my muse decide to co-operate once again.

The same excuse could be applied to my attempt at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, as it's known for short) this year. While I had all good intentions to write 50,000 words in a month, I was skeptical as my attempt last year fell short, coming in at 32,000 words for November 2016. This year's effort is fairing even worse. Over the three projects I've worked on this month, I have yet to crack the 10,000 word mark combined. Again, I blame work for zapping all of my creative energy. Admittedly, working full-time since the end of June has done significant damage to it. I'm praying a reversion back to part-time hours in 2018 will kick-start it back up, but I'm doubtful I will be granted my wishes this upcoming holiday season. However, that being said, my writing efforts haven't gone unproductive.

For fans of the romance genre, the long-awaited release of the second book in my Prairie Fire Trilogy has occurred. Back on November 4th, I unleashed The Prairie Fire Rekindled onto the world.


Ain't it purdy?

The book is available in paperback off of Amazon, and in e-book form on all the major retailers: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Apple iBooks. It continues on from where The Prairie Fire Within left off, but with a special focus on the new relationship of Amanda's best friend, Ashley Washburn, and her new beau, Chuck MacDonald. There's still some steamy scenes in it (including a delicious foray on the side of a deserted highway, but I won't give too much more away), so those who loved the heat in the first book will hopefully delight in this one.

Speaking of romance, the big thing in romance author social media is the new networking site, Book + Main. It's a website that allows romance authors to share snippets, or "bites", of their works and connect with fellow authors and readers. The site is free to join for readers, and authors once verified are given a free trial to explore the website and post their bites. After the trial, authors who wish to maintain their accounts will be asked to pony up a monthly or yearly membership fee. It seems pricey to some, but compared to other promo tools, I think it's somewhat economical. Mind you, I haven't had any hits on my bites yet, so I'm still in the 'wait and see' mode, so far. If you desire to check myself and any of the authors on there, surf on over to: http://www.bookandmainbites.com to see what the steamy fuss is all about. I'm listed on there under my C. D. Melley persona.

Save for that, my failed NaNo projects have planted the seeds for the fifth book in my 'Gary Celdom Case Journals' series; also, for some twisted reason, the sixth book in that series. Book 6 looks to be another flashback book akin to how Barbadian Backlash (Book 2) was, but both of these are still in the first draft stages, so it'll be interesting to see how they develop over time.

That's all for now on my end. For those who celebrated Thanksgiving in the U.S. yesterday, I hope you had the opportunity to enjoy with with your family and friends, and I also hope you're not going too nuts with the Black Friday sales today. 

Until next time, loyal readers...

Douglas


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Day 22: A Little TLC

Everyone needs a little
TLC in their lives
Whether it's the kind from a pet
Or another human being.

In today's world I have seen
So much hate and anger
Towards their fellow man
And it disheartens me to no end.

I can understand the different causes
There are to promote togetherness
In a bid to provide a voice
For those who have been ignored for too long.

Alas, the hierarchy out there
Continues to beat their own drum
In a feeble bid to silence the roars
From those who have been slighted.

I pray for the day to come
Where we can all unite as one
And TLC will prevail once and for all
Over the hatred that exists today.


Saturday, 21 October 2017

Day 21: Time to Experiment

Earlier this week
There was supposed to be a
Chili Cook-off at work
Unfortunately, it was cancelled.

They claimed it was due to lack of interest
But are replacing it with a slow-cooker challenge
Where people attempt to create their fave recipes
Using the cooking appliance known as a Crock Pot.

I've contemplated entering the contest
Using my chili recipe
However, I'm thinking about conjuring up
A new creation this time around.

Of course, to make sure
It is worthy enough of entry
I will attempt to create it
Here at home for my wife and I.

I have all of the necessary ingredients
In my pantry and refrigerator
The query I must ask myself
Is whether to do it this weekend or next.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Day 20: Assisting a Friend's Cause

This weekend I'm participating
In a charity auction on Facebook
Where proceeds are going to help with expenses
Of a young baby's travel and medical bills.

The little boy suffers from Apert Syndrome
A disorder where the child's skull bone fuses early
It also could cause the fingers and toes to fuse together
A dire circumstance for an infant.

Members of the book and artist community
Have come together to raise funds for the cause
Offering books in print or electronic
Others offering swag of different sorts.

Myself, I'm offering up two e-book bundles
Of my three romance titles
Including a certain title that
Hasn't been released yet.

I hope the event raises a lot of money
To help little Wyatt overcome this disorder
No one his age should have to suffer
From such an abnormality.