Posting From Barbados

This week, I’ve left cold Canada for warm and windy Barbados. I hope the break will spur me to write more. I fear the warmth, the beach, the sunshine, and all, will make me write less. I’m sure Charles Dickens never had these ‘problems’.

My difficulty with this fourth, and final, volume of The Modest Proposal Institute is the same one I always have. I started the story as Alexis looking back from the future, which makes it difficult for each story to slip from ‘flashback mode’ and into ‘current time’ mode. I must remember not to use this format again for future books.

Other difficulties include how to finish the story. Sounds simple, after all I once thought I knew what it was going to be, but now I’m not sure. I have alternate endings in mind that seem to have more going for them. It will be a surprise even to the author when this story ends.  Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, you can find my books on my Amazon Author page.

The Modest Proposal Institute FACEBOOK and TWITTER TEASER v2


New Year, Same Old

Welcome to my first The Modest Proposal Institute website post of 2020.  I hope you all had a great time over the holidays.

Despite the many temptations of the season, I did manage to keep writing each day so Book 4 (still untitled) continues to advance slowly — unless I decide to throw out everything I’ve written and start again, which is still very possible as it isn’t quite hitting the spot right now.

Writing as a ‘job’ is a bit like working for a large employer. There are a lot of long periods  of time when you plod along, interspersed with some short, exciting periods where something meaningful happens, like editing and publishing your finished book. Sadly, that’s a couple of months away for this book at my present pace. My business plan, however, says differently so I have to pick up the pace.

I have some new ‘teasers’ for the series (see below) and if they encourage you to rush off and buy, you can do so at my Amazon Author page here.

The Modest Proposal Institute FACEBOOK and TWITTER TEASER v2


Closing Out The Old Year

Having finally published my aunt’s wartime diary, Annie’s War, and got past all the distractions of the Christmas celebrations, I’m now once again writing daily with some hope of making progress. Slow, but progress.

The Modest Proposal Institute book 4 doesn’t have a title yet but it is taking shape. Maybe a title will come from the writing — who knows, anything is possible. My plan says it must be done by March 31, 2020 so I can’t procrastinate any longer. As soon as New Year is over, I’ll really fly — I hope.

For now, I’ll wish all of you Happy New Year and all the best for 2020. If you’re planning to stay home with a good book, or a series of books, why not go to my Amazon Author Page and buy the first three volumes of The Modest Proposal Institute.

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A Good News Post

Last week, I wrote about my ‘business plan’ for 2020. It’s finished! I’ve also mentioned in the past the difficulties around getting my aunt’s diary published and, now, it’s finished. My plot plan for The Modest Proposal Institute series Book 4 is also finished (except for the constant updates that it will endure going forward, of course). That’s quite a bit of good news for one post so, before I get too carried away in the festive spirit, I’ll admit the actual writing of Book 4 isn’t going forward at the thousand words per day my plan for next year proposes. Still, it isn’t actually next year so it isn’t a problem — yet:-)

If you’d like to know more about my other books, Diary of a Canadian Nobody, Random Musings, and Annie’s War: the Diary of a World War 2 Nurse, checkout my Amazon Author Page here.

And finally, Happy Holidays to you, whatever those holidays may be.

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Author Business Planning

When I worked, one of the least enjoyable jobs was creating the company’s annual Business Plan for the next year. It always involved arguments between those who wanted stuff, those who needed stuff, and in the end how to share out stuff among the different departments assuming our company sold as much next year as it did this. The one thing the Business Plan did was to unite everyone against management who had the task of drawing the lines.

As an Independent Author, however, I still do a Business Plan but without all the acrimony so it’s pretty well a happy exercise. The only problem comes at the end of the year when I find I haven’t ‘quite’ sold the ‘million books at full-price’ my 2019 plan was based on. Solving that problem, however, is ridiculously easy. I just don’t compare 2019 results to the 2019 plan and spend my time building next year’s plan instead, which is what I’m doing this weekend. Still, if you want to help me achieve those million sales, you can buy any (or even all) of my books at my Amazon Author Page.

Modest Proposal Institute INSTAGRAM TEASER

Back To Normal (Almost)

And by ‘normal’ I mean me procrastinating over writing Book 4 of The Modest Proposal Institute series. In theory, I could write 1,000 words per day and be finished in 50 days. In  practice I write a thousand words, ‘unwrite’ 900 words, and then add another 300 words I’ll ‘unwrite’ tomorrow. As I’ve said before, this authoring business isn’t for the fainthearted. It takes a million words to turn out a 50k word novel. What is particularly annoying is I have great ideas for my NEXT book when what I need is more great ideas for this one.

Equally annoying is the slow progress on getting my aunt’s World War 2 diary finished. Amazon and I have been working at cross purposes on the paperback version for some time now, which has meant revising and re-uploading even the ebook version. However, an Author Copy of the paperback is winging its way to me even as we speak and, provided there are no obvious problems with it, I should be finished with this book by the middle of next week.  For those of you interested in buying any of my books, you can find them at my Amazon Author Page. Read them all with a nice cup of tea or coffee:-)

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Writing Ups and Downs (Continued)

Recently, I wrote a post on the trials and tribulations of being an author. I concluded by saying the problems were fixed and I’d soon have my aunt’s diary published. It hasn’t turned out that way. Amazon’s checking systems didn’t like the difference between my title inside the book, the book’s metadata, and the title on the book cover. The differences were my mistakes, not their’s but it set me back a week and required me to re-publish the ebook and the paperback  in order to make them the same. This I’ve done and the ebook is ‘approved’. I’m now waiting for the paperback to also be approved (hoping I really have everything the same this time:-) and I’ll be ready.

Book 4, and probably the last book in The Modest Proposal Institute series, is making slow, but steady, progress, even though I’m still making changes to the story outline — more ups and downs of the writing life. Writing is murder in the modern world, I can’t imagine what it must have been like when it was all done with paper and ink. I’d have needed all the trees in Canada turned into paper to write one novel. Lucky for the environment I’m writing now and lucky for the trees most people buy ebooks today when so many books are being written and read, And on that note, if you haven’t already, visit my Author Page and buy, buy, buy. This is the Black Friday/Cyber Monday Weekend, after all.

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Writing Ups and Downs

Last week, I told you how close I was to publishing my aunt’s diary. I was excited at being so close to completion! Since then, I haven’t received anything from the formatter or had a response to my anxious queries. I hope he’s just on vacation.

I was also upbeat about the next instalment of my series. But Book 4 of The Modest Proposal Institute is also proving harder to write than I’d hoped. In fact, I had more ideas and words for Book 5 than I had for Book 4. Book 5 was supposed to be the end of the series but I have a ‘gap’ in time that’s hard to fill without making up stuff just to fill it. (I know — that’s what authors are supposed to do, invent stuff:-). Anyhow, instead of inventing filler, I’ve started reworking my ‘Story Arc’ to merge Books 4 and 5; that way the reader will have enough interesting incidents to satisfy them. With luck, I won’t need to re-write everything I’ve written:-(

And on that cheerful note, I’ll close this post and invite you to pick up Books 1 to 3 on my Amazon Author Page.

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Aunt’s WW2 Diary Update

Book 4 of The Modest Proposal Institute is still being written and it’s hard to find any late breaking news to report so I’ll give an update on my other book project instead. You can, of course, get books 1 – 3 at my Author Page on Amazon.

The formatter returned the ebook file of ‘1939 – 1945 DIARY AND RECOLLECTIONS OF SARAH ANNIE JACKSON’ and I’ve read it through. I sent back a list of changes on Friday and I hope to see the ebook and paperback files returned very soon. With luck, I’ll have it self-published on Amazon ready to give to the older members of the family for Christmas, which was my intention. It looks like I got the scheduling just right (he said while crossing his fingers, arms, toes, legs etc).

My Aunt’s diary isn’t a book that I’ll be advertising to the world. Beyond our family (and even then only the older members who can remember Annie), the only interested people might be nursing archives, library archives, wartime archives, and local history archives, which is kind of sad.  The upside is, once the book is in those archives, Annie will live on longer than was possible from just my, and her family’s, memory.

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Book 4 Continues

Last week’s post talked about my ‘memoir’ book that I’ve been putting together from my aunt’s wartime diary and her speaking notes. The file and photos for that book are now with the formatter and a cover designer has provided some options to choose from, which I’ve done so that should be ready very soon. All of this is a slow way to say, I now have time and I’m back working on book 4 of The Modest Proposal Institute.

As is usual for me, I have an ending written and some of the middle but I’m struggling to start the story in an engaging way. The ‘hook’, that great opening sequence that draws the reader in, eludes me once again. I’m told the difference between an amateur and a professional writer is that the pro is just an amateur that doesn’t give up. If so, I’m a professional but not yet being rewarded like one:-)

If you’d like to help out with a small reward, check out my Amazon Author page and buy a book. This author would be very grateful.

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