A-R International … Self-Isolating Authors Edition: Part 5

This is the fifth part of a series in which Authors I’ve promoted in the Authors-Readers International series tell Readers what they’ve been doing during these past few months of self-isolating … See the introduction to Part 1 for a further explanation. Here are links to Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. (All links on the authors’ names will take you to their A-RI promotion.)

Allan Hudson

Thanks again for the promotion. Appreciate all you do.

During the pandemic and being at home so much, I’ve been writing a lot (of course) and I’ve completed three manuscripts. The one I’m most excited about is at the editor now. It’s titled The Alexanders – Dominic. 1911 – 1920. It’s an historical fiction beginning in 1911 when young Dominic Alexander, due to misfortune in his family, must go live with his bachelor uncle. Separated from his family, he learns a new trade, meets new friends but not all goes as well as it should and after three years, he’s faced with tough choices. Deciding to emigrate to Canada, he starts anew in New Brunswick. It follows the ups and downs of resettlement in a new country. Overcoming loneliness, finding his spot in the new world, with a war raging in Europe. The cover is coming soon, I hope for publication in Aug/Sept.

I also completed the follow up to my well received Jo Naylor action story – Shattered Figurine. She has given up being a detective and is on the move, trying to forget the painful memories she left behind. She’s still a cop in her heart and can’t avoid trouble. A grief-stricken mother begs her to help find her missing daughter. No title as of yet. (Still working on that) I have completed three drafts and I think, it’s ready for the editor.

The third manuscript is of the next Drake Alexander adventure. At the funeral of their comrade in Bordeaux, France, he and his team are approached by a man whose daughter was killed by bank robbers and have never been caught. The only clues are twenty years old. When they take on the task to find the Monteux brothers, they become the hunted. At every turn someone is at their back, taking out witnesses and after Drake’s team members. International in scope, Drake follows clues from France to Germany to Mongolia and Switzerland.
This story is also untitled and in the third draft stage.

I’ve started another novel about a Canadian archeologist & University professor, digging for clues of previous habitation on a desolate island in the South Pacific. What she finds is life-changing for her. Relics from the past that are not of this world.

Other than that Susan, I’ve been working on the Scribbler and have guests lined up until the end of August. Many authors are now reaching out to me and I like that. SBS is getting 2-300 page views a day.

Yahoo!. No boredom here.

Take care my friend. I look forward to the day when we actually meet and I hope it can be next summer when all is back to normal. (Maybe!)

Marty Chan

Thanks so much for including me in your blog posts. I’m thrilled to get the added exposure. What have I been up to during the pandemic? Here are a couple of highlights.

The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Metamorphosis was nominated for an Aurora Award in the Best YA Novel category.
Kung Fu Master made the CCBC’s Best Books of 2020.
– I teamed up with local performer Stephanie Wolfe to do a satirical video series called Letters of the Pandemic, which air on my YouTube channel.
– I did two virtual school visits via Google Meet.
– I signed a book contract for a new book to come out in 2021.
– I’ve been shooting writing-tip videos and folktales for kids for the Young Alberta Book Society and I have a project coming up with the TD Summer Reading Club program.
– I’ll be teaching a few online classes through the summer (YouthWrite & the U of A Faculty of Extension).
– I have a webinar coming up June 9 via The Writers’ Union of Canada. I’ll be talking about digital promotion in the social media era.

Well, I guess that’s more than a couple of highlights. Anyway, I’ve been keeping busy. At this point, I’m just having fun learning how to edit together these videos. It’s a skill set that I never thought I’d learn, but thanks to the pandemic, I had the time and inclination.

Brian Brennan

As always, I am super impressed by the amount of promoting you do on our behalf! Thank you again.

So, what have I been doing during the pandemic? I had three paid speaking engagements cancelled, which set me back a bit because they would have generated sales for my novel, The Love of One’s Country. After voluntarily sheltering in place from March 16 onward, I started keeping a pandemic diary. But I gave that up after five weeks because it was starting to turn into Mark Twain’s “got up, washed, went to bed” routine. I have now watched more Netflix series than I ever thought I would see in my lifetime, and look forward to my daughter Nico’s weekly Facebook jam sessions with her partner, Jeff Kushner, when I pull out my keyboard, sip some chardonnay, and harmonize and play along. As for writing, I do a blog post whenever the spirit moves me, and connect regularly by e-mail with friends and family around the world. I’m now starting to feel like I did after I’d been walking a picket line at the Calgary Herald for eight months in 1999-2000. When will this thing end? Limbo has never been one of my favourite places.

Stay well, stay safe.

David Poulsen

I wish I could think of a clever new way of saying “these challenging times” but I can’t so I’ll talk a little about what I’m doing to deal with the inactivity/economic hardship brought on by the pandemic. First of all, the inactivity part doesn’t really apply. While most of what I do as a rodeo announcer/broadcaster and as a writer/presenter takes place in front of a crowd and all of that has gone away, at least for 2020, self-isolation has left me with time I don’t normally have to work around the place (horse ranch) for getting corrals cleaned, fences built and repaired, yardwork done and even some gardening, which I love and usually miss out on. I have completed a YA novel, tentatively called The Dark Won’t Wait, a mystery thriller for YA readers—we’ll see where it goes in the weeks/months ahead. And I have embarked on an editing course at Mount Royal University in Calgary in the hope of hanging out my editing shingle in the next few months. As for the economic challenges, they are a little more complicated. The bills don’t go away just because the bulk of the income has (temporarily) disappeared. Nevertheless, a little belt-tightening, some help from writers groups and the federal government, some cool online video projects with YABS (Young Alberta Book Society) and knocking off a couple of 7-11 stores a month is keeping those wolves at least somewhat at bay. And there are upsides. Staying home means spending less money, enjoying a lot more phone calls, Skype and ZOOM sessions with family and acquiring skills in the garden and the kitchen; all of those are things that don’t happen normally. The need for maintaining optimism and hope—and I admit there are times when that’s difficult—is perhaps most important of all in 2020. And on that note, let me finish with this. My 98 year-old mom is in a long-term care facility in Calgary that has been hit very hard by COVID-19. And a few weeks ago, Mom tested positive. I’ll be honest–I expected the worst and prepped the family for what I thought would be the coming bad news. But Mom had other plans and is now asymptomatic and has been declared recovered. Take that, Coronavirus! For the next while I plan to work with my horses, tinker with an idea for a fifth book in the Cullen and Cobb Mysteries and read more Canadian—next up, Marina Endicott’s Good to a Fault (long overdue on my part).

Finally, thank you, Susan, as always, for being the force you are in supporting and promoting writers and writing. It is so appreciated.

Seumas Gallacher

Recent medical history and my age constitute two of the high-risk categories for me, and I am obeying the tenet of Working From Home. In Bahrain, the authorities seem to have managed very well to corral the infections … the mortality rate is extremely low , with less than 20 recorded deaths due to Corona virus. I have been working via my laptop and mobile phone on my external corporate advisory work, and doing some other writing-related projects also. I always like to keep my brain busy, and find no great hardship in being indoors most of the time.. whenever grocery shopping is required or a meting in someone’s office, I wear a face mask, as all residents here are ordered to do, -… I wash my hands at least ten times day, and use plenty of sanitizer. the new ‘norm’ is easy so far for me. The crazy imposition of a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving in the UK has put my vacation plans on hold until at least the end of the year.

Recently, Seumas posted the following to Facebook and gave me permission to use it here:

..yes! yes! yes! … there is a deputy God, and he works on the express checkout lane at Carrefour in Bahrain… I have waited for years! … yes, years! to witness the glorious event that happened this evening… I was out doing my necessary grocery shopping, and lined up at the queue one along from the express checkout as I had several items to process… a bit of a noise and argument ensued in the express lane… a woman (without a face mask, by the way – that’s obviously for OTHER people to conform to under the current anti-virus local regulations here)… she had a large queue built up behind her… she had started to unload her shopping trolley (yes, a half-full trolley!) onto the counter… loads of items… the checkout clerk did what I have wanted HUNDREDS of express checkout clerks to do for such a long time… he told her she was in the wrong queue and would have to put her stuff back in her trolley and go find a proper queue… at first she was having none of that… a supervisor then appeared, and backed up the checkout man… great stuff!… she continued to remonstrate loudly, only drawing even more attention to herself, and the customers behind her were giving her all sorts of looks and comments from behind face masks, so she didn’t know who was calling her what… it was MAGNIFICENT!… the supervisor bundled her remaining items into her trolley and led off with it to another queue, with her in tow… and lo and behold he lined her up in a queue with about a dozen customers, all of whom looked laden with full trolley-loads… I could not have scripted a better comeuppance… hats off to that checkout lad… my new hero for today! Cheers!

Susan M. Toy

That’s me!

I’ve spent almost the entire past three months on the verandah of my Bequia house – so far unable to travel back to Canada as there have been no flights in or out of the country. We’ve had reasonably excellent internet all this time though, so I’ve kept in constant contact with the world out there, and am especially happy that so many self-isolating authors have responded to my call for updates for this particular promotion series. I’ve tried to keep up with all the promotions I had planned to do, but am woefully behind at the moment … and it’s not because I’ve been frittering my time away on Facebook – well, not ALL my time, anyway!

I HAVE BEEN READING!! (Although I usually have to wait until the cat is finished with the hammock, before I can read there.) I read 16 books during the month of May alone. I believe that’s a record, even for me! Outstanding among these were new books by Richard Ford (Sorry for Your Trouble) and Alex George (The Paris Hours), and many others … Plus I had the great pleasure of beta-reading a new novel by an A-RI Author and new books by authors (one of them is my editor!) who will soon be promoted on my blog. Thank goodness, too, for being able to borrow eBooks from the library! I have never been without something great to read, even though I’m situated on a tiny island smack in the Caribbean Sea, more than 3000 miles away from Canada.  I LOVE LIBRARIES!!

The only problem with this extra time I’ve spent on Bequia this year is we’ve been experiencing a drier than normal dry season that has only just begun to end this past week. But, the cloud with a silver lining (!) in all of this is – PHENOMENAL SUNSETS!! So here’s a photo of one for you that I took just a couple of night’s ago. And you can understand from this why we named our house The View!

2 responses

  1. Reblogged this on blindoggbooks and commented:
    More thoughts from authors dealing with quarantines and lockdowns…

  2. Everyone has been very busy which is great. We have some amazing books to look forward to soon. Well done everyone!

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