Writer, wonderer, wanderer: Me in a nutshell
I inspire curiosity and action by sharing stories about fascinating people, businesses, and circumstances.
A writer and online editor since 2000, I’ve been a full-time self-employed writer and author since 2011. In addition to managing online content and marketing for various organizations, I write articles about food, craft beverages, business, and more for a range of print and online publications. I’m also the author of 4 travel fantasy books in my ongoing Rucksack Universe series. Outside of my home office, I live with my wife, son, daughter, and kitchen in Eugene, Oregon.
This month I’m…
Adding 2 events to the calendar
You know how sometimes things come together in the most unexpected ways?
Earlier this year I made arrangements to attend a writer business workshop in late October in Lincoln City, Oregon. A few weeks ago, Lincoln City’s Driftwood Public Library emailed me. They saw my interview in Library Journal and invited me to give a talk as part of their Dark & Stormy Nights Author Program. And the date? Oct. 26. Right when I’m already in town. Funny ole world.
Anyway, if you’re in/around Lincoln City or know someone who is, check it out and I hope to see you there. I’ll be talking about writing, publishing, travel, my books, and how I get things done, and books will be available for sale and signing.
Also, in January I’ll be giving an author talk at the Mid-Valley Willamette Writers chapter here in Eugene. It’s always a good evening, with interesting discussion (and I’ll be giving away a book).
Here are both events on Facebook, please share and I hope to see you at one!
Oct. 26, 2017, Dark & Stormy Nights, Driftwood Public Library, Lincoln City, OR
Jan. 4, 2018, Mid-Valley Willamette Writers Author Talk, Tsunami Books, Eugene, OR
Reviewing Chief Reader feedback on Roadsong
Chief Reader lunch at The Bier Stein, Eugene
My Chief Reader has been reading the working draft of Roadsong, the next book in my Rucksack Universe series. As Chief Reader and I go through notes, there of course have been changes, but on the whole she’s been enthralled.
It’s a book I’ve had a lot of fun with too. One of the nice things about having a series where you don’t have to write books in any particular order, is that it’s easy to explore other aspects of the story and characters. With Roadsong, I really wanted to give readers more of a sense of what was happening in the story world after The Blast. And I wanted to show them a different side of Faddah Rucksack—right down to little things, like why does he only wear one glove anyway?
Roadsong takes us back in time before the events of the 4 books currently available in the series. As you may know, the story world is defined by a calamity called The Blast, which took place in 1834. Roadsong will take place 100 years and 3 days after The Blast, or, as it’s called in the story world, the year A.B. 100.
Pondering the title of said next book
As I said, the working title of the book is Roadsong, but I’m not married to that title. I just need something to call it while I work on it. My wife and I did similar with our 2 kids. During the first pregnancy we referred to the baby as “Awesome,” and the second was “Marvelous” (words I still use to describe them).
The main character of the book isn’t Rucksack. It isn’t Aisling’s grandmother either. It’s a person named Wander. Everything is told from Wander’s perspective, which I why I’m deliberating between two titles:
Roadsong, or Wander?
What do you think?
Hitting deadlines: articles on beverages, food & business
After some fun adventures with my family in Virginia and at Myrtle Beach, SC, July was a big month of catch-up. And a new project, which I’ll get to in a bit. By the end of August I’ll have filed 46 articles for the year, with 8 filed between July and the end of August.
Talking with the coolest people
I wake up every day feeling fortunate to do what I do, and this is why. There are so, so many times where I finish an interview and say to my wife, “I get to talk with the coolest people in the world.”
So, so true. Every time I’m amazed not only by their drive, but by their kindness and their sense of community. They work hard, and they have endeavored, but they also know they didn’t get anywhere on their own. The people I speak with are humble and appreciative, and they strive for excellence in what they do so as to both make good money in their businesses, but also to make the best product or service for their customers.
Sometimes I chuckle about my work. I’m pretty sure a lot of people think I just hang out with my kids and bake all the time. (And sure, there’s plenty of that, because, well, kids and baking are wonderful.) But I was telling someone recently that if you then looked at my contacts, you might be surprised.
Savoring recent adventures and planning future adventures
As I mentioned earlier and back in the June update, my family and I recently did some traveling to Virginia. We visited my family in Roanoke, then went down to the Myrtle Beach with my dad, grandma, and aunt. Both my son and my daughter spent every day of the trip in either a pool or the Atlantic, and the additional skill and confidence they gained in the water has been a joy to see and share with them.
Oh, and on the way back, my wife and I decided that sometime during the next decade, we are taking the kids on a round-the-world that will be at least a year long.
I mentioned a new project. When my son and I were flying to Virginia (we were meeting Jodie and Aster there, after Jodie finished some training in Ontario), he and I looked out the window a lot and talked about the clouds. It got me thinking… and thinking… and thinking…
And then I had an idea.
During our trip, I turned that idea into a story, and the story would be a book.
I’m writing this on Aug. 15, 2017, and yesterday I finished outlining and planning that book.
The working title is Cloud Fortress. It’ll take place in the Himalayas, there will be a rookie Jade Bluegold, and a Faddah Rucksack who is trying to figure out how to do something he used to be able to do, but lost the ability after The Blast. The world will wind up in peril, there will be a pub in the sky, and something from a past book is going to come back to haunt Jade and Rucksack with a vengeance.
And oh my oh my, this is going to be a fun one.
I can’t wait to get started and to share more with you as we go.
Cherries, blueberries & peaches, oh my
In addition to travel adventures, these past weeks have been full of canning adventures too. My wife and I are avid food preservers, and when you live in Oregon, amazing summer produce is everywhere. It’s been the summer of cherries, blueberries, and peaches (oh my!). Fruit butters, jams, chutneys, you name it—our preserves cabinet is already looking nice and full.
Gonna need more pint jars…
Yoga and steps
One downside of our summer adventures has been my middle isn’t what I want it to be. While I’m still getting 10,000–12,000 steps 5–7 nights of the week, I’m also working on some diet and activity tweaks to help me get my weight more toward where I want it to be.
Darn, guess, I’ll have to do more Yoga with Adriene videos…
What is happening with you right now?
Always intrigued by other people’s stories, so feel free to email me: email@example.com
I typically update what I’m doing NOW about once a month, more if merited. Most recent update: August 15, 2017.