What I’m doing now: Where I was last week + photos

Writer, wonderer, wanderer: Me in a nutshell

I create compelling fiction and non-fiction for a curious world.

If you’re new here: 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.

40 writers.

1 week on the Oregon Coast.

5 years worth of business planning.

That's where I was last week. As you can guess, it was quite a time.

I spent the end of October in Lincoln City, Oregon, at a writing and publishing Business Masterclass hosted by Dean Wesley Smith and his wife Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Between them they've written hundreds of books across scores of genres (and you may recognize their names from books in Star Trek, Star Wars, and other franchises). Along with Mark Leslie LeFebvre of Kobo Writing Life, CEO Allyson Longuira of Dean and Kris' publishing house WMG Publishing, author Matt Buchman, and author and indie publishing expert Joanna Penn, they guided us through everything from how to negotiate foreign rights to how to handle estate planning.

It was an intense week of pure business (but I also managed to stay on top of my daily writing, over 1,000 words a day on a new Rucksack Universe novel called Cloud Fortress). Coming home, I haven't even started processing my notes yet. That's deliberate: their advice to the 40+ of us was to wait a couple of weeks, let everything sift and filter in the back of the mind, before making full-on business decisions.

If you want to see some photos from the week, you can find them on my Facebook Page:

facebook.com/anthony.stclair.author

and Instagram @rucksackpress:

instagram.com/rucksackpress

Have a great weekend. I'll be back soon with some links on some recent articles on business, beer, and meat. As you do.

What is happening with you right now?

Always intrigued by other people’s stories, so feel free to email me: writer@anthonystclair.com

I typically update what I’m doing NOW about once a month, more if merited. Most recent update: November 3, 2017.




2 new author events

Join Anthony St. Clair 2 events in Oregon

Heya fans and readers, I’ve got 2 new events on the calendar. Please check them out, spread the word, and I hope to see you there!

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? Right when I’m already in town. Funny ole world.

Thurs., Oct. 26, 2017: Dark & Stormy Nights at Driftwood Public Library

On the stormy Oregon coast, join author and freelance writer Anthony St. Clair for insights on how travel, beer, and an outlook for the world have come together in his ongoing Rucksack Universe series. Anthony discusses his craft, how he writes while raising 2 children, and his ongoing journey as an author-publisher. Sponsored by the Driftwood Library Foundation, this is the 14th year Lincoln City’s Driftwood Public Library has presented their Dark and Stormy Night author program.

Dark & Stormy Nights – Facebook Event

Driftwood Public Library, Lincoln City, OR

Thurs., Jan. 4, 2018: Mid-Valley Willamette Writers Author Talk, Tsunami Books, Eugene, Oregon

6:30-7:00 p.m. Social Time and Refreshments
7:00-7:15 p.m. News, Upcoming Events, and Member Announcements
7:15-8:30 p.m. Author Talk by Anthony St. Clair
8:30 p.m. Drawing for Free Gift
8:30-9:00 p.m. Questions and Book Signing

Free to Willamette Writers members or $10 general public. You can also join Willamette Writers at the door.

Mid-Valley Willamette Writers Author Talk – Facebook Event




Eclipse Sale & Getting ready for the eclipse

Eclipse Sale on Forever the Road Anthony St. Clair

What are you doing for the eclipse?

In case you’ve missed it before, I’m a bit of a nerd. So after a summer of traveling, watching Once Upon a Time, doing Roadsong notes with Chief Reader and outlining another Rucksack Universe book, camping near Crater Lake with my cocktail group, and taking my kids to a gamelan performance and an art museum, it’s time to get ready for the total eclipse on Aug. 21.

As an Oregonian, I’m taking no small amount of pride in the fact that Oregon is the place for prime eclipse viewing. The Oregon coast is where the total eclipse first hits North America. Local authorities statewide are expecting a million visitors. Eclipse events have sold out. Despite wildfires and our notoriously cloudy weather, the forecast is clear skies. Eclipse glasses at the ready, my family and I are camping with friends up in the Coast Range.

I’ve also been geeking out on Atlas Obscura, one of my fave resources for Rucksack Universe story research. If you’re looking for some eclipse history, ideas, or inspiration, here are a few pieces you might want to check out from Atlas Obscura and onwards:

Wherever you’re going, whatever your plans are, and however much totality you get to witness, I hope you have a great—and safe—time watching the eclipse.

Eclipse Sale

An eclipse is also a key part of Forever the Road. So with the eclipse coming up, in addition to my own eclipse viewing prep, it just made sense to have an Eclipse Sale on Forever the Road. This is a great time to get some eclipse-themed viewing for yourself or someone you know:

Paperback

The regular price for paperbacks is $15.99. But… during the Eclipse Sale signed paperbacks are $11.99 when you order from my author store.

Forever the Road Signed Paperbacks

Want the entire series? The Rucksack Universe Signed Paperback Bundle gives you all 4 books currently in the series, but for only $39.99 instead of the usual $49.99:

Rucksack Universe Signed Paperback Bundle

E-books

Forever the Road e-book editions are $0.99 at all retailers, including:

Direct from my author store

Amazon

Apple iBooks

Kobo

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble




What I’m doing now, August 2017

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

Roadsong lunch

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.

New project

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: writer@anthonystclair.com

I typically update what I’m doing NOW about once a month, more if merited. Most recent update: August 15, 2017.




What I’m doing now, June 2017

Writer, wonderer, wanderer: Me in a nutshell

I fire up people’s curiosity about our world.

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…

Sending Roadsong to my Chief Reader

Person standing on a rocky promontory, high above the sea, facing the sun

This is one of the images I’ve had in mind for an important scene in the book.

Yesterday I finished reviewing the current draft of Roadsong, the latest book in my Rucksack Universe series, and I sent the manuscript to my Chief Reader. The revisions went well, and I’m pretty happy with the story.

The idea with Roadsong has been taking readers 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. And yes, the 3 days is incredibly significant.

In Roadsong, we’re going to see a very different Faddah Rucksack, someone who is struggling to figure out his place in the world and what he can do to make up for, ahem, some rather bad mistakes. Fans have also asked for more from Aisling’s grandmother, who we hear about in Home Sweet Road. The most powerful Awen of Ireland is no longer on the scene, so Roadsong gave me a chance to duck back in time and bring you adventures with this fascinating character. I may or may not have based her in part on one of my grandmothers, and added a nod to Gandalf and Granny Weatherwax. Maybe.

I’ll be sharing more about Roadsong in the months ahead. Later this summer, the manuscript will go to my copy editor and I’ll figure out when the book will be released, what the final title will be (since, you know me, I always start with a working title/codename to give me something to call the story). In the meantime, here’s a working draft of the book description that I’ve been working on:

Follow the black road. From the west coast of Ireland to England’s Black Cliffs of Dover, the mile-wide line of ash is known as the Black Road. In the hundred years since The Blast scarred the world, none have traveled this road… until now. A wounded hero, a wanderer who fell between worlds, and a mysterious sage undertake a quest: for home, for purpose, for a light to stop the shadow covering the world. Pursued by a hunter of strange souls, the trio must overcome many trials—and their own mistakes—if they are to find answers to their questions… and if they are to survive the unwelcome surprise that also awaits at the end of the road.

Hitting deadlines: articles on beverages, food & business

Glass of Hellshire beer - As always, I am willing to undergo whatever grueling field research an assignment requires.

As always, I am willing to undergo whatever grueling field research an assignment requires.

I’m coming up on some well-earned time out of the office, so the past couple of months have been pretty busy with freelance assignments too. I’m just about up to 40 articles for the year—not too shabby. Here are links to some recently published pieces:

Some pieces have been submitted but not published yet, and others are print only, such as in Eugene Magazine and the Oregon Beer Growler.

It’s been a fun year of writing so far. Part of what I love about writing articles is being able to talk with people and learn about their world, their mission, and what they do on a day-to-day. I hope I keep bringing that joy and curiosity to my work every day.

Working on different client projects

In addition to the Rucksack Universe and my freelance articles, I’ve also been busy with projects for various clients. It’s a mix of online content management and marketing, depending on the client and project. One of the most gratifying things about what I do is getting to help so many people and organizations get their message across to the right people. Here are some of the folks I’m working with right now:

Doing more yoga

In addition to doing about 11,111 steps most days of the week, I’ve also been upping my yoga. In particular, I’ve really been digging the routines—and irreverent banter—of the awesome Austin-based Yoga with Adriene. Here’s her YouTube Channel, and a wee video to give you a taste:

She also has a great Revolution: 31 Days of Yoga, that’s 31 days of routines. Great stuff, lots of variety and different levels of challenging. If you’ve been wanting to do more yoga but don’t want all the sanctimony that sometimes comes with the practice, check it out.

What is happening with you right now?

Always intrigued by other people’s stories, so feel free to email me: writer@anthonystclair.com

I typically update what I’m doing NOW about once a month, more if merited. Most recent update: June 17, 2017.




Revisions finished on next Rucksack Universe book

First bit of Roadsong, the next Rucksack Universe adventure by Anthony St. Clair

So this morning I finished revising ROADSONG, the next Rucksack Universe adventure. How’s your day going?

“You found me because you needed to pass on the best of yourself, and what you passed on was light, guidance, and inspiration. Now I’m passing it back to you. You must inspire others. Help them find the hero in themselves. That is the person the world needs.”

I’m pretty excited about this book. Set before the other 4 books currently available—100 years and 3 days after The Blast, to be precise—we are going to see a very different Faddah Rucksack. Someone shaken and guilt-ridden, who isn’t sure about his path and place in the world. (He also wears two gloves instead of only one. We’ll find out why that changes—and why it’s more important than you might think.)

ROADSONG will be a sort of prequel for the series. But it’s also a tale of what it feels like to be a stranger in a strange land, what it feels like to drop from the world you know into a place that is different. (Or, to put it another way, how I’ve felt my whole life.)

I don’t have a release date yet. Now the book goes to my Chief Reader and then my copy editor. I’ll let you know, probably later this summer, when ROADSONG will be coming out. In the meantime, catch up on the series here (and remember, you can read them in any order), or join my mailing list for other news and updates and some freebie stories I’m finishing up too.




Reading June 1 at Willamette Writers Authors Gala

"I love these. I like looking at the pages. I can read the letters. They are a puzzle." High praise from a certain junior assistant.

“I love these. I like looking at the pages. I can read the letters. They are a puzzle.” High praise from a certain junior assistant.

The Eugene Mid-Valley Chapter of Willamette Writers hosts their annual Author’s Gala. Anthony St. Clair and other area authors read from current and upcoming works, and books are available for sale and autographs. The Author’s Gala is a celebration of Willamette Writers, members, and the art they’ve put out into the world.

  • Tsunami Books, Eugene, Oregon
  • 6:30–9 p.m., June 1, 2017
  • Free to members, $10 general public



Free Rucksack Universe Fiction: Stars in your beer

Stars in your beer - B.S. Trotter - Rucksack Universe Anthony St. Clair

From The Lost & Found Travels of BS Trotter

Originally published in London Rising

Okay, we all know that after a couple of pints you can, well, see things. But for Londoners they were not expecting to see strange things in their beer.

I want to make a distinction here: they are seeing strange things in their beer, not because of their beer. We all sometimes see strange things because of beer, typically because we should have stopped about five pints back.

Street lights turn weird for me. After I’ve had a few too many I always find that the street lights, instead of just shining and being bright, in fact have a sort of halo. The light hangs in cloudy rings around the light bulb, as if the lampposts were strangely camouflaged angels. Sometimes I think I’m seeing the world how painter Vincent Van Gogh saw things when he painted his famed Starry Night.

Then I realize I probably just need a kabob and my bed.

However, Londoners are seeing the strangest thing in their pints. Reports and calls and letters have been flooding in to London Rising that all over the city, when someone first picks up a brimming-full pint of their favorite blackest stout, they see a star inside.

Folks, that’s not fancy talk from a humble itinerant reporter suddenly aspiring to be a poet. That’s what people have said, over and over and over. The same thing.

A star.

They look at their pint, which is dark as night sky, and in the middle of the beer, it’s as if they see a small spark. It’s there just a moment, then it either fades or simply can’t be seen anymore or wasn’t there to begin with.

First Call Brewing declined a request to be interviewed for this story. However, the cheeky buggers did point out that no stars are used to brew Galway Pradesh Stout.

Keep those reports coming in, though. I’ve heard it said that after a good pint you can understand the universe. Like you I didn’t expect to see the universe in my beer, but I’ve a feeling the universe is a better place for it.

The Rucksack Universe is Anthony St. Clair’s ongoing beery travel fantasy series of myth, intrigue, and adventure.




What books are on your summer reading list this year?

Here are a few of the books on my summer reading list…

Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas, by Laura Sook Duncombe

Glass Houses (Three Pines/Inspector Gamache), by Louise Penny

Everyday Lakota: An English-Sioux Dictionary for Beginners

Kiwis Might Fly: A New Zealand Adventure, by Polly Evans

Honeymoon with My Brother, by Franz Wisner




Free Rucksack Universe Fiction: Brewing School Launches in London

Brewschool - BS Trotter - Rucksack Universe

From The Lost & Found Travels of BS Trotter

Originally published in London Rising

BrewSchool has opened in London, England. Focused on “brewing brewers,” the teaching operation will train prospective professional brewers in all aspects of the beer industry. Areas of training include developing recipes; the brewing process; equipment selection, ordering, installation, and maintenance; finances and regulation; scaling business; packaging (kegs, bottles, and cans); marketing; and serving beer.

Founded by longtime homebrewer Zara Porter, BrewSchool is an interesting new initiative in the industry. “BrewSchool gives women and men the opportunity to understand every aspect of this ancient and complex process,” says Porter. “By the time students graduate BrewSchool, they will be ready to bring value to any of the world’s breweries, or start their own.”

Porter’s younger sister, Branwen, is the newly appointed second-in-command at First Call Brewing, which recently regained its independence from Deep, Inc., and left London to return to its roots in New Galway, Ireland. First Call is among over a dozen breweries that have already pledged support for BrewSchool and its first class of graduates.

In addition to setting up shop in London, Porter has also negotiated certifications and special offers for BrewSchool graduates. Students will be eligible for business planning services, apprenticeships at small breweries and large operations such as First Call, and will also be eligible for special financing offers for new business startups.

BrewSchool offers a new way to get into the esoteric industry. “Brewing will always rely in part on the apprentice model and being a self-starter,” says Porter. “However, all brewers benefit from an understanding of the full process, and they can then build on this strong foundation of knowledge and training depending on where their professional journey takes them.”

Porter is embarking on a two-month world tour to promote the school, develop and further relationships with breweries abroad, and recruit students. The first formal training sessions, each lasting six months, are expected to begin early next year.

The Rucksack Universe is Anthony St. Clair’s ongoing beery travel fantasy series of myth, intrigue, and adventure.




Hi.

Anthony St. Clair - Travel Fantasy Author / Craft Beer Writer / Business Copywriter

Author and copywriter Anthony St. Clair has specialized in online content since 2000, blogged since 2004 and is the author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series.

FREE Sample

Check out this free sample of FOREVER THE ROAD

Anthony's third book, FOREVER THE ROAD, is a Best Books 2015 Fantasy pick from Library Journal's SELF-e, and a 2015 Oregon Book Award nominee.

Download your free sample to find out why Nth Degree's reviewer said this "high-stakes story, told with wit and compassion," left him "completely gobsmacked."

Rucksack Universe

Travel fantasy tales
of wit, adventure & beer

Forever the Road by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novel - learn more and buy now

Home Sweet Road by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novella - learn more and buy now

The Martini of Destiny by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novella - learn more and buy now

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