I was just so busy in August added to the fact I had 'long COVID," things just got away from me and I did very little writing. I led discussions at several book clubs in Antioch, Pleasant Hill and San Ramon who had read my books and its always a interesting experience. I have another group meeting in Brentwood next Wednesday and another in Orinda on the 20th.
Due to my sickness, the publicaiton of my book was delayed slightly, but is now available through Amazon. I think that my fans will like this new historical novel, No Room For Heroes, which is set in France in WW II and deals with the French Resistance and the famous Battle of the Vercors. Annie painted the cover and Brian Shea worked closely with me to make sure the manuscript looked really professional.
I am coaching two memebrs from the California Writers Club, Mt Diablo Branch and that is both fun and challenging. It forces me to look at and improve my own writing.
At the end of the month I will be making a presentation at the Northern Cal. CWC leadership conference in Oakland. This is a limited attendance full day workshop for members of the CWC.
The Joint Book Venture where seven of us are conjointly writing a Murder Mystery is on track and we have almost completed the actual text. Now comes the editing and creating a single voice out of the seven!! It's challenging but funt at the same time. We hope to publish in time for the holiday sales.
I will start work again on my new novel but not before I have written a couple of short stories 'shouting' to get out of my head, and that I want published
My new book No Place For Heroes is in its final production stages and will probably be available the first week in August. It is a great follow up or sequel to The Peacock. I also have a big book club event this month. A group is reading Let the Peacock Sing which continues to have strong sales and I will join them as a facilitator. I also have two more book clubs in August where I will facilitate their discussion. One is reading the The Peacock, the other is reading Becoming Anya.
July has already been a terrific month for me as a writer. CafeLit in the UK is publishing two of my short stories, The Mystery Man and Relief and The Academy of Heart & Mind is publishing Message from Eugenia. I am taking a short break in between writing my next novel to write a couple of short stories. In August I will start again on my next novel and have already written five chapters.
My new book or at least my MS is finshed and Annie has painted the cover, I think it looks good. My book sales, all of the titles, are going through the roof and am not sure why. I've been invited to join four book clubs which are reading them. Its always fun and a great way to promote my work.
Am so happy my sister Eileen has just published her first book.
May has been a very busy month. Still working on my novel and Annie is painting the cvoer for teh jacket.
On the7th partiicpated in the Brentwood Stroll, a boo signing, selling experience which is unique. I was set up in real estate office and every hour a group came to me for a presentation. I ran out of books! It was great.
On the 13 I did a book signing at Barnes & Noble in walnut Creek which was just OK.
On Thursday I will be traveling to Arizona to spend a few days with my 2nd cousin Veronica and her husband. We have not met since we were children but for the past two years we have been exchanging emails. Her mother and my mother worked together at The Shamrock Inn in the 1930s and I have stories to share! I write briefly about her in my latest book The Baron of Bengal Street.
Some disappointing news this morning. I called the brewery that owns The Shamrock and who told us it would be re-furbished and open by September. It seems the work is delayed and has not even begun!
This is disappointing since I want to travel there for the new opening>
Another new year, my how the time passes.
January has been a good month so far regarding my writing. I have two articles being published by magazines in the USA and one under consideration in the UK. But the big news is that my latest book, a historical novel with my grandfather, Joe Cronin as the main character was published today. It's available on Amazon and all major book outlets: The Baron of Bengal Street. It's a book about my roots, about
Ancoats Manchester. Although written as a
novel much of it is based on fact. Enjoy!
Am currently working with my book publisher. I have finally decided on a title: The Baron of Bengal Street with a subtitle, The making of an Irish innkeeper. Am happy with the pace and development but are struggling with the cover arrangement. More later.
From November 4 – 11 the Rotary Club of Concord assisted by the Rotary Club of Pleasant Hill
hosted a delegation of healthcare professionals from across the Ukraine. As part of the Open
World Program, funded by the Federal Government, four women and two men stayed with
individual members and during the day visited medical centers in the Bay Area. Seeking to learn
more about emergency and trauma services they received presentations from heads of
departments and made site visits to UCSF San Francisco, San Francisco General Hospital, San
Ramon Medical Center, UC Davis Medical Center, John Muir Concord campus and Stanford
University Medical Center. The team made many new friends and given promises of future
collaboration from their US peers.
There was a special treat for a group of high school seniors from Mt Diablo HS who are on a
special track showing them careers and options in the medical field; they got to meet the
delegation and ask questions.
For those of us working with the team daily, it was a sobering, informative and very humbling
experience as each one repeatedly shared their stories. Described their working situations and
how each one had been forced to adapt to war time conditions brought the whole tragedy of
Ukraine forcibly home. I was particularly struck by the simple straightforward manner in which
each person spoke, without drama or fanfare.
Anastasia an oncology specialist was forced to send her eight-year-old daughter into Poland
with her grandmother, at the beginning of the war just so she would be safe. Volodymyr’s 750
bed hospital in Kyiv uses an emergency generator for electricity. In addition to constant air raids and drone attacks, and having to rush to a bomb shelter, his main problem is lack of gas. Never sure of a delivery, he has to shut it down for four or five hours each day.
Natasha is the director of 1,000 bed hospital close to the front lines in the eastern region and
receives about 300 military casualties a day. Every week she sends away three train loads of
stabilized patients to safer areas while three more trains bring in new ones. During the first two months of the war, she and all her staff lived in the hospital, they did not go home.
The country was not prepared for war and had to improvise and move quickly to adapt. In a
matter of months, Natalia’s hospital moved all essential medical services into newly
constructed bunkers below ground and in Kyiv similar bunkers were constructed. Three of the
team were hospital directors and each one held the military rank of major. They told us that
they had been given special permission by the Ministry of Health to leave the country and that
at any given moment they could be called upon for active duty.
Lehmers Buick GMC of Concord played a significant role in this visit by donating a Cadillac
Escalade for the week. In addition, they offered their showroom as a venue for an evening
when Ukrainians got to share their stories with Rotarians from Contra Costa. With both the
women and men wearing traditional national dress, they held the packed audience spell bound as each one personalized what it was like to live and work in a war zone.
But not all was work! The Concord Rotarians gave the team a tour of San Francisco. They
visited the State Capitol and were also treated to a private tour of the USS Hornet in Alameda.
One request they all made was to have some time for shopping, especially at the Apple store.
All photos are the work of Susan Wood (email@example.com) who as the official photographer donated her time to the delegation and followed the team each day.
As a footnote. Since their return I have just received an email from Oksana, the team leader
who lives in Kyiv on the 12 th floor in a high-rise apartment building with her husband and three-
year-old son. Due to a drone strike she no longer has water or electricity.
Once there is peace in the Ukraine, local Rotarians will visit with some of these team members and assess how they will be able to offer help and assistance.
The Cafe Lit Magazine in the UK today published the short story I have put in my blog.
Have finally finished my manuscript The Baron of Bengal Street. It was a labor of love and I thoroughly enjoyed the effort. Now it's time for the hard work of editing and preparing it for a publisher.
I would really like to have it published before the end of the year.
I have just returned from ten days in Honduras where I reviewed a humanitarian project I have been developing for the past five years. Through Rotary International we are putting running water and toilets into 30 schools.
I have just arrived in the UK minus my luggage which is still in Munich they tell me! I will be here for the whole month of June, mainly with my taking trips down memory lane and researching material for future articles and books. It should be fun.
Attended the Open Mic of CWC last night and it was a lively group. A new member Ophelia read some beautiful poetry. I read a short section from Becoming Anya, the scene where her father on his death bed rejects her.
My talk was very well received and there were about 90 people present. Lots of good and interesting questions. However after talking briefly about all of my books, at the end of the meeting there was quite a number of people who wanted to make a purchase. I was sure they might want my very latest novel The Ethiopian Affair so brought extra copies. I was wrong. Folk wanted "Let the Peackock Sing" and I hadn't brought sufficient copies!!
Next week, Wed. May 11th, I will be giving a presentation to a large group of SIRs at Branch 146 . The theme will be "Why do I write?" I will also discuss the new novel I am wriiting
Have spent the last week writing a couple of articles, one about the Monastic Tradition in Ethiopia and a couple of monasteries I visited three years ago. Another is a fictional story about a three dogs, all friends who meet every week and discuss everything from local politics to ladies shoes! In addition, I am now a feature writer for the Mt. Diablo Gazette. Each month I am targeting and interviewing local people who have an interesting story to tell, fascinating back ground or have had an intriguing career.
Last evening I sat in on an Open Mic session with CWC and it was interesting, to say the least. I was not expecting it but was asked if I could share something since a couple of folk who said they would share, were unable to show. Am not sure about this group for me. Since they all have known each other for many years there was a level of intimacy that made me feel very much like the outsider. There were moments when the feedback almost made me feel I was in a therapy session!! But I'll try it again next month and take it from there.
Have spent the last few days trying to market three articles I have written to a different group of magazines than my usual ones. I'm not trying to make a living out of getting paid for them, although that would be welcome, just want to see if I can get them published and establish new resources. It's a whole new world out there!
It's not like like me to write so frequently but have just received some important news. In my life outside of writing, I am involved in a large humanitarian project in Honduras, putting water and toilets into 30 schools. Its been on hold due to Covid19. This week the schools are re-opening after being closed for 20 months. OMG! How have these poor kids been managing? I will be going out there to try and jump-start the project just as soon as it is safe.
Here we are already into a New Year! I wrote a couple of pieces for a magazine in the UK and have posted one in my blog.
My goal was to finish my latest book in draft form by the end of the year and finally did it. Now the real grunt work starts as I work on the edits.
As a writer, I am constantly feeling the urge to allow my mind to just freewheel and then transcribe the results! In addition to the novel I'm writing, I also produce short stories. "The Barn" which I wrote some time ago will be published on November 28th in the CafeLit Magazine in the UK. They obviously like it since they are asking me for more! If you haven't already read it...why not take a look.
In between all my other writing (editing, short stories, book reviews etc) I am still working on my latest novel. It is a spy story with Ethiopia as back ground and M16 having to work with the CIA. I hope to have the first full draft finished by the end of December.
It looks like my latest book "Becoming Anya' will be out in the stores by the end of the month.
Two publishers from the UK are interested in my romance novel 'Becoming Anya' but I will go with neither. Once is insistent it would sell well. I will hold out as I am waiting to hear from a major US publishing house.
This last month has kept me very busy. In addition to writing several articles for 'Alive' magazine, and completing book reviews, I have also presented 'The Peacock" at several virtual book clubs. In addition, I am still writing my latest novel which demands a great deal of research.
03/29 Did a reading from Let The Peacock Sing to Lafayette Arts Council. Difficult reading to oneself via Zoom & most attendees had signed off. I was the last presenter & after 90 minutes I think everybody was just tired!!
Interesting morning! Just learned that Alive Magazine has published one of my short stories.
I am currently being flooded with requests to make book presentations mainly to book clubs, about “Let the Peacock Sing” via Zoom. I have put together some slides in a Power Point presentation which I will post in the coming weeks.
Flooded with Requests!