It's amazing how time passes. My new book The Baron of Bengal Street continues to sell well and I'm getting some nice feedback. Two articles I wrote, The Barn and The Crossing, were published in January and February in the Academy of Hearts and Minds. I am currently working on a short but spending most of my time on my next novel. I am eleven chapters into a historical novel about the French Resistance in WW II.
Am taking a break from novel writing until January. Meanwhile am still working with the publisher on my latest book. We are still on tack to have it ready by the first week in January. Wrote a short article for Authors Publish, a writers' magazine. It was accepted: "No Sweat Marketing" and will appear on January 5th.
Our delegation of medical doctors from the Ukraine arrived this evening. I have put together a detailed and busy schedule for them as they will be visiting many hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area
Next month with the Rotary Club of Concord and the Rotary Club of Concord, we will host a group of young entrepreneurs for one week, from the Ukraine. Stay tuned for more info!
I have made book presentations in Valejo, Benicia and Concord. All very interesting.
Am working with a Bay Area personality who has asked me to Ghost Write his autobiography.
I was interviewed by Fylde Radio regarding my books. In addition, I met with a rep. from Harper Books North and learned some useful tips about publishing.
It's been an amazing month in the UK filled with great experiences and leaving me with lots of memories. I have written some thoughts down in my blog with more to come. The Big Issue North has also asked me for an article as has The Fylde Tram Association.
Have just interviewed an interesting man in Benicia and will post the article on the Blog. It will appear in next month's Mt Diablo Gazette.
Wow, my publisher exceeded my expectations! My new book "The Ethiopian Affair" is now available on kindle. Last Thursday it went live in all major book sellers and I received my hard copies on Friday. It's a really good and well produced book. Outskirts Press is an excellent company to work with.
I will be at the Bay Area Book Festival on Saturday May 7th from 12:30 until 2:00 PM. Come and check out my books. I'd love to meet you.
My book The Ethiopian Affair is now finally with the printer. I’m expecting it to be published at the end of May and will be available in all of the usual places: Amazon, Barnes and Noble and most chain book stores.
The new group I started, Writers Connection, seems to be taking off. We had our first live meeting on the 16th and there was a great deal of interaction. Maybe my intuition is correct and it is filling a real need. Writing can be a lonely experience and we all need a forum at some time where we can just shoot the breeze with like-minded people, relax and have fun! We had 14 people show up and that's about the max I would want to see in order to have good discussions and sharing.
Just received an email from a publishing company asking if I had a screenplay written for my memoir, "The Bishop Wears No Drawers." No, I don't and hadn't even thought about it. However, I asked the Writers Connection about it and it appears there are several talented and capable writers in the club if I decide to go that route.
I love writing articles! But form rejection letters just..................!
I have offered to start and facilitate a new group for the California Writers Club of which I am a member. It will be an open-ended, grab bag of topics, anything associated with writing and publishing. Mainly a forum where like-minded writers can relax, chat and discuss stuff together. It should be fun. We will have our first Zoom meeting on Feb 9th at noon.
I often surprise myself with the ideas I have for several books! I'm fascinated by the importance of French Railways during WWII and all the activity surrounding them. I can't find any book in English or French that can give me the info I need. I will continue to research this topic and one day will write a novel about it.
I almost made all of my deadlines and finished the second draft of my novel "The Ethiopian Affair" to be published in March of this year. It's different from anything I have written, it is a spy thriller in the genre of John Le Carre! Editing will take up most of my time now while I wait for my wife Annie to complete her painting that will be used for the front cover.
I am already drafting out my next novel which will be a sequel to Becoming Anya.
Just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Xmas and every good wish for the New Year.
Becoming Anya is getting good reviews. Just hope they will continue. It is selling well in the UK
Oh Happy Day!! The copies of my latest book arrived this PM, much faster than anticipated. I am delighted with the whole publishing process and Outskirts Press has done an amazing job with the actual finished product. I was a little unsure they would be able to produce the exact color design from the painting done by my wife Annika. It was a needless worry. It is a class product and I'm sure my readers will be equally happy with it. Please: if you do buy and read....put a short review on Amazon. A kindle version will be available in about four weeks.
Have just finished reading David and Ameena by Ami Ro, a fascinating book. What happens when a white young Jewish
jazz musician, from New York gets involved with a liberated Pakistani Muslim girl from Manchester, UK? The interracial sparks fly thick and fast. Its a good read.
For the past several years I have been a contributing writer to Alive East Bay Magazine. Some of my articles can be found in my blog.
However, after a philosophical and political disagreement, I was obliged to recently separate myself from the publication. The best way I can describe it is that it no longer reflects the values, aspirations and hopes of intelligent and educated people living in the Bay area. It has become a far-right political publication. As such I wish no longer to be associated with it.
10/10 How time flies. I thought my most recent novel would be published by the end of September but obviously, that did not happen! I can report that we are in the final stages of publication and this coming week it will be in the print line. Hopefully, it will be available in stores by mid-November.
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!