How are you all out there? An odd way to start a blog post I know, but in these troubling, pandemic times, entirely appropriate I think. These are worrisome times for sure. For all of us. I worry about my Sue, my two kids, their spouses, my grandchildren, my family and friends, my neighbours, my community. Little Penetanguishene has now hit 100 cases. Imagine, some bug from Wuhan, China? Nearby Barrie is approaching 2,000 cases! With the virus and its variants seemingly all around us, its certainly scary. There have been many infections (and patient deaths) at Waypoint where I used to work. A trip to the grocery store, which one has to do once in a while, has become an emotional adventure. I tell you, my truck is excellent on gas these days, it doesn't leave the driveway. Wear a mask, even double mask they say. Stay at least six feet apart. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. I even question if I should bring in the newspaper from the driveway right away or leave it on the porch for a few days. It's never been a scarier time. Ever. Speaking of which...
Despite the distractions to a writer, of this current state of affairs, I've been pugging away. But as a political junkie and lover of history, my concentration has not been helped by the COVID virus locally and internationally, Donald Trump, the US election, the events of January 6 and the inauguration of Joe Biden. Unfortunately, as my son Jordan says, "Dad, you sure though have great material for Book 5!" Tell me about it! Problem is, there will be just so much to include in The Seven Keys, but it will be fantastic material for sure.
Though the Seven Keys turn, Book 3 has been a challenge. Whereas Book 1, "Of Mercy & Of Death" took place during WWII and a bit afterwards, Book 2, "Of Love & Of Betrayal" transpired between 1958 and 1978, Book 3 "Of Deception" takes place between 1978 and 1989. Book 3's timeline was supposed to go until 1999 but there is just so much stuff that happened in the 1980s that I couldn't include it all - the book would have been double the size of Book 2. Book 3 presently sits 25% longer than Book 2. I'm sure you all won't be disappointed.
Peter's upcoming journey sure has some major curves and intertwining lives in it. From the Vatican in Rome to New York City, Ethiopia, New Mexico, France, Philadelphia, Penetanguishene, Midland and Tiny Township, Iowa, western Canada, and yes, even Hildegard's Shrine in Germany, Book 3 has it all. As a self-published author, a work of this magnitude has its challenges, not the least of which is the financing, editing and marketing. Every writer needs a good editor and they are not cheap! But we plug away and I'm still hopeful for an early summer release. To all of you waiting patiently, I promise, Book 3 will be worth the wait. Book 4 may be called "Of Deception II" as there is just so much stuff, which means that yes, there may be seven books. I'm not sure yet. They have a life of their own!!! Maybe it's apropos since there seven Keys?...
But the interesting news is, don't you love the new cover drawn by my good friend Theresa Schell? I love it. I wonder how many of you get the meaning of the cover and the title, "deception"? She's also the artist for the Hildegard sketch in the first two books and is doing another interior one for Book 3 and 4.
And exciting news . . . two executives (not one but two!) from television/film companies that do work for Netflicks, History & National Geographic channels, etc. have approached me, interested in optioning the rights to The Seven Keys. Its way too early to give any more details but as one of them said to me last week... "I loved Book 1! Great writing, epic story, and I mean epic!! Great characters, shocking twists! You did a great job mixing real history with your fictional story and characters. I love the overall idea and concept of The Keys and Hildegard's visions. I'm starting Book 2 now! Great work. I'm very impressed! I think Penetanguishene and St. Anne's Church is a very good setting for part of your books. I see this as big - Game of Thrones series potential big, each Key could be a season..."
So as things progress, I'm not counting any chickens but maybe, just maybe, we'll be putting Penetanguishene on the world map yet! Yikes! A few more Hildegard books to write too!
Now hold my coffee while I get back to Book 3!
It's a heavy, wet, snowy morning here at Peekaboo at 4:00 am. It's that time if year, when the beautiful Fall colours gave way to incessant leaf raking, then we had a bit of summer back for a few days, and now, we're into the cold and white stuff. And with COVID19 happening, that in and of itself is a huge distraction. I hope and pray that all my family, friends and everyone, are okay and safe, and that the community spread stays low. We have 19 cases in Penetanguishene as of today but the virus is certainly all around us. Barrie, and the Alliston area (not to mention the hot spots of Toronto, Ottawa, Peel region) are climbing with schools becoming an issue. I don't think teenagers really get it yet, until they lose someone in their family. So we must all be vigilant with mask wearing, social distancing and keeping our circles small. And we need some luck. Another lockdown may be coming and it's all so hard. Almost like a bad dream really. But when we think it's so hard, that we have it so bad, (and I'm not saying its not bad!) but think back to what they had to endure in 1917-1919 when they had the killer, Spanish Flu hit the world just after the calamity of the First World War. They didn't have modern medicine, computers, the internet, Netflicks, iphones, etc. But everything is relative I know.
The weather has been terrible for morning pictures lately and that's been a good thing for writing Book 3 of my Hildegard series. I've made excellent progress these last few weeks and I've been really pushing hard, (as Sue can attest!) So much happened in the late 1970s and 1980s in the world. There is so much story to develop with twists and turns in Penetanguishene, Midland, Toronto, New Mexico, New York City, Ethiopia, Philadelphia, Gloucester-Ottawa, Moscow, Poland! Whew! Peter's life sure takes some turns! On the downside, that's the slow part about writing historical-fiction, there's so much history to research and weave into the story. And boy, with the virus and events of these last few years south of the border, Book 4 & 5 are sure going to be amazing, with a lot of stuff in them! The files I've created are burgeoning you can imagine!
So, I'm hoping to finish the first draft by the end of the year and then I'll be into editing. We'll truth be known, I've been editing, rewriting and rewriting as I go. It's hard not to. That does tend to slow down the process. Then I have to decide on the cover, title, (I'm tossing a few titles around in my head). At the moment I'm thinking Book 3 will be named, "Of Grace & Of Deception." I could change my mind as per the unprofessional mock-up you see here.
Death has been around a lot lately and I've heard of the passing of a few people around my age who I knew or went to school with. It makes one think. We are all finite. I hope and pray I'm allowed to finish this series. It seems that my life, my experiences and writing development has led up to this point in my life to be creating this series. It's not a series, more like a journey. I can't imagine God (nor Hildegard) were going to let me develop everything in my life and experiences, to get to this story, and not to allow me to finish it.
Through a NetGalley reading service I signed up for, reviews are coming in from around the world and I'm glad to say they've been overwhelmingly positive! My two friends Pat & Ken have read the first 250 pages and both feel Book 3 is the best of the series so far, saying there were some powerful, emotional moments in it. Us writers always need vindication and encouragement.
I think I'm still on track for a spring/summer release.
Today, I'm wishing my brother Alvin AND his wife Francie, my sister-in-law, a happy birthday. Vin lucked out that way, it was easy for him to never forget his wife's birthday. They share the same day.
Alvin worked as an Registered Nurse and later a nursing supervisor at the Penetanguishene Mental Health Center (now called Waypoint) for well over 30 years. As I worked there as well, I was always identified as "Vin's brother." And I constantly heard: "I loved working with him!" "I loved working for him!" "What a great guy!" "Vin was a great supervisor!" "Such a nice guy!" "Such a good staff!" "Great to work with!" Surely the greatest compliments one could receive. I was always proud of hearing that. My mom and dad would have been proud. I'm sure they are.
A great joke teller, he had the uncanny ability of hearing a joke once and remembering it. I can still picture our late brother Pat starting to laugh at a Vin joke even before Vin even started telling it. Pat just had to look at him, especially when he started into "Rindercella." My favourite Vin joke was the skit which he acted out, was of the drunk, smoking, 100 year-old-looking lady who in actuality was only 23. Vin was so funny that when the legendary fiddler, Cindy Thompson, saw him perform once at a BBQ, she asked Vin to perform for 15 minutes between her sets at a Kings Wharf Theatre Show. He was that funny.
And how often would Francie feed him the name of a joke or a song to keep him going with his large repertoire of both. She was the ying to his yang. Certainly the life of any party he was at, Vin could also belt out a country song. Mom loved Vin singing, "My woman, my woman, my wife" by Marty Robbins. Her eyes always sparkled with pride. He and Pat singing together, accompanied by our sister Anne on the piano, was priceless and them laughing together, ensured entertainment at many a Dupuis function.
As a big brother, he introduced me to chess and fishing. Once we were fishing in a small plywood boat while he had a cast on a broken leg. He caught a big pike and stopped its flopping around in the bottom of the boat by yes, clomping it with his leg cast. Plunk. Too funny! A good and natural curler, he organized many Penetang Curling Club fishing trips to Cognashene and for many years organized an informal men's softball night and got the town to clear the first field which is now Phil Marchildon Park. And yes, he can cook and make pie dough and bread like nobody's business. Not to be outdone, Fran is a great cook in her own right. He'll suggest something for supper and she'll quickly have it on the go. Like I said, ying and yang.
The father and mother of four, he and Fran have been blessed with fourteen grandchildren. It's a treat to see how much love their family have for both of them. Vin and Francie have needless to say done a lot of babysitting but with a lot of love given and even more received. Their grandchildren adore them. Its vice versa I know.
Vin's claim to fame was once being tripped on a breakaway by Parry Sound's own Bobby Orr in a minor hockey bantam game. The other day, I told Vin, who is not a Donald Trump fan, that his hockey idol and hero, Bobby Orr, had taken out a full page add in support of Trump for President. I could feel his disappointment. Sorry about that. Anyway, Happy Birthday big brother and sister-in-law! Here's to many more! Love ya! In tribute I'll fry up a can of Klik!