For an author, media interviews are one of the most important things when it comes to marketing. A great thing! It means getting the word out about your writing, reaching an audience who could potentially be readers of your story. You're on air live or recorded, talking about your passion. Sounds great right? It's what writers dream about. What could go wrong? Well...
In the last few months, I've done three Zoom interviews. Two recorded ones out of Chicago and one live one out of Colorado/Germany/globally. While Zoom is a new thing for me, I thought I had it figured out. I bought a new iPhone for just such tasks and my friend, Mike Odesse, showed me a neat and simple wooden stand he had constructed for himself to hold a phone while recording/speaking into. Cool. I built one and it works nicely. I'm all good to go, right?
Next on the list is a good spot in the house from which to do these interviews. The proper lighting is of utmost importance. A good chair and a place to set your phone stand. Away we go! Well, on the live interview with Michael Conti on The Hildegard Way Worldwide Virtual Pilgrimage a few weeks ago, all was good. I set up at my kitchen table as I'm about to go on, then my internet feed started freezing! With only minutes to spare, I scrambled with all my paraphernalia and notes to the sunroom beside my internet modem. The connection comes back. Whew! But by this time I am now quite frazzled! I never really recovered and my interview went ... meh! I thought it went terrible to tell you the truth.
Then... during my two interviews with John and Mark from Chicago on their show "Angles & Attitudes", I received a phone call in the middle of the first interview. Ugh!! Then last night, my internet froze (again!) in the middle of an interview with them and Jerry Sawchuk (Terry's son). I again had to scramble to my modem in the sunroom, in the dark, trying to find the light switch in the middle of the interview. Embarrassing! I was absent for about a minute though they could see my picture bouncing around in the dark! Yeesh! Mark and John were both very gracious about it and said everything was fine, and I was thankful for that. But I was so mad with myself and I was wondering that they'll never have me back!! Lesson learned. All interviews stay in the sunroom, even if its freezing! This Zoom world is complicated here at Peekaboo Trail!
Oops, I just remembered, I'm going to be having a live author interview at the Penetanguishene Public Library in two weeks during Library Week! What'll I do? I can relax. They'll be taking care of the techie stuff! Thank goodness!
Pierre Chretien recently passed away on September 4, 2021 at the age of 69. I didn't personally know him that well, just general chit-chat at our nursing parties or gatherings when he accompanied his wife and my co-worker, Cindy. But like everyone else in town, I knew him well. This picture, with Cindy, is not the Pierre Chretien I normally knew. Just about every time I saw him, Pierre was wearing a suit and tie, and with a somber smile, would be greeting people who came into the Penetanguishene Funeral Home, something he did for as long as I can remember.
As a funeral director for over forty years, Pierre was the epitome of professionalism--empathy, sympathy, caring, understanding and compassion all rolled together into one so-nice a man. I often wondered how did he do it for so long, having to deal daily with death, grief, families and friends during the saddest moments of their lives. But he did it well and with class. Case in point...
My brother Pat passed away at his home on Don Street in 1999 after a battle with cancer, surrounded by his family. It was the middle of the night and other family and friends came to sit with us and Pat, one last time before he would be taken away. The funeral home was called and we were told told they would be down shortly. When Pierre walked into the house a short while later, he went around and gave everyone his sincerest condolences and then stood by Pat for a minute with head bowed. Then he did and said something that I will never forget and be eternally grateful for.
"Out of respect for Pat, who I knew," Pierre said looking around. "I'm not going to bring the stretcher into his house and place that he loved. No, instead, there are enough of us men here, I would like you to wrap him in a blanket and we'll gently carry him outside to the large front cement stoop where we'll put him in the stretcher out there."
Wow! I thought! Just wow! I never forgot that so simple yet strong act of tenderness, compassion and respect he had for the deceased, whether he knew them like he did Pat, or not. I thought to myself then, that Pierre was a pretty special man, who I bet was like this with everyone he dealt with. A very special man whose dedication and compassion for people never wavered until his retirement a few years ago. He had also been giving to his community whether as a volunteer with Hospice Huronia, the Penetanguishene Legion and as Treasurer of the Penetanguishene Knights of Columbus. He was a true man of the community.
To Cindy and your two daughters, Melissa and Katelyn, I can just say, "Wow! Be so proud! Your husband and dad was a pretty special and awesome man, who helped so many people in our town in their hour of greatest sadness and helped lighten their grief. It takes a special man. He was that, in spades."
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!