October 31, 2014

Rereading a book I wrote four years ago, and a bear

Something drew me to open up the first chapter of Semper and reread it this morning. Having just completed writing the trilogy (which is discounted/free this week), I thought it would be fun to revisit the chapter that began the story.

Did I stay true to the original characters as I first introduced them? Did the first chapter, written four years ago, properly set up the full story of the trilogy?

I think so, if I can be my own judge. In fact, I did better than I expected.

In that first chapter, Dane at one point thinks to himself,

I do not want to be the one that brings home the epidemic that destroys all of civilization.
I didn't realize it at the time, but that one sentence holds a tremendous amount of both foreshadowing and irony.

Also, that first chapter ends with a question that is never explicitly answered but which is the perfect first question in a discussion guide for the series.

Maybe it's just that I was looking for connections as I read. Or maybe those connections were already in my subconscious, even before I'd detailed the quarter million words in the story. Or maybe it's just luck or coincidence. In any case, it's satisfying.

FREDA will be free on Kindle November 1 through 5. The first two books, Semper and Forsada, are just 99 cents to celebrate completion of the trilogy.

And here is a picture of a bear I took, not far from the actual physical location where that first chapter occurs.

October 28, 2014

"I had grand plans."

That was a primary point in my sister's keynote speech at Boston's ALS walk this past Saturday. Cathy was diagnosed with ALS only a few months ago, just weeks after retiring from a demanding and very successful career. The last time we saw each other, about two months before the diagnosis, she told me she had grand plans for the next chapters in her life; although she was still figuring out the specifics, "helping others" figured prominently in her ideas. Those plans have changed.

The last time I saw my sister, I saw no hint of ALS. Nothing to make me think anything like this could be coming. We talked about her pending knee surgery and retirement, our kids' college tours, plans for a long future filled with activity. Those plans have changed.

This past weekend I joined scores of others to support Cathy in the ALS Walk in Boston (we flew in from California Thursday night). Family I hadn't seen in decades were there. The morning was glorious, clear and warm after a week of terrible wind and torrential rain (so I'm told), and the location was beautiful. Cathy was honored with the keynote speech in part because in the couple of months since she was diagnosed, she assembled a huge team for the walk and became the Boston walk's top fundraiser.

My family and I also participated the previous weekend in our local walk in Northern California, which was much smaller but eye-opening. I've walked in several fundraisers for ACS, LLS, AHA, etc., but the ALS walk had a different feel. It wasn't until I started writing this blog post that I realized what the subtle difference was. Other walks are all organized around the survivors. This walk was entirely about finding a cure.

It's strange and difficult to return to normal everyday life after two weekends like the past two. I know my sister and thousands of others who are diagnosed with ALS every year don't even have that option, so I'm going to try to take advantage of the time I have. I don't know exactly what that means yet. There are things I want to achieve. There are places I want to see. There are people I love who I want to spend more time with. And I don't want to be so busy that I miss the countless moments of beauty around me all the time.

Photos from the two walks are posted below.

WALNUT CREEK, CA - October 19, 2014

With some Wells Fargo colleagues

Pretty long stream of people along the canal trail.

BOSTON, MA - October 25, 2014

The setting near Dorchester Heights along Old Harbor was gorgeous.

Boston financial district in the background.

Sis & me

Giving the keynote address to 1,500 walkers

The paparazzi taking family photos

October 18, 2014

Free and discounted books. What could be better?

I've just published Freda, the third book in my New Eden series. Early comments suggest this book might be the best of the three, which is gratifying for sure.

To celebrate this launch, I've discounted the first two in the series to just 99 cents for the next couple of weeks, and Freda itself will be free for Kindle November 1 through November 5. Here's how to get the books during this time:

All three are available on Amazon at the discounted price.

Semper and Forsada are also available on other platforms. The price is $2.99, but you can use the coupon codes below to get them for 99 cents through November 5. These coupons work at Smashwords, but I'm not sure they work at places like Barnes & Noble, the iTunes store, or Powell's.
  • SEMPER - use coupon code AW86A for 99c price
  • FORSADA - use coupon code NE63V for 99c price
  • FREDA - email me if you want a format other than Kindle. We can work something out.
I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please let me know. A rating and/or review on Goodreads always makes my day.