Welcome to the Writing Wednesday Blog!
Yes, I have to apologize for not being as active as I should be. Lots of different factors with this mainly the job I have to have. One day, this will be the full time job, but till then please bear with me.
10 years ago I became a self published author. On April 7, 2012 my first novel, "The Seventh Year", was officially released. A year later on March 29, 2013 my second novel, "The Snowball Effect" came out. It would be over two years to the release of my third novel, "Saint Nick" on November 5, 2015. Coincidently, it is my top seller. Three years later I went a good spree releasing 3 novels a year apart. The fourth book, "The Game Jynx'd" released on March 18, 2018, followed by my fifth book, "Murder In The Storm", on November 13, 2019. Then of course the pandemic hit which gave me plenty of time to write and the result, my sixth book, "The Demon Of Sweet Briar", released on October 14, 2020. Coincidently with this one, it was release one day prior to the 15th Anniversary of the day I conceived "The Seventh Year". So, a very good run over 10 years if you ask me.
That leads me to the title of this blog... A Preview Of Coming Attractions.
I am currently working on two novels at the moment. The first, which will be my seventh release is entitled "What Happened To The 'Muth?". This is a historical/science fiction story about Frankenmuth, Michigan. The story center around the premise that during the pandemic Frankenmuth and all that made it was erased from existence. It's up to Duncan Schmitt to discover who, what, and why in order to restore Michigan's Little Bavaria. This novel is 60% complete at the moment with about five to six chapters I figure to complete the story. Look for it in the early part of 2023 if the current pace (always subject to get bogged down) holds.
My eighth novel will be entitled, "30 Storeys". This is novel of a story with many stories in between. A self-published author gets a possible break when he is called to meet with a prospective publisher. After the meeting he goes to leave and the elevator he gets into snaps. As he falls, he recounts a story as he passes each floor. Does he survive to tell them or do they perish with him? That has yet to be decided. This one I have scheduled for late 2023 or early 2024. Again, never know what could hinder that.
Now, with this novel I decided to do what's called Story Notes. Story Notes describe the behind the scenes as to how the stories in the book came about. I've seen it in a couple of recent books that I read and thought it would be something different to try.
So, here is a preview of what is to come in "30 Storeys"...
For those who have read any of my previous novels I’m sure you are wondering what happened to the Author’s Note that follows the conclusion of the book. Don’t fret, it’s on deck right after this section.
I decided to change things up a bit for this book and steal a page (no pun intended) from a couple of other authors whose books I’ve recently read. Both Richard Chizmar’s The Long Way Home and Brian James Freeman’s Walking With Ghosts (both I recommend by the way) have a section at the end of the book called Story Notes.
In the Story Notes, the author shares their insights or an explanation of what either inspired each story or how the story came about with the reader. A sort of behind the scenes of the writing process. I always enjoy learning how stories come to fruition. I thought it might be fun to give it a whirl myself, letting you, the reader, know how my stories came about.
So, without any further ado…
GWM – There are always those in your professional life that make an impression on you. Mine was the first time I met a new regional manager. Though stern, he wanted the best for every employee. He never had any hesitation to pass his knowledge and experience onto those who wanted to succeed and be their best. The man has a subtle way of molding a person using their own strengths and weaknesses to get the best out of them. You may have taken his methods the wrong way, but if you sat back, and thought about it, you realized just what he was doing. Then you went and thanked him for it. He helped mold me. So, Greg, this one’s for you!
The Jekyll & Hyde Secretary – My mother was one a kind. I had the opportunity to work with her at one point in my career. At home, like at work, you get upset. Except at work, it must be tempered especially when assisting a customer. She had the knack of turning from I’m chewing you out for a screw up to being sweet and polite when speaking to a customer on the phone and then back again to finish off the employee. It was rather amusing to witness, except of course when you were on the receiving end.
Michigan Theory – People who live in Michigan have a saying… “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, it will change.” There’s truth to this. Michigan weather is so unique and unpredictable, you can literally have all four seasons in a single day. Nothing like going from sunny and seventy degrees to snow and fifteen degrees in the span of a few hours. Not only is the weather unique, but how we Michiganders handle it is also distinctive. Michigan Theory is my interpretation on this based on my lifetime of observation living here.
The Turkey Tradition – As an assignment in my 11th Grade English class back in 1988, we were to write an original story about our traditions at Thanksgiving. I remember it got quite a laugh as well as an A+ grade for its originality. I came across it while cleaning out some files and knew it had to be included in this book. It’s kind of corny, but it’s one of my first stories I wrote long before I ever dreamed of becoming a writer.
Shooter’s Trivia Tuesday – My good friend Brit gave me the inspiration for this one. Ran into her one day while she was up visiting her parents and I asked her how she was enjoying life in Chicago? She conveyed she loved her place, school was going well, and she enjoyed her job. Brit’s only complaint… the bar where she worked had seen its share of violence lately. Seems they had difficulties during their trivia nights, and some patrons had gotten shot. The way my mind works, it didn’t take me long come up with the premise what if that was part of the trivia game? Who was going to get shot? That’s how you won.
Calling Krampus – A 6 Year Old’s Revenge – In Alpine Tradition Saint Nicolas comes on the eve of his feast day, December 5, giving gifts to good boys and girls. He is accompanied by Krampus, who punishes the naughty boys and girls beating them with birch rods. Kids are kids and they’re going to misbehave no matter the time of the year. It’s just their nature as they still need to mature. Regardless, is that a reason to cancel Christmas and the magic it brings to a child? Hell no! You don’t do that in my opinion. Being that I almost had to witness this with a family member I got to thinking… what if the kid had enough? That in the kid’s eyes it’s mom and dad who have been naughty. Have the kid take the stories of Saint Nicholas and Krampus the parents use to keep them on their best behavior and use it against them. That sounded interesting and comes down to turnabout being fair play.
Cutting Loose Ends – In most cases when your married things are usually in both spouse’s names, the house, the car, you get the picture. Once one spouse passes, then the process begins to remove the deceased name from these things, in essence you are cutting the loose end. Recently, my wife leased a new vehicle. Unlike the last one where both our names needed to be on it, this one is in her name only. We joked that she was cutting off a loose end. The joke turned into the basis for the story.
A Mother’s 6th Sense – My mother was a unique person. She had an uncanny knack of knowing something was going to happen or at times when it was going to happen, in essence a sort of 6th sense. If she happened to mention it in conversation with you, her thought process on the happening made sense. However, even though she had a clear understanding of what she felt and what would happen, others didn’t see what she meant until after it happened. The best example if this is that she had said she would see her granddaughter graduate before she died (Mom had COPD). At that time most people would interpret that to mean graduating high school. But there are other graduations that happen. In this case, Mom passed shortly after seeing her granddaughter’s 8thGrade Graduation. This story follows that line of thinking that what you think you know, you don’t. It only becomes clear after all is said and done.
Germ O Phobia – With the pandemic of the Wu Han Flu (what I call Covid as it sounds less intimidating and is fun to say) over the last couple of years we all took extra precautions when going out into public. Things like wearing masks and carrying hand sanitizer. Some, however, took it to the extreme. I encountered one of those people while on vacation in Salem, Massachusetts in October 2021.
A God’s Playground – I can’t take full credit for this story. Its premise was conceived by my co-worker Jennifer Carey. While opening one morning, Jen told me that she was working on creating a Dungeons and Dragons Campaign for her, her boyfriend, and friends of theirs to partake in when her boyfriend returned from his military deployment. These campaigns, for those who aren’t familiar with D&D, can take quite a while to draw up. She began to tell me about the narrative for the beginning of the quest. Fascinated by what I heard, I asked if she would mind me if I used in a story for this book. Jen had no objection and was interested to see how I would work the story. The next day she gave me a written account of her narrative and I went to work on it from there.
60 Miles Per Hour Through McDonald’s Parking Lot – An incident that will live in infamy! After my parents divorced my mother decided Northern Michigan wasn’t big enough for her and my father. So, she took an opportunity with her company she was with, and moved us to Grand Rapids, Michigan. We drove as far as my grandparents’ house in Reed City and stayed the night. The next day we made our way to Grand Rapids to meet the moving company at our new place. On the trip down, we stopped for breakfast at the McDonald’s in Big Rapids. My mother must have been famished because as the title suggests, she whipped through the parking lot like a bat out of hell as soon as she hit it.
Turning The Tide – If you are like me, you despise those calls about your car’s warranty (which you no longer own) or those other solicitation calls about anything and everything. After getting one of these one day, it reminded me of a time I was at a friend’s house years back. She got a phone call from an insurance company trying to sell her life insurance. She played along at first, then decided to toy with the gentleman on the other end of the line for a bit if fun. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life with what she said to him. The poor guy became completely speechless and hung up. I guarantee he thought twice before making his next call.
Hello, Fat Boy – A trip to Toys R Us for a gift. Sounds simple enough. Never knew that the gift to be purchased was going to give you hard time. This was the case when my friend Chris and I went to get a gift for his stepbrother. A cute little talking toy seemed to have a mind of its own with Chris and it didn’t matter which one he picked up; they all did the same thing. Kind of a creepy situation ending with us leaving because the toy got the better of him.
The Day The Golden Mic Went Silent – On February 17, 2021, the world lost the greatest radio talk show host of all time, Rush Limbaugh. Hearing the news of his passing hit me hard. My feelings on his loss were like hearing of the passing of a close family member. I know it makes no sense. I never met him, nor did I know him personally. Yet, he was a part of my everyday life whether it be on the radio, through his daily emails, or even through his books, it is still a great loss. This story is my recollection of that announcement on the 1st Anniversary of his passing.
The Afterthought – Ever feel like you are left out of everything that happens in the family? You’re the last to know about a wedding, a party (Birthday, Anniversary), a family get together, and so on. Family members who should have your back would rather put a knife in it. Loose a key member of the family and you watch as other family members true nature comes out and it seems to be always against you. It’s a rather interesting situation and I have seen it many times. The moral… a person will only take so much before they won’t take anymore.
The Tipping Point – Music is always an inspiration in my writing. The story of The Tipping Point is no exception. Inspired by the song of the same name by Tears For Fears, it is a story of a person who is dying and the loved one forced to watch knowing there’s nothing they can do to stop it, in the process being haunted by the reality of what will come when that final moment hits. The song struck a chord with many of the emotions I went through when I lost my mother. I thought that I had gotten it all out in my second novel, “The Snowball Effect”. Guess I had one more feeling to work through.
A Ring Of Statues – Another story that I can’t take full credit for as this one was conceived by my co-worker Kevin Gipple. He mentioned that he had a weird dream where he went driving down a path and came to a semi-circle opening surrounded by huge statues and once in the circle went out of their way to hinder him from leaving. The whole idea of something like this out in the middle of nowhere struck my interest that it would make a pretty good story. With his permission he told me I could run with it.
Yard Sale – Comedian Bill Engvall is famous for his line, “Here’s your sign!” in his comedy routines. Well in the case of Yard Sale that is exactly how it was inspired… by a sign. I was driving home one day and saw a Yard Sale Sign on a corner. Not uncommon, except it was pointing directly into a cemetery. I passed by it over a few days and each time, it’s pointed into the cemetery. Got me wondering, perhaps the dead have sales in the dark of night without our knowledge.
Movie Night For The Dead – You and your wife or significant other decide to go out for date night. You catch some dinner and then head over to the theatre to take in a movie afterwards. When you arrive at the theatre, if you are like me, you try to find a spot that’s as close to the doors as possible. Of course, there many different types of cars. What struck me as odd the one night my wife and I went out was there were four hearses parked in a row near the main walkway. Had to ask myself is it Mortician’s night out or are they bringing the dead in for one last flick before their proverbial dirt nap?
Anatomy Challenge – To quote Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War, “You’re not the only one cursed with knowledge.” With a couple of subjects in high school it wasn’t a curse, my knowledge was down pat. One subject (Anatomy and Physiology) I excelled at. Because I did, I felt that the midterm exam was a waste of my time. My teacher, Mr. Bultmann, thought otherwise. Therefore, a challenge was laid down. Succeed, no final exam at the end of the semester. Fail, and crow was on the menu among other things for my arrogance.
A “Lion King” Tale – My niece made the announcement at the end of May that her and her husband were expecting sometime in mid-October. Weeks later, my wife and I received an invitation to her baby shower and the opportunity to pass along my original Disney soundtrack to the film The Lion King to her presented itself. That soundtrack is something special that her and I shared. About an hour before the baby shower, I sat down, put that soundtrack on, and wrote the short tale/note, call it what you will, to her to accompany the soundtrack along with a Dr. Suess book for her baby’s library.
The Imagination Of A 5-Year-Old – My grandson was the inspiration for this story. He saw me trimming up my beard and mustache and decided that I needed a haircut as well. I was informed, “He is a barber, and I came to see him for a haircut.” During the process of pretending to cut my hair, he’d make comments. I of course asked why of them, and I would get an immediate response. Each comment built upon the previous one until he had weaved a cute little narrative which sounded something like an old Abbott and Costello routine.
The “Wahenee” Splash – Watch wrestling at some point, and you will see a move called a splash. The wrestler usually positions his opponent in a particular way, climbs to the top rope, then jumps off flattening himself/herself out on the way down splashing the opponent. Several wrestlers have performed this move. But have you ever seen a twenty-pound cat do it purposefully onto an unsuspecting five-pound dog? It was a spectacle to witness, and I hope that my interpretation came through in the story.
The Blanket – A blanket. A simple household item everyone has in multiples. They’re great to snuggle up in on a cold winter’s night or when you aren’t feeling good. No harm can come from them… or can it? What if that blanket could put you out in mere minutes or even seconds after you cuddle in and get comfortable, tired, or not? I own such a blanket that has this effect on everyone who climbs underneath. Is it cursed or just filled with love?
The Demons Always Catch Up – Each of us has our own personal demons. Things we’ve done in life that we wish we could go back and change. Though we all know the stone-cold truth… you can’t go back and change the past. The best we can do is learn from the past, so we aren’t destined to repeat those mistakes and allow the demons to rear their ugly heads again. Some, (this story applies to one I knew), however, never learn. They continue down a path to which there is no escape, and those demons finally catch up and consume you.
Observations Of A Man From A By Gone Era – Originally, I planned this story for its own full-length novel. Then, as I was coming up with stories for this novel, I realized that the story is better suited as a short, rather than a full novel. The story itself came about after many conversations with friends, family members, and acquaintances about how things have changed so much since we were kids. Some of the changes are good, others I feel I was born in the wrong era because my values and beliefs fit better in the past.
May The 4th Be With You – May 1977 I was just shy of six. On a school night no less, my father took me downtown to our little one screen movie theatre, complete with a balcony, for a movie night. The film we went to see, a science fiction film called Star Wars. Little did I realize, or the rest of us for that matter, how much of a worldwide phenomenon and inspiration this movie would become. It is a memory I still remember to this day and will never forget.
The Master’s Hand – When you visit Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan and make a purchase they put a small little Good News Tracts booklet in your bag. These little booklets contain stories that ties into a more Biblical meaning. This story is inspired by one of these booklets called “The Touch Of The Master’s Hand”. It’s a story of a violin up at auction. It starts out as worthless until a man came from out of nowhere, cleans and tunes it, and turns it into the wonder that it can be. The explanation is that it was given the touch of the Master’s hand. In the case of this story, the hand of God himself through a master musician. I find some of my stories come with such ease and practically write themselves. It is as if I am just a conduit for the story to flow through. Saint Nick is the most notable example of this. Is it because of the passion I have for Saint Nicholas? Or is it simply that I to was touched by the Master’s hand at that time?
‘Till Book Do Us Part – The idea for this story came to me while I was cleaning the bookshelves in my office one Sunday afternoon. At the time of this writing, I have 164 books on my shelves and have read 25% of them (give or take). Problem is… I am always adding new ones. So, I wondered if I would ever get around to reading them all before, I bought the farm? Then I thought, what if I could live until I read them all? Wouldn’t that be something.
A Note To The Would Be Author – On August 3, 2019, I had a book signing at Bookbrokers & Kramer’s Café in Traverse City, Michigan. The owner, “Doc”, has a great passion for both books and the art of writing. He went out of his way to support all authors, especially those who, like me, self-publish. Every author who did a signing at Bookbrokers was asked to write an entry in a journal that Doc kept. The journal was a way for other authors who came through to gain insight and encouragement for others in their shoes. This story is the entry I wrote that day. I thought it would be the best way to round out the 30 Storeys.
So, there you have it. If you go back to an earlier blog you can read "Till Books Do Us Part" as I posted it as a Christmas Gift for you all. So, I would love to hear your thoughts. What one of the "30 Storeys" sounds like one you can't wait to read? Please post your thoughts either on my instagram page (KrowWriter1015), Facebook page (@bkrowriter), or even drop me an email at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I will also be out at Charlin's Book Nook, located in the River Place Shops in Frankenmuth, Michigan for Signing Satruday's on October 15, 2022 and November 26, 2022 from 11am to 5pm signing copies of my current works. They make great gifts for the upcoming holiday season.
If you have picked up one of my books, thank you for your purchase. Let me know what you thought about it. You can leave a review at Goodreads.com or shoot me an email and let me know your thoughts. Feedback lets me know how I did and allows me to help promote that book better.
I want to thank everyone for their support. It is appreciated more than you know.
Until next time...