How is it October already?

2020. Man, who thought this year would turn out the way it has. All the conventions cancelled, Books and Beer on hiatus, plans disrupted, then burned, then buried in a bog. Just…wow.

Earlier this year, when I found myself facing furlough, I promised myself I wouldn’t just let it pass me by. It was going to be an opportunity to get stuff done. I was going to write so many books, and lose so much weight, and just get so much done.

Of course, that’s not what happened. I got some writing done, but no where near the tsunami of publishable materials I thought I might get done. I actually did a NANOWRIMO challenge in July to write a science fiction novel, a way to force myself to relearn how to write at home. And as I’m back to work, I can get some writing done there. My coffee shop is still pick-up only, but I’m hopeful for the future.

What I’m Writing

I’ve got a couple of projects going. The main one is re-writing a fantasy novel to prepare it for publishing. I’ve got some good feedback on the story from some alpha readers, and I might make it a November Writing Challenge to rewrite the thing.

I’ve got the July SciFi story, which is a very rough draft. It’ll need some significant work to get it ready, but it’s doable. Book 3 of the Renaissance Army series is getting picked at; I’ve worked out some timeline and story concerns that were bugging me, now I’m writing some scenes, storyboarding and researching. Always researching.

Working on short stories. Have a couple it might be fun to send to magazines or the like. We’ll see if that works.

What I’m Reading

Right now I’m working through ‘The Complete Novels of Jane Austen’, which is one ebook with nine Jane Austen books. Before I’d seen the movies of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice¸ and I really enjoyed reading those stories. Whomever made the movies did a good job of consolidating characters and trimming the plotlines. The confusion I found in the books weren’t in the films.

The rest of the stories I’m reading cold, which makes for a bit of a challenge as I’m two centuries removed from Jane Austen’s time. I’m sure there are things I’m missing. But I’m still enjoying the dialogue. It on a level all of its own.

Fini

I don’t know how 2021 will look. I’m guessing it’ll be a slow slog back to normal, or what will pass for normal after all this. I won’t have a book out this year, that’s for sure, but next year I hope to publish at least one.

Of course, that’s still a lifetime away.

Cheers!

Michael

Tales of the Templars

The Templar Badge from ‘Templar Scholar’

The Tales of the Templars is a collection of short stories I’m working on. The idea comes from my second book, Templar Scholar, in which Sasha Small joins the Templar Project, a group of young men and women being trained by the Renaissance Army as leaders of the new Renaissance. Including Sasha, there are twelve Templars, each with their own stories and backgrounds.

The Tales of the Templars will include stories that follow Templars other than Sasha. It will allow me to explore not only new characters, but aspects of the world that Sasha has not experienced. One character grew up stealing to survive; how did he end up a Templar? Another character fought in a battle Sasha only watched from afar. What was that battle like to those involved?

I have sixteen potential stories, with each of the eleven Templars involved in at least one. Some of them are pre-Templar Stories, which is to say they occur before the beginning of Templar Scholar, some of them during the events of Renaissance Calling. Others are Templar Stories, which take place during Templar Scholar.

Will Tales of the Templars include all sixteen stories? No. And here’s where my readers come in. I have a page on my website (linked here) where readers can vote for their favorite story ideas. Each of the sixteen stories is listed with a synopsis, and at the bottom you can vote for up to five of the stories you want to read.

If you’ve read Templar Scholar you’ll know the characters and some of the events, and you’ll probably have characters you want to know more about. If you haven’t read the book, then hopefully some of the stories sound good anyway. And if you want to buy the book, you can do so here.

So take a look and let me know what you think.

Cheers!

-Michael

Templar Scholar

I am excited to announce Templar Scholar, Book 2 in the Renaissance Army series.

Templar Scholar

Templar Scholar follows Sasha Small as she joins a group of future leaders of the Renaissance called the Templar Project. Taking the name Scholar, Sasha works to become the best officer she can be, as the war of the Renaissance Army continues to heat up.

Amazon has ebook and hardcover already available for pre-order. Paperback should be coming soon.

Want signed copies? Both Renaissance Calling and Templar Scholar are available for order off my website’s store page.

Accepting Imperfection

When I was younger, I heard someone say that an artist is never satisfied with their work. They know what was in their mind when they began, and they see the final project, and it always falls flat in one aspect or another. It’s just something that all artists feel.

That saying has been on my mind as I’m working through the final stages of Book 2. As publishing gets closer and closer, I find myself battling anxiety about what is in the book and what is not. Have I stressed this point enough? Does this relationship get enough space? Will the reader take away what I want them to, or am I too vague?

There’s no way to get rid of these anxieties. They can even be helpful. The anxiety forces me as a writer to keep working, to pay attention to what is bothering me. Rewrite, research, revise, and continue.

Accepting the imperfection of my work is a part of the process. I really like Book 2. There are plenty of things I wish I could put in, but size constraints and the flow of the story keep me from doing so, and that’s okay. No story tells everything.

And when the anxiety and worry starts to grow, I remind myself that I’ve had six people read through the various drafts. All of them said they liked the book. If I trust them to advise me on editorial matters, I should trust them to tell me the truth on the quality of the book. An outside viewpoint carries weight against an inside doubt.

Ultimately, I will always feel that anything I’ve written is imperfect, and I’m okay with that. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be good enough that I feel comfortable with other people reading it. The stories I tell are of imperfect people in an imperfect world. Imperfection is part of the game.

Cheers!

-Michael

Michael Bernabo in 2019

As 2018 comes to a close, I spend some time looking back at what I’ve done and what I’ve not done. What I wish I did better and what I regret not doing.

The main take away is that I would liked to have done more conventions, and I’m annoyed I didn’t publish anything in 2018. With those in mind, I want to make some commitments to myself and my readers for 2019.

One: Publish Renaissance Army Book 2

This one is going to happen. I’m heading into the Beta readers section, finalizing the cover art and text, and preparing for printing. Slow and steady wins the race.

Two: Finish Rough Draft of Renaissance Army Book 3

The third book is already in the works. I’ve got some key scenes written down and I’m working on the outline. I’ll need to do some research and reading, but there’s a whole year to play with.

Three: Launch my database website

I’ve been building a database website for the Renaissance Army series. Its a website that includes rank insignia, history of the nations, and timeline of events. It will let readers who want to learn more know more, and help me keep information on the world in a place where I won’t lose it.

Four: Get a non-Renaissance Army book ready for publishing

I have a lot of book ideas, so I want to get something else ready for publication. There are plenty of possible stories that I could go with, and it is unlikely they would be as long as the RAM books.

Five: Write more short stories

I’m trying to look at short stories as a way to test out mechanics of worlds, debut characters, and just practice things I’m not used to writing. So in 2019 I’m going to write more short stories.

Six: Blog and Post More

Essentially I want to be more sociable on social media. I feel it is one area of the whole self-publishing author that I have not been successful at.

Seven: Get an Audiobook out for Renaissance Army books.

I may have a lead on a female voice to bring Renaissance Calling and its sequel to audibook. If that doesn’t work out, I have some other options. I aim to have both recorded when Book 2 is released.

So that’s my seven goals for 2019. Looking forward to writing as much as I can, and I hope you reach your own writing goals as well.

Cheers!

-Michael

General Update

Man, it’s been a while. I always tell myself ‘this time I’ll keep blogging’, and then three months pass by. Obviously, I’m not much of a blogger. I hope to do better, but if I’m going to write, I’m more likely to write books and stories than blog posts.

Alas.

Anyway, I wanted to send out some quick updates on where I am with various projects.

First, Book 2. The editor is almost through her first review, and she thinks it’s very enjoyable. So that’s a huge relief. There’s still a lot of work and notes to go through, but probably no huge re-writes.

Second, also for Book 2, the cover artist is aiming to get the cover art done by October 1st. This is just the front cover, not the whole outside (that can’t be done until I have a word count). But it does mean that in a few weeks I should be able to display the artwork in all its glory.

Three, I’ve already started writing Book 3, in an effort to get ahead of the curve. The story is in excess of 12,000 words so far. Don’t have a final word count in mind, and I’m trying not to come up with one. Let the story write and see where it ends up.

There are a lot of other things I want to talk about right now, but they all deserve their own posts, or they’re not ready for discussion yet.

Until then, keep reading and keep writing.

Cheers!

-Michael

The Coffee Shop Betwixt Life and Death

The following is a monologue I wrote for a fun event earlier this month.

**

Hello, kind traveler, and welcome to the last coffee shop you will visit. Here, at the Coffee Shop Betwixt Life and Death, we invite you to sit back, take a moment, and decide if you wish to return through the front door, or take the elevator to your final destination.

Now, do not be hasty. This is an important decision. Chose your drink wisely, for the flavors are not just for the tongue, but the soul as well.

Wish to remember young loves and lost romance? A rose tea latte will bring back the stirrings of the heart.

Have a desire to speak with your long-departed mother? A café au lait will bring her back to you.

Perhaps you wish to feel a pang of excitement? Then, I might suggest a hip matcha latte. Just trust me, it’s exciting.

If you have a philosophical mind, some smoky herbal teas will bring back your memories of wisdom, assuming you have any.

Take as long as you’d like, but be warned. Here, at the Coffee Shop Betwixt Life and Death, you are a patron because you have a choice. Time is fleeting. Stay too long, and that door behind you might just lock itself.

So, my dear, what memory do you wish to pursue? Love or Anger? Happy or Sad? What emotion, what vision do you wish?

I’m sorry, you had a question?

Oh, you misunderstand. You drink to decide if you will go back or forth, not if the elevator will take you up or down.

If that is your worry, then I suggest a cup of black coffee. It will not give you wondrous visions, but it will sober you up, so to speak. It may tell you that you have chances yet to save your destination, or reveal that you are too far gone to one extreme or another.

No, black coffee is not fancy nor flavorful, but it is sometimes what you need to make the important choices.

What’s that, you ask?

Well, if you add cream and sugar, it wouldn’t be black coffee, now would it?

Here at the Coffee Shop Betwixt Life and Death, these things matter!

The tale of an author, and his blog.