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!

Manticon 2018

My time at Manticon 2018 was a great success. So much so, that I have a hard time coming up with the best part about it. I keep remembering this conversation or that exchange. And I don’t want to bore you with a minute by minute account of the weekend, so instead, a quick list.

10 Great Things from Manticon 2018 (in no particular order)

Timothy Zahn

I got to sit next to Timothy Zahn, an award winning novelist whose tableau of books on his table was impressive. I spoke with him a couple of times, took a picture with him, even got him to sign some books for me. Then, as icing on the cake, he bought a copy of my book. I was flying pretty high after that.

Czech Writer Jan Kotouc

Another writer I sat next to, Jan is a Czech science fiction writer. It was interesting to hear about his stories. And he’s running an Indiegogo campaign to translate his stories into English. I’m looking forward to seeing it in print, and reading science fiction from a new point of view.

The Other Writers

There were other writers there I got to interact with. One group writes a post-Civil War steam punk graphic novel. Another author writes a lot of stories and goes to conventions all over the state. He gave me some good advice on some things I could do in the future. Always nice to interact with other authors.

T-Shirts

One of my favorite T-shits is a writing themed shirt. I’ve gotten more compliments on it than any other I’ve ever had. So, for the convention, I bought a few others. I figured it makes sense to have a theme. They were a big hit. People who came by the table Friday came back Saturday and Sunday to see my shirts. So, that’s a win.

Digital Picture Frame

I’ve been looking for something to grab attention, but big static displays always worried me. As soon as Book 2 comes out, they lose some of their value. So I got a digital picture frame and loaded it with some wallpapers, things to try to grab attention. It did get some attention, though I might want to work on some of the wallpapers. At least, changing them out isn’t a problem.

The Source

A local comic and game store had some tables there. I talked with the general manager, who gave me some info on how to get my book into his store. I’ll have to give that a shot sometime.

Fans of the Story from Last Year

People who bought my book last year came up and asked about Book 2. It was nice to get that sort of feedback.

Fans of the Story from Two Days Ago

Two people bought my book on Friday. By Sunday, both came to tell me they were almost done and that they looked forward to Book 2. I was smiling after that.

Patch Maker

There was a booth there from the Threadmancer, an embroiderer who makes patches, some to designs, some custom. Why am I including this one? Because she is willing to start making patches for me from the Renaissance Army series. I think it’d be cool to have a collection of nice looking patches, much better than what I can do with Bitmaps.

Costumes

Manticon is an official Honor Harrington fan convention, and as such, brings a lot of fans who are part of their organization. The Royal Manticorian Navy has uniforms, medals, and rank structures that simulate their fictional counterpart, and they take pride in a lot of their uniforms. It’s fun to see all of them together.

Definitely a fun time. Now, on to Books and Beer!

Creative Practice: Inspiration

No idea if this is going to be more than a once in a while thing, but we’ll see.

Creative Cal has shown up in pictures before, usually with his giant quill. He represents the creative aspect of writing, the imagination and the inspiration.

Logical Lou (with the mustache) represents the logical aspects of writing. The planning, the determination, the grind.

The Senator will see you now

 (the image is the property of Seize the Imperium card game)
Senator Uldina

Short I’ve been helping a friend play-test his new card game, Seize the ImperiumIt s a fun, empire building card game set in the far future. I found myself inspired after the last session of testing, and wrote out a few fan-fics, one about an influential senator. The game’s creator liked that one so much, he posted it on his blog!  You can read it here.

I’ve been gaming for most of my life, and I really enjoy these sort of extra-short stories that are often included in rule books. Mechanics of a game are important, sure, but these little things set the flavor and tone of the world.

Anyway, just wanted to get this out there. Book 2 is with some Alpha readers, and the initial feedback is pretty good. I’m also making good strides with a fantasy novel, and writing every day. Manticon is coming up, and that’ll be fun.

Until next time, keep on writing!

-Michael