Two Days to Christmas

Yes, it’s two days to Christmas and if at nine days the young ones were excited, now it’s probably close to impossible for them to “settle down”. It is the anticipation, and the mystery, and of course that personal greed we all have, but not in a bad way. It is because we know that what is under that tree is meant for us and is given to us as a gift wth no strings attached.

Yes Christmas morning is almost in reach with the excitement and magic. Yet the children must get past Christmas eve, a time when many families visit other family members, or attend a candle light service in anticipation of what this day truly represents. Of course what I speak of here is the way Christmas is celebrated here in the US. And with this post I will link to a YouTube video that does a wonderful job of showing us exactly what Christmas is really all about.

And, of course, I do have that brand new Christmas short story to unwrap on Christmas day. This year it is simply a fun little story which will leave the protagonist wondering what is real. And this will be all I will say, which is more than I have in the past. To find out you will have to come back Tuesday or Christmas morning.

And now onto the YouTube video, and as with many it does have an ad leading into the video. So suffer through as the video is well worth watching:

https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com

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Published in: on December 23, 2018 at 10:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Nine Days to Christmas

Here, in the US, it means that all the young children are getting really excited. “Wow, only nine days to Christmas!” It’s so exciting to wake up on Christmas morning and sneak out at the crack of dawn where it’s barely light enough to see. And yet there before their very eyes are those many brightly colored gifts just begging to become theirs.

Yes, there’s magic in the air, and it is a time for children who add their own magic to the day making it both special and memorable. And with those thoughts I’m providing a repost that looks back to another Christmas short story that I posted here in the past. And in many ways the story applies to what I’ve just stated.

I found that after many years of writing these short stories that I ran out of ideas, and so I asked my wife if she had any suggestions. And she did. So with her idea I ran with it and wrote, again like last week, another favorite for me. If you did take the time to follow the link last week and read, And it Came to Pass, you know that it’s not necessarily a happy story. When I first began to write these Christmas short stories I thought about it and knew that while most do have wonderful Christmases others do not. So most of these short stories look at this other side.

This one titled, The Ornament, isn’t one of those. It is a story from the perspective of an ornament and what it learns through the time it is with a family. And I think that it’s a great short story. Again, this one is Christian based, so will reflect that aspect. Instead of linking it back I decided to repost.  And as a reminder, I will be posting a brand new Christmas short story on Christmas day. This new one is just a fun story for which I will give nothing away. You’ll have to come back and catch it after all the excitement had died down, and the day has become quiet and relaxed. A time to take a small journey to another place, and another time.

And this story I’m presenting here plus seventeen others are available in the book, Words in the Wind. And here for your reading pleasure is, The Ornament:

She came running up to the display where I sat. And I could see the sparkle in her eyes, and a soul full of merriment and excitement for the time of year. She can’t be more than five, I thought, and probably a bit younger. In the distance I saw the one who had to be her father coming to collect her. It became obvious to me that somehow in the hustle and bustle that she had escaped his watchful eye. In the distance I saw the one who must have been her mother as she stayed with the shopping cart. In that cart sat an infant, plus one more that had to between this one standing before me and that baby in age.

If I could smile, I probably would have. But, I was of glass, made to look like a shining silver star with a slight gold tint. Like the one that could have been similar to the one announcing the arrival of another child over two thousand years ago. With the bright lights I shown brightly, reflecting that light from the many facets that is a part of me . . . Just the thing to catch a child’s eyes, but much too delicate for them to handle. I heard him, the one who had to be her father, say, “Come on honey, mama’s waiting for the two of us and we still have much to do. Plus, you know, if we have time, we need to go over and see your grandmother today.”

She answered excitedly, “But daddy . . . look! Isn’t it pretty?”

He took a quick look that said to me that he really hadn’t, and nodded to her. “Yes, yes it is. Now please come back. There are a lot of strangers in the store, and it would be easy for you to get lost.” With that he grabbed her hand and pulled her gently in the direction where the rest of the family awaited.

I watched as she resisted, reluctant to leave, but it was also obvious that she really wouldn’t disobey and with her head down, said quietly, “Yes daddy.” She quickly looked up at him and back at the display where I was and she said with hope, “Can we get one of the stars? Please?”

I could tell from his reaction that this wasn’t the first thing she had asked for in the shopping center, and it was also obvious that with the crowds that his nerves were on edge. He simply said, “Look, as I said, we have a lot more to do here today. And if we still have time, and you’re not tired, we can come back, okay?”

She stopped for a moment, and then looked back to me with a big smile and said, “We will be back, and then I can take you home with me and put you on our Christmas tree.”

I thought that it would be something which wouldn’t happen. With so many bright and shiny things to draw the attention of one so young, she would forget and it would simply be a brief memory for me . . . but I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, with as many who had looked and with the crowds there was a great possibility that some other person or child would pick me and I’d become part of their personal family and history. Yet, as the day moved on, and many of my brothers were chosen, I remained. Why, who knows, I surely didn’t. Still it must have been providence, or whatever word you like, for me to remain.

With the time of year all the stores remained open late, but even so eventually they would close down for the day. After all, the ones who worked here had families of their own, and they deserved to return to them at the day’s end. It was close to closing, and the crowds in the stores had thinned when suddenly in the distance I saw them. To be surprised was an understatement. I could see the weariness in the parents. I mean think about it. Running all day through the many stores with young children who would become overly tired and cranky as it is called, besides all the crowds. Well, I’d give it to them. I really felt they’d have gone home a long time ago, probably stopping off and picking up something to eat so nothing had to be prepared once they got home. And I honestly suspect the children – all three of them – would be fast asleep from that ride home.

With a big smile on her face she pulled a reluctant father back over to the display where I remained. I could see by his reaction that he was surprised that I was still here, and I suspect that he had promised his daughter that if I was still available that yes, they would buy it for her. So with care he lifted her up and she carefully picked me up and gently carried me back to their shopping cart where I became part of the many items. I guess I was to be a part of this family and only this family and thusly why I hadn’t been picked earlier in this day. As we wheeled out into the parking lot I felt the fresh cold air as all the numerous bags of treasure were placed into the trunk of their car. But, she wanted to hold me and so her father carefully dug me out and had her sit in the car, followed by being safely strapped in before he handed me to her.

I looked up and saw the excitement in her eyes, but she yawned so I suspected she’d be asleep soon. Still before we really got on the road to where they lived they pulled into a drive-thru and ordered their dinner. She carefully placed me on the seat between her and the baby. She quietly admonished the baby to “not touch”, and happily grabbed the burger, fries, and drink, and began to eat them telling me all about her day. And as we headed down the road I saw that she was trying hard to stay awake. But the food, the excitement of the day, plus the quiet droning of the car was winning and as hard as she tried, she lost the battle and soon was sound asleep as were her siblings. I saw the mother look back and smile a loving smile and say something to her husband, where he whispered something back. And by the lateness of the hour I felt they would be heading home instead of going over “to grandmother”.

I really couldn’t see out from where I sat but I did see that the side windows were frosted telling me it wasn’t warm and soon I heard a change as we pulled off the interstate and onto the side roads. I heard the windshield wipers rhythmically slapping the car as they cycled trying to keep the windshield clean and clear. Eventually the car slowed more and then pulled into a driveway where it stopped. They left the car running with the heater on and one of the parents left and I guess unlocked their door to the home where they lived. Then one by one they took the children inside. Yet before they could take the little girl she awakened slightly reached down and picked me up hugging me to her breast and then her father carried her inside with the mother shutting down, locking up the car and following behind.

They took her to her room, got her into her night clothes – you know those pajamas with the footsies – had her take care of the bathroom routine and tucked her in her bed. Looking up she reached out hand hugged her father saying, “I love you daddy.” For which he smiled a tired smile saying, “And I love you too sweetheart.” At this point he handed me to her since it was obvious she wasn’t going to let me go. At this point she snuggled down deeper under her covers, sighed a contented sigh, and was almost instantly asleep. I watched from where I was as he smiled a loving smile, making sure she was tucked in, and quietly left the room, turning out the light and closing the door. Still there was a nightlight so the room wasn’t dark. I knew they – the parents – still had to unload the car, plus all the other responsibilities they had to do before they would retire. I thought about this sleeping child where I remained. Yes to be young and innocent, to not understand what the world really is, to think what little I see and understand to be the world, and feel safe, such a wonderful thing.

I knew as he put her daughter down for the night that she, her mother would be doing the same thing for the middle child and I suspect that together they’d get the baby to bed before heading out and finishing the night. Yet, for me it simply is a guess since here I am in this bedroom with the one who’d chosen me.

* * *

It was the next day and for a while I remained in her bedroom. It seemed she had much to do and at this time it didn’t involve me. I guess it is the standard stuff, but you must remember I hadn’t been around such before. I learned she had to go to the bathroom, take a quick bath after getting out of her pajamas, and from the laughter and splashing I could tell she, and later I learned her younger brother had a good time playing in the water. From where I was I heard screams of laughter as the sounds got closer to her bedroom and she ran into her room with her mom close on her heals. She jumped on the bed naked as a jay bird, as the saying goes, throwing the towel she had with her on the floor. I saw her mother shaking her head, even though she had a smile on her face. “Okay, little one, it’s time for you to get dressed and then we need to go downstairs and have breakfast.” It was quiet for a moment as the mother appeared to be listening and whatever she heard caused her to shake her head.

At this point she turned around and went to the door and yelled down the hallway. “I have this one, you take care of your son, and then we can all head downstairs and get some food.” Whatever the answer brought laughter to her lips. She turned around and her daughter was still on the bed daring her to make her get dressed, but in a fun way as there was a sparkle and challenge in those eyes. I could see that this was a familiar game the two played and with much tickling of the daughter and laughter from both of them the mother finally got the girl dressed, had her sit on the bed as she brushed her damp hair, and again it was obvious this young one didn’t really like having her hair brushed.

Soon they disappeared downstairs and for the longest time I knew nothing and heard nothing. Then she ran back into her room came over to where I was and carefully picked me up and said, “It’s time. I get to put you on our Christmas tree!” When we left her room I could hear, in the distance, what sounded like music – Christmas songs and such. And as we reached the stairs where I could look down I found a room transformed from what I remembered from the previous night. There was garland interwoven in the railing of the stairs, and a big green tree in the middle of what they call the living room. And it was obvious that much time and care had been given to decorating this Christmas tree with lights, bobbles, globes and so much more. But at this moment there wasn’t anything placed on the top, the place of honor.

It was at that moment I realized that this was to be my place. To be the one on top of the tree and to look down on all that existed here. If I were a living thing I probably would have glowed and been filled with pride for such an honored place. I watched as she handed me to her father who then unpacked me carefully from the packing that protected me from being broken. I saw the impatience on her face as he took his time. Looking up I could almost see a hidden smile saying to me that he was deliberately being slow, and watching her and her impatience. Finally when he could tell that she had almost reached her end he handed me over. She reverently took me in her two small hands and her father lifted her up and with care she placed me in this place of honor. She studied me for a few moments, made a slight adjustment and then told her daddy she was done. He carefully set her down and tickled her a little bit getting the expected giggle.

He looked down and asked. “So what do you think?”

“Oh I think the star is won-der-ful, and just right!”

I could tell that the big word was something she said with some difficulty, but I could also see that she was proud that she could say it. I watched from my high perch and he looked up and appeared to be studying me and where I was, paused, looked down, and it was obvious to me that she was waiting for his approval. At this point he crouched down so he could be eye to eye with her. He simply said, “Yes, I agree.” At this point they turned on the lights and the Christmas tree shown in its own splendor.

* * *

The days flew by and I saw, as the days passed, the children, at the least the two older ones, were becoming more and more excited. As to the whys I really didn’t understand then. Still there was a routine to what happened in the house, and I fell into this feeling comfortable with the love I felt here. Then one night they left – all of them – and this was different. Yet it had become obvious that something important was about to happen. I heard something about going over to the children’s grandparents as it was a tradition they did every Christmas Eve.

Now I knew that I had been created for this time of the season, but really didn’t understand the significance of what it represented. In fact it took a few seasons for me to put it all together, and then it all made sense. It represented a time of giving. And while it appeared to be a magical time for the children, it really was much more serious than it appeared. It was a couple of conversations the parents had that finally put it all in perspective. This time of the year represented the ultimate gift – God bringing man back to Him through the gift of His Son. This led to the understanding of the gifts magically appearing under that tree. That same tree where I sat on top, but I get ahead of myself since this is the first year or season I became a part of their tradition.

The house was quiet and seemed empty while all of them were gone. And while the lights that lit the tree were normally on at this time, they weren’t at this moment, and a soft glow from the hallway light was all that could be seen. It was hours later when I heard the car park in the driveway and the key open the lock. This was followed by the daughter being carried in by her father sort of half asleep. She looked over at the tree and me, and I could make out a huge smile and it was obvious she was anticipating something. Again what this was all about I hadn’t a clue. Her father carried her up the stairs and I suspected to her room, then returned and with a practiced routine returned with the son and the mother carrying the baby.

The next hour or so seemed to be involved in getting the three to bed and tucked in for the night. Then they came downstairs and went into the kitchen where they turned on the light, made some coffee, and sat quietly and talked. It seemed, to me, that all was right with the world at this moment. I heard the chairs scrape the floor as they were pushed back and I watched the parents head upstairs. I thought they would go to bed also, but I was oh so wrong. I heard them whisper something and then, as if by magic many wonderfully wrapped gifts appeared under the tree. I noticed, for the first time that a plate had been left out and there appeared to be some cookies on it with some kind of note propped up. And like the gifts appearing, the cookies magically disappeared, and a new note replaced the one that had been left. Then it was quiet, quiet until just before dawn.

I thought I heard a creaking of the floor, and I saw her quietly come down the stairs wide-eyed and full of wonder. She carefully looked at all that was there – all the brightly wrapped gifts and presents. She tentatively picked up a couple. If it had been lighter in that room I probably would have seen that huge smile, and probably a lot of impatience. I suspected that she had to wait until everybody was up, and right at this moment she knew she was the only one. So she went over and sat in one of the big chairs and tried to wait. Again, it was obvious she was too excited to be able to sit still. So she headed into the kitchen, and kind of walked around trying to make that old clock go faster, but nothing seemed to work.

I could see that she thought, a couple of times, that she heard someone moving upstairs, but each time it turned out to be nothing. Eventually, and it was still before dawn, she saw her brother at the top of the stairs rubbing his eyes and looking like he had just awakened. She looked up at him and whispered he needed to be quiet, and come down and see what Santa had left them. So, with care taking one step at a time he came down, and I saw that incredulous look that he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Now taking on the role of her mom she told him he could look but that’s all, until momma and daddy came down to join them. Now I had two impatient kids waiting and it was obvious it seemed to be killing them.

Eventually I heard the coffee machine begin its daily ritual of making coffee. This only heightened the anticipation for the children as they knew their parents would put in an appearance shortly and then they could find out what awaited them behind all the beautiful wrapping paper. Yet, I learned this day they had a family tradition where fresh cinnamon rolls would be baked, and with coffee for the parents and milk for the children they would gobble the food down before the father would become the official gift giver as he would look to each package, read the name on it and hand it to the new owner. And they had to wait until all of those wonderful gifts were piled in front of them. Then they’d each open one and show all what they got, and continue until all of them were open.

I saw, from the squeals of excitement, and the joy that these items they received were loved things, and soon with Christmas music playing in the background, each child began playing with their new treasures, and quietly, since there had been gifts exchanged between the parents, it was time to clean up all the torn and beautiful wrapping paper, plus all the boxes these gifts came in. And as the morning progressed I began to see yawns on the young ones, and with urging from mom and dad, they took their gifts to their bedrooms and soon it was quiet. I saw the mother and father look at each other and smile. For a while it would be quiet and they could relax before working to put together that final Christmas meal that they all would share later that evening.

And then, it was over. As a new year dawned everything got packed away including me. So until it became that time of year once again, I would know nothing of what happened with the family. Again that is the way it should be since I am to shine during that special time of year. Still this isn’t the end of the story. I guess we could say so but that leaves so much out, and so much that is important. Still I have to admit that very first Christmas that I participated and remembered will always be special to me. But I digress and it’s time to continue . . .

Now I feel that it’s important that I cover that first Christmas season in much detail, but to continue to do so really would make no sense. Yet I remained an important part of the family for years to come. I watched the change in the little girl as she grew. And each year she became less and less of a child, until she became what her parents called a pre-teen. I began to notice a change and while she still placed me in the position of honor on the top of the tree, it seemed to be more of a chore instead of a privilege. Still all things change, and believe it or not even me. I now had a few scratches, nicks, and such even with the careful handling. Still I felt the love in this house and the care they gave to everyone and everything.

Then one year a few after this one she was gone, and only her brothers were home. I found that the mother and father now placed me on top of the tree, and the two boys helped with the rest of the tree. Yet, once again, I felt the changes that were in the air. I didn’t know what to attribute these changes to, but realized it had to be because the young ones were no longer young. And then all the children were gone and it was only the two. And while I felt the love, it seemed the magic was gone.

It was during this time that the children would show up for an evening – not all, all of the time – before returning to wherever they lived. I realized that the ones who lived here, well, their hair had turned gray, and they seemed to move a bit slower. It surprised me that so much time had passed. Then in the middle of one of those years, where I normally remained packed safely away, new changes happened. Suddenly I, with everything in this house, was packed away and this house with so many happy memories became empty. The mom and dad moved away from this home and into something much smaller. I guess it made sense because they really had no need of all that space.

It felt strange that first Christmas in this new place. I knew nothing about or of it. It was then I realized that when the children came to visit, that they had children of their own, and of course soul mates – all beginning a new tradition for each new family. And it was then I found that I was removed from the tree top and given to the daughter, the one who originally spied and wanted me so long in the past. So I left this home and went to a new place. I saw as I was carefully packed into the car that she rode while her husband drove. I heard the sounds of a baby, and knew I would be seeing another family grow.

* * *

And yes I did. I watched as the magic returned and her four children grew, and like when she left I saw her family leave. And on a sad note I also knew that her parents had passed making her the matriarch of her family, as well as her younger brother who became the patriarch. And, for whatever the reason, it seemed that none of her children were interested in me – those two girls, and two boys. Yet, as I had seen it happen to her parents, I saw the gray beginning, and suddenly she was alone as she lost her soul mate. It had been just before Christmas, and while I ended up on her small tree, I knew it was a sad time for her.

* * *

And yes, life goes on, and I got to see it renewed as her children found loved ones and had children of their own. It meant that most likely that I would see an end to my beginning, to see the one who had chosen me so long ago join her parents, and her husband, but that is life. Yet, before I witnessed any of this, one of her granddaughters fell in love with me, and I could see, while the one who had chosen me so long ago was reluctant, she passed me on to her granddaughter. Where I became special and once again held the place of honor . . .

Yes, I wondered what happened to my brothers who had become part of other families, but this is something I will never know. Still, I consider myself blessed with all I’ve seen in those snapshots each and every Christmas. I learned of love, and what it meant, and what it does. I learned the importance of family and the ties that keep them together. So as an ornament what more can I ask, other than to continue being a part of something so great. And I guess this is my story. So God Bless to you and yours, and Merry Christmas!

https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com

Last Quarter, and Discussing Short Stories Too

Well, here we are entering the last quarter of 2018. It really seems like a short time ago 2017 ended and we had just entered 2018. Yet, here we are. For me days, weeks, months, and yes even years move along much too fast. I believe this may be the result of living for sixty nine years. When we are young, and here I’m referring to when we are five or six – about the time when we can remember some of our past – time seems to drag, and the years seem to be really long.

I believe that’s because of the ratio of the number of days to the number of years we’ve been around. Comparing that to now it seems that my days heading into the past go on forever. Even though that’s not true. Those days are as finite as I am. Those days (25,185, at the time I write this) do say that I’ve lived most of my time given to me. Fortunately I do come from a long lived family so my chances are good that I should live into my nineties. In fact my mother is ninety-three and still sharp as a tack as they say.

Still we are winding down this year and soon it will be placed in the books as all the years before this one. And being that it is this time of year it means that I’ve begun to work on this year’s Christmas short story. I’ve found in the last couple of years that coming up with one hasn’t been easy. In fact until recently I didn’t have a clue as to what I’d write about. Fortunately something did come along and I’m well into the first draft. And no, I haven’t finished the story as of yet., but will soon. Truthfully I have to, as it will need to be revised and edited a number of times before it will actually become more than words on the page and be ready for prime time. And yes it will be different from the others I presented over time here on this blog, and in the book of short stories, Words in the Wind.

For any who are still with me, you now know that I’ve dropped my posts down to once a month instead of weekly. Still a number of you are recent followers and there is a lot of material in the archives. This blog came into existence in 2011, and while that seems like yesterday  to me, it’s quite a few years ago. And as both this blog and I age the frequency of posts will reflect that fact. This year I had thought of possibly writing another Halloween short story, but unless some inspiration strikes me, most likely it will not happen. Here in the USA it the time, at the end of October, for Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving on the third Thursday in the month of November, and we end the year with Christmas. Then suddenly one week later we begin another year.

For me it’s hard to believe that we are down to the last three months of the year with fall here and winter coming on strong. And in the area where I live that means lots of gray, cold days and nights with lots of rain. Cabin fever would be something easy to catch when it’s just too miserable to go outside. In fact, as I write this, it’s raining now. Still it’s a time for writing, and I still have two novels to complete. I’m happy where I am as I surpassed my original goal of eight novels, and then reached my next goal of ten with the recent release of “Words in the Wind, a book of short stories”.

We are entering the time of year where family becomes more important, as well as our friends. Nostalgia is also strong as our own memories flow back to our own past and of growing up. Enjoy the romanticism of these memories for we all have a tendency to remember the good times, and leave those bad times behind knowing that, many times, we do learn from them. God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

 

Just Some Random Thoughts About Music

I guess in a way I can claim to be a writer since I’ll be releasing my tenth novel in September. And on that subject I have a tentative release date of September eleventh of this year. Still I know many wonder where the inspiration comes from, and I guess for each of us the answer would be different. And while this particular post isn’t necessarily about any particular subject I really do have a direction I’m heading.

Music has always been popular since whenever it was invented. Even the most primitive tribes perform music. So it must be a part of what makes us human. For any of us what we enjoy and what we remember from the past again will be different. Yet all of us have one aspect that shows the power of music. Still I’d say there are other things that can trigger this as well, but I believe that music would qualify as producing the strongest associations. Yes a certain smell, or a particular day with the way the air feels, or even seeing a particular scene can do much the same.

And I suspect that remembering this as a writer would be a great way of presenting a way to look back to a character’s past since it is so powerful here in the real world. I watched the movie, with my wife, I Can Only Imagine, and found that later I was playing the song in my head when it pushed me into a different direction when another song from my past which was similar replaced it. And I have to admit that I’ve always loved this other song. The Song Remembers When, came out in the late nineties and shows, through the lyrics, this power that music has.

You can find the song on You Tube and the singer Tricia Yearwood who released and sang it. I believe that it does an excellent job of describing what an old familiar song can do when we hear it in the present. Suddenly we pause as the melody and lyrics take us back to that moment in time and in that instant we leave the present and almost relive that memory again.

At times it can be so powerful that we are literally there seeing it all again. And as the song ends and as we return to the present what we, many times, find is that it has left a profound effect upon us. And yes there are other things, as I stated above, that we come across in our lives that can do much the same thing. Personally I find that the power of music brings forth the most vivid imagery and the reliving of my past.

Still what can we say? It has been proven that our memories aren’t necessarily accurate. So is what we see in our mind’s eye, the feel, the sense, smell, imagery, or taste, is truly what happened, or has our minds rewritten that past so that what we remember is a more romantic or maybe safer version of the actual events? Who really knows? For there is no way for any of us to return to our past and be observers, to record what is there and to see what actually happened. So it then becomes the responsibility of our memories to answer those questions. And we already know that those answers won’t necessarily be correct.

So, next time one of those favorite songs from the past takes you on ride, time traveling to your own history, smile and appreciate what you feel and see, because we do have the rare ability to look back. And in my personal opinion that is special.

God Bless F. D. Brant (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

Published in: on August 11, 2018 at 7:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thoughts on My Two Trilogies

Before beginning the actual post, here in the USA Sunday, May 13, is Mother’s Day. To be honest none of us would be here or be who we are if it weren’t for our mothers. Raising children or the next generation is probably the toughest job on this world. So here’s to all of the mothers, and mothers-to-be out there. Have a great mom’s day and I personally salute you for your love, work, devotion, and dedication.

* * *

On Tuesday May 15, 2018 I’m releasing A Taste of History Past, Or – That’s Another Fine Myth You’ve Gotten Me Into, Book three of the Survival Trilogy. This is a second edition with revisions and updates This completes this trilogy with this release. With second editions of the first two novels in 2017, and the release of the novel The Harsh Lands which is the trilogy in a single novel, and A Taste of History Past, this week I’ll be moving on to my next book which will be one of short stories titled Words in the Wind.  (Links to the website where additional information is available is below.)

* * *

I’ve written, as I stated above, two trilogies. Of course when I began the first novel the plan, at the time, was for the story to be presented in a single novel. This makes me think about Anne McCaffrey and one of her short stories that then became four novels later, (Freedom’s Landing is the first book). Sometimes a story stays with you and demands more.

My two trilogies are: The Survival and Discovery. The Survival trilogy consisting of, Time of Isolation, Desperate to Survive, and A Taste of History Past. The Discovery trilogy consisting of, The Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. The trilogies are listed in order of publication. Yet I wrote the first two books of the Discovery trilogy before I wrote the Survival trilogy.

As I stated, the original plan, in both series, was to write a single novel and here I want to explain how I track my writing as I create the first draft. First off, if you’re new to this blog, when I write I don’t outline. I have the complete story in my head and I see it as images that I then translate into words on the page. My goal is around 100,000 words but normally end up with around 15,000 more. This translates, for my novels, into the range of the high 300’s to mid 600’s, (one novel pushed close to 170,000 words) for a page count.

As I write I keep this goal in mind and actually worry that I won’t reach it until I reach 50,000 plus words. At that point I know how much story I have left. Then comes the next worry: Will I complete this within the limitations I’ve set? And as I push 80,000 words I generally know. I realized in the novels, Time of Isolation, and The Ones Before that when I reached my word count limit I still had a lot of story to tell. Too much to wrap it up in a single novel.

This meant that there’d be a second novel. Still with what I saw, in my mind, I really didn’t think I had enough left to create a second novel. So this left me in a quandary as to what to do. Yet, the desire to continue the story stayed with me and I then wrote, Desperate to Survive, (Survival) and Discovery, (Discovery). In a sense I probably had no reason to worry since both novels turned out to be longer than the first ones. And to be truthful in both trilogies the second novel wraps up the main story. As you can see from the titles of the second novels it is where the name for the trilogies came from.

I realized that the two fictitious universes I’d created left room to write about different time periods within those worlds. So with The Survival Trilogy I went forward in time creating a whole new set of characters and where in this world and time period the action takes place would then reflect the past world from the first two novels. In the Discovery trilogy I went back in time where that story would reflect and show the beginnings of what became known as fact in the first two novels.

In both trilogies I realized that if I had a desire to continue that there would be many other novels that could come from these worlds. Most likely both will stand as they are. The genres for them are: Survival trilogy – Science Fiction Adventure, and Discovery trilogy – Post Apocalyptic. By going to my website, (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction/) you can see the covers, and read the blurbs about these stories and see if they may be of interest and something you’d love to read.

There you will find the ISBNs. And they are available from most retailers and can be ordered online through their sites.

God Bless and have a great weekend and Mother’s day! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Closing Thoughts

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

In a sense I suspect many may be disappointed by the way this series of posts ended. Many probably were expecting much more detail, and maybe a better sense of direction. Still with writers being anywhere on their paths to success it means that being specific or drilling down to that exact item, or specific advice would be impossible. Each of us is on a unique journey, a path only we can take. Others can view it and take away what may be important, but in the end it will only be a small part of the overall process or picture.

For me finding Joel Friedlander, (joelfriedlander.com) was that final piece that made it happen for me, (And no I’m not being paid to say this. In fact this person is unaware of this post). And we all must realize that his solutions are not the only ones available to us. There are many great sites out there with great teachers and educators who are willing to tutor or mentor. And there are also the opposite. So it behooves us to research before investing. With the anonymity of the web it is easy to lose one’s money with no recourse.

There are sites like, authorscommunity.net where they are set up to help and assist authors in their journeys. And we can always look to Writers Digest, and The Writer magazine, since it is their business to bring important information, training, suggestions, and trends to the writer. Or a site such as authors.me where they attempt to bring writers, publishers, agents, and editors together.Sites that didn’t exist in the recent past.  And as far as sites I could continue to list them, but then again, there’d be no room for anything but websites.

I could have also gone through the mechanics of what and how I do my writing, (but this isn’t what this or these posts are about). Still, if you think about it, this is my personal way of attacking the whole project from beginning to end, and it works for me. And while parts may work for others, we are each individuals who will tackle the problems before us in our own personal way. There is no one right or wrong way to do any of this. I can remember my mother saying that my dad would always try to make her do something the way he did. She always responded back with, “I don’t do it that way”.

We must remember that as individuals we will always see the problem from our personal perspective. And with this we will also solve whatever that problem is with what has worked for us. So while we may want to help others with the way we do something it may not work for them. That is probably why giving one the tools and understanding to use those tools is as far as we need to go. From there all of us must learn to fly on our own.

We may look back fondly on that particular mentor that made the light shine in the darkness, and understanding suddenly dawn. Yet if we honestly think about that experience we will see that they allowed us the room to make mistakes, to then come back and ask questions. And yes, while they were the teacher in truth they probably were more of a guide keeping us within the boundaries we needed to be. Using their experience to keep us from falling too hard and becoming discouraged.

So consider this as a series of posts on my personal journey and an overview of the road I traveled. It cannot be your road. Take away from it what is important to you. In the end only you can move yourself along your personal journey. Will it be easy? No. Rarely is such the case. So expect it to be hard, and if some parts are easy then this type of disappointment is positive. For me when such happens I generally wait until the other shoe drops because there always seems to be something waiting in the wings I hadn’t anticipated.

Oh yes, some of you may have been wondering if those novels I’ve self-published were just short little things that might be considered novellas. No not really, since my shortest is close to three hundred pages, the longest which combines a trilogy into a single book is eleven hundred and fifty plus pages, and the longest stand alone novel is over six hundred and fifty pages in length. I’ve released two trilogies with the other three as stand alone novels. Remember:

Set those goals, and keep your mind and eyes on what those goals are. As in life, there are always distractions, always other things to pull you away from your path, your personal journey. And never, never give up. Have a great week, and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Eight

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

At times it seems like there is nothing out there that can move things along into the direction that one needs to go. So I suspect at this point many give up. We have to remember that we are not the only ones who have been down this road. It is also important to remember that many stop at this point and fall away thinking about all the time they’ve wasted and that there surely are easier ways and other things which are available. In their mind it is definitely time to move on.

We have a plaque in this house that simply states ,”Never Give Up.” Three little words that are important to remember. Still and in the end there are no guarantees – none. You see the results of this most often when someone is fighting a terrible illness or injury. As long as they are fighting they seem to persevere. Of course for many it doesn’t matter since they are terminal. Yet, one can see, once  they give up, it is soon after this that they die. There is a point where one becomes tired of the fight. (Still, we are all terminal. It’s just the “when” that’s unknown.) This is true for anything we do in life. How many times have we been frustrated and eventually give up considering it a lost cause? And if any of us would honestly look back we will see this happening in our own lives.

So I continue to try, to never give up, and pursue that dream of being a successful writer. Truthfully to have completed and published – whether traditional or self-publishing – a novel can be considered a success. Many start this journey and never get but a few words written on the page. Finding that in the end, it’s not as simple as it appears. For me, so far, it has been nine novels – all self-published.

And since this series of posts deal with that journey I wrap it all up this week, followed by my closing thoughts next week. I have to admit, up to this time that I’ve learned a lot. Still what I knew at the beginning wasn’t even close to the knowledge needed, (even though I felt I knew enough). So I continued my personal search to learn more and to be able to take control of the overall process. This lack of knowledge and the learning of this forced me to drop many of the preconceived ideas I had, which is probably a good thing.

It was during this time that I received an email for a free webinar. Now any who have attended these know that it does two things. First, it tries to sell you a product, and secondly it builds an email list for the ones who are presenting the webinar. I knew I was sadly lacking the tools for dealing with the publicity or book marketing side, and this webinar addressed this. So I signed up and watched the webinar.

In a sense this is where things began to change. The one hosting the webinar was Joel Friedlander (joelfriedlander.com). And the one presenting the webinar was Joan Stewart (publicityhound.com). I learned more in that one class or webinar than I knew about the subject. I purchased the product. And with the knowledge gained I began to notice the very thing being taught was used by established authors and can be described as a media kit.

Now if you decide to go to the sites I’ve just listed great. With Joel, once there, head to the “sites” in the menu at the top of the page. Why you may ask. Simply stated, here are links to all of his sites and everything that he has available, for a price of course, to assist the indie author on his or her journey. And I’ve personally spent a lot of time and money on many of the products he has available.

I have to say that what I’ve learned through his webinars and products have brought more understanding and knowledge for the industry I find myself in. I use his templates for my books, I’ve learned about publishing, and so many other things. And he continues to offer webinars as the host as he brings in others who have expertise that is important to the indie writer. In fact I just finished a webinar that dealt with what’s known as “copy”. And simply stated that’s your blurb, or anything written that is about and outside of your novel.

I’ve found that writing blurbs and such isn’t easy. In fact it’s hard. What was presented opened my eyes to a different, and I’d say a better way of writing this critical material. I couldn’t afford the cost of the actual course this time around, so will take away what I can from the webinar.

Now, to be honest, I’m sure there are many great sites out there to assist one in whatever direction they want to go. Finding that right one can help propel one in the right direction and give one the knowledge needed to be successful in the end. I have purchased other courses over time and found that so far what I’ve picked up from Joel is, by far, better presented, detailed, timely, and accurate. And his products are always being evaluated and improved. (No, I’m in no way affiliated with or are being paid for these comments)

In conclusion what I can take away from this is the fact that one must never stop learning, never stop improving, and never stop period. It is important to set those goals and to attain them. It is important to continue to improve on all levels. To continue your education, and as your knowledge grows so will your ability to see things and make sense of what you are seeing. It’s always frustrating to see something that’s important and it goes right over one’s head.

This has  been a journey that’s still moving, changing and growing. And this isn’t one for the faint of heart, or for the ones who don’t have the will or fortitude to continue. There are no guarantees in life, as I stated earlier, but if one doesn’t try, then one will never succeed. Next week I close out this series of posts with some closing thoughts. God Bless, and have a great week! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Seven

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

Okay, I had these completed manuscripts, and at this point I was at a loss as to the direction to go, as well as the way to do it. How was I going to get them out into the world? During this time Writers Digest started their own publishing house called Blue Ash. They touted the fact that they used the distribution network from Book Baby, which is high praise for the company I was using. Whether Blue Ash is still operating I honestly don’t know as I never used their services.

Somehow I needed to get my other stories or novels out into the world. Here the years were flying by and I definitely wasn’t getting any younger. What I mean is the fact that I started this new career after retiring from another. So time available to me wouldn’t be as great as one who decided, in their twenties, to pursue a career in writing. I remember reading what one author said stating that it had taken ten years before his career took off. Ten years, I thought, I don’t have that luxury. Yet here it is eleven years from those beginnings and next year I hit seventy.

Seventy, really? I do truly wonder where the years have gone. They have flown so fast that to find myself here at this time in my life and at this age is not only a surprise, but in some ways a shock. Of course my mother who is presently in her nineties laughs at one who is so much younger than she. Still, even for her, the years have moved along much too fast.

I knew I needed to learn more, but at this point didn’t know where to look, or what direction to turn. It was about this time that I got an email for a free webinar for marketing and the ins and outs of what would help authors with their platforms and the marketing of their novels. Of course these types of webinars usually have a sales pitch at the end. And for a price one can buy the product touted in the webinar.

Up until this time I must admit that I had been fumbling in the dark. And what I learned about the ones putting on this webinar is the fact that both had been in the industry for years, had assisted authors, had published their own books, and understood the process involved. And to be honest, the class was well worth the time even if I hadn’t purchased the offered materials. Okay, I’m the type, again because money has always been tight, and a rare commodity, that usually waits until the “special price offer” is about to expire before committing. And even then I feel guilty about spending money that should probably go elsewhere.

So after arguing with myself, and trying to decide, I finally gave in and purchased that particular kit. It was quite obvious that I really did know next to nothing about this part of the industry, and the webinar made it painfully clear. So I finally gave in. Was I sorry? I know that all of us have been mad at ourselves for purchasing something that in the end either didn’t meet our expectations or ended up never being used, and thusly a waste. Yet in this case I wasn’t sorry. What was inside that kit was worth the price of admission. It’s always nice when that happens.

Of course this didn’t necessarily solve my dilemma of those unpublished manuscripts. Next week I go into what this webinar became, and whether it went further than only one. Have a great week, and God Bless! (https://fdbrant/godaddysites.com/)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Six

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

All the websites that worked manuscripts into EBooks continued to change and update what they did, including the one I’m with, Book Baby. They added features, ran blogs, provided ways to use links that would allow an author or someone interested in the novel to see his, her, or the authors’ novels from their (the companies) webpages where the novels could be purchased, and also provided education and such. It was during this time that the first of what is now a common trend began. POD (Print on Demand) began to be offered by these same companies that originally came into existence for the EBook revolution.

And speaking of EBooks, they have grown rapidly in popularity, and if one thinks about it, it makes total sense. On one of these electronic devices of choice one can take an unbelievable number of novels and only carry that small device. It simplifies things for traveling and vacations where one expects to take time out and enjoy a book or two. Still there are many diehard “print only” people out there. So to be in the EBook market alone meant that there were a great number of readers that would be missing out on these books and the stories within.

Yet, like anything that is new, (POD) the costs were prohibitive, and while it made sense to join this revolution, the costs, for most, were much too high. And for me I was one of those that couldn’t join because of that very fact. And with the normal growing pains, there were still issues, and part of those issues lay in the fact that the quality wasn’t consistent or very good. To compare a POD with a commercially printed book showed just how lacking overall they were at the beginning.

Still, it was obvious to any who was following this trend that in the future the quality of these POD’s would rival any from the publishing houses. Now, for the indie author, what would be the requirements to be able to use this new service? A lot to be honest. And part of the surprise is that fact that you must do all the pre-work before submitting your novel. Also, because of the very small runs, the cost per book produced would be more. Meaning that the cost of doing business on the retail side forced the price of the books to be unbelievably high, (which is still quite true).

Again, to take advantage of all avenues it was important to think about this. At this time with the four EBooks, I had five more manuscripts collecting electronic dust. And they were doing me no good sitting on my hard drive. I had to find a way to get them out into the world.

Next week the journey continues. Have a great week and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Five

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

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On the social media side Facebook seemed to be one of the more important ones. Is it truly? Now that one I cannot answer personally. Truthfully I’m not a social media guy. I don’t like to put “me” out to the world with every little thing that I do on any particular day, or that I’m so important that everybody just has to know what I’m doing. Yet, it is said that it is critical, as an author, to be there for ones’ fans.

And speaking of fans or readers where are they? I know that Goodreads is an important site for finding them. So after a suggestion I went there, joined and set up an author page which would show my novels. Still and even with the onsight tutorial I was at loss as to what to do with it, let alone all the other places I was supposed to be. This led to another webinar, (from Writers Digest – not free, of course) dealing with one’s presence on Goodreads. And the information and education provided was timely and good. So I applied what I could.

During this time of learning and education I continued to write, building the number of novels I had in my portfolio. Still at this point in time I can still consider this a hobby and not a career. Why, you may ask. Simply stated, a hobby costs you money, and a career earns you money. So far I’ve spent significantly more than I’ve seen coming back in. My ROI (Return On Investment) is highly negative at this point and time.

Now I had a number of unpublished manuscripts and wondered what I would do with them. It led me back to the point where I began to think about traditional publishing once again. (I even submitted a manuscript to Baen Books for a possible chance at being published. Here there’s a good chance one will not hear back for at least a year.) It was during this time with the knowledge I had gained that I wrote a novel specifically written with the length a publisher would require for that “debut” novel in the genre I mostly write.

From here it was back to the webinars where I took a class specifically to learn the ins and outs of queries, (again from Writers Digest, and again not free). An agent even critiqued the one I created. At this point I still hadn’t given up on the idea of the traditional publishing route. So after finishing the class and tweaking my query I submitted it to another group of agents. Again the result was nothing more than more rejection letters.  It was also during this time when a new site became available, authors.me .

This site touted the fact that it was a place where agents, publishers, editors, and writers could come together on common ground. It was a place to be discovered, and to find that elusive agent or possible future contract for one’s hard work. So I joined. And when I finished the manuscript I had written specifically for this chance I uploaded it to the site. Again you need to understand that there’s a free side, and a monthly fee side. I understand this. To keep a page active requires funds.

Still with finances remaining tight I had to go for the free side, and I did have a publisher who seemed interested, but she became interested through Pitmad, (I comment on this a bit further along in this post) not Authors.me. In the end it was rejected. So I went back into the novel, which was 82,000 words at the time, and reworked the whole thing pushing it to around 100,000 words. This pushed it right to the limit of where “debut” novels were supposed to be. And then at the same time I had presented the novel here on this blog showing it as it was originally written, followed by showing the changes made. Still once it was rejected by that one publisher the same manuscript couldn’t be tried again with them. So I uploaded the revised manuscript to authors.me, and nothing happened.

This put me back to square one. During this time period, and a little before authors.me, I learned about something that was happening on Twitter. It’s called Pitmad, (If you’re unfamiliar with Pitmad then run a search). This happened about three to four times a year, and gave one a way to pitch their manuscripts to agents and such within the confines of Twitter. So I thought, why not? Here, again I pitched the manuscript, Unexpected, Unplanned, and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic adventure. Yes, as stated above, I had a publisher interested, still in the end it went nowhere. I did this for a couple of years hitting every Pitmad I could, but alas nothing came of it in the end.

I kept wondering, what was I doing wrong? Still in life there’s only two directions – forward or backward. Next week I continue on in my quest to get my novels out into the world. Have a great week and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

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