Writing our History into our Fiction

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Pixabay photo.

I’ve decided to write COVID-19 into my current fiction work-in-progress. Doing so makes me think of Stephen King’s The Stand with a shudder. Stores closed, streets practically empty. That is, until two weeks ago, when governors started announcing gradual re-openings. I am still playing it safe, though. If you were to write COVID-19 into your current work-in-progress, would you mention toilet-papergate? Stores running out of hand sanitizer? Stores with signs up requiring you to wear a mask? These are unprecedented times, and they are worth remembering and writing about. In my novel, the character will travel to our times from the earlier 2000s and will see some of those things. I do not plan to make it tragic, though. Still, who knew this would become our reality?

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In my most recent work of published fiction, Malachi, Ruse Master, I have written a whole chapter on Sept. 11th, 2001. My character is a young man living alone in the D.C. area. An ordinary day turns into an exercise in fear and uncertainty as news reports come in about the attack on the World Trade Center and the plane that headed for the Pentagon. The emotions were real, I experienced them and recall clearly what 9-11 was like.

I did a little research on what it may have been like for someone living in the D.C. area during 9-11 to get my facts straight. I do not know anyone who lived there at the time. I had lived there as a child, and I’m always reminiscent of the Potamac River and the weather changes. Living in Florida, the seasonal distinctions are not as clear. So, having a character living in that area around that time lent itself to writing that event into the setting. I feel that this is a way to frame the events of a novel, adding something we are all familiar with.

Like my character, Malachi, I did not really have a feeling of community reinforced for me. I just felt more alone. Though, I suppose, that is a result of terror. So why add such a horrible event into the setting? Because it is something we all remember, in many different ways. I also feel it helps us sympathize with the character. The book is considered a young adult novel, but it is not written specifically for young adults. It is something we all can identify with in some way; we’ve been there. My hope is that readers of all ages will find something to identify with in this book. You can learn about or get a copy of Malachi, Ruse Master at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086VYJYZX

As I grow in my writing journey, I am finding the importance of setting in a book, how it makes readers connect to the characters in the events. In a sense, a setting in any book is a character in itself.

What historical event have you lived through, and which fiction books express the experience well for you?

Malachi, Ruse Master Earns a Reader’s Favorite 5 Star Review!

_Author's new book receives a warm literary welcome._ Reader's Favorite 5 Star Review rating, 5_05_20 (2)

I’m really excited about the feedback Malachi, Ruse Master has earned from Reader’s Favorite! From the review:

“Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
Malachi, Ruse Master is a work of fiction written for young adults by author Pamela Schloesser Canepa. This action-packed novel is a spinoff from the Detours in Time series… but can also be read as a standalone.

…As a flawed character from the off, our central figure is developed with a great deal of emotional realism and sensitivity, which makes him all the more endearing when you see both his triumphs and troubles. This novel is exceedingly well-plotted to put him to the test in all sorts of different ways, and the anti-hero meeting this hero-quest style action in unconventional ways is sure to be really exciting for the intended YA reading audience. I also thought the dialogue was really snappy, entertaining, and true to form in terms of characterization. Overall, I would highly recommend Malachi, Ruse Master whether you have started the rest of the series or not: an action-packed and uniquely developed read.”

Readers’ Favorite LLC
Media Relations

 

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The first paperback copies of my latest book have arrived. As you can tell, I feel like a kid in a candy store…not because I am gathering riches and fame, but because I have made a life long dream come true, to know that feeling of holding my own book in my hands, to be a published author!

Want to know more or get your own copy of Malachi, Ruse Master? Click here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086VYJYZX

Weekend Coffee Share, an Island

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“No man is an island” -John Dunne

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclecti Ali. It has been another week full of Live meetings with my sixth graders, the usual online teacher stuff, a broken down computer, and self-publishing a book, which made for a happy break from loneliness or monotony. So, I ordered a new laptop. I use the work laptop, but the microphone does not work, and I’ve been too lazy to take it in to the designated repair center. I’m happy about the new book. One regular reader has told me I’ve taken an “artistic leap,” as it focuses on one character, a young man going through his identity crisis after dropping out of college and obtaining a job where lies and pretending earn his pay.. Give it a look if you like! it intersects with some characters and events from undercurrents in time, but it can also stand on its own.

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086VYJYZX

In the last month, I’ve had a pain flare-up, likely due to stress and fear. The news stirs my fear, and going to the grocery store in a mask is weird, but I do it. I feel like I have severe OCD, anxiety, paranoia, and agorophobia. Well, 80% of the world also does right now. I do have arthritis, but there may also be something else. I did so well after physical therapy at the start of this year, but the pain is back intermittently, and I aggravated it by going gung-ho two weeks ago trying a new exercise with light weights. Turns out I should not ever lift anything above shoulder level. 😦 No one told me that; I had to learn the hard way. )

It is relevant that I am currently reading something by Sarno about the Mind-Body Connection. It’s quite interesting, about how emotions or past trauma can cause or prolong chronic pain. Also, certain personality types are more prone to tension-myositis. When I explore these ideas, I feel more in control. Though, I am not really, but I feel it becomes possible.

Family

I am blessed that I have my family here, though. My 78 year old mother, and my 24 year old son. He had his birthday last Sunday and we took a walk in a park just he and I, then came home and my boyfriend came over and we all ordered a great meal from Outback. I bought a cheesecake the day before, so we pigged out on all of that. My dog is also great company in these times; he seems to enjoy having us here, since Mom and I are always here, and my son is here a few days a week since he is working between 20 to 30 hours a week.

My dog has been anxious, though. Perhaps it was because of a stormy day the other day. He seemed to really like energy, or maybe he was preoccupied. And when the storm started, he was very on edge. I had walked him for, and noticed stickers and his leg, so I tried to get one out and he snarled and snapped at me. That is unusual. I kept telling him it was okay and then he started licking my hands as if he really felt sorry. He’s really a good dog. His age in dog years right now would be about 58, sort of young to be a cranky old man. But maybe he’s getting arthritis or something like that similar to what’s going on with me.

My mom took him to the vet, and she said everything looked kind of normal but based on what we had told her she was going to do some blood tests. We are still waiting on the results, but also based on what we had told her, she gave him a chewable medicine and I’m just going to call it doggie Prozac. It seems fitting. He’s in really good spirits today, but not really eating much. So, we pray there is nothing really seriously wrong. He was a stray for three years before becoming hours, and I know there were some hard times, it was evident when we first brought him home. I consider him to be a dog with PTSD, God bless him. I love that dog.

Last night I stayed up a little too late watching Homeland on Showtime with my free trial. I am definitely hooked on that show, as it has many twists and turns and OMG moments. It was a treat to myself to binge watch something again, as I can’t do that much during the week. I do try to take at least two yoga classes per week and I exercise on the back porch about two times a week, trying to stay healthy. Balance, right?

As I mentioned before, my arm and shoulder are kind of bugging me today, so I am writing this via speech to text on my phone. I do need to go back and check for errors. I hope you all have as good a week as possible and taken some sunshine. If I have not visited your weekend coffee share today, please feel free to leave your link in the comments area. I can visit your post via my phone. I’m planning to take it easy today. 🙂 Sending a virtual hug!

New release is live today!

Do you remember the days of your youth when you insisted on being independent, surviving on a diet of coffee and Ramen noodles?  Do you remember the search for your future destiny, sometimes thinking you might do anything for a paycheck?  Meet Malachi.  Follow him on the roller coaster ride! 

Malachi, Ruse Master is live today and ready for purchase in Kindle book, paperback, or on Kindle Unlimited.

Visit the Book Blast at the NN Lights Book Heaven Book blog; there’s a preview of an interesting excerpt:

https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/malachi-ruse-master-bookboost

You can order your copy or learn more at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086VYJYZX

Weekend Coffee Share: Paint me Strong and Free.

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.

This week, I have seen the past two years of writing and story building come to fruition. I hit publish on the Malachi, Ruse Master paperback last night, and the e-book has been put on pre-order this past week.  This book is an extension of Malachi, and intriguing character from Detours in Time, Book 2, and follows him through his story and his intersection with Milt from the Detours in Time series. Through 4/22, you can get the Malachi, Ruse Master Kindle e-book for just .99 on pre-order here:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086VYJYZX
Today,  I am tired and my arm hurts. I’m surviving, since living in my head suits me fine, and I can’t imagine adjusting well to a regular schedule again. I’m enjoying online teaching and the interaction with the kids who do show up, and I try to find ways to streamline my work.  Today is arm day; it will be long and drawn out at my own pace.
I’m publishing a book but can barely find the focus to write and read these days. I think I’ll just record my thoughts. What do you think? It’s about a girl who escapes painful, difficult situations by flying around the room.
“Come back down here now!”
“No.”
The best, safest state of mind is a mix between reality and imagination. Take what you like of reality and paint it in the colors you would wish to see, like a starry night sky, like me swimming through the cosmos. Take what you don’t like, and paint yourself conquering it.  I wanted to create this scene with play-doh, but it will take a month to arrive from Amazon.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll still do it. 🙂
I have lost nothing in this pandemic but the old routine, and I have gained more time to look inside myself and examine my old habits and coping mechanisms, something that could help me to change for the better.  Or, it could all help me decide to change my surroundings.  This time has led me to embrace myself, thorns and all.  May you all gain something out of this time confined to your homes.  I extend my warmest thoughts to those who are experiencing loss.  I’d also love to hear if you all have ideas coming forward for you with all of your extra time.  I don’t feel I can put them into action yet, but tomorrow could be different!
Our mayor opened the beaches here in North Florida yesterday evening, and I see the crowds of people on the news. I envy them, yet I cringe. I could never forgive myself if I brought home this virus to my 78-year-old mother.  So, I am staying put.  Maybe I’ll walk the dog later.
Have a peaceful week!

Malachi, Ruse Master now available for pre-order! #IARTG

MALACHI.RUSEMASTER.eBOOK Cover by Jonas M. Steger

The next installment in the award-winning Detours in Time series is now available for pre-order! Malachi, Ruse Master explores the mysterious character of Malachi, a young actor from Undercurrents in Time who caught readers’ attention as he assisted Milt in his endeavor to learn about an enemy he’d never met yet. Why does Malachi do what he does? One thing is for sure, he definitely can pull a fast one….

Pre-order the Kindle version now for just .99 and get it delivered to you Kindle on 4/23!  Malachi, Ruse Master:   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086VYJYZX 

MalachiFacebookPostWIPSpring is here!

Have you read Undercurrents in Time yet? Find it on Amazon.  In the Kindle version, it will be just .99 through the end of this month!

Tabitha longs for a getaway, even a short one, but that getaway puts her on a collision course with danger.
Milt is busy trying to prevent a horrible future disaster at the hands of an enemy he has not yet met. While concerned, Milt doesn’t even suspect Tabitha’s plans, the very plans that will have her facing Milt’s nemesis.
Tabitha risks it all on a brief escape. How will she handle the unforeseen dangers she faces and make her way back home? How far will Tabitha and Milt go to prevent tragedy? Undercurrents in Time: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DCCQS3N

 

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share, A New Routine

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclecti Ali.  I’ve got to say, my coffee is sooo good today!  Maybe I am just feeling a sense of gratitude, trying to make the best of strange times.  I am beset with a lot of changes, as most of you probably are, too.

I’m a 6th grade teacher switching to online teaching to keep with the times and the state protocols. I’ve done my best to find the positives. Here is an intro video I did in the spirit of optimism:

https://youtu.be/5lLWXmpEMt8

(Yes, I know, I touch my face too much, especially when I’m feeling warm, a not-so-strange phenomenon for a woman my age :)).

So, here are five things you can do with online learning (or teaching) that you could not have done in a classroom:

1. Clip your toenails during a lesson

2. Wear sunglasses and a hoodie while completing (or grading) assignments (Good for students or teachers)

3. Raid the refrigerator for snacks as you wait for a student to give an answer

4. Pet your dog or cat, or your pet snake for what it’s worth….

5. Wear pajama pants. Really, no one will know!

I am going to enjoy the dog access the most!  (He has appreciated me being home more).  Seriously, though, I have been missing seeing my students.  I have posted to my Class Dojo a few times this last week as we had a week added to our Spring Break.  Well, now we have three more weeks off of school (at least), and Monday we will be starting online learning.  Schools in some states are out for the rest of the school year, and state testing is canceled here in Florida.  So, I am looking forward to communicating with my students and their parents.  I just have to go easy on my arm and the mouse-clicking.  I will say, yesterday after my home workout for the arm and shoulder, it felt better, despite being on a long conference call and setting up my classes online.  There is hope!

Nature is buzzing around us, even though we are avoiding many things.  A lot of parks are closed; nature is unbothered.  Birds chirp when I wake to silence, as no cars are starting up this morning.  I read that pollution has reduced drastically in China, and Venice canals are much cleaner.  Yes, we can be a parasite on this Earth.  I won’t go doom and gloom, okay.  I love the sound of birds in the morning!  My dog is happy, and I will take him for a walk later.  The sun has been shining constantly.  We will be fine!  I had some down evenings of worry and despair, but that was five days ago.  My church book group had a Zoom meeting for our discussion Thursday and will have an online service Sunday, so I’m feeling more connected.  Maybe now that I have more purpose and will be teaching my kids again, I feel better.  I can make other people feel better, since I’ve been actively seeking to learn what I can to calm my anxiety. Instead of feeling alone, we should all take this time to reflect and learn to unplug.

relax-569318_1280 Pixabay photo.

I loaded an app for meditation called Insight Timer.  I really like it so far! The Curable app for chronic pain and Mind-Body issues also has great meditations.  I signed up for an online course on Mindfulness which will yield a certificate when done through New Skills Academy online.  There is a lot about meditation in there.  I am exercising with things I learned in physical therapy and also logging in to see virtual yoga and abs classes through my yoga studio which is closed currently.  All of this is keeping me healthy; heck, it is keeping me going!  We have many ways to stay connected.  Let’s practice them!

I have also finished editing my manuscript for the Malachi novel, which is focused on a young adult man taking an unusual job to make ends meet.  This job forces him to face his own ideas of right and wrong.  There is now formatting and a final proofing.  Maybe it will be out in a month? I will let you know!  Here is a preview of the cover:

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Malachi, Ruse Master is a young adult novel with hints of sci-fi, as it intersects with characters and some events in the Detours in Time series.  People of all ages should enjoy it, as it can take you back to your own identity struggles and clamoring for independence as a youth.  There is plenty of action and adventure, too. I will follow it with a novel devoted to Ellie, whom we have already seen as a child, a teen, and an old, demented woman.  She will intersect with Malachi in this novel and then have her own story in a novel to come out in 1-2 years.  Time is not linear, you know!

If you have read Detours in Time, you should read the follow-up, Undercurrents in Time, in which Malachi is first introduced. I have reduced it to .99 for the remainder of the month.  Find it here:    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DCCQS3N

Stay well, my friends.  Do the things you love or find new things to love doing.  Read books.  Ask your writer friends about their books.  Write a book!  Exercise indoors or in your backyard.  Stop and breathe the fresh air, and find a reason to laugh, with your family, with your dog, yourself, with your friends online.  We will survive!