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Things got better

This is a post I wrote on my personal Facebook page on New Year’s Eve Dec 31, 2019. I share here in hopes it will help someone.

The first quarter of 2019 for me was [expletive].

I mean the kind of [expletive] that only happens to other people, or in novels, or movies nominated for the best Oscar screenplay.

The kind that makes you go on first pass, no that didn’t happen.

Nope. That shit did, sorry…any other word would be dishonest. And I’m trying to not be dishonest.

But that’s okay, 2019 got better.

Here’s 12 ways I think it happened.

First, People will help if you ask.

So ask. That’s harder than it sounds. But that’s how I lived. That’s how Martin Lives with an Eight Old came to be. Without asking for help, it would be Martin lives somewhere. And there are too many people to tag here. But thank you.

Second, accept that people don’t always help in the way they first way they said they would help. Dont get mad. Accept the help they give.

You may ask for $10 and only get $5, don’t get entitled-take the five dollars.

Third, yes, your life has burned to the ground. But you’re alive, someone could use your help. Offer it.

Fourth, write three pages a day. Just vomit everything in your head onto the page. That saved my life. Three pages every day. I don’t know why it works–but it does. Trust me.

Fifth, don’t eat breakfast. You’ll live. You’ll be fine.

Sixth, swim. It’s nearly impossible to be sad while swimming. Can’t swim? Fine. Run. Get it out.

Seventh, do your best to meet someone new everyday.

Eighth, find old friends to stay in touch with.

Ninth, drink good coffee. No one in history got rich by skimping on coffee. Zero. Trust me. No one–got rich skipping coffee. No one. Drink good coffee, life’s too short.

Tenth, read a paperback. Keep several on your night stand.

Eleventh, show up. Show up for church, parties, opportunities. Some how show up.

Twelve, watch movies. Have fun.

Maybe this list should be 20 since it’s 2020, but I’m lazy.

And I have a paperback to read.

And if you need help, I’ll see what I can do. Maybe we can watch a movie together.

Happy Holidays and New Year’s!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season.

I am very appreciative of all the readers of my books in 2019. Thank you. Don’t let anyone tell you kids aren’t reading.

In my own, business I sold more paperbacks than I did ebooks. That was an interesting change. I am curious to how that is working for other indie writers.

I am still working on Number Investigators three, Sally and the STEM Competition. My life was thrown upside down in 2019, with a separation and move. And that is one of those moments that can keep you from your writing and sense of creativity. But as my daughter and I slowly grow back into a new rhythm, my writing and creativity is slowing waking up. Sometimes things don’t go the way you want, and you learn to get back up again.

As 2020 approaches, I want to offer my support to anyone wanting to write, I can offer feedback and suggestions. Just message me here on the site or find me on Facebook.

I look forward to posting here more regularly. I notice I am enjoying simply writing this post. Funny how work and creativity creates momentum of it’s own.

Here is to more reading, new books, and life in 2020.

My latest book, Charlotte Morgan and the Lemonade Stand is now available

Charlotte Morgan and the Lemonade Stand is now available on Kindle. So please check it out and share with your friends.

It is the second in The Number Investigator series. It’s a series I hope will bring some enjoyment to math to students, and others. It is my hope they will see the fun in STEM activities and how we use STEM on a daily basis.

The next in the series will focus on Sally Hemingway. My editor told me to give each character a book. That was too good of an idea to pass up.

Anyway it’s out now. Would love for you to pick it up and tell me what you think.

Click here to pick up the book on Amazon. Thanks!

NaNoWriMo 17,000 words–wow–I am behind

I am still trying NaNoWriMo.

But I don’t think I am going to hit the deadline.  I am currently just past 17,000 words,  I should be around 27,000 words at this point.


I am not liking this stress.  I have missed a few days for various reasons.

But I am learning how to get more words done in a session.  Over the last two days, I have begun sketching out what I am going to write about that day.  That gives me a road map for the writing session.  As opposed to my normal, let’s just see where this thing goes.

I get the sense that NaNoWriMo was started to help people finish a book.  I have finished books, but I am not liking this pressure of 1667 words everyday.  A 1000 words s day, no problem.

I know there are many that would read that and laugh.  Doing 1667 words a day is normal.

I’m not there.

I can do between 1000-1700 words Monday through Friday without a problem.  Saturday and Sunday become an issue when my kid is home from school.

Oh, well, the book may not be finished by November 30, but it will be finished.

Tomorrow I Start Writing a New Book

I start writing a new book tomorrow.

I recently left being a teacher to write full time.

I have income coming in several different ways, but I want to focus on my publishing business.  And that really is what it is—a publishing business.

And publishers need books to publish.


So as of tomorrow I will have THREE book project on my plate.

First, I need to finish final edits and formatting for Finals: The Dolbin School Book 4, which I am currently serializing on Steemit.

I finished the second draft of another book on Friday.  That book is called Charlotte Morgan and the Great Big Math Problem, it’s about a third grade girl and her friends who like numbers so much they started their own club to investigate numbers.  During the book the third grade friends deal with bullies and the silliness of being third graders while finishing it up with competing in the school wide math competition.

It’s the first book I’ve written from the first person point of view.

Every page of the book has some sort of math or numbers in it.  During the math competition I have the math character Charlotte explain in head how she solves a problem.

Tomorrow I start writing the sequel to that book.

The second Number Investigators book.

I have no real idea what that book will be about.  I’m thinking it will be a business story where the friends decide to start a business.  That’s a good way to work in numbers.

I am a writer.  But I am also a publisher, and publishers need stories and books.  That’s the name of the game.  I don’t have time for writer’s block.

My favorite quote on writer’s book comes from Louis L’Amour:

“Start writing no matter what.  The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

That’s my own approach.  My order goes like this; first writing, second ideas, and third, then the good ideas come.

But writing is always first.

I enjoy writing stories.  That’s my new business.  So on Monday, I go to work and I start a new book.

I am totally cool with that.


Cars 3–Finally a Cars movie worthy of the Pixar name

Cars 3 finally gives us a Cars movie that worthy of the Pixar name.


The first Cars was at the time of its release (2006) the least successful of the Pixar movies, that honor now lies with The Good Dinosaur.  Which made the release of Cars 2 a little of surprise, but then Cars 2 went for the James Bond spy angle, throwing Mater into the main role.  Because everyone loves Mater.  For a Pixar film, it still flopped.  And for my money, it is the least Pixar of all the Pixar movies.  (But then again, a bad Pixar movie is a winner for other studios, that’s how good Pixar is.  And that could be the subject of another essay.)

Which made the release of Cars 3 surprising.  But with director Brian Fee, we finally get a touching, human movie about Cars.

Lightnin’ McQueen is at the top of his game, winning most of the races he runs.  When he loses it is to competitor that is his equal. Until he is beaten by Jackson Storm, a rookie car, who is clearly the younger stronger car.  Jackson Storm, like a up and coming young athlete is arrogant and cocky.

And when other of Lightning McQueen’s contemporaries begin to retire, he begins to feel the pressure to retire as well.  McQueen doesn’t want to be told to retire.  Like many us, we want to make that decision ourselves, being told it is time for use to hang it up is difficult for any of us.  So at the final race of the season Lightning McQueen over extends himself, ruptures a tire, and flips in a crash, injuring himself badly as the season closes out.

McQueen goes into a deep depression for several weeks until his gril friend Sally Carrera tries to convince him to retire, but McQueen demands that he will be the one to decide when it is time to go.

This Cars movie is different because McQueen finally acts more grown-up than the arrogant, cocky, clueless kid we see in the first Cars movie.  Here we finally get a McQueen that is clearly vulnerable and, dare-we-say-it aging.  And that gives the movie more human touch than the other two combined.

Chris Cooper plays the voice of the coach to Doc, Smokey.

Cristela Alonzo plays the voice of trainer Cruz Ramirez.  source

The movie does have the regulars from previous films.  Amazingly Larry the Cable Guys’-Tow Mator is regulated to maybe ten minutes of screen time.  And you know what?  It works.

There is a pretty funny side scene of McQueen at a demolition derby.  source

Lines from Paul Newman and Car Talk brother, Tom Magleozzi, who died years before this movie was made, and their lines were archive recordings.

Paul Newman as Doc.  source.

Not the greatest Pixar movie, but Cars 3 tones down the sheer silliness and brings back the Pixar touch to the Cars series.

I would recommend on checking this out on Netflix when it becomes available or catching a matinee.

This post originally appeared on my Steemit blog.

Cover for new book and now available for preorder

Book Cover Reveal

My next book Finals–The Dolbin School Book 4 is almost here, so I am happy to share the cover.

The cover is a different style than the other books in the series.  Frank did the cover for my last book, Irving Williams and the Mystery of the Lighthouse Ghost, and I liked his style so much I asked him to do this book.  And now he his going to create new covers for the Dolbin School 1-3.

I serialized the previous Dolbin Books and I plan on doing that with this one as well.  Will probably start tomorrow as I need to get myself organized.

Click here to preorder the book.

Click here to see the Dolbin School page on Amazon.