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Sunday, November 26, 2023

Looking back, looking ahead

 Joan was a brilliant, articulate, assertive woman. I got to know her when I was fresh out of college, and she was dying. One day I sat with her in her living room. She was attached to a tangle of IV tubes. She joked that she rattled when she walked from all the pills she had to take. As we sat together, I shared with her a few tidbits I'd been writing. It seemed a good way to pass the time, and something she might enjoy. I wasn't presumptuous enough to think my writing was really good. I guess like the little drummer boy, I didn't have much else to offer. 

Joan read my poems and paragraphs carefully. We talked about a few details, and she asked incisive questions about some of the imagery in a couple of the poems. When she finished reading, she looked hard into my soul and said, "Don't you let this rest. You keep on writing. You have a gift, and you need to let it grow. You keep on with this."

I think so often of Joan and how she spoke into my life. I've struggled all my life to figure out how to put her words into practice. I've written columns for ministry journals. I kept a blog for many years. Early on I developed collections of poetry written on the backs of envelopes and fragments of paper shopping bags. Finally God backed me into a corner and I had to finish a book about the Exodus. (From Slavery To Freedom, and you can find it here.) 

Lately I've returned with a new urgency to Joan's words. I've always had a sense that she was speaking a word from God into my life. The last few years I've focused on collecting my writings into books, and that has led to creating new books as well. Once I entered my 50s I started feeling the urgency to actually get things published. 

Last week I started thinking about 2024 and what I want to accomplish in the coming year. Seems like life never unfolds according to my agendas, but you have to have a plan or you don't get anywhere. So I outlined several titles I'd like to complete and get into print in 2024. I'm sure it won't go exactly like that, but it's a direction to move at any rate. 

And I think Joan would be pleased. 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

In other news

 I've been posting a lot lately about my new novel coming out. That's been exciting, and fun, and (like so many things) a steep learning curve. But the rest of life has not slowed down either!

We've enjoyed an amazing stretch of mild weather here in Minnesota. We have just a few more days, it sounds like, of high temperatures above freezing. That's good, because there are always lots of fall projects to do. Last night one of our horses got out of the pasture, so today we'll be checking fencelines. We've opened up a new section of pasture recently and I suspect she's finding a spot there to escape. 

A big task lately is getting ready for a new house. We bought a house late this summer and plan to move it here to the farm in the spring. There's a lot to do to get ready for that move. I took an afternoon off work this week to haul in some gravel and widen the approach where the house will be coming onto our property, and to trim some small trees that are in the way. We have a bit more of that work to do. We are still cleaning up from the late July windstorm that took down so many trees here. The biggest task will be putting in a basement. Planning for that occupies a lot of our conversation time lately.

Lisa and I were able to take a weekend to go up north for deer hunting. For the second year in a row, I failed to bring home venison during rifle season. Numbers of deer are way down up north due to a series of hard winters. We saw a few deer far away. It was good to be back on the farm where I grew up, and we were able to connect with a couple good friends while we were there. We continue to have deer on our farm, according to the trail cameras we have out, but the problem is they're all coming in at night. Hopefully that might change when the weather turns colder. I'm able to bowhunt through the end of December. So venison is still a possibility. 

I'm writing a little each morning, working on the second novel in a fantasy series. As we are learning about how best to release books and publicize them, we're able to apply some of that new knowledge to this project. And some of my spare minutes during the days are full of ideas for a sequel and / or a prequel to Disappointment Mountain. I'm also making plans with a couple good friends for a winter trip into the Boundary Waters. I'm very excited about that!

So in addition to releasing a novel, there is lots happening here!

Friday, November 10, 2023

Signed copies

 There's a line in one of my favorite movies that says, "You move real slow, like molasses in wintertime." (It's from "The Outlaw Josey Wales" if you're curious.) Seems like when you want something to happen quickly, that's the way it goes. 

According to UPS, this week we'll finally be receiving a case of books. 30 copies of Death On Disappointment Mountain will show up on the doorstep, hopefully Monday or Tuesday. So if you want a signed copy, we'll be happy to send them out to you. The books are $18.95, and shipping will be whatever covers the cost of getting the book to you. If you want a signed copy, email me. I just set up a new email address,, to keep track of things related to writing. And if you email, we'll figure out payment possibilities like Venmo or mailing a check or whatever works for you. 

The ebook is also available on Amazon for those who like to read that way. I've had some requests for an audiobook version, and that's in the works. But it won't be available for a while yet. 

I put out an image of the cover on Facebook to a Boundary Waters interest group, and there's been tremendous positive response. Lots of people there are excited to read the book, which is very fun. 

Don't forget to order your signed copy! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Disappointment Mountain update

 Death on Disappointment Mountain is finally available both in print and as an ebook! It's been a journey, to tell the truth, to get to this point. Apologies to those who tried to order sooner but got stopped by too many roadblocks. 

Click here to find the book (either version) through Amazon. 

I'm so excited to share this story with you. It's challenging, and fun, and very Minnesota. If you order, I'd love to hear what you think. And if you're willing, please leave a review on Amazon to help others decide if they want to buy it. Thanks!