Notes on a Book, Novel, Poems, and Stuff

It’s a rainy Sunday and I am sitting at the computer feeling a bit overwhelmed with the number of projects open on my screen.  Currently there are three big projects I’ve been dividing my time on:

  • Cancer poetry book
  • Novel
  • Lectionary Project

Being somewhat unfocused, I do have a fourth poetry collection starting to build – okay, I have a file where I’ve been adding a few poems that I’ve written that could, possibly be the basis of a poetry collection.

I’ve titled the cancer book, There was a Time.  Heather did some illustrations for the book and I asked to use one of her paintings as the cover art.  I intend to self-publish this one.  It’s not one that will make money or anything like that, but I wanted to have it to give friends, family, and have available for my blogging community.  Here’s the cover art:

There was a Time

The question that I’ve been procrastinating on is how to publish it?  Should I do the Amazon Create Space thing, which would give me a physical book and a Kindle edition or use another option?  One possibility is a local company who specializes in self-publishing.  This company would take my book and do all the work, including printing a few and getting it listed on Amazon.  I know people who’ve used this service and for a few dollars I can dump the whole project on them and have copies of my book to give out.  Going directly with Amazon is a bit more work, but allows me to have a book that is generally available and who knows, might sell better that I imagined. I have other dreams I’ll share later.

There’s another question on There was Time that’s been pulling at me from time to time – editing.  When I reread some of the poems there, I do get the urge to revise them, which sometimes makes me question if the book is ready to leave my desk or if I am just having trouble letting go of what has already been completed.

North and East, is the working title of my novel.  I have about 6,000 words written, along with a ton of notes, and a few side stories.  The book is best described as a post-apocalyptic centering around a young man named Colin who is an engineering operator at a power plant.  The world Colin finds himself in is nicely oppressive and this is the story of his escape and journey of self-discovery.  I am working on describing this work better, but it’s still largely in my brain and most times it takes an hour to explain what it is all about.  Part of the complexity is how I’ve chosen to tell the story – in fragments. One of the fragments I worked on is a number of “This Date in History,” things that are to be used to help explain the background of Colin’s world.  Here is a sneak peek at one of these:

On this Date in History:

In 2094 Lt Col David West led the 35th Homeland Guard Regiment in the battle of Soledad which established the northern frontier of the City for the next 50 years until his grandson, Col Jose West, led the 1st City Regiment which included elements of the 2nd City Calvary, 1st Homeland Guard Battalion and was supported by four airplanes from the Vandenberg Fixed Wing Squadron in the battles of Salinas and Monterey thereby securing the whole length of the Salinas River Valley for the City on the very same day in 2144.

From the Vandenberg Times, May 24, 2277

I have a few other methods like this that I am weaving around a basic story.  It’s a bit of an experiment and I don’t know how far I’ll take it.  Personally I like stories that weave around a number of threads.  One of my inspirations for this is the novel Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin.  In her book, Le Guin, tells both the story of a woman named, Stone Telling, and about the Kesh people in a distant Northerner California.  And it’s often how my brain works – in short fragments of coherence. 

The Lectionary Project is up to four completed poems.  It’s moving along slowly and I do have some trouble keeping up a rhythm of reading and meditating.  Life just interferes and last month I had extra work at the office which consumed some of my evenings.  That pressure is past and I hope to get into a better schedule on this.  I do have to say that sometimes I find myself, retelling the Bible passage, rather than interpreting it.  A problem I did have, has been that one lectionary passage did nothing to inspire me and the resulting poem was difficult and not to my liking.  I delayed on this passage for a while, before deciding I just didn’t get it and that now is not the time for me to understand that one.  It’s a lesson I am learning that not all things call to us and sometimes it’s best to just move on.

I have not been working much on this blog except for trying to maintain my Friday funny wisdom posts.  I’ve not been in the workshop much this fall so the Wednesday Woodworking posts have as many kitty pictures as wood projects.  As for my Sunday essays, I aim to get one out a month.

One thing I still try to do every Sunday is, PIZZA! It’s time to stop writing and start the pizza making.

Till next time,


About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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38 Responses to Notes on a Book, Novel, Poems, and Stuff

  1. timsablog says:

    Good luck with your projects (and pizza). As you know I have used Blurb ( for my books. This has given me control over layouts (and everything else) which may or may not be a good thing. I went as far as getting what was in effect the first draft printed through Blurb which gave me a good feel for how it looked and what was missing. I then spent quite a bit of time revising it before re-uploading it and making it publicly available (although I haven’t yet put it on Amazon or Ingram). Do you want your book to be hardcopy only or an e-book or both?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the suggesting, I’ll look them up. My first thought was to just have a hardcopy I could personally give to people, but then, some of my blog followers would likely prefer and e-book, and is why I thought of Amazon to start with.


  2. inesephoto says:

    It is just wonderful. Love the cover too. A good painting is the best cover for a poetry book I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a great title and a great painting. I thought I’d seen that painting before, but I guess not. It looks professional.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. restlessjo says:

    Love the book cover. Astounded by Diane’s reply. The complexity of publishing these days is beyond me. I wouldn’t know where to start. Sounds like you’ve got it well in hand, Andrew. Good luck! 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Baydreamer says:

    Beautiful cover art, Andrew, and I wish you all the best in all your projects. I have so many unfinished writing projects also that I’m feeling overwhelmed with where to begin. 🙂 I self-published both of my poetry collections through Xlibris in 2013 and 2015, and they were very good. There is a cost involved, but it’s nice of them to put it all together, along with the ability to sell on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites. Good luck, Lauren

    Liked by 1 person

  6. pommepal says:

    What an amazing amount of projects. I salute you still managing to fit in blogging and do you ever find time to sleep???

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hooray for you, for doing everything from self-publishing to pizza! 🙂 For what it’s worth, I publish e-books through Kindle Direct Publishing (to distribute to Amazon) and through Smashwords (to distribute to other major online e-book retailers like Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc., plus libraries). My paperbacks are done print-on-demand through Ingram, which allows me to list my books in the Ingram Advance Catalog. That listing makes my books available for any physical bookstore to order, plus it automatically shows the paperbacks beside their ebook counterparts on Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, and Barnes & Noble. I go through Ingram’s Lightningsource branch because I have a number of books in print, but Ingram Spark might be a good fit for you.

    I’ve chosen this setup because it gives me the broadest distribution while returning the best rate of royalties. If you’d rather stick with Amazon, the last time I looked into Createspace I found their costs were similar to Ingram. But that basically limits your distribution to Amazon only. (Which is kinda like saying, “Only the whole world”; but youknowwhatImean. 😉 I make about 55% of my e-book revenue from Amazon and 45% from Smashwords, so for me it’s worth it.)

    It’s a little daunting in the beginning, but you’ll get there. And there’s nothing like the thrill of holding your first book in your hands! (Just remember to register your copyright.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for all the info and great tips. I don’t expect this book to be much of a money maker – it’s more of a work of art for a narrow audience, but you never know. My main goal is to make it available for friends/family/blog followers and hopefully break even on the costs. I don’t plan to put much effort into marketing this one. There are other projects on my list that will get more of a marketing push.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your projects sound a lot more focused than mine! Your poetry book dilemma is an interesting one. I can see the appeal of both. A friend of ours went with a local publishing group that sounds much like what you describe, where they take care of the Amazon listing as well. He was pleased enough to use them three more times, but I don’t know more than that.
    I wish you well!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Chris White says:

    Wow, Andrew. Lots on the go. I know just what you mean about revising poems. Not sure if some poems are ever really complete. I like the On this date in History approach. It is so good to know you Andrew. All the best. Chris.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve read a few biographies of some famous poets – all seem to constantly re-edit some points. Often in books of poetry criticism, you’ll see the critic having to deal with multiple versions of a single poem. I kind of like the “On this Date” thing, although I am wavering on whether or not it works in this book.


      • Chris White says:

        It’s a good concept … a fiction within a fiction. (Metafiction?)
        It would be also possible to refer to earlier dates (e.g.. 2014, 1990) as these would be familiar to your readers.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I do have a few dates earlier than this one. One of my concepts here is to tell the story in small fragments that the reader has to put together – in a way similar to how you learned your parents life history, a story here, a picture there, grandma’s stories, etc.


  10. Carrie Rubin says:

    Wow, you’ve got some great projects going on. Good luck with them all. I love that cover image.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You do have a lot on your plate, and I don’t mean just pizza! I like the painting your wife did for the cover of your cancer book. I’ll be interested to see which route you go for publishing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yikes you’re busy. I’m not good at doing multiple books at once, especially three. I did self-pub and do all the work myself on all my books. Once you get a template for the steps required, the next and next are much easier. My fiction books are Kindle only which may not work for you. My non-fic tech ed are print and digital–no Kindle.

    Good luck with all of this. I’m looking forward to reading your poetry–and seeing Heather’s wonderful drawings.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. dorannrule says:

    I love the artwork for There was a Time…and I do believe I would buy the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I love the picture and wanted it for my cover. Odd thing is that Heather doesn’t think it’s one of her better paintings. I’d like to get the book into print just after the new year.


  14. Glynis Jolly says:

    Have you had a professional editor go over There was a Time? That might solve your problem with the self-editing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did. That resulted in a lot of changes in the book. I also took a couple of the poems to the poetry workshop I went to last summer. Right now I feel like I’ve changed and grown as a poet since I first wrote this collection. What goes through my mind is whether I rewrite based on what I know now or just let it go as, “This is where I was then.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glynis Jolly says:

        If you let it go as is, you could write another collection expressing where you are now. With the first one out, it would be a good selling point. [Just thinking out loud.]

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s a good thought and might be the best way. The more I think about it, the more I think it’s blocking me from moving on to other work and it might be best to just put this on out as “This was then” and move on to writing, “This is now.” Thanks for the suggestion.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. jfwknifton says:

    You might try as a possibility. With the finished book you will receive a considerably larger amount of money on every copy sold than with Amazon.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Debra says:

    I read multiple books at one time but I can’t imagine contributing to the writing of so many projects. You have a lot to manage and edit and complete, and I admire the perseverance. There are definitely hurdles to maneuver in making publishing decisions, but you are asking good questions and i’m sure you’ll find others who can advise from their own experience. I am looking forward to the poetry!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s just the way I work, lots of parallel efforts. Each is a different kind of writing so it works for me. I’ll make a decision soon on the publishing.


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