Status of My Book

I’ve used my website for many purposes over the years – at first just a place to hang my resume – but lately it has become a place to post some of my writing.  In the last year, I’ve written humorous stories about my youthful adventures in Rocket Building and more recently, the thrill of launching Sky Lanterns.  As many of you know, in the last few months, I decided to take on an even more ambitious project:  a full-length novel.

The novel is now largely complete.  It’s 110,000 words long (whew!).  More amazing still is that over 30 of my friends have offered to read it and give me feedback, for which I will always be very grateful.  🙂

Right now, I am compiling the feedback from my reviewers and incorporating their suggestions as best I can.  One thing I have learned about the editing process is that it’s never really done.  There will always be things to change and improve.

The Self-Publishing Option

self-publish-cartoonThe natural thing to consider at this point is submitting my book to literary agents or publishers to get it published.  The more I read, the more I question this assumption.  The process of finding a literary agent, who then will try to find a publisher, who will then eventually publish can take a very long time.  It is common for this to take two years or longer.

What is the alternative?  Interestingly, 2/3’s of all the books published in USA are self-published.  This is actually a relatively simple process, and it can be done in a matter of hours.  The real challenge is how do you effectively promote your book?  How do you tell people about your book when there are 700,000 other books (this year alone!) trying to do the same thing?  A very tough question.

So I am taking a ‘time out’ while I research the road ahead.

If I had to guess, I would say I will end up self-publishing.  But more on that later…


Valentine’s Day Operation

Well, on Valentine’s Day, I went back under the knife.

screwsMy surgeon decided to remove two of the three screws that are holding my leg together.  Apparently, they were not holding it quite right, so the edges of the broken tibia were too far apart to heal properly.

Apparently, the operation didn’t go as smoothly as they would have liked because my doctor didn’t have the right attachment for them.  If you look closely, you will see they require an allen wrench to remove, but I guess American surgeons don’t buy their surgery components at Ace Hardware.  It’s a good thing I was unconscious at the time.  I don’t think anyone wants to hear their doctor saying *&%#@#$% in the middle of your operation.

They gave me the two screws as a souvenir (or consolation prize?).

My son-in-law, Ryan, pointed out these are self-tapping screws, typically used on sheet metal.  But apparently, in Italy, they use them on bones too.

I made a mistake posting news of my operation on Facebook.  So, almost any joke you want to make around me on the subject of loose screws is going to have to be a repeat.  I even got into the action by saying:

  • Steve:  They took out 2/3 of them.  That means I only have one screw left in me.  Marge says it better be a really good one.
  • Marge:  I don’t know why he is saving that last screw….not getting any younger here!


I Finished the First Draft of my Book

Most of you know I have been writing a book for the last few months.  I have you folks to thank for it, because you gave me great encouragement with your responses to the posts I have written about the Sky Lanterns, Rocket Building, and other things.

The book came in a 109,214 words, which is about typical for a humorous fantasy book like this one.  The working title is Bernie and the Putty, but I hope some of you will suggest a better title for it.

bernieBasically, it is a fantasy about life on a world with gods and goddesses.  The hero of the story is a young god named Bernie who just graduated from God School.  He has been hired to build universes, and he is very excited about it.  Unfortunately, he didn’t figure on a nasty co-worker who sabotages Bernie’s world every chance he gets, which is part of the fun.  My daughter, Wendy, drew a picture of Bernie for me.  You can see that godly powers aren’t always readily apparent.   😉

I am looking for volunteers to help me with some final edits for my book.  I know not everyone likes the same kind of books, so I put the prologue from the book online so you can see what it is about.  If you like the prologue, you will probably like the book.

If you’re interested in reading my book and giving me some feedback on it (so I can make it better and eventually get it published), please let me know.

I will appreciate it very much!




Our Italian Vacation

For those of you who haven’t heard, our trip to Italy did not go as planned.  On the second day, we were on a Hop On / Hop Off Bus taking us around Rome.  It was raining, so the next time the bus stopped, we decided to go down from the upper deck to the lower deck.  Unfortunately, I slipped and fell on one of the steps and broke my lower leg in two places, plus some radial fractures.

They rushed me to one of the Italian hospitals where I was admitted.  This was last Saturday.  They have a waiting list system here so I was given a bed and told they would get to me maybe on Wednesday or Thursday, although it might not be until the week after.  As a temporary measure, they drilled a hole through my heel, put a wire through it and then put a weight on the end of the wire.  The goal of all this was to keep the bones in my leg pulled apart so the broken edges did not clash together, which is where the real pain comes from.  Then, of course, you have to lay flat on your back day and night to make sure you don’t have any further aggravation of the injury.

Surgery was, thankfully, on Wednesday (only a four day wait).  It went well.  I ended up with a titanium rod inserted through my tibia (plus a couple pins to hold it in place).  The broken fibula apparently will heal itself as long as it has a nice strong tibia to support it.

To my surprise, I don’t have a cast.  Also to my surprise, my leg is very stiff (ankle and knee), and every time I get some mobility back in one part, I lose it just as fast in the other.  I have some crutches, the kind with the curved  grips around the wrists and I made excursions (hopping on one foot) to important places like the bathroom (a pure joy to be able to go yourself).

Marge has been a great help during all of this.  Providing me with moral support, canceling parts of our trip, arranging for faster return home, and much more.  We met some local people who have been terrific in helping with translation issues and transportation.  One of them even brought in some non-hospital food for us to share.

I was discharged on Friday night, and one of our new friends took us to the hotel.  He will pick us up Sunday morning and transport us to a new hotel closer to the airport.

Marge managed to get our flights changed to Monday, so we are just waiting for the flights.  She managed to get them upgraded to first/business class which is critical because I have to keep my leg elevated whenever possible.  The second I lower it in the direction of the floor, it fills with pain and starts swelling up like a sausage.  My doctor said he wrote this requirement into my treatment plan.  Do you think Blue Cross will cover it?

We have had several volunteers (Jerry, Ken, Dad and Roger) to help get us from Grand Rapids back home for which we are very grateful.  Not sure what that plan looks like but I know they were talking about it.

I am grateful for all the prayers and well wishes and good vibes being sent my way.  Thank you all for your support.  We both appreciate it very much.



Our Chariot Awaits…

Marge and I are joining Jeff and Peg for a Mediterranean Cruise.  We will be in Rome for 3-4 days before boarding the cruise ship for a 12-day trip that will take us from Italy to Greece to Turkey and back to Italy.

I tried to arrange a trip to see the ruins of Troy.  There are several trips offered out of Istanbul, but every one of them would fail to return before the ship sailed again.  Looks like my quest to explore Troy will have to wait for another time.

We also checked trips out of Athens that would take us to see Delphi (where the famous Oracle predicted the future in the Temple of Apollo).  Same problem.  We can find the tours, but none of them will get us back in time for the ship’s departure.  I have been there before, but Marge wanted to see this one.

But there will be lots of great places to see:  Rome, Colosseum, Vatican, Naples, Pompei, Herculaneum, Athens, the Acropolis, Mykonos, Santorini, Istanbul, Ephesus, and much more.  It is a good thing we have digital cameras now because I don’t think I could afford all the film.   😉

We will back in time for Trick-Or-Treating.


The Noveleers

I had the pleasure of attending one of the writing groups in our area. It has been fun to meet people who are serious about writing and getting published.

I also met an individual there, Bob Jackson, who has very similar interests to my own (fantasy, sci-fi, etc.). He has published one novel and has another scheduled to be published by December. We met and talked a few times and decided to create a new writers group for people who are working on fiction novels. We even created a website for it called “The Noveleers” (

The Noveleers Group now has four members.  We decided to meet every other Tuesday at the Norton Shores Library to review our work and strategize on publishing issues.  We had our first meeting this week.  I think this will be a successful means for getting our work published.

This writing stuff is fun!