Friday, July 19, 2024

Study Guide

 I’m about to give everyone a third very good reason to read or reread the Love in Andauk series. 

If you haven’t noticed, the first ebook in that series, Everything Old, is currently free.  It’s also free if it’s already on your bookshelf.  That’s a great deal, and the first reason.  The second reason is the More Love in Anduak series currently in the works.  Though this series is standalone, being familiar with some of the people who show up as minor characters can only make it better.

This exclusive study guide will be reason number three.  No, I’m not calling it exclusive to sound cool.  It is only available here on the internet.  The characters in these books meet to discuss serious faith and life issues and occasionally veer onto more entertaining sidetracks.  The following questions are pulled from and/or inspired by those discussions.  They can be fodder for you and your friends when your book club meets to talk about all the things you loved (and maybe that one thing you didn’t love) about Everything Old, Into the Fire, By Its Cover, and What Goes Around.

1) St. John Vianny is said to have heard Confessions up to 16 hours a day.  What is one thing you’d be willing to do for 16 hours just one day?  You are not allowed to say sleep unless you are less than six months old.

2) One character liked a picture of a Saint depicted with a giant eagle shielding him from a thunderstorm because he never lets bad weather keep him from jogging.  How could a giant eagle be useful in your life, other than for pretending to be Gandalf?

3) Some Saints have fairly outrageous legends attached to them.  Characters discuss some moral truths that are still present in those stories even when the details may have been embellished.  Is there a story from your life (or perhaps a family member’s) that has been exaggerated over time into something of a legend?

4) How Sacramentals are different from superstitions was discussed at one meeting.  If you invented a superstition, just for fun, what would you say is bad luck?

5) Characters joked about how to handle a vision from God regarding a future spouse if that person hadn’t seen the same vision.  If God sent you a vision, what would spark your sense of humor?

6) Can you name a difficult or simply mundane task that could be made joyful by remembering how it serves God?  Can you name an already joyful task that could be made more joyful?

7) There is some discussion of detachment and greed.  Are there any material goods you don’t understand why anyone wants in the first place?

8) Which book in the series is your favorite?  I don’t remember what page that was on, but I’m pretty sure someone said something about that.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Not a Circus Act

I can’t juggle.  I’ve tried because it looks fun.  I have tossed a few balls in the air, then reached and grabbed helplessly as they fell to the ground and sometimes hit me on the way.  But this isn’t about my lack of coordination.  It’s about figurative juggling and how much harder it is to tell if I’m any good at it when I’m not accidentally pelting myself with anything. 

I feel as though I’m reaching and grabbing as I switch my time and effort between various projects, constantly tossing one thing up in the air to work on something else.

Book 2 in the More Love in Andauk series has a complete draft.  Most of it still needs to be typed.  If I don’t feel like typing, I can toss that up to work on my first book of puzzles.  All my playtesters agree it’s good but too difficult.  They don’t agree on which puzzles are the difficult ones.  Sometimes I don’t feel like trying to guess which puzzle to edit because they all seem super easy to me.  I already know the answers.  If I get frustrated, I can toss that up to work on Volume II.

I had so much fun inventing romantic comedy themed puzzles, I had to make two.  If fighting with Word to stop making automatic “corrections” to my designs doesn’t sound fun at the moment, there’s always some chore around the house that needs to be done.  Mowing the lawn has never sounded more fun than anything, but sometimes I have to snatch that ball out of the air just to keep it from hitting me. 

Annoying reminders from the HOA aside, it’s not clear to me if I’m doing a good job at my figurative juggling.  Sometimes it’s great because I’m always making progress on something.  Other times it’s not so great because I seem to always be distracted by something else.

A good juggler ends by catching everything, right?  I’ve never been to a show where a juggler throws all the balls at his audience.  I do want to throw everything at my audience.  I want to get all my projects to a state fit to share, which means my metaphor just died a horrible death.  I’ll focus on keeping the other projects alive, no matter how much time they spend in the air.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Sloth Denies Winter

The title got my attention, too. It’s not my title. More on that in a moment.

I recently blew my own mind. Or maybe I lost it. I don’t know yet how excited I should be about something I’m already very excited about. It started with that title.

Sloth Denies Winter is an escape game from Board Catholic. I played through it with my family a few months ago. First the good. We all really enjoyed the game. The puzzles were done well. They had just the right amount of difficulty where they are solvable but need some thought. I definitely recommend checking it out.

When I said the good was first, I implied there was also something not good. The problem is that it made me want to make an escape game, too. I can’t stop thinking about how much fun I’d have creating puzzles. But that’s not what I do. I write fiction, mostly romantic fiction. I’ve been trying and failing to get the idea out of my head. And then it hit me… I could combine a bunch of things I love. I could make a Catholic romantic comedy escape room puzzle game in a book!

Don’t decide if I’m nuts yet. Just think about it. It wouldn’t be a full novel, only a short story with puzzles scattered throughout that have clues in the story on how to solve them. I love this idea so much I wish someone would make a Catholic romantic comedy escape room puzzle game in a book for me to read and solve. That’s part of the reason I have to do it. The other part is that I think it’ll be just as much fun to write and design. The only not fun part will be figuring out what to call it because that word salad I’m tossing around won’t even fit on the cover.

Yes, I am aware that I just released the first book in a four-book series. I am not abandoning that project and hopefully not delaying it either. One blessing in life is that the more energy you bring to a project, the faster it goes. Generally. If I can keep the enthusiasm up, I should be able to make progress on both fronts and have a new book and a Catholic romantic comedy escape room puzzle game in a book before the end of the year. I’m not promising a catchy title though.