Saturday, November 28, 2020

A late thanksgiving post

Picture from pixabay


I am not an American citizen, and I live far from the US, yet, as the internet has brought the whole world together at a click-distance, it brought us to appreciate other countries' traditions and heritage. 

Here in Finland, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but this isn't a reason to be grateful for what we have and what this year has brought us. It's easier to say what we have been missing during this pandemic, but if we look closer, we have gained something more.

We realized all those things we don't need to be happy, we have rediscovered that taking care of our neighbor is another way to take care of ourselves, and last but not least, we've rediscovered ourselves.

Of course, there had been inconveniences we had to endure, but if we compare to the epidemics of the past, we immediately should realize how easy we had it then respect the great plague (for example). We also learned to look with a different eye to those countries plagued by far more deadly diseases like Ebola, which case fatalities ranges between 25% and 90%.

Although some of us had lost dear ones to this disease, most of us were able to get a lesson of life out of it. The first is that no matter what or how, we are all destined to die, and taking some time every day to remind the people around us how much we care and love them, is more important than wasting our time arguing over old and meaningless issues.

We also should remember to be thankful every day and bring this thanksgiving spirit with us all over the year, as one day it might be too late to say how thankful we are.

So even if a bit late on the calendar festivity, I am thankful for the silence of the forest, for the nature surrounding me, for the people I care for, for the health I still hold in my body, for the job I could keep, for the inspiration that didn’t leave me, for the passion and curiosity that still moves my soul further, day after day, for my sister who cheers for my small success, for the husband who still holds my hand at night, for my rabbit who understood the love and care we hold for her, for the people who keep encouraging me even we never met.

For all the littlest things that make me smile every day, I am thankful, and with this, I wish you all a peaceful weekend.




Saturday, November 21, 2020

Become a writer, they said...

So much for the beauty of being a writer, to pour your passion into a blank paper to create words, sentences, paragraphs, and finally, a story.

A story that will inspire, enthrall, entertain, or inform your audience. But it's just here when the problems start to arise, at least for me. Writing requires inspiration, passion, and, last but not least, discipline.

The latter is what troubles me the most. 

Discipline.

Since I was a little kid, my parents and teachers didn't have to struggle with many issues besides my complete adversity to discipline and rules. Not that I have been a rebel, and I always followed the general behavioral rules. Those were the ones I was ready to follow and accept, but when it came to studying, follow, or even create a routine, it was a real nightmare for them (and also for me to tell the truth).

As a pantser, I don't really struggle in creating a story. I can pour my whole novel in a reasonable time for an average author, and with two-three novel published a year, I don't think that there's any issue on the writing front itself. 

The problem for me starts when it's the time to market my novel. At that point, discipline, consistency and commitment are three ingredients that can never miss from the marketer arsenal.

Yes, and once again I'm no marketer. I have been grown up as a scientist, a geologist for the matter, which within the whole range of scientific subjects it screams "ANARCHY."

Nevertheless, I need to become one, and after spending the eight hours in the office, or in the laboratory, or in the field, I need to come back home, forget about anarchy and step into my new world made of rules I desperately need to create and force myself to follow.

So far, I couldn't find a viable routine, as I'm easily distractable, and if writing and procrastination go hand in hand, I am sure that marketing and procrastination are twin brothers, and where goes the first, the second follows.

If this is what it's needed, I am not sure I will ever be a successful author, the one who is selling a big deals and can stop her day job to focus completely on writing. Perhaps one day when I retire I will be able to use those eight-ten hours I spend nowadays at work to create a successful routine to follow all the required steps marketing requires.

How are you taking care of your marketing? Have you found a good way to deal with the procrastination demon? If so, let me know, I'm all ears.

***

If you are curious about my books, here's a link to my website, where you can find them all, from historical fiction, paranormal romantic suspense, to thrillers:

https://pjmannauthor.com/category/books/

Sunday, November 15, 2020

When winter hits you hard, the Wandering Writer can still dream


https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/NEP3058523.jpg

You don't know what it means winter blues if you don't live above the 60th parallel north. You might not really grasp the feeling of seeing the length of the day reduced to a max of five hours with an almost constant cloud curtain to prevent any sunshine.

Usually, this would be the time when I pack my summer clothes and plan my escape route to the southern hemisphere. Now, with the pandemic hitting its third wave, I don't even have any idea when it will be possible, and the feeling is that of being trapped into an eternal night.

According to the calendar, there should still be three months to the time when the day's length will reach a reasonable length of 9-10 hours from dawn to dusk.

To make things worst, it seems like also for this year we won't have any snow to brighten up the days. Even in the most northern part of Lapland, the snow has hardly made a consistent layer (at most 5cm in the northernmost part of Lapland).

If we can call this a consolation, there won't be any disappointed tourist coming to our country to enjoy the beauty of a white wilderness. Still,  having no tourists means a big loss for regions that live almost exclusively on that income.

Yes, we won't be happy enough the day when a vaccine will be delivered among the population, and whenever it will be available also for me, you can bet your ass, I will be the one in the first line.

What will I do once I have the vaccine? Legit question, I will immediately book a flight to Italy and a couple of holidays for the darkest periods of the year. The Wandering Writer can't really wait to be on the road again.

Because of this pandemic, we've lost the chance for our last holiday last March, and this year I also avoided taking any holiday from my job. For some reason, I preferred to remain at work rather than stay at home doing nothing. I only took one week to finish my novel, and maybe I'm considering taking another one to finalize the next one and get even with all the marketing for the Christmas period.

Initially, exploring the rest of the country I’m living in seemed the best idea until I realized that the reason why I used to travel abroad was the need for sunlight. At this point, going to Lapland for a holiday, knowing that there I will find even more darkness, doesn’t really appeal to me.

It has been a blessing that none of my family or even at the workplace had been hit by the virus, but the world is big, and unfortunately, the casualties have been far too many. Mine are certainly small troubles compared to those who have lost their beloved ones. So, please, keep yourself and your beloved ones safe.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way

I have previously blogged about the new series I am going to publish somewhere next year, but I have another project on its way to publication. 

It will be a dark crime thriller that will bring you into the world of jewel dealers. The title (at least for the moment) is "The merchant of pearls."

The idea comes from a document I have been watching about cursed jewels. The first thing that comes to our minds is the pharaoh's curse, which inspired many horror and thriller novelists. 

Going a bit into details, there are many other more or less known items. For example, we can cite the 'Hope Diamond,' the Koh-i-Noor diamond, the Delhi purple sapphire, the Black Orlov, and many others. 

Each of these stones seems to have brought nothing else but disgraces to those who owned them. The question I tried to raise with this novel is: Is it just a marketing strategy, or there's some foundation of truth?

To be honest, the answer isn't essential. What is important is that whether because of magic or because of a well-planned marketing strategy, those items are highly desired by collectors.

People are ready to spend a fortune beyond the stone's market price, but this is not the question of purchasing a beautiful product of nature; it's challenging the fate and the possibility to own something with a remarkable history.

The price is often placed on the historical value or on the excitement. 

As I'm pre-editing it, I am considering the main character. For this reason, it came to my mind the famous quote of Jessica Rabbit:

My main character, Edward Sherwood, is the last heir of many generations of jewelers and goldsmith. Eldridge Sherwood started the business dealing with cursed stone back in 1802 when the Sherwoods Jeweler's shop opened its proficient business. 

Edward, differently than Jessica Rabbit, is not a saint, and it's not really just drawn that way. Nevertheless, like the yin and yang, there's still something that can save him from damnation. That is represented by the catalyst character, his partner, Byron, a young man he met during his educational journey.

Another catalyst is one of the cooperators, Mikhail Orlov, a former henchman of a Russian mob family, now working as a fixer, owning a bodyguarding company. His story will make him reconsider his doings, but will it be enough to change his nature?

To this question, I am afraid I can't give an answer, but I promise a story full of twists and turns, heartbreaking stories, gorgeous cityscapes, marvelous gems, and intriguing characters.

Besides working on the pre-editing, I'm also thinking about the cover, and I hope to show you something about it in the next weeks. As I know by experience, this is the most critical and challenging task of the whole process.

I do have a couple of ideas, and as usual, I will start with a few elements that will become the key to the picture. I will need to include a Russian cityscape, a reference to the pearl, or gemstones.

Since I haven't yet started to draw it, I will have to leave the anticipations to another time.

For now, I just wish you a wonderful weekend.

Are we really happy?

This is a post about the myth behind the happiest country in the world: Finland. Once again, Finland has been declared the happiest country ...