A Week in the Writing Life, 8 April 2023

[Photo note: Just visited Muscatine[1][2] last week. This was a mood.]

If you haven’t figured it out already, these weekly newsletters will remain free for all subscribers, regardless of whatever subscription you have from me. I need to make sure I’m providing everyone a value for their time and support, regardless of whatever level that is.

Also, if you haven’t figured it out, it takes more than a day to put all of this together. At this point, I’m starting to write this edition of the newsletter on the day after the last one came out. It’s fine, though. The less I rush this, the more likely it’s going to be a quality offering[3].

So, let’s talk about the week that was.

Home Front Stuff

I managed to get together with both my parents and my kids last weekend, albeit not at the exact same time. However, I did appreciate seeing all of them, especially my parents since I had not seen them in person since at least Christmas. I’m an only child, and the older I get, the more that I want to treasure and nurture my relationship to them since I know how much people treasure their kids now.

I lived in my hometown with my family next to my parents for about 15 years, and I don’t think that I appreciated having my parents as near to me as I did at the time. I am glad that my kids got to experience living next to their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I didn’t have the opportunity to do that myself, since we were the only members of my family living in Iowa until I got married and started having kids.

I’m also getting a bit annoyed with starting to see weather in the 70 degrees and higher numbers occasionally here in Iowa. I was promised spring for this year, you know.

What I’ve Been Writing

As of today’s post, I do believe that my second revision of The Yank Striker is now in the books[4]. I will likely have to review this briefly before handing it in to my editors, but I feel grateful that I got it done in the self-imposed time limit that I had set for myself. Goal-setting can work, kids.

My hope is that the back and forth with my editors on any changes calms down and that we can finally have a release date for The Yank Striker. I’m now hoping for a summer release for the book, as that would give me more freedom to promote the book when I am on vacation. But, it is getting increasingly close to being a reality. It even has an ISBN number and everything.

As for the rest, work on The Yank Striker 2, other fiction projects, my memoir, and other items has paused a bit. I’m hoping to restart all of them soon after some of these revisions on The Yank Striker are sorted.

As for the next subscriber-exclusive post I have plans for, I’m thinking about a follow-up to the piece I just wrote on worldbuilding. As it turns out, I have to make a presentation on revising for my writer’s group next week, so it can be difficult to have something ready to go by then. However, I am going to make a big effort to have this ready for you, readers.

What I’ve Been Doing Having to do With Writing

Remember when I said that this whole subscriber exclusive thing was going to be longer than a one-day process? Turns out I was overly optimistic about how fast that process was going to take. 

If this was a large outfit or publishing concern, I’d be talking to my webmaster to step up the process and get it done as soon as possible. Of course, I can’t whip my webmaster into shape to get this done right away, because I’m the webmaster here. My WordPress and Substack sites are essentially a one-man band. Of course, all of the revisions I’ve been trying to fast-track as I mentioned above have been taking away time from this activity.

As I had suspected, since the changeover process is a bit more straightforward with Substack than it is with WordPress, I’ve decided to concentrate on getting most of the work done on the former platform first. There, it is merely a matter of switching over whole posts to subscriber-only status and deleting some blogs that I don’t want to muck around with on Substack (including my Wednesday writing journals and any posts exclusive to the WordPress page. That I might get done in the next couple of weeks.

The WordPress page is going to take a little longer. There, I will have to set up subscriber-only blocks of material that are only available for paid subscribers. So, that involves entering the edit function of a particular post, creating the subscriber block, cutting the section of text and material I want to have subscriber exclusive, paste that material in the subscriber block, and then hit the update button. This is at least a couple of steps more than I would have to do on Substack. One advantage to the work on WordPress, however, is that I won’t be planning on deleting any extra posts, so that will save me some time. However, this will not start until after I have finished my Substack work, and I do not have any estimate for how long the entire process will be. I’ll keep you updated, because I’m always looking to talk about something on these weekly newsletters[5].

What I’ve Been Reading/General Recommendations

Roger’s Bacon is a former evolutionary biologist and current high school science teacher (a latter profession where it is very hard to find good candidates, by the way). He has a Substack named Secretorm. I must say, even his links posts are an intriguing read. I’s say check it out.

Substack is rolling out a new feature called Substack Notes that is sort of a short post format similar in size to tweets, but not quite? I still appreciate how Substack is more about people finding other people because they are interested in good writing, not some algorithmic mumbo-jumbo.

Writing Quote of the Week

You know what, this explains how I felt about reading growing up, so I’ll post it.

We live and breathe words. …. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt–I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted–and then I realized that truly I just wanted you.

Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

Final Thoughts

The day before this newsletter got posted, I received word of the death of the German publishing heiress, music promoter, actress, and model Nora Forster. She might be better known for being the wife of Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd singer John Lydon, and the mother of Ariane Forster, better known as Ari Up, vocalist for the English punk rock band the Slits. I’ve been a fan of Lydon’s music ever since I was a kid, even though some of his recent statements regarding Brexit and other political matters don’t sit well with me.

I had first read about John and Nora’s relationship when I read Lyndon’s 1994 memoir Rotten – No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs[6], and it was a description of a truly wonderful and loving relationship by all accounts. Nora was several years older than John, and she had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease for the past five years. John had been her caretaker during that time. Before then he and Nora had served as as the guardian to Ari’s three children when she found herself mentally unable to care for them and, later, after Ari’s death from cancer. Alzheimer’s and dementia are likely the worst diseases anyone can face, and I can only imagine the hardships that John faced seeing his loved one fade away and having to care for her during that time. It’s a hard road for any partners or family of those affected by dementia.

In her and John’s honor, I’m posting this song. As I kid I was more of a Sex Pistols fan, but nowadays I’m an admirer of Public Image Ltd, so this might be my favorite of his. Rest in power to Nora and I hope John has peace.

– 30 –


  1. For new subscribers, that’s my hometown. Google it to find out more – it’s the only town in the world with that exact name.
  2. The photo shows the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River from Muscatine to the Illinois side of the river.
  3. Of course I say that, then I wind up doing revisions on this newsletter less than an hour or two before publication lol.
  4. When I say second revision, I mean the second major revision since I’ve submitted it to the publisher. I have completed at least three other major revisions and about the same number of minor revisions before that process.
  5. As previously stated, lol.
  6. That is a great read that I would highly recommend.

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