Two weeks ago saw me return to the work office, it was rather anxiety giving but once I had moved my desk to increase distance, cleaned it with disinfectant and posted signs all over the place – I calmed down a little. It is symptomatic of how many people must feel returning to their workplace. We have been in a safe bubble remotely working from home. Then to be plunged back into an environment, which prior to COVID19 was normal and we didn’t give it a second thought about. Now there are people from other households with differing levels of ‘safety’ protocols. I am taking extra care and will continue to do so. The second wave will come…unfortunately.
It is an adjustment for everyone and we will need time to settle into routine again. In the meantime, I am continuing to read some great novels and edit other author’s work. For some reason my own steampunk manuscript has lacked attention. I need to get back to it. There is the new distraction, of course – Sammie the Schnoodle – and a sharp increase in my step count. Currently I am walking between 10K – 12K a day. So health benefits – yay!
Here she is after her first grooming appointment – a different dog entirely.
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Read
Really enjoyed the parallel lives of Hannah. It is similar to Sliding Doors but not if you get my drift. Great alternatives lives and how one choice can change everything.
Loved the characters, particularly Henry!
If you could see the results of your choices – would you want to know?
1. Please tell us about your new YA novel – Virtual Age
A- Virtual Age takes place in a distant future. Our world is no longer able to support life so, in preparation for this, indoor cities were built where air and water is purified. The technology of virtual reality was adapted so people can work, play, travel, and enjoy a version of the outside world within the system. When you live your lives within a computer, you become susceptible to hacking – which could drain you of all your money as all money is accessed through computers – and your whole world could be altered and flipped upside down.
My main character is a thirteen year-old boy by the name of Aiden Murphy. He enjoyed the simple life of a teen – going to birthday parties, occasionally standing up to the school bully, and going with his family on vacations or trips to the beach. It was on one of these outings where Aiden finds himself trapped in the system, lost and all alone; unable to get home. He doesn’t know who to trust. He doesn’t know where to go. He doesn’t know what he is going to encounter within someone else’s program. He will be tested every step of the way.
2. How did you come up with the idea?
A- I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of virtual reality and wanted to come up with a story centres around that concept. Actually, I remember when I came up with the idea and some points within the plot while at work. I was working for a commercial insulating company a few years ago. One day I was sent to a job and there was no material there for me to do any work so I spent 3 hours waiting around for the material and while I did, I came up with the concept and title of my book.
Did you decide on writing a YA from the start?
A- I have had ideas for YA novels that I still want to write, however, this wasn’t one of them. I started it off as any of my other novels but then realized as I was writing that it was better suited as a YA.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
A- There are so many but one that stands out is Dimlyn – an inhabitant of the planet Seledania – she is strong, determined, stubbourn, kind, and generous. Her loyalty to her society is put to the test when she encounters a visitor from beyond the stars –a human – who is feared and hated by the whole of the society besides Dimlyn. She is willing to overlook his outer appearance despite the backlash she receives from the rest of the society. She was probably the most fun to write because she isn’t human.
When did you write the manuscript?
A- I wrote the manuscript in November of 2018. I participate in NaNoWriMo every year. November is National Novel Writing Month and authors who sign up are challenged with writing 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.
How many books have you written?
A- I have published 8 books so far. Book #9 is in editing and book #10 is ready to be edited.
Which genre interests you the most?
A- I mostly write in the sci-fi/supernatural genres.
Have you written more than one genre?
A- Aside from sci-fi/supernatural I have also written a psychological thriller, a superhero story and a collection of Christmas stories.
Do your books have a specific message for your readers?
A- I don’t often think in terms of messages within the story but when I thought about my stories I began to realize most of them did carry a similar message- that being of tolerance. We need to treat each other with the love and compassion we want for ourselves. And don’t be too quick to judge.
How many other writing projects do you have in progress?
A- Like I said I have two books in various stages of the editing process as well I have a prequel for my first novel – Time’s Hostage – I’m working on.
Where can readers connect with you?
A- They can connect with me on my Facebook page: J E McKnight – author
And they can check out all my books on my website: jemcknight.com
E-books available on all sites.
Joe McKnight was born in Fort Saskatchewan and raised in the small Alberta farming community of Partridge Hill. He started his schooling in Ardrossan, where he developed a love of story-telling. His love of writing continued to grow throughout his school years. In 2004, while upgrading his English 30, Joe’s passion increased. It was during that same year he stumbled upon a writer’s circle (offered by the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County) that provided the support and encouragement he needed. He continues to grow in his writing and looks forward to many future literary ventures.
Joe has published several books: Time’s Hostage, Fly on the Wall, The Arrival, Powerless, The Other Secret, Stocking Stuffers, Unnatural Selection, and Virtual Age. He is currently working on a new manuscript.
Joe is also an accomplished artist and his artwork also appears on the cover of From a Solitary Drop – he was commissioned to design the illustration featured on the cover.
The strange habits of some famous authors has always interested me. I cannot lay claim to anything this weird, mores the pity. Maybe I can cultivate something? Are you willing to share your ‘strange’ habit?
The ancient Greek writer shaved half his head. Ensuring that by looking so idiotic, he would stay home and work, instead of facing ridicule in public.
2. Henrik Ibsen
The A Doll’s House playwright hung a huge oil painting of his greatest rival on his study wall. Inspiring him to strive to better his enemies.
3. Franz Kafka – Too Much Cake
Kafka allowed himself to eat a whole pineapple upside down cake when he finished a story. He did not share any of it!
4. Mary Shelley – Pet Snake
Shelley’s pet 23-foot-long boa constrictor was housed in her writing studio. With the snake wrapped around her shoulders she would write until the snake became restless and began to squeeze, then she stopped writing for the day.
5. Agatha Christie – Ate apples in the bath.
6. Isabel Allende – starts every book on the same day January 8.
7. John Steinbeck – needed two dozen sharpened pencils.
8. Patricia Highsmith – ate eggs and bacon for every meal.
9. Virginia Woolf – wrote at a standing desk.
10. Charles Dickens – slept facing north.
11. Dan Brown – hanging upside down inversion therapy for writer’s block.
12. Victor Hugo – wrote without clothes so he could not leave the house to met a deadline.
13. Francine Prose – writes facing a wall to limit distractions.
14. Truman Capote – never started or finish writing on a Friday.
15. Anthony Burgess – use random words from opening a page in a dictionary to complete a descriptive passage.
So how is your Goodreads Reading Challenge going so far this year? I am one book behind schedule unfortunately. So I am determined to catch up this week.
My book order came in so I added three more books to my TBR pile. Excited to read them all. It will be interesting to read Tom Hanks – the author! And of course The Heirloom and Maybe in Another Life are reincarnation stories – my favorite.
Of course it will be hard to leave the world of this beautifully written book. You will have to wait for my review.
Talking of book reviews have you managed to read every book you have read this year?
Editing of my steampunk novel, the Commodore’s Gift did stall for a while but after some great feedback on a particular fight scene, I am back on track. As with most people lock-down tends to be a dreadful de-motivator. The virtual writing group I belong to helps with the motivation for sure.
Excerpt: this is the fight scene – feedback is welcome (constructive critique)
They picked up sticks and began circling each other. Owena watched her brother’s movements and eye direction as Galen had taught her and thrust forward. The stick found its mark on Benjamin’s bicep. He looked surprised. Thrust at her successfully landing a tap on her thigh. His arm swung around for another thrust but Owena anticipated his move. She dodged to the left. Swinging around she managed to get behind Benjamin. He shifted his stance in a quick turn to face her, his stick held high. She blocked its downward movement. She held her stick in both hands above her head. Using his momentum, she twisted their sticks to one side towards the ground. Then quickly drew hers upward to his neck. Benjamin pulled back. He brought his stick up to counter attack. Owena twisted around him, taking hold of the other end of her stick to clasp it to his neck from behind. He gasped and tried to turn but she pulled tighter making him cry out. Sensing his surrender she stood back, poised to attack again. She drew in several quick deep breathes. Benjamin looked at her wide-eyed and slowly shook his head.
In other news, I did get some lovely plants for my deck, including a chive plant from a friend, several herbs and a couple of tomato plants. This cheered me up a lot. I can now start to think about the front planters. Alberta has experienced a ‘late’ spring!
Update: As I write this on Sunday 10th May it is SNOWING!!!!! WHY!
I was also treated for Mother’s Day to a lovely self care package. So it will be foot and face masks, a glass of wine and enjoying the aroma of fresh flowers this week.
I was born in a little town in Nebraska with 700 folks—mostly all my relatives. I wanted to find “the rest of the world” around my 14th birthday (but of course I had to wait until I was 17). After that, I travelled whenever I could, first in U.S.A. and then the world
2. How many places are still on your “to go to” list?
Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, and Galapagos Islands are right up on top for now.
3. Is there anywhere you would not visit? Why?
I would like to visit Venezuela but not until it is safer.
4. What are your top three tips for traveling alone?
1. Don’t be afraid to be alone; there are friendly singles and couples that will always befriend you. 2. Don’t talk about you too much; be a good listener first as most folks would rather talk than listen. You will be adored for being a listener. 3. Be flexible; go with the flow, never know what opportunities will arise.
5.What inspired you to write Traveling Well With Less: A Woman’s Guide.
It was Monday October 7 and I was leaving on a cruise in Bucharest on Friday. My daughter called and asked if I was packed and I said, of course. So she said, why don’t you write a book on Travelling with a carry on and why it is best, etc. and do it before you leave Friday? So I did.
6. Do you intend to write another book? What will it be about?
My daughter, Tosca (the same one above), advised me to write a Financial Independence book for women. So I might.
7. Would you write in another genre? No.
8. Where do you feel most comfortable when writing? At my desk in the middle of the family room.
9. If you could eliminate one task from your daily schedule, what would it be?
I have already eliminated making my bed every day so that takes care of 15 minutes saved. I hate to dust—so that would be #1 on my list.
10. Think about punctuation marks. Which one would you pick to describe your personality and why?
Period probably. I like to finish what I start—one way or another.
11. Describe your handwriting.
Scribble. I make notes all over for everything.
Traveling Well With Less: A Woman’s Guide What, not another travel book? No, something better! Author Laura Moncrief has traveled to over 70 countries and every continent and she wants to save you from the many pitfalls that can be a disaster when you travel. This book tells you how it is (and it ain’t like it used to be) and how to ensure you will have what you need to travel well without dragging along the kitchen sink.This book includes tips on all aspects of travel but the most important parts of this book are THE LISTS—what to pack and what to wear. Print off these lists for every trip, and whether you are going for a week or a month, you’ll never forget something important that might ruin an adventure.
Laura Lee Moncrief is a native Nebraskan who has lived in Virginia, Colorado, Montana, and Georgia. A stay-at-home mother for 18 years, Laura went back to college to finish her education at 43. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Consumer Science and Finance, graduating with high distinction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1991. Upon graduating, Laura was self-employed as an American Express Financial Advisor for seven years and then investigated security clearances for the federal government for the next three years. Laura also taught senior finance classes at her alma mater for two years before retiring. Today, Laura volunteers at her church, plays pickleball three times a week, and, of course, continues to travel all over the world. She is the published author of six genealogy books and two about the early pioneers of Divide and Woodland Park, Colorado. The mother of three daughters, grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of two, Laura resides in Arizona … at least for now.
Florissant, Colorado Pioneer Cemetery–The Stories Behind the Tombstones