This year Oct. 10 didn’t come until Oct. 28

y1 is largely about finding joy in one’s life, and over the years I’ve learned that little harmless rituals can go a long way towards adding an extra pinch of happiness. One of my favorites stems from the only class I ever took in writing poetry. The class gave me two things.  1.  It firmly established that I am not a poet.  2. It gave me Oct. 10.

Rather, it gave me a poem called “Oct. 10” about the bright blue sky of autumn and the importance of wrapping that sky close around you and holding it tight against a white winter day.  For whatever reason, of all the bad poetry I wrote only that phrase stuck with me and from it I created my own personal holiday.  Every year, on or around Oct 10, wherever I have lived, there has always been one of those gorgeous cool clear autumn days. I’d call in sick.  I’d ignore household chores. It was a day off, a celebration of all things beautiful, and every year I found a way to take at least part of the day and make it mine.

Until this year.  October has been hot and muggy.  Rainy. Overcast.  Work has been busier than usual, minor chores overwhelming. I kept waiting expectantly for my day, while my mood declined into irritation and finally into disappointment.  It wasn’t going to happen. Then this past week-end,  Oct. 28 became Oct. 10 and I  spent the day on my front porch  staring at a deep blue sky. Holidays are great.  Holidays you make up yourself are even better!

Posted in joy.

Depressed Toddlers? Really?

One of the villains in y1 is the zealous CFO of a pharmaceutical company who is anxious to reap the profits from over-medicating his new target demographic, children.  I did a fair amount of research on this subject because I wanted to make sure his tactics were believable, and also because I wanted to be careful not to malign the use of medicine when it was genuinely needed and beneficial.

It is true that by the time I finished writing y1, I personally found the vastly increased use of medication to control behavior and emotional issues in children to be disturbing. Every once in awhile, I still run across an article that makes me shudder. A friend recently sent me this article from Science Daily published in 2010. In a nutshell it discusses the idea that even toddlers can be depressed and it talks about the difficulty of the diagnosis because depressed preschoolers often act normal and may not even appear particularly sad.  However, researchers assure us, methods are being developed to ferret out those difficult to locate symptoms. Are you shuddering yet?

y1 featured and I get interviewed

Thanks to 3000 year old vampire Bektamun and her modern alter ego author Rebeka Harrington for featuring y1 on her blog.

And, please check out The Indie Book Blog Database where I answered a series of sometimes odd questions and got featured as the author of the day.

Nick Wastnage and Playing Harry

With the novel y1 I made a mild segue in to writing crime fiction, and in the process it was my pleasure to make the acquaintance of several more experienced crime writers. This includes Nick Wastnage, author of twelve novels and a writer with a grab you by the throat style that almost guarantees less sleep until you finish his book. His latest novel is Playing Harry.

Playing Harry: Harry, an investigative journalist with a top British national newspaper, discovers a mysterious, encrypted file on his late brother’s computer. He thinks it contains a cure for HIV and is linked to his brother and sister-in-law’s murders. Helped by Amie, his ex-girlfriend, he starts to search for the truth. He becomes immersed in a violent, disturbing international conspiracy, where two of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies resort to murder and corruption to secure their world dominance and the American and British security services are shown to have blood on their hands.

Playing Harry, is about the man who rattled the CIA and MI6 and is available at Smashwords, amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, Barnes and Noble, iPad UK, iPad US, http://playingharry.wordpress.com.

Nick took the time to answer a few questions just for this blog.

I wrote: Unlike many other prolific crime writers, it looks like you don’t have a single crime solver that you write about.  Rather your books span all manner of characters, crimes and places.  Why the eclectic approach? He answered: Well, it’s because I’ve never found a character I’ve wanted to continue writing about, but that’s all changed. In a recent blog post, http://nickwastnage@blogpot.com – called Why did I write Playing Harry? I’ve said that I’ve found in Harry Fingle, the main protagonist and crime-solver in Playing Harry, a character I want to take through to a few more books. He has his faults, but he’s basically a good guy, and I’m looking forward to finding new adventures for him and developing his character.

I wrote: Your latest book looks particularly interesting and I’ve added it to my “to read” list.  I’d love to know, what is your personal favorite thing about “Playing Harry?”  He answered: The way I’ve managed to weave a love story and the exploits of six troubled characters into the narrative of a crime novel. It’s an interstitial book and cross-genred.

I wrote: Are you willing share anything about what is in the works after “Playing Harry?” He answered: I think I’ve already given it away. I’m starting on a new Harry Fingle novel, part of The Harry Fingle Collection, within the next four weeks. Without giving any more away, his enemies come back to haunt him, and his ex-lover, Amie, who’s now married, is never too far away. It should be finished by the second part of next year. I wrote a short, Harry and His Unfinished Business, which sort of kicks the new book off. It’s available for free at  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240287 or can be read on my blog.

About Nick Wastnage. Nick Wastnage calls himself a crime writer and an optimist. He writes about people involved in sinister deeds like murder, extortion, and retribution. He’s worked in a seaside arcade; as a record salesman, a decorator, a merchant banker, a marine, and a retailer. He was once shot by terrorists, winched from the jungle into a helicopter, and flown to hospital. He lives with his wife in Bucks.

Learn more about Nick and his books at http://www.nickwastnage.com  and http://nickwastnage.blogspot.com/

Where in the world is Kiribati?

Map from GT Popping Website

Occupying the center of the Pacific Ocean, Kiribati is the only nation with land in all four hemispheres.  It is made up of  three island groups and a lot of water, and covers about half as much of the surface of the earth as the continental United States.  And yes, it really did contain the first land mass outside of Antarctica to see the new millennium, just like the book y1 says.

An old friend asked me recently why in the world I decided to write a book about Kiribati. The first answer is that it is exactly on the other side of the globe from Nigeria.  My first book x0 is about the ways we are all alike and it partially takes place in Nigeria. So when I started to write y1, a book meant to celebrate all the ways we are different, I thought that it would be cool to have it take place on the other side of  the world.  That’s Kiribati.

Dancers from Jane’s Kiribati Homepage

But as I began to weave my love of travel and sailing and tropical sunsets into the story I realized that Kiribati (pronounced Ki ri bas) was a wonderful setting for a book about finding the joy in ones life.  As I researched, I became a big fan of a website called Jane’s Kiribati Home page.  If you share my love of far-away beautiful places please visit her lovely website.

In addition, in the course of my research I found Yacht  Pals, a helpful website designed for the online boating community.  Besides providing a wealth of information on sailing the Pacific, they have a delightful short video of photos of Kiribati put to music. Pour yourself a tropical drink, put your feet up and enjoy a 4 minute vacation.

While not a common tourist destination, a fair number of bird watchers, sport fishermen, and scuba divers visit these islands each year. GT Popping, a site dedicated to catch and release fishing, is looking into fishing packages here. Travel eGuides offers this link with useful information. Will I get to Kiribati someday? Sigh…… I certainly hope so.

A “crime writer and an optimist” gives y1 some coverage

Nick Wastnage’s blog

A thank you goes out to Nick Wastnage, author of twelve crime novels and the blog “just a crime writer and an optimist” .  He has been kind enough to feature y1 and my guest post this week.  Please check out his site for tidbits on an interesting assortment of crime writers and for a cheeky quote of the day sure to make you chuckle.