Book Buzz Promotional Tour Analysis

Do The Dead Dream? BookBuzz Promotional Tour 2018/2019

Do The Dead Dream? BookBuzz Promotional Tour 2018/2019

I’d mentioned in a previous post that I’d signed up for a BookBuzz (BB) promotional tour. I did this in December 2018 and January 2019. It was called the “Book Blitz” promotional tour, and involved BB promoting a book of my choice (Do The Dead Dream?), including managing a blog tour on my behalf. I gave them certain information they’d requested, including a sample story, and they ran with it. At this link (not sure how long this link will remain active) BB let reviewers sign up to do the blog tour. I got 28 takers…don’t know if that’s a lot or not, but it’s more than I have ever gotten on my own. I wish I could thank them all individually, but I cannot (for some I have to create accounts just to access the information, and I’m just not gonna do that), but thank you to all who took an interest in my work to host it!

It was an interesting experience! It really goes to show you, out in the wild, just what people actually think of your work…but it also shows the souls of the reviewers themselves. And while you can never please everybody, it was admittedly neat to have been compared to e. e. cummings, Hitchcock, Stephen King, and H. P. Lovecraft—geez, you can’t ask for more! And to have such descriptions attributed to my work like “chilling…surreal…captivating…strange…unearthly…dreamlike,” well, it’s nice to be appreciated.

Some offered non-public advice, as in I used too many exclamation marks. Well, I’ve never heard that one before. Some commented on the liberal use of all caps. I get that remark, I do, but for the effect I was trying to get across, just doing normal sentence, title case, or italicization would not do it for the story. In the stories where I made liberal use of all caps, I did so because the beings speaking were, essentially, godlike, and speaking in aforementioned cases simply didn’t cut it for me. Maybe I could have used small caps, now that I think about it. In any case, pardon the pun, I had to somehow make the verbiage far more impressive than mere “human case” and don’t have access and/or knowledge to whatever other typographical luxuries might exist out there. But thanks for sticking with the stories, if you continued to read them to the end!

One said they didn’t understand why I arranged the stories as I did.

I actually did have a plan!

I placed the longest stories at the beginning. I then tried to group the monster stories together, and certain other “weirdness factor” stories with similar “weirdness factor” stories. I wanted “Tail Gunner” to be the last story because…well, the guys was a tail gunner. I picked “The Wreck” as the first story because it seemed like the better of the long stories to place first to gain possible reader interest for those who might…wade…into the first pages of the book to check it out…yes, it gets really weird in the end of that story, but the beginning is pretty tame and easy to get into, being about scuba diving and such.

And I did not want a linear progression of my writing!

Since I love to mess around with time and perceptions, and this is not “how I roll,” I did not want to do anything so trite…which was why I’d ended up tagging each story with its creation date. That said, I wanted my better (usually more recent) writing more toward the end of the book, to hopefully leave readers with a better sense of my writing, since I know some of my earlier pieces were more rough around the edges.

At the completion of my BookBuzz period, they sent me several attachments, one a NetGalley analysis sheet, which was really neat, if confusing, because some of the metrics appeared to contradict other metrics given elsewhere. I have a query out to BB, but have not yet heard back, and don’t know if I will, since my “paying time” has expired. When I was paying them they were timely in their responses, but this is now the longest they’ve gone in not answering me, so all I can assume, despite their “…if you have any questions…” is that it’s actually “See ya later, kid!

As to how this has affected my sales…well, it’s too early, really, and I have not seen any bumps yet. But again, it just happened, and I don’t know the standard “business rhythms” of this kind of promotional effort. I’ll try to keep y’all posted if any such rise in sales occurs. Below are some the specifics BookBuzz sent to me.

NetGalley Analysis

Do The Dead Dream NetGalley Overall Snapshot (2019)

Here is what BB did for me:

1) Posted my book on their website:

http://bookbuzz.net/blog/speculative-fiction-do-the-dead-dream/

2) Managed my book blog blitz.

3) Added my book to the following sites so reviewers could access it. Reviewers were requested to leave their review on the links below by December 30th, but they are all largely no longer available, since my time with BB is up, or I just don’t have accounts at their site to check for them:

https://booksprout.co/arc/8421/do-the-dead-dream

http://netgal.ly/ihyI3D

https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/nx1EQbPK

4) Added my book and/or profile on the following sites. This is cool, since it gained reviews on GoodReads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17246861.F_P_Dorchak

https://www.librarything.com/author/dorchakfp

https://allauthor.com/profile/fpdorchak/

http://indiebooklounge.com/ebook/scifi/f-p-dorchak/do-the-dead-dream/?bid=1003893165

5) Submitted my book to ReadersFavorite and Book Life for possible reviews. I went to the link below, but didn’t see anything completed:

https://booklife.com/profile/f-p-dorchak-29687

6) Created some neat images my book. I used them in this post. They told me to “feel free to use them in any way you’d like.”

7) A few other sites also ended up promoting Do The Dead Dream?:

https://awesomegang.com/do-the-dead-dream-an-anthology-of-the-weird-and-the-peculiar-by-f-p-dorchak/

http://bookbrag.com/2018/12/16/speculative-fiction-do-the-dead-dream/

http://booksthatbuzz.com/index.php/2018/12/23/speculative-fiction-do-the-dead-dream/

8) Provided me with Excel and PDF attachments of the following:
—People who requested your book from NetGalley
—Reviews left on NetGalley
—Opinion question answers from NetGalley
—An Overall Snapshot of how your book did on NetGalley (this was presented above)
—Requests and Feedback from BookSprout & Requests from Prolific Works.

Again, I thank all those who had been involved in getting this up and running, as well as to all the reviewers for taking the time to read and review my work. Thanks to Amanda and her folk at Book Buzz for all her promotional wizardry!

 

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Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Reviews, Short Story, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Roadblocks – Figuratively and Literally

Well, I must say, things have gotten weird, and not in a good way…and as the title for my post just came to me as I sat here to write this…it also hit me like a metaphysical haymaker.

I’ve started this new novel (two actually), see, but, as I’d previously mentioned, Life In A Good Way took precedence. Then my day job required more time…then I got sick…then I

Slammed my vehicle into not just one but two curbs.

As I was driving to work this week, in the dark, on a dark (I don’t believe there are streetlights where the following happened), icy side street, I found this vehicle parked perpendicular to me in the road.

Just sitting there.

For the longest time.

Blocking the entire one-way street before me.

I did not see nor hear any spinning tires.

The short version is that as I attempted to avoid the truck (which I did), ice and hard, polished snow took over…I hit one curb…then the opposite curb. Vehicle became undriveable. I never touched the truck.

And the truck and its driver?

He drove off.

But I’d gotten his license plate and his address.

I was fine, BTW, but as a loved one said to me yesterday, that driver had no way of knowing who was in the vehicle he had caused to slide out of control. It could have been a young kid, an elderly individual, or everything in-between.

And he just drove off.

Thing is, the cops told me, there is no Colorado law that demands that such drivers have to stop! As long as there are no dead bodies, drugs, vehicle contact, property damage involved, if a driver causes others to have an accident, there is no legal imperative to prevent a Colorado driver from fleeing the scene of an accident they cause.

So, my insurance company and I are pursuing the above to pay for damages, since they did not immediate pony up. And no apology from the other driver for his irresponsible behavior.

But the other insurance company is still investigating, and my company has filed a “claims recovery” with them. So we’ll see.

Blah x 3, my vehicle is being worked on and I am unimpressed with the character of anyone who would do such a thing. I won’t relive the details of it all, I wrote it all up and even created a diagram of the situation for my insurance company.

But…for this post…the metaphysical importance of it is that I’ve had multiple “roadblocks” the past year to my writing, and I am a bit baffled by it all. I don’t have accidents (well, okay, the 20-year cyclic event of hitting deer, but who doesn’t?)! So I have to ask myself: what the heck is going on? I’ve been having all kinds of things “roadblock” my writing, and now even a literal roadblock. Sure, I’m just “going with it,” but what is going on with all this “stuff”?

Oh, it’s called Life.

As I had to remind myself, life isn’t about my writing…it’s about living. And things happen. As metaphysical as I can be about it…I cannot control everything. All I can do is put out good intent—

But maybe this isn’t so much about me…but the other guy.

Obviously this had to happen to the both of us for some reason, and given that the guy up and fled an accident he caused, it looks like it really had to happen to him.

So, all this will play out as it’s meant to, and what will happen will happen…but I hope that this guy, whether or not he weasels out of payment/his responsibility, learns something from his actions and takes responsibility for his actions. People like this don’t have good lives. If they flee shit they cause, you can be pretty sure they “flee” other shit in their lives. All I can do is wish him peace on his journey.

This happened for a reason.

I’m fine.

I’ll be fine however the outcome. I just truly wish the guy comes to peace with himself and learns whatever it is he needs to learn from all this.

And for me and my “roadblocks”?

I don’t have any!

This is just Life!

And Life is not about my writing…it’s about living and treating others with respect and living with good intent. So that’s what I have to remind myself with I get too caught up in minutiae like this that ain’t nearly as fun or heartwarming as seeing the wonderful smile on my wife’s face every day.

PEACE.

Posted in Metaphysical, To Be Human, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Discovery Canyon Campus High School Presentation

Discovery Canyon Campus Writers Week (© 2019 F. P. Dorchak)

Discovery Canyon Campus Writers Week (© 2019 F. P. Dorchak)

This past Tuesday morning, I had the honor of speaking at Discovery Canyon Campus (DCC) High School, in Colorado Springs. A couple of months ago an English teacher, Douglas Jameson, contacted me and asked if I’d like to be one of their presenters during “Writers Week.” This is Mr. Jameson’s brainchild of devoting an entire week to exposing DCC’s students to the writing world. I won’t steal the school’s thunder, so just check out their about link. This is a very cool program!

As the link says, students are also asked to participate by reading their work before an audience, and participate in a Q&A session afterward with their peers! I was so impressed with what I saw! There were two young women who presented one of their works-in-progress to the audience. The first girl did a “performance piece,” which really got my attention, and I thought, man, these people are professional. This girl, it later turns out in her Q&A, is also in drama, debate, and/or speaking classes/groups (I wish I’d written this down!). She memorized and performed her work—with props (makeup and eyelash brushes). The second girl read the first chapter of her mixed-genre (SF/F/H) novel.

I was so impressed with the levels of effort from both of these young women, and was also impressed with how well they dealt with the Q&A afterward. Both were poised and at ease up there on the stage.

Student Presenters, Discovery Canyon Campus Writers Week (© 2019 F. P. Dorchak)

Student Presenters, Discovery Canyon Campus Writers Week (© 2019 F. P. Dorchak)

After the students present, then the scheduled presenter presents and also gets a Q&A from the audience. It is well run and quite fun to participate in! If presenters desire, they can stay the whole day and take in the other presenters, and hang out in the hospitality room—which I really missed out on! They devoted a classroom to presenter hospitality, which provided all kinds of warm and cold food, munchies, and beverages, as well as a place to mingle and relax in between presentations. And all presenters are presented with a gift bag. Very classy, organized, and polished.

You are escorted everywhere, and my escort, Jason, was pleasant and engaging—and it turns out we shared something in common: we both attended Northern Arizona University! He attended as a graduate student twenty years after I received my B.S. That was pretty cool, and we talked some about that, among many other things. I asked Jason how Writers Week came about and he said Doug had come up with the idea a couple of years ago. I just love this idea! It will be things like this that will create really good writing in our future.

When the young ladies were done with their Q&A, I was brought on up. I complimented both of the girls before launching into my presentation…and told them they didn’t seem to have any problems, like the ones I’d be speaking to, but since it’s what I’d prepared and practiced, that was what they were going to get!

I opened with one of my more tame stories, called “Jumper.” I wanted a short story I could read in its entirely. I was originally going to open with my “Clowns” story, but I’d been informed that recently two high schoolers had died in a traffic accident, so I might want to be sensitive to that in my presentation, and yelling “kill-kill-kill!” to an audience, even in crazy, supernatural clown-talk, might be a little much. Then I went into my presentation. I talked about how I came into writing and my processes, which included releasing my work. I also talked some about the more “Zen” aspects of writing and being a writer. Following my presentation there were some good questions thrown my way. One of them involved what role does editing play with “crappy” first drafts. My initial response was that “crappy” was a relative term—which is true—but when Jason was escorting me out he told me what he was trying to get at with his question: that some student only write first drafts and turn those in, not bothering to edit their work. In my response I had said that yes, you do have to edit, and I gave some pointers…but it is true that, yes, students, you DO have to edit. I do not know of any writers, great or not-so great, who do not ever edit. This is a necessity! You can always improve upon the previous draft, though, at some point, you do have to move on. But you should never just write up a first draft and be done with it. If you’re one of those…then we have just had the Second Coming, so could you please, help us with a few other things, like wars, violence, and all-things evil?

Afterward, I read the first part to my story, “Tail Gunner.”

Funny thing, as I was presenting, I kept feeling things falling around at my feet…and my feet kept stepping on something. I was trying not to give into whatever was going on, but once or twice my foot actually slipped on something while I was up there. Then afterwards, when kids came up so I could sign the copies of books I’d given away, as I reached for my pen it got caught in my jacket and was sumarialy ejected from my hand. So as I’m looking around for it, I spot something on the stage’s floor…and it looked like my pen had fallen apart—which didn’t make sense. The pen in question was an actual “space pen,” and wouldn’t have come apart that way. So…I stood there looking at it…finally picking it up…when one of the kids spotted my pen farther down the stage from me and picked it up, Handed it to me. I looked at what I had picked up…

It was an eyelash brush!

Ha!

Apparently the first young lady must have left her props in the podium after she’d left, and it’d fallen out as I spoke and knocked about the podium from time to time!

One of the young men who came up to get his book signed began to tell me that he really liked “Tail Gunner” best, of the two stories I’d read, and also began to inform me of a great-great grandfather of his who flew B-17s…but we’d gotten interrupted by someone—I think it was the one who handed me my pen—and we never ended up finishing that conversation. Then it got lost in all the other conversation that followed as we left the stage, and…

It turns out that a writer-friend of mine, Bret Wright, is a teacher at DCC. I knew Bret was a teacher, but I’d recently found out that he worked there, so I had to call on him. He was speaking after me, but I didn’t have the luxury of being able to stay to see him speak…and he was working in his class so he couldn’t see mine. But as I was preparing for this, I’d contacted Bret and he said I should come find him—so I did!

So Jason, myself, and three of the students who actually knew where Bret’s classroom was, all made our “journey” to Bret’s classroom. I’ll tell ya, DCC is a huge, intricate, and amazing school! It actually reminded me of a D&D layout in its complexity (it was not at all “dark” or “foreboding, like typical D&D dungeons!), with its multiple floors, and all the twists and turns it takes to navigate its length! It was a fun journey through the length of this school. Jason told me that the school was built inside an actual canyon, and that its layout followed the contours of said canyon. How neat.

So our little party, chatting merrily all the way (it really felt like a D&D campaign to me—and yes, I played that a lot as a kid!), came upon Bret’s classroom, and I spotted him in action, talking to his class…when he sees us milling outside his door. His face forms into a “what-the-heck-is-going on?” look, which I loved…and I’ll tell ya why.

For some odd reason (perhaps it’s the writer’s “Drama King” in me?), I’ve always wanted to interrupt a teacher while in class. Yeah, you read that correctly. I got the idea from all the TV shows and movies I’d seen where authority figures would do so, and it just seemed like a fun thing to do to a friend, in front of their class! I thought it might make for great conversation in their students, when they’d see that their teacher is so important that someone outside of school would interrupt a class to see their teacher! Yeah, it was kind of a “Bucket List” item for me I never really wanted to acknowledge, because I honestly never thought it would happen!

Anyway, as the five of us stood milling about outside Bret’s door, and Bret’s quizzical look continue to grow as he scanned us…he finally saw me, and “got  it.”

That was cool.

Bucket List item #17c completed.

I hadn’t physically seen Bret in about a year or more (we do SM), so it was good to see him again. Bret is a great guy, has really good energy about him, and we’ve always gotten along quite well with each other. He writes the “Nasty” mystery series. So out he came, and we hung out and talked for a few minutes—and I got him to sign a copy of one of his novels—in front of his people! I thought how extra special that some high schoolers got to see one of their teachers signing a book he wrote!

I was really impressed with DCC. It had a really good energy about the place, and the kids there even had a good energy about them. The three who came with Jason and me to find Bret were really cool kids, and energetically and happily chatted the entire way. I had a smile on my face the entire time. It was fun listening to them and interacting with them. They all seemed like really good kids. One of boys who got one of my books said it was the first time he’d ever gotten an autographed book from an author.

Wow.

That made me feel so good to hear.

And they both got a kick out of what I’d written to them as I signed their books. This really made me feel good that I’d been able to “make” those kids’ day!

When I was preparing my presentation, I was constantly ever mindful about what I was going to say…and that everything I would say was about to enter into the ears and minds of many kids hungry for knowledge and learning (I figured that must have been about a hundred of them, there, in the auditorium, as I spoke). Perhaps even taking what I’d say as gospel. That everything I would say would be scrutinized and land somewhere in these fertile mental landscapes and become internalized…so I had to be critical and serious about the words I picked and how I said them. Careful about what I said. I would be presenting to a captive audience (I’m sure some were only there to get out attending a class, perhaps…), sure, but also to minds that are still learning and forming and thirsty and hungry for knowledge.

It was no small responsibility.

I did not want to misspeak.

I did not want to lead them astray.

I also did not want to blow smoke up their butts.

I took this opportunity quite seriously…and it really hit me how important being a teacher is.

That it, too, is no small responsibility.

Teachers are forming lives.

It’s not only what they teach…but how they teach it.

It’s not just the knowledge behind it…but the Zen surrounding it.

And that’s what I wanted to do with my presentation. I’d also always wanted to speak to a high school, and now I’ve done so. I wanted to not only present writing processes…but the more gray areas (pardon the pun?)…the more Zen areas…of writing…and that is what I hoped I did. I brought ethics into my speech. About how to treat those with whom they deal with with respect. About how to not let writing destroy their lives…because it can and has destroyed lives…but to incorporate it into theirs.

Live your lives well…and don’t worry about having to be perfect—not even with one’s lives.

Intend to do well…that is what matters…mistakes will be made, but don’t kill yourself trying to be error-free…or becoming published.

Intend to live a good life and intend to write the best you can. Don’t destroy your lives over becoming a writer. Don’t give up love or relationships or living for wordsmithing words.

No life is that unimportant.

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A Little Humility Would Be Nice….

I try to be upbeat in my posts, but certain things get me annoyed—even though I know why and what’s happening.

No, I’m not physically spun up…just intellectually miffed.

I’d just read yet another post by a successful writer (one who makes a living at it) who described in how s/he analyzed what they were going to do before they did it…analyzed what aspect of writing they were going to pursue…yada x 3…and did it.

And it worked.

I’m not annoyed that that person (it’s not just one person) is successful—more power to him/her!—I am annoyed at how it implies (and maybe these people aren’t even aware of what they’re doing), if not blatantly states…that “all you have to do is…“:

  1. Properly analyze.
  2. Properly do the numbers.
  3. Properly do the work.

And all will fall into place!

It is NOT that easy. And I’m getting tired of seeing all the articles that imply this: that I did this so it works!

No!

It’s not the same for everyone…there are so many variables out there, not the least of which (IMNSHO) involve the metaphysical.

I am tired of numbers people taking over the world!

Tired of the “Do these 7 steps to success!” Of how to tweak your freaking Third-Person Limited Point-Of-View and your stories will finally get published.

I state that you can do everything right…everything…and still not get published.

And I cannot tell you all why this is! No one can! It’s different for each and every person out there.

I can say that a lot of metaphysical aspects play into it. Call it “luck,” “being in the right place,” ” the correct hex, whatever. It could be that an editor just hates your name!

And you cannot worry about it! You’re a performer…just perform!

Write!

Juggle!

Act!

Do whatever it is you’re meant to do, without looking for bright lights. You should be doing whatever it is you’ve been built to do just for the doing…anything else is extra. Gravy. Whipped cream. Success kills a lot of people. You have to be able to handle any success that comes your way…and maybe the reason you are NOT receiving your version of success is precisely because in this life…in this Time/Space of your existence…you’re just not ready for it.

Who knows?

I don’t.

It may be that in another life you’ve already had your successes, and in this life you’re living what it’s like to be all those others who weren’t successful in your other life. Maybe you ignored them, sneered at them, talked down to them. Maybe you just wanted to see—in another life—what it was like to be the UNsuccessful artist.

Ever think of that?

So don’t get down on yourselves!

And all you other successful artists, please be more mindful and humble of your efforts. Give a little more grace and time to the unknowns in life and how appreciative you are of where you are and how you (might have!) gotten there…without hitting us over the head with (or implying) how outstandingly wonderful you are, because you did something “right” the rest of us have not done.

That all the rest of us have to do…is live by the numbers and proper analysis.

Numbers do not rule the world.

Heart does.

Thank you.

 

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My New Photography Website – F. P. Dorchak Photography

Heron Marsh Pond and Creek, Paul Smiths, NY (© June 17, 2018, F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Pond and Creek, Paul Smiths, NY (© June 17, 2018, F. P. Dorchak)

Well, I’ve finally begun the creation of a new website I’ve been thinking about for quite some time: for my photography. This site is titled F. P. Dorchak Photography.

If you didn’t select the link, it’s available at: https://www.fpdorchakphotography.com/

My plans are to post only the better of any images I take…and to sell them.

It is a work-on-progress and will no doubt take me quite some time to fully populate it and make it functional. Right now I do not have any commerce functions set, only display. But even if I never get around to the selling part, I’m really looking forward to this, and hope you all enjoy the images I post!

 

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Sunset on the Rocks

Garden of the Gods Bunker Hill Sunset (© 2018, F. P. Dorchak)

Garden of the Gods Bunker Hill Sunset (© 2018, F. P. Dorchak)

I managed to finally get outside and get a hike in after who knows how long it’s been! It was obviously later in the afternoon, and I’d been trying to squeeze one in for quite some time. But given the time of year and all its wonderful obligations, I just haven’t been able to fit one in until yesterday (even after other things I just had to get done!).

And I almost didn’t capture this shot (click for a larger image)!

I try not to take many, if any, shots while I’m hiking, because I want to remain “in the moment” and not be so damned connected to technology, but as I hoofed by and shot a look behind me…momentarily making a turn back to my hike…I whined and took the shot.

Anyway, it was funny that about half of those whom I’d passed had said the same thing: that we were all trying to squeeze in a hike with the last rays of the day. Yes, we were. And we did. And it was glorious!

Posted in Health, Leisure, Nature, Photography, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shameless Self Promotion!

A Really, Really Great Christmas or New Year's Present!

A Really, Really Great Christmas or New Year’s Present!

Yes, I have been a very bad boy not posting much these past couple of months!

It has been a cavalcade of activity this year and I was doing my best not to kill myself with trying to do everything…yet enjoying everything I was doing. Blogging and social media are taking the hit. But…I did decide to try out Book Buzz for the Christmas Season, to make up for my lack of efforts. It’s a 30-day campaign where I have them promoting my latest book, Do The Dead Dream?. They have already begun and will do so until the 30 days runs out, which would be end of the month or early January 2019. So, we’ll see how things pan out! Anything they do is better than what I’ve had for sales so far, so I’m really looking forward to it. They also sent me cool images with my book in them, which I can use as I want, and one is in this post (doesn’t is look so warm…and inviting…there, on a comfy blanket you just want to wrap yourself up into…and have your warm, life-sustaining cup of coffee by the fire that’s crackling just off to the right?)! Thanks, Book Buzz! Their next efforts, after sending it out to different sites (also asking for reviews to be posted), one of which is NetGalley, is to do a 20+ blog tour—and I don’t have to do anything! They do it all! I haven’t received a date for that yet, but how cool!

I have been cavalcading with all manner of Christmas fun, from writing our annual Christmas letter, reconning (lotsa dat), buying, and wrapping, thinking and planning. Orchestrating. I’ve also been busy preparing my speech to the DCC high school next month. And then add to that finishing coordinating all of our home repairs and improvements. And I got nailed twice in the past month with some stupidly weird “stomach thing” that lasted precisely three stupid days each time (the most recent bout was last weekend). Not sure what the heck went on there, but both stupid times I felt as if a stupid train slammed stupidly into me and my stupid stomach was nauseated. Then the next day—nothing. I was “normal” again. Boom. Gone.

Whatever.

And no writing (except for the Christmas letter and speech)!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. And I’ve been enjoying—and continue to—every moment of it. I love this time of year! It’s fun giving people things and “making merriment,” giving and receiving gifts! Putting up and being hypnotized by all the twinkling lights! Make of the season what you all will, I’m fine with both the religious or secular versions. This is a season to have fun and celebrate however you celebrate, and that’s all that matters to me. If we all allow each of us to celebrate in our own way, then we all can enjoy a time of year where everyone is actually TRYING to be good and kind and have fun. Play. We need more “good and kind and fun and play” in this world. We need to carry this with us throughout the new year and our lives. Yes, life can be difficult for many, hard, and all-manner-of-adjectives, but we have to make the best of our time here. Be the best person we can be, whatever our circumstances. I wish the best for everyone. I ask that everyone continue to let their inner lights continue to shine beyond this season. Act with the best intentions, apologize for your mistakes, and always try to do better, be a better person. No one’s perfect—don’t even try to be!

So, go forth into the next eleven days and enjoy this time of year! Make it enjoyable for others!

Merry Christmas!

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