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BLESSINGS

Every day I count my blessings and having gone to Mass this morning I’m especially reflective. First, I thank God for His gift of creativity as I continue to work on my next novel. I’m often asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”
I usually have a trite answer like “stories just seem to come to me” but I know better. We all have gifts, or blessings, and express them in countless ways. Friends are blessings that come immediately to mind. Someone once said that friends are ‘the gold in our lives’ and I’m a believer in that. I could cite numerous examples in my daily life. Being an author I rely on book sales to fund what I’m doing–each book has provided just enough income to cover the cost of my next story. Believe me, I’m not making a living by self-publishing my writing. I’ve sold more than 10,000 books over the past fifteen years and have just enough in my book account to publish ‘Waiting’, my next (and thirteenth) novel. Recent years have seen countless independent bookstores close their doors and my book distributor has gone out of business–unable to compete with the ‘big dogs’ of publishing.
My market has always been regional so I am dependent on a few local book-signings and an occasional Amazon order. One blessing that I must share in this regard is a lady that most in Hibbing know well. Patty Shafer and her small gift shop (the Mulberry Bush) are closing. For the past few years, Patty has been my sole outlet and I will miss her greatly. Thanks Patty and God Bless. Thanks also to the Express Print staff for their professionalism, thanks to Jeremy Hendrickson for maintaining my website, to Kelly Griensteinner at the Hibbing Tribune for always launching a new book with a story in the Sunday Tailings section and to Leah Ryan at the Mesaba Daily for her stories. I could single out many others who have helped along the way. For example, I needed to get an expert’s insights on a fire scene in my new story. I called Peter Leschak and he was very helpful–it seems that whenever I ask someone for help they are, like Pete, more than willing to answer any questions I might have. As you may know, I also use real people in my stories (without permission) because they–or their surnames– seem to fit into the fabric of the story. I’ve never asked Father Gabriel for his permission but he ends up in my stories quite often as my protagonist is the fictitious priest, Father Mickey Moran. And I’ve had conversations with others that will come up in future stories. Last fall I spent a wonderful hour with Tony Faticci, a former student and a courageous Marine, thinking at the time that a vet might be a character in the story I was contemplating. Maybe we’ll talk again, Tony, as I still have a character like yourself in a book tht still lingers in the back of my thoughts for another time. (His mom, Jan, has sent Tony copies of my books to Iran and Afghanistan and other places he has served his country). And last but not least, my pre-readers and editors.
Blessings are plentiful in my life. I have a little place in Florida for the winter months and Gail back home to shovel snow and keep the home fires burning, along with the Blessed Sacrament group who keep me in their prayers, and the best kids and grandkids to enrich my every day. Speaking of Florida, I’ll be staying an extra month (May) for my grandson Jack’s graduation–and May is very hot down here. Yes, I could go on forever as I’m sure any of you who read this post could do. And speaking earlier of my book outlet in Hibbing, I’ll be looking for a merchant in town to help me as Patty has with my book sales.
Finally, my new story is currently at 84,000 words and two or three chapters to finish the ‘rough’ draft. My previous books have been about 102,000 words should you find time to count them. I really like it but don’t yet know how it will end. That to me is exciting.
PS: One of the neat things about being down here in the spring is following my ‘Twins’ during spring training. My next blog will be my analysis of the Twins in 2018–and my growing confidence that they are going to provide us with a very successful season.
God’s Blessings to you all.

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