It's been a while since I have created a new blog post. Covid and the global pandemic have thrown a wrench into my writing routines/schedules and my planned release of another book. Work continues on my next book and with some focused energy and a little luck it will see the light of day in 2023. It is my most ambitious project yet and I believe it will be worth the wait. Stay tuned for the title/cover release.
The North Country Confessional has received a Gold Quality Mark from Books Go Social.
The North Country Confessional has been nominated for a New Hampshire Literary Award in the Outstanding Work of Fiction Category. http://nhwritersproject.org/content/nh-literary-awards
The North Country Confessional
Is Available Now!
Craig C. Charles is both a writer and a teacher. When he is not writing, he likes to explore the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Follow him on Twitter (@GraniteWriter) and PLEASE join the mailing list for periodic news about his writing projects and future events.
The North Country Confessional is his debut mystery novel.
Blog: Random Thoughts
I was extremely pleased to recently learn that my book 'The North Country Confessional' was selected as a recommended buy to the members of an online book club. This opportunity despite garnering me some quick sales, more importantly offered me a chance to explore how an increase in purchases would impact my rankings on Amazon. Over the course of a week a significant quantity of additional ebooks were purchased. This increase in sales drove my book up the Historical Mystery category rankings. My book reached #118 in this genre. Thank you all for the support!
In the summer of 1988, I left the familiar confines of my youth, following an unclear path to adulthood. New England was all that I had known. The stone walls, the hardwood forests, and the lobster traps stacked haphazardly on a sun bleached dock were the landmarks of my young existence. My decision to head to the desert southwest at the age of 18 was influenced by many things: a determination to figure out who I was, an escape from family and friends, and the release of a musical album.
Thirty years ago, U2's The Joshua Tree was released. It was a sonic and visual haj that led me to the deserts of Arizona. The black and white cover art encapsulating the dry and barren landscape that awaited me. It was a harshness that mirrored the nation and my outlook on life at that time. It was also a pivotal moment in my existence. My senses came alive with the smells of creosote advancing ahead of the summer monsoon. My eyes burned as I gazed upon the dried and jagged arroyos scarring the red earth and I wondered under sunsets that made me believe in a higher power. It was my Eden. Six years later, I left thinking I would never return. I figured out who I was and had grown to appreciate and identify with being a New Englander. I had wandered the desert long enough.
Last summer, I finally returned with my own family to the desert after a self imposed absence. Much had changed, but much was still the same. The July heat remained stifling, but the landscape continued to speak to me. It was an unexpected homecoming that I had needed. The smell of the desert is unlike anything I have encountered. The memories returned to me, harbingers of my future. Life is cyclical, but it continues to surprise.
'Desert sky...Dream beneath a desert sky...The rivers run but soon run dry...We need new dreams tonight.'
I considered the 8' high fence that separated our two properties a godsend at the time. It was our DMZ, our no man's land that kept an uneasy peace between young and old. I was a good neighbor (trust me), but the association and it's silly rules regulated us into individual fiefdoms - 'follow the rules or else.' Do you have a beef with someone? Go complain to the Association. What a sack of rocks.
Fast forward to the present...I live in a nice house on a large wooden lot in New Hampshire at the end of a cul-de-sac . I have neighbors, but there are no fences and no rules about what I or my neighbors can and can't do. If something bothers you, you go discuss it in the front yard with your neighbor. You interact, you don't isolate yourself.
The act of writing, at different times, has felt like being a property owner at each of these locales. It's easier, more convenient, and less confrontational to built up your fences as a writer. Isolate yourself, do what you like, and try not to burn down the house. The problem is that you don't grow living on a property such as this, you only build a fortress of solitude. The lack of fences, the lack of barriers, and the lack of excuses make the no fence approach to living and writing so much more invigorating. You need a community as a writer. People to learn from and people to critically look at your work in progress. I think Robert Frost had it wrong as least in terms of writing, good fences don't make good neighbors, they make good hermits who think everyone else is nuts. Then again, Frost wasn't from New England, he was from California.
Computers revolutionized everything. MS Word was a godsend. You mean I don't need correction paper anymore and you'll check my grammar AND spelling too? The ability to cut and paste also allowed for some pretty fancy editing. Then came the development of writing software. This was a game changer in terms of organization, research, and the ease of squeezing out word after word of beautiful prose. I've tried many different writing software programs, but I finally settled on one which I've been using for over three years now.
Storymill by Mariner Software is absolutely phenomenal and gets my endorsement everyday of the week and twice on Tuesday. It allows me to write in terms of scenes and then assign those scenes into chapters and rearrange the order anyway I like it. It's logical, simple, and has way more features than I will ever use. If you are looking to simplify your writing so that you can be more creative, I urge you to check out the Storymill package. Your Mac or PC will thank you.