Friday, December 30, 2011

Heading to Kansas

It's the Eve of New Year's Eve and Wifey and Ryan appear healthy enough to pack a few things in preparation for a one-day trip to Kansas.

This is the third time in the last few months that we planned to make trip there: the first attempt was aborted to due vehicle problems and the second was nixed because both Wifey and the Youngster were not in the best of health.

And what's the forecast? No snow, rain, sleet, hail or even fog! It might even get warm enough once there that we may need to crank up the A/C! Perfect forecast for a daytrip west to Kansas!

The plan is to visit with Wifey's mom and then even my parents in Topeka and then head to Lawrence for a New Year's Eve feast at one of her sister's houses.

And how does this relate to Betrovia?

At least one of her sisters and one of her nephews want to "buy" a copy of it. There should be opportunities for stirring up interest in the Kindle version, too!

Yuppers... New Year's Eve 2011 may just be one nice daytrip!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmastime and Betrovia

It's the eve of Christmas Eve... December 23rd... and there's not a chance for a White Christmas here in MidMO. The predicted high temperature for Sunday is 52. And that is a good thing! But I think about that being a good thing now but come Christmas morning, when I look outside for the first time and see the dingy browns and faded greens of the yard of 4502 Merry Lane, I just may wish that there was snow!

Betrovia has been available as an ebook since July and as a paperback since September. Some people have asked how sales are going and I modestly reply that since I'm not advertising/promoting much, I suppose they are going as expected.

A few times a week I read over a few forums that cater to self-published writers, mostly ones selling ebooks and paperbacks on Amazon, and find that more than a few people are experiencing some decent sales. But are they promoting/advertising? And if so, how?

When Wifey came home from church a few nights ago, she told me about an elderly man that we know who is going through "traditional channels" to publish his memoirs. She smiled as she said that he got a discount on the upfront fee: $2400. She then added that he really wants to talk to me about the procedures I'm following to get the word out about Betrovia.

A few months ago, Tate Publishing offered to editing and publish Betrovia for $4000.

I didn't think about asking for a discount.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Betrovia and the GOP (Republican Party)

Not that long ago I was pretty excited about one of the GOP candidates who wanted a chance to run against PrezBO in 2012. Then, for some reason, Herman Cain dropped out of the race. Why? Was it because there was some truth to the rumors? Maybe...

Since then, the MainStreamMedia has painted the airways with the grand news that Newt Gingrich is now the GOP front-runner.

So here's who we conservatives are now supposed to choose from:

Newt Gingrich
Ron Paul
Mitt Romney

Any fresh political blood in that group?
Any inspiring and innovative thinkers in that group?
Anyone but career politicians in that group?

And this gets me thinking...

In Betrovia, the politicians of Lycentia created and maintained their power over the land of Betrovia because they -- the ones with the power -- successfully lulled the general populace into believing that Betrovia is fine just the way it is. No changes are needed... full-speed ahead!

The GOP nominated John McCain in 2008 to effectively prove to the American voter that it, as a political party, had no vision for a better future for America.

And with Newt. Ron or Mitt apparently the only options for getting BO out of office in 2012, history is indeed repeating itself.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Betrovia has been independently reviewed!

So it's officially December now and the first good chance of "the white stuff" appears to be Monday with a 50/50 chance. I suppose I'm ready for snow since it can make Jeff City look more like a Christmas town!

A few weeks ago, I asked a book reviewer in Kansas if she would consider reviewing Betrovia.

And here's the link to her review:

I like this part of Pat's commentary: "The story moved well and with enough detail to put the reader in the picture." Yes! I want a satisfactory level of immersion! :)

She plans to put her review of Betrovia on Amazon in the next few days.

Once again, I am encouraged to continue working on the series!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's a great day to be thankful!

Happy Turkey Day!

Even though we didn't travel as planned to KS today (due to a low-grade illness) we still took a short drive. As we were leaving the neighborhood, the clouds dissipated and the sunlight came pouring through! It made for a beautiful drive in the country. We weren't gone but an hour and once home, it was time for another wonderful Thanksgiving tradition: Detroit Lions football! I predicted that the Packers would prevail in today's game, but didn't think that the Pack would dominate like they did in the first half!

I've still hammering away on the second in The Land of Betrovia series. Patrik and Galena and their journey to Lycentia is the focus of the first three chapters. I'm trying to "blend in" more Vellein family history as I move these two from The Lonely Fox Inn onto the road to the capital city.

Today, I had a thought about adding another minor conflict/subplot related to Teophelus. This small diversion from the main plot won't occur until late in the book and I hope that I can successfully tie it into the main plot.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Continuing with Part Two

In little over a week, it will be Thanksgiving. Today is the first day of deer season (gun variety). Yesterday was Veterans Day. And since Halloween has already come and gone, it's "the Christmas Season"! Wifey spent a few hours with other ladies and made Christmas angels and wreathes last night.

Yes. it's a busy time of the year!

Ryan and I spent some "quality time" together this morning dismantling a small sofa-sleeper. While we separated the wood, metal, fabric and foam into separate piles, I had to think that we were doing to that couch what deer-hunters were doing with their trophies! The main difference was we created a small bonfire in the backyard to burn the oak skeleton while everything else ended up in the dumpster.

As I watched Georgia dismantle Alabama this afternoon, I worked on chps one and two of Part Two of The Land of Betrovia.

Since chp one begins the morning after the events of chp sixteen of Betrovia, it feels like I'm working on chps seventeen and eighteen of Betrovia. That's what I intended to do as I finished the first book.

That does make sense, doesn't it, to just continue the main plot from the first book?

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's November already?!?!

It's very passe' but I have to say it: Where has the year gone?!

September and October are my two favorite months of the year (especially since I'm not teaching any more!) and they came, they left, and I can't remember much of either! I think the weather was pleasant and not too rainy since I don't remember having to reschedule any window-cleaning jobs. But why did the great weather of those months have to end so quickly?

So, it's now November. In less than two days, we have to say "Goodbye" once again to Daylight Savings Time." I suppose it will be nice to not have to drive to Freeburg Monday morning in the dark. But the drive home after 5:30 will be in the dark!

Someone told Wifey that a country radio station has been playing Christmas music 24hrs/day since the beginning of the month. And she is so excited that now she can hear hear the music of her favorite holiday whenever she wants... for the next seven weeks!

Now on to a few Betrovia things:

I've almost decided on a title for the second book of the trilogy. The title will relate directly to a new group of characters that Patrik, etc. must deal with. But that's a good thing since the members of this group will challenge Patrik even more to desire an even closer relationship with the Creator!


The current version of Betrovia contains both a list of important characters and the map that Anna and Jared Deutsch finalized. The plan is to enhance the map a bit more for the second book in the series to coincide with a few of the new settings of that book.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kettlecakes and Betrovia

What a change in the October weather! 85 and incredibly windy yesterday compared to cloudy, cool, and damp today. Even though the weather today was a bit on the cool and damp side, all of the window-cleaning jobs were performed as scheduled!

So what are kettlecakes?

In Betrovia, Tamara heads to the hen house to grab a few eggs to make some biscuits for breakfast. But wait, my wonderful Wifey points out to me this afternoon, eggs are not needed to make biscuits! Aha! A change in the text must then be made! Biscuits are not made for the guest's of The Lonely Fox Inn: kettlecakes are to be made! And, of course, fresh eggs are needed for such a concoction!

My apologies to the biscuit-bakers who are reading Betrovia. And once again, Betrovia is a WIP (work in progress).

This self-publishing stuff is so much fun!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Major Characters

A few people have asked for a list cast of characters from the novel. So, here's the "shortlist" of characters from Betrovia:

Characters in and Around the Lonely Fox Inn
Patrik Vellein: innkeeper of The Lonely Fox Inn
Tamara: Patrik’s older daughter
Galena: Patrik’s younger daughter
Dalneia: Patrik’s wife and mother of Tamara and Galena; died a few years before the novel begins
Pieter: Patrik’s younger brother
Markus: Patrik’s brother-in-law, Dalneia’s younger brother
Kristof: young hired hand working for Patrik at the Inn at the beginning of the novel
Teophelus: young man wanting to become a Netherene priest in Noran
Edelin: thief/confidence man who appears one day at the Lonely Fox Inn
Leuran: Noran shopkeeper and friend of Patrik
Commander Lietser: leader of the Noran militia; the only son of the wealthiest family in Noran

Characters of Lycentia
King Justen: King of Betrovia when the novel begins
Prince Gorgi: King Justen’s only son
Jarad: captain in Lycentian militia
General Demirain: chief officer of Lycentian militia
Luis: protector (chief administrator) of Lycentia
Oliver III: holy advocate of the Netherenes, resides in Lycentia
Viktor: chief prophet of the Netherenes, resides in Lycentia
Franck: traveling merchant, close friend of Patrik, resides in Lycentia
Ilead Tetrokiu: youngest son of the Tetrokiu family of Lycentia

Friday, October 21, 2011

Four People Groups, But Just One Betrovia

It was a beautiful October day for being outside and cleaning windows! Wednesday was cloudy, windy and basically a miserable excuse for a Fall day. Yesterday was sunny but still a bit windy. Today? Frost was on the Dakota windshield as I headed out for the first window-cleaning job but once headed into the sunrise, the frost was gone! By early afternoon, the tattered green hoodie was no longer needed to work outside.

Now for some stuff about Part 2.

Four people groups were introduced in Betrovia: Rigarians, Haarigoians, Knaesins and Betrovians. Oh, there was a fifth group mentioned, the Muads, but they won't be focused much on until Part 3. The Betrovians are clans, famiy groups, that have resided in the Great Forest. The Haarigoians, close descendants of the Muads, chose to live on the Plains of Dreut and the adjoined seacoast west of the Great Forest. The Rigarians are the mountain people of the mountains NW of the Great Forest while the Knaesins reside in and around the mountains ranges directly east and NE of the Great Forest.

So what does this geographic situation imply for the people living there? Many choices for habitat, that's what! If someone wanted to leave the Great Forest and try his luck with making a living in a more mountainous region, he would have two places in which to move. Of course, if he's accustomed to a certain lifestyle, he surely couldn't expect to find a similar lifestyle in the mountains. Or could he?

Those living in the Great Forest are Betrovians BECAUSE they have chosen to live there. If a Betrovian packed up his things and ventured east into the Knaesins, he would then become a Knaesin. And the opposite would also logically be true.

I suppose the question would then be: if a large number of Haarigoians decided to head east, to turn away from living on the seacoast and the Plains, what effect might that have on those currently residing in the Great Forest, Betrovia? Might this be something to look forward to or to abhor?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Further into Part 2

I talked today with a few people who have finished or nearly finished reading Betrovia. Hopefully one of more of these wonderful friends will "belly up" and write a nifty review!

Anyway, one of those people said that I should have had more "suitors" for Galena. I laughed and said that it never entered my mind to do anything with Galena's "love life" than I already did. But might there more to happen with her relationally in Part 2? Could be...

And here's an idea for Part 2 from the outline:
As Kristof sleeps in Lycentia the first night there, he dreams of the Haarigoian warlord/officer that led the attack on Noran (chp. 14). His dream includes: the officer returns to his home in the Plains seacoast area after the attack on Noran; just expo—as a dream sequence should be—so setting but no dialogue, include how by himself he treats his leg wound, include the addition of a Knaesin-steel sword to his collection of more than a few Lycentian memorabilia; Kristof awakens from his sleep/dream when Dalten smacks him for being too noisy.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A bit of chapter one

It was a good day to rake leaves, mow the still-green grass that was under those leaves, then to blow the residue off the driveway and sidewalk with Ryan's might Leaf Blower! (I use it so much now that I really should just buy it from him,)

After all that yard work, I hammered on the first chapter of the sequel to Betrovia. Here's a tidbit from the first draft of that chapter:

     After polishing off the last piece of ham, Patrik trudged back into the kitchen. Sitting by the back door that opened out into the yard between the house and the barn, he noticed a string mop and a bucket. Still shoe-less and with his stomach barely satisfied, he began to mop up the water left by the rain. As he cleaned up the mess, he thought about how to motivate Galena to come back downstairs and to help him finish packing the wagon for the trip to the capital city. “Wait!” he exclaimed to himself as he blotted up the last puddle of rainwater. “Where are the scrolls? The barn? Aren't they still in the barn?” He quickly opened the back door and, while still barefoot, scurried the thirty-or-so feet to the dilapidated structure that was used primarily as a shelter for his two horses and as a makeshift workshop. He pulled open the large and heavy oak door and it creaked until he stopped. Once inside, he smiled and first patted the gray mare on the head and then scratched the muzzle of the younger, reddish-brown quarter horse. “Good morning, you two. Hope you're ready for a long journey today.” Their response was to whinny which he translated as their request for fresh grain and water.
     “Yes, yes, I've not forgotten you,” he said, grabbing a pine bucket that was on the workbench under one of the two windows. He scooped up a few pounds of a mixture of cracked corn and oats and meticulously poured it into their feeder. “In a few minutes, I'll refresh your water. There's something else I need to take care of first.” Before he could even finish the sentence, both horses ceased to look at him and had begun crunching up their breakfast. Patrik set the bucket back on the bench and crouched down on the right side of it. From there he then opened up a trapdoor that was barely covered by some dusty straw. “Thank You, Othleis, for reminding me about grabbing these,” he said as he lifted a dark leathery pouch out of the shallow hole that had been dug in the hard clay of the barn floor. He tucked the pouch under his left arm and began to leave the barn when he remembered that he promised to do one more thing for the horses. With his right hand, he latched onto the feed bucket one more time. “I'll be right back with some fresh water. Need to take these into the house first.”  

Patrik and his passion for the scrolls: a good start for the sequel.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thoughts of Teen-aged life

A short trip to Kansas to enjoy the Baldwin City Maple Leaf Festival (which always occurs the 3rd weekend of October) unraveled this morning due to sickness and to car problems. Oh well. We haven't made the trip to Baldwin in October for quite a few years anyway...

I'm thinking about heading for bed. But I want to first think about what I wrote when I was a little younger.

I remember starting a sci-fi story where in the first chapter the protagonist experimented with electricity, a few rare chemicals and a small rabbit. Before too long, he inadvertently transformed a white bunny into a blue bunny--one that glowed in the dark!  That story started and never got very far sometime in the early '70s.

I took a creative writing class my senior year in high school (1975) and wrote another sci-fi story in that class, It was set after a terrible world war and I think it was about a group of wanderers who happened to wander into the wrong place and consequently being killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn't think much of it but the teacher made a class set of copies and required everyone in the class to read and critique it. Yes, I was a bit embarrassed by the whole thing.

I'm sure I wrote a few more sci-fi stories than just those but I can't remember what they were about.

I don't ever remember writing anything like Betrovia before. I guess besides from playing a few fantasy computer games, I'd have to say that I haven't received much input related to the kind of fiction that is Betrovia.

And I've finally decided to categorize it as "epic fantasy" with a Christian undertone. Part 2 of the trilogy will have an even stronger Christian undertone.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Musing about Title

I worked on Part 2 (or is it Volume 2?) of The Land of Betrovia trilogy last night and I thought about coming up with a title for it. I thought about focusing on a character then decided against it. Then the thought came up to construct a title from one of the themes of the novel. This too I set aside for future thought.

The original title of Betrovia was The Innkeeper and that was going to be the title of Part 1 until I googled the word "innkeeper" as it's been used in book titles. I discovered the novel The Innkeeper's Daughter which challenged me to come up with a different title for Part 1.

I suppose it's not too early to stew a bit over choosing/developing a title for Part 2. I didn't decide to go with "Betrovia" until the week before uploading the ebook.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Betrovia and Twilight

Someone who knows someone who has a copy of Betrovia is "hearing" about the novel's storyline, etc. But he's not experiencing the novel first-hand.

He even compared the anticipation of wanting to find out what's going to happen next to Patrik, Tamara, Kristof, etc. to Twilight fans waiting with baited breath for the next tidbit of storyline info.

Uhm... I never thought Betrovia and Twilight would be mentioned in the same sentence... sigh...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Betrovia and a church bulletin

It was another gorgeous day to be cleaning windows. First job today was in rural Cole county, a nifty log cabin-esque house. The lady of the house said that with her clean windows, she is now motivated to do some interior painting!

The second job was in one of the fancier Jeff City neighborhoods. The owner had just installed new hardwood flooring on the main floor and, of course, clean windows and new hardwood flooring make a perfect combination!

When I got home, an envelope from my mom was waiting for me. Inside was an excerpt from a recent church bulletin. The excerpt contained the "blurb" located on the back of Betrovia. Whoever included the blurb in the church bulletin labelled the blurb a "review" and included that if a copy of the novel was desired, my mother was the person to ask.

Isn't it funny how mothers can show their love for their children in so many funny ways  :)_

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Courageous and Integrity

We spent our Saturday morning doing something a bit unusual: going to a theater to see a movie!

It was part of a fund-raiser for Lighthouse Preparatory Academy here in Jeff City.

So, at 9AM, with the odor of freshly-popped corn in the atmosphere, Courageous, the new film from the producers of Fireproof entertained us for nearly two hours. As with the other films from the fine Baptists from Albany GA, there wasn't a dry eye in the theater once the ending credits began to roll.

The movie made me realize that there's nothing more important than loyalty and integrity. The five main characters pledged to each other, and their families, to be the fathers that the Lord expects them to be.

And that got me thinking about Patrik, the main father in Betrovia.

Even before his wife Dalneia died, he struggled with the concept of "fatherhood." Part two of the trilogy will present more of this struggle. The birth of his first child, Tamara, made him realize that he was no longer a boy, even more than having to take care of Pieter after their parents died. And even more than when he married Dalneia.

Yes, loyalty and integrity don't come easy; as Courageous presents, it's possible only through the power of the Lord.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Fall Day!

And it was another wonderful early Fall day! I started the day at the house of one of my first window-cleaning clients here in Jefferson City. The first time I cleaned the windows at this house was to help prepare it to be inhabited! It's a new house that sits on a hillside overlooking NW Cole County. After cleaning the windows, I sold a copy of Betrovia to the old-time client. She said that she would "like" it on Facebook after I told her that there's a Betrovia Facebook page.

Maybe, just maybe, she may want to review it and post her review on Amazaon?

Nah, that would be too hard to believe  :)_

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Viktor's relaationship to Harrak

What another beautiful early Fall day! Even though I cleaned windows at 10 different locations today, I am not thoroughly exhausted... all thanks to the warm and not-so-humid weather. And it really doesn't matter that I'm only 53, right? :)

Now, here's the aspect of Betrovia part 2 that I'm pondering today (I really should come up with a title for part 2).

Viktor, the elderly Netherene prophet, Oliver III's source for all that's important about the "truest" Netherene prophesies, might end up being a descendant of Harrak, the author of the scrolls that Patrik found and that have caused many Netherenes to be quite upset. How ironic would it be to place Viktor in Harrak's family tree? Uhm...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall is Great!

Happy Tuesday!

Fall in Missouri is quite wonderful this year thanks to a few inches of rain earlier this month. I like the cool mornings and the warm afternoons.

Part 2 of Betrovia is basically outlined. The fun part is still to be done, of course! Chapter one is a "flashback" to Patrik and Dalneia heading for the monastery in the Rigar Mts. seeking help for Dalneia's "sickness." It is a dramatic start for the novel but a much-needed bit of history to explain if much of Part 2 is to be appreciated. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Here's something from Betrovia that needs to be addressed:

"Before she closed the door, she started to sing one of her favorite songs, "Emilee Trell," a favorite of her mother as well. Patrik smiled and resisted the urge to sing with her as he heard the click of the front door. Very little happened in The Lonely Fox Inn without music of some kind."

There was supposed to be more "music" in Betrovia. It's not that I forgot about this excerpt from chapter one; it's just that I had to cut back on something to finish the thing!

For the musical purists, there will be more music in the sequel!

Happy Car-Shopping Day!

Car-shopping is something I've not been fond of since the late '70s. My last two years in college I didn't even own a car (a bike and a motorcycle but no 4-wheeled contraption!). When we were told that our van's timing belt needed to be replaced to make it run again, we decided it was time to "car-shop" once again! Woot...  sigh...

Today, nearly three weeks after two guys with a rusty trailer and an even-rustier 1989 Dodge PU hauled off the van, we "almost" have a replacement for it. The prospective seller says that he has earned his PhD from MU and is selling everything to move back to Angola (where "car-shopping" probably requires creativity). If no one offers more than we do for the car by this time tomorrow, then the offer we gave him will be the best offer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Friday!

I sold a copy of Betrovia to a former co-worker last night. He's a counselor at Jeff City HS. Right before I left his office to head home, he said that as he reads the book, he may get some insight into "how I think."

Now he's the second person who's received a copy of the novel who has said this. Uhm... reading Betrovia might give someone insight into "how I think." Interesting...

My mother read the Kindle version of Betrovia last month and she said that she wants to see the movie version. If that ever comes about, will movie-viewers get an inside view of my thought processes... or would they see what the director/producer thinks?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

I cleaned the windows of a house that is on a bluff overlooking the Osage river a few miles south of Wardsville which is about 5 miles south of Jeff City. Now that house occupies a gorgeous location for being inclined to write! It would be great to live in a house that's on a bluff 400+ feet above a river like the Osage!

On a different topic:

A character, if you want to call him that, in Betrovia is a white fox. He's not an albino because he has pitch-black eyes. The only other character who's seen him is Patrik while one other sees him in a dream/nightmare. So is he real or just a vision? One time when Patrik "sees" him, Patrik is laying flat on his back after falling into a dry creek bed. So he might just a part of the innkeeper's very active psyche.

The white fox will also be in the second part of the trilogy. But Patrik won't see him any longer; another character will be visited by the ethereal creature!

Google+ is now in the "open beta" stage. So I now have a Google+ account.

It may take awhile to get used to the "circles" concept but I do like the spartan interface of it compared to Facebook.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's now 8 PM and I should be reading my Bible. What did I do instead? I grabbed a few more email addys from FB to add to the Betrovia address book. So what's wrong with that? If someone puts their email address on their FB Info page, that must mean they WANT email... right? Now since I'm gotten that off my chest, time to dive into Da Word!
Hello! I finished cleaning house windows in Taos and I'm now switching gears and am at MFA #280 in Freeburg! As I was driving to Freeburg, I thought about my old job: teaching English (which really means teaching reading/writing/critical thinking skills). The last time I taught was May 2005 and there's been very few thoughts about wanting to return to teaching. But that doesn't mean I haven't dreamed about teaching! It seems that I dream that I'm in the classroom somewhere... or walking the halls or realizing that I'm late for a class or that I haven't prepared for a class. Sometimes I even dream that I'm a student again... I REALLY don't miss that experience!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hello! This is the beginning of my blog about Betrovia. A few people have asked how I got the idea for the book. The answer? It was December 2004 and I was in Sunday School. Instead of sitting in the usual place, on one of the folding chairs, I was sitting at one of the tables. And I was doodling. And sipping coffee. Then, in the middle of an inconsequential abstract doodle, it hit me. I started scribbling plot, character, conflict and setting details. I was engrossed. I was so engrossed that I didn't notice that class had ended! But before I got up from the table, I folded up that piece of paper and determined to transform it into sentences, paragraphs and even chapters.