September in Santa Cruz is usually sunny and warm. We did get a week of very nice warm weather that allowed me to barbeque several days, followed by a few days of early fog then pleasant afternoons.
Even though I’ve retired from “active duty”, I’m still occasionally tinkering in my studio, making a few small items for my Etsy shop. However, I am not taking on anymore restorations and repairs.
So, what am I doing now (besides some yardwork)? Writing. Getting published.
Yes, my new book is out. It is called Firebrand, and it’s my first full novel. Here is the synopsis:
Charles Blue had grown up in a middleclass neighborhood with no idea of his family background. His parents’ tragic and suspicious death by fire changed that.
A grandmother, a San Francisco fortune teller and part owner of the Mystic Eye Occult Shop, took Charles into her home and started to teach him about his hidden “abilities”. For 25 years, Charles barely accepted his powers, then friends began dying by fire.
He and his girlfriend Bell now had a reason for learning all they could about incantations and spells to combat a powerful, unknown adversary.
Hope you enjoy it!
I’ve been writing since grade school. In college, I was an English major and took several writing courses. I won two awards for a couple of my stories and that triggered the need to continue writing, even while pursuing my craft… early American and medieval European stringed instruments and furniture.
Even before I retired, I published four other books. Here they are:
Onward Through the Fog
Eight short stories of drama, comedy, adventure, and reminiscence, and two mystery novelettes: “The Great Pearl Alley Caper", and “The Girl Next Door”.
The short stories include a wannabe beatnik/hippie/punk, a frustrated writer, a lovesick coworker, a remembrance of childhood, and a peace-seeking individual in a not-too-peaceful situation.
In the two novelettes, wine bars and bistros are meeting places for heroes and villains, for the workingman and bum, for loves won and lost, and for rising body counts.
A Young Upstart
In 1977 I entered a period of my life where self-doubt and depression were nearly everyday occurrences. Not liking these attitudes, I began self-analysis using the Gestalt therapy teachings of Fritz Perls.
From 1977 to 1980 I hung out at the Upstart Crow Bookstore and Coffeehouse at the Pruneyard Shopping Center in Campbell, California. It was in this wonderfully social environment that I began sketching hundreds of contour drawings of patrons and writing poetry and stream of consciousness meanderings. This book is a compilation of many of those works.
On Guard in the General’s Chorus
Korea, 1967 and 1968. The Vietnam conflict was escalating. The cold war was raging. Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King had been assassinated. In Korea, the Navy ship USS Pueblo was captured, and over a dozen North Koreans tried to blow up the South Korean president.
And at Recreation Compound #1, barely two miles from the DMZ, forty touring Army musicians and singers attempted to keep sane through it all. Boo was a dollar a lid.
And here is the very first book I published:
The Mountain Dulcimer
This book is a guide for beginning dulcimer players in the joy of playing their instruments. After a short historical section, I explain the modes and how to tune your dulcimer to play in the different major and minor keys. Included are several classic folk songs. These are shown with musical notation showing the melody as well as tablature notation showing the dulcimer notes and/or rhythm.
Available through Lulu.com
As you can see, I’ve been busy writing for many years. Oh, and…
One More Thing
I’m currently working on book 2 of the Charles Blue Paranormal Mysteries. Here’s a peek:
The Last Family of Wizards
In 1990 Charles and Bell have had a month of calm enjoying the comfort of his Santa Cruz home while his San Francisco home is being remodeled after the 1989 earthquake.
Their calm is short lived when they agree to investigate the flash and disappearance of a young musician. This takes them to the gold rush town of Volcano, an area of mystery and danger.
A Charles Blue Paranormal Mystery #2 coming in 2023
To keep up on my books, me, and what’s up in the world of writing and publishing, check out my website, www.roncook-author.com.
That’s it in my writing world.
A Little Other News
I recently bit the bullet and picked up the new M2 Apple MacBook Air. It’s a lovely computer with a slightly larger screen and a super-fast CPU. It runs hundreds of times better than my older Intel-based MacBook Air. Oh, and thousands of times better than our 7-year-old HP desktop computer. My MacBook Air is my digital writing typewriter.
In the Studio
Just a quick note on studio work. I’ve been using up some scrap wood and tagua nuts to make buttons. To check them out, they are on my Etsy shop.
I still have a few larger unfinished pieces, like a teardrop dulcimer, a medieval stool, and several turned and carved boxes and lids. Like I mentioned above, I’m just occasionally tinkering in my studio… not spending 4 to 6 hours a day in there anymore. But whenever anything gets finished, you’ll see it on my Etsy shop.