Yay – Running toward Fate is live

I'm a happy girl today!

Terrace at Kate's

To the left is a small part of my terrace. You can see one of my Dalmatians there. This sofa is where I do most of my writing. It's a perfect location. I have an iPod and speaker on the table hiding behind some of those books. And I look out onto a colorful yard with bougainvillea in many colors, frangipani trees, and other flowers that I don't know the names of.

I worked hard yesterday afternoon to publish Running toward Fate in both the kindle and paperback versions. And I'm planning to get my next book published by the end of September.​

You might wonder what kind of drugs I've been taking to have such ambitious goals. But I assure you that no drugs whatsoever are involved. Not even coffee which I never developed a taste for. Okay, I do allow myself one Coke a day. Does that count as a drug?

Anyhow, let me explain how I was able to publish these two books so quickly after not publishing anything for two and a half years and how I plan to have another done in a little more than a month. You may have already guessed the answer. During the time that I didn't publish anything, I continued to write. The problem was that I got ideas for a new story too often and left the one I was working on half-finished. As a result, I have many novels on my hard drive in various states of completion.

Luckily, my ideas fit into a series that I'm calling Journeys Fiction. In general, the stories revolve around a main character who has an emotional issue from the past that he or she needs to deal with.I don't want to give away too much, but these psychological issues often motivate the main character to travel. The destination is usually Indonesia, but not always. Stay tuned!

Running toward Fate

Running toward FateI’ve been hard at work on the next book in my Journeys Fiction series – Running toward Fate.

Fate plays a big part in each of the stories in this series, so I am putting Fate in each of the titles. I’m particularly excited about this book because it is based on a true story – the story of how two of my friends met in the most improbable way.

I’ve modernized the story. They actually met close to 20 years ago, but my book takes place in 2014, so I’ve added in modern conveniences like cell phones, email, skype, iPods, and more.

In addition to modernizing the story, I’ve changed the characters substantially. I changed their professions, nationality of the man, their looks. So to be blunt, the only thing that I’ve kept true is the absolutely incredible way that they met. If you read the book, you’ll think they could never have met this way in real life. But they did. As Mark Twain once said, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

I remember when I first heard the story. After I got over my utter amazement, I thought it needed to be made into a book. So I’ve finally done that.

It’s not live on Amazon yet, but will be shortly. I’m hoping to publish it in just a few hours – at the latest, tomorrow. If you want to be notified when it’s live on Amazon, click here and sign up.

I have planned six or seven books for this series which I’m calling Journeys Fiction. A large part of each one of these books takes place in Indonesia. I realize that most people reading this book may never visit Indonesia, so a good friend of mine who just happens to be a photographer has made a beautiful ebook called Indonesian Expression, which contains 72 gorgeous photos of Indonesia.

When you sign up to get notifications about my new books being released, I’ll also give you a free copy of the beautiful photo ebook Indonesian Expression. To sign up, just click here.

 

Kate during the Evacuation Oct/Nov 2010

Several of my friends, both online and offline, have asked me questions about my experience several years ago when Merapi had a once-in-100-year eruption. I’ve told them that I wrote and published an ebook about the experience, but several of them want the condensed version. So I made a video a few years ago telling about my experience and thought I’d put it up on my website.

It’s not long – just a little over 13 minutes. And the video starts at about 25 seconds, so don’t think that the video isn’t working if it just shows black at the beginning.

The website I mentioned in the video – indonesiandiscovery.net – does not exist. It was a website that I built, but then dropped. Instead, I have a website called Infinite Indonesia that gives more information about Indonesia.

At the end of the video, I mention that Rudy would do a video, but unfortunately, he tried, but was too nervous and didn’t like how he appeared on camera.

For anyone who wants more information, you can see the book that Rudy and I co-authored on the right hand side of this page.

Dancing with Fate

I’ll admit it – I get distracted very easily. Some people call that BSO or Bright Shiny Object syndrome. And I definitely suffer from this malady.

I had let my writing take a back seat to FBA. If you don’t know what FBA is, it means Fulfillment by Amazon and gives ordinary people like me the ability to sell physical products on Amazon. This program is a lot of fun and really pretty easy, but it does tie up some money for a while. Amazon stores all the products in their warehouses and then packs and ships then when someone orders.

For someone who is a shopaholic as I am, it’s a dream come true. You see, I don’t have to be shopping for myself in order to fulfill my shopping need. So this way, I can shop and then later recoup the money plus hopefully a little profit.

Back to Writing and Publishing

But in May this year, I had a visitor I’ll call Sally – not her real name. She’s an online author friend who is doing very well with self-publishing and ended up being just the right medicine for my BSO syndrome.

When we talked about all the half-finished books I have on my hard drive, I decided to count up all the written words that were just sitting on my pc not making me any money. I was astounded to find more than 350,000 words in several books at different levels of completion. I later found another 50,000 words in some manuscripts that I’d overlooked.

Dancing with Fate

That was kind of a wake-up call. I had always planned to get back to writing eventually, but Sally motivated me to take those half-finished manuscripts and start working on them.

I started out kind of slowly – took me a while to get back into the swing of it all, but once I really got into the first half-finished book, I started putting in lots of hours. And this week, all those hours paid off when I published Dancing with Fate on Amazon and also submitted it to CreateSpace. It’s already live on amazon.com, and the paperback version will be live in by August 2.

And just in case you’re wondering, yes, I am already working on the next book in the series. It was also half-finished, so I hope to publish it by the end of August. Just don’t let any bright shiny objects come my way!!

Would You Travel to Siberia?

The name Siberia has had a  sinister connotation for many years. What comes to your mind when you hear the word Siberia? Perhaps exile – prison – cold – long winter – trees. I’m pretty sure that no positive words came to your mind.

Maybe Siberia Is Not So Bad

Have you read any great Russian literature by Dostoyevsky? Did you know that he was exiled to hard labor in Siberia for 8 years? Some experts say that those years in Siberia helped him transform from a vain young man who had gained fast literary success into a real artist who was then able to write about the tragic nature of man.

Having read Dostoyevsky when I was still young and impressionable, I became fascinated by Russia and its literature and by Siberia. As a result, I read a lot of Russian authors, but even more importannt, I wanted to see that place of exile – that place that was used by tsars and Stalin throughout Russian history to banish complainers, in other words, people who disagreed with whatever dictator was in power.

Trans Siberian TrainSiberia is so vast that it made Russia the largest country in the world and covered 11 time zones although the Kremlin deleted 2 of those time zones in 2010. I wanted to see firsthand what that huge, cold, tree-filled area was like. And the best way to do that would be to travel across Siberia on the Trans-Siberian Express train.

I had that dream for many years, but it was so far off the beaten path that I kept putting it on the back burner. Don’t misunderstand – I love off-the-beaten-path destinations, but I didn’t think any of my traveling partners would feel the same way.

Fate Steps In

I’d been working as a tour director in the U.S. and Europe for several years when my employer decided to open a tour in Russia & the Baltics. I managed to get myself assigned to that tour even though my boss wanted me to go to Italy. I suppose she wondered what kind of crazy person would choose Russia & the Baltics over Italy, but the important thing is that after many conversations and much cajoling, she finally agreed to give me what I wanted.

And then, as Fate would have it, I got a phone call from my main traveling partner Kay saying that she was desperate for a trip and wondering if I had any free time. We both do a lot of traveling separately, but the trips we take together are far more adventurous than anything either one of us does on our own.

Over the years, I’d been able to convince her to accompany me to some very out of the way places, but I could hear her jaw hit the floor when I suggested Siberia. After she picked her jaw up, she asked me to repeat myself. So I began explaining just exactly why a trip to Siberia in July would be perfect.

In all fairness, it has never taken much convincing for Kay to agree to some of my hairbrained schemes. And this case was no different. She’s definitely the adventurous sort.

CNN mentioned the Trans-Siberian Express trip and one of 7 train trips of a lifetime. Of course, they’re talking about doing it luxury style, but Kay and I were not the luxury travel types. In our minds, luxury took the adventure out of travel, and we were definitely in it for the adventure.

Planning

So we started planning and communicating long distance. At first, I was home in Indonesia, but soon left to start training on tour in Russia & the Baltics. Kay was home in Colorado Springs. Luckily, I had already investigated a little about doing the Trans-Siberian Express and had two guidebooks. Both recommended a tour company based in Hong Kong and Beijing. Despite its strange name, that company called Monkey Business was a real treasure for us.

Watch for the next post which will give you more details about the adventure that Kay and I were about to embark on.