This blog platform and I have had a great run together (it's been a decade!), but it's time to move on. For my convenience and yours, I've relocated my blog to my website. You'll find at www.markdavidgerson.com/blog
...where there are already three posts waiting for you (with a fourth scheduled to publish at the end of this week).
If you are subscribed to this blog's feed through a news reader, please update your subscription. And if you just check in here occasionally, please stop by our new home!
Regardless, I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments.Once again, it's www.markdavidgerson.com/blog. See you there!
If you follow me on Facebook
, you will know that I am in the midst of preparing to leave the Southwest (where I have spent most of my time in the US) to move to the Pacific Northwest. As I have done so many times in the past (and have documented in my Acts of Surrender
memoir), I am leaving with very little as I once again launch a new life for myself in a new place.
I don’t know what awaits me in Portland. All I know is that the call to move from the stark, monastic beauty of the high desert to the lush luxuriance of river and forest is one that I cannot ignore...even as it requires me to take what feels to be the greatest leap of faith I have ever taken. And I have taken many!
From the first big one, more than three decades ago when I left my hometown, until the one that returned me to Albuquerque from Southern California seven years ago, each major leap has required more courage than the one before.
Courage, of course, is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to move forward in spite of fear. When in my first novel, The MoonQuest
, Toshar is called to feel his fear, then pass through it to the other side where his destiny awaits, his fear-to-destiny journey was mine.
With each of my leaps into the unknown, the "destiny" that has awaited me has been nothing that I could have (consciously) imagined. A new life in a new country? I never (consciously) wanted to live in the United States. A wife and daughter? I was a gay man with no (conscious) interest in parenthood. A teacher, speaker and coach? Not (consciously) interested. Fifteen books (and counting)? Hell, back in my teens, writing was the last pursuit I would have (consciously) chosen!
This next leap, my move to Portland, will be no different. As my stories do in the writing of them, my new life there will reveal itself to me in the living of it. As with my books and stories, I have no outline or game plan for Portland. I have a place to land – for a month, at any rate – and the rest will make itself known in the same magical, miraculous, synchronistic way that my life and stories have always unfolded.
Yet even as I surrender into the unknowingness and unknowable of what lies ahead, I still enter 2018 with certain hopes, desires and intentions (in as detached a way as I can manage!). On a professional front, these mostly revolve around both my own storytelling and my work helping others with theirs...helping you with yours – as a teacher, facilitator, coach, mentor and catalyst.
These are my passions, and I look to 2018 and my presence in Portland to fire them up, express them and get them out into the world – to you – in new and exciting ways.
By the way, "stories" can take many forms. If the written form is the most literal, it's not the only one. A story can express itself on an artist's canvas, on a potter's wheel, on a composer's notation paper, through a photographer's viewfinder or on a filmmaker's reel. It can express itself on a stage, on a screen or in a studio. It can also express itself in a kitchen or garden, or in a workshop or machine shop. More than that, even, it expresses itself every day as the story of your life.
How it will express itself in my life as I take my leap of faith into this next phase of my journey remains to be seen, even as I have little doubt that continuing to tell my stories and to work with you to help you tell and/or live yours will remain an integral part of it. However it plays out, I hope that you will remain an integral part of my story and that I will also remain an integral part of yours!
The year just ended was a challenging one for many. May this new one usher in an end to fear, dread and struggle. May it be a year of renewed hope, rekindled optimism and an abundance of joy, laughter and the fullest expression of your heart’s desire! Happy 2018!!!
You never know what you'll find when you open your storage unit.
What I found when I rummaged through mine recently was a small stack of unexpected cartons of the first editions of my first two books: The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write
and The MoonQuest (The Q'ntana Trilogy, Book I)
Unexpected, because apart from a handful of "souvenir" copies of these early editions, I didn't know I still had any left. Both first editions were superseded by newer versions a few years back.
With the holidays coming up, I decided that it was the perfect time to take this "storage surprise," throw in some of the few remaining copies of my 2-CD album, The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers
, and create a Holiday Supersaver package for you at an unprecedented discount: The Voice of the Muse
book and CD at a combined price lower than either sells for separately – $16.77. On top of that, I'm throwing in a bonus copy of The MoonQuest
, absolutely free!
Factoring in the free MoonQuest
, that's more than 70% off the regular retail price
of the two books and CD set!
Even without the killer discount, The Voice of the Muse and MoonQuest books, along with The Voice of the Muse recording on CD, would make ideal gifts for both the writers and fantasy lovers on your holiday list...starting with you!
But for $16.77, it's an absolute no-brainer!
The Voice of the Muse contains all the practical, inspirational and motivational content that turned it into an instant classic and got it named Best Writing Book of the Year not once but twice. As for The MoonQuest, the critically acclaimed story is an even more relevant allegory today than it was when it was first published more than a decade ago.
These two books were my first award-winners and are still my best-sellers. And The MoonQuest is on its way to the big screen as the first film in an epic fantasy trilogy!
So you won't want to miss this deal!!
A few "fine print" details...
• This promotion will continue through Oct. 31...or until these last copies of the two books are gone. Because I have a limited number left, I urge you to act now! (I'm also running low on the CD version of The Voice of the Muse Companion; so its days of availability are also numbered.)
• I cannot sign copies of these super-sale editions. If you prefer signed copies, please order the new editions from www.markdavidgerson.com/books
• To make the process more efficient, all books will be shipped within 7 days of the end of the promotion.
Photo of Storage Unit: Original Flickr image by MyBiggestFan; licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0); https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode. This version additionally processed in Luminar.
That's 90s as in age, not as in the 1990s, and the nonagenarian in this first-person excerpt from my novel The Emmeline Papers is the feisty, eccentrically iconoclastic Emmeline Mandeville, who is as unashamedly sexual at 92 as she was at 19, back in the final years of Queen Victoria's reign.
Rather, Emmeline's frank and funny musings on life and aging frame the compelling story of the friends and lovers who find themselves living in her London townhouse 14 years after her death (the London town house on the book cover.)
Even if no author (like no parent) should ever name a favorite offspring, I have to confess that Emmeline is one of mine!
I have always enjoyed sex. That may not be a shocking admission in 1974. Even in this age, however, many would find it startling to hear it from a woman of my years. Yet, for a woman born when Victoria reigned to say how much she relishes sex, and to speak it out loud with neither blushes nor shame? That is shocking. Or it would be were any of my more strait-laced relatives or contemporaries still alive to be shocked.
Women of my generation were expected to squeeze our eyes shut, do our duty to Queen and country and produce an heir and a spare. We were expected to tolerate sex as necessary to the perpetuation of our lineage and to the survival of the Empire. We were not expected to savor it. We were absolutely not expected to seek it out — within a marriage or, worse, outside of it.
Sexual mores loosened up after the First War, of course, but I had not waited. I was nearing my forties by then and was already in possession of a past that no amount of smelling salts could have successfully revived Grandmama had she learned about it. I had a body, albeit an unshapely one, and I saw no reason why I should not extract from it as much pleasure as it could offer me. Nor did I see any reason to limit myself to men of my own class…or to men at all, come to think of it. ...
And orgasms? If a woman of my era admitted to having had one, if she were shameless enough to utter the word, that woman was viewed as little better than the most common of prostitutes. How ironic that Victoria should today be seen as the primmest, most prudish and most humorless of monarchs...of women. I do not believe it. Not for an instant.
I have manifestly enjoyed mine through seventy years and a good score or more of able partners. Had Jeremy been unable to match if not surpass the prowess of his predecessors, I could not have married him, regardless of his other attributes, however admirable.
For a man with so little experience of women before me, Jeremy is surprisingly adept and pleasingly passionate. Frankly, if I didn’t fear that it would give him a heart attack, I would choose to die in bed with him, in mid-orgasm. I cannot imagine a more satisfying end. Can you?
"My characters are as real to me as any flesh-and-blood personage, and I am grateful to them for continuing to live out such fascinating lives and for continuing to compel me to tell their stories."
When the first words of what would become my first novel surged out of me 23 years ago in a Toronto writing workshop that I was facilitating, I couldn't know how much my life was about to change.
Within seven months, I would sell everything I owned, buy my first car and move a thousand miles east to rural Nova Scotia. A few years after that, I would sell up again and find myself living in a new country, embarked on a journey that I could never have dreamed up in my wildest imaginings.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises would be the one that continues to astound me: I became an award-winning author and optioned screenwriter.
The child I was would never have wanted to be a writer. The child I was didn't believe he was creative and wasn't interested in being proven wrong. The child I was didn't trust his imagination, wasn't even sure he had one.
Yet, as I chronicle in Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir,
my Muse had other ideas, fiendishly applying its tricksterish ways to bamboozle me onto the writerly path I have been following since the morning after that Toronto workshop, when I picked up those rough jottings, curious to see where they might lead. They led to The MoonQuest
, which like all those Biblical "begats" have carried me forward to what is now my 15th book and sixth novel.
I shared a bit about the peculiar genesis of that novel, The Emmeline Papers
, in my most recent newsletter
. In short, it was neither a book I expected to write nor the book I thought it was going to be once I started writing it. Not for the first time, my characters had their own idea of the story they wanted from me.
It's a situation that reminds me of Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author
, a stage play where six strangers interrupt a theatrical rehearsal and introduce themselves as unfinished characters who are seeking an author to finish their story. Like Pirandello's, my characters are as real to me any flesh-and-blood personage and have no hesitation in hijacking my writing enterprise to demand that their story be told – their way.
I'm not complaining. Their way has consistently proven itself to be more entertaining, inspiring and captivating than mine could ever be. From a writer's perspective, their way has also been consistently more challenging.The Emmeline Papers
was no exception. Both in terms of craft and content, the story never stopped challenging me – pressing me not only to sharpen my storytelling skills but to dig deeper and deeper within myself for the not-always-comfortable emotional truths that it required and demanded. I should have expected no less from a story that, early on, gave itself the tagline "it's a matter of death...and life!"
Until now, my novels have revealed little of themselves to me in advance. I don't outline, and I generally discover the story I'm writing much the same way that you discover it as its reader: page by page and chapter by chapter. After Sara's Year
, my fifth novel, was the first to divulge its ending to me early in the process.
With The Emmeline Papers
, the story was considerably more forthcoming – once it had shanghaied my initial concept, that is, and replaced it with its own!
My original idea was to weave two interrelated threads: the story of the eccentric, singleminded Emmeline Mandeville and the story of how copies of her memoir happen to fall, independently, into various related characters' hands.
In The Emmeline Papers
as it wrote itself through me, Emmeline spends the final months of her 93rd year reflecting on her iconoclastic past, never imagining how profoundly her reminiscences will weave through the lives of the men and women who find themselves living in her house a decade and a half later.
If you have read my earlier Sara stories, you will recognize those men and women as Sara, Mac, Bernie, Erik and Sadie. However, you needn't have read Sara's Year
or After Sara's Year
to laugh and cry your way through the The Emmeline Papers.
Nothing about Emmeline
requires any prior knowledge of its characters or their previous exploits.
About those characters: I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am to them for continuing to live out such fascinating lives and for continuing to compel me to tell their stories – their way.
I foresee one final installment in these Sara Stories
. In fact, if you promise not to tell anyone, I'll share a secret with you: I have already written the opening paragraphs of an opening chapter to this next novel. This time, I have neither title nor concept. This time, all I have is a character and a time frame. Who knows whether either will prove to be accurate!
But that's a story for another day. Today's is The Emmeline Papers
, and I'm excited to be able to share it with you – especially as early reviewers have uniformly praised it as "brilliant"!
Although the book launches officially on July 9, the 20th anniversary of my arrival in the US, I am asking you to preorder your copy today
• All ebook preorders are counted as opening day sales, and it's those numbers that can propel a book to bestseller status on Amazon and other sites
• I have a limited number of paperback copies available for preorder, and I'd hate for you to miss out!Here's what to do:
• Preorder The Emmeline Papers
today from any Kindle
, iBooks, Google Play or Kobo store, and get your copy delivered on July 9
• Preorder your paperback
copy of The Emmeline Paper
s from my website
and there's a good chance that you will be reading your signed copy before
it's available for general release!One final note:
Just as I am fussy about my first name (it’s "Mark David," not "Mark" or "David"), Emmeline is particular about hers. Emmeline pronounces it so that it rhymes with mine not with mean.