Happy New Year, 2021!

Well, well…it’s been a moment or two since I’ve written to you. Very much has changed since May 2018, and of course coming off the tails of 2020 means we just closed out a very chaotic and unique year. I simply wanted to use this post to bring my followers, friends, and family up to speed on life, career, and writing.

What Has Changed at Home

When I wrote my last post in May 2018, my son Everett was just over a year old, I was about halfway through my master’s degree, and I was on the cusp of finishing my third year of online teaching (during which I implemented a World History curriculum that I had spent the previous two years or so developing). For whatever reason, that summer brought about a lot of stuff that seemed to consume my personal time. It didn’t help that I wasn’t actively writing anything new – at least not consistently working on a manuscript day in, day out – but my time at home was taken up by things that I made a higher priority.

As that year progressed, Sarah’s pregnancy with our daughter became more of our focus. We spent time nesting for a girl instead of a boy, the latter of which we moved into his big boy bed and own room around Thanksgiving. Knowing that we would be welcoming a girl into the world excited us, but boy is she a spitfire now! Marin Verona is independent, fiery, loves her cuddles, and speaks her mind even in her limited vocabulary. She was born the day after Christmas (after Sarah got induced) and right away we knew she would further round out our family.

Not too long after that, Everett turned two years old, followed by my 30th birthday. It surprisingly wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, though Sarah didn’t refrain from reminding me that she was still in her twenties and I was not. Throughout the rest of 2019 we enjoyed family time at home with two kids, both of whom loved on each other and gradually played well together. One less happy thing sticks out in 2019, and that was the sudden and unexpected passing of our dog Nika the week before Thanksgiving. The kids of course were too young (especially Marin) to really know what happened; Sarah and I weren’t even 100% sure why Nika passed away. I think it had something to do with her heart, but I was too distraught to have the vet look into it. I still haven’t taken Nika’s leash down from the hook behind the door. Everett brings her up every now and then, and at times we have to remind him that she died and she’s not just “gone” from the house somewhere. It’s been over a year at this point, and I’m finally moving on internally – but there will always be a part of me that wishes we could’ve had more time with her as she lived out the rest of her life.

Developments in My Academic Life

In the spring of 2019, I went to the campus of my alma mater – the University of Mount Union – to give a guest lecture in one of my history professor’s classes. While there, the department chair and I talked about the potential need of adjunct professors in the history department. I told her that it is my academic dream to teach at Mount Union, and that I’d keep in touch as I neared the end of my master’s degree.

Fast-forward to the spring of 2020, by which time I had completed my master’s program courses and was awarded an “A with Honors” designation for my master’s thesis paper I submitted in February of that year, and that’s when things got interesting: COVID hit and changed everyone’s lives and daily routine as they knew it. In the transition from in-person classes to online instruction, the history department needed someone tech savvy with online teaching experience and the proper credentials. Long story short, I was thankful to be given the opportunity to teach the remainder of the Western Civilization II course for the spring semester after an expedient onboarding and orientation process during my spring break of that year.

I went on to teach two summer sessions of the same course, which I had already been developing hoping that the opportunity would eventually present itself. As summer edged toward fall, I finished developing the last components of the Contemporary Europe course that I had also been working on since the spring, which I taught as my first full semester course in the fall of 2020. I ultimately had six students when it was all said and done, all of whom did well and helped make my first full semester course memorable. During that course, I spent my off time developing a Renaissance and Reformation course, which I am offering this spring (2021) and am excited to take a crack at teaching. It was a course I enjoyed learning about when I was a student, and I’ve since cultivated that enjoyment in reading and writing the course. As of the time of this posting, I am about to begin developing an Eastern Europe course that I will offer in the fall of 2021, which I am very much looking forward to doing.

Where Does That Leave Me with Writing?

At the moment, as you can see, I am rather preoccupied with putting my new degree to great use in diving into the world of higher education through online adjunct teaching – and through Mount Union, at that! I do, however, feel the bug to get back to writing. I currently have a manuscript of over 40,000 words on my virtual shelf, but it’s in need of another 20-25,000 words before I can say the rough draft is complete. This story is not related to the World War II stories of the Faces of the War collection, but is its own story. It also is rather different from how I’ve written historical fiction in the past. The best way I can describe this story without giving away details is by providing this hybrid genre name: “mystorical thriction.” It’s a little bit of a mystery, a little bit of a thriller, all mixed into historical fiction.

I don’t yet know when I will be able to get to writing on this manuscript in earnest, but I’d like to think that after the new school year gets underway and I’m done writing the Eastern Europe course is when it might occur. In that case, if I can utilize my time effectively in the fall, I could have a final draft published by the end of 2022. I really want to do this story well, give it a solid writing effort (as well as have it thoroughly edited by a professional), and make it a clear improvement on my writing from my WWII project of more than a few years ago.

Lastly, given that this post was published on the release date anniversary of my fourth book, Needless, I am offering a discount on the Kindle version of that book between January 5-11. Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle app and read it on your phone or other device. You can access the book’s sales page here if you’d like to get your copy. In addition to that book, I’m running discounts on the other three books throughout all of January – but they’re only scheduled for discount at certain times, so pay attention! You can get your hands on my third book, Imminent, discounted between January 12-18; on my second book, Unguarded, discounted between January 19-25; and on my first book, Resistant, discounted for FREE between January 26-30. And if you’re looking for a shorter read instead, check out my first and second short story volumes on Kindle for FREE between January 26-30 as well. I’d greatly appreciate if you left a review when you finish a book. Thanks!

That is all for now, so I thank you for your time and attention to read up on what I’ve been up to over the last two and a half years. I’m excited to see what the year has in store and I truly hope I can get back into a rhythm of posting here and keeping you all in tune with what’s going on – as I know a good number of my family and friends read this to stay in touch.

Until next time!

Mike/”Eli”

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