Fall 2022 Update

Friends,

What a wild few months it has been since I last posted! A new academic year has begun, a new soccer season has commenced (both for my 5-year-old son and for Liverpool, whom I follow in the English Premier League), and a new college course I’ve been working on has developed nicely. Now that things have settled down in this transition period of my year, I can talk at length about a few things…

Work-in-Progress Manuscript

I’ll begin with news on my story. I worked over the summer on the rough draft, finalizing it as best as I thought it could be within the time frame I had. Just before the new school year started, my draft hit 66,000 words, of which 5,000-8,000 will likely be eliminated in a solid revision. I have initiated the process of utilizing a professional editing service on this project, which hopefully will render a better quality manuscript in comparison to my previous books. Depending on the timeline on which the editor and I agree, I hope to have the finished manuscript uploaded into Amazon for a spring or summer 2023 release, though it could be sooner. Either way, I will likely wait until at least January 2023 to officially publish so I can enter my book into a writing contest or two; those things usually require publication earlier in the given year of the contest. The Kindle version will be available for pre-order, and I may even look into getting my book produced in hardback in addition to paperback. Lastly, there are two details of the book that I want to share prior to its release, with one of those details being the story blurb below:

In the fall of 1959, Fabian Loxley hosts a masquerade dinner party at his rural New York manor. The revelry is halted by a series of developments that forces Fabian into a corner, makes his guests ask questions, and brings revelations about the host and his guests to the surface in the process. What will the end of the night bring for them all and how will it change Fabian?

The other detail is the story’s title: The Ivory Obelisk. As I’ve mentioned before, this story is different in terms of how I approached its creation and how it’s told, but I’m very excited to polish it off and share it with you next year!

College Course-Writing

The next bit of news is the progress I’ve made on writing the Early Modern Europe college course. I finished compiling information included in the shorthand notes that I provide the students, which allowed me to then start recording the video lectures using those notes. In the spirit of student accessibility, the school encouraged professors to amend their online lectures to be broken down into multiple videos of shorter length instead of one long lecture video. That being the case, I have 50 lecture videos to create in total; between the time I started and when I got sick with a sore throat and cold, I had recorded 16 lecture videos. This week at the time of this posting, I have resumed recording lectures and hope to finish them before Halloween; this will afford me plenty of time to upload all the lecture videos and other course content into the online course platform and get it finalized and approved before Thanksgiving. Then it’ll just be a matter of finishing reading the few books I’ve earmarked for that course so I’m ready to start it when the spring semester commences in January 2023.

In addition to the Early Modern Europe course, I’ve been green-lighted (green-lit?) to develop new versions of the Western Civilization I course for summer 2023 as well as Revolutionary Europe for fall 2023. This will occupy most of my time in terms of working on college course materials between November 2022 and July 2023, at which time I’ll transition into working on the Western Civilization II, Medieval Europe, and Ancient Greece and Rome courses. I am excited to dive deeper into these courses and their historical periods, reading more on them as I work on their content and thus cementing my understanding of their developments.

Amended Reading List

I’m a planner, and it oftentimes serves me well. However, things don’t always go to plan and so we must adapt and rearrange variables in the equation. Part of that includes the books I decide to read. Most times, I set out with high expectations and perhaps even lofty reading goals, only to change my plan in accordance with other factors that require me to shift gears in what I’m aiming to do. That being said, I’m already banking on including a tentative reading list for 2023 in my New Year’s post just a few months away. For now, though, I’ll expound on some of the year’s remaining reads as well as others I plan to read in 2023 as they relate to the aforementioned college courses I’m working on.

The first pair of books is for the Early Modern Europe course, of which I’ve already talked about in my last post:

  • Europe’s Babylon: The Rise and Fall of Antwerp’s Golden Age by Michael Pye (Amazon
  • London and the Seventeenth Century: The Making of the World’s Greatest City by Margarette Lincoln (Amazon

After that, I aim to read two books that I’ll use for the Ancient Greece and Rome course as well as the Medieval Europe course, but which will also aid in my revisiting content for the summer Western Civilization I course:

  • The Story of Greece and Rome by Tony Spawforth (Amazon
  • Medieval Europe by Chris Wickham (Amazon)

Then, into the summer I aim to read two books in prep for the Revolutionary Europe course next fall:

  • The Wars of German Unification by Showalter and Strachan (Amazon
  • Blood and Iron by Katja Hoyer (Amazon)

There are other books I intend to read next year, but as I said — I will reserve those for a later post.

Lastly, I just finished reading all the way through Masters of Death, a book on the Einsatzgruppen — the mobile killing squads attached to the German army (Wehrmacht) as it invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 — as part of my self-guided professional development this year for my full-time teaching job. It is a grim account of the gruesome mass killings of Jews and others in the occupied East that was the realization of Nazi racial policies aimed at obtaining the much-desired Lebensraum for future German settlement and colonization. I concede that it’s a tough read, and certainly not something of the everyday reading type that most people would consider, but for anyone at all interested in this significant and pivotal component of the process of the Holocaust, I highly recommend this book.

Family News

In closing, I will add that my son, Everett, has started kindergarten and has loved it so far; he goes to school every day and comes home with stories each afternoon. My daughter, Marin, has also started school this year, but she’s in twice-a-week preschool for half a day and then goes to daycare (through the school) for the other half of the day; she’s home with me or at work with mom on the off days. Each and every day, though, I have my other son, Adler, at home with me while I work; he plays and enjoys the little things, then takes a good nap while I teach. It’s definitely not the routine I thought teaching would entail when I declared 7-12 Social Studies as my minor way back in 2009, but times change and I wouldn’t change it for the world. As I alluded to earlier, we have started another outdoor soccer season and Everett has shown improvement from last year already. He enjoys it but still has much to learn. Marin and Adler like cheering him on from the sidelines; I can only imagine what sports and organizations all our kids will eventually get involved in over the coming years…but I can’t wait for it.

That’s all for now, so in case I don’t see you…good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

Mike/”Eli”

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