Now playing

A monthly diary of current postings and quick train of thought entries


July 2017

July 29th

A Writer’s Workshop

This is an introductory program for writers that focuses primarily on the publishing side of the process. The foundation is built on a simple idea: Things I wish I knew when I started.

The presentation will cover a wide range of subjects, approached from the viewpoint of things I’ve changed along the way, things I would have preferred to start doing earlier, things I got right, and mistakes and hurdles and more.

Included will be the basic ideas of traditional publishing and self-publishing… different elements to have in mind when considering publishers and agents… why you should never open your wallet as part of your efforts (and when to think about opening your wallet as part of your efforts)… marketing and media… assorted tips and observations.

Items will be geared toward fundamental thoughts and initial efforts. This is in no way a guarantee of best-seller status. Instead, it focuses on organizing things from the first steps any writer may take to move into the professional world, and provides concepts that may help in avoiding costly errors and timewasters.

As of today, the first event will be held in Utica, New York, at the Utica Public Library on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Also confirmed is November 4, 2017, at the Killingly Public Library in Killingly, Connecticut. Additional workshop dates and presentations are expected to be finalized and announced soon.

Other events—such as readings and signings—are possible, and we hope to have some news to share in the next few weeks. For all of the news, keep checking back here in Now Playing, and also look over at the Writing & Books Upcoming Events.

Hoping to see all of the bits and news from the biggest Comic Con of the year? This link will take you to a page collecting most of the trailers, teasers, items of interest and so on.

July 26th


Today I am nodding in the direction of August’s second release… a batch of Fourteenth Anniversary material from the web site that features interviews. And I’m pretty excited about this one.

Earl Swift, Terry Fator, Keris Stainton, Chris VanDahl, Brigitte Valdez, Kelly Smith, Brian McCullough, Daryl Wagner, Scott Jordan, Christina Shaw and Brandon Evans are all part of the fun in this book.

Keris not only joined me for an interview based on her efforts, she is part of two other sections where I interviewed her along with Denise Alekseev and Terry Hocking. Yes, that’s right, both of the Harry Potter projects are going to be in this book.

Christina Shaw will be involved in two chapters, with her 2015 interview and the 2016 “Catching Up with…” piece included.

And then… there’s the bonus material…

I am really excited about sections with Brian McCullough, Brigitte Valdez and Kelly Smith.

Brian and Brigitte were kind enough to take on some new questions for me. And, Kelly—a long-time friend around here, with an original interview that was featured in Time Just Drifts Away—was amazingly generous and took on a full interview. The material with Brian, Brigitte and Kelly is exclusive to the pages of Conversations. It won’t appear anyplace else.

Conversations is slated to be published on August 22, 2017.

July 24th

Continuing the look at projects and more around the Backpack…

Life Won’t Pass Me By

The month of August will feature two book releases. Each one is a portion of celebrating the Fourteenth Anniversary of the In My Backpack web site.

When Time Just Drifts Away was released in 2012 as a Ninth Anniversary collection, the contents of that book included both essays and interviews. A variety of projects since then… including releases of travel material and a book devoted to the sports articles… more or less assisted as part of my decision to split these areas up this time around.

Life Won’t Pass Me By features forty-four essays that have appeared on the web site between March of 2003 and March of 2017. The majority of them come from work shared in the past five years, though a couple of them do go back to the very early days.

A solid majority of the pieces went through significant editing and re-writes for this publication. The web site is something I have always approached as a testing ground for my work… where at some points the attempt to express things might involve writing that needed some additional work down the road. Plus… time moves on… when proofreading things there are going to be places where things look good and a writer is happy, and there are going to be places where a writer cannot believe or understand what they wrote.

Life Won’t Pass Me By is headed toward a release on August 8, 2017.

July 22nd

Today we’re going to kick off a run that places a spotlight on some of the projects taking place around here.

We’re going to start with the monthly newsletter. Next two entries will feature the upcoming book releases. Beyond that… no clue.

Over the course of about a week, I’ll have some announcements, new information, and some special announcements. (I think. We’ll see how it goes. I should even have a new essay or two along the way.)

A Parkside View

This month, we released the thirteenth consecutive issue… basically celebrating an anniversary and starting out on a second year. Much like the web site, this project promises to be an ever-changing work in progress.

One thing that remains consistent, and should always be a part of the effort, is that there will be at least two essays included in every edition. One brand new… the other from the archives…

The new essay debuts exclusively on the pages of A Parkside View, and to date none of them have appeared anyplace else. I do have some thoughts about possible future use… but can tell you that they will not be posted on the web site.

The archived items are an extension of the From the Backpack idea on the web site… where older content, from a variety of potential sources, is pulled out of storage. There is no specific attic, archive or drawer that I will be reaching toward to find material for this part. We’ve had months where multiple essays have been retrieved from the past and placed into the pages of the newsletter. We’ve also incorporated material from slightly unexpected places… say a new book release… into this concept.

A Parkside View is designed to celebrate all things Backpack, and looks around The ‘ville to do that. Other areas if the In My Backpack community, such as ComplemenTerry Designs and Local Friends for Local Business, have made occasional appearances.

Each issue is saved as a PDF file and sent out by e-mail. If you’d like to join the mailing list, send us an e-mail and we’ll get everything set up. (You can also reach out to us through one of our social media pages—Facebook and Twitter—and we’ll contact you to make all the arrangements.)

July 20th

Ok… today there isn’t much ground to cover in the post itself, but once we’re done today most things should be in place and back up to date. (And we’ll even wrap it up with a new piece.)

Local Friends for Local Business continues its July challenge… Sum-Sum-Summertime. The idea is to look toward seasonal specialties, including food and activities, and enjoy some of the local treats summer has to offer in your area.

This weekend I plan to have some more information to share about the upcoming book releases.

A great run of details about the changes coming to Disney World.

And to close things off today… “Horsefly

July 17th

Quick entry today… just a couple of links. New essay coming on Thursday.

The 13th Doctor – Jodie Whittaker. Looking forward to this.

A few details about upcoming Disney projects.

Article involving making movies and recycling. Overall, I know there is a ton of material not being covered by this specific effort, but the idea it presents was incredibly interesting.

July 15th

Do you want the long version or the short version?

Just kidding… long version it is.

Over the past few weeks, well, chaos would be a good word to use for description. Both of my sisters arrived for visits of varying lengths. My parents celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. And… yup… Life Won’t Pass Me By and Conversations are in the process of being edited and assembled for release. (Not a bad grouping for surface scratching. Side note: Lawn needs to be mowed and there is a ton of laundry piling up.)

It has been almost four years since we have been able to get the entire family together (and counting), and about two years since we have assembled the majority of the group. Since the process to bring us together begins with planning cross-country and international travel, we try to take advantage of it when the stars do align. So… past three weeks… card playing, dinners, driving, shopping, driving, various adventures, lunches, driving, craft projects, LOTS of clam chowder and clam cakes, and more.

That doesn’t mean a good amount of work hasn’t been taking place though. Books are being edited and finalized. And here’s where a few things stand right now…

Life Won’t Pass Me By

I had been chasing a July release for this effort, but I am switching things up. A proof copy of the book revealed a couple of issues… small issues, but things I want adjusted.

The text is done… cover wrapped up… and I think everything is now in place (just waiting on a new proof copy). I feel very comfortable announcing that Life Won’t Pass Me By will be out on August 8, 2017.

Here’s an image that is being used for the cover. Jay created it a few years ago for Terry and I.


August 22, 2017. That’s the release date of this effort.

I wanted a bit of separation from Life Won’t Pass Me By… wanted to get it out ahead of this year’s National Buy Bob’s Book Day festivities… and everything in general is going well.

Over the next few days I will be sharing a bit more about both of these projects. Moving along…

Writing & Books

In addition to releasing the two new efforts, plans are being made for some appearances. Signings and readings are being scheduled. And, a new workshop is being designed and set up.

Later this month I will be announcing the first wave of specifics… which will include details about the first three dates of A Writer’s Workshop, which have pretty much been finalized.

Keep up on all things writing by checking out the sections in that area of the In My Backpack site.

Local Friends for Local Business

The July effort has begun. Continuing with the recently adjusted, now full-month design, Sum-Sum-Summertime is the challenge theme and it continues until July 31st.

What things do you enjoy doing in the summer? Is there a specific food stand that opens seasonally or serves a specific type of food? Do you head out to a specific park for a picnic, take a boat ride, or participate in some outdoor adventure?

The summer celebrates what it offers in ways other seasons cannot imagine. The longer days and warmer weather, getting outdoors for yardwork and grilling, activities with friends… the list has no end.

Sum-Sum-Summertime is looking at all things summer fun. The cravings, activities, people and food and more.

ComplemenTerry Designs

It honestly doesn’t seem possible… but it’s true… the next wave of craft fairs and community festivals and holiday events is approaching. We’ve already confirmed our participation in two events for the annual Fall-Harvest-Christmas run. We should have specifics posted soon, and expect to add at least one more to what likely will be a slightly abbreviated schedule.

Even with a reduced in-person-cars-on-the-road run, you can reach out to us if you have special requests. The lights are on over the crafting tables… the elves are busy… and it’s never too early to think about some decorations for your home.

Actually… even though that covers it nicely enough… that is the short version of things after all.

Family visits… book releases… community activities… calendar of events… and that’s just the start.

Two brand new books coming up in August. I have lots of details to share about those projects as the release dates approach.

In the next couple of days, I will have at least two new essays to share.

This fall, a strong run of travel and appearances kicks off.

And I’m looking forward to sharing some of the information about all of this with you.

July is going to be a massive turning point for things. Thanks for hopping on for the ride.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com