One year ago, my wife and I were preparing to welcome friends from Virginia to spend a week with us and enjoy The Players Championship. This annual showcase of the PGA TOUR is played within walking distance of our home, and we’d been excited to host our friends to share the event with us. What is it that John Lennon said about making plans? “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”
Life, in the form of a pandemic certainly changed everyone’s plans, including the PGA TOUR, which canceled the tournament after the first round. Of course, our friends had opted out even earlier. That was only the beginning, of course, and I don’t need to remind you of how our lives changed over the course of the year, and how we’re still being impacted. Of all the worker bees in our nation, many who lost their jobs, and others who have had to adapt to working from home, full-time writers are probably the least affected. Most of us already work in isolated surroundings; home offices, kitchens, bedrooms, back porches. Wherever we can carry a laptop or pen and legal pad.
And that’s pretty much how I spent the past year. If you read my bio on this site and some of the past items I’ve posted on the News & Events pages (and I admit I’ve been lax in keeping these updated) you already know Parker Francis is Vic DiGenti’s pen name for the mysteries and thrillers I write. So, while Parker has plugged away on a new novel he’s titled PAPER, and written several short stories, Vic has busily worked at his other job of helping people write and publish their own projects.
Windrusher Hall Press is the publishing company I formed to publish my own work, but I’ve also used it to publish all of the biographies and family histories I’ve written for others over the past five years. My role as a writer has expanded from novelist to biographer, researcher, ghostwriter, book doctor, and publisher.
In 2020, I was privileged to work with several passionate clients to turn their dream projects into reality. The first was a slim book packed with commonsense advice for taking control of your life. AIYOBI: ACT IN YOUR OWN BEST INTEREST examines the self-destructive tendencies in all of us that make life more painful, and explains how to act in your own best interest. I worked with neuropsychologist Dr. Norman Plovnick to distill his 50 years of experience into a concise and easy-to-read narrative. AIYOBI is subtitled “Five Principles to Live By Because There is No Future in Staying the Same,” and is available on Amazon.com.
The other book was something totally different. You won’t find it on Amazon or in any retail outlet because it was created and published for a specific audience of family and friends. When my client—I’ll call her Katie because that’s her name—contacted me about turning her father’s Korean War letters into a book, I was instantly intrigued. Being a history buff, I saw her father’s letters as a history lesson very few people are privileged to learn. One from the perspective, not of dull history tomes or from school teachers, but from one of the participants. Katie’s father, Ebbie, served as a radio operator aboard vintage B-29 bombers operating out of Okinawa. Like most men and women in combat zones, his letters home were filled with details, both prosaic and enlightening. They bear witness to the extremes of war, telling tales of homesickness, boredom, close calls, and survival.
LOVE EBBIE proved to be one of the most gratifying projects I’ve had the privilege to work on. I was able to transfer several hundred letters to the pages of the book and illuminate the times and episodes surrounding his service with additional material.
In a future blog post, I’ll provide details on some of the fiction my alter ego, Parker Francis has written during the crazy year of 2020. These include the aforementioned work in progress, the novel PAPER, and my short stories, including one about a young Elvis Presley at the crossroads of his career. Until then, stay safe and as Dionne Warwick told us in her hit song, That’s What Friends Are For, Keep smiling, keep shining …