2021 Midyear Review.

2021 Midyear Review
photo courtesy of Pixabay

2021 Midyear Review.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

A quick glance at my calendar tells me that the year 2021 is about half over.

Last week was the summer solstice, where we officially moved into the summer season.

This week we moved from June to July, marking the beginning of the second half of our 12-month year.

Seems like a good time to take stock of my progress working on my “things I want to do this year” list.

Relationships.

High on my list of priorities for 2021 has been improving my relationships with family and friends. Covid has certainly got in the way of maintaining relationships. But on balance, I feel pleased with my progress in staying in contact with people who are important to me despite the difficulties.

Creative endeavors.

The year 2021 was one I dedicate to try to improve the quality of my creative work. I have spent some time taking classes on how to teach online, and I have studied ways to improve my writing and my video production. Unfortunately, all that time spent studying has not yet translated into actually producing more creative work. That should probably be the focus of the second half of the year 2021.

Becoming more proficient in using online platforms.

Technology has been a challenge, especially for an old guy like me. Since Covid began and particularly during the early part of 2021, I have taken classes in teaching online, and I have created to complete asynchronous online courses in the field of substance use disorders. I want to finish my certification for online teaching before the end of 2021.

I’ve gotten very used to using Zoom and occasionally some other videoconferencing platforms. I now have a dedicated Zoom room for doing online clinical supervision and seeing some private practice clients.

Improving my skills at creating videos.

I made some progress in learning to make simple videos. My YouTube video Channel recently reached an all-time high in viewers. Most of the videos are related to alcoholism, substance abuse, and counseling for substance use disorders. In addition, I began adding videos about mental health and having a happy life. I hope to expand those before the end of 2021.

Blog posts.

Time has been premium to work on the counselorssoapbox blog. With 1800 posts completed, it’s been getting harder to come up with topics and the time to create new blog posts. So although I haven’t completely abandoned blogging is had to take a back seat to my other longer-form writing.

Writing and publishing new books.

I currently have three novels and one nonfiction self-help book I’m working on. I and doing more research than I had on past books. I’m also taking classes and reading books on how to become a better author. I’ll let you know when the books get completed and published.

Trying to keep my life in balance.

Of all the things I wanted to do for 2021, this goal has proved the most elusive. There are just so many things I want to do every day that keeping things in balance is a constant challenge. While I can’t say that everything in my life is in balance, shifting from a list of things that I “have to do” to lists of “things I want to do” has helped me reduce the pressure to get more done each day and has increased the time that I can simply relax and enjoy the things I choose to do.

Now don’t get the wrong impression here. I’m still teaching two classes per semester, conducting group supervision, and seeing clients in private practice. I enjoy working, so I continue to do it. But I’m trying to increase the time I spend each week doing creative projects and learning new things.

For the rest of this year, I’ll try to keep you updated on what I’m learning and what I’m creating.

There are probably many more things I should reflect on for this midyear review, but I wanted to get this retrospective review completed before we reached the end of 2021.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Change of direction? Or am I just lost?

Change – Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com   

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Someone seems to have turned up the speed on the merry-go-round.

If you are a subscriber to the counselorssoapbox blog or a regular reader, you probably noticed that I missed posting my regular Monday mental health posts for the last few weeks. I have been posting pretty regularly on Mondays ever since 2012. But with all the changes over the last year and having produced more than 1800 posts, I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to come up with new topics every Monday. If you have questions you’d like to pose, please send them to me, and I’ll try to work that into future posts.

Now seems like a good time to tell you about some of the changes I’ve been through over the last year. Some of these changes, I think, are predictors of what life will be like in the future. My future anyway.

Moving my classes online has been a challenge.

I typically teach 2 to 3 classes per semester. A little over a year ago, when Covid was raging, and any solution to the pandemic seemed far off in the distance, the safest thing to do, particularly for somebody my age, was to hunker down and avoid going out where you might be exposed to the virus.

Just for the record, I think of myself as a relatively young 73-year-old. While I am now fully vaccinated, I am still being cautious. If you’re wondering, I took the two-dose Moderna vaccine. The only side effect I experienced was a minor muscle soreness at the injection site.  I usually get the flu shot every year, and the Covid vaccine was not much worse than my annual flu shot.

So, what’s different about teaching online?

Some of my students did exceptionally well in the online format, and others did not. If you’re internally motivated, online education has a lot of advantages. Online education varies considerably. Since I teach for two different colleges, I experienced at least four different ways of doing online education. To further complicate this picture while converting my own classes to an online format, I was busily taking several courses in how to teach online.

Synchronous versus asynchronous classes.

One of the classes I taught was synchronous. Every Monday night, I met online with a group of graduate students, and I ran through my PowerPoints and delivered my lecture via Zoom. The students were asked to read the chapter in the textbook before that night’s class session. After I was done, there was plenty of time for students to ask questions, and occasionally, we even had a lively discussion.

Two of the classes I taught at the City College were set up as asynchronous. Each week’s work began at 12:01 Monday morning and was available to students until midnight Sunday night. Just as in the regular classroom, the students had a section in the textbook to read each week. I also used a weekly discussion question to see if students were participating. Students frequently got into lively discussions with each other about the weekly discussion question. Answering the discussion question counted as attendance in class. If you didn’t comment on the question, you are absent that week.

Students in the asynchronous class also had a brief quiz each week. The material on the quiz or similar questions reappeared on both the midterm and the final. I hoped that if I tested a student often enough, they would retain the material even after the class was over. Quizzes and tests had time limits though most students didn’t require the full allotted time. Initially, I had some worries about students googling or checking the textbook for answers to the questions. But I quickly realized in the time they had to do it; they couldn’t be doing much looking for answers.

How did the students do when learning online?

When we got to the end of the classes, both the synchronous and the asynchronous, the grade distribution was pretty much the same thing I had seen in my regular in-person courses. Students who read the book, answered the discussion questions, and submitted the required paperwork, received relatively good grades. Just as when we were in the classroom. Students who failed to participate during several weeks, did not do the assigned quizzes and discussion questions, or did not turn in the required term paper, receives substantially lower grades.

What was the biggest challenge I experienced in teaching online?

The largest challenge both for students and me was technology. Between taking online classes and teaching online at two different colleges, I had to learn many different technologies.

Just a short list of the new technologies I had to learn. I’ve used Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, Canvas companion, and Zoom. Each one had a learning curve, and switching from one system to another in the same week sometimes gets confusing. But if an old guy like me can figure it out, I think college students and high school students should be able to.

What have I learned about online classes?

My conclusion about online classes is that if the students are motivated to learn the material online learning can be every bit as beneficial as in-class sessions. Some students need in-person or individual encouragement, which is easier to do when you see them each week in class. If someone is taking an online class and needs help, they should reach out to their instructor and let them know they’re having difficulty. Of course, having reliable access to technology platforms and the Internet is essential. I also think both teachers and students need more help in learning the platform they’re going to use before they launch into remote education.

Is online education a second-class method?

Not at all. I think I learned just as much, possibly more, in the online classes I took as I used to learn using in-class education. I found it very convenient to teach online, and many of my students reported that it worked better for them than having to drive to and from campus. I can see from the logins that some students worked on their assignments during the day, some worked late into the night, and some students primarily completed their assignments on the weekend. The flexibility in learning when you have the time and for me in grading assignments when I had the time was very beneficial.

Like all the other technological advances, I think it will take some time for this to be absorbed into our culture. It was a real challenge for me to learn to use a cell phone and then learn to receive and send texts. But now that I know how to do all those things, I’m not sure how we ever got by without them. I firmly believe that we will see a time in the future when online–distance learning is just as common, maybe even more common, than in-class learning.

Were the main changes in my life over the last year moving into the field of online education?

Don’t I wish? Just as the pandemic impacted education, it has also had an immense effect on the counseling field. Over the last year, I’ve been doing online or distance counseling and doing group clinical supervision remotely. Because of not being physically present, I’ve also learned to pre-record material and create videos. If you’d like to look at the videos I’ve produced so far, please check out Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel.

The frantic pace of the last year has also significantly influenced my writing. I’ve had less time for writing blog posts, and the two books I was working on have not made it to completion at this point. I’ve been seriously rethinking what I want to write, given the limited time I have and the messages or themes that I want to write about.

In future posts, I’ll talk to you a little more about all these other changes.

Please feel free to leave comments about this blog post and about how this last year living in a time of Covid has affected you. You can either use the comment box or send me a personal message using the contact me form.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Did you get that book written?

I get this question every year.

Ever since I started to take my writing career seriously, I participated in the NaNoWriMo contest every November. The purpose of this contest is to challenge writers and would-be writers to complete a first draft of a novel or other book during November. The goal traditionally has been to write 50,000 words though some people are overachievers and exceed that number.

Setting writing goals has helped me immensely.

Whether you’re one of those people or just know one of those people who has been saying for years that someday they’ll write a book, this may be the path for you to take. That book I wanted to write stayed floating around in my head but never made it onto paper for decades. And I’ll be honest that the first time I tried writing a full 50,000-word novel in one month, I fizzled out early on. But like playing a sport or an instrument, you must practice your moves before you can play in the big time.

November 2020 marked another completed novel.

Having that deadline hanging over me pushes me to write just another hundred words before bedtime or squeeze in an extra chapter during my lunch hour. That self-imposed pressure to reach a specific goal has transformed my writing process. Knowing that I need to get it done by a deadline keeps me moving forward even when I don’t know what will happen next or can’t think of the right word.

November 2020 included an additional challenge.

I spent five days in the hospital, most of it in the Covid ICU unit. If you want to read about that adventure, look at Monday’s post titled At Least I didn’t die. This absence resulted in the loss of five writing days, and I struggled with being extremely tired for the rest of the month. Despite my doubts, somehow, I still managed to reach that 50,000-word goal.

Absolutely, this book is a first draft.

I’ve heard from writing coaches and repeatedly read in books on writing that you can’t edit a blank page. Almost all writers write atrocious first drafts. Mine are no exception. My goal is for my final drafts to be as good as some famous writers’ first drafts. There will be a lot of revision and rewriting needed to move this book from the first draft to a published version. Some of my first drafts never make it to the publication stage. But having that first draft, that work in progress, is a huge step in the right direction. Typically, it takes me six months or more to transform that first draft into something I want others to read.

So, what is The Olmsted Bridge about?

The Olmsted Bridge is the story of a young reporter, Walter Bush, no relation to the political family, who writes for a weekly local newspaper called the Olmsted Outlook. Late one night, Walter hears a call on the police scanner. Teenagers have been racing cars along the River Road, and one of the cars went into the water. The female passenger in that car, Lily May Olmsted, is the daughter of Sheriff Olmsted. Her body is never recovered.

Sheriff Olmsted and the town believe that the driver of that car, a young man named Samuel Heard, is responsible for Lily May’s death. The rest of the book is about Walter’s efforts to uncover the truth about what happened that night.

So what genre is it?

Readers of every genre have certain expectations. As you can see from my list of finished books below, I’ve been experimenting with several different genres.

The Olmsted Bridge is a fictionalized true crime story. I’ve drawn on several true crime stories to create this tale, which is mostly about how a reporter sticks to the trail of a story even when people don’t want him to find out the truth. There are, of course, elements of a mystery. There’s a dead girl, or is she dead? And if she is dead, why can’t they find the body?

Would you like to read this story?

Such a deal I’ve got for you. It’s going to be a while before the book is completed, but I would like to get an advanced draft into the hands of some selected alpha readers. Or is that beta readers? Either way, I’ll be putting together a mailing list and sending out advance copies, looking for feedback on my writing efforts in a new genre. The advance copies will be free. All I ask is that you read what I send out and give me feedback. Come release time; I would also appreciate readers who can leave an honest review once the book gets published on Amazon.

Would you like to read some of my previous books for free?

I’m still looking for some people who would like to read my previous books and leave a review. Several of my earlier books will be available for a certain number of free days on Amazon during January. If you read this blog, I will be announcing those free days here.

Thanks for being a reader of this blog and take really good care of yourself and those you care about during these trying times.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts tomorrow.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

Man writing

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

NaNoWriMo is a way to grow as an author.

The National Novel Writing Month is a mixture of competition and un-competition. During this month aspiring authors attempt to write an entire novel, a novel of at least 50,000 words, during the 30 days of November. That works out to 1667 words per day average. Each participant is competing with themselves to see if they can take an idea and turn it into a finished novel in 30 days. In the spirit of un-competition, anyone who completes their novel is considered a “winner.”

My experiences with NaNoWriMo.

I first heard about NaNoWriMo about 2010. The following year, 2011, I made my first attempt. That ill-fated attempt stalled somewhere around 5000 words. The remnants of that manuscript still reside in the ancient recesses of my computer’s hard drive. While that particular story has not yet emerged into the light of day, the lessons learned put me on the path towards becoming a better writer.

For the next few years, life happened. Then in 2016, I took another try at completing a novel in the 30-day time span. This time I was able to complete the project. That book, initially with the working title “thrift store” took two more years to revise and edit before it was published in late 2017. That manuscript spurred by NaNoWriMo grew from the original 50,000 words to over 80,000 and the title shifted to Casino Robbery, my first published novel.

Because of that accomplishment, I pulled out another one of my partially finished novels and earlier this year that manuscript now revised, edited, and retitled, ended up being published as my second novel “Sasquatch.”

In November of 2017 during NaNoWriMo, I started and finished a novel with the working title “Family Secrets.” Over the next year “Family Secrets” has been revised and edited several times. In 2019, I published that novel using the title Dark Family Secrets:

How did I go about writing 50,000 words in one month?

One of the lessons NaNoWriMo has taught me was the importance of setting deadlines. I have many incomplete books, both fiction and nonfiction, stored away on the hard drive still not finished, some going back 20 years. None of them were ever completed because there was always a busy life and the next shining project getting in the way.

Once I learned to make meeting the deadline my highest priority, at least for that limited period, things started happening. This process has worked for me in writing the first draft, revising, and finally pushing the publish button. I could have drawn each of these tasks out over more time but having a deadline on my calendar forced me to finish a project so that I could check that one off my list, and I would be ready to start on another project next month.

October is my time for preparation for NaNoWriMo.

I didn’t want to cheat myself out of the full experience of writing a novel in 30 days. Not that anyone else would’ve known if I had jumped the gun and started writing early, but I would’ve known. So, I don’t begin to write until November 1. What I do allow myself to do before that date is preparation.

The three books that were finished during NaNoWriMo had some similar features. I thought about the general idea, started making some notes, and selected a working title knowing that title might change. I try to prepare an outline, though it is never in any fine detail. As ideas come for events, scenes if you will, I digitally jot them down. As the scene list grows, I rearrange the order.

When I start to write its very likely new ideas will occur to me, and they will get inserted in my list of events wherever they fit. I’m also likely to find that some of the things I initially thought would be separate scenes all get used in a single chapter.

Another thing I try to have planned before November first is a list of the characters, their names, and a brief description of them. If I’m using a specific location, I may do a little research and write some notes on that location. None of this advanced preparation is firm. Once November 1 arrives, everything is subject to change.

What happened in 2018?

The 2018 NaNoWriMo novel had the working title “Planning Accidents.” It was the second adventure for Arthur Mitchell, the protagonist from my first novel Casino Robbery. For the first time that year, I created a cover that I could use for the e-book edition of the book that ended up being “Planned Accidents” Since then I have completed two other novels.

So, what am I planning to write for NaNoWriMo this year?

I have two possibilities that I am outlining at the moment. I decided not to give you the working titles since I now know that the title will likely change in the process.

If you’ve ever thought about writing a novel, then NaNoWriMo this November, might be just the encouragement you need to get that first draft written. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about writing. If you have questions for me, please send them along. I’ll get back to everyone just as quickly as possible, though as you can see for the next month, I am likely to be extremely busy.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Happy Halloween!

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Happy Halloween.
Artwork courtesy of Canva.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy Halloween.

Tomorrow starts the very busy month of November. While I don’t want to neglect my readers over the next month this blog will be largely on autopilot. November is the NaNoWriMo contest in which writers attempt to write a 50,000 word first draft of their novel during the 30 days of November. Several of my published novels began as NaNoWriMo contest entries.

Most of the posts for the month of November are already written and scheduled. So, these new posts will continue to appear throughout the month of November. As in the past, the blog posts will first appear at 2 AM Pacific Standard Time and the YouTube videos will become available at 1 AM Pacific Standard Time. For those of you in other time zones, you’re going to need to do the conversion math.

Periodically through the month, I will check back with all of you readers, so that I can answer questions as they come in. When December reaches us I will get back to you and let you know how the new novel is progressing.

Here’s hoping you have happy holidays and lots of other happy moments as we move through the fall season and into winter.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Sasquatch Attacks Book – Free Today

Today October 2, 2020 – Sasquatch Attacks  – Kindle edition will be free on Amazon.

Sasquatch Attacks.

Sasquatch Attacks is an action-packed time travel thriller mystery.

Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

Earl and Nancy, lost in the past, are looking for a way home. Sasquatch bars their way. Will they survive their time in the desert?

Sasquatch Attacks Book – Free Today

Today October 1 2020 – Sasquatch Attacks  – Kindle edition will be free on Amazon.

Sasquatch Attacks.

Sasquatch Attacks is an action-packed time travel thriller mystery.

Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

Earl and Nancy, lost in the past, are looking for a way home. Sasquatch bars their way. Will they survive their time in the desert?

Sasquatch Attacks Book – Free Today

Today September 30th – Sasquatch Attacks  – Kindle edition will be free on Amazon.

Sasquatch Attacks.

Sasquatch Attacks is an action-packed time travel thriller mystery.

Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

Earl and Nancy, lost in the past, are looking for a way home. Sasquatch bars their way. Will they survive their time in the desert?

Sasquatch Attacks Book – Free Today

Today September 29th – Sasquatch Attacks  – Kindle edition will be free on Amazon.

Sasquatch Attacks.

Sasquatch Attacks is an action-packed time travel thriller mystery.

Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

Earl and Nancy, lost in the past, are looking for a way home. Sasquatch bars their way. Will they survive their time in the desert?

Today’s not Monday, is it?

Man writing

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Just when I thought life couldn’t get any busier.

For some of you who have been reading this blog over the preceding years, you’ve noticed that I rarely miss publishing a post on Mondays. But in the frantic activity of the last week, Monday of this week was overlooked. I decided to take this opportunity to tell you why Monday didn’t get its appropriate respect this week.

The usual schedule for the counselorssoapbox blog has been a post every Sunday about a feeling related word. I try to include a picture that illustrates the idea along with some quotations featuring the word of the week. Some of these quotations are humorous, and some are insightful.

Monday has typically been reserved for a post on mental health, substance abuse, or having a happy life. I suppose skipping this week’s Monday post was my way of doing a little personal self-care.

Sometimes Wednesday features a Writing Wednesday post about my fiction and nonfiction books and my writing process. And when possible, the other days of the week might feature anything else; I’ve managed to write. I just never know what these will be until I get them finished.

There are new things in the works.

Starting next week, I will be teaching another class about drugs, alcohol, and substance use disorders, The topic, and the material are very similar to the way I’ve taught this class in the classroom in the past. But the content has been redesigned. Over the summer, I took a course on how to teach online and my class on The Effects Of Drugs And Alcohol On The Body and The Brain, also known as the Physical and Psychological Effects of Drugs, and sometimes called Chemical Dependency Counseling has been completely redesigned. If you’d like to look at the videos for this class, you will find them on my counselorssoapbox YouTube channel on the playlist SUD-CD. To get academic credit for the course, you would need to be enrolled through Fresno City College.

Two new novels are due to be published shortly.

I spent the first seven months of this year working on several new novels. Two of these novels are currently in the revision and proofreading stages. Since sometimes, the details change when I go to publish them. I will tell you more about them as we get closer to the publication date.

Both are in new genres. Having started my novel writing efforts so late in life, I’ve approached novel writing the same way most people approach relationships as a teenager. I tried to date as many genres as possible without getting married to anyone genre category.

Throughout my life, I’ve read widely, and I can’t say there’s any single category of book, either fiction or nonfiction, which doesn’t interest me. So, I must at least spend some time with some new genres in my writing.

One of the novels I plan to publish before the year is out will be a dystopian, post-apocalyptic novel about a country that takes over the control of social media to control the way people think. This novel is not necessarily connected to the recent COVID-19 pandemic or current political events. As a teenager, I thoroughly enjoyed reading both Utopian and dystopian novels. Brave New World and 1984 were two of my favorite books. The working title for this book is Story Bureau.

The second novel features a reporter exploring the paranormal phenomena. This book will include both a ghost story and a mystery, and the current working title for this book is Oaktree Hotel Hauntings. For those of you who read and liked my time travel adventure titled Sasquatch Attacks, this novel features the return of reporter Nancy Nusbaum who is now working for the Paranormal News.

The Counselorssoapbox YouTube channel continues to grow.

I’ve added several new videos to the Counselorssoapbox YouTube channel. Some of these are shorter videos on substance use disorders. I’m also working on some new mental health videos. While I enjoy all the things I’m doing, I still need to take some time out to eat and sleep.

The mental health field continues to change.

Both my private practice clients and the supervision I do have moved online. Staying mentally healthy in the coronavirus era has been a challenge for both clients and counselors. As humans, we all need some social connection, but we also need to be careful to minimize our contacts and the spread of the virus. My self-care plan also includes an emphasis on devoting some time out of my schedule to stay in touch with those people in my support system who I currently can’t see is much as I would like.

So that’s an update on my life both personally and professionally. How are you all taking care of yourself these days? Please feel free to leave a comment or question in the comment box below or use the contact me form.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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