Monday, March 4, 2013

What's Up with Lyn?

Oh, hello there! Remember me? I will admit that I really haven't done much blogging lately. (What I really have to do is consider updating the look of my blog. Kind of tired looking, isn't it?)

Right... what I've been up to lately. If you've been following Fr. Roderick Vonhögen's show, The Break, you'll know that he's been working on writing a book that he hopes will be released in the Fall of 2013. His deadline for submission was March 1. I had volunteered to beta-read his manuscript and mentioned that in addition to my adminning for The Petulant Poetess, I also had extensive writing experience from my days as a neurochemistry researcher, having written a Ph.D. thesis, several first-author papers, and a couple of book chapters. Oh, believe me, research is not the only thing you do in that field. If you can't write well, forget about being able to compete successfully for grant funding!

But I digress. Back to Fr. Roderick's book. Thanks to the unexpected announcement of the now-Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's intention to abdicate his position at the end of February, his writing schedule was thrown off as well as our revision schedule. I was hoping to have had a chance to both alpha- and beta-read his manuscript. Fr. Roderick had allocated two weeks for that to happen. However, thanks to the demands of his "other" job with Dutch TV and radio, he wasn't able to get a manuscript to me until almost the last minute. We essentially had two-and-a-half days for me to proofread the whole thing and for him to go through whatever corrections or comments I might have and revise accordingly. To be honest, for what would be a ca. 160-page book, that really wasn't enough time to do what I would consider to be a thorough job. So I essentially had to "move heaven and earth" to get the whole thing proofread. I would have wanted to do much more than check for SPaG (his writing tended more towards UK grammar usage, and his publisher is American, so I had to essentially "American-pick" his work in addition to taming his commas and his sentence fragments), but oh well. By the way, English is something like his third or fourth language (Dutch is his mother tongue) but for someone for whom English is not his native language, his writing is amazingly good and, frankly speaking, much better than a lot of Americans whose native language is English.

Complicating the entire thing was the fact he had to go to Rome for three days to cover Benedict XVI's last hours as pope for Dutch TV. So I took it upon myself to get the whole thing read and commented before he returned to the Netherlands. I figured if I were able to do that, it would give him a chance to incorporate any comments or changes in his manuscript before he submits.

Complication #2: the time difference. There is a 6-hour time difference between me in the East Coast of the United States and Fr. Roderick in the Netherlands. As far as his deadline is concerned, that works to his advantage, but for me... not so much! So I worked through the night to ensure that he would have something to look at if he had any down time in Rome (to be honest, it didn't sound like it). There was even one very early morning (for me) when I received an IM from him, expressing surprise that I was still awake. I think it may have been around 4.30 am my time (10.30 am his).

Sleep was lacking, but I managed to finish proofreading his manuscript before he landed in Amsterdam. This enabled him to get his edits done much sooner than he expected, and I received a message from him around 1.45 pm my time on March 1 informing me he had sent the manuscript to his publisher. The smile on my face when I received that email was so huge, and nothing would be able to wipe it away for the rest of the day... except for a little bug I somehow picked up, which eventually landed me in an outpatient clinic last Sunday. But I digress.

What is his book about, you ask me? In Fr. Roderick's words, "It's a book about all my adventures in new media. It talks about geeks, Hobbits, and Jedi." This is not surprising if you know Fr. Roderick well and if you're a long-time listener to his podcasts.

You want to know a working title, don't you? Uh, sorry, but I value my life too much to divulge that information to you. But if you want to follow Fr. Roderick's journey towards being a published author, feel free to subscribe to his "Secret Diary." To do that, you'd have to go to his blog on and sign up to get his updates.

If you're curious about his writing style, I'd say as I read through the manuscript, I can see it evolving. One thing I can tell you is that you can really hear his voice as you read his writing. His writing is very engaging, and his personality shows through very clearly, as does his keen sense of humour. I had completely lost track of time as I was reading, which tells me that his book, when completed, has the potential to be one of those page-turners that you won't be able to put down until you've read the very last word... and then you're going to want to pick it up and read it from the very beginning once again!

Life goes on. I'm hoping to have some quality time with the organ this week, especially since I'm trying to get back a pair of Bach pieces back in the fingers as well as learn a new Buxtehude piece that I hope to play for Lent V. This, of course, doesn't include all the practicing I'd need to do for Holy Week and Easter.

So now, I'd say you're all caught up with me. I do spend quite a bit of time on Facebook and Twitter, so you might be able to catch up with me there.

Pax et bonum!


Catherine White said...

Thanks for letting people know how the book is coming along. I am looking forward to reading it. It is good of you to take time from your busy life to do this.

Lyn F. said...

You're very welcome! I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to blog about it, especially since I was receiving so many questions about what the experience was like, and how was his writing, etc., etc. If you really want to know that, read his blog. :)

I'm very much looking forward to seeing the finished copy. And, of course, I would definitely get the Audio Book version as well. :)