Another ‘staying sane in lockdown’ blog post

What are you doing to keep your sanity these days? We are just coming out of our third lockdown… (only two more lockdowns now until Christmas.) Restaurants can have patio seating, but still no indoor seating. Stores can now have limited numbers of people inside. So it’s a little better now, and most people have had their first vaccine shot – so things are looking up and maybe we are getting to the end of it. (I’m trying hard not to think of the new variants coming out. Eyes shut, ears covered, and I’m humming ‘nah,nah,nah,nah…’ to myself).

As those who have been following my blog will know, a favorite theme I’ve mine over the last 15 months is “staying sane in quarantine.” It’s about the various hobbies and other things I do to keep my sanity. I’m writing novels, of course. And blogging, which I find relaxing. And I’ve taken up cooking: I learned to bake apple turnovers a couple weeks ago, from scratch! I even made the pastry.

And I continue to do metal work. I forged this pair of fire pit tongs last week, for moving burning logs around.

Fire pit tongs forged from a truck leaf spring

I forged these tongs from the leaf spring of an F150 pickup truck. My wife came up with the idea one night while sitting around a campfire with the grandkids a couple weeks ago. We were roasting hotdogs and making s’mores, and my wife was struggling to rearrange some burning logs, when she said to me: “You know honey, we probably don’t need anymore homemade forged knives, as awesome as they are. The 87 you made, which are now filling up our kitchen drawers, are likely sufficient for our needs for the foreseeable future. But if you really feel like forging, we could use some fire pit tongs.”

I took the hint and had fun making them.

Having a pair of fire pit tongs made from a pickup truck is pretty awesome, not to mention manly. The ends of the tongs come together so they can be used to pickup small burning sticks and coals, as well as large logs.

We’ve all been doing different things to cope as best we can. I love to write, and I can write for hours at a time and not notice the time go by. But after sitting all day with the laptop, I enjoy getting out to the shop and hammering on hot metal.

For some interesting hobby ideas, visit my other website michaelmanto.com where I go into great detail on this fun hobby.

Thanks for stopping by to visit my blog. Stay safe, and above all, stay sane!

My New Time-travel Adventure is Here!

The girl from the future…

What does a girl do when she can’t tell anyone where she’s really from?

I’m excited about my latest novel – a fun blend of love, romance, dystopian future and time travel. It’s about Octavia, a woman from a dystopian future who has traveled back in time to our own day. She’s here on a mission: study us and learn how we lived prior to a deadly plague that almost destroys human life and brings on the dystopian world she grew up in.

Octavia never had a family, never knew a mother or father – she was raised on a eugenics farm by robots and impersonal guardians. She arrives in our time and meets Jake, the loving single father of an 11-year old girl, and it’s not long before they fall in love. For the first time in her life, Octavia becomes part of a real family. But she can never tell Jake that she’s from the future – how could he possibly believe it? And that’s not the only secret she has to keep from him.

But falling in love was not part of her mission plan, and the secrets she carries about herself and the terrible future awaiting them soon threaten to tear them apart.

I actually started writing this in 2016, thinking it would be fun to write a story about a world-wide pandemic and time-travel. I finished it prior to 2020 under a different title, and then covid-19 broke out. When covid-19 hit, I no longer felt like promoting a novel about a plague. Reading and writing stories about an apocalypse is fun until it starts to feel like you are really in one. So I shelved the project for a while.

In early 2021 I dusted it off and re-read it, and sent it to an editor for professional proof reading. I like the story and now that it looks like we are getting to the end of the covid-19 pandemic I feel good about publishing it.

It’s a fun, clean read with a feel-good ending. I’m a huge believer in happy endings… I mean, why read a book that leaves you depressed. I can go to CNN for that.

I hope you like reading the book as much as I liked writing it. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Available on Amazon

Octavia Seven Book Review