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  • Mike Martinez

The Story of Writing Where the Light is Dim: Fifth Anniversary

I began writing my blog five years ago this month. This marks my 126th posting. As I have done every July since 2011, I want to update readers on my efforts. Accordingly, this entry will serve as a progress report on my writing activities during the past year.

I have been fortunate to have two books published since July 2015. The first book, titled The Safety of the Kingdom: Government Responses to Subversive Threats, appeared in August 2015. Carrel Books published the work. I am proud of the book, although it will not serve as my epitaph. I will not quit my day job anytime soon.

Rowman & Littlefield published the second book, titled A Long Dark Night: Race in America from Jim Crow to World War II, in April 2016. This work continues the story that I initiated in my 2012 book Coming for to Carry Me Home: Race in America from Abolitionism to Jim Crow.

Never content to rest on my laurels, I am engaged in two writing projects for 2016 and 2017. Earlier this month, I delivered a manuscript titled Environmental Sustainability and American Public Administration: Past, Present, and Future to Lexington Books. If all goes according to plan, the book will be published late in 2016 or early in 2017. We shall see.

I am also in the middle of my research and writing on a book about political assassinations for Skyhorse. The manuscript is due in March 2017, and I am struggling to stay on schedule. It is an enjoyable project, but I have miles to go before I sleep.

One final project is in the works. I am currently preparing a book proposal on 24 influential members of Congress throughout American history. The proposal is in its infancy and I am still clarifying my thesis, but I believe the idea holds much promise. I hope to be well on my way toward producing a readable manuscript by the time I provide my July 2017 update.

As I presume this entry makes clear, I am continuing to fulfill the promise that I identified in my very first blog posting. At the time, I described myself as a middle-aged man pursuing a mid-list writing career. “In the blog posts to come,” I wrote on July 25, 2011, “I will explore for readers, and myself, what it means to be a person of some talent, albeit limited, who seeks to make the most of his gifts. Maybe I won’t be that great American writer who belongs to the ages, but I can give it my best shot.” That is what I continue to do: give it my best shot.

As a young man, I hoped to be the great writer who would one day kicked Shakespeare’s ass. I know now that Shakespeare has nothing to fear from me. I can live with my limitations. As long as I am having fun and still somehow finding a publication outlet for my work, all is well with my writing career.

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