• Mark Meier

There are a great deal of projects I’m working on at the moment, not the least of which is The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book by Visible Ink. That’s due out next year, though the exact date is still up in the air.

A former coworker asked me nearly two years ago if I’d co-author the book with her. “It’s too big for me to finish by myself, so I asked if I could have a co-author and they said you’d be okay.” Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

The book is written in a Q&A format. I was assigned four general topics – Sports, Business, Politics, and Tourism. I’ve cranked out more than a dozen chapters in those topics, ranging from the Green Bay Packers to Climate. In all I have about 76,000 words already produced. As of this writing I haven’t received much in the way of editorial suggestion, but it’s coming. Nothing a writer produces is ever accepted right away, despite multiple critiques.

The total word count will be in the neighborhood of 150,000 words, and available wherever books are sold. Plenty of pictures, too! It'll look similar to the other Handy Answer books. Check them out at the publisher's site, linked above.

The process was quite an experience. Anyone who knows me at all could tell you I’m not a fan of sports. Writing about sports brought up a LOT of interesting facts, though. For instance, a Brewers game was delayed because of heavy snow at County Stadium (before Miller Park and the retractable roof). Even though they’d “tarped” the field and shoveled the snow away, the ground was still so soggy the next morning they brought in a helicopter to hover over the field to dry things out.

That’ll be in the book.

Brett Favre’s first forward pass for the Packers was received by . . . Brett Favre. It bounced off a helmet and back into his hands. He was tackled for a loss.

That’ll be in the book.

The Bucks picked up Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a coin toss. The guys who won the toss were so excited they hugged. One of them had a cigarette in his mouth and burned the ear of the other. That’ll be in the book.

Anyway, there’s lots of good, interesting stuff that’s going to be in The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book.

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  • Mark Meier


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  • Mark Meier

A friend of mine on Facebook proofed a lot of the Ebony Sea stories. He suggested I make the episodic stories into a novel, which can dig deeper into the characters. For instance, Lt. Commander Carnifor from To Mars and Back.


The episodes I’ve already written have him resenting Lannetay (from Recovery) for being in command of the broader mission for my characters. Thing is, he was going to be in charge of a vast number of star sailors on a carrier, but for political reasons he was subordinated to a civilian trade ship captain. I can certainly understand that. I’ve been in positions where people with less knowledge and experience were put in charge of me. It’s humbling. I’m sure many of you have had similar experience, especially those with military experience.


A short story isn’t really designed to do any kind of character analysis, though. Carnifor might have come out seeming . . . petty, perhaps vindictive. Certainly he chaffed at taking orders from Lannetay, and with so many military people on the undercover mission, there’s no wonder he had the “I should be in charge” attitude.


But he’s not. Stories are interesting because not everything goes as planned, and the relationship between Lannetay and Carnifor is definitely anything but expected. You’ll see.

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