On nearly completing my sixth novel.

30 Aug

Last night I couldn’t sleep. That is not unusual, I am threatening old, very old, I am afraid, to be seen as an emergent writer. Sometimes I worry that I won’t have enough time to write as much as I would like. Other moments I’m equally afraid I will. I say that in context as a daily concern, a weekly concern and a lifetime concern. Let me expound.

Finding opportunities to write can be problematic for a doting grandparent. If two or three or four or . . . of the little boogers are here, it is virtually impossible to put a cogent thought anywhere upon my computer screen. Ampa will always be my favorite name. I refuse to miss interacting with them despite my chagrin at another day passing without 1000 words of something being logged into eternity!

Sorry Stephen King!

That’s why my insomnia of last night was so welcome. Rather than laying there trying to force sleep I got my fat butt up and managed to produce even more than my hoped-for thousand words by 2:30 am. As I am in the downward part of the fourth novel of a series and my sixth novel overall, it was even more exhilarating.

Digression. A word in explanation of my last statement. I wrote most of a novel while riding the bus between Tucson and Sells, Arizona as a kindergarten teacher in the mid 80s. That book is yet to be actually completed. A pregnant pause. A loooong gestation indeed! I wrote my first completed novel as a submission to the Tony Hillerman mystery book contest. With the help of my daughter we managed to get into a form that resembled a novel in manuscript form and sent off just under the deadline. It didn’t win. At least I never heard back from them so I assume it didn’t. Is that a reasonable assumption?

I have since looked at it and in retrospect I am not surprised at the outcome.

My second, third and forth novels are part of a series I wrote while in anticipation of retirement. Once I had officially turned in my spurs, I finished them up.  I sent the first book, “Chaos Territory” to S.T. Joshi, as they are Lovecraft inspired works. He read it (he read it!), liked it and encouraged me to seek out publishing. For a while I looked for a traditional publisher but after a couple years I got frustrated with that process. S.T. said I should go ahead and self-publish so with my long suffering wife acting as my editor, I published first one, then two, and finally three books on Kindle and Amazon CreateSpace print on demand.

My fifth book is a departure from earlier work but something I have been working on for many years. It is a novel of prehistoric Arizona that is centered on the actual sites I helped excavate over forty years ago. That book I have sent out to traditional publishers and have discussed it with the people at IUniverse, a subsidy press. No decision on it’s final iteration has been reached either by those I have sent it to or myself.

The fourth book in my series, and my sixth novel overall, is the one I have been concentrating on recently including last night’s late work and I am uncertain as to it’s eventual fate. I believe it might be able to stand alone so perhaps I will pursue more conventional publishing options. Or I might simply let it follow in the self published footsteps of its predecessors.

End digression. Back to the concerns. They are always there, waiting.

The weekly concern is somewhat elusive. It involves the passage of time and carefully planning out my opportunities to write. Unfortunately, I am most productive while alone, listening to classical music. So any time I have the house to myself I must be ready to hunker down and mercilessly pound the keyboard. Mood cannot enter into it! As a card carrying incipient manic depressive I must force the process in those times when demons lurk.

Fortunately, I have actually read several encouraging postings that have convinced me any writing is infinitely better than no writing!

Look, Mom! I’m taking advice!

Finally, I must gaze out upon the yawning gulf that is my lifetime concern. I had intended to become a professional writer upon completion of high school. I would go to college, it was that or drop mortar rounds in Viet Nam, but I would study anything but creative writing. My teachers and professors invariably commented upon my skill as a writer, so obviously I already knew how to write.

Ah youth!

The end result of my eclectic college experience was that I became: a professional archaeologist, a preschool resource teacher, a public school teacher, a tour guide and a professional storyteller. Many of these professions occurred simultaneously I might add.

Inevitably I retired from them all (except the storytelling, that’s too much fun!) and joyfully said, “Aha! Gadzooks! Yahoo! Egad! Now I get to write!”

Somewhere there is cosmic laughter!


I believe it was John Lennon who said, “Life is what happens to you while you are making plans.” I am certain it was my mother who said, “Ah, joy!”

I now understand them both only too well.


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