It was three years ago this month that I started writing my first novel. By the time 2013 was up, I had one published novel (Dead Sleep), and its sequel (Dead Sight) just a few months away from publication. Then came the job of finishing the trilogy. I knew the basic plot, I knew what I wanted to do, I just had to write it. The summer of 2014 started well and I had 20,000 words before long.
Within a few months, my wife’s grandmother had a stroke and her father had a heart attack. In August, we were about to prepare for the start of another school year when the call came in. We’d been waiting for it, but it was unexpected nonetheless — our son was cleared to leave his African country and we could finalize our adoption. Within two weeks, we traveled overseas to pick him up, but his health concerns took us to one hospital after another for a few months. By the time 2014 was up, the wife and I were reeling from the adjustments our son had from the adoption, the loss of her grandmother around Thanksgiving, and a profound lack of sleep.
Essentially, that third book got shelved that summer and I haven’t touched it since. If it wasn’t the third book of a trilogy, I might have just said “RIP Dead Search” and be done with it.
But I can’t do that.
Over the past year, I’ve had to re-learn how to incorporate writing into my life. I think I’ve got it mostly figured out, but I know I can always do better. I need to credit Samuel Peralta with the assist in reinvigorating my writing chops. In October 2014, I was invited to be in The Alien Chronicles, and that first Chronicles short story appeared this month last year. Since then, I had the opportunity to write a story for The Z Chronicles (Z Ball), The Immortality Chronicles (The Control), the forthcoming Alt.History 102 (Requiem For An Austrian Princess), and my latest completed story for The Illustrated Robot Chronicles (The Holy, Sacred, and Eternal Book of Robotics).
In addition to stretching and challenging me, I’ve joined an amazing band of authors who each value good writing and treat these collections with importance and respect. I’ll forever be linked to these other authors and I can’t be more happy about it.
But I think the biggest thing from this past year is my collaboration with my brother, Paul. We live over 2,000 miles apart, but thanks to Google Docs, we have written a few things together, namely our novel, Blink, which will be released on Feb. 4. I started writing it last January, but I didn’t necessarily intend to. I allude to it in the book, but the first words I wrote for it were a Facebook post about my forehead. It eventually morphed into a fictional story and after writing for a couple weeks, Paul showed me some writing he’d done parallel to my own story and it blew me away. In fact, the character he’d centered on became our main protagonist and we both were each other’s biggest fan as we wrote this. Early reaction among Beta and Early readers has been great, but it’s time to look at what’s next.
In November, I turned in my alt.history story about Mozart and Marie Antoinette. In December, I finished the edits on Blink, and just yesterday, I finished my Illustrated Robot story. I have no more pressing writing commitments, so one thing remains…Dead Search.
And so here we are. A year and a half after I put it aside, I’m returning to finish the final book in my Dead Sleep trilogy. I know I will try to put it off. I know I will be distracted. I know it might be the toughest thing I’ve done with a writing project. But, I promise I will finish. I need to catch up with my characters, so Job #1 for now is re-reading what I’ve already written. I know my writing style has evolved since I wrote that first book, so this might be super challenging. But…I will do this. Hopefully this summer I can have Dead Search ready for readers and I can finally put this story to bed once and for all.