Thursday, February 16, 2023

A Brief Hiatus

 I finished the penultimate draft of the work in progress, which now has a title:


Off the Books


Thanks to The Beloved Spouse™ for that one, as the story is about work private investigator Nick Forte takes off-license and involves undocumented workers who are…well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out what’s up with them.


I’m taking off the rest of February to let the book marinate and do some research to help me decide what to write next. I have more ideas right now than I have time to write them, and I learned from the abortive Western that I don’t do well if I let a book sit too long while working on other projects. Whatever I choose needs to be the priority. I can research and develop other ideas, but whatever story I choose to move forward with will become my more or less constant companion for close to a year. I need to choose wisely.


What ideas are jostling for position?

·       A three-book arc to conclude the Penns River series. Corruption and police culture—for both better and worse—will be prominent in these books, and I need to know more about both if I am to do them justice.

·       At least one, maybe two, possibly three Forte novels. I need more background on the core stories before deciding which I want to tackle.

·       Another Western, this time a “memoir” of a fictional character that roamed the West, traveling through famous places while not necessarily meeting the people who made them famous. The plan is for this to be an “as told to” book, with the “ghost” writer making occasional comments where the protagonist’s recollection may be a little hazy.

·       A book involving two new characters in a new universe. The high concept is “Hap and Leonard meet Terriers meet The Nice Guys.” The idea could lead to a new series, but after reading the list above I have no idea when I’d get to more than the one book.


I’ll begin the finishing process of Off the Books the first week of March, with an expected completion date around the middle of April. Since the next Penns River book (The Spread) comes out July 31—and I have four Fortes and Wild Bill that can be published whenever—I’ll have plenty of time to sort out my next project.


This is the primary benefit of retirement on my writing. Even though I don’t write any more in a day than I used to, more gets done. My imagination is also free to consider new things. It’s fun, though I know myself well enough not to indulge too many impulses, as I hate having things left partially finished.


Stay tuned.

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