I suppose this is a case of mixed news. The bad news is letting the cat out of the bag on what was the main cause for writing delays in 2016: the dissolution of my marriage. I have no desire to air any of that dirty laundry, suffice it to say I am now divorced.
Y’all have been very supportive, patient and understanding of the delays, dating back to when my son was born and I was about halfway through with it. The first year in the gap was spent taking care of my little boy; during the second, my marriage was coming unglued. Finding the time to write and the necessary headspace to create was close to impossible, but I did find it from time to time and make a little progress.
Well, now I am free and clear and back at work. After such a long lay off, I’m very much in the stage that I once upon a time called “putting crap on paper so I can try again later,” but I am working on it steadily again. As that goes on, I’ll get back in the zone and start cranking in a serious way.
To give you just a little peek at what I’m doing, right now I am focusing all of my efforts on finishing the book’s middle battle, between Jackson and Thomas.
Once again, thanks for sticking with me.
I really am embarrassed that it is May 2016 and I don’t have the third book finished yet, so I feel an explanation is necessary.
If you’ve ever been in the position of having first a baby and then a toddler in the house, you can understand how that eats away into your time. The first big delay, in 2015, was simple enough to explain: I agreed to become the primary care-giver for my son for a year. Family and a part-time nanny helped, but even so I found myself putting 60 hours a week into Daddy Day Care Service. I don’t regret it, but like almost all new parents, the demands on my time were grossly underestimated by all concerned.
When that first year ended, my first priority had to be putting my career as a freelance writer back on track, since that is my bread and butter income. Only then could I return to writing the new novel.
At that point the issue became how I’m committed to maintaining the same standards I set for the first two novels, and that means having decent blocks of quality time to do the writing. My freelance work (whiskey, travel, wine, etc.) can be done here and there, but I learned a long time ago that my best work in terms of fiction happens when I can establish and sustain some momentum. I could slap my ideas together in dribs and drabs, but it wouldn’t be something I’d be proud of.
Even now, even a minor hiccup in the house tends to upset my whole apple cart. I did some good work for a few weeks in January and February, but then had to stop because we we had to move. That became such an utter fiasco that the entire month of March was lost, and then family demands wrecked April for me.
That said, I’m in another of those windows where good work is possible now, and I’m into the third part of the book.
Since I finally have something to report, the time has come for a status update.
As many who would read this already know, work on the third and concluding book in the Stonewall Goes West trilogy was postponed by the birth of my son, Luke. I went to part-time work status and began “Daddy Day Care Service,” so writing fiction went on the shelf. At that time, I had written about 50,000 words of draft material on the new book.
The last few weeks have seen sustained work on the new novel again. The “sustained” part is important, because I’ve tried restarting many times only to be completely derailed by events, and found myself unable to work on it again for weeks or even months at a time. If there is one thing I’ve learned about this process, it’s that it only works if I get some momentum going and it cannot be done in dribs and drabs.
This is the most work I’ve been able to do since my son was born, so it looks like I will finally be able to push on to the very end. I will post step-by-step status updates, and at some point release a couple of scenes as a sneak peek.