What I’m Working On, 3-19-2021

I’ve been spending far too many hours in front of my computer monitor lately. On December 11, 2020, I published my latest book, Aggravated. I had been working on it exclusively for the past several years, and had set aside several other projects that were in various stages of completion while I finished and published it. The book/series that had waited the longest was If a Butterfly, so I was determined to finish it and publish it first, so that’s my current project.

Butterfly has already had a number of drafts and a few polishes, and is within a couple of months of being ready to lay out for print. It began life as an overly-lengthy (more than 300,000 words) novel about a butterfly which happens to engender changes in the lives of nine disparate people. Over several years, in between other projects, I trimmed it down considerably, but it was still too long. While wrestling with how to trim such a complex book even more, it occurred to me that it was already structurally possible to divide it in two. The first part of the book built toward a climax which occurred halfway through the book before it built again to several others. Two decent-sized books, not one super-sized one.

I’m doing a final polish now of Book One, Chrysalis, in Scrivener, and I’ll hopefully be starting on Book Two, Emergence, in a month or less. The layout of both books (in Adobe InDesign) will take some time after that, but I’m hoping for an early-summer release. After that, I have several books to choose from for my next project.

My Two Main Possibilities:

One of the books, Murder Between Friends, is (obviously) a murder mystery. It is currently an unfinished first draft, almost completely plotted and half written, but has a couple of bothersome plot holes to fill (one involving genetics and another about which characters know what’s going on and which don’t).

The other possibility, The Hawthorn’s Sting, is also a mystery, and has a lot of promise. It’s also partly written, but may need more research. It has two story-threads. One thread is set in modern-day England and France. The other thread begins during the Roman occupations of Britain and Judea and moves forward in time for over a thousand years. The basic plot is fairly solid, but I need to be sure about several historical details. It could require more work than Murder Between Friends, but it’s one I’m anxious to get on the market.

The Other Contenders:

A Mixed Bag. I’ve been thinking about releasing this into the wild for some time. It would be a collection of a variety of my work. Some short fiction, a novella, some poetry, a one-act play, and a few other odds and ends from the weirdness that is my imagination.

Merle Boudreaux, Bayou Wizard. A retelling of the Arthurian legend, set in Louisiana, with Merlin (Merle) raising Arthur in the cypress swamps of Louisiana, training him to go against his half-brother Mortie, a tech-wizard who intends to …well, let’s just say “do bad things,” and keep the rest of the plot secret for now.

The Lives of Franklin Roosevelt Jones. This one will have to wait until I see a clear space to focus on it all by itself. It’s a birth-to-death story, a sort of extended coming-of-age story with a twist. I’ve written over 100,000 words of this already, but haven’t scratched the surface. I think it will end up being a multi-volume series because the premise is that every time Franklin makes a decision which steers his life in a different direction (or someone or something makes that decision for him) the novel will split and follow both directions simultaneously). At times there will be six or more storylines. The complexity of it scares the hell out of me, but the idea of it intrigues me. It’s always in the back of my mind.

Which of those would you most like to see in print?

Michael

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