First of all, I’m happy to announce that Martyrs of the Mind (Book 4) is proving as easy to write as Ayers has been difficult. After only a week, I’ve already written 21.000 of an estimated 120.000 words and I’m planning to have the entire first draft ready by the end of March. After that, I’ll immediately start work on Book 5, the final book in the series, so that I can publish them only a month apart at the end of the year. This way, you won’t have to wait so long in between books to find out how the series ends.
Excited? I hope so! I can tell you that I definitely am as I’ve been working faster and more efficiently than ever. I’m not sure if it's related to experience, relief of having finished the demanding third book or just excitement for what lies ahead. I’ll finally get to write the big finale I’ve come up with in Taormina Sicily, almost two years ago.
Speaking of Taormina, my greatest dream is to write the final chapter of the final book while sitting at a café in Piazza IX Aprile. That’s where I came up with the finale - on the promontory, staring at the stars and the lights of the distant cruise ships.
Last year, when we traveled to Sicily, it was the first day of my BookBub promotion, wherein I sold more books in two hours than I had the entire previous year. I’m already looking forward to returning to Sicily this year with another career landmark: a finished series.
Meanwhile, I’ve been working on other things too, so you won’t have to wait until the end of the year for new stories. I spent the month of January writing Humanity of One, a novelette focusing on Sheldon Ayers and the aftermath of his experience in the final part of Ayers. This roughly 12.000 word story is completely finished and due on my editor’s computer by the end of the week. It will be available in digital form exclusively to my mailing list subscribers and in printed form bundled up with Ayers.
Another project I’m excited about is Street Shamans, a multi-author mosaic novel centered around a cool concept and interesting characters. I’ve already finished my story, Way of the Jackal and am currently waiting for some of the other authors to finish theirs so we can send it to the editor. I’m really fond of this story. It’s the first one I’ve worked on that is set outside my Mind Malignancy universe. It’s completely different in setup and tone from anything I’ve worked on so far and it’s been a lot of fun to write.
At this point, it’s difficult to tell exactly when the book will be published, since you have to work around the schedule of all the authors, whose primary works understandably take precedence, but most of the stories are complete and I can’t wait to share Way of the Jackal with you.
On the non-fiction side, I’ve spent January working on several articles for The Music and Myth, including my yearly Music and Myth Awards, a round-up article wherein I discuss the Grammy nominations in the Best Vocal Jazz Record and Best Instrumental Jazz Record categories and pick my favorite albums of the year.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before on my website, but I’m a watch enthusiast and have recently started pursuing this interest more intensely. I’ve also started a small watch collection that I’m going to write about in another post.
My most recent acquisition is a vintage Citizen Parawater from April, 1960, the exact month and year that my father was born. My friend who sold me the watch runs vintagecitizenwatches.com, a blog focusing on a particular period in the popular Japanese brand’s history. He asked me to write a short piece for his blog, documenting my experience with my new Parawater. Since I can’t seem to keep my writing short or simple, I ended up penning a lengthy recount of my history and experience with wristwatches. You can check it out below.
That’s it for now. I hope you’re enjoying Ayers and I’m looking forward to hearing your opinions of it, whether it’s through reviews, e-mails or social media posts. I’ll let you know when Humanity of One is available. Until then, have a great last month of winter!