Out with the old year, and into the new. 2022 is here, and we’ve got eleven and a half months to savor all the goodies that will tumble down the path.
“What goodies?” you ask?
Right now, there are four goodies on my 2022 radar:
1. The PIECES OF EIGHT audiobook, which will once again be narrated by the incomparable Todd Menesses with a potential release date of late spring / early summer.
2. My February podcast episode with FanFiAddict’s SFF Addicts Podcast hosted by the amazing Adrian Gibson.
3. My youngest son’s bar mitzvah in November.
4. Finishing the first draft of THE DEVIL’S SHARE.
Of those four, the most challenging will be completing the first draft of TDS. I’ve already entered into a contract with Todd, so the audiobook will happen. As a guest of the SFF Addicts Podcast, I’ll babble on about a writing-related topic, and we all know how long-winded I am, so much so that I’ve made boring people to death a national past-time. And She-Who-Must-Always-Be-Obeyed, goddess of all things organization, and the CEO and COO of Hartog, Inc. will steer the bar mitzvah planning as well as, or better than Luke handled the trench run with Obi-Wan whispering sweet Force nothings into his helmet.
That leaves writing THE DEVIL’S SHARE, and both the time and energy to get things wrote (yeah, yeah, written).
I won’t bore you with the details of my professional life other than to say I’ve gone from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye. I don’t expect that to change until June or July. You’d think that would crush my creativity…and it does (a lot!), but rather fortuitously last December, I was invited to join a small critique group. We meet every other Tuesday, with the sole requirement that we each supply our writing (up to and including a completed chapter).
This cadre of incredibly supportive, like-minded writerly masochists and malcontents has given me hope as well as instilled in me a strong sense of accountability. I *want* to have something prepared for the group before the Tuesday deadline, even if it’s only a few lines. I *need* to present something creative, no matter how tired or listless I am from long work hours. I *must* feed that other side of me, the one that wrote two complete novels and who decided to embark upon this remarkable writing journey in the first place.
As of today’s unblogged post, I’m through three chapters and working on a fourth. The story is coming together slowly, but that has everything to do with how ambitious a project THE DEVIL’S SHARE is. I want to resolve some plot-lines developed in the first two books, explore a few others further, and expand the world of The Guardian of Empire City.
I mentioned how “fortuitous” the critique group has been because my biggest stumbling block to writing TDS has been the language barrier. Much of the story takes place in El Barrio (“The Neighborhood”) in East Harlem, and I know less than five words of Spanish.
I always strive toward authenticity with my writing. For example, I consulted with a dear college friend who is a successful urologist regarding the goldjoy synthesis in BLOODLINES, something that employs a form of dialysis. I also consulted with my very own rabbi on [what I feel is] the most critical point-of-resolve for Holliday at the hospital with Rabbi Adler in PIECES OF EIGHT.
THE DEVIL’S SHARE presents a much different challenge: a foreign language. A large portion of the story will require Holliday to interact with the complicated and deeply emotional folk of El Barrio. And that means dialogue. Lots and lots of dialogue.
Despite my research into the Latino culture and language, I felt woefully inadequate in presenting dialogue that didn’t sound like an ignorant American’s bastardization of a beautiful language. This froze both my writing AND my desire TO write. What if I got it all wrong? Although I planned on hiring a sensitivity reader to review the finished manuscript, it wouldn’t help me along the journey that is the first (and subsequent) drafts.
So for many months, I’d stare at a blank Word document, wondering if I could ever overcome the challenge of the language barrier.
Enter my good pal Adrian, the man responsible for inviting me into the critique group AND who also happens to reside in South America! Like I said, fortuitous. Not only has he improved my first draft through his insightful commentary, he’s also added the key ingredient of authenticity through his mastery of the language…thanks to his friend, a Portuguese couple, and an acid trip on a volcano.
(Yes, that last bit IS true, and no I’m not telling you about it. That’s Adrian’s business…but it’s a FANTASTIC story, on par with pretty much everything else about him.).
With my excitement for the story reignited, and some of my concerns alleviated (because we all know how I can still screw things up!), my confidence level for continuing the story has been restored. I hope that after reading TDS you’ll find the dialogue authentic, raw and real.
So what does that mean?
At my current pace, TDS won’t be finished until late 2022, or early 2023. If I get on a roll, then sooner, but I’m being realistic. One of the benefits of being self-published are flexible deadlines, as long as I also maintain the discipline to stick to them. With a bi-weekly critique group holding me accountable, I hope that’ll keep me both honest and consistent.
And that’s where 2022 is at, true believers!
Toss in the upcoming result of the ongoing (and equally frustrating) #SPSFC competition (don’t get me started), my quest for 100 reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon, a strong slew of books on my TBR pile, and Gilder to frame for it, I’m simply swamped!
But I’m equally excited for what’s in store this year. I’ll continue my inconsistent unblogging, provide updates on audiobooks, writing and the occasional photo of an awesome soup I’ve made, and maybe even drop a sneaky bit or two from THE DEVIL’S SHARE, because who doesn’t like sneaky bits!
Anyway, wishing all of you a very happy, healthy and safe 2022!