Monday, August 10, 2009

Inventory / Upcoming Publications

I prepared this list for my new blog over at Amazon. I thought I would post it here as well.  Preparing these manuscripts for publication will be Job One around here for the foreseeable future.

Below is a list of my inventory of upcoming publications. Always Faithful is already available for purchase; the rest are "completed" manuscripts. Some need more editing and polishing than others. My plan is to publish them in this order. I don't know at this point how long the journey will take, but this is the roadmap we'll be following.

Always Faithful - is a love story set in the Midwest, populated with salt-of-the-earth, Mom-and-apple pie Hoosiers. The story is about the love between a man and a woman as well their commitment to their family and community. I wrote it as a kind of love letter to the part of the country where I grew up and to the people who are some of the most decent folks imaginable. The story takes place over a period of one year during which the main character's daughter moves away from home, she retires, and the daughter gets married. It's about shifting gears and moving into a new phase of life, which requires dealing with demons from the past. It is already available for purchase here.

The Way Home - is a love story set in rural Georgia, populated with the kind of small town folks who go to church on Sundays, the high school football games on Friday nights and bake pies for their neighbors who are sick or in mourning. I wrote this as a sort of book-end to Always Faithful. I grew up in the Midwest, but I have Southern roots and I have always loved almost everything about the South. After writing my love letter to the midwest, I had to write one to the South as well. The story is about resurrecting lost love and finding your true home in the world, in the last place you'd ever look.

Spoleto - is a love story set in Charleston, South Carolina. The story itself was a big breakout for me because it was the first time I moved out of my comfort zone (writing about the kinds of places and people I knew first hand) and let my imagination run (or at least trot a little). I happened to be in Charleston once at the end of the festival, and I could feel the magic in the air, without even attending any of the performances. It was easy to imagine how wonderful it would be for someone to fall in love ... in Charleston ... during the Spoleto Festival. I started writing the story as a continuation of my "love letters to America" series, but ended up writing for the sheer joy of spinning a story about a bunch of characters whom I had come to cherish. It is a story about finding love after you've given up any real expectation of ever doing so, and then going for it -- despite many obstacles.
An Odyssey - is basically a backwards "Call and Response" story. It's about an Episcopal priest who feels called away from her ministry. It's about reorienting your life in a totally new direction when the Call that has been your animating passion and raison d'etre simply dies. The topic was difficult and deeply personal, but the story ended up featuring some of the most interesting family dynamics that I could dream up (e.g. the Episcopal priest's son-in-law is a Conservative Rabbi and her secular humanist husband's best friend is a Catholic priest). This was the only story I'd written up to that point in which I didn't have at least a general idea for an ending when I started. I put the characters in the situation and then let them deal with it.

Road Trip - is a "buddy story" and a "journey story" that starts at the beach in Florida and meanders across the South into the Southwest. It's a road trip, narrated by a husband and wife who are traveling across country to be with their daughter when she has a baby. Each of them keeps a separate journal of their days. They see the same sights and share the same experiences, but their stories are quite different. They are a couple of self-described old curmudgeons, but they have a lot of fun together. There is no destination; it's all about experiencing the Journey.
Baiting and Fishing - contains a love story wrapped in a mystery, but the plot is just a pretext for writing a story set in Florida. This was the first time I intentionally attempted to write a genre novel. As a reader, I love Florida fiction. I'll never be as zany as the masters of that craft, but I couldn't resist taking a shot at it. Whatever the plot, Florida fiction is really about the goofy and dysfunctional state of Florida. I fell so in love with the protagonist, Ray Bailey (a would-be crusty newspaper man who is a kind of cross between Jimmy Buffet and Clark Kent), that I plan to write more "Ray Bailey Stories" when I can find the time.

Kisses and Lies -
is a story about friendship or, more specifically, the unraveling of friendship. The two female protagonists have been inseparable friends since junior high and and are still like sisters. Mary Jo is happily married and a rising star litigator in a law firm where she is up for a partnership. Her friend is trapped in a loveless marriage to a man who treats her like the maid. When Mary Jo and her friend's husband are set up to compete for the same partnership position, it sets off a chain of events that torpedoes one career, one marriage, and the women's friendship.

Marianne's Vacation -
is straight-up Romance. I wrote it just for kicks as my National Novel Writing Month project last year. It has all the stereotypical romance stuff, including the mousy, shy female (she's a cook at the lunch counter in a five and dime) and a movie star whose career is at a turning point. It has exotic locations, fabulous clothes -- and the requisite separation, followed by a happy ending. It is pure escapist fantasy, and the most fun I have ever had writing a story!

Romance #2 -
started out as another Romance, although I think it may have spilled over into a love story. It is finished but for a name. This one started out as a shipboard romance on a cruise, but the romance didn't fizzle on the dock the way it was supposed to do. She is a widow who works an event planner for a resort chain (which gives her the opportunity to go to exotic places and attend some way-cool parties). He's a very successful trial lawyer who is also widowed. Neither of them is in the market for love, but they are soul-mates who were meant to be together. They both travel constantly in their jobs and their adult children have varying opinions of the relationship, which complicates things a little. Romance or love story: it ends well.

The Adventures of Miss Maybelle -
is an ode to the Wise Woman. Maybelle Dickson is 75 years old, but she is having trouble acting her age. She is a veritable powerhouse who has lived an amazing life as a photographer for the National Geographic. She has been everywhere, done everything, and gathered an interesting assortment of friends and colleagues along the way. Now retired, she is at loose ends. Her family has asked her to write her memoirs, which she does, while attempting to adjust to the shock of switching gears from being a globe-trotting, hot-shot photographer to living in a small town in the Smokey Mountains.

Writing these stories has been an adventurous journey. I expect publishing them to be an uphill climb. Until now it has been a solo trek. At this point, I am inviting potential readers to come along. I hope you'll consider joining me.

Always Faithful

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