Hello and good morning everyone. It’s Thursday again, and of course, that means it’s time for my weekly blog post, which is obvious unless this is your first time reading it. If it is your first time: Welcome! It’s great to have you here.
It’s a rather auspicious week for me, in ways that I have difficulty even processing. A few days ago, I finished the final editing run-through of The Vagabond. It was Monday, in fact, the Ides of March (and my brother’s birthday). Since then, I’ve been working on layout and adjusting chapter divisions, working on the cover design, as well as adjusting the pages for the size of book that it’s going to be. Taking care of these nitty-gritty details is surprisingly satisfying, and they also take a lot less time than the actual writing of the novel…which is good, because this novel has been in the works for a very long time.
As I think I’ve discussed here before, I first started writing this story while I was an undergrad, way back in the very late eighties or, just possibly, in early 1990. But I think it was the eighties. This is, of course, why the story takes place in that era, at a university and in a city that is remarkably like the place in which I did my undergraduate degree. Indeed, a few of the major characters are quite strongly based on friends of mine from the time—though not all of them. None of them are really based on me, any more than is every character I’ve ever written, since they come from my head and my fingers. Though, admittedly, the main character is a Physics Major because, at the time, I was a Physics Major, and his struggle to deal with the fact of the supernatural intrusion into his reality is rather like what I think mine would be if I were to encounter such things.
The prologue of the book was the first part that I wrote, unsurprisingly. Though there have been some minor changes, it’s largely as I first created it, and so it’s been waiting for publication for more than thirty years. The last part of the novel wasn’t drafted until quite some time after that…certainly well into the nineties, and probably closer to their end or even the beginning of the 2000s. I had a lot going on at the time and wasn’t as committed to writing as I am now. And, to be uncommonly generous to myself, I’ll admit that post-baccalaureate courses, medical school, residency, and so on took a lot of my time and more of my energy. Then, of course, came the start of medical practice, and the incomparably wonderful birth of my children, and then later, the much less wonderful development of my severe back problem and chronic pain, with subsequent career derailment and other consequent collisions of various sorts*. Good fun. The Vagabond himself would no doubt laugh at me heartily, but then, he’s a particularly nasty sort.
Still, though in the course of those years many things have failed, and I have failed at many things, it’s nevertheless amazing for me to know that, soon—before the end of the month, and perhaps even by the end of this week—The Vagabond will be available for purchase by the general public, pretty much the whole world over thanks to Amazon and Kindle.
It’s rather funny to realize that, though it felt like a somewhat long book when I was writing it—and not merely because I took so long to do so—it now feels comparatively short. This is, of course, mainly because I’m finishing it just after having finished and published Unanimity Book 1 and Book 2, which in first draft was literally a half-a-million-words long. Geez Louise. That felt like it took a long time, and I worked on it almost uninterrupted from start to finish. And, indeed, it did take a long time.
But though both are horror stories, The Vagabond is a different kind of horror story than Unanimity**. It’s flagrantly supernatural, inspired by my love of the works of Stephen King, and Peter Straub, and Shirley Jackson, and H. P. Lovecraft, and others like them. There’s even a “haunted house” in it. Though local in scale, it’s apocalyptic in its implications and the danger involved. This is further subtly connected to my novel*** The Chasm and the Collision, which itself has connections to my long-lost work Ends of the Maelstrom, facts of which underlie much of the multiverse of my creations, though not in overt ways. Even if Ends of the Maelstrom existed out in the world, and you had read it, you might not recognize the connections, but they are there, in my head, and they provide some of the architecture of good and evil in many of my stories. I don’t think this matters much to anyone’s enjoyment of any of the stories, but in my mind, at least, it’s nice to have that connection and continuity.
Anyway, I’m rambling on, talking about things that may only be interesting to me, and which may bore the bejeezus out of nearly anyone else who might be reading. But I am, in my quiet and peculiar way, excited. Like the Vagabond himself, I’ve been waiting a long time for this, and I wasn’t at all sure it would happen. And unlike the Vagabond, the end of my quest and journey is one that other people can enjoy, if they are so inclined.
I hope you’re looking forward to it, at least a tiny fraction of how much I am looking forward to it. In the meantime, please take care of each other and yourselves, and stay safe and healthy, and try to be happy as often and as long as you can.
*Figuratively, not literally.
**Which is quasi-sci-fi, by which I mean that the events in it are nominally “natural” but are in fact impossible according to the laws of nature as we know them. Thus, it is really a supernatural horror story, but with the supernatural well-disguised…though I throw a nod to it by giving a cameo to a location and entity from my short story, Hole for a Heart.
***Which is not a horror novel, any more than the Harry Potter books are horror novels. Which, of course, means that there are definite elements of horror in it—as in all good fantasy adventures, in my opinion.