A Long Overdue Update

It’s been a while since I posted anything on here. It’s been a crazy time. With the pandemic, I’ve spent the vast majority of my time in the house, not venturing out for anything but groceries and an occasional errand. In theory, that should have given me plenty of time to write. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. My head just hasn’t been in the game. But I feel the tide turning. My plan is to write more often here on the blog as a way of rebuilding that writing muscle, and with the intent of using that stronger muscle to get back to my in-progress books.

So, let me tell you a little about those books. The first is tentatively titled Second Chances. It’s about a high school basketball team from the 80s. They go to the state championship, but lose to a team that is discovered to have cheated, having two ineligible older players. The scheme is revealed, but the state athletic association fails to adequately punish the cheaters, leaving the kids from the losing team little salve for their wounds.

Now it’s thirty-seven years later and players from that losing team, all in their mid-50s, have moved on with their lives. Or have they? Each of the members of the team struggles with issues from their state championship loss years after it happened. They’ve tried to move on, built families and careers, but there’s an empty space in each of them that they haven’t been able to fill. That is, until one of them concocts the idea of putting the team back together to compete in the state senior Olympics.

The novel follows each of the players through their lives, looking at how the state championship loss so long ago affected them, and how putting the team back together changes things.

Publication of Second Chances was originally scheduled for 12/1/20, but I have a feeling it may be delayed a bit.

The second book is tentatively titled Paris, but I’m almost certain to change that. The book was inspired by the Jimmy Buffet song “He Went to Paris,” which in turn was inspired by the life of Eddie Balchowsky, a one-armed veteran of the Spanish-American War who went on to become an artist and musician in Chicago. Buffet isn’t the only one to write a song inspired by Eddie. So did Loudon Wainwright, Utah Phillips, and Dion Dimucci (of Dion and The Belmonts fame).

The story follows a starry-eyed dreamer as he graduates from college (a rarity in the 1920s) and travels to Paris to solve some of the mysteries that trouble his mind. There, he meets and befriends Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and other members of The Lost Generation, all ex-pat artists who flocked to Paris after the first World War.

He gets a job as a newspaper reporter documenting the burgeoning blues scene, and meets an actress, who eventually becomes his wife. They move to England and he opens one of the first blues clubs in London. For a while, their life is idyllic. Their love deepens, they have a child, and the club prospers. But England is soon drawn into a war with Germany that leaves his life (and much of England) in tatters.

Paris (or whatever I end up calling it) is looking like it could become a novella. It still needs a lot of work, and I’m not sure when it will be published, although I’m leaning toward mid-to-late 2021.

In the coming days and weeks, I plan on writing much more here. In addition to book news, I want to start sharing more everyday things. In the past, I’ve avoided writing much about my life, except as it pertains to my books or short stories. I think I’d like to expand that a little by including my thoughts on other topics as well. Keep an eye out. We’ll see where this goes.

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