TWO NEW BOOK PROJECTS FOR 2019

IF YOU ARE READING THIS, THANK YOU!!! 

I am not sure how you found your way here, but I appreciate it and you are welcome. I am pleased to provide an update on two new book projects I have going in 2019. The first is just launching, and the second will be in the works for much of this year, but I won't know until later if it will be coming out in 2019 or 2020 - or, if it's really rough going in the months ahead, 2021?? 

First up is my brand new collection entitled The Intercessions: And Other Writings on Culture and Family. This is my second nonfiction collection of essays and reviews, and my tenth published title overall. Although a short book, I think it is an excellent sampling of my current writing efforts, and I am very proud to bring the book to you. I think it serves as a companion to my first essay book, A Few Words Before You Go, which also contained writings about popular art and members of my extended family. The Intercessions collects seven out of nine book and film reviews I have written for Silver Sage magazine, a Pennsylvania-based online journal for older Americans, where I have been contributing for almost a year now. That is my first regular "gig" writing for a magazine and it has been a great experience working with the publisher and a professional editor. I plan to continue writing about books, movies, and music for this publication. 

I think the heart of The Intercessions, however, is found in two essays I wrote over the last year that were not previously published: one called "4F" about growing up in suburban New Jersey; and the title essay, which has to do with encounters I believe I have had with my father's spirit in the five years since his death. In any case, I am hopeful that the book will be interest to whoever takes it on. 

The Intercessions is dedicated to my five brothers and sisters, Luke, Maria, John, Andrew, and Alice. 

* * * * * 

The second book project for 2019 is something I have teased on a few social media outlets but am here to review some emerging details about right now. The new book is my sixth novel and (hopefully) my eleventh title overall. It is a PREQUEL - the first I have ever written - to my 2014 fantasy novel Obsidian (see BOOKS page) and it is called Ram's Blood. I am also giving it the subtitle "Book II of the Terranullis Cycle" because as I am developing this new book I can see that, if I am going this far, a third book must also be written at some point in the future. No official details yet for that book, but new ideas are forming for what that third and final book may look like....

 

Although there is no official synopsis yet for Ram's Blood either (it's early!), I can tell you that the writing is currently underway. I did about four months' works of preparation work re-reading Obsidian and taking notes and gathering inspiration from a number of other sources. So far it's going well and I am excited. But there are going to be many challenges ahead for this second volume in the cycle, so here's hoping I am up to the challenge. 

 

A note on the chronology for this cycle: when I first was composing Obsidian, which was never intended originally to be part of a series, early on in the writing I had an idea for what will hopefully be borne out in Ram's Blood, and I had a vague notion that it could also possibly continue in a third volume. I took note of these things but did not flesh them out too much, figuring I'd attempt to cross those bridges if I ever dared to write more about this world in the future. But there was one idea I thought was pretty unique, and also includes a fair amount of risk (what the heck, I have little to lose....). That idea is as follows: 

Most trilogies follow a chronological order, 1-2-3. For those familiar with the original book in this saga, Obsidian, you know that the story ends very much on a cliffhanger - or, in the brilliant term invented by my nephew and Obsidian reader Nathan Parks Lovell (who was only 11 at the time!!!), a "CLEFTHANGER"!!! (You'd have to know the book to understand...) It leaves you there not knowing what happens next to a crucial character in the story. BUT.....my idea for the second novel was to write a PREQUEL, where all the events of the story took place before the main character in Obsidian was even born. Therefore, technically speaking, the reader of this saga will have to wait through an entire second novel before finding out a darned thing about whatever happened to the characters in the first novel!! I know that is taking a giant leap of faith with readers, but I do have a plan for the whole saga, and it is my job to make the second book compelling and exciting in its own right, and interesting enough to keep whatever readers I can get on board for the third novel. 

Finally, without revealing too much, this last part of my update is to provide a few details around the plot of Ram's Blood. This is for anyone who remembers or is familiar with the plot of Obsidian. 

 

The new novel begins twenty-five "cycles" (roughly years) before the events related in the first volume. It mainly concerns the story of Ramsgaard Dogan, the uncle of Gregor Everard, the protagonist of Obsidian. In that first novel, Ramsgaard Dogan, or "Ram," re-opens a longstanding, festering conflict with his older brother Everard Dogan, Gregor's father. It has to do with their three other older brothers, all of whom were killed in an historical event known only as The War With The Southern Tribes. Ram accuses his brother Everard of setting their three older brothers up to be massacred in that conflict. Everard resolutely denies this, and it leads to a confrontation between the two brothers with tragic consequences, as related in Obsidian. 

Ram's Blood tells the story of what happened to the three older brothers, and it tells the story of The War With The Southern Tribes. It is set between the Northern Regions and the Two-Pronged Mountain (the setting for Obsidian) and the southern regions of Terranullis, known also as the Gray Lands. In this second story, we will learn what really happened to Ram and Everard's older brothers - Xon Dogan, Marl Dogan, and Cavan Dogan. We will learn about the family dynamics between all five brothers and their harsh, military father, Dogan Mulldor. And we will be immersed in the complicated Gray Lands - including its aggressive king, its complex geography, and the interplay between its three vastly different groups, also known as the Southern Tribes. 

Prepare yourself for another exciting journey in the forthcoming Book II of the Terranullis Cycle.......RAM'S BLOOD.  

Until next time, here is a photo-teaser of some of my "preparations" to write Book II - turns out I'm not much of a map guy (this is no Middle-Earth), but say hello to my crude representation of Terranullis, also affectionately known as "the Strawberry": 

 

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