Thoughts on Novel 5: First Draft Complete

Just today I put the finishing touches on the first draft of my 5th novel. Of course “finishing” and “first draft” don’t really go together very well. They are opposites in every way, but even though the draft is far from finished, there is something to be celebrated about the completion of any novel. I remember in 2003 when I attempted my first and got 500 words in and completely bailed in utter failure. At that point I didn’t think I would ever attempt a novel again.

Now, fifteen years later, I completed my fifth in five years. That’s significant progress, and it didn’t come lightly.

So a celebration it is! #5 is finished! (There’s that word again.)

What can I say about the novel? I’m a little conflicted about it. It’s a story that’s been on my mind for the last few years. It’s a story clearly influenced by my twenty years living in Southeast Asia. It’s set in the fictitious island nation of Sulu in the Sulu Sea, between Borneo and the Philippines. The basic theme is can a fallen and broken man find his way back.

It’s about the Matthews, Tobin and Jane, a husband and wife who run a small mission in Sulu, helping the remote tribes with agriculture and improved living conditions. Tobin’s life and faith starts unraveling in front of him after a tragic confrontation with local authorities puts him on trial for his actions. His mission headquarters in the US sends a husband and wife team to Sulu to help the Matthews through their trials. But unbeknownst to the head of the organization, the woman being sent to help has past scars and secrets which will lead Tobin down a dark path of temptation.

The story itself is a real mix of adventure, inspiring moments, some courtroom drama, tense romantic entanglement, and even some unexpected humor.

I have no idea how it will be received, but I’m excited to work through it again and tighten everything together to see what I have.

Oh, the title: WHICH HALF DAVID

Release Date: 2016 (month TBD)

Book Cover: Working on it.

Now I’m excited to also start on novel #6. I have a very interesting idea which will stretch me beyond anything I’ve previously written. It will be different. I hope I can pull it off.

Here’s to creativity!

Writing Season Commences


The glorious month when I have my long summer break, which ushers in writing season.

It always coincides with travel season for me as well, and I have a lot of travel on the docket – Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and the USA.  (More on all of that later.)

But as I travel, my laptop will be my company, and when a free hour or two presents itself, I’ll be deep in thought, writing the next project on my agenda. I have a long agenda.

Over the summer months, I try to carve out at least two hours a day of uninterrupted writing. Sometimes a little more, and once the days begin to stack up on each other, I have found that I can do some serious damage to the ideas at the forefront of my mind.

Here’s my summer writing plans, for now. (Always subject to change in case my mind decides to go in a different direction.)

First – “Untitled Novel” – actually it has a title but I’m not ready to give it away yet. This is my fifth novel and the first draft is already about 70% complete. I really want to take a couple weeks and knock out the first draft of this one. It’s an interesting story – a little different for me – set on a fictitious Southeast Asian island. It has bloody clashes with corrupt police, high speed chases, a griping court scene, and a beautiful temptress. It also has a bunch of religious symbolism. It’s an interesting mix and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Second – 10 dramatic sketches. I need to write an hour and half worth of sketches for my drama group – The RLT Players. Our new show will be debuting in December. It is our first Christmas show, and so I want to create a bunch of dramatic sketches to highlight our unique brand of drama – funny, poignant, original. I love writing these. They are always fun and creative. I started a mini-musical the other day called “The Last Shepherd,” which I envision being our final piece.

These two, for sure, need to be finished by August. I’m hoping it all flows quicker so I have some time to get on to some other ideas of mine. Like what?

I’d like to start my sixth novel. I have two very interesting ideas I want to explore. One a political thriller and the other a strange modern fantasy which is WAY beyond my normal genres. I can’t decide which is next!

Plus, I have a colleague who is begging me to write some additional duet and monologue scripts for their forensic competitions.

I wouldn’t mind writing another Christmas short story as well.

Oh, and I’m also in the middle of writing a full-length play for 2016 production.

Lots to do. And now I have time to do it.

Writing season, I warmly welcome you!