“He jumped on his horse and galloped off in all directions at once.”
Does that sound familiar? Writers recognize that scenario as being part of their lives trying to chase too many projects and priorities competing for attention – new ideas to develop, writing, editing, marketing and promotion, events and business development activities, books to read, research to do. Unreasonable deadlines and unrealistic expectations add to the sense of urgency and the need to gallop off in all directions at once.
However, I’ve learned from experience that it’s better not to gallop and not to go in more than one direction at a time. Both productivity and quality suffer if there is too much uncontrolled galloping in too many random directions. It’s better to make satisfactory progress toward a pre-determined milestone, then pull up, change horses, and start in a new direction. But it’s easier said than done.
Maybe you can help me to decide what direction I should gallop off in next. I should be asking faithful friends, fans, readers, followers, and subscribers â€“ what do you want to see next? Or more of? Business advice or crime fiction? Novels or short stories? Thought provoking articles and blog posts or social media commentary?
For most of those decisions, I’ll admit to choosing what I like to do and what I think I’m good at. But whatever I’m writing, it’s meant for sharing with interested readers and engaging in the exchange of stories, ideas, and opinions for the purpose of learning new ways to experience the joys of life and handle its challenges. Or just to indulge in a brief escape from the distress and disasters in the real world around us.
In the context of writing for a purpose, let me get back to my current projects and priorities. That is the reason for writing these occasional author updates and asking for your feedback, comments and suggestions. (If you follow my writing as your Uncle Ralph on enlightened entrepreneurship, then you’ll know I have another persona which competes for my time and attention also.)
In crime fiction, the first three novels in the Dale Hunter Thriller series, NO EASY MONEY, SIMPLY THE BEST, and MERGER MANIAC were published in 2018 and 2019. Since then, I have written those three novels into a single-volume trilogy, titled MONEY & MANIACS, for future publication of the backstory for readers who may start with a Dale Hunter novel that appears later in the series. I completed Novel #4, BAD BOYS IN BOSTON, in 2020 and it has been circulating as an unpublished advance review copy for consideration by literary agents and mainstream publishers. This novel switches the leading character to Frank the Fixer, the popular crime fighting buddy of Dale Hunter, who takes a secondary role, more like Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes, or at least my version of those mystery and suspense adventures. BAD BOYS IN BOSTON may turn out to be the first in a new series starring Frank the Fixer with Dale Hunter as the useful sidekick and narrator of each story.
While working on pitches and promotion of the series, I finished writing #5, CRASH LANDING, and #6, WHATEVER IT TAKES. Both of those novels are going through final edits and revisions. I’m planning to release at least two novels in 2024. It’s been too long without a new book release!
In addition to continuing the Dale Hunter Series, Iâ€™m sketching out a novel of historical fiction that is based on some family history from WWI to the 1950s currently titled, Just a Farm Boy from Saskatchewan. Please don’t use that title for your next novel! I need to have a title to keep me focused on the theme and motivated to continue from the initial idea to a finished novel or short story. The Dale Hunter Series started in 2015 with five titles that eventually took seven years to complete. I’ll start on the next one as soon as I decide on a title!
Aside from the novels, I’ve been making progress on my collections of short stories, The Kid from California and Snapshots from Home as well as a short story about Dale Hunter and Frank the Fixer getting pulled into a murder mystery in Killer on the Kootenay. You may have read my other short story of a bear mauling a corpse on a river, Family First, which was published in September by Mystery and Suspense Magazine. (You can read the digital edition for free at: Mystery & Suspense Magazine – Fall Issue page 28.)
And what am I reading these days? For a mix of pleasure, diversion, and learning from other writers: In non-fiction, Value(s) – Building a Better World for All by Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England, and a Henry VIII biography, The Heart & the Crown, by Alison Weir. In fiction, I’m enjoying the short stories in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. I’m also reading my first Inspector Banks Mystery by Peter Robinson, A Dedicated Man (©1988). Peter Robinson is a highly regarded award-winning Canadian crime writer recently honoured by Louis Penny and the Crime Writers of Canada following his unexpected death just a year ago.
And what are you reading that you would recommend?
Thank you for your continued interest in my news and updates, and for any follow-up questions or comments. Enjoy your reading and writing.