Meet my latest publication. It’s a short story called, “Space Case.”
It’s a murder mystery courtroom drama science fiction action adventure gothic horror thriller. Or something like that.
It was hard to jampack so much into such a small space. But I’m pretty certain I got everything in its proper place. How can I be so sure? Well, you see, Space Case is already a winner. I entered it in a major literary contest and it took top honors. Which in turn won it a place in an impending anthology featuring some of the leading crime fiction writers of our times. I was thrilled. This would be my ticket to hobnobbing with the big names, and a chance at anything up to and including New York Times Bestseller status. All the signs of success were there. But—
Life has its cruel twists. Good fortune slipped through my fingers.
I won’t give many details or place any blame. But publication delay followed publication delay. Personal tragedy struck the volume editor’s family. Finally, three years after my supposed breakthrough, it was finished. There would be no anthology. Too much time had elapsed. Folks moved on, authors and editors alike.
And so did I. According to my standard practice, I picked myself up by the bootstraps. I fashioned my erstwhile prize-winning story into an e-book version, complete with cover art I made myself. Tell me, does that robot look cute? Scary? Both? If you’re channeling ‘weird’ or ‘creepy,’ then I think you’ve got the idea.
Several rounds of text editing and it was off to my publishers at Smashwords and Amazon Kindle. Shortly afterward versions for Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo followed. At last, Space Case was published! And I’m happy with how it turned out. You can check it out HERE.
The Devil Makes Work
Meanwhile, the long wait before I released Space Case hadn’t been time spent idly. I didn’t mope around for three years biting my nails and waiting for some good news. I moved right along at a fast clip. I wrote and published Megaflood, a murder mystery romance novel set against the apocalyptic Ice Age floods that swept Eastern Washington 14,000 years ago. I re-released my short story “Kit Daniels Dinosaur Girl” about a young woman whose hopes for Hollywood stardom depend on her not getting stomped, gored, or eaten by her dinosaurian costars.
And the biggest adventure of all is what’s truly been ravaging my publication output—my World War II novel, Guadalcanal Avengers. Based on the real-life exploits of my Uncle Herbert Hopp, it’s a military action-adventure romance set in the South Pacific, the same time and place James Michener set his Pulitzer Prize winning tale. Writing and researching this book obsessed me through long hours upon days upon weeks upon months upon years of digging up World War II facts and hammering them out on the keyboard. That, plus a large body of history and anecdotes drawn from interviews of old Navy sailors and Marines, and my family members who lived through the events as well. I drew out some pretty amazing details by talking to my sources on numerous occasions. All of them have passed away in the course of time, but not before I wrote copious notes on their reminiscences. The resulting hard-won scenes bring to life the realities faced by American air warriors dueling their Japanese counterparts in the skies over the Solomon Islands in early 1943.
All this effort has consumed prodigious amounts of time and slowed my output dramatically compared to previous years. But when this magnum opus is finished, it’ll brim with rich details and in-depth characterizations of people and places now long gone, but not forgotten. It will quite possibly be the very last World War II story based on conversations with those who actually lived through it.
I caution myself that the novel is getting ‘McMurtified,’ by which I mean lo-o-o-ng, and overflowing with diverse characters, conflicts, and subplots. This hefty tome might even come to rival Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize winning Lonesome Dove, if I can manage to carry it off. That’s my intent, anyway.
Now then, if the literary fates and powers would be so kind, please consider this: I already won a handsome prize that was taken away from me by cruel chance. How about a little sympathy this time around?
Meanwhile, I’ll just keep writing and writing and writing…
While we’re at it, does anyone know an expert knowledgeable in Japanese culture and traditions in the WWII time frame? Or a native speaker of the Solomon Islands dialect, Pijin? If you do, please send them my way, or vice versa. Thanks!