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Life in a Plague Year, So Far

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One of the joys of being a fiction writer is not having to go to an office.

My daily commute is to walk downstairs, flip open my trusty Lenovo and start typing. A few hours later I finish up for the day and then have lunch. In the afternoon I might work on revisions, or deal with email, or outline a new idea, or try to dream up innovative new ways in which to market my books. And yes, I confess, some afternoons I just goof off and read or watch a movie.

My writing had evolved into a nice steady routine until Covid-19 suddenly reared its ugly face and smashed our lives into pieces. Overnight, it seemed everyone was sharing my lifestyle–working from home and keeping a safe distance from friends and family.

My solitude was invaded by Zoom calls drifting down from the spare bedroom my wife has temporarily turned into an office. Or up from the basement where my youngest was busy renovating his bedroom and playing video games.

When I am working on a draft my normal daily goal is around 2,000 words and when the pandemic exploded I was two-thirds of the way through my latest book THE CURSE OF THE BLACK DONNELLYS an authorized sequel to Thomas P. Kelley’s THE BLACK DONNELLYS and VENGEANCE OF THE BLACK DONNELLYS.

This book is new territory for me as it is a horror novel rooted in historical fact and I confess I have been having a ball writing it. It provides the perfect distraction from the real world horrors of rising infection rates, physical distancing, ventilator and PPE shortages, a crashing economy, and, of course, fights to the death in Costco over toilet paper.

The most immediate effect that these crazy times had on me was that I began to slow down, instead of 2,000 words a day, it was 1,000, and then 600, and 300. Every chapter became a confection to be unwrapped carefully and savored slowly.

Normally when I complete a first draft it is a celebration of having climbed that steep hill once again. This time, as I approach the final stages of the first draft, however, there is a feeling of rising unease. What am I going to do once I can’t lose myself in this fictional tableau of revenge and ghastly occurrences?

Well don’t despair, my table is already set for a major revision of THE SHADOWS BENEATH and a final revision of DARK THE LIGHT the next books up for publication. Farther down the road is the sequel to THE SHADOWS BENEATH – A CLOAK OF SORROW and, of course, THE CURSE OF THE BLACK DONNELLYS.

But for now, I am enjoying those last tasty morsels of the Donnelly book and reflecting on how lucky I am to be a writer.

See you real soon.