Learning New Things With Each New Day

I was thinking about the amount of time spent researching information for the three books I've been trying to finish this year.

The 2018 NaNoWriMo novel, The End Of Things At Dark Island, took much less time, really a few hours in total, to pull data as opposed to the two nonfiction books, The online launch in early December didn't go as well as I had hoped. The Lord willing, the next one will get off to a better start. It is due to launch publicly, in paperback and e-book form on Amazon in January of 2019. While some may describe a couple of my previous novels as cozy mysteries, this one was specifically created to fit that genre.

 The Human Squirrel Cage: Nodaway County's Rotary Jail and Thanks For The Hospitality . . . But We Gotta Go have been longtime companions. These latter two books have literally taken years to research, the process not yet being complete. There were other novels, and one nonfiction book, completed over those years as well, so my time has been divided. But, like many authors, it isn't unusual to have more than one project going at a time. It helps prevent the work from becoming stale.

There are more than 7,000 pieces of data pulled for the nonfiction books, not including photographs, and hundreds upon hundreds of articles that had to be read. When they're complete, my notes for the project will, if I do the consolidation side of things correctly, end up being longer than the finished books if combined.

Each time I follow a new line of information to answer a question, I learn something I never knew, either about the county's jails, the prisoners, or the sheriffs who served the office. All three have had to address and overcome significant challenges.

The Human Squirrel Cage Book Is Closer To Being Done

I began to think I would never see daylight at the end of this manuscript. Even now, the light is somewhat faint, but at least I'm now working on data for the Year 2000 and beyond. When you're dealing with information that goes back to 1845, a twenty-year span is a trifle.

The notes for the Human Squirrel Cage book stands at 199,699 and that will grow as I add in the last twenty years of abstracted data. That makes the notes alone 387,588 words shorter than War and Peace. Tolstoy I am not. The rough draft of the actual book, where it stands at present, is 63,075. There will be a few thousand more words added to it, too, but it should come out, roughly, to the size of an average novel today. That would make it far shorter than Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, which was around 211,000 words and about 430 pages. 

I hope the Human Squirrel Cage will prove to be an interesting book, certainly more fascinating than your average grocery list. I don't know yet how the companion book, Thanks For The Hospitality . . . But We Gotta Go is going to fare, but with more than forty escapes, numerous attempts, and some pretty interesting characters, I will not be surprised if it's at least half the size of the Human Squirrel Cage book, around 40,000, maybe less. One can't just write about the escapes without a bit of background, too.

I know it has taken a long time to make progress on these books. Each time I sit down to write I realize there is a gap that needs filled, and new data keeps coming in. However, I am now writing the chapter(s) concerning our present-day jail, which is now thirty-two years old - just over one-third as old as the rotary jail, not even middle-aged. That means that there is an end in sight. I'm eager to share the book with you, so don't lose heart. I have been editing as I go, so that process shouldn't take as long. I hesitate to set a release date, at this point, largely because the last two have come and gone before. So, I'm keeping that information locked away until the last second.


Well, the launch didn't go quite as expected early this morning, so some tweaking was necessary. It took a while, but I am pleased to say that the payment button is up and working on the website, www.myserialbook.com, and will remain working through 11:59 tonight.

If you're a cozy mystery fan, you wish to give it a try. Each week, another chapter will be emailed to subscribers to read over the following seven days. Then, the email will expire and the new chapter will arrive.

This is serialized fiction in the modern era. But, if it's not for you, then the book, The End Of Things At Dark Island, will launch live and in whole on Amazon in January. Subscribers at myserialbook.com get a head start, at least four chapters worth.

For those who want to hear what the advance readers have to say, they can check out the discussion YouTube channel for Myserialbook.

The 2018 NaNoWriMo novel is off to a good start.

At 12:00 a.m. this morning the first 1,500 words were added to the new novel. I will add a few hundred more sometime before midnight tonight to insure I have reached the daily quota of 1,667. 

50,000 in 30 days is the goal.

You will be able to subscribe to the chapter releases on December 1, 2018 at 12:00 a.m.

Update: Edits begin this week. Launch on December 1, 2018

It's Just Around The Corner

Sharpen those typewriter keys, add some new ribbon, dust off the laptop keyboard, polish the screen, stock up on all the junk food you try to avoid the rest of the year.


Those in London, England will get to hear Big Ben kicking it off in their nation. 

To the NaNoWriMos worldwide, have you set the alarm on your phone? 

Here it will sound something like this, when the neighbors' roosters sound off. 

Typing and Fact-Checking

Twelve hours. A few thousand words. Rereading pages and pages of notes. Checking web links.

That is only part of what it takes to produce a chapter of text for a book these days. Well, it takes more than twelve hours sometimes.

Those twelve hours yesterday brought me a chapter and a half closer to finishing. But, I felt like my brain had been stepped on repeatedly by the time I put my head on the pillow to rest.

One More Peek At The Newspapers

The Research Continues

Something told me yesterday, as I separated several chapters from the Human Squirrel Cage manuscript into a new volume, that I needed to plunge into the recesses of the digitized newspapers. That journey resulted in a reworking of the spreadsheet containing the data related to the escapes, attempted escapes, suicides, attempted suicides, fires, the explosion, the honeymoon, the baptism, the execution, and finally the murder of an inmate.

And that descent into the antiquated print resulted in the mining of one more attempted escape and two additional successful escapes. It also revealed a cyclone that struck the town square, causing extensive damage to the business district, the courthouse, and the jail. The information just keeps coming. Although I was a reluctant miner, knowing that the archives are sometimes enlightening and other times dark and void of usable information for my purpose, the effort made me think of Bill Nye, a newspaperman, writer, humorist, and historian in the 1800s, and it made me think of this cartoon from his book The Comic History of the U.S., and looking at it made me wonder if I would ever reach the surface of this book. It's there, I know, just a few more feet above me.

Human Squirrel Cage and Its Inmates Parting Company

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It has become clear that a parting of company is needed if the Human Squirrel Cage book is going to be completed in 2018.

As I continue to write about the escapes, incidents, and accidents associated with the Nodaway County Rotary Jail it has become clear that the events are too numerous to be included in the primary manuscript. They are deserving of a book all their own.

So, a companion book is due to be released soon after the Human Squirrel Cage comes out. It will  receive a tab of its own on this blog page, so check back in the next couple of weeks.

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Spokojny Valley - Hope for Spring

New Release


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