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.