Right now I'm focused on three projects, two are finished (The Jagged Man and If a Butterfly). Another one, a non-fiction book called Aggravated: How a Lie Sent an Innocent Man to Prison, is (after a period of heavy research) in the first-draft stage. See the right column for more details.
More info about both of these projects will eventually appear on this website, and will be linked from this page.
If a Butterfly
If a Butterfly began as an 2003 exercise in completing a novel, but the process started the year before.
In 2002, I started participating in NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month begins on November 1st and runs through November 30th each year. I first heard about it in 2001, and it sounded like a cool thing to do, but I promptly forgot about it. On my way to work on November 1, 2002, I heard a report about it, and signed up on their website when I got home that evening. I had no idea what I was doing, and didn't write anything until the next day. By the seventh day I had only written 2,400 words. By the end of the month, I had added about 37,000 more, but the story was dead in the water for a variety of reasons, primarily because I was so worried about my poor word count that I had lost faith in my characters weeks before. That attempt, originally titled Into Each Life, eventually became The Jagged Man.
In 2003, I was determined to do better, so I started thinking about plot ideas and characters much earlier, but it all seemed like an artificial process, like trying to force something into a mold that didn't want to conform to that shape. I remembered hearing an NPR story about a butterfly researcher named Lincoln Brower, and a research trip he took to the Monarch butterflies' overwintering sites in Mexico, and how many of the Monarchs that year died from a devastating frost. An idea had formed.
...to read more about If a Butterfly, click here.
The Jagged Man
I had actually been trying to write variations of this story for years, failed attempts that went nowhere. In 2002 I forced a 39,000 word draft into existence, then killed it immediately. It was horrible. Its time hadn't arrived yet.
During the next few years I started work on If a Butterfly, and Lives of Franklin Roosevelt Jones, finishing Butterfly in 2012 -- more on these two books elsewhere -- but thoughts about Jagged Man kept resurfacing. Apparently it was trying to zombify itself back into existence.
I didn't tackle Jagged Man again until 2010. Starting from scratch, but trying to keep the good parts of the book in my head, I posited the idea that the effects of Katrina on New Orleans might have been as bad as they were because of some human interference, and that became my starting point.
I nearly finished the book that time, but stopped about twenty pages short of the final scene. I had 157,000 words of what felt to me like a structurally-sound hot mess. I knew what the final few scenes were, and I knew how I wanted to handle them, but I didn't want to write them until I had dealt with making the rest of the book work the way I wanted it to.
It took setting it aside while I finished Butterfly, and then another push in 2012, and massive edits in 2013, before I was happy with it. I self-published in in January 2015.
Aggravated: How a Lie Sent an Innocent Man to Prison
My brother, Steve, is in prison for a crime he didn't commit, and I intend to prove it. Even though I know the first thought that will arise for many people is that I am biased because he is my brother, I believe that most people will be equally convinced of his innocence once they've read the book.
Steve is currently serving a 35-year sentence for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. He was sentenced in 2006, so you can see he still has a way to go. He has maintained his innocence from the very beginning, and hasn't wavered from that since. He had the opportunity to take three plea deals which would have kept him from serving any time at all, but he refused them because he would have been registered as a sex offender for life, and he refused to do that because he said it would have been a lie.
I'll save my arguments for why he's innocent for the book itself, but (for now) I'll just say that there is ample evidence that his accuser and others lied in court, and the things his accuser claimed are provably untrue in a number of ways. You can catch a tiny glimpse of the story at the book's website, http://www.fliowiddixpublishing.com/2015/09/18/steve-sirois/
I'm hoping to have Aggravated published as soon as possible, but it looks like it will likely be sometime in 2017.