The time is 9:50am (CST), and I'm currently sitting with my wife in the "E" terminal of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. We flew out of Denver at 5am (MST) this morning, en route to our hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas for the funeral of my grandfather. 

As our flight here was forty minutes late departing the tarmac due to ice/snow buildup on the plane's wings, we missed our 8:55 flight from DFW to Fort Smith. So with a few hours to kill before our rescheduled flight at 1:20pm takes off, I figured now would be a great time for a blog post sharing some recent developments in my life.

Less than a month after the August 15th release of my debut novel, Cydonia, my wife and I relocated to Denver, Colorado. We'd been planning a big move for some time, and by August everything fell into place with Denver. We hit the road on September 10th. 

In the months since then, life has moved at an astounding pace. We both have new jobs/positions and have been working nonstop. New friends. New surroundings. New scenery. A whole lot of new. It's been exciting but challenging, as we expected. Denver is a much wilder animal than Fort Smith.

With Cydonia behind me, my writing focus has been drifting between several potential projects.

One is Harper's Vale, a small-town mystery that I've been developing/outlining for nearly three years. Vale was my first project before turning my attention to Cydonia, a story I felt was more deserving of my full attention upon its conjuration. I've always had a love for small mountain towns; the stories, the interesting characters, the backroads and secrets known only by locals. In Arkansas, my wife and I used to love driving up to Eureka Springs for a few days. On every trip, I could always imagine the little Ozark town providing a perfect setting for a gripping novel; a diverse story that might bring to mind such small-town dramas as Twin Peaks or Stranger Things. Even if Harper's Vale isn't my next project and needs to gestate for a while longer, this one's gonna be good once it's fully realized. 

Another potential idea I've been messing around with is a story about a reclusive writer living up in the Colorado Rockies. Some of my inspiration for this one (besides my recent relocation) stems from an interest in the life of renowned reclusive author Thomas Pynchon, as well as the character of Grady Tripp in Michael Chabon's 1995 novel, Wonder Boys.  Pynchon is well known for his lack (or absence, rather) of public appearances (Go ahead, Google his name and try to find a picture of him from the last forty years...good luck.), but regardless has produced an unbelievable bibliography of classic novels. Michael Chabon's Grady Tripp is simply an author who's having an awful time completing his new novel. There's a lot more that goes on in Wonder Boys, obviously, but I won't spoil it. It's just a great story and Tripp is a convincing character that has relatable problems. I like the idea of meshing these two inspirations into one tale that shows a famous but reclusive writer struggling to continue what he's become such an apparent master at doing.

A third project I've spent countless hours pondering over is a massive epic fantasy saga. I'm talking fictional languages, entire created cultures and races, lore and mythologies... I know it's coming one day, when the stars align and the cards fall just right. So we'll see.

So which one is on deck, about to step up to the plate? I think I'll know within the next couple months, and then it'll be time to return to first-draft mode. I get excited just thinking about it.

As my wife and I sit here in DFW waiting to board our flight back to the Arkansas River Valley, it's hard to believe all the events that have transpired in the past few months, and furthermore in the past few years. Life is truly a long, strange trip, and if you're not really sure what your future holds, then just enjoy the ride and keep on truckin'. Opportunity always knocks...or just beats your door down anyway.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all,

RJ

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