The October Goal

In last year’s release of King John, in those final author pages after the novel concluded, I promised something mighty: I would finish The Lost and Founds first story arc (Book 5: Come Back To Me and Book 6: King Daniel) in 2016.


For a guy who produces one novel a year, that seemed deludedly ambitious. (Plus, if you use words like deludedly, let’s go ahead and assume you have issues constructing sentences.) I justified this bold proclamation as achievable because I had already completed a shitty draft of Book 5 (written in 2008), and more than 50% of Book 6 has been written and released (in chunks) since 2012.

This goal seemed do-able.

Might still be.

We will find out. The year, 2016, isn’t over.

Come Back To Me took two months longer to rewrite than expected. Then, there was July’s Lambda Literary retreat, for which I wrote two new chapters of a future book. Then, food poisoning. Factor in my unexpected romance with gardening, which constantly stole time for weeding, watering, thinning, researching, cooking, canning, and photographing every goddamn green thing I pulled out of the ground.


Quite a year thus far.

The October goal was to finish the first (non-shitty) draft of King Daniel before I attended this year’s Gay Romance Lit conference.

I did it.

Tonight, I finished the first (and pretty decent) draft of King Daniel.

Tomorrow morning, I drive to GRL.

I finished in the gazebo on my back deck, under my twinkling summer lights.

I had already packed the car, finished a few small errands around town, including visiting the library for a Batman graphic novel. The house is clean, mail is on-hold. Kitty sitter arrives tomorrow. I photographed squash-colored leaves this afternoon. Tonight, after writing, I ate stuffed peppers (including some surprising green onions which sprouted after my final harvest!), and after a neighborhood walk soon (and who am I kidding–porn), I’ll go to bed early.

This all sounds very Gay Norman Rockwell, and it was. Tonight, at least.

For the past two months, I have declined some pretty amazing invitations–autumnal cookouts, backyard fire pits drinking beer, horror movie nights screaming on the couch, and even a trip north to hug my motel-owning friends. I didn’t realize how much time would be required to meet this goal. My field of vision narrowed to one thing: the October goal.

When I started this series, I didn’t know if I could achieve it. I had a vision. A wall full of ideas and concepts, thematic arcs but completely lacking connective tissue, the only connective tissue essential for a writer: words. I envisioned grandiose plots spanning all six books (and beyond), with inside jokes relevant in the final pages, set up years earlier in the first book, King Perry. I had no idea how to accomplish some of these deludedly intense goals.

When I began, I didn’t know who I was as an author.

I have a better sense now.

I am someone committed to this craft. I’m committed to writing, to words, to storytelling. I make professional goals, and–vegetables permitting–I keep them. This is who I am. I do my best to honor my commitment to readers. And yes, it’s a little early to gloat, considering King Daniel needs reworking. And editing. And proofreading. Then, more proofreading.

I’m not sure this book will come out by late December.


Maybe early January.

I can live with that.

I’d rather break my promise by a month to create an amazing conclusion. I know a little more about who I am as an author these days. I know what kind of books I want to write.

Lest I stray too far portraying myself as some holier-than-thou word tapper, sipping my sarsaparilla root tea, clacking out THE END on the same typewriter Hemingway used, let me say this, gentle readers: fuck that. This past weekend, under pressure, I wrote 11K and the weekend before, 9K. I was frantic. I was in big danger of not making my October goal.

Accomplishing a goal like this isn’t exclusively about the deadline. It’s about committing to yourself. Having a dream of writing novels isn’t enough–you’ve got to commit. Sacrifice some awesome opportunities. Align your life to your priorities. If you’ve ever said, “I’m not smart enough/dedicated enough/whatever enough to write a book,” accomplishing a massive writing goal is more than words on a page.

I’m headed to GRL tomorrow morning.

A huge weekend party to celebrate writers, to celebrate readers, to celebrate readers who are writers, and writers who are readers. We will dance, drink, quietly talk in corners, ask questions of panels, exchange favorite book recommendations, fan-girl and fan-boy and trans-fan all over our favorite word-driven heroes. We will celebrate our successes. We will transform online friends into real-world ones.


I’m gonna drink some beer and chill.

I deserve it. I made my October goal. I am a professional writer.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go pack my feather boa.



3 Responses to “The October Goal”

  1. Jo Broshar Says:

    Here is to a fabulous writer, backyard gardener extraordinaire and one damn fine human being I have the extreme pleasure of knowing. I am glad you met your goal, you deserve it my friend. Now tip one up for me this weekend and post lots of pictures for us that live vicariously through your antics.

  2. Aniko Says:

    Congrats on making your goal! Now go wave that feather boa around at GRL <3

  3. Trio Says:

    Congrats on reaching your goal!
    I just finished King John and I’m scowling a little bit at you right now >:/ Ha, seriously, I totally loved it – great work. Have a fantastic time at GRL!

Leave a Reply