I like to write, as you may have noticed. For over 21 years I’ve been stocking up on multiple items a day, every day, in this space.
What we write here has limited relevance. Post it one day, and the next day it doesn’t really matter because something new always takes its place. I wrote Game makers in part to create something that would be a little more sustainable than the non-stop news cycle.
In 2020 I started messing around with fiction. Yes, I wrote a bad sci-fi football novel many years ago, which in a weird way led me into this industry in the first place. This time, a combination of some extra time off during the pandemic and a jolt of inspiration got things going.
My father was a bookmaker in the small town where I grew up. He was connected to a wider crew and my parents did a great job of protecting me from the reality of the things they (not my father, as far as I ever knew) did.
On the night of my birthday in 2020, I had a very vivid dream about my dad and the things he, and she, did or didn’t do in the 1970s. It gave me an idea for a novel about mafia life in a small town. I started writing it the next day.
One thing led to another and since then I have written six novels. I’m more than halfway through a seventh. I have a few ideas for No. 8, No. 9 and No. 10. It’s a night after night process, with one or two hours of writing and rewriting and editing and re-editing as a way to clear my brain for the next day of constant thinking and talking and writing about football. I finish one, start another, tinker with an earlier one, work on that one and start another, with no real plan or strategy.
Last December I wrote a Christmas novel. It was based on an idea that had been floating around in my head for over a decade. Once I sat down and started chasing and pecking, the words and sentences and paragraphs and chapters flowed. It felt less like I was writing the story and more like the story was writing itself.
So what the hell am I supposed to do with these things? One thing I learned from the Game makers the experience is that, even with a not too shabby advance from the publisher, writing books will not change anyone’s life – with extremely rare exceptions. And while I’d eventually like to cobble together something that people will possibly read and enjoy after I’m dead and gone, I don’t expect or need to make a dime from this hobby that has become part of my day-to-day business. routine.
The whole idea was to create something that people will read and enjoy. So why not let people just read it and possibly (if they’re a little drunk) enjoy it?
That’s what I’m going to do, with the Christmas novel that actually wrote itself last year. Officially, this is a thank you to everyone who has supported us in what we do over the years. Unofficially, it’s an experiment to see if someone will read this stuff and possibly (if they’re a little drunk) enjoy it.
The book is called On the way home. If you love the holidays, chances are you’ll love it. If you have processed the pain of losing a loved one, the story may resonate with you even more.
From Thanksgiving through Christmas I will be posting one chapter per day. It has just enough chapters to fit in that 32-day window.
Give it a try. Here’s chapter one. Like it or not, you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth. And feel free to get a little drunk before you get into it.