Hello, rocking readers. I’ve decided to make you more than just readers today. I’ve decided to make you watchers. I’m not sure that’s a real word but to bring you a little closer to my personal world, I’ve decided to post an occasional video from Facebook Live including the one in this post, which tells you a little bit more about my next manuscript. Take care. Jay
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Since this post was published, one story intended to appear in Three Billy Maddox Stories, “Green Bay Outsiders”, has subsequently grown into a novel. Three Billy Maddox Stories will no longer be published. (5/19/18)
If you’ve been on my mailing list for any amount of time, you know I’ve been working on a collection of stories intended to be compiled into a book-length collection entitled Three Billy Maddox Stories. The second story in particular, “Green Bay Outsiders”, has been in progress for some time. I just wrapped up my first draft the other day, and the thing clocks in at over 300 pages. That’s novella-length material, boys and girls, which wasn’t exactly what I was intending.
Still, the subsequent good news means that Three Billy Maddox Stories, when it’s finally published, will be a decent length. The first story, “Billy and Darla”, is around 70 pages and I just banged out the first 800 words of the third story, which is tentatively entitled “God’s Fiery Touch”.
This final story won’t be as long as “Green Bay Outsiders”. I’ve written an outline and envision five major scenes to the story. So I know what’s going to happen. As a result, I am now in a position to begin some of the planning activities for the book launch. When will Three Billy Maddox Stories publish? I expect sometime in late fall.
My long short story, “Green Bay Outsiders”, is coming along. Yes, I know I’ve been at work on it for a while and it’s dangerously close to turning into a novella, truth be told. I converted the manuscript into Microsoft Word the other day just to see how long it was, and it had reached 170 pages. When did that happen?
In any case, one of the fun things about writing a story that turns long is that new themes emerge, or existing themes take on depth or nuance you originally didn’t expect. I posted my first post about “Green Bay Outsiders” back in September when the only thing I really knew was that one of the main characters, Jack Billings, was a Vietnam vet who had fought in Khe Sanh in 1968.
I have always loved listening to rock music–especially classic rock. I listen to it all the time, even at work (though of course when I’m at work I keep the volume down so my colleagues don’t think too badly of me.) Right now, in fact, as I begin writing this post, I am cranking John Mellencamp’s Scarecrow album. Classic rock plays a fairly important role in “Green Bay Outsiders”, the second story in the upcoming collection of short stories entitled Three Billy Maddox Stories. (The first story, of course, is the already-completed story, “Billy and Darla“).
The upcoming collection of short stories, Three Billy Maddox Stories, is underway and I’m a little bit more than halfway through the second story, “Green Bay Outsiders”. It’s longer than “Billy and Darla“, the first story that is already done. “Green Bay Outsiders” is a coming-of-age tale about differences in perspectives across the generations.
As part of my research for my current story, “Green Bay Outsiders”, I looked at some of the challenges facing Vietnam veterans once they returned to the United States following hostilities in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The protagonist of “Green Bay Outsiders”, Carl Daniels (who becomes a major character in the novel, Billy Maddox Takes His Shot), lives a somewhat comfortable if routine, middle-class existence in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He is fascinated, however, by the history of his uncle Jack Briggs, a former Army Special Forces soldier who fought at Khe Sanh in 1968. Jack’s experiences continue to haunt him, and his influence over the younger man (Carl is a recent college graduate) only grows when Jack moves to Green Bay from Missoula, Montana to help take care of a former war buddy, Bob Brown, whose exposure to the Agent Orange herbicide has led to serious health problems including the onset of Hodgkins disease.
To start researching Vietnam veterans, I turned to the First Blood films from the 1980s.