Introducing Billy Goat Stats

On May 25, Dreamspinner Press will publish Billy Goat Stats, the second in my DIY Family series. I wrote the novel because I fell in love with the main character, Billy, in my previous novel, Music Box. Billy appeared when Jonah, one of the earlier novel’s protagonists, needed help coping with bullies in school. Billy befriended Jonah despite being a jock, a basketball player, and popular—that is to say, from as distant a social sphere as I could imagine. When their friendship blossomed, I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if their relationship moved beyond the platonic.

Exploring Jonah and Billy’s story presented some challenges for me as a writer. First, it required that I describe an intimate, but mostly long distance relationship. Billy starts the story by leaving Glen Falls to take up a basketball scholarship at Hoosier State University. Jonah is left behind to finish his senior year in high school. Jonah believes a relationship impossible. Fortunately for Jonah, Billy is not one to shy away from a challenge, and their telephone bills grown with the strain of hours of late-nite calls. Establishing intimacy with Jonah is only one of the challenges Billy faces in his freshman year. Helping to hold his team together as they make their way towards NCAA March Madness is another.

Billy Goat Stats Cover

Cover

Writing about basketball was a problem of my own creation. When I introduced Billy in Music Box, I had no idea I would write about him again, so I carelessly indulged my fantasy and made him a “long and tall” basketball jock. Unfortunately, I’ve been more a hiker and rollerblader than a team sports fan, and I’ve never followed basketball. Research skills to the rescue!

Studying basketball statistics with an eye towards describing a realistic season for Billy’s team led me into the larger world of sports statistics and the obsession with numbers energizes and occupies so many sports fans. From there, the leap to Billy’s interest in tracking his own life statistics was a short one. I hope you enjoy tracking Billy’s progress as much as I did!

Dreamspinner Paperbacks in Stock on Sale 50% Off

Dreamspinner Press is having a sale on all in stock paperbacks. You can get The Door Behind Us and Music Box for half price!

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/john-c-houser

Productivity

I wrote a single paragraph today–in two hours. It was a very important paragraph.

Co-work

Tonight I meet friends for one of my twice-weekly co-work sessions at a coffee shop in Philadelphia. Our version of this type of session involves 15 minutes of socializing, an hour and a half of writing, and then a couple more minutes of chat.

It’s striking how much more likely I am to be productive on any given day, if I plan just this little bit of structure. Humans are social beings. The prospect of company and the commitment involved in sending an RSVP are just enough to make sure I’ll go, and once there, write.

Christmas in July: The Door Behind Us for 99 Cents

Wow. It’s been too long since I last posted. The good news is that I’ve been hard at work editing Billy Goat Stats, my sequel to Music Box. It should be on its way to Dreamspinner Press by the end of the month. I’ve also made serious inroads on a new book, but it’s too soon to say much about that, other than it’s contemporary, set in Philadelphia, and I’m really enjoying it.

Now on to today’s news. Dreamspinner Press is offering The Door Behind Us, my historical novel set just after World War I, for ninety-nine cents on their website as part of their Christmas in July Promotion. Please check it out, if you haven’t already. Music Box and Valentine Shower are on sale as well.

Completed Draft of Billy Goat Stats

I can breathe again. Sometimes towards the end of a book it gets hard, like there’s a weight on my chest. I made myself cry writing the last scene. That’s usually a good sign—or I could be crazy. Six of one, half dozen of the other….

Plenty more work to do, but it gets easier now.

Billy Goat Stats tops 70,000 Words

Billy Goat Stats, my sequel to Music Box, has topped 70,000 words. I’ve got two scenes left to finish the draft. Next week maybe?