Well. Citing Scotty’s law of time estimates, I should have given myself 6 months extra to publish my ‘short’ novel, or novella, Toils and Snares. When I conceived this story, I remember thinking it would be about 20,000 words. For my word graph estimate I chose 22,222 words, because that’s how I do such things. With Straight Into Darkness I am aiming for 88,888.

By September 2014 Toils and Snares had cracked 23K! And it kept growing. It was a much bigger story than I thought. The first completed draft clocked in at 36K. The final draft is 41,203 words. It’s about as big as a story can be and not be considered a novel. Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five was 49,459 words and Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 was 46,118 words. Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men had 29,160 words.

My plan was to release it midway between All Is Silence and Straight Into Darkness.It would be a parallelequel to the first novel, taking place over the same approximate time frame, but telling a smaller story. It gives more information about the pandemic and its source. It introduces a new cast of characters that 15 years in the future of the Deserted Lands universe will connect with some of the characters from All Is Silence and Straight Into Darkness.I’m not certain how soon I will have time to write the novel about children from Toils and Snares in their teen years. 2017 or 2018 likely.

What I learned from Toils and Snares is that All Is Silence was not a fluke. I can produce good long-form fiction. It will likely take longer than I plan because life will intervene. I have a lovely partner, six kids with two still at home, a full-time day job with students, and extended family and friends. Writing, editing, marketing, and managing the business that being an indie author requires must be shoehorned in between these more important priorities.

So, please, come sample Toils and Snares on Amazon or Wattpad. Mark it “Want to Read” on GoodReads. If you decide to purchase it, please consider leaving a review. If you promise to leave me an honest review, I will give away up to ten review copies. E-mail me your contact information and what flavor of electronic document you would like to read it in. Thanks. toils&snares3


Untouched by a global pandemic killing over 95% of the population, Samuel’s family fears a mutated virus and the people who have survived it. Is this apocalypse an act of God? They may escape into the wilderness to find a place of safety as civilization dies around them, but can they escape each other and their pasts?

Sample on GoodReadsAmazon or Wattpad.