Before I became a published novelist, authors who had broken trail ahead of me warned that I, as a writer of fiction, would probably always have three books in my head: the one most recently published, the one currently being written, and the one after that.

I didn’t quite believe that, or at least thought it bizarre, since my head tends to explode, or at least wobble violently and belch smoke, if I have to think about more than one thing at a time.

Now, however, I’m a true believer. Here I sit at the dawn of 2012 with not three but four, count ‘em–well, you can’t, but trust me–novels tumbling through my head like Cirque du Soleil performers.

There’s Eyewall, of course, still selling reasonably well. There’s the next one in the queue, which I’m embarrassed to say remains untitled, but I’m leaning toward Briar Patch–anyhow, it’ll be released later this year. Then there’s the one I’m working on at the moment, Supercell. And behind that, I have fuzzy visions of a fourth novel, which probably will be a complete rewrite of the first one I ever hacked out, Fire Wind.

It all becomes a delicate balancing act (back to the Cirque du Soleil analogy). For instance, I’m currently consumed with crafting Supercell into an exciting tale. In the meantime, every time I give a talk about Eyewall–I’ll be speaking to a local book club in about a week–I have to go back and review the main characters in the novel, including their names, so I don’t get them mixed up with key figures in Briar Patch (or whatever it’s going to be) and Supercell.

And while my writing and research efforts are now focused on Supercell, I need to be preparing PR/marketing ideas for novel #2, since it will be coming out in a matter of months. (First idea: get a title for it.)

So here I am with notions relative to three books ping-ponging around in my high-mileage brain while trying to beat back thoughts about a fourth one. It doesn’t do much good, though. The thoughts just keep on coming. Like Republican primary ads.

At times, it feels like I have an unexploded IED in my head.

-January 7, 2012-

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