The sense of accomplishment in completing the draft of a new novel ranks among the best sensations…definitely in the top ten.

ImageThe idea for The Dreams of Teddy Schreck grew out of a fascination with the explosion of blogs, and the topics they address. The novel’s namesake lives across a park from a woman who blogs about atheism, about how religion harms people…in her belief. She begins to receive threats beyond the biting comments on her blog which lead Teddy Schreck to fear for her safety. Teddy is a retired salesman, the father of two daughters, who has lived a sedate, safe life. The urge to become the hero in his friend’s dilemma proves too powerful to resist and what had been contained as a cyber-battle on the blog leaks into the real world.

In my first novel, A Life Without Grace, the main character lived in a seemingly idyllic neighborhood, Iske Park. The houses ringed the park in a U-shaped, secluded enclave. I drew inspiration for the setting from my own neighborhood. In a later work, Harmony House, the park persists as a location, but the focus on people shifted to another park resident. Without intending such, I have written a trilogy of novels which use Iske Park and its residents as a the setting and characters.

In A Life Without Grace, the character of Grayson Eilers stubbornly ignored the tethers of family, and by the end of the book, I had grown less and less fond of him. In Harmony House, I cast the protagonist, Dan Boyle, in a purposefully unflattering light. He also strove to untether himself not only from family, but from friendships and other relationship. I didn’t, and still don’t, like him very much either.

I like the character of Teddy Schreck quite a bit. His intentions are noble. He has a good heart even though he ignores his limitations. Of course, you know what they say about good intentions…

So now begins the editing period. Typos, inconsistencies, omissions, additions…all addressed with dispassion. Often tougher than writing. Look for the publication next month.

And also look for the publication of an excerpt of the first chapter, rewritten as a short story, “Teddy Schreck’s Dreams,” soon to be published in Chicago Literati, an amazing blog by Abby Sheaffer at