2017 was a very busy year for me. Although I did not enjoy any sales worth mentioning, I added tee shirts and long sleeve tee shirts to my product line. Three books and four unique tee shirt designs is a very productive year for me. I'm slow. Everything I create is a long struggle. For example, I started organizing my fourth book ("The Book of Lost Dreams") in 2015 and I am still working on it. I have the title and cover and concept and four stories nearing completion. When it is finished, the book will contain at least 10 closely interlinked short stories. The precedent I am working from is "In a Grove", a short story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa that is part of the Tuttle Classics edition of "Rashomon and other stories".
"In a Grove", is a fascinating Japanese tale of murder and mystery told from the perspectives of multiple participants and eye witnesses, including the victim. I am writing ten stories set in three different locations and time periods, all linked together by a series of paranormal events that occur when two different time travelling civilizations find themselves battling over their "true" history. Genre-wise, the majority of the book is a spin on the urban fantasy archetype originally created by Terri Windling for a series of books and short stories set in a fictional universe called, "Borderlands". I first encountered this concept in two different books, "The Last Hot Time", by John Ford and "The Essential Bordertown", by Terri Windling and Delia Sherman. The idea of fantasy characters in a modern urban setting caught me completely off-guard. I was immediately hooked, and quickly disappointed to discover very few writers had taken up the challenge.
Now NetFlix has joined the bandwagon with their new movie, "Bright". I have to say, until they announced this movie I have never once been tempted to join NetFlix. If they had not announced it the week before I flew back to Tokyo, I would have joined the very day I learned about it. Now I guess I have to wait until I get back to Ohio to join NetFlix and watch it. Many of my friends have already seen it and loved it. Naturally, the "professional" critics are deeply unimpressed. I have been working on my next book since early in 2015, sometime in Spring. I am a bit worried that after I release it everyone will think it is some kind of fanfiction. I guess my sense of timing has not improved at all in the half-decade since suffering through "My Albino Moon Nightmare".
So let me state here, as a permanent record, "The Book of Lost Dreams" has absolutely nothing to do with "Bright". I started the book two years before the movie was announced and although I am incorporating many elements of urban fantasy, my inspiration for the collection comes from Akutagawa, Ford, and Windling, not the NetFlix movie, "Bright". I strongly suspect the writer of "Bright" has some of the same reading habits I do, thus the similarities, but naturally I cannot know for sure because I don't even know who the writer is! On the other hand, I would not be disappointed if the success of "Bright" helps me sell a few additional copies of "The Book of Lost Dreams" after I finally get it into the market.
I am not above riding on the coattails of my betters if given the chance.