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Future Projects

CURRENT FUTURE PROJECTS

I've completed the initial manuscript for a new project called I am Everett. This novel will be published sometime in late 2024 or early 2025.

If you're interested in being a beta reader for I Am Everett, please contact me using the Contact page on this website. I'll send you information on what a beta read needs to do. If you agree, and provide me with your email address, I'll send you a manuscript.  I really need some early feedback from my readers. Your comments and input help me tailor a story to make it a book you can recommend to others.

Hope to hear from you soon!

I AM EVERETT

I began writing I am Everett in order to take a temporary break from Retribution. This much lighter story is a very unusual look at American history from 1901 to the present time. It takes place in Boston, New York City, Miami, Havana, a cruise ship, Tampa, and New Port Richey.  The story is told by a piano that became sentient when it was first purchased from the Everett Piano Company in Boston, Massachusetts.

The picture to the left was taken in my house. That's the actual, 122-year-old Everett featured in the story, except this one doesn't really talk, although It does sound very good.

There are several surprises in this story, so I can't tell you much about it, but I can guarantee you it will be one of the more unusual books you'll ever read.

You can check out the excerpt below to get an idea of how it begins.

EXCERPT

Hello Stephen. I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve been admiring the pool and pillared lanai to pass the time. I really love the view beyond the pool as well; the verdant lawn bordered by that thick, lush forest. Do you see how the morning sun is casting those mottled patches of bright yellow light on the dark shadowed green of the trees? It’s also causing those playful little reflections of the pool’s riffling surface up on the lanai’s ceiling. Can you see that? It’s very peaceful here this time of day.  Moments like these make me feel quite content just to be alive.

The man, thinking he’d been alone, looked all around the room trying to determine the source of the voice. “Where are you?”

I’m new here, just moved in. The house has been very quiet this morning, save for the occasional sound of cooled air rushing through the vents. I suppose most people don’t notice things like that. I’m grateful for the conditioned air. I don’t take things like that for granted, I assure you.  At my age, the Florida summers can be more than just uncomfortable. The humidity can be downright detrimental to my health, as I’m sure you know.

The man shrugged. “Yeah, it’s already hot and humid outside, but nice and cool in here.” He began to lay out the tools of his trade.

When I look back on my life, it still seems odd to me that I ended up here in Florida. You see, I was born in Boston, but I’m sure you already knew that too. My first home, however, was in New York City, a very different environment than here in the sub-tropics of Florida. But that was a very long time ago. By the way, I can tell that you’re from New York. It’s your accent.

“Who the hell am I talkin’ to?” The man frantically looked all around once again, beginning to feel a little spooked. The voice sounded like it was right there next to him but there was nobody else in the room. He checked the adjacent rooms but found no one.

My name is Everett, but I suppose that’s obvious to someone like you. I was born in 1901, which makes me one-hundred-twenty-two years old. You probably think I’m saying that as if it’s something to boast about. I know there are others of my kind who are much older but not many. Don’t get me wrong, I do feel my age, and that’s why I’m glad you’re here to check up on me. I’ve been lucky I suppose. Despite some rather harrowing chapters in my life, I’d say that I’ve come through the years in pretty good shape. I’m interested in hearing your assessment.

The man’s name was Stephen Moriani, a piano technician of considerable repute and a long-time member of the Piano Technicians Guild of New York. He had several decades of experience. He’d been retained by a man named Jerry Yates to tune a piano which had been purchased a month earlier, the piano he now regarded with some suspicion. Jerry had texted Stephen earlier to let him know that something had come up and that he wasn’t going to be at the house, but the door was open so he should go ahead and begin the work. Jerry assured him that he would return before the job was finished.

“Mr. Yates, is that you? Are you here?”

Stephen scratched his bald head, toying with the possibility that he might be going crazy. After a few minutes of quiet, however, he decided he should just focus on the work at hand. Maybe this was some kind of joke, and he stifled a little laugh. He sat on the piano bench and ran his fingers up and down the keys to get some sense of what he would be dealing with.

The piano obviously needed to be tuned, typical for a piano that had just been moved, especially an older piano like this one. The action on some of the keys felt loose and he noticed some obvious problems with the voicing of several keys. Using the long prop stick, he opened the top board of the old grand and immediately discovered that the bass key strings were corroded.

“Oh, that’s too bad,” he thought.

The name of the piano, emblazoned in large letters on the sound board, caught his attention: Everett Boston, model number 31930. He got up off the bench and backed away a few steps, staring at the piano, feeling a growing sense of unease.

“Are you what’s talking to me?” he asked, immediately feeling ridiculous. There was no response and he chuckled nervously. “Crazy,” he said to himself.

He reluctantly returned to the keyboard and proceeded to strike the A4 key repeatedly, listening to its audio properties with his practiced ear. He also referred to a digital device as he began to adjust the tension of the A4 strings.

I can tell you’re very experienced. You’ve probably already noticed several problems, haven’t you?

“Pianos can’t talk,” Stephen said with conviction. He didn’t bother to look up or stop what he was doing.

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