Book Ideas

“Hey–I got a great idea for you.”

I hear this sort of thing a lot. And in the background, I can hear The Smiths song begin to play once again.

“Stop me, oh, stop me. Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before.”

But it’s always hard to stop someone from telling me a book idea they feel I need to write. I want to share with them the hundred-plus ideas of my own. Not to mention give them the list of projects and possible projects I might be working on. I don’t, of course, since I don’t want to be rude. Nor do I want to waste half an hour of their time. But book ideas??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I truly have over a hundred of them.

Some are ones I’ve shared online before. I want to continue stories that started with The Solitary Tales and The Books of Marvella, ones dealing with the same characters and spiritual warfare. I want to finish the ghostly love story of mind called MIDNIGHT. Then I want to finally tell the storyline that I first wrote and finished with disastrous results in PERSONA.


There’s The Hinterlands saga, a monstrous idea that I’ve worked on for over a decade. I started it before the realities of life took over. I hope to get back to it, whether it’s continuing to write the story I already began and shared online or starting from scratch.

There’s my sprawling, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called BULL ROAD that I want to redo. I can see it in a much different light than the twenty-five-year old who originally wrote that novel. Two decades can hopefully give you more perspective.

Staying in the world of fiction, I have a fabulous book idea for book clubs. It could be an ideal novel for groups getting together to discuss a book. I could write it under a female pen name.

There’s my Gun Lake Trilogy that’s in the vein of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. I’ve mapped it out. Since all my fiction is one world, I have the messy private investigator who shows up in The Books of Marvella as the lead character. I know the books would at least sell well at Gun Lake in Michigan where we go in the summer.

There are some collaborations I’ve been in discussions with people about and have even worked on. A fabulous, seven-book middle school series in the vein of LORD OF THE RINGS or THE NARNIA CHRONICLES. There’s also another Christmas story based on a song.

I have an idea for a series of books that my three daughters have written with me. They’d be four-color children’s books with a recurring character and theme. We have the first two books written (and drawn, too) and the girls have contributed as much as I have. It’s a really great story and set-up if I do say so myself. Honestly.

There’s also the book idea (and series, of course) that I started to write with our eldest daughter, Kylie. She’s 9. The idea itself is wonderful and would make for a great middle readers series. We haven’t gotten far–I don’t want to push her in an area that she doesn’t love.

Also, speaking of our three daughters, I wrote a storyline based on a Taylor Swift song. Hoping that somehow I could find a manager we could pitch it to. Our girls loved her last CD and kept playing it over and over and over and over. And over. I love it myself–not ashamed to say this. I was curious about which song on the album was her favorite, and I found an article online where she said “Clean” meant a lot to her. So I wrote a synopsis for it. A rough one, of course. Maybe I’ll share it–it’s fun. Taylor could probably get J.K. Rowling to write with her, so I sorta abandoned that idea. Well, almost . . . (Never ever say never)

A while ago I was inspired to contact my pastors at our church about the idea of putting several sermon series into fiction form. Basically to do some Biblical fiction centered around Jesus and his apostles. We worked some on it, but this would be more of a labor of love than a project that a publisher might pickup. One day, maybe.

There’s a nonfiction book I hope to do one day where I’m profiling and interviewing artists who have inspired me. Musicians and filmmakers and actors and photographers and other creatives. Actually managing to get through the gatekeepers of the world and communicate with these artists has been the difficult thing. As more and more doors open, I’m getting closer to being able to start on something like that. What makes talented creatives tick? What are the work habits? How do the create? This would be fascinating for me, but I’d want it to also help any artist out there with his or her own craft.


I’d love to do a variety of parenting books. Not HOW TO books, of course, since I don’t know what I’m doing. But funny ones. A book about being a father of girls. Another book featuring advice and wisdom from fathers with daughters.

I have a designer friend named Barry Smith who is one of the most talented people I’ve ever seen. We’ve come up with a dozen book ideas. Some funny and irreverent, some focused solely on MAKING GOD KNOWN. He has a full-time job and focuses on that. But one day, we’re going to create a cash cow. A Chia Pet in the form of a book!

I was inspired to create a book proposal for a career-spanning memoir on Coldplay. It’s another great idea that has a very tiny chance of ever happening.  But . . . who knows? Right?

I won’t talk about projects I’m either working on or might be working on. No–these are just the ideas I’m talking about. Possibilities with potential.

I worked with a couple former publishing colleagues on a book about bad movies. I still so love that idea and would love to see something come out about this. Whether it’s nonfiction or fiction.

I’m almost at a thousand words. Are you still there? Do you still want to share that book idea with me?

Oh, I can’t fail to mention one last book idea. I want to write a book about living the dream as a full-time writer. It would be great for it to come out in 2017 around the anniversary of writing for ten years. It would be my own BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. My ON WRITING by Stephen King. I’d just focus on the adventures (or more like misadventures) of writing for a living.

I have other ideas, too. And by the end of today, I might have one more. They get filed away in a notebook and on my computer and also in my head. So if you ever see me and I can’t finish a complete sentence or I see a bit lost in my thoughts, there are few hundred reasons why.


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