1st Chapter remains unwritten tho I'm 56K words into the "Fires of Allah."

This is on purpose. I know what I'm shooting for. I want it to be one of the best things I've ever written.

A long time ago, I read excerpts of Norman Maclean's "Young Men and Fire." (Author of "A River Runs Through It.") I think it must have been in Life Magazine or something.

It was enormously affecting, so I decided that I would save the first chapter for last. I will sit down and read "Young Men and Fire" and soak it up and try to get what I'm feeling down on paper.

I'm still working at a 1000 word a day pace, which is the slowest I've written since coming back. But it seems fine. I'm spending more time with the characters, with the story. I'm almost 2/3rds of the way through, nevertheless.

I'll have this finished by the end of the year, research and rewrites and all.

I don't know if it will be my best book, but it is my most ambitious book.