6 years ago today, my life changed forever. My first novel, and 6th book overall) The Count of the Sahara was published by Erik Empson (peace be upon him) at The Book Folks in the UK.
For the uninitiated, this is the real-life (mostly) story of a character I’ve been obsessed with for years: Count (cough, cough) Byron Khun de Prorok. He was an amazing mix of ambition, brilliance, talent, chicanery, and failure. How many archaeologists from the 20s have their own IMDB page?
For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s a pretty ambitious first book. It alternates between the imaginary story of Willie Braun, a young German-American teenager who becomes the driver and assistant for a charismatic archaeologist on a tour of the US Midwest in 1926. Then it flashes back a year to an ill-fated, well-documented expedition to the Algerian Sahara. We see how the tale de Prorok is spinning doesn’t quiiiiiite match the reality.
In the 6 years since publication, a lot’s happened. I’ve written 2 business books, The Long-Distance Leader and The Long-Distance Teammate. I’ve also written 3 more novels ( Acre’s Bastard and Acre’s Orphans, as well as Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk) and the sequel to Johnny Lycan is almost finished. You can see them all on my Amazon Author Page.
Whenever I beat myself up for not being faster, I allow myself to think about putting out 6 books in 6 years. I’m not James Patterson, but not bad for a 60-year-old with a day job.
Byron has given me the chance to speak and be interviewed dozens of times on the subject of this fascinating character. My favorite moment was when I heard last year from his Grand-daughter, thanking me for telling his story (as warts-and-all as it is.)
This book began my career (or whatever this is) as a novelist and I’m not stopping anytime soon.
If you have read the book, a million thanks.
If you haven’t, what’s keeping you? You can order it directly from the publisher, you can find it on Amazon worldwide.
If you want a SIGNED copy of the paperback, please drop me a line. You can get one for $15 plus shipping (if you’re outside the US it ain’t cheap) and you can pay me by Paypal or Zelle. The same is true if you want signed copies of any book, but today is about giving Byron his due.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. I ain’t done yet.