A First Journal November 12, 2015

Note: I have decided to do a brief post every four to six weeks—we will see if it happens–that reflects my thoughts about the direction of my writing or mentions my current research. These posts will also become a record for me to return to when I need to consider whether I took the right or wrong fork on the path. For readers, it will provide some insight into the variety of decisions and obligations that come with a writing life.


After pushing to finish Death Takes No Bribes, I’m spending the month of November contemplating new directions. (Of course, I still check into social media, set up book signings, email libraries and book stores, and, in general, concentrate on the sales side of writing. I also need to update my website once I see the cover for Marry in Haste. So that is also down the road, but soon, I think.) Most authors would rather write, and I am no exception. A writer’s life these days, because of the changing nature of publishing, involves far more than thinking and writing.

As I talk with many of my retired friends, I hear a common thread: “It seems to take me longer to do things these days, and I need more recovery time.” I am feeling the same way about my writing. So November is my recovery month, and I am surprised when I consider that my memoir about teaching, as well as the writing of three mysteries, all occurred in the past five years. No wonder I need time to simply think.

I have a project in mind that will take massive research, and I am still weighing the pros and cons of heading off into a world that will bury me in primary and secondary sources, libraries, and archives. It would involve serious research over a lengthy period of time. Taking myself out of the mystery realm temporarily and into the area of historical fiction, this project leaves me with doubts I would have to resolve. Two of my three mysteries have historical aspects, and I enjoyed getting back into what was, years ago, my college major. So I’m still pondering a decision to do that. Weighing this call involves talking to local experts in history and also reading a great deal. I think it is currently in the “stay tuned” file.

Meanwhile, I am also considering writing a novella. Often doing things backwards in my life has been a trend, sometimes resulting in triumph and other times leading to ignominious defeat. This novella idea could result in either of those outcomes. Most people write a novella first and then expand into writing a novel. I, of course, do that backwards. My mysteries ran around 75,000 words and were in the range of 240-270 pages. A novella is usually a story that runs 20,000 to 40,000 words, and falls in the range of 80 to 100 pages.

My thought was to follow a character from my Endurance mysteries, but not the main character, Grace Kimball. The novella would be a mystery and would come out only as an e-book. It would bridge the time before Marry in Haste comes out next June, and it would explore a different character up close, as well as add more definition to the town. I have an idea for the character and the conflict, so I’m already dreaming about it at night. This is a good sign

Lots of decisions to make.

Meanwhile, I need to kick up my blog posts since I have neglected them while finishing my third mystery. Lots of plates spinning here. I will be back shortly with a post about writing novellas.