It’s here. Spring. Or so they say. Today the weather doesn’t seem much like spring, with the wind howling around the windows and the temperature hovering in the mid-40s. The best thing about the day is that the weather has kept me inside, instead of tackling the myriad of spring tasks I should be doing outside.
It has been six months since I last wrote in this blog. (Although I’m not Catholic, it’s a little like saying, Forgive me Father for I have sinned, and it’s been six months since my last confession.)
I also feel a little like I’m finally coming up for air after having been under water. That’s typical for me when I’ve been working on a project. My family and friends probably get used to blank stares and the feeling that I’m not listening. It’s because a good part of my brain is focused on what I’m writing, or about to write as soon as I can get to the computer.
The good news is that my next book is in the final stages. Right now, I call it “Chrysalis: A Race to Death.” That may or may not be the final title, and it may or may not be the final book in the Family Secret Series. But, yes, it is another book featuring my protagonist, Jamie.
This book is set in Ponca City, in 2008. Jamie and her husband, Osage attorney Sam Mazie, have just relocated to this town in central Oklahoma. I know the town well; I lived there for 16 years, from 1979 to 1995. Both my children were born in the hospital there, and attended grade school at Trout elementary. So, I know quite a bit about this little city.
And you’ll be learning about the city, and about the book in the coming weeks. I’m still fine-tuning the story.
Since December, I’ve been working with a critique partner, Nancy Roe, whom I met at the Killer Nashville mystery conference last year. Nancy is an indie author who lives in Memphis, and writes single title mysteries featuring female protagonists. We have a lot in common, including our love of the mystery genre.
So, several weeks ago, I got to the end of the first draft. About 71,000 words and 310 double-spaced pages. What a relief to finally get it all down on paper. But that’s really just the beginning.
In some ways, the real work can then begin, cutting and slicing away at words I spent hours pulling out of my psyche. I return to the places in the manuscript where I wrote in parenthesis (need more here) or (Cut here) or (is this realistic?) or even (call an expert) written in a spot where I need another opinion.
And I read through it, dropping sentences, changing words and hopefully making the manuscript better. As of this minute, the book is ready for fresh eyes to read. I have some wonderful readers lined up to consider what I’ve written. Does it have holes? Does it make sense? Are my characters acting, thinking and speaking like real human beings? In a few weeks, when the manuscripts come back to me, I’ll know exactly how much work is needed to make it an even better book.
So, no guarantees yet about the timeframe for this novel to appear, but I’ll keep you posted, and you can expect me to write in this blog more frequently. I have something in mind to do, a weekly writing exercise that may or may not be concluded in just one blog. You’ll just have to check back and see.
Meanwhile, I hope your day is being productive, inside or outside, no matter what the weather.
Keep reading! If you haven’t picked up Blood on the Cimarron: No Motive for Murder, you can buy it from my website. I’ll even autograph it and ship it to you. It’s set in Stillwater, and features a journalist who finds the owner of a mustang rescue ranch brutally murdered. My readers tell me it’s a page turner!
Seize the day!