Sunday, August 30, 2020

Knowing When to Pull the Plug

 I had a conversation with a writer friend a few nights ago. She's struggling with a manuscript she's working on and we got to reminiscing about those manuscripts we've written and then shoved under the bed, never to see the light of day. Sometimes you know within the first couple chapters that this was a bad idea, or sometimes it's the same story that you have written six ways to Sunday but it's never quite good enough. Regardless of when it happens, there's always a point in the story when a writer stops and says to herself, "Do I go on with this or not?" 

I've been putting off writing my latest story idea, too. The premise is there, and I love the idea. I just don't know if I'm going to be able to pull it off. If I pull the plug before doing little more than starting, I'll never know. I can keep ignoring it, but every morning, it's there, on my desktop, a fairly empty file folder, waiting for me to do something with it or throw it under the bed. Next week, I promise, I'll get back on it...

I am reminded of when I was little and I had a bad dream, which I swear to this day was real. My hand had fallen over the side of the bed in my sleep, and someone underneath the bed was trying to pull me out of my bed and underneath with them.

I fought like hell, and for years afterward could not walk to the side of the bed and crawl in. No, I had to take a leap from across the room and land on the mattress. It's taken me years to not be afraid of what's under the bed. Except now I know there can't be any bad folks under there, just bad ideas.

How about you? What's under your bed?

Sunday, August 23, 2020

On To The Next Thing

 Two things happened this past week that have affected my daily routine. For the better, I hope. 

First, I finished the last book in my Revolutionary War trilogy and sent it off to my publisher. So I won't be hanging around with the Sons of Liberty every morning now and raising hell. Kind of sad, since the  Sons of Liberty appeal to my rebellious nature.

Second, the company I've been freelancing with for the past year or so has been affected by COVID and has cancelled some of their not-so-profitable lines. Unfortunately, my articles are part of that not-so-profitable part of their service, so once we writers work through what's left, that's it. I'd been expecting this to happen, since the articles I'm writing are advertising for various services, none of which are being utilized during a pandemic. Still, when the word finally came down, I had to take a deep breath and try to figure out what to do next. The articles were not hard to write, but they were time-consuming, even though they did provide a nice income stream.

So, what have I come up with?

Well, first, I have a big story idea, and knowing it's a big idea, I figure it'll take a year or more to write. So, I'll work on that while I promote my Rev War series. Maybe I can even use some of my research on the Sons of Liberty in part of the new venture. We'll see. 

Second, I'm still ghostwriting a series for my new friend from the UK. I don't know how much more he'll want from me, though, so I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. I need to find another income stream. 

I've got a couple places to look for work this week, butI'm open to any ideas. 

Will keep you informed...

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Passing of Time

 I was watching one of those insipid game shows the other day. I'm sure you know the one I'm talking about. Everyone wears a t-shirt with something written on it, hoping they'll get noticed by the producers and get plucked from the audience and get up on stage so they can win prizes. A woman had a shirt showing the years going from 49 to 50. When the emcee asked if it was her birthday, she said it would be sometime this year. She was obviously going to celebrate this milestone event all year long. I applauded her, since I'm a big fan of birthdays. Or rather, birthday celebrations. 

Since I've gotten to a certain age, beyond where the woman on the game show happened to be, I've started celebrating my birthday the entire month of May. And I encourage all my friends to celebrate for the whole month of their birth. My best friend has a birthday this month. Even though she stubbornly holds onto the belief that only one day of the month is special, I've tried the last couple of years to soften her up. I start by sending a card at the beginning of the month. Then, about a week prior to the actual day, I send a second. The third one is sent in the package with her presents. And, if I can get to the card store in time, I end the month with one final card. 

Did I ever mention I used to work for both Hallmark and American Greetings? I love cards. 

So, how about you? How do you celebrate your birthday? Just the one day? The month? The entire year? Or do you ignore it altogether? 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Satisfying Cravings

So far, I've managed to avoid the COVID Ten, those extra pounds that some folks put on during their enforced isolation. I've worked very hard to remove excess baggage on my person during the first half of the year, and don't want to slide the other way. But then, I discovered Peanut Butter Sundae ice cream. Thankfully, it's only a seasonal flavor, so it will be gone from the store shelves soon. But for a peanut butter fan like myself, it's the only ice cream flavor that makes sense.

I get cravings in my writing life, too. always wanted to write a story about mail order brides, but never quite got it going until I discovered ghost writing. I'm now in the process of putting together my fifth novella about a mail order bride. It's satisfying my craving to write in this genre without all the money and hassle that comes with producing it under my own name. My satisfaction comes in the form of payment up front for my work. 

I just put the finishing touches on the final book in the Revolutionary War trilogy, so I am wondering where to go next with my work. Shall I dip my toe again into Contemporary, which is still so popular? Is there a way to combine my love of history with a Contemporary story line? How about a female history professor who unearths something startling when she decides to explore her ancestry? It could be fun. I'll have to give it some more thought. 

I get cravings in my reading, too. You would think, with this enforced isolation, I'd be ahead of my goal of reading 50 books this year, but I can't seem to lose myself in a book. I pick them up, read a couple chapters, and put them back down. I'm craving a series where I can totally immerse myself and not have to worry about the state of our union. So far, though, no luck. 

What are you reading these days? Recommendations, please.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

It Could Be Worse

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Not only can I escape the current situation we Americans find ourselves in by losing myself in a book, I also have the ability to write my own books and can create my own worlds. 

It may seem like a great idea to leave this current situation behind and run back in time, there are some things that need to be considered first. When I write my historical books, I tend to spend very little time talking about how people performed the basic functions of bathing, going to the bathroom, catching or growing their food, Although they were basic necessities, they aren't glamorous, and they have no place in a feel-good romance. 

I was reminded of that fact the other day, in conversation with a friend who had just finished reading my latest book, A British Heiress in America. The heroine, Pippa, has a penchant for cheroots, thin, dainty cigars. While in today's world, a woman smoking tobacco is commonplace, in the late 1700s, it was never done, so she has to pilfer her cheroots anywhere she can. 

My friend asked how Pippa could have possibly gotten away with it without anyone noticing, since the cigar smell is pungent and tends to cling to one's body and clothing. Her comment then led to a discussion about all the other odors emanating from a person's body during this era and how the scent of a good cheroot might be welcome since it would mask all the others. 

So, when this world we're currently living in gets you down, think about all the good things it offers.
Count your blessings. 
 And flush the toilet.