Thursday, January 1, 2015



Part 1 of 4
            Happy New Year. Time for evaluating our past year (or years) and setting goals and objectives for the future.  The difference? Goals are broad--write that novel. Objectives are more detailed--finish chapters 1-3 by midnight tonight. (Yeah, sure.)
            I’m a writer with long-term writer’s block. This is my year to smash through that pesky excuse not to finish a project.
            For the first seven years I pursued my writing career and worked hard at it (even though I taught school full time, sang in choir, showed dogs and took care of my horse). My craft books became dog-eared.  I entered short story contests, wrote longer and longer stories and discovered the love of mysteries. I wrote a few and submitted them to Alfred Hitchcock’s great mystery magazine, until I discovered my mysteries did not fit in with his type of stories.  I managed to get five or six fiction and non-fiction short stories published in Skyline Magazine a beautiful literary magazine in the early and mid 2000’s, then, had a short story published in L’Affaire du Coeur.
           Meanwhile, I started writing mystery novels. How are could it be? Murder and mayhem. What a good idea. No problem. I've read everything Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers wrote. So I decided to write about something I knew--horses. I created a bunch of characters, decided where I wanted them to go and dumped them onto the horse show scene. I bumped off a few characters, added drug smuggling and red herrings and voila, I had written my first novel.
          Not so fast, you say? Hmm , yes I discovered when I realized my whole first chapter was description of the setting, description of the characters, description of everything. Writing back from the Victorian era. 
          Then horrors upon horrors.
          I gave up the old 1990 computer/word processor, saved my brilliant novel to A disc floppies and . . . . did you say you have to hit the “save” button? Really? What’s that? Cheerfully, (note the ly adverb) I deleted my computer content and gave away the old computer. I loaded the floppy into my new computer and . . . what happened? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.  Gone. Right into cyberspace. What were we saying about the "save" button?
          As I look back, it was for the best.
          I knew little about a nuisance called grammar, nothing about scenes, sequels, chapter lengths or endings,  what a point of view was or who should have it and when. In fact, I didn’t have any of the technical knowledge that can help a (sometimes) creative mind craft a readable novel.  So my first novel “Matt’s Murder” rests in peace in the bowels of my computer.  Sigh. Maybe I’ll rework it one of these days.
          Then came "Legacy of Danger", which has become my “kick me in the pants and write something else” type of work. In fact, it's been the inspiration to "In the Arms of the Enemy" and "Waterlilies Over My Grave" both of which were published. 

           I've been working on LOD since 1998. No kidding.  It started out as a romantic suspense and evolved into a paranormal. It takes place in Evanston, Illinois and ends in Romania. No vampire Counts. Just a few ghosts and blood sucking terrorists out to stop a nice young lady from inheriting her castle. 
          And, this is the end of the bedtime story for today. Tomorrow, we finish my frustrating path to published novels and enter into writer's block.  Then we'll smash into setting goals for 2015.  Happy New Year's Day everyone. Don't eat too much--and don't drink and drive. (the mother in me is coming out.  
          To be continued.

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