Thursday, November 17, 2016

Novel Spaces: Book Reviews

Novel Spaces: Book Reviews:   by Linda Thorne Ah, reviews. Whether good, bad, or ugly, we yearn for them. Well, maybe not the one-star review or those certain t...

Contemplating What To Do

by Linda Thorne

Just the other day, our dog, Mo, was sitting at the door looking out and I wondered what could possibly be on his mind as he stared into space as if contemplating something. 

At last it's fall and a record long heat wave in Nashville is behind us. My third Thursday of the month post here at MMM happens to fall on the same day as my 17th of each month post on Novel Spaces blogspot. So I'm two places at once. Well, actually three, since I'm also at work at my job in human resources.

I'd rather be home sitting with Mo and contemplating how I'm going to continue handling what I really want, a career as a writer, when I'm very busy at work. "Hmmm." 

I think about this a lot, but always end up with the same disconcerting realization. There's no alternative now for me to consider. I work at a good company and my husband and I (and the two fur people) need the income and the benefits. I'll have to continue to squeeze in as much writing and promotion into the small amount of free time I have. We all do what we have to do and it's not always exactly what we want to do, but that's not all bad. Life normally requires some balancing. I think we all came into it to play the gameto go for the adventure, to chase our dreams. That's the biggest part of life. Yeah, it would be nice to win or fulfill our dreams, but somehow I think that's secondary to the journey, the chase. 

Our other fur person, Abby, will take issue with being 
left out when I show this post to her and Mo and read it to them, so I'm adding a picture of Abby here with her brother. She's not contemplating, she's just posing for the camera. 

Enjoy the fall. It's not a long season.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Those Blessed Accursed Friends

by Janis Patterson

I am among the blessed – I have a number of very good friends who are – in the main – proud and supportive of my work. Most of the time.

Except – I don’t think any of them really understands how much pure work and concentration writing a novel and then self-publishing it entails. They will call me just to chat or say ‘let’s go to lunch’ or do whatever – most of which I really enjoy, but there are sometimes you just don’t interrupt the Muse when she’s cooperating. Or when you have a deadline. Or when you are doing the intricate dance of getting a book arranged just so before it’s sent to the formatter. Somehow at those times the thought of something so pleasant is either a snare and a lure that must be avoided, or a plain bloody nuisance. There are those writers who through necessity or natural inclination can turn their writing on and off at will. I am not and never have been one.

At times I have simply resigned from the world – turned off both the landline and my cell, so I can live in blissful solitude. Until one dear person – who does have a history of over-reacting – drove by the house when I hadn’t answered the phone after several calls, saw my car and knew that I’m supposed to be home, so she stopped and pounded on the door to make sure that I was all right. The first time this happened I swallowed my anger and tried to be gracious. All subsequent times I was… well, less than gracious. She hasn’t done that in a long time now.

My late mother was a master at this. She’d call and when I told her I had been working she’d say “I’ll just take a minute of your time…” I could never understand that once you’re interrupted the thought is broken and it makes no difference if the interruption is two minutes or two days. It breaks the flow. Even when I told her to get a spool of sewing thread, pull off a length and then cut it. No matter if you put the cut ends an inch apart or a mile apart, it was still cut. Her response? “Well, why are you so testy about being interrupted if all you’re doing is sewing?” That was the only time in my life I ever simply hung up on her. At that moment it was the more polite of my impulses. (Oh, but how I do wish she could call and interrupt me again, just so I could hear her voice just one more time!)

It’s hard to say no – especially repeated times – when dear friends whine “But I haven’t seen you in so long! We haven’t been able to talk for ages!” after I have explained for the umpteenth time that I have to work, that I have deadlines. These friends (all now retired from their jobs) would never be so pushy about me taking time off from an office job, but since I work at home obviously they think I don’t have a ‘real’ job and can run and play at will. Sigh.

However this unconscious war against my work ethic has taken a new turn. One dear friend of many years was concerned that working so much might just wear my brain out (I love her, but she is something of a ditz) after I had casually mentioned that sometimes the writing was so intense that I had to take a short break with a quick game of solitaire or backgammon – sort of a clear-the-decks reset. I know that’s not advocated in writing circles, but it works for me. So this darling lady thought I needed something besides solitaire and backgammon and – knowing I love jigsaw puzzles – sent me a link to an on-line jigsaw site where they have all kinds of puzzles with all kinds of pictures in sizes from 9 pieces to over 500+ pieces. Nirvana!

What she didn’t realize is that self-control is perhaps my weakest – or perhaps most non-existent – virtue. The siren song of those multi-colored scraps is overwhelming and I find myself playing more than I should. More than anyone should. I’m going to have to pull the URL off my computer (which will really do no good, since I have it memorized) and then go to her house for a little ‘talk’ – hoping I don’t become overly excited in the process.

At least, I will as soon as I finish this newest puzzle. It’s 480 pieces and a glorious picture of the Duomo…

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

My Writing is Suffering

Here it is, November already. I am getting near the end of my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. police procedural mystery--but I've been at that point for several weeks now.

Life has really interfered--some of it good, some not so good.

Because, like too many writers, I don't make much money from my books, I do other things that do make money. I've been blessed to get several of these jobs one after another. Because these particular endeavors also entail writing, when I'm done, I don't really feel like getting into the fiction mode.

I have my own blog to keep up, Marilyn's Musings and I like to have new content every other day. Because I host many guest authors, though I don't have always have to come up with something new to write about, it still takes time to get the post done. I also maintain the blog for
the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime--though that one isn't as time consuming.

Other writing chores I have are three newsletters--my own (monthly) and one for residential service providers (also monthly) which involves keeping up with new regulations and requirements, and a quarterly newsletter for the Public Safety Writers Association. And by the way, there is an early bird fee for their most wonderful conference which expires at the end of December. Check it out, and you can read the last newsletter while you're there, if you're interested.

And as you all must be aware of by now--I have a huge family. We've had lots going on.

I'm really anxious to get back to my writing, but at this point it's been so long, I might have trouble remembering everything, which means once I'm done I'll have to do some careful editing.

No doubt, all you writers who read this understand exactly what I'm talking about.

Now, this is one job I can cross off my list.