Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Reasons for My Absence

Yes, I know, excuses, excuses, but these are good ones.

My husband of nearly 72 years passed away on April 1st after going to the hospital and then a nursing home. During that time we had a massive flood in our little town of Springville, ruined homes along the river, took out two bridges and closed the highway for a day. Our home was untouched because we sit high above tge river, 

I was injured at the end of husband's celebration of life, hurt my tailbone and ribs. Still recovering.

I also attended the Public Safety Writers Association's annual conference, which was wonderful. So nice to see old friends and make new ones. 

My husband and I were both honored at the conference. For years he helped with book sales. I was prsented with a plaque in his name, and a picture collage of him working the books sales over the years.

An award was created for the best published book called the Marilyn Meredith Excellence Award.  A big surpise.

Of course I miss my husband for so many reasons--he's been a part of my life since I was 17. 

Hopefully, I can get back on track with my writing now.


Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Travel and the Novelist

by Janis Patterson

Travel is wonderful. Travel is broadening. Travel is fun. Travel is enlightening. Travel can be used as research for an upcoming book - and therefore be made tax-deductible!

Travel can also be very problematic for the professional novelist.

I try to adhere to a writing schedule - a rough and occasionally flexible schedule, admittedly, and have been known to be somewhat slip-shod about keeping it (hey, I’m only human!) but schedules do work best when you’re at home and settled into a routine. Travel can knock all that into a cocked hat.

The Husband would rather fly everywhere we go; as I have an intense dislike of being treated as not-too-bright self-ambulatory cargo, I prefer to drive if at all feasible. The results turn out to be pretty much equal. Whichever way we travel, though, I refuse to go without a computer. (Yes, I am spoiled. And semi-obsessed.) That way I can make notes, keep a trip diary if the trip justifies such, and at least appear to be holding to my schedule. 

The Husband calls it my security object. I loftily reply that I haven’t yet started carrying it with me to the grocery store - though I haven’t yet admitted that sometimes it can be a near thing.

While the stated idea of taking a computer with me is so I can get at least some work done on the work in process (which does have a fast-approaching deadline), perhaps the greatest danger traveling poses to a novelist is the storm of ideas which attack you. I have a projected writing schedule for approximately the next two years. Then I go on a trip and everything goes wonky, as it is a very rare trip when I don’t get at least five or six workable plots, plots which call to me with the seductive whispers of excitement and creativity.

So, like a good little magpie snatching at something shiny, I make notes and jot down ideas, create a file for them on the computer and tuck them away in a remote corner of my hard drive. And, I’ll be honest, sometimes I forget them... but sometimes I don’t. Some of my best and best-selling books have come from these ‘vacation attack’ ideas. 

Anyway, as we are leaving in the morning, I have to go finish packing. All those ideas are lying in wait.

(P.S. - for those of you who are following my republishing blitz, I am happy to report that it is going perfectly according to schedule - a book, freshly edited, freshly edited and as often as not with a new cover - released every other Wednesday since the middle of January! THE EARL AND THE BLUESTOCKING (#15) will go live on 19 July, and INHERITANCE OF SHADOWS (#16 and a multi-award winner) on 2 August. Plus - drum roll here - my second audio book A KILLING AT EL KAB and my third CURSE OF THE EXILE are now available at Amazon and Audible!