Taking a Breather

Edith here, post Christmas, in between books, still north of Boston.

In between books? Is she ever in between books, you ask?

Preston knows how to take a breather – under the Christmas tree.

Well, yeah, sort of. On Friday I’ll start writing a new book (Local Foods #5, Mulch Ado about Murder). After I finished one round of polishing of the March 1 book on December 16 and sent it along for our very able Sherry Harris to edit, I realized I could take a little break. Shouldn’t we all take a breather now and then, especially at this time of year?

Me and Allan

Sure, I have blog posts to do, and a couple of proposals to get ready, and a launch to gear up for. Those can wait. One of my sons has been here for more than a week, always a treat. I’ve also spent time with my young friends and with older friends, and will have a whole day with Master J (age 6) on Wednesday.

What a delight it’s been to not anchor myself to 1500 words per day, reading through a manuscript on paper for two or three days straight, or doing multiple editing passes. I really do treat this fiction-writing thing as a job, and a job means working every day but Sunday. So I guess I’m taking a staycation!

I’ve seen movies, baked, played Scrabble,  socialized, gone on a beer tour (fun!), taken

Wine glass coasters made from West African cloth
Wine glass coasters made from West African cloth

endless walks both alone and with others. And sewed. I love sewing. I learned it from my mom, and really enjoyed spending a couple of days creating these cute (and complicated) wine glass coasters for several friends as Christmas gifts.

But mostly I’ve been reading! I have SO many books I wanted to catch up on, and it’s the holidays, after all. Interp-of-murderHere’s my list since December 16 (and I still have four days left…):

  • An Interpretation of Murder by BK Stevens. The first mystery I’ve read with a sign language interpreter protagonist, and a great read.
  • To Brew or Not to Brew from Joyce Tremel – who was our guest right here recently. I loved this Brewing Trouble mystery – and boy, did I think of her on my brewery tour yesterday.
  • Guilty as Cinnamon by Leslie Budewitz (who has also guested with us), the second and very delicious Spice Shop Mystery.
  • Ho-Ho-Homicide. I’m finally getting to Kaitlyn Dunnett’s Liss MacCrimmon series and am glad I did – I really liked Liss and her adventures. Kaitlyn, aka Kathy Lynn Emerson, is another Wicked friend.
  • gerbildaughterThe Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter, my author pal Holly Robinson’s memoir, to which I was very tardy getting to. I knew I would love it, and I did.
  • Princess Elizabeth’s Spy from Susan Elia MacNeal. I’m slowly getting through her Maggie Hope mysteries, which all take place in England during World War II. This is the second I’ve read and I can’t wait to finish the series to date.
  • I read an ARC of Wendy Tyson’s A Muddied Murder, which was right down my alley, since it’s a Certified Organic Greenhouse mystery. Nice job, Wendy – I’ve already sent in my endorsement.
  • Murder at Beechwood from Alyssa Maxwell, another intriguing Gilded Newport MMurderBeechwoodystery. And she has a new early-1900s series coming out, too!
  • And of course, Murder Most Finicky will be out tomorrow from Wicked Cozy Liz Mugavero, so I’ll be sure to finish that by the end of 2015, too

It’s a real breather for me to immerse myself in my author friends’ book – and yes, I know all these authors personally. I suppose I could read books by people I don’t know – but the To-Be-Read pile by people I DO know never gets down to zero!

Readers: How do you take a breather, recharge, regroup? Are reading binges part of it?

36 Thoughts

  1. Hear, hear! It’s good for your writing brain to step away and do something different for a time. Something tangible is good–knit a sweater, refinish a table, or (groan) clear out your attic/basement/kitchen cabinets. Finish projects that you stuffed in a closet a while back and have felt guilty about ever since. Have lunch with friends you seldom see.

    And don’t worry–your subconscious is busy working on that next book.

  2. It’s good to take a breather from your everyday job. It helps perk up the creative juices.

    Traveling and working on my quilt projects are my way of re-charging my energy. I also step away from reading when I need a break.I know, not read – only for a couple of days.

  3. Thanks for the mention, Edith! I’m glad you liked the book. I’m adding a couple of these to my reading list. I love the Maggie Hope series, too. I’ve read all but the latest one, which I hope to get to someday soon. Next up on my list is Nancy Martin’s latest, Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything. Our oldest son and daughter in law are in from Virginia, and our younger son is staying here too (even though he only lives across town), so we’re playing a lot of games, watching dumb videos, and just general shenanigans going on. And instead of writing, I’m testing recipes for the next book.

  4. Enjoy your break, Edith. I find I do need time between projects to recharge. I like to visit museums and have lunch with friends, something there isn’t any time to do in the Book Jail months.

  5. Hi, Edith. So glad you enjoyed Ho-Ho-Homicide. I’ve been taking a break, too, although I can’t seem to stop myself from scribbling down ideas for books I’ll be working on in the new year. I read, binge watch dvds, and do jigsaw puzzles when I’m not writing. I also read a lot when I AM writing. Oddly, the better the WIP is going, the more I read. I just have to avoid reading the same exact genre I’m writing in. Good news–I’ll be working on the historical series next so I can continue to read cozies as well as anything that isn’t set in the sixteenth century!

  6. Thank you for the mention, Edith (and for reading and endorsing A MUDDIED MURDER!). Love this post. When things get to be too much and I start to feel the creative juices running dry, I turn to something else that demands 100% of my focus. Traveling and hiking work, but what I really like to do is cook–especially large batches of dishes that use vegetables from our garden. It’s fun and meditative–and the whole family gets involved. Happy holidays!

  7. A break? What’s that? I did give myself a couple of days off, and Mr. Right and I held a Harry Potter mini-marathon, watching the last 3 movies, which we’d somehow missed. And I did little on Saturday but read — short stories, and a timely find from a conference book bag, St. Nick: A Christmas Cop Novel by Allan Russell, which was great fun and in keeping with the season. Now back to the WIP!

    And I’m thrilled to have been on your binge-reading list — glad you enjoyed the return trip to Seattle!

  8. I agree! You’ve worked very hard this year, so a little shore leave is in order. I’ve been traveling for a couple of days, but I’m now home and gearing up to finish a few things I wanted to complete by the end of the year, including putting together a production schedule and doing some goal setting for 2016. However, my mom got me a Kitchen-Aid mixer (my first!) for Christmas, so these things may take a back seat until I get the chance to play with that some 🙂 First stop: bread dough. Enjoy your break!

  9. Ooh, I love my fifteen-year-old cobalt blue Kitchen Aid – although I always make bread by hand. Nothing better than kneading for letting plots brew. ;^) Enjoy yours!

    1. I had my mother’s stainless steel KitchenAid model for many years (now in the basement). Then I asked for a shiny red new one a couple of years ago, which I use all the time. (Made me realize how weak the old model was.) I agree: you have to feel the dough in your hands to know if it’s right.

    2. I have that same model and color that I bought at the same time when I lived in Boston! As I recall there was a huge sale going on, the same day that the ancient one my mother left me in her will–yes, truly–gave up the ghost. I loved the cobalt blue so much I designed my kitchen accoutrements accordingly.

  10. Recharging is necessary and oh, so pleasant. My nieces and nephews used to spend the night during school vacations, and I loved having time to play and read together, especially when I managed to have no papers to grade. Summer was the time for most maintenance of self, car, home, any other projects that could possibly be scheduled. Enjoy the break and return refreshed.

    1. Thanks, Mary! So far, after one hour of research, today has included Scrabble (I lost), a brisk long walk, a game of Quiddler (another loss, but who cares?), some IT assistance (from my visiting son), an assembled pan of enchiladas, now baking, and much conversation. #happy

  11. Definitely a binge reader on break. I want eight eyes so I can scarf up all the books on my TBR pile and savor each. I will pick up a series with whatever book I have, but if I like the series, it’s back to book one and the binge is on. I also like to take me time on staycations, massage, facial, long runs. Things I don’t really let myself do in the crush of the moment. Ah, I am beginning to feel the need right now, but I’m starting chapter 8 so it’s back to the word mill for me!

  12. Thanks for the kind words about INTERPRETATION OF MURDER–I’m so glad you enjoyed it. (I would have responded sooner, but I’ve been taking a breather of sorts myself, visiting daughters, grandchildren, and in-laws in the DC/Maryland area–lots of special moments, including celebrating my father-in-law’s ninetieth birthday. Now, it feels good to get back to e-mail, and back to work.) I’m glad your breather was so refreshing and invigorating.

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