As we continue to celebrate our seven years of blogging is there anything you are itching to write about? Is there a theme you want to explore in your current series or an idea that’s been niggling that you just haven’t had time to get to?
Jessie: I would love to add paranormal elements to a book again. I wrote two books as Jessica Estevao featuring a clairaudient tarot card reader and had a great deal of pleasure doing it. There is so much there that I think adds to a mystery since there is potential fraud and trickery of all kinds as well as the possibility of the supernatural.
Julie: Jessie, I love that idea. I’ve been using a new Tarot deck and the possibilities are endless in so many directions. I wrote a short story that I think may be a book instead. I love the idea of women of a certain age as spies. That’s all I’ll say right now. 😉
Edith: Ooh, older women spies, Julie. I like it. I want to write about 1920s Pasadena, California. I want to use more than one point of view. I want to explore darker themes, go deeper. I hope I can!
Barb: This is a very timely question for me because I am currently out of contract, except for one small novella deal, so I have been thinking about this a lot. I have had a great reading year and have inhaled books by Kate Atkinson, Louise Penny, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Ann Cleeves and Tana French. I love these books and they make me wonder, could I write like that? TBD, but I’d like to find out.
Sherry: Oh, Barb that sounds intriguing! Jessie, I loved your two Jessica Estevao books! I have so many different ideas drafted — an action adventure spy family book, a Hallmark movie-ish romance (partially written), and I found several different proposals for other cozies when I was looking at some old files. So many ideas and so little time!
Liz: Spies – I love that too! You guys all know that I’ve always been intrigued by “the dark side.” I want to venture into the darker side of crime/suspense realm (and if I could write like Tana French, Barb, I’d definitely die happy!) I have a book in that vein that I wrote many years ago that I’ve recently dusted off and am starting to revise, so we’ll see.
Readers: What new thing are you itching to do?
Not A NEW thing, but I’m itching to get my Irish chain quilt out of quarantine at the senior center. I had barely started hand quilting it when the center was shut down for the lockdown and it is languishing in the closet with no idea whether the center will ever reopen! On the plus side, I cannot quilt while reading so I have more time for ARCs with the quilt locked up.
That is great to look at the positive side of the disappointment. I hope you get your quilt back one of these days!
I have too many current things I need to do to think about new things! LOL
Laughing! I hear you!
I’m with Liz on that one. I do keep learning knew things just to deal with the changing world.
Please, please, Wickeds, don’t get away from cozies. You bunch of wonderful women are the best. And I really no longer care to go to the dark side. I certainly understand you wanting new challenges, and I’m sure you would all do well, but like the little boy in the old commercials said, “I want my Maypo”. Well, I want my cozies!
Thank you so much — what a lovely thing to say! I think we will all continue to write cozies but may try something on the side.
What Sherry said!
Women spies of a certain age? You mean like Mrs. Pollifax? No, I wouldn’t be interested in reading that at all. 😉
Carstairs, aka Mrs. Pollifax’s boss at the CIA
Very late in the day, but thank you, Mark, for bringing my first big smile of the day.
You’re very welcome. Glad I could make you smile.
Wouldn’t that be fun. I love the Mrs. Pollifax stories!
I don’t know that I’m all that desirous of finding something new to do outside of actually becoming disciplined enough to start writing the mystery book I’ve long toyed with the idea of doing.
And before anyone says it, yes I know I should go for it. But I lack discipline in the art of sitting down and actually doing it has always been the issue.
I have a few character ideas sketched out. The main character and some of their backstory. The working title of the book and something that might someday resemble a main plot. A few ideas about a few other characters, including one that came fully formed to me in a dream. Hell, I’ve even had the scene idea the first time you meet the main character and a potentially killer line of dialogue to end another scene I had in mind.
Now if only I wasn’t such a procrastinator.
That aside, most of the things I would like to do is the old stuff I haven’t been allowed to do lately because of the damn pandemic.
If you look up procrastination in the dictionary, you’ll find a photo of me.
I finally had my first story published this year … at age 70! Believe me, you don’t want to wait as long as I did. Now that I’m finally going, the reality that I don’t have another forty years ahead of me to turn out forty novels in the series I’m writing, has me kicking myself. And trust me again, you don’t want all those pulled muscles you get kicking yourself.
If, like me, you find yourself paralyzed by the fear that your work won’t be good enough, try getting your feet wet by submitting a short story for one of the anthologies. Malice Domestic just announced that the topic for the 2021 anthology will be, Murder Most Diabolical. Many Sisters in Crime chapters do themed anthologies as well. My Sacramento chapter, Capitol Crimes, has one where the stories should be set in a Sacramento area cemetery, real or fictional.
And there’s another suggestion. Nothing forces you to get your hindquarters sitting down and writing than a commitment to show your work to someone else. And nothing will improve your writing as much as getting feedback from another writer or writers. Most Sisters in Crime chapters also have sessions where you can get such feedback from other members.
(And take a look at my photo. For years, I didn’t try joining Sisters in Crime because I thought I couldn’t pass the physical. But men are most definitely welcome – they call us Misters in Crime – and it’s an incredible resource.)
So consider this an attempt to rouse you out of your indolence. There are always excuses for not writing (some of them actually good ones), but believe me you’ll regret the missed opportunities if you don’t put your nose to the grindstone and produce the words. I know how hard it is to take that first giant step of letting someone else look at your work, but DO IT, let you end up as a first-time writer at a point in life when most people are slowing down and kicking back.
Finally, one tip from a good friend. Even if it’s only a paragraph or a post on The Wickeds, write something EVERY DAY. That was something that really made the difference for me.
Good luck, Jay. I hope that I’m reading something you’ve published very soon!
Lee, thanks for the tips and feedback. Here’s hoping I get myself in shape to start tapping away at the keyboard soon.
Jay, I always say, “I am an overachiever trapped in a procrastinator’s body.”
Barbara, I certainly have the procrastinator’s body part of the equation down pat.
Recently, Lori Rader Day told me to start writing 100 words a day — that’ all. It’s helped me get my writing mojo back.
Thanks Sherri (and by extension Lori). Maybe I should try that, assuming those 100 words don’t make me want to vomit after I read them. 😀
Mark beat me to the reference to Mrs. Pollifax. I loved those books and I look forward to the next novel from Julie LeCarre … or would it need to be Julie HaCarre?
Jessie, while I love Beryl and Edwina, you know what a huge fan I was of the Whispers Beyond the Veil books. They had that extra layer to them, as well as all the fascinating historical details. Few things would give me greater pleasure than to see another installment of that series. If it would be helpful, I could have my friend Vito and his sidekick Igor pay a visit to your publisher and “explain” the situation to him. It’s just amazing how a visit from the two of them can clarify someone’s thinking.
Pasadena is a very interesting place, Edith, and I’d love to read your take on it during the ’20s. I have a Pasadena experience I’ll have to share here sometime. It’s definitely not dark (other than the fact that it mostly took place at night), so it certainly won’t be stealing your thunder.
Barb, does this mean that we’ve read the final installment of the clambake series? Say it’s not so! I need my regular Snowden family fix. I’m a junkie and will go into serious withdrawal with it!
Sherry and Liz, spies seem to be a future theme for a lot of you today.
As for me, aside from longing to have a face-to-face dinner that doesn’t involve a drive-through, my newest wish is to read something by Tana French. It’s a name that’s new to me, so thank you for telling me about her. If you’re listing her in the company of the others you mention, she must indeed be a wonderful writer.
Speaking of restaurant dining, I learned yesterday that my favorite restaurant in the universe, Biba, created and run by the late Biba Caggiano, has closed its doors permanently. We’re losing so many small businesses, but especially restaurants, because of this wretched virus, that it breaks my heart. When the world opens up again, we’re going to be so much poorer for the loss of them.
Sheltered in Place and Climbing the Ceiling.
Hi Lee. There will definitely be a new Maine Clambake Mystery end of February 2021. (Or as definitely as anything can be definite these days.) I don’t have a contract for anything except a novella after that, so who knows?
Oh, Tana French. There are six Dublin Murder Squad books and a few standalones. I am steaming through the Dublin Murder Squad ones. They are told in very deep first person by complicated and flawed narrators. There’s always a secondary police character, sometimes a partner, who is featured in the book and then he/she becomes the first person narrator in the next book. (Or at least that appears to be the pattern. I am on book 4.)
I love Julie HaCarre! I’m so sad about restaurants disappearing too.! Take care!
Lee, Julie HaCarre works for me! I agree about the loss of restaurants, and more arts groups than I care to think about. A difficult time. I’m so grateful for our online community to stay connected.
I so appreciate your kind words about my Change of Fortune series, Lee! I loved writing those books and would have enjoyed writing more of them. Maybe one day I will! But you have gotten me thinking about a series with a couple of enforcers who specialize in odd jobs like the one you propose. That could be really fun!
I’d love to hear your Pasadena story, Lee – it’s my birthplace!
Let me know if you need any extra money to pay Vito and Igor. I love that series.
Drive thru restaurant pick-up is convenient, but I, too, miss fine dining and good service. And so many take-outs orders are wrong, i.e., the sides are missing, etc. And the restaurants response: Sorry, can’t do anything about that. That would be unacceptable at the best of times, but now?
Fellow ceiling climber.
I loved that series too so I’m in!
While cozies are my favorites, I do read other types of mysteries, romances, science fiction and fantasy and autobiographies. I would at least try your new ventures.
Except for attending church, my social life was lunches with friends in restaurants, so I really miss that! I’ve done some takeout to try to support restaurants and their workers. Stay safe and healthy.
I’m miss meeting friends out too!
Jessie, I really enjoyed your two paranormals. Hope you write more some time.
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