BACK IN THE GROOVE—SORT OF

Attending the PSWA Annual Conference was wonderful. So rewarding to see old friends and make some new ones—plus talk writing and hear speakers and panels on various writing topics.

I need to write another—and the last—Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. Tempe is retired now and I’m ready to let her enjoy her retirement. Though I’ve had a request to put one of the ongoing characters in, one who is based on a real person and would like to see something specific happen with the character, that’s all I had. (I thought End of the Trail would be the last and then The Trash Harem had to be written. Now I need to send Tempe off with one last adventure.

In my newsletter, I asked my readers for ideas and did the same on Facebook. More ideas, but nothing that appealed.

While I was at the conference I some thoughts about what might be good in this final visit with Tempe started to pop into my brain. I even thought of a good beginning. No, I haven’t written anything down yet as I’ve had too many other things to do. When you come home from being gone six days duties pile-up: unpacking, laundry, and all the mail.

Frankly, I’ll be glad to actually be in the writing groove again, it’s been far too long. In the past, I’ve managed to write and publish two books a year. Nothing so far this year.

I’ll start like always, jotting notes down. Eventually getting to who turns up dead—where, and all those who might have wanted the victim dead. Naming and writing all the new character descriptions often comes next. Usually while I’m doing it, plot ideas will come tumbling unbidden but quite welcome.

Because I have other work I do for folks, sometimes it takes a while to get started on a new book. I am hoping for the best. I really, really want to get back to writing.

Marilyn

COMING UP DRY

It’s time for me to write a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, or at least I think it is. I thought I’d finished the series when I wrote End of the Trail, but then I got the bright idea for The Trash Harem. I was pleased to see a photo of a Facebook friend reading it while on the beach in Hawaii. The caption said she always took my latest Tempe book with her on vacation.  Well, if I don’t write one, she won’t have one next year.

I enjoy being with Tempe, but I haven’t any ideas for a great story for her. I was desperate enough to explain this dilemma on my Facebook page. Many of my friends gave me ideas—some pretty good—but nothing that really made me want to get busy jotting down notes.

In mid-July I’m headed to the Public Safety Writers Association’s annual conference. I’m hoping listening to the speakers and the panelists will give me some ideas. Most of the participants are great story tellers.

Truly, I’ve never had this problem before. And no, it’s not writers’ block because I’ve been doing plenty of writing, just not the fiction kind. Maybe all that extra brain and computer time has taken away my incentive for spinning a tale around my now retired deputy, Tempe Crabtree. I hope that’s all it is, and when my life calms down a bit, my imagination will be ready to give Tempe a grand adventure.

Anyone else have their imagination go dry? If so, what did you do to pump the well?

Marilyn

REFLECTIONS OF MY 2020 WRITING LIFE

As you may have already guessed, this past year was nothing like I expected—and no surprise to any of you because your lives weren’t anything like you expected either. For this post, I’m going to stick to what happened or didn’t happen as per my writing life.

Before I’d made up my mind whether or not to attend the two big mystery cons, Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon, both to be held nearby, the virus struck and they were both cancelled.

I’d signed up for a local writer’s conference in March, and it wasn’t long before it was canceled too, as well as the wonderful Central Coast Sisters in Crime conference in April.

My favorite conference of all, the Public Safety Writers Association’s, held in July in Vegas. was axed too. Two big book fairs in October disappeared from the calendar.  In November, I was supposed to be the speaker for the Nightwriters in San Luis Obispo—but of course, that was cancelled too. 

The only in-person event that survived was a two-day holiday boutique held in the Porterville Art Gallery, and yes, I had a booth. People wore masks and kept their distance. I sold books and others sold crafts. No one got sick.

My latest book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series came out, End of the Trail, and I really thought it would be the last in the series. However, I’ve changed my mind, because when I made a trip to visit my eldest daughter, I got a great idea for another  mystery in the series.

I also finished Not As We Knew It in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. I did the forbidden and included the virus because I felt I had to—the series is in real time and to be honest, I had fun writing it.

This is where a problem came along. I’ve always had parties on the occasion of a new book coming out, held in various locations. Of course, this year it couldn’t happen. This meant all my promotion efforts had to be online, and online they were.  I did a free e-book promotion for one of my favorites in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. It did a fairly good job enticing people to buy some of the other books in the series.

With End of the Trail it was mainly Facebook and Blog Posts. Certainly this was not nearly as profitable as doing in-person events.

What I’ve missed most is my writers’ critique group, being with my writing friends, and sharing out writing.

Lifting my cup of Chai latte, “Here’s to a better 2021 for all of us.”

Marilyn who also writes as F. M. Meredith