Thursday, August 5, 2010

Itching to get back to work

Thumbs up Launch day for Chapter & Hearse was pretty darn good. I had so many notes from friends and readers that a rather grumpy start to the day turned into all sunshine and smiles.

One of the best things about the day, though, was hearing from my editor.  Like -- about six times!  Mostly it was business related.  In fact, I guess just about all of it was business related.  And the best business of all...he sent me a pencil sketch for the 5th Booktown Mystery, SENTENCED TO DEATH. Writing a book is like childbirth.  It's arduous and horrible and you hate every minute of it, and then when you finally give birth, the pain is gone and you only have this beautiful baby in your hands and can't wait to show it off. 

That's how it was particularly for Chapter & Hearse, a good deal of it was written in doctor's offices, and through the whole time my Dad was in the hospital/nursing home and dying.  Some days it felt like writing that book saved my sanity.  And it turns out there are funny bits in it.  In more than just a few places, too.

I was so grateful that I didn't get writers block last year.  I delivered Chapter & Hearse on time.  And I even delivered the first Victoria Square book, A Crafty Killing, a couple of weeks early.  And then it came time to write Sentenced to Death.

Good grief!  How could have forgotten how to write a book in the two weeks between A Crafty Killing and Sentenced to Death?  I tried to write every day, but instead of 1250 words (which is my daily quota for 5 days a week), I was lucky to get 1250 In a week!  I was a month late in delivering the book and felt terrible.  I've got just over three weeks to deliver the 2nd Victoria Square Mystery (The Walled Flower), and I'm currently 14,000 words short--and I'm up to my armpits in promotion for Chapter & Hearse and have dental surgery looming over me next week. 

I am determined to make my deadline, and luckily, I know exactly what has to be done to finish The Walled Flower (I have a bunch of notes and it's been simmering on the back burner).  I just need to find the time to sit down and do it.  (I think I'll have to go on retreat to the cottage for the next couple of weeks so I can finish it.)

But getting back to that pencil sketch.  This is the FIRST time I was asked for input on the cover.  I sent a bunch of pictures.  This is the first time I was given a sneak peak at what the cover is to look like.


My editor told me about changes he's going to ask for, and I agreed with them all (it's soooo nice to be on the same page about these things).  And suddenly all the frustration about the book taking so long to write is gone.  I'm only remembering the fun scenes, and there were a bunch of them.  I wish I could share the pencil sketch with you, but I can't--for the same reason I wouldn't want someone reading a first draft of one of my books.  We want you to see the beautiful, finished product.

I won't get to see that completed cover until December, which seems like a long time from now, but I'm so excited about this book--I can't wait.  And I'm so gratified that people really seem to like Chapter & Hearse.  And I so want to get The Walled Flower done because there are only "fun" scenes left to write.  And I'm really psyched about starting the 6th Booktown Mystery in September, Murder on the Half Shelf.

Some days a writer says, "What was I thinking trying to do this job?"  Right now I'm thinking, "I must be the luckiest person on the face of this Earth."