A Writer’s Distractions

DistractionsFrom the day in March when I learned that Tim and I were going to become grandparents … through the turmoil of keeping our townhouse “show-ready” and searching for a new home, essentially erasing any thought of relaxation throughout the summer and early fall … and then the eventual need to acknowledge that not one but both of my writers’ groups were no longer viable … well, much of this year has been one long series of writer’s distractions.

Not that there haven’t been moments of surprise and delight and pure joy along the way. My brother and his family came to spend a real old-fashioned Fourth of July with us here in Bar Harbor — the first of my four siblings to visit. At a local conference last month, I had the opportunity to meet up with a bunch of writer friends I hadn’t seen since the last conference almost a year ago. There I also made a couple of new friends who were looking for a group of kindred spirits with whom to gather regularly to discuss their work, and we have already enjoyed our first rendezvous. Even the house-hunting process delivered a happy accident: after losing out on a house we thought was perfect, we have now designed an even better version of that home to be built for us on a positively gorgeous piece of property. And the buyers of our current home have agreed to allow us to stay on as tenants through the spring, until our new place is ready.

And somehow, at last, it is November.

Our granddaughter is poised to enter this world and inject such joy into our lives that none of us will ever be able to remember what life was like before her arrival.

The fun and exciting task of selecting the finishes for a brand new home is about to begin.

With the Halloween decorations already giving way to red and green and glitter, we are staring down the barrel at Holiday Madness 2016.

Did I say this writer’s distractions were over? Oh no, not by a long shot, my friend.

So how is it that I’m actually contemplating participation in NaNoWriMo amidst this craziness?

The truth, I now know without any doubt, is that a writer’s distractions are not temporary. They are ongoing and continuous, like waves lapping over one another in their race to reach the shore.

There will always be something: babies turn to toddlers, they have birthdays, they learn to walk, then run, then dance. There’s always something to work on in a house, new or otherwise. There will be joys and sorrows and days when it feels like too much effort to make it any farther than the coffeemaker. But I’m a writer. What can I do but push fearlessly, relentlessly against the incoming tide of distractions-without-end and just write?

So, to November … and getting back to being a writer again! cheers



Meeting Hallie Ephron

Hallie Ephron Signed Book

My signed copy of Hallie Ephron’s “Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel”

What a fantastic weekend!

New England Crime Bake was, in a word, inspirational. The workshops, the instructors, the camaraderie … fantastic. And all that fretting about meeting Hallie Ephron? Pfft! Hallie was nothing short of friendly, down-to-earth, and incredibly helpful. I will forever be grateful to her.

Hallie’s critique of the first 15 pages of my book exceeded every expectation I might have had. I could immediately see how her thoughtful insights were going to positively impact the entire story. The time and effort she obviously put into her review completely blew me away. I mean, the woman is a teensy bit busy, what with her writing career, writing book reviews for the Boston Globe, teaching the craft of writing, attending book signings, participating in panel discussions and workshops with other authors, and on and on. And yet, with all that, she couldn’t have been any nicer or more accessible to this as-yet-unpublished writer.

Now that it’s all over, I suppose I can confess: (more…)

On the Eve of New England Crime Bake

New England Crime BakeHere I sit, on the eve of New England Crime Bake, only the second writers’ conference I will have attended in my brief tenure as a full-time writer. Or as a writer of any kind. And, frankly, I’m a little … unnerved.

I like to think of myself as a Fearless Writer of Mystery Fiction. And that I am. I will write beyond the self-erected walls within which I find my comfort zone. Where I write, there are guns and blood and sinister things of all kinds jumping out of dark, scary places. There are people my protagonist willingly engages that I would run fast and far away from, were I to encounter them even in daylight. I know I’m on the right track if my own heart rate speeds up while writing the scenes I mean to be nerve-wracking.

So why is it that the thought of having a famous author read and critique the first 15 pages of my work-in-progress positively freaks me out? (more…)