Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Paddy's Day Publication Update

Dear Hot/Cool Club,

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today marks the six-month anniversary of this blog. I hope both you, and our community in the making, are blessed with a little luck of the Irish and enough blarney now ‘n’ then to make us giggle.

This festive celebration feels like the perfect time for an update. At least twice a year, I’ll devote a post to my publication progress on writings in the works. I’ll always announce any major publication milestones in a separate post.

Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights, the book, is over 90 percent complete. That’s the good news. The bad news: Those final 30 pages are like trying losing the last ten pounds on a diet. I always put off the hardest part till last. I decided to set aside a few hours during Holy Week for the chapter I expect will be the most difficult to relive on paper. My husband would say I have a flair for the dramatic, even the melodramatic. At least I will be in the right atmosphere of historic and spiritual suffering. Sister Agnes Henry always said we should offer up our suffering, that we all have our crosses to bear. When will I get that woman out of my head?

This last leg of the book journey also comes at a time of increased activity, both inner and outer. If you have been reading these pages, you know already that we have lost half of our fur family in a short time span. We’ve had another death in the family and other losses.

But life goes on full blast, giving us barely enough time to get the joy in the morning promised to those who mourn. I have been back to work two days a week doing some fascinating editing work, and I won’t bore you with the rest of my litany of To Do’s. I am living proof that you cannot say baby boomer and “retire” in the same sentence with a straight face. Would we really want it any other way?

Heading the list of activities that are competing for my attention is the book launch and recent publication of
Capital Crimes: 15 Tales by Sacramento Area Authors. See the right bar next to this post for ordering information and local book signing events. Capitol Crimes is the name of my local Sisters in Crime chapter. One of these short mystery stories is mine, and you could say it’s a small appetizer—a taste of the kind of humorous cozy crime caper I like to write. Granted, it is a bit more twisted than my mystery book on the back burner.

One of the reasons I’m eager to complete my first memoir is to get back to The Crystal Ball. The plot: A do-gooder and her ex-CIA agent beau join forces to prevent murder and mayhem at a New Year’s Eve costume party. She’s president of a longevity association, and the Crystal Ball is their silver anniversary—and someone wants to steal what he believes they have that he covets, the secret of immortality.

The Crystal Ball has been finished since 1990, but as I learned more about mystery genre, I have embarked on a major rewrite. It is the beginning of a series, and I am eager to take a break from Memory Lane to visit Fantasyland. I’d like to spend time in the heads of my fictional characters for a change. I think it would be perfect to alternate between memoir and mystery. (In fact, I met an agent once who suggested it.) I like to say I write M-in-M’s for memoir, inspiration, and mystery. I think the “in” is always there, between the lines of the pages of both kinds of M. However, sometimes I write straight inspiration. You’ve seen it here.

Once I’ve got that first draft manuscript done of Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights (I’m aiming for May 1), I’ll do another round of agent and publisher queries, although I’m also open to self-publication to get it out there sooner than later. I’ll use my intuition—my hot flashes of insight!—to guide the way. I’ll be looking for the usual cosmic signs that I’m on the right path. And, of course, if you have any personal connections I should know about, do tell!

Meanwhile, thanks for your encouragement and envisioning a fabulous finished product that continues to find its audience. I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I want to get out of my life as an author. Fame and fortune is not my motivation, although I’ll accept them if cheerfully, if offered! What means the most to me is connecting with the people that will find my work helpful and entertaining, whether that’s in the hundreds, thousands, or millions. I got a taste of that fine fit in my astrological writing and hope to go there again with memoir and fiction.

Last but not least, Happy Spring! The
Vernal Equinox is the natural New Year for us in the Northern Hemisphere. What metaphorical seeds do you want to plant in your life to sprout in spring, bloom fully in summer, and harvest this autumn? Some ideas: improving a relationship, changing your diet, growing a personal quality such as compassion.

Thanks for sharing the journey,

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