I rarely mention reviews for any of my books. One writes the story and then kisses it on the forehead before tipping it out of the nest and that’s it. (Yes, metaphor mix-up there!)
But Passage was a step way out of my comfort-zone.
Passage has been launched for a month now and has accrued some nice reviews on Amazon both in the UK and the USA which has made that little journey worthwhile.
But one feels a certain amount of tiredness after getting a book out there these days. In the past, I have to say I would literally start writing the next book the day after the last one was released! But not so this time…
Perhaps I’m getting old.
But more likely, me being me with a well-known track record of dalliance and delay, I’m just shirking.
Some days are just like that, aren’t they?
A bit like Christmas and birthdays?
Today was one such.
I love Fridays because I go to my embroidery group, and it’s a forerunner to the weekend – no busy-ness, no appointments, just a kind of ‘aaahhh’ day.
But this Friday was a little bit extra-special.
I’m well known for scanning the internet for interesting faces for my novels. I then scour that face for expression and detail.
If it’s an actor, I’ll seek out a couple of Youtube clips/movies/TV appearances and watch their movement, the way they express themselves, the way they vocalise.
I need to be dressed to have a good go at my day. Unlike some writers, who seem to be able to function well all day in a pair of pyjamas, I’d feel as if I should be in bed, reading good fiction. And along with clothes, makeup and hair are de rigeur. For me it sets the scene for the day. It wakes me up and makes me feel better –therefore I’m more likely to write more smoothly. As long as…
…I have that first cup of tea for the day at about 10. It’s like being at the starting gates. I have a herbal tea and usually a sweet biscuit of some sort or other. It gives me a very gentle sugar hit. The tea settles my mind and body. I should be set to go…
…Except for the dog. He’s what we would call at the dog’s home at which I used to volunteer, a ‘T-dog’, meaning ‘Toilet-Dog’. It means he won’t soil his yard and must be walked in order to have his morning wee and poo. Would you let your dog sit with a pain in the belly whilst you write a book? Of course you wouldn’t.
So we go for a lovely walk to a park, a beach – wherever. He’s vastly relieved when we get home, I can tell you! And I can switch on my computer, locate the WIP, open that and…
…But wait! I forgot to see how everyone is this morning. Just quickly. Won’t take a minute and who knows what helpful links I might find. Oh look! There’s an email just popped up from the designer…
…with a mock-up for the cover for the new book. I look for additional images, we talk via email. As I walk to the kitchen to make another cup of tea with dog at my heels, my foot hurts, as it often does. So…
… I try on other shoes and fit new padding onto flexi-sole from the Sports Medicine specialist…
… and walk back to the computer. That feels better.
I begin to read what I wrote 3 days ago, getting back into the narrative, changing a word here, a comma there. And suddenly, after what seems like hours of self-inflicted delay, I’m away! But wait…
Unless I’m swimming in the ocean or in an air-conditioned house, I’m done like a dinner!
I used to lie under the trees with the dog but at 30+ Celsius every day, forget it.
So what does one do when one doesn’t want to be outside?
There’s always writing. Always. Annie sneaks in at odd hours when the muse tickles my fancy. I write at the beach, on the window seat, in the chair in the sunroom under the air-conditioning and in bed at night.
In addition, a writer’s office work is never done – I must update my tax information!
There’s also reading.
I bought English gardening magazines today because it’s too hot for me to play in my own garden and I can lust after frost-rimed and snow-trimmed gardens. I can feel the chill, revel in it!
Maybe not the Arctic Vortex that’s hitting America at the moment. That’s a step too far. But a cool change would be rather nice.
I noticed today that some of the poplars on the highway are a limp smoky amber. Way too early for autumn but there has been no rain since Oct-Nov and weeks of super-hot days, so it’s no wonder. Even our garden willows are shedding and some branches are turning a sickly yellow. The sky is tinged with the ever-present smoke, so everything looks like a prequel to Dante’s Inferno.
But back inside – there’s always embroidery.
A needle, some woollen or silk thread, some linen fabric.
Always something challenging and fascinating to stitch. New stitches, different designs. Spreading the wings a little.
Tomorrow it’s supposed to be 32 degrees. A swim is de rigeur. And then, when I’m moderately cooler, I’m going to sit and chat with Annie. Who knows where that will take us?
April’s coming? The last month of the first quarter of the year?
I have to look back and ask: is there accomplishment in the last almost four months?
Well, yes. I’ve almost finished Michael, despite the hurdles that are being thrown my way.