With the advent of each New Year and a fresh new calendar, I reflect back over achievements, disappointments, or goals I set and procrastinated about. This year, two achievements stand out: I received a contract for Sour Grapes, the second book in my Shakespeare in the Vineyard mystery series. It will come out in 2014. I also managed to hike the Pinnacles for the third time. It gets harder with each passing year.
My readers always want to know how long I’ve been writing, so I thought this might be a good place to reflect back thirteen years to when it started. That’s peanuts to those who have been writing all their lives, but better late than never. I’ve always read, mostly comic books as a kid, but still about places I wanted to be, some fantasyland where the world appeared perfect.
When I retired from Sandia National Labs in 1998, and then again in 2000 as a DOE contractor, murder never entered my mind except in the mysteries I loved to read. I attended Penny Warner’s book signing, later joined her critique group, and wrote my first novel set on Martha’s Vineyard. Updating that book and hopefully seeing it in print one day, is one of my goals for 2014. When I started writing, I struggled to perfect my work before showing it to my critique group, Which now I realize was a mistake. Just write it and edit it later. Typing “The End” on a piece of work you’ve written, is a great achievement. Never let anyone tell you you lack the skills to write a novel.
This past November, my library offered a host of support services for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it’s known. It was jump-started with a kick-off on October 30. I was part of the panel with three other authors. We discussed how to get started on a novel and how to weather the ups and downs of the creative writing process. In the audience was a young boy (he was 12) who shared a negative response he’d received during class from his teacher. He was told he would never be a writer and that he should find another passion. Yet there he was, willing to devote time to write a book in one month.
I have more ideas for my mystery series and a few short stories waiting in the wings to be written. Here are a few quotes I’d like to share:
“And since you know you cannot see yourself,
so as by reflection, I, your glass,
will modestly discover to yourself,
that of yourself which you yet know not of.”
—William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
“One of the saddest things in life, is the things one remembers.”
― Agatha Christie
HAPPY NEW YEAR!