I used to be quite organized in my thinking process. I’m good at working things through in my mind, and I think that’s one reason the book writing has gone so well without an outline. My mind just keeps things in their place, which I’m finding is especially valuable when you’re losing your eyesight. However, in trying to keep things straight in rewriting book four in the Sam Osborne, I’m completely mixed up. I finished the first draft without any difficulty, then decided I needed more about my villain so I wrote a few extra chapters to insert into the plot. The trouble is I can’t find the chapters I think those inserts should go around. Old age probably plays a part.
But it would be much easier if I could just run out printed versions of the chapters. That requires a lot of wasted paper and ink, which probably won’t do me much good anyway―my eyesight makes it difficult to read any printed letters. Now when I write, I have to struggle with listening to what I’ve typed being read back to me. Without a printed copy, my mind seems to be befuddled. I also have to admit, rewriting is not as fun as writing the first draft.
Meanwhile, I’ve allowed my creative brain to start thinking about a theme for a new book of short stories. Those of you who have kept up with what Genilee and I are doing know that, while going crazy waiting for book two (Wretched Fate, which is due out any day now) to come out, I finalized and Genilee edited a book of stories
based on the holidays of the year. I so much enjoyed working on those stories that I’m ready to tackle a new series. While I love detective Sam Osborne and what we’ve done with his books, it was wonderful to take a break from him and come up with what was really my fifth book, Letting Life Flow. I took each of the year’s most celebrated holidays and wrote a different kind of story, using different points of view and tones and different types of plots (love story, mystery, sentimental), which made the writing process even more fun. Both Genilee and I are pleased with result. And I can’t begin to tell you how pleased we are that we’ve already got a publisher who is interested in putting out the book by next summer, and has already talked to us about ideas for illustrations and a possible joint launch with one of my daughter Allyn’s children’s books. It certainly is exciting to have someone come to us to offer their backing. I’ll write more about this new book and our stories as developments happen. In the meantime, I’m allowing my befuddled mind breaks from trying to organize book four of the Sam Osborne series by coming up with ideas for what will be my sixth book—more short stories.
Meanwhile, Genilee and I continue our quest to get the word out about our writing. One of our most rece
nt speaking engagements was both a challenge and a thrill. We talked before a large group of senior citizens—the First Choice club—which is an interdenominational group that meets once a month in Woodbridge. It was both exciting and scary to talk in front of a group of about 80 men and women. The excitement won out once we got started speaking about why we write, how we collaborate, etc. The group made us feel very important through their receptiveness and their very good questions, and we came away inspired and proud to be doing what we do. This week, we have a signing and smaller talk at Fairmont retirement community in a new location for us, Manassas, VA.
The speaking engagements we’ve had have been a real surprise to both Genilee and I. Neither of us had done much speaking before writing these books. Getting up in front of a group of people to share your life’s passion has been great for both of us. People really do think it’s wonderful that we are pursuing our life’s passion so late in life.
At the same time, we are going through the inevitable waiting game. Wretched Fate is ready to come out and the most recent launch date we’ve been given is Nov. 4. We are anxious to get the book out and begin marketing it alongside Twist of Fate, and we hope to have time to do that before the holidays. We’ve learned, however, that there are many things that get in the way of our plans.
Emotional ups and downs seem to be life of a writer. But at least we know one thing for sure (as evidenced by the new publishing possibility): we’re heading in the right direction.–F. Sharon Swope