Thursday, August 17, 2017

Summer Musings

Summer is nearing the end, and it’s time to reflect.

It was a summer of travel –– my day job took me to Tampa, Fl.; Bozeman, Mt.; and Fitchburg, Mass.; vacation took me to Baxter State Park and Old Orchard Beach, Maine. I spent lots of time with my family, including the real DA Keeley (daughters Delaney, Audrey, and Keeley).

(from left) Delaney, Audrey, and Keeley
I wrote about 125 pages, not as much as I’d hoped. There have been summers where I cranked out 125 pages of rough copy in two weeks. But that meant sitting on my writing chair, behind a closed door, eight to 10 hours a day. I’m writing my current book on spec, and my oldest daughter is talking about a summer internship next year that could take her anywhere in the nation (and, thus, far away from my wife and me) Therefore, this might be the last summer with all three girls at home. So, no, I didn’t finish the book, but the end is near.

One thing I’ve most enjoyed about this new book is that I’m writing in present tense. I’ve always been intrigued by the present-tense narrative voice. Recent Type M guest blogger Naomi Hirahara is an author I enjoy. Her Ellie Rush series is told in the present, and I love the immediacy and the tension that creates. Also, I’ve taken baby steps into screenwriting, which requires present tense, so I grasp (and appreciate) the impact this unique tense has on readers and viewers. But the switch from past to present wasn’t easy. It took a long time (and three different POVs) to get the voice right (I probably wrote 100 pages no one will ever see to do so). But I’m nearing 70,000 words now, and the sun is shining.
Ann Whestone and Paula Keeney (right)

On August 12, I read and signed at Mainely Murders bookstore, in Kennebunk, Maine. It’s a must-visit, if you’re in southern Maine (and worth the drive, if you’re not). The store is everything that is great about independent booksellers. Owners Paula Keeney and Ann Whetstone retired, renovated a one-car garage to a small store with an eclectic inventory of 3,500 books, and travel widely to find new authors. They have a rock-solid loyal following. (One customer told me she routinely buys a used book from them and gives it back so they can sell it again, all part of an effort to support the store.) Above all, Keeney and Whetstone love mysteries and their writers. Whether you’re a fan or writer, I highly recommend seeking this store out.

With Audrey, one-third of the "real" DA Keeley

Signing at Mainely Murders

Now it’s time to get back to school and time to finish the book.

1 comment:

Sybil Johnson said...

Sounds like you have had a nice and productive summer. Present tense is interesting. I think I would have a hard time writing in it, but I have enjoyed books that use present tense. I remember one I read that I didn't even realize it was written in present tense until I was halfway through. To me that meant I was enjoying it so much that I didn't notice the difference.