Saturday, November 10, 2018


Vicki Writing (not exactly as shown)
By Vicki Delany

The topic the week seems to be concentration. How do we concentrate in a busy always-on-demand always-connected world?

For what it’s worth, this is what works (most of the time) for me.

I am a highly disorganized person. I write three books a year. So in my writing life, I have to be highly organized.

As part of that, I have a separate notebook computer devoted to writing books and only to writing books. I’ve never set up mail or Facebook or anything other than Word. I use Dropbox for backups and moving documents between computers, so the notebook has to be connected to the Internet but as long as nothing else is set up, I can’t access it. I don’t do any of the business-related part of writing (Facebook posts, writing blog posts or essays etc. etc.) on it. Just write the darn book.

The notebook is kept in a separate room from my main computer and my iPad. In the summer, I take it out on the back deck to write, and the rest of the year I place it on the half-wall between the kitchen and the dining room. And there I write on it. Standing up.

Aside from the fact that I have found I like standing up for 4 – 5 hours a day, I believe it helps the creative process too. When I’m stuck – for that second of what’s been called ‘creative time’ - I walk around the room, or look out the window. I don’t open Facebook to see what’s going on in the world (I probably don’t want to know).

That seems to works me.

And thus I can write three books (sometimes more) a year. Including A SCANDAL IN SCARLET which will be released on Tuesday.

Walking her dog Violet late one night, Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, acts quickly when she smells smoke outside the West London Museum. Fortunately no one is inside, but it’s too late to save the museum’s priceless collection of furniture, and damage to the historic house is extensive. Baker Street’s shop owners come together to hold an afternoon auction tea to raise funds to rebuild, and Great Uncle Arthur Doyle offers a signed first edition of The Valley of Fear.

Cape Cod’s cognoscenti files into Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, owned by Gemma’s best friend, Jayne Wilson. Excitement fills the air (along with the aromas of Jayne’s delightful scones, of course). But the auction never happens. Before the gavel can fall, museum board chair Kathy Lamb is found dead in the back room. Wrapped tightly around her neck is a long rope of decorative knotted tea cups―a gift item that Jayne sells at Mrs. Hudson’s. Gemma’s boyfriend in blue, Ryan Ashburton, arrives on the scene with Detective Louise Estrada. But the suspect list is long, and the case far from elementary. Does Kathy’s killing have any relation to a mysterious death of seven years ago?

Gemma has no intention of getting involved in the investigation, but when fellow shopkeeper Maureen finds herself the prime suspect she begs Gemma for her help. Ryan knows Gemma’s methods and he isn’t happy when she gets entangled in another mystery. But with so many suspects and so few clues, her deductive prowess will prove invaluable in A Scandal in Scarlet, Vicki Delany’s shrewdly plotted fourth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.

PS. Did you know I sent out a newsletter every quarter? I talk about my books and my travels and anything else that strikes my fancy. This quarter I've started a new feature called Vicki's Book Club. If you'd like to be on the list, please send me your email address. I'm at vicki at vickidelany dot com.
You know the drill!

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