In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Friendship, Books, and the Delights of Writers' Community

As any "pro" book reviewer will tell you, you're "not supposed to" be friends with the person whose book you're reviewing. On the other hand, as most mystery authors today will confirm, it's a small world out there for authors who choose to support each other ... so, sooner or later, you're going to be acquainted. My own revised guideline is: Speak the truth, for the reader, and it will be OK.

The connections among authors mean more than just talking about each other's books. They reassure deeply as we all reach the same challenges in the Writing Life: how to be a loving family member while reserving time to put pen (or computer) to paper; how to best credit those who contribute to the work; how to promote work without sounding like a puffed-up peacock; how to surf the changing marketplace without selling one's soul. These friendships matter intensely.

This spring I reviewed the new and fascinating Pennsylvania Dutch historical mystery by Charles Fergus with much pleasure -- he lives about 10 miles from here and I'm slowly getting acquainted, more so with the books than the person (he's as private as most of us writers are, and his use of a trauma of his own life in the new mystery is a courageous risk to take, and one that paid off in making the book really good). Here's the cover, along with the review:

But Charles (Chuck to friends) has the honor of launching TWO books this year, in totally separate genres. To keep things honorable, I purchased a copy of his other 2019 book, MAKING A HOME FOR WILDLIFE, and have it in one of my reading "corners" of this place, so I can enjoy it and absorb the information. But, life being what it is, I haven't made time to review it. So it was a delight to see this review this morning by Gary Moore, who writes knowledgeably on outdoor topics for our regional paper The Caledonian-Record. It solves my quandary of how to handle reviewing this nifty title, while also letting me tip my hat to both Charles Fergus and Gary Moore. Nicely done, friends!

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