Sunday Smatterings

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Happy Sunday! I don't know about you, but I wouldn’t mind sitting at a table with a cup of hot cocoa and some heart-shaped cookies right about now.

It’s been a bit of a week. While in Florida, I realized I wasn’t going to make my self-imposed deadline for the new book, and that I was probably going to need to ask my editor for another couple of weeks, to boot. Why? The story had stopped. It simply stopped on me. At 80,000 words. I’d just rounded third and was getting ready to slide home, and I managed to tear a hamstring halfway down the line. (There’s always a sports analogy.) And no matter what I did, I couldn’t find a way out.

I didn’t panic. (Okay, I panicked a little). I got on the phone with my agent, told him I was in trouble, and he reassured me this happens (but not to meeeeeee, I whined) and then instructed me NOT to think about the book for a few days (ummmm…. OK.) I promised I wouldn’t. And I didn’t. I went to Hamilton, hung out with my family, took a few VERY long walks, went to the races…and realized what the problem was with the book. Amazing how altitude helps.

What I realized is that I have a POV issue. If you recall, TEAR ME APART hit a stumbling block as well, a bit past the point I’m at now. That was a tense issue. I changed to third present, rewrote 90k, and it worked wonderfully. Boom, book got done.

This one is slightly trickier, as I need to change a main character’s point of view. But I’m already almost halfway through that revision, and it’s definitely going well. Where the book stands next weekend will be the true test of the situation. That’s when I’ll be done revising the POV and back to telling the story. I hope and pray I’m going to make the end of the month for my draft, and the manuscript to my editor mid-March. We shall see.

I tell you all of this twofold: one, this is my journal of record, and I find it very helpful to look back and see where I’ve been, especially in these teeth-gnashing moments. Two, though… I’m on my 22nd book. That number in and of itself is surreal, but you’d think I’d know how to do this by now.

But I’ve never wanted to write the same kind of book twice in a row. I’m constantly trying to challenge myself (write a book about a serial killer but no blood allowed; write in a brand new genre; write in a new tense; toss out the traditional thriller structure) and sometimes, these reaches don’t go smoothly.

This situation is a perfect example of me trying something new and finding it more challenging than expected. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time left to play with, so I’m revamping both the genre and the POV to make it hurtle toward the finish line again.

Thing is, I’d rather try and screw it all up and have to back away and start over than not try something unique.

This is the only way to level up, trying new things, writing in new ways. Sometimes it works wonderfully. And sometimes…sometimes we throw up our hands, slink off to the kitchen for a PB&J and some tea, kvetch with a friend, then wipe ourselves off and march back upstairs to start again.

The one thing you can’t do is give up.

And with that, I’ll leave you to the links!


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Loved having a chance to talk about this wonderful book with the intriguing Tayari Jones in Problems And Their People for A WORD ON WORDS! Stay through the end, it was a fabulous, illuminating interview.

How To Find a Book Club, For Online and Local Clubs. There’s an option for everyone! I’ve found book clubs are what you make them – you can be as serious or a fun as you wish. One size does not fit all.

Lindsey Vonn reflects on her incredible skiing career. One of my heroes does her last interview with a black eye. What a badass! I have so enjoyed watching Lindsey ski all these years, admire her leadership and dedication and determination. We can all learn something here.

Between the Lines: Kat Martin. I will always be grateful for Kat's wonderful career/writing/life advice when I was a young pup debut author. Great author, great lady!

It’s Not Too Late to Quit Social Media: a great interview with Cal Newport. I know I bang this drum a lot, but I do believe that while you don’t have to give up entirely, especially introverts like me who like the connection without the pressure, it doesn’t have to take over your life.

Stay the Night in This Cozy 130-Year-Old Library. Wouldn’t this be incredible?? Though… 👻


Why are wine grapes picked at night? Ask Decanter. The more you know... One of my favorite things is these really cool wine blogs. I know wine can be mystifying, but there are so many neat resources out there.

Genre Fiction Is Finding a Place At Indie Bookstores. “As McKenzie Workman at Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., asked, ‘If somebody is looking for something to read, isn’t it your job to put it in their hands?’”  I’ve been so very happy with the reception my suspense novels have received from our Indies.

Creating Saturday Night Live’s Cue Cards. OK, I’ll admit, I’ve always wondered about this… cool piece.


What I’m Reading:

THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton

I’m totally grooving on this wonderfully written, atmospheric novel. It has everything I love — a country house, English setting, precocious teenager, books, detectives––and a mystery. Don’t tell me how it ends, okay???


That’s it for now. Pick out an outfit that makes you feel sassy and wear it this week, make that cup of cocoa and bake some cookies, and take a breath. It’s a good week to chill a bit. I’ll see you next Sunday.

peace and hugs,
J.T.