Love Letter

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Writer Unboxed, one of my favorite blogs, inspired me this morning with Julia Munroe Martin’s post, Writing….Will You Be My Valentine?

Check it out for several fun and touching love letters to writing. Here’s mine:

Dear Writing,

You’re my soul mate. We’ve been together as long as I can remember. You whisper enticing stories and ideas to me that magically, and sometimes painfully (love hurts) appear on the page.

We’ve had our differences of opinion, a word here or there, a stubborn impasse, but those moments are short-lived. I can’t imagine my existence without you, and I know you wouldn’t exist without my fingertips holding a pen or tapping on a keyboard. We are one.

Forever yours,

Linda

What would your love letter to writing say?

Annual Check-up

Art by Julie Williams

Art by Julie Williams

This blog is about my writing journey, and this morning I woke up thinking about all I’d intended to create and accomplish in 2014, and didn’t.

  • An audio book for Focused on Murder
  • Letting marketing opportunities fly by
  • Blogging regularly—something I love to do, but I let other activities take precedence
  • And too many unrealized smaller intentions to list

I was disappointed in myself for a few minutes, but decided it would be more productive to look at what I’d achieved, rather than what I hadn’t.

I reviewed a few of my journals, my Facebook page and new author page, blog and new book page, and realized that 2014 was one of the best and busiest years of my life. Not only because of all the writing-related goals I reached, but the big realization—that those conferences and book panels and steps forward wouldn’t have meant nearly as much without the time spent with my family and friends and the time alone for my inner-space to grow and thrive. Worth trading a few missed goals for all those moments that make a rich and balanced life? I think so.

About those goals I didn’t accomplish?

I can do them this year. My long-term intention is to keep writing and publishing. I love my series and characters and want to keep them in my life. The second in the series is nearly ready to roll out and I know a lot of intentions will fall through the cracks in 2015, but many will come to fruition.

How’s your writing journey working out for you?

Blind Spots

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We all have them in our relationships, in how we recall incidents from our histories, and I have also learned, in our novel drafts.

Believing that I’d taken Close Up on Murder, the second in my Spirit Lake Mystery series as far as I could, I sent the draft out to my beta readers a couple of months ago, and I’m a lucky writer because each one came back to me with comments and suggestions that helped make it a stronger manuscript.

Their generous gifts of time, expertise, attention to detail and willingness to point out blind spots filled me with gratitude at the start of this new year. Their comments opened my mind to alternative ways of looking at some of the elements in my story, even though it meant going through the painful process of writing new scenes and scrapping others.

It’s been a year since Focused on Murder, the first in the series, was published and that’s also been a lesson in what readers see when they read a book. Every reader comes away with his or her own personal reactions based on their unique interests, history and temperament. Writers and readers are collaborators. That’s an exciting and liberating concept. The only control I have is in the words I choose to put on the page to communicate my vision of the story. After that, it belongs to you, the reader.

As a long-time book lover, I’ve experienced that symbiotic relationship between reader and writer countless times. Writing my own books has been more of a shift in perspective than a huge change. I continue to read as much as always, and read a little differently now because of my experiences writing my own books.

In my next post, I’ll highlight some of the interesting books I’ve read this year, and my reaction to how the writers went about constructing and telling their stories.

Happy reading and writing in 2015!

Forward! But not just yet.

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I don’t spend much time looking back. I’m too busy working through each item on my “to do” list, adding a new task as each one is completed. But this past week I’ve been circling, not quite ready to move forward.

I’d thought that after the whirlwind of October and November book panels, a book fest, speaking at the giant Bouchercon conference in Long Beach, and sending my second mystery to my beta readers, I would tackle all the marketing projects I’d put on hold. But that wasn’t working.

What I really needed to do was fill the well, and celebrate my achievements over the past two years. When Focused on Murder came out, I hardly had time to enjoy the moment because I was moving full speed ahead to promote it, and starting the second book in the series.

This week, I’m feeling grateful for the people who continue to support me, and I’m reflecting on all the times I moved through fear to do one more thing that was new and uncomfortable. It was worth it.

To those of you who might have forgotten to congratulate yourselves on your progress great and small this year, I hope you, too, will take a moment to be pleased about what you’ve accomplished.

New Book Cover!

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In Close Up on Murder, Britt’s back in Spirit Lake recharging before her next assignment in South Sudan, when two murders and a string of threats against her brother set her in action. Are they hate crimes or a long-buried act of revenge?

Coming March 2015!

I’d love to hear what you think of this draft cover for the second book in my Spirit Lake Mystery Series.