Hello again everyone. I hope today finds you all still staying safe and healthy. As our state and country begin opening up, I worry about my family, friends, and even people I've never met. I worry that we're going to move too quickly and see a huge resurgence of this horrible virus. It has already taken so much from us-birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, losing loved ones, celebrating weddings, and even our daily routines. Let's not allow it to take more. Be vigilant, be smart, and take care out there. End of my PSA.
I thought I should give you an update from last week's blog about Pitmad, since several people have been asking. This was my first experience with this event on Twitter, and I met some amazing writers that helped me so much through the process. I received 6 hearts in all: 3 from agents and 3 from publishers. I have since queried all 3 agents and 2 of the 3 publishers (the third didn't sound like a company I wanted to be affiliated with). And now I wait. Just like any other query I've sent this could take months, so stay tuned.
Someone on Twitter (not a writer) said to me, "It must feel good to have your book done and to be finished writing." That statement pulled me up short- no pun intended. Finished writing? There is no such thing to a writer. We have multiple WIPs we are working on at any given time and at least ten more ideas for projects rattling around in our brains.
(WIP is literary speak for work in progress). I'm currently working on Book #2 of my cozy mystery series and a humorous memoir about my teaching career. I've just finished my first children's book and have started a second. I have outlines for Books 3-5 in the mystery series; and just this afternoon while Zooming with two great friends, another idea for a totally different book popped into my head. Finished writing? There is no such thing for me.
I write to tell the stories that are taking up space in my head. I write to entertain readers (well, hopefully someday soon my books will entertain). I write as a creative outlet.
I write to sometimes escape from the real world. But most importantly, I write because I am a writer. That hasn't always been comfortable for me to say. I am a writer. I've identified myself with many labels in the past: daughter, sister, aunt, wife, friend, teacher, and dogmom. Then, someone on Twitter asked, "Can you call yourself a writer if you haven't been published?"
This sparked quite a conversation in a writing group I belong to. It took hours of tweets back and forth and much debate; but I finally came away with this belief. You are a writer if you find joy in stringing words together to tell a story. You are a writer if you can imagine a story with all its details in your head and then you work to put it in print. You are a writer if you strive each day to be better at your craft. You're a writer when you have every reason to stop (no pay, it's hard, people don't get it), but you don't. You can't. You're a writer because you NEED to write. With this new understanding, I have found the courage to proudly say I AM A WRITER.
In my first cozy mystery, Jillian has labels she uses to identify herself: daughter, sister, aunt, friend, dogmom, former teacher, bookstore owner, and girlfriend. She would love to add the label "professional sleuth" to her repertoire; much to the displeasure of her family, friends, and especially Detective Ethan Harden. And there's the segue to today's teaser.
~~~ “If I think of anything else, I will be sure to let you know, Ethan. I want justice for Maggie,” said Jillian. “We’ll figure this out and solve this murder.”
“Wait, what?” What do you mean, we?” asked Ethan. “Jillian, you are not getting involved in this case. The police can take care of this. I can take care of this. You have no business getting in the middle of this mess.”
“No business? No business! This is most definitely my business,” Jillian snapped. “Maggie was my friend, and she was brutally killed right in front of my store! I’m not going to sit around doing nothing.”
“That is exactly what you are going to do,” Ethan snapped back “Nothing. The police will handle this, Jillian, with no interference from you. Do you understand me?”
“Ethan, are you threatening me?” Jillian asked crossing her arms in front of her and stepping toe to toe with him. “ We’ve known each other a long time, and I can’t believe that you’d threaten me. Becca would not appreciate the way you’re treating me right now,” she reminded him.
“I’m not threatening you. I’m trying to warn you, Jillian. The person we are looking for might have killed your friend in cold blood. They won’t hesitate to do it again if they feel threatened. You could be in danger if you get mixed up in this. Stay out of it,” warned Ethan. “Besides, Becca would never forgive me if something happened to you.”
Jillian realized what Ethan said was true, but she could never forgive herself if she sat back, did nothing, and Maggie’s case went unsolved. “Let’s make a deal,” began Jillian. “I promise to let you know if I come up with any new information, and you promise to keep me posted on any progress on the case. Deal?”
Ethan frowned. She hadn’t come out and said she was going to investigate on her own, but she hadn’t denied it either. “Why do I feel like I’m being manipulated here,” he asked her. “Jillian, if I agree to this crazy deal of yours, you have to promise me something in return.” “Promise you what?” Jillian asked.
“Promise me that you won’t do anything dangerous or stupid,” Ethan urged.
“In all the years we’ve been friends, have you ever known me to do anything dangerous or stupid, Ethan? You have a deal,” agreed Jillian. She hugged him and gave him a sisterly kiss on his cheek.
“Now, you get out there and find the car that killed Maggie, and I’ll get busy making my new bookstore a huge success!” Jillian smiled sweetly and practically pushed him out the front door as a few customers came in.
As Ethan walked out to his car, he realized the flaw in the deal he’d just made with Jillian. He’d promised to keep her updated on the case, but she’d never come out and promised not to do anything dangerous or stupid. Ethan had a really bad feeling about this.~~~
Ethan and Jillian have quite the interesting relationship, don't they? And I haven't even mentioned yet that Ethan is her best friend Becca's husband! That little wrinkle makes things even more interesting for everyone! Keep coming back for more excerpts from "Murder by the Books".
Real life is now encroaching upon my blogging time, and I have to go fix dinner for two hungry men and a sweet, little dog. I hope you'll leave me a comment, and keep coming back to find out more about my writing and my journey to the bookshelf.
Until next time,