I thought it would be easy to find the time to write. It should have been, but even the best intentions can be thwarted by living your life.
That is what happened to me. I had plenty of time in the tiny village where I lived and started writing. My husband was at work, and I only had to amuse myself and a big ole yellow Lab. I had the time to focus on plot points and cliffhangers.
Then, we sold our old house and built a brand new one in the Sonoran desert. My life had complications like packing, moving, and unpacking. Add all the new distractions I acquired — activities, friends, and social gatherings, it left little time for Clare Thibodeaux’s world on the page.
Frankly, I turned my energies elsewhere for a spell. I have worked on and off again on another book Empty Chairs, Empty Promises. The new story is about Libby Crenshaw, a widow who goes on a mission to find purpose in her life after her husband’s death. (Spoiler alert: look for a cameo from another character you might know.) That is all I’m saying. The book is nearing completion, and I will post more when it is available.
Needless to say, I’m psyched to complete this new book and looking forward to working diligently on the next one. It feels good to be back.
The Gown by Jennifer Robson was one of my October book club reads. I was a little hesitant about reading another WWII historical fiction book. I had enjoyed the other books I’d read but wasn’t sure where this story would take me.
I wrongly assumed it would be a memoir about Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding to Prince Phillip, but found it to be a fascinating fictional story about the dressmakers and embroiderers who constructed the then-Princess Elizabeth’s gown.
Next on my reading list
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
This historical fiction story is set in post war England and is told through the eyes of three women. Two of them suffered the loss of loved ones during the war and struggle to make ends meet without any close family to support them financially or emotionally. Despite their different backgrounds they become friends, roommates and work closely together on the wedding gown.
The third woman’s tale begins many years after WWII. Heather is bequeathed a box from her late grandmother. Within the box are squares of tulle with delicate embroidered and beaded flowers. Heather is puzzled by the contents and the lack of any written information about the items. No one in the family has a clue what the story is behind the beautiful squares of fabric. Heather heads to England to uncover the meaning behind the keepsake.
This story of three working-class women struggling to find meaning in their lives is about friendship, sorrow and triumph. I would recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction, women’s literature and a little romance.
It might seem like social distancing, staying at home and wearing a mask would be a dream for many writers. I have more often than not referred to myself as a introvert and chilling on the couch with a good book, listening to music and binge-watching movies have all been favorite past times for me.
I take this pandemic seriously, too. When I hear doctors, nurses and paramedics tell their stories with tears in their eyes, I believe. I was a practicing nurse for over thirty years — things are bad right now. Perhaps that is why I’ve had difficulty focusing on just one thing. I flit from project to project, write sporadically, rarely post anything of my own on social media, and keep busy doing laundry and housework.
It was easier when I was walking several days a week, but I had to take a break from my daily walks due to some inflammation that wasn’t getting any better. This gave me more time to think. Only I wasn’t thinking about writing.
I decided I’d be better off if I turned off the news. It has worked for the most part. I have completed two chapter in two months. Not a lot of progress but progress all the same. I made some friends in our new neighborhood; although, social distancing has slowed down our gatherings to backyard chats across the fence (picture the TV show, Home Improvement with Tim and his neighbor, Wilson).
It’s a reminder of how I felt on 9/11 when I saw NYC, my birthplace and home of my youth, devastated but not defeated. I was transfixed by the images, and I felt the world had changed and it had. Once again, New York City is one of the worst epicenter’s of the disease thus far and I know things will change.
Mother Nature is feeling better because we have altered our patterns. We see clearer skies and waterways while the wildlife roams more freely than they have in years in our parks and wild areas. The world has had a slight pause, but not a reset. At least not yet. That will depend on all of us and how we look at our world and our lives.
I plan to think a bit more about how I live and want to live in future. My writing will become a daily respite and not a task that needs to be completed.
My world has been topsy-turvy for the past year — loss of a dear family member, placing my mother in a care center, having a total knee replacement, building a house and moving across the country. There seemed to be very little energy left to devote to writing. My life has to change.
I have a good thirty years left on this earth and my bucket list includes writing stories that entertain as long as I’m physically and mentally able. Stay safe, stay healthy my friends.
Just I started the book, Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah and am enjoying it very much. Birdie loves her home along the ocean and her children. Her husband was once the love of her life, but now something is missing. Birdie wonders if she’s the one whose missing out on life.
The author’s dreaded but inevitable challenge of the old reliable laptop deciding it’s time for retirement. Oh my goodness, talk about the drama! I knew that my lovely laptop that ushered in all three of my novels was starting to slow to such a point it was taking thirty minutes to boot.
I postponed the decision to go computer shopping. I did lament over it with comments like “I think I may need a new computer” and “I hope this laptop lasts a little longer”. The biggest challenge is reloading all of the programs I use on a regular basis.
One of those programs is my writing program. I spent a bit of change on it a few years ago and have taken it for granted that I would be able to transfer it seamlessly to the new PC. Nope, it isn’t recognizing my license number. Do I really want to buy a new program after forking over money for the new computer?
The answer is no. So, I’ve emailed the company praying they will assist me and I can return to writing my long-awaited book (although, I know I’ve kept my readers waiting too long).
The point of all of this blogging is primarily a writer’s opportunity to publicly wail and thrash around throwing words instead of physical items out there. Now, my hissy fit is finished, and I wish each and everyone of you a good day.
Actors talk about staying in character while they are in a play or movie, and how it helps them stay true to the role. I believe writers have the same dilemma when they are working on a book.
How do you get back into character when you’ve had a long break? While I’m writing, I continue to revisit my character outline and critical, pivotal moments, especially when writing a series. I don’t want the story to deviate from a particular character’s motivations and general personality. It wouldn’t make sense to have a mild-mannered individual begin swearing like a sailor and starting bar fights without reason.
I’ve been away from writing for about six months after a cross-country move and major orthopedic surgery. Life was chaotic, and I missed the daily catharsis it provided desperately. My recent move has added some distractions I haven’t had to deal with before. I’m still unpacking boxes and getting my life organized. I’m meeting new friends and have had an increase in social activities. It’s also lovely weather, and I’m spending more time outside walking the trails, swimming, and going to the gym. Plus, my husband is around the house since he retired.
Now that I’m back, I find the voice in my head is muted. I’m re-reading what I’ve written thus far to recapture my creative fire. Each day, I isolate myself after my morning walk and sit down with my laptop to make some headway. The progress is slow, but I’m hopeful that sometime soon, I will feel like writing for hours.
I’d love to hear from other writers about how they have dealt with a similar situation. Back to writing ~~ Kate
I originally wrote this short story for a Write In Weekend Challenge for WriteOn Refugees. Recently, Neoleaf Press decided to publish a “Strong Women” anthology for Mom’s Favorite Reads group. I figured this was the opportunity to expand on this particular story. My friend, author Sue A. Hart, had encouraged me to tell readers more about Elle.
My grandma used to say that ‘everyone is talented, but some people haven’t discovered their talent yet.’ Grandma was a wise woman. I don’t know if she would be proud of my new-found talent, but I’m getting ahead of myself…
My name is Elle. My dad was a fan of Elle MacPherson. What can I say? It was the 80’s, and my dad was a scumbag who left us years ago. I was as far from the supermodel type as someone can be. I’m short, plump and unremarkable. No one notices me. This fact helps me as I hone my new talent.
I discovered my new talent quite by mistake. I was minding my own business walking down the Las Vegas strip towards my hotel. I was at a conference of greeting card writers. You know — those little sayings inside of special occasion cards. In the age of the internet and social media, the greeting card business is looking for innovative opportunities to expand their market. And that is how I happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.
I was sipping on my diet soda running through some ideas for a “Happy Divorce” card, and I heard the squeal of tires. Turning, I saw a black sedan jump the curb and continue to skid in my direction.
My little stubby legs didn’t carry me very far. I stood with my mouth hanging open and my diet soda spilling onto the sidewalk awaiting my imminent death. I squeezed my eyes shut and said a quick prayer. But death never came. I cracked open one lid far enough to see the black sedan inches from me. Prayer does work! Hallelujah!
What happened next defies any rational explanations.
Two beefy guys sprang from the car; their guns were drawn. I sidled back hoping they weren’t interested in a greeting card writer.
“Stop right there, toots!” One of the behemoths rumbled in my direction. I felt the cool press of steel against my temple. Sweet Lord! I’m gonna die! In Vegas!
I don’t know what came over me, but I decided right then and there that if I were going to die, I would go out fighting. I stomped on the guy’s foot, slammed into his solar plexus with my bent elbow, and as he leaned forward gasping, I socked him in the nose with my clenched fist. Blood gushed out of his nose, and the dumbass dropped his gun right where I could grab it.
I didn’t hesitate. I put a slug into my attacker’s forehead. His friend was frozen for a second before he charged me. That second was all I needed to put gangster #2 in my sights. I hit him in the chest and the forehead. They call those “kill shots.”
I wiped my prints off the weapon with my shirt, picked up my cup (DNA, you know) and blended into the growing crowd. Remember, I said no one ever notices me. It comes in handy when you moonlight as an assassin.
I’m not in the greeting card business any longer. I’ve found my talent.