When I quit my day job to write more or less full-time, I expected to be able to speed up my publication schedule. I worked frantically to finish A Corpse in the Chapel, launch it, and promote it, so I could go on to the next novel. But then, I had the bright idea to publish a short story collection for Halloween release (Cozy Campfire Shorts), giving myself a very short deadline, but still thinking once it was out I could get on with the next book. I released it on schedule, but then decided to write a collection of Christmas-themed short stories (Cozy Christmas Sweets) for release that same November.
Mission accomplished. However, all those long hours at the keyboard resulted in tendinitis in my shoulder and a full-on creative crash. For weeks I had to force myself to the computer, where I would do the minimum daily requirement of book promotions, keep up my blogging schedule and tap out. My work in progress was making no progress. Something had to give.
I’ve eased up on the promotions and have decided to back off this weekly author blog, as well, to allow my creative energy to recharge.
I will continue my weekly inspirational blog, Power Walking with Jonna, which I’ve been writing since 2008, and writing posts for My Trending Stories, but this author blog will become more random, at least until my current project, Mrs. Thistlethwaite and the Magpie, is complete.
Before I abandon you, here’s a snippet from Mrs. Thistlethwaite to whet your appetite for the finished product (targeted for late spring publication):
[This is a scene where the two octogenarians, Mrs. Thistlethwaite and her good friend, Slim Bottoms, prepare to follow the young man Tillie suspects is responsible for the disappearance of the grandniece of one of her friends.]
Slim picked Tillie up early the next morning to begin their surveillance of the suspected kidnapper.
He smiled to see Tillie dressed for serious detective work with a black trench coat cinched around her ample middle.
“Whatcha got there?” Slim asked as she slid a large hamper onto the backseat.
“Stake-out Supplies, of course,” she replied, getting into the front passenger seat and clicking her seat belt. “We need drinks and snacks to keep us alert, after all. This could be a long day.”
Slim nodded, starting up the car for the drive to the suspect’s neighborhood.
“I hope it doesn’t take too long, though,” Tillie said after they’d traveled a few blocks.
“Why’s that?” Slim asked.
“I have a bagpipe lesson this evening. It’s only my second lesson and I’d hate to miss it.”
“Bagpipe!” Slim cried, coming to a sudden stop in the middle of the road, before quickly recovering, checking the rear view mirror, and resuming the car’s pace.
“Why would you ever want to learn to play the bagpipes?” he asked.
“To keep my mind agile, of course. The more types of skill a person can learn, the longer their mind will stay sharp. You know all about my regimen of cerebral calisthenics. As I’ve told you more than once, I must keep adding to the variety. If you can’t even remember that, I think you should join me for some of my classes.”
“Oh, right. Sorry. It must have slipped my mind,” Slim said, rolling his eyes. “The house is on the next block. Where do you want to set up our stake out?”
“Just behind the motor home parked catty corner across the street, I think. That big rhododendron bush hanging over the sidewalk will help to camouflage us, too. For once, the hideous mottled green paint job on your car will serve a purpose.”
“Now, no slurs about ol’ Betsy. You mustn’t hurt her feelings. She gets us around just fine,” Slim said, patting the dashboard with affection. “Let’s see what goodies you’ve got in that hamper.”
Tillie unfastened her seat belt and got up onto her knees to reach over the seat into the hamper.
She leaned a bit too far, and Slim began to laugh at the sight of Tillie’s short, chubby legs kicking to prevent her precipitous decent into the back. He caught her around the waist and pulled her upright.
“I thought I’d lost you for a minute there,” he laughed.
Tillie gave him a sheepish glance before straightening her clothes and holding up a plastic container.
“I baked some of those granola cookies you like,” she said, pulling off the lid.
“All right!” Slim said, putting the container on the seat between them and taking a cookie.
“I’ve got apples and carrot sticks, too, and a thermos of coffee. There are sandwiches for our lunch, later.”
“You’d better let me get the other things when we’re ready for them,” Slim said.
Tillie pulled a large pair of binoculars from her tote bag, slipped them over her head, and began to scan the street, trying to get a clear focus.
“See anything interesting?” Slim asked around a mouthful of chewy oats, nuts and raisins.
“I can’t get these silly things to focus,” Tillie complained, handing the field glasses to Slim.
He lifted them to his eyes and Tillie, who still had the strap around her neck, was pulled against him, knocking the cookies off the seat. Slim lunged to save the cookies and the two friends banged heads and slid off the car’s bench seat, coming to rest entangled in the binocular strap and covered in cookie crumbs.
They laughed as they pulled themselves back onto the seat.
“We are quite a pair of sleuths, Tillie my girl,” Slim chuckled, gathering up the larger pieces of cookie.
“I don’t need these silly things, anyway,” she said, pulling the strap over her head.
She looked out toward the street and came to attention.
“Slim! There he is! He’s on the move. Follow him,” she urged.
“Okay, okay. Calm down. We’ve got to take it easy and stay back. He’s on foot, so he isn’t about to get away from us.”
The two amateur detectives buckled up, Slim started the car’s engine and the chase was on.