Between Books

About ten days ago, I finished a Jeri Howard novel. It’s called Cold Trail, and the book will be published by Perseverance Press in the spring of 2015. The next novel I write will be another California Zephyr mystery, featuring Zephyrette Jill McLeod. That one will be called Death Deals a Hand.

Other than writing a synopsis, I haven’t started the next book yet.

I’m at that between-books stage. I’ve been doing what my father called puttering.

To putter is to “occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant manner, doing a number of small tasks or not concentrating on anything particular.”

So I’ve been puttering.

I’ve worked in my garden, gone birding with a friend, ridden my bike and walked along the beach here in Alameda. I’ve made a carrot cake and I’ve gone to lunch and dinner with other friends. I’ve thought about an upcoming camping trip, and I’ve spent several pleasant hours relaxing on the patio with a book and a big mug of iced tea.

I’ve also avoided cleaning my office, which is currently more of a mess than it usually is. When I’m finishing a book, I tend to shove things to one side and write, regardless of the clutter. And the clutter has taken over.

I expect I will start the new book soon, probably this week. Writing is what I do, and now that I’ve retired from my day job, this is my day job.

I have, however, enjoyed taking this break from writing novels. In addition to some wonderful puttering, I’ve accomplished some of the business-of-writing things that had to wait until I finished the latest manuscript.

Among these was uploading new e-book covers for the Jeri Howard backlist and discussing updates to my website with Sue Trowbridge who, in addition to working on my website and the Perseverance Press website, also designed those e-book covers. I also had a chat with another author about audio books. I’m writing blog posts, including this one, and thinking about finishing a short story I started a few months ago.

So here I sit at the computer, making “To Do” lists and checking off items. Every now and then I glance around my office, seeing things that need to be done – going through files, purging old material and filing new, replacing a printer cartridge.

The iced tea and the book beckon. So does the new novel. I can feel it working its way around my brain, ready to get out.


5 Responses

  1. Your day sounds like mine. Since I retired in June, every morning begins as a celebration for not having to get up at O dark thirty to write before work, or missing the loveliness of another spring day because of work…. I could go on, but you covered some wonderful possibilities. The problem is, without the structures of the work day, I need to stop goofing off, set a writing schedule, and keep it. But, my zucchini has blossomed, the tomatoes need tying up, there are new roads to explore. Sigh.

    • Wendy: It still feels new, doesn’t it? After 30-+ years of getting up so early to write before going to work, it feels wonderful to wake up when I wake up naturally and read my morning newspaper before rolling out the day the way I want to. I have a schedule of sorts but enjoy being able to deviate from it when the mood strikes. I used to write as soon as I was finished with the newspaper, but now I’m experimenting with doing my exercise in the morning, then writing. It’s cooler in the morning and less traffic on the road when I ride my bicycle.

  2. It does feel new. Now I can get up when I want to, and write when I want to, and both those enterprises happen AFTER dawn.

  3. Oh, my, I do so envy you. I can’t think of another book idea to save my withered soul, and I’m too crippled to putter. Blech. I want a new body. But it sounds like you’re doing great!

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