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Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Karen Borelli.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Coming and Going

One of the “problems” I did not foresee when I took up writing is living in multiple stories at the same time. All fiction writers, perforce, must live in the world they are creating on the page and the actual world. (Although some use alcohol and drugs to try to avoid the actual world.) I understood and had no problems with that phenomenon. The issue I’m currently dealing with is more complex, and I can only imagine what happens to writers with multiple series.

Bad Policy had its debut March of this year. That is the story readers are currently enjoying. When I talk to people, or participate in panels at conferences or in author events at bookstores, it is the Bad Policy story people want to talk about.

My proposed book cover
let me know if you like it
Cabin Fever is being edited. This week I worked through the second set of issues my editor wanted me to address. For much of this week I have been honing the writing of this second book. I enjoy that process because the end result is a stronger book. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is the setting for this story (which fits with my current real world experience). However the story is set in winter, which is a bit difficult to imagine as the temperatures hover in the high eighties. As I write this, I am taking time out from the final read-through before I send Cabin Fever back to the editor for round three.

So here I am in three worlds: the real world in which I am trying to live, story one that readers want to talk about, and story two that has some of the same characters as story one, but a different locale.

But wait! There’s more!

I am 50,000+ words into the first draft of story three, which I am calling Doubtful Relations. Same protagonist and many characters from Bad Policy re-appear. This story starts in Cincinnati and moves to Savannah and is set in late spring. At least summer weather in the U.P is not dissimilar to spring weather in Savannah.

Real world, story one, story two, and story three to keep straight.

The main character, Seamus McCree, changes as the stories progress. One of the difficulties for me is making sure the changes in book three don’t leak into book two during the editing. Another difficulty for me is that readers of Bad Policy know that story much better than I do. They’ve just read it and my last read was shortly before its publication when I read the final galley proofs. I’m starting to forget minor character names, or refer to them by early versions of their names, forgetting they changed somewhere along the way.

This is when the time I spent entering all of my stories’ characters, locales, businesses, and such into spreadsheets really helps me keep on top of who’s who. I even use a red font for characters now deceased. The more I write, the more red font gets used.

I’ve always been a bit squirrely, but these parallel universes are not making it easier on me. Am I unique, or do other writers have the same problem? And readers, do you ever talk to an author and wonder if you don’t know their worlds better than they do?


~ Jim

11 comments:

KM said...

I have the same problem, Jim. Right now the 4th Jesse Damon crime novel, Sendoff for a Snitch, is due out August 24th & is in for line editing. And I'm deep in the midst of the 5th, Brothers in Crime. My living room has boxes of the first three, which are the ones people want to discuss. Now, in which book was it that Jesse's parole officer threatened to put him back on an ankle monitor, this one a GPS device?

I'm giving thought to whether I want to go on with that series immediately (I think I want to give it a break & work on another series, of which I have a rough draft of the first, Murder Moves In) but in the meantime I'm collecting information and making notes about a possible 6th. One of my friends, who is a great source of information & fact checking(he's on parole after spending 30 years in prison for a murder conviction from when he was 17) making me a photocopy of the records of his court dealings since his parole and that's just full of things to use in another Jesse book.

Add that to the fact that I have to go back to work on August 19th (I teach special education at an alternative school)& I wasn't careful enough telling my daughter when to plan our vacation, so we are going to be leaving Paris on the 18th & keeping my fingers crossed that we don't hit delays.

Too many worlds to deal with. And very often the "real" world, the one with the laundry and the lawn mowing and the empty pantry shelves, isn't nearly so real to me as the worlds I've invented.

But I love it & I wouldn't trade it for a less complicated life (well, maybe I could retire from the teaching part.)

Anonymous said...

I guess the recent UP weather changes have been helpful to Cabin Fever! Highs in the fifties means that even we're wearing jackets and fleeces,

bookspersonally said...

Interesting - as readers we often forget that by the time we are delving into a book the author has already moved on to something new ... But sounds like a pretty good problem gor a writer to have! :D

Shari Randall said...

Thumbs up on the cover - and thanks for this post - I think I've got to start a spreadsheet!
KM - I hope you have a wonderful time in Paris - no delays on the way back.

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, now I understand when I meet an author at Malice, or elsewhere, and want to talk about their first book, I get a little bit of a "deer in the headlights" look. Now that I have two out and am on the final edit of book three, when readers want to talk about something in particular, I have to search through my brain mass to remember what they're talking about or fake it if I don't, especially if they're not specific. Sometimes, because I need to put in a little back story for those who haven't read the first book, or the second, I wonder if I've already included the same back story earlier in the 3rd.

But I agree with KIM and bookspersonality, it's a good problem to have.

E. B. Davis said...

I love the new cover, Jim. It is very appropriate.

I wish I had your problems. That's trite because I can identify, but still working on the sequels sounds like a dream come true. Keep up the good work!

James Montgomery Jackson said...

KM - Your life makes mine seem luxuriously simple & happy travels.

Anon - yep, worries about being too hot in the UP are temporarily on hold (although I'm actually in Madison, WI having attended at book signing at Mystery to Me and then played in a bridge tournament that just ended.)

Bookpersonality - I am certainly not complaining about the problem, just noting its existence.

Shari - thanks for the thumbs up on the cover; we'll see if the publisher agrees with you.

Gloria - yep, you're ahead of me in this one (and we both can take lessons from KM).

~ Jim

Kara Cerise said...

Great cover, Jim.

I read an article about writers of a long running television series (I forgot the name) who couldn’t keep their characters and storylines straight. They had to hire a fan who remembered everything to sort it out for them.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Cara,

I love that a writer had to hire a fan to keep track of one of the writer's worlds.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

People ask about what is published while my head is full of my WIP

Sarah Henning said...

Love the cover, Jim! And love this post because it's so true, even with just CPs and beta readers in my case.