|My daughter, Mary, at Filoli gardens.|
Sometime last winter, I finished the third book in my Catherine Jewell mystery series, Ladies of the Garden Club, and put it aside and out of my mind for the time being. Instead I concentrated on getting the second book, Daylilies for Emily’s Garden published before Malice Domestic as well as my middle-grade book, The Sherlock Holmes Detective Club I had finished long ago, but needed attention to reformatting and a final read through.
Spring and summer are always a busy time for me. There’s the Malice Domestic Convention in May, vacations and various events like graduation open houses, picnics, wedding showers, and more get-togethers with family and friends that come up when the weather is nice. For some reason this year has had more birthday parties for all the little ones now in my extended family. Of course, for me there’s the lawn and garden work that gets overwhelming from March through October. There’s not only the mowing – and not with a riding mower – but planting, weeding and trips to garden centers to buy more plants. Then comes strawberry season, and this year my patch had more than enough to supply my love of strawberries. Later the lettuce and peas were ready to be picked followed by cucumbers, beans and blueberries. This year, however, because of one of the rainiest summers I’ve ever had, the tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables suffered so I had little freezing to do and no canning My sister living less than fifty miles south of me suffered from lack of rain, yet still had a bountiful crop. Of course, my grass and weeds, if not my veggies, thrived like never before.
|Maggie by my blueberry patch|
So any writing or writing related activities I’ve done this past spring and summer has been limited to my weekly blogs, the occasional poem, mostly started and not finished, and three short stories, plus a book signing for my second book at a local bookstore - poor neglected second child. I did have it in time for the Malice Domestic at least.
Finally, after much nagging from those who have read and enjoyed the first two books in The Catherine Jewell Mystery Series, I started my final edit of Ladies of the Garden Club toward the end of August and finished my read through making corrections and changes. Now I’m sending it three to five chapters at a time to my Guppy critique partners. I’ve also given a hard copy to a writer in my local writing group, who has been my beta reader for my other books, and I respect her opinion, and I’m sending chapters by email attachments to my sister, who is now retired from teaching. And for all those who think family can’t be trusted to be critical enough, this sister is a very critical reader. Many, but not all of the mysteries I liked and shared with her, she found faults with the writing, and her comments were astute.
One of the things surprising me in going back to this book after so much time away from it was sometimes reading scenes or even once a chapter, that I didn’t remember writing. The same is true with my critique partners, Ann and Mary. Their comments are often “I don’t remember reading this. Is it new?” And I can’t remember if it’s a revision or an addition from their first reading and editing of this book. And just like me as I reread these chapters I’d stored in the closet in my mind for so long, they’re enjoying reading it again. They know the villain, how it ends, but they’re enjoying meeting the characters again and getting reacquainted with them. They’re also chuckling at the humorous spots again. And they’re finding the little glitches – the missed quotations marks, etc.
For me the most stressful time of writing is here. Soon I’ll have all my edits received and will do that last and final edit. My granddaughter, the graphic artist who has designed all my covers, is working on this cover now. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. Hopefully, I’ll have this latest book up and out in the next month or so, and I’ll finally have copies of the Ladies of the Garden Club in my hand. Then I’ll be able to start scheduling book signings for this book and my others, too, including the anthologies I’m in.
So why is it so stressful for me? It’s because I want this book to be perfect. I know it’s not a book that will appeal to everyone. No book is, but at least I want those who have read and enjoyed my other books to enjoy this one, too. And I want it to be totally glitch free.
What stage of your writing is the most stressful for you?
If you’re not a writer, what do you find most stressful?