Spring in Progress: April 2023 Newsletter

Before I get into giving a report on my current Work-in-Progress, I want to say that I love spring. It’s my favorite season. A neighbor’s blooming magnolia butterflies tree is just one reason why. (A Facebook friend called this image “sunshine on a stick.”)

WiP Report: “I feel like you have been working on Death in Shining Armor almost since I’ve known you,” my good friend Gail F said recently. This sounds about right. I first met her in a creative writing class I taught in the fall of 1991 and I had a draft of this book in an earlier version to take to Bouchercon in October 1993. (I’ve even blogged about this project before in a newsletter called “My Once and Future Novel.”)

I love spring for its surprises. One recent morning I looked out my kitchen window and saw that the crab apple tree behind the house had burst into bloom overnight.

WiP Report: I’m really happy with my take on the book this time. You see, this time I took some of the advice I give in Novel Basics: An Illustrated Guide to Writing a Novel and asked the question, “What if?”

Not all of spring’s surprises are pleasant though, like the pea-sized hail we had recently. (The flecks of color that look like pink snowflakes mixed with the hail came from the crab apple tree.)

WiP Report: Specifically, I asked myself the question what if my protagonist Vanessa Mathison, aka Van the Potter at a Renaissance Festival sort of thing, speaks directly to the reader in first person (“Startled, I dropped my basket filled with new cups”) instead of third (Startled, Van dropped her basket . . .”)? When I did that, Van came alive in ways she hadn’t before and she started talking to me.

I love spring because my favorites return. For instance, the other day when I saw the flailing and flaring of chestnut wings and tail feathers on the feeder in the back year, I realized the Brown Thrasher had come back. And oh, I see two of them now browsing around the bird food fallen from the feeders over the patio. You know what that means . . .

WiP Report: I also changed Van’s age from mid-twenties to thirty-nine and gave her a kid, an ex-husband, and the  goal that drove a big part of my life: to have a career as a college professor. I was thirty-nine the year I began teaching at the college where I taught for twenty-five years. This helped me identify with the protagonist of this novel.

Another delight of spring is the Pink Moon. I’m considering using part of this image on the cover of Death in Shining Armor. It’s really pretty blurry though. What do you think?

WiP Report: Along with those changes came some realizations. 1) I should now call the book an academic murder mystery since Van works in a registrar’s office as did I before I went back to school to become a college professor. 2) And since that might take Van quite a while due to life’s little interruptions as it did me, Death in Shining Armor might be Book 1 of a series instead of a standalone. But we’ll see.

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I am very happy to announce that most of my novels, collections, and short stories in both the Calendar Mystery series and Cinderella, P. I. series plus the expanded version of Novel Basics: An Illustrated Guide to Writing a Novel currently are available from several different retailers and services including the following:

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/2z9z3b2y

Apple Books: https://tinyurl.com/57k5d6dj

Barnes and Noble: https://tinyurl.com/43x5fa7n

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/hpn5dp8b

Smashwords: https://tinyurl.com/yc3hkfye

My books including the expanded edition of Novel Basics are available in paperback from Amazon.com.

New for Juliet: February 2023 Newsletter

What’s new at our house includes the air fryer my daughter Jess bought me for a surprise Valentine’s Day present.

It turns out that it’s requiring lots more thought than I expected it to including where to put it. In fact, even that was a problem given the lay-out of our kitchen in our house built in the late 1940’s and added onto sometime before 1960 before the microwave started becoming popular in 1967 and wildly popular by 1975. My daughter and I soon learned that if we ran the toaster and the microwave at the same time, we would pop a circuit breaker and the lights would go out in the kitchen.

So, we wanted to avoid loading up the rather limited outlets in the kitchen and ended up moving Mr. Coffee out of his place on the counter by the door to the family room where he’d long ruled to the other counter next to the narrow door to the hall to the front bathroom and bedrooms. And of course, the coffee bean grinder, the jar of coffee beans, the filters, and the two Brita water carafes had to go there, too. Mr. Coffee and the grinder now have an outlet a piece. Still, I ended up tweaking that arrangement when I realized that the jar of beans logically needs to sit next to the grinder not on the other side of Mr. Coffee by the water carafes.

As for our new 16” wide, 14” high, 14” deep shiny behemoth that bakes, toasts, grills, and dehydrates fruits and veggies in addition to air frying . . . We parked it at the end of the counter by the door to the family room. A plus: there’s no cabinet above it and it has plenty of room to breathe in air on the sides and blow it out in the exhaust in the back. But plugging it in had issues. The maker of our air flyer gave it a super short cord that doesn’t actually reach to the outlet by the kitchen window above the sink. So, we had to plug in the power strip we’d used for Mr. Coffee and the grinder. We also plugged in the electric can opener that Jess bought me to replace the hand-cranked openers I had trouble with due to the arthritis in my fingers.

We also had to move some things. For example, we no longer had room for the Rolodex, coupons, grocery lists, and pencil cups on the counter, so we moved them into my dad’s old desk in the family room. To have a parking place for hot food, we moved the cutting board we used to keep by the sink over to the left of the air fryer and got out our extra cutting board for the spot close to the sink.

We spent quite a bit of time the day we got our air fryer educating ourselves about it. We read the Air Fryer + Oven Quick Start and User Guides. We perused the air fryer cookbook that I bought when I went to the store that day. I sent out a call to my Facebook friends for tips and recipes. Some of them happily obliged. Soon I discovered that an air fryer doesn’t actually fry. It works by sucking moisture out of food. We also found out that air fryers get so hot that probably we should cook our favorite dishes for less time and at lower temperatures than our old recipes stipulate.

The day after we got the air fryer, we tried it out, And, sure enough, we discovered that the medium setting makes toast too dark for us. (Our old finicky toaster-oven hasn’t been the same since one morning the toast caught fire. It was an alarming sight to see flames stand up in the back of that toaster. “Shut the door,” Jess shouted. And when I did, the flames went out for lack of oxygen. We banished that toaster, with its permanently darkened front door, to the room next to the kitchen from which it might depart on our next Trash Day.)

Using our cookbook, we’ve made tasty chicken tenders and a breakfast frittata. I did learn that really you should choose the lower of the baking times suggested by your cookbook after I cooked the mozzarella cheese bites an extra two minutes and the cheese oozed out all over the air fry basket and the bake pan below.

I’ll do better next time. And I must say that this old girl enjoys learning new tricks at her advanced age.

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Also new from Juliet: trade paperbacks of the expanded edition of Novel Basics, An Illustrated Guide to Writing a Novel and of Cinderella, P. I. First Case to Last. Both cost $9.99 exclusively from Amazon and have easy-on-the-eyes 14-point font.

If you prefer digital versions, they’re available wide from a large range of retailers including for Novel Basics

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/u3fmrjku

Apple Books: https://tinyurl.com/4jd9a9w3

Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/3zr54p6k

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/yetuh8bc

And for Cinderella, P. I., First Case to Last

Amazon.com: https://tinyurl.com/327m8md2

Apple Books: https://tinyurl.com/uutf6ud8

Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/mvch3err

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/2p9fdhj2

Until next time, all the best, Juliet

Works-in-Progress: January 2023 Newsletter

Gee whiz, it’s only January 8. And already I have an enormous to-do list for 2023 that includes aspects of my life as an indie author, as a person, and as a home owner. (There’s always something going on with a house, so I won’t talk about that here.) I’ll limit the topics of my life as a writer  to three specific projects.

Currently, I’m redoing Novel Basics, An Illustrated Guide to Writing a Novel, in an expanded version that includes advice on self-publishing. I hope to publish the eBook of it wide so people can read it on Nooks and other devices in addition to Kindles or through the Kindle app. I also plan on publishing the new version as a paperback soon and possibly as a workbook this fall for National Novel Writing Month in November.

During the holidays, I set aside Death in Shining Armor, a book I’ve worked on in several different versions for over thirty years. I would very much like to finish it and publish it in 2023, partly so I can move on to other projects.

And I’m working on my memoir. This fun little project stews on a back burner in my head. I drop a slice of life here or chunk of memories in it from time to time. Still, inside my head, the combined voices of my mother, the father of my child, and the woman I once thought of as my best friend, say, “What? You write your memoirs?” [Insert derisive laugh here.] “You insignificant little nobody! Who could possibly want to read about your life?” Quick, quick, I counter with the voice of a friend, a notable children’s author who died in 2022. “You’ve got the gift, Juliet,” she once told me. “Keep on writing.” And shortly before her death, she said, Don’t you dare quit writing!” Yes, ma’am! Besides that, the very thought of writing my memoirs gives me joy. And that’s enough of a reason for me to keep it on my Works-in-Progress list.

Moving to a set of personal items on my to-do list, I’m happy to say that my wonky knee has improved. My fitness tracker says I reach my goal of 7,000 steps a day pretty often. I’ve resumed my yoga routine of two Salutation to the Sun routines pretty much every morning. Purists might snicker at the way I crawl back to my feet, but at least I’m doing it. I’m happy about this because I thought I’d permanently crippled myself somehow and doomed myself to a sedentary life in front of the tube.

New Year’s Resolution (you know I had to have one): my usual one of putting in twenty hours or about three hours a day to some aspect of my writing. Last year, my weekly average was 18.83 or 2.69 hours a day. My actual writing work averaged less than that because my tally includes webinars, meetings, creating ads for my books, and promoting my work through social media. But I’m happy to report that reached my twenty hours writing goal for the first week of 2023. Whoop. Whoop.

FYI: all the mental activity of reading and writing novels, reaching out to others through social media, and physically exercising keeps the brain of this old girl alive. For after all, I’m a Work-in-Progress. How about you?

Best, Juliet

P. S. Right now, I’m running a countdown promotion of the boxed set of January Jinx, Fatal February, and Mischief in March, the first three novels of my historical mystery series, and “Detectives’ Honeymoon,” a fun short story. You can get it for reduced prices for the American and British versions from now through midnight of January 12 when it returns to the original prices of $8.97 in the U. S. and whatever they are in Britain. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down the exact prices for the levels of the countdown when I set it up. But this is all part of the learning process to enhance my Work-in-Progress publishing skills. 

P. S. S. Safa, the adorable, says, “Happy New Year!

Wounded Knee: November 2022 Newsletter

Sometime in August, I wounded my right knee, perhaps by twisting it inwards too fast during an exercise routine. Regardless, this simple little injury has pretty much dominated my life ever since. How did it do that? Let me count the ways.

Appointments have taken away considerable time from the thing I love to do—write. These include a visit with a nurse practitioner; a visit to the hospital for x-rays on my newly injured knee and my chronically achy left foot; a trip to the drug store for a prescription grade pain-killer; a visit to an orthopedist; and two visits to a psychologist to talk about my depression about no longer being able to exercise by dancing with my daughter Jess four times a week, take long walks, and do yard work. Even dealing with the doctors’ office phone system was frustrating and time-consuming.

But like many things in life, this experience had its lessons. For one thing, I learned to deal with the nurse practitioner via the patient portal instead of the phone. For another, I learned to be patient with myself and listen to the experts when they tell me to wear a brace on my knee so it won’t buckle out from under me and to ice the knee up after I’ve been active.

(It was a bit of a shock when the NP and the joint specialist disagreed on what pain-killer I should take. After some research, I discovered all pain-killers can kill you via your kidneys or your liver, or your mind through depression and suicide, and I backed off on all of them. But recently, I went back on the pain med with the fewest lethal side effects.)

Also, I’ve made adjustments to my life. For example, for a while, I backed off of most exercise including my morning yoga routine that I’ve faithfully done for at least fifty years. Since I no longer can put pressure on that knee, when I get down on the floor, I often can’t get back up again without dragging myself across the living room to the closest chair, placing my hands on the seat of the chair, pushing my butt into the air to get my feet under me, and then slowly straightening up.

And my poor wounded knee has improved. I’ve worked my way back up to taking 7,000 steps a day. Sometimes I shuffle around the family room behind Jess during a streamed dance-exercise routine. And instead of getting down on the floor to exercise my core, I sit on a chair. Also I try to warm up to my day with some exercises I learned from the tai chi class I joined a few weeks ago. (Millions of old Chinese people can’t be wrong.)

I’m so not trying to walk to the park right now, but a trip around a block or two or three, preferably hand in hand with Jess, is quite feasible. When I can’t kneel to reach around in the back of a cabinet, I ask my daughter for help. Ditto when I need to climb on a chair to reach something high up in a cabinet.

So, my life goes on, slightly revised. And still, in spite of all this trouble from my wounded knee, I am VERY HAPPY to report that I’ve finished the most recent draft of Death in Shining Armor, my current WiP, in exactly two months from my birthday on 9/11 until November 11. And the book looks good. But I’ve temporarily set it aside to mellow while I deal with all the seasonal stuff. This year, the stuff includes a holiday giveaway I’m participating in. Here’s the deal.

You need gifts and we’ve got books.

The Kansas City authors who make up Of Books and Nooks are giving you a chance to win eight amazing books to enjoy for yourself or give as gifts! Just enter our holiday book giveaway for a multi-author, multi-genre book collection!
The winner will be selected at random on Dec. 11, 2022. Enter by Dec. 10, 2022. Your entry automatically puts you on each author’s email list for future giveaways, newsletters and release announcements! You will also receive updates on new posts on Of Books and Nooks. Winner must have a valid mailing address in the United States. No books will be shipped outside the U.S.
Good luck, and happy holidays to all!

My Friend, the Author Anne Bauman

My Friend, the author Anne Bauman

I was saddened to hear of Anne’s death a few weeks ago for I always counted her as my friend. Anne and her husband Mark were among the first to welcome me into their home after I first went to work at Johnson County Community College in 1980. We were colleagues for many years, and after I retired, she encouraged me in my second career as an indie author. For instance, about ten years ago, after I self-published my book, Walls, a Cinderella, P. I. Novel, Anne sent me a card that said in her clear, beautifully rounded handwriting,

Dear Juliet – 

A million sorries to you for my first congratulations note going to the USPS’s limbo of lost mail. (I probably wrote something wrong in the address.)

So-o, a belated congratulations on your wonderful novel!

I enjoyed everything about it: the true-to-life characters; the tight, well-constructed plot; the consistent theme (so difficult to write); the brilliant ending, surprising to even the most sophisticated reader.

In a word, I wish I had written it.

You’ve got the gift, Juliet. Keep on writing.

Love, Anne

I have always cherished this note and have kept it pinned on my cork board behind my writing station all these years. Her words were especially precious to me because Anne herself was an author of a beloved children’s book.

And then a few weeks before her death when she was suffering terribly from constant pain, she encouraged me again. In one of my newsletters, I’d written about an encounter with an acquaintance who insulted my writing and insinuated that it was worthless because I wasn’t making enough money from it to buy a nicer house. And Anne responded to my newsletter by saying, “Don’t you dare quit writing!”

Thank you so much, Anne. I appreciate your help and I miss you.

 

January Jinx now published wide.

January Jinx, Book 1 of the historical Calendar Mystery novels and short stories that tell the story of business girl Minty Wilcox and the dashing detective Daniel Price from newly met to newlywed and beyond in Kansas City, a place that could get downright deadly a hundred years or so ago.  

Kansas City, 1899

The first chance Minty Wilcox gets in January 1899, she sets off to find a job as a stenographer/typist in Kansas City.

But her search is jinxed from the start because, right off the bat, she doesn’t even get to her destination because some old man with a gun and a sheriff’s badge accuses her of pushing a soldier to his death.

And, in spite of Minty’s efforts to clear her name, bad luck soon spreads like a nasty cold from her to her entire family and to Daniel Price, the mysterious stranger who takes a room at her mother’s boarding house. So Minty decides that only she can put things right.

This won’t be easy in Kansas City where living could get downright deadly a hundred years or so ago.

The digital version of January Jinx is now available for $4.99 from the following vendors:

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/3supap57

Apple Books: https://tinyurl.com/8jr62wa4

Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/39554y4s

Rakuten Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/4ptw6545

ENJOY!

May 2022 Newsletter: for love or money?

May 2022 Newsletter: For Love or Money?

Do I write for love or money or something else entirely?

A couple of months ago, I had an encounter with a person who made me think about my motives for writing fiction. Here’s what happened.

A few days before the incident, we’d had our house sprayed for ants, but the ants persisted and were swarming up the tiles around my shower. So, I called the owner of the pest control company we’ve used for more than thirty years, and he sent over his dad who started the company and now fills in on jobs when the technicians are out on scheduled calls.

Dad, whom I will call Sam for the purposes of this essay, arrived promptly at 1 o’clock when I’d just begun attending a webinar on writing. And probably because he saw me look in the direction of my home office, he asked, “Still writing?”

“Why yes,” I said. “In fact, I’m very excited about the book I’ve been working on. It’s coming out soon.” This book is Die by the Sword, a novel of suspense, a project that has lured me back to it in different forms for thirty years.

“Make any money?” Sam said. And before I could respond, he said, with a sneer, “I know you don’t. You wouldn’t live in this house if you did.”

Pretty obviously, in Sam’s mind, the only reason for doing anything is making money. But for me, probably money goes at the bottom of my list of reasons why I write. Mostly that’s because if I think a lot about the money I might not make from my writing, I get depressed and don’t write at all. (We’ll come back to making money later on.) We’ll keep love at the top. I simply and absolutely love to write fiction. But I have other reasons why I write.

Let me flashback to the ‘70’s. When I went to the Ohio State University, I wrote papers required by my courses and stories like “Graduate Student Blues” to entertain myself and my friends. I also wrote a novel (my first) in diary form as a way of exploring the subject of my dissertation, fiction in diary form.

But there’s another motivation as well. In my novels and stories, I like to show people my readers and I like solving problems like rescuing a loved one from peril and not letting killers get away with their crimes. Our troubled world certainly needs a whole bunch of problem solvers.

I write because my characters need me. Without me, they can’t exist of course. And even as I write this, I have one character in my mind who says, “Get back here. You said you were going to change my name. You promised. And you haven’t done it. And I won’t shut up until you’ve given me that nifty new name that connects me with the place shown in Die by the Sword with the old Kansas City my grandfather and grandmother know in your calendar mysteries like January Jinx.”

And I need my characters. They make me laugh. They make me cry. They surprise me. And they help me escape this troubled world.

On the practical side, I write fiction because it helps keep my brain alive and well. You better believe that I need to keep my mind alive to juggle the major plot line of a novel, especially a mystery novel like Die by the Sword with all its clues and suspects, and two to four subplots as well.

But I do want to explain how unfortunate the timing of Sam’s visit was for me when I was rushing to complete Die by the Sword in time to meet the pre-order deadline of Memorial Day weekend (this weekend!) that I’d set up. The conversation with Sam caused me to lose my confidence in myself and in Die by the Sword, so I came to wonder if that novel had too many plot holes that, in my dotage, I couldn’t even see to fix. So, I abandoned that novel and went over to another project I’d started but abandoned early this year: publishing my calendar mysteries on other platforms through a service called Draft2Digital.

And something fascinating happened. As I edited the text of digital version of January Jinx, Book 1 in the series, I found myself laughing and tearing up for my wonderful characters and rooting for them, too, even though I’ve read and rewritten the book at least a dozen times in at least three quite different forms. The joy I find in writing fiction is my primary motivation to do it.

And so, I’ve decided to resume work on Die by the Sword with a tentative publication date of September 2, 2022, though I’m not setting up another pre-order in case I don’t make that deadline. I’ll keep you posted.

Stay safe and well in this troubled world . . .

Best, Juliet

P. S.

the new cover of January Jinx

 

 

I’m really pleased with my new cover design for the digital versions of my calendar mysteries with facets of the birthstone framing the image. And I want you to know that you can now buy the eBook version of January Jinx not just from Amazon but from Barnes & Noble, as shown in the screen shot above, Apple, Kobo, and a number of other platforms as well. I hope to publish the other books in the calendar historical mystery series through Draft2Digital at a regular pace this year.

 

April 2022 Newsletter: The Perils of Self-Publishing

Hi, Everyone!

Some of you may have noticed that I withdrew the pre-order of Die by the Sword, a standalone novel of suspense. Here’s why. As I worked on that book, I discovered that I was doing lots more revising than copy editing. And I realized that I wouldn’t make my publishing date of May 27, 2022, after all. So, I decided not to publish this novel at this time. Thanks to those of you who gave me feedback on it. I appreciate your observations.

As many of you know, I do almost every aspect of writing and publishing myself, from drafting through final editing and including designing most of the covers for my books. Plus, I promote and market them all. For the eleven years that I’ve been an indie author starting with Walls, my Cinderella, P. I. fairy tale mystery novel for grown up people, I’ve usually set deadlines that I’ve rushed to meet. And so, some of my works have gone out with glitches like the dreaded missing word. At the same time, I’ve neglected important indie author chores like increasing my knowledge of self-publishing and building my author brand effectively.

 

Besides my writing work, I have household tasks like bookkeeping and grocery shopping. I do the major ones, but I put off doing many of the minor ones. And frankly, I’m tired of seeing some of my paintings leaning against the fireplace instead of hanging on the wall. I’d also like to clean up the seeds under the bird feeder on the patio before they grow into towering sunflower plants.

Since there are literally not enough hours in every day or days in the week to do all of these tasks properly and write and publish a new book, I’ve decided to step back from the latter to catch my breath and possibly catch up with some of my other tasks. For example, I’d like to re-edit and reboot my historical fiction Calendar Mystery and Cinderella, P. I. fairy tale mystery series, increase the readerships for both, and explore options for my future work. But as I often say, better busy than bored.

Happy Spring! Juliet

 

P. S. Apart in April, Book 5 of my calendar mystery series, is available Wednesday April 27 through Tuesday May 3, 2022 for $0.99 at www.amazon.com/dp/B095J4BB94 and for £0.99 at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B095J4BB94. (And it’s forever FREE on Kindle Unlimited.) If you already own Apart in April, please review it. And in any case, please share this information with your friends.

March 2022 Newsletter: New Book!

Die by the Sword  Coming Soon

I am very pleased to announce that my new book, Die by the Sword, a novel of suspense, is now available for you to pre-order at www.amazon.com/dp/B09WKX9ZR2 for the very special price of $2.99. (The cover shown here is a stand-in for the final one that I’m still working on.)

Here’s a snippet from Die by the Sword, a book I’ve been working on for decades in assorted forms, along with a description.

Van stopped at the crossroads of four wide paths, all strewn with straw and well lit by an electric lamp secured at the top of a tall pole overhead. “Ye Pirates Cove” said a sign shaped like arrow projecting from the post. It pointed to the left. “Ye Dell of the Ancient Ways Society” said another sign, pointing right.

Darn! Van thought. Why didn’t I keep those keys out?

Shifting the basket again to her left arm, she dug in her pocket and pulled out the set of keys. Okay, which one? This was only the second weekend of the fair and she still wasn’t used to the routine.

She was holding the key chain up to the light when she heard a strange, metallic sound behind her. Startled, she tried to turn but didn’t have time before something or someone hit her in the back, sent her sprawling. The keys flew off into the darkness. The basket holding the crockery crashed into the post. “Oh no,” she gasped.

Van struggled to get up, but someone held her down with his foot.

“Shall you too die by the sword?” a hoarse voice said.

“Die? Me?” Van shrieked. “By a sword?”

When potter Vanessa Mathison hurries to the craft shop that she partly owns on the Medieval Faire site late one night, someone wearing shining armor assaults her. But her friends don’t believe her, even after the body of a young man is discovered on the site. Nor does the police detective she tells about the attack. Still, determined to find and stop her assailant she comes to know as Sir Scourge, the Lord of Lamentation, before he kills her, Van enters the strange world of the Ancient Ways Society, a group sharing a fantasy that becomes increasingly dangerous as Sir Scourge continues attacking her and her friends.

Die by the Sword is set in September and October of 1988. In the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, my daughter and I belonged to the Society for Creative Anachronism and participated in several Renaissance Festivals.

Please let me know in the comments or at jkwryter@gmail.com if you would like an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) of Die by the Sword, so you can write a review of it on Amazon.com on or shortly after the publication date of May 27, 2022. Please note: The ARC will probably be a PDF of the final copy. Please also note that Amazon, being its picky, tricky self, only displays reviews from those who actually have purchased the titles they’re reviewing.

Once again, you can pre-order Die by the Sword at www.amazon.com/dp/B09WKX9ZR2

Oh, I’m so excited. Best, Juliet

February 2022 Newsletter: a troubled dream

What Troubled Dream Is This?

Usually I don’t recall my dreams, but I did remember the one I was into just before I woke up Friday morning.

I dreamed that Jess and were at the premiere of a Stephen Amell movie, and Amell himself of Arrow fame was there. He wore a pair of chinos and a tight short-sleeved shirt with a collar. His casual ensemble showed off his wonderful physique that this octogenarian has no business drooling over, but does anyway. The gorgeous guy, surrounded by a bunch of groupie dudes similarly attired, even smiled at us and beckoned to us to come along.

But we got hung up at the concession stand where some middle-aged man who needed a shave waited on us. He gave us a fight about what he should cook for us on a grill as time slipped past. This is taking too long, I thought. Finally in disgust, I dug in my purse for my wallet and then in my wallet for some money to pay him for his trouble. “This is taking too long,” I said. I only came up with a twenty — way too much —and a one — way too little — tightly folded together. The guy at the concession stand was just offering us some sort of fried bun when I woke up.

Now, at our house, we follow my daddy’s old Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that one doesn’t tell what she dreamed before breakfast, so by the time I finished my juice, bacon, toast with cream cheese and delicious raspberry and pomegranate fruit spread and described my dream to Jess, I’d figured out what it was trying to tell me.

Dreams often are absurd. For example, Jess and I don’t go to the concession stands anymore or movies during the pandemic for that matter. I don’t keep my paper money folded. Still, dreams often are our subconscious minds’ parables. And I figured out that mine was telling me I’m taking too long to rewrite the climactic chapter of my WiP, Die by the Sword.

But in the light of day, I can also see it was my fear that spoke to me in that dream. “Keep it up, give in to all the distractions in this troubled world, and you’ll never finish this book,” it said.

And then I was able to say, “Sometimes you have to put in stuff that doesn’t belong in the piece to get to what does belong. Once you get the story and the characters where they need to be, you can cut, cut, snip, snip. The book will be fine, just give it a bit more time.”

So, this is a long way around telling you that I’m not quite finished writing Die by the Sword this month, but I’m close.

Meanwhile, Mischief in March, Book 3 of my Calendar Mystery series that now includes the follow-up short story “Detectives’ Honeymoon,” will be on sale from March 11, 2022 through March 18, 2022 for $2.99 at www.amazon.com/dp/B06XR1STRN and for £1.99 www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XR1STRN. If you’ve already bought the book, please review it on Amazon and/or Goodreads. If you’ve already bought, read, and reviewed this book, please share this notice with your friends.

Please stay safe and well, Juliet

P. S. Please note that I’ve changed my mind about republishing all my books and selling them through Draft2Digital. There seemed to be problems buying them from assorted merchants like Barnes and Noble, and it was taking me far more time to format them than I had. So if you want to keep up with my writing and publishing, just check my Amazon author age at https://www.amazon.com/Juliet-Kincaid/e/B00DB4HWRG