I've been working on a new Annie's project. The story involves ropes and carabiners. While my husband and friends visited outfitter store Gearheads, I interviewed the store proprietor about climbing equipment.
We were supposed to be taking a few days away from work: my husband's job, my fiction writing, and our house renovations. But my mind is always on my writing.
I was amazed at the variety of climbing ropes and carabiners. Pick a color! Although there are much more important characteristics to select than color. My character's life might depend on her equipment.
A good small town museum presents local history like an unfolding story (in my opinion). The Dan O'Laurie Museum, aka Moab Museum, does this well. Because we were there in the off-season, we nearly had the museum to ourselves. The docent on duty chatted with us about how the museum acquired artifacts.
They have far more historical objects and photographs than they can display, so exhibits rotate. Local people clearing out attics or elderly relatives' homes donate huge volumes of items.
Sorting through what's best for telling the Moab story must be challenging. This little museum does a fine job.
While in Utah last weekend, we visited Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument. Due to snowy trail conditions, this pullout was ideal. The short walk to view the petroglyphs was snow-packed, but walkable.
"Newspaper Rock features a 200 square foot area of extremely dense Native American petroglyphs on a 'desert varnished' cliff wall. The petroglyphs were created by several ancient cultures beginning some 1,500 years ago."
One theory about the purpose of the petroglyphs is that the different symbols represent different clans. Their appearance indicates the clan passing by this area.
I love this new image created by my publisher for the Rose Creek Mystery series.
One of my hobbies is painting rocks. This is a kindness project. Artists create designs or encouraging messages, and leave them on trails or other public places to bring a smile to passersby. Here are some I painted and left last year, hoping to brighten a stranger's day. I'll be ramping up my rock painting in 2024, after we complete a home improvement project that seems to be taking more time and energy than I expected.
Writing a novel is in process. From idea to publication may take many years. The fun thing about writing fiction series is that the plot changes with each book, but the author doesn't need to reinvent the setting and characters. Once a series is established, with a defined world and familiar characters, the writing process may speed up.
The idea for the Rose Creek series began five years ago, in 2019. It took time to develop the world, and settle on the story tone. Then finding a publishing home for the series took more time. The Body in the Cattails was born in May 2023. The Body in the Cornfield followed quickly in November.
Work on Rose Creek Mystery number three began in earnest back in August 2023. Brainstorming the plot started with the birth of the series, but I actually began outlining and writing The Body in the Hayloft six months ago.
At the beginning of a novel, I typically tell myself to pick a plot requiring little research. Then a spark hits me, an idea, and I'm combing the internet for information on interesting technology, potential murder weapons, and in this book, the average age of a hunter-jumper horse in Olympic competition.
Now that I've written The End, The Body in the Hayloft will be reviewed by my critique partners. Whether in a critique group or by using beta readers, authors almost always rely on these early readers to catch everything from continuity mistakes to typos. I return the favor by reading their manuscripts. We provide mutual aid to one another in an effort to make our books the best they can be before approaching agents, editors, and publishers.
Not just the book must be completed. I fill out an extensive document with blurbs, synopses of different lengths, author bio, and other information needed by the publisher.
By March I hope to send my novel to my editor at Encircle Publications. If she recommends it for publication, she will make her own edits and comments. She will catch what my critique partners miss. A publication date will be set.
From there, the book will receive cover art. And we're off to the races! Readers will see the novel pre-release and release notices, unaware of the years that may have preceded the birth of the book. And that the author has most likely already begun work on their next novel!
A windmill is central to the plot of The Body in the Cornfield. There are different types of windmills. The photo here is of the modern energy generating windmills you may have seen alongside highways.
Other windmills use energy to turn the blades, used in orchards and vineyards to prevent damaging freezes.
The windmill in The Body in the Cattails is an energy generating variety. It is a project by university engineer Emiko, using renewable materials. The windmill in my novel looks more like the traditional wooden windmills in the Netherlands.
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