I used to dabble in photography. I still have the camera my father gave me when I was in high school. It uses actual film. Nothing digital about it.
Unfortunately, I have gotten lazy. I only use my cell phone camera. It's an older model phone, with a poor quality camera.
The specks in the mountain pasture are elk. Although based on the quality of the photo, I could as easily claim they are a family of Sasquatches. You'll just have to take my word for it. They are elk.
Stopping to smell the roses means slowing down to enjoy life, especially if you've been spending too much time in the fast lane. I've been talking in my last few blog posts about pausing to celebrate writing success.
During these COVID-19 days, I've also been spending a lot of time outdoors, walking and hiking. Many scenes from nature distracted me from the tension of a world gone crazy.
I enjoyed admiring these delicate pink and yellow flowers. Smelling them meant getting a little too close to the spines. You might stick your face into a rose flower to inhale its delicious scent, but cactus flowers demand social distancing.
Climbing mountains is a process. You prepare, you plan your route, you hike until you're certain you haven'y got any more to give, physically. You keep going, and eventually reach that peak. The return trip is only easy in comparison to the climb up.
Writing a novel is much the same process, but it's an entirely mental game.
I love the process in both situations. Reaching the top of the mountain is an amazing experience, but hiking the trail through forest, field, and tundra is what appeals most to me.
The journey of creating a story is what I enjoy when writing a novel. There is great satisfaction in facing a blank page and filling it with a story. I even enjoy the revision phase once the draft is completed.
I don't linger when I achieve the goal. This is a character flaw I'm working to change. I have come a long way since my first novel publication in 2013. I need to remember where I began, and recognize where I'm at now.
Today is a celebration of my write-to-hire experience. This was a new mountain to scale, writing stories to fit into an existing story world. The Secrets of the Castleton Manor Library is an adorable cozy mystery series. I was privileged to write two novels in the 24 book series: Ink or Swim, and A Thorny Plot.
Annie's Publishing trusted me with their story. I had a blast writing about Watson the cat and his human companion Faith Newberry.
I'm excited to be interviewed in the national newsletter for Mystery Writers of America, The 3rd Degree. I share the stage with short story authors R. T. Lawton and Manuel Ramos. The interview was conducted by award-winning author Suzanne Proulx.
If you're a member of MWA, you can read the article in the May 2020 issue.
My husband and I went for a 6 mile hike on the Santa Fe Trail, a setting that inspired my first published novel. The mystery today is not in my story. We've noticed a gate, detached from any fencing, standing solo in a field. It has been there as long as I remember.
What's new is the addition of a lock. And then another lock. Over a dozen random locks.
Locks on the gate to nowhere.
I probably won't write a story about the gate. The image is visual art, offering a moment to reflect and ask, WHY?
My day job is with a company that encourages employee wellness. We took a voluntary Optimist Test. I tried my best to answer honestly, and not outguess the intent of the questions. The results were interesting.
I fell almost exactly in the middle of the scale between optimist and pessimist. That felt accurate. I tend to get caught up in the process of growing the flowers rather than stopping to admire them.
In light of this personal insight, I realized I need to reflect on my publishing journey. The process is what I live for, but I need to enjoy the fruits of my labor as well.
In 2013, the first novel and the first short story I sold were both published. Seven years ago. Since then, I have sold eight more short stories and five more novels.
Today's post celebrates the publication of my Rock Shop Mysteries. The three novels are available in e-book and paperback formats. The terrific covers are the work of artist Deirdre Wait. To learn more about her career as a graphic artist, check out this blog article. To learn more about my novels, go to the Rock Shop Mystery Series tab on this website.
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