As my second novella, SACRED TRUST, moves toward the printer now, a frisson of anxiety is buzzing around my brain. I have planned to take a few weeks off from writing to practice a little oil painting, which I’ve totally neglected while dealing with my first two books since last September when PAGAN FLAMES was accepted by Solstice Publishing. When we retire, we often plan to do a little writing, painting and gardening. But if you start writing, it seems, all the rest is pushed back and back until there is no room for anything but ‘the next book.”
When I retired after 46 years in the workforce, my intention was to really retire. I stopped doing anything that I’d previously earned money with, even psychic work which I’d done on the side now and then. It brought me a lot of joy and sometimes I miss it, but then I say, Hey, you’re retired, so act like it.
But already, whether I meant to or not, I find that plot ideas for a third book are steaming round and round in my head, while I prepare breakfast or turn down my bed for the night or walk the dog. Why can’t I just forget it?
Well, it’s nice to have a deadline. An editor expects her authors to send things in on a kind of schedule and carry out their author duties. A lot of learning happens fast as soon as the first book is accepted by a publisher. Since I’ve learned a pile of new things, it seems a shame not to keep using the new knowledge. And I like the feeling that someone, somewhere, expects me to turn up, or at least, for my manuscript to turn up.
I guess it’s all about feeling connected.
So this next weekend I’ll pull out my plot blueprint system and start doing something with a sailing trip from the 80’s when the whole crew almost bit the dust, or the sand more likely, at the bottom of the Pacific ocean. Yes, we were fortunate to have in the crew a young American girl who knew more about sailing and being shipwrecked than the average member of our Navy. There was no aspect of our trip and of our disaster she did not understand fully and in detail, ahead of time. Her name was Trish. Long legs, short shorts, long wavy blonde hair, and hungry for love. A love that was proving hard to find, despite all her amazing attributes, including a fine intelligence.
Trish went on, I believe, to get her captain’s ticket and made the sea her whole life. Last I heard, anyway. The fact is, that whole story, the story of my first sailing trip, is made to order for a romance novel.
Well, there wasn’t any romance to speak of, we were too busy throwing up saltwater and screaming helplessly as freight train waves struck our little boat over and over for days on end until finally the Coast Guard came out and got us. Then, the San Francisco Yacht Club kindly allowed us to moor at their dock and begin a lengthy recovery. Good and terrible memories all bound up together in an event that showed each of us what we were made of and which of us knew what we were doing. In the end, out of a crew of five, only one really knew how to sail the open ocean…our good Trish, who signed on literally at the last minute. Thank God she did.
Or we’d all have been lobster food long before that storm blew itself out.
So maybe I’ll write about a storm within a storm, and bring a little romance into it.