Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A sudden burst of energy and a fascinating Web site

Does this ever happen to you? You sort of drag your way through a few days and then suddenly you're energized, enthusiastic, back, as my friend Joyce Roach alwys says, "at yourself." I've been lollygagging this week. Oh, I could keep busy with Facebook and emails and Pinterest and odds and ends, like a long discussion with the plumber about why my water bill was so high. But late this morning, I finally turned my attention to the manuscript that's been on my desk since late January, waiting for revision after I got comments from beta reader Fred. And I'm suddenly "back at myself." It's lovely to go back to something written quite a while ago and discover it's not all that bad; in fact, I like parts of it, and Fred's comments are helpful. So I sailed into it.
One thing that helped: I'm a more critical reader these days. As I read more cozy mysteries, I find my taste or instincts improving. Just finished one that I thoroughly enjoyed--the plot was convoluted enough that I was left guessing until the end and the villain turned out to be the last person you'd suspect. Plus the requisite climactic scene was nail-biting indeed. But the heroine--like too many single amateur sleuths, she kept shooting herself in the foot, refusing to trust the guy who is obviously (to the reader) the good guy and crazy about her. Worse, she went lickety-split after the guys she thought were the villains, all but screaming their names from the rooftop--and, indeed, giving them to the police, who nicely ignored her as a nuisance. She was out of control. So there I had a model of what I don't want to do, and I'm re-reading carefully to make sure that Kate doeesn't behave that way.
That's right, Kate, not Kelly. What I'm reading now will come out in January, and I hope it's the first of a new series set in a small-town cafe in East Texas. Anxious as I am to encourage everyone to get to know Kelly O'Connell of Skeleton in a Dead Space and No Neighborhood for Old Women, I'm also immersed in Kate's world--and wondering if Kate and Kely are too close together in sound. I still have time to change Kate's name. I'd love opinions.
Held the first copy of No Neighborhood for Old Women in my hands today--always a thrill, though it looked a bit smaller than I expected. I love the dedication and hope my publishing pals--Gayla, Fran, Kathie, Carol and Melinda--read it. Kathie told me she doesn't read mysteries but maybe she'll read this one with her name on the dedication page--or at least read the dedication page. Gayla and Fran and Melinda are fans of the first book, so they tell me, and I don't know if Carol has read it or not. My busy friends.
I also sent out email invitations today to the two signings at the Old Neighborhood Grill: May 19, Saturday, at 7:00 a.m.--Peter, the owner, says that's when his readers come in. I'll stay as long as people stop to say hello.The second signing, for slugabeds, is at 5:30 Monday May 21, same place--great place to have supper if you're in Fort Worth. I'll post on Facebook soon, but I've already had nice response to my email flyer. Last time I signed at the Grill, it was a great success.
I stambled on a Web site today called The Secret Life of Pronouns. I believe it's a book.
http://secretlifeofpronouns.com/exercises.php. It has fascinating exercises for you to analyze yourself. One is the classic TAT which is supposed to reveal your views about yourself, the world, and relationships, but the one I liked was a Life Survey. About 80 questions but they go fast, and it instantly analyzes how you fit into four categores (I can only remember three because I was like a one in the fourth--I think it was sloth or something). The other three are Suburbanite, Cultural, and Preppie. I arrived pretty much in the middle ground on all three, and at the end was told, "This computer thinks you have a healthy approach to life, but you may try too hard at your yoga." Are you listening, Elizabeth? Check it out--it's fun. One exercise I'll have my class do--writing about an everyday object for five minutes, no longer.
So with this newfound energy, tomorrow I'm back to a world of errands, lunch and dinner engagements, etc., not that I'm complaining about any of that. Oh, and cooking. But once I get going on a major project, like these revisions, I'm usually pretty focused. 

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