Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Autumn Calling


The Canada geese are beginning to fly south. I see them mostly in the evenings and early mornings, sometimes hear them outside the window in the middle of the night. Bright red, baby elder-beetles cluster along the fences, cramming their brief bug lives into this period before the snow flies.

It’s not fall yet, but summer has one foot out the door. Mornings are chill enough to require fleece as I sit outside and sip my morning coffee. The windows remain open at night, but I’ve added a thick blanket to the bed. Dressing in layers helps with the forty degree swings in temperatures.

The vegetable gardens are beginning to look tired, worn out from all that production. Me, too. I have the familiar, annual feeling that I’d be perfectly content to never see another tomato. Still, I pick and sauce and roast and pickle. The light at the end of the food-preservation tunnel is getting pretty bright, though.

The yard projects are drawing to a close and the interior projects aren’t yet on my radar. Meals are simple, prepped in the morning to free up my days. Writing calls to me, its voice strong and demanding.

1212730_study There are always stories running around in my brain. Usually, I focus on one at a time, out of necessity, working on deadline. This time of year, no doubt because of the anticipation of spending more time inside combined with beginning-of-the-school-year nostalgia left over from my past, I itch for the feeling of a pen in my hand and smooth paper to scratch it across. So many potential plots scrabble for purchase, vying with character sketches, story concepts, and pieces of new worlds.

Last week I had breakfast with my acquisitions editor at Midnight Ink. She was in Denver for a writer’s conference, and it was the first time we’d met in person. So many times in this industry you work with people only through email and on the phone, and it was a real boon to be able to spend some time with her. Enjoyable, too, as she’s personable, interesting, and very knowledgeable about mysteries.

We talked a bit about what Sophie Mae might be doing next. Between the recent release of Something Borrowed, Something Bleu and next year’s release of Wined and Died, my home crafting mysteries are never far from my mind. I have lots of ideas for the next home crafts Sophie Mae might involve herself with. About her and her cohorts’ character arcs. About the small town goings-on in Cadyville, Washington.

And I’ve been playing with ideas for other writing projects, both fiction and nonfiction. So many have been simmering on the back burner. This time of year boils with anticipation and potential beneath the calm of seasonal transition. The weather invites early mornings and long walks – good times to think. To wander and ponder. 

Coming up with ideas isn’t the hard part; the tricky bit is figuring out which ones are really good. Which ones speak deeply to me.

Some people see autumn as a kind of dying, dreading the winter cold and gloom. To me it’s an invitation to settle down and dig in.

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