Across the books and in person.

Welcome! Since I write two English mystery series, I thought it would be fun to chat about that. And about England. Specifically, Derbyshire, since that is the county I know the best. If you have questions about my books, about mysteries or your own writing, or want to know something about England -- perhaps you're planning a visit -- I'd love to talk with you. Let's start chatting, shall we?

Derbyshire VIllage

Derbyshire VIllage

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy (?) Anniversary

How fast this anniversary rolled around!  I was keeping track, so it didn't really surprise me.  I knew it was coming.  But what surprises me is the ensuing year since the Marker established itself.  The anniversary is my one year retirement from my day job, a job that was eliminated, thereby eliminating me from the office.   At first I considered looking for another job -- something part time.  But if you haven't noticed, jobs are a bit scarce right now...especially for my age group.  So I accepted retirement gracefully, if not cautiously.  How long would this last?  Could I afford to do it?  I didn't ask myself what I would do...I had known that answer for over ten years.  Write full time!

I guess I had the stock phrase 'don't quit your day job' in the back of my mind during the first few months of Freedom.  My exact plan of my non-nine-to-five day was quickly abandoned.  I didn't dawdle over a cuppa in the morning while scanning the newspaper (I don't drink hot liquids in the spring and summer and I don't get the newspaper), I didn't have a set day to grocery shop or wash clothes or bake or do housework, (all that came when I felt like it or Necessity dictated I do it), and I didn't spend hours in the garden or photographing my groundhogs et al or eating lunch with friends.  I've been more nonchalant about most things in my life, now.  No need to follow the clock or calendar for some things.  The laundry gets done when I need clean clothes and I grocery shop when I'm tired of dining on stale heels of bread and scrounging around in the fridge for something -- anything! -- to eat.  It's kinda nice.

It's also kinda nice to write whenever I want.  Before retirement my writing day was Saturday -- just about all day, and jealously guarded.  Now I could write Saturday and Sunday and Monday and Tuesday...  You know.  I've tried to figure out what I've accomplished in my year of freedom.  As far as I can make out, I've completely written two books (book 8 of Taylor & Graham and book two of McLaren.  McLaren, btw, comes out in April 2011), written two plays (they're sitting on my desk), started a third mystery series (that's on hold until I figure out what's going on with the publishing status of Taylor & Graham), set up a book signing date at Tutbury Castle (where book two of McLaren takes place) for summer of 2011, hired a friend to be my publicist (she's done remarkably well with that little task: got me nearly a dozen places to talk and do book signings), and set up a talk/book signing tour with my friend Esther Luttrell, under the name Spirited Mysteries.  We've a little over a half dozen talks, I believe.  Plus the miscellaneous law suit, designing mugs and tote bags and posters, and giving a talk or two (Groundhog's Day is quite memorable.) 

Plus discovering, to my complete surprise,  that McLaren is alive and well and walking around!  So we quickly photographed him with and without rock hammer and silver skier charm, and made him agree to a movie role if it came to that.  (I can only hope!)  He'll be appearing at a book signing pretty soon, when I can get things squared away.  All in all, I guess I've not frittered away my time too badly during my year 'off.'  I think just finding McLaren would have been kudos enough for my 365 days away from the office!

Research for another book has occupied some of my time.  Research for McLaren and Taylor & Graham...hopefully I will need the research for the next Taylor & Graham....  One of my more interesting bits of research happened when I contacted a guy in England -- he's with a sword dance troupe.  I hope to meet up with him next summer when I go over.  And I may meet a professor I've been emailing on the subject of spirit animals.  If nothing else, my retirement has been interesting so far!

So, no, my retirement has not been what I thought it would be when I envisioned this years ago.  It's better than I imagined it to be.  The only sticky wicket I see right now is the future of Taylor & Graham.  But if I can get that resolved to my happiness, then I will keep writing two books a year and giving talks and book signings.  The whole of my life until my Freedom was preparing me for the glorious last third of my life.  And I'm grateful it did!  Can't wait to see what this next year brings me....

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