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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Catch Up

Things are underway with the song for the third McLaren book, Torch Song.  Week ago yesterday Lola came over to my house and we chatted about the song project.  Lola is the sophomore music student at my alma mater -- at her young age she's already a professional blues singer, with her own group, writing her own songs, and performing all over the US.  She read my lyrics and said she could set them to a tune she will write this summer.  Then she and a bassist will record the song at the school's recording studio.  She'll make copies on CD that I can sell.  My part in this is to design the CD label, cover and booklet.  That's fun for me - I did that with 'The Swans' Courtships' CD for Swan Song.  I designed the label and booklet cover to have similar elements of the book cover.  Inside the booklet I had a short synopsis of the story and the series.  On the back I have several photos of McLaren.  All in all, it's a nice booklet.  And I will make Torch Song's CD booklet similar.  We signed a simple contract I'd drawn up and she'll have the recordings to me by end of December.  I admit I was incredibly nervous at first when I let her read the lyrics.  I've written lyrics before but never had a pro read them, so I didn't know if she'd laugh herself silly over them or if they'd be acceptable.  She said they scanned fine and that they were okay.  She's going to write a refrain, which would be super, as most every torch song I know has a refrain.  Anyway, that's that and it's all mysterious how she writes a melody.  It will be very interesting to hear my lyrics set to music.
Progress on the eighth Taylor & Graham book, False Step.  After numerous starts and stops, I'm finally sailin' ahead.  I'm on page 147 of the first draft, and it's been like pulling teeth.  I think I figured out why this book's been so very difficult to write, more so than other first drafts (which are never easy).  There are so many dance characters (each member of the real life sword dancing troupe I'm using for the troupe in my book has chosen a character name and will be in the book) -- twelve!  I want to give each person a good scene and important info to pass to T&G, so it's been extremely difficult to think of twelve things that these folks could impart.  I keep thinking...if it were reversed, if I was a character in a book, I'd be very disappointed if I was just there for a page or two and that was it.  I'd want my character to be a great character or to contribute something important, etc.  So I've had a few sleepless nights trying to come up with the twelve things that would fulfill my own expectations.  So now that the little problem is fixed, I'm finally halfway through the first draft.  And what a relief it is to be so!  I will add description, dialogue, etc on the second draft but at least the hard part is over.

More later.  Happy first full day of summer to you.

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