In The Writer's World

The State of the State

We’re settling in for fall around here. Brilliant color, cold morning walks, baked apples. Most of the wineries have finished harvesting grapes and are now processing the bounty into next year’s wines. My dear friends Cheryl and Ginny and Margie, along with several other friends, celebrate birthdays with me in October. Cheryl and I also mark the deaths of our sons, Ian in 1996 and Aaron in 1999.

I have lost others close to me during this month.autumn-on-carman Andy three years ago, Patrick six years ago.  A few years back, Cheryl and I made noise about moving our birthdays to February, but it hasn’t happened yet. I still can’t bring myself to hate October, even if for good reasons. It’s my favorite time of year and always has been. There is such richness, such coming together, even amid loss. It brings to mind the old country song May the Circle Be Unbroken.

There are books by some of my favorite authors being released this month: Tana French and Alan Bradley, to name a couple. And I had the good fortune to recently finish reading Louise Penny’s latest, A Great Reckoning. Armand Gamache is at his best in this one.

The State of the Novel

Things have slowed down a bit after the summer rush of pages. I did get started in a critique group in September, and enjoyed it a lot. We have had to temporarily suspend operations, so that will free up more time for the actual writing. One of the particular pleasures of this October is that it’s the time of year in which the new novel is set, so the changing of the seasons is particularly evocative. There is a gothic quality to the way clouds suddenly roll in and dump a bunch of rain, and then twenty minutes later it’s gorgeous again. This is not missed by Sage Blackthorn from her perch on the Columbia River!

And now you know my heroine’s name. She is younger than Emma, and not nearly so cautious or wise. Or sober. In a quick phrase, she’s a hot mess. But, if there is to be a good story there must be conflict, and plenty of it.

Meanwhile, Emma’s presence is looming large–like the real person she is in my life–to the point that I feel the need to at least touch base with her, maybe jot down a few things pertinent to her continuing saga.

So many ideas, so little time.

Thank you readers for being a part of this journey. If you want to stay updated on the evolution of my new Oregon-based mystery novel and other related news, please subscribe by filling out the brief form to the right on this page.



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  • Christine Duddington says:

    I have liked the end-of-summer exuberance of September, yet there is a rich calm and beauty about October. At the start of this month I often think of Keat’s ode, To Autumn, that begins,
    “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
    Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun…..”
    (A link to the full text
    I will relish its richness.

  • Just reading that you lost your son Ian in 1996. So very sad, and our prayers are with you and your family. Love the photo you posted of him on Facebook.

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