Where My Blog and Novel Stand

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash


Janet’s Writing Blog

Since writing Friday’s blog post (Getting Blog Traffic in 2017,) I’ve decided to change my routine and just blog on Mondays. When I read that blogging once-a-week was ideal for someone trying to establish their brand, I thought, “That’s not for me. I like blogging twice-a-week.” I couldn’t get the theory out of my head. By late Friday night I had decided to start blogging just once-a-week.

I’ve chosen Mondays. I wanted to choose Tuesdays, but for those of us who manage the WordPress.com blogs we read by getting them in a weekly format, they arrive on Monday. If I wait until Tuesday to blog, some readers won’t receive my post until the following Monday. That’s not good. I’ll try early Mondays (right after midnight on Sundays) for a while and see how that works. The great thing about a blog is that the blogger makes up her own rules. My kind of activity!

The Spanish Coin

Something happened on Saturday that told me I’d made the right decision about my blog. Or, perhaps what happened on Saturday came about as the result of the stress relief Friday night’s decision gave me. Follow?

If you’ve been following my blog for very long, you know I’ve been working on a novel manuscript with the working title of The Spanish Coin for more than a decade. (I’m not only a slow reader, I’m a slow writer!) Several months ago I discovered some facts that made it clear that I needed to make major changes in my historical novel. Another name for that is REWRITE, as in START OVER! After 10 years of work, this realization knocked the wind out of my sails. I have struggled over this for about three months – maybe longer. (It feels like three years.)

I knew I had to change the names and location of my novel. I believed I could keep the working title, The Spanish Coin, but many of the details of the story and perhaps most importantly, the climax, had to change. After kicking around ideas for weeks, on Saturday I finally settled on a new location for the story. I changed the names of most of the characters, and I changed the year it happened. Those decisions freed me up to start writing the new outline. By the time I turned off the computer at 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 25, I had written 300 words of backstory, more than 2,500 words of outline, and 250 words of character sketches. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders!

Saturday was just the beginning, but I can’t tell you how invigorated I feel knowing that I have started the rewrite. I’m optimistic about what I will get accomplished this week!

Until my next blog post on July 3

I hope you have a good book to read. I’m reading The Secret Speech, by Tom Rob Smith.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time and feel as optimistic about your work in progress as I do mine.


What I read in September

My first blog post each month is about the books I read during the previous month. Maybe my comments about those books will prompt you to read (or not read) one of my choices.

The Woman in Cabin 10

The first book I finished reading in September was the psychological crime thriller, The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware. This novel took me out of my reading comfort zone. Early on lots of characters were introduced and it was a little daunting to keep them straight; however, each one’s personality soon came through and prevented confusion. The author is British, so occasionally there was a word that prompted me to use the definition feature on my e-reader. Reading The Woman in Cabin 10 makes me want to read Ruth Ware’s first novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood, even though its review are all over the place.

Prayers the Devil Answers

The second book I read in September was Prayers the Devil Answers, by Sharyn McCrumb. Inspired by on event that took place in Kentucky in 1936, this novel is the story of a woman who became a county sheriff in Tennessee after her husband’s death. Albert, her husband, had only been the county sheriff for a short time when it became ill and died in a few days. His widow, Ellie, quickly figured out that she needed to find a way to support herself and their two children.

As only Sharyn McCrumb can do, she spins a story about a strong female protagonist and backs up the tale with numerous threads that made up the fiber of the fearlessly independent residents of the southern Appalachian Mountains in the days of the Great Depression. The story includes murder and betrayal and, all the while, Ellie faces a task that will test her mettle. To tell you more would spoil the book for you.

Child 44

The other book I read in September was Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith. It is a murder mystery/historical thriller set in the former Soviet Union in the 1950s. I discovered Child 44 in a roundabout way. I started reading The Secret Speech, by Tom Rob Smith only to find out I had started reading the second book of the Child 44 Trilogy. I stopped reading The Secret Speech and checked out Child 44. Mr. Smith paints a picture of what Stalin’s Russia must have been like. No one trusted anyone and members of the secret police were everywhere.

The main plot is the story of Leo Demidov taking it upon himself to track down a serial killer. The State denied that any of the murders could be connected and, in fact, denied that most of them had occurred. Although some details were unpleasant to read, I found this novel to be a page-turner.

Child 44 was Tom Rob Smith’s debut novel. All quotes are in italics, which sometimes pulled me out of the story; however, from a writer’s point of view, I recognize that eliminated the necessity for quotation marks. That format distracted me. It also made it difficult at times to remember who was speaking.

Until my next blog post in a few days, I hope you have a good book to read and, if you are a writer, I hope you have quality writing time.