On Sunday, just two days ago, I sent off to my agent the final revision of the first book in a new series. This mystery has undergone two major revisions, and now feels as sharp as a diamond (and I hope as sparkly wonderful). I know the book is finished because I’ve cleaned my desk, which has left me feeling adrift. Every morning when I sit down to work, my desk is cluttered and welcoming.
Today, after putting away my notes and printing out the final copy, which is now boxed and sitting on a shelf, my desk looks tidy—and very empty. The clean surface seems unnatural to me, so I’ll get to work on the next title in the series, which I have already sketched out in a draft. I also have an idea for another short story featuring Anita Ray, and I’ve begun putting together a collection of her stories. And then there’s my blog, which I neglect too often.
While I was working on the last revision I collected several images that sparked story ideas. Two young people, probably students from a nearby college, strolled by, each with a distinctive gait. The young man on the right lifts himself on the balls of his feet and dips down as he places his heel. His knees seem to get a double workout. The young woman on the left takes longer but also smoother strides. He’s wearing sneakers and she’s wearing black shoes.
The other recurring image is of a new shop. Beverly was a working-class town for most of its history, with a huge complex called, simply, The Shoe, a tool and die manufacturer. The Shoe is long gone, but the complex now houses numerous white-collar companies—medical, high tech, service-related, and more. It’s a city within a city. And its denizens have brought a new kind of shopper to the city, people who are willing to pay $15 for a bar of sandalwood soap and hemp towels. While I sat at a coffee shop on the opposite side of the street I calculated just how many bars of soap the new owner would have to sell to make the rent.
I have a few more images to work with, such as the man who tracks family reunions on FB and shows up to chat with strangers (and non-relations). I don’t know how any of these images will be used, but they tell me that a new story is growing.
To view my other finished (and published) works, go to: