After a three-month break, I have returned to writing my next novel. It’s the fourth in my Isabel Long Mystery Series, and I was a hundred pages into it when I was hired to run the editorial department of a daily newspaper. (More on that another time.) I gave myself permission to put the book down while, first, I learned the new position and then in reality, worked two jobs while I tried to hire a news editor. There were long, long days working in the newsroom and at home, plus weekends. I had a paper to get out, and frankly, there was nobody available to do what I was doing.
But mercifully, I knew it would go on for only a limited amount of time.
And guess what? As of Monday, time’s up. I hired a news editor, and thankfully, my workload has decreased significantly. I am back writing fiction.
To get restarted, I printed the hundred pages and am going through them, marking word changes here and there. I make notations where a paragraph might need expanding or where a piece of information needs to be resurrected later in the book. Nothing major. Frankly, I like what I wrote months ago very much.
Marking up the pages also helps me get back into the book’s flow.
After I have incorporated the edits into the manuscript, I will be ready to take off. In my mind, I am already a few chapters ahead of where I left off. Ideas come to me doing household chores or yardwork, in the shower, or just before I fall asleep.
My tendency is to get up early, say 5-5:30 a.m., fix myself coffee and toast, and get at it. I aim for 500 words. A thousand words is golden. The pages add up pretty fast.
So, what is the new book about? Isabel is onto her fourth case. So is her sidekick, Maria, her 93-year-old mother.
They find their new case while attending the open house for the Pit Stop, a gas station and convenience store now owned by cousins Marsha and Annette. The owner of a small weekly newspaper, who is covering the event, asks Isabel to look into the death of his mother years ago. At the time, everyone including the son thought Estelle Crane died when she slipped on ice while walking home from the newsroom and banged her head on something hard and sharp. But then Emerson Crane found the contents of a briefcase that indicate his mother, who was the paper’s editor, had been working on something big about the small town of Dillard. It might even involve dirty cops.
Isabel takes the case because as a former longtime journalist she still has an affinity for newspapers. Plus she feels a kinship with Estelle, who shared the same high journalist ethics and the fearless pursuit of them.
Yes, Isabel is still working at the Rooster, and so far, she and Jack, its owner, are having a great time together. But I promise to get Isabel into hot water again while she works on this case.
By the way, the title for this book is Killing the Story — a term when a news story is yanked before it goes to print, oh, for a variety of reasons. Maybe that’s what happened to Estelle Crane. I will be sure to let you know when I find out.
ISABEL LONG MYSTERY SERIES: While I am writing, you could be reading the series’ first three books, published by Crooked Cat Books. This will be the last one for the publisher as it is winding down. I will be looking for a new publisher. If you know of one, please contact me via the comments section.
If you have read my series, thank you for your support. For those who haven’t, here’s the link on Amazon: Joan Livingston books