Know When to Fold ‘Em

Undoubtedly you’ve heard the Kenny Rogers’ song, The Gambler, in which the singer encounters a seasoned card player who gives him advice while on “a train bound for nowhere.” On the surface, the gambler talks about playing cards but the words could apply to other experiences. Certainly that was true this week for a book I was writing. 

For the past few months, I’ve been writing a sequel to my book The Sacred Dog. No spoilers but I wanted to write how the people living in a small town couldn’t bring themselves to forgive a man who committed a horrible crime. I call it The Unforgiving Town.

The Sacred Dog was released last Dec. 27. Ah, but I wrote that novel over twenty years ago, the first one I completed, and despite my efforts and those of a former agent to get it published, that didn’t happen until my publisher, darkstroke books, agreed to take it on. The Sacred Dog is not part of my mystery series, but it has the same setting — the fictional hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. This book is about a feud between two men destined for an ugly reckoning. (The Sacred Dog is the name of the bar one of them owns.)

So I decided to dive into what might happen to one of the characters after he did time in prison. The story flowed pretty easily for weeks. And then at 25,000 words or so, I realized I had reached an impasse. Huh? This wasn’t a writer’s block. I had one of those that lasted 25 years earlier in my life, so I know what that’s about. Instead, here was my realization: My head simply wasn’t in the same place as it was when I wrote The Sacred Dog. It is a well-written book, but I have gone onto other books, other stories, other styles. I wasn’t the same writer.

These words by Kenny Rogers made absolute sense: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em/  Know when to fold ’em/ Know when to walk away.”

Yes, indeed.

So earlier this week, I walked away from The Unforgiving Town

I saved the document for on my computer, and moments later, I started a new book — the eighth in my Isabel Long Mystery Series. This one is tentatively called Finding the Source. The victim this time? The town busybody. Certainly every small town has at least one. 

I am a few thousand into Finding the Source, and so far, so good. 

MORE BOOK NEWS: Missing the Deadline, no. 7, has a Dec. 21 release on Kindle. In that one, Isabel Long is called upon to investigate the case of a literary agent who was shot and left to die outside his country home. 


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