This month, the wenches are recovering from the holidays and chatting about what they’re doing now!
Pat here: Oh, I’m slowly going crazy—make that crazier. I’m trying to work with the cover designer for the next Crystal Magic book, AZURE SECRETS, while attempting to finish the draft on the book after that, tentatively called AMBER AFFAIR. And at the same time, I’m supposed to be packing for our trip to Costa Rica. I’ll be on the plane as you read this, knock wood. We’re going with what turns out to be a not very well organized group, which means I didn’t even know what luggage I could bring until just the other day. So I’m frantically rearranging my intended wardrobe and narrowing down to basics to fit into a carry-on. Try that some time. We just received the itinerary and we’re digging in to see what sights are accessible around the hotels we’ll be staying at, checking weather to see if we have all the necessities, looking for wi-fi in hopes we’ll not be too out of touch. . . My list keeps growing instead of getting shorter!
Anne here, and I'm not traveling or renovating or doing anything exciting. I'm working on my next book. Beginning a new book is always tricky, I find — so many choices, each one of which will affect the direction of the story. So I write and ponder and grump and rewrite until it feels right. I also procrastinate with fiddly things, making necklaces and bracelets and earrings. In a writers' group I belong to, each person chooses a "word for the year" and I make little bracelets out of colorful wooden beads and plastic letter beads for each person's word. They're on the cheap end of the spectrum. I'm also expecting a delivery of some pearls I ordered in December, and I'm not yet sure what I'll make with them. I love pearls, especially the baroque kind which have all kinds of interesting shapes and textures. And then, because it's still very much the summer holidays here, I'm catching up with friends and going out and listening to music and having picnics and seeing movies. Life is good.
Mary Jo here, and what am I doing now? Trying to clean my office and desk! Never the neatest part of the house, after six months of crunching deadline pressure, my desk looks like a Happy Hoarder Home.
With novel and novella both done, I'm starting to work through the layers on notes, papers, books, etc. (The cats are a moving target.) I hope to see the oak desk surface before I start the next book….
Nicola here, and I’m madly trying to finish the edits to my current manuscript before I go on holiday at the end of the month! When I’m this deep into revisions I find I eat, sleep and dream them so it’s very difficult to think about anything else until the book’s finished. However, I’m off on a trip to the Arctic so I really need to plan some clothing choices before it’s too late! I’ve bought some extra thermal underwear, a guide book, and a flask to keep my hot chocolate hot whilst I go sightseeing in the snow.
Lucy insisted on photo-bombing this photo of my travel preparations to remind me that alongside the holiday and the manuscript revisions I mustn’t forget her! She’ll be with us for another couple of months finishing the first stage of her Guide Dog puppy training before she goes off to school for part 2!
Susanna here, and I’m finishing up one work-in-progress—my first-ever novella, which seems to have taken at least as long to write as any of my novels—while diving headlong into the proper work on my next full-length book, the sort-of-prequel to The Winter Sea. With plenty of writing to keep me busy, my desk is a bit of a disaster—along with the rest of my house, I’m afraid—but fortunately my family is used to me by now.
We’ve all been enjoying the company of a little visitor on our front porch: a mourning dove who’s decided to overwinter with us. When I first saw him turning up day after day, I was afraid he might be wounded, but after doing some reading I learned that some males choose not to migrate south with their friends. Instead they stake out the best spring nesting spots and just sit there through the winter, so no one else gets there before them, even at the risk of losing toes to frostbite (or worse).
I told my husband this sounds like typical male behaviour—females, I told him, would simply make note of the best nesting spots, migrate, then return a little early, thus sparing themselves the frostbite part. But we’re growing quite fond of our little guest, anyway, and are doing what we can to give him shelter while he’s here. I’ve named him Devon.
Joanna here: I am up to my gills in house refurbishing. Don't know if you can make out the rather dim picture, but this is the cat and dog (I'm taking the picture so I'm not in it) camped out on a great huge air mattress in the new house.
The second photo is the dog who has come to like looking out the window at cars going by.
Observe the horrible awnings that have been stuck onto this innocent little dwelling. I will remove the awnings — my, my but the house will be pleased to see them go — when it is a bit warmer and I have worked out how to cajole the trashmen into carrying them away.
In the front yard, those boxwoods, too, are history as soon as I work out the best way to demolish them.
January is my month of being destructive, I guess.
Andrea here, rather glad that the gloom and chill of winter is making it less onerous to be inside, duct-taped to my writing chair. Unlike some of the other Wenches, who are traveling the world to exotic places or engaged in interesting hands-on renovation projects, right now I am juggling three books in various states of progress. My next Wrexford & Sloane book, Murder at Kensington Palace, is just back from the final copyedits and needs to be proofed one last time before heading to production and its September release date. Meanwhile, I need to keep nudging along Book Four, which is maybe a third of the way through the first draft. (Hmm, I wonder what’s going to happen in the next chapter! As soon as I finish writing this I need to have a brainstorming session with my editorial staff.) And on top of that, I’m just proofreading the final manuscript for my next Lady Arianna mystery, A Question of Numbers, which I just finished several days ago and plan to have up for sale in late spring. (Note to Self: Charlotte is NOT the name of the heroine of the Lady A series!) Sigh. It’s a good thing my highly trained assistants are on the ball and willing to work for chocolate!
It's snowing outside (yay!), and January is already flying by as I try to clean up the writing debris and organize the house a little, with a little fresh feng shui to set up the new year – a great excuse to move some furniture and change things up! I'm juggling a few writing projects all at once – a new novel, a novella, and edits for a few backlist titles that recently reverted to me, so I'm hopping from one to the next to keep them moving along. The backlist e-book titles will be released this year, and knocking all kinds of wood, the new-new book might be done this year too. This year I'm looking forward to finally completing some exciting things that have been on the back burner for a bit!
So, what are you up to now that the holidays are over?