The Widower

Yesterday, I was having what I had thought was an innocuous FaceTime with my father. There was our usual current discussion of the weather in his northeast Pennsylvania, and any snow – including what is up at our house in the Catskills. There was also the required exchange about what the new U.S. president is up to. And there was other chitchat.

As I thought we were about to sign off, abruptly he veered without warning into again reviewing my mother’s cancer and death in October 2015. Through hard personal experience, I’ve learned a lot about widowers since then. “The widower” is a particularly difficult area in our culture.

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“He doesn’t love me as I love him…”

For today’s topic – the obvious one. I’ve found that writing romance is one of the most difficult things to get right as an author. It is too dangerously easy to produce sappy, or unrealistic, or simply unbelievable relationships.

It is also easy to poke fun at romance writing. However, if you try to write even a few romantic paragraphs yourself you will quickly develop a respect for those who craft romantic tales. Since 2013, I have.

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Day Of Rest

I read none of my Conventions manuscript yesterday beyond glimpsing its cover on Instagram and here in my post about it. I’m taking a few days away from the late 1700s to clear my head before I delve into correcting it from the beginning. I think this is probably the first time in months I have gone a 24 hour period (and counting) not writing or reading any of it.

Stock Photo: An Indo-Chinese tiger sleeping on a rock.
Stock Photo: An Indo-Chinese tiger sleeping on a rock.

As part of my “day of rest,” I found myself in a sudden Messenger chat with a friend. She lives in Bristol and was my wife’s friend before she became mine as well. (I have deleted names used.) She is the opening message…

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My “Gone With The Wind” (I Laughed)

When you have finished the rough draft of your latest book one day earlier than you had targeted it for completion, what do you do? Well, I sat there stunned and shattered. Later, I watched an old film and decompressed:

And I went for a quick walk:

I did not go inside. I resisted. I had thought, though, maybe…

Earlier, I had also “freed” my book at last from the confines of a PC file and printed the ENTIRE manuscript for the first time. In its three dimensional form it’s now 516 pages (double-sided printed, of course) and it took the printer about three hours to work through it all. At last I could point to it and say, 13 months of work (so far):

Conventions: The Garden At Paris. The manuscript. It is no longer just an abstraction sitting in a PC. [Photo by me, 2017.]
Conventions: The Garden At Paris. The manuscript. It is no longer just an abstraction sitting in a PC. [Photo by me, 2017.]

I was so pleased, as you see I took a photo of it. As I looked at it, I thought as well that I still couldn’t believe it. All of that had once been merely an “idea” bouncing around vaguely in my head.

Soon the “editor” – she may well be reading this post – will receive a copy. Now the truly scary part commences. I hope she has a spare month or so of reading time!

I have just Facetimed my wife in Portugal and waved it at her: “My Gone With The Wind,” I laughed.

She came back, “Let’s hope it sells like that!”

Indeed, and as I look again now at that huge pile of paper, my uncle comes to mind. If you are a regular visitor, you know he died in October 2015. He had been a crime novelist published starting in the early 1980s by “big name” companies.

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Thoughts For This Sunday

I was away for a few days. I’d driven down to stay with my (increasingly frail) in-laws in London while my wife is in Portugal. My main task was to help with dog walking:

Naturally, I transported my vital technology to set myself up to write there when I could.

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A Few Days Of Holiday Hibernation

Here, near Windham in the Catskills, we awoke to some snow yesterday:

Lovely to look at and fortunately not enough to be a major driving problem. English relatives will be arriving here later today, driving up from Manhattan where they’ve been sightseeing for the last two days. We’re prepared:

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A Fourth Writing December

Another Monday is upon us. His Oxford term now finished, we had my nephew stay over for a couple of nights. He flies off today to Vienna for a few days to visit friends there.

Aircraft contrails over Hertfordshire, England yesterday. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Aircraft contrails over Hertfordshire, England yesterday. [Photo by me, 2016.]
While he was here in Hertfordshire, of course we fed him:

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All In Another Day’s Work

This is what happens to a writer left alone. The Mrs. is in Lisbon until Wednesday. So I have no excuse not to tear through more of the manuscript

My home office [Photo by me, 2016.]
My home office [Photo by me, 2016.]

And yesterday, I did. On the spur of the moment I decided to kill off an important character. Writing can be a “brutal” world. You can do just about anything – and surprise and shock readers.

Later, after a couple of Mad Men episodes and dinner, I ended up awake until midnight. Finally I took on a scene I’d been putting off writing: A character at a dinner, debating Thomas Jefferson.

He’s a tough man to debate. As you know I’ve tried talking to him myself. He wouldn’t give me the time of day. πŸ™‚

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Letter From Northern Ireland

I know my “daily journal” here has been more intermittent this week than usual. I have found myself so extra-motivated in writing that blogging has had to take a back seat. And I have been writing lots.

On Wednesday, I blogged about one bit. Yesterday I became immersed in a muzzleloader-pistol-packing, life-threatening scene. (“I assure you, sir, I will shoot her.”) I also wrote two emotionally heavy and important letters.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of books.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of books.

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