Private Musings

This is my 17th blog entry, and as far as I can tell none of previous 16 have been read by anyone. So I’m going to assume this is a place for my private musings. I’ll imagine a reader coming across these posts after I’m dead, so if you’re that person you’ll be privy to a lot of blather and perhaps an epiphany or two. As of tomorrow EVELYN MARSH will have been out four months. In that time it has sold somewhere around 375 copies. The reviews  have been good, which is of course gratifying.

I’m trying to concoct a new story. I want to write an ensemble piece about people in Moss Beach, although I’m calling it Rum Beach and moving the lighthouse to a more scenic location. I’ve come up with a few characters. There’s Emily Abbot, a closet novelist whose greatest strength (loyalty) is also her greatest weakness (as she’s taken for granted). There’s Steve Wexler, the erstwhile bassist for a long defunct band, who is still trying to ride on the crest of a fading celebrity. There is Gary Myron, a simple fisherman. And there is Tom Blankenship, a wine importer who unexpectedly meets Fate. I know how it starts. I know how it ends. But as usual the middle section eludes me. And setting the hook early alludes me. I really don’t know what the unifying concept is. How do all the characters tie together? I’m planning for a 230 page book. My only goal is to make it interesting enough for readers to continue to turn the pages to the end. I don’t know exactly how to pull it off. I’ve been trying to come up with an outline. It’s partly done, but I’m stymied on other parts. I believe in the efficacy of an outline, but I think an outline can be effective even if it’s not detailed. You really only need to know the  purpose of a particular scene. I’ll explore the usefulness of an outline tomorrow. I’m tired tonight and want to get to bed.

Gwendy’s Button Box

I just finished reading Gwendy’s Button Box. If you’re a slow reader, this novella by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar will provide an evening of good entertainment. It’s a fascinating book from an author’s perspective, because it hooks the reader with a slightly creepy instigator and a totem, or magical object, that in the end becomes a perfect metaphor for the writer’s life. There is nothing extraneous in the telling of this story. It’s deceptively simple and compelling. It can also be read on different levels, and will remind some readers of King’s Lisey’s Story.

Books Read — First Half of 2017

Of the 25 books I’ve read so far this year, most were at least entertaining, though a few were disappointing given the authors or the reviews. My favorites have been Daphne du Maurier’s haunting My Cousin Rachel; Nora Roberts’ thriller The Witness; Pat Barker’s thoughtful and beautifully written Regeneration; and Alexander McCall Smith’s My Italian Bulldozer.
For you Francophiles, lovers of good food and mysteries out there, the new Martin Walker book, The Templar’s Last Secret is out today. I think this is the tenth in the series. If you’re not yet a fan, you should probably start with the first one, Bruno Chief of Police. Bruno is one of the great characters in modern literature, and the plots and subplots are all refreshingly current and relevant, though the books are set in the ancient landscape of the Périgord. I’m looking forward to reading the new one this summer.