Technically, I am on hiatus. I finished writing Sister of a Sinner, did the rewrite, synopsis, blurb, and sent it off to my editor--who sent it to readers unfamiliar with the Sinners series, and they remarked, "Who are all these people?" Even the list of in the front of the book didn't help them nor the quick sketches of each person as they entered the story. I swear I've explained what a traiteur is a dozen times and always put it in italics as a foreign word, but one reader kept calling my heroine a traitor until she finally caught on. For those who don't know, a traiteur is a traditional healer who uses prayer, herbal cures, and other folk remedies to heal in Cajun country where many of my books take place. The trouble with long running series is they gather characters like a snowball rolling downhill, and I keep thinking fans of the series want to know what they are doing along with the main characters. Yes, I know this is a failing of mine. I try hard to snuff some of them out, but don't succeed. Most likely Sister will be rejected or have agonizing edits. Not looking forward to that. I try not to think I've wasted three or four months writing a book that will never be published. It has happened before.
What am I doing between books? Maintenance. I updated my web site, www.lynnshurr.com. I forced myself to send a query and sample chapters of one of my Regency books to a high-powered agency recommended by a dear friend. Eight books sitting in the closet waiting to be discovered. I don't have high hopes. Query letters are not my forte, though I've read numerous articles on how to do them well and attended workshops on the same. Bracing for rejection--again. Might end up being a two bogie month. Got to put on my alligator hide.
But, I did design and order promotional postcards for An Ashy Affair to be released on September 28th and up for pre-sale on Amazon now. It's a really good one with a great cover, and I do think it will sell well. There's a plus to offset the minuses.
I caught up with some reading, my favorites, Norah Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, and looking forward to the new Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I read about six books a month, all I can handle and still write my own. This usually includes one for my book club, this month the tender love story, Eleanor and Park, a YA title banned, I guess, for bad language by people who really think teens don't use those words. On my car's CD player, I am listening to the Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, a eloquent story of the abolitionist Grimke sisters and their family's slaves. Yes, I wish I wrote that well. Just finished Cavalier by Lucy Worsley, nonfiction. Who knows when I might want to write about the 17th century conflict between the Roundheads and the bewigged Cavaliers? Also worked in Sweet Tomorrows by Debbie Macomber. It is sweet. When I was laid up with pneumonia earlier this year a person suggested if I read more, I might improve my own writing. Sorry, I don't think I could read more and still produce two or three books of my own each year.
Then, I started research on Never a Sinner about Teddy, the Billodeaux's handicapped son. Trying to figure out wheelchair sex led me to many porn sites, but also some very useful blogs by people actually in this situation. I was touched by their stories and advice to others. I planned to take a month's break, but once I began the research, I couldn't help but start writing the story, not pushing, going slowly because after all, I am on hiatus. Maybe I should write one called Never on Hiatus. Two weeks away from the computer seems to be all I can mange. Of course, if Sister is not accepted, that will break the series--and then what? A topic for another time.