This past week brought two semi-miracles for me: I handed in final edits on my latest manuscript and submitted my first short story (well, second, actually, but we won’t count that one). And then I found myself faced with an unusual dilemma: What to Write Next?

I have to say, this is the first time in quite a while that I’ve had the luxury of thinking about a bright, shiny new project. I’m still fully committed to The Ladies Smythe & Westin, of course, but I’d love to start a new cozy series as well—maybe even one with a hint of paranormal. I’m also taking a class in romantic suspense, and then there’s (sigh)…The Idea That Won’t Go Away.

I wrote the first book of that series with a fifteen-year-old protagonist. Then I wrote it in third person point-of-view for grown-ups. And lately I’ve been thinking maybe it should be told in first-person. But THREE different versions of the same story? Ugh.

Like my go-to role model Scarlett O’Hara, I prefer to tell myself I’ll think about it later. As in, much, much later. I could leave those old manuscript versions in my desk drawer for, well, maybe forever.

And since this is June, there are plenty of excellent reasons to postpone any pesky writing decisions. Graduations, weddings, reunions, and, of course, everyone’s favorite: dance recitals. It just so happened that I had one to attend on Saturday, for my little granddaughters who just completed their first year of Irish dance. It’s a tradition in our family—my kids were step dancers also—and it also happens to play a major role in my double-jeopardy manuscript, currently titled THE JIG IS UP.

I had a two-hour drive to the Boston burbs to crank eighties tunes on Sirius Radio and absolutely not think about those printouts burning through my desk. But once I was seated in the dark auditorium and the familiar Irish music started up, the story flooded back to my brain as fast and furiously as the tapping from the stage. Through every jig, reel, and hornpipe, with performances from the smallest dancers to World competitors, there was no avoiding the Celtic siren’s call.

Alison and Eleanor weren’t scheduled to make their grand debuts until later in the show, but by the time they took the stage, I’d made my decision. The art of traditional Irish dance evolved at the crossroads of tiny villages throughout the Emerald Isle. And there I was, at my own personal writer’s crossroads—had it been some kind of sign? Maybe not, but when I got home I took a deep breath and opened up those long-saved files anyway. Time to get to work.

Of course my girls were both adorable and danced brilliantly in their fancy dresses and ghillies and curly up-dos. Riverdance lives! And so, very possibly, does THE JIG IS UP.


Have YOU had any tough decisions to make lately, reading or writing-wise? Let us know in the comments below!

15 thoughts on “Crossroads

  1. It’s a great inspirational post here. I can’t imagine the struggle you went through doing all those different ideas on the same story! Wow, big ups to you!
    Writing wise? Yeah! I finished my edit on my first novel. I redid the outline page, and have to read it to make sure I still have everything in the right order. Scrivener did something really bad. I had everything in Aeon timeline, and Scrivener put it all on the same date in the metadata! Fortunately I still have the old outline, so I have to go back and rewrite the timeline to see if I moved something to the wrong part, and make sure the transitions are good.
    Then to write the synopsis and find an agent. That is so scary. Taking that first step is frightening as all get out for me.
    And I am at a writing class where I will do learn about the correct way to edit with Margie Lawson this week. That is really frightening. I think this is what will tell me if I have any real talent in writing or not. Everyone says I have the talent, but I am truly not sure. After all, what do my friends and unpublished writers know!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oooo, I can’t wait to here where you go with this project! Sadly, I was just informed by my agent that I should keep the MS in the (virtual) bottom of my drawer in the bottom of my drawer. But I am mulling a possible new series – one is finally speaking to me – and here’s the revelation. It’s speaking to me in first person. Which is shocking, because I’ve never written prose in first person. To be continued…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s great, Ellen! It’s exciting when a character actually speaks to you– in any voice! Keep us posted 🙂


    2. Well, personally, I thought that ms. was great, because I had the privilege of reading it. And you’re going to love first person, I think. Can’t wait to hear about the journey (and read the book!).


    1. Ha, thanks, Vickie! Congrats on finishing your manuscript, too. Is your halo feeling a little tight also? (Mine sure is.) Onward!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Any time I have a blank spot in my reading schedule, I take forever trying to decide what to read. It happens so rarely that are a bunch of books I want to slip into that spot.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Your grandbabies are so cute! I know they killed that stage. Yay turning in your final MS. And you know I’m a fan of your new series idea. (And I love first person as well.) My only complaint in this post is you should be listening to iHeartRadio. :-p

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Congratulations! There’s something really reassuring about figuring out what’s calling out to you, isn’t there?! So excited for you!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooo, Norway! That’s amazing, Kate! Hope you’re having a great time. It’s probably colder here right now.


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