I’m a writer. A fiction writer. And right now my world, and everyone else’s, has been highly modified nonfictionally by a situation I never imagined would happen: The Covid 19 pandemic.
Because I’m a fiction writer, my mind is always spiraling with ideas for new stories. At the moment I think I’ll have three new books published next year: two Harlequin Romantic Suspense novels plus a potentially stand-alone mystery that I’m currently writing.
All that keeps my mind and my fingers busy. But that mind of mine–well, when I’m not focused on what I’m writing, I’m always considering potential new ideas. They kind of just slip into my thoughts based on things I see or do, or don’t see or do but still tiptoe in and become creative plots or people or pets.
Or unusual backgrounds…
Yes, I’ve already done a blog here not too long ago about what to include, and what not to include, in stories. I focused more there on whether or not to include references in what I’m already writing to the pandemic and other current issues it has been causing.
Now, I’m wondering whether I ought to write something new that features the pandemic and how it involves a protagonist, probably in a mystery. At least my mind keeps telling me to consider it.
If I did, would people want to read it, or would they rather stay away from awful things like that which are affecting their real lives–even fictionalized versions of it?
Don’t know yet–but I’m kind of leaving my mind loose to consider it.
What do you think–would you want to read about it?
Because it’s me, the story would also most likely involve dogs, who are now being recognized as wonderful companions as we all stay far from others outside our households a whole lot more than we used to.
But of course no dogs would be harmed.
November? Already? This year is nearly over. Where did it go?
Well, we still have over a month to go. Then what?
One thing, though, is that I think we all need to relax. There’s a lot of stress in our lives because of the pandemic, its health and economic results, politics lately, and more.
So how to handle it?
Well, when I first started trying to come up with a topic for my post this time, I wanted to use a theme of fun in writing but relaxation, if possible. So what did I come up with?
Oh, they’re not for everyone. But they’re definitely for me. I like to do at least two daily, the first online, and the next after dinner while watching TV–print versions, often in various newspapers.
I feel like they keep my mind active in similar but different ways from my writing. Love to keep up with, and increase, my vocabulary! And of course anything I learn in a crossword might be usable in a story somehow. Plus, yes, I find them relaxing.
I also enjoy doing other kinds of word puzzles, particularly acrostics. They’re crosswords in a way, using definitions, but you then plug parts into a grid and come up with a saying or message. Fun!
So, okay. I don’t really have anything else to say about crosswords right now, but I’d be delighted to hear your opinion. And me? Time for me to do my next online crossword!
I’m Zooming these days. Oh, not a lot. But when I do, I always think about how convenient it is to participate in various meetings without leaving home.
Last weekend, I joined in a Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles chapter meeting, where author and psychologist Dennis Palumbo was speaking about how to handle writing and your mind these days. Very interesting, especially since I’m always wondering these days where my mind is. Of course, I also wondered that a lot before the pandemic and all the other things going on now began.
I also joined a recent LARA meeting–Los Angeles Romance Authors. And this week I hope to visit a presentation being given by a local independent bookstore. Plus, there are other upcoming chapter meetings of other organizations that I’ll leap into as I learn more about the dates and times.
The thing is, I’m highly untechie. I have to go back and figure out the technological stuff nearly each time. For example, this week I had to play around to turn audio back on, although the video worked fine. Could I start a Zoom meeting on my own? I highly doubt it.
I do like the idea, though, that I don’t have to drive time-consuming distances to get to those meetings.
I don’t like the idea that I can’t see buddies belonging to those organizations in person. But at least this way I get a glimpse of them without putting myself in danger of catching anything I don’t want to.
I’m just glad Zoom is around, to give us possibilities. So–thank you, Zoom!
And hi out there to those of you I know and might otherwise see at some meetings. Hope you’re all doing great… and Zooming along.
We’re still in the midst of the pandemic that has affected us for more than six months now. People get sick, and fortunately many heal . . . though not everyone does. And it’s affected us in ways beyond illness–economically, for example.
Even when things seem to improve some, they don’t always stay that way. Sometimes they get worse again. We still don’t know when things will settle down and start resembling normal once more.
And as a writer, I’m wondering when to use all of this.
Right now I’m still working on my third book in the long-running Colton series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, featuring characters in one of the many branches of the Colton family spread all over the country. I’ve known what has to happen in this one, and that’s what I’ve done.
But I’m also plotting some other ideas. Stories that will take place at least a little in the future.
Should I mention the pandemic? The social unrest? What it’s all done to our economy?
Or should I assume that readers will prefer that I don’t go there, that I ignore all that nasty stuff and just create my own issues in my stories, the way I used to?
I’m pondering all of that even as I plot. But like everything else these days, who knows what the future will bring–and if things will ever return to what had been deemed normal before?
Of course, as a writer, I want to satisfy my readers. It’s okay to scare them in romantic suspense and mysteries, but we need satisfying endings in which all gets resolved in a reasonable, acceptable, perhaps optimistic way. Never mind what happens in real life. I write fiction!
Well, I’ll figure it out and decide which direction to go in each story I write.
And hope that reality gets better even as my stories continue.
For the last couple of months, my posts here included some of my take on what was happening with the Corona virus and how it was affecting my life–and how the changes had become my new normal.
Then there’s the economy, and all the people suffering because we mostly need to stay at home. Businesses are closing. People are losing their jobs. Where’s the money??
My new normal now also includes worrying about the protests occurring in many places in our country–including areas of Los Angeles, which is where I live. Oh, I sympathize with the protesters who are out there marching peacefully against racial inequality. The death that precipitated it all this time shouldn’t have happened. But now looters are using the protests as an excuse to get out there, break into stores, and steal a lot. And injure others. A lot of businesses in areas near me that haven’t experienced the riots are all boarded up, just in case.
And now here, and in other blog posts I’ve done, I’m wondering what’s next.
I’m writing, of course. Right now I’m working on my third book in the long-running Colton series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, featuring characters in one of the many branches of the Colton family spread all over the country. I keep thinking about the second one I wrote, when much of the action was precipitated by an earthquake–Colton First Responder.
Are we due for an earthquake as yet another major issue in our existence, like a pandemic and riots? After all, as I said, I live in Los Angeles. And there was an earthquake worth noting in Ridgecrest, a location not far from here, this week.
Other areas may be deluged with hurricanes or other storms.
Or will our next problem–no, read “disaster”–involve something else?
Well, I am a writer and my imagination never stops. And I keep telling it to calm down and imagine instead what things will be like when there’s at least a small semblance of a return to normal.
Although what normal will be next…?
Anyway, I hope that all of you who are reading this are well and safe and not subject to any of those or any other major issues.
Who knows? Next time I post here, things may be quite different… again!
Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published 53 books so far, including mysteries and romantic novels. More than twenty-five of them are romances for Harlequin, including Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne. Her latest release is Colton First Responder, for Harlequin Romantic Suspense. She has also written several mystery series including the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries and Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink, and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries and Pet Rescue Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. Nearly all Linda’s current stories involve dogs!
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