August 31. Technically not yet the end of summer, but as of today I’ve already been to two local tournaments in the 2014-2015 season, so it definitely feels like fall has begun.
This fall feels different.
This fall is different.
After four years and at least three consecutive Summer Nationals each of which I declared would be my last, I actually followed through. I’ve not yet decided definitely about the 2015 Summer Nationals (except that if I work it at all, it won’t be for the whole 10 days), but a couple of weeks after this year’s SN, I resigned as Tournament Committee Chair. Since then, I’ve finally begun writing seriously again, and am currently about 20,000 words (20-25% of the way through) into the current version of the murder mystery I began the first draft of in late 2009. One unfortunate fact I discovered as TC Chair is that TC/BC work apparently uses the same parts of my brain as my writing, so no matter how often I started out my days working on the manuscript, I always ended up distracted by the then-current fencing problems. This fall, there are still similar problems to deal with—they’re just not my problems to deal with any longer.
This fall—or more accurately—this past August, my replacement as TC Chair, the estimable Brandon Rochelle, got to do the BC hiring for the season, requesting availability and solving the Tetris/jigsaw puzzle of staffing national tournaments. My first 10,000 words and I happily avoided that chore.
This fall I will once again head out to work BC at the October NAC (thank you, Brandon), but only as a Mere Minion. Mere Minions get to show up at the venue, having reviewed the applicable rules and policies, work our assigned events and then leave. No busy weeks ahead of time consulting on the competition times and venue layout, figuring out the BC staff schedule, and making sure that all the BC staff booked their travel and have the rooms and roommates they requested. No lying awake the night before the first competition rehearsing solutions to all the potential problems.
And then I’m not—by choice—working another national tournament until January.
With a TC/BC-free brain, I expect to complete the current draft of my manuscript by mid-October, send it out to my select group of beta readers, and start the first draft of the next book in November. Then I’ll let that new one sit a bit while I work on revisions to the first one (there are always revisions). With enough hard work and enough luck, I should be able to publish the first one sometime this spring, and send out the second to beta readers (assuming the first one doesn’t scare them off) by summer, and start the third in the series in late summer or fall.
Beyond that, I may try a new series or a stand-alone, something different from crime fiction set in the fencing world. (One of the problems that bedevils writers of mystery series is deciding how—or even whether—to deal with their protagonist’s implausible propensity for running into corpses and meddling with the ensuing murder investigations. I’m already pushing it planning three murders in fencing venues.)
On the other hand. I’m still on USA Fencing’s Board of Directors until next fall. I’ll still be involved enough in the sport to collect yet more material from which to extrapolate murder plots. I may not make it through the whole alphabet (Sue Grafton is oh-so-close), and I wouldn’t think of tackling the integers the way Janet Evanovich has, but I could maybe see my way clear to half a dozen or so.
You never know.