Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What’s New on The Writing Front? So Glad You Asked….

Keith here.

I leave for the East Coast and ThrillerFest on July 5 – that’s in less than two weeks.

Every few days my agent is sending 50-100 pages of my latest manuscript back to me with his comments neatly inserted by Word in the right-hand margin. I curse him as I read them, not because they are bad or misguided, but because he is hitting the nail on the head with each one. (I’m kind of sorry for cursing him now. He told me he’d come down with some illness and he’s accused me of voodoo powers.) Anyway, I’ve been busy rewriting at the local café that serves as my sanctum sanctorum. (Compadre Barry Eisler discovered me holed up there on Saturday. One can’t hide from him – he’s ex-CIA. OTOH, that means he can keep a secret.) My agent is supposed to have a polished manuscript in his hands by the time I board the plane.

But Friday I received the proofs of my next book, Smasher, from my editor at Midnight Ink. To stick to the publication schedule, which has it showing up on bookstore shelves in October, I need to review changes and make any necessary edits before getting on that plane. That’s priority #1.

In the meantime, the CPU between my ears is grinding away on a background task – coming up with inspiration for my next book. I do have a wispy cloud of an idea. But since it has a historical setting, I have research to do. On my East Coast trip, I’m flying first to Boston where I’ve made an appointment with an archivist to look at papers and correspondence relating to the people and period I’m interested in. He was quite accommodating even when I told him I was researching a novel. When I was in grad school in history, I used to love reading old letters, diaries, and meeting reports. We’ll see if I still do. And we’ll see if the archives inspire a plot.

I’ve never juggled three books at once this way. Jim Patterson must be able to handle a lot more than that (co-authors probably help,too), but then his brain is probably a later model with a faster processor and upgraded memory.


G.M. Malliet said...

Ah, the memories! It does get confusing when you realize you've got at least 2 books on the boil at any given time...

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Welcome to my world. I just sent my final proofs for Ghost a la Mode (due out in Sept.) to Midnight on Monday. Have a manuscript due to them by August 1st and another due by January 1st. And must continuously juggle promotion and that pesky day job. At least I have no travel planned until September.

The fastest computer has nothing on us.

Have a wonderful time at Thrillerfest. I look forward to seeing you and many other Midnighters at Bouchercon in October.

Keith Raffel said...

Sue Ann, a comparison of me with Superwoman does not help.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Good luck with all that work, Keith!

I just got a copy of "Pretty is as Pretty Dies" today by Fed-X. Now I'm supposed to do one last edit on it really quick. I've got a couple of other irons in the fire right now too...but you're right. We just have to prioritize our emergencies!

Nice situation to be in, though, for a writer---busy.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Alan Orloff said...


I've been looking into how we can improve our brain's processor speed and upgrade the memory (I'm pretty sure I have an older model brain, too).

I'm considering an external hard drive, but I don't know where to plug it in.

Be sure to let us know how Thrillerfest is--I"m sure it will be great!

Julia Buckley said...

Very cool cover! And how neat that in Silicon Valley a mystery writer can go to a coffee shop and run into another mystery writer. That just doesn't happen in my town. :)