Has it really been six years?

on November 10, 2011

If you follow me regularly on Twitter or Facebook, you probably know I’ve left the fabulous mystery blog Murderati. You can read all about it here. In a nutshell: if I’m going to write three books a year and raise five kids, something had to give.

I’ve talked about social media in the past, the pros and cons (and there are pros and cons, don’t let anyone tell you it’s all good or it’s all bad.) Blogging is part of “social media” but I think it goes a step beyond. It’s easy to Tweet a comment or retweet a link or great writing quote; it doesn’t take a lot of time to post every morning on Facebook and scan the News Feed for updates from friends. Blogging, on the other hand, takes a bit more thought and time. Not just the hour or two to write and edit my bi-weekly post, but to participate in the community. And I feel a blog IS a community of like-minded readers who like to talk about books, entertainment, and the writer’s life.

Six years ago, a five of us founded this blog. Jennifer, Karin and I are still here. Over time, some of our bloggers left, we brought more in, and a couple years back we were all overwhelmed and thinking of shutting down Murder She Writes. That’s when we shook things up and added more bloggers to free up our time to write and be with family. It was that or disband, and none of us truly wanted to shut down the blog.

Change can be a very good thing.

Six years ago, my first book was published by Ballantine. December 27th, 2005 THE PREY hit the shelves. My 17th Ballantine book, IF I SHOULD DIE, will be released on November 22. The book marks the last with that publisher, and I’m moving to Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press.

Change can be a very good thing, but it’s also scary.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I wrote six years ago and how I write now. I’ve always been a fast writer, but I’ve slowed down over the last few books and I haven’t been able to pinpoint why. I still write fast, but I rewrite more. I used to write 4-6 hours a day; now I write 8-10 hours a day but end up with fewer net words when I shut off for the night. And often, I delete everything I wrote the day before.

Mariah Stewart once told me that not only does writing not get easier, but we are constantly striving to write a better book than the last, yet fear the last was the best we had to give.

She is a wise, wise woman.

Six years seems like a long time, but then I look at my seven year old son and realize that it’s not long at all. I was pregnant with Mark with I got the call in March of 2004 that Ballantine wanted to buy my book. He was 18 months old when THE PREY came out. I’ll never forget jumping up and down and crying when my editor overnighted the first finished copy of my first book.

And today, when the UPS driver walked down my driveway with a large box from Random House, I met him halfway. I didn’t jump up and down or cry–but my heart skipped a beat and I had to open the box and take out a copy of IF I SHOULD DIE.

Though this book is an ending with on publisher, I’ll be continuing the Lucy Kincaid series with my new publisher. I’m revising SILENCED now, which will be out on April 24, 2012. It’s slow going. I like where I’m taking the story in revisions, aided by fantastic editorial notes, but it’s not easy. I used to whip out extensive revisions in two weeks. I suspect these will take longer.

I used to think writing would get easier the more books I had under my belt. But Marti was right. Each book is harder than the last.

Last year, the girls and I had some big plans to celebrate Murder She Writes fifth anniversary, but we were all on tight deadlines … and it seems this year, nothing has changed.

But today, in celebration of getting my author copies and my revision notes, I’m giving away an EARLY COPY of IF I SHOULD DIE to one lucky commenter. Do you want it? If so, just comment — say hi, say congrats, say happy anniversary, or tell me what you’d like us gals at Murder She Writes to blog about this coming year. Anything we haven’t tackled? Anything you particularly liked and want more of? Just let us know.

I posted an exclusive excerpt here at Murder She Writes, just for you 🙂

Thank you for helping make the Murder She Writes community a great place to be — for our readers, and for all of us.