on December 9, 2010

Or is it?

This is the first year since I’ve been published that I don’t have a deadline in December.

Deadlines can mean a lot of things. Turning in the manuscript, copyedits, page proofs, proposal — important things that need to be done, preferably on time. But this December, I don’t have a major deadlines.

I have little things to do. Blogs to write–such as the Amazon Kindle piece I was working on yesterday for the release of LOVE IS MURDER, a novella to be released exclusively for the digital market. The blog I turned in last week for Borders Romance that will run on January 2. Updating my website . . . which will be a lot more extensive after Sylvia’s thought-provoking and fabulous blog on Monday. The short story for the untitled Thriller 3 that I’m also managing editor for. (Due 3.1 . . . the same day I need to have the rough draft of Lucy #3 done.)

And then there are the things I want to do . . . but don’t have to do. Writing short stories for the Horror Writers Association anthology (due 1.10) and the Mystery Writers of America anthology (due 3.15). I have ideas for both anthologies, but I’ll admit it’s the MWA story that currently has my heart. I’m writing it in first person. I started it in third and then the protagonist, Sacramento Police Detective Lena Moore, took over the voice and I knew it had to be first person.

I wrote my first first person POV (the villain only) for LOVE ME TO DEATH, the first Lucy Kincaid book. (Lots of firsts there!) I wrote the villain in first, and it worked well (after getting a down and dirty grammar lesson from my editor!) But I had never seriously considered writing any story in first until I started this short story. If MWA doesn’t want it, I’ll submit it elsewhere. I only have 1,000 words done out of a projected 7-9K story, but already I like it. It’s very dark, very edgy, and very sexy even though there will probably be no sex in the story. (I don’t know yet because, well, I’ve only written 1,000 words.)

But I am having SOOOOOO much fun writing this story that even if no one takes it, I don’t care. In fact, I’m going back to it after I finish this blog and if I don’t sleep much, oh well.

And I thought I had a reprieve.

Last year, I took 12 days off and it took me two full weeks to get my routine back. I realized then that I can’t take time off–at least, not that much time. A day here or there is fine, but two weeks? No. For every day I take off, it takes me a day to get back to my regular pace. I don’t have that luxury. So even when I step away from the computer for a day, I need to write at night. It’s such a part of me and my routine that without writing, I feel a little lost.

Yet, in many ways I do have a break. I didn’t stress this morning when I took time to watch my youngest sing a solo in his Christmas Pageant even though I saw him Tuesday night. Because there’s nothing better than a six year old singing. And I spent three hours Christmas shopping on-line, going to my favorite sites and comparing prices and getting what I hope my kids will like. And I’m thrilled I’m already half-way done with my shopping and still have more than 2 weeks before Christmas! Yeah me!

And I’ve been watching more television, spending more time with the kids, and taking out the Christmas decorations . . . all without the little voice in the back of my head telling me I have to get back to work. Tomorrow, I’m visiting family out of town, then heading to the Capitol for a retirement party for someone I worked with for years in the capitol. All without worry that I’m going to be late on anything.

I won’t lie. It’s 1:16 am as I write this and the kids were all asleep by 9 (bigger kids later, but I don’t have to tuck in the 17 year old and read her a bedtime story . . . she just says, “‘night mom” and staggers off to bed.) I worked on my MWA short story and edited the chapter I wrote earlier today in Lucy #3 (IF I SHOULD DIE.) I’ve been at my computer from 11 am until 4 pm, and again from 9 pm until now, because even when I have a reprieve, all that means is I can take a breath.

And that’s okay. I’m certainly not complaining! Today, I’m going to edit the Amazon blog and send it off; I’m going to finish reading an ARC for a friend; and I’m going to take my oldest daughter to her volleyball practice even though she can drive herself . . . just to watch her play. And tonight? I’ll be back at the computer to write. Because honestly, I can’t not do something. If I had nothing to do . . . I’d create something to do! (As long as it’s not cleaning, because I’d rather stare at a blank wall than clean the house.)

Come February, I know I’ll be back in full stress mode. I’ll have the anthology to manage, my short story (or two) to finish, and a book due . . . but for now, I have a reprieve.

What do you do when you have a night, a day, or a week where there is nothing so pressing that you can’t stop and smell the roses?

To celebrate the lull before the storm, someone who comments will win an early copy of LOVE ME TO DEATH, Lucy Kincaid’s first book which will be on sale December 28.

“World-class nail-biter . . . Brennan is in the groove with this one.”—Lee Child

Six years ago, Lucy Kincaid was attacked and nearly killed by an online predator. She survived. Her attacker did not. Now Lucy’s goal is to join the FBI and fight cyber-crime, but in the meantime, she’s volunteering with a victim’s rights group, surfing the Web undercover to lure sex offenders into the hands of the law. But when the predators she hunts start turning up as murder victims, the FBI takes a whole new interest in Lucy.

With her future and possibly even her freedom suddenly in jeopardy, Lucy discovers she’s a pawn in someone’s twisted plot to mete out vigilante justice. She joins forces with security expert and daredevil Sean Rogan, and together they track their elusive quarry from anonymous online chat rooms onto the mean streets of Washington, D.C. But someone else is shadowing them: A merciless stalker has his savage eye on Lucy. The only way for her to escape his brutality may be another fight to the death.