This post ends my year and my career as a regular contributor to the SleuthSayers blog, though I'll be available to pinch-hit whenever one of the group needs a break. I'd like to thank Leigh Lundin and Robert Lopresti for giving me this opportunity and for their patience while I learned (but never mastered) the software. I'd also like to thank the other writers on the blog for their encouragement and comments, especially Dale C. Andrews, with whom I've shared Tuesdays (and the daunting job of preparing the retrospective posts for SleuthSayers' second anniversary). I hope to actually meet Dale someday, maybe at a baseball game.
In place of blogging, I'm going to be devoting more time to promoting a new book, The Quiet Woman, which will be published by Five Star in June. It's quite a departure for me, as it's my first stand-alone mystery and my first comic/romantic/supernatural one, at least in book form. (I now see some of my Alfred Hitchcock stories as baby steps in that direction.) I'll write more about The Quiet Woman closer to its release, if my replacement will relinquish a Tuesday. That replacement, incidentally, is David Dean, a man who needs no introduction to regular SleuthSayers readers, since he's the writer I replaced one year ago. He's spent that year working on a new book, about which I hope he'll write in this space.
I'm sorry that so few of my twenty-odd posts had to do with mystery writing and that so many were about old movies and forgotten actors and authors, though many of my favorite posts by other contributors have also wandered far in the subject matter field. Many of these favorites have been magazine quality, in my opinion, both in terms of writing and word count. The latter I attribute to good time management, something at which I've never excelled, as the following account of my approach to blog writing, inspired by Eve Fisher's recent Robert Benchley post, will demonstrate.
As near as I can reconstruct, my two-week blog-writing cycle has gone something like this.
Through the miracle of Blogger.com, my column appears on a Tuesday. All is right with the world. I can hold my head up in any gathering of productive human beings, though I can't remember the last time I attended such a gathering. This happy glow stays with me until Thursday, when it's eclipsed by the bright rays of the approaching weekend.
Sometime during that weekend, I panic, until a quick check of my desk calendar confirms that the looming Tuesday belongs to Dale Andrews. Sure enough, Dale's column appears as if by magic on the appointed day. It might even give me an idea for a post of my own. If it doesn't, no problem. I have a week to work one out.
A week being much more time than I need, I don't actually use the whole thing. That would be wasteful. In fact, I spend so much of my week not being wasteful that, before I know it, another weekend arrives. Sometime late on Sunday, I wonder, idly, what Dale will write about this week. Maybe he's traveling down south again. He seems to travel more than John Kerry. That's the life, escaping the cold snow for the warm sand and trading juncos for sanderlings. I can almost hear the waves. . .
I awake in a cold sweat with the realization that the approaching Tuesday, whose skirmishers are even now topping the nearest hill, is my Tuesday. To arms! To arms!
Okay, maybe that isn't exactly how my average fortnight has gone, but it's close enough that just recounting it has caused my heart to race. When it settles down, I'll get to work on a new book, following Mr. Dean's example. In the meantime, thanks very much for visiting.