Fresh Start

Forget New Year’s Eve. Most of my life has been spent in classrooms on either side of the teacher’s desk and in school libraries. So it’s natural that I think of September as starting the year off. I’ve had so, so many first days of school. Alas, I haven’t bought any sharpened pencils or blindingly white sneakers or Trapper Keepers lately. But I’m choosing to look upon this month as a new beginning anyway.

I’ve been pretty slow with the writing lately. Not sure whether that’s the result of laziness or old age or sheer discouragement. Probably a combination of the three. Publishing remains a mystery (no pun intended) to me even after writing around 30 books and novellas.

My latest cozy mystery series has not yet found a home, despite very favorable responses from editors and the determined dedication of my agent. Basically, we’ve heard “I love it but I’m not going to buy it.” If the two completed books are ever going to get out into the wild, it looks as if I will have to self-publish them. Which I dread but will do. New beginnings, right?

I also opened myself up to a project as “a writer for hire.” The company supplied the storyline and characters, and I punched and pummeled it around. The ten-page sample is not going anywhere, but they liked the writing and other opportunities might follow. I am reminded of that ancient TV show, Have Gun-Will Travel. My aim might be off, but I’m still firing away.

And you might remember some months ago I enlisted your help in trying to decide what should come next. I finally decided. There is a Maine historical mystery in my future, something I’ve been fiddling with for absolute ages. Time to forge ahead instead of dubbing around, as my husband would say. It is informed by a four-year residence on a Maine island and working at the historical society there, and will be different from anything I’ve ever written. New beginnings, I say!

And now, a farewell to garden pleasures ending. Next spring, fingers crossed, we get to do it all over again. Fresh starts for all of us, another chance to grow.

Any tips for self-publishing? What’s in your garden?

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15 Responses to Fresh Start

  1. Check out Draft2Digital. I’ve done all my self-published books through them. They take a cut, but it’s worth it not to have to do separate deals with every online bookstore (and deal with Amazon hassles).

  2. judy says:

    Two authors that I read, Merryn Allingham and Verity Bright both publish through Bookouture which is a self publishing group. Best of luck to you, sounds like your idea for a new cozy is one I would enjoy reading.

  3. Kay Garrett says:

    We plant both flower gardens and vegetable garden. The veggies this year were limited to cauliflower, sweet banana peppers, okra and two varieties of tomatoes. We’ve gone wild on the flower gardens the last few years planting lots of perennials to enjoy for years to come. We have tulips and peonies in the spring, lilac, gardenia, purple morning glories, begonias, donkey tails, mother of many, lilies to name a few and now the mums are just starting to show signs of blooms. We love our gardens and enjoy their beauty while sitting on the porch.

    • maggierobinsonwriter says:

      That porch-sitting sounds spectacular. We have many of the same things–had great luck with begonias this year, which I’ve never planted before. I’ve given up on vegetables. As soon as I say to myself, “I’ll pick this tomorrow,” it gets eaten overnight by something!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well, the woodchuck, deer, bunnies, and I have had an interesting gardening season and all the rain didn’t help. Right now the grasses have fallen on everything else and I am debating stake or shear. But the anemones and perennial ageratum are gorgeous and asters and mums are next, so I bask where I can. Have two books out for consideration right now (not too optimistic) and leaning toward Indy publishing myself. If only someone would send us a marketing intern, right?


    • maggierobinsonwriter says:

      Oh, this year I had bugs eat a ton of stuff right down to the nubbin. And yes, we need marketing help. Or a fairy godmother.

  5. Anonymous says:

    (John Clark) Writer for hire sounds very intriguing. As for self publishing, I use Clif Graves who I’ve known and worked with in various ways for 40 years. He’s in Winthrop.

  6. Alice says:

    Gardening-wise I learned why the first part of the shrub name is HYDRAngea – – the Annabelle has never looked better, same with hibiscus. Lots of other plants are just plain soggy. We live on the St George river and have had so much fog & mist. I do remind people that we are not dying of either of them like folks who have been experiencing heat, floods, fire, etc. Call me Pollyanna.
    I look forward to the Maine historical fiction book, a favorite genre of mine.

    • maggierobinsonwriter says:

      Pollyanna here too. 🙂 The one positive this year is that I hardly ever watered anything except the pots and planters.

  7. Diane Morgera says:

    Love the morning glories! Mine are pretty well spent, but still opening up one at a time despite the wet. Hang in there! Look forward to the Maine Island book.

    • maggierobinsonwriter says:

      And they all self-seeded! Several years ago I bought a packet of “black” morning glories, and they keep coming. The sweet peas, however, refused all my careful nurturing. Bah!

  8. Sandra Neily says:

    Hi Maggie….loved all your still flowering flowers. Might took such a hit this summer….eesp the morning glories! This chart has been so helpful to so many thinking about publishing paths.

    Sometimes I copy a few off as after author presentations, folks approach to ask for advice on various publishing options. Not sure the link will hold in this post so will email you. Jane Friedman’s newsletter was a godsend to me during early decision days, early needing direction days, and now current days. Onward.

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