I love this time of year when the trees are a multitude of colors– orange, gold, green, and red–the nights get longer, the air is cooler, and a pot of vegetable beef soup simmers on the stove. Even though my husband continues to mulch leaves, in order to have the lawn neat and clean before snow blankets it, I love the feel and crunch of fallen leaves under my feet. I love that on a certain Sunday morning, I get an hour more of sleep. It’s also a time to turn back the clocks, ease into winter, change wardrobes, and sometimes shuffle down different paths. I’ve recently re-learned that it is sometimes important to step back before I fall back.
Like the many bends in the Mississippi where I live, my life has taken a few twists and curves lately. When I first launched Scruples & Drams, I had no idea where the publishing world would take me. In 2015, I had to learn how the ebb and flow of bookkeeping. I learned that I can write but I can’t always count sales or books, so my husband took over. (Yay! Hard to believe in my first life, I was a bookkeeper, and I was good at it–the fastest 10-key- adding machine operator in Minneapolis. LOL!)
After a few more months of research followed with my nose pointed toward the computer for six months writing Around Clearwater, I deepened my next story about Maude Porter, the oldest original settler in Clearwater. Once Around Clearwater went off to publication, I started working hard on Pins and Needles, (Maude’s story) which will be the second in the Minnesota’s Main Street Women series.
I promised myself and the publisher I’d have Maude’s book to them by November 1, but had no clue what my schedule would be like promoting Around Clearwater. My sister and I also took on creating Jennie’s Pure and Simple face and body products that Jennie Phillips, the village druggist from 1894-1940 and the protagonist of Scruples & Drams, might have created. They are wonderful, I might add. I’ve always had sensitive skin and have tried all types of lotions, creams, sun products, and have had varied results. What I created are simple and made with coconut, almond, olive, Vitamin E and other natural ingredients. Becky’s soaps are simple as well. For the first time, I have no rash nor itch from a facial and body lotion. We had them available for the launch of Around Clearwater in August and they became a good sell. We had more for our occasional sale, and will have some to sell at our Christmas Tea, Dec 10, from 1:30-3:30 at the Clearwater United Methodist Church.
Even though I promised the publisher I’d have Jennie’s sequel ready for the November deadline, I realized it was going to be tough because of all the events I would be at this fall. From Little Falls to St. Joe to Brookings, SD, and back to Clearwater, I was busy and on the road a lot selling books. This gave me little time to get my first draft done. I soon realized I wouldn’t be able to meet my deadline. While I finished the first draft a week before November 1, I realized my expectations were unrealistic to get it edited and turned in on time.
Disappointed, I had to re-evaluate my writing future. Even though I wanted the sequel ready for a 2017 publication date, I had to be realistic. I asked myself: Do I want it fast or do I want it right? Of course, I want it right. Heaven knows there are always mistakes once the book is in publication, but I want to avoid as many as possible. I knew that I could get it ready for for January’s due date, so I am aiming for an early 2018 publication date.
I won’t be hiding in 2017 though. I will be attending a number of events and probably publishing a second edition of Passages. I will be teaching a class and trying to get my “brand” with Jennie’s Pure and Simple products going as well as my Minnesota’s Main Street Women’s series on a stronger platform. I also have a couple “irons in the fire” as well. I’ll let you in on that later.
I learned a few good lessons through all of this. I couldn’t keep going at the pace I was going. We all know that sometimes we take on more than we can chew. On top of everything, Frank and I have been blessed with another granddaughter. Our oldest son Todd, the one who has played guitar at my launches, and his wife Joyce had a beautiful baby girl two days after the launch in August. Who wants to write when I can hold, kiss, and cuddle that little charmer? We now have four grand-girls, and grand they are. From six years down to three months, these wonderful gifts are pure love.
So Fall has been a time for reflection for me, and a long, beautiful fall it has been. I’m already wondering who will be the third in my series so that I can continue to research once I put Maude’s story to bed. My research for Around Clearwater is paying off. I can’t even begin to communicate the ties that the village had to bigger cities –from Minneapolis to the East Coast to Canada to Europe. I don’t want to get it wrong so I’ve decided to step back before I fall back and take the time to tell a few more good stories.