Friday, January 15, 2016

2016 in Preview

Regular subscribers will note that I'm late with this morning's post. I did totally forget today was Friday, which is what happens when the writing is going very well--which it is.

I've changed up my creative process this year -- well, actually I started last year with A Case of Christmas. The first big change is I'm giving myself loads of time to write everything. "Loads of time" translating to charting out a writing schedule that requires no more than 1500 - 2000 words a day. This is a very comfortable pace which leaves time for research, rewriting, chortling over Donald Trump's latest bon mot and staring blankly into space.

 Secondly I'm writing the way I used to -- this is a bit trickier -- and doing a lot of skipping around and writing out of order. You can't do this if you're pressured for time because you lose emotional continuity. But because I have plenty of time, I feel comfortable sketching out scenes and conversations out of order, as inspiration occurs.  What I like about this, especially when writing mystery, is it allows me opportunity to go back and plant clues -- both physical and psychological. Plus it's just a way more enjoyable way to work. Like popping pieces into a giant puzzle.

I'm not saying that everyone should work this way -- actually, that reminds me. What is it with all these defensive posts about NOT TAKING WRITING ADVICE FROM ANYONE ELSE!!! Good heavens. There are actual memes on the topic of not taking writing advice. :-D Speaking for myself, I love books on writing, books on craft. Heck, I'm planning on taking a screenwriting course this year. Not because I think I'm going to sell a screenplay. But because I am wholeheartedly in favor of anything that stretches and tests my writing brain. My writing muscles. I've been writing professionally a long time. As in selling my writing to publishers since I was sixteen. I've forgotten more about writing than some of my contemporaries have yet learned. :-D  But that forgetting, is why I'm all in favor of refresher courses and writing books and so forth. Why do people get angry at the idea they may have more to learn. OF COURSE YOU HAVE MORE TO LEARN. Unless you are Yoda, you have more to learn. About everything. We ALL do. Until the day we die.

Anyway, I think that defensive, huffy attitude is at odds at becoming the writer we all eventually hope to be.

But I digress.

I don't have a lot set in stone for this year. Partly that is because I have a ginormous mainstream project that I'm doing with the SO. MR AND MRS MURDER: HUSBAND AND WIFE SLEUTHS IN DECTECTIVE FICTION is due to McFarland Press at the end of the year. We have a zillion books to read and one hell of a lot of essays to write. So that is pretty much my year.

Ground-breaking stuff, I assure you. (Actually, I sound like I'm kidding, but I'm not -- this is a big deal.)

In addition to that, I've got The Mermaid Murders (Book I of the Art of Murder trilogy) due out March 1st.  What do you get when you combine a special agent from the FBI Art Crime Team with the top profiler/manhunter from the BAU units? A lot of art-loving serial killers. No, I'm kidding. Partly. Partly not. I think I will write this series pretty fast, with a book out each year.



Then there is a little bitty surprise project which I am superstitiously not going to talk about yet.

Officially next up, Murder Takes the High Road. This is an amateur sleuth standalone for Carina Press. A lonely librarian finds murder and love on a tour bus wending its cumbersome way through the Scottish Highlands. Also the secret cache of whisky in the back of the bus. NOT BASED ON TRUE INCIDENTS. Except the whisky part.

Then there is a lot of room--about three months?-- to do some other projects and I am leaving that stretch of boundless possibility blank for now. Because that's part of the fun, part of the excitement of  being a self-employed artist. (The flip side is never knowing if you will be able to pay the bills.) What should I write? Since I'm reading all these historical mysteries, maybe it makes sense to write historical. The sequel to Snowball? The sequel to This Rough Magic? I need to finish Slay Ride... What? What should I do?



Not knowing is kind of luxurious.

Then, final contracted project (again to Carina Press) for the year, Fair Chance. This is the third and final book in the All's Fair trilogy. We'll be talking about that one quite a bit more I have no doubt. This is the farewell to Elliot Mills and Tucker Lance. Elliot must confront jailed serial killer Andrew Corian -- who may have picked up an apprentice or a copycat killer in the interim.

So that's what we know for sure. The rest of the year is wide open to opportunity and possibility. And that is just the way I like it.

67 comments:

  1. Yes to all! But especially to Fair Chance!

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    1. That makes me happy! I'm glad there's still enthusiasm for Elliot and Tucker!

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  2. It all sounds fantastic, love how organized and pumped up you are. Amen to always having things to learn (says me who is currently taking three courses!). Now, about that option of a possible Snowball sequel...... yaaasss! ;-)

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    1. I think part of the hang-up with Snowball is that as much as I love those characters, I also liked where they're story ended. So I'm hesitant to mess with that. But then I also want to write more about them...

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  3. It would be glorious to have sequels to Snowball and Rough Magic or Winter Heart. Just throwing all that out there cause I'm not getting any younger. :P

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  4. Ahem... That sounds like plenty of projects to me. :-D But you do seem content and relaxed and joyful, and that's the most important thing!

    It really sounds like this year will be an interesting one for you. All those different projects balancing one another and you giving yourself time to enjoy them individually and together. I'm sure all the pieces of your puzzle will click in place nicely! :-)

    I'm so curious about The Mermaid Murders — I'm really waiting for to get my hands on that one. And I'm so looking forward to Mr. and Mrs. Murder! What a cool, challenging project! I'm glad you have the best possible co-worker to accomplish this with! :-D

    Enjoy writing, enjoy life, dear Josh! And thank you for sharing your plans with us.

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    1. Lovely floating little mermaid, Johanna! That banner has me asking a ton of question about the story. Very well done! :-)
      Now waiting for that book... :D

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  5. Murder Takes the High Road sounds really good. I'm looking forward to getting a sense of your reaction to the Highlands. But to be honest I like the sound of all your projects!

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    1. I'm still wondering if I can make coherent sense of my reaction to the Highlands! But I think the book will be fun--I love writing comedy and I think comedy is the right tone for a bus tour mystery.

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  6. I keep my fingers crossed for another Holmes story.
    And I like Trump - as an immigrant myself I think every country should know who is coming in so they can accept then or reject them. Right now europe is perfect example what happenes if you put the safety of your own citizens (who should always come before non citizens like me) on the back burner.

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    1. Trump is an interesting guy, I'll give you that. :-)

      My husband is Canadian, so I have no problem with emigration so long as the laws are followed -- I mean, the first test should be the willingness and ability to follow the laws of the country you hope to make your own.

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  7. Your year sounds immense and wonderful and full of promise. I can't wait to see how it all plays out. Happy new year, for all of us. :D

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  8. Oh, oh...call on me, please (waving hand in air excitedly)...I vote for the sequel(s) to Snowball and/or This Rough Magic. I love those historical mysteries in particular. <3

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    1. It's a good year to tackle historical given that so much of my time will be spent reading historical (even if the books were considered contemporary when written).

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  9. As long as you're writing and happy doing it, it's all good to me!

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  10. Oh, an exciting year! Can't wait to read all these stories and your big deal project sounds exciting. Thinking/writing critically/thoughtfully about other writers' work stretches those writing muscles too.

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  11. Sequels of Snowball and Fair series? YES, PLEASE! The year sounds great. Mermaid and Slay ride as well. I have so much to look forward to :) !!

    goge

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  12. Yay for more Elliot & Tucker! Your couples have a way to worming their way deeply into my heart. :)

    As long as we have books to look forward to, I'm not picky about what you decide to write. I'm sure whatever you decide on will be brilliant! :D

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  13. You know, if you keep writing at that pace, I'm going to expect new audio all the time. Now that may be a bad thing or a good thing. I have noticed though, I want to kill less when there's a new Josh Lanyon Audio book available.

    No Pressure but, those poor souls who use the Red and Orange lines to commute to and from work never know how close they come to actual death when I have no fictional murder and mayhem to keep me occupied and smiling.

    So piles of new books, random research and art thefts. If you need to do some "out of town" research Chicago has a few world class Art museums, and the biggest collection of stained glass for public viewing in North America. Not that I would try to lure you to the city, but I can show you the last remains of both the Colombian Exposition and the Century of Progress.
    I can;t wait for all the fun t hit the... digital book rack.

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    1. I know that's true about Chicago! And one of those days I may take you up on it.

      And yes, there will be more audio. Although at this rate I'm running out of backlist!

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  14. I really would love to read the next season of The Haunted Heart series. I have been looking forward to it since the first installment. I adore its melancholy and sadness, and the tiny hope lurking beneath.

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    1. Yes. I will definitely complete the quartet. Not sure when, but I can't leave poor Flynn like that. ;-)

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  15. Ditto to the Haunted Heart next book. I'm really waiting for that one. But honestly I'll buy anything you write.

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  16. It's going to be a great reading year, I can tell! Also Amsterdam in winter is beautiful, I think I shall plan a trip :)

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  19. I'm looking forward to everything you have coming up, especially Murder Takes the High Road and Fair Chance. I'd really love to read the sequel to Snowball. Have you ever thought about doing a time travel novel?

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    1. I'm not sure I have the brain power to successfully pull off time travel! How the hell do people keep those timelines straight?

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  20. I am looking forward to all your projects, especially to MR AND MRS MURDER. But I can't wait for the The Mermaid Murders, Murder Takes the High Road and Fair Chance also. And a surprise project and perhaps Slay Ride or a sequel To This Rough Magic or Snowball. I think !Wow!, that sounds like a lot of work for you and a lot of joy for me.

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    1. What's funny to me is how really tired I am by the end of every year. Just exhausted. And then two weeks later, the New Year comes and it's like someone hit the reset button. It's got to be mental because two weeks of candy canes and snowballs cannot possibly be that restorative. :-D

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  21. It all sounds fun, and I'm looking forward to them all.

    Maybe your historical research can be Kit's next career? He starts a historical series as a new career path... ;)

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  22. Sounds like a wonderful year of wonderful writing and fun projects! I love it that there are so many mysteries in the works! Also, sounds super busy, so please plan some wonderful vacations in there too! :-)

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    1. Also! Love the banner/cover for the Mermaid Murders! :-)

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  23. I would love to see another Haunted Heart book.

    Is the Kit series finished? I love him rather a lot. :D

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    1. I figure there will probably be another two Kit books. And I do plan on finishing up the HH quartet for sure.

      I probably need to just take a year for finishing existing series!

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  24. Wooo Snow Ball and This Rough Magic sequel!!!! Yes please please please!!!
    I'm just going to sit and waiting patiently for anything you'll release though... And hoping for a surprise additional release on top of those mentioned. Greedy, I know. ^,^

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  25. Sounds like a well-balanced plan for this year, especially the part about "staring blankly into space". There's a lot going on under the hood in those phases. :-)
    Looking forward to the new stories! No pressure though, write at your own pace and pick projects that have you curious.
    Happy new year 2016!

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    1. Having enough time to write and research properly is like a luxury. Granted, it is not all well spent. I used up a good two hours researching trigger guards the other day.

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  26. I totally agree with you Mr. L. that we learn all throughout our lives. Even when one thinks one knows everything about writing, there is always more to learn because times change, people's taste changes, styles and subjects change. I've seen writers who write as if they were living in the 1970 in terms of styles, subjects, and plots. I find that the ones who complain are usually the ones who need it the most.

    Hmm, if you have any free time for writing, is there any chance that you might finish the Doyle and Spain mystery? It feels like before Sabbatical you were really into writing that genre, after sabbatical, you are over it. The first book was great. I hope one day you will go back to finish that series.




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    1. You know, it's not so much that I don't want to write those books -- I really do! But historical requires such a different mindset (not to mention so much research) and I find it's kind of difficult to jump back and forth from that mood--especially if I have to write fast.

      Which is one reason why I hope this year might be conducive to writing historical. I will already be reading so much of it.

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  27. Yes! Finish Slay Ride!
    Everything else sounds great. Really can't wait.
    And being in a profession that requires continuing education to renew my license I agree. NEVER STOP LEARNING.
    And my latest Mr. Pinkerton: I wrote the beginning, the end and the put bit in the middle as ideas hit me....of course it's only three pages long, so losing emotional continuity isn't a huge issue, and if I do, well, it's from the POV of a cat. Maybe he's fickle. :-)
    Any who, looking forward to the stories, don't work too hard, and save some whiskey for the rest of us.

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    1. LOL

      Be true to Mr. Pinkerton's heart! :-D

      I agree about the professional development though. Completely. It's easy to get into a rut.

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  28. Sounds like an excellent year coming up. I look forward to it. When you get to that three month stretch, write what calls to you. I can't think of anything you could write that would be a disappointment to have. ;)

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    1. I think every writer secretly hopes to hear that.

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  29. Your "slower" year is making me dizzy! Thanks for having such a wonderful work ethic. Your readers appreciate having these special fictional worlds to romp in.

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    1. Once upon a time that would have been a WOW year. Now I feel like a slacker. :-D

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  30. Sounds like an excellent year for us! I'm looking forward to all the new stuff. :)

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  31. Noooooooooo! Say it ain't so. Not the end of Tucker and Elliot! Come on, you have at least two more books after the third one, right!?! You're just gaging people's reaction and then will surprise us later? Sigh. Looking forward to whatever you write, even if you are breaking my heart here with that announcement. March can not come soon enough.

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    1. I really like those controlled dismounts. Where the reader still loves the characters and still wants more, but feels mostly happy with where things are. ;-)

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  32. i'm excited to hear about the books in the works. i just wanted to throw my two cents in that i would love love to see/read the sequel to This Rough Magic. i really loved the main couples chemistry and their characters individually. look forward to seeing more or them and their relationship.

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    1. I definitely want to finish that one. It's all outlined and even started, so it's a natural.

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  33. Tucker and Eliot: the ending??? I don't know whether to cry or to rejoice? But I'm happy I won't have to wait a lot to see their final act. I believe they are my favorite couple of your stories. Afer reading the first book, I immediately tried to see if there was a sequel which at the time it didn't exist. So I'm really happy that there is another one coming because they deserve it! Thanks for being a great author and thanks to your muse that doesn't seem to want to abandone you!
    Ps I'm really intrigued by the Mr and Mrs Murder.

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