By Martha Reed
May was an exceptionally busy month because of the PennWriters conference. I went into it ready to pitch the first novel of my Nantucket series, NO REST FOR THE WICKED. That strategy included a full array of pitches of varying lengths (1 sentence, 1 paragraph, 2 paragraphs, full), a query letter, a synopsis and sample chapters in PDF (first 30 pages, first 3 chapters, full). It’s a miracle my flash drive didn’t implode.
A lot of terrific things came out of that conference. I met agent Victoria Skurnick who requested a full. I got to hang out with my fellow Sisters in Crime siblings and adopted sibling and freelance editor Ramona Long. That is always insightful. I was inspired by Jonathan Maberry’s keynote speech and frightened by both his level of success and output. The man is an automaton fueled by Starbuck’s hi-test but boy! Does he sound like he’s having fun.
Then comes the morning after. You know the feeling. It’s like the Friday after Thanksgiving. All that effort and production and then you look around and think: ok, what do I do now? I imagine Colin Firth felt this after winning his Oscar. You don’t want to go to sleep because then all that lovely effort comes to an end.
I’ve decided to do something radical. I’m taking the month of June off.
I know, I know, it's a scary thought. I’ve been working on my Nantucket series idea for 13 years. Lucky 13, in case you’re superstitious. I’ve written two full-length novels and outlined the third. I’ve got an idea for a completely different series that may actually be a screenplay, and I think this one is heading for comedy. I hope so. Everyone needs a good laugh these days. I have signed on for an intensive mss workshop moderated by Nancy Martin that runs through July, and I’m looking forward to digging into that.
In the meantime, I’m going to sip lemonade on my patio and consider: What do I want to write next? It’s exhilarating not to be on a self-imposed deadline. Kind of scary, too. I’ve stepped off the treadmill. I can’t wait to see what comes next!