Avoiding the Circus -and- A Breakthrough

ImageDo you have a mundane daily routine? Does every day seem like the previous one? Do things never change?

That’s certainly not my life, but I sometimes pine for that level of “normal” – if only for a week or two. How in the world do you ever write with consistency when you have no routine?

When there were four dogs, a son, and a husband in the house with me, it was a three-ring circus every day. With three of the dogs and the son now gone (I kept one beagle and the husband), we are still having at least two-ring circuses.

Where is the time to write?

Yesterday was “the day.” I was determined to get down to it, and nothing was going to get in my way of writing.

Then my sister called. She needed a ride to the hospital for a CT scan. No problem. ImageThe trip to the hospital turned into two trips to the hospital, an Arby’s lunch run for a Reuben sandwich for me, one trip to her surgeon’s office, and then a third trip back to the hospital where she was admitted for emergency surgery. I arrived home late in the evening. She had her surgery today, and she came through it just fine. She’ll soon be as good as new. Yay for great surgeons!

But something happened while I was waiting for her at the doctor’s office. I thought he would see her right away, so I opted to wait in the truck and listen to the radio. Earlier in the day, in an effort to keep her distracted and make her laugh, I told her I was going to write my next series of books about a couple of weight-challenged sisters who solve crimes in their community. We laughed, but the idea intrigued me, and I thought about it again while I waited for her.

I found a little notebook in my purse. I started jotting down ideas for characters. Names, ages, married or not, kids, jobs, community, etc., and a first line that will never stand: I swear that body was hard as a rock when my butt bounced off it.

I began scribbling as fast as I could. I managed just under 1300 words before my sister Imagecame out. At home, I hurried to type the words before I would forget and could no longer read what I had scribbled.  The last line on this page is: “Sorry, Sergeant. She’s got a knife in her.”

This was huge for me! I’ve been afraid to complete the Susan Hunter series for fear there wouldn’t be anything else. I kept thinking Susan was a fluke, a flash in the pan, a one-hit wonder. Ha! No longer! Make way for a couple of fun sisters.

I’m not going to finish this first chapter just yet. I’m going to get back to Maple Leaf Hunter and enjoy writing the story. I’m going to keep an open mind that Susan just might show up again in the future – somewhere deep in a new series where she meets a couple of sisters via a Slimmers Weight Loss center.

Oh my gosh! Writing is crazy fun, and I continue to be amazed at how ideas pop up, rush in, and come together. Now, if I could just get my daily routine under control to make it all happen.

ImageEdited to add: Chinese was for dinner again tonight. I opened my fortune cookie a few minutes ago, and this one popped out!!  🙂


92 thoughts on “Avoiding the Circus -and- A Breakthrough

  1. Congrats on the new idea! My current work-in-progress has an atypical protagonist, too, one who doesn’t conform to society’s definition of beauty. I, too, need to hunker down. I’m about 30% done with my first draft (well, 2nd draft if you consider my extensive outline a first draft), but if I want to finish it by my July deadline, I best get busy (hmm, maybe August deadline…) Of course, just when the weather is getting warmer…

    • That’s right – I forgot your book is mostly written already with your outline! I admire that so much about you. Do you write outside when the weather is nice? I would like to, but today reminded me of how humid and uncomfortable it gets around here, so I’m content to stay indoors. July or August, I’m looking forward to your next book!

      P.S. – My husband reads my blog, and he wants me to tell you that he’s voting you to bring back your hat Gravatar. I said, “What? You think her hat picture is sexy?” and he said, “You bet. Some women don’t look good in a hat, but she looks great.” I told him I would pass on the message. 😉

      • The hat I never, ever wore until I put it on my head one day to take a pic for my Gravatar. Who knew? Thank your husband for giving a middle-age woman a lift. Those are harder and harder to come by. 😉

        I don’t write outside; I’d probably get too distracted. I get distracted enough inside: “Hmm, what’s that noise? Maybe I’ll go check the mail. Hey, where did my kleenex box go? Oh, look, a new tweet to me. My foot hurts”… I think you can probably relate. 🙂

  2. I am literally wiggling in my chair and wishing my knee didn’t hurt so bad so I could jump and down for you!!! Oh yeah one more thing.


    I’m so fricking happy for you lady! It sounds like a great fun book to write and I simply LOVE the idea of a couple of overweight sisters being the main characters!!

    Oh yeah, another thing (I promise not to yell this time 😉 )

    I am volunteering to be one of the sisters!!! or, one of the characters. hehehe. I just love the concept and can’t wait for the first book. Big hugs!!

    • Almost forgot! I understand about trying to get back to a routine. I am trying desperately to do the same! I have a gazillion things to write and deadlines for a few and I can’t seem to get the time to do it! Ahhhhh! 🙂

      • I’m rooting for you! Go, Jackie, Go! I simply have to get a handle on this time thing. I’ll be gone all day tomorrow again as I take my mother to the hospital to see my sister. But I’m really, really motivated to write right now. 🙂

        • I have to get a handle on the time thing too. Just doesn’t seem to be enough of it. But you know as well (or better) then me that family comes first. Great seeing that your sister is going to be ok. Big hugs to her too!

    • I can put you in the book as a character. A famous writer friend in the neighborhood! Isn’t this so cool!

      The really funny thing about this is that it was easy to write Susan by drawing on many of my life experiences while in my twenties. My sister and I have battled our weight for years. It will be easy to write these two sister by drawing upon experiences from later in my life. I’m even going to have the secondary sister homeschool her two kids! Ha!

      To top it all off, I’ve been thinking I’d be lucky this year to get the last Susan Hunter book done and then the first book in a new series. But a number started rolling around in my head today. Four! It’s there, and it won’t go away. I think I have four books in me this year! The last Susan Hunter, and three of the new series. If I can pull that off, I’m not going to publish any of the new series until I have all three ready to go. That’s what I did with the Hunter books – all three went out in the same month, and I think that was a good idea. Crikey, I’m fired up today!!

      Thanks for cheering and doing mental jumping up and down. 🙂

      • Wheee!! I’m gonna be in your book! Too frickin cool. 🙂 It sounds like the books are going to be awesome, but then YOU are writing them so of course they are. I have fought my weight all my life too, so I understand that part of things. Go Maddie!!

  3. Maddie, you are so inspiring I can’t stand it! Your scattered, distracted life sounds just like my scattered, distracted life. So if you can find time to write and birth new ideas, I know that I can too! Eventually. When I finally find the time. But right now, I’m going to go download the entire Susan Hunter series so that I will be all caught up when those crime-solving sisters make their debut! Congratulations!! 🙂

    • Hahaha! Lashell, you are coming along at a pretty good clip yourself. I don’t know if I told you, but I finished your first book. I kept looking at the time left to read, and I kept thinking, “There aren’t enough pages left to resolve this.” Silly me! Trilogy! I’m in for the rest of the books. Can’t wait to find out what happens! 🙂

    • For the most part, it certainly has been crazy fun. The lows have been there, but not for long. I love writing lighter fare. I don’t think my personality is conducive to writing serious, pensive stories. I would agonize over word choices and sentences, and it wouldn’t be fun. I like the crazy fun train.

  4. This is awesome! I love the new book premise. Sounds like a couple of fun protagonists. I’m glad you actually got back to writing. It didn’t sound like you were going to get to. I know May has been INSANE for me. I haven’t been as lucky yet.

    But best of all, glad your sister is doing well. That’s good news. 🙂

    • Thank you, Juliann. Her expected six-hour surgery went so well, it only took three hours. She’s doing great.

      I’ve had my family laughing over what I want to write with these two sisters, so I know I’m on the right track. 🙂 Hope things settle down for you soon, too!

  5. I’m glad your sister is all right! And, I love ideas for writing that come at very unexpected moments. I look forward to seeing your new work unfold!

    • Thank you, Alison! Once I get started on the new series, I’m sure I’ll be here babbling about these two ladies. One will be a bit fearless, while the other will try to be the voice of reason – a bit like me and my sister. 😉

    • Thank you, Brooke. It is a huge relief. She was only a few days away from being lost to us, but she’s going to be just fine.

      So happy you like the idea for the new book! 🙂

    • Unexpected things really do interfere, but I never want to be unavailable to my family. If only I could get the washing machine and the mice and the dog, etc. to cooperate!

      My sister will be in the hospital for a week, and she’ll need recovery time after, but we’re so relieved that her surgery went well. She had a couple of life-threatening things going on at the same time. Her surgeon is brilliant!

      • You are one strong cookie, Maddie. So, I’m positive it runs in the family. 😀

        As for household things, they always happen at the worst times, don’t they?
        It’s ok, though – sometimes they make good writing material. 😉

  6. I can feel your excitement! There is nothing like that moment when an idea takes flight and the words just pour out. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up and get it all down before you forget! Good for you. Glad to know your sister is on the mend now too.

    • Thanks, Darla! I am excited! There are twice the opportunities for silliness and mayhem with two sisters. 🙂 I’m just so glad I was able to read the chicken scratch in my notebook when I got home. I hope this will be as much fun as I think it will be.

    • Hahaha! Thank you!! I can’t either. I can’t stop the ideas from flooding in now that the gates are open. I was just over in the den, going over my notes with Rich. He kept shaking his head in disbelief, so I knew I was on the right track. And, of course, we had Chinese tonight. I just opened my fortune cookie, and it reads: “Your present plans are going to succeed.” Squee!!! 🙂

  7. I love your new book idea! I want to read all about those saucy sisters. And your life sounds as distracted as mine. Probably that is what is normal. 🙂 fight the good fight!

    Love, GlowWorm

  8. What a great story idea, Maddie. I love the two lines you wrote. You have got to keep them in there somewhere. I can’t wait to read it. I think everyone’s days are a little like you described yours to be. I know mine are. I’ll be writing away and the phone will ring. It’s usually one of my daughters and they’ll ask me if I’m busy. I’ll say yes, I’m writing. They’ll say, Oh, that’s good and then keep right on talking like I had said Oh, nothing. I guess I shouldn’t complain, at least they still want to talk to me.

    • I agree with you, Donna Jean. I’m so happy my son still wants to talk with me, I’ll always set the keyboard aside for him.

      I kind of love those lines, too, and I’ll probably use them. I’m tickled you like the idea for my new series. Thank you for the vote of confidence! 🙂

  9. Yay I’m loving the sound of that (I knew there was more about Susan Hunter !!)

    I’m sorry to hear about the day you both had though and your sister’s surgery!
    (and I wish I was having chinese food)


    • I have no idea what my niece will do with the cover. I can’t wait to see, but I think I did a much better job of cobbling together an idea this time. 🙂 I’m really bolstered by the show of support for my new series idea. Thanks!!!!

  10. I’d like to be,
    In chunk city,
    Two crime-fighting sisters
    …and me.

    PS: Is your bigfoot a bigfoot or a sasquatch and is there a difference between the two breeds of yeti I was just wanting to know because I didn’t know this and also is chinese your favourite food or reuben sandwiches?

    • Chunk City! LOL!!! You always make me laugh, Monk Monkey. 🙂 As to the breeds, I know they are called Sasquatch in Canada. If I want to at least give the appearance of knowing what I’m talking about, I should probably use the term Sasquatch in the book. But isn’t “bigfoot” just such a cool word? So much better than “bighead” or “bighands.” Rueben sandwiches are my favorite hands down, but Chinese is only two blocks away. Arby’s Reuben is ok, but can’t compare to a good bar sandwich.

    • My fortunes are usually stupid. Really stupid. Rich’s fortune was, “Today means action. Carry out your plan.” So it didn’t matter which one I opened, they were both positive for the new series! 🙂 You’ll find the time and motivation one day, Robert. You are so creative, and you are writing up a storm on your blog as it is.

  11. You amaze me Maddie, in fact all creative people amaze me. The way your ideas just seem to pop out of no where. The 2 sisters sound as though they will be a heap of fun.

    • Thank you, Pauline. I think they will be a heap of fun, too. 🙂 YOU amaze me!! How fearless and adventurous you and Jack are is so inspiring. And your creativity and skill with your photography is awesome. I love your pictures and reading about your travels!

    • Thank you! I am happy. I’d be a lot happier if I could play racquetball. I am all sorts of envious that you play. 😉 But I have truly been kind of depressed thinking I had nothing more to write after this last Susan Hunter book, so this was really big for me. The new series might all end up being crap, but I’m going to have fun writing it! 🙂

  12. I KNEW you’d get inspiration somewhere. Isn’t it amazing how these characters pop into our heads and then start to grow. I’m so excited for you!!! (happy dancing as I read this) 😀 😀 😀

    I’m so relieved your sister is going well – this is fantastic news 😀

    You are truly an inspiration, Maddie…

    • Thank you, Dianne! I printed this half chapter out for my mom and had her read it on our way home from the hospital today. She was all smiles and thought I might be on to something. Yay! Thanks for the happy dance. I’m excited, too! And yes, these characters do show up and start to grow; it’s amazing! I told my mother I have no idea how the dead body ended up in that construction site, but I’ll find out once I start writing again. 🙂

    • You, my dear Marcus, are one of the most observant people on the planet!! However, I don’t intentionally use recycled paper. I am not on a mission to save this planet that you are so observant on. Rich brought that little notebook home from a trade show. I shoved it in my purse so I could stop making notes in my checkbook. How are you doing down there in the lower part of the state? it’s been warm up here, but not so unbearable that we’ve run the central air yet.

  13. It’s amazing how the little things just add up and distract one from writing. That said, that new idea of yours sounds fabulous! I’m happy for you. 😀 Of course Susan wasn’t a one-hit wonder, and I’m sure you’ll do brilliantly with whatever book you write.

    Also, good to hear that your sister’s all right! =]

    • Hi Zen! Thank you for your words of encouragement. I’m a bit excited for the future. 😉 My sister came home from the hospital today, so I’m trying to spend time with blogs tonight. She’s doing really well.

  14. I absolutely love it!! The two ‘larger’ ladies can be bodyguards for Susan during some daring mystery chase… there you go, you’ll soon have me writing stuff I have no clue about!!

    I have a funny feeling there will never just be the occasional flash in the pan with you! Your mind is too active! Keep lashing at it… have fun and reap the rewards! 😉

    • I’m going to have those two chunky sisters meet Susan somewhere down the line. I think it will be fun. 🙂 You can give me ideas whenever they strike!

      Thank you for the kind words. I think I don’t sleep at night because my mind just won’t give me a break. 😉

  15. I like the new book idea. Sometimes I think I don’t have another idea left and then they just come pouring out, most of the time while I am busy doing something else. That’s why I have so many interest, it gives me something to do between ideas. 🙂

    • I was sure I had no ideas left. 😉 I don’t know why I fell into that trap. I just have to pay more attention to the “stuff” that continually rolls around in my head. You certainly do have a lot of interests. You always amaze me. 🙂

    • Thank you, Frank. My schedule has been thrown off again, but I’ll get back to it. I think it will be fun to try to write two books at one time. I’ve always wondered how other people do that; now I’m going to find out if I can, too. Thank you for well-wishes for my sister. She is home this week and feeling so much better.

  16. Hi Maddie, what a great idea for your next set of books. I had to laugh when I saw Bigfoot on the cover, very cute idea. I’m glad to hear your sister is doing well. I had to have a set of 3 weeks of gel shots for both of my knees, so far only a little and I do mean little relief. During all of the shots I passed out in the bathroom due to Aspartame in my allergy pills (no I didn’t realize they put Aspartame in allergy pills). After a trip to the ER, I’m now taking it easy due to a concussion. YIKES its been a lot of crazy stuff with me lately. I hope you and your family are all doing well, and enjoying the beginning of summer.

    • Rita Kay, this idea for these sisters cracks me up. My sister and I have battled weight – up and down, up and down – I lost sixty pounds twice! After working in a weight loss center, and then struggling with weight, I certainly won’t be faking it when I write about the sisters. 😉

      I’m so sorry to hear you aren’t getting much relief for your knees. And a concussion! I’m putting you in my prayers – double duty!

      I’ve been wanting to get over to your blog to talk with you, but I’m still struggling with time. I read about your Aspartame reaction earlier, and I know how scary that is! Our son is also allergic and has had terrible reactions – even to a pack of gum. He didn’t realize he was drinking Crystal Lite one evening instead of Kool-Aid, and he drank several glasses. It ended up that he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t yell to us for help, couldn’t even crawl up the stairs to us. He thought he was going to die. I don’t know why, but he vomited and that seemed to enable him to take a breath again. He is terrified of the stuff and always asks about it now. I think the reactions can start out small, but over time can blow up into something bigger. Scary stuff. Take care of yourself, Rita Kay.

    • You are always so kind, Maggie. It was a real fear in the back of my mind; I never had a vision beyond Susan. Having a glimmer of an idea for something new really helped my mindset a lot – as a writer and an author. Thank you, Maggie.

  17. You are making me dizzy. lol
    I like that fortune cookie! Each evening we need to set the breakfast cereal dish and put that saying underneath. Success will be waiting for us each day. And what is success? I am getting better at not looking at others’ success and not judge my success based on what someone else does. That does not mean to not strive or attempt some new things, but just be a bit more forgiving of what I am able to do or not do.

    As for the routine part. I am not a very busy person so should have time to accomplish a lot. But I have no lists of to dos and therefore do very little. 😦
    I think the busier you are the more you accomplish.
    I like the cheerfulness and playfulness of your blog.

    • Thanks for stopping by, ladysighs. I make myself dizzy. 😉 I had to do that, too – stop looking at the success of others and just try to keep working on my own thing. Sometimes, success for me is not spending the day reading blogs, and just getting up and doing some cleaning around the house. I do need to set some type of writing routine though or I’ll never get any more writing done.

      I’m glad you like my blog. It can get pretty silly around here, but I also like to chronicle what I’m doing with writing and my books. I’ll be by to see your blog soon!

  18. My theory is that great things and great ideas happen when you’re doing good deeds for people, and/or eating chinese food. And if you do a good deed for a Chinese person, well then, really good things happen: like a surprise exorcism that cures the Evil Downstairs Toilet, for example…

    The cover looks cool, and I like the idea of sisters solving crimes while they eat Hershey’s kisses, chocolate bark, and Rocky Road fudge. The fortune’s correct: you will succeed, and that ain’t no chop suey, see?? : )

    • You are a magician with words. And illustrations. And you are charming. I will be sure to put all three of those things in the new book series: Hershey’s kisses, chocolate bark, and Rocky Road fudge. 🙂

    • You made me wince, Adam. 😉 Susan is a pretty squeaky clean nice girl. That title would never work for her. … However, I do have a new series with a couple of “butt sisters” coming up. Still PG/PG-13, but they have a little junk in their trunks.

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