Wednesday, March 14, 2012


You’d think after 40+ published books, I’d have this whole outlining and writing thing down pat by now.

Not so!

I’m just starting out on a new writing adventure–the first book of one of two new mystery series I’ll be writing for Berkley Prime Crime–and lo and behold . . . I think I’ve come up with a new way to keep myself from getting crazy.

You see, I’ve written series books before. The first were young adult horror books. Two series, three books each. Then I did a series for Harlequin American about a funky B&B. Three books there. Then, of course, I started writing mysteries. To date, I’ve done the Cooking Class series (5 books), the Pepper Martin mysteries (8 so far) and the Button Box mysteries (3 as of now).

And each time I write a new book in a series, I find myself asking the same questions:

Now, how tall was she again?
And what street did I say she lived on?
Are his eyes really blue? I could have sworn they were brown.

Lucky me, I’ve got a faithful friend and reader who a couple years ago, made a list of these sorts of facts for me for the Pepper Martin books. But let’s face it, I can’t always count on that kind of generosity.

So Monday, I decided to do something I’ve never done before. As I plot this first book in the League of Literary Ladies series, I’m making up a binder. So far, I’ve collected pictures of houses where I’ll have my characters live, and long lists of who’s who, what they look like and their personality traits. This way, I’ll always have an easy reference at hand.

It makes so much sense, it was one of those slap my forehead moments.
The good news? I’ll have everything in one place, so when I begin book 2 and 3 and beyond, there will be no more questions and no more floundering.

The better news? It seems like this ol’ writing dog can learn new tricks!

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