I’ve been lazy about adding to norabarker.com and it’s time to fix that. For example, I need to notify the world that I’ve uploaded White Elephant and Red Hot and Dead so they are now available for readers. I’m still working on #6, Murder in Magenta. I plan to have #4, Blue Murder, available by the summer. I promise to let everyone know.
Number 6 is giving me problems, mostly of my own making and sometimes it feels like a wrestling match between me and the characters. Eventually I think it will straighten itself out. Let’s hope!
Down in Arizona folks complain about how windy it often is. I really have to resist the temptation to say, “If you think this is windy…” I’m not always successful, but today I have to brag (?) about the fact that for three days we had winds steady at 35 mph and gusting to 58. Today it’s more normal and I can think again. With winds like that you can be entertained for some time just watching things blow by the window. Most annoying for me as the time wore on was the noise. Unrelenting, even at night. I’m still working on Murder in Magenta, but the last three days were a waste of time in that regard. Apparently that much noise over that long turns me into a blithering idiot. I’m going back and trying to fix things.
By the way, my plan is to get the next book in the series, White Elephant, into ebook form in a month. I’ll post when I’ve managed it.
I thought last week I did everything right and got Murder in Primary Color up on both Barnes & Noble and Amazon as an ebook. Turns out I was wrong, but today, finally, it is live on both sites. It’s an amazing feeling of relief to be able to start work on something else. I look forward to anyone’s comments, questions, suggestions, etc. Having spent my working life making prints, I’m not exactly full of self- confidence. Weird to be a novice at this age.
With a lot of help I’ve finally gotten the first book in the Fine Art of Murder series up as an ebook through Smashwords. Daunting task for the marginally skilled in technology. What I clearly need is a teenager at my elbow at all times. I have to admit to being a little tense (there’s an understatement). After all this time, now at last it will be available to folks with e-readers. My next job is getting the word out, so here goes: Dr. Christmas Connery finds the director of the Midstate University Museum of Art dead, murdered, on the floor of a kinetic sculpture show. This disruption of the normally placid pace of academic life leads from one mystery to another until there’s a second murder and Chris finds herself in danger. Through it all her “murder-buff” mother can’t get enough of the excitement. For Pansy it’s way more fun than playing bridge with the girls.
We’ve returned from some time spent in Egypt touring the ancient sites and wearing ourselves out. Egypt was a lot of work, but it was worth it. I spent years teaching art appreciation and art history and this first civilization in history always was a favorite. It was a revelation to see monuments, temples, tombs in person rather than as slides projected in a dark classroom. So many wonders: how did they do it? how did they last so long? why does it seem like the art never changes over three thousand years? And of course, we cruised the Nile while I thought about Agatha Christie and half expected to see Hercule Poirot strolling on the deck.
I spent the weekend in Tucson, AZ, at the Society of Southwestern Authors conference and had a great time. If exhaustion is any measure, it was very successful. As I expected, there was a lot of angst and hand-wringing about the state of the business of publishing and no clear idea of where it is headed and whether it will get there at all. There were interesting workshops on ebooks and they were well attended. The anxiety about hard copy books is pervasive.
I’m not immune to the anxiety, but I think that whatever happens, people will still read for pleasure. They may not understand in future what us old fogies found so compelling about print on paper, but they will read and we will write. How we write may evolve– perhaps more quickly than that word implies– but writers will cope and come to some peace with the changes. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.
Balloon #1: Reflection, 1981, serigraph
Amazing what a little time and distance can do. After Green-Eyed Death stopped driving me crazy, or should I say after I stopped letting it drive me crazy, I just put it away and moved on to the next one. Blessed relief, I have to say. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been absorbed by my new WIP, tentatively called Murder in Magenta. I’m back in the Art Department for this one and so far it feels very good.
One of the things I’ve learned throughout this adventure, i.e. writing instead of making art, is that I absolutely must be doing something creative at all times. It seems to be the only way I feel whole. I can take breaks, of course. Traveling is fun and restorative, but eventually the juices need to flow and I’ve got to get back to the computer. While my husband might prefer that I play more golf, that is never as compelling as spending time with my characters and letting them find their voices. The print is “Day Broken,” serigraph, 1977.
I’ve rewritten, revised and reordered this one so much and so often that I’ve driven myself crazy with this one. I therefore have decided to declare it DONE and move on to something new. We’ll see if I can resist making changes after a month or two of letting it rest. Meanwhile I’m moving on to Murder in Magenta (working title) which puts me back in the Art Department at Midstate University where I’m most comfortable.
The print is Valley Curtain, serigraph, 1983
Today I officially finished the rough draft of Green-Eyed Death. I hardly have the energy to celebrate because this hasn’t been an easy job, or even an taxing effort. It’s been AWFUL. As I said earlier, I should have worked this out before I began, but I am not normally an outliner. I’m a “seat-of-the-pants-er.” Boy, will that change from now on. At least, that’s my solemn promise today. We’ll see what happens.
Now I get to spend time going back and trying to get everything in place. I have rewritten and revised so much already that there are undoubtedly anomalies that need to be dealt with, missing characters or short-changed characters who need fleshing out, and plot twists that go nowhere. At this moment, I don’t care! I have found a why to reveal the bad guy and get him caught.
What was holding me up? You may ask but I can’t really explain without giving too much away. It’s a mystery after all.
The print is “Elevated Elevator”, 1973.
Green-Eyed Death is not going to defeat me. At last, I’m getting near the end and anticipate reaching that lofty goal by the end of the week. Brave words. I’m not sure why this one is giving me such trouble. Suffice to say, I really wish I’d thought it out more thoroughly from the start. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, but I’ll worry about that when I’ve actually beaten this thing into submission. When I get to the hard parts I find myself playing video games so I pack up and go into town to enjoy a McDonalds iced coffee. I have done this so often that today the counter girl told me what I was going to order before I opened my mouth. I need to change my routine.
In reference to writing this blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ve decided as a nation that even the least interesting, most mundane events in life should be available for all to see and…what? Sympathize with? Use as an excuse to feel righteously superior? Haven’t worked that out yet, and as you can see, my entries are short about generally about nothing. Sorry about that, but I’ve apparently joined the 21st Century very reluctantly.
Color Drain, 1979, serigraph