Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Temptation Tuesday: Between Books

Anne McAllister is in that odd wonderful place in her life where temptation (at least some of it) does not have to be resisted. She is BETWEEN BOOKS! So she's here to suggest ways to, um, waste time.

There is life between books.

Sometimes writers tend to forget that. They spend so much time "under deadline" or worse, "over deadline" that "life" seems like some sort of imaginary construct that other people use to distract them. Or try to.

Sometimes it even works.

But then there is guilt, and that's the subject of another blog. Between books there is no guilt. It's wonderful.

So what does one do when one doesn't have a book hanging over one's head?

Well, of course it depends on what turns you on.

I like the busman's holiday of reading other peoples' books. If I didn't write it, it's fair game when I'm between books.

The tottering stack of books on my TBR pile is looking less like the Leaning Tower of Pisa every day. If you want a recommendation -- and you like mystery as well as regency -- I've spent a very enjoyable part of my BB time reading the Sebastian St Cyr mysteries by C. S. Harris (who also wrote romance as Candice Proctor). Lots of others, too.

But one can't read all the time (and despite what the weather people would have you think, I don't find shoveling snow all the time that enjoyable either.) So what else?

Sports? I like watching most team sports. Always good to find story ideas there, too. Lots of stuff about honor and competence and putting the other guy/girl first. Reading Sports Illustrated comes under this heading, too. It's almost work, but not enough to be annoying.

Traveling -- or planning traveling. They each have their good points. Usually I'm so exhausted by the time I've sent in a book that all I want to do is crawl under the covers and sleep (also a good idea if you're so inclined). But when I finally wake up and don't find my eyes closing every time I sit down, I can be found prowling the internet looking for places I'd like to visit next.

I also spend a bit of time thinking how I might be able to work this into a book when I actually go. Having a reason to go, besides simple enjoyment, gives me a focus for what I want to do there. And writing a book about it makes the tax man happy too.

Of course the time before last when I was BB, I took off within hours to visit my youngest granddaughter (and, incidentally, her parents). That kind of travel doesn't net me any books, but it is definitely time well-spent and warms my heart. If you don't have grandkids yet, start lobbying now. They're worth it!

DVDs get their fair share of attention, too. I've been catching up on Burn Notice and the UK version of Life On Mars (thanks to Kate Walker who gave it to me for Christmas).

I also have recently been vicariously rescuing dogs. We have two golden retrievers, but lost our dearly beloved flatcoat retriever last month at the age of 12. He left a very big hole in our lives. The two still here are filling space very nicely. But I do find myself perusing the "flatcoat rescue" sites. It's not an official meal at our house unless there's a black hair on the plate. We're running short these days. So I look . . . but it's only looking (in case my husband is reading this) . . .

I read seed catalogues. Spring can't be far off when the seed catalogues fall through the mail slot.

I read parish registers from 18th century England on microfilm because I finally have time to do that and I'm still trying to sort out some very dead relatives.

I vacuum.

Occasionally, it must be said, I also vacuum (and dust!) while I'm writing a book (thank God, my husband says). But I vacuum -- and dust -- more often BB. The other day I even took apart the vacuum cleaner and cleaned it.

You know what that means . . . it means things are getting seriously out of hand.

It means it's almost time to go back to work.

When I wake up in the morning and the first thought I have is not What can I bake today? or I think I'll give the dogs a bath, but rather, What if Demetrios kidnapped Anny? then the juices are starting to flow again.

If the second thought is, Why would he do that? and not Who cares? (sometimes it really is Who cares?), then I sit down and start to make notes.

I still bake. I read SI. I still flip through travel mags. But now I'm thinking as I'm flipping, Where would he take her if he kidnapped her? Rome? The Seychelles? Jackson Hole?

And what does he look like?

If I start prowling the internet looking for likely heroes, if I start staring for minutes (well, all right, hours!) on end at Hugh-in-a-towel, or going through my "Heroes" folder looking for Demetrios, time is getting short.

Once I've found him . . . once he starts whispering in my ear, well, that's it. I'm not between books anymore. The vacation is over. I'm back to work.

The vacation is close to over for Anne. Demetrios has indeed started whispering in her ear. He still hasn't told her everything he needs to tell her. But she'll wring it out of him somehow.

Stop by her blog and drop any suggestions you might have for plot ideas -- or heroes! -- in her ear. She'd be delighted to hear them.

Recently her blog has been taken over by PJ Antonides, hero of
Antonides Forbidden Wife. So thanks to PJ, she's "between blogs" too. But he's got his own vacation in Hawaii coming up -- and a wife to spend it with at last -- so he promises Anne will be back this week. Or else.


  1. I wonder...if there's an award for website with the most pictures of Hugh in a towel...

  2. We'd win, don't you think? Well, you said you wanted PICTURES! And who better? Besides, he generally gets my creativity going. So it's in a good cause.

  3. You can never go wrong with tea, chocolate, and HIAT.

    Anne, I love it when I can take a break between projects. I do other stuff and look forward to those voices in my ear. It is so much better when you are anxious to begin chapter one!

  4. Totally agree, Donna. To have to press straight into another book is mind-numbing. And I never feel as if the well has had a chance to replenish. It's lovely to have the break. So enjoying mine (can you tell?). Bring on more tea, chocolate and HIAT!

  5. LOL Anne. I have no time for a break this time, but I'm writing two brothers, so the shift in gears isn't quite as abrupt as some other times. And I'm looking forward to it!

  6. Donna, best of luck with your brothers. Sometimes that works for me if the shift isn't abrupt, but sometimes I find I need even more of a break then, so I don't keep writing the first guy's story!