Last year when I ran the Air Force Marathon, I trained during the July heat to the point of injury and like a dummy, I ran through the pain. I made it through the race then had to take several months off to heal. When I crossed the finish line that day, instead of rejoicing, the moment seemed anticlimactic. To me, my victory was surviving the training, not completing the race. I said to my daughter who was waiting at the line, “What next?”
That was the feeling I had yesterday when I finished The Last MacKlenna. (When I say finished, I mean subject to beta readers’ notes and a final line edit.) But the moment was anticlimactic.
It has taken 2 ½ years to write this story. The heroine, as I’ve mentioned before, has breast cancer. My three sisters-in-law all battled the disease while I was writing. We lost Sally last October after a twelve-year battle, and then my mom passed away on June 30. Mom didn’t have breast cancer, but she did have dementia and didn’t know me. As she declined mentally and physically, the story developed. Although she did hear me talk about the plot, she never got to read any of the pages.
Finishing the story—anticlimactic? Living through the trauma while writing the story was the victory.
In a way, now, the real work begins. It’s almost time to take the creation and present it to the world and pray that it touches someone’s heart or motivates them to make life-style changes. Elliott and Meredith live extremely stressful lives and their priorites are out of whack. Their journey takes them on an even more stressful track in this romantic suspense (murdered multi-million dollar Thoroughbreds and the launch of a new wine with constant set-backs).
Here’s a snippet from the second chapter. Elliott is at a B&B in Edinburgh talking with his long-time friend, Louise.
“I wish you’d find someone you could be happy with for longer than six weeks. Yer not a young man now.”
“That’s your second reference to my age, and I’ve only been here—” he glanced at the clock on the chimneypiece — “fifteen minutes.”
“I worry about ye’, especially now that the MacKlennas and your da are gone. I don’t want you growing old alone.”
Elliott sipped the whiskey. The liquid slid down his throat, warming him like a twill-weave plaid of fire. “I’ve got close to a hundred people on the farm. I’m never alone.”
“There’s a difference between being alone and lonely. And those people on the farm go back to their safe, wee houses at the end of the day—to their families.” She cocked her head and studied him with troubled eyes. “Who’s at
waiting for ye’?” MacKlenna Mansion
He gave a tight shrug or was it a flinch? “Tate and Tabor.”
She set her glass down, folded her arms across her chest, and seemed to settle them comfortably beneath her large breasts. “They’re wonderful pets. Very devoted. But I’m talking about a companion you can have a conversation with, not a golden retriever or a long-haired, tabby Maine Coon cat.”
Her concerned gaze spilled over him, and he glanced away.
“Sean married a lass who understood the farm and its demands. So can you.”
“He was a young lad when he met Mary,” Elliott said.
“You need to be open to love. I’m not sure you are. You’re too strong-willed and private. Ye’ rarely let anyone see yer sensitive side.”
She pointed her finger at him. “You can shush yer mates, but don’t ye’ dare shush me.”
That’s pretty much Elliott’s solution to talking about anything personal. “Shush.”
I sent a Facebook message to a woman who had read The Ruby Brooch and the teaser chapter of The Last MacKlenna. As a result of reading that chapter, she had a mammogram, and subsequently, a mastectomy. When I asked her if she’d like to be a beta reader, she said, “Absolutely interested in being a beta reader. Cannot wait! After all, that book saved my life. Congratulations on finishing it. You are my hero.”
If that was the reason this story needed to be told, then it’s accomplished its goal.
They say if a writer cries while writing, the reader cries while reading. If that’s the case, readers will need a box of tissues. The story is not for everyone, and I’m sure there will be a few less than stellar reviews. But heck, I finished the manuscript and overcame my fear that I’d never complete it. That garners a five-star in my book.
Don’t ever quit on a goal. Don’t ever stop believing in your dreams.
If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
- Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert Writer? http://ow.ly/nlobJ
- The Book Designer: Everything You ever Wanted to Know About Book Shepherds, Part 2 http://ow.ly/nloe7
- Novel Rocket: Add Depth to Your Characters by Using the Narrative Part of Your Scenes http://ow.ly/nlojf
- A Prologue Will Help Our Story When . . . via @JamiGold, Paranormal Author http://ow.ly/nloyB
- What does it cost to self-publish? | Self-Publishing Resources http://ow.ly/nloSs
- Gaining Exposure through Free Downloads of Your eBook http://ow.ly/nlp3d
- How Not to Lose Assignments & Infuriate Editors | WritersDigest.com http://ow.ly/nlps1
- ‘New’ releases from Amazon see into the future | The Passive Voice | http://ow.ly/nlpBc
- Karen Woodward: Dean Wesley Smith: How To Write And Have Fun http://ow.ly/nlpHG
- Should You Angle for Anglo-Saxon, or Enlighten with Latin? http://ow.ly/nlyCo via Daily Writing Tips
- How To Plot Your Fantasy Novel | There And Draft Again http://ow.ly/nlyIY
- How Twitter Lists Can Help Build Your Network + 8 Lists to Create Now | Positive Writer http://ow.ly/nlyRf
- Author, Jody Hedlund: Reasons Why Favorite Authors Disappoint Their Readers http://ow.ly/nlyWj
- Writer Unboxed » What’s on Your “Why” List? http://ow.ly/nlz4g
- Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors: How to Shock Your Readers—in a Good Way http://ow.ly/nmMak
- Cockeyed Caravan: How To Structure a Story Around a Large Problem, Step 13: The Timeline is Unexpectedly Moved Up http://ow.ly/nmMpO
- Writers In The Storm Blog |7 Tips For Finishing The First Draft | Novel Writing http://ow.ly/nmMtY
- WG2E-Land: Who’s on Instagram? http://ow.ly/nmMFg
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Happy writing & running, Kathy
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