Dandy’s Discovery is out, and I’m doing fine, how are you?

First of all, pleased to announce that my new short story, Dandy’s Discovery, is now out, and people seem to be enjoying this little bit of fluff to lift their spirits. In addition, the manuscript of my newest Victorian San Francisco Mystery novel, Lethal Remedies, just went to my proof reader (Jessica Meigs). It has been through multiple drafts and two rounds of beta readers, so at this point it has been read by nine people and much improved by their feedback. I enjoy hearing back from this small team of readers about what they liked about the story, but I also like hearing where they had problems. In my experience, my beta readers often pinpoint exactly those sections of the book I already had some doubts about. This really helps because then I know exactly those sections that need more work (and don’t waste time fiddling with the sections that are just fine). In addition, their comments give me ideas about what I should do to improve. Because, face it, if I had known that all on my own, I would have done it already.

So, now I get to give myself a couple of days to just take care of business and relax. The taking care of business is doing things like writing this blog post and giving the bathrooms a good scrub.

Thanks to the virus, after twenty years of having someone come in and clean twice a month, I am now back to doing this myself (with a little help from my husband whose allergies make most cleaning problematic.) I am trying to be sensible and do it in tiny increments, so as not to aggravate my arthritis or make me too grumpy.

Today, for me the main form of relaxation has been reading for pleasure and having a wonderfully long talk with an old friend, Terry. For about 15 years we shared an office (we were both community college professors), which meant we knew all about each other’s lives. Since we have both retired, we have tried to get together every month or so to catch up. For now, phone calls will have to do. But it was great to hear her voice.

I have noticed that the rhythm of my days haven’t changed much since my decision to shelter in place (which I did before it was mandatory, being in the age/health group who is high risk. In the morning, I read emails and check out facebook and the news. Then I do basic housekeeping chores and do a few gentle exercises to keep the body moving. The rest of the day I write, read (sometimes for pleasure, more often I am reading another author’s manuscript to give a little editorial advice), do some marketing tasks, talk to friends, read the news, try not to get upset by the news, then watch some television in the evening with my husband. And I try to do as much of this as possible while sitting next to my 19 year old cat, Mila, who yells at me if I am not sitting right beside her. Heaven help me if I actually go out of sight.

Since I have been finding the stories that other people are sharing about their lives during this time of separation one of the key ways I keep from feeling isolated, I think I will try to do more of this sort of periodic report about my own day. Maybe it will make your own life seem less boring in contrast. (Smile.)

Meanwhile, I do want to remind everyone that Lethal Remedies, is up for preorder, and that in addition to my newest short story, I also wrote Beatrice Bests the Burglars to help entertain you all as you wait for the novel. In addition, Amazon has discounted Scholarly Pursuits (which is the most recent novel in the series) down to 99 cents for the month of April in US Kindle and CA Kindle.

I would love to hear how all of you are doing. Making masks, gardening, writing the next book, taking up karate?

Take care, stay safe, and read lots!

M. Louisa Locke, April 12, 2020

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