Have you ever strolled down the street, past a group of stores, and you hear a small voice say, “Stop here. Don’t keep walking. Come in and enjoy yourself, Marja.” You look up and, lo and behold, a bookstore is calling your name. Well, why not stop in and wander through the aisles? You’re not looking for anything in particular. What could it hurt? Uh huh.
If you’re like me, you end up walking out with an armload of books that don’t quite fit into your budget.
My passion is mysteries, especially if they contain a little humor. However, if I’m actually strolling through the store, a lot of mysteries without humor, and other genres, will catch my eye – biographies, history, books on how things work and what they’re called – you name it. A friend, Chris, recommended For the President’s Eyes Only – Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush by Christopher Andrew. While I couldn’t use most of what I read in my new book, this was still engrossing research material. The books on the shelves surrounding it looked interesting, too. I had to make myself walk away.
The unfortunate part of this is that now I have a To Be Read stack that boggles the mind, or at least my mind. I’ve got so many books that I want to read, and doesn’t it just figure, I’m at a time in my life when I don’t have nearly as much reading time as I used to.
I have trouble giving books away or selling them. There are many I’d like to reread one day. My bookcases are jam-packed. So is my Kindle.
I just released a new book, How Now Purple Cow – A Bogey Man Mystery. Time to take a brief vacation before starting another book. Maybe I could sit on the couch and eat bonbons and read. Not gonna happen. In addition to the store calling my name, so is my house. Yes, that would be the house that I let go while I wrote. Horrifying, I know, but sometimes when we’re writing we let things go.
In addition to the bookstore and the house, my thoughts keep turning to the next book. Marketing and promotion are calling my name, too. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
Many years ago my grandmother gave me some ceramic purple cows. They sit on top of the bookcase in my office. One day they started calling my name. They wanted to be in a mystery. Say what? Yeah, that was my question, too, but I couldn’t stop thinking about them. How on earth could I include purple cows in a book?
The unexpected happened. I had a funny dream about two dear friends being spies. Seriously, why would I have a dream like that? I mentioned it to a friend, Evelyn Cullet, and she thought they’d make great characters in a book. She was right. Believe it or not, purple cows and elderly spies make a great combination. Who knew?
I mentioned the basic storyline to my husband, and without a second thought, he said, “How Now Purple Cow.” I started to laugh and knew what a great title that would make. Sometimes he thinks up the best titles. He was responsible for Old Murders Never Die, too.
In the meantime, that To Be Read stack keeps calling out to me. Right now I can’t talk myself into buying more books. I’ve got to start whittling down the piles of books that threaten to knock me down.
Do any of you have this same time problem? Believe it or not, when I take a peek at my stack of books, I go through guilt for not getting to them. One way or another, I’ll get caught up on my reading.
(And then I glanced back at the stack and realized one of the books is over 750 pages long. When will I have time for that one?) You can probably hear me sighing all over the country about now. Sorry to disturb your reading time.
Until next time, take blinders with you when you visit your favorite bookstore. You may be able to stay within your budget if you do.
CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
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Don’t forget that A Well-Kept Family Secret is now available in audio format.