My new year opens with a new best friend. That's my new Mac, beside the monitor for my old PC, a 2009 Gateway laptop. The Gateway has been reliable and trustworthy, but Microsoft not so much. The PC is 8 years old and I decided it was time to replace it. And time to move back to Apple.
Looking back. I began my professional writing life on an Apple II very much like this one, in 1982.
I loved that little machine, and over the next few years, I moved to a IIc and a IIe--wrote a dozen or more YA novels on them.Then I married a guy who worked on big mainframes and thought (quite reasonably, at the time) that Apples were headed for oblivion. I'm glad to be back, although I can see that I have a lot to learn. A friend (thank you, Shirley) suggested that I take both computers to an Apple Store and ask them to migrate all my data from the Gateway to the Mac--excellent suggestion. The people at the Domain Apple Store in Austin were extraordinarily helpful (especially Michael and Shane--thank you!). I'll run both the Gateway and the Mac in parallel until I know what I'm doing, then retire the Gateway.
Book report. I spent most of December working on Gertrude Bell, and it looks like she'll be my next historical fiction project. I have several draft chapters (about 20,000 words)--I'm most interested in her work as an espionage agent. I agree with Natasha Walker (recently, in The Guardian) and my friend Libby Fischer Hellman ("Spy Fiction: Where Are All the Female Authors") that we need more fiction by women about female spies.
Personally, I am especially interested in biographical fiction about real women who really were spies. I included a real Civil War female spy (Rose Greenhow) in The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose and wrote an Edwardian espionage novel with Bill, as Robin Paige. Gertrude Bell is important not just for her espionage work (which is inadequately portrayed by her biographers, who prefer to focus on her failed romances). Bell was also a prominent and influential political actor at a time when the Brits were struggling to hold onto their disintegrating empire. She's a wonderful subject for an espionage novel--and maybe more than one.
Looking ahead. I want to hope that 2017 will be better than 2016, but I don't see any indication on the national political horizon that it will be. In fact, every day brings a new (to me) deplorable, unpresidented tweet from PEOTUS. I'll keep raising my voice wherever I can on the issues that matter to me, politically. I believe that informed, caring citizens of our country and our planet must do this. As far as my work is concerned, I plan to finish the current China Bayles WIP (Queen Anne's Lace) and publish The General's Women (March 2017) through my imprint, Persevero Press. I'm aiming to finish the Gertrude project and expecting to publish that via Persevero Press as well, in late 2017 or early 2018. All that ought to keep me busy enough.
Here's to a healthy, productive, and reasonably (or even unreasonably) happy 2017, for all of us.
Reading note. The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.--G.K. Chesterton