When it’s time to say goodbye to a place I love, my philosophy is….have a party!
Last week the difficult decision was made to close the school in Camp Crook where I taught from 1980-1985. The closure, the result of declining enrollment and increased costs, makes me and many people in the tiny community it served very sad.
That school was and is the prototype for the one where Jane teaches in the West River Mysteries. Ever since See Jane Run! was released in 2022, I’ve day dreamed about having a reunion for its former students. Not just those I taught, but for the decades of students who attended school there. A few weeks ago, when news came that a Harding County All School Reunion (Camp Crook was and is part of the Harding County School District) was in the works for July of 2024, the timing felt right to turn the day dream into a reality.
I floated the idea to former Camp Crook students and friends via Facebook. They were enthusiastic. Those planning the larger reunion gave their blessing. Within a few hours a caterer and a venue were secured. My husband is up for the trip, and the reunion is now a go.
Plenty of details have to be hammered out before publicizing the event, but I’m working on it. Former students, keep your eyes peeled for updates to come! And when you see the invitation, please, please, please pass it along to others who might want to attend.
After all, is there a better way to celebrate the goodness and the memories of a place that means so much to so many than by throwing a party?
The only thing I can think of that comes close is to write a bunch more West River Mysteries to share the magic and goodness of the place we love. You can bet that during the reunion I’ll be listening to the stories people share. Who knows which ones will find a place in Jane’s future adventures!
See Jane Run! is close to 50 Amazon reviews. So close, in fact, I’m breaking out my dance moves and choreographing a little something to record on video when the milestone is reached. 50 reviews, by the way, is when Amazon sits up, takes notice, and begin to assist authors and publishers in promoting their books. It’s a big deal. So how close is See Jane Run! to 50?
Drum roll please……
As of today, See Jane Run! is sitting at 42 positive reviews.
If my math fact memory serves, only 8 more reviews until spunky Jane can grab the Amazon promotion ring. I know more than 8 people who haven’t yet reviewed the book have read and liked it. If you’re one of those people, I’m on my knees begging you to write and post your review on Amazon. Just go to See Jane Run! on Amazon, scroll down and click on the white “Leave a Customer Review” (it’s on the left hand side beneath the starred ranking graph), and Amazon will walk you through the process.
I promise to post a Facebook video of me doing a happy dance when the big 5-0 is reached.
In case you’re wondering, See Jane Sing! has 31 reviews and See Jane Dance! has 24. The See Jane Dance! number delighted me considering I haven’t been able to promote it much due to health issues that began shortly after it was released. Once again, I am down on my knees begging for reviews. Once again I promise to post a happy dance video when those books reach the magic number too.
Also my dance moves are epic. You don’t want to miss them.
A West River Mystery progress report is in order, so that’s what you’re getting today. Check out these small things about See Jane Dig! (Book 5) and See Jane Ride! (Book 6) that are making my heart go pitter pat.
- My editor reported that she’s read most of the See Jane Dig! manuscript. She said it’s not terrible. Whew!
- See Jane Dig! should be released in October of 2024.
- The See Jane Ride! plotting workshop with my editor has been moved up to January 29. I had to cancel a vacation and several speaking engagements while waiting for my hip/leg/back issues to resolve. As a result I’m ahead of schedule on research and brainstorming and want to turn recovery time into writing time as well.
- I started my research by reading Rally Rewind: 75 Years of Sturgis and paying special attention to accounts of details about the 1978 rally. That’s the year when See Jane Ride! takes place, and I want it to be as authentic as possible.
- Next up was an interview with my cousin who started attending the rally in 1977, an event he and his wife still participate in. He contributed several colorful memories that I can’t wait for Jane to experience too.
- Monthly calendars for June, July, and August of 1978 have been printed. The rally dates for that year, along with those for the Tipperary County Fair and Jane’s teacher inservice are on the calendar and ready to be consulted during the plotting workshop.
- Last but not least, you all came through with biker name suggestions. Here’s the complete list: Gunner, Rooster, Sweetie Pie, Tiny, Mouse, Crankshaft, Knucklehead, Loser, Skid, Smoke, Lifter, Flywheel, Flathead, Wanderer, Spoke, Burnout, and last but not least, Stryker the Biker and his sidecar sidekick, Hitch the Hiker.
Which one (or two) do you like best? Leave your favorites in the comment box. That’ll make my heart go pitter pat too.
Do you want to help name a few characters who will appear in an upcoming West River Mystery? To be clear, I’m not talking about See Jane Dig!, the next book in the series which will be released in October of 2024. The characters in Dig! already have names and the first draft of the manuscript is with the editor. What I am talking about is the fifth in the series, See Jane Ride!
I know, it’s confusing. Thank goodness I like working ahead. Here’s the scoop on progress so far:
- Brainstorming for Book 5, See Jane Ride!, is underway.
- When brainstorming, ideas matter more than spelling. Be gentle regarding the brainstorming clip above.
- See Jane Ride! takes place in July of 1978.
- The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will be woven into the plot. So will a few bikers.
- Sturgis rallies from the mid-seventies to mid-eighties were in the tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands the event now boasts. Tens of thousands are still a lot of people in a town of under 10,000. Believe it or not, rallies were wilder and crazier back then than they are now.
- Some of those tens of thousands meandered into Harding County when we lived there. A few will wander through Tipperary County in See Jane Ride! also.
You’re invited to suggest names for the bikers who show up in the story. They’ll be big, beefy people (perhaps two men, though a man and a woman would be more interesting.) They’ll wear leathers and bandanas. That’s as far as my imagination will go until the two bikers are named. It’s hard for me to fully envision them until then.
They need names soon so I can write their character studies before meeting with my editor on February 14 to workshop the plot. (In honor of Valentine’s Day, a cherry pie will be in the oven. Dessert is good motivation for any task and the best way to celebrate a holiday.)
So I ask you again, do you want to help name a few characters for Book 5 in the series? If so, you can leave them in the comment section or click the contact button at the top of the page and send your ideas via email by February 1. I can’t wait to read your suggestions!
See Jane Dig! is now in the editor’s hands. I couldn’t be happier.
Not having to think about the fourth book in the West River Mystery Series during the holidays is all I wanted for Christmas this year. My editor won’t start working on it until after the first of the year because she wants to enjoy her Christmas break, too.
Not that See Jane Dig! isn’t enjoyable. It is!
That was not my opinion upon finishing the first draft last August, when I thought it was pure drivel. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that was not the case when I began revisions in early October.
Not that it was enjoyable when revisions began. It wasn’t!
Which is why authors revise first drafts and send them off to editors who gently point out the unenjoyable bits authors miss and suggest changes. Which sends the author back to the revising grindstone so a manuscript becomes more enjoyable. Until then I’m going to enjoy the holidays without giving Jane a second thought.
That’s a lie.
I’m already thinking about the research to be done before meeting with the editor to plot out the fifth book. But I’m not going to work on Book 5 until after New Year’s, and then it will only be looking up stuff and reading. No writing. Absolutely no writing.
That’s a lie, too.
I’ll probably start brainstorming ideas and plot points and character names the minute this blog post is published. Because letting my creative juices flow before starting a new project is almost as enjoyable as knowing that See Jane Dig! is now in the editor’s hands.
And that’s no lie.