Cabin Assignments

My progress on The Corpse in Crystal Lake has been slow, but at least I’m up to chapter 4. Then I suddenly realized that, while I have a guest list of the people staying at Crystal Lake, and I have a map, I haven’t actually put the two things together and assigned people to cabins. Argh.

It matters, too. Which cabin someone is in will influence what they see, who they’re likely to run into on their way someplace else, etc. It will even tend to influence the order in which the brothers talk to them. So, officially, argh. The amount of background work required for murder mysteries can be really frustrating sometimes.

Oh, and I need to figure out if I have to put the assignments on the map somehow. I do have the cabins numbered, so maybe I don’t have to. That would certainly be more convenient.

Playing pretend as a grownup sure is a lot of work.

I’ve Made a Map!

Working on my third Brother Thomas mystery, I learned how to use the vector graphics program inkscape and have made a map of the resort camp where the novel takes place! I’m not sure it’s finished, but it’s close:

I think I’m going to add a legend to it. Some of the detail work is hard to see, so I might have to include a zoomed in section to spare people having to use a magnifying glass. Still, I think it’s come out pretty well.

(I might also add some trees to indicate where there is forest, but that’s most places, so it might make it too crowded.)

Always Make Character Sheets in a Series!

As I was sitting down to start writing in earnest on the third chronicle of Brother Thomas—having worked out the characters, what really happened, etc. to my satisfaction—I looked for the file where I wrote down biographical facts about my main characters. I couldn’t find it. Worse, I have come to conclude that I can’t find it because I never wrote it.

I am not, it should be noted, talking about lengthy backstory in which I wrote out novella-length descriptions of each character’s experiences in kindergarten, grade school, middle school, high school, etc. I’m just talking about the basic facts: height, weight, hair color, birthday, date of joining the order (if appropriate) etc. Having not written these things down when I mentioned them in the previous two books, I now have to comb through the books to see what I in fact did mention. It’s not entirely wasted effort since it’s a good idea to read the books to get the tone of characters fresh in my mind, but at the same time it’s a lot of work that I really wish I didn’t need to do right now.

So, a hard-won lesson, which I pass on to any readers who are just getting started on a series of books: make sure to keep a file open for facts about your characters who will show up in future books. It will save you a ton of effort down the road.

Wedding Flowers Will Do for a Funeral is Now Available

Presently available on my publisher’s website (and, in print, generally cheaper there after it goes to wide distribution), I’m pleased to say that Wedding Flowers Will Do for a Funeral is now in print!

It’s even available in hardcover, though admittedly it’s a bit pricey in that form. But it’s a nice hardcover where the cover art is printed directly onto the book itself and there’s no dust jacket to rip or lose, or as so often happens, rip then lose.

Setting for Book 4?

I’ve only written about 1 paragraph of the Third Chronicle of Brother Thomas (edits are finished on the Second Chronicle of Brother Thomas and Silver Empire has it slated for publication in March). And it’s got a great setting: a remote vacation resort in the Adirondack mountains where there isn’t internet, cell service, or even electricity. I’m really looking forward to writing that one. (The very tentative title for the book is “He Didn’t Drown in the Lake”.) But I thought of a great setting for Book 4.

A renaissance fair.

I was thinking that the fair grounds could be next to a benedictine abbey, and the fair itself could be named after the abbey next to it. So the book could be titled, for example, Saint Paul’s Fair. Or Saint Anselm’s Fair (that one has a ring to it). Or Saint Benedict’s Fair. (All three are real Abbey names in the US.)

An especially fun coincidence would be that my favorite Brother Cadfael mystery, Saint Peter’s Fair, happens to be the fourth chronicle of Brother Cadfael.

I have no idea who the victim or the murderer will be. For stuff like that I probably should get a lot further in book 3, first.