I feel such a sense of accomplishment. I think I've finally managed to answer all the fan mail that's been piling up in my in-box (except for one long letter from someone I know personally that I want to really respond to instead of just dashing off a quick note). I'll need to make another good pass through my in-box to make sure no one's left out, but now I feel a lot less guilty. Next on the agenda is updating the web site, and then maybe actually writing the next book.
I am sort of in the "pre-writing" stages of the next book. When I drove to Austin a couple of weeks ago, I started thinking about my soundtrack for the book, and I realized why that's such an important part of my creative process. To come up with a soundtrack, I listen to a lot of music, and then I try out each song to see how it fits. I try to imagine a scene that could go in the book that fits the song. That forces me to imagine various scenes that could go into the book. By the time I've picked my songs, I have a good set of scenes running around in my head, as well as something of an emotional through-line. While driving to and from Austin, I was playing tape roulette. Without even looking at a tape, I'd just grab one and put it in the deck and then see what it was. At home I seldom think to listen to music unless I'm cleaning house or otherwise trying to make an onerous task more palatable, so I have to remember to dig up the CDs and start thinking of my soundtrack.
I also have a new writing book I want to delve into. It's downstairs and I'm upstairs, so I don't know the exact title, but it has to do with character motivations. Since I'm on the fourth book with the same characters, I feel like I need to dig deeper and deeper into them so I can keep them fresh and interesting. When I'm reading a series, I like to get a sense that I'm learning more about the characters, and I like to see how their previous experiences have changed them. I was kind of mean to my people in book three (hint!), so I'm going to have to show how that's affected them in the next book. I'm hoping to pick it up some this weekend, but the weekend is looking busy already. I have an Ann Taylor Loft coupon that expires this weekend, so I may go shopping (I'm running out of booksigning and public appearance clothes). Tonight I have penciled in for some relaxing. Tomorrow I've got a meeting with my writing group and then dinner with some friends (and playing with their twins). Sunday night I'm seeing the musical Little Women with Maureen McGovern. Then on Monday I have to head to the home of the parental units so I can make my appearance on one of the East Texas TV stations on Tuesday. I'm trying to give myself Monday as a holiday. We'll see if I can get through a day without doing anything related to work.
Meanwhile, I'm still oddly tired from last week. I didn't think I was running that huge a sleep deficit. Maybe I wasn't sleeping well. I think after today's shopping (must also get a birthday gift for my dad) I'll hit the swimming pool. That always tires me out and makes me sleep well.
I also have a slight correction to make to yesterday's post. Susan McBride's actual title is The Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club, which I realized when I was chatting with her via e-mail. I've fixed the posts, but thought I'd point it out here. I have no idea how or why I got my words messed up, but there you go. I also forgot a book on that list, but it fits with the theme of the book I'm reading now, so I'll save it for another book report.