That's me in my pie baker suit.

That’s me in my pie baker suit.

Enchanted April is about to come to an end. This past week has been spent working on the first few pages of a mystery, my first. To say it’s still pretty raw is to portray it in a more positive light than it currently deserves. But, and this is an important “but,” I started it. I’ve been saying for years that I wanted to write at least one cozy mystery but kept putting it off while I worked on contemporary romance novels. I  haven’t  given up the latter, but I finally came to the conclusion that there was never going to be a perfect time to start the mystery. I’d just have to do it.

Do you have goals like that? You keep waiting for the time to be ripe, while instead time just keeps passing you by?

I’m attempting to multi-task: write the mystery at the same time as I work on the sequel to The Sleepover Clause and other romance novels in progress. The hardest part? Keeping the names straight from book to book. Time to make a spreadsheet.

You’ll notice that, for now, this blog is no longer called “Thoughts from the Treadmill.” TFTT is on summer hiatus, while I’m back in Iowa. There isn’t a treadmill there, but there are some amazing walking paths, where my brain will continue, I hope, to shake loose various story ideas, plot twists and housekeeping to-do items as I walk. So the concept continues, just in a different locale.

As I write this, I’m still wrapping up my time in Florida. It’s been another great week: lunch with my over-50 social group on Monday, dinner with the same group at one of my favorite restaurants, “Seasons 52,” on Thursday, lunch with some dear friends at a favorite tea room on Friday, and the monthly meeting of the SpacecoasT Authors of Romance (STAR) chapter on Saturday. Although I enjoyed all these activities, the writers’ meeting on Saturday was particularly helpful because our scheduled speaker didn’t show, so we spent the program time just talking to each other about our writing. We spent the bulk of that time talking about the role of social media and branding in our promotion efforts, skill sets almost as important as creative writing skills these days.

Saturday ended with a visit to the National Pie Festival in Celebration. The Festival caters to professional and amateur pie bakers as well as pie eaters. The pie baking contest is divided into numerous categories, each one judged by a panel. At another venue, here in Celebration’s Lakeside Park, the “all-you-can-eat buffet” allows participants to eat as much pie as they can within the confines of the area (no sneaking out with extras; they actually have “pie police” to stop the “violators,” and it’s considered a top honor) for ten dollars. This year, several flavors vied for my attention, but I especially liked the pumpkin pie and dulce de leche cream pie.

Friends of mine volunteered to hand out pies at one of the booths, so I stopped by to see them. While I waited for their shift to be over, I found a place to sit down over in a tent near the demonstration stage, where they were about to present the awards to the amateur pie bakers. What a hoot! As it turned out, most of the group sitting there were either the contestants, their families or their “teams.” Some of the contestants have been coming here for years from all over the country. They’ve gotten to know each other pretty well, like a small family. In the row behind me, a woman who lives not more than ten miles from my home in Iowa won first prize in one of the categories. Small world. And what a subject for possible future books!

Next week, I will be attending the Romantic Times Convention at Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri. If you’re in the area, stop by the Book Expo, just for epubs, self-pubs and graphics, at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 2. I’ll also be participating in the “Romancing the Plaza” booksigning on Saturday, May 4 from 2 – 5 p.m. at the Marriott in Country Club Plaza, also in Kansas City. My first booksigning!

pie banner

Romancing the Plaza Small Square of promo card

My friends, Gary and Jackie Pinkston, and their friend, Alma Lorch, serving pie.

My friends, Gary and Jackie Pinkston, and their friend, Alma Lorch, serving pie.

Photo by Leslie Sloan

Photo by Leslie Sloan

9781440556463 The Sleepover Clause