Mobile Office Space…

Now that I’ve wrapped up The Ghost and the Medium (30th book in my Haunting Danielle series that comes out May 19th) I’ve moved my desk back into the living room from our bedroom. When writing a book I need to be alone. Except for my dogs, they are always welcome. Since I won’t be starting the next book, The Ghost and the New Neighbor, for a few weeks; I figured I would rather work out in the living room where I can be around people.

In the photo is my 94-year-old mother who is watching TV using a headset so only she can hear it. But it looks like she might be napping, not watching TV! Also napping is Petey, our son and daughter-in-law’s dog. He is curled up in a blanket on the other blue chair. We are pup sitting today. One of our pups is also in the picture, that’s Lily. Danny was standing next to me while I was taking the picture.

As many of you know, we lived in Havasu for about thirty years when we decided to move to Oregon, to be closer to our kids. I actually lived in Havasu longer, having moved there when I was thirteen and then moved after I graduated from college. My book Havasu Palms, a Hostile Takeover explains how I moved back with my husband and children, to help my parents after Dad got sick.

But now we are in Oregon. And while I love our new home, the house is considerably smaller than what we had in Havasu. One advantage, it doesn’t take long to clean! But I do miss my office, something I lost with the move.

Will I move the desk back into the bedroom when I start my next book in a couple weeks? I am hoping to take my laptop out to our family barn, now that it’s warming up, and write out there. But we’ll have to see. 

The sun is shining right now, and there is no rain. So, I really need to get off this computer and head outside! Have a wonderful weekend!

A Writer’s Work Space

I wrote my first book sitting at the counter of the Havasu Palms store, in the summer of 1969. I was fourteen at the time. When not working on my book, I was waiting on customers.

To help you get an idea what that counter looked like, I’ve included several pictures of the store. To call it a primitive structure would be an understatement. (The attractive woman behind the counter, waiting on customers, is my mother.)

We didn’t have computers back then, and since I first learned to type during my freshman year of high school, I was never much for writing longhand. That first book was written on a manual Royal typewriter that had once belonged to my grandfather.

These days I require a bit more quiet when I write. After I left real estate and turned my attention back to my writing in 2008, I was very happy in our home office. Posted below are a couple photos of what that looks like. What was not to like, surrounded by books, with both my cat and dog constantly by my side.

But then my husband Don was laid up for several months after surgery and decided to start working from home (he’s an associate real estate broker). I had to start sharing my office. It’s not that Don and I hadn’t shared an office before. For a number of years, we were a real estate team and were constantly together. But, as it turned out, while I didn’t have a problem sharing my office with one of my four-legged family members,  I didn’t do so well with a two legged one. I needed quiet and solitude when creative writing. Reading passages aloud didn’t work out well when one’s office mate is on the phone talking to a client.

Don’s mother—my mother-in-law—passed away just a few months after Don moved his office home. She had been living in a guest house we had built for her, in the back area of our property. That’s where I work today (see photo below).

My mother-in-law Doris was a big believer in angels. In fact, she collected them, and after she passed away, we had each of her nieces and grandchildren each pick out an angel for themselves. There are still a few in the guest house, including one sitting on my desk, and next to it—which you’ll see in the pictures I included.

I often say my success of the Haunting Danielle series might partly be attributed to the intervention of another angel—my mother-in-law Doris—whose home I work in each day.

When life interferes…

HautingDanielle (1)At the end of May I received two comments on my blog in response to my post “Instead of a treadmill desk – a jogging trampoline!” I intended to respond but life got in the way. My husband came down with a mystery infection and then had emergency surgery the first week in June. He came home after almost a week in the hospital and had to undergo six weeks of in-home IV treatment, with me playing nurse.

Things are sort of getting back to normal around here. Sort of.

Don hasn’t been back to his office, but he’s off the IV and now going to physical therapy about three times a week. In spite of his pain and fatigue he’s getting some work done (he is a real estate broker), but that means he’s moved into my home office and we are sharing a desk. I bought one of those little devices that hook up two computers to the same monitor and keyboard, so both of our desktop computers are on my roll top desk.

I don’t use my desktop computer much these days—and prior to Don getting sick, I used to put my laptop on the desk’s keyboard drawer when I wasn’t standing on the trampoline typing.

When Don came home from the hospital the trampoline got shoved aside. I’ve just recently set it up again, yet I’m not using it at the level I was before, for one thing Don and I are still sharing the office, and when I write I can’t do it with anyone in the room. This means I often retreat to the living room couch with my laptop, to find solitude necessary for me to write. Fortunately it is swimming weather, so the pool gives me a daily work out.

As for my writing, yesterday I sent my latest book off to the editor—Haunting Danielle. I normally write fiction under my pen name, Anna J. McIntyre and non-fiction under my real name. But Haunting Danielle is a little different from my other McIntyre books, so I was trying to decide if I wanted to publish under my real name—or the pen name I normally use for fiction.

I decided to publish the book under both names. Why? you ask. It will let my McIntyre readers know the book has a slightly different flavor from my other titles under that name, yet like the McIntyre books it is character driven.

One of my greatest marketing failings as an independent author is creating a series that doesn’t neatly fall under a specific genre. I did this with my McIntyre’s Coulson Series—and now I’ve done it again with Haunting Danielle. I’m trying to pin it down–a ghost story, paranormal mystery, with a splash of romance and maybe a bit on the cozy side. There’s no graphic sex in this one—and while many of my readers insist McIntyre romances are on the clean and sweet side, some reviewers claim there is too much graphic sex in my books. Go figure.

Haunting Danielle is the first book in a new series by the same name. Look for its eBook release on September 1, 2014.