I’m just back from three glorious weeks in the Mediterranean on a lecture cruise from Athens to Barcelona. As those of you who read my last blog may remember, I had to call a halt to planning and writing the next novel because I needed to spend time researching and preparing my presentations on ancient civilisations. This was my first time giving talks on history and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. My fellow lecturers were a great bunch and everyone on the ship from the cruise director to the waiters and our cabin steward were a pleasure to work with. I could get used to being waited on hand and foot – no meals to prepare or washing up and the bliss of stepping out of the shower knowing I was wouldn’t have to clean it after. We were also blessed with good weather – quite a treat given the time of year. My husband got soaked to the skin when he escorted a tour to Aix-en-Provence but I was lucky not to get rained on my trip, first to the Abbey of St Victor and then to the cathedral perched on the hill top with magnificent views over Marseille – 120 steps!
Although we had been to all the ports on the itinerary before, several of the tours we went on took us to new cities. We even managed to visit Park Guell, Gaudi’s exuberant design for a housing development, when we were in Barcelona which has been on our bucket list for some time. One of my favourite trips was to the Doge’s palace in Venice. We had been before, but it was so long ago, I’d forgotten almost all we’d seen. Several people asked if I would use any of the places we visited in my future novels. The answer is probably not as I have several ideas for the locations of at least the next three novels.
I confess I’m still a long way from settling down to the next book. My mind is still of Greeks, Romans and Byzantines to start working out a new plot. Plus, although the cases are unpacked, half of the washing is still to be done (it’s been raining solidly since we got home) and there is a stack of shirts to be ironed. I’ve emails to go through and answer, and there are Christmas cards to write, presents to buy and get in the post ASAP, not to mention all the baking I need to think about. I’ve decided that I won’t let myself feel guilty if I don’t get down to writing until the new year.
It’s not just the writing I’ve put on one side since the summer. I’ve done nothing about marketing. I can’t remember the last time I even looked at Facebook let alone put up a post. I’ve decided to make at least one positive step – my book bundle – The Fiona Mason Mysteries: Books 1 to 3 is free today and for the next five days so grab a copy if you don’t already have it and tell all your reader friends.
I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by. It doesn’t seem more than a couple of months since we were taking down the Christmas tree decorations and putting them up in the loft. The festive season now looms large so, as even the neighbourhood houses already have decorations up, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas.