Tuesday, November 19, 2019

What Hank's (Trying to Be) Writing


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Three parts to today’s what we're writing! 

 And ah, only some of it is writing.



Part one. I’m writing: Thank you notes. I have been on the road, can you believe it, since August 20th. Seriously! Today, after arriving back from New Orleans (teaching a seminar in how to jumpstart your writing), I not only unpacked my suitcase, but I put it away. It was quite the moment, and I will reveal to you, I almost burst into tears.

#HankOnTour (as it’s called on Instagram, do you follow me and Jungle Red and all the Reds there?) for THE MURDER LIST is, truly, the magical mystery tour! From my stint as guest of honor at Bouchercon, can you believe it?

 To interviewing James Patterson, to being interviewed by Lisa Unger, to sharing the stage with everyone from Kimberley Belle to Jennifer Hillier to J. Ryan Stradal (that’s his full name) 



to Meg Waite Clayton to Andre Dubus III  to some standing room only crowds in bookstores and libraries across the country, 








to see (for 10 whole minutes), Mount Rushmore at the South Dakota Festival of the Book. For so many many room service dinners, under the covers in hotel rooms that are either too hot or too cold, thrilled with my room service dinner of salad and hamburgers and a glass of red wine. I’m loving it, every bit, and have made so many new friends.



And hooray! The MURDER LIST was just named a BEST of 2019 by both of the Strand Magazine and Suspense Magazine. So, hooray! Also many other wonderful things, too long to list here. But thank you thank you thank you.

And truly, it’s a good thing, because I do need fuel for:

Part two. Writing a book. oh dear, yes indeed. Someone at Crime Bake asked my panel--with Ann Cleeves, Hallie Ephron and Julia Spencer-Fleming! Yikes!—“What the hardest book you’ve ever written?” I can tell you, truly and deeply, it is the one I am writing right now. It is called THE FIRST TO LIE. And it comes out August 4, 2020.



That is, if I can finish. I can feel the ending, I can picture the ending, but I haven’t written it yet. Reds, it is due this Thursday. I mean, day after tomorrow. Ten pages to go. Seriously. So we shall see.

Part 3. Writing a TedX talk, and then a short story. Due soon. And now I am laughing so hard at the impossibility that I might go take a nap.

What’s your schedule like these days? Are you susceptible to taking on too many responsibilities? How do you handle that? (But do you love it like I do?)

46 comments:

  1. Wow, Hank I’m tired just reading your schedule . . . but somehow I imagine you’ll get all that writing done.

    My schedule is always crazy, mostly because I’ve never learned how to say, “No,” even if it’s something I really, really don’t want to do. Obviously, I don’t handle it very well, but somehow it all always gets done . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have put your finger on it, ‘Joan! Saying no. We all have to practice!

      Delete
  2. Very little is scheduled (except Dr appointments) but things keep cropping up. Car inspection before the end of the month. Riding with my son to Best Buy to get him a new laptop for his birthday (and school). Glad he understands the geeks. Picking out something for my godson’s 13th birthday. Walking the dog twice a day while his daddy’s working in Midland. Cleaning up the remains of a cocoa powder explosion in a box of gifts granddaughter ordered from London. First time and the last, I hope. Trolling the internet for lemon recipes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the funniest list ever. Yes indeed, things do happen. A cocoa powder explosion?

      Delete
  3. I get a few days off at Thanksgiving, and I don't have another concert until December 16, so I'm looking at a relatively easy two or three weeks. Which will be great until the every-grant-proposal-on-earth-plus-two-reports deadline of January 15. There's always something. Glad you're happily home after such a long tour. Enjoy the home part, okay? Spend some time with your sweetheart. He's more important than any deadline. Trust me on this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gigi, again, you make me burst into tears. Yes, I have thought about this quite a bit. and I have vowed to be very careful about it. thank you!

      Delete
    2. Aw, don't cry, Hank. I'm glad you made it home in one piece. Now rest and refresh, and enjoy the holidays.

      Delete
  4. I'm tired just reading your post.

    Seriously, I don't see how you write a book as your are traveling all over on tour.

    Good luck meeting your deadline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! We shall see :-) I know I will do it. xxx

      Delete
  5. Wow, Hank. Welcome home! My schedule was nutty this fall, but not as nutty as yours. I helped organize a memorial service for a dear friend with over a hundred people coming - the weekend after co-chairing Crime Bake. But that's all behind me and I'm on only two low-commitment committee at my church. I'm loving a few unscheduled days ahead to just revise my due-January 1 book, walk, read, and sleep.

    Deadlines - you can do it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But Edith, if you are revising, that is not a day off! We need to learn that…

      Delete
    2. I said unscheduled, not day off! After days and days of not working, I'm happy to have time available to do what I love.

      Delete
  6. That schedule has my head spinning -- yours too maybe? I don't know how you do it. I couldn't have managed that much travel when I was young. Not that you aren't young, but ...

    Bouchercon was enough to do me in, combined with nine days away from home, about one day more than I can easily tolerate. The next big thing is Thanksgiving, and we decided to do the turkey et all long about next Tuesday so we could enjoy leftovers all week and so when we got that last minute -- always last minute -- invitation to one of Julie's brother's, we can go for the day. Or see a movie.

    As for today, I plan to finish UNSPEAKABLE THINGS by Jess Lourey, which I started last night and read until the wee hours. It is my observation that most writers have a break-out book. I think this is Jess's. I've read almost all her work, and I've liked or loved it all. But this one? It is blowing my mind.

    I feel marginally guilty reading how busy everyone else is. Ah the joys of retirement!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cannot wait to hear about Jess’s book ! She is incredibly special.

      Delete
  7. Hank, I can't imagine trying to keep up with the kind of schedule you keep. And congratulations on the Suspense Magazine award!

    My schedule is busy but nothing like yours. I've got an article due weekly, plus two more that are due ASAP. Another one due on December 1st. And I'm told that the next round of ARCs are being mailed out this week so I'll be on deadline to read those and write reviews.

    Speaking of writing endings to stories, I had an idea for how to end that mythical book of mine. Sadly, I think the ending I imagined would work better if it was a movie/TV show. So trying to work that out is going to take some time.

    As for regular life stuff, I've got the day job which is packed with work. It's boring to go into any kind of detail but I've been busy with a series of involved jobs that take a long time to do and I'm still working on a couple of those.

    Plus trying to go to a book signing or two (Saw Nicole Asselin for her book Murder at First Pitch on Saturday in Barnstable, MA) and picking up the Xmas gifts I need to get. And of course, paying bills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very exciting, Jay! Keep writing… The ending will reveal itself. You and I are in the same boat!

      Delete
  8. Welcome home! I'm anticipating a quiet January and February, though I'll be house training/playing with our new standard poodle puppy Louie. I made a list of submission deadlines and divided my writing list in half: thinking about augmenting characters and adding internal POV, and physically doing the writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so organized! and we want to hear all about Louie— What color? What’s the story? And good luck with your other writing... How does Louie feel about it?

      Delete
    2. I'm mentioning your twitter feed. We pick up Louie December 7th or 8th so we haven't discussed our mutual expectations yet. "Blue," which is a recessive black trait (silver-tipped black). He will join Jazz, age 4, who is also "blue" but lacks the silver tips. Whatever. She makes up for it with additude.

      Delete
  9. Hank, you are lucky to be blessed with good energy. Not many people could maintain that pace and that schedule. I bow to your impressive stamina. I've done the tour circuit myself, and I know how grueling it can be, but I was a lot younger then.

    Since our old house is still on the market, I've been cleaning it more often than I ever did when we lived there, in preparation for showings and open houses. Somehow, that does not seem fair. And I'm taking a wonderfully relaxing drawing class, taught by an artist friend, along with five other women in our age group. You can tell we were all born in the 40's and 50's by our names: two Karens, a Barbara, Carol, Linda, Nancy, and a Mary.

    Coming up is Thanksgiving (which I'm hosting--16 people), when my three daughters and their families will be visiting and staying at our home for a week. So I'm hoping to shoehorn another six people into a three-bedroom house. Luckily, we're all related! Then the Sunday after the holiday I'm hosting a brunch for four longtime friends, two of whom moved away 12-15 years ago and have not seen one another since.

    We won't have to do a thing for Christmas except drive somewhere. I look forward to that!

    ReplyDelete
  10. That is a wonderful realization about the names… So funny! And I agree, the extra cleaning does not seem fair at all :-) good luck with your sale! What kind of drawing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks.

      It's supposed to be drawing as a prep for oil painting, but Nancy and I are just drawing. Carol sets up two still life examples, one for the painters, and one for us, and we just try to draw. My goal is to learn how to draw with my tremor, and Carol has helped me a lot with it.

      Delete
    2. Oh my goodness, that sounds wonderful! So peaceful…

      Delete
  11. So much great stuff - congratulations Hank!! I’m looking forward the run up to the new year being relatively commitment free - no excuses! See you at the mall, right Hank??

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hank, that schedule makes me dizzy. I couldn't do it. But it was great seeing you at Bouchercon (you are the reason I came, you and Debs - did I ever tell you that?).

    Anyway, my schedule right now includes finishing the first draft of Laurel Highlands #4 (which is not due until 2021, I'm a book ahead in that series and determined to stay that way), getting Laurel Highlands #3, BROKEN TRUST, ready to submit (due February 20, 2020), production on Homefront #1, THE ENEMY WE DON'T KNOW (releasing February 11, 2020), and gearing up to start the first draft of Homefront #2 (due August, 2020).

    And in between I'm working on the day job, which is not nearly as much fun, but it pays the bills (very important).

    Hmm. Maybe I'm busier than I thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that’s so lovely of you! Awwwww.. Wasn’t it crazy and fun? And freezing :-)

      And yes once we start keeping track— Our schedules are astonishing!

      Delete
  13. Well, Hank, if anyone can do it, you can! We have all kinds of confidence in you and we know it (and all of them) will be terrific!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Okay, after reading that, I need a nap! Hank, you are amazing. As Judi said, if anyone can...

    My own to-do list seems paltry in comparison, but I'm okay with that. Maybe I can make a dent in that TBR pile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Chris, my TBR pile has not budged! I keep trying, but I turn two pages then fall asleep. Xxxxx

      Delete
  15. Hank, I am in awe. I just...couldn't! All of that travel, all of the prep for your amazing interviews, I want to pull a rock over myself just thinking about it, and then, of course, the writing! Congratulations on all of your fabulous success. And I know you will simply slay your TEDx talk. No worries!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just burst out laughing! With what you do? All you do? And kids? You are such a rockstar… But thank you!
      Xxxx yes, I am just trying to create the Ted X, and I am tentative about it at this point…xxxxx I know it will work. Somehow. Someday. By the deadline. :-)

      Delete
  16. Honestly, Hank, just reading all that made me want to lie down and take a nap. I did a library talk last week and one member of the audience asked me how much time I spent working. I told her the average number of hours a day I write, which sounds like a pretty sweet gig compared to a nine-to-five job. But ever since then, I've been thinking about all the other stuff we do that comprises "working." I've decided on a per hour basis, we're ALL underpaid. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am laughing! You are so right. Did you see the recent social media post from a Very Big Author (A truly truly lovely person) Who said something along the lines of: I have realized I am not spending enough time writing. So I am not going to send you any more free books, not at all, I will not read your first page or your first chapter or look at your book, or blurb your book, or write any free essays, or meet you for a drink, or for coffee, I will not let you have “five minutes” to pick my brain. I am just going to write.
      Pretty interesting.

      Delete
    2. That’s a paraphrase, of course, but that’s the general gist.

      Delete
  17. Wow, Hank, you make the Energizer Bunny look like a slacker. Hahaha! Congratulations on so much, including being the Guest of Honor at Bouchercon and The Murder List being a pick for Best of 2019 for both the Strand Magazine and Suspense Magazine. You work so hard and create such brilliant stories. You deserve every honor you receive. I'm glad that you get to be home now and enjoy the holidays. Of course, as you point out, your work continues at home, but at least you can sleep in your own bed and be with Jonathan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And there you have it! He deserves several blog posts about how supportive he is! all the spouses do!

      Delete
  18. Hank, I’m blow away by your schedule. You’re not just an inspiration you’re amazing. You do,it all with such grace, charm and talent. I hope you allow yourself a moment to take it all in and congratulate yourself. Thanks for being you. The world needs more like you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nancy, that is so lovely of you! Thank you! Aw...xoxo

      Delete
  19. Hank,

    Too many books to read... I am having a hard time voting for books over at goodreads because I had not read most of them! I made a promise to myself that I will read more books published in 2020 so I can vote next year! I was able to vote for a few books that I did read. One book that I read and loved made it to the finalists round! Inheritance by Dani Shapiro was brilliant!

    I have been trying to read more non fiction recently too.

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I am eager to read that..I heard Dani Shapiro speak once, and she was quite amazing. Good luck reading! xoo

      Delete
  20. The most inspiring part of your recent journey has been your enthusiasm. You love the people who come out to meet you, it shows. And following up on messages. Sometimes, those 5-10 words really help in ways an emoji never can. Looking forward to your next west coast Florida tour dates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw...that is the nicest thing. You are so thoughtful..and yes, see you in FL!

      Delete
  21. Your schedule is pretty hectic, Hank. My big goal after returning from Bouchercon was laundry, wanting to rid any residual smoke smell. Still working it because I'm working at the office 40+ hours per week. New staff comes in the second week in December so I'll be in training mood while trying to work. I was just asked to arrange the altar flowers for a wedding in January which I'm very excited about. Need to meet with the bride and try to get the flowers ordered by the second week of December. Other than that, just need to crochet three blankets for Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  22. My hubby and I live on 10 acres outside Austin, TX. We both work day jobs in downtown Austin, but head back to our beloved Pasture as quickly as possible (that's the only cure for Pasture Deficit Disorder, wink wink)! We've been trying to get ready for a small craft show we're going to the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We have wood toy cars made, and some other woodworking craft projects. But lately we've gotten into making wood critters. We have a bear family, woodland set, arctic set, safari set, dinosaur set, and coming very soon a farm set. The "problem" is, we've received so many orders for cars and critters from people at my office and a few friends on facebook, that we're having a hard time keeping up. Now I don't think we'll have many to take to the craft show with us because they sell as fast as we can make them. On top of all that, we have 29 chickens, seven longhorn cows, three dogs, and six cats to take care of every day. And don't forget that day job in downtown Austin! Friends at work often comment that we get more done in one weekend than they do in a month. lol

    ReplyDelete