Friday, July 5, 2013

PROJECTS THAT LIVE IN MY DRAWER by Muriel Jensen


Good Morning!  Happy Friday!  (Does everyone else feel like it's Monday because of the holiday, or is that just me?)

Like all writers who 'can't not write' I find myself playing with ideas between deadlines.  And because category romance has guidelines that must be adhered to, I love to work with thoughts that are outside the category box.  I haven't sold any of these, mind you.  I haven't even taken any of them to completion, but I love knowing they're in my drawer.  (I love the Heartwarming premise and all it allows us to do, it's just fun to do other things when I'm on a break - or I'll have to clean house, or cook, or something.)

I have an idea about a young woman who wrote contemporary romance,  then was out because trends had changed.  She  moved to a place on the coast of Mass. to plot a Regency, just to see if she could do it.  At a church bazaar, she finds a cache of furniture from an old estate belonging to a parishioner and buys a Regency corner chair that's been in the attic for 150 years because the estate's owner, who inherited it from the relative to came to the U.S. from England, thought it was too ugly for the parlor.  My heroine puts it in front of her French doors into the garden, takes a shower, then comes into the bedroom wrapped in a towel and is shocked out of her wits to find a Regency-period gentleman sitting in it.  He was shot in the back in it all those years ago and is stuck in it until he can find out what happened to the woman and baby he left behind.  He helps her with research for her novel, and while she's researching, she tries to find out what happened to his family, and why he was killed.

A single mother in her late thirties takes her teen daughter to visit her family in the mid-West.   While they're looking down on the town from a hill behind it, they're struck by lightning.  The daughter dies and the heroine is left with the gift/curse of seeing into the future.  Destroyed by the loss of her child, she quits her job in the mayor's office, breaks up with her long-time significant other who is the deputy mayor, and wanders aimlessly at night, unable to sleep.  Until she has a vision of a man locked in the trunk of a car, on his way to being murdered - and realizes it's her ex.  She finds him again to find out who is out to get him,  He, of course, is determined to get her back.

As a good Catholic, I'm not supposed to believe in recycled people, but I think occasionally something happens that we can't explain that seems like reincarnation.  My research into it reveals that there is such a thing as groups of people who can reconnect through time over and over.  I believe they're called soul units.  Often a traumatic event they've endured together is responsible for this.    The interesting thing is that gender and age can be different when they reconnect.  A man in one life can be a woman in the second life,  and an old man can be a child. So, I can see four young men who work and play basketball together on weekends, who gradually discover they were spies during the Civil War - three of them for the Union, one for the Confederates.  I think it has great possibilities, but I'd need three months in a cottage in Bermuda to work them out and that just isn't going to happen.  At least not this year.  But can't you see the complexities?  (The idea came to me when a friend's precocious little girl said to her very seriously, "Remember before when I was the mom and you were the little girl?" Gave me goose bumps.

Anyway - just sharing in case none of this ever sees the light of day.  I'd like someone to know that I have a drawer full of good ideas.  What's in your desk drawer?  Or your idea file?  Or on your mind?

(A little parting aside - sharing the office with me at the moment are two critters on a little bit of a high.  Cheyenne (Husky mix) has been sedated because the fireworks make her absolutely crazy, so I put something from the vet in a bite of hot dog and she's been snoring on my futon since 8:00.  On my desk, with his hind foot on my laptop's number pad is Stormy (Tabby cat) who ate all the dog's food because she was too foggy to want to eat, and he's now lying on his side in a tight ball, except for the protruding foot, and the mounding stomach.  I love my life.)

13 comments:

  1. Muriel, I'll take 3 months in a cottage in Bermuda! The ideas would roll in with the waves ;).

    Very interesting 'recycled people' ideas...and too cute about your pet writing companions. I like believing animals can read our minds :). Somewhere along the wavelengths our language barriers are obliterated :).

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    1. I swear animals know what's going on in your head. My mother came to stay with us the day my father died, and the Anatolian Shepherd we had then - who disliked everyone but us, and frightened everyone - sat beside her and put his head in her lap!

      Have a wonderful day, Rula.

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  2. Yup, cottage sounds good to me LOL Plus a nanny to watch my 8 year old while I write.

    I have a cozy paranormal that I dabble with.

    And, I have a epic murder non-mystery which my agent didn't like.

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    1. Gosh - if only we could have that get-together in Bermuda! Ah, well. Epic murder non-mystery sounds very intriguing. Heartwarming's going to keep you really busy, but maybe some inspired twist your agent will like will occur to you. Happy weekend!

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  3. Oh, Muriel, you hit at the heart of writers. I have a drawer bulging with partial ideas and even some false starts on books. I keep thinking I'll get back to them. But in truth I'll probably need to come back again to do that in this life. I do believe in reincarnation. I've read a lot of Edgar Cayce's books and others that make sense to someone like me who doesn't want to think of death as final. My daughter loves time travel stories. I find time travel harder to believe. But who really knows. I hope your pets come around soon. It's sad the way fire works messes with their well being. Love your post. All of your ideas sound workable to me.

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    1. Reincarnation is so fascinating. I have a lot of Cayce's books, too, and read some amazing case histories of people who seem to keep connecting. And time travel is a wild thought but when you read Albert Schweitzer's theory on how time works, you have to wonder. The mysteries are a fiction-writer's playground! (But you should probably understand the science - and my brain doesn't work that way. Still - fun to play with.)

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  4. Hi Muriel,

    You should definitely write those stories. They may not fit within the category lines, but there are a lot of smaller presses out there now that accept non-traditional storylines. I've written for The Wild Rose Press and Secret Cravings Publishing and I know both accept submissions for stories that don't fit the mold elsewhere:) My Holiday release-Mistletoe Bachelors was published last year and it was too complex of a plot to fit into regular category lines:)

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Hi, Jen. Where do we find Mistletoe Bachelors? Thanks for the advice. I'm chipping away at all my bottom-drawer ideas. You have a great weekend, to. It isn't Disneyland, but . . .

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  5. I love the one about the gentleman in the chair!

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  6. Thanks, Liz! I kept getting a picture in my head of a man in a woman's bedside chair, who couldn't leave it. In searching for a reason why, I decided a ghost with unresolved issues seemed like a good solution. Only problem I'm having is that he can't be the love interest because she helps solve his problem so he can go, and she has things to do here, so I've created a neighbor who's hiding out for reasons of his own. Gosh. Have to get back to work on that. Thanks for checking in!

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  7. Muriel, my idea file has a time traveling story, a mystery, several children's novels, as well as women's fiction which I hope to finish and publish some day. Right now, though, romance is where my heart remains :)

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  8. That's quite a collection of ideas. I so admire people who can write for children. Whenever I have to research something I don't understand, I look for a children's book on it and am amazed about how intelligent and yet simple they are. Must be hard to strike that right note. Happy weekend, Syndi!

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  9. I love the story idea. To date, my bestselling Intrigue was Timewalker - it sold over a quarter of a million copies!

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