Posted in History

Writing Update, 1/10

How’s It Going?
I’ve been thinking about the thing that people do as an alternative to new year resolutions: picking a word or phrase to be a mantra for the year.

Other than setting ridiculous reading goals, I haven’t really done resolutions per se in a while. If I contemplate changes for the new year, I usually start around my birthday (mid-December) and try things out before we hit January. This December, I started doing three pages of journaling every morning followed by an hour of work—all before I fire up the internet. I’ve kept this up for the most part. So, my early favorite for 2018’s mantra has been “Steady.” I want to work steadily.

But this morning I was thinking about my relationship with Eric. When I graduated from college, I asked Eric to keep me honest with me writing efforts. We decided that I’d “turn in” pages every week. Those first pages became my first novel. While it’s never been easy to have someone read my pages, it feels like it used to be a lot more simple. I would just have him read; not a lot of choice in the matter. One of the things I learned in 2017 is that I had let my relationship with writing get unnecessarily complicated. (Complicated is different from complex. Complexity is fine. Complicated implies…complications.) I’m still letting it be that way, but it doesn’t need to be that way. So, I think my mantra for the year (if I should so desire to have one) will be “Steady & Simple.”


“And you, miss?” He pointed at Charlotte.

Her face flushed, to Billy’s surprise. He had been fairly certain that there was nothing that could embarrass Charlotte.

“Seven of diamonds,” she said loud enough to be heard on stage.

Joseffy raised his eyebrows. “A very rich card. Beware, sir,” he said to Billy, “your lady might know some magic as well, namely how to make wallets disappear.”

The audience laughed.

“You don’t know the half of it,” Billy said, and even the magician chuckled.

“The lady chose the seven of diamonds,” Joseffy reiterated.

He pulled the silk handkerchief off the card holder. It had disappeared and in its stead was a small vase with a brilliant red rose in it. The magician frowned. A fake frown, he had known absolutely that the rose would be there, but the audience hadn’t known. They were dutifully amazed and tittered at the conjurer’s discomfort. Making the best of it, Joseffy plucked the rose from the vase. He walked up the aisle and presented it to Charlotte.

“My apologies, miss, your card seemed to have gone astray.”

The rose appeared real, fresh, and only recently cut. Charlotte practically buried her nose in it.

“Ah, there it is.” Joseffy reached toward Charlotte’s hair and seemed to pluck the card from behind the pins that supported her curls.

About This WIP
One Ahead is a series of mystery novellas focusing on David P. Abbott, a magician who lived in Omaha, NE at the beginning of the 20th century. Aside from being an accomplished magician, David Abbott was a debunker of fraudulent mediumistic practices. I’ll be delving into the history of Omaha in 1915 as well as visiting some of the magicians, mediums, and skeptics that lived in that era.