HOW’S YOUR BOOK COMING? When friends, family, or fans ask me this question, I usually stop and look up at the ceiling for a beat—visualizing all the characters I am creating but also all the dangling plot lines and corners I’ve written myself into and haven’t yet resolved.

Uh. . .it’s coming! I say, hoping that is true.

And somehow, it always is. Somehow I manage to write myself out of corners, tie up the loose ends, and finish that book, often with the help of one or two excellent beta readers who spot things I missed. Getting that book out—one that I hope will be a satisfying meal for the hearts and brains of readers—is why I write.

But readers don’t get to see how we get there. The easy part is coming up with the main story idea, setting, and characters. In a Mystery/Thriller, it’s getting one or more characters killed, one or more characters suspected, and a way for Logan to solve the crime, often putting her own life in danger, all while weaving in some sub plots, planting clues, foreshadowing, and deciding how the killer or killers will be caught.

The path from first inkling of a story idea to published book is messy, muddy, and full of wrong turns.

Here’s an example: One morning I was working on the murder scene of a new manuscript. I was in the zone, typing as fast as I could, trying to get my fingertips to keep up with the ideas in my head. Even wrote an extra chapter. Got my word count in plus some, went out to dinner with my husband, tucked myself into bed, and slept like a baby. Great writing day.

Next morning. I sat down at my keyboard with my second (okay, fourth) cup of coffee and as I always do before starting the new chapter, reread what I had written yesterday, to get myself back into the story.


What was my killer doing in the building at 2 a.m.? I had the perfect motive, murder weapon, and opportunity, but absolutely no logical reason for them to be there in the first place. In dress shoes no less.

I wish I could say this was a rare occurrence, but I am a part-plotter, part-pantser novelist, so this happens more often than I would like. That said, it is also fun to find a way to write myself out of the corner I’ve painted myself into. It makes me go deeper into my characters. It makes me fine tune my story timeline (in an Excel spreadsheet, of course!) and find a creative answer. Sometimes this process makes me realize this character is not the killer after all, but the victim! That’s what happened in this story. There was a text message requesting a meeting and that killer turned victim met their demise.

If getting stuck is the Agony, then getting unstuck is the Ecstasy. Speaking of which, I need to get back to my keyboard, I’ve got a dog who needs to find a murder weapon in the rain. . .