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A Novel Every Three Months Would Do It

9/1/2008 11:01:10 AM
To celebrate the completion and upcoming release of his third medical thriller, FRESH FROZEN hardcover, October 2008), author Darden North, MD blogs again.

After two years of tapping on laptop keys, enduring multiple edits, working through some research, and waiting for divine inspiration, the manuscript of my third novel, FRESH FROZEN, is finally complete and headed for publication. The urgency imposed by its October 2008 release helped me shed five needed pounds (not from the manuscript, that is, but from my torso), so I figure that completing a novel every three months would squeeze me into some clothes now ignored in my closet. However, the impossibility of writing that efficiently has instead pushed me into expensive new tennis shoes and into walking a couple of miles or so a day with my wife. The dusty treadmill stands ready for inclement weather.

The completion of FRESH FROZEN not only entailed the gain of physical weight but there were emotional burdens as well to shed along the way. For example, imagine learning that your wife has accidentally run over your laptop with the rear tire of your car but then intentionally blames you for her actions because you were the one who asked her to put the laptop in the car in the first place on the same day that you departed for a book signing in Memphis, leaving her alone to care for our two small, active dogs that also needed to be placed in the sedan along with her luggage and other multiple items – all in preparation for departing our getaway place in Oxford, MS, to return to our home in Jackson -- once she had been forced to clean-up single-handedly that getaway place and gather-up our treasured Chihuahua and Pomerat (that is, a Pomeranian/Rat terrier mix.) BLOG NOTE … To counter any literary criticism for the preceding rambling statement – a review to be shunned by any evolving or even veteran author, the structure of that sentence was an intentional effort to recreate the short-circuiting of my brain at the time as well as to relive my wife Sally’s own frustrated dissertation regarding my crime of abandonment for a book signing.

Happily, the laptop was safely housed in my black computer bag as it waited behind the right rear tire and was cushioned somewhat from the weight of the car by a hardcover copy of my second novel, POINTS OF ORIGIN. When I returned from the book signing at the Mid-South Air Show in Memphis after sharing an exhibition booth with the Delta State School of Nursing (yes, one can have a successful book signing at an air show), I found the hard drive of my Latitude/D630 still intact, although the screen was shattered beyond use and the computer overall worthless to repair. Still, without the loss of a single document, I was temporarily able to connect the laptop to a lonely old desktop and continue to write until a replacement laptop arrived.

The other chapter to the story’s happy ending was that at the time of purchase of the soon-to-be-mortally-wounded computer, I had subscribed to the optional 100 percent computer replacement insurance. That plan would ship a brand new Dell every time the wife runs over the old one. (Incidentally, I have not been compensated by the electronics company for my endorsement.)

One of the other distractions to my writing over the last year was babysitting my yellow lab granddog for two months and dealing with the ailments of the younger of the aforementioned two small dogs. The beautiful Pomerat developed a ferocious flea allergy and required surgery to correct a congenital problem with her right knee joint. Of course, there was no connection between the two canine issues, but it is noteworthy that the total of the “designer” dog’s breeder cost, doggie supplies, and medical bills could have purchased a new laptop regardless.

Fortunately, our beloved Foxy survived the surgery to her right leg and doesn’t persist with the incessant scratching of her sensitive skin as long as she gets her flea-repellant medication. Of course, now and then, we have to chase her down to spray her for such. (I have also not been compensated for this indirect endorsement of the Mississippi Annual Rescue League and other adopt-a-pet or adopt-a-stray programs!)

While there were other diversions to my completing FRESH FROZEN and eventually being able to celebrate, of sorts, with this treatise, I should mention the interruption provided by a tornado that surprised my Jackson, MS, neighborhood. Days of electrical power outage resulted from the storm that sadly felled two eighty-plus-year-old-trees in my front yard. No doubt, removal of the huge oak and pine trees funded a year of college for one of the tree surgeon’s children. (My family and close friends were physically lucky. Our home and vehicles were not severely damaged, and we were not injured. Definitely, things could have been a lot worse and were in no way as monumental as that happening as this moment to those affected by Hurricane Gustav.)

My career as a husband, father, and obstetrician-gynecologist has, of course, been time-consuming and a joyous privilege. While those activities cannot be considered a distraction to the advancement of my writing career, they nonetheless have kept the ol’ mind sharp. I appreciate the response to my first effort at blogging and hope that this effort will be enjoyed as well. (Losing My Blogging Virginity – June 2006 -- www.dardennorth.com, http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewblog.asp?AuthorID=80958)

I look forward to your comments and hope readers will
enjoy FRESH FROZEN. -----Darden
©2008 by Darden North,MD All Rights Reserved


Darden North, MD, is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist who lives in Jackson, Mississippi, where he practices medicine at Jackson Healthcare for Women, PA. North’s first novel House Call (hardcover 2005, paperback 2008) was awarded Finalist in Mystery/Suspense by the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. His second novel Points of Origin (hardcover 2006) was recognized in Southern Fiction by the 2007 Independent Publishers Book Awards. Both House Call and Points of Origin were nominated in Fiction by the Mississippi Institute for Art and Letters and by the Southern Independent Book Association. His third novel, Fresh Frozen, is scheduled for release in October 2008. North is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Mississippi Writer’s Guild, Sisters in Crime, and the Independent Book Publishers Association. He has participated as an author panelist in such literary presentations as “Murder in the Magic City” (Birmingham, AL), "Author! Author! Celebration of the Written Word" (Shreveport, LA), “Murder on the Menu” (Wetumpka, AL), and “Thriller Author Panel – 2008 SIBA Trade Show” (Mobile, AL).

Darden North can be contacted through his website at www.dardennorth.com and remains available for book signings and appearances.

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2017 Southeast Region Writing Conferences

"Writer's Digest" is sponsoring writing conferences in Alabama, Louisiana, and Tennessee in 2017. The magazine's editors will be speaking and literary agents are scheduled to be on hand for one-on-one pitches.

For more information, check out these links:
      February 24, 2017 alabamawritingworkshop.com
      April 22, 2017  neworleanswritingworkshop.com
      July 22, 2017  tennesseewritingworkshop.com 
I received a tweet message from The Writer's Digest team about the conferences and thought I would pass along the information. An email contact was also provided: chuck.sambuchino@fwmedia.com.
If you are a budding or blooming writer, you might want to check out these opportunities.
----- Darden
Darden North www.dardennorth.com