Assembling a collection

It’s been five years since I started putting together the ideas for my first book. That book became a series of five. I haven’t completely ruled out the idea of continuing the series, but for now I want to concentrate on other projects, including my long delayed historical fiction set partly during World War One. [Does that sound familiar? This time I mean it!]

Besides novel writing, over the years, I’ve written a number of short stories. I’m at the point where I think I have enough for a collection. Although, there are no hard and fast rules anymore –you can publish works of any length through Amazon– 40,000 words seems to be the magic number for a collection of short stories. With that in mind, I plan on revisiting my older stories with an eye for revision and expansion. As I work them out, I will likely post them here, so for those of you who’ve been following for a while, some of them might sound familiar.

If the short stories come together, I might do the same thing with my poetry. Since the poems, by nature, are much shorter and the volume would be slim, I thought about pairing them with my own illustrations, photos or other artwork. The idea for these projects arose from the ‘housecleaning’ I’m doing for the move: organizing things to keep and things to discard. The same can be applied to my writing: some of it is ready to go with just a little cleaning up, some of it needs major repairs, and some of it can be trashed. [Not really trashed… I keep everything, even if it’s just to spark a new idea. But you know what I mean]. With polishing, I hope these pieces will shine with new life.

In the coming weeks, my offline world is about to get a little crazy, so I hope you will enjoy these older stories and posts. Interspersed of course, with my adventures in Ireland as I look for a new home.

The Bucks County Novels – by Margaret Sorick

Once a year (yes, I’m terrible at marketing…) I like to remind my followers that I have a series of novels available for purchase on Amazon. The novels are set in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where I live. My characters are ordinary people with families, people who fall in love and sometimes find themselves in outrageous circumstances. While the same cast of characters appears in each of the books, the plot focuses on a different one every time. The first  novel in the series: Three Empty Frames won first prize in The Writer’s Digest E-book Awards for Mainstream Fiction in 2017. Here is a look at each one of them:

Three Empty Frames  – Book OneThree Empty Frames_02_HR_front_2

Life just got complicated for Jennifer Dunne. Her dead mother’s diary has revealed clues to a famous art heist from the 1960s. Have the missing masterpieces been hidden among her things all this time? Jen is targeted by a pair of ruthless criminals who certainly think so. Meanwhile, she’s falling in love with her new lawyer, who works with her to unravel the clues. But will the fledgling relationship survive when another handsome rival appears on the scene? And have the clues to the whereabouts of the missing masterpieces led them astray? Were the paintings hidden in plain sight all along?

Seeing Red – Book Two 514HE57Sz1L

Beautiful, hardworking, Desdemona Murray doesn’t see herself the way others do. She only remembers the awkward teenager she once was. The talented landscape designer is hired to install a custom deck at the home of star football player, Ethan Samuels. When she catches the eye of the handsome professional athlete, and he begins to pursue her relentlessly, she is at first, flattered and amazed. However, her heart belongs to a man whom she believes only considers her a friend. Adam Quinn has always been a ladies man, not one to settle down, or so she thinks. Little does she know his feelings for her run much deeper. When Des finally sees both men for who they really are, the choice she must make is obvious. But when she chooses, Des finds out how dangerous it can be to break free from a man who can’t take no for an answer.

Run For It – Book Three fullsizeoutput_cc7

Joni Cooper is in the best shape of her life. In fact, she’s training for the Boston Marathon. So why does she feel like the last kid picked for the team? Mostly because her two best friends have fallen in love with a pair of handsome brothers. It looks like she’s stuck with the third and final brother, Graham, as an escort for both weddings. Even though Graham is gorgeous and successful, he’s also irritating as sin. Will the two of them manage to call a truce until the two couples are married? Or will the sparks these two generate erupt into a five alarm fire?

Tainted Inheritance – Book Four fullsizeoutput_f0c

Why would anyone want to hurt Olivia Sutton? Her life was finally coming together after her divorce. She’s found new love with contractor Leo Donovan and made a fresh start in a new home. When she becomes the victim of one too many random accidents, she realizes someone is stalking her. Has something in her past come back to haunt her? And can she and Leo discover the secret before it’s too late?

Breaking Bread – Book Five breaking bread_01 copy

Maya Kaminsky has finally realized her dream of owning a French bakery cafe, despite the opposition of her rigid, narrow-minded family. But as the business grows and thrives, Maya discovers she has an enemy. Beginning with petty mischief, the cafe becomes targeted by vandals who quickly escalate to dangerous sabotage. To complicate matters, Maya’s childhood friend, Brad Logan, moves back into town and with his recent inheritance, buys her building, intending to help her out. However, Maya’s fierce independence makes it a struggle to accept help from anyone, let alone a man with whom she finds herself falling in love. Nevertheless, Maya will need all the help she can get to save both her business and her life.

End Of Summer, End Of An Era

In two days time, I will close the doors on my chiropractic practice for good. The week leading up to the finale has been busy. On Friday, one of my first patients will be my last and she and I are going for lunch to celebrate. On September first, when people ask me what I do for work, I will tell them I am a writer.

Being a chiropractor for 23 years has helped me become a good writer of fiction. How is that possible? There are several ways:

  • I hear about people’s lives, their jobs, their families and what they like to do for fun. This gives me a deep reservoir to draw from in creating characters’ basic details.
  • Truth is really stranger than fiction. My patients all have stories to tell. Some of them give me ideas!
  • As a doctor working with people who are in pain, you learn to develop empathy, to stand in their shoes. This also helps develop characters. Especially, the villain of the story who a writer may not fully explore. But I have found that even the scoundrels have a reason for why they do what they do.
  • I have had to learn to be a good communicator. People in pain are emotional, scared and sometimes even angry. Being able to explain, console and reassure is absolutely vital on the patient’s first visit. Good communication means being concise, not muddying the waters with overly complex and/or technical terminology. This is also the goal of the writer. Unless of course you are writing a technical manual!
  • Last but not least, I have had to actually do some writing. I’ve written countless reports for insurance companies, attorneys and claims adjusters. You learn a certain writing style in composing letters and compiling examination findings. While this doesn’t translate directly to fiction writing, it does give you practice in consistency and flow.

I cannot say whether or not I will miss being a chiropractor. I can say that I am excited to begin the next chapter of life. After a little vacation planned for next week, I will return to my war story with renewed dedication this September. And I will work at it as my full time job.

Happy writing and productive editing!