Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Robert Frost Inspired Poetic Reflection Upon Finishing a Manuscript


Inspiration for this parody of Robert Frost’s great poem, “After Apple-Picking,” came to me earlier this afternoon (Friday) upon finishing the manuscript of my new book (a standalone no less).

On the premise that there’s no rest for the wicked, all I now have left to do this month is engage the gears for promoting my book tour for Kaldis #9 (An Aegean April) coming out on January 2.  But in the moment of having finished a new book, after more than a year in the making, I thought to write this little ditty in an effort to give the curious among you a window on how at least this writer feels at such a moment.

Here goes…

After Prose-Picking

My long, two-sided draft is staring up at me, 
A heavenly thrill. 
Though there's a plot line that I didn't fill. 
What of it? And there may be two or three 
Characters left out hanging on some bough. 
But I am done with story telling now. 
A sense of something missed is not a fright, 
The grip of slumber has me drowsing off. 
Yet, I still see my laptop screen in sight, 
It’s as if I’m caught in an endless class, 
Filled only with words and no time for sloth.
Held captive to words like whorey and crass. 
My laptop crashed, though my draft got a break. 
And I was well 
For I’d backed up before the curse befell. 
Now I could tell 
What form my dreaming was about to take. 
Manuscript pages appear and disappear, 
From front to blessed end, 
And every speck of my thoughts showing clear. 
This author surely wants to see a break, 
But feels the pressure of another round. 
That will soon come from my publisher’s end, 
Of comments based on where my seller’s been.
Plus then a mound 
Of load on load of edits coming in. 
But I have had too much 
Of manuscripting: Now I’m overtired 
From the great harvest I myself desired. 
There were one hundred thousand words to touch, 
Cherish in hand, to sound, to let some fall. 
But all 
Those struck with worth, 
No matter if part used or spiked with stubble, 
I sent straight on to my word-mulching heap, 
For in such earth, 
One will find help with trouble. 
Such when thoughts seem asleep, if sleep it is. 
And words are gone. 
I don’t turn to the Bard for words of his.
I search through my mulch, for what lies thereon.
Frost covered and deep. 


Jeff’s Upcoming Events

My ninth Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis novel, AN AEGEAN APRIL, publishes on January 2, 2018 and here is the first stage of my book tour:

Thursday, January 4 @ 7PM
Poisoned Pen Bookstore,
Scottsdale, AZ (joint appearance with Thomas Perry)

Saturday, January 6 @ 2 PM            
Clues Unlimited
Tucson, AZ

Monday, January 8  @ 7PM
Vromans (on Colorado)
Pasadena, CA

Wednesday, January 10 @ 7PM                   
Tattered Cover (on Colfax)
Denver, CO

Saturday, January 13 @ 2 PM                      
Book Carnival 
Orange, CA

Sunday, January 14 @ 2 PM
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA

Wednesday, January 17 @ 7 PM      
Third Place Books (Lake Forest Park)
Seattle, WA

Sunday, January 21 @ 7 PM
Book Passage
Corte Madera, CA

Thursday, January 25 @ 7 PM
Mysterious Bookshop
New York, NY

Friday, February 2 @ 7PM
Centuries & Sleuths (Forest Park)
Chicago, IL

Saturday, February 3 @ 12 PM
Once Upon A Crime

Minneapolis, MN


  1. Congratulations, Jeff, on another marathon completed! A stand-alone, you say? It's always good to have excitement pulling us into the future.

  2. Thanks, EvKa. Sure is, and much appreciated!

  3. A stand-alone? Now that sounds interesting.

    1. Yes, Kathy it was very interesting to write. Something I've been meaning to do for a very long time...and in the first person no less!

  4. Gosh, you've finished the stand alone already-that's fantastic! So now, I suppose, you'll be working on that Second World War one?

    1. I've been so busy writing it, Terry, that I haven't had time to keep up on my correspondence with you. :) As for the WWII Andreas Kaldis adventure you allude to...well, it's percolating, but not sure when or if it shall happen. But ideas are out there...more and more every day.

  5. "First person? Hmmm. Very interesting. Is this your alter ego as a detective?