Finished a novel? Do this next.

Nimitz class aircraft carrier

Nimitz class aircraft carrier

Worked for over a year on my second novel, "Secret Harbor," an excerpt from which can be accessed from my home page. There's something magic about typing "The End." But even more important is what you do next — nothing. Let that baby sit, for at least six weeks. Go do something else. Chill.

It's kind of like when you're baking a cake. The urge to open the oven door before it's finished is seductive. You can't help yourself. Don't do it.

There's no better cure for finished manuscript anxiety than strikes of creative lightning. Start the whole mess over, with another crazy idea (or two.)

When I hit that point earlier this spring, I took a double strike of incoming ideas.

The first is a Steampunk fantasy still percolating. You have a reclusive inventor and a wild Celtic woman wtih a sword. A flying machine-submarine that looks like a dragon and Viking berserkers who invade polite Victorian society.

The second is something totally different - the idea literally leaped off the wall from a poster at the Methodist Church in Evergreen where my critique group meets. Every summer when the rodeo hits town, the folks at the church have a day of celebrating the cowboy spirit and hosting rodeo-ers.

"Cowboy Sunday" is a contemporary romance between an NYC attorney fleeing failure and a Navy fighter pilot posing as a slacker musician in his dad's country-western band while his eyes heal from a freak accident.

Cheers! and happy writing. Hope you have as much fun as I do.