Bothersome Number of CorpsesMy day begins at 6am when I leap out of bed and have the only cup of coffee I’ll drink in 24 hours.

I put on running clothes with a song in my heart, stretch, run three miles, hit the floor, do a hundred crunches, a hundred bottom squeezes, then ten minutes with the arm weights. A quick stretch out and I’m ready to go and prepare a delicious casserole to bubble away in the slow cooker all day.

The undergardener and I waltz around one another while dressing, eating breakfast and packing our nutritious lunches. We exchange the odd word, a gentle smile or two.

I peg out a load of washing (put in the machine the night before) and it’s time to go.

At the edge of town, we park the pick-up, take our bikes out and pedal off; the undergardener to the university to do science and I to my little office above the Starbucks and the bagel shop, to do writing.

Then I work all day long, producing 3,000 words of a first draft for the WIP, a guest blog, and a promotional plan for my next venture. I barely glance at my email, and most days I forget that Facebook and Twitter exist, like I forget that the Starbucks and the bagel shop exist, as I sip my peppermint tea and nibble on unsalted almonds and beansprouts.

At 6pm, I cycle back to the pick-up, meet the undergardener, ask thoughtful questions about his day, answer his about mine, go home, serve the delicious casserole, wash the dishes, paint one of the last few remaining rooms still waiting to be painted after three years in The Ugliest House in California, read the newspaper, five chapters of a book I’ve promised to blurb, five chapters of a book I need to read to moderate a panel and go to sleep, face deep-cleansed, tomorrow’s load of washing sloshing round in the machine, cats in their baskets in the kitchen, chequebook balanced, toes turned out at ten to two, and all my paperclips facing in the same direction.


I wake up at 6am right enough, cricked and cramped because the cats slept on the bed again. The undergardener groans, staggers to the kitchen where Mr. Coffee has been busy, brings back two cups and sits in an unbelieving stupor at my side while we drink the first of many caffeinated drinks and contemplate which bit of the unassailable mountain of emergencies we’ll swipe at first.

“I’m cycling,’ he says. He thinks I think this counts as being energetic. I know this counts as needing an hour of the day with nothing required except to move one leg and then the other and then the first again.

I turn off my light and snuggle back down. When I wake up for the second time, I fully intend to go out for a run. But I’m hungry. So I’ll eat breakfast first and work at home, then run. I eat, check my email, Facebook, Twitter, Dru’s Book Musings, Femmes Fatales, Criminal Minds, that YouTube video of the Ohio State marching band where it looks as though the dinosaur is really walking, and the news headlines.

The sun shining in my eyes reminds me that I need to get moving. I attempt to put on a load of washing but find yesterday’s still in there. I hang it out, start the new load, go into my bedroom and look at my running clothes. This is supposed to be a working day, I tell myself, and I’m writer, not a runner.

I get dressed, write blogs until the second load of washing has finished, forget to peg it out, then do the truck, edge of town, bike thing.

I stop off at the bagel shop and the Starbucks. “See you in an hour!” sings the barista, for some reason.

But here’s the thing. Then I go upstairs to my office and write 3000 words of a first draft for the WIP.

At five I go to Mishka’s coffee shop and read for moderating and blurbing until six when the undergardener joins me. We mentally review the contents of our fridge and then go to El Mariachi for nachos Mexicanos and watermelon juice.

Back at the U.H.I.C., we consider the grant proposals, promotional plans, blurbing, panel preparations, book chapters, conference posters, website content, DIY and expense forms we should take care of and then watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer until bedtime, when we drift off to sleep with cats on our feet, the washing still outside getting damp again, and Mr Coffee all set up for the morning, knowing that Scarlet was right: tomorrow is another day.

Catriona is giving away one (1) copy of “Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses.” Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends November 29; US entries only.

Meet the author
catriona Catriona McPherson is the author of DANDY GILVER AND A BOTHERSOME NUMBER OF CORPSES (Minotaur), the latest in the Agatha, Lefty and Macavity winning series set in Scotland in the 1920s. Last year she began a strand of modern stand-alones with AS SHE LEFT IT (Midnight Ink). The second, THE DAY SHE DIED, is out in June 2014. Catriona is the vice-president of Sisters in Crime and blogs with Femmes Fatales and Criminal Minds. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and at If you’re a stalker, find her in northern California, where she lives with two black cats and a scientist.

%d bloggers like this: