The Genesis

As you read this, I am winding down a ridiculously long and what-were-we-thinking month-long vacation in Eastern Europe. Assuming all went according to plan (and just typing that gives me sweaty palms), we will have spent time in Transylvania, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands.

Transylvania and the Netherlands were tacked on to the beginning and end of a Danube River cruise.

I’ll tell you all about it later, but for now, I want to tell you how it began, the genesis of this trip.

In 2016, when my agent and I were strategizing my career path for the next five or so years, she told me she wanted me to have two books released every year, which sounded good to me.

I already had a contract for three books from Midnight Ink in my Mystery Writer’s series — FICTION CAN BE MURDER, April 2018; FOUL PLAY ON WORDS, April 2019; and METAPHOR FOR MURDER, April 2020.



We wanted to slip in a cozy series that came out October-ish in between the Mystery Writer’s Mysteries. So I started brainstorming and sketching out ideas. We agreed on one idea that we both liked, so I got busy with a series outline.

Unfortunately, before that got too far, I was diagnosed with a tumor in my spinal column. It was benign and all is (mostly) back to normal, but the surgery and recovery really screwed up my plans, as you can imagine.

But, in the course of this new cozy series arc, I sent the main character’s parents off on a Danube cruise. As I googled and read and pored over maps, I had an epiphany.




So, when I was moving better and everything seemed back to normal for me physically, or at least as back to normal as it was going to get, we met with our travel agent.

Now, there WILL be a story set on a Danube cruise, but maybe not the story I envisioned originally. I’m not completely sure that my agent was all in when I described this particular story as a “cozy thriller.”

That’s not really a thing, apparently.

So, we’ll see.

My plan as we’re gliding past the sights, sounds, and smells of autumn on the Danube, is to finish fleshing out this series as well as beginning to flesh out a standalone darker mystery that’s been gnawing at me for years. Again, we’ll see what really happens.

Regardless, I’ve gotta start writing something new as soon as we get home. Both of these ideas have lived too long in my head.

I don’t plan on doing much reading on this trip (except in airports and on planes), however. As my husband said, “You read fiction to get transported to another place and time. We will have already done that.”

I’ll check in here as soon as I get some sleep, have more coffee, reacquaint myself with Nala, get some sleep, have some coffee, and mourn the loss of having every single one of my whims catered to. Maybe not quite in that order.

In the meantime, where would you like to transport yourself to read a book? Do you like all kinds of settings to read about? What about writing, authors … do you have someplace you’ve always dreamed about using as a setting in a story? Do you have an itch to write somewhere waaay out of your routine?

Also, do you know about Christine Gentes’ Map Your Mystery blog and Facebook page? It’s a very cool list of where cozy mysteries are set. And I see one set in Bulgaria! Gotta read that one for sure!

Soooo …. all DID NOT go according to plan! I decided to leave this post intact instead of trying to scramble to rewrite it. But four days before we were supposed to leave on our cruise, they cancelled it because there wasn’t enough water in the Danube River! I had accepted that we might need to portage around low spots here and there, but not the entire river. It was a shocking email to get, after planning this trip for so long. We were actually very fortunate though. What if they’d cancelled it after we were already on our way? What if they took the option of turning it into a bus tour? As it is, by cancelling, we got choices of several remedies. We decided to rebook for a similar Danube cruise in May. They covered the cancellation fees we incurred AND gave us $1,000 worth of travel vouchers good for the rebooking. We weren’t out any money and now we feel like our May trip surely must be pre-disastered! So don’t cry for me, Argentina.

Since we had dog and house sitters, and we’d arranged to be away from work, we decided it would be too sad not to go somewhere, so we quick made plans to go to Oregon. We stayed a few days in Portland with our daughter and son-in-law, then went to the southern coast and stayed in a lighthouse bed-and-breakfast where they specialize in a seven-course breakfast. After a few days of indulging in that, we headed to the northern coast and stayed at a resort steps from the beach where we had a huge jacuzzi in our room. We were able to leave our balcony door open and hear the crashing surf all night long. So. Much. Decadence. (And they comped us one night! AND the gal who booked our reservation asked about my BeckyClarkBooks website. When I told her I wrote cozy mysteries, she told me how much she liked cozies. About 30 minutes later, she sent me an email through my site telling me how excited she was to read my books. So I brought her a signed copy. That was fun.)

It wasn’t what I’d planned to do, but I got some brainstorming in on a standalone I’m noodling over, I got some new experiences into my bucket, I ate all the clam chowder, and, of course, I got some much-needed R&R. I just got back a couple of days ago and feel energized and ready to tackle all my new projects.

But the question still stands, readers … where would you like to transport yourself to read a book? Do you like all kinds of settings to read about? What about writing, authors … do you have someplace you’ve always dreamed about using as a setting in a story? Do you have an itch to write somewhere waaay out of your routine?

Author: Becky Clark

I write mysteries with humor and spend my free time attempting to rid my clothing of dog hair. FICTION CAN BE MURDER, the first in the Mystery Writer's Mystery series, was published in April 2018, and the next one, FOUL PLAY ON WORDS was published in April 2019. I'm working on another cozy series set in the world of crossword puzzles, and having too much fun learning to create my own puzzles!

37 thoughts on “The Genesis”

  1. I like to read mysteries set in places where I plan to travel, wherever that might be. That usually means England and Germany, a few wild cards, and the Caribbean. I haven’t been too successful finding the latter. Guess that means I’ll have to write the book!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s easy. My WIP, Trafficked! is set in New York City. I went to high school on 16th Street in Manhattan back in the late 60s, so much has changed. But all of the research I had to do for my new book has made me fall in love with the City all over again, and I want to go back and do the things I never did when I was there every day. And I could reread all of the great mysteries set in New York City – Philo Vance, Nero Wolfe, the Thin Man and Ellery Queen, for example. Who can name some other mysteries set in the City?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh dear! I hope the May trip goes as intended, and I’m glad your decadent, relaxation happened.

    I like to read fantasy worlds, but the only place I really want to be is curled up by the fire with a book. Maaaaybe check out one of the crystaline caves, in my first WIP.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some fantasy worlds more than others, of course. Pretty sure I don’t want to inhabit anywhere in the Dune books!

      And yes, yes, yes, by the fireplace with a book is also very relaxing and decadent. Sigh. And you don’t have to go too far to visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So sorry the trip didn’t come to fruition, BUT happy to hear about the May re-booking! You’ll have to update us post-trip. 🙂

    We recently returned from a trip to the Mediterranean to celebrate our 25th anniversary, and I felt inspired by every locale, both as an author and a reader. My mind kept turning to Dan Brown’s books. (Probably because I had recently finished ORIGIN). Maybe there should be Dan Brown tours of Italy and Spain!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. WOW Becky, my friend Anne, who owns The Book Carnival in Orange, CA cancelled her boat trip down the Danube as well. She was going this fall, so I don’t think she would have been on your trip, but you never know. If you come to Southern California on a book tour, be sure to visit The Book Carnival and share Danube trip experiences with Anne.


    1. Actually, I need to meet your friend Anne from The Book Carnival, and was meaning to talk to you after I got back from my, ahem, cruise. I’m toying with the idea of a SoCal book tour in the spring. My son and my agent are both in San Diego, and I went to Chapman in Orange. Still have lots of friends in the area.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can absolutely hook you up. You can find her contact information on the Book Carnival website You can also drop me an e-mail ( or send me a message through Facebook ( we are friends — Katie Caprero)
        Anne has great book signings almost every weekend, and there is a book club as well on the last Wednesday of the month. Sometimes authors do both a weekend signing and a visit to the book club. We have even had some Skype sessions with authors, but of course, we prefer to have actual breathing authors so we can grill them with probing questions.


  6. I’m sorry about the cancellation of your trip, but it sounds like all the rearrangements and comps and extra travel made up for the disappointment!

    I’ve read so much British literature that one of my bucket list items is to have a very fancy afternoon somewhere in England. And probably visit Bath, since what Jane Austen fan goes to England without visiting that area?

    As for where I’d love to visit as a locale for my next book, I think Hawaii. I’ve joked about it before, but the more I think about it, it makes sense for me and my brand. I’m interested in writing Filipino/Filipino-American protagonists and Hawaii has a huge Filipino population, which has impacted their cuisine, culture, history, etc.

    I think I’m gonna have to make it happen someday!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hawaii would be an easy sell for my husband, since we’ve always dreamed of going there but England would NOT. He’s not a reader and he hates tea (I know, I don’t understand it either) and all I’d want to do in England is visit tea shops and literary places.

        Still, if we start saving now, Hawaii in 2020 (our 5th anniversary) sounds totally doable. Hmm…


    1. I love the story lines where luggage is lost and opens the wrong suitcase to find stolen jewels, gold, or dismembered limbs or someone else picks up a laptop or a phone at the TSA checkpoint and finds gangland secrets or Russian intelligence on the non-password protected device. (like real criminals would have a non-password protected anything and would not notice something missing)

      So take all those trips and return to write.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Mia, when you get to Hawaii be sure to pick up some Kona coffee from Baron Birtcher’s plantation; (details on his website) it is wonderful! (Oh, and ask for the “mystery book” labels) I always liked Kona coffee, but drinking 100% Kona is worlds away from the 10% Kona mix I get here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so sorry about your trip, Becky, but so glad they rescheduled it in May. Sounds like you made the very best lemonade from the lemons. The lighthouse B&B sounds fabulous!

    Cornwall – I’ve been, but not for ages, and I would love to set a book there – find a little hidey hole and use it for a setting. Oh, yes, maybe rebuild Manderly. Oh, I want to get on a plane. This is dangerous! They’re going to hide my passport again!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I would’ve sworn I’d left a comment on this. Goes to show what life can throw at a person.

    You are an example of resilience. Of flexibility. Of finding alternative routes that might be way-the-hell better than what we’d originally planned.

    I can’t wait to hear what happens next!



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