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Reconstructing Our Writing Past
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I was never much good at history tests and today I'd fail a pop quiz on my own life. Never mind the date of the Magna Carta or the Battle of Gettysburg, I can't recall what I was doing ten years ago.

This was made plain to me when I unearthed a few pages from my old website archived at The Internet Archive Wayback Machine. In an entry from December 21, 1995 I recounted the events of the year including the following:

"The first of our stories about the Mongolian detective, Inspector Dorj appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and the second of our John the Eunuch stories, set in the Byzantine Roman court of the Emperor Justinian came out in Mike Ashley's MAMMOTH BOOK OF HISTORICAL DETECTIVES. We started a novel about John ... and I finished a mystery novel set during an orienteering meet."

This unexpected find necessitated a rethinking of my own longheld beliefs about the chronology of our Byzantine mystery novels. I would never have guessed that Mary and I had begun writing One For Sorrow as long ago as 1995. I do know, we sold the book to Poisoned Pen Press in the summer of 1998 and it appeared in Ocober 1999. Most of the writing must have been done during 1996 and the early part of 1997.

Maybe I still have some files on floppies which might give me more accurate dates. I guess it's a sign of a bad memory when you have to reconstruct the chronology of your own recent life like a historian piecing together fragmentary scraps of ancient manuscripts.

I'll have to keep digging. Maybe someday I'll discover out what I was doing in 1991.

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