I love puzzles, especially word puzzles like Scrabble and Words with Friends. Trouble is, there aren't many friends who'll play with me because I always win. Except for my sister-in-law the Scrabble genius who used to beat me all the time. She's still beating me, but recently by fewer than 100 points. I also love the word puzzle. It's a friendly word with a pleasing tactile quality. So are some of it's synonyms like boggle, muddle and befuddle. Must be all those lovely consonants. Puzzle is a noun meaning an enigma, a mystery or a riddle. It's also a verb. A person can puzzle, confuse and bewilder others. Or puzzle over something, as in ponder, study, contemplate, reflect, brood and ruminate. Writing is a puzzle. When I set out to write a novel after writing three non-fiction books, I did a lot puzzling, as in musing, mulling and brooding. How on earth do I bring characters to life? Create a plausible plot? Dangle hints in front of the reader? Keep the pages turning? That's what kept me writing - the puzzle of it all. Creating a book was a puzzle to be solved. It still is. The questions have changed. How do I keep my series lively? Do I age my characters? Should I resurrect someone from book one? But the puzzle is still there.