Sleuthin’ Saturday

Kay Finch and Julie Herman at Murder By The Book.

I haven’t been able to get to a signing at Murder By The Book for a while. I’m two books behind in my friend Dean James (writing as Miranda James)’s cozy Cat in the Stacks Mystery series AND his Southern Ladies Mystery series. I was able to pick up the second Southern Ladies book on Saturday when I went to a signing for Dean’s friend Julie Herman. Julie took a hiatus from publishing (I have her Three Dirty Women series in hard cover, and she’s hoping she’ll have e-versions of those available soon). She’s back with Burned, a middle school equestrian mystery which I read in one sitting yesterday. I have been contemplating writing in the voice of a fifteen-year-old girl for quite a while now, and Julie’s narrator is TWELVE. It was interesting to hear her talk about the number of drafts it took her before she felt that voice was authentic. I tip my hat to her, because she succeeds with Sophie Allen. (Also, I love the book’s cover.)

Signing with Julie was a new-to-me author, Kay Finch. Kay is in a critique group with Julie, and writes A Bad Luck Cat Mystery series. Now you know I’m a dog person, but when a writer names a cat Hitchcock, I’m in!

Looking forward to reading the rest of these books.

#riotgrams

Thanks to Jeffrey Ricker bringing this to my attention, I’ve been participating in an Instagram challenge hashtagged #riotgrams. It’s part of Book Riot, something that is slowly enticing me to think about writing when my brain takes a break from dog rescue. These are the challenges this month:

And today’s was fun for me, because not only did I get to show off the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum hardcovers that I co-own with Timothy, but I got to show off a couple of other things, too, reminding me that I have another life that waits for when I will make some time and give it some attention.

Yes to this

I don’t think I’ve mentioned on the blog what a pleasure this book is. First, Michael Thomas Ford never disappoints me, whether he’s writing fiction or non-fiction, and in whatever genre. I was one of the people who contributed to the Indiegogo campaign in 2012 to help him finance his writing of this book. The original plan was that only contributors would receive a copy upon its publication.

Fortunately for the reading public, editor Steve Berman was persuasive in getting MTF’s approval for Lethe Press to publish Lily, meaning more of artist Staven Andersen’s illustrations could be included and also ensuring the novel’s wider circulation.

It is a fairy tale and while that might not be the first thing I’d pull off a shelf in the bookstore, as I said, MTF’s writing never disappoints, so I was glad to go on this journey with him (as a writer) and Lily (as a character). The book Lily is beautiful and sad and creepy and funny. The character Lily, who has an ability that makes her “different,” has a foot in two worlds–both of them magic, but only one that will embrace and not exploit who she is. There’s a lot of sadness here for me as a reader at the cruelties creatures both human and supernatural are capable of. But there are also moments of unexpected kindness that help Lily move toward a better destiny than the one she thinks she deserves.

Michael Thomas Ford’s touch is as magical as Lily’s, and so is this book.

Missing You

Today is my friend Riley’s birthday. I miss him so much. I want to read a new poem from him, hear a new song, and tell him all the ideas I have in my head for things I want to write, the main one using our adolescence together in a ghost story.

Tom and I started going through those bins on our carport that so desperately need purging. I have an action plan for some of them, so I’m on my way. But mostly I wanted to find all my Riley correspondence. It stretches back more years than I will admit to. I’m lucky that he liked to draw and write and gave me so much of his work.

None of his stuff, of course, is part of the purge. Somebody else can trash it after I’m gone. It still means too much to me.

circa our junior high school years

I love you, John Riley. Thank you for an amazing history.

Living on the edge


I don’t know what it is about writers that we can’t seem to pass up any kind of journal, blank or otherwise. When I saw this one, I thought, It’s true. We should do something every day that scares us.

It’s how we grow. It’s how we learn. It’s how we live bravely.

Now every time it catches my eye, I mutter, “Shit. Isn’t reading the news every day ENOUGH?”

Pet Prose: Bob

Author photo.

“The tavern was nearly empty. Outside an engine might backfire or someone might call out but inside all was quiet. The scattered patrons were weathered. They had known lives of labor.

‘People more easily forget those they’ve loved than those they’ve hated.’

The voice came from an old man slouched at the bar. No one looked up from their beers or responded. They weren’t listening. He was just an old man in a bar.”

From Bob’s novel about an old man in a bar, an homage to his favorite writer Ernest Hemingway.

I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.

Pet Prose: Mike

Author photo.

“Anyone could see that she must have been pretty once. Now her eyes were too old for her face, and blank. She walked haltingly down the sidewalk, dodging by instinct the early evening crowd of people spilling from office buildings, and the millennials, laden with heavy backpacks, trudging too close to her.

No one did see. They saw only their handheld devices or the light rail as it slid to a stop.

Nor did she seem to see them, or when their ranks thinned as she reached the promenade that ran alongside the deep, muddy bayou.”

From Mike’s work in progress, the story of a young woman of The New Millennium inspired by his tattered copy of Stephen Crane’s “Maggie: A Girl of the Streets.”

I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.