Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Advice to Take to Heart

I'm really excited - it's been a very productive couple of days for me.

First, I had the pleasure of meeting with my critique partner on Saturday for the first time. We spent about an hour and half reading and talking about each others' manuscripts. She's very dedicated to a writing schedule-slash- goal she set for herself, and I know she'll inspire me to stay on track. Hooray. This may be just the boot in the rear I need to get my story done. Thanks, Patty.

The second thing that's excited me is The Writer's Evolution blog I've been part of for the last few weeks. In last week's post, I bemoaned the problem I have with this infernal editor who lives in my head and keeps yammering at me to polish my prose. One of the writers who reads the blog, Molly Daniels, posted a very succinct comment that really nailed it for me. She said "Don't get it right, get it written!" Believe me, I jotted that quote down and posted it on my desk and in my writer's notebook. When I feel like polishing yet again, I see the note and read it out loud. And it keeps me writing.

All in all, I'd say it's been a good few days.

~ Stephanie

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's a Good Thing My Friends Understand...

I was sitting at my writing desk tonight, looking at my bookshelf, and wondered what an ordinary person might think if they wandered into my home office and saw the titles crammed into my bookcase there.

I suppose they might consider four different versions of English dictionaries, two thesauruses (is that a word?), and the Encyclopeadia Brittanica showed a somewhat exaggerated enthusiasm for reference books. But what about the other titles?

Would Stephen Cohle's Skeletons in the Closet and Louis Catalide's Coroner's Journal cause the cable repairman to look at me askance? Would titles like Deadly Doses or The Encyclopedia of Poisonous Plants or a slim little volume called Making Crime Pay send a snoopy neighbor running to report me to the police? What about Creating Murder and Mayhem or maybe the one called Planning the Perfect Crime? Might those put a damper on a visit from a co-worker? Then there's those magazine jackets holding copies of Handgun Digest and all the catalogs from various International knife and weapons dealers. Last, let's not forget my scrapbook with the carefully preserved articles from the local newspaper about various crimes committed here over the the last couple of decades. Would those items make you look for the nearest exit, too?

Okay, I admit it, reading over the list just now has even creeped me out just a little, and it's my office for goodness sake. However, before any of you reach for the phone to call your local FBI office to report me, I invite you to look a little closer.

Interspersed with all those ominous titles are other books like: The Gregg Reference Manual; MLA Style Book; How to Write a Damn Good Mystery; A Writer's Guide to Private Eyes; and dozens of others writing books. There's also a book of baby names (good for coming up with character names); biographies of a couple favorite writers and authors; and even a dog-eared copied of Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul.

Yes, I am a writer, a mystery writer. On weekends, vacations, evenings, and the occasional stolen lunch hour, I cook up ways to "make crime pay." My writer's library is heavy on reference books about every aspects of genre, aiding me in my search for the perfect crime. My friends know it. They keep their eyes open for unusual books I may not yet own. I'm grateful for that and for them.

Afterall, you never know when you might need a good character witness! LOL!

Talk to you soon,
~ Stephanie

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Three Sweetest Words A Mother Can Hear

As I wrote in my blog the other day, this has really been the Summer That Never Was here in Michigan. June was cold. July was the second coldest on record. August was cold and rainy. It just wasn't our typical summer filled with long days of fun in the sun.

We never got the sweltering heat of July or August's Dog Days this year. Instead, kids were cooped up inside much of the time due to rain or cold temperatures. Moms (or sitters) had to find things to counter their perpetual complaints that "there's nothing to do." A summer like this makes for irritable kids and frazzled adults.

But recently, the moms in my neighborhood have been looking much happier. They actually laugh as they talk across the fence or as they stand in line at the grocery store. They share amusing stories of little Suzi using perfume to wash the dog or junior breaking the lamp when he and his buddy decided to play football in the family room.

So, what's caused this strange metamorphosis from scolding and frazzled to relaxed and happy? It's those three magical words that quickly make mom forgive and forget. What are the words that set her heart aflutter, restored her good temper, and put that smile on her lips?

Back to School!

And it's coming soon to a school district near you! LOL!

Have a great Labor Day weekend.
~ Stephanie