Tag: Sisters In Crime


Is there picture showing more tenacity than that of a dog with a bone?  Our Irish terrier pup,  with wolf teeth and paws that remind me of Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are monsters, can take a ten inch bone and reduce it to nothingness in less than one day…when she wants to.  And yes, this is her ‘natural’ look, a bit of a bed head in Brindle Blue, forty pounds, long body, five inches off the ground with a bark like a Newfoundland with one hundred less pounds.

Tenacity: The property or character of being tenacious, in any sense. Some may say,  Never say Never!

Never say Never was one of my Mom’s favorite rejoinders when I would swear I would never again do….whatever I did on that particular day.  She would usually follow it up with, “Or you will end up living in Texas.”  My mom’s view of Texas comes from the time my parents  moved from Baltimore to LA in the late 1940s traveling by car. Somehow, on the trip, they drove through Houston. Mom claimed that the mosquitoes were the size of small birds.  We will not go into what General Sheridan said about Texas and hell.

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This pandemic life has changed us. We are mostly housebound since Tom’s hospitalization in 2017 for a spinal cord injury. Oh, we can travel, get out, but that is limited. But now, no gym, no lunches, no shopping, no Mass, the lack of socialization is impactful. So, the huge benefit of pandemic life, for me, is the eruption of writing programs moving to virtual. The lack of assembly means scores of authors and illustrators, editors and agents, who are no longer able to do school visits not just because they are at home, but because the students are too!

I am not a copious notetaker. In many programs I find a lot of redundancy, after all, what is really new about writing or storytelling? So, attending these programs is more about what I call ‘the click factor’, someone describing or teaching or focusing on an issue or subject so that at that point in time it ‘clicks’ in your head. You might call this the ‘ah-ha moment’.

To date I have attended a poetry class in Switzerland with Bridget Magee where I learned not only about poetry but how to work on writing my own. Check out Golden Shovel poems. Not a poet here, but a great way to work on your word placement and usage.

When I own something I like to use it all, so a program by Gwen Hernandez on Scrivener was excellent, providing insights into the ways that this writing program can up your ability to focus on the writing and assist in the way to pace, plot and revise. Her book, Scrivener for Dummies is worth the price.

SCBWI Carolinas offered a program on how to ‘Raise the Stakes’ in your writing with Becca Puglisi the co-author of the Emotional Thesaurus,  Writers Helping Writers blog and  One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.  There were two nuggets in this program. One was identifying the stakes using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. and using what I think of as a syllogism as we used in logic class all those years ago: wants +then+emotion to create the story goal.

An excellent program with the delightful Joy Bean, senior editor Boyds Mill & Kane , was a discussion of how publishing is handling the pandemic, offering insights into all the remote work for editors, publishers, book sellers and marketers in a time of social distancing.

A free program with Feeding Mind Press a part of the American Farm Bureau, on pictures books with speaker extraordinaire, Emma Dryden , provided two nuggets: one on children’s milestones to keep in mind when pitching your stories toward a particular age group and, two, the way to use screen writing in the formatting of your picture book layout.

Upcoming I have three workshops with Free Expressions Workshops, an SCBWI Nevada program on graphic novels and SinC workshops on forensics and plot twists. And, of course there are the offerings of SCBWI International Digital Programs for members, and the newly opened SCBWI Vault.

As impactful as this time is, there is room to be grateful.

Got a comment? That’s fine. Be nice. No flaming.

Murder We Write

Today, just five minutes from my house, which was a first, I went to the 3rd annual SinC networking luncheon, put on by the Murder We Write, SinC, Triad Chapter.

I first joined Sisters in Crime back in 2005, I think. It was fun to buy a book like The Book of book of poisonsdummies forensicsPoisons, or Forensics for Dummies, especially when they arrived at the house in a brown box and my husband opened them.

“Do you have anything you want to tell me?” he’d ask.

“No,” I would reply. “Why?”

And, it was also cool to be on the Guppies List and find out I could go to Dr. Lyle’s website and ask a question [if you exactly follow his rules] about the way a person would die and what would they do and he’d answer. Very cool.

I’ve been the Triad Chapter secretary for years, managing the website for Murder We Write. We sabotageare fortunate to have Chris Roerden in our chapter. In her second book Don’t Sabotage Your Submission, I’m on page 56 in Clue #3 [chapter] Bloody Backstory. Even though my mystery is not published, AND, even though that actual scene is out of the book, well, the one with Mom in a tree is gone. The dead body, arm and leg alongside the playhouse is still there.  I’ve learned a lot. About writing a mystery. About self-publishing. About critiques. About murder and mayhem.

I’ve learned about cosy mysteries, romantic thrillers, police procedurals, true crime. And I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with writers who are sure of their need to write, sure of their enjoyment of a good mystery and willing to spend time, monthly,  in discussions about all that makes writing interesting. Yes, for the most part, say 99%, it is about adults, but still. Writing is writing. Technique may differ, the audience may be harder, more challenging and more difficulty to engage [yes, yes, I am talking about children versus adult, and the children are more exacting––besides most adult mysteries are at an middle school reading level anyway]. It is another place to be a writer.

And, for me, that’s what really really counts. A place to call myself a writer.