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Friday Fare: 8/10/18

I think I basically said last week that it isn’t soup weather, but that didn’t stop me from hauling out my crock pot and making this broccoli and cheese soup.  Because … soup!

I have a ridiculous amount of books in my office, on my bookshelves, in my bedroom … you get the picture.  But I do keep buying books.  So, it’s good to know that there’s a word for folks who buy more books than they could ever humanly read.

This article was damn near effervescent with its good news.  Give a read about the Caledonian Pipe Band and their debut at Red Rocks!

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Listening: Sunday was my second time seeing Nashville songstress Margo Price.  And although it was in the rain, man, it was worth it.  I think I have this video queued up at the 33 minute mark, but if I haven’t – well, you should watch the whole thing, but about halfway through Ms. Price does a cover of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”  Covers are typically sacrilege, but I could listen to Margo Price sing this over and over again. 

Reading: Finished Frank Weber’s “Murder Book.” Re-reading Alison Goodman’s “Dark Days Club” (because I own the hardback version of “Dark Days Pact” and I need to re-read the first book before I can move onto the second one.  Did you see the link above that talked about buying more books than I have time to read?).  Got a note from my library that Sherry Thomas’s second “Lady Sherlock” books is waiting for me.  I’m living the reading life, babies!

Writing Life: Reading break! Along with the pile ‘o books that I’m getting through, I’ve been beta reading for some friends this month and am LOVING the opportunity to help out my fellow writer friends.

– Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 8/3/18 (August and ALL THE THINGS!)

I don’t have a ton to share with you guys this week.  I actually owe you all a couple of blog posts – a recap on the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference I attended in Denver and what I’m going to be up to this month since I’m done with my latest round of edits with Dragonfly.  (Hint: Reading!)  But before we get to the arcane, here’s a couple links:

Lori Rader-Day is a joy and one hell of a good writer.  She’s also the past president of Mystery Writers of America-Midwest Chapter, one of the organizers of Murder & Mayhem in Chicago, and has won the Mary Higgins Clark award.  So … yeah.  She’s a peach.  I really appreciated this recent blog post about the power of one word: Yes.  It’s a philosophy that’s served me well and to hear someone I admire affirm this?  Golden.

Finally – it’s August in Minnesota. This typically means sweltering weather and mosquitoes the size of saucers, but it’s been unseasonably cool recently.  And that makes me crave soup.  And if you put “crack” in the title of any recipe, that’s my personal click bait.  Here’s some crack chicken noodle soup.  It will be coming to my household soon.

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Listening: I’m not sure what my favorite part is, Sting’s outfit or Springsteen’s mullet, but this was a fun find on YouTube.

Reading: I’m going to be moderating a panel in Brooklyn Park this month.  As preparation for moderating, I try to read the books written by the authors I’ll be chatting with.  This week, I’m reading Frank Weber’s “Murder Book.”  I’m liking the way that Weber weaves together fiction and real-life events / locations.

I also recently finished a pair of stellar books.  One of them was written by my friend (and fellow Mystery Writers of America-Midwest member) J. Michael Major.  “One Man’s Castle” was a stellar debut novel.  I also had the opportunity to meet and listen to Sherry Thomas at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference and was intrigued by the premise of her Lady Sherlock series … what if Sherlock Holmes was an alias?  What if it was a moniker for a precocious young woman named Charlotte Holmes?  I read “A Study in Scarlet Women” on my way home from Denver and could not put it down.  I’m looking forward to reading more of these books.

Writing Life: I made my July 18th goal, but if I’m honest with you, the last few chapters were a rush to the finish to hit my deadline.  This week, I’ve been going through the last handful of chapters to give them another close read before I let my main characters rest for a month.  August is going to be a month of reading – for pleasure, for other writers … I’m looking forward to it!

– Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 7/20/18 (By the time you read this …)

By the time you read this … I will be hanging out with my good friend Kathleen Donnelly at Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) Annual Conference.  At some time in the near future, I’ll tell you why someone who considers herself a mystery writer is hanging around with a bunch of romance authors, but suffice it to say, I’m excited to be out in the mountains (well, a hotel conference room), learning new nuances of the craft, and just soaking in the creativity.

This was a fun piece on “the rise and fall of family road trips.”  Right now, I’m in the season of life where I cannot imagine dragging my almost 5 and almost 6 year olds on an airplane.  So … road trips we take and we typically have a great time doing them.  (And my coveted Williams Sonoma mixing bowl – the apple green one that’s the largest in the set of four – is a permanent fixture in my car.  We’ve learned the hard way that my eldest is a puker.)

I’m not going to lie.  I miss President Obama.  I especially miss Vice President Biden and I miss their bromance.  So bless Andrew Shaffer (who’s a Mystery Writers of America-Midwest member, natch!), for writing the ultimate mystery that features Obama and Biden as a pair of crime fighters.  Hope never dies, does it?

So … for some reason, I’ve been hanging out in my kitchen lately:

*Footnote on these scones.  A) Holy heck … I love scones.  And these are ridiculously simple to pull together.  B) I’d cut back the salt in this recipe … I used the 1 tsp. of kosher salt in mine, but I think you could almost dial that back to a 1/2 tsp.

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Listening: I’m not going to lie, this song catches me in the feels almost every time I listen to it, but you’re not going to find anything better on the Internet.  (OK – that’s a broad and general statement, but give this song a listen.)

Reading: I have a few things going on right now … one of the most exciting is being in a place where you get an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) from a favorite writer:

This definitely came with me on the plane ride to Denver.

Writing Life: DID I MAKE IT?  July 18th was the goal. My personal goal of having the latest round of edits done on my WIP.  See this post for more details.

– Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Accountability Monday: Fueled by kombucha and deadlines

Well, “END” is highlighted in the Navigation Pane of my Microsoft Word program and technically, I made it through to the end of my latest round of edits.  (That happened at about 10:45 on Sunday night, sitting in one of my favorite coffee houses, sipping on some kombucha – which was a strangely satisfying alternative to the beer I was really wanting to drink.)

So … am I done?  Ummmm … no.  Well, I wasn’t going to be “done” (i.e. – ready to query agents) after this round.  I’m proud of how “Dragonfly” is shaping up, but I still need a beta read and some more work to get this piece of coal turned into a diamond.  And honestly, I need to print out the end (chapters 28 on to the end) to give it another thorough read and polish up some of the new material I’ve created over the last couple of weeks.

But … I’m closer to the end than I was a year ago.  Even a month ago.  And that’s something to be excited about.

As Elizabeth Gilbert says: “Onward.”

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Friday Fare: 7/13/18 (Beware the Ides of … wait, nevermind.)

So … it’s Friday the 13th.  I’m getting a haircut, meeting a friend for lunch, and am hurtling towards a couple project deadlines.  Should I worry?  Nope.  No worries.

Yes, I’m well aware this is the second week that I’ve posted a blueberry recipe, but my eldest child decided that he no longer likes blueberries and I can only eat blueberries in yogurt for so many times before I think I’m going to hurl.  (Was that a little too much information?)  Anyway … this recipe is legit and the kind that you can make on a Sunday and eat through the week.  And if someone judges you for eating it cold, straight out of the fridge, well … you don’t need that kind of negativity. (PS – The topping is kind of fussy, but absolutely worth it.  PS 2 – The woman who created this recipe is Ina Garten’s social media guru.  Gah!  What a cool job that would be!)

I have two new(ish) laptops in my life, one for life and one for work.  In this amazing Windows 10 world, the Internet keeps pushing articles at me when I log onto my browser.  Mozilla Firefox is particularly insidious about parking articles about productivity in my path, because if there’s an article that tells me I can be more creative by doing x, y, or standing on my head, chances are good I’m going to click on it.  Here are two I read this week.  And I enjoyed them.  (Something for consideration … spend less time on the Internet?  Nah.)

Talk to a female mystery writer and she’ll probably tell you that she read the Nancy Drew books when she was a kid.  There’s a reason why Carolyn Keene is beloved, but imagine my delight to find out that the author that started these iconic books was an Iowan named Mildred.  The Smithsonian Mag did a great piece on Ms. Benson.

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Listening: I probably shouldn’t watch this video, because it reminds me that David Bowie left us far too early.  But man – what a live wire.  Get towards the end of the video where he’s encouraging the crowd to sing along.  That glint.

Reading: My copy of Michael Kortya’s book “How It Happened” came in at the library.  Stephen King recommends it.  That’s good enough for me.

Writing Life: This week’s “Accountability Monday” had me two chapters behind.  And then my youngest child got sick.  Because … that’s what my kids do in summer.  But snuggles from my four-year-old make up for whatever word count I’ve missed, because he’s four going on 14 and man … I swear he was just born yesterday, so I’m OK with overheated afternoon naps that are most certainly passing his germs onto me. 

– Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Accountability Monday: How Far Behind Am I? (Do I Really Want To Know?)

Well – technically, I’m two/three chapters behind schedule, but considering that six of those chapters in the image above have “(New)” behind them, I’m going to give myself a little grace and maybe an extra shot of Bailey’s in my morning coffee.  (Kidding on the Bailey’s part … or am I?)

Things are going well.  I need to kick some arse this week if I’m going to hit my goal for July 18th and I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to do it.  (See the sentence above where I talk about the “new” chapters that I’ve been adding.)  But, I’m feeling good about the journey.

Happy Monday!

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Friday Fare: 7/6/18

Crustless blueberry pie. Get in mah belly.

I’ve been loving the “Overlooked” feature on the New York TimesThis one was an in-depth look at a woman called Grandma Gatewood.

My brother used to ride in the rodeo.  Because he was crazy.  (Maybe still is, but aren’t we all?)  This was a fascinating piece about “the Jackie Robinson of rodeo riders.”

A good primer on using Twitter as a writer.

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Listening: This video combines two favorites, Gregory Alan Isakov and the music of Iron and Wine.

Reading: My TBR pile is a pretty ridiculous mess of riches and it’s hard to know what to read next sometimes.  I recently spent a weekend with my family down in Iowa and grabbed Jess Lourey’s “Salem’s Cipher.”  WOW.  I’m going to be sad when this one is over.  So good news for me that the sequel “Mercy’s Chase” is coming out in September!

Writing Life: I’ve started something new on the blog called “Accountability Mondays.”  Basically, I have an ambitious plan to get through the rest of my rewrite of “Dragonfly” by the time I head to Denver for the Romance Writers of America conference on July 18th. WILL I MAKE IT?  I’m already two chapters behind, but I’m feeling hopeful.

– Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Accountability Monday: July 2, 2018

According to my editorial calendar, I should be editing chapters 30 through 34 this week.  Aaaaaand I’m on chapter 28.  But … I’m feeling good, feeling like I’m making decent progress (and still learning new things about my characters.  Which – friends … could you have made these reveals earlier in this process?  No?  Alrighty then.)

Have a good week friends!

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Accountability Monday: Editorial Calendars for DAYS

The picture is fairly self-explanatory, but the gist is that I’m going to Denver on July 18th.  I want to have the latest round of Dragonfly edits done by then (with time to go back and read through the MS in its entirety so I can make sure that there are some plot points that are gelling / arc-ing well).  And since you have to plan your work and work your plan, I tore out a couple pages from one of my calendars and split up the 14 remaining chapters over the next three weeks.

Is this possible?  Absolutely.  One challenge is that my dear friend and co-worker is going on vacation during this timeframe and that I’ll be taking on some of her workload while she’s gone.  The other challenge is life itself … me sketching out a plan seems to cue my children that it’s time to start vomiting and acquire sleep-shattering ear infections, but … plan your work, work your plan.  Books don’t edit themselves and I can’t dream of publication unless I’m willing to put in the work.

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Incidentally, I’m going to be attending the Romance Writers of America annual conference from July 18th to the 21st.  If you’re in Denver and attending the conference, I’d love to meet up with you!  I’ll be the bespectacled mystery writer belting out “Rocky Mountain High” in the hotel bar.