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Friday Fare: 5/13/22

We had a split second of a rainy, rainy spring and now summer is here with a humid vengeance. Like seriously, it’s really freaking gross here. I usually think of this as tomato growing weather, but as I have not planted tomatoes yet, this humidity is lost on me.

Anyway – in no real order, here’s what seized my ridiculously short attention span this week:

  • A song at Garth Brooks’ Louisiana State University (LSU) concert registered as a small earthquake. Readers of this blog know that I stan hardcore for Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Diamond, but Mr. Brooks is in my top three concerts. (He might actually be the best. And that was on his reunion tour. So that’s saying something about Garth Brooks.)
  • Ted Nugent is excremental. That’s it. That’s the statement. (Incidentally, I saw him in 2000 when he opened for KISS, so I think I can say with all fairness that he’s a turd.)
  • I probably knew that Trader Joe’s was named after a real guy, but I really liked this story about the history of my favorite spot to buy cheese.

Am Reading:

I finished A Season for Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss and it was delightful. It was an “enemies to lovers” romance that was light and fluffy. It was a lot of fun.

Currently reading Murder at Teal’s Pond where the authors attempt to solve a 120-year-old cold case that inspired Mark Frost to co-write Twin Peaks. Oh hell yes, I am in on that.

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Watching:

After the great debacle of last month where every show I picked was profane, I erred on the extreme side of caution on grabbed the BBC’s Sherlock on DVD from my local library. I’m loving it. And so far, no terrible words that my children have already heard but make me cringe.

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I also took a mental health day recently and went to The Northman. While I don’t necessarily know that’s a movie that I would recommend going to the theatre for, with the amount of nudity and bloodshed in it, I could definitely watch that at home with my children.

Am Writing:

I snuck a writing date in with my friend K. Bird Lincoln. The coffee was delightful and words were spun. Grateful for writing friends!

Stay cool, drink water, and be well!
– 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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Monday Mayhem: 5/2/2022

Monday MayhemHappy Monday, dear ones. I’ve really been trying to read a lot lately – some of it is related to my new Work In Progress, some of it is because I am finally getting some of my “hold” books in from the library. (No joke, I waited about a year for V.E. Schwab’s Addie LaRue book.) My girlfriends and I signed up for a triathlon in August and I am seriously questioning my sanity. (This will be Year Two for this … it’s a run, bike, and hike tri … believe it or not, the hike is the part that kills ya. It makes a 5K and a 15-mile bike ride look like child’s play.)

Anyway – here’s what’s been consumed lately:

Am Reading:

(Still) Reading:

Finished The Wolf Wants In by Laura McHugh (fantastic – I gave my copy to my dad and he’s loving it too – WIN!); Forward by Abby Wambach; and Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaladon. To be honest, Gabaladon’s books are getting so long – I would like that finish to count as two or three books.

Watching:

Considering that our youngest child is totally chiding us on the profanity content of what we’ve been watching on TV lately, I’ve reached for a safe bet and am making my way through the BBC’s Sherlock series. So far I am enjoying it.

Am Writing:

Coffee shop dates, at the teeny tiny lunchroom tables at my son’s dancing classes, etc.  I’m trying.

– Shelley

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Monday Mayhem is what happens when I neglect to write a Friday Fare. Or it can be any kind of article that happens to be published on a Monday.  I hope that it provides a great start to your week!

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Friday Fare: 4/22/22

On the first day of Easter … oh wait, wrong song and season. But … what a weekend where several of the world’s religions hosted important and transformative days in their faiths … and I was struck DOWN with one hell of a headcold.

Bleh – I’m finally feeling about 70%, but my illness replaced my mom’s Easter ham with homemade chicken noodle soup.  Add a challenging work deadline on top of that, PLUS an entire household of sick people? This week was for the birds, birds I say!

Anyway – I watched some television, I read a lot of books, I took naps, I drank a lot of tea. Speaking of tea, I enjoyed this article about how AriZona Iced Tea has stayed .99 cents for the duration of its existence. Nostalgia got me thinking about how my entry into tea drinking has always been so Midwestern … drinking the Lipton Iced Tea with Lemon mix at my old babysitter’s house when I was a kid. Then Snapple, the occasional can of AriZona tea … Tazo’s Passion tea when I was in college. (I still drink that tea, especially when I’m sick.) I may be a snob about coffee, but I’m basic as hell when it comes to tea.  And I’m OK with that.

Am Reading:

(Still) Reading:

Finished The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, When Nobody Was Watching by Carli Lloyd; and Blood In the Water by Silver Donald Cameron. One of these books was purely for enjoyment and two of the books are for my current WIP … any guesses which?

I should also make a note about my (still) reading list. I am a fast reader when I put my mind to it. The books I’ve been reading for the past few weeks are very good, but they’re also either in my dream publishing wheelhouse (McHugh) or about refining my craft (Bell). So they’re taking a little longer than the other books that I’ve been reading.

Watching:

I started watching The Great on Hulu, a dramatic comedy about the young life of Catherine the Great. I am enjoying it, but there’s a LOT of language. Like … my youngest in his headphones at his computer turning and saying “what are you WATCHING, mom?”

I also started watching The Borgias on Netflix.  I like it, but again – I tend to pick shows that are probably better to watch AFTER my kids go to bed.

Am Writing:

I am, I am, I am …

Stay well!
– 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: 4/15/22

I got the chance to catch up with one of my writer friends, a fantastic mystery and short story writer from Chicago named J. Michael Major. Do yourself a favor and pick up his book “One Man’s Castle.” It’s a great story that unwinds with a fantastic pace and has great characters. We hadn’t talked in about two years and our (almost) two hour conversation could have gone on for a few more hours.

One article that I read this week and felt compelled to share … the man, the (Danish) myth, and the (hunky) legend … Mads Mikkelsen.

Am Reading:

(Still) Reading:

Also reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab.

Watched:

I’m still a little hungover from the awesomeness of The Gilded Age. But hey – I went to the Sonic movie with my kids. That was surprisingly fun.

Am Writing:

I’m trying to eke out words on paper. One foot in front of the other.

Spring is nearly here, even if it feels like February in Minne-snow-ta. I hope this finds you well!

– 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: 4/8/22

So, I didn’t mean to take a month’s break from blogging but things … THINGS! happened.  (And by things … my kids’ spring break, my dad’s birthday, a weekend trip to see a concert … y’know. Things.)

Alas, the past few weeks have brought some mind-boggling things:

  • I saw Taylor Hawkins on the 2000 tour he referenced in this article. I honestly think that Hawkins was one of the finest drummers to come out of my generation (many tributes referred to his “ferocious joy” in drumming.) I don’t usually get on the “mourning” train for celebrities – but this is a huge loss to the musical world.
  • I tire of politicians.  (OK – that sentence can just end there, full stop.) But I SINCERELY tire of politicians who constantly work to undermine voting rights and basic human rights. Oh yes, Florida – I am looking at you and your “don’t say gay” legislation. As someone who came of age when Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered, this type of legislation and political fear mongering hits way too close to those dark days.

Am Reading:

Reading:

FINISHED!

Watched:

The Gilded Age on HBO Max.  Can we all just take a moment of silence to observe how freaking awesome Carrie Coon is?

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Am Writing:

The last time I blogged, I said I wanted to make it to 30K on my WIP by the end of the month. I missed that mark by about 4,000.  But … I’m plugging away and I’m happy with how the characters are talking to me and what they have to say.

OK – let’s choose kind whenever we can. Let’s not slap people, even if they piss us off. Drink some water, eat some veggies, call someone you love and tell them you love them.

– 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: 3/11/22

Find yourself a co-worker who texts you articles like this early in the morning.

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I was thrilled to see this piece about my friend, author J. Lynn Else. (And touched to see my name mentioned in it. 🙂 )

Finally, I think that one of the best things to come out of our “virtual” reality (Zoom book readings, virtual meetings, etc.), is the chance to get a look “behind the scenes at other folks’ offices.  Right now, mine is fairly uninspiring (the wall – the rest of it is a hot mess of clutter), but Rogue Women Writers had this piece about other writers and their work spaces.

Am Reading:

Still plugging away at the following:

Watched and Watching:

My friend Kirsten and I went to Nightmare Alley earlier this week. I went into it with zero expectation and was fairly blown away by it.

Also, in the vein of trying to watch other Oscar-nominated movies – when I was traveling to California, I caught The Lost Daughter on one of my flights. (Super good, but not exactly the content I was going for while leaving my kids for nearly a week.) I was also able to watch Spencer on Hulu.

Am Writing:

Slow going, but trying to make it to 30K on my WIP by the end of the month.

Have a lovely weekend!

– 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: 3/4/22

There is a meme that says (and I’m paraphrasing …): I am tired of living through unprecedented times. And oof – watching the convoy of Russian tanks advance on Kyiv, I’m feeling that. Along with an intense admiration for Ukraine’s president*. And a lot of worry. So much worry. I unabashedly stand with Ukraine.

Blogging about twee things during a global crisis always feels weird to me, but after a stretch of not writing of anything beyond my day job, I’m dipping my toes into actual productivity these days and it feels good. Hopeful.

And I’ve been reading … a lot. Here’s the roundup of what I’ve gotten into my mind since the first of the year:

The Call of Antarctica by Leilani Raashida Henry | I read this book in preparation for an event held by my local library foundation and had the extreme honor of interviewing Ms. Henry. This book is a look at the current climate crisis faced by Antarctica, as well as her personal journey following her father’s footsteps in Antarctica. Her father was George Gibbs, the first African-American to step foot on the continent. (And very cool … my kids attend Gibbs Elementary. I got some mom cred when I mentioned that I was talking to Mr. Gibbs’ daughter.)

The next books were read in preparation for the Variety Night event at Once Upon A Crime:

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron | This is a terrible thing to say, but I did not want to like this book. But since I was interviewing the author about the 14th book in the “Being A Jane Austen Mystery” series, I wanted to start from the beginning. Due diligence done, I would turn my attention to the HUNDREDS of unread books in my home library, on my Kindle, etc. But … BUT!  Damn, this was a good book. And now I have 13 more “Jane” books to read. (Also, side note – Stephanie Barron, who also writes as Francine Mathews, is one of the most engaging people I’ve ever interviewed for a book event. I could listen to this woman read a telephone book, she is just incredible.)

China Trade by S.J. Rozan | And the same thing happened with S.J. Rozan’s book “China Trade.” She was reading from the 14th book in her series, I wanted to read the first book so I could seem to be knowledgeable about her characters. And now I’m sucked in. Her book features private investigators Lydia Chin and Bill Smith, set on the mean streets of New York City. So good.

The Devil You Know by Wayne Johnson | So, Johnson’s book “The Red Canoe” comes out on March 5th, so I had an EXCUSE to not read his new release, so I went back and read “The Devil You Know.” Johnson is a writer of Native and European descent and several of his fiction books have been set in Northern Minnesota. His writing is just lyrical.

Devil’s Chew Toy by Rob Osler | This book was a ROMP. Osler has proudly created a new sub-subgenre in mysteries with his “queer cozy – quozy” book. And FINALLY, this book is the FIRST of the series and I won’t need to be playing catch up, like the rest of the books I read for my February event.

(If you are interested in watching the February event, Once Upon A Crime archives their virtual events. Click here for more info.)

The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath | It wasn’t terrible, but I had to read this for work. So … enough said.

Currently Reading:

The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson | I had the pleasure of meeting Nancy a few years back and am thrilled by the reception that her debut novel has received. This book is a pleasure.

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport | I love Newport’s books on productivity. The gist of this one is that there are a lot of things in the digital/electronic world that are vying for our attention; what would happen if we were more strategic and intentional about how we consumed social media? Given how much I’ve stepped back from Facebook over the past couple of years, I see how breaking some of these ties is beneficial to my productivity and my mental health.

MAT 111 Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1971: Stories from 33 Quebec’s Tour of Duty by Jim Roberts | I have no clue how this book found its way onto my radar screen, but I bought it as part of my research for my current Work In Progress (WIP). One of my characters is a Vietnam veteran and although I grew up knowing veterans and hearing various stories, I’ve been seeking out more information. This book is a very solid memoir of stories from this man’s time in Vietnam.

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Now that my February event is over, I have two threads to my reading – enjoyment and picking off books that I’ve been wanting to read but haven’t had a chance to. Also, I’m reading for content (i.e. – Jim Roberts’ book) and am going to read for style (i.e. – reading like a writer).

And in case you think I’ve become a very dull person by the amount of books I’m consuming, know that I’m almost done watching Lucifer in its entirety and I adored The Book of Boba Fett.

Phew. I hope you are well. I hope you are healthy and staying hydrated. I hope that you find joy in little things and balance in what is increasingly a scary world. We’re still masking in my family. We still believe in science and we try to suffocate the world with kindness.

– Shelley

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*Fun fact about Volodymyr Zelenskyy, other than the fact he was a comedian and voiced Paddington Bear for a cartoon version of the titular character … we were born in the same year. Ooooof. I don’t think I have the gravitas for anyone to follow me into war, so bless that man, his family, and his country.

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: 2/18/22

While I am not convinced that 2022 will avoid being a dumpster fire, I am fresh from a vacation in California and the sunshine, seafood, camaraderie, and wine have left me with a little bit more hope. And although this is going to sound kinda silly, I feel a little healed from what was a turbulent end to 2021.  Maybe I’ll dive into that a little later, but the biggest chaos of 2021 (my mom’s illness and hospitalization) is migrating to a new normal where she’s home and healing.

But … me … vacation … new beginnings.

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Happiness and millions of dollars worth of vino at Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley, California. I believe in masks, John Prine, and repping my mom life with my Batman purse, apparently.
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At the Petrified Forest Park near Calistoga, California. In case you didn’t notice, Mount St. Helena is in the background.

I traveled with my writer friends, although at this point, they’re just wonderful friends – the kind that you can travel easily with. I actually wrote about them last year when we went on a different road trip – to wineries and cideries in Wisconsin. (Apparently there’s a theme here …)

So … I am back. Just a reminder that I’m going to be hosting “Variety Night” on February 24th with Once Upon A Crime in Minneapolis. This is a free and virtual event hosted on Crowdcast. And – I have to say … the books I’ve been reading to prepare for this event have been FANTASTIC.

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Also, if you’re a mystery writer or a fan – Minneapolis will be host to Bouchercon 2022 this year and the early bird registration ends on March 1st.

Phew … my thanks for your patience during my radio silence. I hope that this post finds you well, happy, healthy, and hearty. I’ll be back next week with what I’ve been reading, watching, listening to, and writing!

– 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.