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Friday Fare: 3/27/20

 

My gratitude list (in no particular order):

1) Grateful for the fact I’ve worked from home for the past 9 years and don’t have as steep of a learning curve as others who are getting used to a new normal.

2) Fantastic co-workers – I’m on a text string with two people I work with directly and I’m grateful to be part of a trio of working moms who are KILLING IT when it comes to our work life. Also, I unexpectedly got an email from a co-worker the other day that had some resources for keeping my kids occupied. It was so unexpected and so kind that I nearly cried.

3) My immediate family. My husband started working from home this week and took over my home office. So he helped me set up a new one in our spare bedroom. Our kids are also taking all of this isolation like little champs. I literally couldn’t do this without the three guys in my life.

4) The real MVPs of our world right now – emergency workers, medical personnel/scientists, and (yes) grocery store workers.  (I know that I’m probably missing people, but those are the three that come to mind.)

5) Technology … so far I’ve had a happy hour via Google Hangouts and attended my son’s piano lesson via Zoom.  It’s been a great tool in these weird times.

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Link Love:

Great writers on the power of music … I believe this, absolutely.

The deep metaphorical power of a good cup of coffee … and this is gospel, too.

Daniel Craig in GQ … read for the article, stay for the photos.

The amazing Cheryl Head wrote a fantastic piece about the evolution and the future of the private investigator in fiction. She even mentions my favorite PI Cass Raines.

And something I made last weekend – Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes.  I’ve really appreciated how cooks/chefs have been devoting social media posts, etc., to foods that use everyday pantry items.  I made this and it was delicious. (+ it is by my queen Ina Garten.)

Listening: This song always reminds me of Iowa gravel roads. Specifically driven in a pickup truck.

Reading: I keep harping on shopping local.  I try to practice what I preach:

Writing Life: I got some FANTASTIC news this week that the Peter Lovesey contest was extended to June 1st.  I was ready to hit the April 1st deadline, but man – this was welcome in my new world.

Call someone you love. Be kind to everyone you meet. Wash your darn hands. – 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: 3/20/20

Holy shit … what a week. My life is turned on its ear right now, so I can only imagine what it’s like for everyone else. My husband and I are lucky … both of us have jobs that are fairly flexible and we have steady paychecks. We are continuing to count our blessings and are trying to help out our friends who run small businesses.  Now’s a good time to throw this out there … SHOP LOCAL.  The big box stores and the Internet retail giants will survive this, if you’re looking for a good book to read – most indie bookstores are online and ship. A lot of restaurants are adapting by going exclusively to delivery or pick-up, drive-through options.  Not really feeling like getting out? Buy gift cards.

Rosanne Cash Tweeted the following ^^ over the weekend. And while I’d love to tell you that I’m up to my ears in books and ideas during this time of “social distancing,” that’s not true.  At this point, I can probably sing the “My Little Pony” theme song in my sleep and I think I’m going to re-read some of my most favorite smutty paranormal romances, but something on par with King Lear?  Likely not. In fact, a lot of my creative friends are struggling right now and it reminded me of this article I found last fall and bookmarked to share here.  It’s about “writing under duress” and persevering creatively while under pressure.

***

Listening: This song always brings me peace and joy.

Reading: I read “The Impossible First” by Colin O’Brady, a non-fiction about a man’s solo attempt across Antarctica.  It was a really good read.

Writing Life: I’ve flirted with getting up early and writing at 5 AM a couple of times. But those were times when I didn’t need to be up so early or when I wasn’t on an ambitious deadline. Considering that I’m working, basically homeschooling my children, AND have an April 1st deadline, I have my electric kettle in the downstairs bathroom to make a cup of tea (or instant coffee) and am trying to get an hour of editing in before my hellions get up and my husband leaves for work.

 

– 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: 3/13/20

I survived a time change and a full moon this week – bring it, Friday the 13th!

I saw this post on Instagram the other day and given the chaos in the world, it spoke to me … words to live by:

This book by Dennis Staples looks fascinating – already on hold at my local library!

I admire anyone who can do this kind of work … it would not be for me.

It pays to be grumpy … well, if that’s the case, I am going to be rich and immortal.

And as someone who freaking adores soup, this article spoke to me.

***

Listening: I heard this over breakfast the other morning and immediately wondered why I haven’t listened to more Warren Zevon.

 

Reading: Re-reading Sandra Brown’s “Friction.” It’s a good romantic suspense and I’m reading it to remind myself how Brown gets. it. done.  A friend of mine frequently says that the best MFA programs can be found on our bookshelves. (And since I sucked so badly at college, I’m fine with this notion.) I am also reading the latest Pendergast novel by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston. Awesome as always.

Writing Life: Keeping steady with my deadlines!

– 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: 3/6/20

I’ve had a big week:

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I'm having a great leap year. How about you? #johnwaters

A post shared by michelle kubitz (@michellekubitzwrite) on

Watching John Waters up at the Parkway Theater was sublime.  I got spend time with a friend of mine that I’ve known for 20+ years and to quote her, our cheeks hurt so much from laughing and smiling. Waters, filmmaker and author, is not everyone’s cup of coffee, but I’m so glad I got to be in the audience.

^^ Volunteering as an election judge was an absolute honor. I’m looking forward to volunteering again in the upcoming mid-term elections and during November’s general election.

***

Listening: Is there such thing as a perfect song? I don’t know if there’s a modern equivalent, but there are certain songs that I hear and will absolutely NOT switch the station. Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is one of them. This song came on the radio the other day when I was dropping off my kidlets. That song was released in 1986. I would have been eight years old, one year older than my eldest son.

It’s still a keeper.

Reading: I am re-reading Sherry Thomas’s “A Conspiracy in Belgravia,” book two of her Lady Sherlock Series. I read book four earlier this year and it seemed like a good time to just re-read all of them in general. As one does, right?

Writing Life: A couple random thoughts here … my mind is like a crowded library that is full of arcane information that I can access at the snap of my fingers. BUT, if it’s something like the capitol of Rhode Island or whether my anniversary is on the 18th or the 19th, I’m the first passenger on the struggle bus. (FYI – it’s the 18th … that just took me 10 years of marriage.) If I’m talking about my “process” I like to demure and say that I’m not an organized person, but to be honest? I’m actually equal parts organized and expert-level when it comes to procrastination.

March is a GIANT month for me with the April 1st deadline for the Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel contest. *whispers* But I’m doing OK with the edits that I’ve identified to get this into fighting shape for the contest. And man – this is one of those times where I’m so darn grateful for my children. Who needs highlighters when you can use Mr. Sketch scented markers and a writing instrument that’s hybrid marker and watercolor?

And because I’m not content to keep things simple, I realize that I’ve been remiss in talking to a few of my best-est friends, so I have a couple phone and beer dates scheduled.  Oh, and my kids’ spring break starts the same week that the Lovesey contest is due. BUT … I am good. I am (gasp!) organized. And I’m crushing it.

That’s it for me! Weekends are spent catching up on my ridiculous deadlines and I’m looking forward to getting some kid snuggles this weekend and enjoying spring-like temperatures on Sunday! Keep washing your hands and a respectable distance away from people if you are able.

– 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: 2/28/20

Somehow my mind refuses to accept that Maxwell House is the end-all, be-all for coffee, but I loved this story about Tom Petty and brewing the perfect cup.

This story is about a granddaughter uncovering her Jewish grandmother’s past is haunting.  (And was compelling enough that I put in a request at my library to order the author’s book when it comes out.)

I actually have my rubber ducky from childhood (and live in constant threat that my younger cousin is going to break into my house and liberate it.)  Funny to think that Ernie’s iconic song about his bathtime buddy is 50 years old.

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Listening: Tom Petty left us too soon:

Reading: Thirteen books later, I’ve finished Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series.  And it was goooooooood.

Writing Life: I’m gonna use this GIF again! As I mentioned before, I’m working towards an April 1st deadline.  And as prepared as I feel that my Work-In-Progress (WIP) is, I’m still doing some last minute tinkering.  I’ve established a reasonable (tho admittedly aggressive) schedule to get me to my deadline and I’m crushing it. 🙂

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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: 2/21/20

I’m hoping that this Friday finds you well!  I’m taking a bit of a mom vacation overnight.  Up to a 1990s dance party with my BFF from high school (she’s already assured me that her other mom friends are going to adore me) and then coffee with a fellow writer on Saturday.

I got to have a fun adventure earlier this week … some writer friends and I went to our local “micro-cinema” and watched a vintage Mary Pickford silent film.  This was my first time watching a silent film and I sincerely hope it isn’t my last.  It takes a different level of concentration to read the body language as the actors tell a story … it was so fun. And PS – Happy book birthday to Meg Hafdahl (center in picture below) and Kelly Florence for The Science of Women in Horror!

So proud to see my friend Jessica Laine featured in Bolo Books!

I finally found a cornbread recipe that’s a “go-to.” Here’s another recipe that I’ve made a few times in the past that’s also a good “reminiscent of spring” recipe.

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Listening: I had lunch with a dear friend the other day and happened to cruise past a country music station that was playing “the classics.”  Usually when you say “classic”, my mind goes to the holy trinity known as Waylon, Willie, and Johnny, but they were playing 1990s country music which is its own sweet vintage.  I wasn’t sad to rediscover this wonderful voice:

Reading: I am still going strong with Chloe Neill and her Chicagoland Vampires. So good.

Writing Life: I’ve used this GIF before, but it’s still accurate:

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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: 2/14/20

I’m just ducking in here to wish folks a Happy Valentine’s Day!  I’m something of a romantic – I adore chocolate and flowers, but considering that my husband and I are in the thick of parenting small kiddos, I’m content and geekily excited about the heart-shaped cake pan I recently bought and that we’ll be eating heart-shaped pizza tonight for our dinner. (And I would like some praise for actually having my kids’ class Valentines done WELL in advance of the due date, versus my usual night-before rush.) Here’s the cake that I may be making.  And here are the cookies that I wanted to make, but am holding off on until I know that I’m going to see friends.  I may have done a great job of getting my kids’ Valentines squared away in record time, but I have almost zero self-control when it comes to cookies in my household.

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Reading: I recently discovered Chloe Neill and her Vampires of Chicagoland series.  Oooof.  I don’t know why I love vampires as much as I do, but man these books are devour-able and binge worthy.

Writing Life: Slow but steady …

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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: 2/7/20

Well, February seems like as good of a time as any to start writing Friday Fare. 🙂 I still have an “Annual Review” sketched out that takes a look at the good, the bad, and fugly of 2019, but in the meantime – the mental break I took from blogging last month was a good one.  So without further ado, here’s what’s been going on in the weird and random:

I think my love for libraries is pretty well known.  There’s the fact that there are THOUSANDS of books on shelves (and now in eBook form) that are free for people to borrow.  And then there are librarians – the keepers of information (and often the wonderful people who are making sure that my hellions aren’t totally destroying the children’s section of the library). So when my friend Brenda asked if I’d volunteer at the Rochester Public Library Foundation’s Wit, Wisdom & Wine, my answer was a swift “hell yes.”

I was honored to introduce Shari Mukherjee. Mukherjee is a local Rochester-ite who made it to the Top 5 contestants of MasterChef (Season 10).  As a mom, as a cook, and as a Gordon Ramsay fan – you can imagine how exciting it was to meet her.

I also got to introduce former Congressman Tim Penny.  Penny and Mukherjee were two of several interesting guests that the library foundation had speak at this annual fundraiser.  It was just a sincere honor to attend and thrill to be asked to help.

I’m a little obsessed with Tieghan Gerard’s blog Half-Baked Harvest (and own the first of her two cookbooks). It certainly doesn’t hurt that she lives in the mountains of Colorado and that she loves soup and cookies about as much as I do.  We had a dear friend over for dinner a couple of weeks ago and I made this Creamy Wild Rice Chicken Soup with Roasted Mushrooms. And man … I was sad when that soup was gone and not ashamed that I ate the majority of its leftovers.  It’s a very simple soup that’s made in a crockpot (crockpot = an immediate win for me.) But it’s the roasted mushrooms that boot this into another dimension.  (Two pounds of mixed mushrooms roasted in an oven with garlic.  In a stick of butter.)  In fact, I actually used the roasted mushroom trick on a different soup (beef with barley) and I think I basically just want to eat butter-roasted mushrooms for the rest of my existence.

I’ve always been a fan, but here’s how Mary Engelbreit burrowed a large(r) spot in my heart.

I’m not sure what it is with the recent proliferation of articles about GenX’ers, but here’s one that gave me a chuckle.

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Reading: While I still have the Instagram app on my smartphone, I took the Facebook and Twitter apps off.  A couple of reasons … first is the amount of time that I would spend mindlessly scrolling through feeds of comments, memes, political arguments, etc.  I never bothered to calculate how much time I spent on the socials, but I’m sure that it was ridiculous.  Second – I think it’s better overall for my emotional health.  For just lots of reasons.  And while I still get pulled into wormholes of reading through news articles and Wikipedia pages regarding the Royal Family, I’ve been trying to read more books.  And I’ve already read seven books this year.  Three this past week. (There may be a reason that my eyes are kind of tired.)

Here’s the one that I’m most excited about:

There are a million reasons that I adore Tracy Clark.  I used to serve on the MWA-Midwest board with her and I can attest that she is a walking master class in critiquing.  And if we would have gone to high school together, I’d want to sit at her cool kids table.  She’s just sincerely a wonderful person.  And she’s one HELL of a writer.  And I totally bargained a batch of homemade cookies to get my hands on an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of What You Don’t See (coming out on May 26, 2020). This is the third book in a series and her PI is a finely drawn character.  You can find my review here on Goodreads.

Writing Life: I am polishing Dragonfly for submission to this contest. Due April 1st and making good progress towards that goal.

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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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2019 | Don’t let the door hit ya …

… where the good lord split ya.

Oooooh 2020, so glad that you’ve made your way into my life.

I am one of those (annoyingly) glass is half full type people. (Or in my case, the coffee cup is perpetually 3/4 of the way full and edging on cold, but it’s still coffee.  Yay!  Coffee.)  But 2019 challenged me.  It challenged me personally with the loss of my beloved cat and my grandma.  It challenged me professionally with some work shenanigans.  It challenged me creatively with more commitments than I had time for.

Despite the challenges, I am still writing. I am the mother of two adorable and creative kidlets (also affectionately known as my hellions.)  Our family grew by eight paws this fall when we adopted two kittens (although I still miss my curmudgeonly old man.)  My husband is still great and devastatingly handsome (and supportive <– probably the most important part.)  Even at its most challenging, my life is really damn good.

I am currently working on an “annual review” article that’s inspired by one of my favorite authors, J.T. Ellison. And despite the fact that I’ve been on vacation for the past week, I literally just started thinking about putting that together and goal setting for the new year.  2020 may be a new year and a new decade, but I’m still a little bit behind the organizational eight-ball.

My blessings to you all for a good year!

– Shelley