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Friday Fare: 10/18/19

Huge congrats to my friends Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence for the release of their book The Science of Monsters.  I am so freaking proud of both of them.  And seriously, this past week was a deluge of amazing books from authors that I know or am acquainted with:

  • Catch Me When I’m Falling by Cheryl A. Head – I had the extreme pleasure of getting to know Ms. Head earlier this spring when she presented to MWA-U on the topic of “Characters, Not Caricatures” – writing diverse characters in fiction.
  • The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas.  I love Ms. Thomas’s take on the Sherlock Holmes canon, reimagining the character as Charlotte Holmes.
  • Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha.  OK – so I don’t know Ms. Cha at all, but all of my mystery peeps are abuzz on Cha’s novel.

Is it any wonder that I think I’ll never catch up on all of the awesome books that are out there in this world?

This article made me chuckle – a look at a Midwest chain’s take on pizza.  And guess where you can get it?  At a gas station.

Another book that I should read, but haven’t put on any of my hold lists is Ronan Farrow’s in-depth look in the reporting that took down Harvey Weinstein.  One of the producers who worked with Farrow on NBC News’s original investigation wrote this piece for Vanity Fair. 

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Listening: Spotify has been really good to me lately. It reminded me of this gem from the late Leonard Cohen:

Reading:  Finished Rob Hart’s The WarehouseAnd I absolutely understand every accolade it has received.  Such a good book and one that feels all to prescient in our Amazon-driven world. Also, upon the recommendation of … well, it seems like nearly everyone on social media, I’m reading Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir and wow …  So.  Good.  And what a voice.

Writing Life: T-minus only a week+ before I’m heading down to Dallas for Bouchercon 2019. I am so excited, but it’s also hitting me that ~10 days is not a lot of time to get everything done.  Like … you know.  Figure out what clothes to pack.  Research what panels I should attend, figure out who will be in attendance, update my business cards, etc. And since my wonderful in-laws are coming up to help my husband wrangle the hellions, I need to make my mother’s meatloaf and leave it in the fridge as a thank you to my father-in-law. 🙂 The man doesn’t ask for much, but he likes my meatloaf.

– 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: 10/4/19

Fall has settled in my corner of the Midwest with a (very rainy) vengeance.  Seriously, the end of September had STICKY HOT weather and as soon as the calendar turned to October, it got cold and it started to rain.  But I love sweater weather, so this kind of weather sings to my soul.

First and foremost – huge congrats to my dear friend and mentor Jerry Johnson.  His latest collection of essays and work is gathered into A View from the North Country and is available for purchase.  I cannot wait to read it and feel blessed that I will get a copy hand-delivered to me (and that said delivery will be accompanied by lunch and beer with the author.)

What was the best children’s book from the year that you were born?

This was a fascinating deep dive into a murder investigation in Texas from the 1980s.  It’s a long read, but a good one.

Sheryl Crow is one of the big voices from my childhood and it was cool to see an article about her and to hear that she has a new album out.

The Washington Post ran an article a few weeks back about a small town in western Minnesota called Worthington.  One of the main characters in the piece was a bus driver named Don Brink and what he had to say about the immigrant children on his bus route was heartbreaking and infuriating.  One woman in the Twin Cities has decided to combat hate with action and has set up a GoFundMe to help unaccompanied children in Worthington.  In a world where there’s a lot of hate, it’s inspiring to see someone combat ignorance with love.

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Watching: I re-started watching Vikings this week. And while I was about to write, I’m not entirely sure why, I do know why … there’s a Skarsgard in the series and I do love those Swedes.

Reading:  Still working through King by David S. Faldet.  I’m also reading Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before. Aaannnndd Rob Hart’s smash The Warehouse showed up in my library holds.  So … yeah.  There are a lot of things I’m trying to get through right now.

Writing Life:  Steady as she goes …

One thing that’s happening right now that I’m involved with and super psyched to be part of is that submissions for MWA-Midwest’s Hugh Holton Award is open now through October 15th.  I won the Hugh Holton in 2015 and as part of my “pay it back” as a MWA-Midwest board member is helping coordinate this program.  If you’re an unpublished mystery writer, click on the link and get your submission in!

I don’t know if you all are pumpkin spice kind of people, but drink whatever hot beverage makes your soul happy and remember to be kind to the people that you meet.  Happy October, 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: 9/20/19

There was an interesting bit of scuttlebutt on the #writingcommunity of Twitter this week in reference to a Medium piece published by an author who (basically) squandered thousands of dollars in advance money.  There was a lot of snark, a lot of “how could you?”, much “well, this is what I did”, and a couple decent think pieces which dug deeper into the complex world of publishing, author finances, etc.  Rob Hart is the wildly successful author of the recent book “The Warehouse.”  His career has run the gamut of small and large presses, co-authoring, etc., and he has some fairly concrete advice for authors.  His blog post links to a (TOTALLY NSFW) piece from Chuck Wendig.  Wendig’s another author who has a varied writing career and if you want to laugh about the “tomfuckery” (Hart’s word) of the publishing world while holding back tears about those same shenanigans, read yourself some Chuck Wendig.

Revisions are the key to success, so dammit – I’m going to be GOLDEN someday.  But seriously … I appreciate Jessica Faust and her crew’s insights into the publishing world.  They’re a wealth of knowledge for writers.

Finally, as a huge Sean Bean fan, this article gave me a giggle.

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Watching: I had a chance to go to It: Chapter Two this past weekend in the movie theater from my childhood:

I liked the symmetry of sitting in the movie theater I spent so much time (and money) in as a kid and as a young adult, fast-forwarding to my 40s and watching a movie about oaths and friendships.  Sixteen-year-old me would be pretty pleased with my 41-year-old self.

Reading:  My senior paper adviser from my alma mater has his debut fiction novel out: King by David S. Faldet.  I’ve been working my way through that this week and am enjoying it.  It’s always interesting to read books that are set in an area I’m familiar with.

Writing Life:  I’ve had a couple awesome writerly things happen recently.  First off, coffee with my good friend and horror writer Meg Hafdahl.  It’s always good to hang out with peers.  And finally, I’m a proud member of Sisters in Crime and have been benefiting from a new education initiative that SinC is offering to its members – a number of webinars with various industry experts talking about different facets of a writing craft and career.  This week’s presentation was about being a productive writer by Dana Kaye.  There was some good food for thought in Ms. Kaye’s presentation.

– 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: 9/13/19

I’ve had a lot of good article bookmarked lately.  Let’s dig in:

What did women’s blue jeans look like the year you were born?  My daily uniform is basically jeans and a T-shirt, so this was AWESOME.  I went past my birth year and took a look at all of the fashion trends that I’ve lived through.

Stephen King has outlived most of his harshest critics.  Right on, man.  (Incidentally, I’m hoping to make it to see IT Part 2 this weekend.  Grateful for this man who has been scaring me for decades!  Also, puts his newest book “The Institute” on hold.)

The making and the movement of the newest supergroup to come out of Nashville.  (Also see Listening below.)

Here’s another movie that I want to see – Tom Hanks playing Mister Rogers.  I’m going to be bringing tissues.

Signs that you are an extroverted introvert.  As they say on the Internet … I feel seen.

A letter from a six-year-old convinced the maker of plastic toy soldiers to make female soldiers.  Right. On.  (And buy me a couple packages for my nieces.)

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Listening: I’ve been a little obsessed with a new supergroup that’s come out of Nashville.

The Highwomen are a nod to the supergroup The Highwaymen that was formed in the 1980s, but they are doing it their way and it is wonderful.  This is an album that I’m going to buy and put on continuous repeat.

Reading:  Finished Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living by Elizabeth Willard Thames.  I’ve been a longtime reader of the Frugalwoods blog and the book was similarly enjoyable and a fairly fast (and informative) read.

Writing Life:  Work has been a little hectic this week, but I had a couple creative opportunities that I’ve taken advantage of.  First off was attending the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime meeting earlier this week where I got to see Jessie Chandler and Terri Bischoff talk about the love/hate relationships between authors and editors.  (Sherry Roberts also read an excerpt from her upcoming novel “Crow Calling.”  I prefer suspense to cozy mysteries, but I adore her Maya Skye series.)

I’m also getting super excited about the upcoming Bouchercon 2019 in Dallas, Texas!

– 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: 9/6/19

My children are back in school.  Thank you Lord.

Prior to returning to school, my kids had a couple extra days off.  As I am the more permissive parent, they played too many video games, ate way too much crappy food (we found something at Chuck E Cheese called “unicorn churros” and it was about as disgustingly delightful as it sounds), but all and all had a great time.  I took some time off and ended up going on a canning and pickling binge.  I’ve said this before – canning, baking, making jam – it makes me feel closer to my grandmas.  It makes me feel like I’m honoring their memories by bringing back some slow foods and taking the time to subject endless glass jars to water baths and cheering when I hear the snick of a properly sealed jar. (Or, let’s be honest, I freaking love eating pickles and sometimes I find myself wondering – can I pickle that?  And lo and behold, most of the time I can and it’s wonderful.)

These are the recipes I’ve been using this summer to preserve the bounty that I’ve stolen out of my mom’s garden (and off of my aunt’s apple tree):

Easy Fridge Dills – Smitten Kitchen is my absolute go-to for almost every recipe.  Deb Perelman is a domestic freaking goddess.

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes – This was a total pipe dream, but The Kitchn made it happen.

– Refrigerator Sweet Pickles – My mom sent me this recipe via text in a picture she took of a note that one of her friends gave her.  <– That’s when you know a recipe is legit.  What’s funny is that I’m really the only person in my family who eats sweet pickles, so those six cups of thinly sliced cukes?  Those are allllllll mine.

Spicy Pickled Green Beans – I made a couple jars of these and made one that I did not process in a water bath.  My friends and I launched into that jar and man … good stuff.  Makes me think that the properly canned version is going to be uh-maz-ing.

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce – made it for my kids.  They didn’t like it.  Le sigh.  Anyway … made it according to recipe, blitzed it using an immersion blender and then processed in a water bath for 20 minutes.

Salsa – This has been my go-to recipe for 5+ years.  But pro tip … seed your jalapeno peppers (or any peppers) using gloves.  Otherwise, the oils from the damn peppers will burn the sh*t out of your hands.  (You’d have thought I’d have learned that lesson many years ago, but no – I’m a freaking idiot.)

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Listening: Joyann Parker … you’re welcome.  She’s a Twin Cities-based blues musician and I sincerely hope that she hits it big in the somewhat near future.  This VOICE.

 

Reading:  Finished Glensheen’s Daughter by Sharon Darby Hendry.

Writing Life:  The kids are back in school.  I’m hoping that this means a little bit more time in my future for creative 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: 8/30/19

This is the last full week before my kids head to school.  My eldest is in second grade while the youngest heads to Kindergarten.  I’m not sad that they are growing up, but they’ve been in a wonderful summer program and I’m going to miss those folks.

Neil Young is a cantankerous treasure, isn’t he?  This was a fascinating article about the man, his process, and a few other interesting flights of thought.

This picture of three Italian grandmas holding migrant children in their laps restores some of my faith in humanity.

I’ve talked about my love of Olivia Colman, haven’t I?  (If I haven’t, find the BBC’s show “The Night Manager” and watch her in all of her glory.  She is wondrous.)  I know that I’ve talked about my love of the Royal Family and so I’m psyched to see these pictures of Colman and Helena Bonham Carter in the upcoming season of Netflix’s “The Crown.”

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Listening: Tanya Tucker … grateful that she’s still on this planet and grateful that she’s still making music.

Reading:  Still reading Glensheen’s Daughter by Sharon Darby Hendry.  Still.  Finished J.D. Horn‘s “The King of Bones and Ashes” the first book of his “Witches of New Orleans” series.  So good.

Writing Life:  Ooof – I barely survived girls’ weekend.  (And am still recovering two weeks later?)  But it was productive and challenging.

I am looking forward to a long weekend.  I think pickling green beans is in my future.  Happy Friday!

– 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: 8/16/19

I’m a child of the 1980s.  One of those kids who grew up in the middle of nowhere, but had enough TV signal to watch the World Wrestling Federation (WWF before it was the WWE) when I was growing up.  And dare I say, not only did I watch wrestling (my whole family did – it was our thing), but I enjoyed it.  I loved Brutus the Barber Beefcake (erm, had a poster), Rowdy Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant.  I remember watching a certain future Minnesota governor in the ring.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend NerdinOut Con 2 and one of the featured guests was none other than pro wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts.  Roberts was one of the bad boys of the WWF and his schtick involved a 10-foot python named Damian and a move called the DDT.  He also happens to be my brother’s favorite wrestler.

On the morning of the con, my mind supplied a random memory.  I *too* liked Jake “The Snake” Roberts.  To the extent that I stole my brother’s collectors card of Roberts back when we were kids.  And some 30 years later, not only did I remember my childhood petty misdemeanor, but I knew EXACTLY where I had hidden it.  So, the picture below: top left is me explaining to Roberts how I stole my brother’s card (I LOVE that my dad shot this picture as Roberts is looking at the card and probably wondering why the hell he attends cons); top right – the signed card; bottom left is the back of the card; bottom right – my brother and his childhood hero.

Spoiler alert: My brother got his card back.  And I had a great day hanging out with my dad and my brother at the con.  Both of them were out of their element.  (I think that Saturday was the first time they had ever heard the word “cosplay” let alone actually witnessed what cosplay is.)  We drank a lot of beer, but it was a lot of fun.

I also got to be the eccentric aunt to my beloved nephew Joe.  (We’re both the youngest children of our families and we love coffee and food.  He’s a great kid.)  It was a great weekend.

So much of my childhood and my small-town upbringing informs my writing, so it’s always an experience to revisit the past and to step outside of my own element (and chat up retired pro wrestlers).

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Listening: I’m grateful to live in a city with a vibrant and growing arts scene.  One of the standbys in the summer is Down by the Riverside, free Sunday night concerts in a downtown park.  (Full disclosure:  I’m on a board that advises Riverside Concerts, the City department that organizes and curates these concerts.)  This past week, Sleeping Jesus, a band from Winona, Minnesota, was the opening act and man … that’s music to write to!

Reading:  Still reading Glensheen’s Daughter by Sharon Darby Hendry.

Writing Life:  I have a girls weekend planned with some writer friends. Looking forward to gathering some writing inspo and filling the ‘ol well. 

Happy Friday!

– 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: 8/9/19

A couple things happened this week and on the same day, even.  My eldest son celebrated a birthday and that coincided with International Cat Day.  My feline has been gone for over a month at this point and although missing him is a daily thing, I texted my husband that this particular birthday was hard.  I made my kid a pumpkin cake and didn’t have to worry about the Cat trying to sample my baked goods and there’s no one that’s trying to chew the ribbons off of gifts and balloons.  Grief is weird and manifests itself in strange ways.

I’ve recently started using Pocket to collect the random articles I’ve been finding on the Internet.  So far, I’m liking it, although I’m anticipating the day that I have too many damn articles “bookmarked” in the app.  Oh well, here’s some good reading:

The Muppet Movie turned 40 recently.  I’ve loved rediscovering the Muppets’ music through my own children.

The Man with the Golden Airline ticket – this is a long personal essay, but worth the read.

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Listening: Sarah Jarosz is luminous.

Reading:  I’ve been reading Glensheen’s Daughter by Sharon Darby Hendry. Glensheen is the iconic North Shore mansion in Duluth and was the site of a pair of gruesome murders in the late 1970s.  While the victim’s son-in-law was found guilty of the murder, there’s been ample speculation that the victim’s daughter orchestrated the crime.  As macabre as it sounds, the plot lends itself to a delightful musical called Glensheen.  I had the extreme fortune of scoring tickets to the show at St. Paul’s History Theatre and found out about Hendry’s book through the musical.

I also read Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings which was simultaneously one of the funniest and most delicious looking cookbooks I’ve ever read.

Writing Life:  Progress is slow but sure. 

Happy Friday!

– 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: 7/26/19

Let’s just take a moment and give thanks for Gordon Lightfoot.  Because he’s B.A.

This article from Harpers Magazine earned the San Luis Valley a spot on my travel list.  Just incredibly well written, an interesting life to contemplate.

I’ve never been a big doughnut person.  I can appreciate a decent cake donut, preferably plain.  I probably ate my weight in chocolate-frosted cake donuts when I was a kid (and since they don’t taste the same as they did from the Waukon Bakery, I just don’t like them anymore).  But over the past year, I’ve gained a decent appreciation for the Danish.  Hyvee makes a caramel pecan one that’s crispy and addictive.  This article takes a look at an iconic pastry.

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Listening: Of course, since I read about the San Luis Valley, I had to listen to Gregory Alan Isakov’s song:

Reading:  Work decided to ramp up this week, so unfortunately, that means life has been light on the reading front.

Writing Life:  That damn work and how it encroaches on my creative world! 😉 On the bright side, I did take a couple mental health days and that means some heads down time in my book. 

Happy Friday!

– 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: 7/19/19

Timing is Everything … I really appreciated this insight from Angelique L’Amour’s blog post.  And as always, how does this relate to my own life?  (And some uncomfortable questions that causes me to ask myself.)

Jill Lepore wrote an incredible piece called “The Lingering of Loss” for The New Yorker.  I can’t define one facet of this piece that spoke to me (a writer who is also a mom?  That intersection of motherhood and creativity?  The importance of female friends? [One of mine was having a health crisis when I originally found this.] Loss?  There’s been a couple important losses recently in my life. [Although shit, thank God my cat didn’t have a laptop, I don’t even want to know what he’d have surfed on the Internet.])  The whole of this piece is poignant and incredible.

Nick. Cave.  That is all.

My husband sent me this article – the gist of it being a state of Iowa employee was dismissed by the governor for having an obsession with the late rapper Tupac Shakur.  And the article, right there, as it’s stated sounds like a solid read.  Until you click on the link and realize that this employee is not the disenfranchised Gen X-er or Millennial who could/should be digging Tupac’s music, but an old white dude.  And all of the sudden, your heart fills with hope.  At least mine did after I stopped giggling like a madwoman.

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Listening: Earlier this week, I got to see 10,000 Maniacs.  Natalie Merchant may not be with the band anymore, but when I listen to 10,000 Maniacs, I’m back in high school.  (And actually, driving my car in a ditch while listening to the live version of “Like the Weather”.  Seriously. )

Reading: Ooooooof … I finished Tracy Clark’s second Cass Raines book this week (Borrowed Time) and wow.  My Kindle drained itself of battery when I was 94% through the book, so I plugged it in and stood to read the rest of it.  Reading Clark is like a master class for plot, tension, and dialogue.  Also, her characters are just finely drawn people that leap off the page.

I also read Meg Hafdahl’s Daughters of Darkness, her second book in the Willoughby Chronicles.  It was literally un-putdownable as in, I started reading it, skipped dinner, and finished it waaaaay after my bedtime.

They say that if you want to be a writer, you need to read avidly.  I sometimes lose track of that, but it is true.  After reading Meg’s book, I couldn’t sleep and ended up doing some more writing. 🙂

Writing Life: Steady as it goes …

Happy Friday!

– 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.