Friday Fare: Black Friday 2016

In my lifetime, I think I’ve attended Black Friday once – maybe twice.  And one of those times was due to waking up at 4 AM and not being able to go back to sleep.

Otherwise, on the morning after Thanksgiving, I’m happy to sleep as long as my toddlers will let me.

However, I am a fervent supporter of Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday where shoppers are encouraged to frequent small, independent businesses.  I also think that books are probably one of the best gifts that a person can give and receive!  So here are a couple suggested reads and some Midwest indie bookstores where you can find them!  (And remember – a lot of bookstores are willing to ship books.  Another thing I’ve learned when working with indie bookstores is if you can find the “local” bookstore for your favorite author, oftentimes they’ll have signed copies available or can arrange for a signature.)

“Ivory and Gold” was written by my dear friend and mentor Jerry Johnson. For anyone not in the northeast Iowa area, the best place to find this book is Amazon. But if you live near Decorah, Iowa, Dragonfly Books is an absolutely charming indie bookstore with an amazing selection of reads and friendly staff.
Benjamin Percy recently released “Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction” and this is a book that’s on my “to be read” pile. I got my copy from Content Bookstore in Northfield, Minnesota. Another amazing indie bookstore that has spankin’ new books mingling with used offerings on the shelves and an amazing staff to assist readers.
Fair Trade Books in Red Wing, Minnesota, is another gem that’s tucked south of the Twin Cities metro area. At the time I visited, they had a policy where they would gift a new store visitor with a specially picked book from their used books collection. “What the Night Knows” was my gift book and it was one that absolutely blew my mind.
The importance of Once Upon a Crime to Minnesota mystery writers cannot be understated. OUAC is the premiere place for local mystery writers to have their book launch parties. It’s partly due to the carefully curated collection of books and partly because of the store’s enthusiasm and support for mystery writers. Jess Lourey’s “Salem’s Cipher” is another one on my TBR list and several of her books can be found at OUAC.

Looking for your local independent bookstore?  Head forth to IndieBound.org!  If you’re a Black Friday shopper, I wish you the greatest success.  And if you’re like me and avoiding the rush of crowds, I hope that your day is a blessed one with hot coffee and good books to read.

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 11/18/16

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

Work continues to be insane, which is effing with my NaNo progress, but here’s hoping that a crazy November means a quiet holiday.  (<– Famous last words.)

However, here are a couple things that brought me joy this week:

  • First, my two dear friends who got married.  I was their officiant, which … it’s a nerve-wracking honor to be asked.  But the wedding was a joy.  I had a lot of fun, got to spend some time with my husband, and got basically jack shit written on my works in progress.  Oh well.  So many good things that filled the well.
  • Bahahahahahahahahhaha.
  • Nice to see this piece about Allen Eskens, a fellow Twin Cities Sisters in Crime member and all-around nice guy.
  • This was from a few weeks ago, but a number of articles came out honoring comedian/actor John Candy on what would have been his 66th birthday.  One of my favorite John Candy movies is “The Great Outdoors.”  So many of my best childhood / “watching movies with my brother” memories involves a John Candy movie.


Listening to: I’m a week late to the tributes for Leonard Cohen, but that was a loss that resonated last week.  Almost every article I’ve read talks about the (endless) versions of “Hallelujah” or “Tower of Song.”  Both are great songs, but my favorite is “If It Be Your Will.”  My favorite version is actually Antony’s cover of the song, but that doesn’t lessen what was most treasured by Cohen’s fans:  His ability to capture emotions into words and turn those feelings into song.  The man was a poet and the world is darker with his loss.

Reading:  Still reading “Death Along the Spirit Road” by C.M. Wendelboe.

Fiction Update: Still with the crickets, man … hoping that next week will give me some decent word counts, even if a holiday is sandwiched in there.

Happy weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 11/11/16

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

Aaaaah!  I missed Friday Fare last week.  I’d like to tell you that I had a good reason, but that reason … I don’t remember.  Work is crazy again, which has it’s upsides (paycheck! a sense of usefulness!) and its downsides (it takes me away from writing! it’s work! i’m suffering from a cold, ergo i have little to no energy!).

There’s a lot going on in the world right now.  (Understatement.) I’ve got a lot of feels about what’s going on, but what I’m focusing on is being as kind as possible to those I meet.


Listening to: I’m officiating a wedding for a pair of dear friends this weekend and the bride’s father will be singing “The Wedding Song” written by Noel “Paul” Stookey for Peter Yarrow’s 1969 wedding.  I’m not going to lie … this song gets me kinda weepy when I listen to it.  And while I was reading up on it, I was surprised to see that the first time it was performed (ahem, at Yarrow’s wedding), it was performed at a Catholic church in Willmar, Minnesota.  I lived in Willmar for three years!  But this little fact was from Wikipedia, it couldn’t be true, could it?  Well, I emailed one of my dear friends who is a Willmar native and something of an amateur music historian and this was his note back to me:  “Your information about the ‘Wedding Song’ is correct. Peter Yarrow and Mary McCarthy got married at St. Mary’s Church on (sic) Willmar. And I was at their wedding as a matter o fact. My friend Kent and I were among the uninvited guests (kids) hanging out in the church narthex.” <– How cool is that?

Reading:  I found a copy of “Death Along the Spirit Road” by C.M. Wendelboe at a local bookstore recently.  I’m only a few pages in, but it’s good.

Fiction Update:  *crickets* OK – so maybe it isn’t that bad, but I haven’t been able to write since last weekend. Grump!  Hoping to make up for some lost time this weekend.

Remember, kindness is free – sprinkle that shit everywhere.  (h/t to whoever said that … it’s a great sentiment.)


Will you NaNo with me?

Today marks the kick off for the 2016 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Here are my reflections from last year. Am I going to NaNo this year? There’s some interesting thoughts that are percolating in my head! I’ll keep you posted! Write on!


h/t to Pilcrow &amp; Dagger for the graphic, posted last week on their FB page. H/T to Pilcrow & Dagger for the graphic, posted last week on their FB page.

Ah yes – November 1 is looming.  For a lot of writers out there, that means participation in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – in short, getting your arse in chair and cranking out a 50,000 word novel by 11:59 PM by November 30th.

In regards to my writer friends, the concept of NaNoWriMo (seriously, I’m just going to shorten that acronym to NaNo from here on out, OK?) produces split reactions.  A third of my friends gasp because they are daunted by the prospect (which, if you write daily, susses out to a little over 1,600 words per day); a third of my friends scoff and say that there isn’t anything good that can come out of a binge writing session like NaNo; and then the final third of my friends are…

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