Friday Fare

Friday Fare: 9/29/17

I’m sitting at my desk, wearing a fleece as I write this.  And. It’s. Heavenly.  Here’s some good stuff from the Interwebs:

Monday (September 25th) was One-Hit Wonder Day and one of my former high school classmates (who’s also a kick ass DJ down in Waterloo, Iowa) posted his list of favorites.  There are a couple on here that made me smile and definitely think to myself “why yes, JP – we went to high school together.”

Speaking of favorite things, The Telegraph recently published an article asking “Why LA Confidential is Hollywood’s Last Great Noir.”  L.A. Confidential is a 1997 movie based on (the master) James Ellroy’s 1990 novel (of the same day.)  The movie helped launch the careers of a couple Australian actors (certainly, you’ve now heard of Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce?) and featured standout performances from Kim Basinger (who won a Best Supporting Oscar for her role), Kevin Spacey, David Strathairn, Danny DeVito, and James Cromwell.  While I haven’t watched the movie for awhile, back when I was living on my own (and had a working VHS player), I probably watched it monthly – it was a visual version of comfort food.  (And no, I don’t want to know what that says about me.)

Finally, when I think about fall, I think about chai tea lattes.  This cake would also do in a pinch.


Listening: Willie Watson was one of the founding members of Old Crow Medicine Show and later left the band to become one of the premier interpreters of roots and folk music. He has a new album out and NPR featured this video recently.  So damn good.

Reading: My reading has fallen a bit off of the radar lately.  And it’s not a matter of not having enough books …

But recently, I downloaded Peter Graham’s “Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century.”  This book interested me for a couple of reasons.  1) Anne Perry?  She’s an amazingly successful mystery writer.  2) A murder she was involved in (yes, you read that right), riveted New Zealand and was later made into a movie by Peter Jackson called “Heavenly Creatures” (which featured a young Kate Winslet before she made her fortune on the “Titanic.”)  This book review from the Washington Post gives a good overview of the book.

Writing Life: Busy.  Edits.  New project with some amazing writers.  Edits.  Work.  Lots and lots of work.  Busy.

Friday Fare

Friday Fare: 9/22/17

The days still feel like summer, but the nights are reminiscent of fall (and actually, it is now officially fall – hooray!).  And it’s Friday.  Let’s dig in:

My husband and I are both fans of Patton Oswalt and his razor-sharp wit.  And although we don’t *know* Mr. Oswalt and his late wife Michelle McNamara, both of us were sympathetic and stunned when Ms. McNamara, 46, died unexpectedly in April 2016.  Prior to her death, Ms. McNamara was working on a book about the Golden State Killer, an “unidentified serial killer and rapist who committed 50 rapes in Northern California (1976-1979) and murdered at least ten people in Southern California (1979-1986).” Her book “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” comes out in February 2018.  On the strength of the title alone, I’d be interested in buying it.

The New York Times had an article about “How to Work From Home.”  This line resonated: “I felt unkempt and dirty, lonely and disconnected, malnourished and unhealthy.” <– BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  OK, it wasn’t that funny, but I have had days where I felt like that.

I didn’t realize that there was such a thing as the “best Internet recipe comment of all time.” But this comment is better than the stuff that I typically read. (“Can I substitute margarine for butter?” [No.  God no.]  “Can I substitute …” Seriously … reading news commentary is disheartening, but the comments on recipes make me gnash my teeth.  Please understand that if you’re making a tomato pie, you probably shouldn’t try to substitute something else for the mayonnaise because you want to make it “lighter.”  THAT IS NOT THE POINT OF THE RECIPE.)  Wow, anyway – here’s the story behind the best Internet recipe comment ever.  (And a killer brownie recipe.)

Some Killer Nashville recaps:

There have been several Killer Nashville blogs published since the end of August.  A few that I wanted to share:

Paula Gail Benson gave a great high-level recap on Writers Who Kill.  (Also, Paula’s one of the nicest writers you’ll meet. I felt so incredibly blessed to make some of the connections I did in Nashville, Paula is one of them.)

Catherine Dilts has been blogging her Killer Nashville experience by day over at her blog.  I had the pleasure of appearing on a panel about social media.  She was also on a great panel about time management for writers.  Another person I’m thrilled to have connected with at Killer Nashville.

I also had the pleasure of really getting to know and hang out with two extremely talented writers.  Lucie Smoker and Kathleen Donnelly. (Fun fact – Kathleen and I attended the Writer’s Police Academy together in 2016 and reconnected this year in Nashville!) Lucie was the 2017 Lisa Jackson Scholarship winner for Killer Nashville and runs a fabulous blog called Reverse Perspective. Her recap of her KN experience can be found here.

Kathleen was a previous Lisa Jackson Scholarship recipient AND a fellow Claymore Award finalist.  She gave an incredible speech at the KN awards dinner in August, reprinted by The Stiletto Gang.  Her online home can be found here.

I talk sometimes about “finding your tribe” and how even during the solitary pursuit of writing, it’s important to find people who will serve as sounding boards, help you out with tricky plot twists, or just write you hilarious emails that remind you why you keep writing.  I’m grateful to have befriended these two women and look forward to finding them on the bookshelf.


Uff da, this was a long blog post.  If you’ve made it this far – bless you! I hope this blog post finds you well and ready for the weekend!



Friday Fare: The Pumpkin Spice Edition (Kidding)

Oh my friends … yes, the official advent of fall is still a couple weeks away, but the weather has a delicious chill in it that makes me a proud owner of a down comforter.  Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks.  And my penchant for eating soup at any possible opportunity doesn’t seem so odd when a person needs something to warm their hands with.

Anyway – welcome to September.  Good stuff is abounding on the Interwebs, shall we?

If you’re an aspiring writer and want to know some of the ins and outs of landing an agent and the publishing industry in general, Janet Reid’s blog is one that you should bookmark.  Ms. Reid is an agent with New Leaf Literary & Media and frequently answers reader industry questions.  This blog is a freaking goldmine.  And this week, Reid had back-to-back posts that felt timely in my life.

First – how not to be a bonehead when promoting your book.  For a humble Midwesterner such as myself, most of what Ms. Reid made sense to me.  Unpersonalized email blasts are ineffective and somewhat rude.  But the idea I really liked was the idea of building a spreadsheet of people who have cheered you on during your publication journey and sending out a PERSONALIZED email to them upon your book’s publication?  As Reid writes: “… even if you spend 100 minutes doing 10 personalized emails you’ll reap more reward than if you spend 10 minutes doing a 100-person impersonal email blast.”

The second post regarding writers and business cards was even more timely coming off of my time at Killer Nashville. Do I have a business card?  You bet your boot heels I do.  And I distributed those babies around to EVERYONE I met.  But Reid has a brilliant nugget in her post, citing the writer who made business cards containing her contact information on the front.  And three lines describing the manuscript she was shopping around on the back.


Reviews about the scariest clown to ever come out of someone’s imagination are abundant in the media right now, as “IT” comes to theaters. (And it features one of the Skargard brothers.  Swoon.)  Among all of that was a sweet blog post that one man wrote talking about the piece of writing advice that Stephen King gave him when the writer was a 10-year-old kid.

One final article I’ll leave you with today was this piece about Kyle MacLachlan in Esquire.  I was 12 or 13 when Twin Peaks originally came out on ABC and that show seared my mind with possibility.  I’m now 39 and watching “The Return” on Showtime reminded me a lot of the geek I once was and probably what a debt I owe to David Lynch for showing me that there are stories in the things happening under the surface of a small town. (And PS – Kyle MacLachlan has only aged like a fine wine.)

Alrighty, friends – that is all I have this week.  I hope that this finds you well wherever you are.