Friday Fare

Friday Fare: 2/23/18 (The “Done With Winter” edition)

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.

Given that I talk a little bit about my recent trip down memory lane below, the timing of this article is fortuitous.  While the rest of my girlfriends were oogling a young Brad Pitt (This was right when “Legends of the Fall” and “A River Runs Through It” first came out.), I was making my girlfriends rent movies like “Dogfight” and “School Ties” so I could drool over Brendan Fraser.  (For my money, he’s still dreamy …)

This piece comes out of Canada and has some beautifully sumptuous details.  One of my favorite lines:  “… Nothing that implied flesh; Lanvin’s My Sin, the olfactory equivalent of a slinky black cat, would never do.”

Again with the nostalgia card.  I read two articles this week that had to do with authors important to my “upbringing” as a writer.  I remember a winter break where I read a small garbage pail full of Louis L’Amour books.  (No, I don’t think there was a hidden meaning that they were in a garbage pail.  My grandpa bought them at an auction and I think they were just put in there for ease of carrying / selling.)  This piece about some of L’Amour’s unfinished work and a chance to look at some of the method behind his madness with his drafts?  Sign me up.

V.C. Andrews.  She was a staple of my junior high cafeteria.  We’d earmark the sex scenes and then pass the book around so we could all educate each other on the finer points of fictional lovemaking (or something like that).  And you can laugh at me, but I had no clue that Ms. Andrews was dead.  Buzzfeed curated an amazing piece that goes into the “ghost of V.C. Andrews” and her amazing publishing afterlife.

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Watching: Let’s run with this nostalgia thing, shall we?  I was folding laundry the other day and decided that I wanted to tackle laundry mountain while mindlessly watching TV.  So I went to Netflix and I clicked on “Riverdale” which is a modern retelling of the Archie comic books. (A favorite from junior high.)  Holy hell … a) I love the Archie comic books, so this is up my alley.  B) The makers of “Riverdale” are totally playing the nostalgia card – Mädchen Amick (she played Shelly Johnson in “Twin Peaks”) is Betty’s mom while Luke Perry (from “Beverly Hills 90210” fame) plays Archie’s dad.  Nostalgia sells, CW … good work.

Reading: I finished the Streep biography and had to return Amanda Hocking’s book (new release at the library and my time was up).  I had to read some books for a panel I moderated and very much enjoyed Sherry Roberts’ “The Down Dog Diary.”  (Roberts is a Minnesota mystery author and her book was just brain candy.)  I’m partway through John Gaspard’s “The Ambitious Card.” (Another Minnesota mystery, this features an amateur magician as the protagonist.  Fabulous.)  Also just got this one from the library:

Pendergast rarely lets me down.  This book is no exception.

Writing Life (and Life In General): Remember in my year-end recap how I talked about when my kids got sick in March 2017?  Well, they jumped a month and my entire family got some version of crud last week. 

I recovered in time for a good weekend of events, both writerly and not.  First, on Saturday, I moderated a panel about “celebrating the amateur sleuth” in Shakopee, Minnesota.  I had to make a stop at the Donut Connection for nostalgia’s sake.

Then on Saturday night, I spent a girls’ getaway with some of my dearest friends from high school.  Lots of laughter.  Lots of Fireball – more for them than for me.  On Sunday morning, I woke up with the intention of grabbing a cup of coffee and spending some time on “Dragonfly,” but one of my friends was awake and it was a bit of a no-brainer to sit on the couch and catch up with her.  Words on the page are important, but so is nurturing friendships and filling the well. Sometimes I think that I place an almost mythological spin on our friendship, but when I think about who I am today – they have a lot to do with it.  It was a great weekend.

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I’m signing off from the land of nostalgia.  It’s cold here, not because of the memories – most of those are amazing.  It’s just freakin’ cold here in Minnesota and I need to remember to escape to a warmer climate next year.  Even if only for a weekend.

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Friday Fare

Friday Fare: 2/9/18 (The “Still Cold AF” edition)

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.

Nearly 40 years ago, this was a Minnesota miracle.

I had the utmost pleasure of meeting Deborah Harkness, author of the “All Souls Trilogy,” a few years back when she was on book tour.  I took PTO when books two and three were released.  It looks like I’ll need to save a day in September for when her next book comes out.  (Think academic vampires in a historical setting.  Excellent!)

Let’s just put this out there:  I will never be as cool as Frances McDormand.  And yeah, I may have something of a girl crush on her.  #LongLiveFrancesMcDormand

On a more serious note, John Gorman’s piece in Medium entitled “You’re Not Lazy: The Last Motivational Blog Post You’ll Ever Need” had me nodding and pulling out pull quotes to feature in my Friday Fare.  (NSFW warning:  Gorman swears.  A lot.)  But as I tend to do, I copied and pasted the most titillating thing I read (“The secret to eternal happiness and boundless success rests in tips that many of us learned in first grade. So … why in the actual fuck are so many of us struggling?” *Inserts giggle* He says the f-word!)  Honestly though – there was a lot more depth here beyond the profanity.  (I’m sure there’s some lesson that somewhere, what it is – I’m not sure.)  But Gorman’s piece made me do some meditation on fear and I’ve bookmarked this piece to read through again.

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Listening: As the music industry prepares to celebrate the 25th anniversary of k.d. lang’s album Ingenue, the predictable influx of articles lauding lang’s her vocal stylings can be found all over the interwebs.  I was too young to appreciate lang when I was younger, but fell under her spell when I was a teenager and MOR Music TV played her collaboration with Roy Orbison on a predictable loop.  I’ve been listening to Hymns of the 49th Parallel lately and just loving her voice.  But if you want a real treat, check out lang with Orbison:

Reading: I’m currently reading a pair of books.  The new Amanda Hocking (“Between the Blade and the Heart“) and a biography about Meryl Streep (“Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep“).  Hocking has an interesting story as an author (and she lives in southeastern Minnesota, natch!).  She started her career in self-publishing and made a mint, then went to a big publishing house.  #squadgoals

Writing Life: A couple epochs this week … after a holiday of sorts, I got chapters from “Dragonfly” over to my mentor.  (Thank you, Jerry.  The next round’s on me.) I got 10 pages of a short story draft over to my writers group in the Twin Cities.  It was kind of odious, so next Tuesday ought to be a joy. And finally, I’m a member of the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime.  Earlier this week, our chapter basically got to have a master class on suspense taught by William Kent Krueger (who is, probably literally, one of the nicest authors in Minnesota).  It’s classes and experiences like these that make groups like Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America so valuable. 

 

That’s it from me in the effing frigid north.  I’m dreaming of warmer temperatures and a productive weekend of writing!  My best to you!

Friday Fare

Friday Fare: 2/2/18 (The “I’m just grateful to get through this week” edition)

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.

“… this, I only now realize, was the lesson she was trying to teach. If you open yourself to the world, there will be stories to tell.” Read this piece from The New Yorker.

The writing world lost an icon last month with the passing of Ursula K. LeGuin.  A couple days later, Dallas Mayr – known better to readers as Jack Ketchum – also passed.  Cemetery Dance posted a posthumous interview with Mr. Mayr.  This passage particularly resonated with me: “Too many kids coming up are reading in their genre only, and they’re reading only the stuff that they think they want to write. Ain’t supposed to do that. You’re supposed to read everything. Read the damn newspaper. Take your ideas from everywhere. Read Maureen Dowd’s column in the Times. She’s a funny writer, and she’s smart. Don’t just read Anne Rice and write the next vampire novel.”

So proud of my friend and former writing group member Bret.  His short story “Straw Men” was published by Sweet Tree Review. It’s pretty cool to see the final version of a piece that he workshopped with our writing group.

 

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Listening: My first concert for 2018 is booked.  Lord Huron are touring in support of a new album.  My concert BFF and I are going to the Palace Theatre in April to absorb.  This is a favorite LH song:

Reading: I finished Cate Holahan’s “Lies She Told.”  And it was goooood.

Writing Life: Man … this was a week.  It wasn’t a bad week, per se – I was able to cross some stuff off of my to-do lists, but there was a lot of personal time spent catching up on my day job (let me just say a quick word of praise for the concepts of “urgent care” and “antibiotics” [with love and appreciation from a mom with kids prone to ear infections]).  We also saw the calendar page turn from January to February.  Although I felt like I kicked some arse on making progress on Dragonfly, my word tallies felt somewhat short of the goal.  (I wrote around 10,500 words in January, my monthly goal is around 17k.)  BUT … I’m further today than I was a month ago, so … measurable progress friends!

My wishes to you all for warm weather and fat word counts!  Have a great weekend.