Friday Fare: 5/24/19

Longform articles sing to my soul.  This piece from GQ is no exception.

Working in the age of distraction … well, ain’t that the truth.  Freedom, a productivity app, featured a recent blog post by one of my favorite writers J.T. Ellison about her working habits.  Some good food for thought.

Seth Rogen is apparently my spirit animal (and I’ve been reading a lot of content from GQ lately.  See also their piece on Keanu Reeves).  Here’s what spoke to me in reading this: Still, spend a little time in his company, talking about his life, and certain patterns start to emerge, themes and lessons recurring with enough frequency that they can be isolated for general distribution: Work harder than everyone else. Find a mentor, or at least some encouragement. Cultivate enduring relationships. Grow gradually. Beware hubris. Never be their biggest problem. Be in control of your own work (where possible). Always have something else going on.

Loved this piece on Danielle Steele.

A couple of my Sisters in Crime from Chicago helped induct our organization’s youngest member.  Read this piece in the Chicago Sun Times about Azka Sharief and her podcast! (And big love and shout outs to Lori Rader-Day, Susanna Calkins, and Mia P. Manansala for their part of this story!)


Listening: My husband and I got a rare date night this week.  Technically, we saw both Steve Martin and Martin Short; but when I think about Steve Martin, here’s what my brain comes up with:

And I guess when I think about Martin Short, here’s what my brain supplies:

Reading:  Read Steve Berry’s The Malta Exchange.  Interesting – book 14 of his Cotton Malone series.  I liked it well enough (I lived in Malta for six months when I was in college, so it was fun to see some places I’ve visited featured in fiction), but unlike my love affair with A.X. Pendergast, I don’t feel a need to go binge read the other ones.

Writing Life: 

– Shelley


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.


Friday Fare: 5/17/19

Apparently Gen X is a mess (and I’m supposedly an Xennial?  WTF *is* that?).  This was an interesting look of allll the things I remember from my childhood / teenage years.

HBR had an interesting piece on what to do when work is slow.  (And I think when I originally bookmarked it, work *was* slow.  At least that one day.)  But this is good and I feel like this is something I can use for my creative life as well as my professional life.

This is old news, but Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had their baby.  And they gave him the most deliciously adorable name. Long live Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor!

My husband and I had a beloved friend over for dinner the other night.  Our friend is effortlessly cool, loves our little hellions, and is just one of those people that I want to be when I finally grow up.  Anyway – chicken was on the menu, salad, and good crusty bread.  And these lemon bars for dessert.  Half Baked Harvest is a gem on the Internet when it comes to effortlessly delicious recipes.


Listening: Bless Garth Brooks and his insistence that the late Keith Whitley be immortalized in the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Whitley’s voice is incomparable and it’s touching that 30 years after his death, people still recognize him for the talent that he was.

Reading:  I got to wish a happy book birthday to my dear friend Jeffrey D. Briggs for “Out of the Cold Dark Sea.” I obviously have *my* copy.  I also got a copy of my friend Meg Hafdahl‘s “Daughters of Darkness.”  Man … so many books to read!

Writing Life: This week has been allllll about recovery from last weekend’s Wordplay literary conference.  You can read my recap here.  Work is ramping up and I’ve been trying to catch up on all the things, but as you can imagine – a weekend spent in the company of a bunch of amazing writers and people who love books?  It’s the shot in the arm I needed to get some stuff done.

– Shelley


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.


Recap: The Loft’s Wordplay (May 11-12, 2019)

On May 11 & 12th, The Loft Literary Center hosted its inaugural Wordplay literary conference in downtown Minneapolis.  Billed as “Minnesota’s largest celebration of readers, writers, and good books”, the conference certainly lived up to its hype – hosting The Rock Bottom Remainders on Friday at the iconic First Avenue and featuring a megawatt list of authors throughout the weekend.  I was in attendance in my capacity as a board member for the Mystery Writers of America – Midwest Chapter (MWA-Midwest).

I think that I’m recovered (think is the key word there) and just wanted to give a rundown of some of the high points from my weekend.  I’m not even going to bury the lede:  I freaking met Stephen King.  *The* King.  My childhood writing hero.  And no mom, I didn’t pee my pants.  And although I’m not sure – I think I was coherent?

I think it’s fitting that I’m clutching a coffee cup as I’m meeting my hero. To the right of the picture is the wonderful Rachel Howzell Hall.

So, meeting Stephen King (and getting him to sign my much loved copy of Salem’s Lot) was pretty freaking special, but I got to hang out with two other luminaries from the mystery world: Rachel Howzell Hall and Hank Phillipi Ryan.  These ladies!  They didn’t even bat an eye when I brushed about three years worth of Goldfish crumbs out of the backseat of my mommobile and drove them to their hotel later that night.

Other highlights:

BOOK LOVE: I was incredibly proud of my friend (and local author) Meg Hafdahl.  Meg was chosen by The Loft was one of the Exhibitors for the weekend and she KILLED it in book sales.  I also got to crash with Meg and her writing partner Kelly Florence and will always be grateful for our solidarity and need for takeout, silence, and bad literary movie adaptations after Day 1 of the conference.

MERCH: The last day of the conference coincided with Mother’s Day, which kinda sucked?  (I’m of a couple different minds – I don’t like the commercialization of it, I am mindful of my dear friends who have a hard time with this day, but damn do I love the preschool / homemade art crafts that my kidlets bring home to me!  And the snuggles!)  So, I took advantage of that “excuse” and a kind exhibitor’s discount from Odin & Osgar to get myself a couple book-related gifts.  (See the Book Nerd t-shirt in the graphic above.)  These guys are funny and local.  (And size-inclusive … I’m a plus-sized lady, so it’s nice to get a shirt that actually fits me!)

SHENANIGANS: MWA-Midwest had a booth that was right in the shadow of the US Bank Stadium and almost adjacent to the stage where Stephen King gave Saturday morning’s keynote speech.  Our booth neighbor to the left was South Dakota author Phyllis Cole-Dai.  I do sincerely wish that our paths will cross again.  It was great to meet her and Ruby R. Wilson (co-editor of their shared poetry book: Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems).

The MWA-Midwest booth featured signings by several of our Minnesota authors: Jessie Chandler, Priscilla Paton, Christine Husom, Jimmy Olsen, Michael A. Black, Terri Karsten, and Rob Jung.

On Sunday, a group of MWA-MW’s authors participated in a panel on the Target Stage called “Mysterious Minnesota.”  Luckily for me, our chapter president Heather Ash did all the work, I just got to hang out and take pictures of my friends and peers’ faces up on the big screen.

From top L: Heather Ash, C.M. Surrisi, Allen Eskens. Directly below Ash – our panelists on stage. Bottom row from left: David Housewright, Mindy Mejia, and another picture of our panelists.

It was wonderful. It was a lot.  I was glad to get home on Sunday night and have been drinking coffee by the pot since then in trying to regain some of my energy, but I was happy to be part of the experience.


Friday Fare, where?

Don’t get me wrong … the Interwebs were RIFE with content this week, but I’m in the midst of preparing for this weekend’s Wordplay conference up in Minneapolis!

I’ll be hanging out and representing Mystery Writers of America-Midwest Chapter in booth C7 this weekend!

Happy Friday!


Friday Fare: 5/3/19

My local grocery store chain is having a truckload sale for cereal.  Times like this, I feel the world gets me (or at least the culinary habits of my children.)

Willie Nelson is a gatdamn national treasure.  I’m grateful for the times I’ve seen him in concert.  Loved this Rolling Stone article about him.

This article in the New Yorker by Guinevere Turner was equal parts chilling, humorous, and haunting as she recounts her years growing up in a cult.

Reading this profile of comedienne Amy Poehler has moved her memoir up on my TBR list.


Reading:  I finished Alison Goodman’s “Dark Days” trilogy this week with the final installment of “Dark Days Deceit.”  She left a door open for further books and I sincerely hope that she considers writing more about the adventures of Lady Helen Wrexhall and Lord William Carlston.

And … eeek!  I cannot adequately express my joy and excitement for this piece of book mail that came to me earlier this week:

Jeffrey D. Briggs is a friend and I had the pleasure of beta reading “Out of the Cold Dark Sea” a couple years back.  Jeff’s debut novel (or Martha, as I like to call her) comes out on May 15th and is currently available to pre-order.  My mother-in-law (the mystery aficionado) loved this book and I remember reading it via Microsoft Word, scrolling furiously to get to the stunning conclusion.  So.  Effing.  Proud.

Writing Life: Youngest child was sick on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Eldest child out of commission on Thursday (and since this is written on Thursday, hard to say what Friday holds.)  Obviously – it’s not fun when the kiddos are sick.  (Especially when wrenched out of a fitful sleep by the telltale sounds of a kid about to hurl / in mid-hurl.)  I have the flexibility of working from home, but all parts of my productivity suffers.  (Except for laundry … I keep up with laundry during these times … :-/ )  But in the midst of all of this – I am so excited to announce that MWA-Midwest’s Critique Program launched on May 1st.  This is my second year of co-coordinating the program and I’m so proud of how it matches unpublished writers with seasoned authors to provide a critique of their work.  Click on the embedded link for more information.

Happy Friday!  If there’s one thing I learned this week, it’s that you can re-purpose your Easter baskets for puke buckets.

– Shelley


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.