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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.

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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

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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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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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: 4/19/19

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve had more obligations to attend to than actual time. In the midst of all of this, I’ve had sick kids, work deadlines, and a wedding anniversary to celebrate. (Ten years. Hooray to us. We like each other as much as we love each other and to be honest … I’ve always thought that there are people you are obligated to love. Hence, I’m grateful for the depth of affection I have for my husband, but I’m also gratified that even after 20+ years of knowing each other we haven’t run out of things to talk about and that I’d rather spend time with him than anyone else. And PS – he’s hot.)

Fiction takes a back burner on weeks like these. That and I have to write notes to myself with “stretch goals”. (And trust me – these are mundane. Things like “remember to take your noon vitamins!” and “finish reading and reviewing [insert book title here].”)

Here’s what’s new in links this week:

I’m still a sucker for productivity articles.  This was a decent one.

I think if there was a Venn diagram that showed my life and how it intersected with the sports world … erm.  Well – it would be non-existent.  But I have a friend who’s a college football coach (I know … my life is wonderful and random) and he’s also kicking leukemia’s ass and was recently featured on a podcast.  I took time out of my folk Spotify feed to listen to it and man … I am so proud to call Coach Mike Dovenberg a friend.  I really appreciated his anecdote about his mom sanitizing the coaching box so Mike could attend games (if you know his mom, you’d understand why this image caused me a simultaneous amount of joy and tears … I hold his mom up to a gold standard), but I appreciated the thoughts that went through Mike’s head when he was diagnosed with leukemia.  “So what, now what … what are you going to do?”  Mike’s no longer a kid, but when I think of him, I think of the eight-year-old I befriended in Malta.  The kid I went fishing with along the Mediterranean Sea.  I admire his practicality and I think the world of him.  So what, now what?  It feels like the coaches’ version of Mary Oliver’s “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / With your one wild and precious life?”
Buca de Beppo is one of my favorite restaurants.  It was funny to read a history about it in Bon Appetit magazine.

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I don’t really have anything new on the Listening and Reading fronts this week.  Unless you count this recent acquisition:

Writing Life: Slow, but meaningful progress.  I’ve also been knee deep in planning efforts for a couple Mystery Writers of America-Midwest initiatives – the MWA-Midwest Critique Program and the upcoming Wordplay festival!

Happy Friday!  Make it a good one.

– 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: 4/12/19

So, we *had* a brief taste of spring in my corner of Minnesota.  But also this week, we had snow, followed by sleet, followed by thunder sleet.  Yeah.  The weather isn’t certain what it’s doing, but come this time next week – the recent white stuff that’s been dumped on my yard will likely be gone.

This was an interesting article by The Guardian in the UK about the romance industry’s problem with diversity.  It’s a long read, but it’s a good one and is probably just as pertinent to the mystery genre as it is our bodice-ripping brethren.

Split Rock and its lighthouse is an iconic spot in Minnesota and its current keeper is stepping down after 36 years of service.

And who knew that catering was such a cutthroat industry?  A great piece by the New York Times.

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Watching: Caught up on “Riverdale.”  (And yes, still mourning Fred Andrews.)  And almost done with Season 2 of “The Crown.”  (<– I am nothing if not behind on trends.)

Reading: Still reading Layne Fargo’s “Temper” and April Henry’s “Blood Will Tell.” I can tell why Fargo’s book has received so much advanced buzz.

Writing Life: Good things are happening.  Even if my kids were home yesterday on a mid-April snow day. 🙂

Happy Friday!  Make it a good one.

– 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: 4/5/19

I didn’t *mean* to take a month off from blogging, but it happened – so I’m glad to be back and glad to share some links with you.

In no particular order, a couple author friends of mine recently release books.  I cannot wait to read Meg Hafdahl‘s “Daughters of Darkness” and K. Bird Lincoln‘s “Last Dream of Her Mortal Soul.”

This obituary won the Internet.

I am obsessed with reading up on the daily routines of creative types.  This piece about the daily rituals of artists like Joan Didion and Patti Smith did not disappoint.

I’m fairly obsessed with the Instagram feed and blog for Shutterbean.  I also recently made this recipe for Creamy Sausage Mushroom Pasta and it’s a winner.

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Listening: Spotify has been my go-to lately for streaming music.  And I was thrilled to find the 90s Pop Rock Essentials playlist.  Good. Times.

Reading: I had the opportunity to go the Murder & Mayhem in Chicago at the end of March and came home with more for my TBR pile:

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Oh #murderandmayhemchicago …you get me.

A post shared by michelle kubitz (@michellekubitzwrite) on

Otherwise, I’m reading Layne Fargo’s “Temper” and April Henry’s “Blood Will Tell.”  I also finally finished Gillian Flynn’s “Sharp Objects” and whoa … that was amazing.  If you’re interested in what I’m reading, read, etc., you can follow me on Goodreads.

Writing Life: Very good.  Great progress on a project I’m working on with some friends and steady progress on Dragonfly.

Happy springtime 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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Monday Mayhem: 2/25/19

I’m sending you a note from the frozen tundra of MinneSNOWta.  My neck of the woods got hit with a blizzard on Saturday night heading into Sunday, which means that school is cancelled for the day.  #sendwine (This is after Presidents Day last Monday and a snow day on Wednesday. I don’t know if my kids actually remember what school is?  My state has broken a record for the most snowfall in February and man … I am fairly done with all of this white shiz.)

Incidentally, snow days mean excuses to bake.  I made this banana bread (Shutterbean is the curator of one of my favorite Instagram feeds) and this baked oatmeal dish.  I am almost out of beer, but the baked carbs keep flowing.

I am in love with Billy Porter.  That is all:

Thursday marked my cousin‘s 39th birthday.  I miss him every day, which is admittedly weird considering that we only talked at the holidays.  And even then, those conversations were largely one-sided with me doing all the talking.  (My cousin was a man of few words.  And a shit-eating grin.  God, I miss that kid.)

Incidentally, Peter Tork died on my cousin’s birthday.  His Minnesota connection is a fascinating one.

This was an interesting piece about how one writer used to write pre-computer / Internet days.  And even though I can only relate to a fraction of it, I remembered my first electronic typewriter.

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Listening: A couple Friday nights ago, I was freezing my ass off outside of First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, waiting for this band.  I’m fairly in love with Andrew Marlin’s voice and it was well worth the extra hour I spent outside in the cold, hanging out with some random guy named Paul, and finding an actual stool to sit on versus having my 40-year-old self jostling for room down in the floor area of First Ave.

Reading: A couple books came in for me at the library!  “Grateful American” by Gary Sinise and “Sin Killer” by Larry McMurty.  (Random factoid: McMurty’s book was in my parents’ bathroom the last time I was back home in Iowa.  It was compelling enough that I decided to check it out from my local library.

I am an actor AND an author.

I also finished Tracy Clark‘s debut novel “Broken Places.” And DAMN.  That was a satisfying read and I cannot WAIT to meet Ms. Clark IRL next month in Chicago.

Writing Life: I love me some Emily Allen West and Jessica Laine is an up-and-coming author to watch!  So you can imagine how exciting it is to COLLABORATE with these amazing women.  The following was announced earlier this week by Ms. West:

I’m done with the snow. That is all.

– Shelley

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Monday Mayhem is what happens when I neglect to write a Friday Fare. Or it can be any kind of article that happens to be published on a Monday.  I hope that it provides a great start to your week!

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Friday Fare: 2/15/19

Very proud of my friend and her blog debut.

This woman is a hero.  And we should honor her memory.

I might need to put this on my watch list.

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Listening: The Interwebs have been buzzing since Sunday’s Grammy Awards and Brandi Carlile is getting the lion’s share of attention for how she slayed the audience with her live rendition of The Joke.  Here’s the link to the Grammy performance.  Equally powerful on the album.

Reading: Nada.  Work deadlines + snow days with hellions = not a lot of time for things outside of what pays me and the beings I need to nurture and feed quasi-healthy foods.

Writing Life: Good?  Small increments of progress can be reported.

That’s it for this week – I hope that this finds you well and warm!

– 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: 2/8/19

Eh – it’s February, I should probably check in.  While I am sorry for my absence, I’ve been feeling like my blog = slog lately, so I took a quick break.  It didn’t help that January ended up being an epic travel month with a work trip to Denver, followed by a girls’ weekend in Las Vegas.  (No, I don’t gamble; yes, I was appalled by the prices; but man … Vegas has her charms, doesn’t she?  Notwithstanding the enormous billboard promoting an upcoming Gordon Lightfoot concert.  That was cool and felt like a sign I was in the right place at the right time.  Erm … well, maybe not the right time, since his concert’s in March, but you know what I mean …)

I was excited to see this news out of my quasi-hometown Decorah, Iowa.  Kate and her team have done a wonderful job with Dragonfly Books, I’ll be excited to see her bring that to Master’s Touch.

Huge congrats to my friend Rob Jung on the publication of his book “Cloud Warriors.”  Rob and several other of my writer friends will be appearing at The Loft Literary Center on February 26th for a joint book signing / event.

Finally, I am very excited (and getting a little nervous courtesy of the weather), for an event that I’m facilitating for Mystery Writers of America-Midwest Chapter.  Mindy Mejia is talented as hell in the mystery / thriller world AND she’s a CPA.  (Which means she’s good with numbers … this woman may be part unicorn.)  Mejia is going to be talking about taxes for creative types and the meeting is free and open to the public!

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All Things Ina: Everything’s been coming up Ina Garten lately.  She shared an epic Valentine’s Day playlist over on Spotify.  And then she went day drinking with Seth Meyers.  Hilarious.

Reading: During my recent work / life travels, I read Paula Hawkins’ “Girl on the Train.”  I can see the fuss.  Also reading Tracy Clark’s debut novel “Broken Places” and am very impressed with her work.

Writing Life:

That’s it for this week – I hope that this finds you well and warm!

– 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.