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Friday Fare: 2/26/21

This article attracted my notice because it featured David Lynch, so … no brainer. But what lured me in was that Lynch was keeping farmer’s hours during the pandemic.

Well, my reading list just grew exponentially with this post from Ingram and their recommendations for “rural noir.”

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Watching: I’m almost caught up with Netflix’s “The Crown.” But over the past few episodes, I’ve been focusing less on the content and more that Olivia Colman’s jawline and overall *lewk* really, really, really reminds me of my late maternal grandma Boots.  It’s comforting and disconcerting.

Reading: I’m really focusing on reading comps (comparative) books for my upcoming agent querying odyssey. I’m revisiting one of Mindy Mejia’s books “Everything You Want Me to Be” and damn … so good.

Writing: Good things abound. Dragonfly/Irreversible is under 90,000 words and I’m getting ready to start sending out my queries.  I just need to write a synopsis.  Gross.

The weather is getting warmer here in Minnesota! Stay healthy, get active, wash your hands, and mask up!

– 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: 2/12/21

Do I get some sort of prize for blogging three weeks in a row? What, no? Sigh.

I don’t have that much to say, but I’ve read a few good things lately that need to be shared. This piece about Shelley Duvall in particular. I know she is Wendy Torrance from Kubrick’s “The Shining” for so many people, but she’ll always be Olive Oyl from Robert Altman’s “Popeye” to me.

Forgive me if I’ve shared this before, but this is still my favorite soup recipe. I’m one of those people who will eat soup whenever, but since the temperatures have been below zero here in Minnesota, comfort food like this is a must right now.

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Minutia/Writing/Etc.: I don’t think that I’m the only creative type who has had one hell of a time putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, etc., during the past year. March will mark a full year that my family have been together with our new work-from-home/distance learning lives and ohmigosh – I am one of the luckiest people that I know and it was our choice to distance learn with our children, but wow – all this togetherness! What we saved this summer in daycare, I am certain will go towards future therapy bills for our shiznits. There are several days (weeks?) that creativity is the last plate that I juggle in my household.

Courtesy of Giphy

While my mind probably resembles a dried out husk, the children run amok, and while the piles on my kitchen counter are truly epic, I’ve been trying to foster my creativity in a passive way.  If I see a webinar that looks interesting and is a “reasonable” cost (free-$35), I’ve attended it. These past couple of weeks, I’ve attended a webinar on publishing hosted by the Off Campus Writers’ Workshop that featured an acquiring editor I admire and an agent who is on my list to query. I also attended a thriller-writing workshop hosted by Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Jane Friedman has also had some amazing workshops recently and there are authors I admire who have been giving master classes on character development, editing tips, etc.

The pandemic has been a CF and it’s been frustrating to try and get deep work done whether it’s creatively or in my day job (which is the one that pays the mortgage, so that one gets top billing). But attending webinars is my attempt to turn lemons into lemon drops.

However, *whispers* I’m going to get some writing/editing/alone time in this weekend. My fingers are crossed for all sorts of productivity! Or if I’m not productive, some time hanging out in my underwear drinking cheap beer with olives at the bottom of the glass.

Sorry for that image, folks, but it is what it is. Happy Friday!

– 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: 2/5/21

The Rochester Public Library Foundation had a successful Wit, Wisdom & Wine in a virtual format. Here’s one of my favorite pictures that came out of the weekend. (Because … well, I didn’t take too many pictures of me rocking business clothes up top and yoga pants on the bottom.)

What I love about this photo is William Kent Krueger’s smiling face (obvs), but the four images up top – that’s me, Brenda, Grace, and Catherine. I felt like these ladies were my sisters after we spent countless hours together moderating this virtual event. And our text strings back and forth were fairly epic.

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Reading: I’ve been reading, of course, but this is the article that nearly made me nose my coffee when my husband sent it to me.

Also, evenings are for snuggles and books. I like to read productivity books while my oldest child goes for the kid lit.

Writing: I have a blog post percolating in my head that’s based on an email that I wrote to an aspiring writer the other day. Stay tuned. 🙂

– 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: Something fun …

I am the speaker chair for this year’s Wit, Wine & Wisdom event that benefits the Rochester Public Library Foundation. Due to Covid, this year’s programming is an online affair via Zoom conferencing call. The past few months have been a flurry of enjoyable planning, but this week has been distilled into a “crunch time.” All of the sudden, those “to dos” on my list aren’t items that I can put off any longer. One of them was preparing a “camera-ready” space for the sessions I’m moderating.

Honestly, I’ve enjoyed those interviews where the watcher can get a glimpse of what’s on a celebrity’s bookshelf and man – I could have a lot of fun with that, but I decided to go for the “artful” route versus showing my husband’s collection of Star Trek novels or revealing to the audience that we have at least three copies of Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” books.

So the picture above is my set-up. The picture is taken in my old office (which is a long story of location shuffling due to Covid). My husband has gracefully dealt with the sheer amount of stuff that I have on the shelves surrounding my old desk, but I decluttered for my upcoming interviews. Here’s what made the cut:

  • A piece of artwork from one of my kids. I may love the library and I may be a writer, but I am a mom first (especially these days …). I don’t remember which kid made this masterpiece for me, but it was cool enough to frame.
  • An event poster from the Edina Art Center and the first official book signing I attended for my short story in Rhonda Gilliland’s anthology “Cooked To Death II: Lying on a Plate.”
  • I lived in west central Minnesota at the beginning of my career in journalism and befriended an amazingly talented artist named Ron Adams. Hell, he’s more than a friend – I call him my Papa Ron and he’s extraordinarily dear to me. Willmar has an annual festival called “Celebrate Art, Celebrate Coffee” and in 2000, Ron designed the poster. I didn’t know him very well at the time (he was one of the photographers at the paper), but the piece spoke to me and I bought one of the numbered copies and accosted him in the paper’s photo bureau to sign the print for me. Little did I know that he would later become one of my closest friends. I treasure this piece for its artistry, but I love this piece because it reminds me to take a chance when it comes to people.
  • I come from a family who’s pretty damn proud of our Scandinavian heritage. For me, this includes receiving pieces featuring “rosemaling” from my great-aunts. Luckily for me, I’ve befriended a Rochester, MN artist named Janet Swanson who paints some of the most amazing pieces. I picked this one up pre-Covid and treasure it. (Janet is married to another amazing artist/photographer named Rick, who is also a dear friend.)
  • I cannot say enough about my friend Cathy Wheeler. She’s a force of nature. She’s kind, she’s talented, she gave me my sourdough starter at the start of Covid, she knitted items for my children when they were born, I used to babysit her cousin’s kids and … and … and. I don’t know what’s bigger – her heart or her immense talent. This piece is an original work that she gifted to me.
  • Finally … FINALLY! My husband and I joked that I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t do something that was slightly subversive. You can’t really see it, but there’s a little trio of items that I have in the corner of my tableau – a wooden cat figure that’s gray, a cherry-stained wooden box, and a ceramic skull that my husband gave me when he came back from a work trip. Why yes, that box holds my cat’s ashes. This is the tribute to my late cat, Digger. He was a force to be contended with and he’s always with me in spirit. And in some cases, on screen.

Not seen is a picture that’s directly behind me. It’s an old picture of my grandpa Stan from the 1970s at an auction. He had a gift for gab, I’m hoping that there’s enough of him in me to make me sound smart and not like a stuttering fan girl as I interview folks this upcoming weekend.

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Blessings: Emails from friends and family. Facebook Messenger strings and text groups with good friends – exchanging recipes and memes, helping each other navigate motherhood and life during Covid. Adorable cats. My family who puts up with me. Hello Fresh deliveries that do the bulk of grocery “shopping” for me.

Reading: One of the authors I’m interviewing is C.H. Armstrong. I read her books “The Edge of Nowhere” and “Roam.”  They were both unputdownable books. I also finished Sherry Thomas‘s “Murder on Cold Street,” the latest of her Lady Sherlock series. That was so good and it was a read that had me up way past my bedtime.

Random: I triple-booked myself on Tuesday, which, if you know me – that’s not unusual or impossible. Luckily for me, everything these days is virtual and both sessions I attended were taped via Crowdcast or Zoom. First, the national Sisters in Crime held an editing session with Jess Lourey. She’s a Minnesota author who is amazingly talented and kind. To get to learn from her is a master class in and of itself. But I also took a chance on a virtual book event from the Harvard Book Store – Irish actor Gabriel Byrne was doing an event to promote his second memoir “Walking with Ghosts.” I tried talking myself out of registering for Byrne’s event, but I’m glad that my frivolous side that hoards books talked louder than the rational side of me that reminded me that I had a webinar with Jess Lourey and a 7 PM meeting for another engagement. There are so many terrible parts of Covid, but if there’s a silver lining, it’s the fact that Zoom enables a different sort of connection.

Sending love and socially distanced hugs to you all!

– 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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A new dawn, day, year …

… And I’m 25 days late in greeting it, and you, in it. But I’ve been blessedly swamped with work lately. And then on Saturday, I tried a new sport:

My hips are screaming at me today, but I’m grateful for socially distanced activities so I can see my dear friends and get out of the house. (A bonus that the women below are insanely talented local writers who like craft beer and chocolate as much as I do!)

So – my belated wishes for a happy new year. I am hoping for a kinder year. I am hoping to get to spend time with more friends and family this year. (Wear a damn mask.) I am hopeful for a greater peace.

Best,
Shelley

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Friday Fare: 12/18/20

One of the most enjoyable interactions I had this week on social media had to do with a text my mom sent me:

As I state in my post above, my kiddos are kinda strange about what they eat. My oldest hates ice cream and frosted cakes, but if I haul out one of my great-grandma Florence’s recipes that includes things like molasses and walnuts, he’s all in. Of course, my youngest is the polar opposite and will eat EVERYTHING unless it has raisins or nuts. But when I let them take a bite of pecan pie this week, they were both fans.

So I texted my mom for her favorite tassie recipe and she came through with a picture and a text with an old Lutheran church cookbook recipe. In case you can’t see it on the post, here’s the recipe from Mrs. Clarence Sivesind:

Prize Tassies

1 c. butter (room temperature                                           2 c. sifted flour
2 (3 oz.) pkg of cream cheese

Cream these ingredients together. Roll into balls and press into mini muffin tins. Fill tin/dough balls 3/4 full with the following filling:

3 eggs (slightly beaten)                                                       Dash of salt
1 1/2 c. brown sugar                                                            1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. butter (melted)                                                              1 c. pecans, chopped

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool before lifting out with a fork.

Happy eating friends.

One of my friends left a comment on Instagram asking what tassies are. I basically think of them as miniature pecan pies, but according to the Interwebs, tassies are Scottish in origin and are miniature pies or tarts. I’ve always associated tassies with my Norwegian relatives (and the cookbook cited above comes from a VERY Scandinavian congregation), but apparently, I’ve been wrong about that for 40+ years.

***

Reading: I finished Laura Lippman‘s “My Life as a Villainess” (fantastic) and am still reading Kate Baer‘s “What Kind of Woman.”

Writing: A lot of people have talked about how challenging it is to be creative during a pandemic. I don’t think it’s necessary to add my voice to the fray, except to chime in that it’s been HARD. 🙂  But what I’ve been doing is taking advantage of opportunities to listen in on various writing-related webinars. But in writing … I have a project that I need to finish before the end of the year with a couple of my dear friends. I am going to be querying Dragonfly in earnest starting Q1 of 2021.

I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel called 2020 and I’m hoping it’s not an oncoming train. But … be kind, be gracious, wear a mask, and don’t snap at grocery store workers, USPS/FedEx/UPS personnel, or any of those folx who are just doing the best job that they can under weird-ass circumstances.

AND … since the next couple of Fridays coincide with Christmas and New Years, I’m going to wish you my very best and will pick up Friday Fare on January 6, 2021!

– 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: 12/11/20

I have three friends … THREE! … who have books that came out this week. And I’ve said this on social media and I mean it – if I’m ever at a point in my life where I’m not in AWE of the collective talent of my friends and acquaintances, I’ve become too jaded for words.

So, huge congrats to my mentor and my beer drinking buddy Jerry Johnson for the release of his latest anthology of essays: Coot Dogs – An Anthology of Dog Stories by a Crazy Old Coot. I always tell Jerry that when I read his essays, I feel like he’s eavesdropped on every holiday conversation my father and his brothers have ever had. Ergo, Jerry’s work is the perfect holiday gift for that hard-to-buy-for male in your life. (And in this case, anyone who’s ever loved a dog.) Books are currently available on Amazon, but he’ll also have signed copies at Dragonfly Books in Decorah, Iowa.

Also – set down your coffee or whatever you’re drinking right now and click on this post from Jerry. This one was a balm in this dumpster fire of a year.

I had the absolute joy of beta reading Priscilla Paton’s latest book Should Grace Fail, book two in her Twin Cities Mysteries series. I adore the relationship between her main characters Detectives Deb Metzger and Erik Jansson. This book also has a memorable cast of minor characters. Signed copies of Paton’s latest will be available at Once Upon A Crime Books in Minneapolis, books are also available on Amazon.

Anthony W. Eichenlaub is a beloved friend of my family and one hell of a writer. His e-book Of A Strange World Made was released this week and is available through Amazon/Kindle. From his blog post: “… Welcome to the world of Sky, where the colony of Edge lives at the forward boundary of humanity and science. Ash Morgan doesn’t have a problem breaking rules, but things are getting ridiculous and she might not know where to stop.”

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Listening: This clip has been a favorite constant over the past couple of months. I know that I’m a few decades behind the times, but I am OK with it.

Reading: I’m still working my way through Laura Lippman‘s “My Life as a Villainess” and Kate Baer‘s “What Kind of Woman.”

Writing: … locusts? Ha!

Wear your mask. Wash your hands. If you’re in a spot where you can buy local or give money to organizations who are helping others, please do so. Be kind to everyone you meet. – 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: 12/4/20

(Whispers.) It’s December.

I think we’re all on board when it comes to the reality that 2020 has been a brutally long year. And while I am not one to wish time away, the dawning of this decade can go eff itself.

Anyway … it’s December. I don’t have much to add to this, but if you head on down to my recap below, you’ll see that I haven’t totally been just moping around and drinking beer.

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Miscellany: I’ve had two things happen recently that made me think “I want to blog about that!”  One is that we bought a treadmill and I’ve been trying to get into podcasts while I’m walking. Right now I’ve started Dana Kaye’s “Branding Outside the Box” podcast. Dana’s a publicist that I’ve gotten to know through the mystery world and it’s to the point where if I know she’s going to be facilitating an online class or conference, I’ll sign up. She’s just a fantastically organized human being. I’m two episodes in so far and I’m enjoying it.

Also, I finally finished all five seasons of watching “Boardwalk Empire”. It was well-acted and written, it was fairly violent, but it was a great distraction over the past few months.  Hubs and I also have made a Friday night date where we catch up on Disney’s “The Mandalorian” and watch a few episodes of “Schitt’s Creek.”

Reading: It took about two months, but I finally finished Cal Newport’s “Deep Work.” I will revisit it at some point to solidify what I read, but there was some good lessons there that could be applied to a non-pandemic world.

Also, a very strange trend in 2020 reading has been the number of vampire novels I’ve been consuming. I discovered Christine Feehan’s books – they were OK, but Jeanene Frost and Chloe O’Neill were the standouts of this genre.

I am also reading Laura Lippman‘s “My Life as a Villainess.” It’s a fantastic collection of essays that I’ve been savoring with my coffee.  Same with Kate Baer‘s debut collection of poetry “What Kind of Woman.”

Writing: … you can insert the sound of crickets here.

Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Get takeout from a local restaurant. Be kind to everyone you meet. – 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: 10/23/20

My week can be pretty much summed up in the following Tweet:

I think our family’s experience is probably replicated in other families: One child kicks ass at math and apathetic at reading while the other abhors math and is a reading rock star. So … flashcards. The rest of the Tweet … WIG (Wildly Important Goals), 4DX, etc., well … that’s one of those ferrety wormholes that my brain went down earlier this week. I really love the idea of being an efficient workhorse and a brilliant business mind, but …  yeah. It hasn’t happened in my previous 42 years, I’m not holding my breath for a midlife miracle.  But it’s a hobby: Some people listen to true crime podcasts, I like reading business blogs and am sucked in by productivity articles.  (Wishful thinking, perhaps?)

Anyway, enough about those pipe dreams. My neck of the Minnesota woods got its first dusting of snow. My children have learned how to email me, which is equal parts hilarious and has blown any of my dreams of “inbox zero” to smithereens.  (Trust me, though … it’s worth it.)

On the cooking front, I made this soup from Giada DeLaurentis. It was fantastic and only got better on subsequent days.

Other links I adored:

“I saw this very gazelle-like creature leaping through the traffic in a rather dangerous way,” Cadell told me, “and the next thing I know, she’d leapt over the wall and was sitting beside us. And I was so impressed — with her exuberance and her folly all at once. I thought, ‘This is an interesting woman.’” The New York Times had a fascinating profile on Sigourney Weaver.

I also adored this New Yorker piece about Mandy Patinkin. (It went well with coffee and a lazy Sunday morning.)

***

Listening: I still buy my albums on CD, because I have a CD player in my mom-mobile. And this song gets played regularly:

Reading: Remember what I was saying about how I like to read productivity books?  I bought Cal Newport’s “Deep Work” and am achieving productivity nerd nirvana. (And yes, if you’re wondering, the concept of “deep work” right now in the midst of a pandemic with every member of my household present … it’s pretty impossible. But this is my nerdy nirvana.)

Writing: I’m still trying to achieve peak nerd nirvana on my writing goals. I’ll keep you posted on that one, ‘kay?

Email someone you love, but don’t talk to often. Wear a mask. Encourage a friend to vote. And if you’re inclined/able, think about donating to a local food shelf/charitable organization that does good in your community. – 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: 10/16/20

Not much to report this week. Mostly because my kiddos have a long weekend away from school and we’ve been hitting up local apple orchards like they’re my favorite microbreweries.We also took advantage of our time off by getting our flu shots. Woot! And necessary!

I also baked up a storm (because we saw my kids’ former nanny. She’s now a new mom and her husband is a farmer. Ergo, he has a metabolism that I can only dream of and he likes it when I bake.). Applesauce bread and butterscotch pudding cookies.

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Watching: I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies and am usually about a decade behind trends. To wit, I am currently working my way through HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” courtesy of the DVDs from my local library. I am about to start the last season and it’s been a very interesting distraction (albeit violent one) from Covid life.

Reading: This week has been quiet on the reading front, but I did do a couple “bookish” things. One of the most enjoyable ones was a Zoom call with authors Jeffrey D. Briggs and James W. Ziskin.

Call someone you love. Be kind to everyone you meet. Vote/make a plan to vote. Wash your darn hands and wear a mask if you’re able. – 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.