Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: But not today!

There’s plenty of grist in the Interwebs this week, but I’ve been spending my free moments getting ready for a panel that I’ll be moderating at the Edina Art Center on Saturday.  It’s called “The Author’s Studio: Write Funny or Die.” Here’s the blurb from the website: Writing humorous crime fiction is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, but perhaps there is a key. Learn how some of Minnesota’s best-known crime writers make the mysterious a little more humorous. The panel of local mystery writers will read brief excerpts from their work, take questions from the audience, and provide some laughs along the way. Hope to see you at this special April Fool’s event. This event is free and open to the public.

I’m excited and honored to be moderating this group of veteran authors (Midge Bubany, Jessie Chandler, Barbara Deese, Pat Dennis, and Christine Husom).  Part of my research for the event has been reading up on these authors’ works.  I’m proud to know these women and am looking forward to Saturday’s event!  More information can be found here.

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Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 3/31/17

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week.

I went down a couple more weird Internet wormholes this week.  A python that killed and ate a man.  That led to watching a video of a group of kind rescuers in a southern India village watering a King Cobra from a water bottle.  (<– Truly, that vid was kinda bad ass – don’t regret that.)  But the strangest and sweetest article I ran into was this piece in Hero magazine where Stellan Skarsgard interviews his son Bill. (The trailer for the remake of Stephen King’s IT was released this week.  Bill Skarsgard plays Pennywise the Clown.  And man … I don’t care if that movie gives me nightmares, I think I need to go.)

Yeah … that’s kind of what I did this week.

Onward!

***

Listening: Same ‘ol, same ‘ol.

Reading: George Saunders’ “Tenth of December.” Finished “Enchantments: A novel of Rasputin’s Daughter and the Romanovs” by Kathryn Harrison. My heart was a little broken after I read the last pages.  “Enchantments” was a sublime read.

Fiction Update:  Edits on my short story!  I had an awesome tea-filled Tuesday evening where I went through the notes and feedback some of my writer friends gave me.  I am blessed to have peers that push me to be a better writer.

Happy Friday!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 3/24/17

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week.

I tripped into a bit of an Internet wormhole this week and found a couple of older articles about the comedy stylings of two people I greatly admire.  First off – Janeane Garafalo; I still want to be her when I grow up.  And Michael Nesmith.  My love of The Monkees is well chronicled.  This piece talks about his underappreciated comic stylings.

This piece is from my local newspaper.  I tend to live on the cynical side of life, but do appreciate something that’s heartwarming.  This fit the bill.

Oh jeez – who am I joking?  I love the heartwarming stories.  This one – about a 91-year-old woman who chose an epic road trip over chemotherapy – had me smiling through my tears.

Friends are coming over this weekend.  This will happen in all of its chocolate caramel glory.

***

Listening: I’ve been listening to a lot of Iron and Wine and Gregory Ivan Isakov this week.  Somehow, this brother-sister folk duo keep sneaking in too.

Reading: George Saunders’ “Tenth of December.” “Enchantments: A novel of Rasputin’s Daughter and the Romanovs” by Kathryn Harrison. I also snuck Patricia Briggs’ latest “Silence Fallen” over the weekend.  That was a good read.

Fiction Update:  This week has been quiet on the fictional front.  Need to kick it back into high gear to get the edits completed on my short story and to dig into “Dragonfly.”  Work looks primed to ramp up again, so better to make hay now rather than when I’m knee deep in proposal hell.

Happy Friday!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 3/17/17

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week.

This is from last week, but it still made me giggle … the father whose interview with the BBC was crashed by his little kids. I’ve definitely been in his shoes, but luckily armed with a mute button.

This article was the topic of several funny memes I saw on the Interwebs this week.

Margaret Atwood weighs in on the timeliness of “The Handmaid’s Tale” during the current political climate.

As you’ll see below, I’ve been on a 70s music kick this week.  This article which features a link that isolates Grace Slick’s vox on “White Rabbit” doesn’t disappoint.

Starburst says they will release a bag with just the pink ones.  Brilliant.

My dad’s birthday this weekend … my gift to him is a toss up between pecan pie brownies (infused with some bourbon) or Bailey’s brownies.  I’m not sure if I’m considering him or me when it comes to my pending decision.

***

Listening: It’s been a 1970s kind of week in my household.  I’ve been digging Bread.

Reading: Still reading George Saunders’ “Tenth of December,” a collection of his short stories.  Also started “Enchantments: A novel of Rasputin’s Daughter and the Romanovs” by Kathryn Harrison.  I have a thing for the Romanovs.  This book is exquisite.

Fiction Update:  Finished my short story.  Gah, those 4,000 words were elusive.  I need to revisit “Dragonfly,” but I’ve been trying to get some reading in while my mind takes a quick pause.

May the luck ‘o the Irish be with you and happy weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 3/10/17

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week.

Last week was rough on an illness front.  This week has featured an abundance of work and quasi-work obligations.  I’m looking forward to the weekend!

Some good stuff this week:

I love me some Jessica Lange.  This article says she’s Minnesota’s greatest actor.  I concur.

Some non-traditional ways to land an agent and a book deal.  I’ve heard of Pitch Wars and recently had good luck pitching at a writer’s conference – this is some good advice for people to get above the slog of email queries received by agents.

I just discovered George Saunders.  Holy hell.

***

Listening: Tired of hearing about Lord Huron yet?  Fine.  I also listen to a lot of Gregory Ivan Isakov and Iron and Wine during my work day.

Reading:  I read “The Exorcist” by William Peter Blatty in one night.  Yeah … don’t recommend that if one wants to have a restful night of sleep.  But man – it was good.  I can see why it has stood the test of time (40+ years after its release.)  Also reading George Saunders’ “Tenth of December,” a collection of his short stories.  <– Incredible.

Fiction Update:  Working on my short story.  My submission is limited to 4,000 words, so you’d think that would be easy.  Not so much.  Right now, I have about 1,700 words and 2,000 in notes / fragments in my manuscript.  The main character is tricky.  The narrative feels too linear (i.e. – the detective ushered him into a conference room.  The man took a seat in a too-small chair.  He waited.), but you can’t edit something that isn’t written, so I’m letting the spool unwind and will slice and dice to make something that’s more palatable to the reader.

Happy weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 3/3/17

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week.

This week I am thankful for urgent care, primary care, children’s Tylenol, Zarbees, and amoxicillin.

(Bleh.)

Illness has descended upon the house.  After four years of relative good health, we have our first set of ear infections for both children.  There have been a lot of early mornings and a lot of late nights this week.  But there’s still good stuff out on the Interwebs!  Without further ado:

  • Bill Paxton is one of those actors where once you see his name, you realize how many of your favorite movies he’s been in.  For me: Tombstone and Apollo 13.  A bunch of storm chasers gave Mr. Paxton a fitting tribute.
  • Homemade Reese’s Eggs?  OK.  That sounds tasty.
  • This comic from Zen Pencils is incredible.

***

Listening: Lord Huron has basically gotten me through this week.  I am a grateful person.

Reading:  “The Dark Days Club” by Alison Goodman was FABULOUS.  And “The Dark Days Pact” just came out … so that will likely be my next book on the TBR pile.

Fiction Update:  Despite being elbow deep in ick for most of the week, I got some time to work on my short story.  I’m letting the characters tell me their tales and trying to figure out what POV will be used.  The main character started off as aggressive, but he’s been cowed a little bit by the detectives who have shown up to interrogate him.  So we may be looking at a third-person omniscient POV. 🙂

Happy weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 2/24/17

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week.

Yeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhh … sorry it’s been a month, party people.  A certain mentor of mine emailed me a couple weeks ago to see if he wasn’t seeing new blog posts from me or if I’ve fallen off the face of the earth.  My response to him was probably a little profane, so I won’t reprint it for the lot of you, but suffice it to say – I was in a realm where I didn’t think I had a lot to say, yet I have a lot of things that are going on that I can’t really talk about yet?  (Writerly things. Mi familia is hale and hearty.  Work is picking up again – yay!)

Anyway – there are good things going on in the world.  (And some sh*tty things too, but shouldn’t surprise anyone …).  Here’s a roundup on what caught my eye in the Interwebs:

The Oscars are this weekend!  I may live in ratty T-shirts and old blue jeans, but I’ve been in love with Oscars night glamour since Mira Sorvino won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1996.  (I wanted to replicate her hair for senior prom.  That … didn’t happen.)  Anyway – this article about who really won the Oscars since 1992 was pretty awesome.

Salted caramel Nutella popcorn.  OK.  That sounds tasty.

Gah, I love Anthony Bourdain.  Seriously … he’s usurping Harrison Ford as my “older man crush.”

***

Listening: I talked about Lord Huron last summer, but I don’t think I really appreciated how awesome this band is.  I’ve found myself listening to them a lot of YouTube when I’m working.  Just good music and different from what’s out there.

Reading:  About to start “The Dark Days Club” by Alison Goodman.  And my mentor Jerry dropped his latest (and final) book in his “Coot” series.  I was thrilled to get a signed copy of his book this week over beer and gumbo.

Fiction Update:  I attended and successfully pitched “Dragonfly” to a couple agents at a recent writer’s conference.  The past couple weeks have been spent obsessively sprucing up some chapters for submission.  Now that my chapters are sent off, it’s time to work on a short story for consideration in an upcoming anthology with the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime and to continue working on Dragonfly edits.

Happy weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 1/20/17

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week.

The Interwebs were full this week with random, wacky, and good.

This week, the Mystery Writers of American (MWA) released their list of Edgar Award nominees.  At the end of last year, they announced the Grand Masters for the awards ceremony.  This article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press featured the work and career of Minnesota’s Ellen Hart.  (Related, here’s the list of “30 Essential” crime reads written by women over the past 100 years.)

One more shout-out for a Minnesota writer.  Nora McInerny Purmort has written movingly about her husband’s struggle and ultimate death from cancer.  Last year, she published a memoir “It’s OK to Laugh (Crying is Cool, Too)” and recently wrote a first-person account for Cosmopolitan magazine about how she started over after her husband (and father’s) death.

Last week, I talked about not quitting your day job.  So which authors actually make a living out of writing and sell (hundreds of) millions of books?  See here.

A hilarious “missed connection.”

Two food related bits … first and foremost, the Dubai-based chef that has become an unlikely Instagram hero.  (Seriously … he’s amazing.)

Finally, how can you go wrong with whiskey, chocolate, and salted caramel?

***

Listening:  I may just need to rename this section after Sturgill Simpson.  Because he was stunning.  Again.  He didn’t light the stage at 30 Rock on fire, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.  Check out “Call to Arms.”  In.cred.ible.

Reading:  As evidenced by the multitude of links above, I didn’t have a lot of time to read this week, apparently … sigh.

Fiction Update:  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand apparently I haven’t had a lot of time to write either.

Happy weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 1/13/17

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week.

A lot of writers dream of quitting their day job in pursuit of a full-time career in writing.  In short, this piece reminds us to not quit our day jobs.

A literary agent shares six lessons learned from their first full year of working in the field.

And not writing related, but this recipe (and coffee … lots of coffee) has gotten me through a wacky week.

And speaking of coffee … the bassist from Megadeth is starting a coffee shop in Jackson, Minnesota.  I see a road trip in my future.

***

Watching:  Typically, I don’t watch a lot of television (beyond delightful shows like “Phineas & Ferb”, “Tom the Tow Truck”, etc.) but I’ve caught the first two episodes of AMC’s “The Night Manager” on Amazon Prime.  And it’s good.  I think I’ll need to find the original John LeCarre book for further inspiration.

Reading:  I’m still on my reading jag.  Finished “Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys …” by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Verdict: Meh.); “Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter” by Kate Clifford Larson (Verdict: Better); and just finished “Winter’s Bone” by Daniel Woodrell (Verdict:  Uff da.  Will need to read that one again.)

Fiction Update:  Earlier this week, I talked a little about some character issues I’m having.  Otherwise, I’m still slogging through my draft of “Dragonfly.” 

Happy weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: Happy New Year (1/6/17)

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week.

I was driving down to a charming town in southeast Minnesota to meet up with this guy and his lovely wife when the radio DJ announced that Carrie Fisher had died.  Afterwards, she played the “Han Solo and the Princess” love theme from Empire Strikes Back and immediately followed that with Paul Simon’s “Hearts and Bones.”  It was a perfect benediction for my sad heart.  I was probably too young when I discovered Carrie Fisher’s writing – I was a kid when I found a copy of “Postcards from the Edge” and received an education on the wit and prose of the woman I knew as Princess Leia.  And while the Interwebs and social media are filled with pictures of Ms. Fisher as Leia – Princess (1970s) and General (2016), my favorite roles are a toss up between her turn as the beleaguered wife in “The ‘Burbs”  (<– don’t judge me, I effing love that movie) or the jilted fiancee from “Blues Brothers.”  However, out of all the tributes that came out – this one, from her brother-in-arms and “space twin” Mark Hamill – was my favorite.

***

Listening to: This is literally what is playing right now on my YouTube.

Reading:  I can tell that I’m coming off of a successful writing jag – the desire to read has returned and I have a stack of books waiting for me at the library and several checked out to my Kindle.  This week I read Colleen Hoover’s “It Ends With Us.”  Chick lit is not typically my chosen genre for reading, but I literally could not put Hoover’s book down.  It had a great voice and a good pace.

Fiction Update:  This happened at the tail end of 2016.

20161216_180500I’m still doing some noodling in the pages to align the characters with where I want them to be, but the Sh*tty First Draft of “Dragonfly” is done.  I need to actually formalize my 2017 writing goals and will share them here once I’m done meandering them in my head.

Happy weekend!