Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holiday

I’m hoping that whatever faith or traditions you celebrate in your home, that you’re surrounded with love and light.  In lieu of a formal Friday Fare, I’ll leave you with this link from one of my favorite blogs “Letters of Note.”

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Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 12/16/16

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

I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, this would be on it.

Adult SpaghettiOs.  This is something I can get behind.

2016 was the year we lost a lot of things and a lot of people.  This was a beautifully written piece that interviewed some of Prince’s closest friends.

***

Listening to: Patti Smith’s performance in accepting Bob Dylan’s Nobel Peace Prize was evocative and her honesty was heart wrenching.  And when she had to ask to start over the second verse?  A beautiful moment of humanity.

Reading:  Finished “Death Along the Spirit Road” by C.M. Wendelboe.  I’m looking forward to reading his other two books.  Also downloaded “Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter” by Kate Clifford Larson.  And while I was eagerly ready to read some non-fiction, the formatting is screwed up in the Kindle version.  CURSES!  So … will have to go to the library to get my Kennedy fix.

Fiction Update:  Good things are happening. 🙂

Happy weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 12/09/16

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

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared this space with you all. Interesting articles abound out there on the Interwebs, here are some of the good things I’ve read recently …

This is what I wrote on Facebook about the following blog post: “I love Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. I love Dolly Parton in ‘Steel Magnolias.’ The song ‘Hard Candy Christmas’ damn near brings me to tears, so I can’t listen to it in public, but man … I’m grateful for Dolly Parton. Her talent is matched by her generosity. This is a nice ‘open letter’ to Ms. Parton.”

My husband and I recently realized that we need to take Queen’s live version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” off of our road trip mix CD that we have in my mom-mobile.  (Eldest is repeating everything right now.  Including a couple of choice “mommy words.”  So we really don’t want him running around quoting Freddie Mercury’s lyrics, mmm-kay?)  But did you ever wonder what it would look like if “Bohemian Rhapsody” was acted out literally?  I didn’t either, but it’s brilliant.

This “guide” to the 2016 Williams-Sonoma catalog made me laugh.  Then plot my order for personalized peppermint bark.

And although I have way too much crap going on, I think I need to make these for Christmas Eve and present them to my uncles.  Because maple and bourbon.

***

Listening to: “Who the f*ck is Sturgill Simpson?” There are any number things that I loved about this piece in the New York Times talking about Simpson’s surprise nomination for “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth”; but the biggest thing is the man’s attitude and humility. I also love the fact that he adored Beyonce’s “Lemonade.”  Seriously … how cool is that?

Reading:  Still reading “Death Along the Spirit Road” by C.M. Wendelboe.  And while that’s pending, I’ve been doing some volunteer work getting this anthology ready for Kindle / eBooks.  There are some damn good short stories in this book.  Can’t wait for it to be available in e-format.

Fiction Update:  Eh … I’ve been over-committing myself lately to other projects and distractions.  HOWEVER, I’m on track to have a first draft of “Dragonfly” done by end of year.  I’ve also been drafting a blog post that outlines some of the lessons learned from this year’s NaNoWriMo.  Good things are happening.

Happy weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 11/18/16

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

Work continues to be insane, which is effing with my NaNo progress, but here’s hoping that a crazy November means a quiet holiday.  (<– Famous last words.)

However, here are a couple things that brought me joy this week:

  • First, my two dear friends who got married.  I was their officiant, which … it’s a nerve-wracking honor to be asked.  But the wedding was a joy.  I had a lot of fun, got to spend some time with my husband, and got basically jack shit written on my works in progress.  Oh well.  So many good things that filled the well.
  • Bahahahahahahahahhaha.
  • Nice to see this piece about Allen Eskens, a fellow Twin Cities Sisters in Crime member and all-around nice guy.
  • This was from a few weeks ago, but a number of articles came out honoring comedian/actor John Candy on what would have been his 66th birthday.  One of my favorite John Candy movies is “The Great Outdoors.”  So many of my best childhood / “watching movies with my brother” memories involves a John Candy movie.

***

Listening to: I’m a week late to the tributes for Leonard Cohen, but that was a loss that resonated last week.  Almost every article I’ve read talks about the (endless) versions of “Hallelujah” or “Tower of Song.”  Both are great songs, but my favorite is “If It Be Your Will.”  My favorite version is actually Antony’s cover of the song, but that doesn’t lessen what was most treasured by Cohen’s fans:  His ability to capture emotions into words and turn those feelings into song.  The man was a poet and the world is darker with his loss.

Reading:  Still reading “Death Along the Spirit Road” by C.M. Wendelboe.

Fiction Update: Still with the crickets, man … hoping that next week will give me some decent word counts, even if a holiday is sandwiched in there.

Happy weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 11/11/16

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

Aaaaah!  I missed Friday Fare last week.  I’d like to tell you that I had a good reason, but that reason … I don’t remember.  Work is crazy again, which has it’s upsides (paycheck! a sense of usefulness!) and its downsides (it takes me away from writing! it’s work! i’m suffering from a cold, ergo i have little to no energy!).

There’s a lot going on in the world right now.  (Understatement.) I’ve got a lot of feels about what’s going on, but what I’m focusing on is being as kind as possible to those I meet.

***

Listening to: I’m officiating a wedding for a pair of dear friends this weekend and the bride’s father will be singing “The Wedding Song” written by Noel “Paul” Stookey for Peter Yarrow’s 1969 wedding.  I’m not going to lie … this song gets me kinda weepy when I listen to it.  And while I was reading up on it, I was surprised to see that the first time it was performed (ahem, at Yarrow’s wedding), it was performed at a Catholic church in Willmar, Minnesota.  I lived in Willmar for three years!  But this little fact was from Wikipedia, it couldn’t be true, could it?  Well, I emailed one of my dear friends who is a Willmar native and something of an amateur music historian and this was his note back to me:  “Your information about the ‘Wedding Song’ is correct. Peter Yarrow and Mary McCarthy got married at St. Mary’s Church on (sic) Willmar. And I was at their wedding as a matter o fact. My friend Kent and I were among the uninvited guests (kids) hanging out in the church narthex.” <– How cool is that?

Reading:  I found a copy of “Death Along the Spirit Road” by C.M. Wendelboe at a local bookstore recently.  I’m only a few pages in, but it’s good.

Fiction Update:  *crickets* OK – so maybe it isn’t that bad, but I haven’t been able to write since last weekend. Grump!  Hoping to make up for some lost time this weekend.

Remember, kindness is free – sprinkle that shit everywhere.  (h/t to whoever said that … it’s a great sentiment.)

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 10/28/16

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

My love for Sturgill Simpson is chronicled in the posts of this blog, but this article is just reason #1,129 that I really admire him.

Anyone else sick of the election?  Me too.  So while this is political, it’s just a post of memes chronicling the bromance between President Obama and Vice President Biden.  I laughed.  Hard.

I’m also an unabashed Ina Garten fan.  And since her latest cookbook just came out, the Interwebs have been full of adoring screeds about Ms. Garten and her adorable husband Jeffrey.  To say that I’ve been gorging on these articles is an understatement.  See here.  And here.

And ahem.  Tolkien.

***

Listening to: The Prairie Home Companion (TPHC) was INCREDIBLE.  And I was introduced to the music of two new-to-me musicians.  Sarah Jarosz and Anais Mitchell.  TPHC is good at posting links of their recent shows – the show that my husband and I attended is on YouTube.  Definitely worth a watch!

Reading:  I think this pretty much sums up my week.  (Spoiler alert:  Read ’em both in about 24 hours.)

Fiction Update:  I’m keepin’ on …

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 10/21/16

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

I don’t run, but I liked this piece from She Reads and this advice that pertains to running and writing:  “Run the downhill parts. Pick the low-hanging fruit. Write the easy chapter. … Let yourself see a bit of progress.”

My love for Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston is well documented on this blog.  Strand Magazine recently published the authors’ 10 writing tips.

This was a fun, recent read from Washington Post about a couple who have found their dream home in a rumored Cold War-era safe house.

***

Listening to: This particular week is going to be bookended by concerts.  And that, my friends, is a wonderful thing.  On Sunday, I went to the State Theatre in Minneapolis with a dear friend to watch Gordon Lightfoot.  Mr. Lightfoot will never have the butterscotch and bourbon voice he had in the 1970s, but the man just has that glint … it was great to sit and listen to the legendary troubadour.  So that was Sunday.  On Saturday, my husband and I are going up to St. Paul to check out the new host of Prairie Home Companion.  I cannot wait – one of the guests is Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.  (<– I just like typing that.)  Between that and Chris Thile, I think my mind is in for a treat.

Reading:  Work has been a little crazy lately.

Fiction Update:  Work has been a little crazy lately … HOWEVER.  This weekend is going to be a kid free weekend.  I think I should be able to get about 6-8 hours over the weekend to get some work done on Dragonfly.

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 10/7/16

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

I only have one article to share this week.  A recipe that’s so ridiculously accessible and simple that as much as I think I can tweak it, it’s already near perfection.  And shocker – it involves kale, but bear with me:  Kale and White Bean Stew.  Make it.  Revel in the fact that fall is fleeting.

***

Listening to: In the grand scheme of things, I’m not listening to anything that’s totally tilting my world on its axis right now.  But in terms of what’s playing right now: Tori Amos “Little Earthquakes.”  (Side note:  At best, I’m a casual Tori Amos fan, but in reality, I’ve seen her three times in concert.  I’m pretty proud of that random statistic.)

Reading:  I slammed down Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s “The Crimson Shore” down in about four hours.  Imagine, if you will, a frat boy bonging a beer … that’s how I felt shortly after finishing the final page shortly before midnight after cracking the book shortly after my sons’ bedtime.  The book was tasty.  (And somewhere, the little voice in my head that was alarmed that I wasn’t reading whispered “You still got it!”)

^^I don’t recommend speed reading. In fact, it’s why I typically re-read many of my books and honestly, I feel sometimes that it has impacted how I write.  But, I’m the mother of two toddlers.  I’m working under multiple deadlines.  Sometimes, I cannot put a book down.  And in those times, it’s great to read fast. 

Fiction Update:  A couple more chapters and I’m going to be done with the sh*tty first draft of “Dragonfly”.  I didn’t make my September goal, but I’m proud of what I accomplished.  Then time to edit “After Life.”  Still trying to wrap my head around what that’s going to look like and what I hope to accomplish.

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 9/30/16

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

Michael Chabon wrote a beautiful piece on his son, “the prince of fashion,” for GQ.  As the mama of boys and an unabashed Chabon fan, I read this with great interest.  It was an article that was beautifully eloquent.

Shirley Jackson has been getting some press lately partially due to the recent release of Ruth Franklin’s book “Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life.”  This piece was adapted from Franklin’s book for New York Magazine.  In a world where the discussion of mothers “having it all” seems to be as divisive as the political world we currently live in, I appreciated reading an article that asserted that motherhood helped Jackson’s writing career blossom.  I’ve been a writer for much of my life, but my fiction writing edged its way as a priority after my eldest was born.

This article about the “alchemy” of the Filet-O-Fish sandwich from McDonalds stirred a couple feelings in me:  1) Recognition, because – man … I have an unhealthy love for FOF sandwiches (that I only indulge in during Lent, right around when Shamrock Shakes are on the menu.). 2) Absolute hilarity:

“The bun’s plain. The cheese sucks. The fish tastes like nothing. But in concert, McDonald’s fish sandwich is alchemy.”

^Truer words, never spoken …

***

Listening to: I’ve made no secret of my love for Gordon Lightfoot.  It’s thrilling to see that Vanity Fair wrote a piece on him.

Reading:  Reading has been taking a backseat lately to work and trying to get words down on paper for Dragonfly.  However, the latest Pendergast novel will be hitting my Kindle soon, I think this will be a well deserved reward for what I accomplished this month on Dragonfly.

Fiction Update: I was able to get ~6,000 words out over the past weekend when I was away in Wisconsin.  While I’m nowhere near my goal of 3,000 a day, I’ve realized that 1,500 is doable for me.  A good lesson learned.  I’m hoping to be around 70-75,000 words by the end of this week and in possession of a sh*tty first draft.

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: 9/23/16

Friday Fare is where I post links to the random articles that have resonated with me during the week. Sometimes they make me smarter, sometimes they make me hungry … sometimes they have to do with writing and sometimes they are just plain random.

William Kent Krueger and Jessica Lourey … Minnesota authors that I admire greatly.  And in one article!

This was a death that was overshadowed by other celebrity news this week.  (And I admit … I’ve been reading the article about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.  I am a lot of things, impervious to celebrity gossip is not one of them …)  L.A. Confidential is one of my all-time favorite movies and Curtis Hanson was the driving force behind bringing James Ellroy’s vision to life.  He will be sorely missed.

Ina Garten has a new cookbook coming out in October!  (And yes, I have it on order.  Because … Ina!)  She also answered the Proust Questionnaire in Vanity Fair.

Chocolate. Bourbon. Spiked. Banana. Bread.  You’re welcome.

***

Listening to: Work’s been a little brutal these past few weeks.  I’ve vacillated from listening to Guns ‘N Roses (angst) and Simon & Garfunkel (in desperate need of an audio hug, apparently).

Reading:  Nothing, nada, zip.

Fiction Update: Last week, I shared my ridiculous ambitious goal to write 3,000 words a day to get a draft of Dragonfly done by October 1st.  *Crickets.* Weeeeelll … yeah.  I’m making progress, but not to the extent that I dreamed back at the end of August.  My rose-colored glasses obscured both family and work obligations.  HOWEVER … I’m really excited with the progress that I’m making.  (And I’m having random plot revelations in the Costco parking lot, the boys in the basement are doing their work even when I’m away from desk.)

I’m doing some travel this weekend (memorial service out of town / sans family), so I’m hoping that some hotel time will help me inch closer to a completed first draft.

Enjoy the weekend!