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MWA Midwest’s Murder at the Mic!

I’ll write more about this later, but for the time being – holy hannah, batman – look what I get to emcee in October! Save the date!  I hear a rumor there will be brownies.  Or bars.  Whatever I decide to bake.

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Friday Fare: 9/7/18

Just a reminder that I’ll be hanging out with Rebecca Kanner on Saturday at the Edina Art Center.  If you’re in the Twin Cities, come on out!

I need to write more about this later, but me and my messy hair received a pretty incredible honor recently in the form of a dedication in a book that I got to read from its start.  It’s called The Executioner’s Face and it’s by my dear friend and mentor Jerry Johnson.  And damn friends … get thee to a bookstore and order this book.  (Here’s the link to Amazon, but Jerry’s going to be doing signings in our corner of the Midwest [Decorah and Waverly, IA and LaCrosse, WI].)

I’ve been a little quiet lately here on the blog, partly because work handed me my ass and partly because I’ve been enjoying summer’s transition into fall and the new routines that come with it.  I hope that wherever you are, that life’s treating you well!

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Listening: I’ve been listening to music on Spotify lately.  Was getting irked with the ads on YouTube to only find more ads on Spotify, but it’s all good.

Reading: Just finished “The Moon-Spinners” – an oldie from Mary Stewart.  Very good.

Writing Life: Finishing up one of my reading projects and about to dive headlong back into Dragonfly on Saturday.  I’m excited and nervous about that.

 

– 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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Upcoming Event: September 8th at the Edina Art Center

I read Rebecca Kanner’s books earlier this year to prepare for this event and wow – Ms. Kanner takes history and provides a fictional translation that’s compelling and makes you feel like you’ve taken a magical carpet ride to Biblical times.  I am thrilled and honored (and am really going to TRY to not fan girl) to be the moderator for this event on Saturday, September 8th at the Edina Art Center.  Live in (or are within driving distance) of the Twin Cities?  Join us – I’ve heard rumor of coffee and treats.

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Friday Fare: 8/17/18

Just a reminder that I’ll be with my fellow Twin Cities Sisters in Crime on Saturday in Brooklyn Park.  If you’re in the Twin Cities, come on out!

And this week, I made rice in my crockpot.  #winning

I’m proud to be part of the Midwestern crime writing scene and I cannot wait until the day that I get namechecked in an article like this. 🙂

*Is* mayonnaise dead? (*munches on Miracle Whip sandwich on Wonder Bread*)

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Listening: A modern song with a vintage feel.  Give it a listen: 

Reading: Finished Alison Goodman’s “Dark Days Club” and immediately read “Dark Days Pact.” Also read “Angry Nurse” co-written by one of my Twin Cities Sisters in Crime members, Thekla Madsen.  Also finished Sherry Thomas’s “Conspiracy in Belgravia.”  Reading … apparently it’s feast or famine for me.  And right now, I’m glutting. Sweet, sweet gluttony.

Writing Life: As I stated last week … I’m taking a writing break, letting my current draft version marinate while I do a bunch of reading.  I’ve been beta reading for some friends this month and appreciate the opportunity to help out my fellow writer 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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Friday Fare: 8/10/18

I think I basically said last week that it isn’t soup weather, but that didn’t stop me from hauling out my crock pot and making this broccoli and cheese soup.  Because … soup!

I have a ridiculous amount of books in my office, on my bookshelves, in my bedroom … you get the picture.  But I do keep buying books.  So, it’s good to know that there’s a word for folks who buy more books than they could ever humanly read.

This article was damn near effervescent with its good news.  Give a read about the Caledonian Pipe Band and their debut at Red Rocks!

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Listening: Sunday was my second time seeing Nashville songstress Margo Price.  And although it was in the rain, man, it was worth it.  I think I have this video queued up at the 33 minute mark, but if I haven’t – well, you should watch the whole thing, but about halfway through Ms. Price does a cover of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”  Covers are typically sacrilege, but I could listen to Margo Price sing this over and over again. 

Reading: Finished Frank Weber’s “Murder Book.” Re-reading Alison Goodman’s “Dark Days Club” (because I own the hardback version of “Dark Days Pact” and I need to re-read the first book before I can move onto the second one.  Did you see the link above that talked about buying more books than I have time to read?).  Got a note from my library that Sherry Thomas’s second “Lady Sherlock” books is waiting for me.  I’m living the reading life, babies!

Writing Life: Reading break! Along with the pile ‘o books that I’m getting through, I’ve been beta reading for some friends this month and am LOVING the opportunity to help out my fellow writer 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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Friday Fare: 8/3/18 (August and ALL THE THINGS!)

I don’t have a ton to share with you guys this week.  I actually owe you all a couple of blog posts – a recap on the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference I attended in Denver and what I’m going to be up to this month since I’m done with my latest round of edits with Dragonfly.  (Hint: Reading!)  But before we get to the arcane, here’s a couple links:

Lori Rader-Day is a joy and one hell of a good writer.  She’s also the past president of Mystery Writers of America-Midwest Chapter, one of the organizers of Murder & Mayhem in Chicago, and has won the Mary Higgins Clark award.  So … yeah.  She’s a peach.  I really appreciated this recent blog post about the power of one word: Yes.  It’s a philosophy that’s served me well and to hear someone I admire affirm this?  Golden.

Finally – it’s August in Minnesota. This typically means sweltering weather and mosquitoes the size of saucers, but it’s been unseasonably cool recently.  And that makes me crave soup.  And if you put “crack” in the title of any recipe, that’s my personal click bait.  Here’s some crack chicken noodle soup.  It will be coming to my household soon.

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Listening: I’m not sure what my favorite part is, Sting’s outfit or Springsteen’s mullet, but this was a fun find on YouTube.

Reading: I’m going to be moderating a panel in Brooklyn Park this month.  As preparation for moderating, I try to read the books written by the authors I’ll be chatting with.  This week, I’m reading Frank Weber’s “Murder Book.”  I’m liking the way that Weber weaves together fiction and real-life events / locations.

I also recently finished a pair of stellar books.  One of them was written by my friend (and fellow Mystery Writers of America-Midwest member) J. Michael Major.  “One Man’s Castle” was a stellar debut novel.  I also had the opportunity to meet and listen to Sherry Thomas at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference and was intrigued by the premise of her Lady Sherlock series … what if Sherlock Holmes was an alias?  What if it was a moniker for a precocious young woman named Charlotte Holmes?  I read “A Study in Scarlet Women” on my way home from Denver and could not put it down.  I’m looking forward to reading more of these books.

Writing Life: I made my July 18th goal, but if I’m honest with you, the last few chapters were a rush to the finish to hit my deadline.  This week, I’ve been going through the last handful of chapters to give them another close read before I let my main characters rest for a month.  August is going to be a month of reading – for pleasure, for other writers … I’m looking forward to it!

– 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: 7/20/18 (By the time you read this …)

By the time you read this … I will be hanging out with my good friend Kathleen Donnelly at Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) Annual Conference.  At some time in the near future, I’ll tell you why someone who considers herself a mystery writer is hanging around with a bunch of romance authors, but suffice it to say, I’m excited to be out in the mountains (well, a hotel conference room), learning new nuances of the craft, and just soaking in the creativity.

This was a fun piece on “the rise and fall of family road trips.”  Right now, I’m in the season of life where I cannot imagine dragging my almost 5 and almost 6 year olds on an airplane.  So … road trips we take and we typically have a great time doing them.  (And my coveted Williams Sonoma mixing bowl – the apple green one that’s the largest in the set of four – is a permanent fixture in my car.  We’ve learned the hard way that my eldest is a puker.)

I’m not going to lie.  I miss President Obama.  I especially miss Vice President Biden and I miss their bromance.  So bless Andrew Shaffer (who’s a Mystery Writers of America-Midwest member, natch!), for writing the ultimate mystery that features Obama and Biden as a pair of crime fighters.  Hope never dies, does it?

So … for some reason, I’ve been hanging out in my kitchen lately:

*Footnote on these scones.  A) Holy heck … I love scones.  And these are ridiculously simple to pull together.  B) I’d cut back the salt in this recipe … I used the 1 tsp. of kosher salt in mine, but I think you could almost dial that back to a 1/2 tsp.

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Listening: I’m not going to lie, this song catches me in the feels almost every time I listen to it, but you’re not going to find anything better on the Internet.  (OK – that’s a broad and general statement, but give this song a listen.)

Reading: I have a few things going on right now … one of the most exciting is being in a place where you get an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) from a favorite writer:

This definitely came with me on the plane ride to Denver.

Writing Life: DID I MAKE IT?  July 18th was the goal. My personal goal of having the latest round of edits done on my WIP.  See this post for more details.

– 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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Accountability Monday: Fueled by kombucha and deadlines

Well, “END” is highlighted in the Navigation Pane of my Microsoft Word program and technically, I made it through to the end of my latest round of edits.  (That happened at about 10:45 on Sunday night, sitting in one of my favorite coffee houses, sipping on some kombucha – which was a strangely satisfying alternative to the beer I was really wanting to drink.)

So … am I done?  Ummmm … no.  Well, I wasn’t going to be “done” (i.e. – ready to query agents) after this round.  I’m proud of how “Dragonfly” is shaping up, but I still need a beta read and some more work to get this piece of coal turned into a diamond.  And honestly, I need to print out the end (chapters 28 on to the end) to give it another thorough read and polish up some of the new material I’ve created over the last couple of weeks.

But … I’m closer to the end than I was a year ago.  Even a month ago.  And that’s something to be excited about.

As Elizabeth Gilbert says: “Onward.”

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Friday Fare: 7/13/18 (Beware the Ides of … wait, nevermind.)

So … it’s Friday the 13th.  I’m getting a haircut, meeting a friend for lunch, and am hurtling towards a couple project deadlines.  Should I worry?  Nope.  No worries.

Yes, I’m well aware this is the second week that I’ve posted a blueberry recipe, but my eldest child decided that he no longer likes blueberries and I can only eat blueberries in yogurt for so many times before I think I’m going to hurl.  (Was that a little too much information?)  Anyway … this recipe is legit and the kind that you can make on a Sunday and eat through the week.  And if someone judges you for eating it cold, straight out of the fridge, well … you don’t need that kind of negativity. (PS – The topping is kind of fussy, but absolutely worth it.  PS 2 – The woman who created this recipe is Ina Garten’s social media guru.  Gah!  What a cool job that would be!)

I have two new(ish) laptops in my life, one for life and one for work.  In this amazing Windows 10 world, the Internet keeps pushing articles at me when I log onto my browser.  Mozilla Firefox is particularly insidious about parking articles about productivity in my path, because if there’s an article that tells me I can be more creative by doing x, y, or standing on my head, chances are good I’m going to click on it.  Here are two I read this week.  And I enjoyed them.  (Something for consideration … spend less time on the Internet?  Nah.)

Talk to a female mystery writer and she’ll probably tell you that she read the Nancy Drew books when she was a kid.  There’s a reason why Carolyn Keene is beloved, but imagine my delight to find out that the author that started these iconic books was an Iowan named Mildred.  The Smithsonian Mag did a great piece on Ms. Benson.

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Listening: I probably shouldn’t watch this video, because it reminds me that David Bowie left us far too early.  But man – what a live wire.  Get towards the end of the video where he’s encouraging the crowd to sing along.  That glint.

Reading: My copy of Michael Kortya’s book “How It Happened” came in at the library.  Stephen King recommends it.  That’s good enough for me.

Writing Life: This week’s “Accountability Monday” had me two chapters behind.  And then my youngest child got sick.  Because … that’s what my kids do in summer.  But snuggles from my four-year-old make up for whatever word count I’ve missed, because he’s four going on 14 and man … I swear he was just born yesterday, so I’m OK with overheated afternoon naps that are most certainly passing his germs onto me. 

– 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.