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Friday Fare: 6/21/19

We’re light on the articles of note this week.  There’s been good stuff out there, but it’s been a looooooooonnnnngggggggg week.  Here’s some stuff I’ve read:

Career Authors is the blog that keeps on giving.  Paula Munier had a fabulous “Ten Commandments” for writers.

Marie Claire published a sobering piece about “invisible victims” – Native American women who’ve disappeared without a trace and the effort made by other Native American women to find them.  Heartbreaking.

I have an unabashed girl crush on Taffy Brodesser-Akner (to the extent that I am sad that her debut novel and its book tour won’t be coming to the Midwest.  Dammit!).  I love reading her articles and clicked through nearly every link that GQ posted in their Tweet honoring her debut novel.  (PS – Google search “Taffy Brodesser-Akner Sugar Daddies GQ” – it is worth the click.)

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Listening: I miss David Bowie.  And I usually am fairly “meh” on covers, but this one was not terrible:

Reading:  Reading Layne Fargo’s forthcoming “Temper.”  So very good.

Writing Life:  I had a wonderful time with Rhonda Gilliland earlier this month at the Kahler Grand Hotel (Peacock Books).  We had an event in support of her Cooked To Death anthologies.

I even wore mascara.  And didn’t stab myself in the eye with the wand. #winning

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: 6/7/19

I have a fairly blessed life, but sometimes I need to remind myself that the glass *is* half full.  (Or in my case, that the mug is half full of delicious, delicious coffee.)  I was sending a text to my husband that started off by saying “Next week is going to suck …”, but then I read the next words which were “I have a book signing on Monday” and it hit me.  Damn.  So I changed my note to say that next week is going to be hectic.  Because it will be hectic.  But what a trip it is!

Another random thing that’s making me smile this week is my children’s cake preferences.  On Thursday morning, they “helped” me make some pumpkin cake from a mix.  My eldest kid is not a cake fan, but if you give him any of those quick breads – pumpkin, banana, gingerbread, lemon poppyseed cake/bread <– he’s a happy camper.  Same thing with the youngest (although he’s like me – all treats are good treats.) My husband and I come from a long line of amazing cooks.  Somewhere our grandmas and great-grandmas are smiling down as these standbys are loved and consumed by our children.

Onto the articles of note from this week!

Dana Chamblee Carpenter is a gem of a human.  She wrote The Bohemian Gospel, which is one of my favorite books.  And also the book that introduced me to the Killer Nashville’s Claymore Award.  She was kindness personified when I met her in 2017 down at KN and it was great to see her recognized in The Thrill Begins.

I remember when this song first hit the airwaves.  I love it when Rolling Stone does these “oral history” pieces.

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Listening: I’ve been listening to Spotify on a fairly regular basis for over a year or so.  What I like about streaming music is I’m typically exposed to new-to-me artists.  I was recently introduced to Ian Noe and the guy has a voice that throws me back to folks like John Prine, Fred Neil, or (swoon) Gordon Lightfoot.  He was born in 1990.  And I have tickets to see him at 7th Street Entry in October.  An old soul indeed!

Reading:  I am woefully behind on my reading.

Writing Life:  I am less behind on my writing.  Go me!  And I have a book signing on Monday, June 10th at Peacock Books in the Kahler Grand in downtown Rochester.  I’ll be appearing with Rhonda Gilliland, the editor of the Cooked To Death short story anthologies.  The shindig starts at 4:30 PM and goes until closing time. 

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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Monday Mayhem: 6/3/19

The school year ended on Friday for my first grader.  The next time it rolls around again, I’ll have a boy in second grade and my youngest will be in Kindergarten.   I have parent friends who talk about their favorite years and while I always tell my children that their current year is my favorite year, to be honest – I loved first grade.  It was a joy to see my son’s reading comprehension take OFF and he made some incredible friends.  It’s hard to say if he’ll be friends with these kids for the rest of his life, but for this past year, they did his six-year-old self some good.

The mystery world lost a friend this week.  Sandra Seamans maintained the blog My Little Corner and passed away recently.  Her blog was a clearing house of short story opportunities for writers and she’ll be sorely missed.

Yay or nay: Dill Pickle Pizza.  (I say “yay.”)

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Listening: I needed to hear some Neil Diamond over the weekend.  That is all.

Reading: Huge congrats to a couple of my friends who had recent book launches.

Tracy Clark‘s second book in her Cass Raines series came out this past week.  Publishers Weekly said that her protagonist Cass Raines “… is a worthy addition to the pantheon of Chicago sleuths.” <– Yup.

Writing Life: Work + kid activities + ailing / aged Cat = not a lot of time to devote to craft.  But this week is a new week and my family will be settling into a new routine, so I’m hopeful for more edits and time.

Miscellany: This pretty much sums up my life in a nutshell:

– 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: 5/24/19

Longform articles sing to my soul.  This piece from GQ is no exception.

Working in the age of distraction … well, ain’t that the truth.  Freedom, a productivity app, featured a recent blog post by one of my favorite writers J.T. Ellison about her working habits.  Some good food for thought.

Seth Rogen is apparently my spirit animal (and I’ve been reading a lot of content from GQ lately.  See also their piece on Keanu Reeves).  Here’s what spoke to me in reading this: Still, spend a little time in his company, talking about his life, and certain patterns start to emerge, themes and lessons recurring with enough frequency that they can be isolated for general distribution: Work harder than everyone else. Find a mentor, or at least some encouragement. Cultivate enduring relationships. Grow gradually. Beware hubris. Never be their biggest problem. Be in control of your own work (where possible). Always have something else going on.

Loved this piece on Danielle Steele.

A couple of my Sisters in Crime from Chicago helped induct our organization’s youngest member.  Read this piece in the Chicago Sun Times about Azka Sharief and her podcast! (And big love and shout outs to Lori Rader-Day, Susanna Calkins, and Mia P. Manansala for their part of this story!)

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Listening: My husband and I got a rare date night this week.  Technically, we saw both Steve Martin and Martin Short; but when I think about Steve Martin, here’s what my brain comes up with:

And I guess when I think about Martin Short, here’s what my brain supplies:

Reading:  Read Steve Berry’s The Malta Exchange.  Interesting – book 14 of his Cotton Malone series.  I liked it well enough (I lived in Malta for six months when I was in college, so it was fun to see some places I’ve visited featured in fiction), but unlike my love affair with A.X. Pendergast, I don’t feel a need to go binge read the other ones.

Writing Life: 

– 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: 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.