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Friday Fare: 2/18/22

While I am not convinced that 2022 will avoid being a dumpster fire, I am fresh from a vacation in California and the sunshine, seafood, camaraderie, and wine have left me with a little bit more hope. And although this is going to sound kinda silly, I feel a little healed from what was a turbulent end to 2021.  Maybe I’ll dive into that a little later, but the biggest chaos of 2021 (my mom’s illness and hospitalization) is migrating to a new normal where she’s home and healing.

But … me … vacation … new beginnings.

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Happiness and millions of dollars worth of vino at Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley, California. I believe in masks, John Prine, and repping my mom life with my Batman purse, apparently.
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At the Petrified Forest Park near Calistoga, California. In case you didn’t notice, Mount St. Helena is in the background.

I traveled with my writer friends, although at this point, they’re just wonderful friends – the kind that you can travel easily with. I actually wrote about them last year when we went on a different road trip – to wineries and cideries in Wisconsin. (Apparently there’s a theme here …)

So … I am back. Just a reminder that I’m going to be hosting “Variety Night” on February 24th with Once Upon A Crime in Minneapolis. This is a free and virtual event hosted on Crowdcast. And – I have to say … the books I’ve been reading to prepare for this event have been FANTASTIC.

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Also, if you’re a mystery writer or a fan – Minneapolis will be host to Bouchercon 2022 this year and the early bird registration ends on March 1st.

Phew … my thanks for your patience during my radio silence. I hope that this post finds you well, happy, healthy, and hearty. I’ll be back next week with what I’ve been reading, watching, listening to, and writing!

– 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: 10/22/21

Wow … my last Friday Fare was so full of hope and … light.  And then Mercury went into retrograde.

A co-worker died, my mom got really sick (ICU sick), my eldest kid got quarantined after a COVID exposure, work is crazy, a couple of committees I am on are ramping up, I don’t know if I remember how to write, and … and … and … I am a resilient individual, but the past few weeks have been freaking nuts.

BUT … mom is on the mend. (Rehabilitation in a skilled nursing facility in my hometown. Or as I told my brother, it’s your turn to keep mom alive.) She timed the worst of her medical emergency during a week where I didn’t have a bid due. My husband is an adept human being who took care of crisis-mode me, our sons, and my parents’ dog. I have wonderful friends. We’re healthy and doing OK. I am taking the day to unbury from the piles of stuff that have been neglected during this time and one of them is my blog. 🙂

Jessica Laine and I are a formidable team. Our September event for Once Upon a Crime bookstore in Minneapolis went fantastically and we have two more events scheduled this year with them! Both are virtual and I think I’ve figured out my technical issues from our previous event. You don’t need to wear pants to attend and I might not comb my hair, so …  what are you waiting for? Event information is on my events page.

I’m hoping that my next blog post is more things random and not so much wreckage. As I noted, I don’t know if I remember how to write. Actually, I do, but it’s more about finding time to write. I’ll have an update of all things writerly the next time I blog.

In the meantime … if you celebrate Halloween, I hope you’ve found your perfect costume. I hope that you’ve had time to curl up with a good book. Trust science, get a Covid booster if you’re able, don’t take medications that are meant for large animals, and hug the people you love.

– 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: 9/17/21

Friday fare - northernThe past couple of weeks have been hectic and wonderful. First off, a lunch with my dear Yoda (complete with garden bounty!) On Monday, my dear Gretchen and her wife Carrie visited. And as if things couldn’t get any better … my best friend from high school was in my town working and asked if she could crash on our couch.  Um, yes?  So that’s meant morning coffee and evening beer with one of my dearest friends.

And it’s only going to get better … on Friday, I’m going to see a couple other high school friends that mean a lot to me and on Sunday, I’m heading to a concert with a college friend. My cup is overflowing with awesomeness and after so many months of *not* seeing people because of Covid, I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend time with people that I’ve known forever and are still connected with even though time and distance space us apart.

Our kids are back in school and that’s been great, even if it’s with a side of worry since they aren’t vaccinated. And I finally have an office space again after a year of hanging out in our spare bedroom.

Finally, my dear friend Jessica Laine and I are hosting an event with Once Upon a Crime bookstore in Minneapolis. It’s a fall-tastic event filled with a wealth of authors who have books that are either fresh off the presses or future releases. The event is virtual and free to attend – click here for more details!

Be kind to everyone you meet. Trust science, wash your hands, wear a mask. Find a really good local orchard and buy some local apples.

– 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: 8/20/21

Friday fare - northernSo many things …

I got the proclamation and the marriage sermon done. Both events (the upcoming retirement of my friend Steve and the marriage ceremony for Caitlyn and Tanner) were both wonderful and emotional. The wedding had the added bonus of a trip to Minnesota’s North Shore. To be honest, I kind of wish I was still up there … 🙂

This week, I’m feeling a little bit panicky with a deadline – my kids are scheduled to go back to school on August 30th. Under normal circumstances, I’d be thrilled, but we’re still in the midst of a pandemic and my kids aren’t old enough to be vaccinated. Vaccination status notwithstanding, I still need to buy school supplies and procure backpacks.

Here are some links that caught my eye over the past few weeks:

  • I am ridiculously proud to post this article about my dear friend Kathleen Donnelly.  Her debut novel comes out next year from Carina Press and I cannot wait.
  • This is a long read, but a good one about REM frontman Michael Stipe.
  • Oh Scholastic
  • This book rocketed to the top of my TBR list. (Where it’s joining a ton of other books …)

And finally – I was scrolling through Instagram where I saw a post announcing that folk singer Nanci Griffith died. I discovered her music when I was a college DJ (Blue Roses from the Moon) and I wore out a CD of her live album Winter Marquee. I had the great fortune of attending one of her concerts in 2011, the year before she quietly bowed out of the limelight. May her memory be a blessing.

– 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: 8/13/21 (the “up nort'” edition)

When I was a kid, I said a prayer that basically went … “dear lord, I don’t want to grow up to have an ‘ordinary’ life. Thank you and amen.” First and foremost, childhood me … how the hell did you define “ordinary” and secondly … well, good work. But sheesh …

Case in point, this week’s to-do list has the following items on it:

  • Write proclamation
  • Write marriage sermon

Well, here’s some context. I am on a board in the community where I live and its general manager is retiring after 30+ years of service. Our community’s mayor is going to be reading a proclamation and that smart politician asks for anyone who’s requesting a proclamation to provide a draft of the document.

In terms of a marriage sermon, I’m actually up in northern Minnesota this weekend and am going to be officiating the wedding ceremony for the daughter of one of my dearest friends.

I’ll go back to my normal “Friday Fare” format for next week’s blog, but in the meantime – stay strong, get vaxxed, listen to some good music, and keep drinking your water.

– 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: 7/30/21

I really don’t have anything very cool and interesting to share this week. So let me “mom out” for a second … how are you doing? Are you drinking enough water? Are you eating vegetables? (And no, not the deep-fried kind that you dip in ranch dressing.) Have you reached out to a friend lately or had a great conversation that really meant something to your heart or overall well being? Have you ordered books from an independent bookstore lately? Most of them pivoted incredibly well to the pandemic and can ship damn near anything. Have you found any new-to-you musical acts lately?

Finally … are you being kind to yourself?

I didn’t get a lot done in my creative world this week (although I’m rocking it professionally). But my kids are well (we are going to their first baseball game this week) and our cats still love my husband more than they love me. My tomatoes are about to start ripening and I am ridiculously excited for that and I got to have a couple great conversations this week with people that I really adore.

Sending hugs!

– 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: 7/23/21

I shouldn’t grouse, because it was a really good week, as far as weeks go. I made progress on my WIP, I heard a few musical acts that were new to me, I accidentally got high by being adjacent to a parking lot where patrons were smoking terribly (and terrible) fragrant ditch weed, I saw some coworkers, and I spent at least an hour on beautiful trails in my town. But I’m also getting older and adventures leave me in need of a nap.

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Quarry Hill Nature Center trail

Eldest had an archaeology camp this week and instead of driving back and forth to the house for pickup, I’ve adjusted my work schedule so I’m at a nearby coffee shop during the 2+ hours he’s at camp. It’s excellent in theory (and I am so lucky to have a flexible schedule), but I’ve had a few last minute snags and work emergencies that have reared their heads during this week. But hey … I also netted about 2,000 words on the WIP, which feels good.

Youngest has a camp coming up during the first week in August. I’ll be doing this again, but hopefully without the SNAFUs I encountered this time around.

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Watching: It’s summer vacation and we’re letting our kids play too many video games and stay up way too late. But the trade-off is that while the kids are on their PCs, we are on the couch catching up on the Marvel movies that we’ve missed and the TV shows that our friends rave about and that we’ve missed out on. I started watching “Halt and Catch Fire,” while my husband and I are watching “What We Do In The Shadows.” The TV shows are fine, but maybe it’s telling that we made it through one episode of each this past weekend and we haven’t watched them since then. 🙂

Reading: Dennis Lehane’s “Mystic River” (along with the other books that are piling up on my shelf).

Writing: Have you heard of Jess Lourey? She’s a Minnesota writer that I am very lucky to call friend. She’s been sending out a newsletter on Wednesdays with a little “writing snack.” Subscribe here if you want a midweek gift of writing advice from an expert.

Sending everyone thoughts of kindness, science, and empathy …

– 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: 7/16/21

A quick story … my paternal grandma died when I was in first grade. Her name was Sophie and while I can’t remember a lot about her, I remember that she was fiercely kind and that she loved A&W Cream Soda. And she smoked cigarettes. So we’d have tea parties with grandma where we’d drink cream soda and we’d “smoke” cigarettes with her. (OK, maybe I’m making that last part up, but I swear that we mimicked her …)

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So, I get nostalgic whenever I see candy cigarettes, erm … sticks! Nostalgia hits whenever I see candy sticks in the store. So when I was editing the other day, I poured myself some coffee, ate me some candy ciggies and man … they tasted better when I was six years old. My kids loved them though, so … Grandma’s still in my heart, even if she’s been gone for a terribly long time.

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Pictured … me and three fierce writer women that I love. On Saturday, J. Lynn Else, Meg Hafdahl, K. Bird Lincoln, and I went on a road trip where we hit wineries, bakeries, cideries, and we even went on a hike. We all write from different genres, but these women helped me weather the pandemic and I’m grateful for their friendship and our camaraderie.

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Reading: I finished “The Comfort Crisis” by Michael Easter. It’s a good book, but it’s one that I’d encourage a person to get from the library. (It’s a renter, not a buyer.) Still reading Hallie Ephron’s “Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel” and Nikki Dolson’s “Love and Other Criminal Behavior.” I started reading Dennis Lehane’s “Mystic River” and am letting the words sink in.

Writing: Querying, writing the new piece, and marveling that my weekends are filling up. I have a glut of proposals due in my day job, but after that I think I’m taking a few days off to work on some fiction. Hopefully I’ll make up for poor word counts then.

Sending love through the screen to you!

– 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.