Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Friday Fare: Done with Winter Edition

Friday FareFriday 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.

On Sunday, I was rambling the woods on my parents’ farm; on Thursday, my corner of Minnesota got about a foot of snow dumped on it.  I am done with winter.  Let’s be done with snow, m’kay?

It’s been a quiet week on the work front and I’ve been finding all sorts of readables on the Interwebs:

I’m pretty verbose about my love of L.M. Montgomery and “Anne of Green Gables.”  One of the fan sites on Facebook linked to this 1986 New York Times article talking about the American debut of the beloved Canadian TV series.

I’ve probably missed about 90% of the shows / movies / etc. that James Franco has been in, but I like him all the same.  This was an interesting article from Rolling Stone about a brilliant artist.

Obligatory George Clooney article.  (Seriously – I think that I’m stuck in the 1990s or something.  I have referenced Clooney in my fiction on TWO different occasions.  He is my measurestick of hotness.)

This will be on my (To Be Read) TBR pile when it’s released:  Nora McInerny Purmort’s memoir “It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too).” Like many Minnesotans, I followed the love story of Nora and her husband Aaron Purmort, who died in 2014 after a fierce battle with cancer. (This love story might have stayed in Minnesota, but gained national recognition after Mr. Purmort’s obituary ran in the Star Tribune.  Seriously, read it.  Best. Obit. Ever.) Mpls St Paul magazine ran a feature on Ms. McInerny Purmort in a recent issue.  It’s worth the read.

***

Listening to: I remember reading Loretta Lynn’s autobiography, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” when I was a kid.  My grandpa Stan wasn’t big on books, but this was one that he kept at his house.  So my heart has a huge soft spot when it comes to Loretta Lynn.  This recent duet between Ms. Lynn and Willie Nelson?  Impeccable.

Reading:  See below.

Fiction Update:  Monday marked the beginning of edits of what is either version five or six of “After Life” (AL).  I’m already encountering self doubt and Microsoft Word shenanigans, but I’m in it for the long haul, babies … I’ve been jotting down some future blog post ideas, so I’ll share more through my “Adventures in Editing,” but for the time being, I’ll just leave it at this brief update.

Happy weekend, friends!

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Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random

Friday Fare: Hallelujah

Friday FareFriday Fare is my “best of” when it comes to Internet links that I’ve read this week.  Here are the articles that caught my attention and maybe made me a smarter person this week:

Wow – apparently my life has been all about memes lately.  (And following political stories … bor-rrring.  Although it beats reading about the Kardashians.)

I had to dig hard for this article that I had posted on my Facebook wall last week.  Neil Gaiman on why our futures depend on libraries, daydreaming, and reading.

Otherwise, the only articles that I forwarded and actually read this week was this piece from the Huffington Post asking the question that’s on everyone’s mind:  “What’s A Skoliosexual?”  (I emailed my BFF and asked him if he was my “zucchini.”  Yeah … that was a weird message to send to someone, I admit.)

And then, let’s file this under “I can’t make this shit up”:  There was a woman in Champlin, Minnesota that was pissed off at her neighbors and their children, so she wrote them anonymous notes that said her children looked “delicious” and sent them magazines that were addressed to “Your Tasty Children.”  I emailed one of my other BFFs and told her I was glad that she moved out of that particular ‘burb, she responded that her husband gave the woman props for creativity.

Yes folks, the truth is usually stranger than fiction.

***

Listening to:  In honor of today’s post title, Rufus Wainwright’s take on Hallelujah.  It may be heresy, but this one is my favorite version.

Reading:  My cousin Cheryl invited me to be part of a Facebook society that is devoted to L.M. Montgomery and I found out about this book: “L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys.”  I’m not going to lie, when I found out about these essays that chronicle Ms. Montgomery’s Ontario years, I was having a shit-tacular day and had to fight the mighty urge to Click.  Buy.  Devour.  Truthfully, the only thing that really stopped me was the realization that there are a TON of books that are devoted to the “Anne of Green Gables” author’s life, inspiration, etc.  I’m thankful that my local library has a robust interlibrary loan system.  I have a feeling that I’m going to be doing some academic reading this winter about one of my favorite authors.

Fiction Update: I’m making good progress on outlining “Dragonfly” and noodling on the mushy middle parts that need to coalesce into something that resembles a story and not the end result that looks like my toddlers had a field day on my laptop’s keyboard.

Happy Friday, friends!  I am wishing you a blissful day and weekend. Today I am heading north to St. Paul to eat some borscht with a beloved college friend. I’m looking forward to not checking work emails and soaking in some good conversation.  It will be good for my soul.  Do something good for yourselves today!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random

Friday Fare: Random, random musings

Friday FareFriday Fare is my “best of” when it comes to Internet links that I’ve read this week.  Here are the articles that caught my attention and maybe made me a smarter person this week:

William Kent Krueger wrote an eloquent blog post a while ago regarding his decision to temporarily shelve the sequel to his New York Times bestseller “Ordinary Grace.”  The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote a piece that included him and some of Krueger’s thoughts on that decision.  Very interesting.

This has nothing to do with writing, but I loved/hated this piece on Ina Garten.  I thought it was one of the most insightful pieces on her, but the writer has a serious problem with Martha Stewart and barely concealed their snark.

And finally – I would be remiss if I closed this “Friday Fare” without being cognizant of current events.  It’s been an ugly week.  Another school shooting.  This time in Oregon.  I haven’t read a lot of the coverage of the issue for many reasons.  But I did read this:  The Daily Beast article that urges people to forget the zero who pulled the trigger, but to honor Chris Mintz, the Army vet that charged the shooter.

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Listening to:  For some reason, Ashlee Simpson’s “Pieces of Me” was in my head this morning.  So I pulled it up on YouTube.  Yeah – I won’t link to that.  That guilty pleasure is all my own.

Reading:  Almost done with Ann Rule’s “Stranger Beside Me.”  This book is lauded as the ultimate true crime novel, partly because of the late author’s relationship with the subject of this book – notorious serial killer Ted Bundy.  This book is incredible.  I’ve literally had some trouble sleeping because of it.

Fiction Update: Progress on outlining / reviewing “Dragonfly” has been a little slow, but I’ve made myself a deal … I cannot have another Starbucks Toasted Graham Latte until I’m done with a read-through.  And seriously – the TGL is one of the tastiest things I’ve ever drank, I will try to finish my read-through by middle of next week.

Happy Friday, friends!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random

Friday Fare: Woo! Friday!

Friday FareFriday Fare is my “best of” when it comes to Internet links that I’ve read this week.  Here are the articles that caught my attention and maybe made me a smarter person this week:

I have yet to get on the Sara Paretsky bandwagon (which is kind of pathetic … she lives in Chicago, is a member of Mystery Writers of America – Midwest chapter, and is the mother behind the Sisters in Crime organization).  But for the reasons I’ve parenthesized and because of this article, I’m looking forward to getting caught up in her backlog of V.I. Warshawski books.

I have a lot of love for Dave Grohl.  My high school gym teacher had posted this on his Facebook wall – it’s worth the eight minutes of your life.

So – who didn’t read the New York Times’ account of Amazon’s cutthroat / “bruising” work environment?  (My parents don’t count …)  Since then, I’ve read that the government is wading into the fray (that oughta be good …) and then I read this piece from Forbes where the writer says: “Journalists enjoy the right to be selective, conducting long interviews and then using only short segments in an article. They enjoy the right to interview wide ranges of people and then to build the final story around a small subset.”  That line resonated with me because of my former career as a journalist – the challenge to take all of that information and drill it down to something publishable, accurate, and palatable … it was a challenge that I relished.  But it’s also a good warning to take everything that you read in the media with a salt shaker … you never know what ends up on the cutting room floor.

Finally, I recently wrote about how much I loved the movie “Real Genius.”  This time around, we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of “The Usual Suspects.”  There are not enough words for me to accurately describe how that movie made my mind explode the first time I saw it.  Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, the late and amazing Pete Postlethwaithe … every member of that cast was just so spot on in their roles.  It is funny to hear the director’s memories of the movie and to read the reviews – some scathing – that were published 20 years ago.

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Listening to:  John Prine and Bonnie Raitt’s duet of “Angel of Montgomery.”  Discovered a new band last weekend – Lucius.  Right now as I’m writing, I needed some Ray LaMontagne.

Reading:  I reserved “Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Bibliography” by Laura Ingalls Wilder at my local library and picked it up the other night.  I’m only through the acknowledgements and the introductory chapter, but I’m really enjoying the book.  Because I grew up in the Midwest – my entire first grade class was raised on this stuff.

Fiction Update: I made a read through the story that I call “Dragonfly.”  I’m hoping to take some time this weekend to sketch out an outline of what I have written (the story’s basically there – just need to string some lines between the tent poles.)  I have another idea that recently crawled into my head space, but I’ve just been jotting down notes on that, going to let it marinate for awhile before I commit to paper. (PS – Have I ever told you that I love this writing life?)

Happy Friday, friends!

Fiction, Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: It’s on the Internet … must be true

Friday FareFriday Fare is a round up of my “best of” when it comes to Internet links that I’ve read this week. Enjoy!

There were a couple things I read that got elevated to “Post-It” status on my desk this week.  Sure, I had to unearth said Post-It from my desktop, but these items were important enough for me to remember and post for your reading enjoyment. 🙂

First is this post called Slow Berkshires from Alana Chernila at “Eating from the Ground Up.”  Ms. Chernila is known for her incredible recipes and their reflection of the “farm to table” movement and while this post is a departure from the typical fare of her blog, it is in line with the aesthetic of her recipes – local, organic, intentional.  The post is a reflection of the hike that Chernila and her husband took from one end of the Berkshires to the other.  And while I know that such a jaunt is a few years from my present life (hel-lo, mother of toddlers!), it is something that’s on my bucket list.

The other three things I jotted down are a little more random … one of them is down below in “Listening,” while the other two are food related.  1) If you have an abundance of cucumbers right now from your garden or CSA, make these pickles.  Now.  2) I’m kind of obsessed by the concept of turning zucchini into noodles.  It seems like a travesty, but it sounds like a tasty one to try …

BUT THIS IS NOT A COOKING BLOG.  Now to the articles that enriched me as a reader and writer this week …

I grew up in the Midwest and I was reared on the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  (Do not get my mom started about the side trips I begged to go on during our bi-annual trip to South Dakota where I would seek out random LIW-related sites.)  So this literary mystery about whether or not Pa Ingalls brought a heaping helping of vigilante justice to some serial killers was interesting (even if unlikely).  Side note – I still need to read “Pioneer Girl.”

Here’s another bandwagon I’m late for:  Ann Rule.  Turns out that one of my FB author friends was real-life friends with the late author so upon Ms. Rule’s death, I found myself reading a lot about this amazing ex-journalist, turned author.  And while it seems that everyone and their mother has a Ted Bundy story in the Midwest, I need to get my hands on “The Stranger Beside Me.”

Finally – Facebook, it’s ability to stalk me via whatever “feels” I’m having and its targeted ad suggestions should squick me out, but I tune out ads as handily as I ignore whining children.  However, I’ve noted that FB thinks I should take James Patterson’s “Master Class” for writers that is offered online.  Luckily, another writer did that for me.  Joyce Maynard’s piece is light on the snark and her conclusion is surprising …

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Here are the other mediums that have been inspiring me:

Listening to: One of my coworkers texted me an article the other day about the television debut of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.  I’m in love.  Jimmy Fallon said that their music is pure barroom soul and he’s not too far off the mark.  NPR is currently streaming their upcoming album.  I have a sense that this album is going to find it’s way into my home soon.  And hopefully, my children won’t start running around singing “S.O.B.”

Reading:  Just finished “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah.  I’m still processing this one … it was an incredible read and it’s the kind of book that an aspiring writer can learn a lot from …

Fiction Update:

Wine and song ... er, outlining
Wine and song … er, outlining

This was the scene at Casa de My Kitchen Table the other night … I unearthed the folders that had the notes for my “resort story” and I started to page through them.  I was surprised to see how much I had written (I apparently went on a jag with this project in October 2012 through February 2013 … my eldest son would have been three months through eight months old during that time … no wonder I barely remember anything!) and even more thrilled to discover it wasn’t total shit!  Woo for some postpartum progress!

Happy Friday, friends!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random

Friday Fare: It’s on the Internet … must be true

Friday FareFriday Fare is my “best of” when it comes to Internet links that I’ve read this week.  And it’s been so long since I’ve written one of these, I had to look back to see the format!  Uff da.

Without further ado – these are the articles that caught my attention and maybe made me a smarter person this week:

Forbes ran an article about what is considered to be “on time,” “late,” etc.  I hate to admit this, but I’ve become terrible about making appointments on time.  I could blame my children because readying for an outing, loading two toddlers in a car, and refraining from drinking is probably the closest thing I’ll come to competing in a triathlon in my life, but this is something I need to be better about.

Lee Lofland, the mastermind/force behind the Writers’ Police Academy, published these “6 Police Apps for Writers.”  I’m upgrading to a better phone in October, I think some of these are going to find their way on my phone …

And this has nothing to do with writing, but a lot to do with who I am as a person … one of my all-time favorite movies is “Real Genius.”  And it turns 30 this year.  Kids and writing have cut back on my movie watching bandwidth, but “Real Genius” is a movie that I could watch over and over again.  It’s eminently quotable and it has Val Kilmer in it.

***

Speaking of movies, I’m making time to take one in this weekend – Ricki and the Flash.  I’m not one of those people who fawn over every film that Meryl Streep makes (and honestly, I have never seen the older films that put her on the map), but some of my favorite movies from recent years feature her: “Julie and Julia” (dragged my hubby to that one, he didn’t complain) and “Mamma Mia!”  Plus Kevin Kline is in it … this can’t be a bad thing (“In and Out” is also one of my favorite movies.)

Otherwise, this is what has been inspiring me lately:

Listening to:  I’ve been on an Old Crow Medicine Show kick recently.  I went to see them in concert in May and it is in one of my top five shows.  Here are a couple of YouTube concerts that give a glimpse of how talented these guys are.

Reading:  Sheyna Galyan gave me an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of her latest book “Strength to Stand” (will be released on Sept. 1.).  And damn … it was a good read.  I’ll be posting a review on my Goodreads feed soon.  I’m also reading “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah.

Fiction Update: Right now, I’m filling the well back up and reading good books, getting ready to beta read a friend’s novel, and mentally weighing what project I want to start outlining next!

Happy Friday, friends!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Random

Friday Fare … But not today!

Friday FareI have read articles this week, but it’s been one of those weeks where time is short and what has captured my attention has to be pretty damn good.  This is what spoke to me this week – a Tumblr feed from my home state of Iowa.  Someone wrote on Facebook that they thought the pictures of all of these old, abandoned buildings were sad, but I see a lot of pride and beauty of the old lines of these buildings.

Have a good weekend, dear friends!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFareI was a little early heralding the arrival of spring – we got nine inches of snow dumped on southeast Minnesota Sunday night (March 22nd).  My friend Jerry warned me, but I was too busy basking in the sun to pay heed to what I should remember about winter in the Midwest – March is a harsh mistress (or as Jerry put it:  “… that raucous, heartless wench.”

What have I been reading lately on the interwebs?

Anyway … New York Times’ Sunday Routine is one of the series that I follow faithfully in my newspaper reading.  This one with Tim Gunn was spectacular.  Not sure if it was Mr. Gunn, what he does for his Sunday Routine, or what it was about this one in particular, but I liked it.

This article regarding coffee and how it can negatively i impact a person’s productivity is bunk and I refuse to believe it.

I found a couple decadent recipes on the Interwebs this week:  Inspire(d) Magazine is a periodical out of my homeland of Northeast Iowa and the Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala is going to happen this weekend.  And then a friend of mine posted a recipe for Elvis Cheesecake – and it features a Nutter Butter crust.  I have an unhealthy love for Nutter Butter cookies that I can largely dismiss unless I hear the product name.  But while I fixate on the NB, this cheesecake features peanut butter, banana, and bacon bits.  While I do not think I’m going to make this, I would gladly order this off of a menu.  Or if my friend Jenny goes into the baking/delivery business – I would be happy to have this show up at my doorstep.

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Listening to: Every once in awhile I try to educate my sons in the “finer” music in life (beyond my usual folk fixation and their love of anything Sesame Street or secular Veggie Tales.)  This song got some heavy rotation this morning.

Reading:  I kind of abandoned Skellig.  Which means I should likely put it back on my “to be read” list for another day when I have the focus to finish it.  In the meantime, Sheyna Galyan is a member of the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime group that I belong to and we met over a morning involving firearms training.  I’m currently making my way through her debut novel “Destined to Choose” and I’m enjoying it – Galyan is a Jewish author and in her words, her books are written to “answer Big Questions.”  The former religion minor geek in my psyche is enjoying this in depth look at the Jewish faith.  And her story is well constructed, so bonus!

Fiction update: Editing.  And it’s going well.  There are some good things that are happening on the page and I’m getting ready to release my baby out to the beta readers soon!

Happy Friday, dear friends!

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare First and foremost – HALLELUJAH, it is Friday!  And secondly – IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING!  Winter wasn’t as bad as it could be in the hinterlands of Minnesota, but when you’re the mom of two toddlers – any extended periods of time spent indoors is just cruel to all involved.

Without further ado – here’s the articles that piqued my interest this week:

What common editing mistakes are you making?  Lourdes Venard is a member of the Sisters in Crime Guppies (Great Unpublished) online group that I am a part of.  Recently, she wrote a blog post that encapsulated some of the common mistakes that editors see when editing fiction.  Confession:  I know I’m guilty of a couple of these!

Wow – I haven’t read any of Adrian McKinty’s books, but need to start based on the soundtrack for his Detective Sean Duffy’s books alone.

I do a decent amount of research for some of my stories – I’m nowhere near as detailed as someone like Diana Gabaldon is, but some of the things that I write prompt me to consult subject matter experts or look up articles / various sources to find out random things like the history of embalming (don’t ask.)  Sometimes, I’m simply bookmarking articles for future information – storing little nuggets of information in my head that could be relevant in future stories.  Like this article about a super-secret policing gadget that can listen in on cell conversations.  Hel-lo big brother.

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Listening to:  As I finalize this post today, I have Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park playing.  My parents had this album on cassette when I was a kid and I wore it out.  If I ever had to exist on a desert island, this is probably one of the albums that I’d bring with me.  This one and Paul Simon’s “Negotiations and Love Songs.”

Reading:  I have a couple of books that I picked up from the library – Sanctum by Sarah Fine and The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty (see the link above that got me interested in reading Mr. McKinty’s books).  I am 99% sure that I’ve read Sanctum, but need to page through it to see if that is the case.  If so, I’ll do a quick re-read since this is part of a larger series of Young Adult (YA) fiction.

Fiction update:  Edits, edits, edits.  I’m still on my April 1st deadline.  Just got to keep plugging away to that goal line and not let life derail me.

Also – I’m getting ready to go to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference next month in Minneapolis.  I had been on the fence regarding my attendance, but they have a Saturday pass for $40.  With my work schedule and with my family, that’s going to be the best option for me.  I’ll be writing more soon regarding what I hope to get from the conference, but honestly – I’m just looking forward to rubbing elbows with some of the Minnesota writers that I’ve befriended over the past few years and drinking with my Writer’s Guild at the conclusion of Saturday’s festivities. 🙂