Fear in Writing: 2010

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Golden Ticket

How many authors make it BIG?

Monday night we watched the Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the kids.  Five golden tickets out of millions of chocolate bars meant only five children get into the magical dream that is Willy Wonka's world.

Tuesday we watched the 1971 version with Gene Wilder.  (Really interesting to view them back-to-back and see how each director interpreted the story.  At first viewing, I didn't like Burton's version with the emphasis on Wonka's insecurities, but comparison shows some really great additions to the 2005 movie.  One, Charlie's family was loving and delightful--a nice change from the bickering sadness of the first one.  And two, the closeness of that family made for an excellent message in the end that even my 2yo got.)  Still, five tickets and five children.

But the children hoped and the children bought the candy bars.  In the same vein, we hope and we write.  Some care if they make it BIG and some just want to express themselves.  Some just strive for publication, while others have sales numbers they'd like to hit.

But whatever you admittedly look for in writing, I'm sure there is a part of you that wouldn't complain if the big bucks, reviews, and prestige came your way.  And the chances are...well, slim.

Talent?  Luck?  Timing?  Money?  Resume?  All or some of these may mean the difference between stardom and mediocrity.

Is being one of the few important to you?  Do you think about this when you write?

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Guidish. (adj) of or pertaining to the Guido culture

At midnight on Christmas Day we finally got to the point of making up words. So delirious and stuffed with yummies were we, that I coined this term. (Don't ask why we were talking about Guidos and 'Jersey Shore.' Let's just say it was a long and varied conversation.) Everyone readily agreed this was a great term and one to become part of Websters's Slang and Other Stupid Words.

It made me think about Language. How easy and difficult is it to create a new word? Why are words slipped so seamlessly into our Cultures, either temporarily ('hater'--please let this be short-lived) or longlasting (blog, webcam, etc.)?

The answer is simple. We are a social species. We are constantly looking for ways to describe to others what we see and feel. We must interact and therefore communicate. And books are one of our favorite methods of passing on our ideas and beliefs. Not only can we tell great stories—some based in fact and with some import—but we can also express our innermost fantasies.

Think of the worlds created by Tolkein and Carroll. Think of the twisted reality that was the mind of Hunter S. Thompson. Or even the society mele that was Truman Capote's existence. All of these lives translated into great—or at least interesting—works of literature.

So, whether you are creating words a la Jabberwocky or settings a la CassaStar, you are participating in a very human concept—eternal life through social interaction.

Go forth and live forever!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

To all who celebrate this holiday today, Merry Christmas!  To all who just enjoy the season, Happy Holidays!  And to those who are sitting back and laughing at the crazy commercialism and snarking at the smiling families and jolly children, Bah Humbug!

Happy Holidays, my blogging friends.  This year would not have closed so beautifully without you.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sparking creativity

Happy holidays all!  The season has turned bright, cold, and joyous for our family.  We are all together, we have a tree that seems to be floating atop all the gifts.  We have a fire burning hot and a wind blowing cold against the glass.

But I find myself living in my head more this Christmas.  When I get two free moments back-to-back, I retreat into that space that is the imagination.  I don't necessarily see scenes of a novel forming, but encouraged in the right direction this could definitely be fertile ground.

Is it the smell of pine?  The smiles of my children?  The egg nog?  I don't know...

Does the holiday season affect you this way?  Do you feel your creativity sparked along with the soul-warming hearth fire?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My holiday reading

I am making my holiday book stack.  I have some pretty exciting reads to keep with me over the holidays.  Here they are in no particular order:

1. The Given Day by Dennis Lehane.

2. The Victoria Vanishes by Christopher Fowler.

3. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

4.  Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny.

Oh, man!  It's going to be a good Christmas even if no presents arrive for me.  I am ready to read!  What are you reading and what are you most excited about this holiday season?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Surprise Haircut

Ok, guys.  I am still around, but it's been a weird week.  Sickness, school duties, Christmas shopping and THIS:
That's right, my daughter cut her own hair.  Her beautiful, golden locks turned into a MULLET!
Last week she poured two bowls of water on the indoor rug before I caught her (cleaning off the reindeer's boo-boos, btw) and emptied a small bottle of lotion on her clothes and carpet during quiet time.  I call her my Ramona Quimby.

Do you have a character who is wild or catches you by surprise?  It can be wonderful, but it can also be, well, surprising!  What do you do with your characters when they act out?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Guest blogger: author Kathryn Casey

Today we welcome Kathryn Casey, whose novels have made the lists in Vanity Fair and Booklist, among other publications.  She also has an impressive group of nonfiction recognized by Queen-of-the-genre Ann Rule.
Without further ado, here is Kathryn Casey on 'The Joy of Pure Fiction.'

     When Singularity, my first mystery, came out, I noticed a couple of distinct reactions from family and friends. Before reading it, they seemed delighted that I wasn’t hanging around courtrooms and prisons as much as in the past, during my more than two decades as a journalist, writing true crime books and covering real murder cases. “It’s good for you to not see such a depressing side of life,” my aunt said one day, patting my hand. “It’ll give you a more optimistic view of the world.”
       I didn’t argue. First, my parents raised me to not contradict my elders. Second, it can get pretty intense covering real murder cases, sitting with the victims’ and defendants’ families, watching their reactions, listening to the evidence, often grisly, looking at disturbing crime scene photos, and then, later, interviewing the killers.
       My family and friends relief, however, was short lived. When they’d actually read the book, some eyed me rather warily. “You know, Kathy,” a friend said over lunch in a crowded restaurant one afternoon. We were out celebrating the new novel, and we’d both sipped a bit of champagne. I was feeling rather effervescent when she said, “Some of the girls have been talking, and we’re wondering if we should be concerned with the ideas you have floating around in your mind.”
      I put down my fork, looked at her eye-to-eye, thought briefly, and then said, “You know, you really shouldn’t bother. I’m pretty sure, I’m okay.”
      “But those murder scenes in your book,” she said, growing ever more adamant. “They were, how should I put this, unusual. Do you often think about such things often?”
      Again, I took my time, considering the scenes she’d referred to. My main character, Sarah Armstrong, is a Texas Ranger/profiler. She doesn’t get the run of the mill murders. Instead, she’s kind of like that TV doc House, the one they call on to weed through all the clues when they can’t crack a case. In that first book, the one my friends had just read, Sarah hunted a serial killer and the death scenes were indeed unusual, in fact, ritualistic might have been a better word.
       “You know, I do think about such things,” I told my friend, who shook her head slightly at my confession. “But you don’t need to worry, because the beauty of fiction is that none of it’s real.”
      As my aunt had hoped, the transition from fact to fiction has been invigorating. After all those years covering real cases, I do have rather strange things floating around in my head, and, for the first time, I’m letting them out to play, resulting in plenty of plots and characters to draw on.
     For instance, in the second book in the series, Blood Lines, I wrote about a deadly cyber-stalker circling a pop star and an oil company exec found shot through the head with a farewell note beside her body. Was it suicide? I’m not telling, but I will say that both plot lines tied back to cases I’d heard about but never wrote about back in the early nineties. So their roots are real, even though they’re thoroughly fictionalized in the book.
     So is it any surprise that in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike hitting my hometown, Houston, I wrote a book entitled The Killing Storm? The African symbols and the sugar cane plantation in the book? All modeled after real places and archeological finds within an hour of my house. The location where the book builds to a climax? You guessed it. Real.
     Yet everything else materialized when I let my imagination take over, freed from worrying about sticking to the facts, able to mold the best plot, scene, and characters. What’s the most delightful thing about writing mysteries? For me, it’s that when it comes to the killer: pure fiction.

Bio: Kathryn Casey is an award-winning, Houston-based novelist and journalist, the creator of the Sarah Armstrong mystery series and the author of five highly acclaimed true crime books. SINGULARITY, the first in the Armstrong series, debuted in June to rave reviews. It was a Deadly Pleasures magazine Best First Novel of 2008 selection, was included on Vanity Fair’s Hot Type page, won stars from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and the Tampa Tribune said: “Not since Patricia Cornwell’s POSTMORTEM has a crime author crafted such a stellar series debut. Kathryn Casey hits the right notes.”
The second in the series, BLOOD LINES (2009) was called a “strong sequel” by Publisher’s Weekly, and was included in a Reader’s Digest condensed books edition for fall 2010.
The Killing Storm, Katherine’s latest, has been chosen as a Mystery Book Club selection, and Publisher’s Weekly labels it “the best in the series so far.” Library Journal awarded the book a star, and Kirkus calls it “pulse-pounding.”
In addition, Ann Rule has called Casey, “one of the best in the true crime genre.” Her non-fiction books all published by HarperCollins include: A WARRANT TO KILL, (2000); SHE WANTED IT ALL (2005); DIE, MY LOVE (2007); A DESCENT INTO HELL (2008), EVIL BESIDE HER (2008), and SHATTERED (2010). Three were Literary Guild, Mystery Guild, and Doubleday Book Club selections.
You can visit her website at www.kathryncasey.com.

Thanks to Kathryn for coming by SouthernCityMysteries today!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What I've Written

For the first time in a long time I am sitting down to write a real post. I am thinking and writing and really putting effort into this. I am. Promise.

But, since I can't seem to think of any topics or themes, I'll just tell you all what I've written lately.

And I have written lately.

It strikes me that this is actually a wonderful topic for a writing blog: what the blogger has actually written!

During my five days of alone time I did not write.  I read A LOT and I set up my work space and I played online and I watched tons of foreign movies and independent films (Australians make really depressing ones, by the way)...But I did not write.  It just didn't come to me.

Afterward though, things started flowing.  For the first time in, well, ever, I forced myself to write.  I wrote a scene that was nicely informational but uninspiring.  I wrote a scene from the MC's POV that was dark and a little creepy, but might actually be correct.  He might really be speaking through me in this one.  

Then I drew.  Yes, I drew!  I drew an entire collection of fashion garments--something I have never done before!  I can't believe it either, really.  I mean, I love Project Runway and other creative outlet shows.  But I've never come up with my own designs before!

It was a very creative and rewarding day.

So was today.  My 2 1/2 yo daughter watched the entire Royal Ballet version of The Nutcracker.  It was a wonderful experience of bonding and memories.  (Ovation channel is showing a different version of the Tchaikovsky masterpiece every night this week.  Tonight is the French version--should be wonderful!)

All for now.  Thanks for letting me just talk.  It felt good.  Maybe we bonded a little here, too. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's my style? What's his voice?

I'm still finding the voice of my MC.  And it feels like it's taking forever!  I have outlines and character sketches and scenes galore--but not yet do I have the correct style down.

Sure, it can be said that this is the struggle of any First Novel attempt.  Who knows their voice for certain on their first work? But still...

Did your characters' voices come easily to you?  Did your writing style jump out like a puppy on Christmas morning?  Or did you have to search?

Can't go much deeper this morning.  Lucky to get a post out at all!  And here's a bit of Christmas cheer from my family to yours:

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get kids to smile. :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Emotion of Snow (and Writing)

I don't write or read holiday books, but I do think Christmas lends a writer special opportunities.  Namely: emotion.  Whatever your heart's reaction to this time of year, there is something there from which to pull.

Saturday, it snowed.  It snowed in Raleigh less than a week after humid, summer weather was in the air.  Luckily, it was our day to get the Christmas tree.  So, in the midst of a beautiful, large-flaked storm, we headed to the tree lot.  The kids opened their mouths and tipped back their heads.  They licked snowflakes off their coats and tried to pick the tree with the most snow on it (gotta love kid logic).  I think we succeeded in that endeavor, as our tree is still drying in the garage.  And we made friends with complete strangers.  I mean, we were all in it together, right?  Christmas, tree picking, snowstorm to start our December.  So we laughed and smiled together for 20 wonderful minutes.

Situations, relationships, emotions, moral codes--the holiday season brings all of these to the social forefront.  And a writer...Well, a writer would be remiss not to notice!  Even if you, like me, do not write or read holiday-based fiction, you can at least benefit from the exercise in friendliness that is December.

How does this time of year affect your writing?  Do you include holidays in your work?

Merry Christmas and Happy December everyone!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Witch's Boy

Thursday night I finished Michael Gruber's The Witch's Boy.


It is a short book, but so full of fantastical elements inspired by tales of old and mystical powers even older.  One recognizes at once bits of the fairytales we've all heard--Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White--but they are not told in the Disney fashion or even as passed down by the Grimms.  They are told as a witch might tell them, in perfect dark fashion but somehow completely plausible.

The author, Michael Gruber, is a fantastic story-weaver.  Some of his other works, The Book of Air and Shadows and The Forgery of Venus, are among my favorite reads.  In his Detective Jimmie Paz series, Gruber takes on Santeria and makes it believable.  I cannot express how highly I recommend any work by Gruber.  As I told you all in this post from November, I wasn't even sure I would read The Witch's Boy when I read the blurb.  And now it has become an inspiration to me--proof of what imagination can create.

Oh!  One more thing.  In the back of the book is an interview with Gruber and a statement by him on the origin of the story.  I don't usually read these things.  Why do I need extra words to describe what I have already read?  If the author can't prove his points and convince me of his story inside the pages, then he certainly won't in extra, nonfiction words.  But this one was different.  I was fascinated by what Gruber had to say about his own mother (a witch?) and from whence the idea for The Witch's Boy came.

Read it.  Even if you don't usually read fantasy.  Read it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Serendipitous Barthes

Heard of Roland Barthes?  A Vanity Fair article on the man caught my eye in November, but I didn't think much more about him beyond the back cover.  Then I walked through the bookstore.  And there, in the clearance rack, was a Barthes Reader.  Clearance?  Barthes?  It was serendipitous.  I just had to buy it, and I did.

Is serendipity just luck?  Does it mean something is "meant to be?"  Or is it a truly fortuitous coincidence?

I don't know.  I don't even know if I'll like the Barthes Reader.  But I know a good idea when I have one.  And if something pops into my head because of a find like this--a find twice pushed in my face--then I'll know true serendipity.

How about you?  Do you ever find something great by luck, an idea or even a purchase?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What day is it?  I lingered in a state of silence and peace for nearly five days before my husband and children returned Sunday evening.

That's right: I had FIVE days to myself!  You see, I had to produce my show Friday night and, instead of hosting like we so often do for Thanksgiving, I opted to send my family away and bask in the quiet that is a childless house.

Monday evening, my first as responsible parent for two preschoolers in the aforementioned number of days, I was at a complete loss for what to do.  My daughter and I napped till 6.  Then we watched a cartoon because I was too groggy for anything else.  When my husband arrived home at nearly 8, I hadn't even fixed dinner!  I quickly realized my irresponsible confusion had to change and haven't repeated the craziness.  But it was a very strange evening.  It's amazing how quickly one can get off schedule.

The same goes for this blog.  As much as I've been accomplishing tasks in my non-Internet life, I've neglected this blog and those of my blogging friends for nearly a month now.  I've gotten off-schedule and had a hard time getting back.

But I'm breathing again.  My fingers are nimble over the keys and my children are gently snuggling again with me each morning.  The coffee is brewing on schedule and each school day comes with regularity.  Only Christmas music and the smell of pine needles interrupts my world.  But those are joyous things that can only add to the imagination.

How are you?  I miss checking in with you all.  I hope this holiday season is treating you well!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New Writing Space

And now I wanted to share my new work space...
My husband ordered this desk for me and I added the Arshile Gorky print.  Something so beautiful should inspire me, right?

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am thankful for you all!  Write on...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Just thought I'd share my mood for today.

Happy Saturday!!!  Now let's get writing...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Writers writing something else

As a strange coincidence, I have books by three authors on my nightstand--and they are all out of genre for the writers!  Sunday night I began The Witch's Boy by Michael Gruber.  I've read his mystery/scyfy/thriller series featuring Detective Jimmy Paz.  But my favorites of this talented author are his art/history literary mysteries, including The Book of Air and Shadows and The Forgery of Venus.  I automatically bought The Witch's Boy without even reading the description because I'd read anything by Gruber.  Surprise!  It's a fantasy "retelling of classic fairy tales...the stunning new tale of a boy raised by a witch, a cat, a bear, and a demon" (books).  So far, it's really fascinating and magically intriguing.

Also on my endtable, John Grisham's Ford County and The Given Day by Dennis Lehane.  The latter isn't so much off-genre for the author as it is for me.  Lehane has written other historical dramas, including Coronado and the psychological thriller Shutter Island (books).  But it is still odd for me to have so many mystery writers' non-mystery books!

Do you find yourself exploring the off-basic exploits of your favorite authors?  Do you like it when an author tries something new?  Have you ever written off-genre?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Foreign Post Roundup

1. 10 Writing Pests by Elspeth Antonelli.  Her usual posting charm is in high gear for this post.

2.  Sex sells by Roland D. Yeoman.  Yes it does, and this post is an great take on the subject--plus some other hidden links.

3. Al shares his early life--and it IS a love story!

4. Prize and contest for December at Dangerous with a Pen! (And I'm sure your holiday month was looking empty and boring...) But one of the multitude of prizes is a very beautiful, handmade ornament. At least click over to see the designs!

5. Aaaahhh...the question on all our lips: what will Kate Middleton's title be when she marries a royal? This and other interesting monarchy facts right here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Writing...not writing. Blogging...not blogging.

So I wrote another scene on Thursday.  Hooray!  Felt good until I realized I couldn't find the notebook containing the scene I wrote a week ago!  Well...it'll work out.

But blogging?  I just can't seem to get back in the pocket.  The ideas aren't flowing...The bloghopping interest has waned a bit...

So, sorry.  I will come back.  It's just taking a bit longer than expected.

**BUT...This was written Friday night.  THEN I started hopping around some of your blogs and commenting...and I remembered how much I enjoyed the exchange of ideas.  I think I'm back!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Autumn in...Your Writing

Ok.  Reload.  One of those times.  What is it with this season?  The parties the holidays the school activities...the stress!  How does anyone write in Autumn?

And yet it's my favorite time of year!  The colors are so inspirational.  I want to spend every moment in the crisp, cool air.  People are nicer, stores are happier, children are storing up the good points for Christmas (right around the corner, btw).

But this is the first time I've sat down to write anything in more than a week.  Sadness.  Even my reading has dropped off to an average of 1 book/1.5 weeks.

When is your "busy" season?  How do you get through it?  Do you stop writing for a period, or struggle through?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Getting back to basics

It's been a long few weeks of constant movement.  Shuffling family members around.  Shuffling kids around.  Shuffling everything and everyone!  And, as you've probably noticed, I have been absent from most of your blogs.  The time just hasn't been there.

So, for a few days I am taking a vacation.  I am getting a weekend with my husband--much needed--and a weekend away from the blog.  I hope to come back to this, my writing, and my kids refreshed and revitalized.

See you Monday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Art. Stolen. Writing.

Program in an Artistic Soiree, Study 1, Degas
I love art.  I love Abstract Expressionism and Cubism and Impressionism and Surrealism.  I love paintings and statues and pottery and mixed media.  I love what art brings to a space, to a life, to a moment.  I love what emotion can be contained within a piece of art--and what emotion lies in wait, only to be released upon interaction with a viewer.

Chez Tortini, Manet
 A few weeks ago, I began reading Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton.  It is a fascinating look at the different facets of the artistic realm through the eyes of an anthropologist.  She dissects the meaning, the purpose, the people, and even the locations of some of the most important events in art--museums, art schools, art magazines, auctions, biennales, and art shows.  It really opened my eyes to all the different planes that make up the complicated shape that is Art.

And in reading this book, I have awakened in myself a long subdued passion for the stuff--Art.  I DVR any art special that appeals--from Art & the City (unapologetically cheesy) to a documentary I watched just last night called 'Stolen.'  I subsribe to Artforum magazine.

The Concert, Vermeer
 'Stolen' is an award-winning film by Rebecca Dreyfus that follows renowned art detective Harold Smith as he tracks down 13 priceless works of art, all stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.  It was "the largest art heist in modern times"  (stolenthefilm.com).   Among them, Vermeer's 'The Concert,' "one of only 35 of the masters surviving works"  and "the world's most valuable missing painting."  A tragic loss for the world and a fascinating story of something that shouldn't have happened.  Involving murder, ex-con art thiefs, an eye-patch wearing detective, smuggling, and 16th century paint chips mailed to a reporter--this story has all the pieces of a great mystery.

And it has revived my desire to write an art mystery book.  I have read many, some disappointing, some quite fascinating.  But could I do it?  I don't know.  But I want to!  Not yet...someday.

What world inspires you?  What realm do you long to break into through writing?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Missing Pieces

Storytelling is an art.  Perhaps the oldest art.  It is a way to live on after death.  It is a way to impact the next generation and those beyond them.  It is important.

We tell stories in my house.  But it started before us...My father was a storyteller.  Some were fantastic and a little jaw-dropping in this current age (like the brother who died because his hair got stuck in the tub drain--to get us to keep our long hair away from it while bathing), while others made us giggle with wonder (like the dozens of variations on Grizzly Adams and the Indian Chief looking for his son Falling Rock--you know, like the road sign: 'Watch for Falling Rock.')  Now he shares his crazy mind with my children, and they love "Papa's" stories.

So we tell stories.  I make my kids superheroes and animal whisperers, great adventurers, pilots, artists, and ballerinas.  They have been around the world through our stories.  They have battled Transformers and befriended lions, tamed snakes, and saved many'a'zoo.

And now my 2yo daughter is picking up the torch.  Unfortunately, her favorite place to tell stories is on the swing.  This means that I hear the tale like a Jim Carrey balcony scene: every other phrase is missing.  For instance yesterday, a prince and a princess were dancing.  Then, all of a sudden, the princess was in a spider web!  I didn't get to hear the action that brought her to this scary fate.

This phenomenon made me think...What if we leave too much out of our narrative?  There is no reason to show a character's every move from plot start to plot end.  But leave out too much, and the reader can become lost.  'How did MC get here?  Why did he go here?' they might wonder.

I recently finished a book that left me feeling a little like this.  It is a book I had long anticipated as the author is widely sold (internationally) and respected.  Jo Nesbø's Nemesis struck me this way.  It wasn't necessarily action that was missing, but more the feeling that I was missing some information.  And then there would be a paragraph I'd have to reread because I was sure I had skipped a page, but hadn't.

In this case, it very well could have been the translation.  But...will I read another Nesbø?  Because of his reputation, yes.  But not as quickly as I would have.  Will I continue to listen to my daughter's stories?  Of course!  But only because she is my daughter.  If a career storyteller told them in every other sentence fashion, I wouldn't stick around.

How about you?  Do you struggle with how much action to include and how much to leave out?  Have you ever read an author who has this problem?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chewing what you bite

So you fill your schedule.  You have multiple kids.  You have a mortgage.  You have responsibilities.  You have desires and dreams.  And you have something in every category that has to be done this week.

Now, many who know me might say I am the last person from whom you should take time management advice.  I am often frazzled leaving the house, at least five minutes late for appointments (usually the fun ones, like coffee with friends), and even let the stress affect other parts of my life.

But, like right now, I can't go back on the promises I've made or the events I have planned.  It's a busy time of year for anyone, and for us it is exacerbated by the kids and their parties and needs.  (Don't worry, I'm not one of those moms who has my kids in a million activities.  They are just 2 and 5, and only one of them does Fall and Spring soccer--nothing else yet!)

So, if you can't cut back on the things you have to accomplish, and you can't change the time in which you have to do them, what do you do?  Do you take your kids to school late?  Do you push your editor for a later date to turn in your MS? 


You find a way.

You (oh, yeah, I'm gonna use the big word) organize.  There's really no other way to do it.  We live nearly 30 minutes from my children's school, so I have to take certain precautions to not have crazy mornings.  Precautions such as making lunches the night before, prepping the coffee to automatically brew in the AM--those things make it possible to do everything (having a great husband helps.)

For writing, we prep our supplies so they're ready when we have a moment to scribble--notebook and/or recorder in purse, computer plugged in near the biggest kid distraction--the TV, outline stored on the desktop for easy clicking, editor's and publisher's numbers on speed dial.  Whatever your plan, just having one gives you an edge. 

What is your plan?  Do you have time to chew what you bite?  Or are you overextended?  If so, what can you cut?  What suffers?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Some Beat poetry for your weekend

A work friend sent this poem to me Friday night and I loved it so much I decided to share it.  Considering the Literary Movement Series: Beat Generation had the most traffic of any post I've ever published, I thought you all would like it.

Keep in mind the institution against which the Beats were fighting, the staid lifestyle by which they were surrounded.  Then think about life today.  How much of this is still applicable?  There is a question for thought at the end...

'Marriage' by Gregory Corso

Should I get married? Should I be good?

Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood?
Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky-

When she introduces me to her parents
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,
should I sit with my knees together on their 3rd degree sofa
and not ask Where's the bathroom?
How else to feel other than I am,
often thinking Flash Gordon soap-
O how terrible it must be for a young man
seated before a family and the family thinking
We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou!
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living?

Should I tell them? Would they like me then?
Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter
but we're gaining a son-
And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?

O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just wait to get at the drinks and food-
And the priest! he looking at me as if I masturbated
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife?
And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue!
I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back
She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha!
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on-
Then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes
Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates!
All streaming into cozy hotels
All going to do the same thing tonight
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen
The lobby zombies they knowing what
The whistling elevator man he knowing
Everybody knowing! I'd almost be inclined not to do anything!
Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye!
Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon!
running rampant into those almost climactic suites
yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel!
O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls
I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner
devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of bigamy
a saint of divorce-

But I should get married I should be good
How nice it'd be to come home to her
and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen
aproned young and lovely wanting my baby
and so happy about me she burns the roast beef
and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair
saying Christmas teeth! Radiant brains! Apple deaf!
God what a husband I'd make! Yes, I should get married!
So much to do! Like sneaking into Mr Jones' house late at night
and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books
Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower
like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence
like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest
grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky!
And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him
When are you going to stop people killing whales!
And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle
Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust-

Yes if I should get married and it's Connecticut and snow
and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn,
up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me,
finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man
knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear nor Roman coin soup-
O what would that be like!
Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus
For a rattle a bag of broken Bach records
Tack Della Francesca all over its crib
Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib
And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon

No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father
Not rural not snow no quiet window
but hot smelly tight New York City
seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls
a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job!
And five nose running brats in love with Batman
And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired
like those hag masses of the 18th century
all wanting to come in and watch TV
The landlord wants his rent
Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus
impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking-
No! I should not get married! I should never get married!
But-imagine if I were married to a beautiful sophisticated woman
tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves
holding a cigarette holder in one hand and a highball in the other
and we lived high up in a penthouse with a huge window
from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days
No, can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream-

O but what about love? I forget love
not that I am incapable of love
It's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes-
I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother
And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible
And there's maybe a girl now but she's already married
and I don't like men and-
But there's got to be somebody!
Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married,
all alone in a furnished room with pee stains on my underwear
and everybody else is married! All the universe married but me!

Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible-
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so i wait-bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.

Here is Corso reading the poem:

Do you fight any institutions or mores in your writing?  Do you take on social norms or even political entities?  Do you create something to fight against, but find it is a stand-in for a very real subject?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Write what you don't see

I thought of a writing exercise today.  I was sitting in my car with the rain beating down, crashing against the metal and sliding down the windshield, and I thought, I could write this scene.  Then I thought, But how hard is that?  Any half-decent writer can describe what they see.  The challenge is to create something unseen.

So, for a writing exercise (if you're looking for one), I propose you sit somewhere with a notepad (a computer can be rather distracting), take in your surroundings, and then write the opposite.  Maybe not the direct opposite, but try to imagine everything different.

You could change the seasons, you could change the weather, you could change your house from a 1-bedroom walkup to a 3-storey townhouse on the river in Boston...Or you could make it fantastic!  Why couldn't the leaves be pink or the rain be alien gore?

Anyway, it's just an exercise I thought of and wanted to share.  As you know, setting is very important to me as a writer and reader.

Also...I apologize for not being around the blog world or posting much this week.  My in-laws dropped in for a surprise visit and with Halloween weekend and other things, it has been super crazy.  Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Bad Trip

My five-year-old son loves books. Jake can’t yet read, but he loves to hear the stories and make up his own. On Monday, he was looking at the back cover of a Berenstain Bears book on the way home from school. For those unfamiliar with these now-classic children's books, the back cover is a grid of more than 30 thumbnail pics from all the titles in the series. During this particular car ride, Jake jumped from thumbnail to thumbnail, making up names for all the books based on the pictures. Titles like Too Much TV and The Bad Habit became ‘Trouble with TVs’ and ‘The Bad Bear Nail Biters’. When he arrived at one that shows the Bear family on vacation, Jake call out, “‘The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Trip’!"  

I choked on my coffee. Visions of stoned Sister Bear and hallucinating Mama danced in my head. Well, danced very slowly. I could even envision the cover: psychedelic colors in a swirly tie-dye pattern backdropping a droopy-eyed Bear family surrounded by Cheese-Its and empty soda bottles.

Obviously, this wasn't what Jake meant when he said ‘The Bad Trip’. But how often do we say something that could be misconstrued? When it’s intentional we call it a double entendre. When we don't we might label it Freudian slip. But when we write it into a novel...Oops?

I wish I had a great example from the many I have read over the years. I can only think of settings. Say you're writing a very serious situation, but you have the female lead say, "It's very hard!" while hugging the male protagonist. Is she talking about the horribly emotional and energy-draining dilemma in which she is embroiled? Or is her scene partner very well-endowed and excited to share it?

Have you ever read a ‘Bad Trip’-esque slip in a book? Have you caught a ‘it’s very hard’ moment in your own writing?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

HALLOWEEN Sunday Foreign Post Roundup

Does the mysterious and scary excite you?  Are you interested in spells?  Do you have someone or something you want to curse?  How about love?  Leighton Gage has the link for all that ails you...Spells online for your every need!  (Oh, yeah, you'll also need a Portuguese/English (or whatever your native tongue) dictionary.)

**Pics here are of the ever-fabulous Heidi Klum at her famous Halloween party.  The last picture is a sneak preview of this year's costume.
All posts except the headline and the first are in the order in which I read them, starting back on Sunday, Oct. 17th.
1. And topping the link list (even though it's out of order, but b/c it's awesome) in non-scary, absolutely fantastic news is: CLARISSA DRAPER'S MANUSCRIPT ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION!  I read the news on KarenG's blog, Coming Down the Mountain, but make sure you go by Listen to the Voices to congratulate Clariss!  Congrats, congrats, congrats!

2. Mrs. Pig performs and autopsy and Mr. Teddy Bear leaves pawprints...all as Debbie Cowans takes us through the ABCs of forensics.

Designer Mark Bouwer,
3.  The battle we all fight in our writing: Good vs. Evil, at Rayna's Coffee Rings Everwhere.

4.  A movie reviewer with a really intelligent approach to the industry.  Some great reviews at Film Intel, and definitely check out this well-researched (and Dez-quoting!) post on Angelina Jolie in Bosnia.

5.  Help out your fellow man--in this case WOman--by entering "the sweetest frickin' contest ever and change the frickin' world."  Over at The Misadventures in Candyland!
6.  A compilation of the best of British crime writers (volume 7), and blogger-friend Paul D. Brazill will be included in the next volume!  Congrats to him.

 7.  And Icelandic author travels to the US...Yrsa Sigurðardóttir talks about what she observed--and it's eye-opening to see it from someone else's POV!

8.  Children of detectives in crime fiction.  Margot Kinberg pulls it off again--another great post!


9.  Looking for a scare?  Check out Palindrome's scary movie recommendation...I'll definitely be renting this one!
10.  Ever wonder about those letters you see strung together on writers' blogs?  MS, MG, YA, LI...yep, some were even new to me on Clarissa's list of Writers' Acronyms.

11.  If you like my link roundups, you'll love this link list at Grasping for the Wind (also had our friend/author Alex J. Cavanaugh featured on Monday).

12.  You will laugh, you will cringe, and you will definitely relate to this post by Jen Daiker on writing and telling: Sour Patch Kids.

 13.  Taxation for bloggation?  Oh, yeah, Philadelphians.  Check out the article on Helen's Straight From Hel.

14.  Debbie Cowans second edition of Forensics Alphabet.  So awesome, with stuffed animals!

15. Be afraid...be very afraid...Links from Shannon O'Donnell...

Heidi Klum 2010, courtesy Stylist.com

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Haunting of My Childhood

For this Halloween weekend, I will share with you a tale of scare that haunted my childhood.  It's a story that dates back to the early 1800s and involves a young family and the future President Andrew Jackson.

As a child in Nashville, Tennessee, I was told that if you stood in front of a mirror at midnight and said "I hate the Bell witch!" three times, she would appear.  And she would scratch your face with her mean claws, marking you forever as her victim.  We got to two a lot, but never three incantations.

Today I know a bit more about the story, but it is no less spooky.  Read on, brave ones...

Early in the 19th century, John Bell moved his family from North Carolina to the Red River community in Robertson County, Tennessee.  The Bells own hundreds of acres and had lived on the property for at least 11 years before the first encounter.

It happened one day in 1817...Bell was inspecting his corn field when he spotted a strange animal between the rows.  Bell was shocked--for the animal had the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit!  He shot at it several times, but the unnatural creature vanished.  It was that night that the sounds began.

The Bells were inside their log cabin when they began hearing someone or something beating on the walls.  Each night, the sounds got worse, and then the encounters turned physical.  "the Bell children began waking up frightened, complaining that rats were gnawing at their bedposts. Not long after that, the children began complaining of having having their bed covers pulled from them and their pillows tossed onto the floor by a seemingly invisible entity."

Endless whispering was the soundtrack to their lives.  And soon, the youngest daughter, Betsy, became the spirit's favorite victim. "It would pull her hair and slap her relentlessly, often leaving welts and hand prints on her face and body."  Soon, it became too much to keep quiet.  The Bells had to share their grief.

James Johnston and his wife came to stay one night.  They, too, experienced the horror--bed clothes pulled from them during the night, slaps to their bodies while they were sleeping.  Johnston calmed the spirit only with this cry: "'In the name of the Lord, who are you and what do you want!'"

Soon, a man with a bright future came to show interest in the haunting.  Major General Andrew Jackson visited the Bell family in 1819.  He traveled with several men, horses, and a wagon.  Upon entering the property, the wagon suddenly stopped!  It couldn't be moved, by my or by beast.  After several minutes of trying to move the immovable, a "disembodied female voice told Jackson that they could proceed and that she would see them again later that evening.."

One man in Jackson's enterouge claimed to be a witch tamer.  In fact, he showed off his silver bullet-shooting pistol with the claim it could kill any evil spirit. "Immediately, the man screamed and began jerking his body in different directions, complaining that he was being stuck with pins and beaten severely."  A strong kick sent the man out the front door.

The Jackson group settled in for the night...but was seen heading toward Nashville in the early hours of the morning.

What is true?  What is fiction?  What is rumor?  Do you dare test it yourself...In front of the mirror at midnight...Would you risk your face for a glimpse of the Bell Witch?

*All quoted lines and the majority of the story information came from the Bell Witch site, run by writer Pat Fitzhugh.  Fellow blogger and YA writer Steph in the City also thought this was a worthy topic last year.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Write Around the World: Wrapping up our tour

It's been more than a week of globetrotting, bloghopping, and exciting reading.  Many new followers have signed up to read whatever I might put here next.  And many more swung by to see what their favorite bloggers had to say in the six guest posts featured here in the last week and a half.  To all who paused or came to stay, thank you and welcome!  To all who took the time to creat fantastic posts, thank you, thank you, thank you.  Write Around the World more-than-a-week was an exciting trek because of your effort.

Would you like to see exactly where we went?

View Write Around the World in a larger map

I started us off with Nashville, TN and Raleigh, NC--both in the U.S.
Clarissa Draper took us to London and Mexico.
Leighton Gage showed us the uncompromising highs and lows of Brazil.
Debbie Cowens taught us something new about New Zealand.
Jackee Alston went all out in the first-ever-on-SoCityMysts vlog featuring the Southwest United States.
And Cold As Heaven wrapped up the tour with a look at living and writing in Winterland.

I don't have any other series planned, but I'm sure something will strike me in the future.  What is coming is the Sunday Foreign Post Roundup you all missed this past weekend!  Yep, I've been keeping track of some great links, but opted to keep the Write Around the World posts going through my usual Sunday roundup.  However, next Sunday is Halloween!  So I'll start with an especially appropriate link and include some spoooooky pictures.  It will also be a double issue--two weeks worth of the best links around the blogosphere!

Again, thanks to all who participated and all who came by to read and comment.  Writing is truly universal, something that has brought us together from around the world!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Write Around the World: Cold As Heaven on Winterland

For our final stop on the Write Around the World tour, we go to a place of fantasy, of beauty, of history.  Cold As Heaven is a "scientist, skier, and drummer," futball lover, and father.  For a glimpse into his personality, see his lists of "cool places on the web" in the righthand column of his blog.  One after the other: 'Church of Satan,' 'The Vatican,' 'Muhammed Cartoons,' and 'The Hitchhiker's Guide.'  Talk about crazy juxtaposition!  What does he write? Here's his prize-winning entry to my Happy Birthday Blogfest, and I'm guessing the rest is dark and probably bilingual.  As to where he writes, I'll let Cold explain...

I was born in a pile of snow, and grew up in a pile of snow. Well, that’s an exaggeration, I admit. We have summers here too, very light and sometimes warm summers. Fair to say, I have only lived half of my life in the snow. And believe me; I really enjoy it.

Some 15.000 years ago the Scandinavian Peninsula was covered by a 3000m (10.000 feet) thick ice cap, similar to Greenland today. The heavy load of the ice depressed the land masses below. When the ice disappeared, the land started to rise. We still experience a rebound from the ice that melted. The land is still rising, slowly but steadily, a few centimeters per year. We can find ancient shorelines in our local ski resort, 160m (500 feet) above present-day sea level.

When the ice pulled back, the people moved in. They needed something to do in the snow, so they invented skiing. Skis have been used in Scandinavia for a long time; 4000 year old rock carvings found in Finnmark, show the use of skis. Historically, skis were used for general transportation and for hunting and warfare. We have a long record of ski heroes: Now they bring gold medals back from the Olympics and the World Championships. In Medieval times they rescued a king.

In the 12th century there was a civil war going on around here; a conflict between king and church, and about succession to the throne. The main groups involved were called the Baglers and the Birkebeiners, the latter supporting the king. When the king died, the only successor to the throne was a one year old boy. He was of course a target for the enemies of the king. The winter of year 1206, Birkebeiner skiers carried the little boy across high mountains and deep forests, in blizzards and cold, to safety in Nidaros (painting by Knud Bergslien, 1869). The little boy grew up to become the legendary king Haakon Haakonson. In memory of this historic event, the Birkebeiner Race is held annually. Today, the best (professional) skiers, with modern equipment, cross the mountains in less than three hours

I got my first pair of skis when I was three years old. That’s quite normal in Winterland. When I was a kid, I often skied to school in the winter, on cross-country skis. I wanted to do alpine racing, but unfortunately, it was too expensive for my family to afford the equipment and the lift tickets. When I got my first pair of alpine skis in the teens (when family economy improved), I was too old to become a good racer,

When my older boy was six yo, I brought him to alpine racing practise (as you could probably guess). He was competing in slalom, giant slalom and downhill racing and was fairly good. At age 13, he wanted to switch to freestyle skiing, and I approved it right away. I had chosen alpine racing for him. He had chosen freestyle himself. There’s nothing better than the motivation that comes from inside. My little boy is still into alpine racing. He will get the same freedom to choose when he gets older.

My boys are passionate skiers. For them it’s the meaning of life. Freestyle skiing is in fact the fastest growing kids’ sport in our country. The kids all want to become the ski heroes of the new generation, and some of them are quite good. I’m happy to be a ski dad, spending the winters on the slopes with the kids. We even go skiing in the summer, on the glaciers in the mountains, the last remnants of the ice age.

You see why I enjoy living in Winterland?

Finally, I want to thank Michele for inviting and hosting me. This is in fact my first time guest-blogging, and it was great fun.

Thank you so much!  I am not only suddenly dissatisfied with where I live, I am also very definitely taking my protagonist on a murder-solving trip in the future! 

This is the last of the Write Around the World posts...Wrap-up tomorrow.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Write Around the World: Jackee Alston's vlog on Southwest US

Problem solved by Jackee's tech savvy husband!  Sorry for the inconvenience, but I'm sure the wait and the extra trip will be worth the trouble.  Once again...

Back to our round-the-world tour of great writing locations and settings.  Our tour guide today will be Jackee Alston, who combines the worlds of natural science and art to create Middle Grade and Young Adult books.  She lives in Northern Arizona (a beautiful and very clean part of the country, as I have lived there myself) and raises her three children around books and nature.

For the first time ever...I present Jackee Alston with a vlog!

If you want to know more about Jackee, visit her bio page on her blog, Winded Words.  You can also read some of her work while you're there!  Thank you, Jackee, for this creative guest post, and this fascinating look into a world that is unfamiliar to many.  The SW is a truly mesmerizing place.

Monday, Cold As Heaven takes us to Winterland for the last stop on our Write Around the World Tour.  In fact, Cold says they had their first snow just last week.  See you there...dress warmly!


I am working on the problem with today's "vlog."  So sorry for the technical issues!

Write Around the World: Jackee Alston on the SW United States

Back to our round-the-world tour of great writing locations and settings.  Our tour guide today will be Jackee Alston, who combines the worlds of natural science and art to create Middle Grade and Young Adult books.  She lives in Northern Arizona (a beautiful and very clean part of the country, as I have lived there myself) and raises her three children around books and nature.

For the first time ever...I present Jackee Alston with a vlog!

(removed by author, see corrected post)

If you want to know more about Jackee, visit her bio page on her blog, Winded Words.  You can also read some of her work while you're there!  Thank you, Jackee, for this creative guest post, and this fascinating look into a world that is unfamiliar to many.  The SW is a truly mesmerizing place.

Monday, Cold As Heaven takes us to Winterland for the last stop on our Write Around the World Tour.  In fact, Cold says they had their first snow just last week.  See you there...dress warmly!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Interview with author Marvin D. Wilson

"An old Hippie rock and roller, a non-religious, dogma free, Maverick spiritualist Christian."  That's how today's guest, author Marvin D. Wilson (known to most of you ast The Old Silly) describes himself.  Here, he answers my questions about his writing and his newest book, Beware the Devil's Hug.  I think I asked some pretty tough questions, and Marvin had no trouble answering them! 
A brief description of his book is a good way to start.  This is from a review by Ron Berry, author of Laughs from Corn Country and Math for the Family:
'The Old Man wagged his hand in the air. "That is of no significance. I am here to ask to take this man's place. Please - kill me instead." Thus we start our journey through the world created by Marvin Wilson ... in which even names are elusive ... each word hits harder than a punch ... As you weave your way down the path ... there are glimpses of truth, but then you ask ... which is truth and which is a lie. What does it all mean? This is not a book to be taken lightly ... rest assured, by the last sentence you will see yourself and those around you in a much different light....'

Michele: The dichotomy of a man so dirty he's untouchable, yet so powerful he's almost divine is a strong one. Where did this character come from?

Marvin: I am, or The Old Man as he is also called, is a representation of some of the vast potential within any of us. We can be anything from dirty, filthy, mean, untouchable and fearsome, to divine and healing—full of love and compassion. The name ‘Iam’, of course, is a play on the Biblical answer God gave when asked who He was. He said, “I Am That I Am.”

The actual character in the book was inspired by watching an old homeless man panhandling. I wondered to myself, and this is the book’s blurb-

What if a homeless, smelly, ugly, unkempt old man had a hug so powerful it could cure cancer? Cause a prostitute to stop hooking, find happiness and seek true love? Shake the demons of addiction free from a junkie? Make a radical terrorist Muslim want to befriend and love a Christian and visa versa? But rare is the beneficiary of his divine embrace – nobody wants to come near him out of fear.
Michele: When you begin a book like this, do you start with a Christian moral, a story you want to make fit a moral lesson, or a character with strong moral implications?

Marvin: Usually the book is inspired by a character who comes to mind. Someone who is unique in some way, yet someone we can all relate to in one way or another, be it through personal or vicarious experience. But for the plot I start with the ‘spiritual/inspirational’ message ideas(s)—not necessarily limited to ‘Christian’, there are messages drawn from all spiritual paths, the amount of overlap is greater than the amount of differences. Then I write an entertaining story wherein the characters learn and deliver to the reader moral/ethical/spiritual lessons.

Michele: Do you find giving your work such strong religious implications limits or broadens your audience and the reactions to your work?

Marvin: Neither I, nor any of my books, are ‘religious’. Spiritual, yes, inspirational, yes, delivering moral and ethical messages, affirmative. But I will have nothing to do with ‘religion’, which I believe is the very man-made, rule-oriented and limiting, opposite of true spiritual freedom found through the enlightened state of reunification with the One.

That being said, I believe my style of ‘cross-over’ writing expands my potential readership. People wanting a darn good entertaining story to read, be it a mystery/suspense, romance, intrigue, etc., as well as those looking for a book with some weight and message to it, will find my novels a worthy read. If anything, as far as losing any readers, I appeal probably least to those who are ‘religious’—my books would offend the stiff, narrow minded and prudish.

Michele: How much of yourself do you put into a book? If it is a lot, have you placed your own faults or your own victories in this one?

Marvin: I put a lot of myself in my books. Owen Fiddler, the main character in the book by that name, is a whole lot of me—both the lost man in the beginning and the loving, connected person in the end. In Beware the Devil’s Hug, one of the main characters is Christian Dean Wilson. He is really me, in terms of his spiritual and social outlooks, and is the author’s ‘voice’ throughout the book. I wrote him up as being much more conservative than I was as a young man when it comes to pre-marital sex, but ... other than that, Christian is Marvin. Well, Christian is already a household name best-selling author, so I exaggerated a bit there (wink), but my hope and prayer is that Hugs will catch me up in reality to my fictional counterpart, hmm?

Michele: How does this book differ from your other work? Is it continuing a thread in your writing and/or in your life?

Marvin: It is a continuing thread in that it is my style, my voice of appeal to everyone to, as Bob Marley so well sang it in,
“One Love, One Heart ...

Let’s get together and feel all right!”

How is it different? My last novel, Owen Fiddler, was a more straight forward and simpler story. Beware the Devil’s Hug is much more complex, with more sub-plots, genre crossover elements, red herrings and twists to it. It is definitely my most intricately woven work so far.

Michele, thanks for having me on today. These were thought-provoking questions, and I enjoyed the process of thinking them through and answering them. I will be stopping in today and early eve, so I would enjoy interacting with your readers if they would like to ask any questions and/or leave any comments that inspire a response in the comments gallery.

Thank you, Marvin, for stopping by!  I wish you the best in book sales and future writing.
For more on Mr. Old Silly, check out his
blog by that name, or his books, Beware the Devil's Hug and Owen Fiddler.

Tomorrow on Southern City Mysteries, we go back on tour! 
Jackee Alston joins us to show us what the Southwest US can bring to a book.  And on Monday, writer/blogger Cold As Heaven brings exotic Winterland to this blog.  Don't miss either of these great posts!