Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween Word Search

I haven't done one of these for a long time, so here's a Word Search from my only book (so far) with a ghost.

3rd Imogene Duckworthy mystery




BROKE Word Search
E
T
O
M
A
T
O
G
A
R
D
E
N
G
H

T
U
D
R
O
P
I
N
A
T
A
B
Y
P
T

S
H
E
K
C
I
L
T
L
A
S
S
Z
N
E

O
P
C
W
O
L
L
A
M
H
S
R
A
M
B

H
L
N
H
X
N
C
O
N
F
E
T
T
I
O

G
A
A
Q
S
L
L
A
F
E
E
M
Y
W
J

A
R
V
K
Q
F
X
G
B
R
O
D
E
O
Y

Y
E
L
B
M
A
R
C
S
J
E
R
K
Y
M

S
Y
Y
M
M
I
E
S
N
E
T
R
O
H
A

S
I
H
C
E
W
D
E
W
E
Y
L
Y
J
M

GHOST
DEWEY
IMMY
MARSHMALLOW
VANCE
HORTENSE
JERKY
PINATA
WYMEEFALLS
TOMATOGARDEN
AMYJOBETH
SALTLICK
RALPH
CONFETTI
SCRAMBLE
RODEO

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Magna Cum Murder


Last week I previewed what I’m writing about this week. After the fact, I can tell you lots about this adventure.



I make it a point to visit a new (to me) conference every one or two years. Malice Domestic is my mainstay since at least 2006, but I’ve also gone to a couple of Left Coast Crimes, Mayhem in the Midlands, Murder in the Woods (that may not be the right name—it was in Boise ID), a few Killer Nashvilles, two Writer Police Academies, Murder in the Magic City, Alabama Writers Conclave, and one in Plano whose name I don’t remember.

Online I’ve done one Poison Pen Webcom and Mystery Thriller Week.

So this year, my new one was Magna Cum Murder in Indianapolis. I was talked into it by Margaret Hamilton, who met me there. It was our first face-to-face meeting after knowing each other online for quite some time. As you can see, from the number of conferences above, I know quite a few writers who go to them. It was VERY fun to see some that I already knew, plus meet some I knew only online, and also to meet brand new writers and others, as well, I hadn’t known at all.

The venue was the Columbia Club, which, I was told, is NOT a hotel. It was stressed to me that I should not tip the waitstaff since they’re paid better than normal. I didn’t tip the maid either, and I hope that was okay!



A man in the lobby, who worked there, told us the history of the place. He said it was the third building on the site. One previous one was used by Benjamin Harrison to stage his campaign rallies. The present edifice was built in 1924 or 1925, before The Crash. It’s over the top ornate in the wood and plaster carvings. The lobby holds a piano that was played by Hoagy Carmichel, a table that was in the oval office of Harrison, and a huge golf trophy with an interesting history. An “obscene” history, our guide said.

The trophy was given to the winner of a golf tournament held each year between the Columbia Club and the Indianapolis Athletic Club. Each year, the winner made the trophy larger, until it’s now taller than a person. In 1935, a woman from the competing club draped her diamond necklace on it. When The Columbia Club won it, they took it home, diamonds and all, and quit the tournament, retiring the trophy to their lobby! That does seem pretty underhanded.  


Anyway, the conference was held Friday through Sunday, October 19-21 and the panels were all well done and well attended. I was on two of them. Down These Mean Streets, with a PI theme, during which I discussed my Imogene Duckworthy PI spoof series. The panel was moderated by M. Ruth Myers and done by me, Terence Faherty, Dianna Collier, and Jim Doherty. The others knew a LOT about the history of PI novels.
Down These Mean Streets taken by Elaine L. Orr



My other panel was called The Mists of Time, about historical fiction and, in my case, prehistory. Moderated by Fedora Amis, the rest of us were Caroline Todd, Albert Bell, and Bradley Harper. 

Reavis interviewed by John Gilstrap
Peter Lovesey at the banquet
Guest of honor was Reavis Z. Wortham (with whom I’m privileged to share pages in the first Austin Mystery Writers anthology, Murder on Wheels.

International guest of honor was Peter Lovesey.


Unfortunately, I had to attend in a surgical Cam Walker boot, but had a blast anyway. Karen Maslowski and I amused ourselves in the bar one night. I also dined with Molly and Andrew Macrae, Susan McDuffie, and two friends of Molly's Friday. 
Friday dinner, Julia Kellman, Susan McDuffie, me, Molly MacRae, Andrew MacRae, and Phil Miller



Me and Karen Maslowski
And a few more pix.
Joe, T'Gracie Reese, and me

me with Susan McDuffie
 

Me and Bradley Harper on The Mists of Time

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A Brand New Adventure


This weekend will be an adventure in several ways. What will? Magna Cum Murder!

I’m attending this conference next weekend, Oct 19-21, for the first time ever. I love going to new-to-me conferences and I also love going to old, tried-and-true cons, like Malice.

I’ll be on TWO panels, so I’m pumped about that. On Saturday at 4:30, I’ll be speaking on the topic, Down These Mean Streets—PI novels. My Imogene Duckworthy series sort of qualified, right? She wants to be one. And she works for one, eventually. My worthy panel mates are Dianna Collier, Jim Doherty, and Terence Faherty, with M. Ruth Myers moderating. 



The other panel is Sunday at 9 am. At least it will feel like 10 to me, being from one time zone over. This panel is called The Mists of Time and deals with historical novels, and one pre-history series (mine). Moderated by Fedora Amis, our panel consists of Albert Bell, Bradley Harper, and Caroline Todd.





I believe I’m meeting all these moderators and panelists for the first time, except Caroline Todd. We’ve done panels together before. I’m very much looking forward to this.

A couple of other really cool things: I’m meeting up with a few writers I see at other conferences, and will meet some people I feel that I know well online, but have never physically met. Should be fun!

Here’s another way this is an adventure. I’m getting the pin out of my toe the day before I fly there. I haven’t walked normally, without a clunky shoe or boot, for 6 weeks. And I didn’t walk well before that for a long time because of the condition of my feet. Which should be fixed, miraculously when the pin comes out and the post-op shoe comes off. Right? I can walk all over the place then. Okay, I know—I’ll try not to overdo for a bit. But then I WILL get back to walking for exercise.

photos from morguefile.com by TrisMarie and NicolaAvery


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CARS TO SEE AND BOOKS TO BUY




Actually, there were lots of things to buy, including home-made pralines from a woman who grew up in New Orleans! (kimsneworleanspralines.com)


It was fun seeing all the old cars. It was a Lions Club benefit show, held in a huge local church parking lot. I spoke to the owner of the green Model A Ford. He told me, when I asked, how to tell the difference between a Model A and a Model T. He said to look at the fenders. The T’s fenders are flat and the A’s fenders are rounded at the edges. Also a T has a taller cab. His car (the green one) was, like every single one there, pristine. The most common sight was of men polishing and dusting their shiny cars.  


I liked the red ’39 Ford (I asked). The guy who owned it kept himself scarce, but the truck owner told me that the man had taken 8 years to restore it.


I didn’t see any ’40 or ’42 Hudsons. That’s what I grew up driving.

And books! The Authors Guild of TN had a double booth where xx of us sold our books. Some of us did better, but I just sold one, and wasn’t alone in that. However, the woman who bought DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE was an anthropologist and was very interested. I hope I have a new fan!



photos by me and Denise Sherriff


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Remember to never split an infinitive




This is the last of the William Safire writing “rules” for me. I’ve had such fun considering them. We all know how bogus this one is, right? Every since Star Trek: To boldly go where no (man/one) has gone before. The latter, “one,” for Next Generation, since they finally realized that there were women along and they hadn’t been there before either.

I’ve read that the origin of rules like this stem from Latin scholars, or maybe just snobs. It’s impossible to split an infinitive in Latin, since they are only one word. Esse, amare, videre, regere, audire (to be, to love, to see, to rule, to hear). Okay, but just because you can’t split them in Latin, doesn’t mean you can’t split them in English. Ours are TWO words. You can always split two words. I’m always eager to find places to happily break this rule. Which, it seems, never was a rule.*

Go ahead, cleave those infinitives, if it makes sense in your context!


axe photo from morguefile.com



Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Guest Judy Penz Sheluk with news about an upcoming relase!


I'm excited to welcome Judy to my travels today with news about a new book, available now for preorder!
Traveling on the T.S.S. Canberra Greek Line

by Judy Penz Sheluk
Okay, I’ll admit it, the title of this blog post is a bit misleading, since I’ve never personally traveled on the T.S.S. Canberra, and in fact, the ship only sailed for the Greek Line from 1948 to 1956. But my mother, Anneliese, emigrated from England to Canada on that ship in July 1952, ready to start a new life in Toronto with her fiancĂ©, Anton (Toni) Penz. Both had moved to England soon after the war ended (my father from Apatin, Yugoslavia, now Serbia, my mother from Stettin, German, now Szczecin, Poland).


Now here’s the thing: while I knew my parents had met shortly before my father was set to immigrate, I never knew what ship either one of them had come over on. They just didn’t talk about their lives before coming to Canada, and I suppose I didn’t ask. When my father passed away from stomach cancer in 1970, any stories he had died with him. As for my mom, she still wasn’t talking.

On September 21, 2016, my mom died after a lengthy battle with COPD. And there, at the back of her closet, was a blue and cream leather train case, the sort of case you’d have traveled with in the 1950s. Inside there were, among other things, immigration papers, death certificates for her mother, my father, as well as a document from the T.S.S. Canberra; she’d embarked at Southampton and disembarked in Quebec City, Quebec, where she took a train to Toronto. 


The writer in me had to learn more. I began by contacting the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as well as a good friend, a longtime collector of ocean liner memorabilia.

Bit by bit, I was able to weave a tale about a woman named Anneliese Prei who immigrated to Canada in 1952 to be with her fiancĂ©, only to be murdered four years later. That tale morphed into Past & Present, the second book in my Marketville Mystery series, and while it’s a work of fiction, my protagonist, Callie Barnstable’s, findings and frustrations with digging through the past come directly from my own research. It seemed only fitting to dedicate the book to my mother, and to release it on September 21, 2018, the two-year anniversary of her death. Here’s a bit about it (and yes, there’s also an Anton in the book):

Sometimes the past reaches out to the present...

It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?

Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.

It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.

 Past & Present is available in trade paperback everywhere, and on Kindle at the special introductory price of $2.99 (reg. $5.99). Find it: http://authl.it/afj

About the author: Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of the Glass Dolphin Mysteries (The Hanged Man’s Noose; A Hole in One) and the Marketville Mysteries (Skeletons in the Attic; Past & Present). Her short stories appear in several collections.

Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime International/Guppies/Toronto, International Thriller Writers, Inc., the South Simcoe Arts Council, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves on the Board of Directors, representing Toronto/Southwestern Ontario.

Find her at www.judypenzsheluk.com.










Postcards from the T.S.S. Canberra (known as the T.D. Canberra in German)

Thanks for posting with my Travels today, Judy. Good luck on sales for the new novel--it sounds very good!


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The passive voice should never be used.


On more after this one. (But next week will be a special treat, a guest post from a writer with a brand new book!)

photo from Dreamstime


In general yes, you should use active voice. (See what I did there?) But there are exceptions.

(1) You don’t want to give away who the subject, or the action taker, is. Like, maybe:
When I returned, the entire house had been painted.

(2) You want to write it so as to not mention the subject at all. Maybe you don’t know. Say you’re not religious, but spiritual. You might say:
I was given the gift of second sight.

(3) You want to emphasize the subject by putting it at the end of the sentence.
The bomb was set by the person I least expected, my old enemy.

(4) Backloading. This is my favorite use of passive voice. (It’s really the same as #3, but used in specific places.) I always check to see if I need to use it at the end of a scene or chapter. Example:
Coming through the door was a complete stranger.
In her hand was a gun.
At the bottom of the well was a twisted body.

Stuff like that. Any other uses you can think of?