Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Happy New Year!

I’d like to be the first to wish you Happy New Year!

Since I post on Wednesdays and next Wednesday is Christmas and I’ve chosen not to post that day (but to kick back and enjoy it with my family), this will be my last post for this year.

I’m pleased with the way my writing work has gone in 2013. Here’s a brief recap:

I finished my manuscript of the first Fat Cat novel, now titled FAT CAT AT LARGE, turned it in to my Berkley Prime Crime editor on time, and am pretty sure I can finish the edits she suggested by the end of this month.

Untreed Reads published my Neanderthal novel, DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE, and I’ve gotten some terrific reviews. I’m still working to get it out there into the wide world as much as possible. For now, it’s in e-book form only, but a paperback should be published by Untreed Reads in 2014.

Barking Rain Press published my Cressa Carraway Musical Mystery, EINE KLEINE MURDER, and again, I was gratified by the excellent reviews it received. I’m also working hard to get more notice for this book. It’s out in e-book and paperback.

My first Imogene Duckworthy mystery, CHOKE, was produced in audio by Veronica Newton. It’s selling pretty well, but of course, I’d like it to sell really, really well.

I succeeded in getting 3 short stories published, but several more have been accepted for publication either later this month or in 2014. One was accepted for an anthology that was never printed, however. That was disappointing. I’ll do something with it some day.

Oh yes, my husband and I moved from Texas to Tennessee. It’s actually amazing I got anything done between redoing a bathroom, the yard, the lights, and finding our way around Knoxville.

EINE KLEINE MURDER was a finalist for the Silver Falchion at Killer Nashville--a very proud moment for me!

I hope next year brings more publications and many more sales!

(Links to all my publications are at the right and at

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Drones and Robots

The buzz, lately, has been the drones that Amazon plans to use to deliver packages. Not for few years and in a limited capacity. Still, it’s pretty 1984 stuff. Well, maybe 2084, but you know what I mean.

However, didyou know that Amazon is planning, more immediately, to use robots in the warehouses? 4 minute video:
Staples and Best Buy already use these! I had no idea.

Amazon declines to comment.

Here are a couple of hilarious recordings of Samantha West, a telemarketing robot:

These are great stories for science fiction writers. But what about people? Are we going to become obsolete. We can just sit around designing robots, I guess, and waiting for packages to be delivered from the sky.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Weather and the Writer

I’m sure that, if you’re a writer, you’ve used weather to set the mood or to impede your intrepid main character, or something like that.

But how do your own personal attitudes color your writing? If you love spring, do you use fall and winter--maybe even summer--for hostile settings? If you love fall, could you describe spring lovingly?

I love winter. I dwelt on the cold a lot in my one (so far) Neanderthal novel. In fact, one day I finished up a writing session that had gone on for two or three hours. I had been writing of the impending doom of the cold season and the scarcity of game. I had literally been shivering and my toes were icy. But when I woke up from writing, I was shocked to notice that it was the depth of August in Texas and it was, in fact, sweat-dripping hot out. When the sun coming in the window hit my eyes, I blinked, it was so bright after the darkness where I’d been.

Everywhere I’ve lived, April has been a lovely month. Spring is easy to like, tender blossoms and color bursting forth from ground that looked dead so recently. 

Autumn is gorgeous almost everywhere, too--everywhere that it occurs. That time of year gets my blood going. I can easily write about the colors of the trees and shuffling my shoes through the dry, crackling leaves.

Could I write about summer so lovingly? I’m not sure. We lived in Texas for nearly thirty years and each year, more and more, I dreaded the advent of summer. (There are only two seasons in Texas, after all: summer and another season that is not summer.) Now, living in Tennessee, I’m overjoyed at the frosty mornings and the fact that I can wear sweaters without discomfort. I even bought a pair of boots to wear with skirts. Heretofore, for many years, I’ve worn sandals nearly year round. 

What’s your favorite season, and how does that affect what you write?

Some seasonal poetry for your pleasure--here’s the Middle English poem about summer:

Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing, cuccu;
Groweth sed
and bloweth med,
And springth the wode nu;
Sing, cuccu!

Awe bleteth after lomb,
Lhouth after calue cu;
Bulluc sterteth,
Bucke uerteth,
Murie sing, cuccu!

Cuccu, cuccu,
Wel singes thu, cuccu;
Ne swic thu naver nu.

Sing, cuccu, nu; sing, cuccu;
Sing, cuccu; sing, cuccu, nu!

[Spring has arrived,
Sing loudly, cuckoo!
The seed is growing
And the meadow is blooming,
And the wood is coming into leaf now,
Sing, cuckoo!

The ewe is bleating after her lamb,
The cow is lowing after her calf;
The bullock is prancing,
The billy-goat farting,

Sing merrily, cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo,
You sing well, cuckoo,
Never stop now.

Sing, cuckoo, now; sing, cuckoo;
Sing, cuckoo; sing, cuckoo, now!]

Then there’s this parody by Ezra Pound:

Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
So 'gainst the winter's balm.
Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

pictures from