Sunday, July 24, 2011


Friday afternoon my company declared Employee Appreciation Day. In honor of the occasion, they bought us lunch at a restaurant and a private showing of Captain America. Now, if I were paying, I would have preferred to see the new Harry Potter movie that was showing in the adjoining theater. But I wasn't paying and it was certainly better than an afternoon at work. I figured if Captain America really wasn't my cup of tea I could always go to the ladies room and not come back

Well, it wasn't my cup of tea, but it did move and I only found myself glancing at my watch during the last half hour. (How many explosions does one movie need?) But I found myself watching the movie as a writer rather than a viewer.

One of the problems with writing fiction is that you learn what makes good fiction and what makes it bad. You analyze it, especially when it isn't working for you.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I've pretty much been in a funk since April as far as writing goes. As I wrote in this post, the disappointment over my contest results hit me hard. I've been floundering since then, trying to work on the pieces of a fantasy novel that I plan to write for NaNoWriMo this November. but not feeling very enthusiastic about it.

Oh, I like the idea well enough. I think it will be a fun book to write. But I've always considered NaNo novels to be larks, not serious writing. They're total playtime for my muse. She can come up with all kinds of ridiculous ideas and my "me" doesn't get to censor any of them. NaNo novels get to have goddesses and spaceships and paranormal elements that my "me" doesn't like very well. Logic does not get to overrule any of these ideas.

But in my heart I want to be a mystery writer. I like mysteries with an element of romance. The marketing departments at publishing houses have taken to calling these romantic suspense or just plain suspense because those categories sell better, but I still like the term traditional mystery.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton

I think that this book is the perfect example of how expectations can color your impression of a book. Although the front cover boasts "One of the 100 best mysteries of all time," this book isn't really a mystery.

There's no murder. There's no hunt for whodunnit. There's no bad guy.

I was expecting a traditional murder mystery, something along the lines of Agatha Christie perhaps, because I knew the story was partially set in an English cottage. I was drawn into the opening. The main character, Lori Shepherd, is sympathetic and I found myself rooting for her to have a better life for herself than she's had so far. But once it became evident that there was no murder mystery in this story, I was disappointed.

It's hard for me to judge the book based on the reality versus my expectation. It's a sweet read and more of a romance than a mystery, but it doesn't even have passion in the romance. It's almost as if the author wasn't sure what she wanted to write.

The Aunt Dimity series is very popular, so it must be appealing to a number of readers. Personally, I would have liked to have something more happen, stronger emotions, and a nice, juicy killing with a puzzle to figure out. I doubt that I'll be reading any more books in this series.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Ha:san Bak

The title of this entry is the O'odham language phrase for "the saguaro is ready". It's what the native peoples of Southwestern Arizona call the Saguaro Harvest Festival. Sometime in May, the saguaro cactus is crowned with beautiful white blooms. These give way to green fruits that ripen around the end of June or early July. This coincides with the start of our annual monsoon season and historically the harvesting of the fruit has been part of a ceremony to "bring down the rain".

There are several places that allow you to experience something of the saguaro harvest and I've wanted to try doing this ever since I moved to Tucson. This year I got my chance. I signed up to take part in Ha:san Bak at La Posta Quemada Ranch on the grounds of Colossal Cave Park. It started early. We were supposed to arrive between 5:30 and 6:00 A.M. to check in. Even in southern Arizona, it was still dark when I left the house, although the sun had risen by the time I got there.

The first part of the workshop was learning how to make a ku'ipad (which sounded like kweepah) from three generations of Tohono O'odham women. Grandma Ina is on the left, daughter Delphine is in the pink shirt, and the granddaughter is in the turquoise shirt sitting on the bench. On the right is Lauren, the park employee who directed the workshop. 

Monday, July 04, 2011

Monday Evening Update

And the answer is...

Use my domain and use Blogger as my web site! I was able to find clear instructions on the GoDaddy site that mirrored Holly's instructions for setting up Wordpress as your web site. This is so much easier than using new software to design a site.

Of course, I now have a lot more tweaking of my blog to do to make it function as a web site, but I've got the basic format down and the rest is, well, tweaking.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


On Fourth of July weekend, you might think this blog was going to be about the many wars we're involved with. Or possibly Minnesota as they were unable to resolve their budget issues. Maybe you're a sports fan and immediately thought of the NFL or the NBA.

This is about none of the above. This is about my personal conflict over priorities. I'm not talking about overall priorities in my life, but those in a very small, albeit important, part of my life: writing.

There just aren't enough hours in the day to do everything. And I'm having a lot of trouble deciding what "everything" should encompass.