Meal: Cheese and Pie Crust

My mom always baked:  bread, cookies, cakes, and pies, all from scratch.

As a child, I didn’t understand why she always made extra pie crust when it was pie day. When I got older,  her secret was revealed.

She would slice cheddar cheese, wrap it up in the “scraps” of pie crust, and bake it along with the pies. It was her secret indulgence. Once I discovered the absolute deliciousness of it, she had to make more.

Something so utterly simple was a real treat.

Musing: Getting Political

I had originally planned a movie review for this week’s blog. I had written about God Bless America, which is a dark comedy. After the events of January 6, I could not review that particular movie at this time with a good conscience.

I work very hard not to be political in my author persona. For today’s blog, I quit trying.

I had taken January 6 off from my Day Job so I could watch the electoral college vote be certified by Congress. Every instinct I had told me something was going to happen. I have not been on social media since July 1st, other than a quick pop on to check on certain friends and family. I couldn’t take the vitriol any longer. I stopped watching the news around that time, too, asking my husband to close the door between our family room and living room when he was watching. I curated my input.

Even without a constant barrage of information/misinformation, I knew something was going to happen on January 6, which begs the question why didn’t law enforcement?

But that’s not what my blog today is about.

As I watched the attempted coup in horror–but not surprise–another very weird thought wouldn’t go away:  School shootings.

Those elected representatives I saw hiding under desks, etc. could have been my son (a teacher) during a school shooting.  Now those elected representatives who won’t do anything about the pandemic of school shootings (which the COVID pandemic has appeared to eliminate) know what those children and teachers go through. The same feelings of terror and helplessness.

Welcome to the reality of America today.

Now maybe they’ll do something about it.

If the country ever finds “normal” again.

 

MJ Monday: Manuscript — Keeping Characters in Character

I recently finished the revisions on my next book (stay tuned for more details closer to publication date).  My editor and I went back and forth on the ending. She wanted me to do something I felt wasn’t in character for my hero/heroine. I thought that what I had written would suffice. She wanted more. It was a delicate balance. In the end, what the reader wants (according to my editor) won out.

I guess I’m not a typical reader. When the same thing happens in books I otherwise love, I want to toss the book against the wall. There is a Very Famous Author who does this all the time. Her rough-and-tumble heroes suddenly start sounding as if Shakespeare wrote their dialogue at the end of the book. That guy is not the guy I (and the heroine) fell in love with! It’s fraud. Bait and switch.

I lived with my characters for a couple of years. The hero has been knocking around in my head closer to twenty years. I know this werewolf. He’s not a gushy male.

I once saw an older couple being interviewed on TV. The question to the wife was, “When was the last time he told you he loved you?” She gave an exact date, which was kind of weird. When the husband came out, he was asked, “When was the last time you told her you loved her?” He gave the exact date. The wife explained: “It was our wedding day. He said I love you, and if I ever change my mind I’ll let you know.”

I think that’s who I had in mind when I wrote the final scene in my next book.

 

MJ Monday-Manuscript: What is to Come

I am in the process of finishing up the final book of the Service for Sanctuary trilogy.  I’ll share the cover and the playlist when I have a release date.

In the meantime, I’m between projects. I’m hesitant to start something new right now, because I don’t want to be so deep into research or writing then get pulled out to revise the upcoming release. At this time, I have the luxury of time.

The next book I have in mind is a mystery. I’ve developed a lovely backstory. It may be a trilogy. I have lots of notes. I have been doing research, in spite of myself.

One of the exercises I’ve been doing is to go back and re-read my favorite books that are mysteries with a touch of paranormal and define what it is about those books that keep me going back to them time and time again. It’s surprising how “steadfast” I am in the tropes that appeal to me.

I hope I can pull off the same magic in the book(s) I plan to write in the same genre.

 

MJ Monday-Music: Boomer!

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know that I have been slowly converting my home office into a sanctuary/retreat. I still have a long way to go, but one of things on the never ending list was music. Yes, I can play music through my laptop, but the sound stinks and computers are temperamental. My little red tablet laptop has some of the worst speakers I’ve ever encountered.

I own a couple of “boom boxes”. One is so old, it plays only cassettes. The other originally played both cassettes and CDs, but the cassette portion died years ago. Time for a new “sound system” for my haven.

It plays CDs and cassettes and (allegedly) mp3s, although I need some kind of cable to plug into a jack or something. It’s small. Is the sound awesome? Nope, but it’s a vast improvement over my computers.

Since I unboxed it (it sat untouched for several months), I’ve been listening to a lot of old favorites while I write. I light a scented candle, put on some mellow jazz or New Age music and my stress seems to melt.

This is an investment I do not regret.