Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Heart of the Matter and Memories

Scene #1: The autopsy report states the victim has multiple stab wounds, and photographs reveal several jagged cuts below the woman's abdomen. The location of the bloodless wounds suggests a crime of passion. A reporter asks, "Why did the killer wait until after the victim died to target certain areas?" to which the coroner replies, "He went for the heart right after he hit the jugular, does that count?"  The reporter shakes his head. "It’s not the same, the heart is symbolic of love."

The heart is also a symbol of Valentine’s Day. While my thoughts immediately go to the heart of the murder, someone who recently endured a medical exam might picture a stethoscope monitoring an anxious heart beat. Newly-weds have vastly different thoughts.

Valentine’s Day hearts conjure up memories of love. One heart with two wedding rings brings a smile to a couple wed on Valentine’s Day. A cross-stitch of red hearts reminds a daughter of a mother’s gift; a royal flush to the Ace of Hearts has a Vegas winner beaming. Others get all fuzzy over a heart-shaped box of chocolates, a grinning cupid, or a pair of cooing love birds. Hearts on Fire can only mean young love, and boys naturally love heart-shaped balloons.

A heart surrounding a globe brings a tear to the eyes of grandparents whose families live far away. The mantle holds a framed purple heart of a loved one lost in battle. Flowers and an arrow-pierced heart represent a lifetime spent with a childhood sweetheart, the memories bittersweet. The Sacred Heart means salvation for many, and bright lockets remind one of a young girl’s special day.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and wishes for a wonderful day: Especially for You and Your Loved Ones!

What special memories do you have of this holiday?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Many writers focus on one particular genre. Mystery writers get to choose from a plethora of subgenres: Cozy Mystery, Police Procedural, Hard-Boiled Detective, Soft-boiled Mystery, and Thriller. To name a few! There are also sub-sub genres where vampires or fairies or science fiction characters meld with cops and robbers. But even with all these choices, mystery writers sometimes decide to branch out into a totally different genre, Young Adult.

Of course, YA and Mystery aren't necessarily exclusive genres, but writing for adults and for young adults can feel like writing for two completely different worlds.

Lately, I've come across several interesting blog posts that deal with writing for the YA genre and am including the links here for those interested in or toying with the idea of writing YA.

Cherie Colyer wrote an article, Writing for a young adults audience, that gets right down to basics of audience, character development, and protagonist backstory.

This is an interview of author Stacy Juba by author/interviewer Judy Penz Sheluk:
plus: 10 YA Sports Novels for Teens and Tweens:

Brian Klems welcomed teenaged writer Jamie S. Margolin to his blog site, The Writer's Dig, to discuss What NOT To Do When Writing YA Books:

And this is a post about the " Top 5 Dos of Writing YA Lit" on the WiseInkBlog (actually 4 with a "don't" included):

Last, but not least, here are some writing tips from editors concerning authenticity, subject matter, and trends when writing YA:

Now that I have all this information at my fingertips, I may decide to write a young adult mystery of my own. Of course, this will require a whole new mindset and a willingness to take myself back to the days of my youth. Maybe I'll begin by stocking up on chocolate - and reading a good YA novel by a mystery writer to get me in the mood:


Review comments:
The character development is awesome
Wonderfully interwoven twists and turns

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Happy February: Reaching Your Goals and Setting New Challenges

How's that goal-setting working out for you so far? Seems like 2016 barely ended and January hit the ground running. I wasn't in that marathon and didn't hit the ground very hard when it came to blogging. Rather than give up, though, I decided it was time to rev up my motor and get kicking.
February is NOT too late to set goals, or to begin working toward the goals you set in December.

Celebrating Our Accomplishments of 2016
and looking forward to all that 2017 has to offer!

Two goals on my list for 2016 were to post thoughts about the 70 poems in my book of linked poetry; and to read and review 71 books. As New Years Eve approached, I could breath easier, knowing those two goals were met. That meant less guilt for me when transferring other goals to 2017.
You can access my Goodreads Reading Challenge 2016 page here:

My goal for 2017 is to read and review 72 books, in a wider variety of genres than ever before!

Facing Forward
There wasn't much time to celebrate reaching the end of the above goals, however. November 1st marked the beginning of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writers Month. If you haven't participated in this annual ritual yet, check out what all the shouting is about and consider setting it as a goal for November, 2017. Here's the link:

Not everyone sets goals at the start of each new year. Some have routines that keep them soaring toward their lifetime goals without hesitation. Others accomplish tasks and projects in routine fashion, gliding over bumps in the road and sidestepping obstacles with ease. My most heartfelt congratulations to you. I really, really need to watch more TED talks!
To everyone:
Happy FEBRUARY of this New Year
Best of Success in 2017


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

#IWSG Pros and Cons of Reading as a Writer

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.
Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter is @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG
Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh's awesome co-hosts for the February 1 posting of the IWSG are Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy and Joylene Buter!
February 1 Question: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?
In recent years, now that I am writing full-time, my reading habits have continually evolved - 
for better and for worse.
My choice of genres has broadened from mostly mysteries to more diverse areas of interest, including non-fiction history of war. Interest in this particular genre initially blossomed as research to build backstory for my novels' protagonist.
Now I'm hooked.
My current reading list includes Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson (a Goodreads Giveaway win of a book to be published 4.25.17). Expanding my knowledge base would be one of the "for better" sides of the reader-becomes-writer experience.
On the down side, I often find myself editing as I read. It took a while to realize this occurred most when scenes dragged, characters had no character, or the plotline lost focus. These were not conscious considerations before I started focusing on the mechanics of writing my own stories.
While there are times poor writing or lack of editing become too much of a distraction, I will still read to the end of most novels. There is usually a lesson to be learned in how the author unfurls the climax.
My reading goal this year is to read and review 72 books, in a wider range of genres than ever before! (Last year's goal was 71 and I hit 86.) As a writer, do you read more, or less?