Peg Herring's Blog – November 2009 Archive (20)

Monday, Monday, and Teasing

It's been a frustrating morning, with CS insisting my password was wrong and resisting all attempts to solve the problem. The same with Verizon, which is merging with AllTel and making my life complicated.



As Ellen D. would say...Anyway:



I'm reading Kate Morton's THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON, a sort of classy soap opera. I don't usually like authors who tease the reader continually, "I didn't suspect at that moment what I would soon encounter" can be used once or twice, but soon… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 30, 2009 at 11:35pm — No Comments

Leaping, Solving, and the Hunch

One problem I face as a mystery writer (and reader) is how smart the protagonist gets to be. Even when I was a kid I knew that Sherlock Holmes was often way off in his self-proclaimed "logical deductions". Saying that a man's wife no longer loves him because his coat has a loose button is beyond ridiculous, and such Holmes moments have been spoofed many times by comedians better at it than I.



But here's the thing with mysteries: writers have to make leaps sometimes to make the story… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 27, 2009 at 10:30pm — 1 Comment

Creativity as Therapy

Yesterday I made a crown: four feet at the base, four-and-a-half feet wide at the top, bejeweled, golden, and undeniably tacky. It will definitely be the spectable it's intended to be at the Christmas festivities.



What I always find, no matter what the purpose, is that creating something tangible is relaxing for me. Not that I'm any sort of artist; don't ever think that. I need lots of help to transmit the idea in my head to reality. But I'll work for hours, even days, on such… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 25, 2009 at 10:13pm — No Comments

TDTL

Writers know what it is, and readers do, too: Too Dumb To Live. It's that moment in a book where a character does something so out of logical bounds that we're thrown out of the story while we scream (silently, one hopes) "No sane person would go into that basement/warehouse/alley/crypt, etc. In the book I'm reading, it is the hull of a ship that's aground in the Arctic Circle. The two men (Double TDTL) rappel into the hold in their street clothes, knowing that a) the ship is sliding off the… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 24, 2009 at 10:27pm — 2 Comments

Seeing Double. And Yogurt

I'm not really twice as wordy as usual. I'm getting double postings, and I don't know why. I notice some others are too, and Daniel says it will go away soon. I try to delete one if I catch it.

Today's challenge: explain where the ridiculous names used in ads come from. What scientist, in lab coat and black-framed eyeglasses, proclaimed: "We've found a new yogurt culture, and we're going to call it bifidus regularis!"

Added by Peg Herring on November 23, 2009 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

Another Challenge

Here's one I used to use with my students to get past the I-can't-write-poetry defense.

A noun (in this case your current protagonist)
4 adjectives describing the noun
A phrase
A noun related to the original noun

Here's mine:
Simon,
Callow, curious, virtuous, brave,
Loyal as the day is long,
Sleuth.

Added by Peg Herring on November 20, 2009 at 9:33pm — No Comments

I Challenge You

Sixty words to describe your office right this minute. Here's mine:

The chilly room was crammed with books, papers, and the paraphrenalia of two computers, one for standing, one for sitting. Stuck along the wainscot trim were congratulatory cards and letters, and atop a small, music-laden bookshelf lay two naked dolls. A glass of water, going tepid, had a sheet of paper across its top to keep the flies out.

Added by Peg Herring on November 19, 2009 at 10:09pm — 3 Comments

History, and Do You Care?

My aunt, the last surviving member of her generation, is 95. When I asked her about family history so I could write it down and preserve it, her response was, "Who cares? That's the past."



I got a review yesterday from a woman who loved HER HIGHNESS, but she prefaced her praise with the comment that she almost didn't read it (she won an ARC) because historicals are boring.



Obviously, I'm of a different sort. I love history, not so much the sweep of politics and armies and… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 18, 2009 at 9:51pm — 1 Comment

Storage-Actual and Otherwise

Don't ask me where these things come from, but I started wondering this morning why we keep the soy sauce behind the dish soap and the teriyaki sauce in a different area, next to the cinnamon. No logic there, merely an unconscious decision at some point in the past that became habit and now is required. I can imagine either my husband or I bellowing to the other, "Where have you put the soy sauce?" if it were to end up somewhere else.



That's how my files are, too. Everything is… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 17, 2009 at 11:01pm — 1 Comment

Answers Will Vary

My mother, an elementary teacher, once had a student hand in homework that stymied her for a few moments. All the true-false, multiple choice, and short answer responses were correct, but all the essay questions were answered with the phrase "Answers will vary." She finally figured out that during recess, while she was on hall duty, the kid had swiped her teacher's edition from the desk, copied what was written there onto his paper, and then put the book back.



What I've been thinking… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 16, 2009 at 10:12pm — No Comments

Writing Funny

I can't do it. I envy those who can.



I will admit that as a playwright, I wrote some things that were funny. But in my novels, nobody's going to laugh out loud.



I note this because I started reading a friend's MS last night and I did...laugh out loud. She has the knack of being funny without being silly, and entertaining without stooping to farce, which irritates me. I was never a fan of the Lucille Ball-type heroine, so overdrawn and asinine that I wanted to slap her. My… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 13, 2009 at 10:44pm — 4 Comments

Tis the Season...to Not (R)

It's time to share what I hate about the Christmas season, and I make no excuses for it.



I hate decorating. In late fall my friends and acquaintances start talking about "doing" the house, some with anticipation, some with resignation. I refuse. I don't like the clutter, I don't enjoy the disruption, and I see no reason to turn my house into a wannabe Wal-Mart.



I realize this might put me in the grinch category, but otherwise I do okay. I arrange and conduct a huge… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 12, 2009 at 9:56pm — No Comments

Tis the Season...to Not (R)

It's time to share what I hate about the Christmas season, and I make no excuses for it.



I hate decorating. In late fall my friends and acquaintances start talking about "doing" the house, some with anticipation, some with resignation. I refuse. I don't like the clutter, I don't enjoy the disruption, and I see no reason to turn my house into a wannabe Wal-Mart.



I realize this might put me in the grinch category, but otherwise I do okay. I arrange and conduct a huge… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 12, 2009 at 9:56pm — 1 Comment

Writer's Glut, The Opposite of Writer's Block

There isn't enough time in the day. You all know I'm hard at work on the sequel to HER HIGHNESS, which is moving at a snail's pace for some reason. But then I get into my old computer files for some reason and stumble onto other projects, some barely started, some almost done.



Gee, that was a good idea. Why didn't I finish it? Oh, right. I was stuck on motive. Oh, and that one's nice, too. I was going to work on the characters, get them some depth. Oh, that clever idea for a plot… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 10, 2009 at 9:27pm — 1 Comment

Feet on the Ground, Ms. Author!

I found somewhere a list of things one shouldn't say to a mystery author, and I got a charge out of it, because I've heard just about all of them: "I don't read fiction" (with nose lifted); "I buy my books at garage sales, but I'll look for yours"; and the most frequent, "Oh. My (son, daughter, granddaughter, neighbor, washing machine repairman, etc.) wrote a book, too." (That one is often followed by, "Would you like to read it?" or "Could you send it to your agent?")



I've added… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 9, 2009 at 10:45pm — 3 Comments

Lousy Weather

You can't go out and rake those leaves with the wind blowing.
You can't finish sorting the stuff in the garage into give-away, throw-away and put-away piles with the rain and the damp.
You can't go for a walk. Well, you could, but you'd be wet and miserable in five minutes.


You might as well write something.

Added by Peg Herring on November 6, 2009 at 10:22pm — No Comments

Another Note on Reviews

The reviews came out Monday; Wednesday brought an inquiry about film/TV rights. I have no idea where that will go (I referred it to my agent) but I have to think the review created interest from that quarter. Would anyone in the industry have heard of my book without the review? Probably not.

Added by Peg Herring on November 5, 2009 at 10:07pm — 8 Comments

Reviews=Sales?

Ah, that is the question. And the answer is, who knows? But as usual, I have a few words on the subject.



First, as I said yesterday, a good review gives a writer confidence. That's good in meeting people and presenting a book effectively. It's no longer just my sister who loves the book. I can say, "Library Journal says..."



Second, I've run into libraries who use reviews as a weeding tool. If a book isn't reviewed in one of the "Big 3", they won't consider it. Since Five… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 4, 2009 at 8:18pm — 2 Comments

WAHHHHH-HOO!

If an author needed motivation to rev up work on the second book in a series, great reviews might do it. I'm thrilled with the reviews of HER HIGHNESS' FIRST MURDER in PW and LJ this week, and I'm fired up to finish the sequel, which had gotten to that "Muddle in the Middle" stage where it seems like nothing is going to work, ever. Honestly, I've done this often enough to know that I just have to keep going, but nothing boosts a person's motivation like positive feedback.



So as soon… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 3, 2009 at 9:23pm — 2 Comments

Means, Motives and Opportunities

...for murder.



"Easy" Bill Pay, especially when your wireless and home phone companies have just merged. Problem: no opportunity, unless smashing the monitor counts.



People who believe every stupid rumor that circulates. I was told yesterday that the H1N1 vaccine is being made in China and "those people" are going to use it to kill us all off. Problem: No means available yet to eliminate stupidity. (Maybe stem cell research will provide the answer.)



It leaves a… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on November 2, 2009 at 10:28pm — No Comments

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