Archive for October, 2020

October Recap

Thanks to all who showed up in support of MWA NorCal Mystery Week events.
I owe a huge apology to anyone I missed or gave a non-working Zoom link to — it happened, and I have no excuse other than residual Luddite-ness.

First: if you will identify yourself, you will receive a prize!

Second: here’s a screenshot of my panel on Tuesday evening, 10/27, on writing characters, with Claire Johnson, Eileen Rendahl, Ann Parker, David Corbett. I chose a Zoom background of a wedding. (I’m middle left.)
But whose wedding?
Name the bride and groom (or one of the guests!) for another prize!

(If you need a better image, let me know, but really that woman in orange?)

Next time we meet, we’ll have been through a critical moment in our country. VOTE NOW if you don’t already have your sticker.

SEE YOU on the other side.

Reading dark

Icelandic sunset

Pardon me if I lapse into Gothic, but I just came across my notes from a class in Gothic Literature.

If you haven’t visited my bookshelves, you might be surprised that I like dark, noir, heavy reading, like the Nordic authors—all those unpronounceable names like Indridason and Lagercrantz, or it turns out, like Gothic Literature. (Then why have you written almost 30 cozy, light novels? you might ask. That’s for another blog.)

These selections in italics are from The Italian, by Matthew Lewis (1775-1818).

• I loved seeing words used as different parts of speech from what we’re used to: . . . a gentle slope that margined the water.

• And what about a word with a different meaning: From this moment I make you independent and promise . . . to give you a thousand sequins.

In the past I’ve had a sequin or two on a jacket. But these thousand sequins are Venetian gold coins.

• One of my favorites: Young man! You are an enthusiast, and I pardon you.

The explanatory note: Enthusiasm was a dismissive 18th century term for the belief in private revelation or personal communion with the divine.

I hope you are an enthusiast in the 21st century meaning, for my next (cozy) novel “Fishing for Trouble,” which will be released on November 24!

Better Than Fiction

Sometimes stories land in your lap.

One weekend morning, pre-pandemic, I showed up to teach a writing class that was to be held on the property of a county park. The class was scheduled for ten o’clock. I showed up about 15 minutes early and found a couple of students waiting outside a tall chain link fence held closed with a serious padlock, and a No Trespassing sign.

No problem; we were early. We chatted on; more students came. We hardly noticed that a half hour had passed. No one had showed up to let us in. A couple of delivery people came by in trucks and left when they realized there was no entry. We made a few calls with our cells—first to my contact at the school, who suggested I call the park police, who suggested I call the city police, and so on.

The boring part of the story is that eventually someone came to let us in.

The interesting part happened while we were waiting.

A young woman pulled up in a low red sports car. She got out and addressed us.

“I have to get in there,” she said. “I was at a wedding in the park last night and left my purse.”

We shrugged and explained that there was nothing we could do until someone came with a key to the padlock, and we hoped someone was on the way.

She grunted. The next thing we knew, she was scaling the fence. She plopped down on the other side and walked into the park. About ten minutes later, she approached the fence again, from the inside, and climbed out.

In her hands were a purse, a pair of shoes, and a bra.

She gave us a wink, got in her car and drove off.

My writing students and I got a lot of mileage of the incident, creating many colorful back stories.

One thing that impressed me was the young woman’s willingness to disregard the No Trespassing sign and its warning of a heavy fine.

I thought about how I am such a rule-keeper (well, most of the time). For me, the physical difficulty of scaling a fence pales in comparison to the mental and psychological difficulty of breaking the law.

Maybe that’s why I write fiction—to break laws vicariously!

Would you have climbed that fence?

Plan Ahead: an evening of readings

Coming to you virtually

Join us for an evening of short readings from:

Laurie King moderating: Cara Black, Robin Burcell, Rae James, Saul Lelchuk, Camille Minichino, Jason Ridler, Faye Snowden, and Jacqueline Winspear.

If you’d like to attend, let me know and I’ll send you the invitation/link as soon as it becomes available. Email me at camille (at) minichino (dot) com. I’m not sure how many “seats” (places along the rail?) we’ll be allowed, so the sooner the better!

You may have attended Noir at the Bar in the past, at a real bar. This time you’ll have to supply your own bubbly and tiny pretzels. So sorry about that, but at least we’ll “see” each other and hopefully enjoy some good stories.