26 March 2012

Lovely Spring Day




Jan Grape


by Jan Grape

Today is a lovely spring day in Central TX. We've finally had a bit of rain and lots of sunshine and the wild flowers are blooming and the Texas Bluebonnets are awesome. They are all over the place and even a few plants in my front and side yard are blooming. I've always wanted bluebonnets in my yard but this is the first time. I didn't plant them, the wind and birds must have seeded my whole neighborhood. Makes me happy to see them. So happy that I even decided to cook this evening. Now that is a rare treat because I don't usually cook a meal. I eat out at least 2 nights a week, going to my favorite restaurant and listening to local singer/songwriters and visiting with the other regular Tuesday and Wednesday night music lovers. Then at least one night a week, if my grandson, Cason, is home, we order pizza from our local pizza place. They use only fresh ingredients and make your pizza to order. The other nights if Cason isn't home, I sorta eat whatever I have on hand. Maybe only a sandwich or a bowl of soup. But today I made meatloaf and mashed potatoes and green peas. I also had the makings for a salad but forgot to do it. (Never said I was a gourmet...lol.) But it was all good and I had a nice glass of wine. Cason seemed to enjoy it all except the peas which he said he really didn't care for too much.

This week-end I've been doing some copy-editing on the anthology that I'm co-editing. R Barri Flowers and I have co-edited our second American Crime Writers League (otherwise known as ACWL) anthology. This one, MURDER HERE, MURDER THERE is due out around May 25th from Twilight Times Books. Our first ACWL anthology was MURDER PAST MURDER PRESENT. All of the stories are by members of ACWL and include such names as Jay Brandon, Kris Neri, Dakota Banks, John Lutz, Taffy Canon, Ed Gorman, Robert Randisi, Bill Crider, Candace Robb. We have as many members who are multiple winners and nominees for all the mystery awards than any organization around. This new book features some of the same authors as in the first anthology, but also Marlys Millhiser, Noreen Ayres, Valerie Malmont, Edward Marston Claire Carmichael, Jim Ingraham & Lauren Haney. Some of the finest short stories I have ever read are soon to be available to everyone.

I love good short stories and although there's not a big demand for them right now, I think they are perfect when you just have a few minutes and want to read a little mystery but don't have the time to devote to a full-length novel. My daughter, Karla, mentioned several years that because she was a busy, working mother that she really didn't have time to read a novel but she could sit down for a few minutes or an hour and really enjoy the suspense and pleasure in a short story. It's also a good way for writers to stretch their writing and play with some new characters rather than always writing about their series characters. However, sometimes a writer will use series characters in short stories but place them in a different time or place and just have a lot of fun with a shorter length.

My writing career actually began with short stories. I published around twenty-five short stories before I ever sold a novel. For this anthology, I wrote a story with my female private-eye characters, Jenny Gordon and C.J. Gunn. The story is titled, "The Confession." I haven't written anything with Jenny and C.J. in several years and enjoyed visiting their lives once again. I never had a novel published with them but wrote around a dozen short stories with the owners of G & G Investigations. In fact, one story with Jenny and C.J., won the Anthony Award at the Bouchercon in Philadelphia in 1998. The story, "A Front-Row Seat," was published in the VENGEANCE IS HERS anthology from Signet.

If you have time, read a short story and enjoy spring, where ever you happen to be today.

IN MEMORY:

A young soldier, PFC Payton Jones, from Marble Falls, TX, age 19, was killed in Afghanistan a few weeks ago and his body was brought home for services and burial. As usual with many small towns there was an out-pouring of respect for the young soldier and his family. Several hundred people, myself included, lined the street as the procession came into town from a nearby airport. The final leg of the soldier's 7,000 mile journey home.The Kiwanis Club always has flags for patriotic days and for something like this showing support and respect. The Patriot Guard of motorcycle riders, all veterans, came first, followed by Firetrucks, EMS vehicles, police and sheriff vehicles all from surrounding communities, then the white hearse carrying our hometown hero, his family and friends to the funeral home. It was a sad moment but also heart-felt as we all stood at attention along both sides of the street, hands over hearts, most of us holding a large flag on a metal pole or waving a little flag. Only a small gesture, but in some small way letting his family know, we were heartbroken with them. RIP Private Jones.

1 comment:

Leigh Lundin said...

Jan, you modestly didn't mention you're president of the ACWL this year!

I'm sorry to hear about your young soldier, but I want to visit your house for dinner.