Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

06 December 2016

A Day in the Life of Dru Ann Love


Her name says it all. Dru Ann Love. She loves mysteries and their authors, and they love her back.
You'd be hard pressed to find someone in the mystery community who doesn't know Dru. A self-described book nerd, she began blogging about the mysteries she adores in 2008 on her blog Dru's Book Musings. In 2010, Dru attended her first mystery convention, Malice Domestic, where she found what she calls "her community"--mystery readers and writers. A year later she implemented her idea to let mystery authors share their characters directly with her blog readers, uploading A Day In the Life posts in which the fictional characters talk about their days, and her blog really took off.


Since then, Dru has been a finalist for the 2015 Anthony Award for Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work. And last week she was named the 2017 recipient of the Raven Award by Mystery Writers of America (MWA). The Raven Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing. Dru will receive the Raven during MWA's Edgar Award ceremony in April.
Dru Ann Love

"I knew a couple of weeks before," Dru said. "It was hard to keep the news to myself. I wanted to shout it to the world."

The mystery world shouted their approval back once the news was announced. And I thought this is the perfect time to let people get a glimpse into Dru's life. (Reporting and writing by Barb Goffman, life lived by Dru Ann Love.)

A Day in the Life of Dru Ann Love

It's four a.m. and I'm wide awake. No alarm necessary. I've always been an early riser, and today's no different. First stop: my computer to check email and Internet. I have several friends who are regularly up at that hour, and it's nice to touch base with them. Barb Goffman, this means you. (Note from Barb: If I'm up at that hour, it's because I woke up hot and will be returning to bed once the sheets cool off.)

Then things happen in a hurry. I turn on the TV news and weather at 4:30, hit the shower, and am out the door at 5:10, on my way to the Daytime Situation. After an hour-long train ride during which I read mysteries (of course) on my Kindle, I arrive at a well-known financial conglomerate and head to my desk in the marketing department. While my author friends are at their computers during the day, writing zigzagging plots and zany characters, I'm working on online surveys, helping to write them, program them, and send them out.

Love my Kindle!
Finally lunch time comes. Some days I'll meet a friend for lunch, but today I'm heading to the Irish pub across the street from my office. I love how quiet it is. I grab a corner table, order my favorite meal of fish and chips--extra crispy, no lettuce, tomatoes, or anything that would make my fish soggy--and I read, read, read.

Alas, lunch time must end. I'm spending this afternoon reviewing survey results to ensure we received enough back as well as  working on a preliminary analysis for clients. I wonder if I could program a survey through which I send out cryptic murder instructions. I'll have to share that thought with my author friends. (Note from Barb: Excellent idea! I feel my muse preparing to visit. ...)

The benefit of starting work early means I get to leave relatively early too. Before you know it, it's a little after five p.m., and I'm back home in Brooklyn. On the agenda for this evening: dinner with a friend, people-watching on the boardwalk, reading (of course), catching up with Facebook friends, and working on my blog, all with the TV on for background noise.
Heather Webber

This weekend I'll begin work on a new quilt and probably start reading another new book. And for sure I'll thank author Heather Webber. She was the one who convinced me to go to Malice Domestic for the first time. I'm such an introvert, it's amazing she succeeded in getting me out of my comfort zone. But boy, I'm glad she did. I wouldn't have found this crew of people, my community, without her.






07 January 2015

A new era in Mystery, sort of


First of all, happy new year to you and all.  I hope you have gotten over your hangovers and filled up on black-eyed peas.

Now that that is out of the way, I am happy to announce that I have started a new blog.

 No, I am not deserting SleuthSayers; you are all stuck with me for the unforeseeable future.  But I have added a new blog to my quiver, and what a terrible metaphor that makes.

The name is Today in MYSTERY HISTORY, and that pretty much tells you what it's about.  Tune in every day for a peek at something that happened on that date in our field.  And that, by the way, is what the illustrations on this page are for; each representing something that has appeared on my blog since it started on January first.

I can tell you that future entries will  include not only the obvious ones like the births of authors, and publication  of novels, but also the dates of:
* Awards
* Movie releases
* Statue unveilings
* Comic strip beginnings
* Songs hitting Number One
* Plot events in novels

And many more.   This, by the way, is where you can participate.  Feel free to contact me with suggestions for events you would like to see commemorated.  I have 358 more days to fill, and that's just this year.

I hope you enjoy it.

25 March 2014

My First Farewell Post


This post ends my year and my career as a regular contributor to the SleuthSayers blog, though I'll be available to pinch-hit whenever one of the group needs a break.  I'd like to thank Leigh Lundin and Robert Lopresti for giving me this opportunity and for their patience while I learned (but never mastered) the software.  I'd also like to thank the other writers on the blog for their encouragement and comments, especially Dale C. Andrews, with whom I've shared Tuesdays (and the daunting job of preparing the retrospective posts for SleuthSayers' second anniversary).  I hope to actually meet Dale someday, maybe at a baseball game. 
In place of blogging, I'm going to be devoting more time to promoting a new book, The Quiet Woman, which will be published by Five Star in June.  It's quite a departure for me, as it's my first stand-alone mystery and my first comic/romantic/supernatural one, at least in book form.  (I now see some of my Alfred Hitchcock stories as baby steps in that direction.) I'll write more about The Quiet Woman closer to its release, if my replacement will relinquish a Tuesday.  That replacement, incidentally, is David Dean, a man who needs no introduction to regular SleuthSayers readers, since he's the writer I replaced one year ago.  He's spent that year working on a new book, about which I hope he'll write in this space.

I'm sorry that so few of my twenty-odd posts had to do with mystery writing and that so many were about old movies and forgotten actors and authors, though many of my favorite posts by other contributors have also wandered far in the subject matter field.  Many of these favorites have been magazine quality, in my opinion, both in terms of writing and word count.  The latter I attribute to good time management, something at which I've never excelled, as the following account of my approach to blog writing, inspired by Eve Fisher's recent Robert Benchley post, will demonstrate.

As near as I can reconstruct, my two-week blog-writing cycle has gone something like this.

Through the miracle of Blogger.com, my column appears on a Tuesday.  All is right with the world.  I can hold my head up in any gathering of productive human beings, though I can't remember the last time I attended such a gathering.  This happy glow stays with me until Thursday, when it's eclipsed by the bright rays of the approaching weekend.

Sometime during that weekend, I panic, until a quick check of my desk calendar confirms that the looming Tuesday belongs to Dale Andrews.  Sure enough, Dale's column appears as if by magic on the appointed day.  It might even give me an idea for a post of my own.  If it doesn't, no problem.  I have a week to work one out.

A week being much more time than I need, I don't actually use the whole thing.  That would be wasteful.  In fact, I spend so much of my week not being wasteful that, before I know it, another weekend arrives.  Sometime late on Sunday, I wonder, idly, what Dale will write about this week.  Maybe he's traveling down south again.  He seems to travel more than John Kerry.  That's the life, escaping the cold snow for the warm sand and trading juncos for sanderlings.  I can almost hear the waves. . .

I awake in a cold sweat with the realization that the approaching Tuesday, whose skirmishers are even now topping the nearest hill, is my Tuesday.  To arms!  To arms! 

Okay, maybe that isn't exactly how my average fortnight has gone, but it's close enough that just recounting it has caused my heart to race.  When it settles down, I'll get to work on a new book, following Mr. Dean's example.  In the meantime, thanks very much for visiting.

05 March 2013

No Goodbyes


Before I go on with my last regularly scheduled posting, I have the honor of introducing the gentleman that will be stepping into the Tuesday time slot in my stead--Terence Faherty.  Actually, unlike the entirely necessary intro to my first posting, Terry probably has no need of one.  He is a winner of two Shamus Awards and a Macavity, as well as a nominee several times over for the Edgar and Anthony Awards.  All this by way of being the author  of two long standing and popular series featuring seminarian-turned-sleuth, Owen Keane, and Hollywood detective, Scott Elliot.  His short stories appear regularly in all the best mystery and suspense magazines.  Terry is prolific, talented, distinguished-looking, and shares many other traits with me, as well.  I'm looking forward to reading his postings and want to offer him a warm welcome to our little family.  I think he's gonna fit right in.  Oh, did I mention that he's a leading authority on the late, great actor Basil Rathbone?  Well, he is...but I'll let him explain about all that.  Look for Terry's first post two weeks from now.
I may have mentioned in my last posting that I'm determined to attempt another piece of long fiction--I call such things, "novels".  In fact, it was the august opinions of SleuthSayers' readers and contributors that helped me to decide which storyline to pursue.  As I am a simple man, not much given to multi-tasking, I feel the need to clear the deck in order to do so.  In other words, this will be my last posting for the foreseeable future.

My time with SleuthSayers has been truly wonderful.  I have enjoyed contributing my thoughts every two weeks, and greatly appreciate the kind consideration that each of you have given them.  Beyond the obvious breadth of knowledge exhibited daily by my fellow writers, I think a wonderful tolerance and greatness of mind has been a cornerstone of our site.  It has been a privilege to be amongst your numbers.

It would be wrong of me to slip away without acknowledging a few of you specifically, beginning with our mentor and leader, Leigh Lundin.  Have you ever dealt with a kinder, more passionately concerned man?  His guidance has been invaluable, his heart as big as the Stetson he wears so jauntily in his photo.  Leigh, you're the best.

There is also the erudite and always interesting, Rob Lopresti.  It was Rob that reached out to me years ago to do a guest blog on the, now legendary, Criminal Brief site.  There are few people better versed in the field of short mystery fiction than Rob, and he's a damn fine practitioner of the art, too.  It seems he intends to expand his literary horizon by entering the novel writing biz, as well.  Did I mention that he is also versatile?--librarian, critic, writer, blogger, musician, and probably other talents that I have yet to learn of.  He has also been a gentle guiding hand for me from time to time. 

My thanks also to the warm and wise, Fran Rizer.  She has been both an advisor and unstinting supporter to me, and her long-distance friendship has been a welcome surprise and an invaluable benefit to my membership here.  I've also become a great fan of her funny, sassy, vulnerable, and altogether intriguing literary character, Callie Parrish.  Fran has much to be proud of in her series.

John Floyd, through the magic of the internet, has come to feel like a personal friend rather than a virtual one.  His warmth and kindliness have touched me on several occasions via unexpected email messages.  He is a true gentleman, as well as a dauntingly talented and prolific writer.   

But as I said in the beginning, I have been in good company with all of you, and benefited from the relationship no end.  As the title of this blog states, there will be no goodbyes--I intend to read SleuthSayers daily and offer my usual array of pithy, sage comments.  If not altogether barred from doing so, I might even write a guest blog from time to time.  I can already envision the topic for my first: Why is it so difficult for me to write another novel? Or possibly, Why in God's name did I ever begin another novel? Or finally: Why won't anybody buy this damn novel that I've written?

Thanks everyone and God bless.

28 January 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop


Jan Grape
My good friend, Taffy Cannon posted this the other day and it just tickled me so I requested and got permission to post it here.  Intriguing idea, don't you think?

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

by Taffy Cannon

This is kind of a blog chain letter, wherein one writer answers a specific set of questions about a work-in-progress, and then tags five other writers to answer the same ten WIP questions on their blogs—and so on and so on until there aren’t any more writers left on the earth.

Of course I am a rebel by nature and so I have switched around the order of the questions to make them more to my liking. Also because this book is unlike anything I’ve written previously.

What is the working title of your book?
The Baby Boomer’s Guide to SibCare

Who or what inspired you to write this book? Where did the idea come from for the WIP?
Five years ago, my younger brother’s health, which had been problematic since a malignant brain tumor in 1994, took a serious nosedive. My sister and I were suddenly immersed in major issues and decisions related to his deteriorating health. She was in Seattle and I was in San Diego. Our brother, a former cop who lived alone with a minimal support system, was in Chicago and wanted to stay there.

We faced a lot of medical crises, bureaucracies, and financial messes. We made mistakes and followed false paths and spent a lot of time with our fingers in our ears, singing lalalalala very loudly. We learned to live by a maxim our mother, gone now for 41 years, used often: “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

We had some great help from friends and relatives and even bureaucrats. We also were blessed with a true deus ex machina that changed everything in the family equation fairly early on. But most of the time we were banging around in the dark, trying to figure out what to do next. My mantra became:
“Now what?”

I met other folks my age having similar sibling-related medical experiences and got some useful tips and advice from them. And I tried to find some kind of handbook about the particular joys and challenges of helping a sibling with a serious medical problem.

I came up empty.

My brother passed away last March. And I decided to write the book that I had looked for and couldn’t find.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The baby boomers are getting old, and when your body turns on you and you don’t have a strong local support system, the default is likely to be family.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote about what was happening quite a bit while it was going on, in narrative fashion. When I looked at this narrative, I realized there was a lot of practical material in there that could be very helpful to other people taking on medical bureaucracies, bill collectors, stubborn patients, unexpected crises, and sometimes other relatives as well. I decided to make it more accessible by putting it into handbook form.

Every family’s situation is different, and so is every sibling relationship, even within a single family. There are, however, common problems and challenges. My intention in The Baby Boomer’s Guide to SibCare is to point people in the right direction to find out more about how to meet their particular family needs.

I danced around getting started with the handbook itself for a while, writing bits and pieces here and there. I wrote outlines and arranged multi-colored Post-Its on pieces of foam board. I did some research and labeled a lot of file folders. In fact, I was researching studies of adult sibling relationships (Newsflash: there are precious few) when my brother went into his final decline.

Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Since my agent handles only fiction, I anticipate working with a former agent who represents nonfiction.

What genre does your book come under?
Self-help, I guess. Health. Caregiving. It’s a hybrid.

Let’s see. Maintaining equanimity in the face of uncertainty. Standing up to unforeseen challenges. Laughing at adversity. Have I missed any clich├ęs?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Ain’t none. See above.

There are certain similarities to books about taking care of aging parents, but the sibling relationship is really quite different from that. There is also a limited literature about siblings disabled from birth, a group with many overlapping elements.

Here’s why it’s different: Your siblings are the people you’re likely to know for the longest time in your life.

Your parents are around for the first part and with luck you’ll have a family of some sort with you during the middle-to-last parts. But your siblings march in lockstep beside you throughout your entire family history.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Ten thousand baby boomers become eligible for Medicare every single day. That’s a whole lot of people getting old at a very rapid rate, people who genuinely believed they would remain forever young.

Nobody’s been talking too much about the boomers for a while, but there plenty of us and we share an important collective history. We were young in a period when it sometimes seemed as if everything was changing at once. We caused or participated in in a lot of important societal movements, events, and changes—sometimes from more than one side. Vietnam, of course, is the classic generation-splitter.

But despite many differences, the baby boomers share a lot of common ground and have left an important cultural legacy. It all kind of blended together over time:
Rock and roll. Vietnam. Protest. Civil Rights. The Women’s Movement. The Sexual Revolution. Exercise for adults. Environmental Awareness.
And did I mention rock and roll?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
As a general rule self-help books don’t get made into movies, or even get development deals. And a lot of this material is drawn from personal experience, which means it’s about the Cannon family. It’s hard for me to picture us as anybody but us.

However, I would be satisfied to have Meryl Streep play me. She’s also a blonde baby boomer and I think she can get the accent.

05 April 2012

Tell Me Why


I am always curious about the why of things thathappen especially in the criminal world. Whether it is fictional or straight from the headlines, I want to know why someone commits a crime -- especially one that takes another's life, or in some cases even their own.

Online blogs and social media tags are often ignored though the warnings are clear in retrospect. Nicole Simpson told others that one day her husband would kill her and because he was O. J. Simpson, he would get away with it.

A few people leave diaries or prepared-for-the-worst-case-scenario suicide notes behind. They are desperate please left as a clear-marked trail if only someone would look for the clues.

To a trial defense lawyer, these admissions are another hurdle to jump in attempt to snare a release for their client charged with murder. We would think such admissions would be a clear path to a conviction, but that isn't always what happens either.

Tabloids can rake in a ton of sales with headlines and articles that may be true, may be half-truths and may be completely fabricated. A national broadcast channel was caught editing the 911 call made by Zimmerman, distorting what he actually said. What is the truth? Maybe we'll find out the why on this case, but maybe we won't ever find the complete truth.

We may never know the truth about Casey Anthony. Her daughter will still be dead.

Determining why human beings sometimes don't act quite humanely is a puzzle.

Criminal activity isn't anything new. Cain murdered his brother, Abel for a reason as old as time itself: jealousy. In fact, the Bible is more than peppered with crimes, it is well-seasoned with how man isn't always just. Many of those reasons are still filling our prisons today. Why can't we all just get along?

When we ask why a crime takes place, we are interested also in finding the guilty party and having him pay for what he's done. We may not be involved in law enforcement nor the judicial system, but we may all take a turn at the jury box. Sharing space with eleven of our peers, we represent the public at large and want to know more than the who and how. We want to know the why of the criminal activity.

Read a good mystery -- one that ties up the story all nice and pretty by the book's end. Know that the bad guys are locked away. Know they paid for their crimes. Know they are just pretend characters. The real world is sometimes scary.

Sometimes we may not want to really know all the why's. Curiosity killed the cat, you know.