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Showing posts from July, 2020

Coping Through the Pandemic

Here in the U.S. we're heading into roughly week 20 of the COVID-19 pandemic, if counted from the first confirmed case in Seattle on January 20,2020. Since then, lives around the world have been in turmoil after the pandemic was officially named on March 11, 2020. People are finding their own ways to cope, or not cope so well as the case may be, and here at the BRP, some of us will be sharing how we are dealing with the day-to-day challenges. But first a little digression. I've always been an idealist and an optimist, but in recent weeks I'm finding it harder and harder to cling to any positive energy. Back in mid-March, when I thought this was only going to be an inconvenience for a few weeks, I armed myself with my idealism and strength of character and was ready to battle through whatever was thrown my way. But here we are in mid-July, and between the pandemic, the social unrest, the joke that is politics right now, and my own health problems, I feel like that old tr

#FridayReads with Polly Iyer

The Scent of Murder by Polly Iyer is available from Amazon Visit Polly's website

Month Four of Staying “Safer-at- Home”

That's what the governor is calling it here in Colorado: Safer at Home. I'm fine with that. Shopping during senior hours on occasion, but mostly sticking to curbside pickup or online shopping with delivery suits me fine.  I never got a big thrill from grocery shopping anyway. Or crowds. I would have made a pretty good hermit. Anyway, this post is about what I do when I'm not working on writing or writing-related tasks. Hmmm. Because my big goal for 2020 is to FINISH! those neglected writing projects—or delete/shred them if unworthy of further attention—it’s hard for me to come up with a lot of activities that are not in some way writing related. That's where all my excitement is these days. But there are a few non-writing things I sneak into my “safer at home” lifestyle. Back in March and April, I spent extra time in the kitchen, baking and trying new meat and casserole recipes. That got old in a hurry, especially when I stepped on the scales and saw the uni

#FridayReads with Diana Hurwitz

The Mythikas Island quartet by Diana Hurwitz is available from Visit Diana's website

Writing During Quarantine

At the moment, it feels a bit like the world is ending. People are dying in droves. Many are losing their livelihood. There is so much conflict and unrest. Lots of free-floating anxiety and depression running amok. I keep asking myself, why does writing matter right now? Who really cares what I have to say? The world has gone mad. Our country is in free fall. It feels like there is no future. Then I remind myself that humanity has been here many times before and we somehow managed to not only survive but thrive anew. So here are some points to consider: 1. The world will eventually return to normal. If you are stuck in quarantine when you would normally be out and about and have the resources, you could be prolific. Shake off the anxiety or use it to fuel your work. Get into your bubble. Give a middle finger to fate. Use defiance to propel you to invest in the future. At the very least, you can journal during this time to ease your soul. Do it simply for self-care or use th

#FridayReads with Pat Stoltey

Wishing Caswell Dead is available from Visit Pat Stoltey's website . Image credit: Sangamon River. Douglas Grohne

Little Fires Everywhere: Are Rules Different for Literary Novels?

Let me preface this blog post by saying that my main diet of reading genres consists of page-turning thrillers, dark suspense, police procedurals, and clever mysteries. I rarely read literary novels and am choosy about which ones I pick—books I’ve loved like The Kite Runner and Love in the Time of Cholera , and books I didn’t love that others did, like The Help . I have dozens of books on my home bookshelves and in my Kindle, but the stay at home order has limited my library visits. I decided to expand my reading into books that have reached bestseller status that I can download from my library’s Overdrive/Libby app. That’s how I chose Little Fires Everywhere , by Celeste Ng. Most of the reviews were stellar. The book starts with the semi-ending, a device I dislike. Many people hate prologues. I don’t mind them. This wasn’t a prologue; it was part of the ending, and it took away some of the edge. The book is a story of privilege, of mothers’ love, and of class. I started writing lat

#FridayReads with Shonell Bacon

Into the Web is available on Kindle Visit Shonell Bacon at her website

Delving into Words

Words can heal. Words can hurt. Words can bring the real world sharply into focus or wrap us in worlds that only exist in our imaginations. To experience some of the power of words to motivate one to act, check out Shonell Bacon's recent Blood Red Pencil post, How a SUD or Two Inspires Me into Action . Words can also be a comfort. During these fraught times, I find myself turning more and more to an examination of words and language. Not so much the weighty words, such as justice, truth, and compassion, but random words and expressions that bubble up as I write. Since my Silver Rush mystery series takes place in the 19th century U.S. West, I need to be conscious of words, idioms, and slang that pop from my mind to keyboard to draft—are they contemporary to the times, or are they anachronistic? Anachronistic or not? Thank goodness for references such as this one. For instance, take the word "fraught," which I use in the paragraph just above. Step back, turn that wo