by Janis Patterson
by Janis Patterson
Yes, I heard what some of you said about not wanting to read a book with Covid 19 in it and others saying they would never write a book that had the pandemic in it.
None of the remarks mattered, I knew I couldn't ignore what was going on in the world when I wrote the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.The series is set in real time, and who knows how long this mess is going on? Not I.
So despite the warnings that I might not have any readers, I plunged right in. And believe it or not, I had fun doing it. I knew what was happening with my friends and all their different views about what was going on. When I visited my police officer grandson, he told me what was happening in his department, plus some other things that were happening.
Two of my-granddaughters-in-law are nurses and I asked them questions. So I really felt I had the information I needed to show how the virus was affecting the police officers of Rocky Bluff and their families.
And the vindicated part, I just finished reading Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly and guess what, his character, Mickey Haller recognizes the threat of the illness coming from China. And not to spoil a great ending, he shelters in place with loved ones. (Someone complained this was a spoiler--but Haller has lots of loved ones--so I don't think it really is a spoiler.)
I hope some of you will try Not as We Knew It
So far those who've read it have liked it.
And remember, I wrote this one as F. M. Meredith.
Despite what all is going on or not I've started planning a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. In the last book, Tempe had decided to retire. When I wrote it, I thought it might be the last in the series. However, a trip to visit my eldest daughter gave me a great idea, so once again I'm in the planning stages.
No, I don't write an outline, however this is what I usually do when I'm beginning a new book:
First comes the setting. In this case, it will be a new place for Tempe. I've ordered a couple of books about the history of the town she'll be in, as sometimes historical facts give me ideas for the plot or side-plots.
Next, come the characters. Who is going to get murdered and why? I need a name, personality traits, physical description, and of course all the people who might want to see this person's demise and for various reasons. Which means developing more characters.
Oh, yes, I must not forget how the person was killed. Was there a weapon to be found? The crime scene, any clues?
I'm not very far along in the planning process, but I'm excited that I get to be with Tempe and her husband, Hutch, once again.
Have a great holiday no matter how you celebrate.
When I became a young adult, my dad told me this again, and I still didn’t get it, although I’d noticed it didn’t take quite as long for Christmas time to arrive. I asked him why he thought this was so. He told me it was because we have more years behind us, and the more years packed under our belts means the coming years speed up. This didn’t answer my question and back then we didn’t have the internet. I remember blowing him off and thinking, whaatteevver.
I also read online that if you want time not to go by so quickly, keep having new experiences. I’m sure that’s accurate, but not so easy when you’re older. Most of the things we do in the later years will be repetitive. As I move through my 70s, I see people my age strapped because of finances (the reason I don't quit my day job). My husband is alive and well but has not been physically mobile for making trips with me for a long, long time. Also, even for those folks who can move around easily and have plenty of money, still have fewer opportunities for new experiences. Even if they take trip or a cruise to a place they've never been, they've already had the experience of a trip or a cruise.
Here's a picture of my husband and me taken earlier this month to use for Christmas cards. We tried a selfie, but our glasses fogged up because of the masks. A neighbor appeared and volunteered to help.
My book: Amazon Buy Link
Today, I'm hosting a guest instead of doing my own post. Please welcome, my friend and fellow author, J. L. Greger.
Do you wish you could travel to exotic spots? Is the Taj Mahal one of the places you dream of seeing? I realize many of us during the pandemic would be thrilled to travel safely even to Peoria, Illinois. But let's focus now on travel to real tourist spots.
I admit the Taj Mahal was breathtaking as it appeared among the mists rising from the Yamuna River at sunrise. However, as the sun rose I also saw and smelled the polluted Yamuna River. Indian politicians have described it as an "open sewer."
My other problem with the Taj Mahal was the crowds. Think of the crowds leaving the stadium of a Big Ten school after a football game. I saw the Taj Mahal during the Diwali (a Hindu festival) holidays several years ago with more than twenty thousand people. I hate the suffocating feeling of being pushed along by crowds, especially in warm humid weather.
Now comes the surprising part of my wish to see the Taj Mahal.
The best part of visiting famous sites
in India wasn't the sites but the school children at the sites. The children
were in groups
of fifty to three hundred. Each clump of children were identifiable by their
clothes, particularly the girl's uniforms. For example, one group of several
hundred girls wore leggings with long jumpers almost to their knees in shades
of green. Although all the groups were noisy when they left their buses. They
were quiet and organized and with the smallest in front and the tallest at the
back of the group by the time they reached the entrance to the sites. When I
made the mistake of saying hello to one particularly cute little girl in a pink
uniform, I was swamped by children taking my picture and asking questions.
My advice is if you aren't an experienced traveler, skip an expensive trip to India and read DIRTY HOLY WATER, a romantic mystery with realistic depictions of India—good and bad. If you're not into India, you'll still enjoy this mystery in which it's difficult to distinguish villains from victims.
Maybe during this holiday season and the rest of the pandemic, many of us should wish to be more helpful to those less fortunate than ourselves. For example, many children desperately need on line tutors. Local teachers and school districts could put you in contact with one of these children. Patients in hospitals are often not allowed visitors now, and they're lonely and scared. Volunteer offices at many hospital will accept handmade (knit, crocheted, sewn) baby blankets and afghans. these offices can also describe how to construct care packets that can be given to incoming patients. Homeless shelters and food banks need volunteers and contributions.
DIRTY HOLY WATER (paperback or ebook) is available at:
Bio: J.L. Greger is a biology professor and research administrator from the University of Wisconsin-Madison turned novelist. She has consulted on scientific issues worldwide and loves to travel. Thus, she likes to include both science and her travel experiences in her thriller/mystery novels in the Science Traveler series. Award-winning books in the series include: The Flu Is Coming, Murder: A Way to Lose Weight, Malignancy, Riddled with Clues, and A Pound of Flesh, Sorta. Learn more at: http://www.jlgreger.com
by Linda Thorne
Author of forty-five or more books, Marilyn Meredith recently posted on the Make Mine Mystery Blogspot the topic, How has Covid 19 Affected Your Writing? She responded to a comment I made that she doesn’t let it bother her much since she can’t do anything about it. A wise way to handle the situation, but not something that works for me. I am drained by all of it.Are we ever going to see normalcy again? Are you feeling stressed, desperate, frustrated,
The last time I went out to dinner was on my husband’s birthday, Friday the 13th of March. We stopped by Great Clips afterward to get haircuts. So many months have passed since then.
Things closed soon after that, but the partial reopening has not gone well. I started cutting my husband’s hair even though the hair salons and barbershops had reopened here in Nashville, Tennessee. I hazarded hair appointments with my regular beautician. Twice. But as I was leaving the last time, I saw that the hairdresser next to her didn’t wear a mask, so I never went back. What I learned is the other beautician had a doctor’s excuse for not wearing a mask, so I have been cutting my own hair since with the help of my husband.
Where’s the logic in an employer allowing someone to work directly with the public without a mask when there’s a mask mandate? A mask is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The doctor’s excuse is meaningless in a sane world. Yeah, maybe she couldn’t find a mask that allows her to breath or doesn’t irritate her skin (even though they are out there), but she still needs to stay home, doctor’s excuse or not.
The Pandemic has been bad enough, but during the skyrocketing increase in the number of cases, we had a Presidential election. Historic during a Pandemic, but the election is being drawn out, adding more stress.
Look at the rallies for Biden and protests against Trump not winning. The CDC is against any large gatherings, but it seems too many people feel like it has to be okay when there’s a cause they believe in. Whatever their cause, these things have no logic concerning wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Where’s our logic and common sense? And by the way, what about social distancing?
Then there are those who must show they have their rights not to wear a mask. Why? Why not help our economy and others’ safety?
At least we have one huge positive on the horizon. We are obviously going to get a vaccine.
Happy writing even during the Pandemic. If you can make it work for you, congratulations and keep going.