Friday, November 20, 2020

Writing, Pandemic, Loss of Logic and Normalcy

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,
mad, or plain worn out? I suddenly recalled a forty-year-old movie, Private Benjamin, and Goldy Hawn popped clearly into my mind in army clothes and helmet, marching in the rain, airing her frustrations loudly. “I want to go out to lunch! I want to be normal again!” I thought to myself, I get it Goldy, I really get it.

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.

Buy Link Amazon


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Diversity Paradox

by Janis Patterson

Can I make a confession? I love Thanksgiving - the family, the excitement of the beginning of the holiday season, the Americanism of the day, and yes, of course the food - but I hate turkey. Oh, I know people rave about it, how good it is and how good for you it is, and some people (including The Husband) eat it all year around. I just don’t like it. Badly cooked it tastes like fibrous cardboard. Even when well cooked it tastes like a slightly off chicken. But that doesn’t change the fact I love Thanksgiving - I just don’t eat the turkey.

Which is a rather clumsy way of saying that there is room for all opinions in this great big world, even in publishing as in food. There is something for everyone. Don’t like science fiction? Don’t read it. Don’t like romance? Same. Don’t like an alternative history mystery suspense set on Alpha Centauri with a cast of half-humanoids/half-reptiles? Don’t pick it up. 

Every permutation of genre has someone who wants to read it. That’s one of the glories of self-publishing - as a writer you can hit that special niche, no matter how small or restricted it is. The big commercial publishers, bound by the sheer economics of distribution and print runs and storage, can’t. They have to hit the broadest audiences possible in order to make a profit - which, unfortunately, is the bottom line for corporations. 

However - there is a disturbing sub-current swelling through the writing world. Instead of allowing the writer to create the story he wants, there are those urging that stories must glorify and showcase ‘diversity’ no matter if it suits the writer’s vision of his story or not. (Don’t get me wrong - I am in favor of diversity; it is a good thing, but only when it happens naturally and organically instead of being forced down writers/readers throats as a mandate.)

Neither do readers escape this dictate; they are very strongly urged to spend money which they might not have to buy books they might not be interested in and use time they might not have to read books by people they’ve never heard of - all in homage to the god of diversity. Reading is many things to all people, but in my opinion non-scholarly reading is for most an escape, a time of fantasy where I can go to a place untainted by the myriad complexities of the modern world. And I don’t think that’s wrong.

A nationally-known writing organization recently turned itself inside out and lost a number of members in the process for just this reason. Yes, there were things about the organization that could have been better, but the resolution could have been done better as well. One does not use a Howitzer to kill a mosquito, or level a building to fix a plumbing leak. Overkill is neither good nor practical. That, however, is just my opinion. Yours may differ.

So - as there are differences of opinion and style in the real world, so should there also be in the world of reading and writing. And, dare I add, in the gastronomical world. I wish everyone here the happiest and most enjoyable of Thanksgivings. Appreciate your families and delight in the traditional orgy of eating. May you even enjoy turkey if you like it - just don’t expect me to have any.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

I Ignored a New Taboo

Though I've seen readers say they don't want to read a book with Covid 19 in it, when I started writing my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, I didn't see how I could avoid it. After all, I'm writing this series in more-or-less real time.

Plus I really wanted to see how the characters (who seem real to me) would face what was happening, how it would affect the police officers and their families. So despite the naysayers I did what I knew had to be done.

The result is Not As We Knew It.

Despite what is going on, I believe it is an up-beat book. And I had fun writing it.

I'm so fortunate that I have Lorna Collins and her husband to help me with editing, the cover, and publishing it on Amazon.

To buy:

Marilyn who writes this series as F. M. Meredith


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

And I Did an In-Person Event!


Here we are, daughter and I in our new plastic face masks participating in the Porterville Art Association's Holiday Boutique in the Art Gallery.

This event happens annually, and they didn't let the virus stop it this year. However, the group followed the rules, and I was happy to be a part of the event.

It lasted for two days, Friday and Saturday, and most of the other tables sold crafts and edibles. I've belonged to the PAA for many years, and in other times, I've given writing classes there, and hopefully I can do it again.

Though the attendance was light, some patrons came with the intent to buy one of my books. With mask wearing, at times it was hard to recognize folks. I had a friend who drove in the rain all the way from Fresno (an hour and a half plus drive) because she had 3 particular books she wanted. 

Others wanted to start with the first in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. 

It was a successful event for me--and not only for book selling, but because I not only got to chat with people I haven't seen for a long time, but also the artists who are members of PAA.

Though things have not gotten back to the way they were, it was wonderful to do this and I was happy for the opportunity.

The younger woman in the photo is my daughter, Lisa, who not only drove me to the event both days, she also helped me set up and take down, and makes changes and keeps track of sales. My son helped too by loading and unloading the car. I"m blessed by both of them.