Smoke: 2nd Imogene Duckworthy Mystery (Imogene Duckworthy Mysteries)
A few years back, she called into my book club meeting. My excitement knows no bounds, but what has been fascinating to me, is the way the pendulum has shifted. But now it is a one-sided proposition. This is how it works — it is now my turn to give the gift of my time and myself to other writers, the exact same way writers have done so for me. It is to help them polish that query letter or give them lists of agents to query.
It is to say yes to that last minute request to judge a national writing contest and then it means providing thoughtful, constructive feedback to the writers with entries. In my case, I used my own role models and included my name and contact information on the best entry so that writer can turn to me in the future. I have the best role models before me. Hold on, my phone is ringing. This month, the Mysteristas have posted about the myriad of gifts that we appreciate. I had a different blog post planned for today, and then I added just a few too many things to my to-do list, time got away from me, and here we are—with me posting this quite late.
Which made me think about time.
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Oh, I wish. Now that would be a gift! My time is a gift I can give to others—to my daughter, when we bake or read or draw together, to the organizations I volunteer with, to myself when I prioritize my writing, and so on. In fact, I suggest that time is a gift that you give and receive all at once.
As I get older, and more importantly, as my parents get older, I am increasingly appreciative of this gift, of the ability to choose where and how I spend my time. Why not give myself a few additional gifts? I think my holiday wish list next year will have only this one thing on it. I can just picture it:. Me: What would I like as a gift? Time with family and friends, time to read and write, time to choose what to do with my time. Hurray for time to appreciate new snowfall! I have a friend who back-engineered the Great Pyramid and wrote a book about his findings. He wrote a second book about advanced engineering in ancient Egypt.
Scientists did a double take when he reported space-age tolerances in the monuments. My latest novel, The Star Family , is bringing me a great gift this Saturday.
Old Salem is now a living museum, but was one of the three original settlements of my ancestors in North Carolina in the s. I felt rooted there, truly at home. In my twenties, I taught meditation in a white house at the bottom of Old Salem, weaving spiritual teachings of my past and present together. Christmas Eve found my mother and me in the choir singing for the love feasts, enjoying the smell of beeswax, Moravian coffee and buns.
Then we went home. On Saturday, I bring my Christmas mystery back to its origins. My favorite part of the writing process is plotting. Next favorite? What if Letty found a bloody sock on her floor after one of her clients left his therapy session? What if Letty ran into an old friend who pretended not to recognize her? What if the murderer was a one-armed librarian who, after a lifetime of shushing people, decided to silence them forever? All fake what-ifs, by the way, although I kind of like the psycho librarian one.
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It starts like that and then I just follow the trail of more what-ifs making life more complicated for Letty and, hopefully, adding suspense and complexity to the story. Strangely enough, the first what-if in my writing career came not at a desk but in a bathtub one day while I was reading Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers—a lady who ranks right up there with Dame Agatha in my heart. It had overmastered her without her knowledge or notice, and that was the proof of its mastery. There were differences, of course.
Honestly, it just never occurred to me. I sure loved Erma Bombeck! Did I ever envy that neighbor! Most of what I read in mysteries has humor. I think you just have to pay attention to pacing and watch where you need to slip in the humor. I hope I do it OK! I think writing humor is hard.
Good for anyone who can pull it off and make people laugh rather than groan. Good for you, Kaye. Your talent shows through. I do like puns and can probably make you groan, too, Polly. Nothing better feeling than a good laugh from the depths of your belly. Romance in the swamps. Share this: Facebook Twitter Email. Like this: Like Loading Comments Kaye, I love to read mysteries with humor! Me, too!
Thanks for stopping by, Patricia. Loved this! And I love funny mystery.
The more over-the-top, the better. Keep writing them. I agree on over-the-top funny and, well, over-the-top everything in fiction. That sounds like a mystery, KB! Just so they like reading it, eh? Or do you disagree with any of mine? Janet Cantrell is a pen name for Kaye George, Agatha nominated novelist and short story writer. Leave it to Quincy to lead his human, Chase, co-owner of a Minneapolis dessert bar shop, into trouble. Janet lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband. Edith has also published award-winning short crime fiction. She lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau, an elderly cat, and an impressive array of garden statuary.
View all posts by Edith Maxwell. I was surprised the first time I read a list of rules about what constituted a cozy.
I want to disagree with I the standards that seem to be accepted by everyone except me—making it hard to stand by! Like Like. Ultimately, though, the readers just read what they want to, right? Third person, multiple pov is ok. So is a certain amount of ick-factor in how the victim died. I think the key is avoiding gratuitous violence, sex, etc.
And of course making sure no children or animals are harmed. Love your cover! Sorry, bad pun. How fast should a couple move forward? But I have been known to go to great lengths to avoid killing anybody at all in a book, at least in the present.
THE STILETTO GANG: Writing Multiple Series: featuring Kaye George/Janet Cantrell
So great to have you join us. The definition of cozy is certainly ongoing, and also is tied in with what your publisher wants which of course is tied to what they think will sell. That makes me look forward to the Fat Cat series. BTW, the fact that your other series is becoming available via Audible is wonderful and I hope it extends to the Fat Cat series. Pat enjoyed Choke and is looking forward to the others.
Similar authors to follow
Wonderful—some ready-made fans for the audio books! Smoke is underway and will be followed immediately by Broke. Thanks for having me! I write books marketed as cozies and my editor has never told me any of these things. By the second book, my protagonist is clearly sleeping with her boyfriend. Of course, the descriptions of their bedroom activities are pretty tame no body parts mentioned. Also, occasional objections to my non-linear narrative. I read cozies to relax.