Friday, February 19, 2021

Where Do My Ideas Come From? Here and There and Everywhere

What inspires a writer and gives her ideas?  Good questions for this month's bloggers.  I bet we'll get a slew of interesting answers. 

I can only tell you where my ideas comes from.  Shall we start from the beginning?  
Poetry was a genre that intrigued me when I first began writing,  A series of poems from the point of view of creatures who live in the Sonora desert were my first published poemss My parents lived in the Phoenix area, and we often visited the Sonora Desert. 
Here 's a poem from the point of view of the Diamond Back Rattlesnake.  For some reason, I liked writing from the viewpoint of many desert critters.
 The Diamond Back

 My view is of the low things: 

The leaf-cutting ant bearing a spear of green,

The faint imprint of fearful feet,

Red jasper in a dry stream.  

The Navajo weaves a harmony of diamond shapes,

But none so striking as my patterned back. 

Coiling on my rock I prize my symmetry.

The savage sun of summer drives me

To wary sleep under the mesquite. 

The gritty caliche earth against my belly

Is the feel of here. 

The sharp aroma of the creosote bush,

The scent of sun on yucca blossoms

Is the smell of here. 

I wait for the taste of here: 

The timid skittering mouse,

The nervous cottontail,

The old lizard dragging her tail.

Respect is mine. 

The shying panicked horse bucks and screams.

I observe the one in leather boots

Hiking carefully with his stick. 

The humble horned toad,

The bold scorpion avoid me. 

I get respect. 

Sleek, I slither down the gulch

In a rush of silence. 

Above the hum of bees and insects,

A snaky sound,

The gourd rhythm of my rattles disturbs the air.



 I wrote about the Charles River in Boston - My job was an easy walk from  the rivet, and when our offices were suddenly moved to the Boonies, I wrote about saying goodbye to the Charles.
 There's a small herd of HIghland Scottish cattle down the street from us, and one summer I wrote a poem about the calves.  

Calves Together

  That summer, we were calves together in the tall grass.

You came first to brown Mary Anne.

Golden Iris is my mother.

They dropped us in the tall grass.

 We grew together, gamboled together,

Licked each other, slept together,

Lay flank to flank in the tall grass.

The milk we suckled tasted of summer and green apples.

 In the heat of the day we found shade

The rain kept the flies at bay.

We frolicked in the pasture, bleating and kicking our heels,

Calves without a care.

 Glad animal spirits, nursing and nibbling the tall grass.

Drinking from the creek.

Seeking the green shade.

Calves together.



Now we segue to the novels:  What inspired them?  Mostly places:   

The Shadow Warriors: Singapore, Goettingen, Germany,

 World of Mirrors:  the Baltic Island of Ruegen, 

Festival Madness: The Burning Man Festival: and high-tech Boston

Chased By Death:  Southern Florida, Massachusetts, driving cross county,  the Nevada Desert  

Murder in the North Woods: many trips to the North Woods in Wisconsin

A sense of place always informs my work, whether it is the pasture down the road or the exoticism of Singapore. Places inspire me.   Characters come to inhabit the places, and then the characters do stuff that gets them in trouble in that place.  We're off to the races.




Let's see what my fellow bloggers have been up to  this week.  What inspires us may inspire you. 

Skye Taylor

Anne Stenhouse

Beverley Bateman

Connie Vines

Diane Bator

Dr. Bob Rich

Fiona McGier

Helena Fairfax

Marci Baun

Victoria Chatham

Judith Copek

Rhobin L Courtright




Friday, January 22, 2021

Writing Goals for 2021


Now that January is practically history, what are my writing goals for 20 21? 

 1)  Finish my Mennonite mystery set in south central Kansas.  Too long, too long, I've been hammering away at it.  This has never happened before, that it's taken so many years to finish a book. I've got about eight scenes left in 1953 and some scenes in 2019.  (Notice I am avoiding the Pandemic.)  It is really hard to write about nice people, although not everyone in the book is nice, but most are. You need conflict.  This is like pulling teeth.  

The story is about a thirty-nine year old Mennonite widow who practically trips over a body as she leaves a cafe in her small  hamlet. She is so outraged about this crime, that she gets involved in the solution, so we have an unusual amateur sleuth. 

I took a research trip to Kansas a few years ago,  It was wonderful and so many ideas presented themselves.  Developing all the ideas has not been easy.   

The photo above is why my grandparents lived in this tiny town Kansas.  I have given my main character, Lizzie Bender Ledoux, a small Sears Roebuck house.  It has been so much fun to fix the interior as Lizzy would do it.

2) Once "Lizzie" is done, I need to finish my short story "The Powwow," set in  1956 at the time of a terrible plane crash over the Grand Canyon.  Shelly, the protagonist has traveled to Flagstaff with her father who is looking for a new business.  Shelly is looking to get away from small town life in the summer. The problem with this story (unfinished for  years and years) is that it is based on a real trip I took with my Dad, which had, in retrospect some odd and worrisome aspects.  Now, I need to create an event that never actually happened, which  I am squeamish about.  No one knows that this is almost a true story except you folks reading this post.  I have to finish, but it will be hard.

UAL DC-7.jpg
A Douglas DC-7 similar to one of those that crashed. 

3) What's next?  To do concurrently, beaucoup PR is needed  for my recently published mystery, Murder In the North Woods

Murder in the North Woods is an amateur sleuth mystery.

 She’s into high tech. He’s into homicide. The North Woods rock and roll when a savvy cyber-sleuth teams up with a hunky homicide cop to route corporate miscreants and to solve a murder.

 When she arrives in Wisconsin’s North Woods, Laura Goode discovers her only contact is now a corpse. The information officer at Great Northern Shoe Company was a local Lothario whose killer could be anyone from an enraged husband to a bitter factory worker whose job is heading overseas            

 Working undercover, Laura digs in, but office politics thwart her mission to determine who is g subverting the project. Adding more complications to her life, boyfriend Jack, a homicide cop visits unexpectedly, and makes friends with the local cops. Her soon-to-be ex-husband also makes an appearance. Laura welcomes Jack’s help, but he’s also a distraction as she segues from boardroom to bar room, trolls for bass, hunts hackers, and tries to rescue her kidnapped cat, all while getting closer to the murderer.  The raft trip from hell provide a bizarre but thrilling climax.

  It's hard to write and to publish during the Pandemic.  

Here are some excellent writers who will have their own thoughts on writing in 2021.  

Skye Taylor
Victoria Chatham
Beverley Bateman
Connie Vines
Dr. Bob Rich
Anne Stenhouse
Diane Bator
Fiona McGier
Judith Copek
Rhobin L Courtright


I hate, hate, hate this  new version of blogger.  This post took 3 times as long as it should have.  The help was hardly any help.  Grrrr.