As the Name Implies

  A Grand Throwing-Away has unearthed a pile of ancient schoolwork. I wrote "Our Scientific World" as a review of a unit in the seventh-grade literature text. It is a combination of truth and lies. For example, "In my opinion the stories in this unit were not as good as those in other units that … Continue reading As the Name Implies

18th Annual Hillfest

St. Edward's University capped its 18th Annual Hillfest tonight with the traditional fireworks display. At the first boom, William and Ernest went upstairs. David and I walked outside to enjoy our 16th annual viewing. These are photos of the 17th annual celebration. Fireworks, like mosquitoes, don't change much from year to year.  

9 Links and a Cat

Recent posts having focused on cats and goats, today I'm back to basics, sharing links to articles that writers—and non-writers—will find informative, entertaining, and/or thought-provoking.   The first appear on Chris the Story Reading Ape's Blog: "Can Common Writing Advice Be Wrong?" — by Jamie Gold The answer to that question requires only one word, … Continue reading 9 Links and a Cat

Which Would You Rather

  A crime writer here in Austin closed his blog a couple of years ago. It was both informative and entertaining and enjoyed a wide readership. When asked why he stopped writing it, he said it was time-consuming. He needed to put all his effort into his novels. In addition, he said, which would most … Continue reading Which Would You Rather

The Time Has Come

  "The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things. Of cloture votes— and civil rights— and Martin Luther Kings." ~ Lewis Carroll, "The Walrus and the Carpenter"   "The Walrus and the Carpenter" was in my seventh-grade literature book. I fell in love with it included it in my poetry notebook, … Continue reading The Time Has Come

The Past Alive

  It used to be that the world had rested entirely on her father's shoulders. He was the steady one, the safe one—the person she could depend on when her mother was in a state. But even the thought of her mother, now, gave her a tugging feeling of loss, and she often found herself … Continue reading The Past Alive

Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance: “I’m Going to Ask?”

It's 1967, and two sixth-grade girls are selling candy so Baltimore's Herbert Malone Elementary School Orchestra can travel to regional competition in Harrisburg. Both girls have "sworn they would absolutely die if they didn't get to go . . . " * "Hold the whole carton up when they open the door," Sonya told Willa. … Continue reading Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance: “I’m Going to Ask?”

All You-Know-What Will Break Loose

  The next driver who honks at me while I'm waiting for a pedestrian to get across the street before I turn will find out I'm not so nice a person as I tell people I am. I don't mean I'm going make a rude gesture. I mean that right there in the middle of … Continue reading All You-Know-What Will Break Loose

Writing an Academic Mystery

Noreen Cedeno addresses the challenges of writing a mystery set in a real university in Texas. It’s more complicated than I thought. Her book comes out this month, so here’s an advance look!

Ink-Stained Wretches

SayersbksAMy books by Dorothy Sayers. Picture by N. M. Cedeño

Academic mysteries are a timeless subgenre in crime fiction. Found on almost every list of the best mysteries ever written, Dorothy Sayer’s Gaudy Night is the epitome of British academic mysteries and is one of my favorite books. Several British mystery series that have been adapted for television are set in the university towns of Oxford or Cambridge with students and professors as witnesses and suspects. Academic mysteries fill a popular niche in the world of crime fiction.

While I enjoy academic mysteries, I never planned to write one. Instead, I fell into it. When I was creating my Bad Vibes Removal Services paranormal mystery series and fleshing out my characters, I blithely imagined my main character Lea to be a graduate student in history who happened to have the ability to see ghosts and the ability to sense the…

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Why I Still Go to Critique Group and Can’t Afford to Stop

  I said to my critique partner this morning, The whole project is stinky it stinks it’s just nothing no hope. She read chapter 13 and said, But it’s so good so funny Molly is so funny it’s not stinky. I said, Yes, the first part of chapter 13 and the last part of chapter … Continue reading Why I Still Go to Critique Group and Can’t Afford to Stop

Then the Real Critics Come In . . .

If you haven't read the preceding post, "Disregard 15 Pages," please do so before reading on. That post isn't very long, but if you read it first, you'll get more out of this very short one. * So finally, after revising and revising and revising, you give in, and give up, and stop, because you … Continue reading Then the Real Critics Come In . . .

Disregard 15 Pages . . .

You know how even when you know what you've written isn't as good as it ought to be, you think you've gone as far as you can go with it, but you also know you haven't, and your deadline is tomorrow, about 18 months after your original deadline, so you give it one more going-over, … Continue reading Disregard 15 Pages . . .