Category Archives: Observations

black widow

Today on Facebook on one of my favorite pages, I Fucking Love Science, I got to read theories about why people, especially women it seems, are afraid of spiders. One theory points to their erratic movement and their “legginess.”  That can’t be right. If that were true, we’d be afraid of supermodels. Of course, I might be just as startled by a supermodel as a spider if I saw one crawling up my wall. Another theory posits that arachnophobia is genetic. “You need not necessarily experience spiders to be fearful of them.” That’s what I call the “Duh” theory. I’ve never experienced a pit viper and I am fearful of them. Kids get it. They are more afraid of spiders than getting kidnapped or the dark. The article left it a mystery as to why some people fear spiders.

Where I grew up, we had to watch out for black widows. Even the little baby black widows that you would sometimes find clustered in the corner of a room near the carpet in a sticky web. And there were a few brown recluses around too. A kid at my high school got bitten by one. Nasty business. Even non-venomous spiders are a literal pain. Those suckers bite too. So the only mystery here is why some people are NOT afraid of spiders. Am I right?

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Thanksgiving Mystery

turkey reading out loud

This year we are having Thanksgiving at a vegan household. So I am posting this Thanksgiving fairy tale from last year. The only mystery here is how they make Turk’y Cutlets taste like turkey. No animals were harmed but the soy protein isolates better scram.

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I Found It! (I Wish.)

Gem 1.20

I have a bit of the treasure hunter in me. I know this because after my boss at a jewelry store told me that another employee had dropped and lost a large diamond behind the front counter years before, I spent every spare moment I could looking for that nugget. I wasn’t going to steal it but I figured that my boss would give me a nice reward. I never found that diamond but I did discover a sensitivity to dust.

I spent one afternoon geocaching with my husband and daughter. That’s a kind of treasure hunt although the rewards that time were simply clues for a later search. I was delighted each time I located the hidden clue before my fellow seekers. Who doesn’t like to win? And who doesn’t love the idea of discovering something amazing?

The best hunting in South Florida occurs when Dave Barry stages the Herald Hunt in Miami. It’s a free family event with a newspaper handout full of problems you must solve in order to arrive at the final solution. The Hunt is set in a pre-determined, walkable geographic area and it’s a riot to watch thousands of people run frantically from location to location to figure out clues. We’ve done the Hunt a few times and it’s always the best time you can have on a beautiful weekend afternoon.  We’ve never won but once we came very, very close. I think.

My newest manuscript-in-progress has a bit of a hidden treasure story angle. It’s not the most important aspect of the story but it’s the part I’m having the most fun writing. Because I’m making it up, I can make the treasure whatever suits my fancy. Of course, as they say, truth is stranger than fiction.  Just check out this article on the Huffington Post about some of the world’s lost treasures that may yet be found.  I’m coveting those Faberge eggs.

Whatever your treasure, I hope you find it.

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Rudolph Crimes

Rudolph crimes 1

Assault.

As an artist and former attorney, I can’t resist a little visual/legal humor.

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I think I can, I think I can…

trophy dream

A few days ago I wrote a short short story (under 1,500 words) because a) I am very bad at writing short stories and need the practice and b) Writer’s Digest is having a short short story contest and I am a sucker for contests. I don’t normally write outlandish scenarios but for some reason when I force myself to write a short story, it emerges from some ridiculous premise. I can’t bring myself to tell you about the latest one just yet, but the last time I wrote a short story, it was about plague survivors being bred for the purpose of harvesting their organs. Ok, I’ll pause here for you to wonder, WTF?

I typically write mystery novels and although I love to add weird characters, the world they live in is recognizable. I am working on my next novel while a handful of agents and editors consider the novel I finished a couple of months ago. I am considering, however, forcing myself to write short stories once a month at the very least. Apparently, I am a lot freer in my creative brain when I force myself to contain the story to a set number of words. I imagine that the practice will only help my novel writing. Too bad for me that Ben H. Winters has already written a trilogy with the very best premise imaginable (a very large asteroid is going to hit the Earth and a dedicated policeman struggles to carry out his work). After a few more short stories, I might have come up with that one. (A girl can dream.)

In the meantime, I may troll the internet for other reputable writing contests. Apparently, I am very motivated by visions of grandeur. You can’t win if you don’t enter and you can’t lose until, of course, they tell you that you lost. While you wait, it’s like carrying around an unscratched lottery ticket. (I might win! I might win! I might win!) If you’re a writer, I highly recommend that you give this a try too. It’s a great exercise and it gives you something to dream about as you go to sleep at night. Good luck!

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Happy Thanksgiving

turkey reading news

Thanksgiving is all about family and appreciation for our lives and the good things in them. You know it’s not a very mysterious holiday when the biggest mystery is why we have to eat turkey. Heresy, I know, but I really don’t like turkey. Luckily, my Thanksgiving family this year is serving prime rib and jerk chicken. So here is one thing I’m thankful for — my very good friends with whom we are dining on Thursday.

I like mysteries so I decided to look for a Thanksgiving ghost story. I Googled “Thanksgiving paranormal stories” and you’d be surprised at how many turned up. I was kind of hoping for a “ghosts of Pilgrims past” kind of thing but I struck out. Unless you count this story about the haunted Pilgrim State Hospital. I did find this, however, and it could be interpreted as a “ghost of turkeys past” thing. You decide!

Because many of us will see a long weekend over Thanksgiving, I am going to share with you a couple of lists with Thanksgiving mystery book suggestions: Killer Feast: 5 Delicious Thanksgiving Mysteries, and Thanksgiving mystery books. Let me know if any of them are worth recommending.

Finally, I’ll share with you my cartoon about Turkey fairy tales.

turkey reading out loud

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Happy Happy Joy Joy

 

Just learned how to embed videos. This one makes me very happy.

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Click here. You won’t believe what happens at the end!

Cute kitten

Admit it, just like me, you are a sucker for social media featuring cute cats and dogs. And sloths. Yep, they’re on Facebook too and since they’re my favorite wild animal (I like their work ethic), I’ve watched videos with squeaking baby sloths. Check out your own posts. Update about your novel’s publication? 5 likes. Pictures of your wedding on the occasion of your 15th anniversary? 25 likes. Picture of your dog licking his butt? 4,025 likes, counting all the friends of friends who came over to virtually admire your pup.

So now I’m wondering how I can capture that magic to get people excited about my new novel when the time comes. As a murder mystery, I suppose I could put a picture of a suspiciously dead yet still adorable kitten on the cover. Or maybe a kitten with a mask and an Uzi. If I were as cute as Amy Tan, I wouldn’t have to use kittens. Seriously, go look at her on her website. The novel is nearing completion and from what I can tell, it’s not too soon to be thinking about promotion. I need a platform and all that. How do I get anyone to look at my novel amidst all the great works out there competing for the same sets of eyes?

Seriously, how do I? I’m going to go tour some blogs and sites that feature good advice about book promotion and author platforms. I’ll be sure to share the links to the ones that most closely match my preconceived notions about what might work. Kidding. I’ll link to the ones with the most “likes.” Or those with kittens. Or how about this – you tell me who I should check out. In the meantime, I’m going with the image below.

sloth and gun

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Well, it is Florida

StoryBucks' Frog

Even though a frog prince features prominently in the logo for StoryBucks.com, my website for writers and readers, I’m not actually too fond of real amphibians.  I’m kind of a puppy and kitty girl.  We recently gave my daughter’s two alien frogs to the little boys across the street.  Years ago my sister sent Sophie (my daughter) a coupon to get a tadpole (although I totally prefer the word “pollywog”).  Sophie sent away for it and long story short, we ended up with two lab-created aquatic frogs that could clap their hands when excited.  Their eyes looked like little laser orbs and their toes looked like claws.  Freakiest things ever.  Good riddance.  I’m still plotting my revenge through my sister’s kids.  Sea Monkeys?

We’ve recently moved to Delray Beach, FL, just north of where we used to live.  We’ve had a super rainy summer and so guess what’s hopping all over the place?  Yep.  Frogs.  There are tiny little ones that we call popcorn frogs.  I’ve even seen a duck eating them.  (Did you know that ducks are omnivorous?).  We also have these really large toads, about softball sized.  They are everywhere at night.  And during the day they hide in dark places, like my hose reel housing as it turns out.  I pulled out the hose yesterday and one toad hopped out and I could just see another inside the reel as he spun by.  Yikes!  He looked really big.  When I immediately stopped pulling, a large toad hand (do they call them hands?) was hanging out through a crack.  Limp.

I of course called out the cavalry.  He doesn’t ride a horse but my husband can be counted on to deal with dead animals.  He took apart the hose reel housing and surprise!  The toad was alive and determined not to be removed.  He squeezed his body into a spot that was so tight I thought that once again, he was doomed.  We removed the hose and left the housing on the patio and within a few minutes the toad had left.

Half an hour to save a gross toad.  I suppose it brings good karma.  But here is the other thing one has to consider during this frog and toad boom time.  What eats frogs and toads?

Every manner of snake.

Be careful out their my friends, if you have popcorn frogs bouncing into your garage, Kaa is not far behind.

Kaa

 

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