Yep, It’s Summer




Okay, no, not really. With wind chills in the teens it’s actually freezing out there. And waiting for a bus or train on an open platform requires layers and layers of clothing. I’ve had to remind myself that I need to factor in an extra ten minutes before leaving the house, just putting on outerwear.

So how is it summer? In books.

The books I’m reading take me away from the frost and chill and place me among the throngs of people at an outdoor fair. Or let me tag along with characters who harvest herbs and smell freshly cut grass and eat ripe peaches. Or feel a hot, dry breeze comb my hair.

Glorious moments.

Here are a few to bask in, first, medieval murder mysteries, all by Ellis Peters:

One Corpse Too Many

St. Peter’s Fair

An Excellent Mystery

And a few westerns, by Louis L’Amour:

The Iron Marshal


The Cherokee Trail

So, which books do you read to get through the season?


* Image courtesy of robert bell at


Are You Backed Up?




A funny thing happened late Friday night. I was typing away on my computer, my bare feet resting on the bottom shelf of the computer cabinet when I put my feet on the carpet.

Water squelched between my toes.

Writing and the Holidays




It was the night of Halloween and I saw a Santa in a store window. They didn’t even wait for midnight. (And hey, isn’t Thanksgiving sandwiched in there?) So I decided to write about this topic now, rather than next month.

For those who celebrate in December, there are a lot of holidays—and with them come obligations, even if only self-imposed. There are cards to sign, presents to buy—even just figuring out what to give can eat away the hours—not to mention the cooking, the decorating, the office parties, family parties. Yep. To the writer, time eaters.

And that’s okay.

While it might feel better to stay glued to your laptop and not deal with the aunt who offers advice completely contrary to your own or witness the same argument between cousins that has been going on since you were in diapers—don’t. Real life can be mundane and strangely blank after watching all the bright colors of TV and computer graphics, but this is where we gather the good stuff. The stuff that seeps into our pores and allows us to write those pages.

No, I’m not suggesting we use everyone in our stories. I’m suggesting that we acknowledge that December is a crazy month filled with extra stresses as well as joys. Admitting it at least alleviates the guilt at seeing a thin layer of dust on our laptops.

Go easy on yourself. Enjoy the moments. Remember, you can always write in January.

And for those currently gripped by NaNoWriMo, congrats!


* Image courtesy of graur codrin at

Yes, I Reread Books



“But why? Why reread a book? Isn’t that boring? You know how everything ends! I mean, if it’s a series and you need to refresh your memory, I guess I can see it….”

“I reread standalone novels as well.” I shrugged. This conversation almost always goes the same way, with a baffled person on the other end of it.

So I’m going to try and explain here. When I reread a story, it’s not about the ending. This is so important, I’m going to give it its own line space:

It’s not about the ending.

There’s a certain tension when I read a story for the first time, because I don’t know how it will turn out and I hope for the best. But after that, it becomes a place to go to again.

Why is that strange? How many people visit the same vacation spot year after year? No one thinks anything’s wrong with that.

I get to meet the characters again like old friends and revel in their adventures, similar to taking the same ride at an amusement park every summer. No one blinks an eye at Disneyworld. And reruns! People watch reruns on TV and buy season DVDs with the intention, I believe, of watching their favorite episodes more than once.

But say you reread books? That’s weird.

So this is the best explanation of why I reread books. I like them and want to experience their lives more than once.

Yeah. It’s weird.


 * Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at




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