Monday, April 13, 2020

Virtual Happy Hour

This spring, the world is feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic with its devastating health and economic impacts and the resulting focus on social distancing and staying at home.

In accordance with the “new normal,” I join other writers for Virtual Happy Hour on Friday afternoons. On Sunday afternoon, I took a picture of my glass of wine against the backdrop of my SoCal rose garden, already in full bloom. I emailed the picture to family and friends across the country and invited them to join me in a toast.

Pictures started pouring in. My daughter sent a shot of her imported bottled beer in front of the bright and airy view from her apartment’s large windows. My son sent a picture of his glass of scotch in front of his computer monitor where he waited for server maintenance to finish so he could play Warzone. An East Coast friend sent a portrait of a can of domestic beer in her lovely kitchen. The funniest picture, though, came from my brother in the Pacific Northwest—a toaster.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


from a painting by Leonardo Digenio
I signed up for online writing classes through the national Sisters in Crime - Guppy Chapter.

Sisters in Crime was originally created to support women mystery writers in the predominantly male field, but now SinC welcomes sisters and misters from around the world. The organization’s online programming includes webinars and online classes that teach the writing craft.

One of the techniques I learned in Linda Rodriquez’s Writing is Revision class is to develop the characters more deeply through freewriting. Taking a first-person approach, I wrote about the characters’ deepest secrets, fears, desires, obsessions, and motivations to learn what triggers could make them carry out certain plot points in the story.

I learned so many secrets about one suspect that I got the urge to blackmail him. With blackmail money coming in, I wouldn’t have to depend on book royalties. Of course, payment would probably be just as imaginary as the actual blackmail. Probably imaginary bitcoin. At least I wouldn’t have to report the income or pay taxes on it.