Monday, December 21, 2020

Murder Goes on Vacation

A Detective Scott McGregor Mystery Novella

The long, dark nights of editing and revising are over, and the writing solstice of publication has arrived. Scott McGregor’s second case, the mystery novella Murder Goes on Vacation, is now available on Amazon.

Fresno Police Detective Scott McGregor was looking forward to an exciting weekend with his girlfriend in Las Vegas, until a suspicious death changed his plans. With no jurisdiction in Vegas, McGregor is warned repeatedly not to interfere, but he investigates outside the law, turning up leads before the LVPD. While working the case, he ignores his girlfriend. Will solving the murder be the death of his relationship?

The euphoria of publication lasted moments … Then my publisher read me the riot act. You will publish Forever After in 2021, and you won’t wait until December to do it! Fortunately, the plot and clues for the third story are already laid out. I just need to develop the characters, write crisp dialogue, and describe the stunning Puget Sound landscape.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Santa Knocked Twice

Four elementary-aged children barely controlled their excitement as they sat around the festively-decorated tree on Christmas morning. Gaily-wrapped presents spilled out from under the evergreen branches. Mom sat in her rocking chair beside the tree, her serene demeanor controlling the children’s burning desire to ravage the pile of presents in search of those with their name.

On Christmas Eve, only the presents we had given each other were under the tree. Those gifts were handmade or purchased from the five and dime store with money saved from our meager allowances. Overnight, large wrapped gifts joined the smaller, more modest offerings.

Our excitement level grew from the time we woke and ran downstairs to look at the presents under the tree. Mom cooked our favorite breakfast, but we rushed through the meal. After clearing our dishes from the table, we sat by the tree to wait for the family to assemble. After a few minutes, Mom joined us, but Dad took the time to brush his teeth. Couldn’t he have delayed that as we had?

Suddenly, there was a knock on the living room door. Mom looked surprised, not expecting a visitor on Christmas morning. She opened the door to Santa Claus! He walked in carrying a large, misshapen bag over his shoulder and wore the widest smile I’d ever seen. Each child in turn received gifts as Santa pulled packages from his bag and called their name. Santa’s visit thrilled the children as much as receiving additional gifts.

At the wise age of nine, I knew the secret. As soon as he came through the door, I recognized my father. He wore red, thermal long johns; a red, long-sleeved shirt stuffed to make him look plump; a black dress belt; a red and white Santa hat; and a beard of cotton balls glued to a piece of cut-up bed sheet. His bag was a pillowcase.

The younger children may or may not have recognized him; I never asked. What I remember most from that childhood Christmas morning was Santa. He looked as excited giving gifts as his children were receiving them.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Egg on My Face

Sometimes I take avoidance techniques too far. But sometimes those episodes spur a new story idea. That’s what happened yesterday.

I slept late, then had my regular multiple mugs of tea on the patio snuggling with my dog. Time to work on my writing projects.

Well, not quite yet. First, I needed to critique two submissions for Saturday’s online meeting. Then I cooked and ate lunch and piled the dirty dishes in the sink. I decided to do some stretches and exercises to get my blood flowing and my brain cranking. So, I turned on the TV and rolled out my yoga mat on the living room rug. Then I laid on the floor and watched television with my dog.

It was getting ridiculous. I needed to edit one book and write more for a new book. Time to buckle down.

But I felt a bit peckish and needed a snack first. The pantry yielded nothing exciting. The refrigerator door opened to nearly empty shelves. Why did I decide to banish sugary and salty-crunchy snacks from my house at this time?

But there were eggs. I boiled an egg in the microwave for a quick, low-calorie, high-protein snack. After the resulting trip to the emergency room, I came up with another story collection idea.