Saturday, October 1, 2022

The Good, the Bad, and Texas

The moment I hit Texas, my friend of over fifty years whisked me off for barbeque, cole slaw, fried okra, and iced tea. Friends, family, and food draw me back “home” regardless of the exact geographic location.

My friend is one of my muses. She helped spur ideas for a plot I’m writing as a short story. During the visit, she read the story’s draft and gave incredible feedback. Nothing beats a beta-reading muse.

I reaped the benefits of having a beta reader who matched the demographics of a major character in the story. I did my best to imagine how an octogenarian character would think and react but missed the mark. My friend hit the bullseye.

In addition to visiting friends, my two-week cultural and culinary vacation included Houston’s Museum District, afternoon tea, lots of good Southern eatin’, and local distilleries and breweries.

But Texas temperatures flirted with either side of one hundred degrees the entire time I was there. And the mosquitoes … the Texas mosquitoes have such hardy appetites they should be blood donors afterwards. (Hmm … Could a slapped mosquito deposit an innocent person’s blood and DNA at a crime scene?)

I got lots of inspiration on my trip and added characters and plot points for a cozy mystery featuring a volunteer worker at a Victorian house museum.