Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Omnifete 2022

The first annual Omnifete exploded onto the creativity scene Sunday, November 13. The physical location of the arts fair was Southern California, but artisans from the around the country displayed their wares.

The day began with a late morning book launch party (at Pamela’s Tea Room in Garden Grove) for Omni’s sixth anthology, Fabulae ex Elementis. The book includes original and tweaked fairy tales ‘with an elemental twist.’

The afternoon arts fair (hosted by Whimsicalidocious Arts, the philanthropy arm of the Omni Ocademy) emphasized literacy advocacy and cultural connectivity. From books to baking to painting to hand crafting to jewelry to massage therapy and music, I browsed, enjoyed, tasted, and purchased.

I admit I spent more than I brought in selling my books, but no complaints here!

One of the highlights of the day was the talented group of SoCal acoustic musicians pickin’ bluegrass. I look forward to hearing them again.

Photo by Nevine

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Literary Threat

This morning while I was online, I was literally threatened. Or would that be literarily?

The main character in the cozy mystery I’m writing revealed to my online chat friend (who had inspired another story character) what she’d seen the friend’s character do. Then my friend’s character threatened the main character.

And just like that, the subplot became more interesting.

The main character will receive an anonymous threatening note. But she leaves fingerprints all over it when she tries to correct the punctuation, causing the police to think she sent it to herself.

I know how the main character felt – about the punctuation.

I came home from work one day decades ago, and found an anonymous note taped to my front gate. I had the urge to get a red pen and mark up all the spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. I wanted to write ‘Please correct and re-submit’ on the top and tape it back on my gate. I didn’t though.

A week later, a neighbor knocked on my door to complain about my barking dog. As she spoke, my dog trotted up and sat quietly beside me. All the while, some other neighbor’s dog continued to bark. Her apology was truly one of the little joys in life.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Professional Crastinator’s Tip of the Day

My publisher asked me to do a ‘column’ of audio “Tips of the Day” that focus on my expertise as a professional crastinator.

(I’m not sure, but this might have something to do with being a year overdue for submitting my third Detective Scott McGregor mystery for publication.)

I write scripts for the tips, then record the content. My publisher edits the recording then uploads it to the “Gooder Sense and Guidance” playlist  of the Omni Ocademy’s YouTube channel. My video titles begin with “Professional Crastinator DJ Piper talks…”

The audio tip column might have been intended as a ‘punishment’ or a ‘wake-up call,’ but if so, it backfired. The tips are a blast to write and record. And don’t tell my publisher, but it’s another great way to procrastinate editing and revising my book.

Listen to my first “Professional Crastinator’s Tip of the Day.”

My second tip features a very special guest.

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.


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Unexpected Benefits

Before writing, my network of friends and family included one fiction author. She encouraged me to write, and I met a couple of online friends in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) community.

I joined local and national writers’ associations and met more writerly people.

I took online classes offered by the National Sisters in Crime Guppy Chapter. The classes are filled with writers in all stages of their career—from beginning writers to published authors.

But it’s through the in-person and Zoom meetings that friendships bloomed with other writers.

Developing a network of writing friends was an unexpected benefit of writing. Now when I browse mysteries in physical or virtual bookstores, I personally know some of the authors.

I met Karen Sue Walker through a local writers’ organization. I enjoy her three series—the Bridal Shop mysteries, the Haunted Tearoom mysteries, and the Arrow Investigations action-adventure mysteries. Because I know her, I feel a special connection to her characters and stories.

I often read at tea, and one of Karen’s Haunted Tearoom mysteries is the perfect companion.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Fan Club

My fan club has doubled in size recently. From 1 to 2.

One of my daughter’s friends was visiting her and saw “Murder Goes on Vacation,” the second Detective Scott McGregor mystery, lying on her table. He was reading it after another friend had shared the book with him. My daughter told him her mother wrote it, but he didn’t believe her — until she showed him the dedication and my picture on the website.

The anecdote gave me a warm feeling of accomplishment. Readers beyond my social network of family and friends felt the book was worth sharing.

(And for the sake of honesty, the other club member is really a fan of the children’s book illustrator, Deborah Anne. Isn’t she cute?)

Monday, August 15, 2022

Dreams Come True

My publisher, Founder and Chairwoman of the Board of Whimsicalidocious Arts, the nonprofit overseen by the Academy of Omniosophical Arts & Sciences, should be catwalking Cloud Nine. In July, two of her decade-long dreams finally came to fruition.

Whimsicalidocious Arts “cultivate(s) and nurture(s) performing and culinary artists, fine artists, handwork crafters, authors, musicians, and other creatives with an emphasis on literacy advocacy and cultural connectivity.”

The Academy of Omniosophical Arts & Sciences (aka, Omni, the Ocademy – “where you’re always in your element”) "offers a whimsical interactive approach to education, entertainment, and enrichment.”

Early in the month, the first annual pirate-themed Shared Treasure Hunt (STH) launched at a beachside park in SoCal. “Shared Treasure Hunt is the Academy of Omniosophical Arts & Sciences' kids-helping-kids program designed to aid homeless and impoverished children while teaching more fortunate youths the value and joy of philanthropy.”

Later in the month, she hosted a Patron Appreciation ParTea to launch and celebrate the Academy of Omniosophical Arts & Sciences with element-based dining tables, during which a few participants recreated a tea scene from her Peyton Drake fantasy series with a skit.

Through Omni’s social group, the Tea Travellers Societea, I have attended numerous themed events and traveled the West Coast from San Diego to Vancouver Island, Canada.

Omni’s in-house publishing arm, E. Gads Hill Press, publishes my books and anthology contributions.

I first met my publisher at a mystery-themed tea event at Pamela’s Tea Room. We meet there often for tea, and last month I asked how she describes her work. She said she runs a “creativity academy with an emphasis on philanthropy.” That sums it up nicely.

She doesn’t have time for the catwalk, but Cloud Nine has definitely become her address.