Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Writing Update

 Here's a quick update on my current projects: 

Restaurants and Revenge: After changing my mind a couple of times about who committed the murder and how, I think I finally figured out who, how, and why. Now it's time to revise.

Bubble Tea and a Body: This will be the third book in my cozy mystery series. I've written about 14,000 words so far. The murder happened in a way I didn't plan for, so now I have to rethink how my heroine will investigate.

The Season Between: I haven't made any progress on this short story collection.

Other Writing Projects: I started a flash fiction story, but I need to get back to it. I've also been seeing several open markets listed on a Facebook group I belong to, so I should see if I have any trunked stories that might be a good fit.

What are you working on these days? Are you drafting or revising? Feel free to share your progress in the comments.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

My Wordle Way

Like many other people, I've made a habit of starting my day by playing Wordle, the game where you have six chances to guess a five-letter word. Here's a link to the game, along with a list of the rules. Briefly, you type your guess (which must be a real word) into the website. Each box represents a letter. Green boxes indicate the right letter in the right spot; yellow boxes represent letters in the word but in the wrong place; and gray boxes are letters that don't belong. This is my strategy:

1. Start with a word that will give you common vowels and consonants. I use STARE. 

2. Based on how you did with the first guess, choose a word that keeps all green letters the same and moves yellow letters to different positions. (I should note that I play on Hard mode, which requires you to reuse green and yellow letters. Some people like to start fresh with a different set of letters, but I prefer to focus on getting the right letters in the right places.) If you didn't have any luck with vowels, try a word with a different combination. I sometimes use PRION as my second word.

3. Once you have two or three letters, it then becomes a matter of moving them into the right spots and figuring out what the missing letters could be. Sometimes if I get stuck at this point, I take a break from the game and return to it later. Other times, I may try a "brute force" method, where I mentally test unused letters in unfilled spots to see if I make a word. I don't enter these guesses until I find something that clicks with me. Sometimes it takes me all six guesses, but I've had pretty good luck so far. Hopefully, this post won't break my streak.

Do you play Wordle or other word games? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Mid-Month Mysteries: Valentine Theme


Apologies for not posting last week. I had planned to post this on the 9th, but I scheduled it for the wrong date. I may as well post twice this week!

 Cozy mysteries often feature romance as a side plot, so it's not surprising that there are several mysteries that feature Valentine's Day. Here are a few of them.

My author friend Kelly Hashway recently published the first book in her holiday-themed cozy mystery series. I haven't had a chance to read Valentine Victim yet, but it looks interesting. It's about a psychologist whose Valentine's Day date is murdered, making her the prime suspect.

The St Valentine's Day Cookie Massacre by Elisabeth Crabtree is a novella featuring a murder in a cookie shop. It's free on Amazon, so I added it to my collection.

Another food-themed cozy mystery is A Catered Valentine's Day, by Isis Crawford. It includes chocolate, wine, recipes, and the death of the chocolate shop owner.

For a non-food related story, there's Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton. Two detectives find romance while solving the murder of a woman who received a mysterious Valentine's Day gift.

For a more extensive list of Valentine's Day mysteries, check out this link.


Wednesday, February 02, 2022

IWSG: Missing Mentors

Happy Groundhog Day! Here's hoping you're not seeing lots of snow where you are. I'd hate to deal with that over and over! Today is also blogging day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Learn more about them on their website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Our hosts for this month are Joylene Nowell ButlerJacqui Murray, Sandra Cox, and Lee Lowery

Our question for this month is Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn't around anymore? Anyone you miss?

The first person who came to mind when I read this question was Kathleen Massie-Ferch, who taught the first writing class I attended. After the writing class, I maintained contact with her at conventions like WisCon. She mostly wrote short stories and had edited two anthologies. She passed away of breast cancer about twenty years ago before she had a chance to finish the novel she was working on--and before I sold my first short story. 

This question also reminded me of some of the friends I've made through writing workshops, though I still have contact with some of them through Facebook. Hopefully this year we can have more in-person conventions. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to attend either WisCon or ChiCon this year, but it would be great to see some of those writers again.

Do you have any writing mentors who've passed on to the Eternal Convention? Feel free to discuss them in the comments or share a link to your own posts about them. 

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