La Plus Ça Change I just got back from a trip a couple of hours ago. My travels involved three airports, three planes, and several Lyfts. They also involved masks but not so much social distancing. Restaurants were open again and airports seemed just as crowded as they did in the before times. While I was on my trip, I used a cloud-based communications app to interview an author for my podcast. I later used the same app to give a podcasting tutorial to a writers’ group. The day prior, I’d used it to attend a writing workshop. The author and the writers’ group were more than 700 miles away from me. The workshop moderator was 2,000 miles away. If the lockdown hadn’t forced us to find new ways to communicate, I likely wouldn’t have done any of those things. Some changes brought about by the lockdown are likely here to stay. Live streaming and virtual conferencing aren’t going anywhere. And that’s a good thing. Because of Zoom, Slack, Adobe Connect, Microsoft Teams, Streamyard, Crowdcast, Looped, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and all the other streaming platforms and communications apps we can interact with people, attend conferences and lectures, and participate […]
O Frabjous Day! That’s what I exclaimed the day I went online again. The logistics of a cross-country relocation and moving into a new apartment meant that I went without Wi-Fi for several days. Quelle horreur! You wouldn’t think I was old enough to remember the days before Wi-Fi was a thing. I missed being able to connect to the world in an instant. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Desperate My days spent without made me realize how reliant, dependent even, I’ve become on the internet. How did I manage growing up in the analog age, a time when I had to look up information in a set of encyclopedias (which still take up an entire shelf in one of my mother’s bookcases) or physically go to the library and use a microfiche machine? I had to *gasp* get up and walk ALL. THE. WAY. over to the TV set to change the channel, of which there were only 4 or 5 (6 or 8 if I stayed up late and adjusted the antenna just right). My address book (printed on paper!) only had one line for a phone number because people only had one line, a landline—and no space […]
While images of James Bond and his martinis and Nero Wolfe and his beer, and apocryphal quotes about the degree of inebriation best suited to writing, come readily to mind, no one thinks as much about a character’s favorite shade of nail polish or preferred aftershave. The Missdemeanors were up to the challenge, however. I asked them, You’ve been hired to create a new cocktail, ice cream flavor, or lipstick color. You have to name it after a book, fictional character, or author. Who’s it named for and what’s it like?
Author Raquel V. Reyes teaches us a little Spanglish today. Read her primer to whet your appetite for her upcoming cozy, Mango, Mambo, and Murder! @missdemeanors6 #cozymystery #foodiecozy #cubanamerican @latinasleuths
Happy Labor Day! Do you know the origins of this holiday? According to the Department of Labor, in 1882 either Peter J. McGuire or Matthew Maguire (records vary) proposed a holiday in honor of the “laboring classes.” McGuire and Maguire were both labor unionists. McGuire belonged to the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and the American Federation of Labor, Maguire to the Central Labor Union and International Association of Machinists. Celebrations spread Initially a municipal holiday, Labor Day soon became a state holiday. Although New York gets credit for celebrating Labor Day first, in 1882, Oregon beat them to the punch, in 1887, of passing the first state law. By 1894, nearly three dozen states had passed laws honoring the day. A Federal Law and a Bit of Irony Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed legislation setting the first Monday in September as the official day of celebration. (A few days later he sent Federal troops to Chicago to deal with striking railroad workers.) From the beginning, the day was commemorated with parades and picnics, with speeches by prominent community members becoming a feature added by the beginning of the twentieth century. The […]
Not my usual gig I’m here in Colorado Springs, CO on long-term assignment to the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command, located on Peterson Space Force Base. I can’t tell you a whole lot of details about what I do, for security reasons. I can say that I am way out of my comfort zone. This assignment is a career-broadening assignment. It’s the first job I’ve had, not counting the summer jobs I had when I was a teen, that has not been in the medical field. Space is very much not like medicine. It is, however, challenging, interesting, and fun.I’m also living outside my comfort zone. I’ve been in a hotel for 5 weeks, going on 6, waiting for my apartment to be ready. This is the longest I’ve ever been in a hotel. It reminds me of the time I spent living in my first studio apartment, way back when I started med school. At the same time that I’m working in space, which is futuristic, I’m residing in a hotel (an extended stay hotel), which feels very retro. These new experiences are tempting me to try writing out of my comfort zone.I asked my fellow Missdemeanors […]
On the Road Again I move around. A lot. My day job has taken me from the southeast to the northwest, down to the southwest, over to the Midwest, up to New England, and now to the west. Each place has had unique characteristics that distinguished it from the others. No two places felt the same. In each place I wondered, what would a book set here be like? Read in Place Setting, for me, is an important part of the reading (or viewing) experience. I don’t much care for stories that could happen anywhere. On the contrary, my favorite stories are the ones where the setting, even if fictitious, is a character. I also enjoy reading stories that are set in the place I happen to be. When I was in New England, I found myself in the mood for tales of foggy mornings and rocky shores. Down South, I wanted gothic tales filled with decaying grandeur, the scent of magnolias, and tense humidity. Your Turn What should I read now that I’m out west? A cowboy story, historical or modern? A tale of the desert’s harsh beauty? A yarn about a ghost town? Or a story of transformation […]
New job, new state, new time zone. So, I turned to something old, The Yellow Room by Gaston Laroux. A mystery originally published in 1907, it counterbalances the newness. Does reading help you deal with change? What do you reach for? Share on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.