Tickets to the Universe


The How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women program is fabulous! The reading assignments are excellent, the class discussions are interesting, and the first writing assignment fed right into my current project. I pounded out 2500 words of the fantasy story I am submitting to the 2016 IWSG Anthology Contest. Sweeeeet.

The only downside, and this happens every time I get involved in anything remotely involving academic literature, is this:

The Woman Upstairs
Big Brother
Last Chance Saloon
Bastard Out of Carolina
The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds
Bad Feminist: Essays

To Wit: these are books that I purchased within two days of starting this class because professors and students will just not stop talking about the great books they’ve read. And now, I want to read them, too! And believe me, this is but a tiny fraction of titles that caught my interest.

Nevermind that I’m just starting Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London, by Lauren Elkin. She autographed my copy at her book reading at Shakespeare and Company in Paris last month. The writing community still hangs out there, and after a lively discussion of the book, we mingled with everyone and drank wine. (It’s Paris, of course we drank wine). This is all Lauren’s fault, by the way, for getting me all waxy nostalgic, internally whining (again) Oh why didn’t I go into academia instead of law?????  [ok, so some of the whining is exterior, too]

Snapping myself out of that morass, I ponder the pile. More books. Now? With the bookcases already stuffed and the Kindle bloated?

In my defense, I love finding voices that draw me in with amazing tales, taking me places I’ve never been to, showing me colors, fabrics of life I’ve never seen, letting me taste and smell that which I may never otherwise experience. Books are the tickets to other dimensions of life and become part of me, taking my life from the ordinary to extraordinary. My world is smaller and duller without them. And we all know, Writers Must Read.

So, I rest my case. I definitely do need these books.  [law school apparently has some use after all]

And now, on to Flâneuse, accompanied by a glass of La Petite Muraille, a lovely French blend from the Languedoc region. I can’t wait to immerse myself in the stories of these women.

Posted in It's the Law, Making Progress, Yes I Need More Books | Leave a comment

Returned to Earth


Mission accomplished! I have returned to ordinary life, newly inspired by the starry, starry nights I viewed from my balcony, sitting in the middle of this vineyard at Sources de Caudalie in Bordeaux. So while I loved Monet’s gardens at Giverny, Van Gogh ended up being the inspiration for the direction my writing has taken. My new project is set on worlds in space that have lived in my imagination since childhood. I have already scribbled out half of the outline. I’ve always thought I wanted to write earth-bound mysteries, but mysteries set on sci-fi landscapes seem to be in my future.

Writing plans for the month:

Bring The Primordial Project up to lesson 10 in HTTS, and resume the course in November.

Work through the five-week writing program How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women, offered through the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. I don’t really need another distraction right now, but the course content is so intriguing that I decided to participate.

And I have decided, late to the party, to submit a story to the 2016 IWSG Anthology Contest sponsored by the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I am penning a short story that has skulked around in the dark recesses of my mind off and on for years. Time to get it on paper and maybe it will stop haunting me. As I am the queen of meeting deadlines, this will be ready and submitted by November 1st.

I seem to be overflowing with ideas and energy to write. Or possibly I am on drugs and have taken complete leave of my senses. One of those.

I shall contemplate these possibilities while I enjoy a late-season glass of rosé from Provence, curl up with an old book by Philip K. Dick, and usher in the long weekend.

Posted in Enjoying the Journey, Making Progress, My Head in the Stars | Leave a comment

October IWSG Blog Hop

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge
Insecure Writers Support Group

October 5 Question:
When do you know your story is ready?

I guess it’s a good thing I joined this writing group – otherwise I am not sure I would get anything posted here besides the occasional angst of my inability to stick with a writing project and my overly dramatic renderings of everyday minutia. Oh wait . . .

So such a prescient question for the month – when, indeed, do I know when my story is ready? The smartass in me cannot resist asking – “ready for what?” The trash bin? Because most of the time, that is where my twisted mind wants to deposit any recently produced pages.

Bottom line – I am deadline driven. In my day job, as a lawyer, my writing is “done” about five minutes before a project is due. Because no matter how early I start writing, the OCD in me revises and rewrites and tinkers until the last possible moment, so it will be “perfect.”

I seem to approach my fiction writing in the same way. Except that there is no end to the time I can spend revising and rewriting and tinkering with my project. I am an author with a serious need for a deadline. This is an area where I am truly looking forward to contemplating the processes of those who actually make and meet these deadlines independently. So I am off to the Hop.

Many thanks to the awesome co-hosts of the October blog hop – I bet they know when their stories are ready :

Beverly Stowe McClure
Megan Morgan
Viola Fury
Madeline Mora-Summonte
Angela Wooldridge
Susan Gourley

Posted in I'm Just Making This Up, The Opposite of Making Progress | 14 Comments

Bon Voyage

Paris flight

I’ll be out of the country for the rest of September. And this photo is reminiscent of the state of technology to which I will be reverting. That’s right – no posting, tweeting, Facebooking, and I will not be checking my email. I am officially going Off.The.Grid.

I know – I can hear it now: “But what will you do without technology, Lee?”

What, indeed? I’m thinking this:

Feast on fabulous local cuisine. Drink gallons of amazing wine.  Walk miles and miles in the city and countryside. Soak up as much history and culture as can be packed into each day. Live every single experience in the moment, and not through the lens of a cell phone camera.

I’ll also be seriously considering the direction I want my writing to take. The past two years at A Taste for Murder have been tumultuous, at best. I’ve written thousands of words, hundreds of note cards, several outlines, and most all of it leaves me cold. I’m not finding my niche.

Perhaps I’ll hear some echoes of advice from the muses lurking in the book shelves at Shakespeare and Company. Or floating through Monet’s gardens at Giverny. Or from the prehistoric drawings on the walls of the Dordogne Caves.

Whatever I hear, see, taste, or feel will be noted with old-fashioned pen and paper. And when I get back, I hope to be refreshed with a brand new focus. See you in October.

Au revoir! [and this is why I’m always practicing my French]

Posted in Enjoying the Journey, Technology is My Nemesis | 2 Comments

September IWSG Blog Hop

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge
Insecure Writers Support Group

This month’s $64,000 question:

How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

Like most people who work a day job to keep the lights on, I struggle to carve out bits of time to write whenever I can. Right now, it is lunch hours and Sunday afternoons. Most days I carry my lunch in, close the door, and spend the hour doing something related to my writing project. Lately I have been working on HTTS. Sunday is the only weekend day I can claim time regularly, and I usually get 2-3 hours of time in between switching identities as the Laundry Fairy.

I have experimented with early mornings. But there are two problems with doing “morning pages.” First, the vampire side of me has no interest in getting out of bed to write at a time when she would rather be getting into bed. Second, I have reached an age when I need to be serious about my health, so I do drag my Lilith self out early mornings for workouts that I am too tired to do after work. Roll your eyes all you want, your time will come, too. If you’re lucky.

I have also had spurts of writing after work, mostly when taking writing classes that included assignments with actual deadlines. This hasn’t been particularly successful, because the day job hours are often long or work needs doing in the evening. And frankly, after a day of dealing with people sucking the very soul out of me, all I want to do is drink blood wine.

But all is not lost. I’m fortunate enough that I have a drop-dead date in the not-to-distant future for leaving the day job permanently to write full time, so I don’t stress out about this too much. I intend to enjoy my career as a writer and not bring the angst and drama that occupies so much of my day now. Other bonuses will include vampire hours and no people.

And I will live among the creatures of the night. [thank you Laura Branigan]


Many thanks to the awesome co-hosts for this edition of the IWSG blog hop:

C. Lee McKenzie
Rachel Pattison
Elizabeth Seckman
Stephanie Faris
Lori L MacLaughlin
Elsie Amata!

Posted in Partners in Crime, Write What You Know | 18 Comments