Last evening, I went to Vroman’s, my favorite independent bookstore, for the monthly Trivia contest. While there, I picked up the latest copy of Mystery Scene Magazine. I am a faithful reader. I love the articles on historic figures or events in the mystery genre, the profiles of mystery writers and of course, the reviews.
In this issue, though, one review was an unexpected delight. On page 47, Betty Webb reviews the latest Guppy anthology, Fishy Business. She gave a shoutout to my story, “The Wannabe”, as one of her favorites in the collection. Wow! So, thanks to The Guppies (a chapter of Sisters in Crime), Wildside Press, the coordinator, the judges, the anthology editor, and to Betty Webb for including the book in her roundup of small press reviews.
There is one problem with Mystery Scene Magazine. I end up with another 17 books on my To Read list. Actually, that’s not a problem. Having lots of enticing new titles to look forward to, whether mystery fiction or otherwise, is a perpetual joy for people like us. So, read on!
Posted in publishing, Uncategorized, writing
Tagged anthologies, book reviews, encouragement, gratitude, mystery fiction, Mystery Scene Magazine, mystery stories, publishing, short stories, Sisters In Crime, success, the writing life, Vroman's Bookstore, writers, writing
Have you ever found one of your old, old stories or essays or poems, one of your earliest attempts to be a serious writer? Do you laugh gently to yourself about how bad it was? Me, too. In fact, I’m embarrassed now to realize I actually sent some of those pieces out. Those poor, kind over-worked editors! But so what? Everybody starts somewhere. None of us is born knowing how to be a good writer. We all start off at varying stages of ineptness, then improve. How? I’ve taken classes, attended workshops, shared critiques with fellow writers, both better than I am and on the same level. I’ve compared my attempts to those already in print in markets I aspire to. Though it’s taken years, I’m astounded at how much better I actually am, at least, IMHO. No, that’s not quite true. I know I’m better because I get published now, when in the early days I didn’t. I know I’m better because I can writer faster, often easier. I know I’m better because I occasionally get solicited for content, something that would never have happened in the beginning. I don’t ask for perfection. I can only become a better writer at my own speed, although I have experienced bursts of insight about my own writerly mistakes. I may never achieve amazement inspiring work. All I demand of myself is to keep improving, learning, honing, caring. To be better today, with this manuscript, than I was before.
If I wanted more, I’d get discouraged. If I wanted less, I’d be stuck forever where I started. It’s may not seem like much to ask. But it’s also everything. Better.
. . . more rabbit holes. Sheesh. Okay, we all know what happens when we sit down to write. We see some irresistible click bait. We think it will only be a few seconds of surfing. A half hour later, suddenly it’s time to make lunch. Or whatever. And now, at the risk of having you think I’m the devil on one shoulder, I have to mention my latest temptations. I belong to LibraryThing, an online book club similar to Goodreads, but different. LibraryThing has many discussion groups in both fiction and non-fiction, but my favorite group is “Name That Book.” People post a few lines or the plot from a book they read in the past, but now can’t recall the title of. You have to be a member to post, but not just to browse what people are looking for. BUT, the site also refers users to even more links to explore, such as the Lost Titles, Forgotten Rhymes from the Library of Congress and Reddit’s What’s That Book.
So, what’s the fascination? It’s kind of like a quiz show, where you compete in your mind with the folks on the TV. It’s fun to test my own memory, as well as the huge backlog of books I’ve read. It’s fun to try to help other readers who are going nuts trying to remember something they’ve read that still haunts them. But, all that aside, it’s for sure one more timewaster. Will I give it up? No. But I know from experience it will lose it’s appeal after a while and I’ll be spending less and less time on these sites. Then I’ll do what I always do: get back to work.
Posted in Uncategorized, writing
Tagged book titles, forgotten books, Goodreads, Library of Congress, LibraryThing, lost books, reading, the writing life, writers, writing