Distractions…

As I mentioned last time, I try to limit my TV viewing time… but I have to confess it’s been fascinating to see how some shows have been adapting to the stay-at-home orders. Which women are letting their hair coloring fade back to a natural color? Which men are able to tame longer locks?

Those sorts of thoughts can really distract me from the news they’re imparting (which is about all we watch on TV these days).

But what’s even more distracting are those bookshelves in the background.

You’ve seen them. Newscasters or experts reporting from home, sitting in their home offices or libraries or living rooms, a bookcase behind them to set the stage.

I love seeing all the books, no doubt about it.

I’ve been known to peruse shelves in the houses of people I’ve visited. When I found myself some years ago at a gathering of fellow high school graduates (a group I’d never hung around with back then), I found myself pulling books from a shelf, commenting to a fellow snoop, “Well, he didn’t like this one, the bookmark is toward the beginning.” That started a full review of the collection: which books seemed to have been finished, which looked untouched, and which ones were dog-eared with pages falling out–the beloved re-reads.

But when these folks on TV angle their cameras to show their own bookshelves, I’m completely distracted. Instead of hearing what they’re saying, I’m squinting at the screen (our reception isn’t always good in these RV parks), trying to read the titles on the spines.

So while the PBS Newshour airs, I’m working on this post, listening rather that watching so I won’t be tempted to translated titles on my screen. It’s enough to know Judy Woodruff has a copy of “Grant” behind her every night.

COVID Coping!

Oh, it’s been too long since I’ve posted here. Much has been going on behind the screen of this blog — including my finishing and publishing the third Rollin RV Mystery, “Superstition Victim.”

Good thing I finished the book a few months ago. I don’t think I’d be able to focus on it these days.

COVID-19 has affected all of us. To any of you who are personally struggling with an infection or caring for or worrying about a loved one who is, my heart goes out to you. My husband and I have — so far — managed to escape it by scrubbing our hands, wiping surfaces, staying “home” (our 200-foot RV has been in the sunny southwest, so we’ve been able to spend time outside) and jumping six feet away from people who careen too close to us with their shopping carts or in the park.

Some time ago I started making beaded bracelets, and because we’re staying in a spot where I can spread out my supplies, I’ve spent hours and hours every day making bracelets…

…and making a beaded band for this watch:

Of course I’m reading a lot — though I’m trying to measure the amount of news I’m taking in.

And I’m eating well. Too well. My husband is a great cook, and he’s been spoiling us both with awesome meals, like these bacon-wrapped shrimp…

…and this meal with lobster tails, veggies, and bean soup…

…among many others!

How have you been spending your time? What have you been writing? Reading? Doing?

From our little RV to your home: stay safe!

Cheating?

One thing that happens when you’re sick for awhile is you get a chance to read. A lot.

Recently, reading a mystery novel, mostly absorbed in the story (the writer was a bit self-conscious, so I wasn’t totally able to lose myself, my suspension of disbelief only partially lifted), I was dropped completely out of it when a character, driving a rental car, wondered what time it was. Hmmm. When was the last time you rented a car that didn’t have a clock on the dashboard?

Was the author cheating a bit? Ignoring the fact that most cars these days have clocks so the character wouldn’t know how much time was passing? So we wouldn’t know?

I felt manipulated. Then I realized… I’ve cheated readers too! Sometimes it’s just too easy to conveniently shift reality a bit to make something in the plot work a little better.

I use mostly real places in my novels. In my most recent Rollin RV Mystery, the main character goes into the ladies’ room at a rest stop about seven miles inside the California border along Interstate 8. There really is a rest stop there. I’ve stopped at it.

It’s got the same wide, sandy parking area I described in the book, but the real bathrooms are more like single vault toilets than the common room with individual stalls I invented for the book.

I thought a long time about changing that scene to reflect the actual rest area, but no matter how I tried to re-envision it, the scene had to happen the way it does in the book, and the only way that was possible was to change how the bathroom was laid out.

Cheating.

[Did you catch the “cheater”image in this post? The stuffed animal pic might look like the one on the cover of “Yuma Baby,” but it’s a different toy. See how easy it is to twist things even a little?]

What’s a Story Molecule?

Many thanks to Deb Sanders who invited me to share some thoughts on her blog! It gave me a chance to reveal how story molecules bombard us, sometimes forming into full stories.

Deb herself is great at this. A fellow RVing author, she pens mysteries and romances.

You can read my post here.

And while you’re there — take a look at all Deb has to offer on her site, including her short stories. Continue reading “What’s a Story Molecule?”