Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thanksgiving with friends in California & in Italy



Okay, I had so much fun with the poetry post below, I wrote this poem as I was on my way out the door at work eagerly anticipating my two-week vacation. My day job is as a defense contractor, a sort of extension of my 22+ years in the US Army. Maybe this isn't the most cheerful of poems. But what is a poem supposed to do? I think it is supposed to make you feel something through the beauty of language.

I'm back at my desk, but it's Friday at last
And I'll only check in on Monday once more
Then it's home for vacation, it goes by so fast
Only several more hours and I'm out the door

I won't even think of the work left behind
National Defense won't be my top worry
As I fly down the freeway in a holiday mind
Forgetting the weapons and stuff as I hurry

I love it that once every year I can savor
The feeling of calm while avoiding the news
I'm tasting the peace in its infinite flavor
Forgetting that somewhere another war brews

I look forward to shopping and wrapping and gifts
To trees, decorations and holiday meetings
To this fleeting season, the voices it lifts
In pleasant and well-meaning holiday greetings

I love every second, and love every minute
Of feeling so happy, alive and connected
To all living creatures, the world and all in it
The bounty is more than I ever expected.

But I would give up my job, go hungry and cold
Give up my house and all that is deeded
Give up my car, my clothes and my gold
If finally my work would never be needed

For I know that too soon peace will fade into dust
A shining memory of immeasurable worth
And I will return to my work, as I must
Without the present of Peace on Earth

Kate Thornton


I'll be checking in during the next two weeks – Have a good Holiday Season. I know we all hope for a wonderful new year,


My Dear Husband rolling around the house on his walker. The dogs were puzzled by it.

Ice on my car in the morning! Real ice! And the temperature was down to around 30 degrees F. That's so unusually cold that it was a wonder and an awesome thing.

The grevelia bush out by the driveway burst into hundreds of tiny pink flowers.

Our mid-century modern Holiday Tree

Friday, December 15, 2006


And now, a note from our sponsor...

(Well, not really a sponsor - but here's a note you will enjoy)

Hey Kate - Thank you for metioning beneficial local organizations like Sisters in Crime and MWA. The upcoming 2007 No Crimes Unpublished, set for June 10th, is going to be packed full of great info for both beginners and pro's.

Your readers can stay tuned to the conference site hosted at:www.sistersincrimela.com
All the best to you!
Diana James,
VPSisters In Crime/LA

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


(I don't know. Do you?)

Poetry (or "peotry", as I see it all the time on message boards!) sometimes looks like "other" or "all of the above" choice in multiple choice endeavors.

I can't give you much of a crash course here, but I do want to recommend that if you write, and even if your specialty is hard-boiled murder or battle-focused science fiction, you need to read some poetry to understand the rhythm and beauty of the language.

But I can give you links to some of the best poetry I have found. What are your favorites? If you don't have a favorite, maybe you aren't enjoying enough poetry.

What He Thought by Heather McHugh

Musee des Beaux Arts by W. H. Auden

I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great by Stephen Spender

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

Now go find some good poetry on your own – and let me know your favorites. I like the Modern and Post-Modern poets. I like economy of words, impact and unforgettable turns of phrases. What do you like?


Well, if re-reading my favorite poems isn't a Beautiful Thing, I don't know what is!

I saw a remarkable sight at the bird sanctuary a couple of days ago – I still can't quite believe it. Hundreds of black and white egrets or cranes rose up into a sort of giant spiral above me and wound through the sky for about ten minutes before flying away. I could see them so clearly, their long beaks, feet and legs tucked up into their underbellies, the black tips of their wings, feathers articulated.

The sight of my Dear Husband as they wheeled him to his room after his surgery yesterday – he was pale and wan, his silver hair shining on the pillow, but he was breathing and the surgery was a success. He gets to come home this weekend. Now *that's* a beautiful thing!

The Drive Home

It's cloudy and pale, not the usual sunny

and I'm taking a break from the work on my table

I've listened with interest to all of your funny

and sweet conversation at least as I'm able

Today I'm not working, well not on my writing

And I've finished the work that I do here for money

I'll drive home today and hope for a sighting

of egrets and owls, of skunks or a bunny

I live in the suburbs where one of the features

is an abundance of feathered and furry

two-legged, four-legged, winged great creatures

at the edge of my sightlines, if I don't hurry

I see them in trees at the side of the roads

in glades and in meadows, in forests, in glens

rabbits and squirrels and lizards and toads

And maybe a deer or some sheep in their pens

And I'll feel the sharp breeze as it loosens the berry

And I feel the sharp rain as it spatters my face

And I'll see all the creatures the suburbs can carry

And I know as I see them the meaning of grace.

Kate Thornton 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dominic Dunne lunching



I had a book signing this past Saturday at Book 'Em in South Pasadena. LAndmarked for Murder fellow author Gay Degani brought cookies and some of her students (she teaches writing) which brings me to today's thought: Writing Courses, Classes and Workshops (not to mention Critique Groups)

I think courses, classes, books, workshops, conferences, tapes, videos and lectures on writing are all good things and can't hurt you. One book I recommend is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg – it's a little light on nuts and bolts, but has helped me immeasurably in writing short stories.

Conferences – especially small genre-related ones like No Crime Unpublished – will get you into the company of writers and help you learn the basics of getting your work out to your reading public.

Genre groups – like Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America – will give you camaraderie, meetings, dinners, readings, interesting guests, endless ideas and lots of bonding. I find my membership in the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime to be invaluable.

Classes – your local college may offer evening classes in Creative Writing, English Literature or even Writing the Novel. Check into it – you might learn something!

Okay – Crit Groups. I have mixed feelings on this one. A good critique group can be a great help to a writer. You *do* need another set or ten of different eyes to read your stuff. Mom's opinion is nice, but another writer can give you the truth. On the other hand, some critique groups are social cliques offering a serious writer no more than carping and coffee. A poor critique group can actually stall a writer or at worst, make the writer consider violent methods off the page.

Choose a critique group carefully – there are many good ones online (Absolute Write has a good one in Share Your Work.) And if you are a novelist, Miss Snark's Crapometer is a good way to get a free professional critique. Evil Editor and the Evil Minions will critique your query letters, too.


The aluminum tree with a color wheel turning it bright colors.

The bright Holiday ties the engineers at work are sporting this week. One has a giant Santa on it, another one is covered with holly leaves and looks like it's moving.

The jingle bell sound on the big dog next door – they put some jingle bells on him and he can't sneak up on the cats now! Good boy, Lobo!

Roger Sutton's BowTie

Thursday, December 07, 2006



Well, it's getting near mid-December and I have a deadline looming for flash stories for Jim Stitzel's 100 Voices in the Night anthology. My 5 stories must be ready to go by next month. I would be screaming terrified if I did not already have four of them written, and three of the four please me. I just need to write at least one more (two, I'll write two just to be safe, just so I know at least one of the two will look good even after the initial 'beautiful baby' time) by January.

Which brings me to deadlines. Do you write better with or without one? I think I write better without one, but I certainly write more with one. Although my deadlines are often self-imposed, anthologies are merciless, and editors will drop you if you don't meet the deadline with a suitable product. Ouch!

I write mostly fiction – for non-fiction, deadlines are usually even more important.

Here's my take on deadlines: always honor your commitments. Give yourself plenty of time and try to do as much as you can before the time gets short. I know this is easy to say, but whether it's your writing, your day job, your family or any other promise, know your limitations before you commit. Then honor your promise like a pro.


Water on Mars! Holy cow, folks! I remember working on the Viking Project back when I was at CalTech and the first pictures came through of the Red Planet. Now there's news of researchers in San Diego (planetary geologists Michael Malin and Kenneth Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems Inc) who have painstakingly viewed photos of particular areas on Mars taken several years apart and determined the changes observed may mean water.
Here's the link Mind boggling! Time to start writing about the Red (and possibly Blue) Planet…

MARS - photo from a Viking Lander


Gingerbread latte at Starbucks – kinda rich for me and only available this time of year. I had my second – and probably last for this year – one this morning. Very spicy-good and tasting of the Winter Solstice (which comes this year on December 22).

Pedicures! The DH and I had pedicures last night! It was heaven – I love the massage part the most.

Candy cane cake recipes – I have seen two this year, and am determined to try to make one. I'll post a good recipe if I find one I like

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Vicarage, Boring-on-End



Well, I gave away one of my children.

Okay, she's a sixty-six year old spinster from my favorite village, Boring-on-End, but I gave Evil Editor permission to use her and have all the Minions write about her as they will. Relinquishing her as a character to the open-swipes of others is a bitter-sweet experience. Who'd a thunk anyone would want her? I am surprised and delighted that she went over so well with the Minions.

They are compiling a profile of her now – one, I'm afraid, that won't be exactly what I pictured, but she is no longer mine anyway, so I must be joyful at this turn of events.

However, as she has left my nest to travel the World Wide Web on her own, I think it's a good time to document how she came to be in the first place.

My friend and editor, Michael Mallory, is well-known for many writing endeavors, but his novel, "The Second Mrs. Watson" – about Dr. Watson's second wife, Amelia Pettigrew Watson – has always been a favorite of mine. My Amelia Pettipants was a pastiche of his Amelia Pettigrew, almost an alter ego to his pretty and very bright sleuth. I have used her in Continuations and Guess the Plots over at Evil Editor's blog and in a few short stories which I have wisely kept from publication.

She a plucky, persnickety, doughty and dear old girl, and I give her freely to the Minions as a sort of Holiday Gift. Enjoy her well, and treat her with respect and humor, as I have done.

Now I can't wait to see what they write!

Happy Holidays!


The Cerritos CA Public Library must count as several – it's the most beautiful library I have ever seen.

An avenue of deciduous trees at dusk yesterday – it had turned red and gold overnight, and the leaves fell on my car like brilliantly colored soft snow. This must be what the Changing of the Seasons is like back east.

The featherbed. It is warm and embracing and I don't want to leave it in the morning.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Okay, many of you in the writing world know there are about a million blogs with writing rants or info or opinion. I am an avid reader of many of them: Miss Snark, Evil Editor, Sue Ann Jaffarian, Murderati, the list goes on.

But today we talk about Evil Editor and his new book, NOVEL DEVIATIONS. The Evil One runs a blog which can only be described as a public service to the writing community. Not only will he review, tighten, trim and re-work your query letter for you – for FREE – but he will also critique the first few paragraphs of your novel, again for free.

Well, there is one teeny price to be paid: Evil Editor's Evil Minions (of which I am one and you too can be one) will be invited to ridicule and critique your baby as well. We do this in three ways:

1. Guess the Plot. Your title is held up to the minions who guess a suitable or completely unsuitable, funny and/or outrageous plot to go with your title. They do this in about 25 words and your *actual* plot is one of six hilarious guesses. But you *do* get the critique on your query letter (called a "Face Lift" on the blog)

2. Continuations. Your first few paragraphs are published and a minion writes a "continuation" of your opening. These are often the funniest things I read during the course of a day.

3. The Minions comment on everything – your plot, style, title, characters, setting, personal habits and taste in music. Frequently these comments are very useful – EE does not permit anything rude or mean.

Now to the book – EE got this great idea to put the Continuations in a book along with the first few paragraphs which inspired them. The result is NOVEL DEVIATIONS. This book needs to be on your Christmas list folks, and not just because I am in it, although it's true, I am in it. Give yourself a real laugh this season. The novelists who submitted their work deserve medals for enduring the Minions' mincing.

And hey – you writers out there – visit the blog and comment and become a Minion! Write your own Guess the Plot or Continuation!


The rambunctious CoCo puppy fast asleep under the covers like a little person, snoring next to a real person, also snoring.

A plant I thought was dead bearing hundreds of tiny green leaflets – it lives!

The moon – full and globular – hanging in the rosy northeastern sky yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

(Pomona Public Library)


My friend SUE ANN JAFFARIAN just had her most recent book, The Curse of the Holy Pail, reviewed in Kirkus. This is cause for celebration, as hundreds of thousands of Acquisitions Librarians in the US read Kirkus and Library Journal when deciding what to buy for their public – and private or school – libraries. Sue Ann's first book, Too Big To Miss, also features plus-sized sleuth Odelia Grey and features my name in the Acknowledgements, something I didn't know until I read the book.

Which brings me to: Always Say Thank You. When you write a book, there's always someone you can thank, be it for ideas and encouragement, cake and hot soup, a little peace and quiet, emotional support, new ink for the printer, or the day job that feeds you and your dog while you type away in the evenings. Maybe Aunt Letitia gave you a pen or a book for your tenth birthday. Maybe your Significant Other gave you a hug and told you how proud he/she was of you. Maybe that gorgeous detective down at the local cop shop gave you some sound advice and let you look at a real police station up close from the visitor's side of the counter. There's always someone you can thank.

Do it – it doesn't cost you, your agent or your publisher to put in a Thank You to everyone who helped make your book a reality. And make sure it's something they'd be proud to have their name in. (It goes without saying – or maybe not – to never badmouth anyone in the Acknowledgements, no matter how sleazy or despicable. You can always kill off characters you don't like in works of fiction. I've murdered dozens.)

Support Your Public Libraries. It's where people learn to appreciate the written word. It's where your reading public finds you and everyone else. And sales of your book to public libraries can mean the difference between a keepsake edition of a few hundred and a third printing with a six-figure royalty. Be nice to librarians and library workers and you might find it's also a fine place to give a talk and promote your latest opus.

I'll be at the Cerritos Public Library next Tuesday evening at 7pm with a bunch of my fellow authors from LAndmarked for Murder discussing – what else – murder in Los Angeles!

LAndmarked for Murder

G.B.Pool, A.H.Ream, Jinx Beers, Darrell James, Michael Mallory,
Paul D. Marks, Gay Degani, Arthur Coburn, Kate Thornton,
Pamela Samuels-Young

Date: December 5
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Place: Cerritos Library, 18025 Bloomfield Avenue, Cerritos, CA 90703
Phone number: Phone: (562) 916-1340.

Hope to see you there!


The naked and smooth skin of the eucalyptus trees along the freeway. I roll down my window and can smell their sweet, spicy scent.

All three cats on the porch last night. It is colder out now, and even the picky one tolerates the warmth of the others.

A nice cup of hot tea this morning – ginger peach. The peachy smell is a reminder of the summer past and the hot liquid makes my slightly scratchy throat feel as smooth as a eucalyptus branch.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Okay, had a truly wonderful Thanksgiving on Saturday (yeah, I know, but it's the holiday that counts, not the day on which you celebrate it). Only somewhere near the end of evening, when everyone had taken a walk, finished off another bottle of Pinot Grigio, run out of decaf, and stared at the fire, we all talked about the good things that had happened to us this year and I mentioned the new anthology, "LAndmarked for Murder."

Big mistake. I had plenty of copies on hand and freely gave them to all who were interested, but I wonder if some folks asked out of politeness, not because they wanted one. So what do I do? I gave them out. Yes, I know they cost me money - but who else would I give them to anyway? On the other hand, I never want to push them on folks who don't want them…what to do, what to do?

Let's talk about giving out free copies of your books.

1. Free copies: There are really few free copies for you, the author. You might have an ARC (Advance Review Copy) sent to a newspaper, magazine or individual for review, but that copy comes from the publisher and goes to the reviewer.

Any author's copies you get – usually somewhere between one and five – are the prizes for your own shelf. If it's an anthology (mine all are as I write short stories and not novels) I like to take a keepsake copy and have all the other authors and the editors and the nice lady who brought me water or cake or something at the launch party sign it. That leaves a couple to give to whomever I based a character on or used a name from. That leaves maybe one for my own shelf in pristine condition. ("That? Oh, yeah, a book I wrote…" You never know who might peruse your shelves. Alan Hess dropped by my house once and noticed I did not have *his* book on the coffee table, a condition since remedied.)

2. Your family thinks you get the books for free and they all want one. They don't know you may get a discount, but they are not free. Are these the same family members who are unsupportive? Use your own judgment: if you like them, buy them copies. If they have been jerks, point them to a bookstore.

3. Fans, strangers, celebrities, your nail stylist, the postman, your boss at your day job, etc. A fan once wrote me such a charming letter that I sent him all 3 books, autographed. His thank-you note made my day. But most folks get pointed to the bookstore. The exception here is gift-giving occasions. If a birthday or something is just around the corner, what better gift than something with your name prominently displayed on the cover? (Although I have to admit, for my brother's wedding I sent a gift certificate, not a copy of "A Deadly Dozen.")

4. Your friends. They know you and still like you. They know you write and still like you. They may be writers, too. Give them the books. What are friends for… If they are writers, they'll probably tell you they already bought it for full price. Now that's a friend who also writes.

(Okay, that last one isn't really mine...)


It was raining this morning. The rocks of my desert garden out front sparkled and the swale looked like a real desert stream.

The sight of my friends in my new house eating and drinking and laughing and playing with the pets. Pictures to come!

The perfect peace of the inside of my car after shopping.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

(Who are these guys? Answers below...)


Writing Tips: "Where do you get your ideas?"

I get them from everywhere. Look around…here are things I use to get ideas.

1. Don't try to write when you feel awful. The stuff that pours – or oozes – out will be tainted. But remember what it feels like for later.
2. Write when you have that buzzing in your stomach that says something is about to happen. Something will.
3. Find something funny to read – Evil Editor is funny – and get some inspiration from all the funny writers there. Okay, some of them are serious, but you can still draw on their energy.
4. Eavesdrop on someone's conversation. I just heard someone in another cubicle at work – on the phone – say, "Well, I've managed to stop the bleeding." I don't know what he was talking about, but I'd like to guess.
5. More eavesdropping: "Huh. I'll bet he thought that was enough, but it wasn't enough for me."
6. Yet more: "The bottom line is, if they don't get that package I sent, it's going to mean wholesale mayhem. Yes, just in time for the Holidays. Wholesale!" Lol! Sounds like retail to me.
7. People tend to use pretty violent imagery in their regular conversations. But you can say the spookiest stuff with plain language. Think up a scary thing and describe it.
8. Everyday something beautiful presents itself for your pleasure. Every day.
9. I only read the news if I want to get fired up over something or find good names for characters or look into some real crime stories, or…well, the newspaper is a gold mine. Just don't get stuck in it.
10. Dreams, imagination, playing "what if," laughing, listening, reading. Ideas are everywhere – pluck one out and use it.

(Left to right: Longfellow, Poe, Sartre, Dickens. In color, Matt Groening)


The way the sunlight illuminates a watercolor by David Authier, and the earth turns quickly enough that I don't have to worry about it fading.

Tuesday is Free Cookie Day at my local Subway. I got an oatmeal raisin – my favorite. It not only tastes great, but it sounds so healthy.

It's quiet at work today – lots of people have taken the week off. I like the quiet – the better for listening in on conversations! (Just for writing ideas, mind you. I'm not just a nosy parker. Really.)

Monday, November 20, 2006


A long time ago (okay, less than ten years – time is relative and seems to mean less as you get older) I wrote a mystery with a subplot that concerned Lucid Dreaming, a technique for remembering and controlling your dreams.
Stephen LaBerge wrote a book on the technique and as long as I was writing about it, I thought I'd try it.

Do you ever do that? Research a story and try the stuff you discover, I mean? I wrote a story where a character drank an RC Cola – I had to do some extensive research to find a Royal Crown Cola in my part of the country these days! (RC Cola is now owned by Cadbury-Schweppes in the US)

But back to dreaming: I dreamed a weird story the other night and tried to write a real story from it. Sometimes your subconscious can release all kinds of stuff into your dreams, a sudden infusion of imagery, words and nonsense. It was an interesting exercise, making plot out of nothing, and deciding which images would not fit. I mean, the flying part was fun, but the giant teacup and Ned Flanders in a red jumpsuit just wouldn't fit, so those elements had to be modified or discarded.

I haven't tried to write in my sleep yet – I'm sure I could lucid dream and direct myself to write, but I have been dog tired at bedtime lately and not in the mood to try it. Maybe the holiday weekend will present a good opportunity.


Well, the whole holiday is actually a time of being thankful for the Beautiful Things in life.

One of my bosses at work, Terry Murray, described how he cooks his sausage stuffing. The light in his eye as he told me all about his recipe made me smile. And I'm going to try his method, too. In fact, I'll probably be doing traditional breadcrumb sage stuffing, oyster stuffing and Mr. Murray's Sausage Stuffing.

Friends are coming over for Thanksgiving Dinner – which this year I am cooking & serving on Saturday as we have so much to do on the house to get it ready for real guests. But what could be more BEAUTIFUL than friends?

I saw my niece over the weekend. Her pretty hair was pulled back in a ponytail and though she is a grownup mommy, she looked like a child to me.

Have a great holiday!
(Mr. Bean: One of the Beautiful Things!)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


If you are a writer, you already know about the big things: My Novel or My Story or My Deadline or My Non-Fiction Series.

But don't discount the small stuff - I was over on Absolute Write yesterday checking out markets and the local gossip. Lo! And Behold! - a real estate entrepreneur in Vancouver was looking for very short real estate stories for an upcoming anthology. They had to be short and they had to be true and - presumably - well-written.

Well, I just went through an interesting real estate adventure concerning the acquisition of our Cliff May house. So I wrote it up (at less than 525 words) sent it off and received word from The Editor that it had indeed been accepted and $100 would be wafting my way asap. The quickest C-note I ever made. (Might be a Canadian C-note, so the conversion would be a bit less, but hey, who's counting?)

My point is that even if you think you are A Novelist or A Literary Fiction Writer or whatever, there may be these opportunities lurking around that you should check out. If you can write, then look into all the opportunities. You might find a gem!


Today there was a light mist on my windshield as I drove to work. Gotta get those wipers replaced. I have been ruminating over what really constitutes Autumn in Southern California. I think it is the urge to replace those wiper blades when the fine sheen of gray morning mist turns your field of vision into a murky mud. Time for a car wash, too.

African Redbush Peach Tea - I got a box of this some time ago, neatly packaged in teabags so I can fix it at work. I bought it because I was smitten with Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Precious Ramotswe, and it seemed like the tea she drank in the Number One Ladies Detective Agency. It is delicious. I may move to Botswana myself.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


"Step forward now, you soldier, you've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets, you've done your time in Hell."

Americans, remember all our veterans today - my Daddy was a naval officer, my brother Bill is a disabled Viet Nam vet, and that's a picture of me in my Army uniform during Desert Storm (I spent 22 years in the Army.) Make Veterans' Day the time you reflect on what so many gave - and continue to give - for you.

Put aside political and partisan differences and thank those folks who make your way of life possible. This day is not for blowhard politicians or policy makers or corporate profit-takers.

This day's Beautiful Thing is that kid on front lines, the guy in the wheelchair, the homeless vet and the men and women who serve every day, in small and large ways, at home and in strange places.

(And I'm posting this early because I have a doctor's appointment today & may be out for a few days...)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Okay, I know so many of my Beautiful Things involve birds because they are numerous here. On my way home from work, I saw a very tall snowy egret stretched up at about four and a half feet tall - on the freeway onramp! He was stopping traffic! I loved the faces of the other drivers as they gawked at this wonderful bird.

And here's a picture of my friend SEYMOUR ROSEN who passed away last month. I meant to post it down below on his tribute, but couldn't get it to upload. He would have liked that egret, too. He had an eye for Beautiful Things in Unexpected Places.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bottle Village Blogsite: Seymour Rosen 1935-2006


I enjoy submitting mysteries to the various print anthologies – and it *is* a thrill to see your name in print and to sign real books, not to mention party with other authors at bookstores and such. I love submitting to magazines, too – even though the time between submission and acceptance/rejection can be so long that I have completely forgotten the whole experience in between. Print magazines are a great way to actually make money from short stories. Sadly, these venues are shrinking, both in size and number. Woman's World for Romance and Mini-Mystery is still one of the best and most high-paying, while other print magazines like Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen offer prestige as well as professional pay rates.

But there's a place where you can experiment, get outside the usual restraints and find places to try out that gore-fest you've been writing, or that paranormal flash or maybe that thing that won't fit anywhere else. Cruise the ezines and find interesting places to place your work. Many of them even pay a small amount. Many of them submit to the prize committees, too. You also get exposure, critique and editorial advice opportunities. But remember, publication in an ezine counts and make sure you understand what rights to your masterpiece you are selling/giving.

As with any venue, be sure to follow submission guidelines. Obviously, a crime or mystery ezine is not going to be the place for your literary fiction or erotic romance. The best way to determine if your work is suitable is to read the 'zine and the guidelines.

Here are some marketplaces that list ezines:

Ralan's – This may be the best comprehensive list.

Spicy Green Iguana is a superb list

The Gila Queen's List is equally useful – and my condolences to Kathy on the loss of her beloved husband, Charlie.

The Writers Write Guideline Database is truly terrific.

Check them all out – and get those short stories out there.


An email from my friend Nancy Hoskins. Our friend, Seymour Rosen passed away, but he will be remembered fondly by all who knew him. Especially me - he was a true individual, an artist with a vision, a genuine human being with an infectious smile. For no one else would I have stood lookout on a desert rock at dawn in the middle of nowhere while he documented, then rescued a folk art site from destruction.

Thank you NarrowLarry for the lovely tribute.

I'll miss you, Seymour - you were one of the greats.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Remember the loving pets you had a long time ago? Weren't they wonderful? I hope there's a place for their beautiful spirits. (Bratus and Thomas and Cato and Tigar and Horus and Brownie and BabyDog and CoCo the First and Max and Bertie all the others)

There was fog outside and trees looked like ghostly shadows. Porch lights up and down the street promised safety and warmth.

Only one person dressed up in Halloween garb at work yesterday - but she looked so beautiful! Today I see her with new eyes, remembering that saucy witch in the high heeled shoes.

It's November now - where did the summer go? Here's a picture of CoCo, my other little dog. We think she's a pug-poodle mix, but I keep her fur cut short. Maybe she'll grow it out for the cooler weather. She loves to play catch with that ring toy!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

I really like this holiday for a lot of reasons. Here are ten of them:

1.) It's not particularly religious and there are no services of any kind to observe nor do you have to buy gifts, light candles or eat anything weird unless you really want to.

2.) Florists, Hallmark and See's Candy don't have too much of a stake in it.

3.) No retailer in their right mind has a Halloween linen sale or a Halloween discount on tires.

4.) Kids love it.

5.) There's candy. A lot of it.

6.) There's fun scary stuff on TV instead of the usual scary unfun stuff.

7.) You can dress up if you want to - but you don't have to.

8.) pumpkins pumpkins! pumpkins!!!

9.) People come to your house - mostly little kids in funny costumes.

10.) This year it's on a Tuesday, which in our area is 3 for $1 taco night at Del Taco. We get to have a treat once a week.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Beautiful Things Over The Weekend

1. We re-arranged the furniture in our mid-century modern house. Less is more. The empty spaces are beautiful. The pictures are of a Cliff May in Long Beach (not ours, but ours is similar)

2. We met Stephen - another Cliff May owner - and talked about mid-century architecture over lunch at El Tropicale.

3. I watched "
Grey Gardens" again - and although Edie Bouvier Beale's voice drives me nuts sometimes, it is a window into the past, the unrealized future and mild mannered madness. It's a bizarre masterpiece that brings back a lot of the reasons why I like conceptual art.

These are pictures of Little Edie at different times in her life. Big Edie (her mother) Bouvier Beale was Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis' aunt - Little Edie was her first cousin.

Funny how life takes these wild and unexpected turns - Little Edie was a beautiful debuntante - but became a reclusive eccentric, like her mother.

How much is genetics and how much is environment and how much is that individual spirit?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

LAndmarked for Murder Launch Party!

Okay, here's the promised picture: (That's me in the purple, lower right)

This was at the Mystery Bookstore in Westwood CA - that's editor Michael Mallory in the fedora, Paul Marks next to me and Jinx Beers in pink (Dee Ann Palmer is right behind Jinx in red) I'll get everyon'e else's name up as soon as I can remember them - oh, yes, that's Darrell James next to Michael Mallory... We had a terrific time. More pics were taken - I'll try to get them. The cake was beautiful - with the book cover on it!