At Kitras Art Glass

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Kitras Art Glass, Canada’s largest hot glass studio, was a short thirty-minute drive away in Fergus. Intrigued, I decided to take a break from my writing and treat myself to an artist date at their 2nd Annual Garden Party.

While visiting, I browsed through the many Kitras collections, among them Tree of Enchantment, Blossom, Van Glow, Calico, Art Nouveau, and Canada 150. I was impressed by the variety of decorative and functional art: ornaments, oil lamps, diffusers, bird feeders, vases, medallions, and so much more. These unique, hand-crafted glass creations are perfect for all-occasion gifting.

BTW…Kitras will ship purchases across Canada and the United States.




The Back Story

Once I get the initial spark of an idea, I like to play around with a What-If scenario and after much deliberation come up with a title for the novel. Only then can I start writing the first draft.

That MO worked well for Book 1 of the Gilda Greco Mystery Series:

Spark: Dead blondes turn up in dumpsters throughout the city.

What if… A woman wins a $19 million lottery and then returns to her hometown, only to find herself the primary suspect in the murders of four blondes. Can she prove her innocence and solve this case before it’s too late?

Title: A Season for Killing Blondes

Book 2 presented a challenge. I toyed with several storylines about a Greek restaurant, a charismatic chef, two murders, and a group of women who didn’t always get along. Frustrated with these disjoint elements, I turned my attention to shorter pieces and hoped that inspiration would soon arrive.

It came from an unlikely source.

Continue reading on the Mysteriastis blog.


Movie Review: Rough Night

Co-writers Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs have pushed the boundaries of questionable behavior in this R-rated comedy that has been described as the bastard child of Bridesmaids and The Hangover.

Or in some circles as the first post-Hillary movie.

Scarlett Johansson stars as bride-to-be Jessica, a budding politician running for State Senate. Her posse includes over-the-top kindergarten teacher Alice (Jillian Bell), activist Frankie (Ilana Glazer), wealthy divorcee Blair (Zoë Kravitz), and Aussie flower child Pippa (Kate McKinnon).

The women meet in Miami for a weekend bachelorette party that has been meticulously organized—everything from baskets of “favors” to tequila shots to cocaine to a male stripper. Standard party girl fare until Alice accidentally kills the stripper and sets in motion a series of wacky scenes.

After quick deliberation—Jess can’t compromise her political career, Frankie can’t risk a third offense on her record, Blair can’t put her custody battle at risk—the women decide to dispose of the body instead of calling the police.

As the women plot and execute different disposal strategies, they must also deal with old rivalries and grudges that have festered for the past decade. To further complicate matters, aging neighborhood swingers (Demi Moore and Ty Burrell) hover and put the moves on Blair.

Frantic with worry, fiancé Peter (Paul W. Downs) decides to drive down to Miami, cranked on expired uppers and clad in adult diapers.

Definitely a manic pace but with great chemistry and not-so-subtle hints of dark humor.


Happy Summer!

summer-solstice-clipartLonger days and shorter nights…Today marks the start of the summer solstice.

The term “solstice” is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). The sky at noon does not appear to change much during the solstice and its surrounding days. The rest of the year, the Earth’s tilt on its axis—roughly 23.5 degrees—causes the sun’s path in the sky to rise and fall from one day to the next.


Here are ten of my favorite “summer” quotations:

Summer’s lease hath all too short a date. ~ William Shakespeare

Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.
~ Jenny Han

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime! ~ Kenny Chesney

Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds. ~ Regina Brett

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. ~ Sam Keen

Summertime is always the best of what might be. ~ Charles Bowden

I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket.
~ Kellie Elmore

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~ Celia Thaxter

The summer night is like a perfection of thought. ~ Wallace Stevens

summerday


First Two Pages—Too Many Women in the Room

While deciding whether or not to start with a prologue, I recalled advice I had received from a workshop facilitator: “Use only if the prologue adds an interesting and integral layer to the narrative.”

Interesting and integral…Definitely a challenge and one I decided to tackle in my new release, Too Many Women in the Room. Having written the rest of the novel in the first-person POV, I wanted the reader to be privy to the thoughts and feelings of the victim in his final hour.

Continue reading on B.K. Stevens’ blog.


How Toastmasters Helped Me Find My Writing Voice

When I retired from teaching in 2008, I was determined to create an oasis of calm. Three decades of teaching mathematics to adolescents had cured me of any “yang” tendencies. Or so I thought. After several months of luncheon dates, book club meetings, afternoon yoga sessions, and large blocks of reading time, I found myself suffering from “yin” overload.

In short, I was bored.

I toyed with the prospect of launching a second act as a writer and spent considerable time preparing for my new career. New business cards. New computer. And dreams of a runaway best-seller.

One problem – my underdeveloped writing muscles refused to budge.

On a whim, I visited Royal City Toastmasters. Not knowing what to expect, I relaxed when I saw twelve people in the room, most of them women. I felt an instant camaraderie with the group and volunteered to participate in Table Topics (one to two minutes of impromptu speaking). As I stood in the front of the room, I received many encouraging smiles. I took several deep breaths and started to share an anecdote. At one point, everyone started clapping.

Continue reading on Kristina Stanley’s blog.


All About Cozies

Whenever I introduce the Gilda Greco Mystery Series, I often encounter frowns and puzzled looks. Not too many people have heard of cozy mysteries. To them, the word “cozy” conjures up images of steaming cups of herbal teas, overstuffed chairs, and purring cats.

While those images can exist in cozy mysteries, the sub-genre contains many more intriguing elements. Written in the Agatha Christie tradition, these mysteries appeal to readers who wish to be engaged but not horrified.

In short, a cozy is a mystery that includes a bloodless crime and contains little violence, sex, or coarse language. The crime takes place “off stage” and very few graphic details are provided. Sex, if there is any, is behind closed doors. It is not unusual to read about a couple enjoying a romantic dinner and then turn the page to find them waking up to breakfast.

Continue reading on Kathryn Hunter’s blog.