Really oneMy stagnant fingers grow mud-heavy with grading. Relegated to the same letter-trenches, they add, “Watch for fragments”, “Be careful of run-ons”, and “Cite your sources,” to nearly all my thoughts. Writing is like swimming in a bog.

I’ve never been a free-drafter, capable of simply slamming down on paper the idea, in its worst form. I’m a brain writer, half-composing a symphony of sentences before I turn on the monitor.  By the time I type it out, my story is in its second draft.

When I’m writing, my God I’m prolific. I can slap down six thousand good words in a day.… Read the rest

To Be a Writer

Subtitle: Fun With Foot in Mouth*

This weekend, I was a panelist at Murder in the Magic City and Murder on the Menu. I had a ball, and I made tons of friends, so I must not have been too weird. But there were some cringe-worthy moments, as well.

L-R Me, Debra H. Goldstein, Jim Lavene, and Christopher Lavene All photos courtesy Steve Herring, Murder in the Magic City, and Murder on the Menu

L-R Me, Debra H. Goldstein, Jim Lavene, and Christopher Lavene
All photos courtesy Steve Herring, Murder in the Magic City, and Murder on the Menu

Here’s some of the crazy shit I said…

Gaffe One

On the Murder in the Magic City panel, when asked what social justice issues I liked to see in fiction as a reader, I said autism.… Read the rest

From Birmingham to Wetumpka: Find me this weekend!

Hey look world, it’s ME! I’ve got lots of exciting news, and I’ll keep it short and sweet for now. In the next couple of weeks, each of these items (except maybe number 5) will get its own post.
  1. Last month, I was one of eight authors included in the anthology Eight Mystery Writers You Should Be Reading Now. Hank Phillipi  Ryan wrote the foreword. I’m kind of blown away to have my name in a book alongside honest-to-God award-winners. EightCover
  2. In other book news, on February 17, you can buy The Case of the Red-handed Rhesus, my sequel to The Marriage at the Rue Morgue
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The Marriage at the Rue Morgue

On July 16, the groom is big, the bride is hairy, and the best man is dead.

My book comes out in 41 days.

Click here to see its new website.

Bloggers, drop me a line at jesterqueen @ att . net if you’re interested in reviewing it. You’re going to love my “don’t buy my book” campaign.

MarriageAtRueMorgueFront (1)

Read the rest

Sex Ed

desire blurI struggle with scenes where protagonists flirt or flush with desire. But I want to capture those moments in my writing. This one story has been haunting me since I was ten years old. Ten fucking years old. When I wrote it then, it had a lot of breast kissing and ended in “the rest, I will leave to your imagination”.  I’m still mortified by that phrase. I was obsessed with sex but had not the first clue about what took place under the covers.

It was five years after that failure before the idea crept back into my mind. This time, it stayed.… Read the rest

Sharp. Hope is sharp.


It’s the worst emotion for someone like me. It’s intricately bound up with expectations and desires, and I don’t handle disappointment well. Can I tell you something? I finished a novel two years ago. I’ve talked with a potential publisher twice. The editor at the publishing house is really interested, and yet every time I’ve gotten ready to send, I’ve stopped.

I thought for awhile that I had submission terrors. That I suffered from an internal certainty that once the piece was out there it would turn out to be shit when someone else judged it. But then I realized I’ve been sending other, less polished things out, short stories, nonfiction pieces, and some have been accepted and others rejected, and I’ve been fine with it.… Read the rest

Blood and Violence

Poor Scott.  He’s my sounding board for all my story ideas. He has to be prepared at the drop of a hat to answer questions about presidential elections, random animal behaviors, and everything else that pops into my head. I can Google this shit. But I don’t. At least, not until after I ask him.

Because here’s the thing about Scott. He is a repository of facts. If he hadn’t gone into history, he’d have made a damned fine librarian, because he is also an expert in knowing what questions to ask.

And usually, when I ask him these things, I’m in a spurt of idea generation.… Read the rest


Sherry the hygienist scraped along my gumline. “I did this funhouse for Halloween last year,” she said. “They had me dressed up as the little kid in that Freddy Kreuger song.” She hummed a few notes of the movie’s eerie minor-key version of the old “one, two, buckle my shoe” rhyme.

“That’s freaky.” I didn’t use any consonants, because she had a gloved hand and a dental pick jammed in my mouth, but she understood me anyway. In the background, the dentist’s drill whined as he filled another patient’s cavity.

“I know. It completely flipped this one woman out. She like ran back to the entrance.” Sherry giggled and adjusted the sunglasses protecting me from the bright light shining in my mouth.… Read the rest

Robert Frost and Trifextra

This weekend’s Trifextra challenge is a little different. I’ll just quote it for you.

Robert Frost one said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”  We want you to do the same.  Sum up anything you want, but do it in three words.  Your response should mirror Frost’s quote by beginning, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about–.”  And the last four words are yours to choose.


In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about careers. I must write.



In other news, Trifecta is going to start offering critiques.… Read the rest

The old ball game

Ray threw the ball, and his dog Moose bulleted across the yard in pursuit. The ball hit the garden shed and ricocheted off to one side. Just before he, too crashed into the small building, Moose diverted with a stumbling skid and shot over the ball, which bounced to a stop. The dog leaped up, spun in midair, and came down on top of his helpless prey, which remained fixedly rubber and inanimate.

From the patio, Sharee asked, “Doesn’t he ever bring the thing back?”

“Yeah,” said Ray. “When he’s killed it dead enough.”

He drifted back to sit by Sharee.… Read the rest