Car Wrecks, BB&BBQ, and the Muse Conference

The last couple of weeks have been busy. We had about $2000 in maintenance work done on the main family car somewhere around a month ago, and just over two weeks later, a young man in a pick-up truck pulled out in front of us at an intersection and there was a collision. Granted, he couldn't see us, because another SUV blocked us from sight until it was far too late. I'm thinking it was his first major collision. You don't have that deer in the headlights look when you've been in a wreck before--you're too busy stepping on the gas pedal trying to get out of the way of oncoming traffic.

The young man had no insurance, something that just astounded my father, who came out to pick us up because our car was undrivable after the wreck. 'How could he get his car licensed without insurance?' he wondered. Insurance companies call such people 'taggers', because they buy insurance just so they can get the tags on their car, then cancel the policy. The police officer who handled the report of the wreck had a nice stack of tickets for him when all was said and done. Just the ticket for failure to have insurance is $500, according to our insurance agency. Fortunately, we keep comprehensive coverage on the family car, and our insurance company has been wonderful through the whole process.

There's an unmistakable roar of Fall in the air. It's Bikes, Blues, and Barbecue week. For the uninitiated, it's rapidly becoming one of the bigger biker rallies in the US. I've heard the number 400,000 tossed around in the attendance area. Lots of free concerts, some barbecue competitions, a few not-so-free concerts. Motorcycles everywhere. Next week's going to seem very, very quiet after this one.

I'll be happy to have that peace and quiet, as next week is the Muse Online Writers Conference, an entirely online conference where instructors and students from around the world can gather at times convenient to them. The workshop 'rooms' are open 24/7, and assignments can be posted whenever, and graded when the teacher is up and ready to work on them. I'll be teaching our Suspense workshop again this year, though I will be doing it solo, because my workshop partner is unable to attend this year. Hopefully everyone will be patient with me.

Gigi Ann of Ann's Reading Corner has posted her thoughts on Reef Runner. Thank you, ma'am!

So far this fall, the weather's been pretty nice. I guess we're getting a break before winter hits us. Definitely not complaining.

Recent reads--

A Pale Horse
A Matter of Justice
both by Charles Todd

These books have a darkness to them that comes from the protagonist's state of mind. A shell-shocked WWI veteran, he has recovered enough to function in his job as a Scotland Yard detective, but never knows when it will catch him at a bad moment during an investigation. Because of that, each book carries a certain level of depression with them, but are worth reading if you space them out with other books in between.

Billy Boyle by James R. Benn

This one was read in a listserv I'm on, but it wasn't until recently I had the chance to read it. Billy Boyle is a newly-minted detective on the Boston police force, just at the beginning of the US's entry to the Second World War. Family connections bring him to the attention of a distant uncle, General Eisenhower, who snaps him up fresh out of Officer Candidate School and has him shipped to London to serve as his own personal investigator. I had a little trouble connecting with the character right at first, but as both author and character grew comfortable with their surroundings, Billy became someone whose adventures I'm interested in following.

On the Nook:

The Black Mountain, by Rex Stout.

The death of Nero Wolfe's friend sets in motion events that not only see him leave the Brownstone, but send him to his birthplace in Montenegro (then part of Yugoslavia) to find the killer. Right-hand man Archie Goodwin spends most of the book waiting for Wolfe to translate for him, since he doesn't speak Serbo-Croatian.

Currently reading:

On the Nook:

Plot It Yourself, by Rex Stout.

Am enjoying this, not only for the usual antics, but because of the fact that Wolfe's clients in this one are authors and publishers.

Up next:

Heat Rises, by 'Richard Castle'.

Book 3 of the series purportedly being written by the character Richard Castle from the TV series 'Castle'. These things are fun. Not outstanding literature, but a neat way of making viewers of the series feel 'connected' to the characters and as if they're participants in a way.

Enough for now. I need to do some prep work for the conference.

'til later~~~


Comment moderation

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Uncertain weather

This has been one interesting year, weather-wise. I'm sure anyone who's had access to either a TV or the internet knows exactly what I mean by that.

We went from summer to fall overnight, with the passage of one cold front. Days with highs in the nineties went to days in the seventies, and nights in the lower seventies went to nights in the forties. It's great not to roast every day, but now I'm cold, lol! I got adjusted to the hot temperatures. We had that nice rain a couple of weeks back, which has combined with the cooler temperatures to encourage vegetation to make up for lost time in a desperate attempt to reproduce before winter. My husband started suffering from allergies a couple of weeks ago. It really started hitting me just during this past week. At first I couldn't figure out what was going on, but then I noticed things flowering. The grass greened up after the rain, but we haven't had much more than morning dew for the past couple of weeks, so things are still abnormally dry. As far as I know, we're not under a burn ban, but there are enough dead leaves on the ground from the trees trying to save themselves during the heat of summer that a carelessly discarded cigarette or match could cause a disaster.

Gigi Ann of Ann's Reading Corner has posted her thoughts about Blood Money and Rio Star. Thank you very much, ma'am!

The new novel is coming along. I have a bit more research to do on it.

As far as reading goes:

I've just finished A Duty to the Dead, by Charles Todd. The first of the Bess Crawford mysteries, set during WWI.

Murder in Belleville, by Cara Black. Second in the Aimee Leduc series.

Natural Environments of Arizona. This is a textbook, bought for story research. It's about as dry as the title suggests.

Insider's Arizona Guidebook. An Arizona Highways book. Also bought for research. The part of the state that I'm interested in got a small section, but the pictures are gorgeous.

Arizona: A Cavalcade of History, by Marshall Trimble. Actually, I haven't read this yet, but it's on the list, as it's research material.

The Nature of Arizona. A guidebook of plants, animals, and trees in Arizona. Research.

The Mountains Know Arizona. An Arizona Highways book. Expected a trade-paperback type thing, and got an fairly good-sized hardback, with big, beautiful pictures. Definitely useful. Research.

The Mapping of Love and Death, by Jacqueline Winspear. Maisie Dobbs series.

Waiting on my Nook are:

Still Life, by Louise Penny. First in series.

The Black Dove, by Steve Hockensmith. Third in the Holmes on the Range series.

Plot It Yourself
Three Men Out
The Black Mountain
Too Many Women
--All by Rex Stout. Five Nero Wolfe books I haven't read yet.

Waiting in paper is: A Pale Horse, by Charles Todd. Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery.

Nearly a third of the way through September already. The older I get, the more I understand what the Bible means when it says that a thousand years is as a day to God.

More to come as things warrant...