Magpie Moments: Care for Some Sulfur with Your Tea?

This is the fourth in a series of what I’m calling Magpie Moments, things that I snagged from real life and repurposed into fiction. I will add something new to this series every week until the next Sydney Brennan release. And SPOILER ALERT: you may not want to read these if you haven’t read Back to Lazarus yet. We ate at a Mexican place where everything was drenched with cheese and the iced tea tasted slightly of sulfur. It was no Rosalia’s by any means, but when I switched my beverage to a Corona, the taste of the food improved dramatically. [Back to Lazarus Chapter 26, Read more…


Magpie Moments: The Toxic Town of Lazarus

This is the third in a series of what I’m calling Magpie Moments, things that I snagged from real life and repurposed into fiction. I will add something new to the series every week until the next Sydney Brennan release. And SPOILER ALERT: you may not want to read these if you haven’t read Back to Lazarus yet. Ida set her tea glass down and rested her elbows on the table. “I don’t grow fresh mint anymore. I guess you saw Mr. Phillips next door, with his greens and tomatoes in buckets. The EPA man told him it wasn’t safe to eat anything that grew in Read more…


Magpie Moments: Wearing a Skirt with a Shiner

This is the second in a series of what I’m calling Magpie Moments, things that I snagged from real life and repurposed into fiction. I will add something new to the series every week until the next Sydney Brennan release. And SPOILER ALERT: you may not want to read these if you haven’t read Back to Lazarus yet. When I was a sophomore in high school, I caught an elbow playing pick-up basketball after school and ended up with a hell of a shiner. It was centered on my cheekbone, but the swelling and discoloration extended to my eyesocket. It was beyond make-up, even if Read more…


Introduction to Magpie Moments: Suicidal Superman

David Sedaris is one of those people who could make a to-do list funny, interesting, and sometimes even insightful and transformative. I am definitely a fan. He often talks about cannibalizing his own life for his writing. For example, one essay in the fabulous Me Talk Pretty One Day centers around his compulsion to share a personal story that his sister forbids him from telling. (As he points out, it’s not like she’s doing anything with it.) I doubt that fiction authors are any different from essayists. I’m always incorporating bits of my life or the lives of others into my writing, sometimes deliberately but Read more…


Distractions versus Butt Glue, in the Battle to Get Things Done

I don’t know about you, but my week has seen a fair number of distractions. Many, like the current political situation in—oh, let’s just say everywhere—are of immense scope and importance, and yet have no immediate and discernible direct effect on me on any given day. (Is that enough qualifiers? Sorry—lawyer flashback.) Others, like the beetley roach (that’s what I call the smaller non-palmetto bug roaches because it decreases my likelihood of shrieking) making his sporadic journey around the room right now, have a small scope and very little Importance, but a direct effect on me. (And once on our Read more…