Magpie Moments: Do Your Office Supplies Enable Your Paranoia?

Did you know that this Sunday (July 24th) is International Private Investigator Day? I’ve got something special in mind for next Friday (fingers crossed) for a belated celebration. In the meantime, I thought I’d share what passes for excitement in my writer’s world: new office supplies! I’ve previously confessed my love for Post-its (Peeking at Process; Resolve to be Resolute). Well, my infatuation with office supplies doesn’t stop there. Last week, I was chatting online with a group of writers about tools and strategies for longevity. We’re all trying to figure out how we can make it to next month—much Read more…

Magpie Moments: Using the Whole Road

“I’m a taxpayer. I paid for it, so I’m using the whole road.” Who hasn’t made (or cringed as the driver made) similar remarks after drifting across the highway’s center line or onto the shoulder, or going the wrong way down a one-way street. A couple of weeks ago, a woman in a coffee shop parking lot heading straight for me veered at the last moment, leaned out the driver’s window and yelled, “Watch where you’re going!” Apparently she’d had too much caffeine and didn’t notice the painted arrows going both ways. Back in high school, I remember traveling with our band director Read more…

Magpie Moments: I Don’t Have a License, But I Drive Very Well

This week, I’m making a shameful confession of a different kind. (Last week’s was word count-related.) We’re going back to the third Sydney Brennan book, The Perils of Panacea, for a Magpie Moments post today, and back into the recesses of time and memory to find the real world source material that acted as inspiration. A little context with as little spoiling as possible: in the following excerpt from the book, Sydney is driving a car with … let’s just say, someone she’d rather not be. I started the engine and shifted the gear on the steering column, passing Drive the Read more…

Magpie Moments: Animals with no Restraint

The post title doesn’t refer to twelve-year-olds at a pizza party or college students on Spring Break, but rather to beloved pets, and a scene from my most recent novel, The Perils of Panacea. In it, Sydney asks a couple about the origin of their pet pig’s name. “Why Banana Whiskers?” I asked. Danny smiled. “BW was the runt of his litter, and so sickly when he came to us that Sam wouldn’t let me name him. She didn’t want me to get too attached. Since he was so tiny, we let him have full run of the house—” “He always had Read more…

Magpie Moments: You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Many interviewed authors say there’s no shortage of story ideas, those little “what if” nuggets that can be rooted in character or place or plot. Some keep files with newspaper articles or bits of research that they consult from time to time, while for others the act of gathering the shiny bits (aha, here comes a Magpie Moment) is enough for them to burble in the subconscious until something else emerges. In that vein, yesterday I came across an article about a book of unsolved crimes that mentions an Australian fisherman discovering a body tied to a steel crucifix. This morning Read more…