Stealing from Fiction and Life

Photo credit: qimono on Pixabay

Don’t get me wrong: I know plenty of things.

The problem is that I used most of them in my first book.

When I wrote State v. Claus, I sort of took the easy way out. After all, writing a novel was daunting business—no reason to make it harder. So the main character was a lawyer because I know how to be a lawyer. After decades of appearing in court and reading reams of trial transcripts, the courtroom scenes were a snap to write. Deciding what crimes Ralph would be charged with and what the elements were required nothing more than the legal database I use on a daily basis. The dynamics of law firm life were second nature. Even researching details of criminal procedure was easy: I talked to a lawyer I knew whose practice consisted primarily of representing individuals accused of crimes.

I wish the research for the sequel to State v. Claus was a fraction as easy.

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Three Jobs, Maybe Four

Photo credit: Nathan Dumleo on Unsplash

Several years ago, David Handler gave a talk to aspiring writers at the inaugural Writers Weekend at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. David is a successful author who has been writing for decades. Inevitably in such a setting, someone asked about his writing life. David replied that he spent the morning writing and the afternoon working on his small business.

“What’s your small business?” someone else asked.

“Being an author,” he replied. He explained that in the afternoon, he routinely dealt with the business end of writing, including communications with his agent and his editor, correspondence with readers, and planning talks just like this one.

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Look, I made a story

Photo credit: Michael C on Unsplash

Today, I wrote a story.

“Big deal,” you think. “You’re a writer. It’s what you’re supposed to do.”

Except to be honest, I’ve been struggling in recent months to come up with something that—in my humble opinion—is worth writing.

Maybe I’ve gotten pickier. Or maybe it’s that I’ve written some stories that I truly think are good, and yet they’ve have struggled to get off the starting block, and so I question my own judgment. One story has been a finalist in two different competitions and was highly praised by the organizers of one of those competitions–but as I sent it off today, I noticed that this was its seventeenth launch. It’s already awaiting judgment at three publications, but I submitted it anyway, albeit with more stoicism than optimism.

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Limited-Time Ebook Deal for State v. Claus!

Looking for a deal on ebooks?

From today (12/8/21) through the end of the year, Kobo (an international online retailer) is including State v. Claus in its Festive Reads/Holiday Romance promotion. This means that if you’re in the U.S. or Canada, you can score a deep discount on State v. Claus–only $3.99 (USD or CAD) in ebook format!

Just go to Kobo.com and look for the heading “T’is the season to fall in love” (and don’t ask me why they put the apostrophe where they did).

Here’s the link for Canadian readers: https://www.kobo.com/…/t-is…/xB53TIRQ1cOEvgjYkyMFxA…

Here’s the link for U.S. readers: https://www.kobo.com/…/t-is…/xB53TIRQ1cOEvgjYkyMFxA…

Small Business Saturday 2021

Stopped in at River Bend Bookshop in Glastonbury, Connecticut, on Small Business Saturday, and look what I saw on the shelf!

Support your local businesses this holiday season. Because they’re the ones who will support your community, your teams, your causes, and your dreams. (See Exhibit A, above.)

Upcoming Events

It’s that time of year when it seems as if we’re all looking forward to something—holidays, travel, breaks from work and/or school, gathering with people we love (especially after last year, when so many of us “gathered” over Zoom). Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and before the meal’s leftovers are consigned to the refrigerator, the shopping season will begin in earnest (if it hasn’t already).

In addition to all the traditional celebrations, here are a few extra things I’m anticipating in the next few weeks:

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Crazy Busy

Ned

Last night, Daylight Saving Time came to an end for 2021, and we turned back the clocks. Many people lament the end of DST, but I love this change. Not because I’m fond of earlier darkness, but because the gift of an extra hour is so delicious.

On the whiteboard calendar over my desk, I mark different obligations in different colors. Appellate deadlines are in red, trial court deadlines are green, research deadlines are blue, and appointments are purple. This week is a sea of purple already: a doctor appointment, a presentation known as the Connecticut Forum, two dress rehearsals for the chorale concert, and the concert itself. Still to be scheduled is the repair of my boiler; the appointment for my vaccine booster needs to be rescheduled to ensure that recovering from it won’t bump up against the dress rehearsals. Three deadlines are in green, plus one in red.

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For What It’s Worth, or Why I’m Hiring a Cover Designer for My Novella

Photo credit: Tabitha Turner on Unsplash

I am now one step closer to the release of my novella, My Brother, Romeo.

Today, I sent my acceptance of a quote for cover design by the talented folks at Design for Writers. This is the same firm that did the gorgeous cover for my novel, State v. Claus. If you’re an indie author looking for professionals to handle your cover, I highly recommend Design for Writers. (Note: They didn’t ask me to say this, nor are they giving me any kind of deal or perks for recommending them. I’m saying it because I remember how many hours I spent researching cover designers, and I’m hoping to save somebody else a little time.)

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Process Stories

Photo credit: Kazuo Ota on Unsplash

Last night, I discovered a streaming series entitled, “The Movies that Made Us.” In its first season, the series explored the making of “Dirty Dancing,” the iconic coming-of-age story of a young woman who falls in love with a dance instructor during her family’s summer vacation at a Catskills resort.

“Dirty Dancing” was released in 1987. I had just moved to Stamford, Connecticut, when the movie came out, but I didn’t know that the studio responsible for “Dirty Dancing” was also based in Stamford or that this studio was known at the time for adult videos, not feature films. I also didn’t know the driving forces behind the movie were two women, or that at least part of the movie was based on the experiences of one of the women, or that they’d ended up with the now-defunct Stamford studio because literally every other studio had turned it down, many claiming it was “too girly.”

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Guest Post: A Word from Our Managing Editor

The managing editor of Tuxedo Cat Press would like to share a few thoughts.

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Dear Readers,

My name is Charlotte Antoinette Burgh. Once upon a time, I was a pregnant stray. Then, I was a shelter kitty, waiting to be adopted while my adorable little kittens easily found homes.

Today, I am the managing editor of Tuxedo Cat Press.

It wasn’t an easy road. My time on the streets was rocky. In addition to getting knocked up, I got into a few scuffles that left me with a scar on my nose and another on my eye. Not terrible, but enough that some potential adopters didn’t think I was pretty enough.

Screw them. I’m gorgeous.

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