Dining at the Lobster Dock

Lea Wait, here.

One of my favorite summer things to do in Maine is to sit outside on a wharf and eat fresh-from-the-water lobster, clams, oysters or mussels, sip a glass of wine or beer, and watch lobstermen unloading their hauls, sailboats dotting the harbor, and private

Where you order …

boats of all sizes coming and going. (Angie Curtis, in my Mainely Needlepoint series, worked the steamer at a restaurant like this when she was in high school.)

Barbara and I after a delicious meal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maine offers dozens of restaurants that fit that description, but I have my favorites. One that’s close to my home is The Lobster Dock on the east side of Boothbay Harbor.

Sadly, this summer I spent most of my time at my computer, and by the end of August I was longing for fried clams and harbor views. Finally, about ten days ago, my husband I and fellow Maine Crime Writers  Barbara Ross and her husband Bill, who’s a photographer, managed to meet at The Lobster Dock and have a final outdoor meal before restaurants like that closed for the winter. (Lobster and clams and mussels and their accompaniments can be found all year round in Maine, but sitting outside gets a bit chilly after Columbus Day.) 

I wish you all could have joined us. But instead, I took some pictures of what you might have seen that evening. Wish you’d been there! But there’s always next summer.

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Farewell Ryan

Vaughn

As many of you know, I have just been through a very, very emotional month. For those of you who are unaware, on September 3, 2017 my youngest grandson, Ryan Kaad, passed away from injuries incurred when his motorcycle collided with an eighteen wheeler on August 28.

His injuries were extensive he broke both of his arms, both collar bones, both shoulder blades, and several ribs. I have been told that after the accident he somehow got to his feet and walked to the ambulance, but once inside he crashed. On the way to the emergency room his heart stopped and they revived him. They rushed him into the operating room where they removed his spleen and part of his left lung.

Of my two grandsons, Ryan was the outgoing one. Where his brother, Nickolas is slow to make friends (and slow to break away from them) Ryan could walk into any situation and come away with a new friend. He was the athlete. A baseball player who during a Cal Ripkin tournament game fielded eight consecutive balls, throwing out the runner each time, and the opposing coach shouted to his batter,”Hit the ball to someone else!” He was born in the Chicago suburbs and lived with my wife and I in New Hampshire from 2002 to 2007.  The father of a single female child, Nickolas and Ryan were like sons to me.

 


Ryan Kaad
Septembr 23, 1992 – September 3, 2017

I was recently at my significant other’s 50th High School reunion where a poem was read in honor of classmates who had passed on:

The Dash
A Poem by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on his tombstone
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of his birth
And spoke the following date with tears
But he said what mattered most
Was the dash between those years.

For the dash represents all the time
That he spent alive on Earth
And now only those who loved him
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
The cars…the house…the cash
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

 

Ryan, your dash was very short, only a brief 22 years, but you brought us a lot of happiness and love  during it.

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Weekend Update: September 23-24, 2017

Next week at Maine Crime Writers, there will be posts by Vaughn Hardacker (Monday), Lea Wait (Tuesday), Jen Blood (Wednesday), Barb Ross (Thursday), and Susan Vaughan (Friday).

In the news department, here’s what’s happening with some of us who blog regularly at Maine Crime Writers:

Today, Saturday, September 23rd:

LOCAL WRITERS at THE LOCAL BUZZ
SEASON #7 Kick-Off!
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Kate Flora ~ Prose
Anna Wrobel ~ Poetry
4:00 – 5:00 PM
at
The Local Buzz
327 Ocean House Road
(at Pond Cove IGA Shopping Center)
 Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
More information at:
 

And Kate (who doesn’t want to dominate this page) is so pleased that Newsweek has included The Obama Inheritance in its list of Top 15 Books to Read this Fall:

 

From Kaitlyn: This is the last weekend to enter the Goodreads drawing for an advance reading copy of X MARKS THE SCOT. It ends on Monday and ARCS will be shipped to readers on Tuesday. Click here to enter: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/253616-x-marks-the-scot

If you missed it earlier, there was an amusing excerpt from Death Warmed Over at Dru’s Book Musings on Friday. It gives a nice flavor of Thea’s character. https://drusbookmusing.com/2017/09/22/thea-kozak/

An invitation to readers of this blog: Do you have news relating to Maine, Crime, or Writing? We’d love to hear from you. Just comment below to share.

And a reminder: If your library, school, or organization is looking for a speaker, we are often available to talk about the writing process, research, where we get our ideas, and other mysteries of the business. Contact Kate Flora

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The Bee Killer: A Glimpse Into Creating Fictional Scenes

A beehive developed in the pile of limbs I acculmulated last fall. It was my fault. I left them there in the patio, way too long, figuring I’d get to them this summer. By the time I started to clean up what I started, I could see them buzzing around: a helicopter squadron of bees hovering close to the house, darting in and out of the various foxholes to service their almighty queen, who was hidden away beneath it all.

IMG_0815Now I had to clean it up without getting stung to death. Which meant I had to kill a LOT of bees. Writing was the last thing on my mind. And yet being a crime writer, the irony of serial killing a hive of innocent bees didn’t escape me.

Getting rid of them bothered my wife more than it did me. She’s an animal, bird and insect lover. And bees are definitely a good thing for our planet. Bees pollinate plants, many of which would die without these stinging insects. They’re good for the environment. They make healthy and tasty foods, and provide us wax so we can cisit Madame Tussauds museum and see Elvis and Marylyn immortalized. Without bees we’d not have baclava, mead and Honey Cheerios. And one catches more flies with honey and not vinegar. So the prospect of eliminating the hive slightly concerned me.

But it had to be done. Like Muhammad Ali once said, I’d have to “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. You can’t hit what your eyes don’t see.”

So my wife and I set about ridding the hive from our patio. It took a lot of time and patience (the details I’ll skip for the sake of brevity). Bees swirled all around us. We got stung often, although my honey seemed to bear the brunt of their painful stingers. I swept up the remaining pile of dirt, debris, bee corpses and honeycomb, satisfied that I’d cleaned it all up. God Save The Queen, The Sex Pistols sang. More like God have mercy on her bee soul.

After I swept up the patio, I sat down tiredly on of the plastic chair and happily studied my handiwork, a cold beer in hand. But then I noticed that there were bees still buzzing around. They landed on the patio and seemed to be studying their lost kingdom for posterity. I sat fascinated while watching them. It was both sad and mesmerizing to observe them checking out the aftermath of destruction, and I began to wonder what these bees were thinking. Was I a mass murderer of bees? Bees who’ve only helped sustain mankind throughout history? It depressed me as I sat there, and I felt like a character out of a John Cheever novel.

it’s a scene that stayed with me and I vowed to use in one of my novels. So I wrote it down. I wrote down the discussions I had with my wife. What I was thinking. The unique pain of a bee sting on my stomach and ankle. A man alone on his patio, thinking about life and death, his family scattered in one place or another, thinking about his life in relation to these poor bees doing reconnaissance of their bygone civilization, forever separated from their revered queen. Now these surviving bees had nothing. No leader. No home or hive. No where to go except to study the remains of their once vibrant, honeycombed community.IMG_0814

And all because of me. Or maybe because of my laziness in not cleaning that wood pile in the first place. It made me reflect on nature, life and, especially, death.

i thought of Muhammad Ali’s quote again. How fitting the bee sting is for fiction. A writer leaves his stinger in every story before dying a slow death. Good writing requires subtly and an even hand, and yet at the same time the writer needs to strike bodly when the scene calls for it. Thus when penning a novel, the writer must know when to “float like a butterfly” and then “sting like a bee” to jar the reader.

The bee colony must live on.

it will in my fiction. Maybe in my next novel so if you see a bee flying out of one of my books you’ll know the full story.

 

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When You Try, But Only a Little

Dorothy Cannell: Last Saturday evening my husband, Julian, and I attended our Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 11.13.11 AMneighborhood’s monthly pot luck.  The host provides the entrée and everyone else brings a side dish.  Usually I feel morally obliged to put my best foot forward with a salad (Julian always votes for Waldorf), vegie casserole, or fancy dessert. But this time I was spending the day with my granddaughter, Hope – a few hours of cleaning the house followed by an outing to Dairy Queen, and so decided to half-inch that foot forward.  A few moments of reflection brought to mind a recipe, if you can elevate it that high, given to me at another potluck several years ago.  Its virtue is that even given my hopscotch memory I didn’t have to write it down.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 11.10.32 AMTake one jar of salsa, combine with one can drained and rinsed black beans, add chopped herbs – basil, cilantro, parsley, chives, or whatever strikes your fancy in whatever amounts appeal.  Chill if you have time.  Serve in a dish surrounded by corn chips and pat yourself on the back.  At potlucks few people know what you brought anyway, but this turned out to be a hit as it had been when I first tasted it.

Julian, my personal grocery shopper, said he had bought one of the better brands of Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 11.11.45 AMsalsa; from the hesitancy of his manner I think he risked being slapped on the hand for extravagance.  I was however, moved to give the nod of approval.   For those who have not read Peg Bracken’s I Hate to Cook Book and its Appendix you have missed a treat.  Her premise is that whatever you cook or prepare should look and taste as though you have tried harder than you really have.  That more expensive Salsa gave me a virtuous feeling that set me up for the whole evening, as if spending four hours on a seventeen-layer French torte from one of the footstool-sized cook books would have done.

Happy reading

Dorothy

Posted in Dorothy's Posts, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The writing process: Don’t try this at home, kids

Katahdin sunset

Katahdin and friends at sunset from Route 11 in Stacyville. Busy doesn’t mean blind, after all.

My Crime Writer colleague Brendan Rielly a week ago confessed he’d been too busy to write. I was relieved. Misery sure does love company.

And I know the rule of writing is that YOU MUST FIND TIME TO WRITE NO MATTER WHAT.  Especially when you’re in the middle of a book that should have been done a while ago. And I totally agree with that, but when every minute of your day is pretty much filled up with things you have to do, it’s not gonna happen.

Side note: I posted the above photo just because I like it. I had to interview a couple in Millinocket for an article I was writing freelance, and one of them mentioned this view, which I was familiar with. As I left to go home, I was thinking about that great view, and realized maybe I could get it at sunset — it would mean adding another hour onto a long drive, but you gotta do what you gotta do. So I raced the sun up Route 11 and got there just in time. I don’t regret it. Busy has its limits.

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, too busy to write. I’m not complaining, just explaining.

Part of the issue is the writing process itself. I’ve known writers who can steal a half hour here or forty-five minutes there and get a lot done. On one hand, I can sit down and whip out 5,000 words in ninety minutes. But I can’t stop, so lots of times I don’t start.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have writer’s block. When I’m in the middle of a book and it’s going well, it’s going on in my head all the time, whether I have the time to sit down and deal with it or not.

I saw a car drive down the street in front of the house the other day and thought it was a character from my book. But then I remembered he doesn’t really exist.

The problem with the book going on in my head — besides blurring the lines of reality — is that I come up with VERY IMPORTANT plot notes, dialogue, scenes, lines, that I don’t want to forget. I have notebooks everywhere so I can jot them down. I probably  have the whole book on legal pads scattered around my room and car.

Oh yeah, and my phone.

When it’s three in the morning and I don’t want to go through the huge ordeal of turning on the light (it’s not one, just seems that way at three in the morning), I grab the phone and use the note app.

Unfortunately, sometimes this is the result:

FullSizeRender (33)

I’m really hoping when I sit down to write and get back to that scene — if I can remember what scene it is — it all starts making sense to me, because whatever that brilliant idea was the other night doesn’t make any sense now.

And if any of you other Maine Crime Writers can figure it out, don’t steal it!

38944_1545079435871_4987412_nThe good news is that next week I’m renting a friend’s camp on a very quiet lake in a very quiet place and I’m going to do nothing but work on my book. Some people may crave a Disneyworld vacation, or a whirlwind trip to Cancun. Maybe shopping and shows in New York. Not me, I can’t think of any thing I’d rather do.

No cabin or did, no doubt about it! Blackberry indeed.

 

 

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To Market, To Market . . .

Death Warmed Over & Led Astray bookmark.pngKate Flora here, with a blog about marketing. Hang on, though, because I’m not really trying to sell you something. I’m just babbling a bit today about the trials of being graphically challenged. It began long ago. I couldn’t color within the lines or cut on a straight line. Still can’t. Being able to stray outside the lines in probably a good attribute for a writer, yes? But we live in those times when much of marketing, and the production of promotional materials, falls on the writer.

Even the challenged writer,.

Well, anyway, this past week, realizing that I had two books out I’d Death Warmed Over & Led Astray bookmark-2done little promotion for, and another co-written project coming next month, and I’d signed up for a number of book-related events this fall, I decided to try my hand at designing.

Have I mentioned, perhaps in past blogs, that I believe it is good for writers to try to do things that challenge them? Well, I mean writing a male character or a cop, or trying out a noir/fantasy crime story. I didn’t mean trying to create bookmarks; however, I already have written a middle-aged male cop and that noir/fantasy crime story. What I needed were bookmarks, and a poster, and postcards, and more bookmarks, and a giveaway for those events that take place at craft fairs.

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 12.11.49 PMSo off to the internet I went. Some hours later, I emerged from my first battle with Canva with a simple design to put on lovely reusable shopping bags that fold into a pouch and store in your purse. (Man purses included, of course. Also backpacks, totes, coat pockets, or wherever YOU might want to store a reusable tote.) This is the result. In the fullness of time, perhaps the UPS man will bring a large box of these, and if you are the lucky person who leaves a comment admiring them, coveting them, or being kind and encouraging about my feeble attempts at graphics, you will be the first person to own one.

Shots Fired bookmarkThe internet was not done with me. Then it was on to bookmarks. Being a thrifty Yankee, I wanted a bookmark that would do double duty, so I put one book on one side, and the second book on the other. When I bravely sent them off to MirPrint, my printer of choice, they told me that a) I needed a bleed on the darn thing (and no, they did not mean, since I am a crime writer and generally anxious persons, that I should drip blood on the sample); and b) that the color was wrong and needed to by different. (They used a term not in my writerly vocabulary.) I pleaded ignorance, and general Luddite-hood, resent with the bleed, and they kindly fixed the color. Of course, I have no idea what I’m getting.

On to the poster, and bookmark for the October book, where I got utterly stymied by which quotes to use, which font to choose, and when I had finally muddled through, discovered that I had used the wrong version of the cover.

 

 

 

And then some Moo business cards with my book covers on the back.hello@kateschmidt.com • +1 718 889 0921 • Brooklyn, NYwww.kateschmidt.com-4

 

 

 

 

All of this reminds me why others are graphic designers, while I tend more toward graphic violence.

Now I am heading back to the WIP, where I am on page 206 and have no idea what happens next.

Posted in Kate's Posts, Uncategorized | 6 Comments