Sandra Neily writing here. My husband tells that I’m trying to do too much. And someone at a library presentation recently asked me how I had time to write. Good question.
I thought I might journal my week, just to investigate the issue. Spoiler alert: my husband’s right. He was right.
Wildlife Research: I researched and gathered new wildlife information to enhance my Deadly Turn manuscript. (To be published in 2019.) Some highlights.
Chickadees: listen closely to a chickadee’s call. One dee indicates there’s no threat, but five dees at the end of the call could indicate that there’s an owl or some other threat.
Pine Martens: Good news for people bemoaning this summer’s squirrel invasion. Pine martens love to dine on them and hunt them ferociously on the ground and in trees.
Moose: Biologists are wondering if the soft skin and blood vessels that grow over and nourish early antler growth might allow moose to echolocate their way through the forest. Somehow the sensitive tissue might return signals that allow bull moose to turn aside from trees and brush that impede their progress. (Early days on that research.)
Cat Sitting: Each day I’m paid to drive down Westport Island to cat sit for a few hours. I can type there when felines are not rubbing on my legs.
Doctor: I had to get antibiotics to cure cat scratches, so no more tummy rubs.
Family Fun with Moose: I went to the Maine Wildlife Park with my daughter and granddaughter. Bobcats and lynx were “big kitties,” coyotes and bears were “big doggies,” and ducks were…”DUCKS!” (It’s still open!)
Dog Walks: Walked Raven and found amazing ferns.
Workouts: I went to the YMCA at least twice. (Lifting weights is good for pre-election drama.)
Kitchen Highlights (of course there was more cooking than this): I made blueberry muffins and two friends asked for my secrets. I sent emails: “add about 2 tablespoons of yogurt to all quick breads, a mashed banana, and a handful of real cranberries as well. (I freeze dead bananas and bags of fresh cranberries.)
Author Time: I wrote each day, even if just a few pages. Some days I made my 1,000-word goal (or more) and did a happy dance in front of the cats. Here are my favorite lines from this week:
Kate slipped off her T-shirt and wiggled into one of her father’s old shirts. “You should change your stinky fish stuff, too, Mum. Bears from far away will come here.”
“I hate clothes,” I said.
“No you don’t.” She tossed me another old Evan shirt that still had beetle parts on it from when I’d cleaned the screens with it. “You just hate shopping. Don’t blame you. And what have they done to jeans making them hang so low women’s middles are squeezed up like ripe fruit?”
Press Release: (Pay attention now.) You are invited to win a basket of signed mystery and thriller books from Maine authors! I wrote a press release to advertise Noir at the Bar. Hope to see you there!
NOIR AT THE BAR: CRIME & MYSTERY WRITERS EVENT & RAFFLE Location: Banded Brewing Co., 32 Maine St. Biddeford When: November 18, 3-5 p.m.
Maine Writers Treat You to a ‘Peeerfect’ Sunday afternoon! Listen to eleven Maine writers share enticing bits of their thrillers and mysteries. Sip craft brews. (Beelzebubbles and Swarm should fit the mood.)
Enter a free raffle and win a large basket of signed authors’ books. (Great for gifts!) Kelly’s Books to Go will also be on hand to sell all authors’ works.
Author Barbara Ross explains the appeal. “We thriller and mystery mystery authors are mild-mannered, lovely people. We help you shovel your driveways and take care of your cats while you’re away. You’d never guess we have a flair for mayhem until we read you a bit of it. We’ve got seaweed-snarled bodies pulled up by fishermen, trees dropped on best friends, a charred corpse under a clambake grate, a world-class assassin who dispatches other assassins—and lots more of that kind of thing.”
Asked why Maine has so many successful and prolific crime and mystery authors, Sandra Neily (who uses the north woods), thinks it’s a combination of ideal settings and a fairly safe environment. “Maine is just chock full of dramatic and varied locations that allow us to pull readers deeply into a story. We also have a reputation as a pretty safe state so perhaps our readers can dive into the literature of what’s not safe … with a kind of curious freedom.”
This year Noir at the Bar has moved its yearly event to Banded Brewing Company in Biddeford. There’s a good view of the brewing tanks, inspired bakery treats (like Buffalo Chicken Croissants), or the opportunity to bring in pizza from Portland Pie, next door.
See you there!
Sandy’s novel, “Deadly Trespass, A Mystery in Maine,” won a Mystery Writers of America award and was a finalist in the Women’s Fiction Writers Association “Rising Star” contest. This year, she’s been nominated for a Maine Literary Award. Find her novel at all Shermans Books and on Amazon. Find more info on the video trailer and Sandy’s website. The second Mystery in Maine, “Deadly Turn,” will be published in 2019.