A murder of crows. I’d forgotten about that classification for a group of crows until standing under a tree in the Houston Zoo with my grandson, waiting for a Texas-size rain eruption (big, but fast) to conclude. The sign across from us said “murder” and naturally caught my eye. I’m sure there were signs elsewhere saying “peace,” “harmony,” and “love” but in my state (of mind, not Texas) all I saw was—here it comes—murder is everywhere.
I’d picked up a horrendous head cold from my grandchildren for which I don’t blame them a bit. Despite clear and present runny-noses-warnings I couldn’t help but hug, squeeze, and smooch them. I challenge any papou to resist a three- and five-year old tag team of les adorables grandchildren (a bit of Greek and French in keeping with the international nature of MIE).
Now, I sit at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (named after the father, not the son) waiting to test the efficacy of all the decongestants I’m on, my mind in a total haze. If I were in Colorado the locals might think I was high (taking advantage of its recent legalization of marijuana). Here, they just think I’m a Democrat.
I should show them my ticket. It has me flying to Salt Lake City. Romneyland. But only to change planes, then it’s off to spread cold germs to my brother and his family in Palm Springs.
This is my last swing west before heading back to Mykonos at the end of April after my daughter adds another grandchild to the mix. YAY. Buy Kleenex stock.
Usually I’m on book tour at this time of year, but as my last book came out in June (Target: Tinos) and the new one won’t be out until September (Mykonos After Midnight), I’m just wandering aimlessly around the country bothering family along the way.
Next year will be different. I have a teaching gig in January. As I wrote about in detail earlier this week on the blogsite of my publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, I accepted an invitation from the President of my alma mater to teach a full credit course on any writing subject of my choice.
|Washington & Jefferson College|
My goal is to explore the Four Stages in the development of a mystery novelist: Wanting, Struggling, Attaining, and Enduring, in the hope of helping at least a few published, non-published, and aspiring writers reach their own conclusions on how best to shape their writing lives. It’s about what to expect and where to find your highs among all the lows along the way to attaining the measure of success you’ve set for yourself.
I’m still working on the course outline, and though it won’t be a purely creative writing or survey course—too many good ones already out there—it’s still important to present an overview of the history of our genre, and in that regard I need your help.
What I’m looking for is a book that addresses the defining mysteries, ones students should at least be aware of in advance of the course. I know that Declan Burke and John Connolly have a new book out there (Edgar nominated, Books To Die For) but aside from their effort, do any others come to mind?
It’s now time to board the plane and carry my haze on to the land of Cal-i-forn-i-a…where one in my state should blend right in.