Thursday, June 28, 2018

Relearning an Old Skill

The saying goes that you never forget how to ride a bicycle. Not so for all skills. I’ve had two experiences in the last six months with relearning old skills.

The first case: tennis. I played competitive tennis as a kid and in college. As I aged and my joints began to suffer from arthritis, I gave up tennis to play similar sports on smaller courts, first platform tennis and most recently pickleball. I learned to play these sports, but I didn’t return to tennis. Recently, I went out to hit some tennis balls with a neighbor. The court seemed huge and the longer racquet presented problems for me. I improved a little over an hour’s time, but realized my skill level was abysmal. To regain a reasonable skill level I would have to really practice.

The second example: juggling. Thirty-five years ago I taught myself to juggle. I got fairly proficient, but then life intervened, and I didn’t continue. Recently, I decided to see if I could still juggle. The answer was a swift, no. Since then I have been practicing. I have been making very slow progress. The muscle memory isn’t there, and I have to revive it. With aging, my timing isn’t what it used to be and I get tired. Still, I’m going to stick with it. I have to see if I can get good enough to entertain my almost three-year-old grandson.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Author Presentations

Having now been a published novelist for eleven years, I enjoy giving presentations about writing and mystery novels. This wasn’t always the case. As a child, I was shy and even as an adult always placed on the introvert side of the introvert/extrovert scale.

Now I welcome the opportunity to interact with audiences. My presentations include humor as do my books. The question and answer section at the end of the talk is always enjoyable to find what’s on people’s minds and to craft meaningful answers.

I develop a new presentation whenever one of my books is released. My current presentation discusses starting to write late in life and writing about older characters, in conjunction with my latest mystery novel, Death of a Scam Artist.

I’m already collecting ideas for my next presentation, which I will give after my next mystery about a professional organizer, Unstuff Your Stuff, is published in October, 2018.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Writing Short Stories

When I began writing in 2001, I started with short stories. Then I bridged into novels, but I still occasionally write short stories. I’ve had a few published in anthologies along the way, but my main focus has been longer manuscripts.

For a mystery writer there are a number of excellent sources for publishing short stories. These include magazines such as Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Other good sources are anthologies including those published by Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Voting in California’s Open Primary

I had an opportunity to vote for the first time since returning to California in an open primary. In this process, you vote for a candidate in a particular race, and candidates from all parties are lumped together. The top two then go on to the general election in November. The implication is that it’s possible that in November you could be deciding between two Democrats or two Republicans rather than one from each party as results from more traditional primaries.

The other implication in this particular primary was the large number of candidates to decide between. Twenty-seven candidates ran for Governor and thirty-two for US Senator.

It was an interesting experience, but I haven’t decided if this is better or worse than the more traditional approach. What do you think?