Tag Archives: The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parson’s Ridge

From All Quarters… and Alice!

Life does indeed go on, even though it doesn’t look like it from the truly sporadic nature of my blog posts. (I like this definition of sporadic:  “Appearing in scattered or isolated instances, as  a disease.”)

Anyway, I hope my blog doesn’t strike you as a disease… ha ha

In an unfortunate segue, Fluffy is still hanging in there (see post below). She is actually doing better (which is a surprisingly subjective term when used to describe advanced cancer). She is thin as a rail and sleeps most of the time, but while awake, she is in happy spirits and even still a little feisty when encountering any of the other cats. I don’t think they have any conception that she’s dying. and in true “wild life” fashion, if they do know, I don’t think they care. That said, though, we are still a happy household, and I am always incredibly grateful each morning when I awaken and find her still alive beside me in the bed. Right off the bat, that makes it a good day. (Also a surprisingly subjective term. My use of the term “a good day” has truly narrow requirements these days.)

My stepmom, whom I adore, is also dying. It is getting near the end. She has struggled with MS for many years; the last 6 of which she’s been in a nursing home. She has always been an incredible optimist, always had the most inspiring outlook on life, always so uplifting to be around, even all these years that she’s been confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home. But now her pain levels are off the charts and she’s on morphine, which signals the beginning of the end, however, “the end” is a surprisingly subjective term when it is forecasting what morphine will trigger in terminal illness…

I will miss her so much. Not only is she a wonderful, charming, warm, and generous Italian woman, but she has also made my Dad really happy while they’ve been together. And for whatever reasons, the words “happy” and my “Dad” were not usually words that appeared close together in a sentence for most of the decades I’ve known him.

On the writing front… I got word from the producer in LA last night, that he is sending the final edits (for The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge) to me in the mail TODAY. I should have them early next week. Today, I’m working on the outline for the first book in the series (the book has the same name).  I decided last night that if I can write at least 3 pages a day, I could complete the book by the end of the summer. (Not always an easy task, since I write, re-write, revise, and edit pretty much every sentence as it comes out of my brain — which is why voice-activated software is useless for me, but also why I usually only need a first draft of any manuscript I write.)

Even though Valerie and I are still working on The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport, we are both dealing right now with cats who have terminal cancer. It has stymied the flow of inspiration for the time being. So we’ll get back to it probably later this summer. Meanwhile, I need something to keep my spirits up, so I decided to work on the first book of The Tea Cozy Murder Club series.

Re: the car accident (see some sort of post below, where a cable TV repair guy totaled my beloved, albeit exceedingly OLD Camry)…his insurance company is being what my lawyer describes as “stingy.” So I am biding my time, it’s been 2 months already. As I wait for an acceptable settlement, I am driving a really lovely, albeit exceedingly OLD, Mercury Sable Premium LS. Wow, do I love it. However, it needs a lot of work. It looks great on the outside, but under the hood, it simply is nowhere near as awesome as my Camry was. But I have to say, every morning when I open my garage and see that sparkling silver luxury sedan from days of yore, I get super excited and say, “I love you!!” And I totally mean it.

So. A holiday weekend is practically upon us. I am busy through the weekend, but on Monday, my cousin and I are going to see Alice Through the Looking Glass !! I cannot wait. We loved the first one so much.

You know…I  was saddened to read that Johnny Depp’s mother had died recently. It always seemed like they were very close. But regarding Amber Heard filing for divorce from Johnny Depp (I guess, now that his mom’s dead)… Well, long-time readers of this lofty blog have probably noticed that I stopped writing about Johnny Depp after his engagement to AH. I did that because my grandmother always told me that if I can’t say something nice about someone then don’t say anything at all.  Well, now I feel like I can say something sort of positive about AH. And that is, the fact that she’s seeking spousal support after 15 months of “marriage” doesn’t surprise me at all. (MEOOOWWWW!! ha ha ha)

Anyway,  I sure hope this means that one day in the foreseeable future, Johnny Depp can go back to being “sort of” happy (and go back to being the incredible actor he was before the nuptials set in). We shall see, gang!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, if you live state-side. If you don’t, just have a great weekend. Thanks for visiting. See ya.

Opens Tomorrow!
Opens Tomorrow! Go see it, gosh darn ya!

Whacked-out April

I’m referring to the month of April being seriously whacky; not to some unknown woman named April who might be whacked-out of her mind somewhere…

Like everyone everywhere, I began the month of April on April 1st — a really lovely spring morning around here. By 8:30 that morning, though, a cable TV repair van ran a red light in the intersection in front of the library that led him directly into the driver’s side of my faithful 19-year-old Camry.

He totaled it.

I prefer to dwell on the fact that I walked away from the crash relatively unscathed, with only a few hours in the ER and 4 and a half days in bed, and will finally get a new car, which I needed anyway.

However, it has not been a fun month. And the release of SomethingDark Issue 3, out of Bristol, England, this month, brought another disturbing thing. While I’m the North American Editor for SomethingDark, this issue is a little late in being released and with its release came the news that writer/colleague/friend/radio host and person I edited in Issue 3, Michael Hemmingson, is dead.

I’m of the opinion that he’s not really dead but is living under an assumed identity with his daughter in some foreign land (i.e., Japan). However, if I must accept that he is really dead, I think he died under seriously questionable circumstances. He “died of a heart attack” in Tijuana, where he coincidentally  had lots of drug cartel enemies…

The whole thing was really disturbing news for me, making me wonder where the heck time flies to because Hemmingson has been dead for over two years already and no one told me! However, the issue of SomethingDark is truly worth waiting for, so check it out at the link above. And if you were long ago scheduled to be in Issue 4, the Japan issue, you will be hearing from me directly!

While researching cars online, trying to figure out what I will end up driving one day really soon (more than likely another Camry, even though I was planning on buying a Jeep Commander when I moved back to New York, but now that the move is indefinitely on hold…). Anyway, I came across this fantastic magazine ad from 1967. My father bought this very same car in 1967 — in red!! The lady in the insane hat did not come with the car, nevertheless, it was a seriously COOL car!! I was in the second grade when he bought the red Wildcat and I was astonished the afternoon he drove it up our driveway in Cleveland. Wow. It had a black leather interior. I had almost forgotten all about it!

Buick Wildcat 1967
Buick Wildcat 1967

So I wanted to share that fun news with you, rather than all the other not fun stuff that’s been going on around here.

Other good news… The producer in L.A. loved my Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge TV movie script. He only wants some very minor revisions, which I’m working on today. Then we shall see!

Meanwhile, as I await the check from the insurance company, I’m planting flowers in my garden and trying to get this property back to what it once was three and a half years ago…before it was scheduled to be demolished.

Hope things have been just as good wherever YOU are! Thanks for visiting, folks. Here’s hoping May is a little easier. I’ll keep you posted. See ya!

zwriter

 

 

 

 

Okay! Progress getting made

Since tomorrow is April 1st, it looks like it’s only been about 2 MONTHS since I last posted anything here (but what a fine and lively post it was! I hope you all listened to that wonderfully fun song! I am still listening to it in my car.) (Not exclusively — I listen to quite a panoply of Frank Sinatra tunes from the 40s & 50s while driving in my 19 (!!!) year-old car…)

Okay.  Many updates occurred while I was absent from the blog.  Some of them traumatizing — for instance, any and all developers and private real estate investors suddenly and without warning dropped all interest in commercializing my specific block on my street here in Gahanna.

This means that after keeping me in limbo for 3 and 1/2 years, telling me they were tearing my house down and re-zoning my block for commercial use, and hence my reasonably-foreseeable-future plans of moving back to New York — all of it came to a grinding halt.

It has something to do with City Hall, taxes, other residents, unhappy voters.  So now I am basically working around the clock to afford all the many, many repairs this poor house needs to make it livable again.

I know that the absolute minute I get it back to being the sweet little dream house it once was, they will knock on my door yet again and tell me they are tearing it down. But you know what? We’ll just have to see what we see. I can’t live in limbo anymore with a house falling down around my ears.

So.

The one-woman musical I’m working on with the actress in New York is basically done. Yay!! I think the premiere will be in Toronto, though, not New York City. I will keep you posted about that. It has something to do with funding from the Canadian Arts Council. But I can tell you, with complete certainty, that it is a GREAT show!! I am so thrilled to be a part of it.

Now she and I have 3 more plays/musicals to write together. I’m guessing that will keep me busy for a huge number of years. (The actress has been working on the above-mentioned one-woman show for maybe 7 years already. Writing, re-writing, workshopping it, performing it — it won an award in Canada already. Then I came on board to help significantly re-write it about 2-3 years ago. These things really do take forever.)

I have also finished writing my TV movie script for The Tea Cozy Murder Club!! It goes off to the producer in L.A. on Friday. He is excited to read it and I am super-duper excited to send it to him! This is an idea I have been developing for about 4 or 5 years. Now, I need to start writing the novels that go along with the TV movies (there is, at the very least, a series of 4.)

The mystery book series I’m writing with my illustrator friend in Brooklyn is still moving forward (The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport). We had to put it on hold, though, momentarily, until I completed the script for my other project because the producer’s assistant emailed me and asked if I was planning to wait on sending it until after the producer retired….

Anyway, so I finally had to stop juggling everything at once, and write one thing at a time. But now we are back to The Miracle Cats. Here’s the latest illustration. It is “Sister Thomasina”:

"Sister THomasina" aka known as Tommy Cakes!
“Sister Thomasina” aka known as Tommy Cakes!

I am also researching and putting notes together for a one-man play I want to write. I will go over more of those details as it goes along. But I’m very excited about it. It is somewhat connected to my ministry, but I won’t say more than that, lest I send you off on a complete tangent that would be wholly inaccurate.

Now that I’m done with school and staring down several years’ worth of paying off student loans… I am now learning Ancient Greek, and re-learning Biblical Hebrew (which I studied as a child, so a lot of that comes back to me). Anyway, learning them both at once is not really so daunting as it might seem because they have similarities. Sort of. Plus, I am strictly doing it on my own time and at my own pace, so it is really invigorating and fun.

I doubt I will ever learn enough Ancient Greek or live long enough to translate the Septuagint on my own, but we can dream, can’t we??? I’m already planning to write my own version of The Jefferson Bible (my minster at church refers to my plans as The Lewis Bible and it may well be that!). And I fully, fully intend to do this and maybe even publish it online! We shall see…

So, that’s it. That’s it. That’s where I’ve been. It is completely, 100% thoroughly safe to say that I am exhausted.  But that’s how it goes sometimes.

Right now, it’s a wonderfully rainy spring morning. The birds are singing outside my window and the many, many cats who live here are planted at the screen door, looking out at the beautiful, wet, singing world. I hope it’s just as peaceful and promising where you’re at today, gang. Thanks for visiting! See ya down the road.

rain

 

 

 

 

I must regale you!

I’m still not clear about how to keep you updated on one of my really fun new ebook projects, since I will be writing it under a pen name that I haven’t chosen yet, but the illustrator will be using her real name… I must ponder that; how to keep you informed without giving everything away. (Methinks it might be too late.)

But in the meantime, I wanted to regale you with some of her sample drawings for the ebook series. (These will be a series of mysteries, where my cats solve the mysteries unbeknownst to the humans around them. The humans think these solved mysteries are ‘miracles’.  The first book in the series is titled The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport.) (But you didn’t hear about it here, because someone under a pen name is writing it…)

Okay, here is Beck, also known as the Right Reverend Daddy O. Cakes:

The Right Reverend Daddy O. Cakes
The Right Reverend Daddy O. Cakes

And here is one of the tabby twins, Sister Frannie McPhee:

Sister Frannie McPhee
Sister Frannie McPhee

(I forgot to mention that all these cats are also secretly in the clergy and live in a mostly abandoned church in an old church graveyard…)

Don’t you think she’s doing an awesome job? These illustrations  actually look just like my cats.

Well, I for one, cannot WAIT to see how this book turns out!! On that note, I must get crackin’ around here and do some more writing. (I’m also halfway through a teleplay/screenplay project for The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parson’s Ridge. I have to keep switching between them. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the two stories straight since they are both mysteries with old ladies and cats in them.) (Luckily, the musical I am working on with Sandra Caldwell in NYC has no murders, no mysteries, no old ladies, and no cats in it. It’s a lot easier to keep that one straight.)

Okay!! So have a great day out there, gang, wherever you are and whatever you’re getting yourselves up to. Thanks for visiting. See ya!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Should I even try to catch you up with what’s happened since I last posted here (2 months ago!!) or simply carry on from today?

I’ll just give you the condensed version:

I finally quit school and that opened up an unbelievabnle amount of time for me to concentrate on my own writing projects.  (This includes learning how to spell ‘unbelievable’.) By my most rudimentary calculations, I’ve written about 210 academic papers on Christianity in the last 3 1/2 years. When I finally quit school and all that academic writing came to a screeching halt, I could not believe how much free time I suddenly had!

I am still working with the actress in NYC on various script projects, although I am still living in Ohio, for now. (A new development company is negotiating to buy my house and tear it down, but the city has to approve their plans first. So this could take either another really long time, or happen overnight. I have given up trying to figure it all out.)

I am working on a series of scripts for women’s TV, based on my cozy mystery story The Tea Cozy Murder Club. I am also still going to be writing the series as stand alone novels. In fact, I am kind of doing it all at the same time. (It wouldn’t be my life if I wasn’t in overdrive.) (I did have one publisher extremely interested in publishing the novels and it was an awesome feeling to see how much they really wanted the series, but I decided to hold out for something different.)

I am also working on a really great series of cozy mystery eBooks that revolve around my many cats, which is being illustrated by my friend in Brooklyn, who also has a ton of rescued cats. She has a daily comic strip about her own little critters, but I’m not sure I can link to it here because I am writing that series under a pen name. Well, once I figure out how to deal with that, I will post a link to her comic strip here.

Since my house is still standing, I decided to break down and buy a new Christmas tree. I had been putting off replacing the old one because I didn’t want to have to pack it up and move it to New York. But since I have no clue now when the move will happen, I bought a new tree and put it up yesterday, so now I have Christmas all over the house again and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been 3 years since I celebrated Christmas in my own home. Yay!!

I don’t know if you were as huge a fan as I was  of the PBS Masterpiece series from earlier this year, Grantchester. I watched each episode about 3 times, and now I am devouring the novels by James Runcie that the series is based on. They are so good. And I have to say, in hindsight, that the script adaptations were really brilliant; they are very much like the novels and yet entirely different. If you only saw the series (which continues on PBS early in 2016), then you should read the books. They are so enjoyable. I am up to the final book in the series:

Sydney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins
Sydney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins

Each of the books is actually dedicated to me, Marilyn. And the fact that his wife is also named Marilyn is only a bizarre coincidence.

Okay, one final declaration of joy before I take the day off and enjoy my Thanksgiving Day with friends downtown…

For literally years I have been searching for a poetry book from my childhood, The Big Golden Book of Poetry: 85 Childhood Favorites.  It was one of my favorite books of all time (aside from my copy of Betty Crocker’s Boys & Girls Cookbook from 1965, which I still have). My mother was not a big saver of books, so my poetry book eventually disappeared. I eventually tracked it down online but the asking prices were more than I could afford.  The prices vary from the 1947, 1949, and 1964 editions — the link is to a great price for the 1947 edition.  1964 editions are the hardest to find at a low price. The prices came down a bit, went up a bit, and a few days ago, I actually found a copy on Etsy that was really affordable so I finally bought it. It arrived yesterday and I simply cannot believe what great shape the book is in. It almost seems like no one ever really owned this copy or ever read it; it seems that ‘untouched.’ (If you read the customer reviews at that link above, you will see that this poetry book had a profound effect on children 50 or more years ago, and now adults everywhere are trying to replace it! Strange, isn’t it?)

Anyway, it is mine once again and it remains a truly wonderful book!

The Big Golden Book of Poetry: 85 Childhood Favorites
The Big Golden Book of Poetry: 85 Childhood Favorites

The illustrations in this book are just great (the cover illustration is from “The Owl and the Pussycat.”). They really fueled my imagination before I had even learned to read. Here are a couple. One from the poem “Moonsong,” and one from “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.”

Moonsong
Moonsong
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Okay, gang, on that lofty note, have a terrific Thanksgiving if you live stateside, and if not, have a wonderful day! See ya!

Bliss and more bliss!

Even though I still work 17 million day jobs, now that I’m out of school, life feels like a veritable daily vacation!

And even though I currently have 4 active writing projects going on right now, yesterday I started writing a new novel! Yay!

It’s a project that I’ve been making notes on for a few years already (The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parson’s Ridge —  a cozy mystery), and I even have a producer in L.A. who is interested in the TV-movie version (which I will write afterwards, when I only have 16 and a 1/2 million day jobs and twenty or so other writing projects in the works… ha ha ha). (However, anyone who knows me, knows, that it so ME! As soon as my plate is cleared of one thing, 17 trillion more projects plop down on top of it!) (An additional “‘however”, however, is that I am gradually getting to that blissful place where my life is just plain simpler: cats, writing, nature, trips to the city, ministry, and someone to love.)

But, anyway!

Yes! Life is so good!! I am sure that 2015 will be a banner year for everyone. I have plans to be very peaceful tonight. A few phone calls to make in order to catch up with some folks, but mostly, I plan on just writing, doing a little yoga, hanging out with the cats. Listening to Ella Fitzgerald while making an awesome dinner for myself! (Yes, I do that, too — I love to cook, even for one, although I prefer two.)

Okay, my blessings go out to all of you to have a wonderful and meaningful time, ringing in 2015, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Thanks for visiting, gang! I’ll see ya in the New Year! [And I leave you with this mighty, mighty piece of bliss!! Enjoy it by candlelight with someone you love… See ya!)