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Finishing Your Sentence…..

Of course some of the most profound words are often spoken and written by other writers.  Some times it overwhelms me. Other times I just have to share them or obliteration of all my coherent thoughts will dissipate into thin air.  That is just one of the curses of being a writer.  We are compelled to document even the most inciting incident.  Today is one of those mornings.

My inbox brought a prolific seed of wisdom via literary agent Rachael Gardner.   Ms.  Gardner’s blog posted the article below on her blog. I am sharing it with you. Please visit her  website, Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent.   You won’t regret it.  Thank me later, enjoy.

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 09:33 PM PDT

Behind every great novelist - grant snider

Ms Gardner wrote, I saw this comic on Facebook (thanks Sandie!) and found that it came from “Incidental Comics,” the website of Grant Snider. Grant has this to say about it:

“This illustration appears in the New York Times Book Review alongside a review by Christopher Benfey of John Sutherland’s “Lives of the Novelists.” Sutherland’s book profiles a long list of notable writers and the personal events that may or may not have influenced their creative output. I tried to distill the typical experience of a literary icon into nine small panels. I’m certain that many of our great writers have worked in a coal mine and owned a small poodle.”

So my question for you today is, how do you complete the sentence?

Behind every great writer is…

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Tainted Body Parts In Bluegrass Lake

dafletcher55@twitter.com; D. a. Fletcher.com; facebook.com/D. a. Fletcher.54/dfletcher@f3wsinc.com

Excerpt

It didn’t take long for Unc to come to terms with the LMPD response team. One savvy lady and men accompanying her just responded as to Unc as if he was still on the job. That gave me at least five minutes; if used wisely to make some progress in the context of my plans. It proved more challenging to pin my client down on why he needed me to extend my stay. Six calls in two days weren’t enough to stir Sanguine. He was determined to employ me on his terms. My determination never waned. On the seventh call my efforts paid off.

“Mr. Wright, we’ve been missing each other by a nose.”
His tone told me that nothing would be accomplished in this conversation.

“I trust my fair city has been treating you well. Things will be more amenable now that most of the tourists are making their way home. All the lights and glamour have been put away for next year.”

Next year’s Kentucky Derby could not be further away in my thoughts. Sanguine’s words were rolling past my ears into rolling Bluegrass landscape somewhere among the Appalachian Mountains. The implication of Sanguine’s words completely escaped me. Unc’s needs were the most pressing thing in my forethought. My employer knew only the diehard revelers were strangling behind going to the track. My name wasn’t going to be on the list. There wasn’t a visible threat to him or his company from my seat. Nothing warranted me gouging a client’s bill by hanging around or wasting anyone’s time. Mint Juleps, OTF, and Kingfish could only go so far. Wading through Bluegrass and my clubhouse seats at the track were beginning to take its toll. Any other time cash would be fine. There was never going to be too much cash for my retirement fund since I decided to include Unc in my plans.

He had done his bit to take care of others. Now I was going to give him the retirement he deserved. It was going to be a challenge to pull him away from is bluegrass and bourbon. All those who could relate were busying themselves with matters they felt more important. By default I was strapping on an apron and anything else required getting the job done. Somebody is always left behind to do the hard part.

It wasn’t fair that his latest fishing trip thrusts him back to the dark side of memory lane. Two things were apparent. Number one, enough time had passed for the butcher who severed this limb to make a clean get away. The second is that Unc’s angling skills had little to do with its condition. Someone had made sure that identification would be difficult. He also enjoyed his work.

The adipocerous condition of Unc’s catch reminded me of a pot roast that had been cooked too long. The top layers of the skin had macerated. The fatty layers underneath was slimy as old soap. Oddly, the bone still was surrounded by flesh. Guess farm raised catfish are picky about their dinner. It was hard to tell how long this pound of flesh had been fish bait. The limb appeared to be severed after death. It’s a good thing too.

Algae and moss would have taken root. Years could have passed if the part was discarded near the time of death. None of us would be certain until forensics did they bit. A dismembered limb didn’t prompt many conjectures. Silence draped our disgust. Our death pale pallor at the crime scene had confirmed that we all were recovering from the shock.

Relics of decomposing bodies and stench filled rooms had faded from Unc’s life. This butcher had spoiled all of that. Everyone in sight was stricken by the sight. Proud, his mind wouldn’t rest if his actions were responsible for contaminating anything. Unc had done nothing wrong. There was no reason for him to remember the decomp power of water and lake vegetation on a body. He managed to surprise all of us.

“Officer, bodies that are disposed of in water are often said to decay twice as slowly as when

the body is exposed to air. This is probably largely due to the lower temperature.”

Unc step back and took a breath giving the uniforms time to adjust to his observations. Unc seem to need acknowledgement for his contributions. Time had allowed Unc to become reasonable in his expectations. Those who served under him in the past would tell you otherwise.

“Sir, what about the rate declines?”

The air seemed to swell with knowledge. Everybody was a forensic expert but none of them were the coroner.

“The depth of immersion might be a factor because of the progressively lower temperatures

and oxygen levels”, mumble Unc.

This officer was smart. He knew better to than to allow his emotions to challenge his seniors. Today his physical prowess probably got the better of him. This uniform was respectful but adamant about showing his intellect. He stepped in at least two steps towards Unc shifting his torso in my direction before responding.

Sir, do have you any thoughts on decomposition rates? You must see saltwater burials all the time in Florida. The salt must speed things up don’t you think?”

Junior office wasn’t smart enough to figure out that my dog wasn’t in this fight. He wouldn’t get a response from me. The coroner didn’t need any help from this party. A Coroner wouldn’t overlook the fact that a dismembered body part meant different benchmarks for TOD. Junior office took my silence as permission to continue his bravado.

“Our lakes aren’t as deep but the decay is notable. All that Atlantic Ocean is convenient for disposal of evidence and the sort. It kinda’ pushes things back a bit. Bodies tend decay more slowly in the sea than they do our lakes.”

Unc wasn’t going to be outdone. He did the one thing that allowed everybody to save face. He answered his cell phone. Unc stepped in closer making sure the officers understood that he was in control of his facilities in spite of his retirement status. He wanted them to know this call was a deal breaker for somebody. No one had any idea of whose deal was at stake.

“Yes, we’re stirring up work for you on a Sunday morning. We’re doing you a favor. You know you will do anything to get out of Founder’s Day service. Unc paused for three beats. “We’ll just see about that when you get here.”

The opportunity for him to continue his spill about freshwater containing fewer marine micros – organisms was put on the back burner. Unc had rightfully established himself for his perceived rewards. Chiding the powers that be was his second favorite pastime. It gave me more time to think about how to maneuver Unc’s departure. My need to return home was escalating.

Make no mistake; Unc wasn’t one of my setbacks. He was the mainstay of my conscience. Relationships confirmed your humanity when you bleed blue. Unc was the only thing motivating me to hang around. My thoughts trailed back to Sanguine’s words.

“Mr. Wright, we’ve heard about your unfortunate morning.”

Sanguine continued crafting his own drama and invitations. Everything was veiled with implications of business but nothing rang true to form about his propositions. He made no mention of my expenses or my discoveries. He rambled on about security and corporate training. Sanguine stopped short after confirming my appointment at his corporate campus.”

“Nine o’clock will be fine Mr. Sanguine. I’ll be sure to note anything out-of-order. Are cards the tool of entry?”

“No, Wright why do you ask?”

Sanguine didn’t even draw a breath to let me answer.

“Well Mr. Wright that will have to be something we discuss face-to-face. How about you and your uncle come to Lexington for a visit to the ranch? You’re a little early for the Kentucky-Louisville game. This year it’s played in Louisville this September. Louisville will host the game at the YUM KFC stadium. The corporate jet can fly you up. So horses are all I can offer your uncle in the way of entertainment. There are plenty of night spots for a man with your taste.”

Sanguine had reviewed my charges. He noticed my silence.

“Wright, guess you’re not football fans.

“Gators and Hurricanes get my blood running. I’ll mention it to Unc.”

“Well, at least the visit will give you a chance to see the state as it should be seen. “It will also give us time to have a meeting of the minds, so to speak.”

His words heightened my paranoia. There was no reason for Sanguine to know anything about Unc.

“If you know about my uncle, you know this isn’t a good time for a trip. A man who lives stones away from a track might not want to see more horses.”

The background voices told me that Sanguine wasn’t prepared to take no for an answer either. Sanguine was giving orders as if he was making preparations for entertaining house guests.

“Wright, that’s just it. Men used to horses and bourbon can’t get it out of their blood. A trip to a breeding ranch will flush out the cobwebs. The ride will do things for him that you and I won’t be able to understand. Sanguine accommodated a staff interruption again.

It was clear he wanted to make sure that we are on his list. He even tried to remain sincere when he returned his attention by to our conversation.

“The bond my father and uncles shared with this land was something I never understood. I’ll wager this trip will do the same for your uncle.”

Sanguine could be quite convincing. Listening to him had me almost convinced that he knew men like Unc. He was right. Unc needed something. It probably couldn’t hurt for him to see more of the countryside. The whole state had been his stomping grounds. Sanguine seemed to have a handle on that. Maybe the trip could offer a way to ease Unc into seeing his way to take a longer trip. Sanguine’s words faded behind sounds in my own room. The hotel phone blared in my right ear. Then a knock on the door blared in my left ear. Both of them would have to wait. Trust him or not, Sanguine deserved the attention he was paying for. Those sounds continued while my attention returned back to Sanguine.

‘Wright, it really is too bad that your uncle made such a grizzly discover. Let’s not let this mishap during your fishing trip alter anything. Let me make this up to the both of you.”

Our call ended on the same note it began. No answers and mounting issues. This return to the Midwest was proving to be more of a challenge every day. Nothing in Sanguine’s voice told me he was worried about running up a tab. Three hundred dollars a day probably was chump change for him. He’d rather lay out the cash than to explain himself. Resolving to relax and collect receipts would take some doing. He was right about one thing. Some things required face-to-face discussions. Insistent knocks on the door announced that someone had just that in mind.

“Detective Wright, Officer Blatt here. Can you please come to the door, sir? We have some questions we need to ask you.”

Officer Blatt was making lots of assumptions. It was Sunday, the day had been a wash, and answering more questions about stray body parts wasn’t appealing. What my body needed was some sand in my boat shoes and sun on my backside. One body and a dismembered body part in Bluegrass Lake will make you wish for better landscape. Officer Blatt arrived at my hotel room door to remind me that any thoughts about returning to Bay City floated away with a tainted body part in Blue Grass Lake.

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The Rebel Princess by Anne M. Strick

The Rebel Princess by Anne M. Strick.

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Cover Reveal: Just for Now (Sea Breeze #4) by Abbi Glines

Cover Reveal: Just for Now (Sea Breeze #4) by Abbi Glines.

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99 cent Thrillers, Chillers and Killers

99 cent Thrillers, Chillers and Killers.

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A Clean Getaway For AL Wright’s Dirty Catch

dafletcher55@twitter.com; D. a. Fletcher.com; facebook.com/D. a. Fletcher.54/ dafletcher0355@gmail.com

 Accepting my client’s invitation to the Kentucky Derby meant bourbon laced trysts in a four star hotel. Bizarre anonymous exchanges among dignitaries boldly enticed the infamous. Cash flowed for services rendered. Conscientiously rendering my craft placed me in the middle of the Down’s murder investigation.  My only weekend goal was to cajole Unc, my fishing partner into going fishing before savoring my childhood biblical seasonings at Sunday morning service. 

 That sort of flavor always marinades underneath your skin until a lapse conduct boils over humble borders of civility. Appropriately charged, there was always someone around gently thumping your head and quoting verses to chastise offenders. Until this morning it wasn’t easy to miss that sort of thing.  Head thumping and verses is always a better catch than the mutilated body part dangling from Unc’s fathom reel. That kind of catch is considered a definite breach of civility.  The head thumping and verses weren’t needed. Unc’s spirit didn’t need any chastising. His slumped posture on the bench shouted his story. The memory of this morning would be enough penalties for the remainder of his life.  

 “What the . . . ? Who or what would do such a thing? Son, what are we gotten our selves into? Call somebody on that gadget of yours.”

Instinct told me there won’t be any future fishing trips anytime soon. Distance and time had fooled me into over looking how much time had passed for him.  Usually Unc was as spry as they come. He exerted little effort going toe to toe with anybody. There were only two exceptions anyone could recall any different. The first being the day he stood graveside watching my aunt’s body being lowered into her grave.   Today was the second of his two exceptions. His dirty catch had put him at the mercy of time. The kind side of time had allowed Unc to remain slow and steady. While it’s ravaging cousin had robbed Unc of his perceptions of protocol. 

Lately, Unc seemed to lose a lot in that regard.  Unc usually took full advantage of every courtesy that age had to offer. Now Unc prideful and shaken Unc’s valiantly concealed his turmoil. Barking orders was his only way of coping with his catch.

“What’s the matter with these guys? All this waiting around is for backwoods operations and the feeble-minded? Just get in the water.”

It was clear that Unc hadn’t forgotten how to bark orders.  It was also apparent these guys knew how to take them. Yes sirs continued to echo in unison. The air permeated with officers’ Midwestern sentiment and traditions. It reminded me of the lost part of my career. Unc barked loud enough to spook all of Kentucky’s Cardinals out of trees

“Officer, do you have an ETA for Rescue?”

 “Sir, yes sir. I’ll be right back with that information.”

They had accepted Unc as one of their own.  Those who didn’t just mingled out of his way looking busy until the Louisville Metro Police Department dive team and Jefferson County Water Rescue Units went into action.  It was impressive watching most of those uniforms giving Unc their acknowledgements.  Outside of that manners and respect for the departing generation sometimes dissipated among cultures, neighborhoods, and titles. It was a social flaw that often became more contaminated in the hustle of life. It was no different in my part of northeast Florida. That sort of thing was expected living in a tourist town. It would never be tolerated here.               

Brethren in Blue always held their own with esteem. Their cadence movement continued to placate Unc the rest of the morning.

  “Son, I realize that none of the first responders had any obligation to acknowledge a retired  officer’s bellowing. They did so out of respect.  It‘s a courtesy not extended to outsiders. I just lost     myself. I’m alright now.”

 More weight lifted. We both knew that me having to intervene on Unc’s behalf was not going to make life here any easier.  The presence of blue always meant the presence of boundaries. Those were the same boundaries I needed to cross for my client. There was no reason for Unc to know. Giving Unc free rein gave made me privy to what is off-limits to outsiders.

“Son, what’s taking them so long? In my day these…”

 “It’s good to see you again Detective Wright.” Officer Short Straw has his priorities straight.  He dismissed my presence immediately acknowledging Unc.

 “Good morning sir. Understand you’ve taken in quiet a bit. What do you have for me?”

Officer Short Straw was a great save. Unc’s distractions would only go so far with this crowd. There was no use in making more enemies.  Smooth as silk, Short Straw immersed himself into the fray.

Short Straw used his agility to corral Unc away leaving me behind to examine the crime scene. Short Straw had earned another star in my book. Unc was busy, LMPD was unfettered by Unc, and JCWR was in my line of sight. Divers and sonar equipment were under water.

 Uniforms present just assumed my presence was needed until they were told otherwise. That should give me about five minutes to look around. It took much longer. The signal came about an hour later after a suit type showed up.  He nodded in my direction and headed straight to the OC. He was the same suit attached to my client at the Downs scene.  

The response to his order wasn’t immediate.  The delay gave me time to see the first diver hit the surface empty-handed.  That’s all that was needed for the sonar hit the water.  A polite officer walked me to the area outside the perimeter where Unc sat drinking his morning brew. The officer shook my hand discretely palming a card from the Jefferson County the coroner’s office. Knowing Unc wasn’t the only one outside of protocol this morning brought momentary relief.  It quickly left at the flip of a government business card. Letters on the card made hairs on my neck rise and fall. It became very clear that my return home would have to wait. S-A-N-G-U-I-N-E the name spelled on the card was the same name given to me by someone sipping Mojitos on Bay City Beach less than seventy-two hours ago.

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Sprinkle Shoots The Works On Writing Mysteries

Excerpts taken from: facebook/patricia.sprinkle/linkedin.com/pub/patricia-sprinkle/thoroughlysouthern@earthlink.net/

Patricia Sprinkle

Florida Chapter of Sisters In Crime (FLSinC)welcomes Patricia Sprinkle as the key speaker for FLSinC’s annual workshop on August 4th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Arlington Congregational Church 431 University Blvd. North; Jacksonville, Florida. The workshop is open to the public. Non members will receive a 2013 FLSinC membership and admission for their $20 donation. 

Sprinkle will be presenting her workshop Tips On How To Write A Mystery. Sprinkle’s her roots lie deep in southern soil and form the background for her work. Since 1988 she has written 30 southern mysteries and four southern novels that depict small towns and Southern cities where the Old South struggles to blend the feel of the Old South with newcomer cultures.

Hold Up the Sky (2010) was a Southern Independent Booksellers OKRA pick. Her latest novel is Friday’s Daughter, set in a small college town in the North Georgia Mountains. She is also author of  The Family Tree Mysteries.  When not writing, Sprinkle likes to read, snorkel, and work with growing plants and growing children.   

Praise for Patricia Sprinkle’s novels:

Sprinkle has a gift for developing a full, rich world.” – Publisher’s Weekly

Sprinkle entertains and enchants her readers. Her characters are so real you’ll find yourself believing you grew up with them.”  – Christian Retailing

Sprinkle has a real eye for regional culture and traditions. . . . She tackles weighty subject matter with a steady hand and a reassuring touch.” – Atlanta Journal Constitution

Sprinkle’s characters are fantastic, her Southern settings shine, and her stories always mesmerize.”  – Roundtable Reviews

FLSinC Gets Sprinkle. Visit http://floridasistersincrime.com or www.patriciasprinkle.com for additional information.