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Saturday, May 7, 2022

#WeWriWa ~ The Case of the Wedding Wrecker: What a Nice Young Man


Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and those who are like mothers to us.

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, where writers share snippets from their work-in-progress or new release. Thank you to everyone who stopped by last week. 

I'm sharing snippets from the 4th Alex O'Hara cozy mystery, The Case of the Wedding Wrecker. If you haven't read the previous Alex O'Hara mysteries, I should point out it takes place in West Michigan, along the Lake Michigan shore. The Dutch settled in Michigan starting in the 1830s, most heavily on the west side of the state. My Dutch relatives settled in the area north of Detroit. I had fun using family names for some of my characters.

This snippet immediately follows last week's. It ended with Todd's mother saying, “There’s a witness.”

BTW, since this is a work in progress, suggestions are always welcome.


Wait. A witness?

A commotion at the entrance made me turn around. Pieter and Hans Bogardus walked in. Rather, Pieter shuffled, using a cane. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of weeks. His usual spry step was gone, replaced by a halting gate. He appeared almost gaunt, his normally sharp blue eyes clouded. Hans held his arm then helped him sit in the wooden chair next to the dispatch desk before approaching us.

“Frank, Tony, Maria, Lexie.” He nodded to each of us, shaking hands with Pop, Tony, and Maria.

And a bit more . . . 

I’d grown up playing at the Pops’ office, next door to his dad’s law office. He’d gone off to college then law school while I was still the kid in pigtails. I guess he didn’t know I’d changed my name.

Hans clasped my hand with both of his. “I should’ve said Alex. Dad talks about you all the time. How are you holding up?”

I shrugged. Everything was catching up with me. Nick’s arrest. Todd’s worry about his mother. Her accusations. I needed to talk to Nick. I knew he couldn’t have killed Mike Amerson. But I needed to hear him deny it.

“I have to talk to Nick,” I told Hans.

“Is there an office I can use to talk to my clients?” he asked Jenny.

She ushered us around the corner into a bare room. The sign on the door said, “Interview Room.” Hah. Interrogation Room was more like it. She and Hans grabbed chairs to add to the three already in the room. Belatedly, Pop and Tony helped.

After everyone was seated, Hans said, “Tell me what you know.” He looked to me to start.

“Not much of anything,” I said. “Dawg—Deputy Dawson arrested Nick at the altar, in front of God and everybody and hauled him off in handcuffs.” Tears streamed down my cheeks, and my throat closed up. I knew if I talked any more, I’d blubber. Damn it.

Maria put her arm around my shoulders and handed me a tissue.

Hans looked at Tony. “Pardon my attire.” He indicated his denim overalls over a white T-shirt. “I was working in the yard when you called my dad. He said Nick was arrested for murder?”

Tony nodded. “That’s as much as we know. The deputy out front, the one who brought us in here—Jenny—she won’t talk. Says she can’t.”

“All right. You all wait here. I’ll find Chief Hoesen.”

As soon as he left, Maria said, “What a nice young man.”

“I’d rather have Pieter,” Tony groused. “Look at him. Couldn’t even change his clothes.”

 Be sure to check out the other WeWriWa authors. Stay safe and have a great week.


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

#IWSG: Best & Worst Times

 First, Happy Star Wars Day! (May the 4th Be With You.)

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. We are rockin' the neurotic writing world!

The awesome co-hosts for the May 4 posting of the IWSG are Kim Elliott, Melissa Maygrove, Chemist Ken, Lee Lowery, and Nancy Gideon!

Today's (always optional) question: It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

Boy, oh boy, have I had lots of the latter. To be honest, I've had some good times, too. I'm going to start with the lows so I can end on the highs. 

The worse times were the countless rejections. Back in the day (1990s), you printed out your submission and mailed it to the publisher then haunted the mailbox for the reply (in the SASE you included with your submission). I never wanted to see those. Sometimes, they came with a real letter (not a poorly copied form) saying this isn't what they're looking for. Or, they just bought something too similar. The best part was when the editor added a little note of encouragement. Even better when she asked to see something else.

The worst times came when close relatives (my mother, MIL, and beloved aunt) became very ill, plus I worked in a hostile environment and couldn't quit because of the heath benefits. I stopped writing. That was in the mid-2000s, then repeated nearly 20 years later (except for the job situation) with Hubs. So, twice my life turned ugly and I couldn't write. Truly, the worst of times.

The best times overshadowed the worst.

First best time was when Switched was accepted by a publisher, who said she laughed so hard at certain places in the book she fell out of bed. 

Another best time was when I returned to writing (early 2010s). I decided to forget writing for a publisher and write for fun. How liberating! Then I discovered indie publishing. And saw actual money for my hard work.

Gradually, I'm finding my way back from the second cessation of writing. Thanks to the encouragement of so many friends--many of them right here at IWSG. Thanks, too, to the kick in the pants from real world friends, like Nancy Gideon, whose leg must be getting tired by now. (Keep on kicking, girl. I need it.)

Probably the very best is encountering so many writing friends here online and in the real world. It was with sadness this year that I left Romance Writers of America after nearly 30 years. Not because the national organization meant so much but because I had to leave our local chapter. Those wonderful people were my first cheering section, fellow writers who cared for and about each other. But thanks to the miracle of technology, I can keep in touch with them. This group has been like that in many ways. You share the good times and the bad ones, congratulating each other and offering support. Thank you!

Hope you have a great month!!! Ya think Spring is finally here?

Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.