Tag Archive for: Happy Valentine’s Day

I HEART The Stiletto Gang!

Paula Gail Benson

this lovely month, I have to admit, I adore my Stiletto Gang blogging partners.

a truly delightful group with which to be affiliated!

opportunity to join this blogging band came from two outstanding writers: Linda
Rodriguez, acclaimed mystery author, poet, and writing teacher, and Debra Goldstein,
former judge, award nominated short story writer, and author of several mystery
series, including the new Sarah Blair One
Taste Too Many
. Not only do I respect these wonderful women, but I feel
incredibly lucky to count them among my friends. So many times they have come
through with a word of encouragement to me when it was so needed. And, I love
reading their work!

I was
fortunate enough to room with Debra and Kay Kendall at Killer Nashville the
year Kay’s novel Rainy Day Women (how
could you not love a book with that title?) received two Silver Falchion awards:
(1) best mystery/crime novel (presented by Anne Perry), and (2) best book by an
attending author (presented by conference founder Clay Stafford). On the night
of the banquet, I had called it an early evening, but understand when they came
in from celebrating that I raised an arm in salute before returning to sleep.
We continued partying after we all woke the next day.

introduced me to T.K. Thorne’s beautiful writing by sending me a copy of T.K.’s
Noah’s Wife. T.K. tells history in an
involving manner and her descriptions bring you right to the heart of the

Randall and I got to know each other by blogging with Writers Who Kill. We met in
person at Malice Domestic. This year, I am so proud to be celebrating her
Agatha nomination for best first novel, Curses,
Boiled Again!
, an Allie Larkin/Lobster Shack mystery. I’m also glad that we
share past careers as librarians!

Maines continues to amaze me with her boundless enthusiasm and the scope of her
work. As Publishers’ Weekly put it: “Maines deftly combines humor with action.”
You go girl, and keep going!

had the privilege of moderating a Malice Domestic panel with the Sparkle Abbey team of Mary Lee
Woods and Anita Carter. What a Dynamic Duo! I loved hearing
about their writing process and they are so much fun.

her, Dru Ann Love, brings joy to so many people just by signing into Facebook
early each morning with a hello and happy message. Her blog has spotlighted so
may fine authors and been nominated for numerous awards. She is the proud
recipient of the 2017 MWA Raven. But, I’ll never forget, when she made a trip
to Charleston, S.C., she asked me to join her with Dorothy McFalls for a day of
fabulous exploration and food. Thank you, Dru!

Today bestselling author Julie Mulhern writes the Country Club Murders and has
just begun a new Poppy Fields Adventures series. A.B. Plum has an impressive
list of psychological thrillers. J.M. Phillippe made my holiday season with her
paranormal holiday novella, The Christmas
, about Charlene Dickenson, who must navigate her way through an
unexpected spirit life. It’s a terrific read.

Perkins and I share a background of being raised in South Carolina. Cathy now lives in
Washington and writes financially-based mysteries. Her work has won several
awards, including the distinguished Claymore at Killer Nashville.

Penz Sheluk and Lynn McPherson are our Canadian contingent. Judy and I have
been fellow Guppies (members of the online Sisters in Crime group that
originated to celebrate the “great unpublished”). I’m so impressed that in
addition to her own writing, she also runs Superior Shores Press, her own
imprint. Lynn McPherson writes the light-hearted Izzy Walsh mystery series that
takes place in the 1950s on the New England coast. Her second novel, The Girls Whispered Murder, came out in

poet extraordinaire Juliana Aragon Fatula has just joined us. I love what
Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on
Mango Street
, says about Juliana’s work: “[she]writes histories so
terrifying they feel as if they were written with a knife. . . . Her
fearlessness is inspirational.” Wow. I can’t wait to read Red Canyon Falling on Churches.

here is my Valentine’s message to my terrific blogging partners:

heels in the morning
a day of nonconforming.

heels at night
a dancing invite.

stilettos of red
one can be blue
follow the thread
Of your
writing bold and true

And, don’t let me
finish without saying, I heart each of YOU!

Relationships – They’re Complicated

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Doesn’t it capture the good, the bad
and the ugly in a relationship? Yikes! Hopefully it’s all good, but so often
the best words to describe a relationship are, “It’s complicated.”
My husband and I ran errands on Valentine’s Day and watched
with amusement as people made mad dashes into Edible Arrangements, CVS, and the
grocery store for last minute candy, cards and flowers.  It took two seconds to make up stories about
those couples and their relationships. The stories became wilder as the day progressed–funny, tragic, strained, hopeful. The wonderful part—from a writer’s perspective—is
how deliciously complicated relationships can be.
“It’s complicated.”
What a wonderful relationship description. Messy, imperfect,
human. The term implies a hint of mystery, half a cup of vulnerability, the
other half trust. Heartache tossed with belief.
Can you think of any relationship in you life where “it’s
complicated” hasn’t applied at some point?
In my life, beyond (my wonderful) husband, there are parents (don’t get
me started on my father), children, siblings. Friends who’ve held and broken my
trust. Pets who own pieces of my heart. I love them all but the currents,
subtext, history and mutual flaws has woven a multi-dimensional tapestry that’s still evolving. 
I’m wrapping up a novella this month that features several
characters from So About the Money. While the who-dunnit is front and center, the relationships drive the story. The novella is a strange format
for me since I’m used to telling wonderfully complicated stories with subplots,
but it’s terrific for focusing on one character’s path. (And because I can’t
resist, there is a small subplot with Detective JC Dimitrak wrestling with his
prickly relationship with former cop, Frank Phalen.) The new story centers on
Maddie, though; her relationship with her ex, an elderly gambler and his
children… Well, it’s complicated.

What about you? Do you like your relationships stress-free
or complicated? Real life vs. stories?

Cathy Perkins is currently working on an as-yet-untitled story in the So About… series.  She started writing when recurring characters and dialogue populated her day job commuting daydreams.  Fortunately, that first novel lives under the bed, but she was hooked on the joy of creating stories.  When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure.  Born and raised in South Carolina, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd. 

Valentine’s Day makes me…

by: Joelle Charbonneau

Valentine’s Day makes me sigh. No. That isn’t in a heart fluttering, wow isn’t that romantic kind of sigh. It’s a why do we do this to ourselves kind of sigh. That isn’t to say I don’t love romance and all that jazz. I do. I think romance is wonderful. I just don’t find Valentine’s Day all that romantic.


I’m guessing it my feelings go back to high school days when some organization or another sold flowers to commemorate the day. You’d buy a carnation for a dollar, choose the color and fill out the card for the person you wanted to send it to. There were red, pink, yellow and white carnations. During the week before Valentine’s Day the flowers went on sale and then on Valentine’s Day itself the flowers would be delivered with the card during the school day to the recipient’s classroom.

Harmless, right?

Wrong. Because some kids got dozens of flowers. Others got none. I never lacked for at least a couple of flowers, but I had to feel bad for the kids who didn’t get any. The kids who for lack of money or because their friends thought the flowers thing was stupid didn’t get a single carnation. The lack of flowers didn’t mean they were loved any less than the kids who had fistfuls of the half-dying, poorly dyed carnations. But the look in their eyes and the snide way they talked about how stupid the flowers were told their own story. And it made me sad.

Which is probably why when helping my son do his Valentine’s Day for his preschool, I found myself proud of my kid who wanted to give everyone that he ever met in his life a Valentine. The kid tirelessly wrote his name on the front of his Dora Valentine’s (that he picked out all on his own!) and after each one wracked his brains for the next person that needed a card.

So in honor of my son’s method of celebrating the day, I want to let you all know that you are incredibly special to me. I am always amazed and honored that those of you I know personally and those I only know from this blog are kind enough to be my friends. You are all amazing and I hope you take the time to not only celebrate the special people in your lives today, but that you also celebrate yourself.

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends. May it be filled with happy sighs and lots of chocolate!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Books are read
Violets are blue
Thanks, Stiletto Gang readers,
for being so true!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Stiletto Gang