Tag Archive for: Olympics

Bringing Home the Gold (or the Silver Falchion)

Bringing Home the Gold (or the Silver Falchion) by Debra H

The Olympics produced many discussions from what is the
twisties to whether Americans have the wrong mindset in terms of medals. The
reality is that we celebrate winning the gold, but don’t have the same excitement
for silver or bronze. Who ever saw a bronze medalist on the “Breakfast of
Champions” Wheaties box?


An August 9, 2012, Scientific American article, “Why Bronze
Medalists are Happier Than Silver Medalists,” noted that both silver and bronze
medalists focus on what might have been. The silver medalist frets about how
close to winning the individual came and consequently is disappointed. The
bronze medalist is happier because that winner’s comparison is the person who
finished fourth-out of medal contention. The thrill for the bronze medalist is having
squeaked through with a medal victory.


As a semi-finalist for the 2021 Silver Falchion cozy award
for Three Bites Too Many, the third book in

Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery
series about a woman who is more frightened of the kitchen than murder, I am
excited. I’d like to win, but I’m honest enough to admit that I’m in good
company in the cozy heat. Tina deBellegarde, Kay DiBianca, Bonita Y. McCoy,
Lori Robbins, Colleen J. Shogan, Maggie Toussaint, Cathy Tully, Becki Willis,
and Lois Winston are all tough and worthy contenders. I’d love to hear the
Killer Nashville announcer call out “Debra H. Goldstein,” but I think any of us
should consider ourselves gold medalists. Why? Because somewhere and sometime
this past year, the books we are nominated for brought readers joy. A medal
would be nice, but what’s better than touching other people by giving them a
few hours of fun and escape from their daily lives? What do you think?



Olympic Skates

Like many sports fans last week, our TV was tuned to the Olympics. Gymnasts, swimmers, divers, track-and-fielders. Such amazing athletes! This year, for the first time, we also watched skateboarding.

Skateboarding may not strike purists an Olympic-worthy sport, but I can understand how the hobby— embraced for decades by renegade spirits of all ages—made it through the international committee that decides such things. Perhaps it went something like this: “Well, we’ve got snowboarding in winter, so…”


This year’s event aired just in time to put the finishing touches on a scene in my next mystery. In researching the sport, I’ve learned a few bits of language that thrashers (skateboarders) speak—like grind, ollie, and tail-grab five-forty—as they zoom around a skatepark’s cradles and bowls.

Here’s a peek at that scene: 

He leaped into the bowl, flipped his board with his feet, reconnected to it in mid air, zipped down to the bottom and up another slope, gaining speed as he went. On his last approach to the top, his feet left the board and he went airborne, flipped upside down and still somehow managed to reconnect feet to board and land the trick. Someone shouted, “Rip it up, Skeeter!” The crowd went crazy.

After watching eleven- and twelve-year-old girls compete for an Olympic medal in Tokyo, a different skateboard scene, this one in The Body Next Door, popped into my head. (Five years on, I forgot I’d written it!) Instead of a skatepark, it’s set in the parking garage of a high-rise where Samantha Newman watches the forlorn ten-year-old Lizzie Mason struggle to teach herself how to ride her big brother’s cast-off board.

That scene led me to remember another one from the book, one that features Krav Maga, which is a perfect sport for the Olympics. Invented by the Israeli military, and adopted by law enforcement organizations around the world, it’s a form of hand to hand combat in which you learn to neutralize an assailant (or unruly criminal) as quickly as possible. No weapon needed. In my novel, however, the self defense system dissolves into a silly pillow fight between Samantha and the ever-elusive Carter Chapman. While it could be said that their attraction to one another is of Olympic proportions, we shall save that conversation for another day. 😉

Did you watch the Olympics this year? What’s your favorite event?

Gay Yellen writes the award-winning Samantha Newman Mysteries, including The Body Business, The Body Next Door, and the soon to be released Body in the News. She’d love to hear from you here, on FacebookBookBub, or via her website.


Odds and Ends

by Rhonda – the Southern Half of Evelyn David

Let’s catch up.

Amazing that it’s already February. Time is just
rushing by for me. The past twelve months have been so busy at both my day job,
my writing job, and my home life. I’m having a little trouble keeping up.  

In Oklahoma it’s been cold, cold, cold. Single
digits temperatures and multiple snow events. You’d think the outside weather
would inspire me to do some serious writing, but instead I just want to curl up
with a blanket, a cup of hot tea, and a good book. At heart I’m a reader first,
writer second. I’m very late to the party, but I just read Outlander by Diana
Gabaldon. I enjoyed it very much and I’ve purchased the sequel Dragonfly in Amber,
but have not had a chance to start it. 

While my favorite tv shows (Major Crimes and The
Black List
) are either on hiatus or done for the season, I’ve become a big fan
of Netflix and my Roku. I’ve finished several British series – Waking the Dead,
Calling the Midwife, The Bletchley Circle, Island at War and a rewatch of Foyle’s
. I’m working on MI-5. I think there are about 80 episodes of that series,
so it will take me awhile. Looking forward to new episodes of House of Cards,
produced in house by Netflix. 

Anyone watching the Winter Olympics? I’m planning
to watch the ice skating and maybe some of the snowboarding events. Have to
admit that I’m not as invested in watching as I was twenty years ago. Maybe I
just kept up with the athletes more. My co-author’s son, sports reporter Sam Borden, is in Russia covering the events. His blog about his adventure is very engaging. He’s almost as good a writer as his mother. I recommend you check it out.  

On the home front this past year there have been
roof repairs, new hot water heater, new washing machine and a few other things
I’ve put off doing/replacing. If I don’t get a new mattress soon, I’m going to
permanently cripple myself. Speaking of which, there is good news – not on the new
mattress quest but on the maiming myself point. Thursday night I thought I
broke my little toe on my left foot again, stubbed it against the corner of a
dresser, but now I think it’s just a bad bruise or sprain??? Any way my painful
limp has made way to cautious but mostly pain-free walking now.  

I did accomplish something this month. My 93-year-young
aunt has written a book about her life growing up in the 1930s rural Indiana.
I’ve formatted and published it for her. It’s her first book! It’s available in
both Kindle and trade paperback formats –The Laughing and the Weeping by Bettie
B. Dossett. Her delight in the physical act of holding the trade paperback version
reminded me of how I felt when Evelyn David’s first book, Murder Off the Books
was published. There is a certain special joy that is indescribable.  

The collective “Evelyn David” has been occupied getting our Brianna Sullivan Mysteries published in audiobook format. The
first four are available now at Audible (through Amazon) and iTunes. Our
wonderful narrator, Wendy Tremont King, has provided a delightful voice to
psychic Brianna Sullivan. The fifth book, A Haunting in Lottawatah, will be out
as an audiobook in the next month or two. Can’t wait for that one! Should work out really well in audio format.

Speaking of ebooks – I heard a news report about that 25% of readers now have access to ereaders or tablets. Amazing! Also there is something new coming – sound tracks for ebooks. Not someone reading the book for you, but a sound track! Music, sound effects, etc. Not sure if I’m ready for that. Although for our haunted house book – creaking stairs, rattling chains….


Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past CemeteriesKindleNookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah KindleNookSmashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of LottawatahKindleNookSmashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah – Kindle – NookSmashwords
Lottawatah Twister – KindleNookSmashwords
Missing in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Summer Lightning in Lottawatah – Kindle NookSmashwords
Lottawatah Fireworks – KindleNookSmashwords





The Ghosts of Lottawatah – trade paperback collection of the Brianna e-books
Book 1 I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)
Book 2 – A Haunting in Lottawatah (includes the 5th, 6th, and 7th Brianna e-books)
Book 3 – Lottawatah Fireworks (includes the 8th, 9th, and 10th Brianna e-books)

Sullivan Investigations Mystery series
Murder Off the Books KindleNook Trade Paperback
Murder Takes the Cake KindleNookTrade Paperback 
Murder Doubles Back KindleNook – Trade Paperback
Riley Come Home (short story)- KindleNookSmashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) – KindleNookSmashwords

Love Lessons – KindleNookSmashwords


Who Says Women Can’t Run That Far?
by Bethany Maines

It’s Olympics time again. To me the Olympics always
represent passion, competition, the wonder of the human body, and the
indomitable human spirit. And of course, the Three Stooges.
When I was a kid my family didn’t own a TV (yes, I lived in
the Jurassic Era) and we would rent one just for the Olympics. I remember that
coverage started at 2pm and from then until about midnight we could turn on the
set and watch the magnificence of Sport. 
We would promptly become engrossed in the minutiae of steeple chase,
rowing, archery or whatever other sport was on that day. We would debate
passionately over the merits of athletes and sports that moments before we
hadn’t even heard of. Practically the only thing that was agreed on in the
Maines house was that Rhythmic Gymnastics, while attractive in away, was not a
During those years my father was attempting to qualify for
the Olympic women’s marathon. Not that he had any gender confusion, but he was
a running enthusiast and when the very first women’s Olympic marathon
qualifying time was announced he thought that the time was almost within his
reach and he made it his goal. And yes, you did read that correctly; I did say
the “very first” qualifying time. Until the 1984 Olympics there was no women’s
Olympic marathon, and for much of the history of Olympics women were thought to
be incapable of running that distance. My family actually traveled down to
Oregon to watch the Olympic qualifying run of women marathoners for the ’84
Olympics Team. Sports can be about more than just scoring points and sometimes
just running is a political statement.  
The 1984 Olympics also marked a first of another kind. I
persuaded my mom to let me camp out in the living room with the TV and I woke
up early and found a show on the television that I had never seen before. One
man made funny noises, that one hit the bald one, and that one tried to poke
the other one in the eye. They
were HILARIOUS. At least, that’s what I told my mom. Sadly, my mother
apparently didn’t appreciate their hilarity, or my loud laughter, at six in the
morning and I was banished back up to my bedroom.
Those halcyon days were too good to last; soon broadcasters
decided to add less coverage of fewer sports with double helpings of schmaltz.
For a few years we were able to stave off the incredible crap of the American
Olympics by watching the Canadian coverage (a benefit of living in a border
state), but sadly with each Olympics the broadcasters get a little more savvy
about how to make us watch more commercials and less events. Which is not to
say that there haven’t been some improvements – NBC showed the women’s marathon
in its entirety. This year it was won by Ethiopian Tiki Gelena in 2 hours 23
minutes and 7 seconds. That’s a
new Olympic record. 

Behind the Scenes at the Olympics

By Evelyn David

I’m a proud Momma for lots of reasons. I have been blessed
with four wonderful children, two incredible daughters-in-law, and the most
enchanting (brilliant, funny, gorgeous, and every other superlative)
granddaughter in the world. I count my blessings every single day.

Son number two is a writer. We often talk about the process,
the ups and downs of the business, the exhilaration of a piece well-composed,
the depression when you can’t even find the words to construct a shopping list.
Sam is, without a question, my favorite writer. I say that as his mother, of
course, but also as a pretty discerning reader who recognizes smart,
insightful, funny, emotionally-connecting writing when I see it.

The news that Sam would be part of The New York Times
Olympic coverage was exciting. But it meant being away from home for more than
a month, which gave him pause. As he asked, would Riley, now age two, be driving
by the time he came home? This is the age where the changes are coming at breakneck
speed and he doesn’t want to miss a one.

For Sam, his favorite sports writing is never about the
score, it’s about the people. Take this piece on the twist of fate that
propelled Mariel Zagunis to be the American flag bearer at the Olympics, and
the intertwining lost dreams of Nigerian Jacqueline Esimaje-Heath. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/28/sports/olympics/us-flag-bearer-made-most-of-golden-opportunity.html?ref=samborden

Or the challenges that Muslim athletes are facing at the
Olympics as they balance the rules of Ramadan and the physical demands of
training and playing.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/sports/olympics/ramadan-poses-challenges-for-muslims-at-the-olympics.html?ref=samborden

What struck me is that, like Sam, mystery writers never know
when a supporting character will suddenly step up and take over the page. When
we first began writing Murder Off the Books, Rhonda and I had a clear idea of
whodunnit. We wrote an elaborate backstory for the character that only stopped
short of suggesting that the individual was not all that different from
Hannibel Lecter (Silence of the Lambs). And then we started writing our book.
The character morphed into someone we liked so much that the backstory was
trashed and the killer became someone else.

Writers always have to be on the alert for the
“sleeper” – be it the athlete who seems to emerge out of nowhere or
the murderer who leaps out of the pages, to everyone’s surprise.

Sam will be in London
for another few weeks. We’re following his stories closely, beaming with pride,
and considering a murder mystery set at the Olympics!

 Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past CemeteriesKindleNookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah KindleNookSmashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of LottawatahKindleNookSmashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Lottawatah Twister – KindleNookSmashwords
Missing in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Summer Lightning in Lottawatah – Kindle NookSmashwords

The Ghosts of Lottawatah – trade paperback collection of the Brianna e-books
Book 1 I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)
Book 2 – A Haunting in Lottawatah (includes the 5th, 6th, and 7th Brianna e-books)

Sullivan Investigations Mystery
Murder Off the Books KindleNookSmashwordsTrade Paperback
Murder Takes the Cake Kindle – Trade Paperback  (exclusive to Amazon for 90 days)
Riley Come Home (short story)- KindleNookSmashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) – KindleNookSmashwords

Love Lessons – KindleNookSmashwords

Down with Planet Barbie!

I know the title of this post is kind of weird, but I wasn’t sure what else to call it (I almost named it “The Last Bastion of the Flat-Chested,” but changed my mind). You see, while I watched the Olympics during half of February, part of what caught my eye wasn’t the dazzling rhinestones on the skaters’ costumes or the stunning accuracy of the shooting during the biathlon. It wasn’t even my amazement that curling is apparently popular enough to be broadcast round-the-clock while so many of the other sports had hit or miss coverage. It had to do with the faces beneath the ski hats and the bodies in the Lycra outfits and my thrill at realizing the women actually looked like humans. Granted, they looked like uber-fit humans, but still…I didn’t notice a single Pam Anderson among them.

So many celebrities these days have surgically altered faces and bodies that I’d pretty much gotten used to seeing females on-screen that resemble full-sized Barbie dolls. While at the doctor’s office recently, I read the People magazine with “The Hills” reality star Heidi Montag on the cover, and I couldn’t help but wince and whisper, “You poor, messed-up girl” under my breath as I learned about her Christmas head-to-toe makeover that had her under anesthesia for something like two days (okay, it was more like seven or eight hours, which sounds bad enough). Heidi had previously undergone a nose job and chin job, according to reports, before this latest Frankenstein-esque reconstruction that included Botox to multiple areas of her face, another nose job, cheek implants, chin chiseling, ear pinning, breast enhancement, liposuction, and God knows what else. The girl is only 23. Yet, she looks like a very well-preserved 40 year old porn star.

And the scariest part of all? (And, no, it’s not the fact that her mother didn’t even recognize her when she returned home to Colorado with a camera crew from “The Hills” tagging along.) It’s that she doesn’t think her newly-built DD boobs are big enough. She wants to go back for more. Gulp.

I am seriously afraid for girls today, thinking they’re not worthy unless their chest sticks out so far that they can set a tray from Sonic atop it and comfortably eat. I heard just the other day that breast augmentation has surpassed rhinoplasties as the number one surgery. Something like 335,000 boob jobs were done last year, and it keeps going up. Every time I watch an awards show or a sitcom, for Pete’s sake, all I see is cleavage. If aliens can get Us Weekly and People online, or if their satellites pick up “The Girls Next Store,” “Dr. 90210,” “The Bachelor,” or any number of TV programs (or beer commercials), they’d think our gender was comprised of an army of plastic fem-bots.

I’d hate to be growing up now when there are such unrealistic body images. When I was in junior high in the mid-’70s, my feminine ideals were the stars of “Charlie’s Angels”–Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, and Farrah Fawcett–who looked gorgeous and different from each other and natural, if you know what I mean. But today…geez, I can’t think of an actress off the top of my head, other than Meryl Streep, who hasn’t altered her face, breasts, or other body parts in some way. How sad is that?

Which is why the Olympics were so great. Not that female athletes look anything close to average (I would kill to have a figure skater’s legs!); but they look strong and fit and, best of all, real. Not like they were taken apart and reassembled on a Beverly Hills surgeon’s table.

My hope is that young girls who watched Olympics’ coverage will see what I saw and will not only be convinced that women should come in various shapes and sizes; but that character and determination are even more important than large bazoombas and zero cellulite. Maybe they’ll put up posters of Joannie Rochette, who won a bronze in figure skating days after her beloved mother died of a heart attack. Now there’s real.

Being Medal Worthy

Did you watch the Winter Olympics?

I did. I enjoyed watching most of the events even if I didn’t like the way NBC broadcast them – here, there, everywhere.

Like reading a book, I prefer to start at the beginning and read each page – good, bad, or ugly. I never skip to the back. I even read Tom Clancy’s mechanical descriptions. If I’m going to read a book, I’m going to read it – all of it.

If I’m going to watch an Olympic event, I want to watch all of it. I want to see all the competitors, not just the ones who NBC decides have “medal” potential. How can I judge how good the winners are if I don’t see the losers? Hey, maybe today’s losers will be the winners next time, and I was denied an opportunity to see them when they were inexperienced, awkward, and just starting out. And what about their mothers? Don’t you think they wanted to see their kid on television?

I know there were more than 6 female figure skaters at the Olympics, but the “powers that be” decided I didn’t need to see them. I don’t even know what I missed.

What if “writing” was like competing in the Olympics? What if the major publishers were like the broadcast networks – they only promoted a few books – the ones they decided had “medal” potential? What if the newbie writers, like the young skaters, couldn’t get seen unless they did the writer’s equivalent of a triple axel, triple toe-loop? Or had a compelling story? A perp-walk? A comeback from a terrible injury? A “bad-boy (or bad-girl)” attitude?


Writing is like the Olympics. Sigh.

Good starts are vital. Keep a tight form, pay attention to detail, follow the rules so you don’t get disqualified, keep up your speed, keep your cell phone turned on in case your agent/coach calls to tell you about your big break, and finish – always finish.

And it doesn’t hurt to get in front of the camera every chance you get.


Writing is like the Olympics.


Evelyn David
(Off to sharpen her skates, uh … pencils.)

p.s. Why do the bobsled athletes wear capri pants?

p.p.s. Please excuse a little self-promotion. Evelyn David won a mini-writing contest this weekend!! The short-short story had to be under 200 words. But don’t be fooled by the length. Mac Sullivan doesn’t need a dictionary to solve the whodunnit. Check it out at the Working Stiffs blogspot.

Watching the Olympics

Two days ago I watched the U.S. Women’s Olympic gymnastic trials. I haven’t kept up with the sport since the last Olympics, so I didn’t recognize any of the competitors. The faces were different; the scoring was different; but the excitement was the same. The Olympics is now on my radar! August will be here before you know it.

The first Olympics that I can remember watching was the one held in Munich in 1972. I’m sure I saw others before, but they really didn’t register. Munich was different. Maybe it was my increased attention span or maybe it was because the television coverage began to highlight each individual’s story instead of the teams as a whole. I was always easily hooked by a well-told tale! It may also be that I remember that Olympics because it depicted both the best and the worst humanity had to offer.

Munich was where Belarusian Olga Korbut changed women’s gymnastics forever. The tiny, pig-tailed girl with the big smile did her incredible backflips and inventive routines making her an audience favorite and a gold metal winner. After Olga, the female gymnasts would all be younger and more athletic.

U.S. athletes Mark Spitz broke all records by winning 7 gold metals in swimming; Dave Wottle, coming from behind, won the 800 meter run; and Frank Shorter won the marathon. I watched it all with edge-of-the-seat excitement.

I also watched in horror as Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village and took eleven Israeli athletes hostage. For almost two days, the games took a backseat to the life and death struggle between innocent athletes, governments, and terrorists who were determined to use the event to further their cause. The hostages were either killed directly by the terrorists during the standoff or later during the rescue attempt. Some of the shine of the Olympics was gone forever.

Thirty-six years later, this summer’s Olympics are being held in Beijing. Security will be tight. There are still terrorists who would love to disrupt the games and take over the world stage. There are governments who will try to use the games to make political statements. But there are also still athletes who are determined to achieve their dreams, who have sacrificed much in the name of competition and the quest to be the best in the world.

Whether you prefer to chalk up your hands, tie on your running shoes, or dust off your ski poles, which Olympics touched your heart? Which Olympian do you remember best?

Evelyn David
– who never had a Dorothy Hamill haircut but thought about it.