Tag Archive for: Rob Lowe

My Writing Vacation – Or Books I Enjoyed When I Let Myself Read for Fun by Debra H. Goldstein

Many of you know I stepped down from the bench a year ago to give myself the freedom to write during the day.  The results were mixed.  In the beginning, I couldn’t get disciplined enough to do much more than organize my daughter’s wedding, travel, and watch every possible episode of How I Met Your Mother and NCIS. I finally found my writing “legs” and finished a novel that beta readers are now reviewing and wrote and submitted a number of short stories.  Four of them, “A Political Cornucopia,” “Who Dat? Dat the Indian Chief!,” “Early Frost,” and the “Rabbi’s Wife Stayed Home,” were published by Bethlehem Writer’s Roundtable (November 2013), Mardi Gras Murder (2014), The Birmingham Arts Journal (April 2014) and Mysterical – E (April 2014), respectively. At the same time, my 2012 IPPY Award winning mystery, Maze in Blue, was re-released by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery as a May 2014 book of the month.

When I received notice that Maze was reissued and the fourth story had been accepted for publication, I

decided to take a two week vacation from writing and rejoin the world of being a reader.  Some of the books I could have done without (diet books – I’ve gained weight since I decided to write), some were simply okay (a biography of Barbra Streisand), but some proved to be pure fun.  One of the exciting things to me, is that many of the books I really enjoyed were written by authors I have met at various conferences and who, in many cases, have written guest blogs for “It’s Not Always a Mystery.”(http://debrahgoldstein.wordpress.com)

For a good suspense read, let me recommend Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Agatha winning The Wrong Girl.  I read her Mary Higgins Clark MWA winning The Other Woman last year and eagerly was awaiting this book.  Then, I picked up the third book in the Skeet Bannon series written by Linda Rodriguez.  Every Hidden Fear was published the week I took my reading vacation, I couldn’t put it down – each book only has hooked me on Skeet since Linda won the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition for Every Last Secret.

I wanted to get a little food and farm reading in so I turned to Edith Maxwell’s A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die which I followed with Leslie Budewitz’s Agatha winning Death al Dente. Food wasn’t my only companion during my reading excursion.  I added a little comedy and romance with Kendel Lynn’s Board Stiff.

Much as I enjoy mysteries, I needed to spice up my life with a few good looking men so my bedtime reading was Robert Wagner’s Pieces of My Heart.  Tonight, I’m snuggling up with Rob Lowe’s book, Love Life.  I plan to read fast because tomorrow I’m giving myself back to writing.

West Wing or… West Awesome?

By Bethany Maines

I think we all know my resolution a few weeks ago to stop
watching West Wing marathons was merely so much hot air, and in fact the
obsession continues. I admit I watched a few episodes when it was originally
aired, but at the time I wasn’t paying attention to the writing. (Yes, I admit,
I was paying attention to Rob Lowe, but really, weren’t we all?) This time
around I find myself envious, yes, absolutely envious, as the writer’s get away
with things that I have always told not to do. The “errors” these writers
commit would be egregious in the book world. They bring introduce and dismiss
characters at the drop of a hat. They start new plot lines without any warning.
And the characters frequently don’t explain themselves to each other, let alone
to the audience. Basically, the writing hews closer to real life. Is it because
they’re on TV? Is it because they’re better than me? Is it because they’ve got
156 episodes to practice with?
For instance, during one episode Sam Seaborn (did I mention
Rob Lowe’s dreaminess) is upset and off-balance because he recently found out
that his father has been keeping a mistress for decades. Up until that episode,
the audience had never heard mention of his parents, and after that we don’t
hear of them again. But in a real life work place frequently co-workers are
thrown for a loop by family issues. And you do what these characters did, which
is express sympathy and try to prevent them from letting home issues become
work issues.
So the question remains – do the writer’s of West Wing get
away with their realism because they are so good at it?  Or do we allow this kind of realism
because it isn’t on the printed page? Is there something about being in a book
that makes us want storylines and characters wrapped up in a neat little bow?
Admittedly, the very format of a printed page makes things like overlapping
dialogue a little out of reach. However, isn’t there something annoyingly
formulaic about a sequel that inserts a little synopsis of the previous book?
What do you think? Should we challenge readers more than we do?
Update: For those who are keeping track I have released my
first new story of the year! You can find The Dragon Incident at Amazon now for
$.99. It will be available for Kobo and Nook in April. You can learn more about
this new series at www.cityofdestinystories.com.