Tag Archive for: washington

Chart Watching

by Bethany Maines

He looked at the chart but he look in vain
Heavy cloud but no rain
Originally, this was a post about publishing.  I’ve been singing this song for the better
part of a month feeling that it related to my efforts in self-publishing. Having
the ability to have live updated sales results is not really as fun as it
sounds. Or at least it’s not good for ongoing peace of mind. The world of
publishing has changed. Now every author must do the work that previously was
performed by publishing houses – namely, marketing. And the secret thing about
marketing that every marketing professional would prefer you not know, is that
you can never quite tell what’s going to work. So with every fresh effort, I
flip back to the chart to see if there’s rain or not. Some sprinkles, some
gushers, some droughts – and that is the way of the writing life now.  But there’s more to that song, and the rest
of the lyrics are more applicable to the real world right now than they are to any personal
concerns I have about my writing and sales.
Turned on the weather man just after the news
I needed sweet rain to wash away my blues
He looked at the chart but he look in vain
Heavy cloud but no rain
Much of the state of Washington, my state, is on fire. This
song isn’t much of a metaphor; it’s what we’re all doing. We’re literally out
of firefighters and the ones that are on the line are working days in a row
with little to no sleep. Firefighters from Australian and New Zealand arrived on
Monday to help and we couldn’t be happier to see them. We literally need all
the help we can get.
There is a line of mountains between the fires and my house
and still the sky is frequently a hazy yellow from smoke. Yesterday, I could
look at the sun directly because there was so much smog that it was only a
burning circle of orange in the sky.
Sometimes my state feels culturally divided by that chain of
mountains, but this fire has turned us all into obsessed weather forecast
watchers. My facebook feed is filled with pictures of rain – a virtual rain
dance for our home and our friends. Weather forecasting has taken a giant step
forward due to computing speeds and modeling, but Washington is still one of
the toughest places to forecast. All the data in the world can’t entirely
predict if rain is going to fall. We all watch the chart, but so far, heavy
cloud, no rain.

So, if you’re a praying person, pray for some rain. If you’re
a donating person, you can view this article from local reporter Jesse Jones, for where to send donations. Washington thanks you.
Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie
Mae Mysteries
, Tales from the City of
and An Unseen Current.
You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video
or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.

A Kiss is Still a Kiss

by Ellen Byerrum

First, I’d like to thank the Stiletto Gang for having me over today. It is a real pleasure to say hello and talk about what’s been going on in my neck of the woods. Happily, those woods are looking pretty good these days.

The prettiest and most romantic time for Washington, D.C., is spring when she puts on frills—first come the blossoming Bradford pears, the magnolias and cherry trees, the daffodils and tulips. They are followed by dogwoods and azaleas and roses. The extravaganza of color complements the white marble of memorials and shows off the softer side of the Nation’s Capital.

Two weeks ago, as the cherry blossoms were just beginning to bloom, a film crew was in Washington, shooting exteriors for Lifetime Television movies based on two of my books, Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover. The principal filming took place in Vancouver, Canada.

Of course I took time off my regular job and was able to observe a day of shooting on the city’s streets. It was a rare opportunity to see how the characters that I created will be translated to film. The memories that linger include the bitter cold but bright blue day and the actors playing out scenes that seemed to consist of a lot of kissing.

The comely couple playing Vic Donovan and Lacey Smithsonian—Victor Webster and Maggie Lawson—ended several scenes with a kiss. They kissed at the Tidal Basin in front of the Jefferson Memorial while tourists and a busload of middle school students looked on and applauded after the scene. They kissed in McPherson Square while businesspeople crossed the park and discreetly looked back at the scene. And they kissed in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, where Washington wonks wandered by while chatting on their cell phones.

That’s a whole lot of kissing going on for Washington, D.C.! I’m not quite sure the District can take that much public display of affection, but I found myself wishing my husband was around for some personal osculation resuscitation. Oh well, sometimes you have to save it up for later.

There are all kinds of kisses, the social kiss, the romantic kiss, the kiss of life, the kiss off, and we are reminded this time of year, the Judas kiss.

The language of kissing depends on a lot of things—where you kiss and where you don’t, whom you kiss and whom you don’t. Kissing is an activity defined by the participants. As the song says, “A kiss is still a kiss.” But is it?

When I am among theatre people and playwrights, it’s all hug, hug, kiss, kiss, and oh-so-very “Oh my dear, you look marvelous! How have you been? I just can’t wait to hear everything, every little detail, but I must run!” There are cheek kisses and air kisses. It’s all very friendly. It feels good, but you don’t take it seriously, because like the theatre, it may be just a performance.

When I’m among fellow mystery writers, a brief hug is acceptable, as is a brief kiss on the cheek, but we’re not terribly mushy. We laugh at danger, we don’t kiss it.

But for reporters in the Nation’s Capital, in their capacity as representatives of the Fourth Estate, there is no kissing. There may be no crying in baseball, but there is definitely no kissing in the newsroom. Sarcasm, cynicism, and smarty-pants one-upmanship is all okay. But sentiment? Now that’s dangerous.

You can count on kissing, however, in the upcoming Crime of Fashion movies. Killer Hair is slated to be aired Sunday, June 21. Hostile Makeover will air the following week, Sunday, June 28. If you want to read more about the filming from someone else’s perspective, check out this blog by photographer Kathy Freundel:


May all your kisses be memorable!

Ellen Byerrum is the author of the Crime of Fashion Mysteries featuring fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian who solves crimes with fashion clues. The latest book in the series is Armed and Glamorous.