Momentary Lapses

This blog was created during a momentary lapse, a period when I'm stuck in my writing and trying to jog something loose in my brain or push myself so close to deadline that I can kill, without remorse, the beloved opening or headline or quote that is keeping me from moving forward. Most of my posts here will have to do with writing, including occasional Favorite Writing Quotes (FWQs). Please share yours, and your comments, too.

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Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Publisher Launches Five New Detective Series
By Mo Walsh, Corpserespondent

Minimally competent hacks are wanted to write for our new niche detective titles on a work-for-hire basis. We provide clever character names, contradictory plot points and impossible deadlines. You do the rest.

1. The Amateur Detective
Harmon Beasley is a Garbage Man and proud of it. The castoffs and leftovers he collects are windows to the lives of the people on his route. Each story will focus on a provocative piece of rubbish that sends Harmon on a search for answers, aided by his lover, Constance Cabot-Whyte, PhD, an entomologist, and her teen-age triplets: Roach, Aphid and Mary. In the debut novel, The Aquamarine Ashbin at #1A, Harmon discovers thirteen discarded left shoes. The series continues with The Beige Barrel at #2B and The Crimson Carton at #3C.

2. The Specialist/Multi-Cultural Detective
Rostam “The Rug Man” Rudagi is the world’s foremost expert on carpet fibers. As a young boy, he escaped from his native Iran by hiding inside a shipment of cheap, mass-produced carpets being smuggled out to Arab bazaars for sale to gullible American tourists. Obsessed with carpets ever since, Rostam has earned several obscure advanced degrees in textile engineering and works six stories underground in a secret FBI laboratory. There he analyzes carpet fibers associated with crimes and can determine not only the fiber content and color, but also manufacturer and dye lot; degree and content of soiling; cleaning products used and whether they were purchased on sale; how many days since last vacuuming and type of machine used; area rug or wall-to-wall; species, breed and diet of pet that made stains; and weight of the person who last walked on it. In his first case, Persian Carpets Actually Come from Turkey, he helps foil the perfect murder by matching the victim’s bathroom mat to fibers coughed up in hair balls by the suspect’s cat.

3. The Historical/Literary Figure Detective
Beloved children’s author, Beatrix Potter, solves a series of grizzly crimes and transforms them into charming allegories starring cuddly anthropomorphic ducks, chicks, bunnies and frogs. The True Tale of the Floppsy Bunnies and Mrs. Tittlemouse, for example, recounts the kidnapping of Benjamin Bunny’s six daughters by a white slavery ring. The True Tale of Samuel Whiskers or The Roly-Poly Pudding covers in succulent detail the career of Jeffrey Daumer’s great-grandfather. Other titles and topics: The True Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (dominatrix accidentally drowns a client); My Little Book About the Real Squirrel Nutkin (sordid life of rent boys); The True Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit (a powerful new hallucinogen hits the mean streets); and, of course, The Shocking True Tale of Peter Rabbit (super-pimp Mr. McGregor defends his patch when Peter comes looking for a “Ho”).

4. Hard-Boiled Female P.I.
Antimony Fargo, named androgynously for a mineral and a western city, is as cool and tough under pressure as such male counterparts as Tulsa Schist (same naming device) and as hot and tender under Tulsa’s male parts as … well, nevermind. She only dresses up when she wants to pass as a hooker and can’t cook anything that doesn’t come in its own microwaveable container. But she’s extremely smart, really. In her first case, Which Nut Do You Want Me to Shoot Off First?, she goes undercover at Monica’s Mystique as a sensitivity-training counselor for lingerie executives accused of sexual harassment.

5. Innovative Entry in the Mystery Field
The Virtual Detective is a software program that solves the most complicated crimes in a nanosecond once its programmers have converted all pertinent case documents to Boolean logic statements. Then it returns to its on-going affair with the central database of the DMV. The first novel, Killed But Not Dead, is scheduled for publication in 2012, once the MIT supercomputer completes the conversion process.

Contact Liv Rand-Unynz, Editor, “The Decomposing Room Press,” for additional writer's guidelines. If you can’t find our address, you don’t have what it takes to write a mystery.

(Photo of Cadaver Tomb in the Church of St Mary, Hemingbrough, North Yorkshire, U.K.)

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Tagged! I'm It!

I've been tagged by Cathy Cairns,, one of my Sisters in Crime, to play a fun game of getting-to-know-you.

Here are the tagged rules:
1) Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2) Share 7 facts about yourself.
3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So here we go:

1. I have a hard time letting go of my mistakes. I still replay gaffes from my school days or jobs I held 25 years ago. It’s the social, character-related goofs that stick. If I ever offend you, I’ll apologize, send you flowers, bake you a cake and leave you money in my will.

2. In fourth grade, I played the title role in two acts of a five-act play, in French, of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” I wore my brother’s long underwear, black patent leather shoes, a crown and (for Act 3 but not Act 4) a cape. My senior year at an all-girl high school, I got my role as Horrible Henry in the class musical, “Carnival,” because I could sing like a walrus. I’ve always loved to sing, but have a chorus voice that needs support. I sing Loud Soprano in my church choir.

3. I have read almost all of Georgette Heyer’s books, mysteries as well as Regency and Georgian romances, and have copies of most of them. Check out “Envious Casca,” and “Death in the Stocks.”

4. Squeaky shoes or chalk on a blackboard doesn’t bother me much, but the sound of chewing drives me crazy. I have to eat at the same time to mask the noise or go in another room. I have three teenage boys who probably wonder why I leave the breakfast table so soon after they start on their Cheerios or peanut butter toast.

5. I’m no good at anything that requires speed or agility, but I’m a very good swimmer, I enjoy strength training and pilates, and I once won a 5th place trophy in the Women’s 18-24 division in a half-marathon.

6. I sewed most of my kids’ Halloween costumes, including Worf from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Daniel Boone, the White Power Ranger, Woody the Cowboy, the Pharaoh, and Neo from “The Matrix.” They’re all packed in bins for the next generation. Doesn’t matter if the seams are straight.

7. My family has a dominant “know-it-all” gene. We always raised our hands in class and could never succeed at Jeopardy! because we can’t resist guessing. Conversation at a family gathering sounds like a scene from Kafka. I’ve never read Kafka, but I know that’s what it sounds like.

I'm working on my "taggees." It's a "you go first" kind of thing. Stay posted.

1st Tag, Good Sport Felicia Donovan at