Sunday, April 1, 2018

NO Foolin' (But You Knew That)

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: A few musings on this first day of April.


Can you believe spring is almost here? The last stubborn clumps of snow are finally melting, and the sun feels different. I saw a male and female cardinal yesterday. But the ducks, our wild Flo and Eddy and their mallard clan that arrive, reliably, every spring, usually around March 14 in our backyard pool, are not here yet. They've been here for the last 17 years, at least.  I am keeping my fingers crossed. The weather has been so weird that maybe they're waiting to be reassured. I wake up every morning and run to the bathroom window and look out to see--empty pool.  But nature follows its own calendar.

 Like I said. Crossing fingers.


I head Elizabeth George speak the other day--she is amazing! 20 books. You cannot believe her writing process. First she picks....the setting!  And one of my favorite lines from her presentation: "I have never been able to write about a place that is flat."  After she picks the setting, she goes to visit there, and searches for story.  When she finds the key to a story that works, by traveling and interviewing, and reading and researching, she settles on her what if. 


Then she populates her book with generic people: the cop, the father, the vintner, the sister of the vicar, or whatever. They she picks 5 point of view characters, names them, and does huge bios for each.  (She says in the UK, names are so important, and they're instantly associated with a social class. "There'll never be King Kevin, you know?" she said. )Then she puts those people on little strips of paper--seriously, typewriter paper, cut in three horizontal strips--and makes scene titles for each, maybe five for each.  Then she moves the strips around, and then...

Reds, it is making my brain fry to tell you this. Especially since I was with the amazing Jeffery Deaver over the weekend, and he also works kind of the same way, only with yellow stickies. I couldn't do it that way. And yet, he's sold fifty million books. Maybe there is a lesson here. 

But they were both wonderful.






(Oh, and Debs? When I was waiting to get my George book signed, someone in line asked me what I was reading. I told her, and then asked her what she was reading. She said "Deborah Crombie! My favorite!")






Plus, although last year I came close to winning in March Madness, my brackets were brilliantly
wrong  this year. But I have to ask you--isn't it just as challenging and amazing to pick almost ALL the losers? I was SO close to winning--if I had just picked exactly opposite.

In other Reds news: Rhys'  IN FARLEIGH FIELD won the Lefty for Best Historical. Yay! Roberta/Lucy is looking for a title for her new book, and her newest comes out in August! (Watch for a Reds celebration of Lucy and Rhys in August in Boston--you all are invited!) 

Jenn and Hallie are writing like crazy, Ingrid is polishing her standalone, we are pushing Julia to become the new Erma Bombeck, Debs is nursing an injury (she's fine, just annoyed) and I am freaking out over the release of TRUST ME in late August.

It's Easter Sunday, and much joy to you who celebrate. It's Passover, and equal joy. (I always cry at Seders, since it's a holiday about justice.)  When I was growing up, we celebrated everything. We'd get Easter baskets, and bite the chocolate ears off first. We'd clamor for stuffed animals, but my mom always refused. We also got sent away from the Seder table for acting out how bored we were. Until Mom realized getting sent away from the table was exactly what we wanted to happen, and made us stay til the end.

How are you faring, dear Reds and readers?  Check in today.  

And ooh! There's a spider on you!

PS: No foolin--the winner of Jim Jackson's Easy Prey is Susan Emerson! Susan, email me via my website! 



68 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Rhys, on your well-deserved award for the fabulous “In Farleigh Field” . . . Feel better, Debs . . . Hank, I’m really looking forward to reading “Trust Me” . . . .

    The Easter Egg bread is made; we’re off to church first thing this morning, then it will be just a quiet day for us. I’m unhappily waiting to see how much of the promised snow will actually fall tonight. I am so done with winter and its too-many-inches of white stuff . . . I need a heavy dose of daffodils.

    To those who are celebrating, Happy Passover, Happy Easter . . . .

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    1. Sounds like a lively day, Joan! And I, too, cannot believe there’s snow coming tomorrow… I refuse to accept that!

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  2. Congrats on the win, Rhys!

    I am four weeks from the end of my job. Got to get serious about this looking for a new job thing. I think the pressure will finally get me moving, too.

    But I am healthy enough that I can focus on finding a new job, which is a blessing I am very thankful for.

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    1. Good luck on your job search.

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    2. Keep us posted, Mark! There is a whole world of opportunities out there, and something wonderful will happen!

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    3. Sending you positives vibes for your search Mark

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    4. Thank you, Mark
      And so glad your healing process is going well

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    5. Glad you are feeling better, Mark. Remember in your job search every no is a step closer to the yes.. and perhaps the best fit will be the first choice!

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  3. Congrats on the win Rhys!
    Congrats to the other Reds on their book endeavors.

    All is good on my end, well except for a misplaced package. Happy Easter to those who celebrate.

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    1. Oh dear, Dru Ann, that is so incredibly frustrating! Especially since that package is someplace… Anything we can do to help?

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  4. It's a slow spring. For heavens sake we've still got snow at the edges of our driveway! Hoping that explains the ducks late arrival. But my husband, who takes a bird walk ever day, reports that the bald eagles who have been wintering on the Neponset River near us are gone (sign of spring!) and the black-crowned night herons who nest by the dozen in the trees beside the trolley tracks in Dorchester are back. And our bird bath had a blue jay drinking from what had been frozen up until 5 daysago. Plus our crocuses have come (and gone).

    Happy Passover! Happy Easter! Happy None-of-the-Above!!

    Mark, good luck with your search! It's a good time to be job hunting.

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    1. Our crocuses just bloomed, yesterday! Just… Boom! And there they were.And so funny… The other day I heard a sound outside, and it was a huge huge huge crow, pecking at the ice in the birdbath! So lovely to have Jerry to reconnoiter spring… What a wonderful story.

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  5. Happy Passover, and Happy Easter! And happy Vernal Equinox, a couple of weeks late. Flo and Eddy are here in Texas, Hank, on the lake in the park where I sometimes eat breakfast. It was 80 degrees yesterday and sunny, so what's not to like?

    This weekend I've been taking stock of which plants in my garden made it through the winter and which did not, but this 3-day weekend (we got Good Friday) has been a gentle one for me, coming at the end of what I lovingly refer to as a 12-day work week. I've gone grocery shopping, taken naps, and vacuumed up some of the mud and dog hair, of which I have a constantly replenished supply. I'm trying to get myself and all the critters back on a semi-regular schedule, and enjoying an older Charles Todd/Ian Rutledge novel I somehow overlooked. Maybe, if I am stern with myself, I'll sit down and write something of my own.

    Here's hoping everyone's new endeavors flourish in the spring!

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    1. Sounds wonderful, Gigi! And you had me at 80°!I can’t even imagine it.

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    2. That snow forecast MUST be an April Fools joke!!

      A few weeks ago, on my birthday, we had one of our worst snowstorms. Not a great gift from Mother Nature. But I also saw my first robin of the spring that day, which made me feel sorry for the poor robin, but happy that it seemed as though Spring had a chance.

      And now this horrible forecast! Later this week I'm having outpatient surgery at a hospital in the northern part of the state, and there had better not be any wintry weather! I don't want to have to reschedule this thing!

      Mark, I wish you continued healing and that you end up getting the best job ever!

      Congratulations, Rhy! I loved the book!

      Julia, how about if you and The Maine Millennial become New England's version of Lisa Scottoline and her daughter?

      Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

      DebRo

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    3. DebRo— that is brilliant brilliant brilliant! Julia, are you listening?

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  6. We have daffodils and forsythia in bloom, and birds galore. And more snow tonight. No....!Enjoyed learning Elizabeth George's plotting method (why are her books so long?), after having heard Jeffery Deaver's sticky note technique and Gillian Flynn's wall of whiteboard system in Chicago.

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  7. I don’t know why her books are so long :-)… One of my friends at the event with me said she always felt like she was going on a long journey, and that she enjoyed the books heft and promise.
    What is the whiteboard method?

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    1. As a birthday surprise, Flynn's husband created a whiteboard wall in her downstairs office. Though she admits to sneaking a few sticky notes on it.

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  8. Happy Easter! Hank, could Flo and Eddy be pulling an April Fool's prank? I'm sure they'll show up soon.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Oh, they do have a pretty good sense of humor…

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  9. Congratulations Rhys for the Lefty Award !
    And a Good Day to every member of JRW ( with or without celebrations ) !

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  10. Just finished Elizabeth George's new book a week or so ago, and I was pleasantly surprised. I love Havers, and despise Ardery, and this book was all about them and their relationships with each other and with life. Linley was around for the second half, but it was definitely Havers's story. What a thrill to meet her, Hank. I have read much of Jeffery Deaver but not all, have to be able to suspend disbelief so much for Lincoln Rhyme. I've cared for a few quadriplegics in my day, Trust Me.

    Happy Easter/Passover. We are busy with Julie's choir schedule, and she's already off for a ten o'clock call for the final Mass at eleven. I bailed the Easter Vigil last night, having gone twice last Sunday and also on Good Friday. Didn't want the roof to cave in. This year we are not hosting the family Easter thank you JESUS! I didn't have it in me. So we will be at our brother and sister-in-law's, just the four of us, good food, good wine, good company.

    I texted with my daughter in Chester. England, this morning, asked her how long it would take her to get to Manchester, that I was at the airport and needed picking up! It was a very successful zinger. She says I am mean.

    I rarely even remember April Fool's Day. Do you know how that tradition came to be? It happened when Rome transferred from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian. In the latter, April 1 was the start of the new year, and that changed with the Gregorian to January 1. So people who continued to celebrate on April 1 were "fools." This is true, Trust Me. I heard it on CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley, and would a journalist lie?

    Happy New Year everyone!

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    1. I love that show, too! And I love when you say trust me!

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  11. Fingers Crossed for Flo and Eddy. So jelly that you got to meet/hear Elizabeth George. I'm knee deep in The Punishment She Deserves and loving it so much!!!

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  12. happy Easter and Passover. Finally I have some daffodils up! There was a bit of snow in the air earlier but now has stopped. For the next 9 months at least, I hope!

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    1. Yes, absolutely agree! The poor daffodils… Must be so confused!

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  13. Not being a kid or religious, Easter isn't much of a draw for me anymore. Though I did get invited to a friend's house for dinner.

    Hank, what's this about Rhys coming to Boston in August? Is there a book event I'm unaware of? Because I won't be able to make Thrillerfest, I keep hoping there is a book event in Boston but I can't seem to find anything online. I like meeting authors that I read and so far this year it looks like Edith Maxwell (her Maddie Day books are AWESOME!) is the only one on the horizon for me (not counting your late August arrival of Trust Me of course). And since I'm definitely a Molly Murphy fanatic, I'd love to know what the details are of a Rhys visit to Boston. Not to leave Lucy out either because any new author to meet means new books to buy, which is a good thing for me if not my bank account.

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    1. Party For Lucy and Rhys in Boston! In August! Details coming soon…

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  14. Spring Blessings on you all!! About to join together as 14 of our 15 immediate family (one daughter stayed in DC) for Easter Brunch and my youngest's 35th April Fool's Birthday!

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  15. Happy Easter, Chag Sameach, and/or whatever else you celebrate to all! It's hard to say happy spring when the snow has just finished melting and we're supposed to get more tonight ;-( But we're getting settled in nicely after being here two months, we had a wonderful visit from our kids and grandkids, and I'm excited about going to Pennwriters next month.

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    1. Oh, Pennwriters is so great—have a wonderful time!

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  16. Yes, Gigi is right--we have roses blooming!!! BUT the weather is going to play an April Fool's on us. The predicted low for Tuesday night is 36. So now I have tomatoes and all these other little veggies ready to plant in a dozen five gallon buckets. What do I do? They need to get out of their little plastic pots but I think they can wait a few more days and come inside on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    We're having a very quiet Easter here. The granddaughter has a cold (which I do not want to catch) and we've had rough couple of weeks, so I am resting up, doing the grocery shopping, and maybe potting a few more of the cold tolerant flowers.

    Happy Easter, everyone.

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    1. Roses ! Whoa . And hey, be careful! Xx

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    2. Yes, roses. One of mine is blooming, (Deb's are, of course, miles ahead of mine and gorgeous!) and three others are covered in buds. It could be a very pretty week!

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    3. Debs, you can protect them by covering them with sheets. NOT plastic.

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  17. Spring was 3 weeks ago and lasted for 5 days here in Tampa. Hank good to see the cardinals made it they flew by early February. Flo and Eddie have their cell phone number and are waiting to leave GA when they hear the snow is gone. We are now in Seattle Summer;cool in the morning and in the low 80's after 12 noon.

    Rhys, of course you won, In Farleigh Field is superb!

    This morning those in the Sangha --Congregation-- who perform selfless service were treated to a nice breakfast. The teaching today was on suffering -- which I think does tie in with the Christian and Jewish beliefs that are considered during this time of year.

    So glad all of you are continuing writing. So glad all of you are encouraging your cadre to keep all of writing. Hope all the colds, sniffles and other winter maladies will evaporate in the sunshine... which is on the way.. I am sending some right now.

    Peace to all on this day of celebration.

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    1. Thank you, dear Coralee! ANd some on the way to you, too!

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  18. Congratulations, Rhys! All the Reds seem to have a very full schedule for the year.

    I saw Gillian Flynn and Jeffery Deaver talk about how they plot at Murder and Mayhem in Chicago (and Deaver gave a 3-hour lecture the next day) and it was awe-inspiring. I absolutely cannot do it, but it is pretty amazing how much time and effort they put into plotting. I'm more of a plantser, honestly (pantser/plotter hybrid).

    Just started writing book 2 today as part of the Camp Nanowrimo challenge. I'm a slow writer, so my goal for the month is 30k. Got 1400 words today, so I'm off to a good start ^^

    Happy Easter and Happy Passover to everyone who celebrates those holidays!

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    1. Go, Mia! And see you at Malice! (Did you read Trust Me yet?)

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  19. Congratulations, Rhys! None of us who've read the book is surprised at your win, but I'm thrilled your wonderful writing is recognized in such a lovely way.

    Happy everything, to all. And Hank, I've had spiders on me for days, because we've been cleaning out our basement. Yuck. So glad that's done.

    Spring has sprung in Cincinnati, with so many flowers and flowering trees starting to bloom. The daffodils are particularly gorgeous right now.

    Can you believe I've never read Elizabeth George? I mean I only have so much time and money, Reds, and you gals hog most of it. :-)

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    1. Oh, Karen, YUCK is right! You are so brave! xoox

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  20. I'm just taking a moment to check in because I have about 40 pages left in the new Elizabeth George, and I can barely tear myself away! I love her approach to character and plot development, and I also write character studies. Her book, "Write On" is a terrific guide for writers no matter your approach.

    Happy Holidays to everyone, no matter what holiday you celebrate!

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  21. Wonderful!!! Happy Easter, everyone! Congratulations to Rhys and look forward to Lucy's new book.

    Diana

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    1. Yes, we are getting ready to celebrate them, big time! xooo

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  22. From Amanda Le Rougetel: I’m not able to post to the blog from my phone, though I can read it. So I offer all Reds and friends best wishes here for Easter, Passover and everything else!
    (THANKS, Amanda!)

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  23. It being April Fools Day and all . . . I am currently restocking the meat in my freezer with chicken and a couple of pork chops. I realized I could label it all "steak" and surprise myself sometime later in the year. But who would do a thing like that?

    Congratulations, Rhys, on your excellent book, and all the well-deserved recognition!

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    1. Yeah, you're not supposed to April Fool yourself, I think... xxxx

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  24. I just finished frosting the annual bunny cake - I really need to lose that pan! Any takers? Happy day, everyone! XO

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    1. Use it to store stuff in! But hey, you'll want it next year when you forget how full you are! xoxooo

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  25. For many years, we had mallards around our fresh water ponds that were fed by creeks. Mallards and Canadian geese. They've have been gone for two are three years now. I don't know. Maybe they are hanging out at one of our large man-made lakes that are close by.
    Hank, I think this year's brackets were confounded for almost everyone early. My only comfort is that I picked Villanova to win it all. So, we shall see.

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    1. Oh, David, crossing fingers! My husband did, too! So that would be fun if both of you won. Yay! (He picked them to play Virginia, though. Sigh.)

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  26. Late to the celebrations here today--but hoping you have all had--and continue to have--a lovely day in whatever way you celebrate Easter. No snow yet--and thanks for the sunshine, Coralee--I really needed that today--half my family has been smacked upside the head by a late round of flu and I can feel it reaching for me....

    Also, sincere thanks to all the Reds--you all are inspiring for your monumental creativity and work ethic--and you have provided me with hours and hours of reading pleasure and anticipation as I eagerly await whatever you give us next! Special congrats to Rhys today!

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  27. Oh, Flora! And absolutely back at you…

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  28. This morning, after our traditional waffle breakfast, I finished Jeffrey Siger's latest novel, An Agean Spring. I liked it a lot, though it's still not my favorite in the series. It's in the low 40s, windy, what I can only describe as Brisk, with rain in the forecast this afternoon. Good day to stay indoors and work on a jigsaw puzzle.

    We've had all the Spring signs, Daffodils are finishing up, some of the perennials showing signs of life, lots of birds including Robins, Stellars Jay and Varied Thrushes, as well as all the little guys. Happy Holiday to you all, and a wonderful Spring!

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    1. Oh, so lovely to hear from you! And to you, too! xoo

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    2. ANd have you seen the youtube girl crying about how she can't stop thinking about waffles? Search girl cries about waffles. It is so ridiculously pitifully funny.

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  29. Rhys asks what the (ahem) older woman should do to find something wonderful to wear. My answer: you should have my friend Gloria who marched me to her favorite store for "one of a kind" gorgeous silk tunic tops and I found the perfect thing. Of course this was in Sarasota, Florida. California appears not to have a shop like that!

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