Sunday, December 8, 2019

SNOW--LOVE IT OR HATE IT?


How do you feel about the white stuff? Is it the grand majesty of nature or a cruel joke perpetrated by prevailing winds and an uncaring sun?
 


CHRIS GOFF

            Love it! I am definitely a four season rogue. My favorite are the first snows of the year, when the world closes in and the snow falls softly with the promise of powder-ski days to come.
            This is a picture of two young mule deer in the side yard following a snow storm in Evergreen.

GAYLE LYNDS

            After living decades in Southern California, you can imagine my trepidation moving to the wilds of Maine where there are actual seasons, including (gulp) winter.  Cold!  Snow!  Ice! 
           I was not disappointed -- our first winter, the snow rose six feet high.  Our house was at the end of a quarter-mile long driveway.  The snow narrowed the driveway so much the propane truck got stuck and had to back out.  No propane!  We phoned our plow guy.  He was in Florida, soaking up cancer-causing rays, and happy to tell us about the pristine beaches and gloriously sunny days there.  When we forgave him, he told us about his on-call Maine friend, who brought his heavy pickup with huge plow blade that widened our driveway.  Electricity, heat, and wifi returned.  Warm sigh of relief.  
            But my happiest adventure that first winter was discovering snow shoeing.  John taught me, and after many falls (snow is soft), I was in love with it.  There's nothing quite like slipping into the cathedral beauty of a snowy woods.  Shimmering whiteness cloaks bushes and trees, and the silence is serene.  If you stand beneath a hemlock branch mounded with snow, you might get lucky and a gentle exhalation of wind will swhirl snowflakes past your face.  Now you know why every winter we wait eagerly for the first sizable snowfall.  My cheeks are tingling, and I'm smiling just thinking about it.

KARNA BODMAN SMALL

            Having grown up in a suburb of Chicago, I lived through falling snow which was “pretty” only the first day.  Then we had to contend with ice and slush that clogged the streets and finally “dirty snow” that piled up until someone shoveled it…which was quite a chore.  Also, I was cold ALL the time! Now, I love spending winters in Florida where I can swim laps every single day!  In fact, I haven’t been anywhere near snow for the last 20 years – how absolutely delightful.

LISA BLACK
An Ohio winter

            Though I’ve lived in Florida for 20 years, I still love snow, the magic of walking out into a monochrome universe. The silence of those gently falling flakes makes me feel utterly alone without being the least bit lonely. There are few moments as peaceful. 
            What I don’t like about it? Slush. Not silent, not peaceful, not clean and liquid, so that instead of crunching ever so quietly under your shoes it floods up and slips inside to freeze your toes and make your socks a sodden mess for the rest of the day. There’s nothing good to be said about slush. 
            But snow, I like. 

 
LIV CONSTANTINE

            The word snow fills me with dread. Probably because from the time I was little I remember my mother being terrified of driving in it. No matter how dreary the weather, her refrain was always “at least it’s not snowing.” Living in New England, snow is something I’ve gotten used to and while I can’t argue that it’s beautiful to look at, I always first look at snow as an obstacle to plans and travel. 

KJ HOWE
 

            Snow or not??? Hmmm, I’m convinced that at birth I was switched with a Caribbean baby, and I’ve been trying to find my way home ever since. My ideal vacation is a beach getaway—whether it is in the South Pacific, the Caribbean, or another island paradise, the turquoise waters and white sand are what makes this escaping Canadian happy. I’m delighted to leave the other white stuff for everyone else!

 
JAMIE FREVELETTI

            What I like about it: Cross country skiing along the lake in Chicago-most use the Waveland Golf Course there. The air is cold, sun is out and the lake covered in ice and shimmering. Perfect!


ROBIN BURCELL

            I love snow. No doubt because I live in the Central Valley of California at sea level. No snow here, though occasionally we'll get a hail storm that will blanket the streets, lawn and garden. It is (if you'll excuse the weak pun) the "polar opposite" of a snow storm that muffles the sounds in peaceful silence. The hail storms pound on the roof, pavement and cars, but in the end, you have the illusion of snow, and can pretend for the few short minutes before the hail melts into oblivion, that you live in a wondrous snowy place. 

Friday, December 6, 2019

Rogue Women November Roundup!

Use the links below to binge read our November posts

Here's what we Rogues talked about, researched, and revealed in November...

Rogue Karna Small Bodman tells us all about the Rogues at "Bouchercon" - the World Mystery Writers conference - where bestselling author Meg Gardiner hosted the Rogue Women Writers panel.

Bestselling thriller writer Boyd Morrison steps into the Limelight to reveal how he writes. Here are 9 things you might not know about him.

In "A Real-Life Boardwalk Empire," Rogue Lisa Black describes how political corruption in her native Cleveland is simply Atlantic City history revisited.


Rogue Robin Burcell discusses what she's learned about writer's block and lists tips to get past it and boost productivity.

The Real Book Spy reveals this month's Rogue Recommendation: Marc Cameron's Tom Clancy Code of Honor

And, here's what Marc Cameron has to say about writing the new Clancy book, and what it was like when author extraordinaire, Mark Greaney, recommended him to take over the Jack Ryan series

Meet "A Younger Jessica Fletcher for the First Time" in Jon Land's tour-de-force, A Time for Murder.

Our Rogue duo, Liv Constantine, share their amazing experience in the UAE participating in the Sharjah International Book Fair.  It's "A Trip of a Lifetime!"

Another of our favorite authors, Ellen Crosby, steps into the Rogue Limelight to talk about her mesmerizing mysteries series set in the Virginia wine country. You'll learn intriguing bits of history about the Founding Fathers, and get involved in fascinating searches for documents and bootleg Madeira.

In Thanksgiving Tales from Wartime, Rogue Gayle Lynds recounts wonderful true stories from the last 19 years of soldiers & other personnel serving in our various wars. All of us Rogues give a heartfelt thank you to those who serve!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

13 THINGS MENTALLY STRONG PEOPLE DO

by K.J. Howe

I love audiobooks, especially business and self-help books. Long drives offer enjoyable lectures where I can fully immerse myself in a new topic. No road rage, no traffic frustration--just the joy of listening to an intelligent and thoughtful person sharing gems of wisdom in their area of expertise.

Recently, one book stood out, and I'd like to share a few highlights with you in the hopes that these tips might help you with any struggles you're having. The book is called 13 THINGS MENTALLY STRONG PEOPLE DO by Amy Morin. Now Amy dives into each point in great depth, and it's definitely worth taking the time to read her analysis of each point, but what I'd like to do is to share a few personal thoughts about each point.


1. They don't waste time feeling sorry for themselves. 

Life is hard. We all have lousy days--whether it's health issues, financial problems, family drama or...but every time I lapse into "feeling sorry for myself" mode, I try to reach out to someone--perhaps a friend or maybe even the cashier at the grocery store--and ask them how their day is going. Really listening, making them understand that I truly care. Connecting with another person who might also be struggling can help lift both your moods. We're social beings who need that bond. Make someone's day by surprising them with a small kindness. You'll never regret it.

2. They don't give away their power.

Whether it's family or friends taking out their frustrations on you or a boss dishing out some harsh criticism, remember that no one can diminish you if you don't let them. Don't we have to be our own most fervent cheerleader in life?

3. They don't shy away from change.

Adaptation is a survival mechanism. Growing up, I moved all over the world. Always being the new kid helped condition me to perpetual change. There are times when we all want our security blankets of the status quo, but if you view change as something good, a chance to experience a different life, it can really help you face both positive and negative events. Change is inevitable, so why fight it?

4. They don't waste energy on things they can't control.

Oh, boy. Isn't it hard to let go of something that's important to you even when you know there's nothing you can humanly do to make an impact or change? But finding that peace-of-mind can save you many sleepless nights. Let go of the things you can't change--and focus on the things where you do exert more control.

5. They don't worry about pleasing anyone.

This is a tough one for so many people, me included. We're all taught to make others happy, but if we don't ask ourselves what makes us content, then we are missing out on so much in life. What makes you feel fulfilled? Are you willing to follow your heart even under the threat of disapproval from your loved ones?

6. They don't fear taking calculated risks.

Adventure and travel are passions of mine. I love forcing myself out of my comfort zone to explore things that scare me a little. We should all try something new every month...it doesn't have to be a big thing--a new food, a different sport, going out to dinner alone--the world is waiting for you to discover it.

7. They don't dwell on the past.

Rumination. One word that dominates my thoughts. Who else relives embarrassing moments or mistakes over and over? Can't we forgive ourselves and move on? Aren't our flaws the things that make us all special and unique?

8. They don't make the same mistakes over and over again.

Learning is a constant part of life. Can we stumble, dust ourselves off, and realize that we can do better? Take time to write in a journal and reread passages to remind yourself of lessons learned.

9. They don't resent other people's success.

There are so many opportunities available, and we all have our own journey to pursue. Encourage friends to follow their dreams, be their cheerleader and they can become yours. There is enough success for everyone--and success takes so many different forms. Whenever I meet someone impressive, I always consider the hours and hours they must have spent honing their skills. Overnight success is a rare thing, and we have no idea what others have sacrificed to reach their dreams. Ask the next successful person you meet about their journey. And congratulate them.

10. They don't give up after the first failure.

Failure is the best teacher if we step out of the way of our egos. I love meeting people who are doggedly chasing a goal or dream, smiling and laughing when they talk about their stumbles. They understand that the only way we truly learn is to fail and fail and fail--until we finally succeed.

11. They don't fear alone time.

Sometimes life is so busy that we forget to stop and re-assess. Are we in a rut? Have we lost perspective of our values? I love spending time alone, especially in nature, to consider what matters to me.

12. They don't feel the world owes them anything.

Be grateful, not entitled.

13. They don't expect immediate results.

Patience. If it were a commodity on the shelves, patience would sell out in ten minutes. We all have to think of the long game...and you're proving that you have what it takes by making it to point number 13!

I hope you'll take the time to read this book, as it tackles so many important points that we could all benefit from reminding ourselves about. Sending good thoughts your way.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

In the Rogue Limelight - Alex Kava

Submitted by Karna Small Bodman

Do you love dogs are much as we do? I'm delighted to welcome a terrific writer who not only loves dogs, but features them in many of her terrific novels. Her name is Alex Kava, a New York Times, USA Today and Amazon bestselling author whose books have been published in 34 countries and sold six million copies (!) As our guest blogger, she is here to tell us how she develops her characters and writes her great stories. 

Author Alex Kava 

Write What You Love.

I envy the Rogue Women Writers, because I don’t have a background in what I write. So I’m not writing what I know. In fact, I never intended to write thrillers or a series.

When my first novel, “A Perfect Evil,” became an international bestseller, my publisher wanted another book with FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell. I’d started an entirely different novel for the second in a three-book contract, but my publisher insisted I put it aside and write a sequel. Then they wanted a third, and suddenly, I found myself writing a series.
Only recently have I revealed that I didn’t particularly like Maggie in the beginning. She doesn’t even enter the novel until chapter seven. How could I possibly write a series with a protagonist I didn’t really know or like? 

Despite all that, I discovered one thing I did love—doing research.
At book signings, experts started introducing themselves to me, volunteering their expertise. One of those experts, a deputy prosecutor, became a close friend. When I confessed my predicament, she offered some advice that saved me and, ultimately, saved Maggie O’Dell.
She suggested I give Maggie something I liked. Then she added that Maggie needed a sense of humor, sharing that it was the one thing that got her and fellow law enforcement officials through some of their darkest times.

So Maggie acquired a dog and a love of college football. Her sense of humor is a bit dry. But it worked! Slowly I came to like her. And I enjoyed throwing her into situations to see what she would do—like putting her in the path of killers and most recently, the path of a tornado in “Desperate Creed.”

The best research was (and still is) listening to the experts tell their stories. Over the years those experts and my research have helped me bring to life a variety of topics: Ebola (“Exposed”), Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy (“At the Stroke of Madness”), domestic terrorism (“Black Friday”), the bird flu virus (“Reckless Creed”) and human trafficking (“Lost Creed”). 

In 2015 I started a new series. Ryder Creed is a former Marine K9 handler who rescues abandoned dogs and trains them for scent detention. I’ve loved dogs since I was old enough to crawl and have surrounded myself with dogs ever since. So when I started this new series I wasn’t just writing about something I love (dogs!), but finally, something that I know.
This time, I’d created a protagonist who I understood immediately. With Ryder Creed I’ve found a kindred soul—both of us happy to live quite simply in the company of dogs. I also created my favorite character to date—Grace, a scrappy Jack Russell terrier is one of Creed’s best scent detection dogs.

To my pleasant surprise, I’m still doing research. And still loving it!
For each book in the series I push myself to find new and different things for the dogs to detect from explosives and drugs to the lost and the dead. But also, viruses like C. diff and the bird flu. Dogs can detect certain types of cancer earlier and better than any lab tests we currently have. Recently, the Omaha police department acquired one of ten dogs trained by the AFT National K-9 Academy to detect firearms and shell casings. I can’t wait to meet Peace.


Next year will be twenty years since “A Perfect Evil” was published. I can’t believe I’ll be celebrating my twentieth anniversary as a published author. “Hidden Creed” is Book #6 in the Ryder Creed series and is my 20th novel! It will be released next summer.
Oh, and I should probably mention, Maggie O’Dell is in all of the Ryder Creed novels. Turns out, I’m not done with the ole’ girl, yet.

--ALEX KAVA

What wonderful inspirations. I can't wait to read the new Maggie O'Dell story.  Thanks, Alex, for being with us here at Rogue Women Writers. Now what about your readers? Do you have any great stories about your dogs (or other pets) to share with us? Do let us know in a comment.

….Karna Small Bodman