Friday, April 1, 2016

Next Cam Locke novel

Some readers have been kind enough to let me know they enjoyed my first PI Cameron Locke novel, Requiem for a Party Girl. The next in the series, Delusion for a Lonely Girl, will be released by Oconee Spirit Press in September 2016. In this second book Cam finds herself caught up in two missing person cases, one male and one female. The male is the boyfriend of a very young woman whose body is later found on a creek bank by a hiker. The missing female is the daughter of Cam's former boss and the ex-wife of her (maybe) boyfriend, Detective Shac Lane. Before the case, which involves drug smuggling and human trafficking, is solved Cam and someone she has come to regard as a friend almost lose their lives.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Resolutions and Pavlov

Well, 'pun' my honor. I'm doing it again. Folks who despise that literary play on words called a 'pun' might prefer to skip this post. If so, that's okay, just come back next week, ya hear? Maybe I'll have another post to your liking.
I chose several of my favorites from a list posted online several years ago by an author I've only ever met online, Serita Stevens. I have no idea if they're original with her, but just to be safe, I'm crediting her.

The first one on the list is a pretty good definition of the type.
A good pun is its own re-word. Yup. Although with the Smart Phone-birthed textspeak, which some of us can't seem to grasp, in the future good puns may be hard to come by.
A hangover is the wrath of grapes. No doubt this wrath was endured by a few, or many, New Year's revelers a month or so ago. Of course, for some no holiday is required to be visited by it periodically.
A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter. How many of those earnestly proclaimed New Year's Diet Resolutions, if people still make them, have achieved that triumph even for a month, I wonder. Mine never did, so I stopped making them.
Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? One of my favorites, 'nuff said.
The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large. Many of us don't need to hear Pavlov's bell. We just need to drive by a fast food place and we begin to salivate, not for small or medium, but usually for a large serving.
Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis. Ah, bread, the staff of life we've heard. That's what makes me salivate for a large whatever. Something like a nice bagel, crusty croissant, or preferably, a lovely frosted cinnamon raisin biscuit.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


I make lists. I like to read lists. Evidently many people do since almost any magazine a person might pick up probably has an article with a list of something. Either a list of things to get done before Christmas or a list of items to never forget when leaving for a trip to the beach, like sunscreen.
The personal lists I make are usually practical, you might say. Things I need to get done around the house. Things I'm thankful for or lists of potential gifts for friends and family. But the lists I like to read are sometimes just interesting and not especially useful.
For instance some time ago I received an email with a list of these United States and what each is famous for. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the list. But diamond lovers and fans of the old Marilyn Monroe movie, Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend, might find the first one interesting.
Arkansas – only state with an active diamond mine.
Arizona – only state in the Continental US that does not follow Daylight Savings Time.
California – state whose economy is so large that if it were a country it would rank 7th in the entire world. (Aside: also in about the same condition as some of those countries.)
Connecticut – home of Yale University, where the Frisbee was invented.
Georgia – State where Coca-Cola was invented
Iowa – Winnebago campers get their name from Winnebago County. And also the only state name that begins with two vowels.
Louisiana – has parishes instead of counties because they were originally Spanish church units.
Maine – so big it covers as many square miles as the other five New England States combined.
Michigan – home of Gerber, is the baby food capital of the world.
Missouri – birthplace of the ice cream cone. (personal aside: Hail to Missouri!)
Montana – a sapphire from Montana is in the Crown Jewels of England.
That's a dozen, only thirty-eight to go, despite the confusion of some officials in high places.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Open to More Learning

I have numerous writing advice and teaching websites bookmarked on my computer. I get caught up in what I'm doing and don't go to them as often as I probably should. One of those excellent teaching sites is by an author/teacher named Kristen Lamb. In one of her recent blog posts, she succeeded in convincing me that I must work harder to write so that flashbacks are mostly unnecessry. I KNEW that flashbacks can interrupt the reader's immersion in the story. But like many I believed they were almost a necessity. I. was. wrong. Now to get back to my work-in-progress and weed out those pesky things as much as possible! Thanks, Kristen.

Not Really Gone!

Can't believe I haven't posted since last December. I guess I hibernated during that long cold winter. And now we seem to have jumped right into a long hot summer.
We did have a little bit of spring. Thankfully, the two outdoor booksignings I've done for the new book, were during those not so hot days in May.
Trail Days in Damscus, Virginia was a fun event I'd never done before. The energy level was over the top, of the tent! Talked to a bunch of hikers who hike the Appalachian Trail. Some were through-hikers, who hike all of the over 2,000 miles of the AT. Others call themselves 'section hikers' who hike the trail in sections, as time and money allow. All I spoke with were extremely nice.
The other booksigning I did, also in May and also the first time I'd participated, was Plumb Alley Day in Abingdon, Virginia. This is a unique event. A four block section of Plumb Alley is blocked off for a one day unusual kind of 'yard sale' for whatever you have to sell. It's sponsored and administered by the Abingdon Kiwanis Club to benefit children.
Another exciting first for me was my interview on WJHL TV's  Daytime Tricities broadcast last week. Ann was an easy-to-talk-to interviewer and I thoroughly enjoyed my brief appearance.
I have a couple more events scheduled and others in the works. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sylvia's 2014 Retrospective

By the time this column is read, if indeed it is, another Christmas Day will have passed. Children will be playing with or breaking new toys. Thumbs of slightly older youngsters, of all ages, will be flying over keys of new smart phones. The strange spelling of their texts appearing on screens of their friends' phones faster than Santa disappearing over the rooftops.

The countdown will have begun to the beginning of another year. I think we all hope that 2015 will bring better things, though few may expect that hope to manifest. Television networks used to broadcast retrospectives of important events of the year just past on New Year's Eve. Whether they still do or not I won't know since I cut the cord of cable and satellite TV reception. Surprisingly, after having lived almost my whole (long) life with television as a constant, I have missed it very little.

So I'll do my own retrospective. In many ways this has been a sad year for me. The deaths of friends sounded a refrain of my own mortality. Death of a friend's husband reminded me that the coming January will mark four years since I lost my own husband of over fifty years. And just before Thanksgiving the loss of my youngest brother's wife at a much too young age was a blow.

 A close family. A member of my immediate family went through the trauma endemic to these times, divorce. The disruption has been hard on my adored great grandsons, even with all working to create a smooth transition. I trust that the power of unconditional love will heal any damage to their precious spirits. This is the gift we yearn to find during the Christmas season. Would that we all found much of that healing to take as our 'shield and buckler' in the New Year.

But the year brought good things to me also. A successful year as leader of a writing group. The continued presence of many long-time great friends. A long-sought book contract with a traditional publisher. These are the things I hope to build on and make 2015 a good year. May it be so for all who might read this.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Reflections on 2014

As the year dwindles toward another December, I'm reflecting on the joy and sadness my family and friends have come through in the last eleven months. Births and deaths and life events of many descriptions. Most recent and devastating in my family was the death of a much-loved sister-in-law. The evil of an extremely aggressive cancer took her life in a matter of months. While mourning her loss we can look back on many years of her whole-hearted involvement in reunions and other festive events in our lives, her family by marriage. We cherish her legacy, a son and daughter, numerous grandchildren, a great-grandson and next spring another.
My gratitude for her care of my brother during a very serious illness, without which we may have lost him a couple of years ago, knows no bounds.
Her strong support of my writing attempts, from the beginning, meant so much to me. On my last visit she read my most recent novel from cover to cover while I was there and pronounced it good.
Thank you, Debbie. We'll see you again some day.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy Days

One of the happier days of my writing life was when I recently signed a contract with a small independent press to publish the first book of one of my mystery series. The novel is Requiem for a Party Girl, first of PI Cameron Locke's cases. No info yet for its publication date, hopefully this year.

One of my goals for this year was getting two books published. That is, to self-publish two of my own books. Accomplished that goal by last month, May. The first, in February, was Life Slices, a Medley of Musings after Three Score and More, a volume of my Kingsport Daily News newspaper columns. Then in June I published Disguise for Death, a Royce Thorne Mystery, through CreateSpace. These two books, Amazon - Life-Slices and Amazon - Disguise for Death may be ordered online or via any book store or by emailing sylnick (at), remember to use the 'at' symbol before

Then I decided to submit Requiem to one more publisher. And it was accepted. Thanks, Oconee Spirit Press.