Monday, September 19, 2016

Great Stories Starring Sherlock, and a Wonderful Find


What a busy week it's been: I attended a writing workshop,  I finished the story collection,  Beyond Watson, I found just the right book for my next Sherlock story, and a furry visitor -- the cute little rabbit that started visiting our back yard.reminded me that it's always great to celebrate the small things.

First, I'll start with  the book I found: In my neighborhood, someone in a a home on the corner of F & 25th has started a "little free library." I've read of these: A small box atop a post with shelves and a glass door--you can take books for free and leave books for others to take for free. On my walk yesterday, I passed it and peeked in, and what to my wondering eyes did appear . . .

Yes! just the reference I need at my fingertips to help with a story idea that's rolling around in my head for a new Sherlock-related tale -- and we're going to be traveling, so I can't take my shelf-load of Sherlcock-related books. This was beyond cool. (I did leave a generous load of books return.)


Then there is the matter of reading the rest of the marvelous story collection, Beyond Watson. It's been way busy lately, and then I came down with a really horrible cold. But it gave me time to put my feet up and finish my Beyond Watson reading feast:

Let me give you some snapshot reviews of the remaining stories I hadn't yet read.

Previously I gave little thumbnail reviews to 
three of the stories on June 27th HERE and four more stories on August 4th,  HERE . Check them out again, and then read the rest, as I did with great pleasure. Here are 5 more. 

     Mine, "Kidnapped," stars Imogene, Rusty, and Sherlock again, as well as Imogene's trusty cook, Mrs. Parker. Rusty gets kidnapped in this story, and more than that, I will not say.
     In David Ruffle's "The Tarlton Affair" someone in Sherlock Holmes's past shows up to confront him about a nefarious murder plot in which Sherlock actually played a significant role.This story, BTW, is full of twists and surprises--something I always enjoy in a mystery, and you will, too.
     In Jack McDevitt's "The Lost Equation," during a trip to London, the American journalist, H. L. Mencken, helps Sherlock Holmes unravel a case involving Einstein's famous equation, E=mc².  Apparently a young physics student discovered particle theory two years before Einstein did, then died shortly afterward, at age 32, of a stroke. Why? And was it a stroke?
     In "An Adventure in the Mid-day Sun," by Daniel D. Victor, fifteen-year-old Raymond Chandler (yes, that Raymond Chandler) is working as a page at 221 Baker Street. On a fateful day, he witnesses a murder in the back alley and is about to be next, when a mysterious boy he's seen lurking about rescues him. Stolen pearls, a part in a play, blackmail . . . and a clever surprise at the end!
     Last, but not least, "Some Notes Upon the Matter of John Douglas," by David Marcum, involves an interview in the Dartmoor Prison with Sebastian Moran, whom Holmes has described as "the second most dangerous man in London." Moran's status in this tale comes from being Professor Moriarty's right hand man, (Moriarty being the "first most dangerous man in London"). In this interview he recalls a case when an American came to Moriarty to basically arrange a hit on a Pinkerton detective (in England under the new name, John Douglas) who brought down a crime ring in America. But what a tangled tale this becomes, and one with effects far into the future.

So, run, don't walk . . . or at least let your fingers do the running . . . and get a copy of this fine collection HERE. You won't regret it. 

Third,  I went to a writing workshop about getting published on September 9th and pitched my cozy mystery (alas, not involving Holmes or Watson) to two agents. I got two requests: one for a full, one for a partial. (Which means, I know, only that the pitch sounded good and they'd like to see more.) Still, I'm over the moon. Especially since it seems I've learned how to write the dreaded pitch, something that has always terrified me.

And now -- the bunny I'm celebrating. It may sound strange to celebrate the arrival of a little cottontail rabbit who has decided to make our back yard one of his favorite visiting spots. But a few days ago, that's just what happened. He comes almost every day, now, and munches on our grass and, I fervently hope, the weeds I haven't had time to pull. And he is just too cute. 

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog. (You can click on any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate. I recommend it, because it's fun to see positive news that others are celebrating, and to share your own as well.  A dose of the positive is always refreshing.)


22 comments:

  1. Congrats on getting a request for a full and a partial - that's fantastic! I do love those free libraries too :-)

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  2. Hi, Ellen, thanks for stopping by. Thanks for the good wishes. Yes, I love those free libraries, too. They are such a good idea.

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  3. Congrats on getting the two requests. Fingers crossed for you. I like the new visitor to your garden :)

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    1. Thanks for the support, Rachna. As for the little visitor, isn't he cute? He seems to be making our yard a regular part of his daily routing.

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  4. Congratulations, Elizabeth! So much to celebrate, both big and small.

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    1. Hi, Victoria, thanks for stopping by. Yes. I do have a lot to be happy about. I've been enjoying your book reviews on your blog. (Finally tuning back into the blogosphere. )

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  5. Great news from your conference. Thanks for an uplifting post. Yes, it is important to celebrate the small things.

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  6. Hi, Rosi, That's one thing I like so much about this blog hop. It IS important to stop from time to time and notice the small things that make life meaningful or enjoyable. We have enough big things to worry about -- and, as you know, I'm a worrier. So I appreciate this little bunny.

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  7. I love conferences. I attended a Margie Lawson immersion class recently--4 days of writerly bliss I'd recommend to anyone. Sounds like you've been a busy lady Elizabeth! Go you!

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    1. Hi, Denise. It had been awhile since I went to a writing conference, and this is really one of the best I've been to -- and only one day! I learned so much. Yes, busy is the word, Denise. Hope all is going well with your own writing.

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  8. I love the idea of the little library - and what a find with the Holmes book! Cute bunny, too. One of the venues where I teach yoga is a very grand country hotel and there are hundreds of rabbits and other assorted wildlife in the grounds. Driving home last night, I had to pull up to let a fox cross in front of me!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Julia. I love it when I see wildlife mingled into human areas. We live in Midtown in Sacramento, but these old homes have long back yards, and we get possums, raccoons, and even occasionally a hawk.

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  9. Great news about the agents! I hope you get an offer!!

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    1. Thanks, Connie. I hope so, too. Believe me, I'll let everyone know. Hope all is going well with your own books.

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  10. I love the free library idea. And how great to find just the book you needed! Congrats on getting requests from the agents! I was never very good at pitches, but it sounds like you've got it down. Good luck! The little rabbit is cute. We have one that lives around our house. It's really cute, too, except when it's eating my flowers.

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    1. Hi, Lori, yes, my neighbor has warned me that the cute little bunny will happily eat my flowers, not just my weeds. Regarding the pitch, Elizabeth Kracht, one of the agents I pitched to, had this advice in an interview I read: When pitching an agent or editor, writers should first distill their stories down to five or six sentences (max) on paper. Then, they should memorize the pitch and practice pitching to a friend or family member several times before the conference if possible. Lead the pitch with your title, genre, word count, and comparable titles. Then, pitch the four or five sentence distillation of your story: who is your main character, what is the source of conflict, what obstacles will he or she face and end it with a couple lines about yourself. Have you been published before? Why are you the best person to tell this story?" Well, I did just that. And what I noticed was, when I pitched to others, they had questions I needed to address in those first 5 lines, so I re -worked it and re-worked it. It was a lot of time -- but now I have a pitch that works that I can run by other agents if these two decide to pass on my book.

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  11. We love bunnies too. And possums. And raccoons. Stray cats. Deer. And squirrels and chipmunks who knock on the door when they want more food. Hmm. It's kind of a circus around here now that I think about it.

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    1. Hi, Tamara, We get raccoons and squirrels, too. It's amazing how much wildlife there is in the city. We've had possums and skunks as well.

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  12. Congratulation on the requests for your cozy mystery. Good luck!

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  13. Hi, Theresa, thanks for the good wishes. My fingers are crossed. (Toes, too.)😊

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  14. I'd love to read Beyond Watson. And I have a friend who'd absolutely love it. Here's to your cozy mystery! Very exciting.

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    1. Thanks, Lee. I'm going to be reading your book this week. We are traveling, and it's just the thing for evenings.

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