Despite the incredibly warm weather (unseasonable but delightful), I’m chained to my desk & actually blogging. But not for long. Monday, March 19, I gave a talk at the Easthampton Library about why I wrote Eye Sleuth, the first Dr. Yoko Kamimura mystery & then co-authored, with Dennis Berry, the 2nd mystery, Eye Wit. Just as with the talk at the Cocoa Beach Library the week before (where I met the gull on the beach), the audience (small but select) had some great suggestions. The universal reaction was that everyone was amazed they had never heard of optometric vision therapy or behavioral optometry (except, of course, Dr. Jenna McDermed, an optometrist from Orlando, Florida, who specializes in developmental optometry – the umbrella term is behavioral, under it is developmental & functional). Actually, at the Easthampton Library talk, Dr. E. Lizotte, a behavioral optometrist, was on hand & fielded questions with aplomb. Onward & upward: April 14, I’ll be talking at Northampton Library, at 2 – hope to see you there. April 21, I’ll be on home turf, talking at the Greenfield Library at 11. You will be welcome!
Have I made it clear why the mysteries, Eye Sleuth and Eye Wit contain a lot about food (though not as much as Joy of Cooking)? It certainly isn’t because of Hasta Cuisine, which means, as anyone who speaks French knows, Fast French Food. Nor is it because Cogito Eggo Sum – again, Latin readers know that means: I think, therefore I am a waffle. No, it’s because food is a staple, like sunshine, water and air. Naturally food is omnipresent in prose. Did the fact that I edited Community Cuisine, the excellent cookbook published by the Franklin Cooperative (Massachusetts), color my thinking ? Does the amazing feline in the picture (yes, she’s a kissing cousin of Yoko’s brother cats) know? Perhaps check with http://dhberry.wordpress.com though he may not know but he sure is a good cook.
Doesn’t everyone think about food at least a few times during the day? Perhaps around meal times? Or is it because Yoko’s metabolism works so well that she burns up her food quickly & needs to stock up? That’s why Yoko often has Larabars or Luna bars in her desk drawer. Just as I am not overly fond of cooking but do so because I need to eat, so Yoko thinks about food & meals. And if you can identify the dwelling in this picture (no, not you, D, this quiz is not open to you), then you might well enjoy one or two of the recipes from the back of the second mystery featuring Yoko (“Eye Wit.”) Why? Perhaps because the person dwelling in #1648 (shown courtesy of http://dhberry.wordpress.com) enjoys some of those recipes.
A dear friend asked me why food features prominently in both Dr. Yoko Kamimura mysteries. I hadn’t realized that! Is it because one writes about what one knows (relatively speaking)? OK, I ‘fess up. I do like food. A lot. However, unlike some family members, I do not particularly like to cook nor am I a good cook. I’ve a few basic dishes & rotate them. Chicken in red wine? Sound exotic? You be the judge: Place chicken parts in dish, pour red wine over said parts, add a splash of soy & some rosemary twigs from the rosemary Christmas tree one of my daughters gifted me a few years back, cover & simmer till done. Pretty delicious & fits my skill level. Here’s something Asian. Anyone knows what it is – no fair, Denny in MI. I know you know. But I wonder if Dennis in OR knows?
I wonder if any readers identified the picture in the post titled “Damaged wrists, Interested publisher”? Here’s a hint: in the first Dr. Yoko Kamimura mystery, “Eye Sleuth,” Yoko’s godmother, Lanny, is pushed into the National Arts Club iconic leaded glass dome. Yes, eureka, that picture is the beautiful dome at the club. Happily, it is still intact. Here’s another question, dear readers, can you identify this pix?
Need a hint? This place is featured in both mysteries. It’s also on the masthead of this blog. For sure, Sarah Wiegmann will be able to identify it because her sweetie, Scott, took this pix! Full disclosure in the next post
Who hasn’t dreamed of a publisher being interested in their writing? In the previous post, I explained how I damaged my wrists while visiting my brother in France. Despite wearing a cast on my R arm & a huge splint on my L arm, I absolutely had to use the computer. Why? Because I had an email from Poison Pen Press saying they’d like to see the manuscript of Eye Sleuth.
Irony was, I was in France, the e-docs were in the U.S. Family & friends to the rescue. I e’d Maribeth Dawkins & she found the e-docs on my home ‘outer & sent them to Dennis Berry who sent them to the publisher after making sure everything was in order. Sad to say, the publisher didn’t snap up the book (but you can, just go to http://www.murderprose.com). However, the acquisitions editor gave me some cogent advice & I tweaked the manuscript. You, dear reader, have the benefit of that experience. Who can name the picture in this post? I’m waiting.
More serendipity – If you’ve looked at the web site, murderprose.com, you’ve doubtless noticed that the second Dr.Yoko Kamimura mystery, “Eye Wit,” was written in collaboration with Dennis Berry! Years ago, Liz & Dennis Berry & I were neighbors on Bainbridge Island, a wonderful island the size of Manhattan (but with a fraction of the Big Apple’s population). The Berrys were great neighbors & they gave the best parties but honestly, that’s not why Dennis & I collaborated on “Eye Wit.” We’ve both been writers for decades & we’re as used to being edited as we are to editing. Long story short, it was great fun to co-author with Dennis. “Eye Wit” started out as a TV script. That went nowhere fast. Then, in an effort to enter it in the Mystery Writers of America’s annual competition, we realized the TV script wasn’t long enough. “Remember that man I bumped off in the first chapter?” I emailed Dennis. “How about resurrecting him. He’ll be a Gypsy (Romani to the cognoscenti) & the back story can be the Nazi treatment of those we call Gypsies.” This is one of the saddest, darkest times in world history. Serendipity led us to Ron Lee, a Romani scholar, historian & author (“A Romani Dictionary” & “The Living Fire”). Ron Lee’s help was invaluable & we appreciate that he described “Eye Wit” as an “excellent portrayal of all its characters, including those of Romani ethnicity.”