When Len and I received a delectable box of chocolates as a thank you gift, we waited all of fifteen seconds before opening it to see what was inside.
Ooh la la, every one of them looked delicious! How to choose?
In the movie, Forrest Gump, Forrest says, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.”
Fortunately, there was a “key” inside the lid of our box of chocolates. It helped us to navigate the edible treasures. For instance, I’m not a coconut fan, so Len used the “key” to select those. He’s not a fan of fruit centers, so I used it to find those.
How do you navigate a box of chocolates—or life, for that matter?
Every now and then, someone poses a question that stops me in my tracks and makes me really think.
Such was the case when my friend and writing mentor, Christine DeSmet—author of The Fudge Shop Mystery Series—posed this question on the Blackbird Writers website: “What skill shaped your life?”
After thinking about it, the answer is reading. It holds the number one spot in the list of skills that have shaped my life. Numbers two and three are observing details and listening between the lines.
What is the Blackbird Writers website? I’m glad you asked!
If you’re a fan of thrillers, suspense, or mystery novels, you’ll want to hang out with the Blackbird Writers—a group for discerning readers, talented authors, and suspenseful books. Our nest is your nest!
Earlier this year, a group of writers in these genres, decided to collaborate and form the Blackbird Writers. Each week a different author offers new perspectives on the Blackbird blog. Check out our latest blog and subscribe to our quarterly newsletter HERE.
We also have fantastic social media sites where you can engage in a discussion, get the scoop on new releases, freebies, contests, and more.
“Fast-paced and with plenty of plot twists, you’re sure to be swept up into the story.” —DEBBIE HERBERT, USA Today best-selling author
“Hold on to your seat: the ride is fast and furious. Be ready to stay up all night.” —TOWER LOWE, author of No Way Out
“If you’re an adrenaline junkie like I am, you’ll love this book!” —GAIL CUSHMAN, author of the Breaking Barrier series
“The pace is a roller coaster ride. The tension builds from the first page and doesn’t let up until the very end.” —CHRIS NORBURY, author of Straight River and Castle Danger
“Early in Indelible, I realized I was in the hands of a gifted storyteller. Through flawed characters and a vivid setting, tension mounts in this fast-paced thriller, leading to a riveting climax.” —GREG RENZ, author Beneath the Flames
“Smart and sassy, Laurie Buchanan’s Indelible is a fast-paced mystery with deftly drawn characters and a palpable sense of place. I couldn’t put it down!” —ASHLEY E. SWEENEY, author of Answer Creek
When a sniper killed his partner, Sean McPherson was injured in the ambush. Now an ex-cop, he takes a job at a writing retreat in the Pacific Northwest. At Pines & Quill, he hopes to heal and put his life back together in the Zen-like capacity of groundskeeper and all-around handyman.
Sniper, Jason Hughes, blames McPherson for the loss of more than ten million dollars’ worth of heroin—and he wants revenge.
In the guise of a New York City limo driver working on a sizzling tell-all memoir, Hughes arrives at Pines & Quill along with three other writers in residence: a bohemian psychic taking a break from grueling work as a forensic intuitive, a bitter divorcée who wants to open herself to a new life, and a vibrant and resilient potter navigating life from a wheelchair.
With conflicting agendas, uncertain loyalties, and romantic entanglements at play, Hughes finds it difficult to get McPherson in his sights. Gradually, he forms a different plan, one that threatens the lives of everyone at the retreat.
Indelible Hits the shelves on April 6th #seanmcphersonnovels
As you read this, Len and I are on a little road trip—we don’t know where we’re heading.
We were supposed to be enjoying the Pacific Ocean from the Oregon coastline. But with over 500,000 people having fled because of statewide fires, we opted to head east instead.
The one thing I do know is that Indelible: A Sean McPherson Novel, Book One, hits the shelves on April 6th. Here’s an excerpt. Enjoy:
“Much like a brilliant, multi-faceted gem nestled on the ragged hemline of the northern Pacific coastline, Pines & Quill, a wooded retreat for writers, sits Zen-like overlooking Bellingham Bay in Fairhaven, Washington, holding space to unleash possibility. The mango-colored sunrises and blood-orange sunsets compete in their breathtaking showiness, each vying for the rapt attention of would-be onlookers. One heralding the beginning of day, the other bids adieu, sending it off into the ink-black night sky.”
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I’ve turned comments off for this post, but I wanted to share a glimpse of this beautiful location with you. Enjoy!
Last year, on a road trip through Oregon, we saw endless miles of wire fencing stabilized every hundred feet or so by wire-wrapped “pillars” of smooth fieldstones.
The labor involved in that task—harvesting millions of fieldstones and placing them in the wire enclosures—was massive, but serves a practical purpose. The “pillars” provide stability to the fence, keeping it upright.
It’s rare for me to despise something. That’s a strong word, a strong feeling—contempt, deep repugnance. But it bubbles to the surface when I encounter indifference, a complete lack of interest, concern, or sympathy for anyone or anything.
In researching why I feel this way when I encounter it, I came across many quotes, one of which I share here. No wonder it raises my hackles.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. ” —Elie Wiesel
Does anything raise your hackles to the point of contempt or deep repugnance?
I enjoy writing and photography (and of course, I love red licorice).
My next book, Indelible: A Sean McPherson Novel, Book One, takes place in the Zen-like wooded acres surrounding Pines & Quill, a writing retreat in the Pacific Northwest. And while Pines & Quill is fictitious, the historic Fairhaven district of Bellingham, WA, where the story takes place is very real. In fact, we took a trip there to take photographs for book promotion purposes. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen some of them.
While watching a video of Zen Master John Daido Loori, an incredible photographer and author of Hearing with the Eye: Photographs from Point Lobos, he said:
“The moment is where our life takes place. We miss the moment—we miss life.”
I realize that the “big picture” is important too, but in my experience, the moment is essential.
Are you more of an “in the moment” or “big picture” person?
Walking out the door one morning, I heard a chorus of cooing. Looking around, I located the source of the birdsong on the roof of the neighboring house. A trio of birds was amicably roosting. One of them was clearly the king—or queen, as the case may be.
It brought to mind playing “King of the Hill” when I was growing up. A group of neighborhood friends would find a mound or hill, and whoever got to the top first would try to maintain their position—unfortunately, by pushing opponents back down.
As an adult, my only “opponent” is me. I compete against myself. Sometimes I’m “queen of the hill,” other times I’m in a slipped-down position, waiting for the right moment to recapture the hill.
If you were playing king/queen of the hill, what’s your current position?
We’re currently camping at the Garden Valley Airstrip. It’s a popular fly-in picnic and camping spot for experienced pilots because of the mountainous location next to the Payette River and the excellent maintenance of the grass landing strip by the Idaho Division of Aeronautics.
The camping facilities include shelters, tables, fire-pits, flush toilets (hallelujah!), and hot showers. It’s a great place to get a lot of reading and writing done.
I’ve turned comments off for this post because internet connections are iffy at best up here. But I wanted to share a glimpse of this beautiful location with you. Enjoy!