Nashville, Here I Come

This week, I’m heading to Killer Nashville, a writers’ conference for people like me who write about murder and other crimes. If you’re going to be there, please consider this permission to approach. Here’s what I look like these days:

Yes, that is teal in my hair. It’s an easy way to recognize me. I’m very introvert friendly, so don’t be scared. And I’m great with pep talks or pitch practice (I started public speaking when I was 6, so, you know, credentials.) Or if you just want a safe place to sit quietly, that’s fine too. Have a seat next to me and tell me you need some silence. I’m down with that.

I’m also a major observer. So if I’m sitting somewhere and staring at you, I’m probably just analyzing you and plotting your murder. Nothing personal. Feel free to plot my murder as well. Could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I’ve been told I have an expressive face.¬†Sometimes what I’m thinking shows up on my face.

That’s amusement on the left and mild concern on the right. Any time I had to take standardized tests in high school, I often ended up entertaining my teachers with my facial reactions to the questions.¬†I tend to communicate a lot with my face, something my husband can attest to. That’s probably why I loved doing theatre.

I’m also a creative problem-solver, which makes me a fantastic brainstormer. So if you’ve hit a plot snag with your current manuscript and want to talk it out, feel free to ask for help. Or if you just want to play “Where Would You Hide a Body,” that’s good too. If you see me glancing around a room, studying the corners and ceiling, that’s probably what I’m doing.

So there you go, that’s me in a few snapshots. I look forward to meeting other creatively murderous minds and learning more about making a career of crafting twisty, suspenseful tales.

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Of Love and the Ocean

My husband once told me no one loves the beach as much as I do. And I don’t know whether that makes me feel special or sad—special because maybe I have a connection to it that other people don’t have or sad because other people don’t love it as much. Either way, something about the beach seems to feed my soul. If it’s been too long since I was last there, I feel it. Life starts to feel like it’s piling up on me.

So we try to go to the beach every year. And our vacations do double duty for me, since they’re also research for my books. This June, we spent a week on Topsail Island, NC, where my latest manuscript is set.

The beach hair (and smiling) began the moment I climbed out of the car. I mean. Who wouldn’t smile at this view:

Every day I woke up with the waves dancing just outside the window. There is no better view for me. And every day, I walked along the beach, filling my lungs with the salty air and trying to figure out what it is that I love so much. Part of it is texture. The beach is overflowing with textures.

So many layers of textures and colors.

This particular beach was wide, with broad tidal ranges. At high tide, there was a large expanse of shallow water before you reached any real depth, so the light and wind could play with the water in the loveliest way.

Light and texture, every moment. And weather that can change everything in a minute.

Honestly, I could stare at that for hours. We even got to see a gorgeous lightning storm out over the water one night. But when storms rolled through during the day, they usually didn’t last all that long. And sometimes they left a stunning, mystical fog.

I love the way the water fades into the sky, how the light shifts the shade of the water. It’s dynamic, ever-changing.

Light, texture, dynamics, water reflecting the sky. And there’s this constant wind that wraps me up in a cocoon of solitude so that it’s just me and my thoughts. But at the same time, it seems muffles my negative thoughts. So it’s like being wrapped up with everything that is good and beautiful, with miles of possibility stretching out in front of me.

Who wouldn’t love that?

Now if you need me, I’ll be browsing the listings for beach houses and dreaming of being able to afford one.

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