When Tragedy Strikes

Confession: I cringe every time a tragedy occurs, and not just because of the tragedy itself.

As if the loss of life isn’t devastating enough, what makes it worse is the aftermath. The speculation, the debate, the blaming. In the blink of an eye, people’s deaths become a case study, supporting evidence for any number of agendas. People die, and the world explodes with theories of why it happened and how it could have been prevented.

I’m not saying that’s not a worthwhile discussion. It’s absolutely necessary to study tragedies to figure out how to prevent them. (more…)

a little bit of atmosphere

Confession: I’m a sucker for setting.

In some of the best books, the setting or environment can transform into a secondary character, revealing moods, suggesting secrets. And it’s especially important in mysteries. I’ve talked about the Find before, that moment where a character stumbles upon the murdered victim. The specifics of the body’s location can say so much.

But equally important is the larger atmosphere. Big city? Small town? Michigan in the dead of winter? Florida in the heat of summer with alligators roaming around the swamps ready to chomp those big teeth into their next victim? (Ahem. Okay, so I have a thing about alligators. Moving right along…) (more…)

stay weird

Confession: I loved Graham Moore’s Oscar speech.

For those of you who missed it or had something better to do than watch an awards show (gasp!), here’s the latter part of what he said:

“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself, because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here, and so I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere: yes you do. I promise you do. You do. Stay weird. Stay different. And then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.” (more…)