My Inner-Children Have Issues

Sis. McCaffrey    By Janice McCaffrey

In my early teen years I envisioned myself as a best-selling author of “THE great American novel” until . . .

Mrs. Foster’s 8th grade English class when we were assigned to write a descriptive paragraph. My imagination took over and I penned what I thought a fabulous portrayal of a Regency Era carriage.

The next day, expecting an A+, I sat at my desk straight backed and proud. Then Mrs. Foster handed my paper to me and instead of an A+ there was a huge red D; the paragraph riddled with red ü marks. In that horrifying moment, my writing career ended. I never received explanations for the check marks. And pretty much saw grammar and good writing over my head and out of reach. Yes, I could identify and properly use the basics: subjects, predicates, nouns, adjectives, verbs, and past, present and future tenses, but never grasped the finer points.

But then I’ve never been a quitter. So as a young mother with an infant I signed up for a fiction writing correspondence course. Yes, the one advertised in match books. I didn’t like following the formulas taught and eventually one instructor told me that before you can be a novelist you needed something to say. Obviously, I didn’t have anything to say.

very few years, I’d try again; receiving rejection letters from popular magazines (i.e. Redbook, my Bible of womanhood).

Then, as life would have it, in my retirement I found a good friend who just happened to be a published author. It took a few years of her encouragement, but I’m back to my early writing goal. My friend is my mentor, critique partner, and . . . a retired English teacher.

Now when she gives my papers back to me there are no red checks or grades and, in fact, there are often comments about good ideas, writing or scenes. But every now and then I hear “You have a dangling participle.” And there I am sitting in Mrs. Foster’s class holding that D paper. My mind freezes.

Then my 10-year-old inner-child comes to the rescue with humor erupting with, “Who the heck made up these words?” We laugh. She tries to explain in a way I can understand as I attempt to calm my inner- 8th grader. I go home, study grammatical rules and lingo and rewrite.

After several of these interactions, my friend loaned me Arcade Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto. I found the explanation of the word participle: “Greek – shares or partaker. Latin to English: Capture or participate.” An online dictionary says: “a participle is a word formed from a verb and used as an adjective or a noun. In English participles can also be used to make compound verb forms.”

And you’ve guessed it, my 8th grader’s brain froze and my 10-year-old shouted, “Who the h— thought this stuff up? My inner-children continue their habits whenever they hear grammatical terms, but thank Heavens I have a patient friend and mentor who parents these headstrong children with kindness and humor.

Thank you, my friend!

 

October Book News

 

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Oh, October! Thrilled to announce the release, on October 4, of KILLING THYME, my third Spice Shop Mystery, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.  When Pepper investigates the murder of a market artist, she roots out long-buried secrets with unexpected ties to her family, will she be digging her own grave? Read an excerpt and find the buy links on my website.  Join me for a Mystery Teac at the Bigfork Library on Tues, Oct 4, from 3-5 pm. We’ll talk mysteries, sip tea and eat cookies (recipes in the Killing Thyme (final)book!), and play mystery trivia! If you’re in Missoula, please join me for a book talk at Fact & Fiction on Thurs, Oct 6, at 7 pm. And swing by the Bigfork Art & Cultural Center for my launch party and signing on Friday, Oct 7, 5-7 p.m., and visit the annual Watermedia exhibit sponsored by the Montana Watercolor Society at the same time! (I peeked — it’s fabulous!)

I’ll be in Seattle on October 13 — signing at Seattle Mystery Bookshop at noon, and reading/talking/signing a 7 p.m. at Third Place Books in Lake City.

Wherever you are, take thyme for a good mystery!

 

 

 

Marie F Martin

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Tentative release date for Don’t Mess With Mrs. Sedgewick is October 11, 2016

Roberta Sedgewick is stuck in a house that is too empty without her beloved Burton—the rat died and left her with his dog and rooms that rattle. She convinces her three golfing buddies, all in their seventies, to sell their homes and buy adjoining condos. The widows intend to spend the rest of their days golfing, gambling at the casino, and having fun. Oh, the heaven of it. But then they all hire the same maid who uncovers long-hidden criminal secrets kept by each woman. Oh, the horror of it. The reputations of their deceased husbands, a banker, a minister, and a respected farmer, will be tarnished forever. Three of the widows could face jail time, and the fourth fears for her life. Whatever will they do with the conniving, blackmailing maid?

If you grew to love the characters in Marie F. Martin’s previous novels Maternal Harbor, Harbored Secrets, and Ratham Creek, you will treasure Roberta and her friends in the mystery Don’t Mess With Mrs. Sedgewick.