Writing Talismans, plus #Giveaway

News Flash: The giveaway winners, selected by random.org, are KC Kendler, Sara Hyman, and Marjimmanor. Congratulations, all. Please check your email!

Edith/Maddie writing from north of Boston on the brink of true summer.

When Julie prompted us to write about good luck charms last week, I was thinking I didn’t have any when I wrote my answer. But after she and Barb mentioned comfort items they have around the house, I took a close look at my office. I spend so much time here – every morning, all morning, in fact – you’d think I would have noticed.

Now I have, and today I present you a number of the small talismans in my work space that bring me joy, comfort, and inspiration. Read to the end for a giveaway!

First, here’s what you see when you’re outside the door to my office. Not being disturbed is a very important talisman!

Next is the tiny dinosaur I found on one of my plotting walks. She keeps track of my daily to-do list and makes me smile.

In the window to the right is Princess Yenenga, the fabled and brave founder of Burkina Faso in West Africa, where I lived for a year, plus the tiny Buddha my sister gave me, a wee Japanese bowl from fan Vida Antolin-Jenkins now filled with hand-therapy beads, and a mini vase, all in front of the lovely clock I received as a gift after my two years as President of Sisters in Crime New England.

I also have a wine glass that I’ve only ever sipped wine from once. With a raven on one side and a quote from Poe about writing on the other, I don’t want to break it!

“Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore.”

In the next window is a lovely glass bird, a gift from Jennifer, my best friend of forty-five years.

The last window holds my writing power items – two tiaras next to the writer’s beret my 95-year-old author-uncle Richard Reinhardt recently sent me. When I need some extra push at my desk, I slip one of those onto my head and remind myself I am a professional writer (and also the queen of my domain). Oh, plus some Mardi Gras beads and the fabulous stand-in teapot the Wickeds sent me after my Agatha Award win in 2020.

Next we have the actual Agatha teapot I brought home (along with COVID) in April, surrounded by a few toys that bring me joy: a tiny jeep, an anteater mascot from my college alma mater, and a wind-up scorpion to honor my sun (and rising) sign of Scorpio. Family pictures, a bigger Buddha, and a historical map of my town are the backdrop (with primarily Wicked Authors’ books on the shelves below).

The radiator, which never comes on, holds a collection of animals. My childhood stuffed dalmation, Topsy; a Dammit Doll for whacking on things when frustration mounts; a New England Crime Bake knitted lobster; and a stuffed dog wearing a Crime Bake hat in front of a few framed award certificates.

What else do I have in my office? Let me show you the grittier side: the standing laptop, whiteboard, long-term book calendar and month-by-month paper calendar, list of short stories submitted (and resubmitted elsewhere, often with success), tally sheet of books finished and books published, and so on. Not exactly talismans, except for the “Muse Most of Us Really Need,” but these are my tools of the trade.

Keen-eyed readers will note one item I’ll need to erase once this post is published!

In the last couple of months I’ve acquired a new talisman in the form of our gentle adopted cat Martin. He loves keeping me company on this vegetable cloth (to protect the futon behind it, which doubles as a guest bed), and I love knowing he’s there while I write. So far he hasn’t provided any new plot ideas, but he is the model for one of the two cats my new California protagonist Cece Barton has at home.

And here we have the upholstered rocker that belonged to my grandfather, Allan Maxwell, Sr., then my mother, and now me. It’s a perfect size for a short-legged person and is where I take my pen and notebook to brainstorm when I’m in need of new ideas.

My mom made the small quilted piece over the top, my son Allan the pillow on the left, and a good friend the pillow on the right.

And that brings us to the giveaway! I have a stack of advance copies of Murder in a Cape Cottage, Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery #4, and I need them in the hands of readers, not on the seat of my rocker.

Readers: Where do you find inspiration or comfort? Any questions about what you’ve seen? I’ll give away three ARCs of the September book.

109 Thoughts

  1. I draw alot from old pictures and nature all around us. I like to take a photo and write a narrative that is unexpected.

  2. I am drawn to dragonflies so I collect items with dragonflies on them. They make feel happy and inspired when I look at them.

  3. News Flash: The giveaway winners, selected by random.org, are KC Kendler, Sara Hyman, and Marjimmanor. Congratulations, all. Please check your email!

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