Ready for an Adventure

by Julie, summering in Somerville

I have been reading a great list of books in preparation for moderating a panel at Bouchercon. The Hook: Books, Victorian Architecture, and Other Excitement in Cozy Mysteries with Edith Maxwell/Maddie Day, Jenn McKinlay, Kate Carlisle, and Marty Wingate. (Thursday at 2pm!)

Panel preparation is different than reading for enjoyment. I’m trying to find good questions to ask the panel that propel the conversation in ways that interest the audience. Late in July I was part of a reading like a writer panel about The Murder of Roger Ackroyd I did for Sisters in Crime.

Once you start reading like a writer, you can’t stop. My niece recommend a lovely book called The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston. The book is a paranormal romance that’s also a page turner. I don’t read a lot of romances, and this made me wonder why not. This also made me think about what it takes to write a romance. I write mysteries with some romance, but writing a romance with a mystery, and maybe ghosts, is a different adventure.

Another niece and her friends play a game that is sort of like Dungeons and Dragons, but it’s called Monsterhearts. Roleplaying and dice. She mentioned that she thought I would be good at creating stories for games, and I’ve been thinking about that. Role playing games for people over fifty. First I have to learn how to play D&D, or a game like it. But I’ve wanted to do that for a long time.

I’ve also been gravitating towards shows that mash things up a bit. Did anyone see Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse? Visually stunning, narratively interesting, and unexpected. Also a cliff hanger that ticked me off, but I digress. I loved being surprised. Barbie was another movie that surprised me in wonderful ways.

I’m working on a few ideas, but this summer has made me think. I’ve been pushing myself to level up my prose. But how can I surprise myself? Try something new? Mash up another genre? Write in a different format?

Here’s what I know. I’m ready for a new adventure.

Friends, have you read or watched something recently that surprised or delighted you?

16 Thoughts

  1. So many great ideas, Julie. I’m also reading the books of the authors I’ll be moderating at the Saturday morning foodie panel, and the Barbie movie is on my list to see in the next week or two.

    Not sure I’ve been surprised recently, but the end of Lucy Burdette’s new The Ingredients of Happiness – women’s fiction, not a mystery – definitely delighted me.

  2. I am reading V.S. Alexander’s ARC of The Novelist From Berlin and am learning so much about history. I really enjoy books focused on women’s strengths especially during difficult times.

  3. I don’t know that I’ve been surprised lately. While I’ve definitely found a few books satisfying, I don’t think that’s the same as delightful.

    You were a great moderator for my panel at Malice, Julie. I know you’ll rock this one.

  4. I recently read Remarkably Bright Creatures, which is a novel narrated by an octopus. It may sound strange but it is so good, and even delightful. It is different from anything I have ever read and I highly recommend it.

  5. Not sure about being surprised lately, but I have re-discovered my love or romance novels and am toying with the idea of writing a few novellas to see if I still have what it takes.

  6. I’m just finishing Confessions of a Bookseller. It’s not at all what I expected. It’s a daily diary of the owner of a used bookshop in Scotland. I had my doubts, but it is really compelling. The author and his employees are a quirky bunch. I’m going to be sad when I say goodbye to these folks whom I feel I’ve become friends with.

  7. A panel on Saturday. Maybe I can make it, depending on what else is going on. Since I’m just there one day, there are so many people I’m going to want to try to talk to.

      1. Bummer! I won’t make that one since I will be at home working. But hopefully we can connect on Saturday anyway. I am hoping to make your panel on Saturday.

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