As we enter into the third year of Covid, I’ve been working on my mental outlook. When the vaccines came out last year, I thought we’d turned a corner. Soon we could hug relatives, travel, eat in restaurants, attend plays and concerts, and rid ourselves of the ‘Have I got Covid?” panic every time we got a runny nose. The return to ‘normal’ was short lived. Even if we are so done with Covid, the virus isn’t done with us. So instead of dancing until dawn, I’m listening on Spotify to 21 Days of Gratitude, a meditation series with Deepak Chopra and Oprah.
Research shows it can have emotional and physical costs, like insomnia and gastrointestinal disorders. Waiting until the last minute can produce lower quality work which can impact personal and professional relationships. Unresolved stress can lead to anxiety and depression.
I wrote the following piece from the point of view of the murderer in my forthcoming book. I wanted to explore the motivation of the killer to make it believable to my reader. This was solely to inform myself of the antagonist’s mindset, which I found helpful when I was moving up the story arc toward the climax.
I’m putting it in my newsletter, but not in the book. Hopefully, it gives my followers some clues the general reader won’t have when reading the book, but not enough specific clues to pinpoint the murderer before the climax.
“Mosquitos started hovering around Vlad like he was the last bargain picture book at a teachers’ conference and he slapped at the ones on his face and neck. As he strode deeper into the woods, small branches struck him in the face. Sweat started to sting his eyes. He glanced in alarm at a small dot that latched onto his bare leg. Was it a tick? He frantically brushed it off. He stumbled on a root, and caught himself before he stumbled over another and fell headfirst into a patch of some plant with three leaves.
When he heard the roar of rushing water, he knew he was nearing the old dam. Where the hell was that dog?
The murder weapon in my third Gaston the Poodle mystery is a pie. Not just any old pie, but a Cherry Berry Peach Pie. My character, Beatrice, enters into a pie contest at the county Fair, but instead of winning a prize, her pie kills the judge. Dessert pies were invented by American housewives, and my character, Beatrice, is following a long tradition of pie baking. When I was growing up, no Sunday dinner was complete without one of Mom’s pies. She mastered the art of a perfect pie. Not only Mom, but all the church ladies at ice cream socials, baked delectable pies. Still warm from the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on the side, dissolving in your mouth like a piece of heaven. Beatrice’s pie could be no less.
I planned on a different topic for June but we needed to put down our beautiful cat a few weeks ago.
I wrote about him before. Friends of ours who are not cat owners didn’t understand why we would love a cat so much when he continually tried to run away the second a door was opened, who played Alpha Male with my husband and usually won by biting hard enough to draw blood, and drank from toilets and unattended wine glasses. There’s no explaining cat love.
Little did we imagine when we brought our five-year-old granddaughter back with us the first week of a supposed three-week lockdown in March that we would have her almost weekly for the next five months. When Aubrey started kindergarten that fall, I thought our sleep over visits would be confined to school vacations and an occasional weekend. The pandemic changed all that, unexpectedly for the better.
The murderer in my new mystery poisons the victim using a plant that can be found in a backyard garden or in the wild in southern Wisconsin. The poison will be slipped into a food that the victim ingests.
I’d like your help in selecting the perfect poison. The following survey is the result of my on-line research into the most poisonous plants. I’ll describe their effect on humans and the amount of time they take to kill. Hopefully my research has not placed me on the radar of any government agency! My husband is not presently concerned about the nature of my research.
I’m starting to write a third ‘Gaston the Poodle’ mystery. My cat, Sheldon, hones in on the computer whenever I sit down to write. He either takes a stroll across the key board, screwing up what I’ve just written, or tries to crawl on my lap for a nap. It’s hard to write with a twelve pound cat on your lap. I appreciate his enthusiasm for the written word but I could do without the tail, or other body parts, obstructing my view —as if writing isn’t difficult enough without the added aggravation.