Sherlock Holmes: Books, Basil, Benedict

Arthur Conan Doyle Español: Arthur Conan Doyle...

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This weekend I attended a nerdy conference. (What? I like nerdy conferences. I like nerdy stuff. I even like documentaries — the old informative kind, not the useless new History Channel kind.) This was a Sherlock Holmes conference, From Gillette to Brett: Basil, Benedict, and Beyond, focusing specifically on film, television, and radio adaptations of the Holmes canon.

But it wasn’t all just sitting around and listening to lectures, though of course we had those.
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Ask the Author and S’Mores

The water was a lot of dead algae and also a thick pancake batter-like sludgy foam. Yech.

The water was a lot of dead algae and also (not pictured) a thick pancake batter-like sludgy foam. Yech.

So, I missed the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold conference last weekend, and I feel pretty bad about that. I’ve been to the Colorado Gold only once, last year, but I really enjoyed the people I met there and the conference sessions themselves.

We should maybe rethink some of our environmental stewardship choices.

Dead fish everywhere. We should maybe rethink some of our environmental stewardship choices.

But I did get to spend a weekend at another (non-writing) event with friends, being eaten by mosquitos beside the highly questionable waters of Maumee Bay and Lake Erie, so that was some consolation. The tap water was officially safe again, but the lake water, not so much. I’ll let you know if the pollution-affected mutant mosquito bites turn out to have imbued me with superpowers. We can always hope. Continue reading

The TASTE of Montgomery County, a tasty fundraiser

Every year the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum hosts this fundraiser designed especially for people who like to eat. Like me. This was only my second year to attend, but wow, I wished I’d brought a couple of extra stomachs.

The TASTE features a lineup of nearly 20 local restaurants and caterers bringing their A-game to the study grounds. For very reasonable prices, you can buy little (and not so little) samples of fabulous foods. And by “reasonable,” I mean nothing costs more than $4, lots of items are $1, and many of those big-ticket items could be meals in themselves, if you didn’t need to save room to sample everything else. Continue reading

Recap: Retreat, When Words Collide, Gen Con!

a hawk feather lying in the grassSo you might have noticed I’ve been off the blog. I was doing writerly things, I promise! (Well, most of the time.) In short, I signed up back-to-back for a writers retreat, the When Words Collide literary festival, and Gen Con. Continue reading

A FAE Fried Pork Tenderloin

the sign of the Steer-In restaurant, featuring a horned steer in a convertible

The Steer-In, east Indianapolis

So I didn’t get to have any special-occasion mead or chocolate or anything for the release of Fae two days ago, so when I was invited to lunch yesterday I wanted it to be slightly celebratory. My friend Emi hadn’t had a traditional Hoosier fried pork tenderloin sandwich as mentioned in the story, and Mark and Alena were willing, so we all headed to the Steer-In.

I’d been to the Steer-In only once, but it is of a type quite common in Indiana, and it’s a local classic. It’s often voted to the top of pork tenderloin lists, so it seemed a good choice. And for those who haven’t been to a traditional Indiana drive-in (many of which no longer serve to the car, or never did, but are still known as drive-ins), here’s a typical specimen. Continue reading

The Angels of West Baden

Inside the atrium at the West Baden Springs Hotel.

Inside the atrium at the West Baden Springs Hotel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may not have heard of the West Baden hotel, which is a shame. It was built in the town of West Baden Springs, near the better-known today French Lick, and was a luxury hotel to offer the wealthy leisure and access to the natural phenomena of the area — mineral springs considered medicinal.

Today’s travelogue is a bit different, since while I’ve visited West Baden, this isn’t that trip. It’s just the necessary backdrop. Continue reading

Where Do Plot Ideas Come From?

There’s a joke among fiction writers about people who offer, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea for a book. You write it and then we’ll split the profits.”

There are a few problems with this, but one of the most obvious is that the idea is the easiest bit. It’s the writing that actually takes time. Ideas are everywhere.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a walk and look for plot ideas. How about last week’s Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio? Continue reading

I Dine with Ninja

Ninjutsu (Naruto) (246375091)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I talk a lot about Japanese folklore here on the blog, for obvious reasons, but I haven’t talked much about ninja. And ninja have certainly entered national pop culture and folklore, so they’re as valid a topic as any other.

Plus, I got to have dinner with some lately. I don’t mean I dined with students of Bujinkan Taijutsu or other martial arts heirs of ninjutsu skill, I mean the dressed-in-black, popping-out-of-ceilings legend of thousands of movies and cartoons and books. Those ninja. Continue reading

Generations, Brick by Brick

So today’s post is about a field trip to family history.

All Saints, formerly St Joseph's Catholic Church

the impressive entry and steeple

We hopped in my new car and headed up to Logansport, IN. There’s a Catholic church there, now called All Saints since it blended with two other local churches, but it used to be known as St. Joseph’s. It was built in the 1880s, and my great-great-grandfather and his sons handmade each of the 650,000 bricks to construct it. Continue reading

From (Deep in the Heart of) Texas Hill Country

English: Texas Hill Country, on Route 187 head...

Texas Hill Country, on Route 187 heading North, just north of Garner State Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve spent the last few days in Texas Hill Country, visiting my aunt and working on a project. But before I tell you about that, let me walk you through her ranch.

My aunt Margie lives on a small ranch immediately outside of Utopia, Texas. When she first moved there a couple of decades ago, the smart-aleck kid I was thought the name was doubly appropriate; the idyllic climate and beautiful countryside were indeed paradisaical, and the location was, just like the original meaning of utopia, nowhere. Continue reading