The Changeover Begins

sprinkle-life1Good Morning,

As I stated earlier there are some changes with this blog. It is going to be about pieces of my mind and musings when I can find the pieces. If you are looking for book things that I blog, you will want to visit my website julieseedorf.com. Recently I published a couple of interviews with some very interesting authors, Jessie Chandler, Linda Crowder and J. B. Hawker. Here is the link for you to catch up on their new books. J. B. Hawker and more.  Enjoy and I will be back later with some of my own musings. While you are the blog make sure you sign up for newsletters and also to get an email when something new is published.

Have a beautiful day.

I Have A Sister, A Sister In Crime

Published in the Albert Lea Tribune August 15, 2016

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Sisters In Crime: Julie Seedorf, Barbara Deese, Jessie Chandler, Pat Dennis

As my blank mind stared at the computer screen this week and my fingers froze over my keyboard, a friend suggested I should write about my sisters. Sisters? I know, many of you know I have no siblings, but yes, I do have sisters, Sisters in Crime that is.

The title, Sisters In Crime, doesn’t mean we get into trouble and have the law after us, though maybe if you looked at our search history on our computers, the law might be tempted to investigate. Sisters In Crime is a national organization. Its mission statement is to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers. To belong to the state chapter you must belong to the national chapter.
Being new to the writing scene in 2012, I was surprised to hear we had an organization like this in the state of Minnesota. A friend of mine, Allen Eskens, author of “The Life We Bury” and “The Guise of Another,” advised me to join the group. Even though he is not a sister, they accepted him and other brothers into the organization. I took his advice and found by joining the group it provided me with a group that not only supports each other’s writing, but also provides valuable information for writers.

The Twin Cities chapter of Sisters In Crime and Iowa Sisters In Crime, of which I am also a member, (Iowa Sisters, if you are reading this I will pay my dues soon) is comprised of a varied group of writers and guppies, those who belong who don’t have books published yet. Because creative people have different talents and styles of writing, it is a win-win situation because we learn from our differences.

Twin Cities Sisters In Crime and Iowa Sinc meet every month. Unfortunately, I don’t get to attend many meetings because of the distance, but I still feel a part of the organization because of opportunities to meet outside of the cities.

Now what do we do at a Sisters In Crime meeting? Our meetings are not boring. Usually there is a presentation by an author or professional guests who give information on bookkeeping for taxes, what happens during an autopsy, different styles of guns and poisons and law enforcement, to name a few.

You see, readers are smart and they pick up on anything that might not be accurate, although in my books, Granny and Fuchsia don’t need to be accurate because it is the high end of fiction and fantasy and nothing should be too real. But for crime writers or true crime, details are important, and the organization provides information to help us become better writers. Yes, published authors still take classes. We are never too old to learn something new about the written word.

Granny_Pins_A_Pilferer_jpeg (2)My fifth Fuchsia, Minnesota, Mystery, Granny Pins A Pilferer, was released last week. Belonging to the Sisters In Crime keeps my spirits and energy up to keep on writing when the going gets tough. It helps connecting with those that understand what happens during the writing process and after the book gets published.

When a book is published the real work begins and that is promotion. Promotion means social media, interviews and speaking engagements. The Twin Cities Sisters In Crime travels and provides panel discussions on writing at libraries and book stores. Various authors take turns taking part. I love being a part of these panels. It is easier to do things together then alone.
If you sit at a table near us when we are talking, please don’t call the police. We might be discussing the best way to murder someone or the best poison to use that can’t be detected. We might be looking for new places to stash bodies or new hiding places in buildings and houses. Or the best way to pick a lock.

We might be having a more mundane discussion on the best way to use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to promote books. Sharing different festivals and book conferences also might be thrown into the conversation. And of course we also might run a character past the other Sisters to get their opinion.

Our organization also connects with professionals to give us information. I am excited to attend a workshop which includes FBI 101, cyber crime and violent crime. Since I was a computer technician, I am especially excited about the cyber crime workshop.

I guess if I think about what I want you to know about authors is that writers work hard. It is our dream job, but it involves more than putting pen to paper or getting on the computer and writing away. There are many hours of research, many hours of promotion and many hours of editing. I am working harder now than I did at a nine to five job. Writing is a solitary profession unless you reach out to those who share the profession along with you.

It is a profession we chose, a profession we love, but it can also be a profession where you are lonely and that burns you out unless you take time with people like the Sisters who walk the walk with you. The reward is not only the writing, but friendships that will last a lifetime.

If you are a mystery writer and are looking for Sisters, let me know. We can always use another mystery sibling. Or visit our Facebook fan page at @TwinCitiesSistersinCrime or @SincIowa.

Wonderfulicious Weekend Whoopie

Well, it's a start.

Well, it’s a start.

It might seem like a writer’s life should be easy and free of stress because all we do is sit and write everyday, but there is so much more to a writers life and what we do. If we don’t take the time to spread our wings and experience something new it is hard to write, especially if we are not refreshed and replenished.This past weekend my friend Donna, a friend of over twenty-five years, and I decided to have a girl’s weekend and try something new. I would love to share our experiences with you.

Another friend of mine from my high school days by the name of Charlotte Laxen is a watercolor artist. I admire her work and her talent. She was teaching a beginner watercolor class at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum In Chaska Minnesota. Donna and I decided to spread our wings and bring out the inner artist that lives in each of us. Early Saturday morning spring finally arrived in Minnesota, and encouraged by the sunshine, we made the 90 mile trip to the Arboretum. We both were a little nervous because we weren’t sure what to expect.

The setting for the class couldn’t have been more perfect because even in the early spring the grounds were beautiful. Our painting classroom was on the second floor and we could view the arboretum grounds. The class was limited to ten people so it was not intimidating. We quickly bonded and felt at ease with the people in the room and made some friendships that will go on after the class.

We studied the different levels of color on our papers, the different weight of paper, how to use our brushes and experimented with different brush strokes. The classroom was full of laughter and joy. The seven hour class seemed to fly by.  I found another love and realized I have an artist in my soul and it needs to come out. Charlotte also offered inspiration about her life and dreams which inspired all of us going into the future. Now let me clarify, I don’t know that I will ever be good at watercolor but it feeds my soul and that is what is important.

My grandchildren’s mother offered us the use of her home while she was gone. We arrived to find flowers, wine, wine glasses, a welcome note and boxes of chocolates on our pillows. She made us feel very welcome and special.

Of course part of a great weekend is food and we decided  to try places we had never been so we picked Turtle’s Bar and Grill in Shakopee for dinner. I might add at noon we ate at the Arboretum and the food was outstanding. We planned on taking in the movie “Hello My Name Is Doris” with Sally Field after dinner and when we arrived at Turtle’s the place was packed and we didn’t think we would be out in time. We were amazed,not only by our waitress, but by the service. We had our meal within fifteen minutes.

We loved the movie. Sally Field was outstanding. The movie was funny, moving and actually had a good message for what happens in our lives.

The next morning we visited my son and grandchildren and were treated to breakfast and then we continued on to the Spring Arts and Craft Show at Canterbury.  In the three hours we tried some food, oohed and aahed over the artistic people and artwork, which refreshed my creativity and made me want to find a talent and join the craft circuit. Another dream for my life? I ran into my Sisters In Crime friends Jessie Chandler, and Brian Landon and his fiancé.  I need to copy Jessie’s excitement and sales talk. I loved their enthusiasm so much I taped it for a reminder for me.  Of course I bought some of their books.

We couldn’t end our weekend at the Craft Show so we stopped at Mazopiya, a natural foods market in Prior Lake and picked up some healthy food to take home.

Of course our eating had to continue and we stopped in New Prague at the Fishtale Bar and Grill, another place we have never visited. I ordered some soup which name I didn’t know what it meant and couldn’t pronounce, but it was a cream soup with dill and something about a dill pickle and potatoes and green beans in it and it was delicious along with my burger. Donna had the Jambalaya with fish and sausage. Regretfully it was time to travel on home.

However, when we drove into the community of Waseca and past the Dairy Queen we made one more stop. We topped off our weekend with a Chocolate Shake for me and a Chocolate Sundae for Donna. Yes, we probably came home a little heavier and tired but we had a rejuvenating weekend of mind and friendship. In fact we are plotting our next journey into learning something new and trying new places and of course food.

This was our journey and though the way I described it may seem boring, I want to encourage everyone to try something new, take time away to rest and replenish and find that which feeds you. Try something you think you might not like and you may find it is exactly that which nourishes you into tomorrow. You don’t have to be good at it, it just has to feel good to you. You can never go wrong either with a  weekend of laughter and bonding with friends.

My quote from my gratitude journal today: You may be disappointed if you fail but you are doomed if you don’t try. -Beverly Sills