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X-rays finally came back, and I am only bruised. Much rejoicing, especially by Charlie, who wasn’t looking forward to running Mom and me around town this afternoon.

It’s time to plan what events I’m going to attend this year. Mom and I usually go to Magna cum Murder in October, but this year the director of Magna, Kathryn Kennison, is Fan Guest of Honor at Bouchercon, which will be in Indianapolis, so no Magna. Mom says she doesn’t want to go to Bouchercon, and it’s a little pricey for me, too. I’ve been told I could get a cheaper hotel away from the conference hotel and attend events outside the official conference ones that don’t require conference membership. If fellow Southern Indiana Writers members will go with me, I might do that.

SIW went to Context Science Fiction Convention last year, and might go again this year. It was VERY enjoyable and useful, and a mix-up over comping gained me a free membership, so I would like to go to that.

There’s another convention in, I think, Cincinnati–I think it’s Millennnicon–that we were talking about going to.

Green River Writers always has great writers retreats that I love to go to and haven’t been to in a couple of years….

The problem is lack of funds. My mother always pays for me to go to a couple of these professional things, and it is important as well as fun, but there’s only so much cash to go around, and much less cash now than formerly. We didn’t lose anything in the market crunch because we don’t have enough to invest, but everything seems tighter, doesn’t it?

Guess the answer is to get off my duff–rather, to get ON my duff–and write and submit and repeat until sufficiently funded. Work–Gosh, what a concept!


Writing prompt: Everybody who has a job has a choice of professional organizations and conventions and retreats they could attend. Use a search engine to make a list of five professional organizations or email lists or newsletters or publications or conventions your main character could subscribe to or attend.

Got home about 5:30, too pooped to pop. It’s a four-hour drive between Muncie and here–not too bad, but tiring when you don’t like to drive much (I don’t like to drive much). At least it didn’t rain on the drive back. Beautiful weather and good company (T and Mom).

I’ll post a blow-by-blow con report later in the week, but I have to say we enjoyed the event. Not as many people came as usual, and having the event in one place and the attendees spread out at various hotels far beyond walking distance was a drag. The van service was abysmal, and many of us used many minutes calling to ask where the freaking van was that was supposed to run every 15 minutes.

No Magna in 2009. A rumor was going around that the Roberts Hotel, across the street from the convention center, might open by 2010, which would be GREAT!

Now I must leave you and go visit with Mom. Yes, I know we just spent the weekend together, but it’s time for our tea and book-reading. Oh, and we have a taped episode of LIFE ON MARS to watch, too!

Good to be home. *sigh*


Writing prompt: Three characters have just spent the whole weekend together in an enterprise that was both rewarding and frustrating. They have a long drive home.

Mom and I drove to T’s and picked her up, then off to Muncie! It took us about four hours on mostly back roads, and it was RAINING ALL the WAY! It did stop, though–as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. We checked in, then I drove to the convention center and we checked in. Jim Huang, owner of The Mystery Company, agreed to carry the Southern Indiana Writers’ anthologies at his dealer’s table. He already had copies of DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND, the Toys for Tots benefit book.

We went to a panel on Brett Farrar by Josephine Tey, the One Festival One Book selection this year. Most of us really liked it, although we had some problems with believability and plot holes.

Drove back and changed into something a little nicer. Went to the lobby to catch the van. And waited, and waited…. It finally came, and who should be in it but Parnell Hall, a funny, nice guy and a writer of MOST amusing mysteries. Since we were all late to the dinner because of the van, we sat together.

There was a discussion of genres–crime? mystery? just fiction?

There was a “Who Am I?” game, in which every participant, win or lose, got chocolate–can’t be bad.

There was a game which is too difficult to explain but was very funny to watch.

We rode the van back to the hotels, very crowded this time, and I had a lovely conversation about chickens with the lady in front of me and an informative conversation about Chinese chicken feet (the culinary dish) with the gentleman next to me. He had been to China and had eaten chicken feet. My mother asked him what they tasted like, and he said, “They taste like feet.” So now I’m not so hot about wanting to try them.

Now we’re back in the room, drinking wine and eating the chocolate I won in the game.


Writing prompt: Put a group of characters–most of them strangers to each other, in a van at night on a 15-minute drive. Some of them are drunk, some drunker than others.

Okay, I’m slacking today. I need to get ready for Magna cum Murder this weekend. I’ll try to blog from Muncie, but they keep us pretty busy at Magna–in a good way–so I may not be able to. Besides, somebody talked me into joining Facebook and it’s a full-time job figuring out what all the plants and eggs and things are all about.

Here’s a recipe I’m giving out through World Wide Recipes today, special and free just for you, you wonder three people who ever read this blog. Big squishy hugs!

This recipe came from my precious late mother-in-law, one of the world’s best cooks.

<!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –> BUTTERMILK PIE

cooked pie shell
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp flour
1/3 cup buttermilk *
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whole pecans

Cream sugar, butter, flour. Add eggs, milk and vanilla. Place pecans on pie shell. Add batter. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.


writing prompt: You are trying to get something done and EVERY TIME you start to accomplish something, the freaking phone rings or somebody comes in the door.


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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