It is so much fun to spend time with readers as they get to know you! You'll learn a lot about me this week, but I wanted to share an answer to a question I often receive from people who know I love to write.
A couple of weeks ago, a woman asked me, "Where do your stories come from?" That was a simple answer. They come from everywhere! I went on to explain by asking her to tell me a bit about her family. She had a brother who was married to a woman who took him for every red cent he had, and then ran off with a man who owned a Barb-B-Que pit.
Right there, I jotted down the beginning of her comedic story.
Next, she told me that she went to a Catholic school where the head nun liked to dance while she was in the shower. Her mother went bald at 35 from using real "bleach" on her hair. (Yes, she was a blonde.) Her father drove a milk truck. Her sister loved to dress as a man.
Can't you just see a hysterical story? She even had to laugh when I pointed it all out! Story ideas are all around us. Your best bet in remembering them is to carry a small notebook with you wherever you go and write own things you observe or hear. Eavesdrop on conversations. What people say might be great dialogue for your next book!
How about this one?
Recently, I purchased a "Jawbone" to give me motivation to lose a bit of weight. The Jawbone is a calculator of sorts. It monitors, via an armband you wear on your upper arm, the amount of calories you burn in a day. At night you sign on to your Ipad, and log everything that goes into your mouth. You then plug the Jawbone into your computer and it syncs to calculate how many calories you ate and how many you burned!
When it quits screaming, you've done okay.
The next day, I got on a plane to Chicago from Norfolk. I would soon be speaking at a conference and was feeling full of energy. For those that know me, that's not always good. I arrive at my row on the plane to find a distinguished looking man, a bit older than I am, sitting next to me. He politely lets me into my seat. I take off my jacket and my Jawbone shows. I see him looking at it, but he says nothing. Curiosity finally wins him over and he asks, "What's that thing on your arm?"
I say, "A jail monitor."
"What did you do?"
"Murder." I say matter-of-factly.
He gets quiet and turns away. A few minutes later he looks at me and says, "You look like a nice enough person. It must have been a long time ago."
I read the hope in his eyes, but I can't resist.
"Yeah, it was. 'Bout two weeks now."
His eyes widen. "Why are you on this plane then?"
"Going to meet my parole officer in Chicago. She thinks I'm a flight risk."
He cranks his head sideways and gives me a good long look.
"But you're on a plane, doesn't that mean you are a flight risk?"
"Naw," I say. "The police put me on this plane. Actually, I was more of a driving risk. Got out of Colorado ten days ago in a golf cart. Made it clean to the Oklahoma border before someone stopped me."
"Why did they stop you?"
"I still had a mans set of clubs on the back end of the cart and there wasn't a golf course within two hundred miles."
By now, I'm barely able to contain my laughter, but the businessman is so intrigued I have to play it out.
"Yeah, even stopping for gas didn't raise anyone's suspicion," I said. "I told them I lived down the road and had forgotten my purse. Everyone helped me out."
"How did it end?"
"How do these things always end, Mr.,” I said straight-faced. "Speed trap."
He stares at me for the longest time, and then burst out laughing.
The rest of the flight was hysterical and gave me a great scene for my next cozy mystery! When he got off the plane, he walked right up to the woman greeting me and gave my "parole officer" a big hug!
And THAT's how scenes can be made! Keep looking at life. There's a story there!