9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder
9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard
9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder
9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers
9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity
September Guest Bloggers
9/19 Judy Alter
WWK Weekend Bloggers
9/5 V. M. Burns
9/12 Jennifer J. Chow
9/26 Kait Carson
For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.
Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!
KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.
Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!
Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!
Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.
KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.
Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
BETWEEN THE SEXES
One of my protagonists was a man in his early thirties, one of the few survivors after WWV. He teamed up with a 55 year old woman and her 2 year old granddaughter. My critique group thought the man was convincing and wondered who my model was. I think he came from within. I’ve also successfully created a man who suffers a psychotic break because of PTSD. (From within, surely not?) Readers, male and female, like my adolescent male characters. I don’t think I could create a sportscaster or a dedicated baseball or football player.
My husband could watch sports 24/7. I’ve played a number of sports but watching them hour after hour would lead to narcolepsy. When I worked as a nurse, I remember a group of male patients discussing whether their doctors and baseball players were worth the salaries they received. I keep thinking grown men are paid outrageous sums to play games. Maybe they are symbols for society and we should all, whether male or female, search for the game that’s right for us. I could create a male sportscaster or a player if they had interesting quirks such as cross-dressing or serial killing.
When I work on male characters, I search through images of relatives and friends. My older brother is outgoing and sees himself in terms of the rest of the society. He loved sports and being on the team until he ruined his knees and back. My other brother is not a team player in any sense of the word. He pretended to attend Cub Scout meetings, hiding out so our mother wouldn’t realize he wasn’t where he was supposed to be, and beat up anyone who called him a sissy for not playing sports.
What about the habits that give a character more reality? My husband would’ve worn the same style of dress, probably the same clothes, if not encouraged to branch out into something more daring—a blue shirt instead of a white one for work. Other men see their wardrobes as statements of who they are. They care how their hair is cut. My husband was oblivious to labels and boutiques until our daughter reached her teens. Then he became an expert on female fashion for anyone size 4 or less.
If a person expresses distress, a woman will offer support. She’ll listen to the whole story, often more than once. A man will rush in with a solution before he’s heard three sentences. The kindness of a good man is not the same as the kindness of a good woman. When a man offers help without any expected gain for himself, his generosity seems to come from within. It hasn’t been learned.
Although I’ve known male detectives, teachers, doctors, landscapers, engineers, pilots, artists, plumbers, and crooked used car salesmen, I’ve met only one male CEO of a large company. I’m not sure how men arrive at that position. (A few women arrive there and I’m sure they could chronicle their journey step by step). Perhaps I could get into the head of a geek but I’m not sure I’d want that. It requires learning a second language. Have you had the experience of bringing home your supposedly repaired laptop only to find out it doesn’t work the way you want? You call up your local geek squad and an indignant geek tells you he explained what you had to do. How can you be so stupid? You realize a geek would be proud of his ability to reduce a two page poem to 3 zeroes and 3 ones.
I’ll keep in mind what I’ve learned about the opposite sex over the years, but I have a few more female protagonists who need developing before I start deepening my voice, shaving every day, and stop cleaning around the taps with an old toothbrush. It is fun to play at being male instead of female. Does anyone truly wish they’d been born a man instead of a woman, or vice versa?