Diane Sawyer Newsletter/Blog #7 May 2013

Diane Sawyer Portrait

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the readers of the previous six newsletters and newcomers too. And a special welcome to all of you who emailed me about your experiences at the Boston Marathon. Thank you one and all and Happy Reading!!

Fondly,

Diane Sawyer

 

Writing News

 Montauk Mystery Montauk Steps Tomoka Mystery Cinderella Murders Montauk Cave

I am including this item from last month’s newsletter: I am pleased to announce that the final phase of the publication of my five novels by Amazon Publishers will soon be complete. As of now, the two most recent novels, The Cinderella Murders and The Treasures of Montauk Cove, are available in all three formats: Hardcover, Paperback, and Kindle. The earlier three, The Montauk Mystery, The Montauk Steps, and The Tomoka Mystery, already available in Hardcover, are scheduled for release in Kindle format on May 21 and in Paperback format on July 23. Happy reading!

I am adding this update:

Amazon Publishers emailed me that the release dates have been slightly delayed because of the three-day Memorial Day holiday (and I suspect the overwhelming popularity of the Kindle format). The new release dates are May 28 and July 28 or shortly thereafter. Thank you for your patience.

***

I hope to encourage you writers out there to submit your work to a contest. It’s a good way to challenge your skills. Following is an essay that I entered in the Library Memories Contest in 1995 in St. Petersburg. The word count was limited to 250 words, a difficult task if you like to tell a story with an appealing protagonist, plus a beginning, middle, and end. At the awards ceremony at the Main Branch Library, E.C. Ayres, author of the Tony Lowell mysteries, read each of the five winning essays, working his way toward number one. They were so good, I figured I didn’t stand a chance. And then he was reading mine, the First Place winner. It was a small but important win to me at that early stage in my writing career.

When you finish, close your eyes and let your mind wander back to your first library experience. Bon voyage, memory travelers. Enjoy the ride!

 

Library Memories by Diane Sawyer

“Please call me Anne spelled with an e. A—n—n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished.”

With this request, Anne of Green Gables, a freckled-faced orphan with glossy red braids, captivated me. Her imaginative vocabulary turned avenues into White Ways of Delight and ponds into Lakes of Shining Water. To Anne, things weren’t good. They were radiantly lovely.

I had discovered Anne in the Greenport Public Library on July 18th, at 9:08 in the morning. It was my tenth birthday. Wearing my brand-new watch with a pink band, I charged up the cement steps eager to use my very own library card which had arrived in the previous day’s mail.

I immediately spied a “Young Heroines” sign bobbing in front of the windows over the display table. Rejecting the tried and true Cherry Ames, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew, I selected Anne of Green Gables. The book jacket portrayed a flinty-eyed girl with a quaint hat, a checkered pinafore, and an old-fashioned carpetbag. I read the first page. Mesmerized, I curled up in the window seat and followed Anne into her world.

Hours later, my stomach growled in anticipation of a pink-frosted birthday cake. I signed out the book and raced home with Anne pressed to my heart. At 11:36, as the sun shimmered in a puffy-cloud sky, I decided that my life would overflow not with good days, but with radiantly lovely days.

 

Travel

Sometimes you don’t have to travel very far from home to have an interesting or amusing experience.

Several months ago the docents from the Dali Museum visited the Duncan McClellan Gallery in St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District. I was among them. What a fantastic sight: an old tomato packing plant turned into a combination residence and dazzling art gallery, with large outdoor decks lined with comfortable furniture, and numerous fruit-trees planted throughout the yard.

I went back recently to check out the addition of a hot shop in an outdoor area where glass blowers were creating amazing vases. Returning to the gallery, I stood in awe of all the works on display by a variety of glass artists. The colorful objects displayed on white pedestals glistened in the late afternoon sunlight entering through the roll-up doors. The objects were close enough to touch by the crowds of people walking by. I overheard a conversation between two people who were conjecturing about the insurance costs for such fragile works.

Unable to resist the appeal and uniqueness of the gallery, I began envisioning a novel taking place here. Movies and novels about the theft of paintings stolen from museums and cash and jewelry stolen from vaults flashed through my mind. But the theft of fragile glass works from a warehouse gallery? That was different. I said to several friends who were also enjoying the beauty on display, “This would be a great setting for my next mystery novel.” One of them said, “I can see it now.” She spread her hands out as if opening a curtain and said slowly and dramatically, “Murder in the Studio…or maybe…Murder in the Gallery.”

“I was thinking more of a theft,” I replied.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” she said with a wry grin, glancing at all of the one-of-a-kind priceless items, “but I bet they’d rather have a murder than a theft.”

 

Wednesday a friend and I set out on a two-hour walk in the park. We ran into a fitness coach/friend who told us two jokes. Fitness fans out there, prepare to laugh.

A woman said that many people call their bathroom “the john,” but she called hers “the jim.” That way, she could say, “I begin every day with a visit to the jim.”

That same woman wanted to know if “running late” counted as a fitness exercise.

 

This and That

Many of you responded that you enjoyed a previous newsletter where I reported a conversation that took place in a convenience store where a man asked the sales clerk about rubber gloves. You appreciated the humor of everyday situations. Here’s another one you might like.

Last Sunday, around noon, I went to the local Subway Sandwich Shop to order a foot-long sandwich that my husband and I would split for lunch. There was only one person in line, a well-dressed woman who had just been to church and had come by for four foot-long sandwiches to go. She wanted three sandwiches on white bread, and one on whole wheat. All this information was shared with the server in the first minute. She then ordered each sandwich to her exacting specifications, indicating who the sandwich was for, treating the server and me to a description of the personality of each member of her family. Her instructions to the server went something like this:

“On that one,” she pointed to the fourth sandwich, “for my husband, only ham, cheese, and mustard. That’s his usual and he doesn’t want any changes. He won’t touch vegetables. He doesn’t like surprises, so no salad dressing, and don’t even think about toasting the sandwich. He’ll only say, ‘I don’t like fancy stuff.’ No, don’t add olives or pickles, he’ll just pick them off and throw them away. Now, my older son is like my husband, but he has a larger appetite. So pile on the ham, cheese, and mustard. But here’s where he’s his own man. He’s crazy about hot peppers. Load them on. Fire extinguisher optional.”

She chuckled at her own little joke. “Now, my sandwich is healthy. Mine’s the one on whole wheat bread. Let’s layer on the tomatoes, green peppers, spinach, lettuce, red onions, and I’ll take turkey, no cheese. I’m watching my cholesterol and my weight. I’m trying to get down to my high school size before the next class reunion.” She pointed to the remaining sandwich. “Now my younger son is like me. He likes vegetables, so load up on those. But he’s like my husband too. So he’ll have double meat. You better add extra mustard. My husband says I spoil him.” She threw up her hands and laughed. “What choice do I have? He’s nineteen, but he’s still my baby.”

She left and it was my turn. Before I knew what was happening, I had fallen under that woman’s spell. My order went something like this: “Whole wheat bread. My husband and I eat healthy. Please wrap the ham separately and put it on the side. I don’t like the ham touching the vegetables. I don’t eat much meat, but my husband loves ham.

Fresh vegetables too. He grew up on a farm. On and on I went with details and suddenly realized that I was describing my husband and myself as much as the sandwich. It’s always good to laugh at yourself and this was one of those times.

 

Cooking Delights

Easy Slow Cooker Meatball Dinner

Step One (the meatballs)

Combine and mix well the ingredients from your favorite meatball recipe, such as two pounds of ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, ketchup, chopped onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley. Do not add Italian spices, such as oregano. Add a tablespoon each of Worcestershire and soy sauce. Shape into meatballs and bake in a shallow baking pan in the oven at 375 degrees until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a slow cooker.

Step Two (the sauce)

Combine the following ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

1 can (16 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce

1 bottle (12 oz) chili sauce

1 tablespoon each prepared mustard and brown sugar

Step Three (putting it all together)

Pour the sauce over the meatballs in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 hours. Serve over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes. Serve with a salad and vegetable. Stand back and listen to the raves!

 

Until next month, be happy, stay well, and enjoy life.

Fondly,

Diane

Sorry, no comments or trackbacks are allowed on this post.