NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Monday, January 1, 2018

Janus, the Two-faced God

Happy New Year, everyone!

 I'm delighted to be starting off the New Year blogging here at NYUS. Here's hoping you didn't overdo the celebration last night, but if you did overindulge, take heart: hangovers don't last forever, they only seem as if they do. Drink coffee and eat some spicy food (I recommend huevos rancheros) and you'll be back in the saddle in no time.

However, if you were foolish enough to make a New Year's resolution or two, I can't help you. Resolutions made on New Year's Eve rarely make it to Three Kings Day so either avoid them altogether, or make sure resolution is user friendly. A few years earlier, I resolved to drink my way through every local brewery in Gainesville, tasting every IPA, imperial stout or lager I could get my hands on. As it happens, our little town currently had three excellent craft breweries so I haven't yet hit my goal, but I intend to keep trying.

Apart from questionable resolutions or excessive partying, the New Year is a time to look where we've been and where we're going. Which is probably why the ancient Romans dedicated January to the two-headed god Janus, who simultaneously looks to the future and the past. So I'd like to kick off 2018 with a story from my own past.

Well, not a story, more like a memory.

It was Christmas Eve in Baltimore and I must have been five or six. Along with my other siblings, I was tucked into bed, no doubt dreaming of the loot Santa would bring. Deep in sleep, my mother's hands lifted me from the bed, quietly so as not to waken my little sister. Heavy with sleep, I clutched my mother like a monkey as as she carried me down the stairs where our empty stocking hung. At the front door, my mother set me down and threw open the door.

"Look," she whispered.

A burst of cold air and a swirl of white--snow!

It must have been snowing for hours as a blanket of glossy white had transformed our neighborhood of row houses into something strange and wondrous. Trees, cars, and houses covered in marshmallow fluff. And everything  so quiet, as if I were inside one of those snow globes--my very own silent night. And then my mother hefted me up like a sack of potatoes and returned me to my bed, where visions of snowflakes, not sugar plums, now danced in my head.

I don't recall any of the presents I received for Christmas that year, but I've treasured that memory for decades, and it was only much later that I fully appreciated my mother's gift. None of the other neighborhood mothers would have woken a sleeping child on Christmas Eve, just so she could see a snowfall. And my mother might have chosen one of my other siblings instead of me. But she didn't--she chose me.

 Oddly, I've never spoken of that night to anyone, not even my mother. Some things don't need words. And when Mom's heart stopped on a cold day in January, I thought of that faroff Christmas Eve and her gift to me.

Is there a moral to any of this? Well, I'll leave that to you. Right now, I have some black eyed peas to cook. Here in the South, we consider them good luck for the coming year.

The world could use a little luck.

 At this time of the rolling year, it's customary to extend wishes for a better year. The faithful offer prayers for better times and the secular their hopes. In the spirit of the season, I offer both, with the gentle reminder that thoughts, prayers and hopes don't amount to a hill of beans without action.

Now that's a resolution I could get behind--a resolution to work together to make the world a more just and kinder place.

Happy New Year!

4 comments:

Sandy Parks said...

What a beautiful story. You had a special mom. The image of Janus looking forward and back is really a powerful one. I just happen to have a character named Janus (who is rather two-faced) in my next book coming out.

Julie Moffett said...

I totally teared up at this touching and magical story. Thank you so much for sharing. I loved this post!

Glenn Hill said...

I am just finishing up my first novel, the first of a planned trilogy. It is now 82,000 words. It is a historical fiction/romantic/thriller/mystery involving a magical violin, that causes time travel. It is sort of like a mash up of Outlander, The Red Violin, and the De Vinci Code.

I am next wishing to start a cozy mystery series with romantic sensual love story elements. The love scenes in my current novel are pretty sensual but beautifully written, the first one being more detailed, and the following ones not as detailed.

So the question is if a Cozy Mystery series can have some sensual sex as part of an on-going romance subplot, that is not soft-porn explicit but would be still be beautiful tasteful and a bit erotic-descriptive?

I guess the detailed question is what to avoid, as to going too far in a love scene in this type of book? And to yet still have the romantic element included. For example, in my small town, there is a likely possibility my male amateur detective would encounter female Tantric Yoga practitioners.

Glenn Hill said...

Here is an example of the type of mention of sex I am asking about.Would something like this be too much for a 'Cozy' or 'Wozy' Mystery?

"Lighting the scented candles that graced the edge of the tub and with rising bubbles foaming up, they eagerly removed each others remaining clothing and eased into the steaming scented water, their warm soapy bodies slipping smoothly over, around and intertwining with each other, they joined into a slow languid lovemaking."

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