The Night at the ‘Round’ table

Budding new writer, well actually determined old writer. That would be moi!

Goal – published author. Yes! with a fist pump!  [All this to keep myself pumped up…cheerleader to myself…go, go, go Christine]

Excited about the journey, the adventure, the creativity poring out of my pores and onto the page. Research both interesting and terribly depressing…concentration camps, resistance movements and the people who joined, the evil darkness of a crazy coward who hundreds of people worshipped/followed/hated/feared but nevertheless did the most vile and evil acts for him. Yeah, that kind of depressing…

In talking with a high school friend JoAnn Bassett, a published author (I will let that dropped name lay there for awhile) of a mystery series featuring a woman sleuth, she suggested that I look into the local chapter of Sisters in Crime (a.k.a. SinC). My genre, as it were is mystery/detective – women sleuths. Fits in with the old adage (which I have been reading a lot in books) “write what you know” – I am a woman ergo, a woman sleuth easy-peasy. Note to self: and there lies “the need for more research.”  As it happens their last meeting prior to the summer break was last night at a local restaurant, so I decided it was just what I needed.

I gussied myself up (deep cleaning, clean clothes, you know the drill), armed with my smile and determined to meet some new people I arrived with a few minutes to spare. The woman I have been in contact with does not remember my name…so much for first impressions. Introductions to the chapter president, a exceedingly cheerful raven-haired, petite, flash-dancing eyes of a woman who shakes my hand all the while looking up at me, the giant that I am standing barely at 5′ 6″…. in flats. “Welcome, my name is K, let me find you a table group to sit with. We’re happy you could join us.”

They’re” happy I could join. I am checking you out my brain whispers. Maybe you won’t fit my group” (like I have a group to fit them in? )…this is all just sarcastic mutterings because I am nervous and want to be liked, confidence in new settings frequently jumps ship – I live near water – my preference for solitude has been over ridden tonight; I need their help and guidance long term. I have learned I can do anything for 3 hours once a month that normally I would not do. So suck it up girlie and bedazzle them.

She walks me over to a table and introduces me to the first woman sitting there, empty chair before me. “This is J”  she says, waving the empty wineglass in a showy upward arc. “J” smiles, “Sit, I promise I won’t bite.”

“We’re so happy to have you here, welcome.” says the small framed woman, her salt and pepper-shoulder-length-bob swaying as she shakes my hand. The large, round table for 8, with is Lazy Susan center – the better to serve Chinese family style dinners appeared to be twenty feet across as I sat and arranged my belongings, as only “J” appeared to be non-threatened by my arrival.

She is English. Clever me, I have ‘detected’ that from her accent. Her black-rimmed glasses are perched on a nose too long for her face. She informs me, pointing to the four women across from us, ‘teacher’, ‘teacher’, ‘published author’, ‘reader’ and at herself she claims ‘un-published author’. I must have had the look on my face for she piped in with “I have an un-publishable literary novel and so I decided that I would try my hand at mystery writing.”

Up to this point the others hadn’t introduced themselves until joined by a fifth and introductions were made, (yes I will remember the 5th woman WHO did start the introductions) dinner was served and over the course of that hour I was informed, at least four times from ‘J’ that she had an ‘un-publishable’ novel and how hard it was to get published. “Only 1% ever get published” seemed to be her mantra. And it was her belief that self-publishing would be her death of every getting an agent.

Thankfully the speaker got started and I was released from having to listen to any more of  her negative, unsolicited comments. She seemed like a nice woman….even with all of chatter I wished her good luck at the end of the evening. When they reconvene in September I am moving to the vegetarian table, which I discovered there usually is one – but not last night. The ‘regular vegs” didn’t show to support a special food table. “Special food?” Oh, I am so letting that one go.

Looking back my depressed feelings have been lifted…last night was just one night, but the diversion worked. I will go back and try for more Maid Marian ‘dazzling’ in September.




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