WE’RE GOING VIRTUAL

Lonely writer

We know, we know! No meetings since this whole crazy pandemic thing started! Hopefully you are using your quarantine time to write! But writing is a solitary profession and we are a social people. It’s time to “get out” and recharge your creative batteries…at least virtually.

So YEAH for the digital age, allowing us to “meet” without leaving the comforts of our homes–and without spreading the virus.

On your marks, Get ready to…ZOOM!

Your dues have gone to purchase a one year ZOOM membership for the chapter. Members will be sent an invitation to join the meetings. This is one of the many benefits of your $10 membership. If you’d like to join us, please click on the About Us tab.

This is great news not only for those who normally attend in-person meetings, but also for anyone unable to attend meetings due to work conflicts, travel issues, or health concerns. We will ZOOM every meeting, even after the libraries open and we start mingling again.

Stay safe, everyone!

There’s a Snowstorm a-Brewing…

Ever heard of the Snowflake Method of plotting?  You don’t want to miss our next meeting, Monday, March 9, 6-8 p.m. at the Greenbrier Library.

The Snowflake method: Turning a single idea into a novel, the easy way. Do you want to write a novel, but you’re stuck figuring out how to start? Or maybe you already have a great synopsis–but how do you convert that into ninety-thousand words? Join us as we explore a near-effortless way to take a simple idea and build it into a story of any length and genre, fiction or nonfiction. Whether you write novels, short stories, or screenplays, Snowflake is the best way to create the foundation for your work. With this easy method you can produce anything from an elevator pitch up to a spreadsheet of scenes/chapters showing the word counts needed, pivot points, act breaks, and more. If you’re a “pantser” this workshop will change your life! If you’re a plotter, there’s a 98.7% chance Snowflake will change your life! If you’re a veldic poet, results may vary.

 

Presenter Bio: Rick Eley is a Tidewater native, an IT professional, and an author of several fine sentences. He writes sci-fi, horror, fantasy, as well as creative and instructional nonfiction. His work is featured in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, Issues in Science and Technology magazine, HRW newsletters, and he’ll be featured in an upcoming Fahrenheit Books sci-fi anthology and Owl Creek Press horror anthology. Four of his short stories have won prizes in multiple writing contests. Rick has also presented writing craft seminars for The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, at Hampton Roads Writers annual conferences, and for HRW’s Traveling Pen series. In his spare time, he organizes the Tidewater Writers critique group and is a member of Hampton Roads Writers board of directors. Sometimes he even finds a few minutes to work on his concurrent projects: a book on the craft of modern writing, a collection of memoir short stories, and multiple sci-fi novels.

Next Meeting January 11, 2020

Do You Have 20/20 Vision in Your Writing?

If your writing goals are blurry, your inspiration fuzzy, your eyes watery from staring at the blank screen with no words appearing, then dedicate 2020 to improving your writing vision  to 20/20. Join successfully published authors Heather Weidner and Jayne Ormerod for a two-hour workshop focused on helping you see clearly when it comes to working towards believable, achievable and specific objectives in the new year. Sponsored by the Mystery by the Sea chapter of Sisters in Crime, this event is free and open to writers of all levels and all genres. Saturday, January 11, 2020, 10:15 a.m. at the Chesapeake Central Library, 298 Cedar Rd, 1st floor conference room. Dutch-treat lunch to follow at a place TBD.

 

ABOUT THE PRESENTERS:

Originally from Virginia Beach, HEATHER WEIDNER has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband are her novels in the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, and her novellas appear in the Mutt Mysteries.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, James River Writers, and International Thriller Writers. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. 

 Website: www.heatherweidner.com

 

JAYNE ORMEROD grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of the Blonds at the Beach Mysteries, The Blond Leading the Blond, and Blond Luck. Her stand-alone anthology, Goin’ Coastal, is a collection of four short mysteries set along the shore. She has contributed seven short mysteries to various anthologies to include the Mutt Mysteries series, Virginia is for Mysteries, Volumes I and II, and 50 Shades of Cabernet.

 Website: www.JayneOrmerod.com

 

A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL

We held our annual holiday party on December 8th. We ate, we played games, we had fun, but….we forgot to take a lot of pictures…until the end.

Each guest was asked to bring a children’s book, carefully selected to be a book loved as a child, a favorite of a grandchild, or something they could envision a child sitting and reading on Christmas morning. All books were donated to Toys for Tots.

Next meeting: December 8, 2-4 p.m.

‘Tis the season for a JINGLE MINGLE! A time to eat, drink, and be merry with your fellow Mystery by the Sea writer friends. This is not your trendy Ugly Sweater Party! (But feel free to wear one.) There will be games…and prizes! And food. And fellowship. And fun. Please bring a new, unwrapped children’s book (perhaps a childhood favorite of yours or your child’s or your grandchild’s or something new that caught your fancy). We will collect the books and donate to Toys for Tots. Drinks and paper products will be supplied, but please bring an appetizer or dessert to share (doesn’t have to be fancy…chips and salsa are a perennial favorite!) Date: Sunday, December 8. Time: 2-4. Location: Bayfront Club, 4550 East Beach Dr, Norfolk. All of the street parking is public, so don’t worry about needing a pass or anything. RSVP? Yeses please, so that we may plan accordingly. Send ’em to Parrotheads@cox.net.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

A VOICE FROM THE GRAVE…A True Story about a Ghost’s Testimony in a Murder Trial
by Jayne Ormeord

THE TIME…1673

THE PLACE…
A 100 acre farm in Portsmouth, RI

THE SITUATION…
Thomas Cornell, a farmer aged 46, had a lot of hungry mouths to feed. He was the father of four sons from his first marriage, two children (with a third on the way) from his second marriage to Sarah, plus his widowed mother Rebecca, age 73. All nine people lived under one very tiny roof. And, while Thomas did all the work, Rebecca owned the farm and thus controlled things.

THE PROBLEM…
There were rumors that not all was well on the Cornell farm. Reports of elder abuse ran rampant through the small community. Local legend has it that Rebecca had confided she felt sure she’d be “done away with” by year’s end.

WHAT HAPPENED…
February 8, 1673, Thomas arrived at the dinner table at 7 p.m. after visiting his mother in her room for an hour and a half, and announced she would not be joining the family for the meal. After dinner, Sarah sent one of the elder sons up to the room to take Rebecca a glass of warm milk. He opened the door and found flames on the floor around the fireplace. He ran to get help. After the flames were out, a charred corpse was discovered in the corner. It was identified (based on the slippers worn) to be that of Rebecca Cornell.

THE VERDICT…
The town elders conducted a 17th century CSI investigation and declared the following: “Rebecca Cornell was brought to her untimely death by an Unhappy Accident of fire as Shee (sic) satt (sic) in her Rome (sic).”

WAS IT AN ACCIDENT? It made sense that a flaming ember had escaped from her pipe, causing her woolen clothes to catch fire and burn her around her head, shoulders and chest.

BUT…(and this is where the ghost story comes in): Two nights after her burial, Rebecca’s brother John Briggs had a visitor while he slept. His bed sheets were ripped off and a ghostly apparition appeared. According to local historian Larry Stanford (in his book Sordid Stories from the City by the Sea) John Briggs cried out to the spirit, “In the name of God, what art thou?” The dimly lit spirit replied, “I am your sister Cornell,” then repeated twice, “See how I was burned by fire!” John shared his experience with the village elders and Rebecca’s body was exhumed for additional investigation. This time the medical examiners found a puncture wound (the size of a spinning wheel spindle) and bruising near her heart. It was determined that Rebecca had indeed been murdered.

SOOOOOO,WHO DID IT?
Thomas Cornell was the last to see his mother alive, and the person who benefited most from her death. Plus, there were all those rumors of elder abuse and threats Rebecca had received. So it was no big surprise when on May 16, 1673, on the steps of Newport, Rhode Island’s historic White Horse Tavern, the verdict was handed down proclaiming Thomas Cornell guilty of murdering his mother and sentencing him to death one week hence.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS STORY…
This is the only case in U.S. History where a ghost’s testimony led to a murder conviction.

IN A WEIRD TWIST OF FATE…
While Thomas Cornell was found guilty of patricide, his five-generations later granddaughter Lizzie Borden was found NOT guilty of patricide in the whacking death of her parents in Fall River, Massachusetts.

AN ODD FACT…
The girl born after the trial and hanging of her father was named Innocent Cornell.

Upcoming Meetings–New Times and Locations

Our next three meetings are a departure from our previous Monday schedule and Greenbrier location.

SATURDAY, October 19, 10 a.m.-Noon, Indian River Library, 2320 Old Greenbrier Parkway, Chesapeake

In the spirit of the season, today we’ll take an in-depth look at villains!  In particular, we’ll examine ways to create a really “good” antagonist.  Writing about evil is seldom easy!

TUESDAY, November 12, 6-8 p.m., Hampton Public Library, Meeting Room B, 4207 Victoria Blvd., Hampton, VA 23669

SUNDAY, December 8, 2-4 p.m., Holiday Jingle Mingle, East Beach Bayfront Club, 4550 East Beach Dr, Norfolk

FIRST ANNUAL JINGLE MINGLE! A Holiday Party for Writers.

Details will be shared closer to the event.

Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival 2019

Several of our members will be attending and presenting panels at the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival on Saturday, August 10, 2019, 1-6 p.m. If you’d like to join us, full details are here:
https://www.suffolkmysteryauthorsfestival.com/

From the festival’s website:
“Whether you are an avid or casual reader, aspiring writer or published author, you will find something entertaining and intriguing at the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival. Set in a venue worthy of a story itself, the festival is held at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts in historic downtown Suffolk, Virginia.

“This one-day festival showcases 40 best-selling mystery, suspense, horror, paranormal, romance, and women’s fiction authors. Highlights include book signings, fan meet & greets and moderated panel discussions. Additionally, attendees will enjoy multiple workshops and a VIP Meet & Greet.”

Our next meeting, September 9, 2019: “The Many Hats of a Writer” by Jayne Ormerod

The Many Hats of a Writer
Presented by Jayne Ormerod
Does your writer’s toolbox include a hat for every occasion? We don’t mean a fashionable chapeau to wear when you attend the National Book Awards ceremony. No, the “hats” this workshop will discuss represent the various “bonnets” and “fedoras” a small business owner (and every writer is one) will need to have hanging on a nearby peg. Many of these hats should be donned in the early stages of a writing career. (Fear not! It’s never too late!) Others, like the aforementioned one for the awards ceremony, can be added later on in the writing journey. This workshop will include a lighthearted lecture, hands-on exercises and a short Q&A.

About the presenter:
Jayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of the Blonds at the Beach Mysteries, The Blond Leading the Blond, and Blond Luck. She has contributed seven short mysteries to various anthologies. Her most recent release is Goin’ Coastal, a collection of two novellas and two short stories that have two things in common; a coastal setting and a gruesome murder.

Website: http://www.JayneOrmerod.com

Blog: http://www.JayneOrmerod.blogspot.com