Thursday, November 19, 2009

Can I get a “Hell, yeah!”

By Paula Matter

Six weeks tomorrow, a new year will begin. I’ll wait while you go look at your calendar.

See? Hard to believe, huh? I had to count it three times to make sure I had the time right. Six short weeks. I say short because the older I get, the faster time flies. I’ve noticed that happening over the past few years, but this year really flew by.

I’m thinking it’s because I’m getting older. And in less than six weeks, I’ll be even older. About this time every year I look back on any goals I may’ve have met. I’d started the year by wanting to do more with my writing, go more places, attend more events.

2009 was a doozy! Workshops, mystery festivals and library events, three-count-em-three conferences, joining this blog. Plus working with an freelance editor. Diving into revisions, losing revisions, diving back into them. Can I get a “Hell, yeah!”

Probably the most fun goal was entering the Flashwords contest for the Crime Bake conference.

The announcement of this contest couldn’t have come at a better time. Remember I mentioned diving back into revisions after losing them? Well. . . some time lapsed in between and with it all motivation to write. Not only motivation, but the ability seemed lost as well. Then I heard about the contest and it sounded like fun. Just what I needed to get going again.

The gist of the contest: Write a compelling crime story in 150 words or less, using at least ten of the title words from the best-selling “alphabet series” by our Guest of Honor, Sue Grafton!

Early Sunday morning, I learned I was one of the three winners! I asked how many entries had been received, and she assured me it was more than three. Below is my story. I hope you enjoy it!

S Is Not For Stalker

Dear Killer Agent:

It is without judgement or malice I send this quarry. I’m no deadbeat author and can provide evidence by sending you my 225,000 word fiction novel featuring Gumshoe Gary, the first of my Lawless Homicide detective series. Gary’s a fugitive because he has no alibi, and can’t prove he’s innocent in the Case of the Missing Corpse where one of his bullets supposedly ricocheted and killed a trespassing burglar. Now, Gary’s an outlaw swept away in the undertow of murder, larceny and other really bad stuff.

It’s at your peril if you don’t publish this exciting new series. It’ll make us both filthy rich and I’m ready to appear on Oprah. I look forward to meeting you at Crime Bake. I’ll wait in the bar although agents don’t usually frequent bars. I’ll be sitting in silence with a noose around my neck.


Wanna B. Writer

Can you find all of Sue Grafton's titles? What are some of your goals in 2009? In 2010? Time to start thinking about it if you haven't already!


Annette said...

Paula, I've already congratulated you on the win, but, hey, you can never get too many pats on the back, so congratulations again.

Joyce said...

Paula, your story is hysterical! I love it!

Since I've read all of Ms. Grafton's books, it was pretty easy to pick out the words from her titles. I'm just amazed you were able to make them into a story.

Paula Matter said...

Nice try, Annette. Now, tell us some of your goals... ;-)

Thanks, Joyce! I'm glad to know you think the story's hysterical.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Very creative Paula, and structured at the same time.

Goals??? Well I achieved my big goal for this year, find a new day job. It's hard to believe we're coming up on the anniversary of my last day with my former employer.

Annette said...

Noticed that little avoidance, did ya, Paula?

Well, of course, my goal for this year was to survive the Pennwriters Conference and then to finish my manuscript. If first drafts count, I met both goals.

As for 2010's goals, I still have six weeks to contemplate those!

Jennie Bentley said...

I agree with Joyce, that IS hysterical. Congratulations on the win; that's awesome!

Goals? I just pray to get through every year and meet all my deadlines. Next year, though, I'd like to write and sell another book, one that isn't in the DIY series. And one that isn't in the other series either. (God, I sound like such an overachiever. If you only knew...)

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Next year? I reserve the right to change the the goal stated below up to and including December 15, 2010. After which time I will stick with what I have.

I plan to write a new suspense novel. I'm developing a new character and weaving in my knowledge of the Asian culture. This is a project I've been wanting to start for a while.

If the contract comes through for my short story, I plan to write several more as a kind of series. Nice thing about the short stories is that they are written in first person and it gives me a chance to hone my skills in that area.

I'm also volunteering to help the organizers of Bouchercon 2011 to be held in St. Louis. I'm sure there will be some work to do for that.

ravenredhead said...

Congrats on your win and here's your Hell Yeah!!

SZ said...

Wow, congrats ! Hell yeah that was a fine job. I too have read all of Sue Grafton's books. Wish I had caught that contest. I might have tried.

Goals are to finish what I started ! Pay of the Visa and eat more burritos.

Denise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denise said...


Your talent shines through again. Here's your "Hell, yeah!" for a wonderful story. Congrats, girl.

Sorry about the deleted post. I swear that Blogger hates me and what it posted isn't what I wrote.

Patg said...

Congrats on the win, very clever.
The goal sitting before me is collecting cobwebs.
GET Published!!!!!
Oh and finish those 3 other manuscripts I've started.

Gina said...

Congratulations on the win.

Goal for next year? Get the script I'm trying to complete right now made into a film! [If you knew all the circumstances, which I can't really go into now, you'd see that this is not nearly as impossible as it sounds.]

My magic word is ozook. Have no idea what that means. A middlin' OK zoo?

Paula Matter said...

Thanks, Will. That's a nice goal to've met!

Sounds like two huge goals were met, Annette. First drafts definitely count.

Paula Matter said...

Thanks, Jennie! Your goal for next year sounds exciting...

Will, your goals sound great, too. Good luck with all of them!

Ravenredhead (love it!), thanks for the Hell, yeah!

Paula Matter said...

sz, thanks! Don't use the Visa to buy the burriots and you should be in pretty good shape.

Were you at Crime Bake, sz?

Thanks, Denise! I know what you mean--Blogger hates me too sometimes. Almost as bad as Facebook.

Paula Matter said...

Thanks, Patg! Keep at it --with all of them!

Thanks, Gina! Good luck with the script. You've piqued my curiosity.

ozooks sounds like something Shakespeare would've written.

Anonymous said...

Very clever~congrats on your win. I googled her books to aee how many!


PatRemick said...

You deserved that win, Ms. Matter!
And I think it's so funny that you didn't know ahead of time that you'd won because you hadn't checked your email!! Made the surprise even better.

As you all can see, the Flash Fiction contest participants displayed wonderful creativity -- believe we'll see that again next year. Think vampires and CHarlaine Harris!

Paula Matter said...

Hey, P! Thanks. I had all 21 of her titles in the story. So did the other two winners.

Paula Matter said...

Thanks, Pat. Yeah, but how come you didn't say anything on Saturday night?! You must've thought I was nuts. :-)