Friday, May 07, 2010

Fowl Play

by Jennie Bentley

Last time I invited a guest blogger here, she wrote about writing lessons she'd learned from her dogs. Today I invited someone else, and she's giving me chickens and eggs. I see a trend; what about you?

Anyhow, we've got a guest today. Put your hands together for my fellow Berkley Babe and Good Girl - and good buddy of our own Wilfred Bereswill's - Laura Bradford AKA Elizabeth Lynn Casey, who's here to talk to us about fowl.

What Came First? The Chicken or the Egg?

It’s a question that’s been pondered for generations. Heck, it may even have been posed in the form of pictures back in cave days. Yet here we are still scratching our heads and wondering when the answer may finally be revealed.

While I’d like to say I’ve come forth to finally settle the debate, I can’t. I’ve simply come to muddy the waters a bit more (I’m helpful that way).

Thirty years ago, the writing bug bit me. And by bit, I mean B-I-T. Hard. Only back then I preferred children’s books as it gave me a good excuse for writing off my annual 64-count box of Crayola Crayons.

Somewhere along the line, I switched to mysteries. Adult mysteries.

Which sort of implies the chicken came first, don’t you think?

After all, I’d been an avid fan of Mary Higgins Clark for years and her work certainly propelled me toward that genre.

Or did it?

Let me offer Exhibit A in defense of the Egg theory…

A. I’m working in a very small stock room at Borders Books and Music in St. Peters, Missouri a few years ago. My task was to bring some semblance of order to the massive calendar shipment we’d received in preparation for the mall kiosk.

There I was, by myself, moving big heavy boxes and stacking them neatly when I saw a drop of blood. It was small but fresh and quite red. I stared down at the box and noticed another…

And another.

And another.

What did I do? I looked up at the drop ceiling above me…very, very, veerrryyy slowly, certain that someone had stuffed a body in the ceiling tiles above my head.

And then there’s Exhibit B…

A. I’m leaving the Malice Domestic conference this past weekend with my trusty Mapquest directions in tow. They’ve yet to steer me wrong and so I trust them completely.

Now, while I’d like to say they’re the reason I ended up in Georgetown instead of where I was trying to go, I can’t. The fault was all mine.

Either way, though, I found myself pressing the little On-Star button on my ceiling and utilizing my free trial turn-by-turn (GPS help).

The second the operator turned the directions over to the automated system and I heard the voice telling me where to go…and watched its written directions work their way across my radio screen…I started plotting.

Which leads me back to the original question but with a slight twist. Was the mystery writer in me there all along or is it something I chose to seek?

I don’t know about you, but the Egg theory is looking mighty good right about now.

Or is it?




Elizabeth Lynn Casey is the national best-selling author of the Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series with Berkley Prime Crime. SEW DEADLY, the first book in the series, debuted in August. DEATH THREADS released this week. When she’s not writing mysteries, she’s tinkering around in the world of romance under her real name, Laura Bradford. For more information, visit her websites: and


Jemi Fraser said...

Great post - I'd say that mystery writer was in there all along. :)

Wilfred Bereswill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wilfred Bereswill said...

Oh Laura, how naive. That old chicken/egg argument went out of style when we realized that Chickens evolved from Dinosaurs. It's science.

If you don't believe me, you may want to read this clever little Thriller called A Reason For Dying.

It's wonderful to have you with us this morning. I miss my writing buddy.

Elizabeth/Laura said...

Oooh, a vote for the Egg theory...thanks Jemi! :)

Miss you, too, Wil. But I'll be there on the 14th!

Joyce said...

I gotta go with the egg theory, too. I see nefarious plots everywhere I look.

Sorry I never made it over to your table to meet you in person at the Festival. I headed that way several times, honest!

Elizabeth/Laura said...

Maybe another festival, Joyce!! And another vote for the Egg. Yay!

Jennie Bentley said...

Thanks for visiting, darling! I think I'm in favor of the egg theory, too. Although I think a lot of it comes down to what you surround yourself with. If you read and write mysteries, you're gonna see everything in terms of mysteries; if you read and write romance, you're gonna see everything in terms of relationships. Ditto with fantasy and science fiction and everything else. Or so I think. Although you have a counter-argument for that one too, I know, since I've heard it. "I tried to make it into a mystery, but it wanted to be a romance..." ;-)


Dru said...

Nice post and I like your egg theory and I'm glad you found your way to mysteries.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if Laura caught up with Blondie?

Lynn said...

I'm an egg fan. I've always imagined the scene, from the prince who would take me away from the evil stepfather to what exactly I'd say when they knocked on my door with the best job offer ever!

Now as a mystery writer, I imagine what a body would look like on the side of a road while I'm driving. The best is looking at a character and imagining the love scene for the romance.

PatRemick said...

Welcome to Working STiffs Laura! did we meet at Malice? Maybe -- there were soooo many wonderful people there!
I know what you all mean about imagining the worse... I was convinced all the way back to NH from Malice in DC that I would see a body out my Amtrak window...

M Pax said...

Appears to me, you got called.

Writing is that, isn't it? A calling.

Elizabeth/Laura said...

I think writing is a calling. I think it can be learned...but I think it's mostly just "there."

Pat...I met so many people, too. It was a fabulous conference wasn't it??

And anonymous...I left a wide berth. :)