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Readers may think writers came to Earth from distant planets for the sole purpose of messing with their minds. In fact, writers are just ordinary Joes and Jills--with a few exceptions like the not-tethered-to-this-earth Stephen King and those who live in other universes like J.K. Rowling.

No, we're mostly down-home folk. At parties we talk shop, just like real people. At one Sisters in Crime holiday party, we amused ourselves by going around the circle offering news about our current WIP--Work in Progress. (Please note Sisters in Crime is an organization for mystery writers--not, as some would have it, nuns in need of exorcism.)

I piped in with, "Mine is set in 1897 St. Louis. I'm writing about a Nelly Bly wannabe named Jemima McBustle. Jemmy makes up her mind to join the man's world by becoming a stunt reporter. I call it Jack the Ripper in St. Louis. It's a humorous Victorian Whodunit."


Amidst shocked looks and titters, a clever fellow said, "Jack the Ripper--a subject well known for hilarity."

Yes, writers really do say things like that--off the cuff, too.

That moment made my day. I had shocked a group of writers--not an easy feat. And I got a laugh. Do parties get better? (I refer, of course to parties where nothing stronger than Gallo and limburger are on the menu.)

I invite you to poke around in my world--the nineteenth century. I'd like nothing better than to provide you with a shock or a laugh. I'd even settle for a raised eyebrow and a snicker.

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