Weekly DiVa | Feb 25, 2024
Good morning!
How've you been? I'm well. I actually managed to get out this week and went to Philly for a book event. The speaker was also a professor at Penn, and he was talking about “the first three chapters of IN COLD BLOOD.” (Turns out the store made a mistake in their marketing materials, and it was really the first three PAGES of the book, but I was prepared!)
It seemed pretty coincidental that this talk was happening while I was reading the book, so I went. It wasn't what I expected, but sometimes that's okay--just doing something different from our regular routine shakes us out of our comfort zones. 
In addition to my daily videos counting through my backlist, I was a guest blogger on Jungle Red Writers this past week, hosted by Jenn McKinlay. If you missed it, you can read the blog here
If you have been on the fence about preordering RANCH DRESSING, then I feel compelled to remind you that the preorder giveaway ends tomorrow eve (because the book comes out on Tuesday! Tuesday! Yes, I repeated it! Tuesday!)
You will be hearing from me later this week but not on Tuesday, so this is it. For real. After tomorrow, someone else is going to be enjoying all of the goodness that is inside the prize basket. 
Here's a video of me telling you all about the prize. (I posted this on Instagram a few days ago, but just added it to my YouTube channel about thirty seconds ago.)
“I need to borrow some clothes,” I said. “Jeans,” I added then tacked on “Wranglers,” for further clarification. I finished with “please” to properly convey my desperation.
As a former fashion buyer with a history of overindulging in wardrobe choices to fit any social setting, I had to be desperate to be standing on the porch of the very unfashionable Detective Loncar, asking to borrow clothes.
Loncar, to his credit, didn’t respond right away. We had a complicated relationship, built over years of battling ne’er-do-wells like a modern-day Batman and Robin—my words, not his— in our hometown of Ribbon, Pennsylvania, but at the end of the day, clothes were my wheelhouse, and crime was his. I had stepped over the line too many times to pretend today’s request was anything but inevitable.
Loncar was a man of few words, so I wasn’t entirely surprised when, instead of replying, he turned around and headed back into his house. I interpreted it as an invitation to join him, so I entered, too, and closed the door behind me. He glanced over his shoulder once, grunted something, and went into his kitchen. By the time I caught up (distracted as I was by the collection of Hummel figurines that I never would have expected to find on display in his living room), he held two mugs of hot, steaming coffee. I almost forgot about the Butterscotch Krimpets that I’d brought with me to soften him up. I raised my hand to indicate the box. (I needed to borrow a week’s worth of jeans, so I knew better than to show up with just one package.) He jutted his chin toward his kitchen table, and moments later we were settled in for breakfast.
As long as I had a Butterscotch Krimpet in front of me, I didn’t care so much that he had yet to grant my request. I tore open the plastic wrapper and bit into the sweet butterscotch cake. After a few bites, I swallowed. I took a sip of my coffee and almost spit it back out. I set down my mug.
“Decaf,” Loncar said.
“Oh. Okay.” I picked up my mug and took another sip, this time bracing myself for the tinny taste.
Loncar stood and snatched my mug out of my hand. He carried both of our mugs to the sink and dumped the contents.
“Hey! I was drinking that!”
“No, you weren’t.” He opened his fridge and pulled out two bottles of water. Water and Krimpets aren’t that solid a combination, but with Loncar’s health hanging in the balance, I was willing to make the sacrifice.
“So… do you want to talk about it?” I pointed to his chest, where I presumed his heart would be, though at the moment, he looked a little like a man who had been born without one.
“Ms. Kidd, why are you here?”
The first time I’d met the detective, he had called me Ms. Kidd, not only because it was my name but because I was a suspect in his murder investigation and that was what Emily Post deemed appropriate in such social settings. I’d told him to call me Samantha, but it didn’t stick. He’d told me to stop calling him Detective after he retired from the police force, but I didn’t listen either. I would always think of him as a homicide detective, which explained my choice of what to call him. His choice to continue treating me like a murder suspect was unsettling, to say the least.
“Like I said, I need to borrow some jeans. Back when we solved that case involving the secret society, I noticed we wear the same size.”
Loncar raised both of his eyebrows, which could have been a response to my reference that we’d worked in tandem on an investigation—probably not how he’d describe it even if it was the truth—or that our wildly different body types somehow put us both into 36x30 jeans.
“I thought clothes were your métier?”
“My met… Yes. Right. They were. They are. Yes.”
“And I thought you wrote a column for the Ribbon Times about how to dress for any occasion?”
“Yes. I do. I did. I’m on a break.”
Loncar raised his eyebrows and swallowed a few gulps of water. His Krimpet went untouched.
“Nick’s dad is thinking about buying a dude ranch in New Jersey. We’re headed there tomorrow, and I don’t have anything to wear.” The words came out in a rush. “I was going to go to Boot Barn, but then I remembered you, and I thought maybe…” Despite all of the initial gusto I’d used to explain myself, my voice trailed off. “I drove by your office the other day, and there’s a For Rent sign in the window. I called, but the number has been discontinued. I tried to reach your daughter, but the calls go directly to voicemail, and when I called Patti, she said you two haven’t, um, hooked up for a while.”
Patti was the local coroner and was also thirty years Loncar’s junior. Neither one of us mentioned that this last fact could have easily been explained by her coming to her senses.
(End of today's excerpt. Keep reading on my website.)
Do you ever throw yourself a pity party? When you feel like the world is against you, or the universe forgot you, or you're trapped in a dark tunnel with no idea which way to turn to get out? 
(or when the “r” key on your laptop sticks and you make a lot of typos???)
We're often reminded/told/advised to practice gratitude for all that we have, and that seems like a good idea. But sometimes the poor-me monsters come out of the woodwork and trick us into thinking we're victims of an elaborate plot to give everybody else what they want and not us. 
And the thing is, once those monsters show up, they're like the dinner party guests who won't leave. If we give them a taste of our angst, they will dine on us indefinitely. 
I think it's normal to have these feelings from time to time. I think feeling like we got left behind while the rest of the world moved on to bigger and better things is all part of the human experience. If we didn't feel these fears, then we might not care about what happens to us, and if we don't care, we might be unengaged* from our lives. 
That pity party might be a sign that something matters to us, and isn't that the first step to knowing what we want? 
Oh, and if you do throw yourself a pity party, be sure to serve champagne. You deserve it!
*I looked up “unengaged” vs “disengaged, and "unengaged" seems like the right word here. Did I get it right?

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