Although I've joined the Twitter set, I haven't really found that it's something I want to spend hours a day tracking. I've yet to figure out the nuances. I have under 200 followers, and even filtering for those who I find have useful or interesting things to say, I can't imagine reading all those tweets. What do the people with thousands of followers do?
Aside from finding some interesting blog posts and articles that were tweeted by others, I spend very little time with the application. But I checked out a tweet by Sarah of Smart Bitches and found a recipe for a Red Bean and Barley soup that sounded good enough to send me to the store for the ingredients I'd need to make it. Yummy.
And it was via Twitter that I found out, sadly, that Robert B. Parker died. I went to my first SleuthFest conference because he was the keynote speaker. He was funny, friendly, and SleuthFest became one of my 'must go' conferences from then on. Indirectly, he connected me with a fantastic group of mystery writers and because of SleuthFest, I've continued to pursue writing mysteries as well as my romantic suspense books. I highly recommend it as a small conference with some big opportunities (I met the editor who bought When Danger Calls at SleuthFest).
I will always remember that Parker spoke about how there's no such thing as writer's block. Writing is hard, he said. But if it's your job, you do it. You wouldn't accept it if you called a plumber and he said he couldn't come out that day because he had "plumber's block."
I first "met" Parker when the credits for the TV show "Spenser for Hire" said the series was based on his books. I started reading them, but only that series. I liked the Hawk-Spenser dynamic, the wisecracks, and the snappy dialogue. As a matter of fact, if anyone thinks the dialogue tag "he said" is overused, I suggest you read a few chapters – heck, a few pages – of any Spenser novel. Parker tags almost every line of dialogue, and almost always with "said." Yet I had to make a conscious effort to notice it. I realized I'd read pages and pages without "seeing" the said tag. The eye slides right past it, and it truly becomes invisible.
On the other hand, the more exotic tag words pop off the page and the reader stops to make sure the dialogue lines "match" the way they're spoken.
Later, I discovered Jesse Stone, again via television. Tom Selleck? I'm there. As a matter of fact, I'd have to say that Jesse Stone probably inspired my current manuscript—the story of a small town chief of police. There are few similarities between my Gordon and Parker's Jesse, beyond their professions, but that's what writers do. Take a spark and see what it ignites.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Parker. You will be missed.
(Tomorrow, Friday Field Trips continue with gorgeous shots "donated" by a guest. Pack your bags. We're going to Italy)