Strike Three! But I’m not Out Yet.
TLC NOTE: Mary Jane Maffini is the author of the three mystery series and nearly two dozen short stories. She is also the former president of The Crime Writers of Canada. (There's a frosty bunch, eh?) Her latest book - The Cluttered Corpse - featuring professional organizer/sleuth Charlotte Adams, will be published by Berkley April 1. Enjoy!
I was so excited to be invited to guest blog on The Lipstick Chronicles last fall. What a great group of mystery writers to rub cyber-shoulders with. I got down to work immediately. Things were going fabulously until my protagonists went on strike. Can you believe that? All three of them! I was sandbagged. I think they got the idea from the writers. I knew I should have kept that damned TV turned off. Anyway, this labor conflict came out of nowhere and it seems like it’s been dragging on forever. I figured once the writers settled, the protagonists would come crawling back, but so far, no such luck.
I realize I should never have made Camilla MacPhee a lawyer. She’s the one who drew up the list of demands. And I imagine that snoopy little Charlotte Adams is getting them all organized. No doubt Fiona Silk is topping up their snifters of Courvoisier. If they’re not careful, she could burn down their house of cards.
Honestly, if they put half that effort into solving the crimes I set out for them, we could all retire. How could these people band together and turn against me? Didn’t I give them life, love interests, jobs, pets, families? One of them even has a fabulous wardrobe, and I nearly always replace her designer shoes when disasters happen. Now it seems the three of them think everything is all about them. Frankly, I find it surprising that they were able to work together to form a so-called “guild’. It’s not like they have anything in common besides being single women who are inclined to stumble over cadavers and mess up their love lives in the process. I mean, is that my fault? What happened to taking responsibility for your own actions?
Luckily I had some scenes in draft form for my new book, Death Loves Your Messy Desk or I’d be up the familiar creek with my deadline. Even so, I’ll have to do something soon. I still can’t see how I can meet their outrageous terms and stay in business. I’m not running a charity here.
I know, you’d think I could count on the sidekicks for enough scenes to make a book, but they’ve standing behind the protagonists. Won’t cross the picket line. Some people can’t recognize opportunity banging on the door. Even my series proposal featuring one of them was met with stony stares. Honestly, what fan wouldn’t read The World’s Worst Office Assistant Mysteries?
In case you think I’m being unreasonable: take a gander at this list of demands:
· Working conditions: maximum of three bodies to deal with in any given book
No midnight graveyard runs without back-up, no garbage dumpsters, abandoned mines, burning houses, nothing with Semtex, absolutely no children.
· Equipment: no cell phones with dying batteries, no flat tires on lonely roads, no doors that lock behind you.
· Overtime: Time and a half off for threatening phone calls, break-ins or personal physical attacks between the hours of midnight and six a.m.
· Personal time: The right to a continuing stable relationship without recourse to the intensive care unit, arrest, or harassment from fictional relatives. In addition, no lovers will be permitted to turn into murderers.
· Health: maximum one concussion per series
Oh puleeze, grow up. What author can live with these conditions? Now I’m stuck. I have to do everything myself. All to say, I’ll get back to the blog after I’ve visited the morgue and checked out the cemetery at midnight.
Thanks for your patience!
Mary Jane Maffini’s latest books are Too Hot to Handle and The Cluttered Corpse.
Also - SPECIAL ALERT!!! - Award-winning, nationally bestselling author JOSHILYN JACKSON will be blogging here Tuesday, March 25th and talking about her fantastic new book THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING. Make sure to stop on by!