Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why I'm Here, and Ta DA! - Introducing the Meanderings & Muses 2009 Dream Team

I have a cold.

I hate colds.

It would be so easy to fall into “poor pitiful me” stuff, and I’ll admit to a little of that, but honestly? Whining gets on my nerves, so I try awfully hard not to do it. ‘Course, I don’t always succeed, but dang - what can be more fun sometimes than an all-out wailing, poor, poor, pitiful me party, complete with a gallon of ice cream and one huge spoon while dressed in your favorite jammies. Boy howdy.

O.K. - two spoons.

Donald has the same cold and is fighting the pity party thing right along with me.

But. As tempting as it may be, I just can’t be pititful right now. Anyone who has been graced with the kind of support and friendship I have this week couldn’t dare allow themselves to fall into pitidom.

After years of not understanding the world of blogging and swearing it wasn’t for me, when I step back and take a look at where I am now, it makes my head swimmy. Not only am I writing a blog, I have what can only be a blogger’s dream team lined up to play with me for the whole of next year. Take a look at this list on the left - Gloriosa.

A lot of you are going to remember me saying I was not a fan of blogging. Talk about eating your words - oy. Though, I must say, in this particular instance, I am happy to do so. But. HOW did I get here, especially with this tremendous group of people agreeing to do guest spots at Meanderings and Muses, along with a group of people who have written me asking that I continue blogging after I wrote a couple of pieces, just because they enjoy what I have to say? How on earth did this happen?

Well, for one thing Meanderings and Muses wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Robin and Deborah who have written me with ideas and suggestions they want me to write about. They have shown a level of support and encouragement that has floored me, but as it happens, they've provided just the push I guess I needed to do this. I just didn't know it.

And I can tell you for sure it wouldn’t have happened without a group of people who need to remain nameless because it’s a VERY secret society. A group gathering almost daily on the internet to chat, gossip, support one another in a myriad of activities, and occasionally get irritated with one another. They’re the group of people who tapped my desire to write these pieces you’ve seen and will continue to see here. It a group I love without bounds.

Oh, O.K. - one name I gotta give up.

Earl Staggs. Or as you’ve seen me refer to him all over the internet; “Earl Darlin’.” Earl is one of my favorite people on God’s green earth. He’s also one of my favorite writers. He’s a master. If you haven’t read his short stories, you’re missing out. If you haven’t read his MEMORY OF A MURDER, gracious - what ARE you waiting for??

Additional reasons I'm here include that very first invitation to blog from Evelyn David at The Stiletto Gang (Thank You, Rhonda and Marian!), with follow up invites from JT Ellison at Murderati, and Rob Walker at Acme Authors, and Patti Abbott for her Friday's Forgotten Books. Thanks, guys - very much. More than I can say.

As for the guests you’re going to find here next year, as you can see they include writers who are well known, writers who are on their way to becoming well known, and some who are just getting started, bloggers, readers and mystery fans. If there’s one common thread, besides being lovers of books and words, its that each and every person you see here as a guest will write something that will touch you in some way. It might make you cry, or laugh, possibly anger you, or just make you think. Remember please, that it will not necessarily be an opinion that matches mine, but the very thought of censoring what someone says disgusts me as much as I’m sure it does you. It might be a light and fluffy piece about cooking or what someone did on their summer vacation, or it might be hard and tough. It might just be something they have on their mind and want to share or get off their chest. That’s what I’ve discovered blogging is all about. A sharing in which the writer invites others to participate and give back. An exchange of words, ideas and/or feelings in which things get tossed around and back and forth.

That’s another part of the puzzle of how I came to start Meanderings and Muses. I gave in and actually started reading blogs as I would hear about them. I swore I didn’t have time to do this - and really, who does? There are a beezillion of them out there. But as you browse your way through them you come to realize that while they’re not all for you, some of them are touching you in some way and you find yourself going back for more. Or they’re providing one place in which to give you information you’re interested in - such as one of my all time favorites; Sarah Weinman’s “Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind.”

There are several which have me captured, and I’ve added them here as a permanent part of Meanderings and Muses with links so that you can all get to them quickly. And will add more as I discover them, so send me recommendations, please! I don’t read them all every day, but I always know that when I do settle down for a day of catching up on things, they’re there and I’m going to enjoy them. They’re just like books in that some writers will appeal to you, while others will not. Its no surprise that some of my favorite blogs are written by some of my favorite writers. Over time, I am no longer surprised that some of them are written by people I’ve never heard of. Voices that may never find their way to the New York Times Best Seller list, or be the recipient of one of the awards given out at writer/fan conventions. And you know what - that’s not the goal for many of these writers. That does not, however, diminish their writing skills in any way. Not one iota. You know this to be true. So take a minute and take a peek at some of the blogs I have listed here and possibly discover a new voice you’ll enjoy.

What has evolved from the early days of blogging is that there are many bloggers who have a dedicated following. I know, for instance, that when I drop in at “Murderati” to see what any of those wonderful people (GREAT writers, every one!) have to say, the chances are that I’m going to run into the same folks leaving comments most days. They have become an integral part of the group. Seeing their responses is as interesting, and as important, as the original post. And what’s become obvious is that while we agree on a lot, there are things we’re not going to agree on. The interaction that then takes place is just like it would be if it were happening in the real world. A quick little snappy retort, some hurt feelings, some apologies and some making up. I find this phenomenon immensely intriguing.

So, I hope you’ll continue watching this spot. I can’t promise you there will be something new and exciting here every day - actually I can promise you that there won’t be! I have a job, and I have Donald and Harley, and I have to read (a LOT) or I get grumpy. One little tidbit I really do want to share (I'm a pushy old thing sometimes, you know). Women out there reading this who are not married. This is some good advice, people - listen up!! Make sure, please, if you do decide to marry, that you marry a man who makes you laugh. And if he can make you laugh every single day of your life for over 22 years like Donald Barley has me (well - O.K. - not "every" day, but a gracious plenty of 'em), you'll be able to handle whatever curves life throws at you.


On January 12th one of my favorite people, a very good friend and an excellent writer, Pat Browning will kick off Meanderings and Muses, 2009. Mark your calendars and come see what she has to say and chat with her a bit. She wrote the book FULL CIRCLE, which has just been re-released under the title ABSINTHE OF MALICE. Its terrific! If you’re a member of the community of DorothyL, you’ve seen me and a bunch of other people rave about Pat's book.

Then dear friends, stick around. I can promise you a year filled with people you’ll enjoy. I know the schedule you see here will be changing, so keep your eye on it, please.

Which brings up a point. Emails and announcements. I know I’ve been sending out a lot of emails while this project has been getting off the ground. If you’re like me, they’re not really always appreciated. So tell me if you want your name removed from the mailing list. You are not going to hurt my feelings - I promise.

Happy Holidays, all!


Anonymous said...


Looks like a winning lineup.

And I love the photo of Harley Doodle Barley. It's Christmas card beautiful!

Pat Browning

Anonymous said...

I'm so honored to be on that list on the left side of the blog. Wow. What a lineup.

I'm also glad to have finally met you at Bouchercon, albeit for only a moment.

Unknown said...


Great blog, the epitome of blogginess, turning announcement into commentary.
What never fails to surprise me are the coincidences I encounter with you. Lonnie Cruse and I are listed together in your line-up; she's someone I know and count as a writing friend. And, if I were giving marriage advice, I'd have to echo yours, because I also have a husband of long standing (he gets tired a lot) who makes me laugh!

Kudos on getting this so well-organized. We're all in for a great year.


Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Hey Guys!!!
Pat - that's one of the very few photos I've ever taken that I'm proud of. Just a fluke. But thank you! Now isn't it just perfect that you leave the first comment seeing as how you'll be our first guest of 2009?! And honored to have you here, my friend.

Pari - I am SO excited about you coming to play!!!!! thank you. I hated that it was just for a minute in Baltimore too. That was the last night, and here's a secret - I was getting a bit homesick and wasn't really fit to be around. But - we will do it again. And I look forward to it.

Robin, we do seem to keep chalking up coincidences, don't we?? And they'll probably get odder and odder as time passes. NOT that our friend Lonnie should be considered in the odd category - not at all . . . not in the least! And thank you, again, for your support. I do think it'll be a fun year here, and you're one of the reasons why.

Anonymous said...

WOW, what a line-up! Amen about a Dream Team. 2009 looks to be a very good year. Just don't forget to pencil your little ole self in there some too, Miss Kaye, 'cause we want to hear from you as well.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

So. There's the whole world out there. And somehow, through some way, this list of people who are friends and colleagues and supporters and hard-workers and booklovers and and writers and readers and generally hilarious and loving people just--comes together. People who know each other, and who don't.

And there we all are, in it together. Because of you.

I think Kurt Vonngeut discussed this, at some length. He would have called this a karass.

Thanks, Kaye.
Amazing. And happy new year.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Deborah - isn't it going to be fun?! and oh my - I'll be around. So much that you may get tired of me. Did I just read that you have some news?! We'll chat about that!

Hank - you made me cry. thank you. And I LOVE this word!! Its one I'll admit not being familiar with. Its been many years since I read anything by Mr. Vonnegut, and now I'm feeling the urge to do that. I had to go to the dictionary for "karass," and its a wonderful word! And absolutely perfect. In case I'm not alone in not knowing it, says it means "A group of people linked in a cosmically significant manner, even when superficial linkages are not evident. Created by Kurt Vonnegut." Cool!! And this - "Think of the small group of people you have ended up running into and spending time with over the course of your life. Some may be friends, others not. A big part of Vonnegut's Karass concept revolves around coincidence evolving beyond apophenia, into the realm of the mystical."
And there's more - VERY interesting! Check it out!
See there. This is just so indicative of the kinds of things I'm going to be looking forward to this year. I'm excited about it all.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Beautiful blog site, Kayester and I can see you put a lot of work into it. Great to see friends here, including Robin, who mentioned me! Can't wait to read more.

Wendy said...

Your new blog is one of the fun things I am looking forward to in 2009. I don't read blogs very often; just too darned busy. But yours will be a "don't miss" for me.

I am so glad Pat Browning is kicking it off! Her blog is one I really like and check in on!!

Happy Holidays!
Wendy Bartlett