The Merits of Change

Kathleen Delaney with Books 2Kathleen Delaney, author of Murder Half-Baked and other books, retired from real estate to pursue writing full time. She’s here today to talk about change and how sometimes it’s a good thing.

Murder by Syllabub, fifth in the Ellen McKenzie series, is available in bookstores now. Purebred Dead, the first in the new Mary McGill series, was released in August 2015.

I have been in my new house a whopping four days. I still can’t find the shampoo, all the bath towels, or the pitcher and, or the pitcher and bowl I have always had on my blue hutch. And that, I’ve decided, might be a good thing. I like the pitcher and bowl but I’ve had it now for probably thirty years, I’ve looked at it every day, its familiar, it means stability. If it’s on the hutch, I’m home. But I’m in a new house now, a smaller home with different challenges, and maybe it’s time to shrug off the old and try on the new. I find myself searching out the things I’ve had for years, wondering where I should put them, putting away the things that have never had a regular place, and am starting to wonder. Why do I do that? Why do I cling to one thing with passion when something else might be more interesting and fill the same purpose? I don’t mean I plan on ditching all my old friendly possessions, but if something else will add some spice, something more lively, if some other grouping of things will add a new dimension to the room and the way I look at it, then that’s a good thing. I think I’m in a rut and its time I got out of it.

I’m no better when it comes to food. I’ve always thought of myself as a rather adventurous eater, love to try new recipes and dishes, but, sadly, I’m afraid it’s not true. I do try new recipes, but find as I read them, if they don’t resemble something I already know I like, I pass. I stand in the aisle in Trader Joe’s, staring at something that looks intriguing and wonder if I’ll like it. It’s time to quit wondering and start trying. For instance, orange juice is a particular favorite of mine and I have it almost every morning. I had to go to Egypt to learn it tastes even better mixed with mangos. Time to walk down that aisle and pick up a few things that have been calling my name for some time and see what else, like mangos in my orange juice, I’m missing.

Purebred DeadI also love mysteries and that’s what I write. It’s also what I tend to pick up at the library or in the bookstore. But there are other really good books out there that don’t fit the mystery genre and, as I restock my bookshelves I realize I have a bunch of them. Books I’m going to read again, and probably then again. So, why do I head for the mystery aisle and don’t pick up other genres when I’m at the library? Is it because I know I’m going to like the mysteries and I’m not so sure about the others? I’ve surprised myself before and I’ve gained much more than I’ve lost by trying something new. Think what I would have missed if I’d never read Of Mice and Men or To Kill a Mockingbird. Think how much fun I would have missed if I’d never read Chuck Barry or Janet Evonovich. Or for that matter, Elizabeth Peters. But I’ve had a lot of pleasure from reading mysteries and learned a lot along the way, by both reading and doing research for writing them, so don’t plan on giving them up any time soon and I hope you don’t, either. And if you aren’t a mystery fan, you might want to do a little exploring of your own. Purebred Dead, the first in the Mary McGill canine mystery series, is as much about people and their relationship to each other as it is about a mystery. Of course, a couple of murders, children in danger, dog breeding, responsible and otherwise, and Christmas, add to the spice. Mystery fan or not, give it a look. You might surprise yourself.

As for me, I’m going to expand the aisles I wander down, both in the grocery and in the library and see what turns up. Change can indeed be fun.