Sidekicks: What Makes A Good One?

It dawned on me today that the heroine of my Southern California Mysteries, Corrie Locke, isn’t the only one who has sidekicks (I can be a little slow to sit up and pay attention). I have sidekicks, too! And they’re every bit as talented as hers. I think neither she nor I regard these important players in our lives as sidekicks. We regard them as friends.

What traits do we need in sidekicks (real and fictional)?

1. Loyalty – This is why dogs make excellent sidekicks.
They don’t hesitate in giving unwavering support.

2. Being mostly Trustworthy – sometimes sidekicks get tired or hungry or irritable. That’s where the “mostly” comes in. Or sometimes, they act outside of their
skill set in the name of being helpful. When this happens, remember that it’s the thought and good intention that matters. Trust is an important sidekick asset.

3. Sweet talents or skills up their sleeves that are often helpful (and that you don’t have).

4. They’re good listeners. Just being able to talk through a situation with a rapt listener may help move life along in the right direction.

5. They show up when needed the most. This is most important because we don’t always reach out when we should or maybe we’re unable to. Here’s an example from Corrie’s fictional life (from MURDER GONE MISSING):

Corrie finds herself in a tight spot when a villain manages to weaken her resolve. She’s no damsel in distress, mind you,

but she could use a hand to move things along faster. A sidekick walks in at exactly the right time (he senses she may be stuck in a quicksandy situation) and provides enough of a distraction so that Corrie can get back on her feet and handle matters.

In my real life, I have a sidekick that manages to find me no matter how large a crowd I may be lost in. He has me on his radar, which I deeply appreciate.

As you may have noticed, sidekicks aren’t ordinary people/animals in our lives (or in our fictional stories). Their very presence kicks our lives to a whole other level; one that makes our experiences more palatable and exciting.

Leaving 2020 on a Positive Note

I’ll take the positive over the negative, any time. How about you?

About a week ago, I learned that Book #3 in my series, MURDER: DOUBLE OR NOTHING, won the 2020 Cozy Mystery Award from N.N. Light’s Book Heaven, which was quite gratifying! It’s a writer’s dream that somebody “gets” their book and that readers find enjoyment in reading it. In this case, Mr. Light reviewed my book and liked it enough to select it a winner. Hooray!

2020 has been an unusual year. My heart goes out to those who’ve lost loved ones. In my own small way, I try to help, but it never seems enough. I remind myself that every day that passes brings us closer to leaving the virus withering away. That is my sincere hope. Meanwhile, I work on focusing on the positives in life. A few personal examples:

– A father I’ve not been close to was moved from one care facility to another closer to my home, after he tested positive for the virus and wasn’t doing well. He’s since recovered, happy and as comfortable as can be. So far, so good.
– We adopted another rescue dog who was left tied to a post with a bag of food open before him for who knows how long. He suffered from obesity and other issues. When I brought him home, I wondered if I’d made a big mistake. He seemed so despondent. Months later, he’s as happy as can be, and slimmed down. It was definitely a right choice.

– I met and virtually toured the country with a trio of lovely mystery authors that I would not have gotten to know otherwise. I’m so grateful for that opportunity!
– My perspective has shifted by a series of small circumstances. Here’s a tiny example:
I walked around my yard, staring at autumn leaves carpeting the ground when I was knocked in the head by a tree branch. When I whipped around to face the naughty branch, I burst out laughing at the stiff culprit. How simple life would be if we were able to laugh away all irritations rather than feeling irked. Laughter feels splendid! Smiling feels pretty good, too.

I’m not writing down resolutions for the New Year, but I am writing a list of all that I am grateful for. That will help start the New Year on the right note, don’t you think?

Little Read Writing Hood (or Writing Gratitude)

Full disclosure: my title has nothing to do with this post; I just liked the sound of it.

I, like many others these days, have been pondering how much I have to be grateful for, despite the current difficulties surrounding us. For today’s post, I’m focusing on reasons to be grateful as a writer, published or not. Why am I grateful? Let me count a few of the reasons:

1. I write stories, mostly long and a few short, that make me feel good. I’m grateful for that marvelous fluttery feeling! I fill my stories with interesting characters, I hope, that are learning and growing to be better people, which is what I aspire to be myself. Sometimes, I slip life lessons onto my pages or find ways for my characters to discover or display virtues like courage, kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness. Virtues I hope to make shine in my own, everyday life.
2. My writing makes my mother happy and a few others happy too, which I find so heartwarming. I wish I had the magic power of making people feel good all the time. Meanwhile, I practice.
3. I’m not quite sure how it happens (besides spending long hours and thinking-heavy time in the desk chair), but my books get finished somehow, for which I’m exceptionally grateful.
3a. I’m truly grateful to be a published author, and remind myself that it wasn’t that long ago when I wasn’t yet “out there.” This helps me to remember to carry on, even when I don’t want to because it’s not going as well as I’d like. Pre-publication, I reminded myself that if I carry on, I could be published one day, and that fueled my writing engine. I’m grateful I talked myself into continuing on.

4. The fervor that accompanies writing spills into other endeavors and helps me to believe I can accomplish a task that may seem challenging. I am grateful each time I make the attempt, even if it’s not entirely successful. I tried! Anything is possible when we make the effort.