A word Deserving of Its Own Post! ‘Crapper’

Anyone who has been in the military or has lived with a military man has heard the crude slang, ‘Crapper’ for ‘toilet’.   “I  gotta use the crapper.”  “I’m in the  crapper!” “I gotta take a crap”. You might be asking,  Okay, Trish, why are you writing about toilets?  Because I love the origin of words and the research is so much fun. 
Did you know that there was a man named ‘Crapper’ and he was a plumber?  Who owned a plumbing company in the 1800’s in England?
I was reading a wonderful mystery crpper.toiletrecently that gave credit to Thomas Crapper for the unique flower-patterned wash basin and the porcelain toilet fixture.   I was certain that the slang ‘crapper’ that graces our language,  must have originally referred to the inventor of the toilet, Mr. Thomas Crapper, Esq., plumber to kings!  But, alas…..I was wrong…
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Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help!

helpWriting my newest mystery has been a challenge as I found my detectives, O’Roarke and Garcia and the killer in several situations where I have Cover.Angel - Copylittle or no knowledge and the Internet produced hardly anything with regard to my research.

So, I had to ‘rely on the kindness
of strangers….’

Since my fourth murder mysteries is heavy on police procedural, forensics, and pathology, not to mention the Catholic faith, I made several cold calls to people I didn’t know.  Would they help me?
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Hope that your story doesn’t come out the way that you had planned!

Lillian Hellman once said, Nothing you write, if you hope to be any good, will ever come out as you first hoped.”

As a writer, that has happened to me over and over.  At first, in the early days of writing, I was appalled that the story was going somewhere that I had not planned for.   The characters would lead me down paths that I had no intention of going down or writing about.  Now I accept this strange phenomenon that happens not just to me but to other writers as well.


     A glaring, or perhaps glorious, an example of a story taking an unexpected turn was when I was writing “Women Outside the Walls”.  My plan for the storyline was that this would be a cozy little story of three very different women coming together while visiting their men in prison.

A third of the way through this project, Charlie, while sitting in the visiting room of the prison, jumps up, grabs Kitty and holding a shiv (knife) to her throat,  takes her hostage.  I  sat at my keyboard and literally wailed aloud, “No!  No, you can’t!  I don’t know anything about hostages……or hostage negotiations!” Too late! He’d already dragged Kitty to the back wall and pandemonium had broken out.  The prison went on emergency lockdown and there was nothing I could do! There I sat at my keyboard, dead in my tracks.

It took me four months of research on hostage negotiations before I could resume working on my novel.  I had not the faintest clue as to how I would finally resolve this room being taken, hostage.  And I want to stop here and thank the federal and state hostage negotiators who assisted me in my research. While they would not share any of their techniques, they agreed to look over my story and tell me where I was off base. They allowed me to send them this segment of my novel for them to critique and assisted in keeping my portrayal accurate.   Before you CO’s jump all over me about the gun, I did take dramatic license with that.

I have learned to anticipate and enjoy it when the story takes on a life of its own.  It’s my fondest wish to become the ‘typist’.  When my characters take control and tell me the story!





Write what you know…..or..

…or research ’till your eye balls fall out.

flappers, roaring 20's, Wild Violets, new fiction, I am working on my second novel, “Wild Violets”. It takes place during a period in roaring 20's, flappers, new fiction, Wild VioletsAmerica’s history that I am somewhat familiar with but not nearly enough as it turns out.

The story is going well, I am happy with the development of my characters.  Suddenly I realized my (sketchy) heroine had a bar during the years of prohibition.  Ops! So I quickly changed it to a speakeasy with illegal booze, which made the story even more interesting. Now Violet had to dodge the coppers and the Mob!

I have two photographs of Violet in the fashion of the day.  Not nearly enough information to write an entire story.  With a few clicks, using the Internet, I can research time lines, facts and fashion.

The fashion of the roaring twenties is fascinating. Women were just coming out of being laced up, tied up, strapped up and cinched up so tight that they often fainted from lack of air!  The tiny waists (even if you didn’t have one naturally)  and the huge bell sleeves were gone.  Suddenly fashion dictated sexy, loose soft fabrics, with a suggestion of revealing more, but still covering up the female form.

The feminist women of the 20’s were called ‘flappers‘.  They worked all day and danced all night! And Violet certainly did that!  Worked a twelve-hour day in her bar and grill, ran upstairs to her apartment, refreshed her makeup, donned her bright red dress with the fringe and piled into a town car to hit her favorite road house.  Seeking the coldest gin and the hottest jazz!