My journey with Peri and her friends

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Posts Tagged ‘peri’

Look over there. No. Over there.

Posted by Gayle on December 11, 2009

When I started this blog, I had three different sites to blather about different subjects. I envisioned this site as giving people news about my Peri Minneopa “mystery series” – I use the quotes because, although I’m currently writing the second book, one book doesn’t make a series. I also had a blog for talking about the writing process, and a blog for whatever popped into my head, no matter what the topic.

After a few months, all of my posts started to wind up at the same site. Peri, processes, piddly ideas out of nowhere, all drifted to On the Edge of the Chair of Literature. My updates here fell away.

So if there are any lingering readers who want to follow Peri’s adventures, plus share your ideas about writing, visit my highly maintained and updated site here. Oh, and occasionally I talk about taking the family Christmas picture.



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Greetings from Placentia

Posted by Gayle on January 3, 2009

I put together a slide show of the places that inspired me to set Freezer Burn in Placentia. Enjoy.

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Who is Peri Minneopa?

Posted by Gayle on October 15, 2008

I had been joking for quite awhile about a private eye named Peri Menopause, who solved every case by crying, eating chocolate, and bitch-slapping everyone until someone confessed. I figured she’d bat a thousand with that approach. But when it came time to actually write a murder mystery, I didn’t want such a caricature. You just don’t get as many miles on stick characters.

First, I had to come up with another last name. There is a general rule that your protagonist should not have a difficult name, but I decided that it would be a funny gag if she did. It could be a running joke, that people would mangle her name a million different ways – including ‘Menopause’.

So I spent a lot of time googling different words and spellings that could be mangled into “menopause”. At last, I found ‘Minneopa’ – a creek and a state park in Minnesota ( It’s a Dakota word, but I really didn’t want Peri to be from Native American roots, because I wasn’t prepared to deal with any subplots about her heritage. It would have meant research into the Dakota tribe(s), and I was already doing research about what a severed hand looks like, and sometimes I’m just lazy. Because the park is in Minnesota, I decided to make Peri’s family Scandinavian, figuring that if their Viking ancestors stole the Dakota lands, they probably stole their names, too.

So Peri is tall, blonde and blue-eyed, just like Ingrid Bergman, or Ann-Margaret… or Hans Christian Anderson. She’s fifty years old and used to clean houses for a living. She still likes cleanliness, so her house is immaculate, and going into Benny Needles’ messy house makes her skin crawl.

When I began Freezer Burn, I really didn’t know much more than that about Peri. I wanted her to be sassy and independent, which have turned out to be her strengths and her weaknesses. She is curious and willful – this works for her when she is reaching for a goal, but when she cannot temper that with caution, it puts her into danger.

I thought long and hard about how to let the reader know who Peri is. I hate to “jump into” a character in a book. No offense to Patricia Cornwell, who I really like as an author, but the first Kay Scarpetta book I read (All That Remains) kind of hit me in the face with Kay getting all weepy at the mention of her ex-boyfriend’s name. I wasn’t ready to cry with Kay.  So I tried to let Peri’s emotions and beliefs build thru the book, like layers. I introduced the subplot about her personal life to let the reader find out about who Peri is – at least, who Peri thinks she is.

You see, one of the things I wanted to do with Peri was to show a 50-year old woman who thinks she knows who she is and what she wants, and then turn that supposition on its head. I hope I did it correctly, and I hope my readers like it.

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From a tiny seed… a sprout

Posted by Gayle on May 19, 2008

I mailed my manuscript off today to a freelance editor, who is going to take a look at it and tell me whether it’s 1) a well-written piece of schlock that’s fixable, 2) a poorly written piece of schlock that should be hurled with great force, 3) absolute perfection, or 4) something in between all of the above. 


It’s a murder mystery, fun, funny and macabre. My protagonist is a 50-year old blonde, daughter of Viking stock who used to clean houses for a living, and now she’s a P.I. Once I get the synopsis written, I think I’ll post it here and hope for comments. The synopsis is the hardest thing to write, harder than the other 67,000 words I put to paper. I’ve written one version, but it really sucks and I have to go all the way back to Square One.

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