Friday, March 28, 2014

Chiron, Marcia Clark and Other Thrills (and Thrillers) at Left Coast Crime

© 2014 by Joyce Mason

Cool Chironic necklace

What interesting times as I morph more deeply into my Chironic, hybrid career of being both a fiction and non-fiction writer. That’s on top of my other adventure in half-and-half: writer and astrologer.

My first Left Coast Crime was quite a thrill. LCC is a conference of mystery writers that moves from city to city on the West Coast annually. My 46 minutes of fame occurred when I spoke on a humorous mystery panel (the first 45 minutes). The second was a one-minute “elevator” speech, introducing my novel at a new authors’ breakfast. I got laughs at both, particularly when I likened the Crystal Ball costume gala in my book to a cross between a Star Trek convention and a New Age revival meeting. I think I accidentally stumbled onto a new marketing phrase.

The synchronicity that amused me most, though—and I know it will bring you a smile, too—came by way of the necklaces worn by Kendel Lynn, moderator of our humorous mystery panel. Kendel’s another individual with a hybrid career, both a terrific writer and publisher (Henery Press). She was wearing three items on a neck chain: a round watch, a round K for her first name, and a skeleton key. The K fell right over the key, making it look exactly like a Chiron glyph. I read the “omenclature” as, “It’s time for Chiron.” The hybrid part of Chiron’s repertoire of meanings became clear as the conference rocked on and I got home to various blog and book feedback.

As I’ve let go of a portion of my astrological writing to make room for fiction, some of my better Astro-ideas are emerging. I am blogging less, but I feel like my posts are meatier—and judging by the unprecedented volume of traffic to this blog lately—they are hitting home. By feeding my hunger for fiction, I actually keep myself from getting too stuffed and burned out on writing about astrology and related topics. As usual, Chiron gets my vote as the astrological archetype of the Millennium. I also saw the hybrid trend at the conference with many forms of fiction merging with mystery almost seamlessly. The Crystal Ball is mystery blended with visionary/metaphysical fiction. I saw so many blends of topics and other genres with mystery; I began to see mystery as the table salt of what writers cook up. It goes with everything. And our diet is so full of it, a book almost doesn’t taste right if it doesn’t have at least some mystery in it.

Radical Virgo Marcia Clark

Another thrill at the conference was seeing the extreme makeover of Marcia Clark, the prosecuting attorney at the OJ Simpson “trial of the century.” My friend and fellow astrologer, Gregg Castellucci, and I followed that circus to the point of becoming unwitting trial groupies. I can’t tell you how many charts we spun throughout the proceedings. When the verdict came down, we were on the phone together in our separate homes in separate cities, a hundred miles apart but figuratively squeezing each other’s hand, praying for a conviction. We were convinced OJ was guilty. Marcia, obviously, was too, considering the title of her memoir about the proceedings, Without a Doubt.

After knowing her in 1995 as an overworked, overwrought and completely exhausted center of attention, to see Marcia now is to see the phoenix of her Scorpio Rising in all its glory. She is upbeat, positive and simply radiant. She shines like her Leo stellium, and she looks just like her Wikipedia picture—much younger than her actual age of 60. She is no longer working as a prosecutor, something she ultimately gave up for the sake of balance in her life, particularly while raising her two sons. There’s a fabulous video from Oprah’s OWN network of Marcia telling the story of her transition from prosecutor to novelist.

Click to enlarge

In her new incarnation, Marcia now writes a mystery series about Rachel Knight, “a Los Angeles D.A. … a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division.” There are now three Rachel books, starting with Guilt by Association. Marcia Clark is currently producing a movie of the same name not yet released, starring Julia Stiles as Rachel Knight.

I saw Marcia on two panels, and she was an inspiring role model. I thought you’d enjoy this update and look at her chart. Marcia is a great example of the many lives we live within one life. So much more is possible with today’s extended life span at a time where interconnection brings more opportunity than ever.

Research: Book #2

Some of the most fun I had was revisiting one of my favorite places on the Monterey Peninsula, Asilomar Conference Center, a place that has a cameo in my next book. Turns out a dear astrologer friend of many years was raised in the area since he was three weeks old. He has given me so much material on the local color; I can’t wait to recreate my fictitious Monterey small town and the evil goings-on in stark contrast to the breathtaking beauty of this special place of John Steinbeck, sea creatures and Monarch butterflies. I plan a return trip for more research, maybe  for the annual Butterfly Parade and Bazaar in early October to welcome the Monarchs back to Pacific Grove.

Happy Homecoming

I came home to a wonderful review of The Crystal Ball by Donna Van Toen in the NCGR Memberletter. If you’re not already a member of this fine organization, I recommend it highly. Highlights from Donna’s review:

“Once you pick this sweetheart up, it’s hard to put down … Absolutely delightful.” 
~ Review of The Crystal Ball, NCGR Memberletter

The cat and house were in one piece when we got back, and my decision to write mystery novels feels better than ever. I’m already planning to attend Left Coast Crime 2015. The next one's called Crimelandia, and it takes place in Portland, March 12-15, 2015. LCC is now my favorite writing conference with its egalitarian flair—first novelists were treated the same as NY Times best-selling authors—and its purpose as a conference for both readers and writers.

If you read or write and love mystery genre, plan ahead to join the party in Portland a year from now.


Photo Credits: Kendel’s necklace by Joyce with Kendel’s iPhone; Marcia Clark © Larry D. Moore, Wikipedia common license

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