Welcome to the official website of best-selling author Linda Kupecek.

HOW TO HAVE A LIFE STYLE

I recently found this wonderful book, How To Have a Life Style, by Quentin Crisp, in my basement, amid the boxes of 20 year old National Geographic magazines and obscure poetry books. I then discovered, after an internet search, that it is a relatively rare book. Not worth pots of money but enough to make me want to hold onto it.

How nice. A rare book. It made me feel as if I had really good taste. I don’t need to call up any of my friends and read them passages, because just about everybody I know already has a very nice lifestyle. And mine isn’t too shabby, either. More shabby chic, in fact.

I then had a fleeting and totally crazy idea that it would be great fun to became a rare book collector, maybe even a rare book dealer. I already saw myself with a pince-nez and a velvet carpet bag, touring estate sales with a list of rare authors in mind.

Luckily, reality gently smacked me in the face, like a old paperback Dashiell Hammett.
a) I already collect enough things and am trying to unload, not collect more.
b) Books are heavy. I would end up hunched over like Quasimodo if I started carrying bags of books around. If I am going to collect anything more (NOT THAT I AM) aprons or handkerchiefs would be a more sensible choice.
c) I am an allergic sort of person and would probably spend more time wheezing than reading, if I did acquire any nice old dusty books.
d) I already have enough unread books sitting around my house in stacks.
and finally
e) for pete’s sake, I have publishers waiting for three books right now! I should be writing, not fantasizing about collecting rare books.

This so NOT How To Have a Life Style….

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ADVENTURES IN KIJIJI

When I was in my basement last month, something made me take an uncharacteristically objective look at it. I am usually a head in the sand sort of gal. Staring at the boxes around me, I began to feel as if I were in familiar territory. It reminded me of something. Something. What was it?
Then it hit me. I felt as I were the star of an episode of HOARDERS. Upstairs, I pretend to lead a civilized life. But my basement is a shameful reminder of how low a person can sink, once they just start throwing boxes and papers and doodads and old toys and records and menus from favourite restaurants and mismatched curtains bought at a clearance table around.

Such was my shame at this new view of my clutter, that I decided to book at a table at the flea market, pronto. HA. Silly me. There is a waiting list of people eager to rise at 5 a.m., and haul 20 boxes of junk to a big, noisy room so that they can be insulted and harassed by strangers who want to pay twenty five cents for a twenty five dollar item. (I have worked the flea market in my youth.)

Luckily, I then discovered Kijiji (which apparently means ‘village’ in Swahili), the online buy and selling site. What’s not to like? I don’t have to get in the middle of the night. I don’t have to lug heavy old boxes. And I can sort of keep to myself.

I promised myself that I would list an average of three items a day on Kijiji. I taught myself how to transfer the photos from my little Canon to the computer (a major achievement for a Luddite) and have now managed to post over 100 ads.

So far, so good. A number of charming, interesting, and on occasion, somewhat unusual people have shown up at my door. I have started to keep a journal of my Kijiji people. I think I might get a book out of it. (After I finish the next three books that I am already committed to with publishers.) And I have cleared a little path in my basement.

However, I do notice that Kijiji, which relies heavily on email contact, seems to invite a lot of people who have never learned basic manners. And by manners, I mean consideration of others. I think the anonymity of email gives some people the feeling of carte blanche regarding keeping their word. I find it sort of rude when a person says, “I will be there at noon” and then you never hear from them again. Okay, maybe they were eaten up by a tornado. But surely just before the funnel swallowed them, they could have sent me a text???

I was also bewildered by a man who showed up with two toddlers to look over the old tools in my garage. I realize now the toddlers were just a ruse, and that he had probably rented them from the nearest day care, hoping to pull the wool over my eyes. Which he did. I thought he must be decent. He has cute children. He works for a government agency, for pete’s sake. I should have shown him the door when he started pulling open drawers without my permission, and then, when he manipulated his way into my basement, grabbing tools right and left (which I had told him had sentimental value and were not for sale). I told myself that somebody this desperate, obnoxious and disrespectful would surely pay big bucks for the privilege of buying from me. HA. He beat me down to a minimal amount for what he took, conveniently forgetting that he had pocketed three 1950s tape measures, until I sweetly reminded him.
All this was a lesson to me. There are delightful, lovely people one can meet, selling on Kijiji. And then there are the boors and borderline criminals. I just hope those little kiddies recover from the experience of spending the day with a crook and that their real parents can undo the harm.

The plus side, for me, of course, is that this gives me another murder victim in the next Lulu Malone mystery. Now that should be FUN!!!!!!

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TANTOO KILLS ON THE KILLING

I had practically given up on The Killing. It’s just too hard on the eyes to squint at that darkness (somebody please give the producers more of a budget for lighting). Of course, I know it is supposed to be atmospheric. And I frequently have to turn on MUTE on my remote so I can see the text of the dialogue because of the mumbling. And I swear, I am not THAT old!
So what a refreshment to settle into The Killing last night and find Tantoo Cardinal, a wonderful Canadian actress (who I first met on the set of Marie Anne, a Canadian movie about the early West, where we played cousins and hung around campfires in buckskin) playing a worldly hooker.
Oh my goodness, The Killing is so grim and monotone that I was just about to switch away when Holder (I think that is his name) is shown talking to a woman at the bar at the casino. And there was Tantoo! Somehow she made this grim scene so entertaining, funny, even, with her jaded reaction to Holder.
I believed every moment of her few moments onscreen. Somebody give this woman her own series. Just saying.

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CBC Canada Writes and Linda

I am tickled pink (my favourite colour) that I am on the CBC Canada Writes website today , as part of Crime Month. Check it out.
http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/2012/05/linda-kupecek-the-comfort-of-the-sidekick.html#content
I feel sort of famous. For, as Andy Warhol said, fifteen minutes. Well, let’s think positive. Fifteen minutes this week. There is always more to come, I say.
The cute photo was taken by my friend Bill Vauthrin.
Back to work now, as the moment of fame on the CBC website is inspiring me to get back to work on Trashing the Trailer, the next Lulu Malone mystery.

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dark as a dungeon at The Killing

I am a cheery sort of gal. I may kvetch and kvell about a lot of stuff, but basically, I am upbeat. Hey, I write comedy. I can generally find something to laugh about, even in the darkest moments. (Just like my heroine, Lulu, in Deadly Dues.) Get handed a lemon, make lemonade, I say. And if you can make people laugh while you are making the lemonade, more power to you.

This is a preamble to my rant about The Killing, a series I enjoy. Now we all know there is not a single laugh in The Killing. Not a chuckle. Not even the hint of a smile. And that is the sort of program it is, and we all know that is what we are getting into once we watch the first two minutes. I watched the second season premiere the other evening. My enjoyment of the program was affected by my constant whipping off my spectacles (I wear contacts in public, specs at home) to see if there was some sort of dark cloud on them.

Finally, I realized that the poor, impoverished producers of The Killing couldn’t afford decent lighting and had decided to make the cast and crew work in the dark. No wonder I couldn’t distinguish one character from another. I imagined the crew working with coal miners’ lights on their heads, while the cast fumbled around, trying to find their marks and not send each other flying into the dark.

This is such a great series. I think we should establish a charity fund for the producers, who obviously are making people work in the dark, and viewers squint accordingly, all in the name of atmosphere. Atmosphere is great. Communication and clarity are better, in my opinion.

Linda

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Bless Esso

Bless Esso, Bless Zellers, bless gift cards. Bless everybody who buys my books. All conflict has been resolved, and I promise that I will be a good little author and not kvetch any more. Or, at least, not for a few weeks.
Back to writing comedy instead of living it.

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score one for esso

After my earlier rant, Esso has redeemed itself a wee bit. The manager of the station called to let me know she was trying to fix the problem with my gift card.
And (hallelujah) she was civil and pleasant.
So please, all of you who were intending to rush out to your nearest Esso station and picket on my behalf, just stand easy.

After many telephone calls today on business matters, I am somewhat astounded by how unnecessarily rude some people can be. When one person asked me about my work, I told him I was a best selling Canadian author (which is not a lie, as my first book, Rebel Women, has sold well over 25,000 copies, and is still going, like the Energizer bunny.) His response? “Well, I’m an avid reader, and I have never heard of you.” You had to hear his tone to get the true flavour of his rudeness.

Little does he know, he is going to end up in the next Lulu Malone mystery, insulting poor Lulu, who will, unlike MOI, have a snappy comeback.

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The Esso/Zellers Face Off

Today must have been Friday the 13th, even though the calendar says it is March 16th. I overcame minor trips, glitches and stumbles throughout the morning. Then, the mail came, with a $50 gift card for Esso. Is this a great life or what?
I trundled over to Esso, where I bought gas, the obligatory lotto tickets, and, as a treat, a $25 gift card to Zellers. There’s not much available at Esso, aside from lotto and gas, but at Zellers, YAY, all sorts of treats. Perhaps I should have been more mindful of the Esso cashier’s warning: “Better hang on to this receipt, just in case there is a problem.”

Problem? What problem? I am an old hand at gift cards. I give them all the time, and have received my share. Great invention. Better than receiving a box of six candles in a shade that makes you extremely depressed.
I patted myself on the shoulder for my canny use of a gas gift card. I practically beamed at myself in my rearview mirror as I sped to Zellers to have $25 worth of fun.

However, once I got to Zellers and planted my purchases at the checkout, I was greeted with the news that my gift card was “inactive”. I trotted off to Customer Service, where an extremely efficient and ebullient clerk who has solved many a problem for me in the past, with great style, examined the dead gift card, and told me that the Esso staff was scanning the wrong bar code.

So off I went, back to Esso (luckily I drive a cute little Yaris which uses very little gas) and found a different cashier, who was bewildered by my problem. About eight people fidgeted in line behind me (I couldn’t help it, I kept turning around and saying, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” even though this attached blame to me, when I felt, quite rightly, that I was blameless in this little drama.) They were all deadpan, in the way people are when they are fantasizing about throttling you and throwing your remains into the trash bin by the pumps.

Finally, the young clerk and I agreed that she would simply give me a new gift card. I had paid for it, after all. TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS. Which maybe ten years ago, would have seemed like coffee money, but in today’s economy, seems like a rather large sum to meeeeeee. She had called her co-worker, who insisted that the Zellers staff was at fault.

So off I went to Zellers with my NEW gift card. Same old, same old. It came up ‘not activated’. Ebullient clerk insisted that the Esso staff were swiping it wrong. It took all my will power not to lie down on the floor and weep piteously, “I am not going back to Esso. How much do you expect of a person who just wants to get through the day and come out at the end with a few little treats from Zellers?” I was a big girl and resolutely cheerful to the Zellers staff. As I love Zellers, my personal bias was that they were no doubt in the right in this exchange. And besides, only an idiot thinks she makes the world a better place by stamping her Aerosoles and screaming at all and sundry.

I drove back to the Esso, reminding myself how wonderful it is that I drive a Yaris. Once again, the Esso cashier tried to activate the card and informed me it was already activated. I suggested she simply refund the cost of the card back to my Esso gift card, as this driving around the city was exhausting me. She put me on the phone (how germy was this phone? how many people have used it?) with her boss, a rather crisp woman who told me that she had no way of knowing what Zellers had said to me. Excuse me? I had just told her what the Zellers staff had told me. Obviously, that was not good enough for her. Perhaps she imagined a gum chewing, tattooed, drug addled criminal at the other end of the line, instead of a respectable woman with a whimpering Yaris.

I wasted a few moments of the prime years of my life longing for the good old days, when the customer was always right. Remember those days? When businesses actually believed you, or pretended to believe you, when there was an issue, because (GASP) they actually valued your patronage.

The way we left it (after she reproached me for not addressing this earlier in the day, before the end of business hours in the east, even though all this had transpired in the past hour) was that she would ‘look into it’ , contact her bosses and Zellers, who, I gather, in her opinion, were clearly at fault, and call me on Monday.

I am Not Hopeful.

This is the Esso/Zellers face off. I somehow think I am not going to come out even in this. I am thinking that Esso is going to eat my $25 and try to make Zellers take the fall.

Stay tuned. I will post an update when and if I hear anything. In the meantime, I think I will take a little bouquet of flowers to the nice woman at Zellers, who seems to know what she is doing. I hope she isn’t out of a job when Target takes over. If Target has any brains, they will make her a store manager or national vice president.
Linda (who has done way too much driving and whining today)

Comments (2)

the writing life is a buffet, and EDITOR FOR HIRE

I am often asked about my writing technique. I have to confess it is more of a buffet than a carefully prepared dinner. I will leap into one project (maybe a mystery novel) write for as long as I can, then sign off, and switch to a magazine piece, and then, after that, try an essay on my life and times, to be bronzed for my memoirs. No doubt the world is waiting with bated breath for said memoirs.

I don’t have a disciplined way of working. I always loved Auntie Mame’s quote: “Life is a banquet! And most poor suckers are starving to death!” That’s how I write, running from treat to treat, and often finally settling on one subject I will finish off to the last bite.
I realize that not everybody works this way. But it is what works for me.
I have done some editing in my time, and find it interesting to take a break from my own work. Time to put out a signboard and say, EDITOR FOR HIRE! Fun for me. Sometimes lucrative. And useful for those who need some help with their manuscript.
As soon as I get my email fixed, you can contact me about this.
Onward!
Linda

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ups and downtons

Every Sunday, I count the moments until the next episode of Downton Abbey is broadcast. I always hope for more O’Brian-and-Thomas delicious plotting, and a nice bouquet of Cora’s priceless reactions to Isabelle’s meddling.

Oh, boohoo, last week I was downhearted over some aspects of the show. I am still a big fan, but was taken aback by Lord Grantham’s shameless smooching of a maid with whom he has had little more than a few casual conversations. It just didn’t fit with the noble character established. I felt like covering my eyes in embarrassment. (Instead, I used the time honoured and very handy Channel Switch.)

And then, dear dim Daisy, carrying on about truth and honesty and not giving a hoot about the late William’s generous love for her. I still haven’t forgiven Daisy for blabbing about night time cargo carrying in the halls of Downton. Really, Daisy, do you have to be honest about Absolutely Everything? Think of the estate! Think of all the kitchen help that will be thrown out of work if Downton Abbey collapses in a scandal! Think of the hapless viewers who will blame you forever!

At least, we got to see Thomas in fine form as anguished mark, and cipher O’Brian begging forgiveness from Cora (even though Cora was in the throes of extremely unappealing flu symptoms nicely administered by the excellent makeup department and was totally oblivious to O’Brian’s momentous moment of attempted confession, which is just as well)

I am eager to find out just how Lady Mary is going to extract herself from the clutches of Sir Richard. My best bet is that Cora will sic O’Brian on him, and then he will be in real trouble. Or maybe Cousin Violet will arrange for him to be exported to the colonies.

I also hope there will be no more lines like “She died of a broken heart” which must have been hell for the actor to deliver, and to his credit, he did it very well.

Only a few more hours until Downton Abbey, when more will be revealed!
Linda

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