Way back in March, when I flew to Arkansas for a writers' retreat and booksigning weekend, my husband made a request: "Go to a gas station or convenience store and pick me up half a dozen or so Cherry Mashs." The moment the words left his mouth, MY mouth started to water. Um. I had to have one, too. Immediately.
You see, having grown up in the South, we both developed a taste for the confectionery delight known as Cherry Mash. However, we've only been able to find the delectible treat south of the Mason/Dixon line.
So, I scoured the local Gas-n-Go, prepared to clear their Cherry Mash stock. . .to no avail. There were no Cherry Mash treats to be found in town. You can imagine the pout I got when I announced I'd failed in my mission.
A week or two later, a package arrived in my mailbox from Susan May Warren. She had been with me on my Cherry Mash quest, so even though she'd never had the privilege of tasting this treat, when she spied one lone red-and-white package in a Missouri gas station, she bought it and lovingly shipped it off to me.
I did what any good wife would do. I gave the whole Cherry Mash to my salivating husband. And then went off to pout. I've questioned my act of self-sacrifice ever since.
The more I thought about the fact that I couldn't find a Cherry Mash anywhere in Ohio, the more I HAD to have one. As the weeks and months ticked by, my craving grew rather than diminished.
Finally, I broke down and clicked my way through an online scavenger hunt until I found a supplier who could satisfy my fixation--as long as I was willing to pay a "warm weather surcharge" to insure that my candy didn't melt in transit.
Today our box of SIXTY Cherry Mash treats arrived at our door. I promptly savored one (one of these cloying delicacies is plenty, believe me!) before letting my husband in on my splurge and sharing my box of chocolate-covered heaven with him.
Our cravings will be sweetly satisfied for at least a week or so now. (Shush! Don't tell my Jenny Craig consultant what I'm up to. I'll have to treadmill an extra hour a day to work these things off, but it is SO worth it.)
This past week, I submitted my judged entries for the ACFW Genesis contest. Overall, the entries showed promise. However, often the signs of a novice writer were evident. For example, I noted a tendency for pre-published authors to immediately satisfy a reader's craving for information or answers. They front-load the main character's complete family history in the opening chapter. Or introduce the entire cast of characters in the first two pages.
The mystery authors whose books I most love to read will create a craving for information or clues and then intensify those cravings by withholding the answers as long as possible. At just the right moment, when the reader can't stand the temptation any longer, their desire for knowledge is satisfied. Aaahhh. There's nothing sweeter. Not even a Cherry Mash!