“Clearing out the Clutter”: Guest Post by Lida Sideris, Author of Murder Gone Missing

Newly minted lawyer Corrie Locke has taken a vow of abstinence. From PI work, that is. Until her best friend Michael finds his bully of a boss stabbed in the back after confronting him earlier that day. Michael panics, accidentally tampering with the crime scene…which could lead the cops to Michael instead of the real culprit. He turns to Corrie to track down the killer. She doesn’t need much coaxing. Her late great PI dad taught her the ropes…and left her his cache of illegal weaponry.They return to the scene of the crime, but the body’s missing. Racing against time, Corrie dredges a prestigious Los Angeles college in pursuit of clues. All she finds are false leads. Armed with attitude and romantic feelings toward Michael, Corrie dives into a school of suspects to find the slippery fugitive. Will she clear Michael’s name before he’s arrested for murder?

Clearing Out the Clutter by Lida Sideris

Most writers are goal setters. We have to be to reach “The End”. One vital goal should be added to every list: Clear away the clutter. I don’t mean the type of clutter sitting haphazardly in the top of your closet where you toss sweaters, T-shirts, and random pieces of clothing. Or the books, paperwork, and notes that pile up under your bed…oops, that’s me I’m talking about. The clutter I’m referring to is housed in the same small space for all of us: the six or so incredible inches between our ears.

When our garbage cans are full, we empty them. When our puppies need to learn proper manners, we train them. So why not do the same with our minds? It’s a bit more difficult because we can’t physically view the content of our minds as we can with overflowing rubbish and doggy poop deposited beneath the kitchen table.

When I pay attention to my thoughts, I’m sometimes appalled by the trivial content. Why did I spend so much time on today’s Twitter news? Really? Or why did I feel impatient with the bagger at my neighborhood grocery store who placed the potato chips at the bottom of my bag followed by the milk? Such negative thinking wastes valuable time. I should have focused on how grateful I am to have such a valuable little market close to my home and patiently assisted the bagger which would have made me forget any minor irritation.

Excess clutter leaves little space for the “how wonderfuls!” to exist. When trivial thoughts clutter the mind, it’s important to take note and switch gears to replace mind-clutter with thoughts that bring contentment. I replace those cluttering thoughts with thoughts of my loved ones, my home, my wonderful human and animal friends, my garden and so on, sketching in the little details and providing plenty of adjectives.

Clutter prevents progress. Imagine trying to walk across a room stacked with piles of chairs, cardboard boxes, and spare tires. You’ll be in a sweat and sporting a few bruises before you make it through. So it is with the messy mind. But it doesn’t have to be. We can take control.
We can’t keep two opposing thoughts in the mind at once. One set drives the other out. For instance, if your mind is completely occupied with an unselfish desire to help another, you can’t harbor worry at the same time. It takes a bit of practice to unclutter the mind, but think of all the space you’ll have to arrange and fill with excellent thoughts.

 About The Author 

Lida Sideris is an author, lawyer and all around book enthusiast. She was one of two national recipients of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America scholarship for her first novel, MURDER AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERSMURDER GONE MISSING is the second book in the Corrie Locke series. Like her heroine, Lida worked as an entertainment attorney in a movie studio. Unlike her heroine, she keeps her distance from homicides. To learn more about Lida, please visit her website: www.LidaSideris.com

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Giveaway and Author Interview: Lida Sideris, Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

“A smart caper with a heroine to match.” –Kirkus Reviews

Corrie Locke belongs behind a desk, not behind a Glock. She should be taking VIP calls, not nosing around a questionable suicide. Instead, she’s hot on the trail of a murderer.

CoverMurder and Other Unnatural Disasters
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Paperback: 408 pages
The Wild Rose Press, Inc (September 30, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1509202409


Q: Lida joins me today to talk about her debut romantic suspense novel, Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters. Can you tell us a little more about the book? 

A: Aloha Frankie! Thanks so much for hosting me today. My book is about a newly minted lawyer who lands a dream job in a Hollywood movie studio, only to be blackmailed into investigating the suspicious death of a co-worker.

Q: What kind of research did you do for your setting?

A: Very little. I set the book where I lived and knew well, in Southern California. I did revisit some of the places mentioned in the book to be certain I’d gathered all the details needed. For instance,

when my heroine, Corrie Locke visits a jewelry store in Newport Beach, she hides out in some bushes near the store. I traveled to where the store is supposed to be to figure out the best hiding place, and inserted Corrie behind some banana trees. Also
in a subplot, Corrie investigates a kidnapping of a lucky charm in Bel Air. I happened to walk the street where the action takes place. It’s near the Playboy Mansion, and I got to view the street on a Sunday morning, after a big party at the Mansion. That was used
to describe what my heroine saw.

Q: Tell me about something unexpected that happened when you when you were writing this book.

A: I completed it! No one was more surprised than I was when it was finally finished. The whole way I wondered and fretted whether I could type “The End” with some degree of confidence. It happened! Yes!

Q: Like your heroine,  you worked as an entertainment attorney. Is there anything from real life that made it into the book? 

A: Yes. There is an f-bomb tirade that occurs on my heroine’s second day at work. That happened to me. I picked up the phone, as Corrie did, and someone unleashed a slew of expletives. Someone I didn’t know, a talent agent of a client, and had had no interaction with, but who needed to express himself. It unnerved me. I was able to calm him down…as did Corrie.

Q:  Lawyers have to read and write a lot. Did you find that any skills or habits from your legal career transferring to your fiction writing? 

A: Absolutely. The words we pick are important. One word or a sentence could shift a viewpoint. The right word or sentence, that is, and I tried really hard to make sure the words and sentences I used fit well. It’s a learning process. I’m still learning.

Q: What’s one great piece of advice for any aspiring writers reading this? 

A: Never ever, ever, ever give up. The only magic behind success in any endeavor is persistence. If you find the writing is not flowing, put it aside. Come back when you’re good and ready.

Q: What do you read for pleasure? 

A: I really enjoy the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich and love the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.

Q: What’s next? 

A: I’m working on Book Two in the Corrie Locke series. Corrie’s best friend/possible love interest is implicated in a homicide, and it’s up to her to save him.

 AuthorAbout The Author 

Like her heroine, Corrie Locke, Lida Sideris worked as an entertainment attorney for a film studio. Unlike her heroine, she did not get blackmailed into investigating the suspicious death of a co-worker. Lida resides in the northern tip of Southern California with her family, their rescue shepherds, and a flock of uppity chickens. She was one of two national recipients of the Helen McCloy/Mystery Writers of America scholarship for mystery writing.


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