Stars in my life

Tomorrow Mysteristas are kicking off an exciting month of events. Visit often so you don’t miss anything.

Today, on the last day of June, the topic is stars.

First and foremost, my readers and FB followers know that I lost my eldest cat on New Year’s Day. Her name was Starlight, she answered to Starlight, Star, Starship and Starsky (which explains why the next cat in age to her is Hutch). I still miss you sweetie.

Queen of all I survey
Queen of all I survey

Every writer has stars in her life. Those wonderful people who encouraged them and taught them the craft. We learned rhyme scheme in second grade English. One of our assignments was to write a poem using the a/b scheme. Seven year olds can make rhymes of anything, probably even the word orange, but since I’m not seven anymore, it eludes me. So the rhyming part was no challenge. The catch for the poem was it had to tell a story. Mine ran on for four pages, it was a mystery, and it ended with the immortal words,



Mrs. Fuchs, (all our teachers were Mrs. or Miss) my second grade teacher, gave me an A+ for that. Said my poem was interesting and told the story well.  That first review gave birth to a mystery novelist. Thinking back on it, I think she saw four pages of childish print and took the easy way out. But at the time, I was so proud that I remember the ending today.

All the rest of my grade school teachers were supportive of my writing. Some were harsh task makers but they taught the basics well.

Sister Marie Therese gave me both my most frightening and most rewarding moment as a writer. She was my English teacher in my sophomore year in high school, and she was tough. Ask anyone who went to Lacordaire Academy in my day. Sr. Marie Therese taught us story form. She assigned us to write a story. I no longer remember the topic or the tale. They say moments of great stress will do that to you. On the day the stories were due to be returned, Sr. opened class by saying she was going to read some of them aloud, but would not announce the authors. When she began reading, I realized it was my story. She read the opening paragraph and stopped, telling the class she wasn’t going to read further. With that, she flipped her veil and walked down the aisle to her seat. I was in the process of melting under my desk fearful that I had written the best example of how not to write when I realized the class around me was going crazy. They wanted the rest of the story. They were interested. Sr. Marie Therese stood behind her chair at the front of the room and said, “That’s a hook, class, this story has everything a story should. It makes you want more.” I took my first breath since she stopped reading and knew I had found a calling. Sr. ended by reading the rest of the story and. was responsible for some of my early short story sales. I’ve tried to locate her over the years. I want her to know that I did go on to publish three books.

It’s teachers like this who make difference. If you are a teacher and wonder if anyone really cares, be assured they do.

Those are my lifetime stars. What about yours?



Author: kaitcarson

I write mysteries set in South Florida. The Hayden Kent series is set in the Florida Keys. Hayden is a SCUBA diving paralegal who keeps finding bodies. Underwater, no one can hear you scream! Catherine Swope is a Miami Realtor with a penchant for finding bodies in the darndest places. I live in an airpark in Fort Denaud, FL with my husband, five cats, and a flock of conures. And oh yes, a Piper Cherokee 6 in the hangar!

9 thoughts on “Stars in my life”

  1. What a great story! Those sisters can be tough, can’t they? I had a couple of teachers who told me I could write, but really — most of the stars I’ve met are from Sisters in Crime. Published authors who have assured me that I most certainly “don’t suck.” 🙂


  2. Great stories! I remember those melting under the desk moments, although mine didn’t come from a nun. It can be terrifying to hear someone else read your words for the first time, exposing you to the world. How wonderful that your classmates gave you such a positive response!


  3. What a nice post! And sweet kitty (so sorry for your loss)!

    For star teachers who encouraged my writing, I have two: My fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Unruh, who decided our section of language arts would write a creative fiction piece each week instead of slog through sentence structure. It was then that I really learned that I could put together a piece and that I was good at it! The second is my high school journalism teacher Becky Lewis (who we just called Lewis), who really recognized my natural talent and pushed me. She wasn’t content to let me use my skills as a crutch, and it’s made me a better writer my whole life.


  4. That’s great, Mary, and I know exactly what you mean, and in some cases who you mean, the Sisters are wonderful! I have a firmament of stars from SinC and Guppies, but I was lucky enough to have some really good support from teachers too.


  5. Thanks Theresa, fear was never a factor for the nuns, but they knew how to inspire it! We had Dominican nuns and Jesuit priests. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t write horror. 🙂


  6. Oh Sarah, that ‘s wonderful. And it’s great that each not only encouraged you, but pushed you to be better. How often do you hear their whispers in your ear? Amazing, isn’t it.


  7. The picture of Star is beautiful. And that story about your teacher is wonderful.

    I’d say that the mystery community is chock full of stars on so many levels. Not only great writers (and readers) but encouraging and kind and generous humans as well.


  8. Right you are, Cynthia, and that makes it a special community to belong to. Like a small town that just happens to be worldwide. I can honestly say that writers are the most generous people on earth with time and writing assistance.


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