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Where There's a Will, There's a Say
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Here it is the first day of October already. It seems no time at all since the last lingering patches of snow vanished from the woods and now the first yellow leaves of autumn are gliding gently downward on a chilly breeze. And here I am, gently gliding some words down onto my journal.

It's been difficult for me to find things to say. Thirty or forty years ago I would have had no problem. I was besotted with my own words. Anything I wrote fascinated me. And that was enough.

Since then I've learned that the most important -- perhaps the only important -- criterion for writing is that it be of interest to the reader. The writer's creed is "First, do not bore."

Mary and I have been doing a lot of writing, an activity which is not intrinsically very interesting. Mary, however, has penned a fascinating essay for fellow mystery author Catherine Mambretti's Postcard Mysteries , a blog on the jury system and courtroom rhetoric.

Ironically perhaps, since I am the one who writes articles for legal encyclopedias, Mary writes about nuncupative wills, from the Latin meaning roughly name-to-take and usually referred to as oral wills. One such will underpinned the plot of Five For Silver, set during the Justinianic plague of 542, although readers may be surprised as Mary was to learn while uncommon such wills are still legal in some locations under certain conditions.

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