Picture Framer = Successful Mystery Writer?

While we took a few days off at our favorite relaxing place, Lake Tahoe, we visited an art fair in Stateline, Nevada.  One of the exhibitors was Todd Borg, a mystery writer who lives in and writes about the Lake Tahoe area.  I’m a big fan of mysteries:  it all started when I was little and read every single Nancy Drew book and then moved on to the Hardy Boys.  Some of my favorite protagonists are Spenser, Jack Reacher, Joanna Brady, Dismas Hardy, Peter and Rina Decker, Kate Shugak…  You get the drift. 

I have a new one to add to my list: Owen McKenna.  After reading the first book in a series of soon to be 7 Owen McKenna Tahoe Mysteries culminating in Tahoe Heat, being published next month, I’ve ordered the rest and can’t wait to read them.  (My only disappointment is that they’re not available in the Kindle edition.)  McKenna is a former San Francisco homicide inspector and art lover, with a ginormous Harlequin Great Dane named Spot as a sidekick.  Trust me:  it works.

My point in writing about Tahoe Deathfall today, besides recommending it as a great read , is that Todd’s story is a career change story – or, career progression story, which I found interesting. 

Todd was a picture framer for 27 years before publishing the first Owen McKenna book.  He is a native of Minnesota and moved to Tahoe 10 years ago.  He wrote on the side while he was framing pictures and art and began to write full time after moving to the lake. 

I’m thinking that the shift from picture framer to successful and award winning author is pretty engaging.  Both require close attention to detail; both need creativity and perspective; both require a vision and the craft to make implement the vision and both need the ability to focus for intense periods of time.  On the other hand, one needs manual dexterity and the other mental dexterity; one needs a workshop with tools and knives and the other needs an office with reference works and a computer/type writer (?); one needs an artistic sense of color and form and the other needs an artistic sense of plot, character and language.  Bottom line:  both are artistic and produce tangible outcomes that many can enjoy.

Todd has experienced both.  And by my assessment, his career transition was a work of art!  Todd’s website is here.  I encourage you to get the first book in the series, Tahoe Deathfall, from your local bookstore or from Todd himself. 

Lots of us dream of having another life.  A fantasy other life.  Some long to be successful authors or professional athletes; some dream of being the next Lady Gaga or Harry Connick, Jr.  My dream, for example, is to be a star of broadway musicals, like Patti LuPone or Sutton Foster.  Todd made his fantasy other life come true.  I applaud and respect him for that.

And as HR leaders we might think about the value of engaging the other lives of our employees.  What would be the impact on our businesses if the majority of our colleagues were living some part of their other lives as part of their job responsibilities in our organizations?  I wonder…



Filed under HR, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Picture Framer = Successful Mystery Writer?

  1. Pingback: High Praise for Tahoe Trap |

  2. Liza Polin

    Looking forward to your blog

  3. Wonderful post….yes, please “…as HR leaders we might think about the value of engaging the other lives of our employees.”

    Many employees would really like that! And I do believe it will have a positive impact on the bottom line and improving employees’ work/life.

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