Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Terry Hoover, a Malice Domestic grant winner, has been writing for local, regional and national publications and corporate clients for 20 years. Double Dead, a finalist in the Malice Domestic/St. Martin’s Press contest for Best First Traditional Mystery, is the first book in the Steve Harlan series. Hoover, a native of Charlotte, NC, where Double Dead is set, is a member and former President of the Guppies, and the Tarheel Gumshoes chapter of Sisters in Crime. To learn more, visit her website at

Sometimes the best Diva gifts are things you didn't even know you wanted, perhaps because they attest that someone close to you has been paying the attention deserved by a Diva.

I'm not very musical. Okay, I'm tone deaf and can't carry a tune in a bucket. My gift to friends and family is not singing Happy Birthday. I suffer from a condition I was recently comforted to learn is not as rare as I'd feared (though you'd think such a common condition would have a name, wouldn't you?). I sing beautifully alone in the shower or in my car with the windows rolled up. It's only when other people are present that some weird germ or bacteria they carry interferes with my ability to warble like Alicia Keyes or Sarah McLachlan. As far as I'm concerned, music is for dancing.

My husband, who is musical, insists that life should come with a soundtrack, that we should each have a "theme song" that plays as we walk down the street. His is the theme from The Pink Panther. As a Diva, I'm all for this concept. But I'm an ADD Gemini and my "theme song" varies as often and as rapidly as my moods. Because he is a consort worthy of a Diva, he surprised me with a gift last Christmas that changed my life and, as befits a Diva, allows me to manipulate the world around me ( i.e., fit the music to my mood or more important for those close to me, to manipulate my mood with music.)

It's the iPod, a miraculous little invention from Apple, the same geniuses who give us those wonderful, reliable, intuitive computers that never go "Diva" and freeze up on us. They'll pry mine out of my cold, dead hands.

It plays only the music (and/or video on most models) you choose (as, of course, it should) and best of all, you listen to it through tiny little earphones that allow you to shut out those too oblivious or self absorbed, such as children and that rude woman holding up the line by yakking into her cell phone, to recognize your Divahood.

Stuck in annoying traffic? Feeling a little short for my weight today? I switch to my "dance" playlist and mentally choreograph an Argentine tango with my hot Latin dance instructor. Not really motivated for the Stairmaster? A few swing tunes from Brian Setzer and his big band will take care of that. Dirty dishes and toilets demanding my attention? Michael Buble', take me away.

And because YOU choose the music, your playlists are as private and sacrosanct as your vote. Nobody has to know Copacabana is one of your guilty pleasures. No taunts from your teenagers about the soundtrack from Chicago.

These marvelous little gadgets are available anywhere consumer electronics are sold, from Target to the Internet, and start at $49 for the simple iPod shuffle. They're tiny enough to fit in the slimmest pocket without marring your Divaish silhouette or you can purchase cute little armbands for them that allow you to whistle while you work anywhere. For less than $10, you can purchase a cable that allows you to plug your little darling into your car's sound system and turn your minivan into Planet Diva fill-in-the-blank. It's okay. As my husband assures our children, they know us there.


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