Monday, October 30, 2006

Travels with Selma

Yesterday, Selma the muse and I went on a road trip to Santa Barbara and Ojai. It was part of the research I needed to do for the current novel I’m working on, Mother Mayhem. Selma was a great traveling companion and while I drove, she provided me with some fantastic insight to my plot.

But I was worried. If Selma was spending so much time with me over the weekend, would she disappear come Monday, thinking I had met my quota for muse time? Happily I can say that Selma reported for work this morning at 5:30 a.m. I only hope she remembers to come back tonight, and tomorrow, and the day after …

63 days and counting…

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Thank You

Thank you all for posting comments about my Just Say No posting. I have been reading them all (yes, even the ugly and vile ones). It's great to see so many young people taking advantage of their First Amendment rights.

Unfortunately, I am moderating the comments now. It goes against my grain but I felt I had to when so many postings were starting to rip to shreds the people who agree with me. They have a right to their opinion also. This is my blog, no need for the disgruntled to attack anyone else; although it does support the comments in my initial blog about ignorance. I am also rejecting any duplicate postings, postings that repeat phrases ad nauseum, or any posting in which the vocabulary is limited to words such as cunt, etc.

Just Say No!

Comments for this posting are no longer being accepted. I think 200+ are enough, especially since most are now just repetitions and rephrasings of earlier comments from the same people.

Comments about this blog topic will not be accepted on other blog entries.

Considering the immature and vile content of most of the comments to this particular blog entry, I rest my case and stand firm on my comments below. Thank you for proving my point. - Sue Ann

Today one of the postings on the Yahoo Group Don’t Tell Me What Size I Must Be was about a contest being held by the Opie and Anthony Show called Fatty Pig Fatty. The posting was by Velvet who happens to be the very same Velvet who was the plus size model recently featured (to much fanfare and flack) in the Gaultier fashion show. The gist of the contest is for fat women (please note: contest is NOT open to men) to go to the Opie and Anthony studio, put on a pig mask and weigh in. At the end of the contest the heaviest entrant will win $10 for every pound she weighs. There is also a Fatty Finders Fee if the woman is brought in by a “friend” (i.e., pimp fee).

Velvet called this contest “despicable in every sense of the word” and I agree. But what I find even MORE despicable (imagine that being said by Sylvester the Cat) is that women are ACTUALLY showing up for this contest. There are two hard truths at work here:

*There will always be morons like Opie and Anthony – can’t be helped. The stupid and ignorant will always be with us.

*There will always be people who will do anything for money – case in point, Fear Factor.

People (and I use that term loosely) like Opie and Anthony have a forum because people give them one. If people boycotted their show and didn’t encourage their immature and hurtful antics, maybe it would stop. But instead, their moronic behavior is revered and celebrated. It’s a simple fact, ignore the class bully and he will stop. Fear or applaud him and he will continue.

It’s also a known fact that very large women are often at or near the bottom of the economic chain. This easy money would be tempting for anyone. (I admit, the first thing I did was calculate how much money I could win – and that’s none of your beeswax.) But for every super-sized woman who showed up for this despicable contest there are thousands who didn’t; thousands of plus size women just trying to make their lives work in this crazy world just like everyone else; and women like Velvet strutting their stuff with glamour and pride. These are the women I applaud.

My advice to all the women tempted to enter the Opie and Anthony contest: JUST SAY NO!

My advice to all who want to follow the contest and/or this despicable show: JUST SAY NO!

Trust me, the world will be a better place.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Caution, Muse At Work

This morning around 7:30 while still asleep, I felt a slight tapping on my subconscious: “Hey, get up. You gonna sleep all day or what?” It was my muse, finally reporting for work.

Until now, I never had a firm handle on my muse. I had an idea it might be a woman; it was too temperamental and too coy to be a man. But this morning, as my muse ordered me to get my fat ass out of bed and get to work, I recognized the voice immediately.

My muse is Selma Diamond … and she, apparently, reads my blog.

Ms. Diamond, for those of you too young to remember, was a wonderful character actress with a raspy, grating voice and bulldog manner. In the last year of her life she played Selma Hacker, a bailiff on the hilarious TV sitcom Night Court. She died in 1985.

So this morning, with barely enough time to pee and wash my face and no time to make coffee, I found myself at my computer pounding out Mother Mayhem, driven by the ghost of a woman dead twenty years, a cigarette dangling from her lips.

65 days and counting .

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday with Julia

Posted today at Mysterious Musings is my inteview with Julia Buckley. Julia is another Midnight Ink author. Her book, The Dark Backward, has one of the coolest covers ever.

Oh Muse, Where Art Thou?

I am on deadline with my 3rd Odelia Grey novel. I have exactly 66 days in which to finish, proof, and deliver Mother Mayhem to my publisher, Midnight Ink.

66 days -- add one more 6 and you have the Mark of the Beast, the zip code of the Antichrist. There has to be a connection here.

I am a trained corporate paralegal. Deadlines are my life. I always make them and sometimes I'm even early. So why am I in a dither?

Simply put, my muse and I are on different schedules. Monday through Friday from 9-6 perfectly nice people in a perfectly nice law firm pay me to work for them as their corporate paralegal. It's what I do to pay my rent and buy cat kibble. Without these nice people in the nice law firm I would be fighting my cats for the kibble and living under a freeway overpass.

I write either in the morning before work or in the evening after work; sometimes both. Since I live alone, this is not a tough schedule to keep, except that my muse doesn't like those hours. My muse wants a 9-5 job and I'm only offering split shifts and weekend work.

My muse thinks it funny when it whispers creative thoughts in my ear at 11:15 on a Thursday morning while I'm pouring over California statutes governing non-profit corporations. I push my muse away and say "not now, come back later." But later is not convenient for my muse. At 8:00 pm tonight, my muse was a no-show. But like the trooper I am, I continue to write, slogging through each line, paragraph and thought, watching the year run out of days.

66... my muse has made a pact with the devil, I'm sure of it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Let Them Eat Cake - Addendum

Speaking of the launch party, here's a photo of many of the authors and editors of LAndmarked for Murder.

Sitting (l-r): Jinx Beers, Dee Ann Palmer, Susan K. Beery, Paul Marks, Kate Thornton

Standing (l-r): A. H. Ream, Darrell James, Michael Mallory, Gayle Bartos-Pool

Let Them Eat Cake

Last Saturday night the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters In Crime chapter launched its latest anthology LAndmarked for Murder, a collection of short fiction centered on various Southern California landmarks. For the event, The Mystery Book Store in Westwood rolled out the red carpet of welcome and people contributed champagne and munchies. The chapter even bought a cake with the book cover emblazoned on the top in colored rice paper.

During the event I noticed Susan Beery, the board member who coordinated the entire anthology, guarding the cake, carefully serving people from the sections surrounding the image of the book, avoiding cutting into the bookcover. Near the end of the event all that was left of the cake was, indeed, the section under the cover. When a couple of more people wanted cake, Susan managed to carve out sushi-thin scraps. At the end of the night, she wrapped the remaining cake up carefully to be frozen like the top of a wedding cake. Her idea is to bring it back out for our December meeting. Maybe then we can entice her to cut it.

On January 27, 2007, I will be launching the second Odelia Grey mystery, The Curse of the Holy Pail, at The Mystery Book Store and I was thinking about having a similar cake with the cover on the top.

Now hold the phone! Do I really want people cutting into my book cover? Will I be standing nervously by saying, "You can have a piece of the lunchbox, but not of Odelia's face?" Or, "Do you really need to carve up my name like that?" Or, "Would you like a piece of boob or a piece of ass with your champagne?"

I think I'm going to order cupcakes.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I am an official Blogger!

Welcome to my official blog site! For everyone's convenience, I've moved my Babble 'n Blog over to this site and brought with me my prior postings. The original dates are in red before each posting.

I look forward to posting here regularly. Please say hello and give me your comments.

Sue Ann

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

All I Wanted Was Some Damn Coffee!

October 19, 2006

Just 30 minutes ago I went down to the Starbucks in my office building and treated myself to a pumpkin spice latte... a big one! I love these things and don't give a rat's behind how many calories, points, fat grams, carbs, etc. are in them.

On the elevator back up to the 16th floor, I was joined by a professional-looking man in his late 30's or early 40's, dressed in a nice shirt and tie (dollar to donuts he was an attorney). On the ride up we talked about coffee and the need for a late afternoon boost. He made a comment about how I could probably get my coffee for free in my office, and I laughed and said "but not a pumpkin spice latte." We stopped at his floor. As he got off he said, "You're never going to lose weight that way," then quickly disappeared.

First of all, when did the subject of weight, mine or anyone else's, even come up in this conversation?

Secondly, if you're going to insult me, come back here and do it to my face with the elevator door closed so I can beat you senseless without a witness, not like a hit and run coward taking your shot as you leave the elevator!

I'm happy to say, it's been a very long time since I've been insulted like this, but I'm very saddened to say such rudeness is alive and well and apparently working in my office building.

Hmmm, might have to put him in one of my books. Be afraid ... be very afraid.

Boy, this coffee's good!

Where do your ideas come from?

October 19, 2006

This is a common question at book signings and library events. The answer is: from everywhere, from everything. Sometimes the most common daily routine or occurrence, such as having a cold, popping a button, or burning a meal, can bring on a spark of creativity. Sometimes it’s the uncommon events, such as a death in the family or the theft of a car, that get stored for later use. Everything is grist for the mill, little is sacred or off limits.

Take yesterday morning for example.

I was minding my own business at the Century City law firm at which I’m employed as a paralegal (yes, just like the character Odelia Grey), when the alarm in the building went off. It was a full-scale mandatory evacuation drill of the 23-floor high-rise in which I work. Okay, I’ll confess, our office manager did warn us the day before that the drill was going to take place and to wear comfy shoes, but there was no escaping the fact that in a few minutes I would be in the stairwell of one of the Watt Plaza Towers winding my way down 16 floors to the street below.

Along about floor 7 or 8, as my chunky leg muscles began to groan, I thought: This has to go into one of my books. And this morning at 6:15 when I dragged myself painfully out of bed and moved around on middle-aged legs begging for Advil, I thought: This definitely has to go into one of my books. (More examples: Two weeks ago I had a cold. Last night, while working on the third book in the series, I gave a cold to Odelia. Several months ago I popped a wire in my bra … like I said, it’s all grist for the mill.)

Now the mystery is: Which of the events in Odelia Grey’s life have really happened to me? I will give you a clue as one that is not real -- I do not, thankfully, work for an attorney like Michael Steele.

The Upside to a Cold

October 8, 2006

Last weekend I attended Bouchercon, the World Mystery Conference, which was held in the delightful city of Madison, Wisconsin. (I will write more about B'Con later.) Unfortunately, shortly after I returned home I found myself with a head cold. Not surprising, considering all the plane travel and shaking hands, hugging, smooching and even sharing drinks with old friends and new friends from all over the world.

But there is an upside to having a cold.

Although I was a trooper and never missed a day of work from my day job, I found it impossible to keep to my evening schedule of writing and reading while snorting cold medicine in various forms. So, what's a gal to do? Well, this gal stretched out on the sofa, slathered in Vicks VapoRub, surrounded by her two cats, and watched movies. Ahhh-choo ... such a delightful yet sinful pleasure, especially when facing a year-end deadline on a third novel.

Three movies stood out, each for their own charm, talent and content: Fever Pitch, Beyond the Sea, and The Woodsman, and I recommend all three with big "thumbs up."

Being originally from Massachusetts, the romantic comedy Fever Pitch was an especially fun romp about the obsession New Englanders (including my own nutsy family) have for the Boston Red Sox. Case in point: at my niece Lindsays wedding last year, during the ceremony I read a piece entitled Why Marriage is Like Baseball. No, I didn't write it. It was penned by a pastor many years ago.

I have always been a big fan of Kevin Spacey's work, so when I saw Beyond the Sea listed on cable, I couldn't resist. Beyond the Sea is a stylized biography of the life of Bobby Darin. Kevin Spacey is both the producer and star and even sings the musical numbers himself. It is a very enjoyable and fascinating production of Darin's life and his marriage to Sandra Dee.

Last is The Woodsman starring Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. I had seen the Ebert and Roper review on this movie (two thumbs up) and placed it on my TBW list (to be watched, not to be confused with to be read, though both lists are rather daunting in size). I was not disappointed. Although the subject matter is distasteful -- life after prison of a convicted child molester -- Kevin Bacon does a superb acting job as the parolee and I found myself rooting for him in his struggle to be "normal."

Okay, the cold is at bay, time to get back to work on Mother Mayhem.

My Nephew Tom -- One of the Good Guys!

August 8, 2006

The note below was sent to me and many others from my nephew, Tom. He rides every year in the Pan Mass bike ride to raise money for cancer, but this year was different. Since riding last year, Tom himself was diagnosed with cancer and had two surgeries. Today he is cancer free -- a survivor. So this year's Pan Mass ride was sweeter for him and for our family. Below is his report on the ride. Feel free to donate to this worthy cause, if you like. Because every family has a Tom, not just mine. -- Sue Ann

Hello everyone, The 2006 PMC has come and gone and I'm happy to report that I made it! It was a bit harder this year but even more rewarding. Standing in the cool air Saturday morning, I could only be thankful that I had survived to ride at least one more ride. I had my doubts earlier in the year, but hoped I would be healthy enough to do this at least once more.

This past weekend was my birthday and I turned two.

Love and hope are all this ride is about. The pain and struggle and injury are burdens carried with pride. To give hope and show love are the goals and ultimately, also the rewards. I can't count the number of signs that read, "I'm a survivor" along the way. In Wellfleet, a boy held a sign that read, "Because of you I am 10." If you look through the pictures from last year's ride, a rider had a picture of that boy on his back, but in that picture, his sign read, "Because of you I am 8." His two years give hope to those that follow. That 10 year old boy inspires. He sows courage whether he knows it or not. His story brings hope to others and they look to the future because of him. That's all this ride really is.

I cannot express the honor I feel in that you allow me to ride for you.

A number of you have expressed a desire to make a donation, but have not yet done so. If you still care to, you can do so online using the following link: some have said that there was a problem with the link, however, many have donated online. Should you need it, my egift id is tj0020.

We're up to approximately $3000 so far and still have a ways to go. Attached is a picture from this year's ride. It's at a water stop 100 miles in on the first day. The handsome fella on the handlebars Radar. He supervised both of my surgeries to make sure nothing went wrong and I rewarded him with a free tour of parts of Massachusetts. He held up pretty well except for an incident not too long after this photo was snapped when a friend's dog mistook him for a chew toy. Radar's a tough son of a gun, though, and made it the rest of the way.

I hope to celebrate my 3rd birthday with you next year! Thanks again for you love and support, Tom

What do you read?

August 4, 2006

If you’re like me, you take books with you everywhere, not just on planes or vacation travel. A book travels with me in my tote bag as faithfully as my lipstick and car keys. Like most avid readers, I have a TBR pile – books stacked in a corner waiting to be read. Sometimes they wait patiently for their turn and sometimes they cry like a newborn to be picked up and given attention. I’d like to think I will eventually get through them all, but as the saying goes: So many books, so little time.

Usually, I have two books going at once (and this doesn't count the book I am currently writing). I keep one on my nightstand and read a bit each night, and one I keep in my tote to be read whenever I find myself stuck waiting somewhere, or eating out alone, or during lunch break at work. I can often be found huddled behind the closed door of my office from 12:30-1:30, Monday thru Friday, with my nose in a book and a plastic fork stuck in a Healthy Choice entrée Exciting life, huh?

Because I'm often asked: What do you read? I thought I'd start Read Along With Sue Ann. (Remember the old Sing Along With Mitch TV show? Yes, I am dating myself.) I will post on About Sue Ann at the books I am currently reading and anyone who wishes can read along with me. And feel welcome to e-mail me and discuss the books. I love lively book discussions.

Why are there two versions of Too Big To Miss?

July 16, 2006

Originally, Too Big To Miss and The Curse of the Holy Pail, the first two books in the Odelia Grey mystery series, were self-published through iUniverse. And many of you purchased and read those, for which I am deeply and forever grateful. However, I am thrilled to say that Llewellyn Worldwide purchased both of them for their Midnight Ink imprint.

To Big To Miss was released in early 2006 with a new cover (red and green), a new ending and 6,000 new words (whew!). So even if you read the earlier edition of Too Big To Miss, you will still enjoy reading the new and improved Too Big To Miss. The new and improved (sounds a tad like a commercial for laundry soap, doesn't it?)

The Curse of the Holy Pail will be released in early 2007. Recently Midnight Ink Books purchased the rights to the third and completely new Odelia Grey novel, Mother Mayhem. It is scheduled for release February 2008.