Friday, November 30, 2007

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

With about a month left until I must hand over Epitaph Envy to my publisher, I got bogged down in the ending. Still, I was on target to have it done, not only on time, but a bit early, as long as the characters and the plot line cooperated. As usual, I had the whole idea worked out. And as usual, my characters told me “No way, Jose.” [Sigh] What’s an author to do?

My muse, the ghost of Selma Diamond for those of you recently joining this blog, has not taken her duties seriously in the past few months. I don’t know if she’s found another writer to assist, or if maybe she’s walking the picket line with the Writers Guild of America, but she was AWOL. At least until Thursday morning when she miraculously showed up, shook me awake, and showed me the new game plan for the ending of Epitaph Envy. I, in turn, showed it to my characters. They unanimously approved it and now we’re back on track.

Thank you everyone – Odelia, Greg, Steele, Zee, etc. Can we get back to work now? Huh, can we?

Not so fast. Just as I found myself ready to plunge back into the writing frenzy of the last few chapters, I also found myself on a conference call at work which led to a few new projects and the possibility of traveling for the office. This month. In the next few weeks. Before my deadline. With the holidays and my birthday cruise in the mix.

If you don’t hear from me for awhile, it’s because I’m spending every waking moment I’m not at my day job pounding the keyboard. Even though I’m still on target for an early finish, I’m still playing beat the clock. This time it’s against something that might happen.

31 days left.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Calling All E-Mail Addresses

I am about to release my first ever e-mail newsletter through Vertical Response and would like to include everyone interested in news about the Odelia Grey series and upcoming Ghost of Granny Apple series. The first issue will be going out in about 1-2 weeks, in time for the holidays.

If you would like to be on my e-mail newsletter list, please drop me a note with your e-mail address. DO NOT POST IT HERE, PLEASE.

Your e-mail will not be seen by others and you will not be spammed because of my newsletter. The newsletter will be sent to you directly by Vertical Response.

To be included, send your name and e-mail address to

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I am thankful for:

Family and friends;

Readers of my work, may you continue to enjoy my books;

My agent, manager, editors, publicist and everyone at Llewellyn/Midnight Ink for helping my dreams come true;

Good health;

Good day job;

The ability and desire to write;

My kitties;

A generally good outlook on life;

The upcoming presidential election;

Pumpkin cheese cake.

Friday, November 16, 2007

And the Race is On!

There are only six full weeks left in the year.
44 days until my 4th Odelia Grey manuscript, Epitaph Envy, is due to my publisher.

And, as usual, the race is on and I'm packing penalty weight.

I'm pleased to say that Epitaph Envy is humming along nicely. I'm much further along on it than I was last year at this time on Thugs and Kisses, and I made that deadline. Okay, by the skin of my teeth, but I made it! I expect to have Epitaph Envy done by the end of Thanksgiving weekend or at least by December 1st. That will leave all of December for honing and polishing. The goal is to turn the manuscript in on December 21st, 10 days early, and the day I leave on my birthday weekend cruise.

The problem is, the last six weeks of the year are often the busiest at my day job and this year is no different. In a few minutes I'll be leaving for work, a few hours earlier than usual, to wrangle some of the voluminous year-end deals that have crossed my busy desk and must close by year-end. Then there's Christmas shopping and the usual holiday parties. My December calendar is deceptively empty. It's not that I don't have things planned for December, but that I haven't taken the time to transfer my schedule to my Year-At-A-Glance wall calendar. Perhaps I'm afraid that if I do, I'll have an anxiety attack. It's much easier to think about my schedule in 2008 then what's left of 2007.

Add to the above the fact that my publisher has also sent me the proofs of Thugs and Kisses. I need to review those and return them right after Thanksgiving so the book can go to print in time.

Anyway, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. Before I know it, Epitaph Envy will be done, the deals closed, and I will be on that cruise!

Then I start on the manuscript for The Ghost of Granny Apples due August 1, 2008.
Just breathe, Sue. Just breathe.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Quickies Are Always Fun!

Even the traveling kind. This past weekend I spoke at a Legal Secretaries, Inc. conference in Grass Valley, CA, which is located about an hour north of Sacramento at the foot of the Sierras. Although the conference was held over the entire weekend, I flew up very early Saturday morning and returned home last night. I gotta tell ya, these ladies (and a few gents) know how to have fun! I know this not only from my weekend jaunt but from my 35 years of experience working in the law.

I was the Saturday evening banquet speaker and at the last minute threw away my more formal speech in favor of a wing-it free-style speech filled with humorous jokes and comments based upon my experiences not only as a paralegal but as a mystery writer. The audience must have enjoyed it because at the end of the evening we were pretty much wiped out of books.

Book sales were handled by The Book Seller (107 Mill St Grass Valley,CA. Phone: 530-272-2131), a lovely independent bookseller. Manager Karen and her assistant Sunny could not have been nicer or more fun. In fact, The Book Seller ran out of books near the end of the evening and Sunny ran back to the store in the rain (which, fortunately, was just 2 blocks away from the hotel) and cleaned out those they were reserving for the store.

Breakfast on Sunday morning was also a hoot. The speaker was Devere "Dee" Mautino, a gracious and feisty senior who is the former mayor of Grass Valley and long time member of LSI. Ms. Mautino, dressed to the nines, complete with matching hat, brought down the house with her wry humor and observations.

After breakfast, I climbed in a rental car with four fun ladies from San Diego and headed to the Sacramento airport by way of a sight-seeing trip to Nevada City.

Both Grass Valley and Nevada City were so lovely and fun that I can't wait to go back in the spring for a book signing at The Book Seller.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Support the Writers Strike!

I live just north of Sony Studios and just south of Fox Studios. Every day when I drive to work, I see the men and women walking the picket lines.

As I writer of novels, you'd think I would not be affected by the WGA strike. Not so. The TV option on my first book, Too Big To Miss, was up for renewal recently. The optioner is on the picket line. The irons he had in the fire for my book are all on hold. Considering the situtation, my agent and I have granted him an extension of time.

But the option aside, I believe in what these talented folks are fighting for and stand shoulder to shoulder with them in spirit.

There is an on-line petition which folks can sign to show their support of the striking writers. If you support the strike, please sign it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Words of Wisdom?

Today I've scattered my dubious words of wisdom over at Inkspot. Drop on by. The Writer is in.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Don't Tell Me It's Monday Already?

Friday night, a handsome, smart man took me to dinner. Did I also tell you that he was younger (much younger) than me? And married?

It was also NOT a date. Rats! Friday night I stopped by the Mystery Book Store and caught up with pals Simon Wood and Tim Maleeny. After, Tim bought me dinner at the Japanese restaurant across the street where we plotted the overthrow of publishing as we know it and planned our individual futures. Friday night I also met Mark Coggins, a delightful fellow author who is represented by Whitney Lee, who is also my agent.

Sunday, after the Sisters In Crime/Los Angeles meeting, I had dinner with Kate Thornton, who I've known for years. Kate is a kick-ass short story writer who is current trying to focus on writing a novel. From her description of it, it will also be kick-ass. She just has to keep her butt in the chair long enough to write it. Seems that after every chapter, she thinks she done. Silly short story writer!

Between my two lovely dinners, I put my own butt in the chair long enough to pump out three clean chapters in Epitaph Envy. No housework was done. No extra curricular activies such as shopping, movies, etc. Just me and the keyboard for hours and hours and hours. But in the end I was thrilled with my progress.

58 days to deadline - there is going to be a lot more butt in the chair time ahead for me.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Say Howdy to Morgan Hunt - My New BFF

Got together for dinner Tuesday night with Morgan Hunt, a mystery author from Oregon. Morgan and I had been burning up the phone lines and e-mail waves brainstorming promotional ideas for her book Sticky Fingers, so when she finally made it to Los Angeles on tour, we just had to meet and yak in person.

Morgan writes the Tess Camillo series which features a middle-age lesbian living in San Diego, who, in the midst of investigating the death of a woman murdered by snake bite, finds herself facing the horrors of a mastectomy. A breast cancer survivor herself, Morgan brings a lot of courage and insight to this all too common tragedy while producing a fun and lively mystery. The character of Tess is quirky, sassy, and intelligent. Morgan is currently working on the 2nd book in the series.

Other BFFs, Simon Wood and Tim Maleeny, will be at the Mystery Book Store in Westwood, along with Mark Coggins, on Friday night at 7 pm. If you're in the area, come on down!