Friday, March 28, 2008

Book'em, Danno!

This Saturday, March 29th, I will be signing books at Book 'em Mysteries in South Pasadena. The time is 2:00. The place is 111 8 Mission Street, South Pasadena, CA 91030; telephone 626-799-9600.

This is a great little bookstore located in a great little city. And, yes, there will be snacks!

Come on down and say hello!

Sunday you will find me at Target in Culver City. No, I will NOT be signing books, but buying cat litter, toothbrushes and water filters. And probably a new bathroom scale since I don't like what my current one is telling me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Doing My Civic Duty

I had jury duty this week. Here in California, they send you a summons to be on-call for a specific week. You then call in each night to see if they want you to come in the next day. If you make it through the whole week without being called in, you're good to go for at least a year. If you get called in, you drag your butt down to the court where you wait with a few hundred (at least in Los Angeles) other potential jurors to see if you will be called to sit on a jury. If, at the end of the day, you have not been put on a jury, you are free to go for another year, your civic duty done.

I was called in on Tuesday. Having been through this drill before, I knew my Tuesday might entail hours of sitting around with scores of strangers, so I headed to downtown Los Angeles armed with things to do. I took my trusty Alpha Smart and a book to read. And it was a good thing. Even with all the comings and goings, announcements and uncomfortable furniture, I managed to write a whole chapter of The Ghost of Granny Apples and read 60 pages in Boris Akunin's Sister Pelagia and the White Bull Dog.

I never got picked to be on a jury, I wasn't even close, but it was hardly a wasted day.

Last night I finished reading Queenpin by Megan Abbott. It was fabulous. Abbott and Christa Faust might make a noir fan out of me yet.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Catching Up

I've been out of it for the past week. I've been going through the motions of going to work and writing, but truthfully I've been MIA from my life. Not sure where I've been, but I do know that this morning when I woke up I was back. I guess it was a kind of "in body" vacation.

I'm on call for jury duty this week. Made it through one day without having to report to the courthouse in downtown LA and am hoping I make it through the entire week. Fortunately, I'm not busy at work and not on a sizzling deadline, so if I get called in, it won't be a disaster.

This weekend I didn't do much of anything but write and spruce up the apartment, but last weekend was packed with activity. On Saturday Darrell James and I spoke at the Glendora Library and on Sunday I was a guest speaker, along with the fabulous T. Jefferson Parker, at the Anaheim Library Fund Raiser. This year the event was entitled "Murder in the OC." Both were fantastic and fun.

At the Anaheim event, I donated a character's name in the upcoming The Ghost of Granny Apples for the live auction. Would you believe it raised $1,800!!!! No shit! There was a bidding war between two folks and when it got up to $800-$900, I raised my hand and offered two character names if the two bidders would match each other. And they did! All for a good cause. I've already written both winners into the manuscript. I offer character names quite often as charity prizes, and until now the highest such a prize has raised has been $400. Wow!

As for weighing in ... see you next week. Enuf said?
Speaking of figures - Figure Magazine gave Thugs and Kisses a recommendation in their March/April 2008 issue! Yeeeeeeeeee Haaa!

Photos: top - with Darrell James; bottom - with T. Jefferson Parker (more about our little friend later this week).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Middle-Aged Woman

My friend Jani, winner of the Blarney Challenge (see below), sent me this You Tube link on middle-aged women. It's hilarious!

Who's the Biggest Loser?

Yesterday was my weekly weigh-in day and I lost another pound for a total of 22 lbs lost since January 1st. But the exciting news is that it was also the final day of the Blarney Challenge, the month long weight loss challenge with 25 other women on The Biggest Loser Club website.

No, I didn't win the challenge, even though I lost 7 lbs during the event, but it was exciting to watch these women band together with the common goal of becoming healthier. It's been a month of encouragement, ups, downs, and bonding. Although we only handed out prizes to the top 3 women, every single woman in the challenge lost weight during the 4 week run. As a group, we lost a combined total of 186.5 lbs!!!

The winners of the Blarney Challenge are:

Joyful*Jani - who lost a whopping 31.5 lbs in 4 weeks!
Chardestar - who was no slouch with a lost of 20 lbs
Charity+Cheryl - who lost a stunning 11 lbs

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Peep Show

As soon as I saw the above photo (sent to me by my friend and co-worker Stacy Mutrynowski) many, many, many thoughts flooded my already over-taxed brain:

1. How hysterical!
2. Is nothing sacred?
3. Wow, what detail!
4. I may never eat Peeps again.
5. Someone has way too much time on their hands.
6. There has to be a novel idea in here somewhere.
7. What kind of sick mind looks at marshmallow candy and does a brain leap to strippers, g-strings and poles?
8. This is absolutely brilliant and scary at the same time.
9. I want to meet whoever created this.

Bookplates Are Now Available

Have books that are unsigned and cannot make it to one of my events? Signed bookplates are now available.

You may order up to 3 bookplates at a time and may request for them to be personalized. If you do want them personalized, please print the name clearly in your request.

To order: Send a stamped business size self-addressed return envelope with your request to:

Sue Ann Jaffarian
3500 Overland Avenue, #110
PMB 82
Los Angeles, CA 90034

And please include your e-mail address with your order in the event there is a question about it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I just finished one of my favorite phases of writing – that of incorporating the editorial suggestions of my publisher. And, no, I’m not being facetious when I say that. I really do love doing this final round of edits.

For those not familiar with this stage of novel writing, it comes about a month or so after you’ve submitted your manuscript to your publisher. In my case, they have a meeting at which numerous folks who have read my manuscript discuss it. After, my editor e-mails me a list of things the editorial committee feels should be added, tightened, clarified, etc. The list is never long and I’ve found in my time with Midnight Ink that almost all of their suggestions are helpful and will make the book stronger.

And that is exactly why I love this particular process. My publisher’s job is to help me produce the very best book possible. After considering the editorial remarks, I return to the computer and do a complete line by line, word by word, fine comb editing of the entire manuscript, incorporating along the way their suggestions. By this time, I’ve had a 4-6 week break from the book I had been slaving over for so long, so I’m seeing it with fresh eyes and a rested (hopefully) brain. And that is what makes all the difference.

After working almost every non-day job moment for the past 2 weeks on it, I finished my final edits on Epitaph Envy/Booby Trap this morning. And I’m very happy with the results. Every single suggestion made by the folks at Midnight Ink contributed to it becoming a better, stronger and more entertaining book. (I hear they're making the final decision on the title on April 1st. Personally, I'm rooting for Booby Trap.)

But now I REALLY MUST get back to work on The Ghost of Granny Apples!

Weigh in day was yesterday. I lost another 2 lbs for a total of 21 lbs lost since January 1st.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Naming the Baby

Join me over at Inkspot today.

I'm discussing naming the baby - book babies, that is.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Panelling with Pals Naomi and Aileen

Had a busy Saturday this past weekend. Was on a panel on publishing at the Yorba Linda Library with Naomi Hirahara and Aileen Baron, both of whom I've known for several years. It was an interesting panel because all three of us have come to the mystery genre from very different avenues and are with three equally different publishers. The conversation and audience participation was quite lively.

After the event, Kate Thornton, Aileen and I gathered at Mimi's for dinner and fun conversation.

Weigh in day today. I lost another 2 lbs for a total loss so far of 19 lbs. I'm happy but a little disappointed that I didn't hit the big 2-0 this week. Next week perhaps.