Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Name is Sue Ann and I Am An Addict

I have an addictive personality. No, seriously, I do. Fortunately for me it does not involve drugs or alcohol (or sex, in case you're wondering). I have two main vices: good food and TV. And just as I have my favorite food addictions (Ben & Jerry's ice cream topping the list), I have my favorite TV addictions.

One of the things I am totally hooked on is watching the various series offered by both HBO and Showtime. For most of the first-run of The Sopranos, I didn't have HBO. Once I had it, I never watched the show because I felt it was too late to play catch up. And I always sensed that something was lacking in my pop culture education because of it; just as serious as if I had missed reading Animal Farm in high school. HBO is currently showing all of the seasons of The Sopranos, about one season a month, through On Demand. I'm hooked. When each season is offered, I sit and watch 4 or 5 episodes at a time. Oh, yes, I do! Within a few days that season is complete and I have to wait another month for the next season to be rerun.

But it's not just The Sopranos. I did the same with Big Love and Sex In The City. Now I know what all the hullabaloo was about. Whenever I come late to a popular cable series, I sit and watch it almost non-stop until I'm caught up on the episodes. Recently, I finished both seasons of Dexter. And all of John Adams. The Tudors, Californication, and Weeds I've been able to keep up with weekly. Hey, at least John Adams and The Tudors are historically based.

Thankfully, other series have failed to nab my interest.

BTW - Weeds is due to start its new season on June 16th!!! Yea!

Considering the above, I'm sure many folks (including those at my publisher who read my blog) are wondering how in the hell I get any writing done. Me, too.

All I can say is fuggedaboutit and pass the manicotti.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Me? In the Chicago Tribune?

I was quoted in an article that appeared on the front page of the Chicago Tribune today. The article is about pending legislation regarding obesity discrimination. Here is a link to their online version.

Friday, April 25, 2008

And Baby Makes Three!

I just received a call from my niece, Lindsay, with exciting news. She and her hubby, Eric, are expecting their first child in early 2009! Congrats and hugs and kisses to them!

This will make my 3rd great niece/nephew. Wow, how time flies. I remember when she was born!

Suddenly, I'm feeling old. Excited and happy - but old.


It's baaaaaaaaaaaaak! The LA Times Festival of Books is the largest book festival in the nation. And it's this weekend! Yea!!!

The LA Times Festival of Books is a MUST for all bibliophiles and a great time for anyone looking for a wholesome and fun thing to do on the weekend. The festival will be held both Saturday and Sunday, 10 - 5, on the beautiful UCLA campus. Admission is free. Parking is $8.

And dress comfortably, especially shoes! You'll be doing a lot of walking.

I will be there both days signing books. My signing schedule follows. Come say hello!

Saturday - 12-2 - Sisters In Crime/Los Angeles booth
Sunday - 10-12 - Sisters In Crime/Los Angeles booth
Sunday - 1-2 - Mystery Book Store/MWA booth
Sunday 3-4 - Book 'em Mysteries booth

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rising out of the Ashes

It's been two weeks since my car went up in flames. Seems like it was a million years ago. This past Friday my insurance company paid me for my car. They were very fair and speedy about it and their customer service couldn't have been better (BTW, I have Mercury Insurance.).

As of yesterday, I officially have new wheels. At least new to me. After looking at cars for nearly two weeks, I finally settled on a nearly new 2007 Ford Focus. My last car was a Focus bought from the same dealership. Since I'd had so much luck with it (until the fire), I thought I'd return and see what they had. My new car is exactly like my old one, except it's newer and white.

I'm calling it Sparky. Perhaps I should call it Phoenix, but Sparky has a much more fun sound to it.

The insurance company, however, isn't done with me and my old car. They are still investigating the cause of the fire. You see, I had some repair work done on the engine just 2 days prior to the fire, so we're all just a tad suspicious.

With new wheels under me, it's time to get back to the business of writing and my life in general. After all, The Ghost of Granny Apples is due in less than 4 months.

So, if you really don't mind, Great Powers of the Universe, I'd really like to put the drama of my life on hold for a bit and get back to creating it on the page.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Me and Metropolis - This Saturday

This Saturday I'll be signing books at Metropolis Books in downtown Los Angeles., 440 South Main Street, Los Angeles. The time is 4:00 p.m. Signing along with me are pals Christa Faust and Kathryn Lilley. Also joining us is Hannah Dennison.

Come on down and say hello.

And, yes, downtown LA is alive and well on weekends! And there's little traffic. Try it, you'll like it!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pee Is Always Funny

Being the day I finished my taxes, I needed a laugh today, and my good friend Ashley Baker accommodated me. The delightful Ashley got peed on yesterday ... by a stranger. Read all about it on her blog.

Every Damn Year!

This morning I finished my taxes. Yup, THIS MORNING. April 14th, at 7:49 a.m.

I do this to myself every year. And every year I tell myself that NEXT YEAR IT WILL BE DIFFERENT. Next year I will be done ahead of schedule. Next year April 15th will be just another day in my life. Yet, every year it’s the same. Every year I’m a last minute Lulu.

Of course, I tell myself, I’m too preoccupied with other issues to get to my taxes in a timely manner. Things like book deadlines, book promotion, travel for books, my day job … car fires.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. It’s not like I didn’t know this day was coming. I’ve had 365 days of knowing.

But, just as with my manuscripts, I NEVER miss a deadline!

Death and taxes? More like manuscripts and taxes.

Hurry up, George W., and send me my rebate!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Outraged Again

My heart gets broken on a regular basis. And not from romantic involvements gone sour. It’s the news. The daily news breaks my heart and stirs my blood into a boil constantly. This morning when I woke up and turned on the radio I heard about the 16-year-old girl in Lakeland, Florida who was nearly beaten to death by her “friends” because she talked trash on MySpace. She was BEATEN OVER AND OVER and the incident was TAPED by her attackers to be posted on MySpace and YouTube.

Moreover, the police said the girls who did the beating showed no remorse … whatsoever!

"When they were in a holding cell, they were all laughing," [Sheriff] Judd says. "One of the teens arrested, who is a cheerleader, asked, 'Does this mean I'm going to miss cheerleading practice tomorrow?' The others were cutting up and said, 'It looks like we won't be going to the beach this weekend.'" Read story.

These were teenage girls; almost grown women. They are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. But obviously were never taught right from wrong. You think jail time might beat it into them? Can we film their asses being marched off to prison for YouTube? Can we, huh? If these girls get off with merely a slap on their wrists, my heart will break again. Can I fly out to Florida and serve on THAT jury? Can I, huh?

What is wrong with this freaking world?


In the mood for a bit lighter reading. Fly on over to Inkspot. Author J. B. Stanley posted a hilarious encounter with woodpeckers. And she forgot to video it. Darn!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Meet The Author

Yesterday, I was interviewed by Dennis Griffin on the Meet the Author segment of Blog Talk Radio. To hear the interview go to Blog Talk Radio and play Meet the Author for April 7, 2008.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I Always Wanted to be a Hottie

Today, I woke up thinking yesterday was all a dream, a bad dream with some very nice parts.

On Saturday, April 5th, I was scheduled to attend Literary Orange, a fund raiser for the Orange County Library System. It’s a huge annual all-day event featuring authors from every imaginable genre and it was held at the Hyatt just down the road from Disneyland.

At 8 am I found myself on Harbor Blvd., just a couple of blocks north of my destination when I smelled something burning. I opened my window only to realize it was ME burning. People around me were yelling for me to get out of the car, it was on FIRE. Yes, FIRE!


I didn’t have to stop the car, it died on its own and, fortunately, I was already in the right-hand lane. I jumped out with my cell phone and started dialing 9-1-1. My call didn’t go through, but others were already dialing it on their phones. Two men took off and returned ASAP with fire extinguishers. There were some flames coming from under the hood and burning debris falling to the ground underneath. Then I remembered I’d left my purse behind. I dashed back to the car and grabbed my purse, jacket and portable GPS (Hey, the bag was a Dooney & Burke red leather tote and the GPS a gift!) Just as I got back on the curb, the car flames escalated. The two men with the fire extinguishers, me and the lookie-loos all high-tailed OUT OF THERE. The lookie-loos (mostly tourists heading for the Happiest Place on Earth) were snapping photos with camera phones and cameras. Hey, I thought, I have my camera in my purse! I then proceeded to take lots of photos. See, it’s a good thing I went back for my bag.

About then, the Anaheim Police arrived and cordoned off the entire southbound side of Harbor Blvd. (sorry folks!) Right behind them arrived the Anaheim Fire Dept., who doused the flames and put my Ford Focus out of its misery, while Captain Rick Cheatham took down all my information and wrote up his report. During all this excitement I also managed to call my friend and manager, Diana James, who was also on her way to Literary Orange.

With the fire out, the firemen helped me grab everything I needed to rescue from my trunk and back seat. We were in front of a Doubletree Hotel restaurant and they graciously allowed me to store it all inside while I waited for Diana. They even gave me coffee. The finale involved a tow truck and the exchange of business cards and my calling my insurance company and Jill Patterson of Literary Orange to tell her what had happened and, yes, don’t worry, I’ll be there in time for my panel. After all, I was just 2 blocks away and the SHOW MUST GO ON!

The fire started at 8 am. At 10:10 am, I was seated in a conference room at the Hyatt (still smelling faintly of smoke) with writer pals Earlene Fowler, Denise Hamilton and Patricia Smiley, talking about writing mysteries.

In spite of yesterday’s disaster, I woke up this morning thinking about the good things that happened yesterday. Most importantly, I’m fine and no one else was involved. It was just a car, albeit a car just a couple of payments from being paid off, but still just a car. And I’m loved. My friends rallied around me and gave me comfort, helped me get home and settled, called to check up on me. The conference organizers and attendees were so concerned and fabulous. Even the people who watched the fire were amazing, offering whatever assistance they could, asking me if I needed a ride home, a place to wait. Absolute strangers stopped to make sure I was okay. And, of course, the police and firemen were the heroes of the day, especially the firemen (And they’re cute, too! What is it about firemen?).

I know most of you who were there will never see this, but THANKS. You all contributed in ways, big and small, to make what could have been a disastrous day, a not so bad day. A day I’ll never forget, and not because of the loss of my car.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

It's a Booby Trap!

It's official, the 4th Odelia Grey novel, originally entitled Epitaph Envy, will hit the shelves next February as Booby Trap!

The name was suggested by Becky Zins, my production editor at Midnight Ink, and I just LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

I also got it on good authority that Odelia may be sporting a bustier and garters on the cover. Since she was naked on the cover of the recently released Thugs and Kisses, I'd say we have a bit of a theme going here. Can't wait to see what she's wearing for the 5th book, Corpse on the Cob.

Reader Appreciation Day!

I declare today, April 3rd, Reader Appreciation Day. See my ode to readers at Inkspot.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fool's Day

For a fun parody, hop on over to Inkspot and read Keith Raffel's post.

A Good Swift Kick

For about two weeks or so, my little choo choo train of a life has been off its tracks. Stuff at work, slow writing, looming taxes, worries over the future -- you name it, I've succumbed to its drain on my spirit and attitude. Nothing alarming, just depression as subtle as a low-grade fever. And with that comes my personal problem of stress eating, heroin in the form of mac 'n cheese and cookies. (You think the emotional eating habits of my Odelia Grey character are strictly fiction?!)

But fortunately, none of this lasts forever and yesterday I kicked myself in my ass and stopped throwing a pity party for one.

I'm back writing every morning AFTER my 2.5 mile brisk walk. Back to eating healthy. Back to getting done what needs to be done. Sometimes we need these little interludes of mental illness, just as long as it's not too long-lasting.

The Ghost of Granny Apples is coming along nicely, as is book 5 of the Odelia Grey series. Thugs and Kisses is selling very well and Booby Trap is safe and sound with my publisher.

BTW, I have 122 days to complete The Ghost of Granny Apples. I'd better keep that big boot handy for future kickings!