Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's Contest Time Again!

September 1st officially kicks off the annual Fall Odelia Grey Contest. This year's contest questions are all based on the book Thugs and Kisses. There will be three winners and each will receive a signed copy of Booby Trap, the 4th Odelia Grey novel, along with other goodies.

The contest runs from now until December 21, 2008. For details, visit the Contests page at

I've also recently posted chapter 1 from Booby Trap to my website. Check it out!

Booby Trap will be released in February 2009, but copies can be preordered from Amazon or from Midnight Ink.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Neal Got My Vote

Beauty comes in all forms. This season a friend got me hooked on America's Got Talent. It's a fun show and whether you think some of the contestants have talent or not, you have to agree they all have moxie. They are all following their dream and that takes guts.

My favorite is Neal E. Boyd, an insurance salesman from Missouri. His first audition blew me away. I play it on YouTube all the time and it always makes me cry. Last night he performed in the semi-finals. He sang Somewhere and was perfect. I couldn't wait to cast my votes for him. Next week I'll be ensconced on my sofa cheering him on in the finals. GO NEAL!!!

If you want to hear pure beauty, watch the links above.

Neal, honey, I hope you win. But even if you don't, I'm sure you'll have a great career and I'll be in line for your first CD.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bitter-Sweet Business

Writing can be such a brutal business, filled with highs and lows, sweat and sweetness. Just as I'm celebrating new contracts, I get the word that a writer I love and person I admire is being cut by his publisher. This isn't the first time this has happened to someone I know. Friends get cut by their respective publishers all the time. But the frequency doesn't make it any easier to absorb. It only makes my own success bitter-sweet.

Publishing is about numbers, plain and simple. It's easy to understand from a business prospective. Authors who write books that sell will continue to get published. Those that don't sell, will not, at least not with that specific publisher. Publishers are in business to make profits, just like any other company. They have shareholders that must be considered and expenses that must be covered. It's no different from the corner pizza parlor or Microsoft - it all boils down to sales to keep the wheels turning. Non-performing books will be cast aside to make room for potential moneymakers.

From an artist's prospective, it sucks.

But just like in love, there is life after being dumped. Many of my friends have gone on to find new publishers and to continue with their careers. Some with even greater success. It just hurts to see them hurt.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mumbo Gumbo!

Saturday night I went to the Mystery Writers of America-So Cal Gumbo Party. It was held at the home of the gumbo king himself, Bill Fitzhugh. Bll and his wife Kendall have a great home with a yard and patio area perfect for entertaining. I understand the home used to belong to Dr. Laura, but I won't hold that against the place. It's still fabulous.

Bill, a downhome Southern boy, cooks up a mean gumbo. He had seafood gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo, and beef gumbo. My favorite was the seafood. There was also an incredible corn dish, corn muffins, fresh bread, fresh veggies and desserts to die for. The guest list read like a who's who of So. California mystery authors, including Edgar winners Naomi Hirahara and Les Klinger (who is also the prez of MWA-So Cal.) A new "kid" on the block is Amnon Kabatchnik, who had just released two reference books on plays of murder and mayhem, one of which is specifically about plays featuring Sherlock Holmes. Ammon, a retired professor of theater and former stage director, recently relocated to Los Angeles from New York. Their loss, our gain.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Talking About Talk To Me

Tonight after work I grabbed supper and settled in to watch a movie I'd been wanting to catch for awhile -- Talk to Me starring Don Cheadle. I believe Don Cheadle to be one of the great acting talents of our day. Just check him out as Mouse in Devil in a Blue Dress, or in Crash or Taffic, if you doubt me.

In Talk to Me, Cheadle portrays Petey Green, an ex-con and controversial morning DJ during the turbulent '60s. And, as always, he was ptich perfect in the role. But it wasn't just Cheadle's acting that makes this movie worth seeing, but the excellent writing and direction.

I give this movie two boobies up for acting and content. Don't miss it!

Hamster - (Not So) Free to a Good Home

I'm over at Inkspot today trying to decide if I'm the hamster or the keyboard.

Drop on by!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's Official - Well Kinda

Midnight Ink is going to purchase 6 more Odelia Grey books - count 'em - 6!

I have always envisioned the Odelia Grey series as a 12-book series, broken down into 3-book segments. Each segment follows a specific chapter in Odelia's life. The first three books are done and released and the first book in the second segment, Booby Trap, will be out in February 2009. I'm currently working on book 5, Corpse on the Cob, and sketching out book 6.

I've been asked if I feel overwhelmed knowing I have to produce 8 more books in a series. Truth is, no, I don't. I feel excited, exhilarated, and pumped, that Odelia's life will have the opportunity to unfold as I always wanted it to in my mind. I already have ideas for all the remaining books, especially as they pertain to Odelia's growth, so it's not like I'm starting from scratch. I only hope I can provide enough excitement and entertainment for my readers to stick with me to the end.

I've also been asked if Odelia will have life after book 12. Ask me that again after the release of book 11.

My agent tells me the contracts are on the way to us. Once the ink hits the paper, it will be official.

Thanks, Midnight Ink/Llewellyn Worldwide, for having such faith in me and Odelia!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bernie Mac's Dead???

Yesterday at lunch, while catching up on some of my favorite blogs, I read a passing comment about Bernie Mac's funeral. Huh? What? Is this a joke? No, sadly, it wasn't. One of my favorite comedic talents had died and was buried while my head was up my ass, oblivious to everything but getting my manuscript to my publisher on time.

Missing news events is a common occurrence in my life during the last few weeks of finishing a book. Once the book is done and sent off, I stick my head back and spend a few days catching up on what has happened around me. Unless something happens directly to me or is on the home page of or making the rounds of gossip at the law firm, I don't pay attention to it. It's like living in a big non-transparent bubble for 2 weeks.

The same goes for my personal life. Since Monday morning I have not written a word that I wasn't required to write. I have slept in a little each morning, spent more time at my day job, and been a couch potato at night watching the Olympics. Over the next few days, I'll catch up with housework, correspondence, and more news. Then it's back to the keyboard for the next book and my daily writing schedule.

Bernie, I may be late in saying this, but you'll be missed!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Is It Too Early in the Day to Celebrate?

It’s 1:05 a.m. on August 18th, the day my manuscript of The Ghost of Granny Apples is due to my publisher. I just hit the send button, propelling it from my computer to the computer in my editor’s office.

Except for a lovely lunch with my friend Patti Newler on Saturday, I spent the entire weekend putting the finishing touches on the manuscript. Thing is, it was done on Friday, but I wasn’t entirely happy with a few of the key chapters. When I started tweaking them on Saturday, well, one tweak led to another, and here I am at 1:05 a.m. telling you about it.

Think I’ll celebrate by hitting the sack. I have to get up in a few hours and head to the day job.

Odelia book #5 is due to Midnight Ink in just 150 days! I have about 45-50 pages done already. Still, I’d better get cracking! See you folks at 1:05 a.m. on January 15, 2009!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Home Stretch

This weekend, I never left my apartment. Not once. I buried myself in The Ghost of Granny Apples and only came up to eat, do laundry, vacuum, and pooper scoop the litter box. Late last night I squeezed in watching Olympic gymnastics. The manuscript is due to my publisher in 7 days. It's done. All that's left is the final editing - that final read through and tweaking - and that's moving along very well.

I don't recall ever being this relaxed right before turning in a manuscript. I mean, I'm working hard, but usually during the last few weeks I'm pulling out my hair. Not so this time. I'm not sure if this is because I'm more experienced, this being the 5th novel I've completed for publication, or that I'm too shell shocked from my first attempt to write 2 novels in one year. But whatever it is, I'm running with it!

Speaking of running, it's 6 am and I said I'd be at the day job early today.

Friday, August 08, 2008

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

Two big launches this week and one near launch.

For all you blog enthusiasts, a new fun blog featuring mystery and thriller authors was launched this week. Check out Kill Zone, featuring Michelle Gagnon, John Gilstrap, Clare Langley-Hawthorne, John Ramsey Miller, my pal Kathryn Lilley, and fellow Midnight Ink author Joe Moore. Hop on over and say hello and wish them a successful blog.

And welcome into our lives Beijing 2008! I love watching the Olympics, but will need to monitor how much viewing I do until my new manuscript is safely in the hands of my publisher.

Speaking of new manuscripts, just over a week before The Ghost of Granny Apples is off and running. Guess what I'll be doing this weekend? I'm onto the final edits now and it's going very well. So well, I'm sure I've forgotten something, like maybe a few key chapters. (Just kidding!).

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Starring ... My Dentist!

Where else, except in Los Angeles, does your dentist show up on TV? I mean, other than in the news for malpractice, drugs, or scams.

It seems that my dentist, Dr. Sam Selah, appeared on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing this week. One of my co-workers, who is also one of his patients, spilled the beans. Dr. Sam is on the first episode of the 2nd season – check it out if you have Bravo. I didn’t see the show, but now that I know, I will be looking for the reruns. Bravo has this thing where they repeat their shows over and over and over, so I’m sure I’ll catch it. This isn’t his first foray into TV Land. He has appeared on the Tara Banks Show a few times doing cosmetic dentistry makeovers.

Dr. Sam is gorgeous, and he’s just as nice as can be, even if he is VERY Beverly Hills.

A Bonehead Hit Man?

As I reported last week, a murder occurred in the parking structure of my office building. It's still a topic of speculation around conference room tables and in elevators, interest fueled by new information reported every few days.

What we have so far: It wasn't random. It wasn't a robbery or screwed up car jacking. The victim was in the middle of a messy divorce. The victim and her estranged husband owned a gold business that was under Federal investigation. The attacker, a man probably in his 20's, sped away in a red SUV.

Sounds like something from a TV show or thriller fiction, doesn't it? But it's real and it's close to home. But yesterday even more information was released.

I felt almost from the beginning that this was a hit, but there are hits made by high level assassins, and then there are hits made by boneheads. Check out the new information and make your own call.

It was bad enough the killer drove a RED SUV. Talk about not flying under the radar. Also, he drove it into a gated parking garage, took a parking ticket, then had to PAY for his parking after he was done with his horrible deed. A gated parking garage, mind you, with a security camera that captures all licenses plates. Most fancy garages do, by the way, just in case you are planning a heist or leaving work early.

From the photo of the license plate, the police have traced the RED SUV to a car rental place (don't most hit men steal their get-a-way cars?). Better yet, the RED SUV was rented using a credit card belonging to the victim's estranged husband at a rental company near his place of business.

The news said the husband is in custody on "unrelated charges." And that he is a suspect, but hasn't been charged yet.

I'm still betting it's a hit. A very sloppy one done by a relative or someone close to the family. Geez, if this were in one of my books, I'd be playing this hit man for big laughs.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hubba Hubba!

The book cover for Booby Trap is now available for public viewing! While it will not be released until February 2009, it made its debut on Amazon this weekend for pre-ordering.

Is this HOT or what?

Big shout out to Ellen Dahl, the artist at Midnight Ink who does all my book covers. Ellen, you ROCK!

Also, the Ghost of Granny Apples is just ONE chapter away from being done! Yea! Then I'll spend the next 10 days or so doing final edits.