Friday, January 30, 2009

Michael Steele is the New Chairman of the Republican National Committee

If you read my Odelia Grey series, this heading will give you a giggle. For those of you who don't read my books, let me fill you in on the joke.

Michael Steele is paralegal-turned-sleuth Odelia Grey's obnoxious supervising attorney. He is a womanizer, an elitist, arrogant, snide and brilliant. Basically, he's a pain in her big butt. He is not a politician. Nor is he African-American. I'm not sure if he is a Republican or not. It's never come up.

But today the non-fiction Michael Steele was elected as the first African-American Chairman of the Republican National Committee. I saw him once on Real Time with Bill Maher. He's articulate, intelligent, and poised. Wonder if he knows about his fictional counterpart?

Spreading Myself Thin

I just joined Facebook. Ages ago, Keith Raffel invited me and I turned it down saying I had enough online groups on my plate. Since then, other friends have invited me and I said thanks, but no thanks. Then yesterday, my production editor at Midnight Ink, Becky Zins, told me I should join. Okay, already, I'll join!

So now I have 19 friends and counting. I even found my 2 nephews and niece on the site. Problem is, I spent 2 hours this morning on Facebook. I didn't even do my morning walk because of it.

Sigh ... this could get ugly. Especially next week when I get back to my hardcore writing schedule.

So, if you want to be my friend on Facebook, great, just please have patience if I don't respond to your comments and notes quickly.

Oh yeah, I also joined LinkedIn this week. Another one that Keith and many of my legal colleagues invited me to join, but I just got around to it. I've even had my first recommendation! Woooooo Hooooooooo

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Book By Any Other Name ...

Finally, after several months, my publisher and I have reached an agreement on the title of the first Granny Apples mystery.

And the winner is ... [drum roll] ...


Coming to your plate in September 2009.

Monday, January 26, 2009

You Are Invited!!

Booby Trap is out, that means it's time to hit the road in a whirlwind of book signings and speaking engagements.

The festivities start next Sunday, February 1st, 2:00-4:00 p.m. I'll be the guest speaker at the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters In Crime. The topic will be "Signed in Blood - What Really Happens Once You Land that Book Contract." This event will be held in the Community Room of the South Pasadena Library, 1115 El Centro, South Pasadena, CA.

And mark your calendars for the Booby Trap Launch Party!

Saturday, February 14, 2009, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Mystery Book Store, 1036-C Broxton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood). There will be food, drink and door prizes! All are invited. Come help me celebrate the release of this fun book and the nomination of Thugs and Kisses for a Lefty.

I have a whole lot of other events lined up between these two and following. For the entire list of my events go to the calendar page of my web site.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

See Sue Run

As I write this blog this morning, I have just returned from my morning 2 mile walk. And I mean JUST, like less than 60 seconds ago. I'm pooped. I'm sweaty. And I'm excited. You see, today, for the first time since I was in my twenties or early thirties (we're talking about 25 or so years ago, folks), I ran a half mile without stopping. Okay. Okay. It wasn't a full RUN, but it was definitely NOT a walk. More like an anemic jog. But it was a RUN and I have the sweaty tee shirt to prove it. And, obviously, if I'm writing this, I didn't keel over.

As most of you know, I'm preparing my fat ass for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run on June 6th. I'm already registered for the event and now is when the going gets tough and the not-so-tough must move her kiester. My goal before the end of this month is to run the full 2 miles, stopping only for traffic signals (I don't want to be run over before the Mud Run kills me, do I? Where's the glory in that?)

Last January I set out to lose 100 lbs in 2008. I didn't do it. I failed to hit that goal. I hit several other goals in 2008, but not that one. But since last January I have lost just shy of 30 lbs and have kept it off. For 2009 my goal has changed. I'm not out to lose weight. I'm out to get fit. If the weight comes off as part of that challenge, great. But I'm not obsessing over numbers on the scale, just focusing on how far I can run without stopping. And today it was a half mile!

(Print above: Women Running by the late Beryl Cook.)

Addendum: When I got to work today, I told Todd, my supervising attorney, that I'd run 1/2 mile this morning. His response: "Intentionally or was a dog chasing you?" Now doesn't that sound like it belongs in an Odelia book?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just Call Me Lefty

I always take great pleasure in announcing the award nominations received by friends, but today I get to announce one of my very own.

Thugs and Kisses, the 3rd book in my Odelia Grey series, was just nominated for a Lefty!

The Lefty award is given for the best humorous mystery novel by the folks at the Left Coast Crime conference. The winner will be announced on March 11th at Left Coast Crime 2009, and I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out how in the hell I was going to get myself to Hawaii for the event.

Thank you everyone who nominated me.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This Land Is My Land

Sunday I watched part of the Obama Inauguration concert on HBO. I was busy finishing Corpse on the Cob (which, by the way, was turned into my editor yesterday - YAY!), so couldn't watch the whole thing. But I caught the last 30 minutes and was glad I did.

I will forever remember Pete Seeger on stage in front of the Lincoln Memorial leading the enormous crowd in "This Land is Your Land," one of my favorite folk songs. Pete Seeger is 90 years old. As long as I can remember, he has fought for what he believes in, especially civil rights. In spite of being beaten and jailed for speaking out, he never gave up, never took the easy way out. His presence reminded me that change can occur and that individuals can be the catalyst for that change.

I cried through every stanza of the song, and even when I replay it on You Tube.

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking that freedom highway
Nobody living can make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

(last stanza of This Land is Your Land, by Woody Guthrie)

Friday, January 16, 2009

You Go, Girl!

This morning the nominations were announced for the Edgars. The Edgars, named after Edgar Alan Poe, are the awards given out to the best mystery novels of the past year by Mystery Writers of America.

No, I wasn't nominated. Sigh...

BUT, my buddy Christa Faust was! Christa's kick ass novel, Money Shot, was nominated for Best Original Paperback!


This is what an Edgar looks like. Probably as close as I'll get to one.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Booby Trap is in the house!

Booby Trap, the 4th Odelia Grey novel just went LIVE. It can be found on, as well as your other favorite on-line book sellers. It might take a few days to get into stores, but it's HERE!!!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Announcing the Winners!

This being Golden Globe night, it seemed appropriate to announce the winners of the 2008 Odelia Grey Fall Contest – Who Are The Thugs and Who Gets Kisses.

1st Place – Dianne Hannah of Willingboro, NJ – Dianne won a signed copy of Booby Trap, Thin Mints, a selection of Midnight Ink mysteries and a Sisters In Crime/Los Angeles visor.

2nd Place – Helen Kiker of Winchester, VA – Helen won a signed copy of Booby Trap, Thin Mints, and a Midnight Ink mystery novel

3rd Place – Jill Miksch of LeMars, IA – Jill won a signed copy of Booby Trap and Thin Mints

Thank you, everyone, who entered. This annual contest continues to grow and we have entries from all over the nation. This year we even had a contestant from Canada!

We’re cooking up a different kind contest for late spring and summer. Winners will receive a signed copy of the 1st book in the new Ghost of Granny Apples series. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Crunch Time!

Today is January 6th - a notable day for two reasons. 1) It's Armenian Christmas (Merry Christmas, again, everyone!) and 2) exactly five months from today is the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.

That's right THE Mud Run. Remember way back in May 2008 when I announced that I was going to do the Mud Run? Well, do you? Bet you thought I'd forgotten. Or maybe that I had chickened out and was hoping no one would notice. Not a chance!

I officially registered on December 31st, almost as soon as registration opened and just before the year turned over. There are about 10 of us doing it from the law firm, as well as other folks I know. It should be a huge blast, providing I survive it.

I'm training hardcore now. Working out about 1-2 hrs a day to get fit for the event.

5 months or 151 days. It's crunch time, folks!

And I thought my book deadlines were tough ...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Other Sue

Yesterday I had lunch at the historic El Cholo restaurant with fellow author Dianne Emley. We had a wonderful long lunch over margaritas and grilled fish tacos. Along the way, Sue Grafton's name came up and Dianne asked if I'd seen the photo of Sue Grafton's home office on her website. I had. In fact, I downloaded the photo quite awhile ago because it is my dream office. Maybe not as large, but the set up and built-ins are to die for.

So here it is: Sue Grafton's office vs. Sue Ann Jaffarian's current office.

Just in case you can't guess which is which, mine is the bottom photo. Note the stuffing coming out of the chair. When Raffi feels he's not getting enough attention, he goes straight to the back of my chair. I guess better that than the sofa.

And, by the way, I'll have you know the rest of my apartment DOES NOT look like this. Neither does my office at the law firm. Honest! My home office is the one place I allow mess and chaos. Now if I had an office like Sue Grafton's ...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Morning Musings and New Mantra

I woke up this morning, the first morning of 2009, feeling the sharp but light prick of a cat's claws in my skull. Raffi, my male cat, was on the pillow next to me, holding my head down firmly with one paw, licking my hair and purring. I consider this an auspicious beginning to the New Year. You see, I woke up feeling loved. Okay, maybe it's not the same as a significant other whispering sweet nothings in your ear, but considering I am significant other-less at the moment, I'll take it.

Once I managed to push the determined Raffi away, I stayed in bed and pondered my activities for the next few days. Why? Because I am officially ON VACATION from the law firm for the next 7 days!!! It will be a busy 7 days. I have a manuscript due in 12 days, and final edits on Granny Apples due in 15 days. There's no doubt that I will make both deadlines. I also want to clean out my closet, clean off my desk, take down Christmas decorations and spend time with friends.

For the past couple of years I have taken a week off at the beginning of the year. It was never planned that way. It just sort of happened. I intended to take time off for Christmas, but being that I am a corporate paralegal, there are always clients making a mad dash for year end, pushing my vacation into the new year. This morning I seriously considered making this a tradition - I should take off the first week of the new year EVERY year. It's a great way to start fresh.

After making that decision, I thought about my mantra for 2009. You know, the catch phrase that I will carry like a banner through the next 12 months to encourage and strengthen me. (I think last year's by default was either "bite me" or "f-off" or something equally hostile, and since it was a rough year in many respects, those sayings were put into play quite often.) Not this year. This year's mantra was carefully chosen for its positive message about moving on, leaving negative time consuming energy behind.


I first heard these words on Show Time's Californication. The charming, cool and rather insane Lew Ashby said them to the broken hearted Becca Moody. Actually, what he told the teen was: "Shake it off, princess." Since I'm not about to refer to myself as princess, I took the liberty of editing it down to just "shake it off."

So in 2009 whenever anything annoys me, pisses me off, makes me nuts, or bounces around in my head like a pinball hitting all my buttons, I'm going to just say to myself - SHAKE IT OFF.

And all of you can remind me of that if ever you hear the words "bite me" or "f-off" come out of my mouth in 2009.