Saturday, February 28, 2009

One Week to Aloha Time!

With only one week before my flight, I am finally excited about going to Hawaii and attending Left Coast Crime. At some point last week, my brain finally kicked itself in the ass and said quit whining and bitching and start celebrating your upcoming vacation. Maybe it was the fever and chills that accompanied the stomach bug I fought all week. Maybe the three days of nausea and stomach cramps brought on the clarity. Or maybe it was the fact that someone pissed me off so much I circled the wagons and came out with guns-a-blazing. That always clears a pity-party. Whatever it was, I'm glad I'm finally out of my doldrums and back on track mentally.

This weekend I'm on vacation alert. I'll be going through the clothing I'm taking on my trip, making sure each piece is clean, mended and fits. There's also a trip to Target on the agenda, along with cleaning the apartment and organizing my desk. And, of course, lots and lots of writing.

Currently, most of my attention is on Granny Apples Book #2. I don't have a working title. I had a title in mind when I started the book, but now that I'm three chapters into it, the title doesn't work, but I know one will present itself in time. Besides, original titles have a way of being discarded along the path to the final printing of a book, so no need to get concerned. If I don't come up with one, I know my publisher will. I'm also working on Odelia Book #6, also without a current working title.

These past few weeks, I have also decided that every weekend, I will devote a couple of hours to a non-mystery novel I've been fussing over for many years. It's title is God's Apology. This book is the very first novel I ever wrote and my agent loves it, so does my manager and ex-boyfriend (who can argue with good taste). Problem is, I'm not happy with it in its present form. It's been sitting ignored for about a year or so now, and at last I finally feel ready to make a final push on it. It's going to need a total overhaul - a tearing apart and putting back together. And it cannot get in the way of Granny and Odelia.

Guess I'd better get going. Target opens soon and I hate to fight the weekend crowds.

One week - seven days - and I'm on Aloha Time! Someone get me a Mai Tai.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Unveiling - TA DA!

One of the things my publisher excels at is cover art, and the cover for Ghost a la Mode, the first Ghost of Granny Apples mystery, is no exception.

I received this today and couldn't wait to share it with everyone.

Also, Ghost a la Mode is now available for pre-order on


Last night before going to bed, I played backgammon online. It was a full match, first one to win 5 points, wins the match (I won, btw). I often play games on line as a form of relaxation. My preferences are hearts, dominoes, and backgammon.

What puzzles me, and has puzzled me for several years now, is how many men hit on me while we’re playing these games. And I mean hit on me as in making sexual suggestions or extending invitations to meet for dinner, drinks, etc., all without any encouragement from me. When asked my age, I type “old.” When asked what I’m wearing, I type “a bad attitude.” You see, I’m not exactly giving them a come hither vibe through the computer. I don’t even have a sexually suggestive screen name. Like I said, it’s a puzzle.

Last night during my backgammon match with an opponent who claimed to be from Louisville, Kentucky, he asked if I wanted to come to Kentucky and go to the Derby with him. Had this invitation come from someone I knew personally, I would have been flattered and tempted, even though the Derby falls during the time I will be at the Malice Domestic conference. But this invitation came from a stranger. Someone I’d never met, seen, or spoken to. I didn’t even know his name and he didn’t offer to provide it. I didn’t know his age and he didn’t ask mine, which was somewhat refreshing. I was a woman. I fit his number one requirement, possibly his only requirement, and he was taking his shot.

Do some women actually fall for this nonsense? Is there really a woman out there who would have hopped a plane for Kentucky in early May thinking she might have met prince charming? Are some of us so desperate and naive that we throw caution, personal safety, and self-esteem out the window on the off chance that this time the guy might be for real? And what about the men? What makes a guy think that coming on to a strange woman over a game of backgammon makes him attractive? Don’t get me wrong. I’ve met several lovely men over the Internet and have had long term relationships with two of them, both of which are still friends. But they took the time to get to know me and find out about me, like a real friend, before moving it into the dating realm.

Flirting anonymously can be fun. It’s kind of the no harm, no foul approach to personal interaction, but when someone asks me to meet them after only “knowing” me online for five minutes, it gives me the willies and conjures of visions of body dumps in the Angeles National Forest.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Russo's Books Rocks

I spent most of yesterday on the road, travelling 2 hours from LA to Bakersfield for a 2 hour book signing at Russo's Books, and driving the same fairly desolate route back again.

I can honestly say the trip was well worth the time and the gas.

The owners and staff at Russo's are absolutely wonderful. They welcomed me like a celebrity and made sure I was comfortable. The 2 hours flew by as I enjoyed their company and the company of their lovely customers. And we sold a lot of books! One of the highlights of my time at Russo's was watching whole families come into the bookstore and leave with armloads of books. Contrary to what you might think, reading is alive and well.

If you are in the Bakersfield area, stop by and say hello to these great independent book sellers. And while you're at it, pick up a signed copy of Booby Trap. They have a bunch.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On the Shit List - Literally

So what else is new? Seems I'm always on someone's shit list. This time it's Raffi's. Raffi is my male cat. I seem to get on his shit list more often than most, but these days he's absolutely beside himself. This morning I got up and found poop in the dining area. He's done this before, but usually when the litter box needs cleaning. This morning the litter box was just fine. Last week I found poop behind the rocking chair.

You see, he hates the fact that I spend so much time at the computer at home. He's already shredded my desk chair to the point yellow foam is falling out of it like dirty snow. This week he took to sitting on my desk with his back to me, his face nose-to-nose with the computer screen, virtually blocking my view. He's a big cat, about 13 lbs of muscle, not fat at all. He's strong and opinionated. Just ask any of my friends who have met the animal. Still, considering he weighs 13 lbs and I weigh ... well, a lot more ... you'd think I'd have the upper hand. Wouldn't you?

If you doubt what I say, think of this. This morning I wrote for an hour or so, pushing him out of the way and dropping him to the carpet with regularity. Soon after, I went to take my shower. When I came back to the computer there was a nice tidy pile of poop right next to my chair. Fortunately for me, he only likes and eats dry food and hasn't been peeing along with the poop.

My other cat, B, watches all this with wide eyes, worried that I'll lose the battle and Raffi will take over the household once and for all. She's smart enough to know to get out of his way when he's mad. Me, not so much.

Photo above is of the real Raffi, not some pic purloined from the web.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

At Least Kiss Me First

I'm in a bad mood today. Actually, I've been in a semi-crabby mood for a few weeks. Not even my wonderful launch party was able to snap me fully out of it. This morning I swung my arms hard and pumped up and down the street for two miles, setting a pace just shy of a run, hoping to burn off some of my pissy attitude. I returned home sweaty, pooped, and feeling great from the neck down. From the neck up, I felt like Andy Rooney.

There are many reasons for this, but one major reason is the constant news about the failing economy, big-ass bonuses paid to unethical executives, layoffs (some of which have hit personal friends), and a stimulus package that I doubt is going to help me in any way whatsoever. Basically, I'm feeling butt-fucked by corporate America and the only thing the government is doing is handing them a tube of KY.

Last week in a radio interview, I made a joke about gathering up all my bills and debts and sending them off to President Obama. If the government can bail out the car companies and the banks, then, dammit, it can just bail me out along with them. And I'd be a hell of a lot cheaper.

You think I'm kidding? Last week it was a joke, this week I'm copying my paperwork. Let's see, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20500.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ode to My Day Job

I'm babbling about my day job today over at InkSpot.

Drop on by.

Photo: At my desk at the law firm aka the day job.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

And She's Off!

The launch of Booby Trap was a huge success! People were slow to filter in, but soon the place was packed. Some folks came from as far away as Orange County, Ventura and even Santa Barbara for the festivities. For the occasion, we decked out The Mystery Bookstore in lingerie, including their faithful mascots the English Bobby and French gendarme figures.

Thank you, Mystery Bookstore, and thank you all who attended, for giving Booby Trap a launch to remember!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't Forget - Launch Party This Saturday!

Come help me celebrate the release of Booby Trap and the nomination of Thugs and Kisses for a Lefty.

Saturday, February 14, 2009
2:00-4:00 p.m.
1036-C Broxton Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood).

There will be food, drink and door prizes! 2 hours of free parking in parking structure next to book store.

Can't make the launch and want a signed book? Just contact the Mystery Book Store and they'll hook you up. They have copies of all of the Odelia Grey novels.

Live in Orange County? Barnes and Nobel at Fashion Island, Newport Beach, has a boat load of signed copies of Booby Trap.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mr. Media and I Have a Hot Date!

This Wednesday, February 11th, noon Pacific Time, 3 pm Eastern, I will be on the LIVE Mr. Media podcast on Blog Talk Radio with Bob Andelman.

This is an interactive interview, so please call in with your questions and comments. The call-in number is (646) 595-3135. The interview should run about 45 minutes.

If you miss it, you can check it out here.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A Fan Club????

It's official, I have my first fan club. Yay! It's on Facebook and was started by Cynthia Rielley, a reader in Massachusetts who has become a good friend. This will be a place for book discussions, questions, comments, etc. on all things Odelia. From time to time, it will even feature special contests just for participants.

Everyone is welcome. To join, go to Facebook and search for "Odelia Grey Fan Club."

And thank you, everyone, who wrote after yesterday's blog to express your support and kind thoughts. Things are much better today. Maybe it was a hormonal thing. Didn't walk this morning though because it's pouring rain outside. I not only have a fan club, I have caring people cheering me on!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Dark Side Beckons

Got up and put on my sneakers and sweats this morning and hit the road at 6 am, intending to increase my walking distance to nearly 4 miles. At about 3/4 of a mile, I just couldn't put put one foot in front of the other to continue. I stood on the sidewalk and started crying as negativity as thick and heavy as a sopping wet blanket smothered me: What the fuck am I doing? Who am I kidding? I can't do the Mud Run. And what in the hell am I doing going to Hawaii? It's not in my budget, either financially or time-wise. How in the hell am I going to get a new book done on top of promoting other books? My knee hurts. My head hurts. I can't walk another step. I can't. I can't. I can't. I turned around and headed home, crying the whole way, thankful it was still dark out.

Once home, I wasn't feeling any better. Had I not already made my bed, I would have crawled back into it. It's now 90 minutes later. I'm feeling better in some respects, worse in others. I have to get into the shower, get dressed, do my hair, and go to work. I didn't get my exercise in. Didn't write a word except for this. Instead I had a meltdown.

I wondered, as I wrote this, if I should post it to my blog. Should I let the world know that sometimes I crash and burn? I mean, I have a good job, great friends and family. My health. I'm loved and I love. My dream of being an author has been realized and I have other dreams and goals ahead of me. Generally, I'm a pretty happy squirrel. But sometimes ...

I know I'm not alone in battling depression and negative thoughts. We're human, it happens. Today, I'll allow myself to wallow a bit. But tomorrow I will pull on my sneakers and sweats and put one foot in front of the other for 3.5-4 miles. I will write on the new novel and I will be productive. And I will note that Hawaii is around the corner and will be loads of fun, and that the Mud Run is just 4 months away and doable.

I will remember that everything is going to work out just fine if I stay my course, fight the good fight, and don't lose myself to the dark side.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Getting Into a Rutt

Okay, I finally did it. I went to Rutt's Hawaiian Cafe. My gal pal Ashley (A.H. Ream) and I get together for dinner once in while and hit local dives. Ashley lives to find good eats at dives, but I discovered Rutt's. We'd made plans before to go together, but never made it, so Monday, on a whim, I went on my own.

Gotta tell you, Rutt's is a damn cute dive. The food is CHEAP, plentiful, and unusual. The staff was friendly and the place clean. Downside, it's a heart attack waiting to happen. At least what I ordered. Because it was so cheap and I couldn't make up my mind, I ordered both the short ribs and pork to go, thinking I would get about 3-4 actual meals from it. Not so. I made a little piggy out of myself. The boneless short ribs were spectacular and swam in greasy tasty sauce. The pork was very fatty and covered in a thick gravy. Both came with rice and a fabulous macaroni salad. Not a vegetable in sight.

I gobbled the ribs and macaroni salad down and took a took a taste or two of the pork. I left the rice alone. Later that night and the next morning, I was dying and felt sick as hell. And I didn't even eat it all.

No, the food wasn't bad. It's just that my eating habits have, thankfully, changed. I'm finding now when I eat a lot of meat, or anything fried or greasy, I get sick. I threw out the pork and looked longingly at the cottage cheese and fruit in my fridge. I think the cottage cheese container winked while the cantaloupe wagged a finger at me.

There are several things on the Rutt's menu that look appealing and light, like their soups. And I've heard their breakfasts are wonderful. Will go back, but with a different game plan.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Writers Having Fun and Signed Books

This past weekend I just hung out, did chores and relaxed. Tim Maleeny was down from San Francisco signing his new Cape Weathers novel, Greasing the Pinata. We met up for lunch just before he signed books at The Mystery Book Store.

Sunday I spoke at the monthly meeting of the LA chapter of Sisters in Crime. My topic was Signed in Blood - What Really Happens After You Land That Book Contract. It was a packed house, in spite of it being Super Bowl Sunday. And it's fair to say more than just a couple of folks went away a bit shell-shocked by the publishing process. As I told the crowd, I was there to knock the stars from their eyes, but not the hope from their hearts. Michael Mallory kicked off the meeting with a rousing reading from his latest book, The Exploits of the Second Mrs. Watson.

I was aided in my discussion by pal Eric Stone, who backed-up what I was saying and provided his own advice to the crowd. After, several of us adjourned to a nearby French bistro for wine and hors d'oeuvres. For a colorful account of our gathering, check out Ashley's blog.

Signed Books - Several folks have asked how to get their hands on signed books if they cannot make one of my signings, or if I am not coming to their area. It's simple. Contact The Mystery Bookstore. They have copies of all four Odelia Grey novels and will be happy to assist you. I live fairly close to the store, so can dash in to sign books, as necessary.

To order a signed book, call 310-209-0415 or 800-821-9017 and tell them what you what and how you want it signed (just signature, signature and date, any special inscriptions, etc.). They will take good care of you.

Photos: Top - with Tim Maleeny; Bottom - left to right - Diana James, Darrell James, Eric Stone, A.H. Ream, Michael Mallory, me.