Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hot 'n Haunting - Emphasis on HOT

This was me this weekend, except for the slippers. After a fairly mild summer to date, California got hit with a heat wave - right on the final week of my deadline for Hot 'n Haunting. Seems appropriate, doesn't it?

Starting with Friday night after work, I glued myself to my computer for most of the weekend, pounding out the final chapters to the second book in my Ghost of Granny Apples mystery series.

I live on the 3rd floor in an apartment without AC. At 10 pm on Saturday evening, the thermostat in my apt read 90 degrees. And that was with 2 big fans running 24 hrs a day in the living room and one huge oscillating fan running in my bedroom/office. Sweat poured down my back, down my face, down my arms. Even over the computer mouse. I took cool showers twice a day and lived on stuff like yogurt, cottage cheese, and fresh fruit. Oh yeah, and some ice cream. The cats sprawled on the cooler linoleum in the entry hall and enjoyed the ice cubes I dumped into their water from time to time. Speaking of water, I think I drank my weight in it in the past couple of days.

Why, you ask, didn't I just leave and go someplace with AC to work? Because I write better when I'm at home at my desk top. And because Hot 'n Haunting is due to my publisher in 8 days. Yes, eight, ocho, VIII days!

So how did I do on my deadline this weekend? I'll tell ya straight out - I ROCKED! In spite of the brutal heat, I cranked out some of pretty cool stuff. And I'm so close to finishing, I not only can see the finish line, I can smell it.

Or is that me needing another shower?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tough Love

I'm dishing out TOUGH LOVE for new and aspiring writers over at Inkspot today. Drop on by!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sue Ann Does The Bay Area - Sort Of

No, this weekend I didn't make a trip to San Francisco, one of my favorite cities. Rather San Francisco, or more specific, the Bay Area, came to me.

Saturday, I took time out from my feverish writing to visit the Mystery Bookstore where pal Sophie Littlefield was down from the Bay Area to hawk her new book, A Bad Day for Sorry. With Sophie were Margaret Grace (Malice in Miniature), Juliet Blackwell (Secondhand Spirits) and Ann Parker (Leaden Skies), three other Bay Area ladies of mystery that I know. Check out these fine authors who represent four distinct subgenres of the mystery world. It was a fun time and buds Eric Stone and Ashley Ream were also there. Then it was back home to work on my own manuscript.

After getting up very early to write on Sunday morning, I met up with long-time friend Leila Sarkisian, who lives in SF but was down in LA this weekend for a family event. We hadn't seen each other in a very long time and it was fun catching up over breakfast at Grub, a place I discovered when searching on the Internet for a new breakfast spot.

Grub is a charming little bistro on a small street in Hollywood. It had everything I look for in a brunch spot - early hours, casual environment, outdoor dining, and an interesting and reasonably priced menu. Another thing that caught my attention is that Grub is co-owned by Betty Fraser, a former contestant on Top Chef. Being a TC devotee, that sealed the deal. I'm happy to say that Grub delivered on all pistons. I had what's billed as their "Friggin' Amazin' French Toast." It was wonderful, though I usually prefer eggs for brunch over sweets. Leila, not a typical breakfast eater, had the pulled pork sandwich. I definitely intend to go back. Their lunch and dinner menus looked great, too.

By 11 am I was back at my computer pounding away towards the finish of Hot 'n Haunting. I am very pleased to say I wrote a crap load this weekend! And still managed to do laundry and vacuum, along with grooming a very disgruntled B. And, of course, I didn't miss a minute of True Blood or Drop Dead Diva!

Now it's off to the day job with a sense of a weekend well done.

Just 2 more weeks until Hot 'n Haunting is due to my publisher - pant, pant.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lusty Confessions of a Middle-Aged Crazy Woman

I have several things to confess, right here, right now. And I don't care who in the hell reads this.

I am in lust with Alexander Skarsgård. For those of you not in the know, Skarsgård plays the 1,000-year-old bad-boy vampire, Eric Northman, on the fabulous HBO show True Blood. I mean, look at him! He's even sexy when he has fresh blood dripping from his fangs.

The thing is, I have never had a fondness for fair-skinned blonds. I prefer men on the swarthy side and closer to my age, so it surprised the begesus out of me when I found myself holding my breath until each time his character showed up on screen.

Holy batshit, I am waaaaaay too old to be behaving like an obsessed teeny-bopper. In fact, I'm old enough to be this boy's mother for cripes sake. Ummm, that's Alexander's mother not Eric's. After all, Eric is supposedly 1,000 years old and, well, I'm not... yet.

For many reasons, I thought this past week's episode of True Blood ("I will Rise Up") was the best one yet. And I would feel that way even if the episode didn't feature Eric Northman stretched out naked on a bed. Really, I would! I liked this episode so much I've watched it at least 3 times. For the crisp dialogue, of course.

Oh boy, Sunday night is just around the corner. I can't wait.

Eric, you can bite me anytime...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Aching Eyeballs

As most everyone within a 5,000 mile radius of me knows, I’m in the final throes of finishing Hot ‘n Haunting, the 2nd book in my Ghost of Granny Apples mystery series. This means that I need to be writing several hours a day, both in the morning before I go to work at the law firm and after work. Problem is, at ye old day job I’ve been given some pretty boring and tedious projects. You know the kind. The sort of work that numbs the mind and makes the noggin throb. Throw in hours of squinting at legal due diligence documents on the computer and you can add bulging, bruised and unhappy eyeballs to the mix. However, this work needs to be done just as much as Hot ‘n Haunting needs to be finished. Both are on deadlines. Neither can be missed.

So how’s a gal supposed to write when her eyes needs cold compresses?

Hot ‘n Haunting is going well. I’m pleased with it, but just when I can see the finish line, someone moves the tape. I know the ending. It plays like a movie in my brain. But unlike movies, which move fast, novels get tied up with pages and pages of dialogue and description. There's simply no short cut. I can’t get to the finish without following the trail up and down the hills and over the obstacles.

Gee, that’s sounds a lot like the Mud Run I recently finished, doesn’t it. Funny thing, the Mud Run had now become my touchstone. My point of reference when things get tough.

“If I can finish the damn Mud Run, then I can [fill in the blank].”

If I can finish the damn Mud Run, then I can finish Hot 'n Haunting, in spite of wanting to skewer both eyes with knitting needles.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Granny is Alive!

Just got word that Ghost a la Mode, the first book in my new Ghost of Granny Apples series, is already in stock at Amazon. That means it should be coming to a book store near you shortly. If you don't see it, ask for it!

In a few weeks, I'll be hitting the trail every weekend for book events and signings. Lots of fun things planned, so check the calendar on my website to see where I'll be. The calendar is a work in progress and is updated frequently, so check it often.

Come on out to an event and say hello. I don't bite, unless you ask nicely.

Meanwhile, I'm just 3 weeks away from finishing Hot 'n Haunting, the 2nd offering in the Ghost of Granny Apples series.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Look, Ma, I'm On A T-Shirt!

Avid reader and artist, Cyn Rielley of Massachusetts lets everyone know she loves to read.

Recently she created this T-shirt and wore it on vacation. She included the names of many of her favorite writers. See anyone you recognize?

You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stop! You're Filming Me!

Back by popular demand, the trio of Bill Fitzhugh, Laura Levine and I will be reprising our dog and pony show: Stop! You’re Killing Me! An evening with L.A.’s funniest mystery authors.

The three of us have appeared on panels at several libraries now and we're going to keep doing it until we get it right. That's all there is to it

But this time it's not a dress rehearsal. This time it's going to be filmed for public access TV, channel 22.

So put on your best I wanna be on TV smile and come on down!

Thursday, August 13, 2009
7:00 p.m.

Wiseburn Library
5335 W. 135th St.
Hawthorne, CA 90250-4948

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Suspension of Belief or Twilight Zone?

By now everyone has heard the disgusting story of how Ryan O'Neil hit on Tatum O'Neil, his own freaking daughter, at Farrah Faucett's funeral. When I first heard this, I figured it was some joke. Certainly, it couldn't be real. Finally this weekend, after hearing several comics talk about it, I decided to look up the story for myself.

Well, I'll be damned ... it was true! The slime bag really did come on to his own daughter. According to the story in Vanity Fair, O'Neal claims he didn't recognize Tatum.

He didn't recognize his own daughter??? I don't even know Tatum O'Neil but I recognize her every time I see a photo of her. I don't even need a caption to assist me.

But lack of recognition of his own spawn aside, it's still pretty vile that this man, who professed such love and devotion in a documentary that was shown recently worldwide, hit on ANYONE just minutes after touching the casket of Farrah Fawcett. The woman wasn't even in the ground yet! Over the years, anyone paying even moderate attention to entertainment gossip has learned that Ryan O'Neil was hardly the model father, husband, and companion, but this really takes the cake. A new low in maledom.

This is the sort of plot twist you wish you'd thought of first to put in a novel. And even as I write this, I'm sure many novelists are doing just that. But it's also the sort of thing many editors are going to criticize, saying it demands too much suspension of belief.

This is so skanky on so many levels...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Seems Like Only Yesterday ...

Just learned that Corpse on the Cob, the 5th book in the Odelia Grey mystery series, is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Woooo Hoooo! It is scheduled for release February 2010.

Wow! When looking at my Amazon author's page today, I was struck by how many books I now have under my belt - 5 Odelias, 1 Granny Apples and some miscellaneous contributions. And I'm currently working on Odelia #6 and Granny #2. Seems like only yesterday, I was dreaming of having a body of work lined up like candles on a birthday cake. And now here it is!

Today is also the launch day for A Bad Day For Sorry by my friend Sophie Littlefield. I had the privilege of reading A Bad Day For Sorry several months ago. Try it, you'll love it!

Remember all you aspiring authors out there, there was a time when I was working on my first novel and struggling to get published. Same with Sophie. There are no short cuts. No magic pill. No special words of incantation. It takes a lot of work, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice to create a book, sell it to a publisher, and get it into the hands of readers. And the work never stops.

But it can happen. Sophie and I are proof of that.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Like Buttah

I've been in the proverbial weeds with Hot 'n Haunting, my 2nd Ghost of Granny Apples novel, for several weeks now. Even this weekend, things looked dodgy with Saturday a total writing loss. Sunday was a lot better, and after hacking my way through the swamp that is my mind these days, I made up some time. But even then fell way short of my planned page count for the weekend. This morning I got up early and attacked the manuscript again.

The words came forth like melted buttah. So much so, it was difficult to pull myself away and get ready for work.

Yay! Now I'm cooking!

35 days until Hot 'n Haunting is due to my publisher. No one upset the chef!