Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ranting and Rolling - And This Time, It's Not Me!

Hmmm, rant and roll - is that like lock 'n load?

Either way, my good pal Tim Maleeny is locked and loaded and on a fabulous rant about government double speak this morning over at the Inkspot. Hop on over, it's well worth the read.

You go, Tim!

And don't miss Tim's new novel, Jump, due out in just a few weeks. Also, well worth the read.


Monday, April 27, 2009

What? Me Worried?

The LA Times Festival of Books was, as always, a great event. I met many faithful readers of my Odelia Grey series and had the opportunity to introduce it to many new readers. Both the Sisters In Crime Mystery Book Store booths were hard working and a fun time. A big THANK YOU to both organizations.

Okay, with one of the biggest book weekends of the year behind me, it was time to review my calendar this morning. Unless I've missing something, I have clear sailing from now until the Mud Run on June 6th. A full 40 days to concentrate on my Mud Run training and the writing of Granny Apples #2 (which is due in 96 days). Outside of the time spent at the law firm, those two things are the only items I will be focusing on besides feeding and tending the cats.

We're talking hardcore work on both, especially the Mud Run training.

Fasten your seat belts, kids, it's gonna be a bumpy ride!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

LA TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS - THIS WEEKEND!

It's the last weekend in April and to a writer in California that means only one thing - the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books!

If you come to the festival, drop by and say hello. I'll be there in the afternoon on both days signing books at two booths.

Saturday - 2-4 p.m., Sisters in Crime/LA booth (#355 - in front of Royce Hall)

Sunday - 1-2 p.m., Mystery Book Store booth (#411 on midway)

Sunday - 2-4 p.m., Sisters in Crime/LA booth (#355)

This is a wonderful outing for the entire family. And it's FREE. Parking is $9.00.

(Bit of advice - dress comfortably, especially good walking shoes.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another Dream Being Realized

Last night I sat down and watched the clip on You Tube of Susan Boyle's performance on Britain's Got Talent. This clip has already received over 10 million (yes, 10 MILLION) hits. I'm a little late to the party having had to finish book edits and bathe a cat, but I finally made time to see what all the hullabaloo was about.

I'm sure you've heard of Susan Boyle. It's been all over the news. She's the 47-year-old plain Jane, unemployed church volunteer, who wowed the socks off of cynic Simon Cowell and his fellow judges, proving you can't judge a book by its cover, or in this case a voice by its eyebrows. Her performance of I Dreamed a Dream (one of my favorite songs) was absolutely stunning. Ms. Boyle also displayed a spunky and fun personality.

Ms. Boyle will go far. And not just on Britain's Got Talent. The show was just the catalyst, her springboard to the center of the world stage, a place that might otherwise have never allowed her anything more than a balcony seat.

You Go, Girl, seems so inadequate for what this lady has already accomplished.

Susan Boyle is the poster child for all of us struggling to realize our dreams. See what happens when you don't listen to naysayers and cynics?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Morning Drama

This morning I did something I only do once a year - I gave B a B-A-T-H.

B is my 19 lb. Norwegian Forest Cat. She's a sweet, gentle soul with a soft purr that sounds like a dove's coo and a louder version reminiscent of an electric massager. Although she's not a lap cat, she loves to cuddle on the sofa and watch TV. At night she sleeps next to me with her head on the extra pillow and snores. Her favorite toys are the mouse track and the cardboard scratch box. She's shy and afraid of strangers and has an addiction to crunchy cat treats and cat nip. Yes, folks, she's my little stoner.

She has more fur than 3 cats combined and it can deteriorate into messy mats faster than she can go after a bug. I brush her regularly and remove the mats, but once a year I have to give her a bath. Why, you ask, don't I just take her to a groomer? One, it's expensive, but mostly, because of her nervous nature. It would be more traumatic to her than my annual assault with water and kitty shampoo.

This year though, I tried something different with better success. After shampooing her in the large kitchen sink, amidst loud, heartbreaking yowls sure to wake my neighbors, I wrapped her in a towel and transported her to the bathroom. There I shut the door, and the other cat out, and went to work on her with towels and a hair dryer. I didn't succeed in getting her dry but at least she wasn't sopping wet when she escaped and dashed under the bed, where I'm sure she'll stay for the next 24 hours.

Work, writing, and training for the Mud Run are child's play next to washing a 19 lb cat. I'm just thankful it hasn't occurred to her to scratch and bite. What can I say, she isn't the brightest bulb. But then, neither is her human mother. I totally forgot to bring the camera into the bathroom. Well, there's always next year.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Grey Gardens, Not Odelia Grey

Tonight I watched the HBO original movie Grey Gardens. I'd been intrigued by the trailer for a couple of weeks and am happy to say it did not disappoint. In fact, I was totally engrossed for the entire 2 hours.

Grey Gardens is the story of Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edith ("Little Edie") Bouvier Beale, played beautifully by Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, respectively. The Beales were eccentric relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onasis who went from trust funds to squalor in a mansion in East Hampton.

The Beale women were the subject of a documentary in 1976 and the current movie encompasses their lives and the filming of that documentary. It's definitely something worth watching and I'll be surprised if Drew Barrymore doesn't snag an Emmy or at least a nomination for her role.

(Photo to the right is the real Little Edie.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

One Sick Kitty

I'm home sick today. I was home sick yesterday. Except for feeling tired and having a twinge of a headache, I went to bed Wednesday night feeling fine. After all, my taxes were done and mailed, Corpse on the Cob was finished, and three big projects at work were under control. However, I woke up in the middle of the night not so fine and spent 20-30 minutes hanging my head over the toilet. I thought it was food poisoning, by my own hand no less, but as fever and chills set in and my headache erupted like a volcano, I had to give in to the fact that I had a bug.

Yesterday was spent entirely on the sofa watching TV, mostly movies, one after the other, as I dozed. The cats took turns keeping me company. You'd think with 2 days home, I'd get a lot of writing done. HAH! You try working on a novel with a samba in your stomach and a mariachi band in your head. It's even difficult to read in that state.

Today I'm a lot better, but weak as a kitten. For the past 40 hours all I've successfully eaten are 2 bowls of oatmeal and 1 bowl of carrot ginger soup, washed down with large amounts of vitamin enhanced water. I'd kill for a cheeseburger, but I'm afraid the cheeseburger might kill me.

The purpose of this blog posting is not to whine about being sick, even though that argument could be made. No, I'm just verbally curious about the timing of this illness. The bug hit me right after I finished up with some very important things. Was it there all along, being courteous so not to disrupt my schedule? Or on Wednesday night did my body finally lay down its defenses for a relaxed, unguarded moment? Either way, viruses suck!

Today I might actually get some reading and writing done, or I may torture myself and watch the Food Network.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

FINISHED!

I bet you think I'm referring to my taxes, huh? Nope, not this year. My taxes were done in March. Yes, I was actually early for a change.

This morning I finished the edits on Corpse on the Cob, the 5th book in my Odelia Grey series. These are the edits after my publisher has seen the manuscript. These are the final edits until I see the proofs sometime in the fall before it goes to print. Finished. The End.

Next!

I have 108 days until my next manuscript, book 2 in my Ghost of Granny Apples series, is due to my publisher. I have several good chapters completed already and am anxious to move forward.

On another note, I have 52 days until the Mud Run. Believe me, this deadline, above all others, scares the poop out of me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

You're Fired!

On Sunday evenings I like to veg. It’s a night for curling up with the cats to watch guilt-free TV. I might throw in a small load of laundry or do a little ironing, but the focus is on relaxation and any chores that get done are done in front of the tube or during commercials. My TV watching line up for Sunday evenings is usually 60 Minutes, The Amazing Race, and Cold Case. It’s a CBS love-fest. Lately, though, I’ve made some changes. 60 Minutes has been replaced by The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and Cold Case by Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice. It’s this last substitution that has me worried.

I have no idea why I got hooked on Celebrity Apprentice. It caught me in a weak moment and appeals to my baser side, kind of like junk food. Until this season I’d never seen the show, celebrity version or otherwise, but a few weeks ago a trailer showing Dennis Rodman having a melt down caught my eye and drew me in like an innocent bunny lured to the stew pot by a demented, jilted lover.

Okay, Dennis Rodman is now off the show. I’m still watching it. See the problem here?

The celebrities on the show are from all walks of celebrity-dom. There are singers, comedians, actors, athletes, etc. You name it, they’ve got it. After following the show for a few weeks, I’ve decided the purpose of the show is to shell-shock people suffering from celebrity-itis back to reality. You see, this show doesn’t bring out the good in these people, who make more money than God, it brings out the bad, shines a spot light on it, and encourages it to tap-dance. It’s like Survivor, but with a better wardrobe. And like Survivor, it celebrates back-biting, lying, and poor sportsmanship. (Okay, okay - yes, I watch Suvivor - guilty!)

After watching a few shows of Celebrity Apprentice, I’ve decided that Melissa Rivers is a whiney brat who needs several long time outs and that her mother, Joan Rivers, needs a reality check about her daughter’s behavior. Joan, can we talk? Neither am I a fan of two-faced poker queen Annie Duke or bull-headed Clint Black. Khloe Kardashian is lazy and needs a real life, not a reality show. Dennis Rodman needs AA, but who didn’t already know that? These people were better off when they weren’t so up close and personal.

But all is not lost. I’ve given Hershel Walker and Jesse James gold stars. Please don’t disappoint me, gentlemen.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Better Than A Chocolate Bunny. Really!

Yesterday morning I received a phone call from a producer who has been looking at optioning my books. That's all I can tell you for now.

Keep those ears crossed!

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ups and Downs on a Tuesday

This morning was a tough one for me. I had to cancel my plans to attend the Malice Domestic conference in a few weeks. In light of the layoffs at work and the overall economy, I decided it best not to let loose with unnecessary funds or vacation time right now. I need for my life and the world in general to stabilize a bit.

But the morning wasn't a total heartbreak. Bill Krause, my editor at Midnight Ink, sent me a draft of the cover for Corpse on the Cob, book 5 in my Odelia Grey mystery series. Once again, Midnight/Llewellyn and the artistic talents of Ellen Dahl have exceeded my expectations with regard to covers.

I am about 3/4 done with the final edits to Corpse on the Cob. This is my favorite part of editing, when I get to revisit the book after my publisher has provided their comments and I've had a bit of breathing room. It's almost like seeing it for the first time.

Corpse on the Cob will be released late January/early February 2010.

Friday, April 03, 2009

I Spoke Too Soon

Recently I reported that so far no one has been laid off at my firm. That's no longer true. Since my post of just a few days ago, we've lost two attorneys and three staff members.

The firm I work for has never laid off people in their entire 20+ years of business. It was as tough on the bosses as it was on the rest of us.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Big Rig Crashes Into Flintridge Book Store and Coffee Shop


Last Thursday night I was at the Flintridge Book Store and Coffee Shop doing my book thing. Last night a run-a-way big rig crashed into that same book store, killing 2 and injuring 12 others. No one in the book store was hurt. See news article.

Realizing that a week ago I and many others, including several of my close friends, were gathered exactly where the truck hit, it gave me the willies and made my heart stop for a second or two. Thursday nights is when this store hosts author events. Thankfully, the accident happened on a Wednesday or it could have been even more devastating.

My heart goes out to those involved in this horrendous accident and especially to those who lost loved ones. Sandy and her staff are now facing a very tough time. Our wonderful independent bookstores are suffering enough in this economy without something like this speeding up their demise.

If and when things are back to normal for this delightful family bookstore, make sure you give them a shout out and visit them, and buy books!