Friday, January 29, 2010

I HEART MY FAN CLUB

Quite a while back, friend and reader Cyn Rielley started the Odelia Grey Fan Club on Facebook and many people who enjoyed the sleuthing adventures of Odelia joined. It was so cool. I try to visit it often and leave messages with tidbits of news, in addition to my regular Facebook postings.

This week, Cyn and I agreed that the name should be changed to the Sue Ann Jaffarian Fan Club. It made sense to do that since I have more than just the one series. This site will now encourage readers to discuss any of the books I write, not just the Odelia Grey books, and it will be easier for readers of my other series to find the spot.

When Cyn first started the Odelia Grey Fan Club, I blushed. Wow, a fan club. Who? Me? But because the name of the club belonged to Odelia, I could still maintain a certain emotional distance. They were celebrating my sassy, smart ass heroine, not me.

Now that my name is officially on it, I have mixed feelings. First of all, it's a bit embarrassing and seems rather cheeky. I have a fan club! ha ha ha But it is also rather humbling. OMG! What if I disappoint these good folks? Then there's the panic of self-doubt. Don't follow me, cause I don't know where in the hell I'm going!

After years of building a writing career and pounding the keyboard to produce book after book after book, the bottom line is that it is very exciting and heartwarming to know that people are really interested in my work and are waiting for each new book to come out. It's great to go into the club's site and read the notes of encouragement, especially when I'm tired and cranky and don't think I can't write another word, let alone another book. Believe me, that site is more of a help to me than to them.

Thank you, Cyn, for creating this place for the readers and for me. And thank you all who join and send me words of encouragement.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Corpse on the Cob is in the House!

Seems like just a few months ago I was in Massachusetts researching corn mazes for Corpse on the Cob. It was a very pleasant trip. I stayed at Henry Farm, a charming country B&B in Chester, Vermont for a few days, did some book signings in VT and NH, and caught up with my brother, who I hadn't seen in years, in Lebanon, NH. The second half of my trip was spent with my family in the Sturbridge, MA area, where I had a few more book signings and attended a family wedding. I also met my friend Stacia on that trip when she and her husband Jon attended a Labor Day party at Henry Farm. It was definitely one of my favorite vacation/writing trips.

While at the B&B, every morning I got in quality writing time at their picnic table while gazing at pine studded mountains. The manuscript I was working on came to be known as Booby Trap. My niece Lindsay drove up to Sunderland, MA and stomped through the hot, dusty corn maze with me at Mike's Maze. Today she's the mother of a 14-month old, with baby #2 due in March.

Yep, seems like just a few months ago, but it was really 2-1/2 years ago! Time flies when you have your nose buried in fiction and your fingers glued to a keyboard.

I was born in Massachusetts and spent most of my childhood there before moving with my family to California. Eventually, all the family moved back to the East Coast, except for me. But it's still home and always will be. From inception, through research, to publication, Corpse on the Cob holds a lot of fond memories.

Corpse on the Cob went live today on Amazon! That means it will be in your favorite book store soon. If it's not, ask for it. And while reading it, remember that I had a hellava good time writing it.

Reviews of Corpse on the Cob:

Jaffarian keeps getting better and better at blending humor, suspense, and romance. - Publishers Weekly

Like its predecessors, this fifth series title (after Booby Trap) is a delight. - Library Journal

Suspenseful and thrilling, with just the right dash of humor and romance ... - Fresh Fiction

Being Committed vs. Being Committed


I'm over at Inkspot today talking about whether or not writers should be committed (aka a trip to the funny farm).


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Day Job Makes Me Proud

By now, there is probably not a person on the planet who has not heard about the horrific devastation in Haiti caused by an earthquake last week. The sheer magnitude of the suffering brings most of us to our knees with sinking helplessness. What can we do? How best to do it? Will it be enough?

At the law firm where I work, one of the associates started gathering up co-workers interested in donating together to an agreed upon specific charity. She then went to the partners, along with others, and asked if the firm would match our donations. The answer was a speedy yes. The charity: Doctors Without Borders. The list of donors is growing.

The firm is very charity conscious. Every year we walk as a group for the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House. Christmas 2009, the firm donated money to a food bank in the names of its employees. And when the firm celebrated its 25th anniversary, each of the three offices was tasked with doing group charity work in celebration, in addition to the staff being given special monetary thanks. We are each encouraged to do what we can.

The firm was hit like most others during the recent economic crisis. We had a few layoffs, our salaries were frozen, and we've had to tighten our belts, but the spirit of giving to those less fortunate was never extinguished.

I don't know if it's the fact that the firm where I'm employed as a paralegal specializes in health care law, or if it's the mindset of the managing partners. I believe it's a combination of the two, with heavy leaning towards management and management style. They are good people who show concern for their employees and the world around them.

And they're attorneys! Kind of takes the venom out of some of those snarky lawyer jokes, doesn't it?

I have worked at a lot of law firms and corporate legal departments during my 37 years in the legal field, but none have made me feel so much of a team or so proud.

Great Job HLB!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thanks Fresh Fiction!


Sharon Galligar Chance over at Fresh Fiction recently posted an interview with me, along with a review of Corpse on the Cob, calling it "suspenseful and thrilling, with just the right dash of humor and romance."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

You Can Puke, But You Can't Quit

You've heard me say this before, but it could stand repeating. It's that important.

I just paid someone to kick my ass.

Today was my first day with Justen, my personal trainer. He's a nice guy - tall, good looking, quiet spoken - and he gave me an ass whoopin'. And, leave it to me to find a trainer who has published a novel.

I did squats, crunches, push ups, worked with weights and weight machines. He even gave me homework and wants me to do 45 min. of cardio every day. He's a man on a mission to see me reach my goals. At the end he put me on a table and stretched me out. When he stretched my back, I forgave him for everything he'd pushed me to do during the hour before. It was that good.

When you watch the Biggest Loser on TV and you see those poor folks vomiting from the work out, guess what, that's not staged. Trust me. I didn't vomit during the workout today, but after, when Justen was giving me my homework assignment, I had several green moments. The last time I was this exhausted was after the Mud Run. Justen says it will get better. I'm going with my gut and trusting him on this.

I'm about to jump in the shower. Okay, maybe not jump, more like ease into it. I think I have enough strength now to undress and turn on the faucet. After all, I have a day job to get to.

So what about my morning writing? Glad you asked! I got up at 5 am today and banged out nearly 5 pages on Murder In Vein before going to the gym. Just 20 days until the manuscript has to be turned in.

Oh yeah, and just 432 days until the 2011 LA Marathon!

I definitely have my work cut out for me.

And that puking not quitting thing? It also applies to book deadlines.

Friday, January 08, 2010

GO BIG OR GO HOME!

I was really bummed when I realized that I didn’t have time to do the Camp Pendleton Mud Run this coming June. Several of my friends are doing it and I had a long face while I watched the race fill up without me.

But …

Not to be without personal goals I can sink my teeth into, I cast about in search of another worthy event and found a winner. And you’re hearing it here first.

My next personal goal is to do the LA Marathon.

Yes, you read that right – THE LA MARATHON. 26.2 miles. But don’t grab your chest and pass out, I’m not planning on the one scheduled for March 2010, but the race scheduled 14 months from now on March 20, 2011. That’s 436 days to be exact.

No, I don’t have a death wish. And the longest distance I’ve ever done has been a 10K (see photo above). But I do have the desire to be the healthiest person I can be. I enjoyed training for the Mud Run. I lost 30 lbs doing it and am in the best physical shape now than I have been in for years, which isn’t saying much. But why stop there when I still have room for improvement? Lot’s of room! Being the sort who responds best to deadlines and challenges, this seemed like just the ticket. And I’m happy to say, and so are my middle-aged knees, that they have walking and walk/run participants. I want to walk/run the marathon.

Unlike my Mud Run training, I’m getting help with this one. Last night I joined the Ballys Total Fitness gym down the street from my apartment and hired a personal trainer. We have our first session Tuesday morning at 7am. I met with Justin last night and he is stoked to help me make this happen.

Along my 14 month journey I will be blogging, Tweeting and Facebooking about it for those interested. And there will be photos. So stay tuned.

Every January I adopt a motto for the year. Last year it was “Shake it Off.” This year it’s:

GO BIG OR GO HOME!

(BTW, for those of you following this blog, the gym and trainer are taking the place of the flat screen TV. Paralegal Sue Ann and Writer Sue Ann were in total agreement on this.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A High Body Count Kind of Day


Over at Inkspot today blogging about high vs. low body counts. Drop on by and tell us what you think.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Ever Hear of Take Out?

I love cooking shows, especially the competition style ones like Top Chef and Chopped, so when the Food Network launched its new show Worst Cooks in America last night, I was front and center.

O M G !!!

There really are people out there who can't boil an egg properly, let along whip up an omelet. I mean, we've all made jokes about such things, but until last night I truly didn't realize these people existed, except as a joke. Now I'm no Julia Child, but when motivated and have the time, I can whip up something I'm not ashamed to serve to friends.

The show started out with the contestants making their "signature dish." I give high marks to the two chefs on the show for bravery. I wouldn't have touched most of those dishes with a ten foot spatula, let alone put it in my mouth. The 12 worst cooks were then divided into teams and each chef taught his/her team how to make a dish. The contestants then had to replicate that dish. Some did remarkably well, others ... well, let's just say, you can lead bad cooks into the kitchen, but you can make them into Mario Bitali. The two worst cooks in the challenge were sent home. Voted off the kitchen island, so to speak.

Something tells me Worst Cooks In America will be my Sunday night treat while Dexter's on hiatus.

Friday, January 01, 2010

2009 - There Will Be No Rematch!

Thank Gawd 2009 is over! Last night I fell asleep before midnight (thanks to quite a bit of champagne and a good meal), but had I not, I would have raised my glass in a final salute to 2009 and said:

Don’t let the door hit you on your ass on the way out!

For me, 2009 was a mixture of hard work, accomplishment and progress, but it was also a year of intense anxiety and emotional turmoil. It was a year that brought me to my knees.

“Sylvia Plath Day” has become my code word for days when I think I simply cannot go on. When life and circumstances have beaten me so far down, I just want to stay in bed until my cats start feeding off of me. Those are the days I want to give up – on everything. I had more than a few “Sylvia Plath Days” in 2009. But I always bounced back, exhausted and drained, ready to move forward.

2009 was a lot like the last fight scene in Rocky. You know the one. Apollo Creed has beaten Rocky to a pulp, even knocked him down, but bloody and half blind, Rocky struggles to his feet, grunts, and signals to Creed to bring it on. In the end, Rocky went the distance. And so did I.

In hindsight, 2009 was a major turning point for me. Maybe that’s why it was such a difficult year. With birth, there is always pain. Here’s a recap of a few highlights, the low lights will not be rehashed:

My writing career took hold after years of struggle. I completed two novels, launched a new series and signed contracts for a third series. My books are selling respectably and my readership is growing. (THANKS EVERYONE!) I signed a TV option on the Odelia Grey series and my books are starting to garner interest in the foreign market.

I set out to do the Camp Pendleton Mud Run and I did it, proving to everyone, and especially to myself, that I can do just about anything I set my mind to. In the process, I got in the best shape physically that I’d been in for years. There will be no Mud Run rematch in 2010. Unfortunately, my heavy writing schedule this year prohibits it, but I’m committed to keeping the ball moving on increasing my physical well being.

At the law firm, there were some anxious moments when they had layoffs, but my job is steady and seems secure. I am very fortunate in that outside of my writing I have another career that I love and work with people I enjoy. It’s one of the reasons I can produce books so quickly.

Today is January 1, 2010 and I’m laughing in your face 2009! I went the distance and there will be no rematch.