Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm over at Inkspot today discussing the mise en place of writing. Come on by and bring your apron.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How I Ate and Drank My Way Through Bouchercon

I’ve been to several Bouchercons in the past several years and I must say the one in San Francisco last week was the best I’ve attended so far. It was very well planned and organized and even with approximately 1,400 people attending, you never felt overwhelmed.

By the time I got to San Francisco on Thursday morning, I was exhausted. I’d already put in three very long days at the office and now was facing four days of conference. After an uneventful flight and a smooth ride on BART from the airport directly to the Hyatt, I was pleased to run into my editor, Terri Bischoff, at the registration desk at the hotel. Since it was early and my room not ready, I visited with folks like Christa Faust, Julia Spencer Fleming, and Aileen Baron before taking off for a brief visit to the San Francisco office of my law firm. I’d never been there before and wanted to see the digs and say hello to many of the folks I work with via phone and e-mail. From there it was a nice walk back to the Hyatt with a stop at a tiny cafĂ© for a quiet lunch.

Bryana and "Odelia"
When I returned to the hotel my room was ready and I moved in and rested a bit before getting ready for my evening gig. Thursday night I was scheduled to speak to the Alameda County Legal Secretaries Association at the law offices of Nixon Peabody, which was almost across from the Hyatt. I’d spoken to this crowd before and they are always a delight. It was so nice to catch up with familiar faces and catch them up on my adventures in publishing. Terri went with me, as well as Diane Kudisch, the owner of the San Francisco Mystery Book Store, who brought books to sell.  And we sold a lot of books!

At the end of the dinner and program, Bryana Schroder, President of the Association, presented me with a very special gift: a crochet Odelia Grey doll she made herself! I was absolutely overwhelmed. The doll is quite large and has a tote bag filled with miniature editions of my books. How cool is that? Then it was back to the Hyatt and the bar, where I spent a lot of time laughing with pal Holly West, her hubby Mick and friends Julie and Rich.

In the morning, I had breakfast with a group of ladies from the Mystery Babes Yahoo group. What a fun time! At breakfast, I discovered Dana Cameron and I were born in the same town in Massachusetts. Even in the same hospital!

I had a very special treat in the early afternoon when I joined friends Rita Lakin and Steve Stienbock in the hospitality room.  Sitting with them was the legendary William Link and his lovely wife Marjory.  Later in the day I was scheduled to appear in the Midnight Ink booth to meet and greet folks. Steven Pomije, Director of Publicity at Midnight Ink, did a great job on the booth and we had lots of folks stopping by to check out our books.

When I lived in San Francisco years ago, my favorite restaurant was Tadich Grill. Determined to visit the historic restaurant this trip, I gathered up Joni Langevroot and Nikki Bonanni and took off for a bowl of the best cioppino anywhere. After, it was back to the Hyatt and the Jack Reacher party hosted by Lee Child.

At Midnight Ink booth with Joanna Slan and Kathleen Ernst
 Saturday was more of the same: chatting with old friends, making new ones and soaking in the wonderful atmosphere of San Francisco. Thursday night I met up with my long time friend Leila Sarkissian, who lives in The City, and she introduced me to a restaurant called Kokkari, which was across the street from the apartment complex where I used to live. Kokkari is a Greek restaurant with fabulous ambiance, food and service. We had lemon soup, split entrees of goat stew and lamb chops, and rice pudding with honey braised pear. WOW! is all I can say about dinner.

After, Leila and I walked back to the Hyatt and bumped into Holly, Mick, Julie and Rich. We grabbed a table in the bar, and spent the next few hours swapping stories while friends dropped by to join us for a bit or to say hello. The bar was hopping on Saturday night, which is not unusual at a mystery conference, and folks wandered from table to table in one big party atmosphere.

Sunday morning, after packing and checking out of the hotel, I went to my panel: Clown of Death. Panel mates included Sebastian Stuart, Mary Jane Maffini and Lenny Kleinfeld. The panel was moderated by Terri Bischoff. I was concerned about a panel on humor scheduled for 8:30 am but was surprised to find it a full house. The panel was lively and fun and no one seemed hung over from the previous night’s festivities; not the panel or the audience! After the panel,we signed books and then took off for the Anthony banquet. I was so very pleased that pals Sophie Littlefield and Hank Phillipi Ryan both won Anthony awards.

My trip to Bouchercon ended with lunch on Sunday with another dear old friend, Paula Boghossian. We had wonderful kabobs at Shalizaar in Belmont, then Paula dropped me off at M is for Mystery where I had a book talk and signing with Sebastian Stuart. After that, friends Doug and Shirley Pearson scooted me off to the airport for my flight home.

Okay, based on the above, can you see how much fun Bouchercon was? I mean, I ate, drank and chatted my way through four days of mystery books, writers, readers and friends.

Doesn’t get much better than that!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Here I Come, San Francisco! And I'm Bringing My Heart!

October is not quite halfway over and I'm pooped.  On October 4th I turned in my second vampire novel. My publisher loved it and it looks like its published title might be BAITED BLOOD, which I love.

I had planned on taking a few days off from writing, then plunge back in with the final edits on TWICE AS DEAD, the 6th Odelia Grey adventure.  However, life had other plans.  Or I should say, my day job had other plans.  Ever since turning in BAITED BLOOD, I've been working like a dog at the law firm, chalking up several 10+ hr days, including one that was nearly 15 hrs long. Good bye writing until that's over!  But I don't mind.  I like my job and they are very flexible when it comes to my writing schedule - quid pro quo.

Now that life at the office is quieting down, I'm heading off to San Francisco, one of my absolute all time favorite cities, for Bouchercon 2010.  That's the world mystery conference to you non-mystery loving folks; the annual gathering of mystery writers, agents, editors and fans from all over the world.  Every year it's in a different city.  The last time I attended was several years ago and it was held in Madison, Wisconsin.  Next year it's in St. Louis.

I leave for San Francisco on Thursday morning and my first event is not a Bouchercon event but a speaking gig at the Alameda County Legal Secretaries Association dinner meeting that night.  I love speaking at legal events.  What can I say?  They're my peeps.

The rest of my weekend in SF is as follows:

Friday - 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm - The Midnight Ink Booth in the Bouchercon book room.  If you're at B'Con, please drop by and say hello.  I'm told the booksellers will have the limited hard cover edition of MURDER IN VEIN.

Sunday - 8:30 am - Panel - Clown of Death, a discussion of mysteries on the lighter side, with fellow panelists Sebastian StuartMary Jane Maffini, Lenny Kleinfeld. The panel will be moderated by my Midnight Ink editor, Terri Bischoff.

Sunday - 5:00 pm -  Book discussion and signing at M is For Mystery with Sebastian Stuart; 86 East Third Avenue, San Mateo, CA.

Tonight I'll be packing and getting ready for my flight in the morning.  I'm too tired right now to be very excited about the trip.  Mostly, I just want a day to sleep, but I'm sure I'll get into the swing of things once I'm surrounded by all the hubbub of the mystery world.  After all, they are also my peeps.

Monday, October 04, 2010

It's Finished, But I'm Not

Last night, or technically this morning, at 12:30 am, I hit the send button on my keyboard and delivered the 2nd book in my new vampire mystery series off to my publisher. The working title is THE BLOOD THAT BINDS, but I'm not sure that title will stick.  We'll just have to wait and see.  I'm also excited to see what Midnight Ink comes up with for a cover since I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE all of their covers.  The 2nd vampire book will be out next September, so stay tuned for announcements about it in the next year.

One thing I must say about this 2nd vampire book - it nearly wrote itself!  It's almost as if the characters whispered each and every scene into my ear and I merely typed it all out like dictation. It's was magic!

The first book in the series, MURDER IN VEIN, is doing well.  Thanks, everyone!  It's brought in a lot of new readers to my work and most of my Odelia Grey and Granny Apples readers have also loved it. 

Please note, dear readers, that MURDER IN VEIN is much darker and edgier than my other series. It is definitely not a cozy or cozy-ish, so if vampires or harder fiction are not your thing, please do not feel you must read it.  I certainly will understand.

Copies of the limited edition hard cover of MURDER IN VEIN are still available, but only from independent mystery book stores.  Most of the book stores where I have had or will have signings will have them, so check my calendar for upcoming signings.

Next up:

October 9, 2010 - 1:00 p.m.
Book Signing and Discussion on Murder In Vein
Mysteries to Die For
2940 Thousand Oaks Boulevard
Thousand Oaks, California 91362
(805) 374-0084

So what's next on the horizon?  Well, next I must do the final edits on TWICE DEAD, the 6th Odelia Grey novel, followed by the galley proofs for GHOST IN THE POLKA DOT BIKINI, the 2nd Granny Apples mystery. On November 1st I begin work on the 3rd Granny Apples book.  My working title is GHOST ON THE GALLOWS and much of it takes place in the small town of Jim Thorpe, PA.  GHOST ON THE GALLOWS will be my 11th novel for Midnight Ink.  Wow, does time fly or what?

As for now, I'm hanging up my writer hat for a couple of days, but just a couple. I'll get my home in order and take care of things like my website, catch up correspondence and other chores that have fallen by the wayside.  In a little over a week I'll be heading to San Francisco for Bouchercon.

As for now, I need a nap.