Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer's Halfway Report Card

So far, Summer 2012 has been a mixed bag of highs and lows, blended together like ingredients that should never be considered complimentary, but somehow work on the tongue.  Scary thing is, it's only half over. Or is it scary because it is half over?

For starters, I'm staring down yet another deadline, which I'm talking about this week at Criminal Minds.  I have two months to write, polish and produce the 8th book in my Odelia Grey series to Midnight Ink.  The book is tentatively titled Bidding On Bodies and in this offering we will get to meet some of Odelia's in-laws. The writing on this manuscript is going well, but slooooooooooooow. But the days will shoot by like bullets from a terrorist's gun, so I have to be diligent on how I spend my time.

Sky Walk over West Rim of Grand Canyon
Speaking of bullets, I still cannot believe that Friday night someone shot up a theatre in Colorado, killing a dozen innocent people and injuring scores of others. It's horrific, something you think you'll only see on an episode of a TV crime drama. But it wasn't on TV, it was real.  I agree wholeheartedly with President Obama's comment that words are inadequate at a time like this. As Jaws did for beach going, this event will have a high impact on folks considering going to movies or to any crowded venue. I already hate crowds and this just makes me want to stay home with my doors locked even more.  I don't even want to know why James Holmes shot up the theatre. That fact that he did is enough for me to want to see him fry. My heart goes out to all the people involved in this unthinkable event - victims, families, and the first responders who have to deal with this tragedy in a personal way.

Even summer TV has had it's ups and downs. I have been watching True Blood since its beginning. Some seasons I've loved. Others not so much. This season has been my least favorite. While I love that the Russell Edgington (played to campy perfection by Denis O'Hare) is back, the entire plot with the warring factions of vampires is really getting on my last nerve. So much so that this past Sunday's episode may reduce the series from "must watch TV" to "I'll catch it on On Demand if I remember and have some time to waste."

On the other hand, HBO just released Newsroom, which has quickly become my favorite Sunday night show with its stellar ensemble cast headed by Jeff Daniels and Sam Waterston. The writing is sharp and intelligent and a joy to watch. And Suits, another beautifully written show, and Covert Affairs are back on USA. YAY!

I did sneak in a combination vacation/research trip the first week of July. I headed to Las Vegas, where the 4th Granny Apples novel will take place, and stayed at the Venetian, a hotel I've always wanted to stay in and thanks to a summer special finally had the pleasure. Plus, I got to scratch an item off my bucket list - The Grand Canyon! I took the West Rim Tour from Pink Jeep, and had a great time, which included taking a stroll on the Sky Walk. It was my first trip to Las Vegas during which I did not see a single show. I did take in the new Da Vinci exhibit at the Venetian and spent a half day at the Canyon Ranch Spa and, instead of my usual budget meals, ate at the restaurants of some of the world's most famous chefs: Mario Batali, Emeril Legasse, and Thomas Keller.  And I'm happy to say the hype about their food isn't hype at all, but deserved raves.

New and Improved B
This was also the summer of the shaved cat. I didn't personally do the shaving, but The Best Little Cat House in Los Angeles changed my B from a long hair mess into a happier and cleaner cat. Now that B has acclimated to the change, she seems perkier without all that hair, which she hated having groomed, and is strolling around the apartment with her tail aloft and her head held high. I don't think B's going back to being a long haired cat, at least not if I have anything to say about it.

A big milestone was reached this weekend - the Sue Ann Jaffarian Fan Club on Facebook shot past 500 members! I can't thank Cyn Rielley enough for starting this club, and also my niece, Lindsay Jaffarian Holm, who administers it with Cyn. When it started a few years back, it never occurred to me we'd have so many members or that it would become such a lively place for book discussions. If you haven't joined yet, you should. In August, I'm running a contest just for members.

Coming up - no more vacation time until the end of the year, but in a few weeks HIDE AND SNOOP, my 7th Odelia Grey novel will be released, and I'll be spending most September weekends making the rounds of book stores and speaking engagements. Unfortunately, one of my favorite book stores, Mysteries To Die For in Thousand Oaks, CA, is closing at the end of July. That store was always one of my main stops whenever a new book was released. MTDF will be sorely missed as the family of mystery book stores continued to shrink. For a list of upcoming events, see the side bar to the right of this post.

Recently, the first review of HIDE AND SNOOP came out and I did a happy dance.  Publisher's Weekly called it: "...enormously entertaining ... offers tight plotting, first-class humor, and vivid descriptions."  Read chapter 1 of HIDE AND SNOOP.

Circling back to writing, this weekend I realized that in the next 14 months I have three novels and one novella due to two different publishers, and I'd like to add to my Holidays From Hell short story series.  It's a very tall order, but I'm optimistic that it will all get done. I'm not so optimistic about the condition of my apartment during the next year, but it's a small sacrifice to make for doing what I love. So if I seem scarce in the next few months, you'll know I'm hard at work knocking manuscripts off of my to do list.


flash29 said...

I love "The Newsroom" also but I think you mean Sam Waterston, not Sam Shepard. :-)

I also like "Political Animals" (Bravo in Canada, USA Network in US) and "Continuum" (Showcase in Canada, no US network has picked it up yet).

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

YES! I did mean Sam Waterston! Thanks. It's all fixed. I've seen the first episode of Political Animals and liked it, but not nearly as much as Newsroom.

gregkshipman said...

Hi Sue Ann...

As I wait for Dexter's new 'Slice and Dice' September appearance, I gotta admit 'Newsroom' has my attention.

Congratulations on your well deserved successes...