Saturday, December 29, 2007

Great news and Glitches

First the great news: State of the Onion has been spotted in two different B&N stores! One in Champaign, IL and one in Maryland. I'm excited. The book's release date is January 2, 2008, and I didn't expect that any would be available sooner. Even better were the kind notes I received from Maryann (Champaign) letting me know she'd already finished reading - and the other from Becky (Maryland) who was just starting it. I can't tell you how much it meant to me to hear that people are enjoying the book.

Now - the glitches:
I hate being offline. I've become quite the Internet junkie and it's been painful to be offline (mostly) for the past few days. I've been able to use my kids' computer a bit, but my desktop stopped connecting to the Internet. Long story, and too boring to relate -- but suffice it to say that permanent wireless adapters are more reliable than USB adapters. And let me also say thanks to the wonderful 20-year-old sales force at Best Buy who do a marvelous job of recommending equipment. I installed the proper hardware today and so far - everything seems to be working exactly as promised.

Next - some holiday thoughts (I've been off my blog for too long. Lots of catch-up):
We listened to non-stop holiday music while preparing for Christmas here.
Our family's top choices for holiday music:

White Christmas - Bing Crosby
The Chipmunk Song - Alvin and the Chipmunks
It's In Every One of Us - The Muppets
Mele Kalikimaka - Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters
The Nutcracker Suite by Lambchop and Sherry Lewis
Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley

and the newest addition to our favorite lineup:
Sarajevo/Christmas Canon - by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (what we fondly refer to as the "In Your Face" Christmas carol. It's so bold and so energetic. Love it!)

What are some of your favorite holiday songs?

As we move closer to 2008, we reflect on all the blessings we've experienced in 2007 . And if you count them instead of sheep, as Bing Crosby does in White Christmas, I hope you have so many that you can't ever count them all without falling asleep first.

My very best to you during this wonderful holiday season!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Very good day!

You know it's a good writer day when you get a book in the mail with your name on it. Yesterday was a great day because I got *two* of them. First and foremost, I received (via FedEx, actually) a hot-off-the-presses copy of State of the Onion. Can I gush just a little? It's beautiful! It looks even better in person than I ever expected!

I also received a copy of The Future We Wish We Had, an anthology edited by Marty Greenberg and Rebecca Lickiss. My short story, "Destiny" was chosen for inclusion among many other writers who I know and greatly respect.

So, I'm feeling pretty good, right?
Then - today - a new review posted for State of the Onion. Here's the link: wpbookreviews: State of the Onion
Today has been a *very* good day!

Monday, December 10, 2007

MWA Holiday party

Yesterday was the holiday party for our chapter of the MWA. I had fun, and I think everyone who attended did, too. Silly girl that I am, I forgot my camera (again!) but I hope to post pictures here when the folks who were more on the ball send them to me ;-)

Augie Aleksy, of the wonderful Centuries & Sleuths bookstore, graciously opened his doors to us again. Augie had appeared on Rick Kogan's morning radio show earlier, and had mentioned our party. Right beforehand, one of the young guests from the show, Kyle Durango (sp?) visited the store just to say hello.

My favorite parts of the event? During Pictionary/Charades when Libby Hellmann ran around, ducking behind things, trying to get her team to come up with the novel title: VANISHING POINT. (She did) -- Raymond Benson pulling THE LADY IN THE LAKE out at the last possible minute -- Michael A. Black coming up with WHEN THE SACRED GIN MILL CLOSES mere seconds after Annie Chernow drew a very good rendition of a mill. The crowd shouted "windmill!" and Mike supplied the rest. Great game. Even better because it resulted in a tie, keeping everyone's holiday spirits intact ;-)

As they say - a good time was had by all.
Anybody out there have pictures? Send 'em to me. I'll try hard to remember my camera in the future.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Little Late...

Yes, it's been a while since I've posted. I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was wonderful. We went to my brother's which meant no cleaning at my house, and that's always reason to give thanks.

Today I'd like to direct you to Julia Buckley's blog where she interviews Diana Vickery. Diana created the Cozy Library site, where I've been fortunate to have had my books mentioned. It's a great place to learn more about all sorts of cozy mysteries and their writers.

Also on Julia's Mysterious Musings site (scroll down a bit) is her tribute to William Blake. I *love* his poem "The Tyger." My high school speech class was required to memorize it and recite it to the class with expression. To this day, whenever anyone asks, I'm happy to provide an encore performance. Of course... nobody actually ever asks ;-) But I do con my kids into listening, hoping that some day they'll love the beauty and power of that poem as much as I do.

I'm not much of a poem person... but I adore "The Tyger" as well as "Break, Break, Break" by Alfred Lord Tennyson (very sad) and "A Dream Within a Dream" by Edgar Allan Poe.

What are your favorite?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Love To Write Day - November 15

Did you know that today, November 15th, is "I Love To Write" day? Here's a link to the website, where the grassroots movement is explained. This is ILTW day's sixth year, but this is the first I've heard of it.

Interesting, isn't it, that on this day -- one set aside to celebrate the joys of writing-- the Writers Guild is on strike?

Don't get me wrong -- I support the strikers. From what I understand, the guild isn't asking for any more than what's fair.

Writers write because we have to -- that's our raison d'etre (impressive French, huh?). How hard it must be for the striking writers to not be working at the jobs they love. At the same time, they must be feeling the squeeze financially. This has got to hurt.

Personally, I'm having a wonderful day here - writing. Today is truly an "I Love To Write" day. I revised the ending to All The President's Gingerbread Menb, and it's much stronger now. But ... I have the freedom to write when I want to and stop when I don't. Not so for the strikers. If they don't write, their families don't eat.

Let's hope the strike ends soon, and our colleagues are granted the residuals they deserve.

Best to all....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Publishers Weekly

My first review for State of the Onion (SOTO)!!

I'm ecstatic to post this link to the PW website, where they have their reviews for this week. I'd gotten word late last week that the review was to appear today and I've been fighting a wobbly stomach ever since. But it's good. And I'm more than pleased, I'm thrilled.

Here's the link:

Fiction Reviews: Week of 11/12/2007 - 11/12/2007 - Publishers Weekly

Scroll down. It's near the bottom, under "Mass Market."

Feeling good today.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Website Down

If you happened to check my website recently and couldn't find it - you're not alone. My website, and approximately 200,000 others on the East Coast and in the Midwest have been shut down for several days due to server problems. My web designer (Hiya, Beth!) has seen 90% of her clients' sites disappear. The server responsible promised to have us all back up by yesterday, but alas -- that hasn't happened yet.

I'll update here when we go live again. In the meantime, I can't check the e-mail that routes through my website, so if you need to get in touch with me, please do so via my regular e-mail address. If you don't have it, send me a comment with your e-mail and I'll get in touch. I heard spam horror stories about placing e-mail addresses in blog posts...

Be well.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Magna Cum Murder

Got back from Magna Cum Murder last night and I'm still feeling the warm glow. What a great conference - what great people! I meant to take my camera and include a picture or two here, but I forgot it at home. Sigh.

One of the best parts of conferences is meeting new people: Marian, Gennarose, Tammy, Emily Anne, Joan, and John, were just some of the great folks at Magna. The other best part of a conference is seeing people I haven't seen since the last conference, or in some cases, since the last time I was at Magna: Eric, Judy, Kent, Sandy, and so many - if I tried to list everyone I'd probably go nuts.

Kathryn Kennison, Jama Bigger, Jim Huang, and everyone running the conference did a Magna-ificent job ;-) of keeping everyone busy and keeping thing interesting. The Hotel Roberts was closed, and everyone was off-site this time, which might have put a damper on things, but I think had the opposite effect. Since no one could easily return to his/her room, everyone stayed - almost all the time. I think this Magna was actually the best one I've attended. I wouldn't change one minute of it.

Carl Brookins' experiment - his "ideal panel" - was a big hit. Four authors sit and chat in a central location, and attendees are encouraged to sit in and listen, and occasionally pop into the converstaion. Every so often, one author leaves and another takes his/her place. The discussion continues for a couple of hours. This was very energizing, and a very neat concept. I hope there's opportunity to try this experiment again.

That's my Magna report...
More later this week on other subjects.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Crunch is significant in two ways today. Time crunch and car crunch. My second book in the White House Chef series is due in December, but I really wanted to turn it in by the end of October. I don't think I'll make that deadline, but it should be close. I like setting my deadlines early and I probably could have had this one done in August, but I thoroughly enjoyed having my kids home this summer and spent a bit less time writing than I normally do. That means this is crunch time.

In other matters, my poor van got its nose smashed this weekend when a limo backed into it. We were at the airport, dropping Robyn off to head back to school, and -bam-. I'm stuck without my own wheels this week, which considering the manuscript time crunch, is not a bad thing. ;-) I do have a beater van to drive around if I need to, but at every turn I hear a noise that sounds like the back end is about to drop off.
The fun never stops ;-)
Crunch, crunch.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Just an update... check out pictures of some of my author friends on Flickr. Yes, these are from last month, but I just uploaded them today (I should be writing). Access my albums via my website -

On the left are a series of clickable links. The new pics (as well as some old ones) are accessible by clicking "Photo Albums."

More pictures soon.

Return comments

For some reason, I am unable to comment on other Blogger's accounts. Whenever I access another Blogger's comment page, my screen constantly refreshes. It's a jumpy, unpleasant sight and I can't scroll down to read, nor post a comment myself. So, if you're reading this and you're on Blogger... you now know *why* I never comment on your musings.

One of these days (when I have time) I'll figure this out and fix it. For now... my apologies. Just know that if you're on my list of blog links - I read you regularly.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hardzy and CFFL

I just posted this on Dorothy L. when the topic of "medium-boiled" came up:

In the course of writing our collaborative novel (final edits just turned in - won't be out for a year), my writing partner, Michael A. Black and I decided that the adventure we wrote -- featuring his hard-boiled PI and my cozy news researcher -- didn't fit any particular sub-genre well.

So we came up with our own term: "Hardzy"


I love this term and I'm excited about using it. To be honest, the description fits not only DEAD RINGER (the collaboration) but to a great extent, it fits my most recent Alex St. James novel DEADLY INTEREST, and the upcoming new series STATE OF THE ONION as well. Not exactly cozy, not hard-boiled. "Hardzy" is truly apt.

Mike and I also came up with another term. This one's a couple of years old now: CFFL (pronounced "cuffle"). It stands for "Customary Fight For your Life" and whenever we get to the climactic parts of our novels, we talk about plans for our CFFLs. DEAD RINGER, in fact, has two CFFLs. The book won't be out for a year, but I hope you get a chance to read it.

Just remember, you heard it here first: Hardzy - the newest crime fiction sub-genre ;-)

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Maltese Falcon

I've been participating in the NEA's BIG READ program at my local libraries. Mike Black and I have been facilitating discussions about Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon:

Our favorite discussion to-date has been a comparison of the three film versions, The Maltese Falcon with Ricardo Cortez, Satan Met a Lady, starring Bette Davis (who claimed this movie was the dog of her career) and the most famous version from debut director John Huston, starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sidney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre.

The more we talk about the book and the movies, the more I appreciate the beauty of Hammett's prose. He did what we're all taught *not* to do today - he shifted POV at random - and it works. I love the fact that we don't ever get into Sam Spade's head. It makes it all the more intriguing at the end when we're left to wonder ... did he love Brigid, or did he not?

If any of the talks Mike and I have been giving encourage folks to pick up this book, then I feel as though it's been time well spent. The NEA chose The Maltese Falcon because it's considered literary, despite the fact that it's a detective novel. (Let's not go down the literary path today, but suffice it to say that although Hammett's Falcon is great, I believe there are many other crime writers who are worthy of a "literary" title.)

Working with libraries is always a joy, and I know that my in-depth study of The Maltese Falcon has brought me a new appreciation for the work. I hope the Big Read program continues with more exciting novels to explore next year.

By the way, Warner Bros. has a fabulous Falcon DVD set out there -- it includes all three film versions. If you get a chance to see them all, you'll be surprised at the difference in each story's tone.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Newsy stuff

Breakthrough Promotions has a neat site - Mystery Morgue. It features reviews, interviews, and - this month - an essay I wrote about my experience at the Oregon Coast Professional Fiction Writers Workshop back in 2002. I hope you get a chance to take a look. Here's the link to the essay:

There's probably a more elegant way to post that, but I'm not quite sure how.

This is an article in our local paper, The Daily Southtown, featuring our writing group, the Southland Scribes. Photo below:

We're a good group--with great people--and we've been together so long, I feel like we're family. What's particularly exciting is that so many of us have been published that our little group's successes are beginning to get some notice. In fact, another local paper, The Star, ran a similar article about a week ago, but I haven't been able to find that one online. It's all good press!

Oh, and Robyn posted some new artwork last week: I love the birdcage picture!

Be well.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


It's been busy here. Did I mention I received Advanced Reader Copies of State of the Onion? Berkley is sending bunches out (Yes!!) and I've sent a good portion of my supply to PJ Nunn of Breakthrough Promotions with the hope of getting some press in those big glossy magazines... I'd love to be reviewed in Entertainment Weekly, or be mentioned favorably in Newsweek. Since the book involves food, I've got my fingers crossed for interest from food-related magazines -- Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Cooking Light, etc. -- any or all of those.

Got any ideas how to break into those markets? Or do you have an "in" with any of them? I'd appreciate any suggestions, and any help!


Hmm... all this talk of food is making me hungry.

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Website!!

I'm very excited to announce the launch of my redesigned website - at Please visit and drop me an e-mail or comment. I'd love to know your impressions.

The photo page - which is a flickr account - will be finessed as time goes on. I wanted to get pictures up there, but I haven't yet had time to caption them all.

Hope you enjoy!

PS - to Paul: Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The War of Art

My good friend, Ken Rand, sent me a book some time ago - The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. This particular copy looks like it was made in the 1960s but the copyright says 2002. The slim hardback is silver, with little square mirrors decorating its front cover. The title and author are also silver, and I imagine this would make the words hard to discern from across the bookstore.

The reason I mention this book today is because the little thing (not even 200 pages) packs a wallop. You can read this in one sitting - or, as I did, in one standing. I loved it. I read it when I first received it (about a year ago, Ken?), and now I'm reading it again. This is a book I'll turn to periodically.

I'd rather not try to explain the book - it seems to me that The War of Art provides a unique experience to each of its readers - and I wouldn't want to diminish your experience. I suggest you head to your nearest bookstore, or library, and pick it up. Read a few pages. If it speaks to you (and if you're involved in any creative endeavors whatsoever, I bet it will) buy it. I can't recommend this enough.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Long time no write...

Well, this entry is a bit late, but I know you'll think it's worth it. I'm including a picture of daughter #1 - Robyn. This is us when we visited NYC. Fashion-diva that she is, Robyn hated the idea of buying touristy sweatshirts, but the icy wind off New York Harbor (in June!!) convinced us otherwise. Yeah, we looked so cute in our fancy shoes and I -Heart-New York shirts!

But the real reason I'm including Robyn's picture is to introduce a new link to this blog - also known as le merle dans le vol. This is where Robyn will be uploading all her drawings and paintings and encouraging commentary. She's been studying at the Ringling College of Art and Design for the past three years and this year is the biggie for her. I would really appreciate it if you'd stop by and drop her a comment. I think her work is pretty impressive - and not just because I'm her mom! ;-)

Let me know what you think, too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tough Kolackys

Some weeks are great ... some not so much. This past one has been a doozy on many levels. But since I prefer to keep things upbeat on the blog, I won't get into the details here.

A long time ago I read advice about how to deal with difficult situations -- I can't remember where it came from, but the advice was good. Paraphrasing here - "Give yourself 30 seconds to get over it, then move on."
Thirty seconds may be a mite ambitious, but the sentiment is solid: Take time to deal with it, then let it go.

Another quote I love is this one from Theodore Rubin: The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.

And the one I like the best, from Henry David Thoreau, Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, sums up how I prefer to deal with disappointment.

This week is already shaping up to be better than last week. And I shall move confidently ahead.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

'Tis a far, far better thing I do ...

One of our household's younger members (I'll take Keith Raffel's approach here, and call her Number 3) is required to read A Tale of Two Cities for her honors English class this semester. I strongly believe in reading the assignments, as does she, but I also know how much I like to populate a novel with characters I've met onscreen. If possible, I prefer to see the movie first, then read the book. The opposite - reading a book first and then seeing the movie - usually results in disappointment. I can name only two movie series that have almost lived up to their books - Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. Oh wait, one more... Jane Austen's Persuasion. That movie followed the book almost word for word.

In any case, now that we're Netflix members (such convenience!) we can access great classics like A Tale of Two Cities that chains like Hollywood and Blockbuster no longer carry. For our Dickens foray, I chose the Ronald Colman version. Love that man's voice. I'd seen this version years ago, and it was so wonderful, I promptly read the book. I think Number 3 feels the same way and if there's ever a way to get kids excited about assigned reading, I'm all for it.

Her next assignment is Julius Caesar. Any favorite versions out there you'd care to recommend?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Reviews and opinions

Yes, it's Friday, rather than Wednesday. I've been tied up with a bunch of home-related stuff this week, so I'm falling behind on my blogging. Didja miss me? ;-)

Last night we watched the movie 300 - the Spartan movie. I really enjoyed it. Lots of blood and guts and a few beheadings, but the movie was better than I'd expected it to be. It's filmed with a different look, and I guess I expected something cartoonish. It was definitely not. The fellow who played Xerxes looked so familiar and it wasn't until the credits rolled that I found out Xerxes had been played by Rodrigo Santoro. Is this the same guy who played the handsome, shy, hunk in Love Actually? And the same guy who was buried alive on Lost? Wow. I'm usually pretty good at placing people, but this one blew me away. My daughter saw 300 some time ago and told me she came out of the theater wanting to be a Spartan woman. After seeing this, I understand. I thought the movie was very well done.

Also this week, we rented the first season of Six Feet Under. The TV show has gotten some wonderful reviews, and I was tempted to buy it first, sight unseen. I'm glad I held off. I made it through the pilot and one and a half episodes. Granted, there are some funny moments. Lots of interesting funeral-home stuff too (the "commercials" interspersed in the pilot were hysterical!), but I found the teenage daughter to be a way-over-the-top cardboard character. She reminded me of the teenage daughter from the first season of 24. Ooh... let me be totally selfish... ooh, let me experiment with sex and drugs... Oh, and when things don't go my way, let me blame the world. Hey, casting people, guess what? Teenagers are more multi-dimensional than you give them credit for. Geez, cut the manufactured drama by half, at least. I found the Six Feet Under teenage character boring. In fact, I fast-forwarded through her scenes. The brothers are ... okay, I guess. One is uptight with his homosexual secret, the other a ne'er-do-well, who might just be finding his way now that Dad is out of the picture. I dunno. It all seemed very formulaic and, unfortunately, dull.

But the funeral home stuff was fun. I have to give it that. And the assistant (Rico?) is a gem.

Also in the review column: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Gotta admit, I loved it. I think J.K. Rowling has done the literary world a great favor by bringing us Harry Potter. The ending epilogue got a little cutesy, but I think it had to. Nicely done, J.K. And thank you. I finished reading the book the weekend it came out, but I'm about to start listening to it on CD in the car. I have one more disk left of Steve Hamilton's A Stolen Season, and then I'm popping Harry into the stereo.

Do we still call it a stereo? Oops. Dating myself here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Great week!

As much as I'm disappointed to not be attending the Five Star annual Author Day in Maine this weekend, I really can't complain. It's been a great week. Lots of fun stuff going on here, the highlight of which came from this very blog! Walter Scheib, former White House Executive Chef, sent me a comment. Wow! Since then, we've e-mailed and spoken once on the phone. What a gracious, wonderful man. He cleared up a couple of questions I had regarding some office locations (no, nothing classified!) and I'm ecstatic. To say I was blown away by his generosity is an understatement.

In other news, my writing partner, Michael A. Black, and I got good news from our editor, D.C. Brod, on our collaborative novel, DEAD RINGER. She liked it, she really liked it! She also made a great suggestion regarding one of the post-climactic scenes. Mike and I have already discussed and changed that scene. We both agree it's much stronger now.

Tomorrow and Friday are writing-only days for me. I have a slew of things to do this weekend, including attending a booksigning for my good friend Shane Gericke. Check out his website: - he's having a great year, too.

More later... right now I have to figure out a way to finagle a lobster dinner Friday night... seeing as how I'll be missing the festivities in Maine this year...


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

State of the Onion Link

Hey, I think I figured it out!

State of the Onion

Hope this works... let me know.


Love Is Murder

Just a quick mention here... please don't forget Love Is Murder, coming to Chicago the first weekend in February, 2008. This one is shaping up to be wonderful, with Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Kent Krueger, Melinda Wells, Barry Eisler, and Caroline Haines headlining. And that doesn't take into account all the other fabulous authors we'll have there.

I'll update as we get closer and information becomes available. Here's a hint: register early!

In other news, I'm busy writing book 2 of the White House Chef series. The first one debuts in January and Amazon has just posted the book's cover on its site. I'd love to put an Amazon link here, but I can't quite figure out how to do it in a way that doesn't take up three lines with symbols and numbers. Anyway, the book cover is up on Amazon now, and if you think it looks interesting, please feel free to pre-order!

Thanks :-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I never heard of synesthesia till just a couple days ago, but I've always had it. I always just thought I was a little bit weird, but it turns out there's a name for the condition I have. The word "condition" suggests sickness and negativity, doesn't it? But synesthesia has never been anything but positive to me.

What is it? Well, in my case, certain days of the week, months of the year, and letters of the alphabet are associated with certain colors. I've been like this for as long as I can remember. For instance - Monday is red. So is January. So is the letter "J."
Tuesday is blue. So is the letter "C" and the month of March. Weird, huh?

I've discovered that this color association is one of the most common forms of synesthesia. There are other, more dramatic versions. For instance, a person could eat an orange, but taste cake. How they measure something like that is beyond me, but I find it incredibly fascinating.

I'm perfectly content with my watered-down condition. Even for grapheme-color synesthesia, I have a light version. Occasionally my color-associations change. "T" is generally yellow, but it occasionally shifts to orange. Stuff like that.

I love learning about these little quirks. Maybe one of these days I'll introduce a character with a very strong synesthesiatic streak!

Anybody else out there with this fun "condition?"

Check out this link for more information:

Friday, July 13, 2007


Happy Friday the 13th!
How fun. Hope you're enjoying your day of superstition. I am. It's Friday, I've gotten a lot done on my manuscript, and tomorrow is a big booksigning in Merrillville, Indiana.

There will be five of us. Five stars from Five Star (publishing). Cute, huh? We'll be there to talk about our books and sign them, too! Scarlett Dean will be there with Invisible Shield, Tom Keevers with What the Hyena Knows, Dave Case with Out of Cabrini, Michael A. Black with A Final Judgment, and I'll be there too, with Deadly Interest.

If you have some time, stop by and say hi.
Borders at Southlake Mall
Merrillville, IN
2:00 - 4:00

See you!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Book Clubs

I loved To Kill A Mockingbird. Great movie, great book. Another of my favorites, Fahrenheit 451, was rumored to be coming to the big screen under the direction of Mel Gibson, but I haven't heard anything about that in a very long time. I wonder if Mel's media troubles have put some projects on hold...

No matter. My point here today is to talk about book clubs. I can see how To Kill A Mockingbird, or Fahrenheit 451 inspire discussion, but now, when I'm faced with the task of coming up with questions for my own books - questions for book clubs to use to keep conversation flowing- I'm coming up empty.

When I spoke to Judy's book discussion group in May, it was wonderful. Everyone had already read Deadly Interest, and we were able to talk about the characters, how some scenes came to be, writing and reading in general ... and all sorts of fun stuff. The time flew.

But in trying to come up with book discussion questions for my books for clubs where I *won't* be in attendance ... I'm lost. I mean, I really can't use questions like: "How early did you know XXX was the bad guy?" because readers happening across my site won't want to know that information if they haven't read the book yet.

So, readers, let me know. What sort of questions can you suggest? Remember that the upcoming State of the Onion is a culinary mystery, and the first in the series, so if there's anything you like to see in that genre, feel free to add that to our discussion as well.

Let me know here, in the comments section, or e-mail me. I'll look forward to hearing all your ideas.


Friday, July 06, 2007

Dusting Doorknobs

You know how it is - when everything seems more important than putting words on a page? For instance yesterday I kept finding things to do that didn't involve writing. Mind you, I didn't *really* dust doorknobs (anyone who knows me knows I rarely dust anything -- unless my Auntie Lena is coming to visit ) but I did manage to waste time all day with useless busy-ness. I found a missing book, I trimmed my roses. I went out to the book store but, unfortunately, I got nothing accomplished there.

To be fair, I also ran a few errands and mailed some contracts, so that counts as important stuff... right?

Today I've taken care of a few promotional tasks, and I'm researching the current book I'm writing. There are some big-busy items on my agenda from now till next Wednesday, so I know if I don't write today, I'll be sorry.

But here I am, at the blog... blogging. And wondering exactly when I should begin mentioning this site to people. I don't think it's "ready for prime time" just yet. If you happen to stop by, leave me a comment, okay? I'd like to know if anyone has seen this.

Enough procrastinating. Fun though it may be, I have even more fun in mind for today. Writing. And with that in mind... here I go. Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rick Kogan's Sunday Papers

Wow! Today was our appearance (mine and Mike Black's) on Rick Kogan's Sunday Morning radio program on WGN. What a wonderful experience. Rick Kogan is an incredibly nice man, and he could not have been more welcoming. He guided the discussion with such grace and ease that I didn't have a chance to be nervous.

Seriously - this was fun. When he asks questions, and when he listens to your answers, he makes sincere and warm eye contact. I truly believed he was interested in everything we had to say. I can't say enough about the man. Plus he has a great voice.

And you know what I loved, too? The fact that when he said "Franklin Park" instead of "Forest Park" for the location of Centuries and Sleuths, people started calling in to correct him. That meant folks were actually listening! What a rush!

What a great guy. I make it a habit to read his essay every Sunday in the Chicago Tribune Magazine already. Now, I'll listen in every Sunday, too. There were four other people - friends of Mr. Kogan's - who came in and visited during the last segment of the show. Really great folks. I sat next to Chris from Wisconsin (Manitowoc, I think) who told me about her hole-in-one at a WGN (at a Kathy and Judy Show event) at Cantigny.

The whole experience was just fabulous.
Thanks to Augie who encouraged us to do this and thanks to Rick Kogan for inviting us to be part of his show!


Friday, June 29, 2007

Time for a Title

I found the command that allows me to title my posts!
This is why it's great that no one's found the site yet. I'm using the free time to tinker ;-)
Guess what? This blog showed up on my browser search! I'd convinced myself that this blog was invisible, but Technorati noticed it and has included it on its site. How fun. I'm moving into the big leagues, at a breakneck pace!

Tomorrow is the booksigning at BN in Orland (see earlier post for details) and Sunday is the radio appearance on WGN with Rick Kogan. Can't wait.

Today I *should* be adding more pages to the second book in the White House Chef Mystery series, but I've been playing with promotion instead. Not the best choice, but often a necessary one. I'll get back to work as soon as I finish this entry.

Beautiful day here in Chicago. A little overcast and cool, but nice.

If anyone sees these posts, please feel free to drop me a note. I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great Friday!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm about to get started writing for the day (after a whole lotta interruptions!), but I wanted to make mention of another signing coming up just over two weeks from now. There will be five of us at this one. Five Stars from Five Star:

The details:

Saturday, July 14th
Borders, Southlake Mall
Merrillville, Indiana

Come out to see Michael A. Black (A Final Judgment), Dave Case (Out of Cabrini), Scarlett Dean (Invisible Shield), Tom Keevers (What the Hyena Knows) and me (Deadly Interest).

Monday, June 25, 2007

There's a certain freedom to writing a first blog entry - especially when I'm absolutely certain no one will see this anytime soon. LOL

My intention here is to keep an updated presence on the Internet. The website is great for basic information and highlights, but this Blog is meant to keep me honest on my day-to-day stuff.

Upcoming entries will cover all sorts of writerly topics. In the meantime here's the news for this week:

Booksigning at Barnes & Noble in Orland Park, IL
160 Orland Park Place
Orland Park, IL
Saturday, June 30th
5:00 - 7:00 PM

And --- WAY COOL!!! A radio interview
July 1st
Michael A. Black and I have been invited to appear on Rick Kogan's Sunday morning radio program.

E-mail me for details... and probably I'll fall over in surprise that anyone even saw this!

See you!