Basically, I'm hoping to find out where Eggsecutive Orders is being displayed. If you "Spot the Book" at an independent bookstore, or even a large chain, let me know and you could win a $25 bookstore gift certificate.
Details on how to enter on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, tomorrow. The contest runs for a short two weeks, because that's when the book *should* begin to be on display. But I won't know unless you tell me.
You can enter once per location... so if you find Eggsecutive Orders in five locations, you can enter five times. And if you tell me how many books are in stock, I'll add your name in again.
Simple enough. I hope you think it's fun, too.
For those of you who can't get out to a bookstore, you may send a link to the book from your favorite store.
So this year, for the first time, Robyn's boyfriend, Andrew, joined us for Christmas. We're very grateful to his family for alternating holiday time with us. They're amazing people and we just wish we all lived a little closer so we could get together ourselves more often.
Anyway, Andrew shared his family's holiday tradition - that of drinking Tom & Jerry drinks. It's a Christmas beverage... a very potent one. Don't look for the recipe here, because Andrew would like this to remain classified.
I watched him put these together... quite a fascinating process... and I'll tell you, if you would have handed me the recipe, I might have thought we were having eggnog. But once you taste a Tom & Jerry, you know this is no eggnog.
Andrew had told us about this tradition, but before he had we'd never heard of them before. This year, my brother and Mitch found a Tom & Jerry bowl and mug set at an estate sale. According to Andrew, this matches one that his mom has. We were in business.
I have to admit the taste was... interesting. It reminded me of the smells that permeated parties from my childhood where the grown-ups drank. But this time I was a grown-up. Wow. This'll put hair on your chest!
Paul and Mitch *loved* the drink and in fact, Mitch wants to have this served every Christmas. They each had two or three mugs. The rest of us (those of us over 21, that is) barely made it through one.
The conversation turned to "Which came first, the drink or the cartoon characters?"
We didn't know.
Does anyone else out there celebrate the holidays with Tom & Jerrys? Do you know which came first?
As you may know, pre-orders for books are what help determine which titles make it onto bestseller lists. Mind you, I don't believe I have a shot at the New York Times Bestseller list (tho I can dream...) but pre-orders always help generate buzz. And I would love any help you can offer.
If you know anyone who might be interested in the White House Chef novels, please let them know! You can link to this blog, or my website: www.juliehyzy.com
It's getting close... the release date for Eggsecutive Orders.
January 5th is less than 3 weeks away.
Every single time I have a new book about to come out I get jittery. I wonder when the book will first appear in bookstores, I wonder when I'll spot the first review. But most of all, I look forward to hearing what readers think, and I hope they enjoy the story. When readers write to me and tell me they liked something I've written, it just makes the world shine a little brighter.
That said, I'm planning on running a special contest to celebrate Eggsecutive Orders' debut. You can start preparing for it now by keeping a lookout for Eggsecutive Orders at your local bookstore. If you see it, drop me an e-mail at JulieHyzy(at)aol.com and let me know the bookstore name and location, and the date you spotted it (optional: how many they had in stock). Just let me know it's out there and you're entered.
The official contest opening will be announced on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen on January 5, 2010 which is... conveniently ... the day the book debuts. How do you like that? It's almost like I planned it or something.
Also on January 5th - I'll be guest blogging on Lesa's Book Critiques and I'm really excited to be joining her there. Lesa's wonderful! I can't wait.
Hey, guess what? I'll be guest blogging on The Lipstick Chronicles on Saturday, December 19th. This fun, eclectic blog gets lots of attention and if you tune in, you'll see why. Visit today, check out their "cast of characters," and please be sure to stop by again on Saturday to read my take on a modern way to predict the future
Last Friday I was interviewed by Fran Stewart of Mystery Matters on the VoiceAmerica network. What a fun conversation! Fran has already read Eggsecutive Orders and we talked the about this new entry into the White House Chef series, as well as the first two books - State of the Onion and Hail to the Chef. Fran also asked me a little bit about the new Manor of Murder series debuting in June.
I was so very fortunate to have been invited to participate in this month's mystery discussion group at the Tinley Park Public Library. Fran runs Partners In Crime, which meets every first Tuesday to discuss an assigned mystery. I was absolutely thrilled to have had my two White House Chef novels chosen as their December read.
Not only did they read the books, Fran arranged for a local restaurant, Caffe de Milan, to cater the event. They cooked up lots of Ollie's favorites, including Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes, Little White Rolls, Sugar-cured Ham with White Wine Honey Mustard, and Brownie Bites from Hail to the Chef and Oven Fried Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Ollie's Green Beans, Apple Tart, and Crisp Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies from State of the Onion. The biggest hit, also from State of the Onion, were the Cucumber Slices Stuffed with Feta and Pine Nuts.
Seeing as how I rely on the talents of a "Ghost Chef" I can say, unequivocally, that these recipes showcased some serious talent ;-) I only wished I could eat like this every night!
The mystery discussion group members were so much fun. They had lots of interesting and lively questions. I just loved talking with them. There were about 30 guests and we talked and laughed almost non-stop. So many of the readers asked if I'd tried to get my books into the hands of our White House residents. I have tried, but alas, that hasn't happened yet. Can you imagine how popular the books would be if Michelle Obama was spotted reading one? That would be so cool. And since I'm dreaming here... let me add that I would love an invitation to the White House to tour the kitchens (and everywhere else) at a nice leisurely pace. Umm... the Secret Service probably wouldn't look too kindly on that, but hey... I'm dreaming ;-)
As I said, I feel extremely fortunate to have been invited to participate. Last year the group's holiday meeting featured one of Diane Mott Davidson's books and her menu. Boy, is that great company to be in? She's often credited with starting the culinary mystery sub-genre. Diane didn't attend the event, of course, but then again, she isn't a local like I am.
I was honored, thrilled, and I just had the best time. Here are a few more pictures:
Eileen and I share writing and editing interests, and we found more common ground that gave us a good laugh!
I'm feeling pretty great this morning. I turned in my manuscript for White House Chef Book #4 yesterday and I helped my daughter get her last scholarship and college applications submitted yesterday. A good day all around.
Today I have a lovely lunch date in downtown Chicago which I'm quite excited about. In fact, I have to be out the door in about an hour, so I'd better cut this short and get to the hair and makeup.
The one thing about being home and writing all day is that I never really have to dress up during the day. This will be a fun change of pace and I can thoroughly enjoy it because I'm....
I checked Amazon recently and found that GRACE UNDER PRESSURE, the first in my new MANOR OF MURDER series is listed. I might have mentioned that before on this blog -- no photo yet -- but it's still cool to see it there.
What I didn't notice before today was that this new book is evidently a whopper! Amazon lists its weight at 1pound! Wow. My three White House Chef books (including the new EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS that's being released in January) range between 5.6 and 6.1ounces! When I go grocery shopping, I always try to pick up the bargain size -- the box of cereal, or bag of flour that costs the least per ounce. That means, ounce for ounce, GRACE UNDER PRESSURE at the same price ($7.99) as the rest of my paperbacks... is an amazing deal!! I think everyone should pre-order at least a dozen to share with family and friends ;-) LOL!
Very busy weekend with all three daughters here to keep us busy and laughing. I did absolutely nothing writing-related and that choice (heck, my kids were home... there really was no choice involved), caused me to have quite the nightmare last night.
I dreamt that I still hadn't finished my first draft of Buffalo West Wing, and that I still had about 20k words to go. As you may remember, the manuscript is due December 1st and with all sorts of events happening this week, I have today and tomorrow morning to work on it. I can probably squeeze in a little work time on Friday and possibly next Monday. In my dream, I knew exactly what day it was -- and how little time I had left -- but I had absolutely no idea how I'd get those additional 20k words written. And, as is typical for anxiety dreams, I couldn't even remember what the book was about!
Waking up in a cold sweat, I was thrilled to realize that, although I don't have any additional days to work, the manuscript is complete. The last step - reading aloud - is all I have left to do. I usually find quite a few typos in this process, and I usually make a bunch of word-choice changes, but the story shouldn't vary much.
All in all, I think I'll be able to really relax once this book is turned in.
And then I have not one, but two big treats waiting for me. Two writer friends asked me for blurbs. So I have lots of happy reading ahead. I'll keep you in suspense as to who they are until I finish reading. I promise -- no plot spoilers!
I made good progress yesterday and I'm up to page 239 on my current revision. I think it's going well. After this version is complete, I'll read the entire manuscript aloud. I swear -- reading aloud is truly the very best thing a writer can do for his/her work. That's where I catch the oddball typos... the ones my eyes skim over because my brain fills in what it thinks it sees. Reading aloud makes me truly see every word.
This manuscript -Buffalo West Wing - which won't be out for another year or so - is the first one I'll be submitting without having a first reader go over it for me. It's a little scary to have had no other input on this story before I turn it in, but I think it's a good thing. My former first reader has gotten so busy and so involved in other things that his last two reads of my last two manuscripts have been cursory at best. It's almost as though the last two went through without any input anyway, so I take heart that I'll be okay. Wish me luck.
Monday and Tuesday I'll read BWW aloud and then enjoy the holiday with my family. Thanksgiving starts our Christmas decorating weekend. We've cut back on the amount of stuff we drag out of storage (have any of you cut back too?) and these days it's much more fun because the stress level is way down. We've cut back on gift-giving and tried to focus more on family time. It's a win-win situation for us all.
Lots of rambling today... and I'm not procrastinating. Truly, I'm looking forward to diving head first back into the revision. I've had my two cups of coffee and I've checked e-mail. I guess it's time to get started now...
My eldest daughter's boyfriend has been teasing us for a while about how Tinley Park is a government experiment town... LOL
Looks like the experiment is working! Congratulations Tinley!! Love ya! Love being here.
In other news... The time has come to include a "captcha" on blog comments here. I've been inundated with spamming comments over the past few days. They're just like rabbits -- or Tribbles, I suppose -- let a couple sneak in and pretty soon you have a million of 'em.
So, sorry for having to add an extra step to the comment section.
I'm through 77 pages of the current revision of Buffalo West Wing. Have a dentist appointment in a few, and then I hope to get back and finish this revision so I can begin reading the manuscript aloud. Always the best way to catch poor phrasing and typos!
This weekend is Murder and Mayhem in Muskego. I hope you visit the website, and -- even more -- I hope you plan to attend. This is Muskego, Wisconsin. My family keeps asking me - "Don't you mean Michigan?" That would be "Muskegon," wouldn't it?
Muskego is just this side (south) of Milwaukee, so it's close. I've heard rave reviews about this warm and welcoming conference and I can't wait. I'll be part of a panel at 2:00 on Saturday, November 14th along with Joanna Campbell Slan, Denise Swanson, Shirley Damsgaard, and Deb Baker. I can't wait.
I've been in (and still am in) deadline hell, so in case you've popped by here, you've noticed I haven't posted since Bouchercon. But I promise that I'll be better in 2010. Truly, truly!
In the meantime, here are a couple of updates: Eggsecutive Orders is due out January 5, 2010, but -- here's the cool part -- Michelle Obama and Cristeta Comerford will be appearing on IRON CHEF on January 3rd! How cool is that timing? Stay tuned here and at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen for updates on a fun book launch.
Also - can you believe that Grace Under Pressure - the first Manor of Murder Mystery - already has a page on Amazon? No cover art yet, but here it is: Grace Under Pressure. I hope you check it out. I'm wildly excited about this particular series.
That's it for now. I need to get back to work! This new manuscript is technically finished, but it needs polishing. And lots of it!
Wow! Bouchercon in Indianapolis was wonderful! Absolutely fabulous! Okay, I admit that part of my excitement is from winning the Barry Award and Anthony Award for State of the Onion, in the Best Paperback Original category. I was utterly and completely stunned.
This is the Barry Award. Named for Barry Gardner, it is given by Deadly Pleasures and Mystery News magazines. George Easter (who runs Deadly Pleasures) was just about the nicest man ever. He was so sweet and so great. And I was happy to have met him because then we were able to chitchat here and there over the rest of the conference. Going into the award ceremony I was certain I had zero chance of winning this. I can't tell you how surprised I was. Just amazed.
Winning these two awards was the thrill of a lifetime and I still can't completely believe it. In fact I've been looking at some pictures that are appearing online, such as this one of the Anthony Award ceremony: Riordan's Desk and I've noticed something. Most of the other award winners are actually holding the award as they speak. I'm not. The very kind and perceptive Joe Stanko (Jane Cleland's husband who assisted in the award ceremony) waited to give me the actual award until after I was finished at the microphone. What a smart man!
I am so happy, so grateful, so honored to have been in the company of Vicky Lane, Christa Faust, Max Allan Collins, and the PJ Parrishes - Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols. Kristy and Kelly in particular were so warm, so gracious, and so kind, before and after the ceremony. I have always looked up to them and I'm thrilled to have been able to interact with them a little bit at this Bouchercon.
Into every life some rain must fall, or however that goes... So, there had to be something that went wrong, right? There was.
I've mentioned the HOT TICKET event here a few times and I tried to promote it wherever I could. The Midwest Chapter of MWA was sponsoring this small-group meeting with Big Name authors. As Midwest president I was able to interact with some of these authors (PJ Parrish - above, as well as the lovely and wonderful Carolyn Hart, and the incomparable and fabulous SJ Rozan). I was also supposed to interact with Sue Grafton on Saturday. She was one of my assignments and, of course, I was excited about meeting her.
Guess what? I had so much going on Saturday morning that I forgot about my appointment with Sue Grafton. Actually, I didn't really *forget* - I just lost track of time. Easy to do at Bouchercon, but still incredibly stupid. I had my list of stuff to remember, and I consulted it, but somehow just lost track of time ticking by. I had intended to give her a copy of Mystery Muses, the award-winning anthology of essays from Crum Creek Press because in it I have an essay written about ... you guessed it ... Sue Grafton.
Oh well. It isn't as though she would have missed me. She had Beverle Graves Myers and Jess Lourey there and both of them are wonderful Midwest chapter authors. Bev and Jess took care of the HOT TICKET event with their usual panache, and all was well.
I'm flying high and every time someone calls the house today they ask what's up because I'm so cheerful. This has been a wonderful, wonderful weekend and I thank everyone who had anything to do with Bouchercon, Indy. A superbly run conference and great people. Thank you!!!
I'm mad at myself for missing the opportunity to meet Sue, but at least no one was hurt by my oversight. The only one who suffered was me. And that's okay.
The rest of the day (Anthony Awards) was pretty darned spectacular, so I am *not* complaining.
I'll be posting more about the awards and celebrations tomorrow on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, so if you care to, please stop by. There's another contest running, too!
I am so excited - Bouchercon is finally here! I still have a few more things to throw in my suitcases. Yes "suitcases," plural ;-) and then I'll be taking off about noonish to meet a friend about 20 minutes from here and we'll drive together to Indy!
Two suitcases are necessary, by the way. With all the Hot Ticket supplies (bags, mostly) and MWA banner, pamphlets, etc. I need to bring, I think I'm justified in bringing along a second bag. And that means I now have room for more shoes!
Interestingly, Robyn dropped Violet (her cat, and Kitka's sister) off yesterday for us to watch for the next five days while she and Andrew are out of town. I thought I would be suffering double with two cats in the house (in case I haven't mentioned, I discovered I'm allergic to cats. I've never been allergic to *anything* before). But the two cats keep each other company so well that they mostly leave me alone. Of course, right now they're making a liar out of me and sleeping here on my desk as I type this. But yesterday was an easy breathing day and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Cats are fun to watch. And when they tumble around themselves instead of constantly crawling into my lap, my nose appreciates it!
I'm now thinking I could have maximized this and gotten a lot of writing done while Violet is here, but I'll be getting home just when Robyn and Andrew get back. Hmm... maybe I should "borrow" her until this manuscript is done. (Have I mentioned I'm not writing while I'm in Bouchercon? Yikes. Time is getting short...)
Anyway, I won't be popping in here until next week at the earliest. Not that I post regularly or anything ;-) But I hope to share some pictures and fun stories from the conference when I get back.
Okay -- can I just add one more thing?
I'm incredibly excited about both the Anthony and Barry nominations. That's, of course, part of why I'm giddy about this particular Bouchercon. From the moment I learned of my nominations until this moment -- when the conference is actually here -- has been the *best*! I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. This has been one of the finest honors I've ever enjoyed and I am so thankful.
So ... thank you ... to everyone who has have read my books, sent me e-mails, posted positive reviews on Amazon, nominated State of the Onion for the Anthony or the Barry - and those who have supported me always. You are all wonderful and I thank you so much!
That may not mean anything to you, but it does to me. In fact, every 10/12 I wait in breathless anticipation, wondering what this year's date might hold. In fact, a friend of mine just commented on the date and it occurred to me that the topic might just be bloggable. A little weirdness, a little fun. You ready?
I was born --ahem-- number of years ago at 10:12 AM.
My husband was born --ahem-- number of years ago at 10:12 PM.
And his birthday is exactly 10 months and 12 days before mine.
Pretty cool, huh?
Ever since we put this together (years ago, when we went on a cruise and needed to carry birth certificates), we've been hyper-vigilant every October the 12th. So far, all our 10/12s have been unremarkable and that's okay. Although I keep hoping for some exciting and fun surprise, I need to keep in mind that 10/12 might be an omen...
Hmmm...I think we should probably avoid traveling together on this date.... ;-)
Julie Bouchercon is coming up this week!!! I absolutely can't wait! Hope to see you there.
Yes!! My friend Rene and I went to Diana Gabaldon's book signing last night. The event was held at North Central College, sponsored by Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville. Wonderful event! Ms. Gabaldon is just so entertaining. As Rene put it, we could have listened to her for three more hours.
This is us before the event started and before the "pre-show entertainment" began. Can you imagine being such a popular author that you get a warm-up act? We listened to bagpipe music and watched highland dancers for about a half hour before the 7:00 PM start.
Ms. Gabaldon was gracious enough to pose with us and I think it was probably her husband who took the picture. Look at this woman (I'll have what *she's* having!) - she's absolutely lovely and claims to have been married for 34 years. She barely looks that old. Oh my gosh - I would *love* to look half that good when I'm married for that long.
Let me tell you a secret.... I really, really hoped that when we first got there and picked up our tickets, the Anderson booksellers would say, "Julie Hyzy? Don't you write the White House Chef books?" But of course ::: sigh ::: that didn't happen. ;-)
No matter. We had an absolutely *great* time and I can't wait until this manuscript is done so that I can lose myself in the Outlander series once again.
I never thought this day would come. As I've mentioned elsewhere, Curt has won only one real concession all these years ;-) and that has been, "No cats." Not that I argued all that hard. I like cats and always have, but I've always preferred dogs.
But when you have children -- even older kids -- you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Sara and her boyfriend, Luke, found two sister kittens up near his apartment at school. One kitten is black, the other black and white. Robyn and Andrew adopted the black one and named her Violet Oakley after a famous illustrator. Sara named the black and white one Miss Kitka from the old Batman movie. (Who says kids these days don't know the classics? Heh. Heh.)
Anyway, after much discussion and after meeting Miss Kitka in person, Curt has agreed to let her stay with us until Sara graduates college (2 years from now) but he stipulated that someone else needs to take the cat during the Christmas holidays. We understand that cats love to climb real Christmas trees and that's the one thing Curt won't give up (I turned him to the "dark side" on that one years ago). Robyn and Andrew have graciously agreed to take Kitka during those weeks. And if for some reason they can't, it will be up to Sara to find a friend (Luke??) to babysit for the holidays.
This may sound like a strong request, but believe me, allowing the cat to stay at all is a huge concession for Curt. He's such a softie though.
When we were discussing this away from nosy ears, he said he was feeling a little like Jean-Luc Picard in First Contact ... (paraphrasing) you give a little, you compromise a little, and then it's too late. "The line must be drawn here!" (pronounced "heah!") LOL
Well the line is at Christmas. The girls assure me they'll comply. And with any luck they won't force our assimilation during the holidays. We've discovered, too late, that resistance is futile ;-)
The Kerrytown Bookfest in Ann Arbor, Michigan this past Sunday was wonderful! Robin Agnew of Aunt Agatha's bookstore was in charge of the festival and she did a masterful job. The day was sunny and warm, but the people in Ann Arbor were even warmer. I was so lucky to have been on a panel with Joanna Carl and Miranda Bliss who were charming and full of great ideas.
Just want to share a few pics: This is our panel in action. Angelee was a wonderful moderator. She read all our books and had specific questions prepared for each of us. That was such a delight!
Posing for pictures before running off to the signing tent....
Here we all are signing after the panel. We were also welcome to sign at the Aunt Agatha booth during the day, which I did for about an hour or so.
I met so many nice people at this event. Ann Arbor is beautiful. And of course, Curt and I had lunch at the famous Zingerman's Deli.
If anyone is in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area this Sunday, September 13th - please stop by the Kerrytown Bookfest and say hello. My panel is at 2:00, and we'll be talking about culinary mysteries, of course. Click on Bookfest for more details. Doesn't it sound great? And Jeffrey Deaver is the big guest star. I *love* Jeffrey Deaver. He's not just an amazing writer, he's a great guy. I had the pleasure of meeting him at one of our Midwest chapter meetings at Love is Murder and he was so gracious, so warm.
Anyway, can you tell I'm thrilled to be part of an event where he's featured? Of course, he isn't on the panel talking about culinary mysteries. LOL Could you imagine that? I think I'd be afraid to eat anything one of his characters prepared ;-)
The Kerrytown Bookfest in Ann Arbor has lots to offer and I can't wait to get there.
Hope to see some readers there. Please do say hello!
I'm so excited. My friend Rene and I have just bought tickets to go see Diana Gabaldon when she comes to Anderson's Bookshop later this month.
I have loved the Outlander series since I picked up the first in the series in 1998. I read the first four books twice, and Outlander three times. I confess that with all my book *writing* I haven't been able to keep up. Who'd a believed Diana Gabaldon could write these massive tomes faster than I could read them? I'm about halfway through The Fiery Cross and I still have A Breath of Snow and Ashes to get through before I start this new one, An Echo in the Bone.
You can't just walk in to this event. You actually have to purchase a book ($30) and a ticket ($5) in order to be allowed in. This speaks volumes about Gabaldon's popularity. I would love to be that much in demand, but I have to tell you -- I don't like the idea of charging people to attend a book talk. Maybe there are things at work in the background that I'm not aware of (and that's likely), but even as I hope to become that popular over time (I'm dreaming here), I hope no bookstore ever charges people to come to my booksignings.
But that obviously hasn't stopped me from ordering our tickets... ;-)
No, I'm not talking about myself. I'm nowhere near "famous," and that's okay. I wouldn't mind if my books were famous, but that's not something I have any control over.
But today on Writers Plot, my friend Lorraine Bartlett talks about a letter she received about one of her books. I can't call it a fan letter because the writer is no such thing. The letter Lorraine received is angry, vehement, and personal. What about? Food issues. Yeah, seriously. Check out the link above for the details.
In the comment section of the blog, Shelly nails it. I have to believe Lorraine was stunned and hurt by this missive. Lorraine is a wonderful story teller and a really nice person to boot. Fortunately she seems as though she's shaken it off quickly -- but this nasty letter makes me wonder, as I often have -- do the people who write angry letters and cruel reviews really understand that there are *people* behind the books? That books are written with the hope that with our stories we can entertain readers, cheer them up, or let them escape for a little while?
When authors read horrid reviews of their books (for an example or two, check out SJ's reviews of my two WHChef novels on Amazon -- or, better yet, *don't* read them), believe me, it hurts. I sincerely hope SJ does *not* pick up a copy of Eggsecutive Orders when it comes out. It's pretty obvious to me she doesn't care for my style.
I understand that not everyone will enjoy my books. And that's okay. It's not the message, it's the tone -- the spite with which the reviews (and Lorraine's letter) were written -- that really stings. As though the writers *wanted* to hurt us. I have to wonder what's going on in the lives of those who so easily diss others. Why spread such anger, such negativity? Does this make them feel better? If that's the case, let them have their say. We'll deal with it. We have to. But I will do my utmost to not let the cycle continue.
Anyway, that's my rant for today. Let's all try to be kind to one another.
I try hard not to voice any political opinions on this blog. To be honest, I try not to voice political opinions anywhere. Mostly because my opinions are complicated and I don't like having to defend how I think. It just isn't worth it. I much prefer listening to others and stepping back to form my opinions after I believe I've gathered all the facts. Sometimes I discover later *haven't* gathered them all and I wind up revising my opinions. Hard to do after you've taken a strong stand for or against something. Hence, no public displays of opinions...
But today I read that parents are complaining about President Obama's planned speech to students across the nation. Many parents are asking to have their kids excused from having to watch it.
This is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES talking about responsibility and goal-setting and the importance of education. What can people possibly have against that?
I don't understand it. But -- no matter -- let's not debate the "why" of these parents' decision. Let's talk about something far more troubling (IMHO). I want to know what these parents believe they are teaching their kids by avoiding the president's message. I *get* that not everyone likes President Obama. But avoiding him is just dumb. He's here for four years, at least. What do these parents think the kids are taking away from this? That the world and the people who inhabit it should only be experienced in safe, measured doses, and only when it supports what we already believe? That anyone who disagrees with us should be ignored?
I'm willing to bet that some of these parents also head off to school, filled with righteous indignation when their kid gets called out for talking in class. Or chewing gum. Or running in the halls. You know -- the stuff kids will do that teachers chastise for.
I have to believe these people think they're protecting their kids. Yeah, well, the world isn't safe. And the sooner kids learn to cope with the world, the stronger they start to become.
Come on... no matter what your political beliefs, can't everyone see these are teachable moments? Let's say you're a parent who disagrees with President Obama on (name your issue). Can't you sit down with your kid at home that night and open a discussion about what the president talked about? I'll bet there will be nothing political to his speech at all. Further, why not talk to your kid about the real issues - regularly. Find out what he/she believes. A kid can't make an informed decision without facts. No one can. Why should any parent want to keep their child from learning?
Okay, I'm starting to rant.
Two years ago one of my daughters took an AP Government class and -- she's usually an A student -- got a C for a final grade. Know what? My husband and I thought that was just fine. Almost every night she came home with new concepts to discuss. Her teacher brought up things she'd never thought about before and when she talked about them at home, we had great discussions about all things political. I know she learned a lot that year, even though her grade was less than she'd hoped for. But that's all I wanted - for her to learn.
I'll stop here. I'm just flabbergasted by the number of people opposed to letting their kids hear President Obama speak. Just completely blown away by this and I better stop now before I really get rolling ;-)
Many of my writer friends already know that I hate dream sequences in books. No, I'm not talking about "this has all been a dream" at the end of a story (a crime for which the writer should be forever banished from keyboards everywhere), but dream sequences within stories that are supposed to be meaningful or provide the protagonist vital clues.
Sure, in real life, I've dreamed the answers to burning questions (the most remarkable in sophomore year geometry when I couldn't figure out the final proof in that night's homework. Woke up with the answer and got it right!) We've all had interesting, frightening, and possibly meaningful dreams, but reading about them in a story bores me to tears. I admit, there have been a few exceptions, but for the most part, dreams in novels are manufactured by the author, and often too precious. I would rather see the protagonist's reaction to the dream -- see how he/she is affected by his/her nocturnal adventures... And when an author accomplishes that, I am happy to go along for the ride.
That said, I had a weird dream last night. I won't bore you with the details, but I want to share how it affected me. I dreamed I killed someone - not by myself, and not in self defense. Four of us (people I don't know) did it and it terrified me. I didn't experience the actual act, but I knew that it had happened (you know how dreams are). Experts say that the brain reacts to imaginary scenarios the same way it would to real ones, and let me tell you I woke up totally freaked out.
I know where this dream originated. I can usually backtrack through the past few days and figure out what I did/saw that triggered an adventure. This time it was one of the Bond movies on TV we had channel-surfed through and stopped to watch for a bit. One of the characters in the movie was even one of my accomplices. So relax all you Freudian analysts out there - this was just a misfired synapse - ;-)
What I found most fascinating was the reaction my dream-self had to the murder. The enormity of what had been done coupled with the fear of being found out provided a level of trapped terror I'd never known. These are feelings I've never experienced and never plan to experience. But maybe, just maybe, if I ever write from a villain's perspective, I'll be able to draw upon this to make my scenes real.
Right now none of the scenes I imagined would be appropriate in either the Ollie (White House Chef) or Grace (Manor of Murder) series. So I guess I'll have to put these vivid-today memories aside for a while. If I ever do write the sort of novel that features a villain's perspective, I'll just have to rewatch this Bond movie and hope for the best ;-)
Okay, so I just got off the phone with Jena O'Connor at KORN 1490. For the first time I think I remembered to say everything I meant to! Whew. I always get so nervous and my words tumble out faster than my brain reacts. Danger Will Robinson!
Anyway, I think it went well.
Here's some news!! The cover art for EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS is up on Amazon.com.
You can see the cover art here on the blog, of course, but it's always very neat when it finally shows up on Amazon. To me it indicates that the new book cycle is about to begin.
Speaking of booksellers, I'm intending to figure out a way to highlight my favorite independent booksellers here on this site. I need to get a link to IMBA up, too. Because I'm playing catch up after a busy weekend, I may not get to it immediately. but keep visiting. Should be updated very soon.
Last Thursday was our wedding anniversary and Curt and I went out to celebrate at Cooper's Hawk restaurant. What a fabulous experience. But then again, I don't think we've ever had a bad time at Cooper's Hawk.
Cooper's Hawk is a comfortable-chic restaurant and winery in Orland Park, IL. We are Wine Club members - which means that once a month our credit card is billed for the vintage of the month. (We're "reds.") We have the choice of picking up our bottle of wine up front in the classy and upscale store, or having it decanted (is that the right term?) for us in the restaurant. Nine times out of ten we opt for the decanting. It gives us an excuse to go there and enjoy a fun meal. For our anniversary, that's exactly what we did.
We go to Cooper's Hawk often enough to have favorites among the waitstaff. Last Thursday, for the first time, we had "Joe." I really liked Joe. He was friendly and accommodating and gave us plenty of room - time to enjoy our meal. No rushing. And yet, he was right there when we needed him. When he found out it was our anniversary, he said he would have given us champagne (too late because we had the wine) so he provided dessert instead.
What's prompting me to write this little blurb today is the realization that I've had many, many excellent experiences at Cooper's Hawk over the past couple of years and I should probably share that information with a wider audience. When my husband was out of work in 2008, we were tempted to cancel our wine club membership. But we decided that instead, *not* canceling would be our lifeline. We thought that if we stayed positive, our hope would help turn things around. For the four months he was out of work, we visited Cooper's Hawk almost every Friday for a mini-lunch of lobster bisque (best I've ever had!) and maybe a shared salad. We told ourselves that if we were keeping our heads above water enough to afford an inexpensive weekly lunch and our wine club membership, things couldn't be so bad. We told ourselves that positive thinking was paramount. And maybe that's why it worked - because we believed it so wholeheartedly.
Now that my husband's been working for over a year again, we remember those lunches at Cooper's Hawk with great fondness. Ten minutes from our house, it's become our place. And since we've adopted it, we've discovered that the restaurant's owner went to the same high school my husband did - Marist. And I'm a Maria girl. Chicago South-siders, unite ;-)
A neighborhood restaurant with the feel of downtown Chicago, Cooper's Hawk is a fabulous place to go for special occasions and for every day enjoyment. In fact, we're heading back there again tomorrow night with friends. Can't wait.
Our Midwest Mystery Writers of America Hot Ticket event is really coming together. If you're going to Bouchercon in October and would like to visit with some of the biggest names in mystery fiction:
Lee Child Michael Connelly Joseph Finder Sue Grafton Charlaine Harris Carolyn Hart David Morrell Sara Paretsky PJ Parris (both!) SJ Rozan Wendelin Van Draanen
please visit the Midwest Chapter website for further information. Ten fans will sit around a boardroom table and be able to ask questions and just --- talk --- with a favorite author. If you're interested in winning a ticket, visit the Midwest Chapter Website for details. Five tickets for each author will be "won" via contest. The other five will be drawn, lottery style.
On a personal note - I had some difficulty setting up my hotel room for Bouchercon this time. Long story - and way too boring to relate - but suffice it to say that I had my doubts about the "third party booking company's" ability to get things right. Just after midnight last night, it dawned on me that I forgot to confirm things with the hotel. I tried to put it out of my head, but I tossed and turned until about 1:00 in the morning. At that point I decided I *needed* to call the hotel and confirm. Yes I know I'm a couple of months early, but there have been so many mess-ups, that I needed to make sure. And for some reason, it had to be that last night. There I was at 1:10 AM, calling the Westin, Indianapolis. And guess what? They were in the midst of a system audit and couldn't verify anything. Sigh... I finally fell asleep at about 2:30. Feeling it now. But this morning I *was* able to verify everything and I'm feeling much better now ;-)
In other news... I found a really great review of Hail to the Chef online today: Mayhem and Magic - it's always so great to find good reviews online. Actually, it's great to find good reviews wherever they appear! ;-) I always feel like it's an especially good day when I happen upon a site like Mayhem and Magic. After my sleepless night, this was a welcome surprise. Please check it out!
I'm continuing to update the White House Chef Mystery Series blog with recipes from the books. I had planned to end that outlet, but it looks like people are interested in having Ollie's recipes available online. So here they are. I'll continue to add more in the coming weeks.
If you subscribe to my newsletter, and you've entered the "Eggceptional" contest, there's good news. The contest will remain open through September. So keep those eggcellent words coming!
As I titled this post, I realized how funny it is that I'm planning to write about last-minute jitters. Today is my wedding annversary. I've been married for ::cough:: years now, and I have to tell you I experienced absolutely no jitters before the wedding. None whatsoever. My husband claims he didn't either and I believe him.
But it's just interesting that today of all days, I'm feeling nervous.
I'm talking, of course, about my new novel, the first in the MANOR OF MURDER series. The book is done and I'll turn it in before my September 1st deadline, so I'm slightly ahead of the game. But I'm nervous. I really like this story and I think it works. My middle daughter read it yesterday and said she likes it a lot (what else is a daughter going to say, right?), and I've proofread the heck out of it. As of last night I realized there is nothing preventing me from turning it in today, except my own skittishness. Maybe if I proofread one more time I'll find a better turn of phrase, a misplaced comma (always!), or a word echo. I have no doubt about that. When I am called upon to read my work aloud, I find myself editing as I read - wishing I'd made this change, or that. But by that time it's too late ;-)
The other reason I'm nervous, I think, is because I'm sending a whole new cast of characters out into the world. Just like dropping off one's child at kindergarten, I worry that the "others" (readers) won't like my characters, will make fun of them, will send them home in tears. I felt this way when Ollie and her White House gang were first introduced and I feel this way every time a new White House Chef book is released. I wonder, is this normal? At a minimum I have to figure it's normal for me ;-)
Even though I could send the manuscript off today, and happily start on the next one tomorrow, I think I'll take a few extra days to read this first MANOR OF MURDER story aloud a second time (always a worthwhile exercise) and make good use of the week and a half I have left. I have this mental picture in my head of me holding tight to the manuscript while it's being pulled out of my hands. "No," I cry, "just a little more tweaking!"
Dean and Kris would be so disappointed ;-)
Do any other authors experience this trepidation? Just wondering...
I don't mean for this poor blog to be ignored, really I don't. But I have a manuscript due very soon and although it's *technically* done, I really want to go over a few sections a bit more. Okay, a lot more. I hate turning manuscripts in early because I'm afraid I'll have some "Aha!" moment and wish I'd made that one last tweak.
So... I'm tweaking. In fact, just as I fell asleep last night I realized there's a line I should probably add near the beginning...
This manuscript is the first in the new Manor of Murder series which is scheduled to debut next summer. I've tentatively titled this first novel Grace Under Pressure, because my protagonist is Grace Wheaton, but I almost want to use Manor of Murder for this first book. Decisions, decisions. Tweaks, tweaks. And the marketing department at Berkley may decide that neither title is right.
But agonizing over such decisions is part of the fun. So I continue... ;-)
Also... Just a reminder that today is Tuesday - my blog day at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. My topic is a restaurant in the West Loop area of Chicago - Marche. There should really be an accent over that "e" but I haven't figured out a way to add it while using Blogger.
Anyway, if you're in Chicago and looking for a lovely place for a French dinner, check out Marche. Full review at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen.
I'll be interviewed today on KCMN 1530 AM by Tron in the Morning. Tron won Gazette's Best of Springs "Best Radio Show for 2008" and reaches Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, Fort Morgan, Pueblo, and the outskirts of Aspen.
I probably should have mentioned my NYC interview yesterday... Haven't quite gotten the hang of this "notification" stuff yet.
Anyway, hope all is well with everyone. I promise to share updates soon!
Just a reminder... I'm blogging tomorrow on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen where I'll be sharing the results from the Veggie Burger experiment. Tune in tomorrow and leave a comment on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blog and your name will be entered to win a $25 gift certificate for Williams-Sonoma.
Updates on Twitter, too! Follow me (and please feel free to make suggestions here in the comment section, I'm still on my Twitter learning curve)
Right now I'm writing the fourth book in the White House Chef series (after Eggsecutive Orders, coming out in January). I'm also writing the first in the new Manor of Murder series (also for Berkley). In the WHC books, Ollie is a chef in the White House. In the MoM series, Grace's best friends own a wine shop. Food, wine, snacks...
I get *hungry* writing these. I swear I can easily gain ten pounds per book, if I'm not careful. And since these two new books are numbers four and five... well, I guess it's time to do some pushups! And situps. And walking...
Wish me luck. Either that, or stand aside as I waddle around Bouchercon this year! ;-)
Lately the news has been full of warnings about products produced in China. From dog food, to lead in toys, to the toxic plastic in milk products, China has been the named culprit in recall after recall. I recently heard about glass made in China that has melted in microwaves (can you believe it?), and about cheesegraters made in that country that are highly radioactive -- owners of these cheesgraters are supposedly subjected to the equivalent of a chest X-ray every 36 hours. The most recent bit of China-product news that I saw had to do with drywall. Yep, drywall. You know, the stuff that people install in homes to keep rooms separated... I guess lots of the stuff used in Florida construction now appears to be toxic. Time to rip it out and replace. In over 30,000 homes. Can you imagine the magnitude of this job?
Here's the thing. It's almost impossible to buy stuff these days that isn't made in China. We took Daughter #2 out shopping last weekend to IKEA, Target, and Sam's Club to outfit her college apartment. We made a game of trying to buy items that were not Chinese-made. Just to see if it could be done.
Guess what? Not so easy. But try we did, and I have to say I was pretty proud of our stash of goods when we left the store. We gave up on a few items: measuring spoons, measuring cups, and a pizza cutter. Other than that, we did great. We bought plates, silverware, drinking glasses, coffee mugs, and even some decorative stuff, all made in the USA, or Italy, or Brazil. I think we had a couple of Thailands in there, too.
Since our shopping jaunt, we've become even more sensitive to "Where is it made?" on the bottom of items offered for sale. Last night, my husband and I walked through a Crate and Barrel and were really excited to see the country of origin marked boldly and clearly on so many of the shelf signs. When the country of origin was missing on the shelf tag, we checked the items individually. Interestingly, most of these were made in China. Hmmm...does this mean they don't want to advertise things made in China? Who knows? So delighted were we in finding things Made in Italy, and Made in USA, that we bought some stuff. Just a few mixing bowls, but they're cool.
We still couldn't find American made measuring spoons, or cups, but the search is not yet over.
Anyway, if you see someone peering closely at "Made In" tags when you're out shopping, say hello. It's probably me.
Very excited. Today I'm going to be interviewed on Talk of the Sun Coast, in Sarasota, Florida at 1:00 PM Eastern, which is noon, Central time. Cliff Roles is the interview host and I'm delighted to have the opportunity to discuss Hail to the Chef.
Last year, I believe it was this program that caught me unprepared for one of the questions. Cliff liked the idea of recipes in State of the Onion a great deal, but surprised me by asking: "Do you have any recipes for meat?"
Well, of course I did. But my mind went totally blank. I think I said, "uhhh.." as I whipped the book open and paged through the recipe section. Side dishes, desserts, breakfast pastries... no meat. I kept paging... as the dead radio air hung between us. "Uh..." I think I said again (missing the Virginia Ham completely as I paged back and forth). Finally, just to have something to say, I offered, "There's a recipe for green beans." My not-so-fast-on-my-feet thinking went like this: Green beans make a great side dish for meat.
One of my daughters was in Sarasota at the time. and had been listening in. She called me immediately after the program practically choking with laughter. "Green beans are meat??" she laughed. Since then it's become quite the family joke.
Today, I hope to redeem myself. Wish me luck ;-)
*** In other news -- please visit Mystery Lovers' Kitchen where today I'm blogging about wine served at the White House!
Visit Mystery Lovers' Kitchen this week and leave a comment with your name and state (or follow the directions for sending an entry via e-mail) and you'll be eligible to win a $25 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card. It's that easy. We'll choose a winner every Sunday and announce her/him on the blog.
After long last, I'm finally developing a newsletter. Yes, a real one, with news and tips and ideas and, I hope, fun. More than just the "Here's a new book coming out" e-mail that you may occasionally receive from me.
If you're interested in receiving these newsletters (best guess is I'll send them out quarterly), please e-mail me at JulieHyzy @ aol (dot) com. Or visit my website and send me a message from there. Just make sure I have your correct e-mail address and I'll sign you up.
I promise never to sell, lend, or otherwise share *anyone's* e-mails.
Guess what? Eggsecutive Orders is available to pre-order on Amazon.com. This third White House Chef mystery will be released January 5th, but I know how important pre-sales are so I wanted to announce it here. I'll probably announce it on Twitter, once I get a few more people to follow me there ;-)
I just activated my Twitter account today, so I'm still very new at this.
There's no cover image on Amazon, yet, so I'll post it here again. I just love it. Just perfect.
In Eggsecutive Orders, it's the week before the annual Easter Egg Roll and Ollie is banished from the White House kitchen after one of the president's dinner guests dies. To make things worse, Ollie's mom and grandmother are in D.C. for a visit and to tour the White House. It's hard to get your family inside the president's mansion, when you're not even allowed inside yourself anymore... Tune in to see what Ollie does next...
I'll be posting recipes from State of the Onion and Hail to the Chef, one at a time. I'll also add in a personal recipe here and there.
Second, the contest on this site:
How apt, right? This contest will run from today through the end of June. Everyone who answers correctly will have their names put in a hat. At the end of the month, I'll draw out the winner. He/she will receive his/her choice of one of my books.
Choices are: Artistic License (trade pb) Deadly Blessings (trade pb) Deadly Interest (hardcover) Dead Ringer - written with Michael A. Black (hardcover) These Guns For Hire - (hardcover anthology. My short story from this volume won a Derringer Award) State of the Onion (mass market pb) Hail to the Chef (mass market pb)
Okay, ready for the question? I'll start with an easy one: To which of our presidents is this quote attributed?:
"Far better it is to dare mighty things - to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure - than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
If you type your reply in the "Comments" section, everyone will see your answer.
So, instead, please visit my website: www (dot) julieahyzy (dot) com and send it to me from there. Thanks and good luck!!
I have wonderful news! State of the Onion has been nominated for a Barry Award in the Best Paperback Original category! Woo-hoo!! I'm delirious with excitement. The winners of the Barry and of the Anthony Award (for which Onion is also a nominee), will be announced at Bouchercon in Indianapolis in October.
Want to know the truth? I don't want October to come too soon. I'm enjoying the nominee status so much that I don't want it to end. This is just so great. I'm just tickled and thrilled, not to mentioned honored.
The full list of Barry Award nominees is below. What an amazing group of writers and great collection of novels. I'm humbled to be in the company of so many greats - both here and on the Anthony list. To be honest, I'm in quite a state of disbelief!
The Barry Awards are named for one of the most ardent and beloved ambassadors of mystery fiction, Barry Gardner, and are voted on by the readers of MYSTERY NEWS and DEADLY PLEASURES. The 13th Annual Barry Awards presentation will take place at Bouchercon in Indianapolis, Indiana in mid-October. Further details will be announced as soon as available.
BEST NOVEL TRIGGER CITY by Sean Chercover THE DRAINING LAKE by Arnaldur Indridason ENVY THE NIGHT by Michael Koryta RED KNIFE by William Kent Krueger THE CRUELEST MONTH by Louise Penny DAWN PATROL by Don Winslow
BEST FIRST MYSTERY THE KIND ONE by Tom Epperson STALKING SUSAN by Julie Kramer CITY OF THE SUN by David Levien CHILD 44 by Tom Rob Smith A CARRION DEATH by Michael Stanley SWEEPING UP GLASS by Carolyn D. Wall
BEST BRITISH MYSTERY A SIMPLE ACT OF VIOLENCE by R.J. Ellory RITUAL by Mo Hayder THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson SHATTER by Michael Robotham BLEEDING HEART SQUARE by Andrew Taylor BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE by Martin Walker
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL THE FIRST QUARRY by Max Allan Collins MONEY SHOT by Christa Faust STATE OF THE ONION by Julie Hyzy THE BLACK PATH by Asa Larsson SEVERANCE PACKAGE by Duane Swierczynski ECHOES FROM THE DEAD by Johan Theorin
BEST THRILLER COLLISION by Jeff Abbott THE DECEIVED by Brett Battles THE SURVIVOR (NO SURVIVORS in U.S.) by Tom Cain FINDER by Colin Harrison NIGHT OF THUNDER by Stephen Hunter GOOD PEOPLE by Marcus Sakey
BEST SHORT STORY "The Drought" by James O. Born (The Blue Religion) "The Fallen" by Jan Burke (August EQMM) "A Trace of a Trace" by Brendan DuBois (At the Scene of the Crime) "A Killing in Midtown" by G. Miki Hayden (January/February AHMM) "Proof of Love" by Mick Herron (September/October EQMM) "The Problem of the Secret Patient" by Edward D. Hoch (May EQMM)
Curt and I took a trip to California last week. This was our first-ever vacation without the kids since our eldest was born. (They survived. So did we.) Our first stop was Monterey, for one night, then on to Yosemite for four days, and then finally to Napa Valley. Rather than provide a long, detailed description of the trip (I can see your eyes glaze over at the thought), I thought I'd just touch on a couple of highlights. And I see no reason to go in chronological order ;-)
So here we are, near the end of the vacation, early on our bike tour in Napa Valley.
That's Curt on the left, Lauren Kolbeck (who was a delight to get to know) and our guide "Just four more miles" Joan of Napa Valley Bike Tours. Joan may not have a good sense of mileage ... *everything* was just four more miles, even when it was closer to nine ... but she outpaced and out-biked all of us with ease. I was definitely the weakest link in this group and I appreciated everyone's patience when I needed to walk my bike that mile and a half straight up to the Rutherford Hill Winery. Lauren said she had to walk a bit, too, but she made it a whole lot farther than I did! Curt walked with me even though I knew he could press on longer. What a good guy!
Just as I got off the bike (about one-tenth of the way up) our youngest called to ask if she could have a Color Guard sleepover at the end of June. "Wow, you're out of breath, Mom," she said. I explained. "You're still on the bike ride? How long have you been on it?" When I told her we were getting close to three hours at that point, my then-sixteen-year-old actually sounded impressed. Little did I know that I had another three-plus hours to go before Curt and I gave up totally and requested a pickup from Paul and the van.
Here we are at the last stop we were able to manage before we called it quits.
Along the way we visited Sequoia Grove vineyards, and Elizabeth Spencer's as well. We bought olive oil at a neat little shop (I think it was called "The Olive Oil Store") that didn't charge for tasting, and some wine from the excellent Rutherford Hill. (Our favorite stop.) We had a great host at Rutherford. His name was John, but Lauren thought he looked more like a Bob. We all loved the Cabernet Sauvignon, and John suggested we try a little of their port. I don't care for port, but we followed his instructions: small sip, then a chocolate-covered blueberry, then another sip of port. Wow. Heaven! Yep, we bought the port and the blueberries ;-) And now we can't wait to have friends over to share the experience.
Our last stop was Saddleback. Not my favorite place mostly because the young woman in charge of the tasting seemed rather disappointed that we showed up there so close to closing time. She "made time" for us, however. But the experience left a bad taste in my mouth - and not from the wine.
Although we rode a lot longer than we'd originally planned -- we had signed up for a three-and-half hour ride, and wound up closer to six hours -- we had a wonderful time. Absolutely great.
The best part was the camaraderie, and all the laughs. Lauren and Joan were wonderful and I'm very glad to know them.
Would I do it again? Sure. But maybe next time I'd sign on for just an hour or two... and please, no more hills!
We had a wonderful time this weekend. And, despite the rain, the endless refrain of "La Vie en Rose" (which was really quite lovely once the volume was set at a manageable level), and the economy, dedicated readers came out to the Printers Row Lit Fest in droves. There was even a wedding on site (the couple had their first date at Printers Row).
I'll try to add pictures here throughout the day.
Just before Printers Row Lit Fest 2009 opened on Saturday morning.
Jack Fredrickson, Sam Reaves, and Margery Flax
Dinner Saturday night at The Italian Village Restaurant in Chicago's Loop. Tim Broderick, his wife, Kathy, and our bookseller, Augie Aleksy
From left: Jamie Freveletti, Cathy O'Connell, Judy Bobalik and Craig McDonald
Michael A. Black, Sara Paretsky, Bob Goldsborough and the back of Raymond Benson's head ;-)
Luisa Buehler smiles for the camera, while Margery Flax turns away. Another lovely view of the back of Raymond Benson's head. Is he camera shy?
As usual, Jack Fredrickson holds women in thrall...
Margery Flax, Jamie Freveletti and Cathy O'Connell are back for more fun, more music, but less rain, on Sunday.
See what great things happen when authors agree to coordinate their outfits? Bookseller Lynda (seated), Michael A. Black, Bryan Gruley and Sean Chercover must have planned for weeks to get this just right.
The long busy weekend took its toll in the last couple hours.
Margery Flax and Michael Allen Dymmoch in their "We're tired" shot ;-)
But that doesn't explain why I keep spelling my own name wrong.
Seriously. I've been typing e-mails so fast lately, that my name has been coming out "Juile" or "Jluie" or even "Jukie." My not-so-nimble fingers' favorite seems to be Juile. This has been happening for months.
I usually catch these mistakes before I hit "send" but not always. So if I e-mail you, and misspell my own name, please don't make too much fun of me. But I won't blame you if you do.
To be fair, I guess I shouldn't get upset by the many "Dear July," messages I receive, should I?
Anyway, I just wanted to vent a little at my own ineptitude. Does anyone else have this problem? Or am I totally weird?
While I'm here, let me remind everyone in the Chicago area that this weekend -- June 6-7, 2009 is Printers Row. Come down to Polk and Dearborn for a weekend of book browsing and fun. The Midwest Chapter of MWA will have a half-tent there. I'll be manning it just about all weekend, so please come by and say hello. We're at location "W" on Dearborn, just a bit north of Polk near the stage.
Centuries & Sleuths will be handling book sales for all participating MWA authors including:
Deb Baker Albert Bell Raymond Benson Michael A. Black Tim Broderick Luisa Buehler Sean Chercover Kate Collins Barb D'Amato Michael Allen Dymmoch Jack Fredrickson Jamie Freveletti Bob Goldsborough Andrew Grant Bryan Gruley Betty Hechtman Libby Fischer Hellmann Craig McDonald John McEvoy Catherine O'Connell Helen Osterman, Sara Paretsky Sam Reaves
Some of you may have discovered that my website doesn't seem to be there anymore. It is, but not in exactly the same place. If you visit www.julieahyzy.com you'll find it. If you visit www.juliehyzy.com, you won't.
The website was set up to respond to both versions of my name, but somehow the version without my middle initial seems to have fallen off the grid. My friend and web-guru, Beth at Cincinnati Media, is looking into the problem, but until things get back to where they should be, please use the link with the "a."
I've been promising myself that I would keep up on this blog and that I would do more to engage readers' attention. Today, June 1st, I'm following through on that promise.
First, the news: I've started another blog. This one will be strictly for recipes (and contests) and can be found here: http://whitehousechef.blogspot.com/ I'll be posting recipes from State of the Onion and Hail to the Chef, one at a time. I'll also add in a personal recipe here and there.
Second, the contest: Presidential Trivia. How apt, right?
This contest will run from today through the end of June. Everyone who answers correctly will have their names put in a hat. At the end of the month, I'll draw out the winner. He/she will receive his/her choice of one of my books.
Choices are: Artistic License (trade pb) Deadly Blessings (trade pb) Deadly Interest (hardcover) Dead Ringer - written with Michael A. Black (hardcover) These Guns For Hire - (hardcover anthology. My short story from this volume won a Derringer Award) State of the Onion (mass market pb) Hail to the Chef (mass market pb)
Okay, ready for the question? I'll start with an easy one:
To which of our presidents is this quote attributed?:
"Far better it is to dare mighty things - to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure - than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
If you type your reply in the "Comments" section, everyone will see your answer. So, instead, please visit my website: www (dot) julieahyzy (dot) com and send it to me from there. (Note the middle initial "a" in my website.)
I am absolutely delighted to post the list of this year's Anthony Award nominees. I'm particularly thrilled because I'm on the list in the Best Paperback Original category.
This is just the coolest news. I am more excited than I can even begin to convey. When I saw the e-mail last week letting me know STATE OF THE ONION had been nominated, I stared at the Inbox for a long two seconds. I mean, the sender was "awards_at_ bouchercon" and the message title was "Congratulations." Disbelief was my first response. I thought maybe there had been a problem with the ballot I sent in and they had a question. But then why the congratulations? My middle daughter was in the next room settling an argument about who voiced which character in the animated Anastasia.
Staring at this Inbox, I could only ask, "What?!?" and my daughter said, "Yeah, it was Angela Lansbury," and I reached for the mouse to click, saying, "What?!?" again. My daughter was convinced I was questioning her. Well, at least until I opened the e-mail and started the full-blown exclamations of joy. Then she started to understand that maybe I was talking about something else ;-)
In any case, I'm posting the entire list here. I am humbled to be in the company of such wonderful writers and I'm just delighted to be part of this amazing honor. Voting will take place at Bouchercon 2009 in Indianapolis in October. This promises to be a fun conference!
Congratulations to all the nominees!
Here we go...
2009 Anthony Award Nominations
Trigger City by Sean Chercover [William Morrow] The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly [Little, Brown and Company] Red Knife by William Kent Krueger [Atria] The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson [Knopf] The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny [Minotaur]
Best First Novel
Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris [Minotaur] Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer [Doubleday] The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson [Knopf] Death of a Cozy Writer by G. M. Malliet [Midnight Ink] Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith [Grand Central]
Best Paperback Original
The First Quarry by Max Allan Collins [Hard Case Crime] Money Shot by Christa Faust [Hard Case Crime] State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy [Berkley] In a Dark Season by Vicki Lane [Dell] South of Hell by P. J. Parrish [Pocket Star]
Best Short Story
“The Night Things Changed” by Dana Cameron from Wolfsbane and Mistletoe [Ace] “A Sleep Not Unlike Death” by Sean Chercover from Hardcore Hardboiled [Kensington] “Killing Time” by Jane K. Cleland from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (November) “Skull and Cross Examination” by Toni L. P. Kelner from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (February) “Scratch a Woman” by Laura Lippman from Hardly Knew Her [William Morrow] “The Secret Lives of Cats” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (July)
Best Critical Nonfiction Work
African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study by Frankie Y. Bailey [McFarland] How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson [Perseverance Press] Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography by Jeffrey Marks [McFarland] The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale [Walker & Company]
Best Children’s/Young Adult Novel
The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein [Random House] Paper Towns by John Green [Dutton Juvenile] Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lauren Henderson [Delacorte] The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart [Little, Brown] Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash by Wendelin Van Draanen [Knopf]
Best Cover Art
Death Was the Other Woman designed by David Rotstein and written by Linda L. Richards [Minotaur] Death Will Get You Sober designed by David Rotstein and written by Elizabeth Zelvin [Minotaur] The Fault Tree designed by David Rotstein and written by Louise Ure [Minotaur] The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo designed by Peter Mendelsund and written by Stieg Larsson [Knopf] Money Shot designed by Steve Cooley and written by Christa Faust [Hard Case Crime]
Special Service Award
Jon and Ruth Jordan Ali Karim David Montgomery Gary Warren Niebuhr Sarah Weinman
Hi everybody ... my good friend Carl Brookins has an interesting blog and today he's posted his interview with me. The more I read blogs like his, and Julia Buckley's and others, the more I'm convinced that I'm way behind on gathering interviews for this blog. I hope to expand and do that, but ... as I say in Carl's interview ... not this year. This year is my final year as president of the Midwest Chapter of MWA and I'm already feeling like I'm falling behind... Next year I should have a bit more time.