Monday, November 30, 2009


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....



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pound for Pound, Ounce for Ounce

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 1 pound! Wow. My three White House Chef books (including the new EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS that's being released in January) range between 5.6 and 6.1 ounces!

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 ;-)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Read-aloud time

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!

Hope you have a wonderful week.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Revisions and First Readers

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...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tinley Park - Captcha - Manuscript revisions

Tinley Park, Illinois has been named the "Best place to raise kids in the Nation" by BusinessWeek magazine. Is that cool, or what?

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!

Hope you have a fabulous day...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Star Trek

In case you didn't know the new STAR TREK movie comes out on DVD today. I pre-ordered a copy -- of course.

Star Trek movies used to always debut in theatres around my birthday... this year it's the DVD that's debuting just in time for my celebration ;-)

Live Long and Prosper!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

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!