Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Contest Coming Soon

Keep checking back here because I'll be announcing a new contest very soon -- one to help celebrate the launch of Grace Under Pressure!

I'll also announce it in my newsletter (coming soon), and on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I like this "alot"

If you know me, you know that when I see misspellings, misplaced apostrophes, or crazy word choices, I have a field day pointing them out.

Seems as though I'm not the only one. Check out this delightful post:

I'm reading: The Alot is Better Than You at Everything

Starred review Part Two... who'd a thunk?

There's a great blog post from just over a year ago here where Dave Cullen, the author of COLUMBINE, talks about getting a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly.

As I read his post today, I found myself grinning.

Monday, when I found out that GRACE UNDER PRESSURE had received a starred review, I called my husband at work and gushed all over the place. He was suitably happy for me and we signed off. Later that night, when he got home, he gingerly posed the question that had obviously been bugging him all day... "So this star you got? It's out of a possible how many?"

And with that I was again reminded of the fact that my writing world and my real world don't always communicate so well. I explained to him that books can't get more than *one* star. That "starred" is similar to "recommended." With a sigh of relief, he was then genuinely happy for me.

"So you thought it was ... like... one star out of five or something?" I asked him.
"Yup," he replied.
"And you were just going along with my giddiness because it seemed like the right thing to do, huh?"
"Pretty much."

Lucky him... over a glass of wine that night I explained everything I knew about Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal.

I'll bet he never asks for clarification again *grin*

Definitely check out Dave Cullen's blog. Congratulations and condolences. Too funny.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

*Starred* Review

I'm blanketing the airwaves... posted on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen and on Facebook and -- of course I have to mention this here:

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE received a *starred review* from Publishers Weekly!
I can't tell you how excited I am! Found out yesterday.

Here's the link:


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tony Perona - guest blogs at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

Be sure to stop by and say hello at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen today where my good friend, Tony Perona, is our guest blogger. He'll be talking about his new book, Saintly Remains.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Books and Newsletters and Contests

To celebrate the launch of Grace Under Pressure in June, I'll be running a contest - and that's coming up soon (in May). Sign up for my newsletter (scroll down a bit and to the right) to ensure you don't miss your chance.

Also - a reminder: You are invited (I'll be repeating this a few more times as we get closer)

Book Launch Party
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore
7419 W. Madison
Forest Park, IL

There will be wine, snacks, and lots of conversation. Hope you can come. Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Restaurant Review - BLUE 13

I might have mentioned that my husband and I decided to give each other the gift of new experience for Christmas in 2008 (dining experience, I mean. What else is there?) and we enjoyed ourselves so much, we decided to give ourselves the same gift again this past Christmas.

So far in 2010, we've had some wonderful meals at exceptional restaurants. The rule is that the establishment has to be new to at least one of us and we have a lot of fun choosing where to dine next. One of my favorite ways to find new restaurants is through OpenTable.com I've set my profile to the Chicago area, but they offer options for all over the U.S. (and in Canada, too). Membership is free and for every reservation you make and hold, they award 100 points. Get to 2,000 and you can receive a $20 dining check in the mail. I love this!

The points are great, but the part I like best is the selection of restaurants they offer. I've found so many wonderful restaurants I would otherwise never have known about. This service is *genius* and we use it as much as we can. Chicago has hundreds -- thousands -- of great restaurants. How to choose? That's why I love OpenTable.

Sunday, my husband and I were looking for a place to enjoy our "Christmas" dinner and we wanted it to be near The Redhead Piano Bar because we'd won a $50 gift certificate at the Lifeline Theatre fundraiser last year and the certificate was about to expire.

Enter OpenTable and its myriad choices. I finally settled on Blue 13, a small restaurant on Ontario, just a few blocks west of Redhead. The reason we chose this one was because they offered a Sunday night "Family Style" special - just wacky and weird enough to pique our interest. Most restaurants in that area are upscale, trendy, foodie-worthy. "Family style" in that neighborhood surprised us. So we decided to see what was up.

Wow, wow, wow.

Blue 13 is a very trendy place. From the street, it doesn't look like much - a small presence in a vibrant part of the city. But inside - it's gorgeous. Lovely contemporary decor, with a wonderful balance of dark enough to feel cozy, bright enough to see what you're eating. Small, welcoming, it instantly put us in the right mood. Paul was our waiter - extremely pleasant and attentive. The restaurant's tagline is "Now that you're an adult, dine like one." Do you love it? I do.

Although they had a regular menu that tempted us with pan-seared scallops and "Steak and Egg on Acid," we opted for the family style dinner. Dinner salad, whitefish over baby bok choy, scalloped potatoes, Brussels sprouts (mouthwateringly fabulous, cooked with bacon), and a dessert to share -- a blueberry creme brulee topped with vanilla gelato.

Yes, it was served "family style" and yes, there was probably more food than we needed to eat, but ... delicious doesn't begin to describe this meal. We enjoyed every morsel and already started planning which of our friends and family we want to bring here next time.

From Blue 13's website I discovered that this venture is a collaboration between two friends. I think one of them was manning the bar while we were there. Have I told you how welcoming the place is? Probably. But I can't say enough.

Blue 13 is a real find. If you're in the Chicago area, check it out.

Friday, April 09, 2010


The doorbell rang about five minutes ago. It was the lovely FedEx man with a box of ARCs for Grace Under Pressure! Woo-hoo! Very excited. Even though there are only 10, and they sport a plain-jane ARC cover...

... they are finally*here* and I can now start sending them out to bookstores and reviewers who requested them.

I also received four cover flats:

When I first read the teaser/blurb for the back of the book, I found a HUGE error. They reported a plot point that didn't exist. I wrote them right away, letting them know and asking them to correct it. I'm very pleased to report that the correction has been made and the back of the book teaser is accurate.

June 1st (release date) is just around the corner. And the launch party at Centuries & Sleuths is set for Sunday, June 6th, 2:00 - 4:00. Hope you can make it (more details coming soon.)

Oh, this is an exciting time!

Three thousand

I hit 3,000 words yesterday on Murder Most Civil (working title for Book #2 in the Manor of Murder Mystery series) and I'm gearing up to hit that mark again today. Fingers crossed. I know there is a lot of revision in my future, but I love that part of the process, so the more words I get down today, the more revision I can look forward to!

Gosh, I love the writing life!

(Having dinner out to look forward to doesn't hurt, either!)

Monday, April 05, 2010

Centuries & Sleuths!

I received a wonderful email from Augie Aleksy of Centuries & Sleuths this weekend. Seems that EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS was one of the store's top sellers for the first quarter of 2010!!

Here's a link to the store's website: http://www.centuriesandsleuths.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp

Hail to the Chef was Augie's top seller for 2009, so I'm a pretty happy camper today!!

Centuries & Sleuths is a wonderful bookstore in Forest Park, IL and Augie is one of the most supportive booksellers I've ever met. Take a moment to visit, whether in person, or online. You'll love it there!