Showing posts from October, 2008

Happy Halloween and Merry NaNoWriMo

Can someone tell me how it got to be the end of October already? Halloween has snuck up on me like one of its goblins in the night. I still have my summer bird houses sitting on the front porch.

October is always a hectic month. It’s the month to get everything done before snow flies. I remember building our barn in October many years ago. We had all summer, but being procrastinators, it didn’t get done until the leaves had fallen and winter threatened to freeze the ground solid.

No barns this year. Just dentist appointments, eye doctor appointments, skin doctor appointments (my freckles are all just freckles this year…YAY). Make sure the body is functioning sufficiently well to make it through another winter. A few appointments didn’t fit in October, so early November has turned into an overflow. But I hope to have a fairly clear appointment book for the bulk of next month.

I don’t much like cold weather. I shall miss my outdoor walks. I’m saving my pennies to buy a treadmill so I don’t…

Working Stiffs and Pennwriters

It's Wednesday, so it's my day to post at Working Stiffs. Today, I'm offering a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the making of a writers conference, specifically, the 2009 Pennwriters Conference. Y'all come now, ya hear?

Writer at Work

My plan for the day calls for crawling into my cave/office and writing. The week ahead includes a multitude of distractions and obligations, so this is my biggest, best opportunity to add to the page count of my shitty first draft. My other plan was to leave you some pictures of my weekend on the bike trail, but due to technical difficulties, that doesn't appear to be in the cards.

One final plan is for this evening and involves dropping in on the newest Citizens' Police Academy class to see what's new.

But for right now, I'm hanging out the DO NOT DISTURB sign. Writer at Work!

Spies and Gremlins and Viruses, oh MY

Ah, the joys of modern technology. It’s all wonderful when it works. When it crashes and burns? Not so much.

All week, I have complained that I have a gremlin in my computer. It’s getting close to Halloween after all. But after three days of sluggish Internet, pages that won’t load or don’t load correctly, then finally having my browser shut down on me completely, I finally decided it was no longer a joking matter.

Of course, I had trouble tracking down my techy guy, too. Mercury is in retrograde, I’ve been told. But this morning, I finally pinned him down on the phone. His first comment was that I have a virus.

No kidding. My nose has been running and I’ve been sneezing since Monday. But, no, that wasn’t what he meant. He meant COMPUTER virus.


Further investigation has led him to believe that probably isn’t the case. Probably.

He asked me a slew of questions. Had I recently downloaded any file sharing programs?

Uh. I don’t know. I don’t THINK so. What are they?

Apparently, I hadn’t.

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide

Late last week, Hubby came down with some sort of bug. We’re not sure if it was one of the flu strains going around or “just” a cold. Whatever the brand, the result was one sick and miserable human being. I knew right away I didn’t want it, whatever IT was. We made some ground rules. Lots of hand washing. He used the phone in the living room, while I used the one in my office. The bedroom experienced frequent shots of Lysol spray. And if you want to jump into the stock market, buy stock in Clorox wipes. I’ve been keeping the germ-fighting economy afloat all weekend.

Saturday, I dosed him with NyQuil, sent him to bed, and I went to a horse show. I hoped the cool, fresh air would cleanse me of any germs clinging to my skin. Or the inside of my nose. It was a peewee show. Little kids on ponies. The cuteness factor is off the chart at these things. And my friend, Jessi’s little boy won two blue ribbons. It was a fun day.

Yesterday, we had a family get together. Hubby stayed home. Again, I h…

Opening Lines

As the Bouchercon afterglow fades, I’m taking a new look at my current work in progress. I’m taking an even deeper look at my work habits. Or lack thereof.

One of the things I came away with was how many successful writers write EVERY DAY. I knew this. But other things kept getting in my way. Doctors’ appointments, critique groups, blogs, email…Facebook. And the big one: the 2009 Pennwriters Conference of which I am coordinator. Lately, it seems, I start the week gung ho and write some pages on Monday. Then I feel guilty for not spending more time working on the conference, so I spent all day Tuesday on it. Wednesday and Thursday, my focus shifts to teaching my yoga classes. Friday, I have to take my mom shopping, which means grocery lists and coupon clipping prevail. By then, the week is over. I have obligations on the weekend to friends or family. Or the house needs cleaned. So those pages I wrote on Monday are the only thing I’ve done on my manuscript all blessed week.

It’s too early…

Working Stiffs Wednesday

I'm gradually recovering from my Bouchercon hangover and getting back to my normal life. That means if it's Wednesday, I'm blogging at Working Stiffs. This week, I report on what went on in my usually quiet township while I was in Baltimore.

Reflections on Bouchercon '08

First, I must shout out to the world how genuinely NICE the people of Baltimore are. The city as a whole and the staff of the Radisson and Sheraton Hotels in particular were friendly and bend-over-backwards accommodating. With all the stress and terror in our world today, Baltimore and Bouchercon were an oasis of smiles and pleasant conversation. And laughs.

My heavens, I have not laughed so much or so hard in ages. While some panels were serious and informative, others were pure entertainment. The worst thing about the panels was that there were too many choices and I couldn’t attend them ALL.

Poor Alafair Burke (who, in spite of her claims to the contrary, really is quite funny), got stuck sitting next to the hysterical Chris Grabenstein in the Murder What Fun panel.

I’ve developed a bit of a crush on toastmaster, Mark Billingham, whose British wit stole the show during opening ceremonies. And his conversation with John Connolly was one of my highlights. I didn’t stay for the Anthony …

Good-bye, Baltimore

The final day of any writing conference is a bit sad. There is lots of hugging and well-wishes as we say our good-byes. This morning was no different.

Bleary-eyed, Joyce and I ran into the lovely Hank Phillippi Ryan in Starbucks and we had this picture taken. Sunday morning after five days at Bouchercon and she still looks GREAT.

I'm home again and looking forward to a good eight hours of sleep in my own bed with no city sounds. Tomorrow, I will put my experience into words to go with the pictures I've been sharing. Unil then...GOOD NIGHT!

Saturday at Bouchercon

I realize I've been posting pictures more than writing about Bouchercon and today is no different. The problem is my brain is so overwhelmed it's ready to explode. So enjoy the photos and I promise to write about the event after I get home and caught up on my sleep. It's been an overwhelming week and weekend.

Here are some panel pictures. The first one included my dear friend, Rebecca Drake on the far right:

Here are some of my dining companions this evening: Heather Graham, Bill Cameron, Shane Gericke, Kelli Stanley, and Joyce Tremel:

Here's Lee Lofland and Alexandra Sokoloff:

And here I am with Lee:

And here are some of the gang hanging around in Shula 2's, where Bouchercon attendees meet to dine and drink:

Tomorrow, things wrap up and we head home. I hate to see it end, but I admit it--I miss my cat!

Friday at Bouchercon

Here are some photos from Friday at Bouchercon. Joyce and I started the day at Lee Lofland's panel:

Here's a shot of Joyce, Paula Matter, and Rebecca Drake:

I attended the Sisters in Crime Guppies lunch and took these pictures:

Joyce and I took advantage of the lovely weather this afternoon and set out on foot to the Inner Harbor. Baltimore may have some very gritty and dangerous areas, but there are also some spots that are absolutely lovely. The Inner Harbor is one of those places:

This street artist was a real hoot:

Joyce and I were supposed to take the ghost tour of Fells Point this evening. But there wasn't a parking space to found for blocks around. We drove around and around and when it became clear that we'd missed the tour, we returned to the hotel and set up camp in the bar. While there we spent some time visiting with Nancy Martin and Felicia Donovan. Here's a shot of Felicia and Joyce:

Bouchercon Opening Ceremonies

Michelle Gagnon, Lee Lofland, and Joyce Tremel:

Bill Cameron:

Thursday at Bouchercon

I am in Baltimore at Bouchercon! Finally. And I'm exhausted. After only one day! Here are a few photos of Thursday at Bouchercon:

Here's Hallie Ephron and Rosemary Harris:

Sandra Ruttan and her daughter:

I love Sandra. She's editor of Spinetingler Magazine who published one of my first short stories.

Here is the amazing book sellers' room:

Here I am with another writer of horseracing thrillers, Kit Ehrman:

Here are three of the Working Stiffs...Joyce Tremel (my roommate), Wilfred Bereswill, and me:

And Will's panel:

The Sisters in Crime lunch was great fun. The food was fabulous and this room was astonishing:

And opening ceremonies haven't even taken place yet.

Countdown to Bouchercon-2 days!

I have a Sisters in Crime meeting tonight and a dentist appointment tomorrow afternoon, so I have very limited time to get stuff done before leaving on Wednesday.

Over on Working Stiffs, Wilfred is blogging today about his busy week ahead. I think a lot of us who are headed to Baltimore are feeling the strain. Here’s a sampling of my to-do list:

Make sure all the bills are paid so I don’t come home to find a debt collector on my front porch.

Work on the 2009 Pennwriters Conference. I have a couple of editors I want to send email invitations to and I need to write a report on the planning committee meeting we held yesterday to turn into the board and the absentee committee members.

I need to design and print flyers promoting said Pennwriters Conference to take with me and place in strategic spots at Bouchercon. Also need to print membership brochures and business cards to promote the organization as well as the conference. (Pulling double duty as conference coordinator AND area rep? What w…

Countdown to Bouchercon-4 days

I think I’ve posted about this before, but I get homesick before I actually leave for a trip. Once I’m on the road, especially once I’m out of my normal stomping grounds, I shift into vacation mode. But during the last week or so before heading out, anxiety strikes. Big time.

So that’s where I am right now. It puts a damper on my pre-Bouchercon excitement.

Plus there’s a little matter of clearing my desk before we go. Literally. I want to declutter my office so when I return, I can jump into my work, recharged and reenergized. Right now, my workspace looks like one huge paper dump. I’d take a picture and show you, but it would be too embarrassing. Maybe I’ll do before and after pictures and post those. Maybe. Don’t count on it.

I’ve started packing, if you count putting clothes that I think I might take in a plastic storage box so I don’t wear them between now and then as packing. What’s the weather like in Baltimore in mid October? Should I take sweaters? I plan on taking that ghost tou…

Working Stiffs Wednesday

I'm over at Working Stiffs today venting. Are you always running late? Or are you a chronic early bird like me? Come join in the debate.