Showing posts from 2015

Views from the Trail

The SECOND draft is done! Yes, I’ve crawled out of the writing cave yet again.
With a Vengeance has been sent off to my beta readers—fresh eyes to read the entire manuscript straight through. In the meantime, I’m taking two weeks off to do other things. Like blog. And begin outlining the next Zoe Chambers mystery.
And get out in the sunshine!

This weekend, my camera and I hit the bike trail between Ohiopyle and Confluence on a beautiful summer day.
I wasn't the only one enjoying the day. This guy was fly fishing at the confluence of the Casselman River, the Youghiogheny River, and Laurel Hill Creek. My hubby was out there on the Yough (pronounced YAWK) somewhere, too, but this wasn't him.
 Here's a view of Confluence...both the town and the spot where the Casselman comes in from the upper right, is joined by Laurel Hill Creek on the upper left, and merges with the Yough at the bottom of the frame.
Further along the trail, I took a few moments at this little mountain stre…

Coming Up For Air

I have spent much of the last month sitting in front of my computer, writing like a crazed woman. That’s my excuse for not having blogged recently, and I’m sticking to it. However, this past week, I typed two lovely little words (The End), so I’ve resurfaced, albeit briefly, to catch up.
My first bit of news: Circle of Influence has been nominated for the David Award for Best Novel. This announcement came completely without warning. I awoke one morning to congratulatory posts on Facebook.
Let me just say, don’t assume I know about good stuff happening to me. More often than not, I learn about this stuff from Facebook or Twitter friends who bring it to my attention. I did set up a Google Alert for myself once, but it doesn’t seem to work. The only one I ever received was about a particularly scathing review. I can do without being alerted to bad news.
Anyway, I am now registered to attend the Deadly Ink Mystery Convention in New Jersey in August for the awards banquet.
Another bit…

Malice Post Mortem

What a fabulous weekend. I wish I'd taken more photos, but I was too busy having fun! Therefore, I've had to steal photos from others. Let's say I borrowed them. It sounds better.

Saturday was a blur of nerves and anticipation. I still hadn't slept well and was feeling the effects. Thankfully, I did lay down for a couple of hours after my book signing and dozed a little. It was enough so that I was ready for the banquet.

I love this picture with my Henery Press chicks, Rachel and Erin. Besides, Rachel's sweater and lanyard discretely camouflaged my real waistline, making me look like pretty fab in my new dress! Honestly, I'm not THAT thin!

The fabulous Alice Loweecey sat at my table at the banquet and posed for a buddy shot with me.
Alas I did not win. The Agatha for Best First Novel went to my dear friend Terrie Moran. I'm really thrilled for her! That's the perk of becoming pals with the competition. You're happy no matter who wins.

But I still di…

Malice Domestic: FRIDAY

I'm extremely sleep deprived so forgive me if I don't make a lot of sense this morning.  Friday, preparing to take on the day.

Our New Kids on the Block Panel went well. I'm so honored to be included with this fabulous, witty group of women.
And we really do like each other!

Circle of Influence sightings in the book store.

At Opening Ceremonies, we received our nomination certificates. It's really real!
Today is THE DAY. Breakfast with Sisters in Crime, book signing, and tonight, the Agatha Awards banquet. 
And hopefully, in between there somewhere--a nap.

Countdown to Malice: We're HERE

Martha and I said goodbye to the Mercersburg Inn after a fabulous breakfast and made the final two-hour drive to Bethesda, arriving early afternoon. Once we were checked in, our first stop was Uncle Julio's, an incredible Mexican restaurant we'd visited last year and dreamed about ever since. We were not disappointed. YUM.

Back at the Hyatt, the crowds were gathering and the mystery world's biggest family reunion started kicking off, if not officially (that happen's today).

Four of us Agatha Nominees for Best First Novel met in person for the first time at the bar (of course).

Left to right: Me, Tracy Weber, Terrie Moran, Sherry Harris. Missing from the photo is Susan O'Brien, who arrives today.

Thanks to the fabulous Dru Ann Love for taking the photo--and for telling each of us that we were going to win. #HedgingHerBets.

Today the real adventures begin. My New Kids on the Block panel is at 1:00. Opening Ceremonies are at 5:00 followed by a mixer with the Henery Pr…

Countdown to Malice: Wednesday

My travel buddy, Martha Reed, has family in Mercersburg, PA, which is on the way to Bethesda. She asked if it would be possible for us to leave a day earlier than our original plan so she could see them and attend a function at the school here. She promised to put me up in my own hotel room so I could unwind a bit before the big weekend. Hubby was fine with the plan, so we hit the road this afternoon.

What Martha didn't tell me was the "hotel" was actually the Mercersburg Inn, a Georgian mansion, bed and breakfast. Very historical and lovely.

And we're the only two guests in the house. And we're on separate floors!

It's gorgeous! I hope it's not haunted.

I'm thinking it would be a great location for a writers retreat for our Sisters in Crime back home!

Tomorrow: breakfast and then on to Bethesda and Malice Domestic!

Countdown to Malice Domestic – Monday

After spending the weekend holed up at our camp (for Hubby, it’s The Fishing Camp…for me it’s The Writing Camp), making good progress on the 4th Zoe Chambers Mystery, it’s now officially the Monday Before Malice.
Malice Domestic officially begins on Friday, however my traveling companion (Martha Reed AKA Thelma—or Louise—I can never keep us straight) and I are leaving on Wednesday so she can attend another event in Maryland that evening. This leaves me with very little time to get everything done that needs to be done.
Today’s agenda: Spend the day with Mom, pick up my dry cleaning (my two good jackets for the convention), and pack.
Doesn’t sound like a lot, but the problem is WHAT to pack. Those two jackets, yes. Three pairs of GOOD jeans (my uniform of choice), my fancy dress and red shoes for the Agatha Awards banquet—and then I’m stuck. I can’t decide which tops to wear over the jeans and under the jackets. And which shoes should I pack. I have my two pairs of tried-and-true comf…

Obsessive and Obnoxious

Yes, I’ve fallen into both of those categories. If there’s any hope, it’s that acknowledging the problem is the first step to recovery. Right?
Today is the official launch of Bridges Burned. 
Granted the online dealers have been shipping print copies for weeks now, and my big launch party was this past Saturday, so you would think the “official” release would be somewhat anticlimactic. Or at least I always think it’s going to be.
Besides the big publicity push for the new book, my brilliant publisher, Henery Press, does the remarkably smart thing and puts the previous book on sale during launch week. So Lost Legacy is available in all e-book versions for only 99 cents.
The deal hit BookBub.
And then Lost Legacy started climbing the sales ratings.

Most of the time, I pay little attention to these numbers. I check on occasion to make sure I’m hanging out in my usual range—adequate, but not newsworthy. But the BookBub thing stirred me to start watching.

I did a happy dance …

Launch Party for Bridges Burned

I was convinced that maybe three people would show up. I’d had that same fear for my first two launch parties (both of which were smashing successes), but this time I was more convinced than ever. The day before Easter? Everyone had family stuff to do. One friend had a broken leg. Another had hurt her back. Even the owner of the bookstore texted me that she was sick.
No one was going to be there.
And I had a horrible head cold.
Hubby and I arrived way early, expecting traffic that never materialized. No problem. I’d rather arrive early and wait than be late.
Right on time people started rolling in. My local Sisters in Crime. Fellow authors. Old friends. New readers. Before long, we had to set up more chairs.
In spite of my cold, in spite of the holiday weekend, my launch party for Bridges Burned at Mystery Lovers Bookshop was another huge success!

Thanks to my friend (and official photographer of Mystery Lovers), Steve Bucci, for recording the day. 
 Note the hand sanitizer and b…

Bridges Burned Blog Tour

Tomorrow I'm kicking off my two week plus blog tour for the launch of Bridges Burned.

March 31 - A Blue Million Books
April 1 – Jane Reads
April 1 – Writers Who Kill
April 2 – Tea and a Book
April 3 – Shelley’s Book Case
April 4 – Deal Sharing Aunt
April 5 – Christa Reads and Writes
April 6 – A Chick Who Reads
April 7 – Readalot
April 8 – Marie’s Cozy Corner
April 9 – Community Bookstop
April 9 – Get Lost in a Story
April 10 – Chloe Gets a Clue
April 11 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
April 12 – LibriAmoriMiei
April 13 – MysteriesEtc.
April 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book
April 14 – Dru’s Book Musings
April 16 – Killer Hobbies

The End of Skye's Saga

Some of you may have already heard, but for those who haven’t, Skye didn’t make it.
Last Monday, the bleeding from her mouth became much worse and didn’t ease up.
In spite of that, she and I had a lovely night. She stretched out on my lap Monday evening while I watched TV, kneading my legs. I woke up Tuesday morning to her soft purring as she slept on my feet. But I knew when I looked in her eyes…she was ready.
My vet’s office took us right away. I had some quiet time with her before my wonderful vet came in. He’d been with us from the start. It was fitting he was with us at the end.
She died peacefully in my arms.
Kensi and I had several rough days afterwards. Kensi kept looking for her big sister. I tried to give her extra TLC, but she was mad at me. I took Skye away and didn’t bring her home.
But we’re both doing better. I’m down to one good crying fit a day. In case you’re interested, today’s tears are falling right now…as I write this.

Sweet Skye, you were much loved and ar…

Skye's Surgery

The good news is I thought this post was going to be a memorial to my Skye kitty. Instead, it’s a tale of one tough little furbaby.
Skye has been a Bartonella cat for as long as I’ve had her. For those who know nothing about this wicked disease, let me give a little background.
Bartonella is a bacterial infection spread by fleas. It has no cure and, in Skye’s case, manifests itself as severe periodontal disease and gingivitis. Over the years, Skye has dealt with sore, red, often bloody gums. I’ve treated her with round after round of antibiotics and too-frequent steroid shots.
But lately nothing has been giving her more than a week or two of relief. For the last year, I’ve had a sense that we were on borrowed time.
This last month has been the worst. Yet through it all, she continued to eat and to snuggle with me. I wasn’t ready to let go when she still had so much fight left in her.
Last Sunday morning I awoke to find her right upper lip/cheek swollen. Of course, the vet’s offic…


I’ve had this wild fantasy of snagging an Agatha nomination since I started writing mysteries. Never, never NEVER thought it would actually happen. I’d imagined what it was like so many times, when the phone call actually came, I thought I was dreaming.
I’m one of five wonderful mystery authors in my category. I’ll be thrilled no matter which of us wins. Just being nominated truly is an honor.
In other news, after nearly ten years of running this blog, I’m going to move it to a new home. I recently took over the reins of my website, changed to a new web host, and redesigned the whole blasted thing. The new website has a tab for a blog of its own. I’m still learning the ropes, so until I get it running the way I want it, I’ll probably post here, too. But eventually, I’ll post only there. My Writing, etc archives will remain available, however.

So head over to my newly remodeled home. I look for…

No Clutter Campaign

In my continuing effort to reclaim my house, I have named the process the No Clutter Campaign. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
This week the No Clutter Campaign has moved into my office out of necessity. I have to get my tax stuff organized for my accountant. I’ve made good progress. Not enough to take any “after” photos, but enough that I have a clear table top for sorting receipts.
I’m drawing inspiration from several friends who have either recently moved or are in the process of moving. If I were moving, would I take this item with me? If the answer is “yes,” the item stays. If the answer is “no,” it gets tossed, put in the flea market/Craig’s List bin, or goes to Good Will.
For me, this mindset works better than the old “will I use it/do I love it” question. It’s too easy to think I might have a use for some gadget. I’m too sentimental about too many little inanimate objects. But the idea of packing and moving to a new home is daunting. Do I “love” that chipped coffee mug I us…

New Year's Odds and Ends

One of the things I hope to improve upon in this new year is decluttering. With the demands of deadlines, not to mention the great excuse “I don’t have time to clean. I have to write,” my house has become a series of what I affectionately call “hog holes.” Comfy, but messy. A little TOO lived in.
So I’m tackling one hog hole at a time. No, I will not be showing you the before photos. They might result in a film crew from some hoarding reality show appearing on my front porch. However, here is my first tidied corner of my house. Books and DVDs all neat and orderly. Small cabinet’s top cleared of “stuff.”

On to the next corner…which sad to say now contains some of the junk I cleared from THIS corner.
In other homefront news, Skye has developed a new quirk. She no longer wants her food in the kitchen. She now prefers to eat it in the bathtub!

If I set the bowl down elsewhere, she snubs it, goes to the bathroom door and looks at me until I follow her. Then she jumps into the tu…