Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Malice Domestic XX Report--Part Two

The New Author's Breakfast was at 7:15 am Saturday morning, and I was there to support my fellow new Guppies and Five Star authors and listen to their pitches. It was nice not to have a give my own speech, since I'd done it last year--just as it was nice not to have to go through the unnerving Malice-Go-Round pitch session the day before. I sat in on the "Simply the Best" panel of nominees for the Best Novel category of the Agatha Award, then came my own panel of Best First Novel nominees, "New Kids on the Block." (See the first photo above.) Our moderator, Margaret Maron, obviously took a great deal of care to prepare for the panel. She made us all look so good! Then came my signing and the chance to talk to fans and sign their books What fun! I'm still new enough at this that I LOVE talking to people who have read and enjoyed my book.

Next was lunch with thirty-some Guppies at the Sbarro's restaurant in the Crystal City Underground. Lots of photos were snapped and stories were swapped. The afternoon was spent listening to the Ink in their Blood panel about reporter protagonists, chatting in the hallways, and listening to Robert Barnard's delightful interview with Lindsey Davis. I hadn't read any of her books before, but I'm definitely checking out the Falco series now! Fellow Five Star author Maria Hudgins let me change into my party dress in her room, then it was off to the banquet.

A crowd of paparazzi mobbed the four Guppies nominees and must have taken dozens of photos (see the second photo above). ;-) Poor Deb Baker. She gave all of us sitting at her table small dolls as favors, reminding us of her doll collecting series. One poor dolly ended up dangling by a ribbon noose from the table number sign. Demises of the others via water-glass-drowning, candle-burning and other nefarious means were discussed, but not executed. ;-) The anniversary speeches were all entertaining, but there were so many of them that by the time the Agatha Awards were announced, I was stifling yawns, not from boredom, but from sleep deprivation kicking in. I was glad to head back to my friends' home right afterward, pack up, and roll into bed.

Sunday kicked off with the Sisters in Crime breakfast at 7:30 am, followed by the Agatha Christie's Legacy panel where Denise Swanson kept the audience in stitches, some hallway chatting time, the Women Who Sleuth Too Much panel, and Robert Barnard's interview with Peter Lovesey. All too soon, it was time for the final tea. I had to quickly gobble down some food--making sure I got my chocolate covered strawberry and chocolate mousse in a teacup-shaped dark chocolate shell. Yum! Then I had to dash off to the airport, but I did get to see Liz Zelvin's lovely hat featuring a bobblehead figure of Edgar Allan Poe, a bat, and a red rose, that won the "Most Creative Hat" award in the hat contest. And, on the two plane rides and long layover in Chicago, I polished off Hank's PRIME TIME. A lovely way to end a lovely weekend!

Malice Domestic XX Report

The 2008 Malice Domestic conference was a special one for me, not just because it was the twentieth anniversary, but also because I was an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. So, I basked in the glow of congratulations and praise until the end of the Saturday banquet. Then, when Hank Phillippi Ryan won, I could celebrate that a fellow Sisters in Crime Guppies chapter member had won--and I didn't have to give a speech. :-) I came home with some Guppies books: Hank's PRIME TIME and FACE TIME, both autographed, Liz Zelvin's DEATH WILL GET YOU SOBER, signed of course (Liz was my Malice-Go-Round pitch mate last year), and the MURDER NEW YORK STYLE anthology with signatures from five Guppies whose stories were included in the volume, including Liz's and Nan Higginson's Agatha Award-nominated stories. I'm looking forward to reading them all, and I expect that anthology to become a collector's item as the authors become big-name mystery authors!

To save money on this trip, I used frequent flyer miles, which meant connecting through Chicago's O'Hare airport versus flying direct, and I stayed at the home of friends in Arlington, VA. They received many of my conference bag books as a hostess gift. All four of my flights were delayed, resulting in me arriving at my friends' home at midnight on Friday and arriving at my home in Colorado Springs at midnight on Sunday. Thank goodness I didn't turn into a pumpkin either time! But, my butt was sure dragging yesterday.

I did get up in time on Friday to breakfast with some Mystery Babes at 8:30 am, and finally got to meet Pari Noskin Taichert in person after corresponding via email for years. I'd missed her at LCC the month before because she'd been sick and in her room a lot of the time. Then came the chores of registering, dropping off my silent auction gift basket, checking in consignment books with Tom & Enid Schantz of Rue Morgue (good thing, too, because they sold ten of them!), signing myself and my two escorts (fellow Five Star authors Mike Befeler and Michael Allen Mallory) up to sit at Deb Baker's banquet table, etc. After a quick granola bar and cup of tea lunch, I went off to the Sisters in Crime chapter training session from 1-3 pm. Being the only board member (I'm secretary) from the Rocky Mountain chapter in attendance, I was directed to take good notes. The session was very informative and lively, and I found it to be immensely useful. Plus, I got to meet chapter board members from all over the USA!

After resting with my feet up a bit and looking out for DorothyL and 4MA members, I headed for the Opening Ceremonies, where I received my suitable-for-framing nominee certificate. After a dinner of munchies from the reception, five of us Five Star authors headed to the Clarendon Barnes & Noble Booksellers store for a Malice Domestic conference kick-off signing (see photo above). We have a tale to tell about getting lost and finding every screwy and confusing street and intersection on the "short 8-minute drive" from the hotel to the store. We made it in the nick of time and quickly set up to start talking to customers. Too tired after that to stay awake for the Murder On the Air program, I returned to my friends' home to chat with them briefly then collapse on my bed. I was their "mystery guest" because I left every morning before they got up and returned late at night. I'll talk about Saturday and Sunday in my next post.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Top Ten Rules for Networking as a Writer blog

Well, I've resisted setting up my own MySpace page so far, but I did guest blog Monday on the Murder in the Grove conference blog on MySpace. My entry was about how to network at conferences such as Murder in the Grove to get the most out of them. I hope those who check it out find it to be useful:


Monday, April 21, 2008

Home Alone

My husband has been helping a friend move his brand-new cruiser from the boatyard in Key West, FL to it's new home in Annapolis, MD for the past two and a half weeks. And my son left yesterday for a 3-day Future Business Leaders of America state competition. That left me and the dog home alone for 3 days. I've been using the time to catch up on a number of writing tasks, such as updating my blog with this entry, awarding a prize in my email newsletter contest, making a list of website updates for when my husband/website-guru returns, preparing for the Malice Domestic conference, and jotting thoughts about scenes in my evolving outline for my next mystery.

My dog is darn bored! She just left my writing office with a snort of disgust. I did take her out in the yard yesterday while I spread mulch and we'll go for a walk tomorrow, but I'm not very good company now--mostly sitting at the computer all day and reading Agatha Award nominee books at night. My husband gets home Wednesday evening from his travels, and I leave Thursday morning for Malice. We'll be like ships passing in the night!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Beth Groundwater made me burn my dinner

This was the subject line on a recent message to the Sisters in Crime "Guppies" email loop. The message text is below:

"If you're looking for an example of a killer opening, I thought I'd share that Beth Groundwater's first chapter made me forget that I was cooking dinner tonight. True, I almost always have a book in my hand, much to my partner's chagrin, but I don't usually forget when it's my turn to cook ;)

As I begin to query agents I'm still questioning my opening scene, and always hear the advice "start at the last possible moment where your book can possibly begin." I think Beth's opening achieves this wonderfully. I haven't gotten too far in the book yet, so you better not disappoint me, Beth! "

There's nothing an author likes hearing better than "you kept me up at night" unless it's "you made me burn my dinner"! Thanks for the praise, fellow Guppy, and I hope I can return the favor when YOUR novel is published someday soon.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Article for Authors about Speaking at Libraries

The Colorado Independent Publishers Association just published an article by me in their April, 2008 Signature newsletter about "Authors, Speak at Colorado Libraries!". For those of you who are published authors, you may find it useful reading for your own promotion efforts to libraries in your state. To read the article, go to:


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Upcoming "Meet the Faces Behind the Books" Program

As promised, I said I'd post a note about the second library event that I'll be participating in this weekend. The Englewood Public Library will host its 9th Annual Author Open House on Sunday, April 13 from 1 to 3 pm. The open house, dubbed "Meet the Faces Behind the Book," will feature over 50 Colorado authors this year.

Sunday, April 13 • 1-3 pm
Englewood Public Library, 1000 Englewood Parkway, Englewood, CO

Books by the featured authors will be available for purchase at the Library during the open house. Musical entertainment will be provided by harpist Susie Spangler. The event is free and open to the public. This looks like it'll be a lot of fun!

Participating authors include:

* Dave Auburn, The Adventures of Teddy the Curious Pelican
* CJ Backus, We Just Did
* Mike Befeler, Retirement Homes Are Murder
* Linda Berry, Death and the Family Tree
* Michael Booth, Guide to Best Family Films
* Ann Brandt, A Caregiver's Story
* Carolyn Brink, Class Acts
* Judy & Randy Brown, Faces in the Rocks
* Eugene Buchanan, Brothers on the Bashkaus
* Sharon Catlett, Farmlands, Forts and Country Life
* Richard Chapman, God Bless America
* Pat Covalt, What Smart Couples Know
* Michelle Dally, A Highly Placed Source
* Donna DeNomme, Turtle Wisdom
* John Dicke, Proof Evident
* Brad Edwards, Unearthing the Battle of Milk Creek
* Debra Fine, The Fine Art of the Big Talk
* Donna Gallup, Rock of Refuge
* Robert Greer, Mongoose Deception
* Beth Groundwater, A Real Basket Case
* Warren Hammond, Kop
* Lynda Hilburn, The Vampire Shrink
* Christine Jorgensen, Calling for a Funeral
* Mary Beth Lagerborg, Dwelling: Living Fully from the Space You Call Home
* Janet Lane, Tabor's Trinket
* Sharon Mann, Mother of Exiles
* Claudia McAdam, Maria's Mysterious Mission
* Carol McIntyre, Painting My Passion
* Tamra Monahan, Colorado's Best Bed and Breakfasts
* Icats Nitram, Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival
* Marjorie Parker, Mama’s Little Ducking
* Bruce Paton, Adventuring with Boldness
* Julie Pech, The Chocolate Therapist
* David Perry, It Happened in Rocky Mountain National Park
* Phyllis Perry, The Secrets of the Sea Chest
* Joey Porcelli, Take 30: the First Three Decades of the Denver International Film Festival
* Laura Resau, Red Glass
* Robert Root, The Non-fictionist's Guide: On Reading and Writing Creative Non-fiction
* Rebecca Rowe, Forbidden Cargo
* Sandra Sanchez, Three Novellas
* Linda Sandoval, Names I Call My Sister
* Mary Saracino, The Singing of Swans
* Adam Schrager, The Principled Politician
* Craig Sodaro, Make It Mystery An Anthology of Short Mystery Plays
* Irv Sternberg, No Laughing Matter
* Mark Stevens, Antler Dust
* Patricia Stoltey, The Prairie Grass Murders
* Jessica Swaim, The Hound from the Pound
* Carol Tombari, Power of the People
* Guillermo (Bill) Vidal, Boxing for Cuba
* Eva Watt, Papa's Girl
* Mimi Wilson, Once-a-Month Cooking
* Elizabeth & Eric Zimmer, The Turtle and the Deep Blue Sky

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Upcoming Mountain of Authors Program

I'm excited about two library programs that I will be participating in this weekend. I'll talk about the first one in this posting and the second in my next posting. On Saturday, the Pikes Peak Library District will host its 2nd annual regional authors’ event, "Mountain of Authors" to showcase authors of the Pikes Peak region, and offer presentations about writing and publishing.

The free program will be held from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, April 12 at the East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO. No registration is required. This event will inspire new and established writers, and offer book fans a chance to meet and discuss their favorite titles with local authors. Panel discussions will be offered by nonfiction, fiction, children’s and teen authors. A free lunch and booksigning will also be held at the event.

Program Schedule
10 - 11 a.m. Nonfiction Author Panel (moderated by Tim Blevins)
Beth Barrett, Marcia Ford, Karen Scalf Linamen, John Stansfield

11:15 a.m. -12:15 p.m. Fiction Author Panel (moderated by Kirk Farber)
Kevin Anderson, Kacy Barnett-Gramckow, Beth Groundwater, Rebecca Moesta, Robert Spiller

12:15 -1:30 p.m. Lunch (food will be provided)

1:30 - 2:30 p.m. Children’s/Teen Author Panel (moderated by Karin Huxman)
Mary Peace Finley, Donita Paul, Katherine Pebley O’Neal

2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Author Showcase: meet authors from the Pikes Peak region, and purchase your favorite author’s books. Showcase authors include Deb Stover and Kathy Brandt.

The Pikes Peak Poet Laureate cocktail reception will follow the program. Hey, a free day with free food and lots of authors, what could be better!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Local Newspaper Coverage, Part Two

The Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper article about me and my Agatha Award nomination appeared in their Life section today as the lead feature. Even though I'm biased, I felt the writeup was very well done. Check it out at:


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Local Newspaper Coverage

My Agatha Award nomination for Best First Novel has garnered some attention from local newspapers after my publisher sent out press releases. Patti Thorn gave me a mention in her March 19th Books column in the Rocky Mountain News, which is quoted below:

"Kudos are in order for two local authors recently notified of prestigious honors:

* Gary Schanbacher, author of the widely praised story collection Migration Patterns, from Fulcrum, has received an honorable mention in this year's Hemingway Foundation/PEN awards. Rocky critic Joan Hinkemeyer wrote of Migration: "Schanbacher's unflinching prose is also lyrical. With the accuracy of a laser, it lays bare the deepest emotions of the human heart."

* Beth Groundwater's mystery, A Real Basket Case, has been nominated for best first novel for the Agatha Awards. If she wins, she'll be in the company of prestigious past winners including Nevada Barr and Elizabeth George. Winners will be announced April 26.

Also, the Colorado Springs newspaper, the Gazette, will be running a feature article on me and the Agatha nomination in their Life section on Monday, April 7th. A photographer came out to the house to take my photo and I met with feature writer Bill Reed this Monday. I gave him waaay more information than he needs for an article, so I'm curious what he decides to write about.