Friday, November 30, 2007

A No Show Event

Tne life of an author is not all fun and roses. I had a minor set back last night. A local library booked me for an event to demonstrate how to make gift baskets for the holidays, and by-the-way talk about my book, which features a gift basket designer sleuth. The library promoted it in local newspapers, on the local NPR radio station, with fliers at the library and on their website. They advertised hot drinks and goodies and frequent prize drawings. I came early with two huge bags of baskets, gift contents, and decorations and set it all up on a worktable in the main room. Then the librarian and I waited, chatted with each other,...and waited, sipped tea and hot chocolate while the hot water pot perked,...and NO ONE came. Bummer! I don't blame the library at all. They did a great job on promotion. As I told the embarrassed librarian, it's just one of those things that happens in the life of an author. We've all got to get used to occasionally having those events where no one shows up, for who knows WHAT reason.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Recent Short Story Successes

The online Crime and Suspense magazine recently accepted my short story, "The Extra Gift", for their January/February issue that has a celebration theme. Also, Colorado Homegrown Tales, a performance group in Denver, selected another of my stories, "Biscuit Connection", to be dramatized by an actor at their holiday program in late December. I haven't had time to write any short stories recently, but I occasionally have been submitting ones I've already written to various markets, and these two just happened to hit around the same time.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pre-Turkey Day Research

For the week of Thanksgiving I went to Breckenridge, CO with my husband and son for a vacation. The skiing was the worst of any Thanksgiving since we moved to Colorado in '92. Most resorts only had a few runs open with man-made snow and the lift lines were HUGE. So, I drove down to Salida, CO the day before Thanksgiving to complete research for my whitewater river ranger mystery manuscript. I had four locations I needed to check out--a beauty parlor, a particular spot on the Arkansas river, an upscale neighborhood south of town, and the new medical center under construction. All are included in scenes, and I had made guesses about them from websites or other research sources. It was a good thing I made the trip, because I discovered information that means I will need to make changes to all four scenes now!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I Have a New Agent!

I'm pleased to announce that Sandra Bond, Bond Literary Agency, has offered representation and I have accepted. She read my Wicked Whitewater manuscript and says its ready to submit to publishers as is (I have my critique group to thank for that), so I'm anxious to see what kind of reception it will get from editors. Sandra will also be working on selling audio and paperback rights for my Five Star books after she markets WW. I've met her in person and had a few phone call conversations with her, and I'm very excited about working with her. I think we've hit it off well.

Sandra is my second agent. My first, Barret Neville, had to drop his mystery clients and focus on nonfiction only due to financial considerations. I understood the decision, and he helped me in my search for a new agent by referring me to some other mystery agents he knew. My need to find a new agent only a year and a half after signing with my first one after a 2-year search was discouraging for me. It was so hard to find the first one, then I had to turn around and start looking again so soon. However, the second search went much quicker (about 7 months), and I had to query fewer agents (8 versus 90) to find one who fell in love with my writing.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Murder on the Air...and at Sea

Last weekend L.C. Hayden and her husband, Rich, drove up from El Paso, TX to speak to my local Rocky Mountain Chapter of Sisters in Crime. They spent Saturday night at my home and treated my family to lunch before the Sunday afternoon meeting in my living room. L.C. has published seven novels, the latest of which is WHY CASEY HAD TO DIE, which was nominated for an Agatha Award and features geocaching. Eleven of us sat in rapt attention as L.C. Hayden regaled us with fascinating and funny tales of her life as an author, as an interviewer for the phone-in Mystery Writers of America talk show she hosted, Murder on the Air, and as an "Author at Sea" for the cruise lines. We felt very privileged to have this delightful speaker drive such a long distance to speak to us. L.C. gives workshops and presentations on writing across the country and can be reached at her website,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Colorado Association of Libraries Conference

Last Saturday, I attended the Colorado Association of Libraries Conference in Denver. I presented a workshop on "Arranging for Authors to Speak at Library Programs." I could approach the subject from two perspectives, as an author and as someone who also has to arrange for authors to speak at programs as VP of Programs at Pikes Peak Writers. The librarians who attended my workshop were complimentary and especially appreciative of the handout I provided that listed writing organization contacts around the state.

Also, representatives from Borders manned a booth in the vendor area, offering a corporate/library discount program and selling keynote speakers' books and a variety of other books they thought might be of interest to librarians. I asked if they'd take a box of my books to sell on consignment and they agreed. I signed six at the conference and they kept another six. I also connected well with their two sales account managers for the northern CO & Montana region and the southern CO & New Mexico region, and I hope to be able to arrange some personal and/or PPW signings through them soon.

I made a lot of great contacts at the conference, including the new librarian at my son's high school, who gave me a card for him with a note offering a free coffee at the flavored coffee/cocoa bar she's instituted to attract students into the school library. And this conference had the BEST afternoon snack--Dove chocolate covered ice cream bars. Librarians were humming in universal ecstasy as we massed in the lobby and savored the snacks. All-in-all a great way to spend a Saturday!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Scaring Your Readers

As some of my blog readers know, I am the Second Vice President for Pikes Peak Writers, and in that capacity, I work on organizing non-conference programs with the Workshops Director, Barb Nickless. Our fall workshop on Saturday, November 3rd, was "Scaring Your Readers," in honor of Halloween, one of my favorite holidays. Horror/fantasy authors Carrie Vaughn, Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnick Tem gave presentations at the full-day workshop and signed copies of their books for attendees. Tom Piccirilli was originally scheduled to join them, but due to an illness, had to back out two weeks prior to the event. Ed Bryant graciously agreed to take his place on short notice, then had to cancel the day before, also due to illness. At that point, Barb was afraid to ask any other authors because that position seemed to be jinxed!

The four segments of the workshop were designed to teach attendees how to:

Recognize the different ways in which horror, suspense, and crime fiction utilize suspense (The Rules of Writing Suspense in Different Genres)
Take the components of a suspenseful, page-turning story and put them all together (Pacing and Structure, or Don’t Go Into the Basement Alone!)
Use language and imagery to create suspense in your reader (Language, Image, and the Atmosphere of Suspense)
Look at creating suspense from the perspective of character (Who’s Scaring Whom? The Importance of Character).

The 28 attendees all left satisfied that they'd learned some things they could apply to their own writing, regardless of the genre. And Barb and I left satisfied that we'd found a work-around for our speaker illnesses, the microphones worked, we didn't lose money on the workshop, and everyone got a lunch they were satisfied with. There are so many little details that have to be managed even for a "simple" one-day workshop. We're happy to take a breather now and focus on our own writing before our next big PPW event--the spring workshop in February/March.