Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A fellow writer's essay on character

Sheila Deeth wrote a lovely little blog post about learning from other writers, using characterization as an example. As she says, "So maybe 'write what you know' means write about people you might understand." She just happens to use my gift basket designer, Claire Hanover, as an example character, and I thank you for that, Sheila!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Talking about marketing short stories

During my northwest book tour, I met with the Central Oregon Writers Guild to discuss marketing short stories. You can see a summary of my visit by going to their website. I added a comment expounding on the information mentioned in the post, including the names of some websites listing short story markets. I averaged 20 rejections for every short story I published (many of them multiple times), so don't get discouraged. Good luck to all you short story writers!

Friday, June 26, 2009

I made a scene in Mystery Scene magazine

The summer, 2009 issue of Mystery Scene magazine is out and on the newsstands. If you subscribe, or can get your hands on a copy, turn to page 28 to read my New Books article "Going to Hell in a Handbasket" about my experiences researching winter sports for my May release, To Hell in a Handbasket. You'll also be able to see a photo of me straddling an Arctic Cat snow machine, ready for adventure! To find out where you can purchase a copy of the magazine, check out the Mystery Scene website.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Local Radio Interview Today

I will be interviewed on Denver MetRadio's 91.7, "Take Issue" show by co-hosts Steven W. Giles and Amy Woodward today at 2:10 p.m. MST and online at http://metradio.mscd.edu/. Please listen!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Final stops on my northwest book tour

After Bend, OR the visiting with relatives was over, and for the remainder of the trip my husband and I focused on getting home and conducting signings. Our first stop on the return journey was at Twin Falls, ID. In the first photo, you'll see the store staff placed me in front of the "Bestselling authors" sign. I'd like to think of that as an omen!

The second photo was taken at the Layton, UT signing, with a Goodreads friend and her son. The third photo came from the Murray, UT signing where Facebook friend Leanne Davis and I had a nice chat. An obvious pro at visiting authors, Leanne would step aside when other interested people approached my table, then resume our conversation after they left. I really appreciated that--and getting to know her better.

The fourth photo is from the Grand Junction, CO signing. Note that I only have two bookmarks left. I should have packed more! The final photo is of the Basket Case wine that my husband's cousins gave us and with which we toasted our last night on the trip. What a fitting end. Thanks, Frank and Rebecca!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More stops on the northwest book tour

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 9th and 10th, my husband and I stopped in Seattle to visit his sister and her family. While there, we dined with more relatives, attended my husband's niece's choir concert and watched a video of her previous perform- ance in a school play, so we were well- entertained. The first photo is of me and Susan Schreyer and her husband from the Puget Sound chapter of Sisters in Crime, taken at the Pub at Ravenna Third Place.

On Thursday, June 11th, we drove south to Salem, Oregon, where I signed books at the Tea Party Bookshop. The second photo is of me with fellow author T. L. Cooper there. She and her husband hosted us at their home after a delicious Thai-fusion tapas & wine meal at one of their favorite restaurants in nearby Corvallis.

Friday, June 12th, was the start of the graduation festivities in Eugene, Oregon. We met my daughter and her best friend, who flew in from Colorado Springs for the event, at the Campbell Club, the vegetarian co-op where my daughter lived her last three years while attending the University of Oregon. To save costs, students are assigned chores and cleaning duties. The third photo is of the kitchen in the co-op, which hadn't been cleaned in awhile. A breakdown in the chore schedule occurred because of final exams and residents moving out. The co-op was definitely an interesting place! That afternoon we picked up our son at the airport.

Saturday, we attended my daughter's boyfriend's graduation ceremony in the morning with his family, then ate lunch at the Campbell Club, and greeted more relatives as they arrived--my husband's sister's family, and his cousin's family. The group, now swelled to 16 members, attended my daughter's ceremony in the afternoon under a blistering sun. The fourth photo is of my daughter, son, husband and me after the graduation.

That evening, the group of 16 dined at the Pizza Research Institute, a gourmet vegetarian pizza restaurant. We ate salads and pizzas and drank lots of wine and beer to toast the two new college graduates. Then about half of the group drove south to Cottage Grove to hear my daughter's boyfriend's band, the Alder Street All Stars, play a lively and entertaining bluegrass concert.

After a late start Sunday morning, the families of the two graduates drove to Crater Lake, Oregon for a two night stay at the Crater Lake Lodge. We took scads of photos, hiked three trails, and ate some great meals together, with lots of socializing and laughter. A fun time was had by all. The fifth photo, taken by my daughter, is of my husband and me at the lake.

Yesterday, we split up to go our separate ways, and my husband and I drove north to Bend, Oregon, where we are spending two nights with his cousin's family. I dined with the Central Oregon Writers, and in between bites of Mexican food, talked about marketing short stories. The sixth photo is of members of the group and me at the Barnes & Noble bookstore, where I signed books after the dinner. Today, after catching up on e-mail and social networking, we hiked to Tumalo Falls, then munched on Lebanese tapas at Joolz restaurant in Bend. Yum! Tomorrow, we drive to Twin Falls, Idaho for an evening signing.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

First few stops on my northwest book tour

I'm a few days into my northwest book tour, and I thought I'd share a few photos taken by my tour photo- grapher, driver and luggage hauler (read: husband). My first stop was Fort Collins, CO, where I had lunch with the Northern Colorado Writers (first photo). I answered questions about how I got published and what recommen- dations I would give to fellow writers for how to get published. It was a great group of motivated writers working on interesting ideas, and I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting (second photo).

Then, I moved on to Reader's Cove bookstore (third photo), run by friend Charles Kaine (fourth photo), and signed books for fellow Guppies (Sisters in Crime on-line chapter), Goodreads, and Facebook friends. Internet promotion came through for me there!

My next stop was the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Cheyenne, WY, where Cara Moore, dispatcher for the Wyoming State Highway Patrol and on-line friend (fifth photo), stopped by, along with others, to pick up signed copies of To Hell in a Handbasket and A Real Basket Case. After spending the night in Cheyenne and enduring a long day of driving in the rain, my husband and I stopped in Livingston, MT, where, with no event scheduled, we enjoyed a leisurely dinner at Montana's Rib & Chop House. I had the best fried green tomatoes (one of my favorite dishes) ever--served with crumbled blue cheese, crab meat, and a balsamic vinegar reduction. Yum!

After another day of driving in the rain, we arrived in Spokane, WA, where I signed books at the Barnes & Noble store (sixth photo). We dined on Copper River salmon with friends afterward at Anthony's restaurant overlooking the falls in downtown Spokane (seventh photo). This morning after catching up on e-mail and blogging, we're heading off to Seattle.

Monday, June 08, 2009

My story, "The Murder Cache," to be read aloud

Alan Vogel hosts a radio show out of Northampton, Massachusetts called Lit103.3; fiction for the ears. The show is broadcast Tuesdays from 1:00PM -2:00PM on WXOJ FM 103.3, a community radio station that serves the 5-college area with a potential audience of approximately
50,000 literate people. Each week he reads a short story or two on the air, plays some music relevant to the story, and talks a bit about writing. The show streams live on valleyfreeradio.org at the same time. The readings and printed version of the stories are archived on his website: Lit 103.3.

Why am I telling you all this? Because Alan has selected my mystery short story, "The Murder Cache," to read on his program that will be aired Tuesday, June 9th and again on Tuesday, June 16th. If you live in the area, please listen in. Otherwise, please visit the website to listen to or read the story. "The Murder Cache" first appeared in The Map of Murder anthology, published February, 2007. This anthology was an Award-Winner in the Short Story Fiction category of the National Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Article about Using Goodreads Effectively to Promote Your Books

Jeffrey Marks, who maintains the Murder Must Advertise website that is associated with the yahoogroup of the same name for mystery authors trading promotion tips, recently posted my article "Using Goodreads Effectively to Promote Your Books" on the Fresh Ideas page of the website. It outlines specific steps for using the author program and other promotion techniques on the Goodreads book reading social network. I hope other authors find it useful, mystery or otherwise!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

An Interview with the Southern Colorado Literature Examiner

Kaye Lynne Booth, better known as the Southern Colorado Literature Examiner, interviewed me for her on-line column. Please read the article and let Kaye know what you think with a comment.

And my husband and I are headed out the door this morning for the first stop at Fort Collins in my two-week northwest signing tour. You can see my schedule at the Appearances page on my website. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 05, 2009

We have a winner!

I'm pleased to announce that Sheila Deeth has won an autographed set of Claire Hanover books (A Real Basket Case and To Hell in a Handbasket) in the contest I ran for those who commented on my blog and my guest blog articles during my May blog book tour. Sheila is a writer herself and has her own blog. Check it out!

Many thanks to Sheila and all the others who commented during my blog book tour. I hope you were entertained or learned something useful, or both. Now, please order a copy of A Real Basket Case or To Hell in a Handbasket from your favorite bookstore or on-line retailer or check them out of your local library and read them! I'd love to hear what you think of Claire's adventures.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Last Stop on To Hell in a Handbasket Blog Book Tour

I'm winding up my blog book tour today at Jungle Red Writers, where I talk about what I've learned--and am still learning--about book promotion. I share a few thoughts about the book tour itself, as well as in-person appearances, which is timely, since I'm embarking on a two-week book signing trip Saturday. If there's any other aspect of book promotion you'd like to discuss or ask me about, please make a comment there!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Moose Encounter

I've been so busy with my blog book tour that I haven't had the time to tell the story about my husband's and dog's encounter with a moose during our last stay at our second home in Breckenridge, CO. Here's the story about "one moose too many" in my husband's own words:

"On the way back from a late evening walk with Blackie we met a moose at *very* close range. It was near the drain culvert on the west side of Grandview, no moon was out, and my flashlight was off. At about ten feet away both animals snorted and I turned on the flashlight. Surprise! Blackie was on a short leash (~6') and I ran across the street into the trees on the south side of the stream -- pretty much dragging her.

Between the wind, the rushing water, and my heart pounding, I didn't hear what the moose did next but a minute later he was nowhere to been seen. Beth had come out of the house because she heard me screaming. She thought I was yelling that Blackie had fallen into the stream(!). Once inside the house we saw that Blackie's claw that represents a person's left thumb was askew and bleeding slightly. It may have gotten caught in the leash during our hasty retreat. It was okay overnight but we had the vet look at it."

The vet treated and bandaged Blackie's paw and gave us antibiotics and painkillers for her, and she's all healed up now. Wolves are moose's natural predators, so they will attack a dog if cornered by one. We are so glad that Blackie's only injury was due to my husband's hasty retreat rather than a moose-mauling!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Colorado Author Blog

Today good friend and fellow Colorado Five Star author, Patricia Stoltey, is blogging about me on her blog. I'm looking forward to seeing Pat again this Saturday when I visit her mystery writers group in Fort Collins. I'll also be signing at Reader's Cove bookstore there. She's got some interesting and informative posts on her blog, so please check it out.