Hey, I'm on Tumblr! So far, nobody seems to know it, which is why I'm telling you now! : )
Still, if you'd like to follow along with me there, just click this link. Thanks!
Hey, I'm on Tumblr! So far, nobody seems to know it, which is why I'm telling you now! : )
Still, if you'd like to follow along with me there, just click this link. Thanks!
"Nothing on earth can make
up for the loss of one who
has loved you."
I lost my Dad in October of 2009, just as Lorna was starting to see some success. He never knew most of the Lorna triumphs. Hitting the New York Times bestsellers list--not just the extended list, but the REAL list (so far three times). He never saw the third book in the series. He never knew it was nominated for an Agatha for best novel of 2009. He never knew I sold another series under my own name -- the one he gave me.
Yesterday I learned I hit the New York Times bestsellers (extended) list for the first time under my own name for The Walled Flower. And guess what, I hit higher than Lorna did on her first time. #25.
Yesterday would have been my Dad's birthday.
Happy Birthday, Dad.
One of the things that happens around the time an author puts out a new books is ... they're suddenly in demand!
Since The Walled Flower came out last week, I've been all over the place. Did you miss some of my posts?
They were/are: Feb. 6th ~ Dru's Book Musings. (Where I talked about Katie's home search.)
Feb. 13th ~ Authors Are People, Too (Interview -- some real oddball questions, which made it fun!)
Feb 15th ~ Escape with Dollycas Into A Book (Where I talk about bridesmaids)
And Sunday I'll be at Mystery Lovers Kitchen with a great new recipe!
See you there!
May you and the one you love have a wonderful, sweet, day. Mr. L and I always celebrate with a Valentine's tea. This year will be no different. I'll make the scones, the dainty sandwiches, and haul out the good silver and dishes--while he gets to eat the bounty. : )
In case you've got extra time on your hands today, maybe you'd like to check out Lauren Royal's blog AUTHORS ARE PEOPLE, TOO. Here's an interview where there's no talk of writing--just oddball stuff that authors do. Lauren thought some of my answers were pretty oddball indeed. Maybe you will, too. Check it out.
Happy Valentine's Day!
My next Victoria Square Mystery, THE WALLED FLOWER, will be out in less than two months. It's time for me to get on the promotion bandwagon and start shouting out the news. And yet, as I do this, I wonder if it's worth the effort.
I will send out bookmarks to independent bookstores. I will send postcards to readers. I'm thinking about sending postcards to libraries.
I love this book. I think it's a really good book. I think it's got a nice cover.
And I believe that at least 50% of Lorna Barrett's readers have no clue that Lorraine Bartlett and Lorna Barrett are the same author.
Why do I think this?
Because I don't get a lot of hits on my Lorna Website. The readers who do go there don't dig deep to find my Alter Ego page. (Which I just destroyed and am in the process of rebuilding ... sigh ....)
My publisher isn't going to spend any money, time or effort to get the word out. I've tried unsuccessfully for the past three years to get the word out with limited success.
It's been said the best form of advertising is word of mouth. So I'm asking my reader to PLEASE help me get the word out. How can you do that? If you've enjoyed my books, tell other people about them. It's as simple as that.
Will you help me?
I love Romantic Homes magazine. And one of my favorite features is the "At Home With . . . " column at the back of the issue. Here they ask different guest designers the same questions every month. So, what if I interviewed myself with the same questions (you can try it, too!)? Or should I have Lorna ask Lorraine these questions? It doesn't matter. Here they are:
The last thing you worked on?
A short story when I should have been working on Victoria Square #3.
Your current inspiration?
The events going on in my life.
First place you'll go tomorrow?
To my mother's house.
The color you most often use? (See, I told you these questions were for designers.)
Purple. I guess I never outgrew it. (As a child I asked my parents to paint my bedroom a deep lilac. I love purple pens and my husband indulges me at Christmas (in my stocking) and Easter (in my basket). That said, blue is my favorite color. (But pink is creeping up there.)
Now that's a tough one--I collect SOOO many things. Made-in-Japan (1950s-60s) Christmas figurines. Hand-painted plates, lambs (I have a whole flock), royal family memorabilia (mostly china cups and mugs), greeting cards from the 1950s. The list goes on and on.
What's left on your wish list?"
For my Jeff Resnick books to find the same kind of success that my Booktown Mysteries have found.
So . . . what's on YOUR wish list?
First I got an email from my editor saying that according to Bookscan, Sentenced to Death was the #1 bestselling mystery mass market paperback for the week (that would be last week). Weeee!
I must admit, it was hard to focus on my work (I'm writing the third Victoria Square mystery) after that. But I made my minimum word count, which was worth celebrating in itself.
Of course, what I was REALLY waiting for was the phone to ring. And it did. And it WAS my editor. And (drum roll) Sentenced To Death was #17 on the New York Times bestsellers list for mass market paperbacks.
That's two steps up from Chapter & Hearse.
Ahhh, seventeen. My new favorite number.
Of course, while I'm celebrating for Tricia, I'm also hoping that with this book getting so much attention, my other characters/books (under other names) just might get some attention, too. We're talking Katie in A Crafty Killing (Victoria Square #1) and all the Jeff Resnick books and short stories. (Hey, they're like my kids. I love them and want them all to do well.)
As it happens, the next Booktown Mystery (Murder on The Half Shelf) is already written. (As is the 2nd Victoria Square Mystery.) When I finish this current book (in September), I'll jump right back into Tricia's world. And boy have I got a lot planned for the denizens of the little village of Stoneham, New Hampshire. (Mwa-ha-ha!)
In the meantime . . . if you've never read the Booktown Mysteries, I hope you'll give them a try. They start with Murder is Binding.
I get asked to do a lot of interviews and stuff for blogs. I like that because it's easier to answer questions than to come up with something new and fresh. Heck, it's difficult to come up for something new and fresh six days a week for this blog and the Cozy Chicks on Saturdays.
Today I'm guesting on my agent's blog: Bookends LCC - A Literary Agency. This is "speed dating for authors'" where she asks her clients 5-6 questions and you answer them. Fun!! (Well, it's supposed to be. I don't know that I came across particularly funny/witty. Anal old me, I tend to answer questions in a pretty straight-forward fashion.) But I'm grateful for the exposure and hope someone will be inspired to read on (or more) of my books.
Monday I'm to be the first Guest Host on the Berkley Prime Crime-Signet (That's my publisher) THE CRIME SCENE Facebook Page. It's a great place to talk about cozy mysteries on Facebook. The page has just gotten off the ground and they'd like to have 2500 LIKES by March 14th. I'd like them to have 2500 Likes by March 7th -- That's Monday -- when I'm the guest host.
I'll be hosting from 11 a.m. until noon (MONDAY, MARCH 7th, Eastern Daylight Time) and you can ask me any question on my writing, cozies, whatever.
I'm the first one to host the page and I'm worried that nobody will show up and that I'll be sitting here at my computer staring at the screen and nothing will happen. (My editor will be sitting there watching his screen, too--which makes me doubly nervous. I feel like a school kid who wants to make her teacher proud.)
So, if you're not doing anything on Monday, PLEASE come and visit me on the Crime Scene Facebook page. (I'll give a reminder on Monday, too.) They'll be giving away books!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I will be eternally grateful!!!
(P.S. That's me and Fred, my tiny son.)
Mr. L took me out to lunch at Wegman's new FOOD BAR restaurant. They changed a lovely restaurant (Tastings) into a burger joint. About the only thing that remains are the zucchini fries. (Heaven.) Was it good? Yes, it was good. Was it worth nearly $18 for two burgers and two orders of zucchini fries? No. Will we go back? Maybe ... but only for the zucchini fries.
Went to Barnes & Noble in the same plaza -- just to check up on my Booktown Mysteries. Hmm. Only five copies of four titles, which I signed. (I am extremely spoiled by my "home" B&N in Greece Ridge Center because the CRM keeps her shelves well stocked with my titles. We're talking up to 10+ of each. I love you Rebecca!!!) But, I did have a very brief but pleasant conversation with one of their sales associates who was about to go to lunch. I asked if she could see if the store had ordered copies of A Crafty Killing (which comes out on February 1st--hint, hint). She looked it up, blinked a couple of times, and said, "Twenty four copies. That's a LOT!" (It was all I could do NOT to break into a Snoopy Happy dance right there and then.)
Then we went to Michaels and I raided their $1 racks. I am such a sucker for blank note cards and such. (And yes, I just visited my Greece Michael's last week and bought more stuff.) This time I bought myself a little tote bag for Malice Domestic. (I had a wonderful small canvas bag that I was given by the Mystery Lovers Bookshop after their Festival of Mystery (if you have never gone-GO!!!) in 2009 and lost last year at the Malice Domestic conference. (I could've cried!!!) I got a few other things, too. (Fun stuff. Hey, I deserve it!)
We got home and I wrote another 800 words and an email to my editor. In it I happened to ask what my print run was for A Crafty Killing. A while later the phone rang. Yes--it was from NY and it was my editor!!! He decided to answer my print run question in person. Whoa! It's 5000 more than the print run for Chapter & Hearse. (He actually said he was ASTOUNDED to learn that. Hey, no more than me.) That means my publisher (or at least their marketing department) thinks A Crafty Killing should do well. (I certainly have my fingers crossed. I need a new hot water heater and a few other repairs to be made to the house.)
Let's summerize the day:
Got my word count for the day. (YEA!)
Got taken to lunch. (YEA!)
Found out a store where I won't be signing is buying half a case of books. (YEA!)
Found out my print run would be higher than for Chapter & Hearse. (YEA!)
Yup. I'd say that was a good day.
How was your day?
(P.S. Weather went down the toilet. It's snowing and we might get another 5 inches added to the 4 that fell overnight. Oh well, you can't have everything.)
A long, long time ago, I hired a web site designer to come up with a charming little web site for me. That was before I became published. It didn't have much of a focus because there I was a writer who wasn't published--at least not in novel length. So I pushed real hard to let people know that I had some street cred. A whole bunch of short story sales. The only problem was, most of the stories were sold to a confession magazine (True Love). Not only that, they don't have "by lines," so no one knew it was me who actually wrote them.
Fast forward several years. I sold my first novel. Only it wasn't under my name, it was under the L.L. Bartlett moniker. Okay, that meant I needed another web site, because I was just sure the book would do well and people would be hungering to search me out.
Nope. Didn't happen (on either account).
Then in 2006, I got a contract to write the Booktown Mystery series ... the only problem was, it was under a pseudonym: Lorna Barrett. The first book came out in 2008 and Lorna needed her own web site. So now I was juggling THREE of them.
But finally, FINALLY in 2009 I sold the Victoria Square Mystery series to Berkley Prime Crime and at last the first book (A Crafty Killing) would be published under my OWN Name: Lorraine Bartlett. One snag? The first book wouldn't come out until 2011. *Yawn* That's a long time to wait. And the worst part -- Lorna has a LOT of readers because I've worked very hard to get Lorna's name out there, and had a lot of luck and support from Barnes & Noble and independent booksellers. But how am I going to get the word out that Lorna and Lorraine are the same person?
Well, revamping the old Lorraine web site wouldn't hurt, and with the enormous help of Glass Slipper Web Design, I've done just that, and I'm as proud as a peacock to show it off, too.
www.LorraineBartlett.com is now live. There are a lot of pages to explore. I'd love to know what you all think about it?
(P.S. Remember I told you about the picture of the candy jar--well there it is in the banner. W00t!)
So there I was last Sunday night, sneaking away from the kitchen and dinner prep and the phone rang. I figured it was yet another telemarketer because it said UNKNOWN NAME, UNKNOWN NUMBER on the Caller ID screen.
Instead, it was from the head of the Agatha Awards Committee. Bookplate Special had been nominated for an Agatha Award for best novel.
The first thing I did was burst into tears. I wish I could say they were of joy, but I'd been having kind of a bummer of an evening, and to top it off, had been listening to the Chieftains' CD Santiago, and in particular Galician Overture, which is incredibly sad (hey, it's got bagpipes--nuff said). So when she said Bookplate Special had been nominated . . . I kinda lost it.
Of course, she asked that I not say a word about it until after all the nominees had been informed. I did ask if I could tell my mother and my agent and editor, and she said yes.
By the time I got off the phone, I had cheered up immensely. (Just about the time the Chieftains were hitting their stride with Getting Sail/Muineira de Frexido--which must be one of the most joyful tunes ever recorded.) I yelled to my husband, "Bookplate Special--a major award!" (I figured he was in the exempt column, too.) And of course, you know what he thought.
It was a l-o-n-g four days until the announcement was made public last night. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if A.) I had hallucinated the entire phone call or B.) Someone had been playing an elaborate joke on me. But, no--my name (or Lorna's) really was on the list of nominees (Second, in fact! We'll just pretend it's NOT in alphabetical order, eh?)
But whoa again--take a look at the nominees on that short list for Best Novel. How could anyone NOT be thrilled to have their work among these names:
Swan for the Money, Donna Andrews, St. Martin’s Minotaur
Bookplate Special, Lorna Barrett, Berkley Prime Crime
Royal Flush, Rhys Bowen, Berkley Prime Crime
A Brutal Telling, Louise Penny, Minotaur Books
Air Time, Hank Phillippi Ryan, MIRA
Bookmarked for Death was actually eligible for nomination, as well, but I'm really proud that Bookplate Special got it. I love that little story (and LOVE the cover, too). And while the competition is so stiff there isn't a chance in H-E Double Hockey Sticks it can win, it's going to be a fun ride until they announce the winner on May 1st.
My thanks to everyone who nominated my book. It's a terrific honor!
I've been bugging my editor for weeks now to show me the cover. Yea--he did. But then they couldn't decide if they wanted the title to have an AND or an ampersand.
The ampersand won! And here's the cover. (What do you think?)
But I have even MORE news. (Sounds like one of those informercials. But wait, order now and....) I'm very pleased to announce that the Booktown Mysteries will soon (relatively speaking) be available as audiobooks (and downloadable). The recording for the first book, MURDER IS BINDING, was to have begun last week.
It was very exciting to talk to the production manager at Deyan Audio about certain pronunciations. (Who knew Squamscot soda pop was actually pronounced Squamskit? And if you're in New Hampshire, why don't you try some of the local soda. It's de-lish!) He also said I'd be hearing from him about other questions they have as they get read to record the other books.
And I already know who my reader will be: the lovely (and lovely voiced) Cassandra Campbell. I've heard a sample of her work, and I think she'll do a great job performing the books.
I know I can't wait to hop in my car and spent lots of gas money listening to the book on CDs.
Do you like to listen to audiobooks?
Tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 22nd, I'll be guest blogging on The Lipstick Chronicles. This is one of THE biggest mystery reader blogs on the Internet, and I was absolutely THRILLED to be invited.
The favor part? Please, please, PLEASE go over and check out my post. If enough of my readers check it out, there's a chance they'll invite me back when the next book comes out next August. (And as I'll be in deadline hell and not doing much/any face-to-face promotion, it would be a very big deal.)
So, if you haven't already checked out The Lipstick Chronicles (go ahead, spend a couple of hours reading their older posts, you'll probably enjoy them as much as I do), please do so tomorrow.
(P.S. I'm writing about my one-star review on Amazon--hopefully it's an amusing take. And please feel free to leave comments!)
Sunday, November 22nd, BOOKPLATE SPECIAL will debut on the New York Times Bestsellers list for mass market paperbacks at #20. (Bookmarked for Death only made it to #30.)
Can you say: "YEEEEE HAAAA!!!!"
What? You still haven't bought your copy? Well, come on -- help me move up the list to #19 -- or even (heaven forbid) #15!!!
I'm pretty chuffed about all this, but that doesn't mean I can slack off. I'm working, Working, STILL WORKING on the first Victoria Square mystery (yipe! the deadline is next week!!!) and will jump right into the next Booktown Mystery (which doesn't yet have a title).
But I did want to say thank you to everyone who has already bought the book.
Okay, that subject line is a lie. I read the bad ones and cry. But I don't have to cry about the reviews I've received so far for Bookplate Special. (I'm sure disgruntled readers will be posting some pretty nasty ones on Amazon any minute now.)
I don't usually brag (okay, not TOO much at least) about good reviews for my books, but this one really tickled me. (I mean, I love the crack about the plantar's wart.) The Feathered Quill Book Review site is relatively new, and I'm thrilled they wanted to review Bookplate Special. In case you're interested, click here to see the review. Not only that, but they also interviewed! Click here for that, too.
The Richmond-Times Dispatch ran a review on Sunday on their Book Blog, In it they said, "Barrett is skilled at making her characters flawed and fully believable. This book-based book is a perfect autumn read — right down to those smashed pumpkins."
Blush. Then again, as I myself am pretty flawed, maybe it's just easier to make my characters reflect my shortcomings. Either way, it seems like people are liking the book. And I hope they'll take seriously some of the themes featured--like going green and donating to food pantries.
Okay, I have a few more stops on the blog tour, and I'll be plugging them in the next couple of weeks, but after that--and inbetween--it's back to tomfoolery and tommyrot!
Tricia Miles, owner of Haven’t a Clue mystery bookstore, is still settling into Stoneham, New Hampshire, the kind of town where everybody knows your name—and where everyone’s quick to lend a hand, even when murder is afoot…
The kinder folks of Stoneham might call Pammy Fredericks a free spirit. The less kind, a freeloading thief. Tricia has put up—and put up with—her uninvited college roommate for weeks. In return, Pammy, has stolen $100, among other things. But the day she’s kicked out, Pammy’s found dead in a dumpster, leaving loads of questions unanswered. Like what was she foraging for? Did her killer want it, too? To piece the case together, Tricia will have to dive in head-first.…
(Isn't it just gorgeous? And don't you just love the way the window glows like a Thomas Kincade painting--and that type at the bottom of the cover that says New York Times Bestselling Author!!! And how long will it take before my "name" is bigger than the title?)
P.S. Starting tomorrow, Saturday May 30th, I'll be joining the Cozy Chicks blog. Come on over and check it out.
Sometimes it seems like I'm pretty clueless--at least I think so. One of my vigilant readers has forwarded not one but TWO neat reviews of BOOKMARKED FOR DEATH to me from respected print media--a little late, but always welcome. (Thanks, Lois!)
Mystery Scene Magazine, under "Cozy Favorites"
Mystery News (April/May 2009)
Naturally, I'm very happy to have positive reviews, and plan to boil them down for promo. How about this.
"Charming!"--Mystery Scene Magazine
"The puzzle is intriguing." -- Mystery News
Short and sweet, eh?
Yesterday, I heard from my friend Marilyn Levinson who was bouncing up and down with happiness for me. Seems she'd found the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's list of Bestselling Mysteries for 2008.
Guess where Murder is Binding ended up on the mass market paperback list?
Also, if you're in the Rochester area, tomorrow (Saturday) I'll be at Barnes & Noble, the Mall at Greece Ridge, from 2-4 (or until they kick me out) to sign copies of Bookmarked for Death. I'd love to see you there.
P.S. I'll also be guest blogging tomorrow on Poe's Deadly Daughters.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the name, Wegmans is a regional grocery store chain that just happens to be headquartered in my home town. I can remember my parents shopping at the Mt. Read store when I was eight or ten (and we won't get into how many years ago that was). I've been shopping there since I had my first apartment (again--too many years to mention.) So it was a thrill for me to walk into the store yesterday and see ...
Well, hold on a second and let me backtrack.
I have wanted to get my books into Wegmans for almost four years. I can understand why they wouldn't want to bother with my small press books, but when Murder Is Binding came out last year, I tried again. Never heard from them.
A little over three weeks ago (? I'm iffy with the timing), I was in one of the stores and just happened to run into the woman who stocks the bookshelves. I told her I was a local author and pitched Bookmarked for Death. She took my bookmarks and said she'd ask her boss if they could stock the book.
In the meantime, I have a friend who works in the Wegmans main office. Just yesterday I heard from her, and she suggested I write to the general merchandise manager, send her a copy of the book, and tell her about Murder Is Binding's latest print run. Sniff. I only had one copy of the book, but I wrote a letter and zoomed to the P.O. After that, I went to the same Wegmans store where I'd talked to the stock lady. And there, at eye level, in all its purple glory, was Bookmarked for Death. The problem was--there was nobody in the aisle to see my happy dance or hear me shout: HEY, IT'S MY FIRST SIGHTING OF MY NEW BOOK!!!
I still would dearly love to have a book signing at Wegmans flagship store. Hey, they do it all the time in their Fairfax store with authors like Mary Higgins Clark (as chronicled in USA Today)--why not me! If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.
Almost two weeks ago, I hinted that I had projects in the works I couldn't talk about. Guess what? I still can't talk about them. But I might be getting closer.
Meanwhile, life goes on. I finished my big postcard project. The bookmark project continues, and I've been signing between 50-100 bookmarks a night because the requests keep coming in. Yesterday I got a note from an indy bookstore in Central New York asking for them. You bet! The package is ready to go, along with a request for bookplates from a library in California, and a request for a bookmark from a fan.
Progress on the new book hasn't been as good as I'd hoped, but I'm inching along and have already made the bare minimum word count for the month. (I have today and tomorrow--just think what I might still accomplish!)
Bookmarked for Death has been popping up all over the place. Weeeeee! I'm guest blogging next Wednesday on The Diva Dishes, and next Saturday on Poe's Deadly Daughters. I guess that'll be my blog tour for the book. Much less than I did for Dead In Red, but I've been so busy with other promotion, I didn't get off my duff and scout around for guesting opportunities. Then again, I'd have to write six or seven different posts, and I have enough trouble coming up with ideas to keep this blog going.
Speaking of this blog, I've contracted for a new banner. I got to see the first pass and I LOVE it. I hope to post it sometimes next week.
Two weeks ago I reported that Murder Is Binding was the #11th most popular paperback at the Murder On The Beach Mystery Bookstore. That was a big thrill me to know my book had done so well for that store.
Yesterday, my chum Leann Sweeney wrote to tell me I'd moved up a notch at the Mystery Lovers Bookshop--and Murder is Binding was their 10th bestselling paperback. Once again, I'm in great company, along with Nancy Martin, Donna Andrews, Elaine Viets, and Rhys Bowen.
I'm very fond of the Mystery Lovers Bookshop. Last spring, I had the opportunity to be a part of the thirteenth annual Festival of Mystery, a remarkable assemblage of 50 authors and hundreds of readers who gather in Oakmont, PA, the Monday after the Malice Domestic conference. I hope I get invited again this year.
My friend Doranna Durgin once told me that, no matter how many times it happens, holding your new book in your hand is just as good as the first time. Right this second, I wouldn't mind hearing her say, "I told you so!" Because you know what? Not ten minutes ago, the Fed-X truck pulled up and dropped off a "sample copy" of Bookmarked for Death.
First thing I did was open up to the acknowledgments page and reread it. Then I peeked to see how many pages it ended up being (which, duh--I read the galley proof--I already knew). Yup. It's a book!
I love it!
The ballots have been sent out for the Agathas -- that's the award (a ceramic Teapot--photo stolen from Agatha award-winning author Earlene Fowler's website) that's given out at the Malice Domestic conference (banquet) every spring. (This year it'll be May 2nd.)
Only attendees who bought their memberships before December 31st are eligible to nominate books. I'm hoping a bunch of them read mine.
This year I have two eligible books -- under two names.
DEAD IN RED by L.L. Bartlett
MURDER IS BINDING by Lorna Barrett
Truth be told, Dead In Red hasn't got a chance of even getting five nominations, let alone making the short list. As a (basically) library-only title, it just doesn't have a wide enough audience. Murder Is Binding might have a shot to make the short list, but winning -- eh ... Still, I'd love to be able to at least say I was nominated for a meaningful award.
I've got my fingers crossed.
Results for the Preditors & Editors Poll I posted about last week won't be announced until February. But it doesn't look hopeful for me. Ah, well -- what will be will be.
Yesterday, in an effort to avoid real work, I opened an E-mail from the mystery readers list DorothyL. I usually just skim the subjects and then do a search to find whichever one tickles my fancy.
My fancy was tickled, all right. The owner of the Murder On The Beach Mystery Bookstore in Delray Beach, Florida, listed her best selling books of 2008. Naturally, I didn't bother to look under the hardcover books. No way would Dead In Red be there (much to my regret), so I immediately jumped to the mass market paperbacks.
You got it -- Murder Is Binding was her 11th best selling paperback of 2008.
Yee-ha! And look at the company I keep--I actually know some of these people (albeit not really well; Elaine, Elizabeth, Julie, Nancy and Don.):
1. Wreckers Key by Christine Kling, Ballantine
2. Field of Fire by James O Born, Berkley
3. Knock Off by Rhonda Pollero, Kensington
4. Murder with All the Trimmings by Elaine Viets, NAL
5. Magic City by James W Hall, St Martins
6. South of Hell by PJ Parrish, Pocket
7. Murder with Reservations by Elaine Viets, NAL
8. Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson, Berkley
9. Trace Evidence by Elizabeth Becka, Hyperion
10. Getting Old is To Die For by Rita Lakin, Ballantine
11. Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett, Berkley
12. Bermuda Schwartz by Bob Morris, St Martins
13. Midnight Rambler by James Swain, Ballantine
14. Down River by John Hart, St Martins
15. State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy, Berkley
16. Blue Zone by Andrew Gross, Harper Collins
17. Killer Knots by Nancy Cohen, Kensington
18. Jamaica Blue by Don Bruns, St Martins
19. Alibi Man by Tami Hoag, Ballantine
20. Hunters Moon by Randy Wayne White, Berkley
My God, I came before Tami Hoag!!!!
Okay, it's only one store. I get that. But to be on anybody's best seller list is a big deal for little old Lorna.
My poor husband. His sanity is at risk. And there's not much he can do about it. It's all in my hands.
Ya see . . . I like the holidays. In fact, I love the holidays. A LOT. I love the lights, the decorations, the food. Mostly, I like holiday music. And movies, too. And since November 1st, I've been playing my CDs and watching the movies, all of which drives hubby NUTS!
My newest favorite holiday movie is The Santa Clause. Yup, it came out in 1994 but it was new to me about three years ago. Since then I've probably watched it ... oh, twenty times. (And I'm not even a Tim Allen fan!) There's just something about little Charlie's faith in his Dad, and his pride that his father is indeed Santa, that just touches my heart. I'm sure I'll haul out the other movies as the season continues, but I've already watched this one three times this month. (Can you tell I'm between books?)
I've been playing the holiday music a lot, too. The CDs are put away for ten months of the year, so it's like renewing an old friendship when I haul them all out. My favorite is actually a cheapie I got at the grocery store. It's called Popular Christmas for a New Age. I think it cost me five bucks. And since then, I've found copies at garage sales. (Apparently not everyone loves it as much as me.) I've now got four--YES FOUR--copies of it. That means I can play it in my car, and have a copy of it in three different rooms of the house. (Okay, I also buy a lot of boom boxes at garage sales.)
Hubby and I have side-by-side offices (I have to go through his to get to mine). Naturally, as soon as the first strains of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" start up, he wails, "Oh, jeeze, the noise has started--again!" (That's where the sanity comes in.) We do have an agreement that I will NOT play the vocals until Thanksgiving . . . but I've already kind of cheated on that one. (Just a little.)
The one part of the holidays that I absolutely love but try to avoid is the cookies. The cakes. The candy. The hot hors d'oeuvres. The cold hors d'oeuvres. The eggnog. The chips and dips. Oh, I could go on, and on (and on). But man--over the lips and forever on the hips.
I've got six more weeks of music, decorations, and lights. And I'm going to revel in it. How about you?
I kinda feel like a bit of a celebrity when I get asked to blurb someone else's books. Actually, I've been asked four or five times to blurb, but in the early days (we're only talking two years ago), I felt I couldn't in good conscience do that. I mean, who the hell knows who I am?
Things have now changed. I was actually quite shocked when a senior editor at Berkley contacted me over the summer, asking me to blurb a debut mystery. (I don't know if they're actually going to use the blurb, so I'm not prepared to plug the author yet.) Of course, they asked me to blurb the book as Lorna Barrett, because I write for them under that name.
But this week I was approached by a member of my Sisters In Crime chapter, Guppies, to blurb her next book. We're both published by Five Star (the small, original-fiction imprint of Thorndike that's geared toward the library market). However, she doesn't want me to blurb the book as L.L. Bartlett. She wants Lorna to blurb it.
Really, it makes a lot of sense. In six months, Lorna has sold many, many (MANY, MANY) more books than L.L. has in three years. That name is starting to be known. I've even heard whispers of Lorna being nominated for awards. (Cough, cough. Did I just jinx her?) And remember, there were actually people asking to have their pictures taken with Lorna at the Malice Domestic conference!!! (I still can't get over it. And I wonder if their cameras broke because of it.)
Anyway, now that Lorna has started blurbing, she's going to continue. The more people who see Lorna's name, the more people will buy Lorna's books. And I'm hoping some of those people will check out L.L.'s website to see that Lorna ain't no one-trick pony and can produce more than just one type of book.
And, YES! Lorna' MURDER IS BINDING remains on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's top ten list for yet another month--only going down from spot 3 to spot 6.
But let us take a look a big-time, well known, bookselling web site. Oh. Dear. A really awful, terrible, bad review of the book. There is nothing good about it. It was god-awful with a twist of roadkill. It stank. It was skunk scent times ten.
And yet ... HAPPY DANCE ... the book is tied on the IMBA list for spot #6!!! It is in its third print run! I'm not going to let one person's negative opinion mess with my head. (Too much.)
Unless something terrible happens in the next couple of weeks (which is always possible, and don't think that isn't on my mind 24/7), I will be going to New Hampshrie in three weeks to finally do some on-site research, although the season will be wrong for the third book in the series. I can only guess. I can only surmise. I can only do the best I can do and hope that good story-telling sees me through.
Isn't that what any writer hopes for?
As you may remember, I sprained my ankle about ten days ago. Actually, I didn't sprain my ankle, I strained my foot. Probably ligaments. It's nothing that time and lack of use won't heal. But that's the problem--it seems to be getting used way too much.
When I first hurt it on June 7th, the top and sides were bruised. Next my heels turned a lovely shade of blue. And more than a week later, my toes started turning purple. I'm not sure if this was from the initial injury or the fact that the blood is probably pooling in my toes thanks to the snug foot/ankle brace I've been wearing 16 hours a day. The thing is, my feet were ugly enough before this happened and now...well, they're just not pretty. (Despite the red nail polish.)
The thing is, if I could sit in my easy chair with my feet up for hours on end, the foot would heal a whole lot faster. The problem is, you can't get much (if anything) accomplished sitting in a comfy chair with your feet up. (Preferably watching old movies.) I can't write from my chair in the living room (not that I'm getting as much accomplished as I wish I was). You can't take care of bid'ness. (Let's not forget, I've got a book (two really) to promote. And I'm certainly not getting much of anything accomplished on the home front. (Emptying the dishwasher and the occasional load of laundry is all I've done for the past 12 days.) And I keep forgetting to take an extra aspirin with meals. (I can't take them between meals because I have a dicey stomach--which happened from taking aspirin between meals.)
I haven't gone shopping. I haven't cleaned the gutters (which overflow every time it rains, and man I wish I could climb a ladder right now). We haven't planted our tomatoes (and annuals, either). Not much is getting done and I feel like a slug.
I want my foot to heal. Now, dammit!
The weekend cometh. I can sit at the cottage with my feet up for almost two days and do little but READ. I'm looking forward to it. (And so is my foot.)
Well, wouldn't you know the most interesting thing that happened to me over the weekend was falling and spraining my ankle. I won't tell you too much about it because that's my BIG post tomorrow over on Writers Plot.
It's bruised and while the swelling went down yesterday, it feels better today and it's starting to swell again because I've been on it too much. Oy.
You know what that means?
But yesterday I did hit another high--or at least Lorna Barrett did. Thanks to a watchful reader (with a wave to Glenda), I learned Lorna's book made it to #3 on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's bestseller list for April.
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.
I don't usually do stuff like this, but it's Sunday afternoon and I don't feel like working--so what the hell!
FIVE FACTS ABOUT ME, ME, ME!
1. I have really, really blue eyes. I've been told this my whole life, but this morning I saw a new picture of myself (which really sucked, BTW) and WOW--I have really blue eyes. Like Dan Blocker or Meg Foster. Who knew? (BTW, that's Meg Foster over there--not me.)
2. My favorite book isn't a mystery. It's actually The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald, which I first read when I was 12 years old. I have at least five copies (one of which is Large Print that I bought at a library sale for a buck). I read it at least once every year. It was Betty's description of her terrible bread-making ability that has kept me from trying to bake with yeast--even to this day!
3. I would live in rural New York (the town of Huron in particular) if my husband would leave the suburbs. He won't -- I like him, so I guess I'll stay put.
4. I paint my toenails red, but I don't wear sandals or go barefoot so nobody knows.
5. I collect frames. I have way too many mirrors in my house (not that I look in them) just because I like the frames. I have boxes of unused frames I bought at garage sales and auctions. Most of them are odd sizes, but they were cheap and are pretty so I like them.
I'm going to cheat. I'm not going to tell the people I've tagged because not everyone wants to do this-- but I do encourage you to check out their blogs.
2. Wil Wheaton --yeah, Wesley Crusher from ST:TNG. He doesn't know me from a hole in his socks, but I enjoy reading his WWdN: In Exile blog. Only...(why do I have all these onlys?) he recently had surgery and hasn't blogged much during his recovery. Try him again in a few days when he's back in the pink.
3. What, she doesn't read any blogs by women? Of course I do! Lesa's Book Critique is really good. She does a great job reviewing new books and interviewing authors. I promise, you'll like Lesa. (I do. And I think she likes me, too!)
4. Joshilyn Jackson's Faster Than Kudzu. She's a nut case--but the kind of nut case you'll like. (You can tell she's a nut case because she spells her name JOSHilyn and calls herself JOSSilyn--like there's no H in there. What's with that?) P.S. the woman can write.
5. Julia Buckley's Mysterious Musings. Julia and I met once. She was so nice to me when I was bouncing off the walls at Bouchercon 2006 (when her editor said she loved my book) and then she was so nice to me later when I found out her editor decided she didn't love my book enough to buy it.
Try out those blogs. You might like them as much as I do.
According to Wikipedia, there really is something called Exploding Head Syndrome. Thankfully, I don't have the symptoms they mention, but lately I've felt like there aren't enough hours in the day and, BTW, MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE!!!
There are just toooooooo many choices out there for book promotion. Almost ALL of them cost money, and none of them come with a guarantee.
One of the things we're told over and over again is NEVER look at your Amazon numbers.
Well, guess what? I've been peeking. And ... they've been good. REALLY good. (For Murder is Binding.) I don't think I ever crept close to less than a million with Murder On The Mind -- but I've been as close as #77 in the mystery category with MIB. (That means I was in the 6,000 range.)
SIX THOUSAND??? AND THE BOOK ISN'T EVEN AVAILABLE YET?????
How the hell did that ever happen?
Well, I have a couple of theories.
Theory 1: I've met a great bunch of women on a couple of cozy mystery lists. MIB was chosen as the April read on one of the lists, and possibly the May read for one of the others. To read it in April, those ladies need copies of it. Hence, pre-orders.
Theory 2: I'm a part of Writers Plot. We've worked very hard to make that blog known. Suddenly, we're starting to see some really wonderful numbers. (Too bad those readers haven't been coming here to check things out.) Other members of the group have seen blips on their Amazon numbers, too. It just may be that blogging DOES help sell books.
Of course, Amazon numbers really don't mean a whole helluva lot. Get three orders and you can move up thousands of positions on the list. (Hence, the reason Uncle Albert actually got to up to #40 one week. Several members of my Sisters In Crime chapter bought it and I went from the bottom to #40 in one day. That was early in the program when they only had about 100 stories in the mystery category.)
Meanwhile, I'm trying to resurrect a "shopworn" manuscript. It's too short, and has been rejected by several publishers. I'm rewriting it (and giving myself a week to do it) before I approach my agent about it...again. She has not been enthusiastic about the project when I've mentioned it in the past. But as I approach the end of my three-book (Booktown) contract, I want to have something else in the pipeline. This book is good. (Hey, it finaled in the St. Martin's/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Contest.) After not looking at it for two years, I fell in love with the characters all over again. I really, REALLY want to see them find an audience. I know what it needs, and I'm addressing its shortcomings (that is, length--or lack thereof).
So while I'm juggling ARCs and ordering postcards and holding a contest, and working behind the scenes on Writers Plot (I do most of the PR), I'm thinking about the new book and working on an old book.
Whew. No wonder my head is about to explode!
Yesterday morning, a garbage truck backed into a power pole on the next block. We were without electricity for over five hours.
WE WERE OFF THE INTERNET FOR OVER FIVE HOURS!!!
I couldn't work. I mean, I NEED my computer. I have to have it in order to do the smallest thing, like address an envelope. I'd planned to spend the morning working on my library address list. I couldn't do ANYTHING because I couldn't get online!!!
We were so bored, we stood out on the sidewalk (hey, it was almost 50 out) and cheered when the RG&E guy flipped the three switches (which sparked and crackled--more good fun!) and we were back in business. We hurried home and the first thing we did was plug in the computers and get on line.
This morning we had major wind and cold. And for almost two hours the power dipped and WE HAD NO INTERNET CONNECTION!!!!
I cannot live without the Internet. No wonder it took me nine full months to write the last book. I can't control the urge to check my mail, to check my favorite blogs (sometimes several times a day--just in case they posted late or a second entry). I am addicted.
There's only one cure: going cold turkey. And I am not willing to do that.
I have a sign in my office that says: "Creative Minds Are Seldom Tidy." I think I've taken that to the nth degree.
A writer (and voracious readers) always needs new bookshelves. It's a fact of life. For a couple of years now I've been nagging my brother to make me a new shelf unit. As usual, he didn't ask what I actually needed, but he's got a big heart and now I have a BIG shelf unit. Okay, this time he didn't actually make the shelf--he's a busy man. He bought a you-finish unit and...well, finished it for me for Christmas.
I live in a contemporary ranch (which I have been trying to uncontemporary since the day I moved in). We have a LOT of windows. There aren't a lot of spaces left for pictures or shelves. But, by rearranging half of my office I managed to squeeze the new shelf in.
My mother is of the opinion that if she just had one more shelf, one more storage box, one more ANYTHING she is going to be instantly organized and tidy. I have to say I've inherited that gene. Take a look at my desk. My husband practically breaks out in hives if he has to use my computer. I got a new monitor a few months ago (flat screen) just so I could have a clear desk. That lasted about a day.
Let's see what's on here at the moment. My (empty) tea mug; three pairs of scissors, two paper punches, a LARGE candle that I "warm" not light (fire hazard!!! I figure by warming it on a constant basis it'll still take me 47 years before the damn thing evaporates. I'm tired of the smell of lemon icebox cookies), a million pens. Goo gone. Purell (the keyboard is supposed to be the filthiest thing in the home, you know), two sheep (figurines), tape, stapler. Two calculators (because I'm constantly losing them. They get swallowed up by the junk.) My easel with work in progress (except it's got stuff on it that's ancient--like when Dead In Red was written, and that was two years ago), a heart-shaped box (no, not Joe Hill's novel), an egg timer (for when I let the cats out into the enclosed porch, so that I don't forget them--but I do anyway, and then Frank finds them frozen in odd positions and we have to stick them in front of the heat run to thaw them out), Two, count 'em, Two brass lamps that I never turn on. (Hey, I have another brass lamp my friend Danny gave me that shines on my shoulder and keeps me from freezing in the winter. (Don't you dare take my incandescent light bulb away from me...not when my office goes down to 55F at night.) That just scratches the surface.
Okay, my point? This bookshelf is going to make me incredibly organized. My whole TBR pile will go in one spot. All the books on the floor will now have a home. I can move some books from my other shelf unit (which has a few short shelves) and put my DVDs all in one spot. (So, like, I could actually find them should I want to watch them.)
Yup. By the end of the weekend I am going to be so incredibly organized that I will jump into my 2nd rewrite with a clear mind and a happy heart...
One of the Christmas gifts I received this holiday season was being interviewed by Jared Case on his CASE OF MURDER blog. Check it out!
It's becoming quite popular to interview and be interviewed on blogs. If you're a mid-list author like me, it's great because it gets your name out in front of new readers. If you're a midlist author who can snag a big-name to interview, it can bring new readers to your blog. Either way, it's a win-win situation.
While I've done my share of interviews for various newsletters, I haven't jumped on the interview bandwagon for my blog. It's not that I don't want to share the limelight (which is where?), or even that I'm terribly lazy. It's more a question of time. But I was flattered that Jared chose me as his first subject.
The good news! The paperback rights have been sold for MURDER ON THE MIND. (Yea! Crowds cheer, fireworks explode, confetti falls!) According to plans, the book (with a brand new cover--I can't wait!) will be available in November of 2007. More details as they develop.
As part of the deal, I have to provide 4 copies of the hardback edition to my new publisher, which is in Canada. Not a problem. I simply put them in a box and took them to UPS. I chose UPS because I knew I'd have a tracking number and could make sure it actually arrives, whereas I wouldn't get that perk from USPS.
First problem: The woman looks at my editor's name and gives me the fish eye, asking me for my editor's phone number. Having never spoken to him (we've communicated via e-mail), I haven't got a clue. She puts down my phone number as contact and collects my $$$.
The next day, I get a call from UPS demanding my editor's phone number. I get on my computer, pull up his last e-mail and there it is. I read it off, Frank gives it to the person on the phone. All is apparently well.
Three hours later, I check the tracking number and the box is still in Fort Erie, Ontario. Hmm.
This morning I pull up my tracking number and find out that my little box of books has been taken out of the UPS loop (and sits for five hours) because it has failed security.
Did they open the box, which says right on the outside, "Requested Material 4 Copies of Murder on the Mind"--so my editor knows what he's getting? The description of goods on my UPS form is: bound books. But why would they think a box of books is a security threat?
Maybe because my title includes the word "murder" and my editor's name is Mohammed?
Frank says if I tried to get on a plane with my little box of books, I'd have never made it. I'd have been taken out of line, strip searched and tossed out of the airport on my sorry butt. (Wil Wheaton has a great rant about security on his blog.)
According to my tracking number, my little box is still sitting in Fort Erie. It's been cleared, but there it sits. (Ya think they're reading the book to make sure Jeff and Richard aren't subversives?)
I'll be checking the tracking number until my little box reaches its destination, which I'm sure it will in the next couple of days and the paperback version of Murder on the Mind will begin its life.
Meanwhile, I'm not going to let this little blip on its journey spoil the ride to mass market paperback status.
After five days and four nights away, I'm happy to be home. My first conference as a published author (last spring) was a bit of a disaster, thanks to me having the second worst cold of my life and being totally unprepared for conferencing. This time I had a much better experience. I won't bore you with all the details (Liz and Gwen have already suffered through a HUGE letter) but here are the highlights:
The 13-hour road trip was ... boring. Michigan's roadways were all torn up and at one point we drove on rumble bars for a stretch of about 20 miles. Needless to say we were happy to get off the road in Rockford, IL, only an hour from our destination: Madison, WI.
Thursday we arrived in Madison, which is a beautiful (CLEAN, SAFE) city, about 9 a.m. The hotel let us check in early and afterward we walked down to the conference hotel (about three blocks away) and I registered. They gave us a big canvas bag FULL of books. No complaints here!
Thursday morning was not much fun. I didn't see anyone I knew, wasn't interested in most of the panels. I put out my Guppy flyers, Lethal Ladies flyers, and bookmarks. Frank found a Chipotle (burrito restaurant) six blocks from the conference hotel, and we met and went to lunch. Around 1 p.m. a lurking Guppy saw my name tag and introduced herself. She invited me to the bar for a drink at 5 p.m. At 1:30 I went to see my friend Judy Clemens as she moderated a panel. Other than that, I wandered around until 4 p.m. when I was assigned to sit at the MWA table and entice people to join. (I got at least one convert!) It was great to be there because I met and talked with several more Guppies, including Deb Baker and Sandy Parshall.
I went to the bar for a drink, but the bartender never showed up at our end of the bar (and the people I joined already had drinks), so I stood there with a bag full of books cutting into my shoulder. I walked back to our hotel (uphill with all those books) and found Frank nursing a beer at the bar. The place was dead, so we sat there for about an hour or so talking to the bartender. He told me lots of great stories, some of which I hope to use in my Jeff books. Two beers and two mixed drinks were only $9.50! Is Madison a great town, or what?
Friday Deb Baker, two other authors and I signed books at the Booked for Murder table. I stood in front of the table handing out bookmarks from 10 a.m. until 12:45. I managed to sell four books, while Deb sold about 15 or 20 (of her two books). The book vendor had two copies of my book. Before I signed the second one, I flipped through and found that it said: SECOND PRINTING, AUG. 2006. I had been expecting a reprint, but had no idea it was already a done deal. (More on this in another post.)
My panel went well, although we were in the smallest room, with cheesy plastic folding chairs. "Salon authors" were not given signings, so only one person at the panel bought my book and asked me to sign it. *Sigh*
After another 75 minutes in front of the Booked for Murder table, my feet were tired so I went down to the lobby to find a seat. On my second circuit, I snagged a comfy leather chair, still warm from its last posterior. Wouldn't you know it, right next to me was a Guppy: Rebecca H. We chatted for about an hour. We were waiting for one of the publisher parties, which was scheduled for 5:30. So we shot the shit (bang!) for about an hour before heading for the party. First we hit the hot hors d'oeuvres table (oh, the asparagus wrapped in puff pastry with cranberry jam on top was superb!) and Rebecca showed no fear and walked right up to the editor (and was invited to submit her manuscript).
I was scared to death because I wanted to meet the editor and remind her that I'd submitted one of my manuscripts, but I wasn't sure what to say. Deb gave me a pep talk and enlisted her friend Maggie Sefton (who writes a wonderful knitting series for Berkley) to figure out what to say. They came up with a speech and Maggie insisted I needed to repeat it three times before I went to speak to the editor. I got in line to speak with the editor and was intercepted by a Canadian reader who wanted to know all about MURDER ON THE MIND. So I gave her a bookmark and my little speech, which threw me off my mark for my talk with the editor, but I got back in line trying to remember what I was supposed to say. Finally, after about ten minutes, it was my turn to speak to her.
I offered my hand and said, "Hi, my name is Lorraine Bartlett, and--" She immediately jumped in and said, "I know your name! Remind me how," which totally threw me off guard again. I had to jump to the end of my speech with, 'You have my novel on your desk--" and then I couldn't remember its title. Finally, when I DID remember after fumbling around she said, "I read it and loved it!" and then she proceeded to tell me exactly what she loved about it! She kept coming up with details. I felt like the guy in those Memorex ads where the music is so loud it's blowing his hair straight back. This seems like very good news, but you quickly learn in publishing that unless a contract is offered, it's best not to get your hopes up.
After that, and still walking on air, I crashed the Berkley party and attached myself to Deb and Maggie, and met Viking author, Craig Johnson, who regaled us with stories about his early days promoting. (The mini eggrolls and other hot hors d'oeuvres weren't bad, either.)
I went back to the hotel to find Frank holding up the bar again, told him about my meeting the editor, and we had a celebratory martini. The bar was hopping with regulars so we didn't get to chat with the bartender, but Frank regaled me with his trip to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin where he went (and the 2-hour tour cost $45 per person) and I kept interrupting him to say, "Did I tell you that the editor LOVED my story?"
Saturday I went to a panel on book promotion featuring J.A. Konrath (who was absolutely marvelous) and four other authors, one of whom had absolutely no sense of humor and was a bit of a blow-hard. I felt sorry for him and all around people were rolling their eyes and wishing he'd shut up.
Afterward, I went back to my hotel because Frank wanted to take me for a whirlwind tour of the city. Wow--what a beautiful place. (The photo is one Frank took of the state capitol, which was directly across the street from our hotel.) He found a thrift shop in a very ritzy part of town, which was full of terrific stuff, very reasonably priced. (Everything was CLEAN and the store didn't smell like dead people, either.) The manager had a flair for display. I only bought three small items, but it was worth the trip. We also stopped at some garage sales along the way, but I couldn't find anything to buy. (Rats!)
I arrived back at the conference hotel just in time for Charles Benoit's panel. It was on the architecture of story construction and he was the moderator. I have never laughed so hard at a panel. I'd never heard of any of the panelists, but thanks to Charles the audience laughed for a full 50 minutes.
Afterwards, I had 15 minutes to kill time and made another circuit of the book room. A woman came up to me and said, "You're L.L. Bartlett." I said, "yes," and she said, "I copy edited your book! It was terrific. I loved it. And I can't say that about many of the books I'm asked to edit." And she gushed about Sophie and other stuff. Mind you, it's been at least 18 months since she read the book. I was surprised at how much detail she remembered. So, that made my day.
After that, I went to the SinC table where I'd volunteered to help spread the word about this great organization. I was paired with a new author named Nancy Barr (on the right) and inbetween answering questions about SISTERS IN CRIME, we entertained each other with stories about our writing careers and laughed quite a bit. Guppy Nancy Cooper (on the left, toasting her fellow Guppies ) came and chatted with us for a while and I took their picture. I planned to take a lot more pictures for my blog at the SinC dessert party that night.
Frank and I walked down State Street looking for somewhere to eat dinner. Madison is a college town, and it's really cool with tons of great restaurants and boutiques and full of students, everyone very well behaved. I have to say I felt safer in Madison than I even feel here in Greece. We opted for Afghani food. Holy smoke, can you say DE-LISH! I had some kind of bean/veggie/
We waddled back to our hotel (again uphill with a full stomach--OY!
I won't be going to Bouchercon 2007 because it's in Alaska and I don't fly. (Never say never....) But I'm already looking forward to Bouchercon 2008 in Baltimore.
With Bouchercon sneaking up like a lumbering freight train, I need to get my butt in gear and start getting ready. Okay, I've got my bookmarks, Lethal Lady flyers, Guppy flyers, and a case of books all ready to go. I've got my all-important LIST OF THINGS TO ASSEMBLE and DO going. (Already have 12 items on it.) My new Crocs arrived over the weekend, so I won't have to slosh through the streets of Madison, WI with wet toes.
Two, possibly three more things to do:
1. Call the dentist. Lost a part of a filling over the weekend. It would be just my luck to do nothing about it and end up with a huge crater (it's a molar) while over a thousand miles from home.
2. Get some new fall clothes. (Sweaters, mostly.) I'm trying to put that off until Wednesday or Thursday because I absolutely loathe clothes shopping.
3. Get the chop. Now that the weather is getting cooler (although it wasn't yesterday and is slated for 80 again today), it's time to get 3-4 inches of hair whacked off. Why would I wait until the end of summer to do this? Because for the past four months I've worn it pinned up on the top of my head to keep it off my neck. Shorter, I can't do that, and a pony tail is almost as hot as having it on my neck.
I've got at least four appearances in the next three months. Shorter hair will be easier to take care of. I might even go and get a professional author photo done. (I know, I've been threatening that for months....we'll see.)
Meanwhile, I'm expecting to hear from my agent either today or tomorrow.
Keep your fingers crossed.
So, here I am...not working on the new book and wasting time on the Internet. Okay, I googled myself. (So sue me!) Nothing new on that front. Checked out how MURDER ON THE MIND is doing on Amazon. Not bad. Last week they had one copy in stock. The sales went from 770,000 to 182,000, so that means that one copy is gone. (And it now says shipping 1-3 weeks.) I checked out the used copies. Somebody in New Jersey thinks a signed copy is worth $114. (Wow--I wonder if I should try to sell my autograph more often?)
Then I check on "We're So Sorry, Uncle Albert," my short story on Amazon Shorts. Holy crap! I'm at the very BOTTOM of the list. Two weeks ago I was #90. Now I'm #130. The LEAST purchased short story on Amazon Shorts Mysteries.
Isn't ANYBODY out there willing to cough up 49 cents and rescue me from the bottom of the list?
Yes, its despicable that I've had to resort to begging. Hey, a latte costs $3 for crissakes. Depending on how slow you read, you could be entertained for minutes, maybe even HOURS!!! and for the low, low price of only 49 cents.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss 49 cents good-bye and be glad you did!
Check out the link on the upper right column. Take a chance on old Uncle Albert. (It's a lot cheaper than a latte!)