The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books takes place this weekend, Saturday, 4/30 and Sunday, 5/1 at USC. The festival has traditionally been held at the UCLA campus but for some reason has been changed to USC campus this year.
I’m truly excited about attending this event. I’ll be signing the Advocate series at the “Murder, They Wrote” booth #903 with five other wonderful authors. They include: Jeff Sherratt (Detour to Murder), Joel Fox (Lincoln’s Hand), Jenny Hilborne (Madness and Murder), Gayle Carline (Freezer Burn), and Anne Carter (Cane Seduction.)
If you’re at the festival early on Sunday morning please stop in at the Sisters In Crime booth #373 where I’ll be signing “The Advocate’s Betrayal.”
If you’ve never attended this festival you really ought to try it. It is a wonderful place to meet new authors and hear seasoned authors speak such as Stuart Woods, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, and many, many more. There is a full children section, cultural events, cookbooks, panels, writing seminars, dancing, music, food booths, and many other reasons to attend.
I hope to see you all there.
Sabre’s brother, Ron, was a huge Grateful Dead fan. For those of you who may not be fans you may be unaware that Jerry Garcia was also quite the artist. He used his paintings on a series of ties. They are all very bold and bright and quite colorful.
When Sabre graduated from law school Ron gave her a Jerry Garcia tie. He told her if she was going to work in what was traditionally a man’s profession she needed to dress like one. Sabre was never sure if he actually intended her to wear it, but she did. At first she wore it to show her brother she could, and later as a fashion statement. The tie Ron gave her became the first in a collection of many.
The beige and yellow tie was her second one. This one she bought herself. The third was red and pink with bold hearts.
Who is Sabre, you ask? She’s the protagonist in The Advocate Series, of course.
More of Sabre’s tie collection to come….
As a child I always loved carousel rides. I still do. I ride one every chance I get. I know it’s slow and it just goes around in a circle, but for some reason I feel so free on them.
I remember when the Polk County Fair would come to town in Minnesota and we would go with my family. It’s the first ride I remember ever taking. I thought I was flying. Even then I would lean back and feel the air on my face. I still do.
This carousel is at California Adventure in Anaheim…King Triton’s Carousel to be exact. The animals were from the sea and very colorful. I spotted a bright purple seahorse (I’ve always found them fascinating.) that I wanted to ride on But some little kid beat me to it. I probably could have taken him, (he was only about three years old) but his father was pretty big, so I let him have it. I settled for a sea lion.
Sometimes you just have to feel like a kid. Does anyone else still like to ride the carousel?
My readers often ask me about the use of bad language in my books. I do a lot of book signings at bookstores and talk to many readers, and the one question I hear more often than any other is, “Does it have a lot of bad language in it?”
The concern is often not so much a prudish one, but rather that it detracts rather than adds to the story. I had one man tell me that he expects a writer should be able to come up with more creative words than he can hear every day on the streets. I tend to agree, although there are times when the situation just calls for it and without it, the scene loses authenticity. For instance, I had a scene in my first book where a hardcore methamphetamine user had just lost her children in court. She wasn’t about to say, “Oh, piddle-sticks!” So she said something a little more down to earth.
What do you think? Does it bother you when you see a lot of derogatory words in a book? How much is too much?
My website has a whole new look. Please check it out if you get a chance. My publisher, ZOVAbooks, has taken over my website so I don’t have to spend time updating it any longer. Yahoo!
If you’re looking for the readers’ remarks, they have been moved to this site. Just look to your right. They’re broken down by each book.
Keep an eye out for the next book in the series. We’ll soon be adding the new cover for book #3.
So, when you get a chance check out the new site and please let me know what you think of it.
I’ll pick game shows for $1000, Alex.
Answer: The biggest all-time money winner on the U.S. syndicated game show Jeopardy!
Question: Who is Brad Rutter?
That is correct!
I had a wonderful opportunity last week to attend a Jeopardy tournament at Cubberley Middle School in Long Beach. The tournament was promoted by Jim Birge, an educator, actor, drama professor, and long time friend of mine. This man has done an incredible job of preparing questions from the school curriculum for these students. He spends long hours in preparation, then he administers a test to all students interested in participating. The top eighteen in each class, sixth, seventh, and eighth, were invited to play some elimination rounds culminating in three students from each grade level who would then play the tournament round. The qualifying process takes about a week. That does not include the many hours Jim spends creating questions.
The whole set up is very authentic. The students stand behind a podium and read the answers from the big screen. They push the buzzer if they know the question. And the scores appear on a screen in front of the podium. I felt like I was at a real Jeopardy game except instead of Alex Trubeck, we had Jim Birge. And as an even greater treat for everyone, Jim managed to convince Brad Rutter, Jeopardy’s all time biggest money winner, to host the final tournament game.
The students were so into the game, and what an absolutely wonderful learning experience for these kids. I was truly impressed with what this event had to offer the students. In my opinion it is something every school should include in their schedules. If you have an interest in having this experience at your school click here for more information about the program. The children won’t be disappointed.
I’m afraid I missed a few blogs this past week, but it’s not because I wasn’t writing. The third book in The Advocate series has been in the works for the past eleven months. This book is a little different than the last two but you will still see Sabre, Bob, and JP as they solve another mystery and survive another adventure.
I have had some incredible writing days the past few weeks and yesterday I completed the last pages of the manuscript. Now the editing process starts. And then galleys and press releases and lots of planning, all leading up to the launch. But for now I’m just thrilled to have reached THE END.
This past weekend I spent three days signing “The Advocate’s Betrayal” at the Barnes and Noble in Del Amo Shopping Center in Torrance, CA and I met some wonderful people. I also encountered a few unusual and interesting folks.
One very nice woman asked me to sign a book for her which I did. But the conversation with her quickly turned to a wonderful gentleman she had met at a signing at the store last year. She said, “I tried his book and I really liked it so I think I’ll try yours. His name was Jeff Shirt or something like that.” I knew right off it was Jeff Sherratt. She wasn’t aware of his latest novel, Detour to Murder. When I told her about it, she laid my book down and went upstairs to the mystery department. I sat the book aside in hopes she would return thinking maybe I shouldn’t have told her about Jeff’s. About twenty minutes later she came back and told me she couldn’t find his book and asked for my help. So I went up the escalator with her and found it on the “New Releases” shelf. She was afraid to take the escalator back down (she told me she’s okay going up, but gets real nervous going down). When I offered to stand in front of her she said she would be okay with that. She was so sweet. And she was just tickled to get Jeff’s book. At that point, I didn’t much care that she had left mine behind. I watched her as she went to the register and stood in line. A few minutes later she returned to my table and said, “Oops, I forgot something,” and picked up her signed copy.
In contrast to that a man stopped and looked at my book. He read the back and saw that I was an attorney. Suddenly his voice got very loud and he started ranting that “lawyers and liberals have ruined this country.” Needless to say he didn’t buy my book.
A couple who previously purchased my books while I was signing in Long Beach saw that I was at Torrance and stopped in to say hello on the way to a soccer game. Another gentleman offered to bring me a cup of coffee from the cafe and yet another gave me a paper heart that he had torn out of a napkin while sitting in the cafe. These are the things that really make me smile when I’m signing.
If you haven’t had a chance to see the new cover for “The Advocate” here it is. ZOVA Books is now the publisher for my debut novel. The re-release is already available on the Kindle and the Nook and will soon be out in paperback. I’ll keep you posted.
Just so there’s no confusion. The Advocate (to the left) is my first book in the series. It’s still the same story with a new look. The Advocate’s Betrayal is my second and I’m diligently working on the third. There’ll be announcements soon about #3.
I’m really pleased with the graphic artists at ZOVA. I think they’re pretty incredible. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for my third book. As soon as I have it I will post it.
The sun shines in my window and my eyes pop open. A smile crosses my face. I get to write today. I pick up my glass of water on my nightstand and I walk across the hall to my office. I push the button on my computer to turn it on. I walk into my bathroom and brush my teeth and wash my face. By the time I’m finished, my computer is ready to go. I avoid the internet for fear I’ll be caught up in answering emails and leaving Facebook messages…because today is a writing day.
Word is the only program I open. I find my most recent manuscript and open the document. The first thing I do is check my word count and jot it down in my spreadsheet by the side of the current date. Then I read through my last chapter (more if it has been a while since I wrote) making minor changes as I read. Once I figure out where I’m going next, I put my fingers on the keyboard and my mind drifts away into another world.
If I’m having a day where I know where the story is going I’ll generally keep writing for three or four hours before I break. Sometimes I’ll take a break for breakfast or lunch. Sometimes I won’t eat until dinner. If I get stuck I may eat earlier and try again, or I may open the internet and answer emails and visit my friends on Facebook. If I’m really stuck I’ll get dressed, drive to the bay, and walk for an hour. It clears my head and then I return to the computer and start again. Sometimes it’s dark or even dark-thirty when I finally finish for the day.
But all through the day, I catch myself smiling…because today is a writing day.
What makes you smile?