The last few weeks have been marked by several wonderful signing events, successful home shows, and busy planning for the days ahead. Those of you who follow the world of mystery writing know what I’m talking about. Bouchercon, one of the premier mystery conferences for writers and readers alike, will be held in the beautiful city of San Francisco this weekend.
I’ll be a panelist on a new event called “Continuous Conversation.” I’m excited to see how it all works. The conversation will be led by authors and continue throughout the conference. I’ll be on the panel on Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. At 2:30 p.m. that same day I’ll be on the lower floor signing my newest release, “The Advocate’s Betrayal.” Please stop in and say hello if you are at the conference…or in the neighborhood.
Tomorrow I fly north with a stop in Concord to spend a few hours with some dear old friends, and meet a couple of new ones. Then on to the conference where I’ll meet up with more friends. I always meet so many wonderful people at these events. I’m excited.
What do all these things have in common? They were all things that I enjoyed when I was in Maine a few weeks back. That and the good company of some dear friends. It was such a relaxing time, even though I spent a great deal of time working. But I was writing, so it doesn’t feel like work. I’d get up every morning around 6:00 and start to write. I usually kept going until about 10:00 a.m. when my friends returned from the gym. After that we would go do “Maine” things, like pick blueberries, or drive the beautiful countryside, or go to Moody’s Diner for the best pie ever. Sometimes we would go to the lobster tanks and buy fresh lobster and take it home and eat it for dinner.
Compare that to the time I spent in NYC. What a different world. It truly is the town that never sleeps. As you can see in the photo on the left, the streets were just as crowded at 11:00 at night as they were midday. We didn’t eat blueberries or lobster, but we did get our fill of knishes and bagels. And it’s true, I didn’t get any writing done there, but I did get a head full of experiences and characters to put in future books. Another thing that amazed me about NYC was that ninety percent of the cars were yellow. Yeah, yellow cabs. Every single picture I took in the streets of NYC had a yellow background of cabs.
I did get to see a few sights outside of Time Square, like the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and Ellis Island. And besides all the cool people I met at the conference, I also got to meet a television celebrity, Cheryl Burke, two-time winner of Dancing With the Stars. She was there for a charity event and I had the privilege of signing a copy of “The Advocate’s Betrayal” for her. She was very sweet, and cute as can be. It’s too bad you can’t see her cute freckles on her nose on television because they really do look good on her.
This year’s ThrillerFest was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York, a bustling, energetic hub of mystery writers and readers. I know, because I was there! On July 7th, I met up with the Barnes & Noble representatives at the event who were promoting both of my titles among their debut authors. Sales were good, but the best part was meeting so many legends among the book world. Clive Cussler, Ken Follett, Michael Palmer, and Sandra Brown were some of the biggest names. To the left you can a picture of Clive Cussler signing a book for my good friend, Ron Vincent. I also had a great conversation with Lisa Scottoline, and was even able to give her a copy of my newest book! Here we are on the right after we signed each others’ novels…a couple of lawyers turned author. That woman is a hoot! Great writer, great speaker, and truly a great woman.
There were several events at the festival, from panel discussions to banquets, but the best part for me was meeting fans, making new friends, and listening to those wonderful authors mentioned above who have so much to teach us newbies. All in all, it was a wonderful experience. I’m already excited for next year! It may be too early to buy tickets, but it’s never too early to mark your calendars.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything to this blog, but that’s certainly not because things haven’t been happening. Along with my friends, fans, and family, I celebrated the release of my most recent book, The Advocate’s Betrayal, early in July. The book follows Sabre Orin Brown as she attempts to solve the murder of a close friend. All our favorite characters are there, of course, plus one or two new ones you’ll hopefully find intriguing. Yet again, the outlines of many of the court cases are drawn from real experiences. And yes, I have chased a woman’s mysterious past all the way across America. Such mysteries are real for many people. That’s the darker side of these books. The brighter side looks a bit more like this:
It was standing room only at the launch party in July! Many thanks to everyone who came to support me and celebrate the new release. Your generosity and encouragement are unspeakably appreciated. I also owe a thanks to Linda Dilday, the community relations manager at the Barnes & Noble, Galleria Mall in Riverside. She and her crew of booksellers and cafe workers were beyond gracious.
The launch was followed by several other events, signings, and travels, but those are all for another post!
I’ve been attending events almost every weekend but this past Sunday I had the pleasure of serving on a panel at the tenth annual El Segundo Book Fair. I listened to the non-fiction panel as they presented information about their Hollywood Legend books. I learned some very interesting facts about where some of the bodies were buried. And Kelly McDowell, former mayor of El Segundo, moderated…what a hoot he is!
I had the pleasure of serving on the mystery/thriller panel with the great authors Dorothy Howell, Eric Stone, and the ever-entertaining Paul Levine. I hope the audience had as much fun as we did.
They had face painting and balloon art for the kids along with a comic book artist and storytelling. The whole event was well put together.
If you live in the area and get the chance to attend next year I think you’ll really enjoy the experience.
My new novel, THE ADVOCATE’S BETRAYAL, will be released June 29th! I am so excited. I had to show off my cover. Matt Pizzo designed it for me and I think he did a fabulous job.
I have a new publisher for this book, ZOVA books. ZOVA is having a contest on Facebook where they are giving away an autographed copy of my first novel, THE ADVOCATE, each week until the release of this second book. If you haven’t read THE ADVOCATE, you should enter the drawing…You have a good chance of winning. If you have read it, enter anyway. You could give the copy to a friend or relative or donate it to your local library.
My launch party will be held at the Barnes and Noble, Galleria on Tyler in Riverside, CA on July 3rd. So if you are close by, please mark your calendars.
THE ADVOCATE’S BETRAYAL is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and will soon be available on ZOVA Books.
I’m not a mother, technically, but over the years I have received many Mother’s Day wishes from my nieces and nephews, my “de-facto” son, my students, and minor clients. I commend all of you who have given birth, but more importantly to those who have given love to the children of this world. I want to share an experience I had while practicing law at juvenile court.
My client, a little boy about eight or nine years old, was in foster care because his mother was on drugs. Although I don’t excuse his mother’s behavior, she was basically a good woman with a serious drug addiction. She made some bad choices when she was young and her child suffered because of it. But it didn’t stop the little boy from loving her just the same. When I went to visit him he told me all about both of his mothers. This is the what he said. “I have two mothers, a mother and a God-mother, the mother that born me, and the one God gave me. I love both of them.”
Yes, I’m still in California and advocating across America…California is a big state after all. I have recently had the opportunity to speak to two branches of the CWC, one in Victorville, CA, the High Desert Branch, and the Ridge Writers in Ridgecrest. I have to say I really enjoyed both of these groups. It’s really fun speaking to other writers because they have a sense of where you are and where you’ve been. But these two groups were exceptional. They really made me feel at home and were very supportive. Actually, everyone in the desert has been wonderful (except the wind).
I will continue to speak to groups and sign in southern California until after the release of my second book, THE ADVOCATE’S BETRAYAL. Then I will head east in July to the New England states. I will be in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. If you’re in one of those states and are interested in having a speaker at an event, please let me know.
So, it’s the desert this week, Inland Empire next, and then back to the beach.
I’m still advocating across America, but for a while I’ll be right here in southern California. I was at a book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Towne Center, Long Beach, CA just recently, and had the great pleasure of meeting a Girl Scout troop. The manager told me they were there to earn a badge, and they wanted to meet an author. So he coordinated it with my book signing.
What a great day it was for me. I got to meet these enthusiastic young girls, eager to read, and some even interested in writing. I talked to them about my experience as an author and answered their questions. Each one had prepared a question to ask (part of earning their badge, I presume.) They were delightful and had some really intelligent and interesting questions. They spent the whole afternoon in the bookstore and were well monitored by the adults and all polite and very well behaved.
Afterward, they asked me to sign bookmarks for them. It was more fun than signing books because they were so excited.
The Girl Scouts is a really great program for children. I wanted to be a girl scout when I was a kid, but never got the opportunity. The program has some very dedicated people as I just saw with the group in Long Beach. The thing that impressed me the most, however, was that there was a badge given for literacy. How cool is that! I don’t recall Girl Scouts having a literacy badge when I was young. Go Girl Scouts!
Were you a scout when you were young? Any fun stories to tell?
I just returned from the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia, SC. It was by far the best festival yet for so many reasons.
First of all, the people were just wonderful. They were friendly, easy to talk to, open, and provided just plain southern hospitality. I was impressed. It started with my train ride. I met some very interesting people on the ride from Sarasota to Columbia. I had dinner with a couple from Virginia who taught me a lot about trains. Patrick was an avid train rider and proved to be very knowledgeable about the whole train system.
On the train ride I sat next to a delightful woman, named Pamela. She was kind enough to offer me a ride to my hotel when we arrived in Columbia at 4:30 in the morning. To top that off she came to the book festival on Sunday to purchase a copy of “The Advocate.” Second surprise of the trip was when I received a text from my friend, Sooze, who lives in Tobaccoville, NC. She sent me a message to let me know she was going coming to SC to see me. She arrived about 3:00 p.m. and we met for dinner and an evening of catching up after 21 years of separation. Sooze drove about four hours to see me and then stayed overnight so she could go to the festival the next day and get a second (that’s right, she already had one) copy of my novel. Sooze was my secretary when I first started practicing law…together we grew up. She has no idea what her visit meant to me.
Third surprise: I was standing in the booth and looked out into the aisle to see a man with a very beautiful, young blonde girl standing next to him. They seemed to be staring at me and talking about me. It took a moment before I recognized my best friend, Ron, from law school. The really unusual part about this is that he lives in Seattle, WA. He was there with his daughter who will likely be attending the University of South Carolina next fall. Ron saw that I was there by reading the information on line regarding the book festival and showed up to surprise me. And surprise me he did! The book festival was a lot of fun. I truly enjoy working with the other Echelon authors. Everyone is so good about helping one another. This time I had the pleasure of working with Marc VunKannon, Sam Morton, Barbara DeShong, Alexis Hart, and our rising Echelon star, Nick Valentino with his debut steampunk novel, “Thomas Riley.” Click on Steampunk to see what it’s all about. I’ve posted a picture of Nick so you can get a glimpse of what he does.
South Carolina was great fun. I’ll be touring around Southern California for a while now but I can’t wait to get back on the road.
So, tell me, do any of you have a South Carolina story you’d like to share?