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Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm Too Old for Mall Hours

I woke up around 4 am this morning to the sound of Rafferty yelping. Turns out our little boy dog was thirsty. This often oftens after he gulps down his dry kibble late in the day. He's just fine for a couple of hours, even three or four, then suddenly he HAS to have water RIGHT now. So I was stumbling around in the dark, more asleep than awake thanks to the 1/2 of an Ambien tablet I took, and trying to get his leash on so he won't get hit by a car--and he's prancing like one of Santa's reindeer, making it nearly impossible to snap on the leash. Once I get him all rigged up, I turn to his little "sister", our girl dog Victoria, who is also thinking this is a grand lark: "Mommy's up! It's dark outside! Oh, boy! What joy!Can't wait! Let's go!"

I finally get the two of them clipped, but I can't make it to the water or the door or anywhere because they've now run circles around my legs. Effectively tying me up like a hostage in a bank heist. So I do this sort of mincing around while ducking under the leashes and stepping out of loops and knots. Fortunately, the leashes are long enough that the two of them can get to their water while I'm still fumbling about. They slurp it up.

Explanation: We don't leave water in their crate because a good pal who is a dog trainer suggested this was just begging (haunches down, paws waving in the air) for accidents. Lord knows, we have enough of those without putting a dish in the crate. Besides, they have access to all the water they want six or seven times a day--and of course, whenever they decide it's a grand time to howl at me.

From the water dish, we move to the front door and out onto the front stoop which is some sort of stone. Limestone, I think. Or shale. Here my body shakes with fear. Three nights ago, I stepped off one of our front steps because David and I came home late during a power outage. Our house was pitch black. I was leading the way, in a long skirt and boots and carrying most of our belongings. Then I went flying through the air, hit the wet grass and rolled.

David was so tired he sort of whooped, "You okay?" and once he got me back on my feet, he added, "Nice roll there. You hit the ground rather gracefully."

Uh, thanks, I think.

He opened our front door and toddled past me into the bedroom. With nary a "can I get you an Advil?" Or a "do you think it's broken?" He fell irrevocably asleep. On his back. With his mouth open.

This is a consequence of two entirely different sleep schedules which we've embarked on since he opened his new store--Steinway Piano Gallery--at Tysons Corner in McLean. He's zonked by 11 p.m. and up at 5 a.m. I'm usually not asleep until midnight or thereafter, and if I take an Ambien, I'm out until at least 8 a.m. So basically, it was Mr. Zombie Man and ME , and ME was hobbling about with a rapidly swelling foot. Gnashing my teeth and swearing under my breath.

So last night this whole ugly scenario came back to me as I froze on the stoop. An instant replay of my nose-dive into the wet grass replayed in my brain. I shivered and stopped right outside our front door. The dogs didn't care. They'd had their water. They wanted to water the grass. If they tugged hard enough, I'd have to come along for the walkies.

And I did.

Which is a very long way of saying: I need a different schedule. My fingers barely function this morning and my eyes are sagging at half-mast. My husband's mall hours are killing me. We're too old for this. Okay...I am. Maybe he's not, but I am. I need to ditch the Ambien, start going to sleep earlier, get the dogs on a schedule or something.

But what that something is, I'm just not sure.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Brown Bag Lunch at Hagerstown (MD) Library

Brown Bag Lunch at Hagerstown Library features Author Joanna Campbell Slan

Join international scrap-booking celebrity Joanna Campbell Slan for a brown bag lunch and fun craft-making session on Nov. 18, 2009 at 12:15 pm at the Central Library located at 100 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown. Come prepared to "get crafty" as we'll be making small folding albums. Joanna will provide all materials needed for the craft. Seating is limited to the first 25 to register. Please call 301-739-3250 ext 136 and let us know you will be attending. Bring your lunch. The library will provide dessert and beverages.

Joanna is the author of the acclaimed Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery series. Joanna will speak about her books and the writing experience during the lunch session. The first book in the series--Paper, Scissors, Death--was nominated for the prestigious Agatha Award. Joanna will be bringing along her books to sell and sign. (They make a terrific holiday gift!) To learn more about Joanna, go to her website

The Library strives to make all programs accessible. Please inform us of special needs two weeks prior to the program.

Contact person:

Patricia Wishard
Public Relations & Adult Program Librarian
Washington County Free Library
100 S. Potomac Street
Hagerstown, MD. 21740
301-739-3250 ext. 186

Monday, October 26, 2009

Most Structural Problems Can Be Fixed...

This is from an interview featured in Shelf Awareness. Go to to learn more. It's about a new book called "Alice I Have Been." The subject matter is a bit tough to take for me at least--the overtones of a grown man's obsession with a child creep me out. This book centers on the relationship between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, the girl who inspired him to write "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." The book's author is Melanie Benjamin. Here the article discusses what made Kate Burke Miciak, v-p and executive editor, the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, snap the book up--despite the fact Miciak thought the subject matter had been covered before:

"What grabbed her? The voice, Miciak said. After years of editing suspense, she knows that most structural problems can be fixed so long as the voice is true."

Very interesting, and something we authors should take to heart.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How to Make a Contest Judge Very, Very Grumpy

The organizers of the contest I was judging sent an urgent email saying that a few of the judges had opted out at the last minute. Would I review two more entries?

Of course, I said, "Yes."

One of those is still upsetting me.

You see, this particular entry featured a charming and highly original story idea. To my mind, it was "high concept." It was a big idea that causes people to smile and say, 'Ahhhh!"

But the writer didn't proof her work. The 30 pages were riddled with extra spaces between words, lack of indentation for paragraphs, missing spaces between words, extra periods at the end of sentences, misspellings, verb tense mistakes ("lead" for "led"), and a total disregard for common usage of commas. At first, I simply marked these using the yellow highlight function. Toward the end of the piece, I started to get hacked off. Really annoyed.

You see, a contest entry or a query for an agent should represent your BEST work. You are consciously, and by definition, trying to set your best foot forward. To ask anyone to read your work when you haven't gone through it and polished it to perfection is like asking a guest to come over for Thanksgiving dinner to a dirty, messy house. A house festooned with wet towels, cans overrun with garbage, dirty toilets, and a grubby floor.

Wow, you are thinking, Joanna, you've really gone off the edge on this.

Maybe. But then again, maybe not.

You see, writing is my profession. I worked 40-hours a week in college to put myself through school. I went into massive amounts of debt to buy an education. Despite my full-time job, I still graduated cum laude, and it would have been summa cum laude had I not gotten tripped up in a statistics class. I take my work very seriously. I believe that publication is an honor. A privilege. I take my readers very seriously. Their attention is an honor. Their time--and mine--is a nonrefundable resource that is precious.

Even today, I struggle to improve my writing. Recently I asked an English teacher for clarification on "which" and "that" usage. I'm still working to perfect my skills with those words! And even in this article, I will stop and look up spellings and meanings of words as I go along. Every piece I write is edited many times over. That's just part of the job.

So when someone submits a piece for evaluation, I give that piece hours of attention. Yes, you read that right: HOURS. I was told to expect to spend 45 minutes judging each piece. I spent 2 and 3 hours per piece. I did not give them a cursory look and then assign numbers to the heuristic grid. I highlighted comments as I went along. I line-edited the submissions, and used the strike-through function to show wordiness. I noted missing commas, missplaced modifiers, faults of logic, and sequencing errors. Such editing in the marketplace is valued at $5 a page, on the low end of the professional editing scale. Each contest piece was 30 pages long. So I offered each contestant $150 worth of my time.

Which in this case was wasted. I say "wasted" because this particular entrant obviously didn't take the contest seriously. Didn't spend the time necessary to master the basics of our craft. Didn't put in the baseline effort needed to prepare a story for a contest, much less for publication.

In short, I guess I'm miffed because I was willing to "waste" my valuable time...but the person submitting that particular entry wasn't equally willing to spend his/hers!

Here's the shame of it: He/She had a wonderfully creative idea for a story. He/She was gifted with a delightful imagination. These are God-given talents. All this editing stuff can be learned! But those talents are gifts.

Then there's the underlying premise of any competition: The entrant promised me his/her best work in exchange for my time and attention.

And I was cheated.

What a shame.

Is it any wonder that I'm still sort of grumpy about that particular entry?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kiki Lowenstein World Tour--Will I Visit YOU?

I'm starting to plan my Kiki Lowenstein World Tour (May 2010)--and so far I have a lot of nice invitations to consider. After all, I'll be celebrating the release of Photo, Snap, Shot (Book #3 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series) and National Scrapbook Month.

My goal is to start out from my new home in the Washington DC area and drive west. Once I get as far west as I can go, I'll fly home. I'm thinking of traveling through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. At least, that's the plan so far!

Of course, I'd love to meet YOU and your friends.

What will determine where I stop? If I can find a library to visit, a bookstore to host a signing, a scrapbook store to stop by, or a cropping group that's meeting, I'll do my best to show up. I can't promise, of course, until I see what my options are.

Would you like me to stop by? Send me an email at Put "World Tour" in the Subject Line. Tell me the name of a local scrapbook store, library, and/or bookstore. Tell me how we can get a number of people together who might want to buy my books or have me teach a class. In other words, help me plan my tour.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Speaker Net News

A wise man once said there's no such thing as genius, only good ideas transferred from one discipline to another.

That's why I've added a link to Speaker Net News.

It's a lonely world being an author or even a scrapbook designer. You need great ideas to help you sell yourself. And Speaker Net News has them.

I first started reading it years ago when I became a member of National Speakers Association. Now, I often hear authors say, "It's so hard to sell my books," but if you think THAT is hard, try selling nothing but the words you speak. People can touch a book. They can't touch your speech. So professional speakers are probably the BEST marketers in the world--and Speaker Net News is the premier resource for those speakers.

I urge you to go to the link, click on it, and give Speaker Net News a try. I own many of their podcasts, which I consider to be money well spent, because these are insightful interviews with the top marketers in the world.

Give it a whirl. I'd love to hear what you think!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Julie Hyzy's Apple Tart--And A Chance to Win One of Her Books!

Julie Hyzy is the author of Hail to the Chef and State of the Onion. Here she shares a perfect recipe for this time of year--Apple Tart. In her books, Mercel is a pastry chef at the White House, and Ollie, her protagonist, is the chef in charge of the kitchen. If you like knowing the inside scoop (pun intended!) about life in the executive mansion, this rollicking, fun series is for you!

If you'd like to win one of Julie's books, send me an email at with your name and postal address. Put "Julie" in the Subject Line. On November 10, I'll draw two names, and Julie will mail you an autographed copy of one of her two books.

Julie's books have won both a Barry and an Anthony award. Visit her at

Apple Tart

1 pie crust (Marcel makes it from scratch at the White House, but when I make this at home, I cheat and buy the rolled, refrigerated ones)

Roughly 2 pounds of tart, sweet apples; Granny Smith or McIntosh, generally about 5 or 6, depending on size

1/2 C. sugar
2 T. fresh lemon rind, grated
Juice of 1 lemon
3 T. sweet butter, cut into small pieces
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 C. clear apple jelly

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place pie crust in a 10 inch pie or tart shell with a removable bottom.

Peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Cut away and discard the cores. Slice thinly.
Place apple slices in a bowl, add lemon juice, toss until the apple slices are coated (this will keep them from browning).

Arrange the apple slices on the tart pan in a pattern like fish scales, in overlapping layers. Continue until all apples are used.

Sprinkle the apple slices with the sugar and lemon rind. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Place on a baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees F. Bake 25 minutes longer. Keep an eye on the tart for the last fifteen minutes of baking. If necessary, cover with foil to keep from browning too much.

While tart is finishing baking, melt the apple jelly over low heat, stirring until liquid.

Gently brush the top of the hot tart with the melted jelly.

Serve hot or cold, as preferred.


Julie Hyzy is the author of Hail to the Chef and State of the Onion, which feature a White House chef named Ollie. Have I told you Julie's a sweetheart? Well, she is. You meet some really nice people in the mystery business, and she definitely qualifies for that honor.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Almost Seems Like Home

Yesterday I drove to the grocery store and back without thinking. Not a big deal to you. But it was to me. You see, I'm feeling at home.

This has been a year of tumult. In January, my mother's exam found spots in her lungs. However, the spots didn't light up, so the doctors were convinced it wasn't cancer. "Probably scar tissue," they told us. By June we knew the truth: She had terminal lung cancer.

Still, Mom clung to hope. After all, last time she had cancer, the chemo and radiation zapped it. She'd had two, almost three good years in between. "I just need to get through this treatment," she told a friend. "I think I have five more years. Okay, maybe two." But she never gave up hope.

When the doctor scoped her, he didn't tell my sisters how advanced the cancer was. Mom insisted on taking her chemo. Despite the fact it made her sick.

When I visited her on Mother's Day, I was shocked at how frail she'd become. Even before we were told the cancer was terminal, she lost fine motor control. She dropped things repeatedly. Her legs had become extremely bowed. When we drove places, she read the signs as though she were trying to ground herself in the here and now. Her conversations were erratic. She forgot things. She wasn't herself. Now I know...even then, she was dying. Even before the diagnosis, she was slipping away.

My sisters and I worked out a plan. I flew down in July to have a turn taking care of her. My plane landed late on a Saturday in Miami, so I was going to drive up to Stuart on Sunday. My son and husband were already there--my son needed a place to live for college. The guys planned to make a father-son weekend of it. Somehow their plans got confused. They visited Mom on Saturday night. She was barely lucid. They said their goodbyes. My husband David didn't think he'd ever see her again.

He was right.

By the time I arrived on Sunday, she was in a coma. For the next eight days, my sisters and I cared for her. We called upon hospice. I shall forever be grateful to them for all they did. Sally Lippert was an absolute angel. Connie, the other hospice worker, was kind, helpful and thoughtful.

But it was an ugly, painful way for Mom to go. The morphine didn't completely assuage her pain.

I won't think about that now...but I will say that at the end, we were happy for her release. These earthly bonds no longer served my mother's spirit. And when she died, the lights in that room strobed on and off, on and off, on and off, until Sally got up and turned them off at the switch. She's seen thousands of deaths, but never seen anything like that.

I came home and tried to pack to move to the Washington DC area. Actually, I wandered around my home in St. Louis like a ghost. I tried. I really tried. But I was lost. I was exhausted. I would pick up things, look at them, put them back where I found them and wander around some more. In between, real estate agents would call asking if they could show the house. That's their job, after all. So, I'd scoot everything into some semblance of order, grab the dogs, toss them in the car, and go drive around for an hour or two. I was a mess.

Finally I told David, "You'll have to pick out a house for us. I can't do it. I don't have the time to fly to DC. I trust you."

So he did.

We had a memorial service for Mom, and we moved Michael into his new condo. He loves it. David flew back to DC, leaving Michael and me to buy towels, furniture, cleaning supplies. I'm not sure he's used the latter yet! Oh, well. He's happy--and I think I've never been happier than pushing a grocery cart with him by my side and loading it with food for my boy.

Two weeks later, the packers came. I tried, really tried to organize our belongings, but I couldn't. The two women who did most of the packing were enormously kind. One took my husband aside and told him to tell me not to work so hard. Bless her. I remember wandering (again with the wandering!) from room to room, thinking, "This is the house where I raised my son. Where my mother came to visit. Where we had friends stay the night. Where we celebrated the holidays. Where my dog Kevin lived. Where I wrote my first book. How can I say, 'Goodbye'?" But I did.

We drove for two days. My dogs--Vicky and Rafferty--sat beside me in the passenger's seat. They were very, very good. Almost as if they knew I needed them.

We arrived in the DC area at 8 at night. I drove, for the first time, on the notorious Beltway, aka Highway from Hell, with its uneven lanes. I was sooo tired. At one point, my wheels bumped the uneven asphalt, and my car careened back and forth in the lane. But I made it. We drove to this house.

It's a good house.

I can live here.

And now I can go to the grocery store, all by myself. Without the help of GPS.

It's going to be all right.

Photo, Snap, Shot

Now available for pre-ordering at Amazon! Book #3 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series will be out this May (2010) in time for National Scrapbooking Month!

Go to

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Things That'll Keep You Unpublished

Today I finished judging the romance contest entries.

I hope the writers who submitted their work learn half as much from my comments as I have learned from reading their pieces. Here are some more reflections:

1. You have to have a sympathetic protagonist. Sorry, but a perfect woman will not make me want to keep reading. Want to hear the single biggest compliment readers send me about Kiki Lowenstein? Stand back...

They like her.

They like that she's slightly overweight. They like that her mother-in-law doesn't like her. They like that she's struggling with self-esteem. They really, really like the jams she gets into.

You can't have a likable heroine who is physically flawless, who drives a fancy car, and who cares about nothing but her job. Sorry! I just won't care about HER.

Instead, humanize her. Let her have trouble parallel parking. Give her a bad hair day. Make her a sucker for candy like Brenda is on The Closer. Make her a klutz like Bella is in Twilight. Or a self-centered brat like Scarlett O'Hara. But don't make her perfect.

2. You can't dump a lot of people in the story all at once. Unless you plan on writing a Russian novel, spare me. Also, go easy with the nicknames. In one entry, the lead was called by three different names! Argh. Especially at the start, give the poor reader a break.

3. You can't tell me all your backstory in one fell swoop. Three anecdotes about the male lead are two too many. Especially if it's written in expository form. Instead, let a part of the backstory come out in dialogue. Make the character tell a story to another character. Here's an example...

Ron's boss didn't want him to take time off for the funeral.

"She wasn't blood kin," grumbled Police Chief Dickens. "Just some old lady from your neighborhood."

A twitch began along Ron's jawline. He fought to stay calm. Dickens was right, technically. But Miss Lena had been more to him than a neighbor. She'd been his personal angel, the woman who taught him right from wrong after his mother died and his father hit the sauce, big time. Ron forced himself to count to ten in Latin--after all, Miss Lena was a devout Catholic--and said slowly, "Call it a vacation day. I've got two months racked up."

Police Chief Dickens rocked back in his leather desk chair. "Tell you what. You explain how come she matters to you, and I'll consider it. Tell me why a tough guy like you is all broken up about an old neighbor. Why I saw you staring off into space yesterday like your pet dog died." With that, the chief gestured to the chair across his wide polished oak desk.

Ron folded himself into the small chair, which he suspected was uncomfortable for a reason. Dickens didn't want anyone to hang around his office too long. Not that Ron wanted to hang around. He wanted to get on the road. He checked the weather forecast: Not good. If he was going to make it to the services on time, he needed to hop a plane.

Well, he'd make this short and sweet, "She fed me. She...she...bailed me out of jail when my own dad wouldn't even make the trip downtown to see what I'd done."

Dickens gave a low whistle. "Tell me more..."

And Ron did.

See? You learn a lot about Ron, our male protagonist, and a whole lot more about Miss Lena, don't you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mourning the Passing of Stuart Kaminsky

I was so sad to hear of the passing of Stuart Kaminsky. He had written many, many mystery books and was honored numerous times by the Mystery Writers of America. He was a gentleman, a brilliant writer, and a generous colleague to all in our profession.
We met at Sleuthfest, oh, three years ago? He stepped in to fill a short story class after Elaine Viets had her stroke. I asked him after the session what he thought about outlines. He told me that he could never have been so prolific if he didn't outline first. I took that to heart.
He also mentioned that he regularly writes letters to his granddaughter, as a matter of course, and as an ongoing part of their relationship. So, in his own way, Stuart was a scrapbooker of the highest order!
His wife Enid is a lovely and gracious woman, and a delightful person in her own right. I very much enjoyed meeting her at the conference. She was kind enough to remember me the next time we met, and that means a lot.
My condolences to his entire family.

Here is a link of his obit from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida where he had lived for more than twenty years before moving to St. Louis earlier this year while hoping for a life-saving liver transplant.

Rev. Mike

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Things That'll Keep You Unpublished

Probably the LAST thing I should be doing with my time today is writing a blog post. Nevertheless, I am compelled to share what I'm learning.

See, I'm judging a contest for writers, new and hopeful authors. There's a wonderful set of criteria which guides me. Very helpful. Very insightful. But mainly, I'm calling upon what I've learned over the past five years.

And I'm using up far too much time doing comes at an important juncture in my own career. I have two novels under my belt, and my third has been accepted but for the final edits. So reading these submissions, I can certainly see how my own skills have improved.

Here's what I'm seeing in these entries, problems that I believe will keep the books from seeing publication unless they are corrected:

1. Lack of specificity. Instead of having your protagonist say, "I went to college with her," tell me which college. MIT is very different from University of Illinois. A tiny specific tells the reader LOTS about your protagonist.

2. Simple grammatical mistakes. Common on, people. Learn to use a comma. All right, I still have trouble with "that" versus "which," but I keep looking up the difference and trying to get it right. And it's a subtle difference, one that may even go the way of "who" versus "whom," because proper usage almost becomes, uh, snotty. BUT...the major rules for comma usage are golden. Check this out, if you are unclear:

3. Tighten up. I'm going to wear out my strike-through function. Here's an example of a sentence that needs to go on a diet: "I thought the words to myself." Uh, we only think to ourselves unless we are suffering from multiple personality disorder. Here's another: "Unexpectedly, I threw up my hands because I was startled by the surprise." ARRRGHHH. (I can't even start to fix that one!)

4. Delete the word "was" and write cleaner, clearer sentences. "I was tired, lonely from the long drive, and feeling sleepy as I pulled into town." How about "Tired, lonely, and sleepy from the 13-hour drive, I pulled into town." What I'm discovering is a real need for people to improve their technical ability, their basic repertoire of sentence structures. (Yes, "was" can be used perfectly. When you want to show that the subject was acted upon, then "was" does a brilliant job.)

5. Simple spelling and usage errors. I just looked up the spelling of "repertoire." That's part of my job. I always look up "lay" and "lie" because they are confusing. That's also part of the job. See, it's not just about writing--it's about knowing what my faults are as a writer and working to improve.

Okay, back to the judging.

PS I've re-read this and corrected it twice since originally writing it. That's another problem with beginning writers: They think their job is done once they have a first draft. (Sad to say, I'll probably find other corrections to make once this goes up. Still, the point is that you can't knock it out fast and walk away!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Craft Room Spots Still Available at Bouchercon!


55-minute sessions

So many of today’s cozy mysteries involve a craft such as scrapbooking, knitting, candle-making, etc. Register for a session in the craft room (Vision Room, 3rd floor) as authors demonstrate their craft and introduce themselves and their books. You'll have hands-on experience making your own craft, too!

This idea comes from author Joanna Campbell Slan, author of a scrapbooking mystery series.

The Craft Room

Participating Authors and their Crafts:
Maggie Sefton--knit a simple scarf
Cricket McRae--make an oatmeal milk bath salts/fizzing bath salts
Betty Hechtman--crochet a "Molly Pin Dishcloth"
Penny Warner--create a Nancy Drew Sleuth Kit with secret compartments OR make a "Killer Party Pop-Up invitation/memory book/favor"
Beth Groundwater--mystery-oriented designer gift baskets
Camille Minichino (Margaret Grace)--miniature flowers in a vase made from flower soft product
Joanna Campbell Slan--scrapbooking page craft
Sally Goldenbaum--"Knit a Square" Squares will be assembled into quilts and shawls and donated to needy children and mothers in Africa.
Mary Monica Pulver (Monica Ferris)--hand stitched simple bookmark designed in black and orange colors


10:30 - 11:25 Monica Ferris - cross stitched bookmark
1:30 - 2:25 Margaret Grace - miniature flowers
3:00 - 3:55 Betty Hechtman - crocheted dishcloth

9:00 - 9:55 Maggie Sefton - simple scarf
10:30 - 11:25 Penny Warner - Nancy Drew sleuth kit
3:00 - 3:55 Penny Warner - party invitation

9:00 - 9:55 Sally Goldenbaum - quilting project
10:30 - 11:25 Beth Groundwater - gift basket
1:00 - 1:55 Joanna Campbell Slan - scrapbooking page
2:30 - 3:25 Cricket McRae - oatmeal silk/bath salts

Location: Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, Vision Room, 3rd Floor

Cost: Free Ticketed Event

How to register:
Go to RegOnline at Add the event when you register for Bouchercon. If you've already registered for Bouchercon, select the "Existing" option and type in your e-mail address. RegOnline will ask for your password. If you've forgotten it, click "Forgot your password?" and it will be sent to you in about five minutes.

After keying in your password, under the Registration List, find your name and click on "Agenda (Fees)" and you can add any auxiliary events that are available.

You must be registered for Bouchercon to attend.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I'm So Behind, I Look Like I'm Out Front...

Sigh. Today I slept until 3pm. Yes, 3 in the afternoon. Which I think is some indication of how incredibly tired I've been. The move, my mom's death, all the running around to New York City and to Minneapolis, and back finally caught up with me. Of course, maybe there's also the new trick I've learned. See, I've learned to sleep through the sound of acorns pelting our house. Yeah, at first, David and I thought a neighborhood kid was shooting our house with B-Bs or tossing a softball against our siding. We looked at the house from the front and couldn't see any branches scratching. We looked from the back and nada.

But what we couldn't see was the oak tree at the side of the house, strategically positioned between the windows at the side of the house. That was the problem. Plus, our bedroom has a vaulted ceiling, so the sound in our room versus the other rooms on that side of the house was different.

So, maybe I've just learned on some deep psychological level to ignore the acorns.

Or maybe it was the half-a-pill of Ambien that I finally broke down and took before bed.

Who cares? Whatever it was, it worked.


Here's my schedule for Bouchercon in Indianapolis as of today, October 5. If you plan to attend, let's meet up and say, "Howdy!"

Thursday, Oct. 15

Killer Hobbies Panel—Five crafty authors discuss the hobbies that drove them to murder. Moderator with Sally Goldenbaum, Margaret Grace, Beth Groundwater, and Betty Hechtman.

Librarian’s Tea: SinC into a Great Mystery


Friday, Oct. 16

SinC breakfast at Hyatt Regency

MWA Hot Ticket Author Carolyn Hart

Featured authors: Joanna Campbell Slan and Beverle Graves Myers

Indiana Authors Reception
Central Library
40 East St. Clair Street
Indianapolis IN


Saturday, Oct. 17

Craft Room—“Scrapbook Page”
With gifts, prizes, and a wonderful exclusive customized scrapbook page by EK Success.


Sunday, Oct. 18

Book Bazaar