Friday, January 29, 2010
RO: I know, I know...lots of people say they're pointless and a waste of money, but dang it, I finished another book, it's coming out and I want to celebrate! Perhaps it's because my first two parties went so well. When Pushing Up Daisies was released people from every stage of my stage came to the launch party. Old bosses and colleagues showed up. Old boyfriends. Relatives I hadn't seen in years. It was wonderful. I felt like a bride. The party was at Partners & Crime in Greenwich Village and they sold so many books they had to run to B&N five blocks away to buy more. (I enjoy repeating that.) It was a fabulous experience. The next day I flew to Phoenix for an event at Poisoned Pen and signed hundreds of books. I thought..I could get to like this.
Needless to say that never happened again. You can only be a virgin once. I knew I had to do something different for The Big Dirt Nap - which is kind of funny - so I had a party at The Friars Club. I thought if nothing else people will come to see the landmark, members only club. And they did. It went well, I sold books, a good time was had by all.
So now we're up to book three, Dead Head. CBGB's is no more. The Fillmore is long gone, but given the title and the subject matter, I was hellbent on having a party in the village and I think I found the perfect spot - No Malice Palace. First off I love the name. And the place is as cool as it gets, a lounge-y, low key bar with a garden in the back. In fact the website says Bar, Parties, Garden..it had my name all over it.
So on April 15 everyone I know - and that includes all of you - is invited to help me celebrate the release of Dead Head, at No Malice Palace, 197 east 3rd Street, bet. A & B, look for the green lantern (I love this part of the address..it actually says this on their website.)
There is no way I'll sell enough books to justify the cost of the party, but I need that good sendoff
and I like to let my publisher see me selling books and chatting people up. I also like inviting other people from the house to acknowledge their work on the work. (BTW don't forget to stop back tomorrow for our chat with St. Martin's art director, David Rotstein.)
How do you all feel about book parties? Love 'em? Hate 'em? Awkward? Awesome?
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover - although don't tell that to St. Martins art director, David Rotstein who will be our guest on Saturday - but who can really say that he or she doesn't? At least the standards have changed somewhat in the last few decades. Everyone doesn't have to be pert and blond to be considered beautiful. And for the men, interesting faces are ... well...interesting..look at the difference between Walken and Rock Hudson. Russell Crowe and Tab Hunter. Those guys were almost too pretty.
Monday, January 25, 2010
I'd read that attendees at RT (formerly called the Romantic Times Convention) dress with a certain, shall we say, flair? Daring? Did I have enough confidence to pull off a red dress? And in that crowd? What the heck, worst case scenario it will keep the lilac dress company at the back of my closet.I'm pretty sure I've seen Hank in a red dress, and of course she looked smashing.
HALLIE: Red is my color. I love love love it, and over the years have had many red dresses. One was a red chiffon shirtwaist (that's how long ago) cocktail dress. Many Halloweens ago we made its flowy circle skirt into a devil's cape for my daughter.
Red makes you feel powerful. It's like being an exclamation point instead of an elipses. ENJOY!
But I do have several impulse buys in my closet that are totally wrong for me and have never seen the light of day, but I can't admit my failure. I'm currently debating what to wear as toastmaster at Malice this year. Can't upstage Mary Higgins Clark!
Check out crowd scenes in movies or on T--you can always see the people in red. And RO, I was riveted by Bette Davis in Jezebel. "You can't wear red to the cotillion!" And it completely ruins her life. Luckily, although I saw that movie in my formative years, it didn't affect my grown-up clothing choices.
Can't wait to see the photo of you in your red!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
THE MISSING Tim Gautreaux
THE ODDS Kathleen George
THE LAST CHILD John Hart
THE MYSTIC ARTS OF ERASING ALL SIGNS OF DEATH Charlie Huston
NEMESIS Jo Nesbo
A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE Malla Nunn
However, I could not wait to move on to reading something other than mysteries! This week I finished Mary Karr's memoir, LIT, and also Kathryn Stockett's THE HELP. Karr is a poet--an incredible writer--and the story she tells about her family, her drinking, and her recovery is devastating. I absolutely tore through The Help and can definitely see why this book is a huge hit: great characters, a fascinating story set in 1960's Mississippi, and tons of tension.
What are you folks reading?
RHYS: I'm reading Anne Hillerman's TONY HILLERMAN'S LANDSCAPE as I'm a huge fan of his books and have actually done this drive, visiting scenes of his various books. It's interesting to see it through the eyes of his daughter, however.
And in February I'm waiting for the new Connie Willis.
RO: I'm finally reading Olive Kitteridge, which I suppose every else has already read. But, it's slow going since I have no time to carve out a few hours, make a pot of tea and curl up in the big chair the way I used to, I have to grab ten minutes here and there, so the format is perfect for me...short stories that all connect with one character.
I scored some great books at ALA this weekend, but with the Australian Open and all the writing I hope to be doing, it may be a while before I actually get to read them - Precious by Sapphire, 212 by Alafair Burke, Life Sentences by Laura Lippman, So Much for That by Lionel Shriver, John Dies at the End by David Wong(isn't that a great title?) and The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern. Thanks to my pals at Harper, Workman, Random House and MacMillan.
JAN: I'm also reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which kept me up until 2 a.m. the other night. I just LOVE when book can take over my life that way. I don't want to do anything but read that book.
Next on the list Saturday by Ian McEwan, its supposed to be tough to get into but an awesome finish.
HANK: AH, Roberta! I know how you feel! I was a judge, too, in a different category, and we read maybe 100 books. It was really really tough. But fantastic. And now, I'm about ready to read ANYTHING else. (I can't wait for Alafair's 212 (we're now fellow board member of Mystery Writers of America, that's where I was this weekeend, but I am such a fan of hers) and for book one in Nancy Martin's new series. Plus, at ALA I got the new book by Alan "Sweetness of the Bottom of the Pie" Bradley. Cannot wait! But I MUST write.
HALLIE: I read "Sweetness" and loved it. And I just read "Wicked" which I've had set aside for eons and so looked forward to, as a huge fan of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. I finally got a chunk of time to read and I have to say, it was so NOT an easy read. Beautifully written. It was fun to be at the ALA meeting and see all the new books. Distressing, though, to hear a librarian say (as I signed a freebie for her) "My library has no budget for books." She comes to ALA for books to stock their shelves. How depressing is that?
ROBERTA: Hallie, that's awful. I hope you told her about the Sisters in Crime library raffle. And by the way, congratulations to Hallie for her Mary Higgins Clark Edgar nomination for NEVER TELL A LIE. And to Rhys for her Lefty nomination for IN A GILDED CAGE. We are so excited! Meanwhile, don't tell a lie, tell us what you're reading!
Friday, January 22, 2010
Today we're thrilled to host Mary Buckham, who many of you know from her online classes and new book, BREAK INTO FICTION with Diana Love. Be sure to leave a comment to have a chance for winning one of her books!
MARY: I love January, not for the post hustle and bustle of the holiday season, but as a season of reflection, of slowing down and taking stock prior to making New Year’s goals that stick. I usually give myself all of January to decided and clarify. Lately I’ve been reading a book by John C Maxwell: Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work. With lots of quotes, anecdotes and insightful questions Maxwell opens avenue of thought I found helpful to writers or anyone really, in particular a chapter on Creativity. Because being creative and living our creativity is at the heart of every writer. I’d like to share what I learned from Maxwell as well as my own experiences as an author, an instructor and a human being.
“Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso.
Were you aware that 90% of five-year olds see themselves as highly creative? That in itself is not amazing, but wrap your minds around the concept that by the age of seven, 80% of us who saw ourselves as creative no longer believe we are. That means only 10% of seven-year olds believe they are creative. By the time we reach our teens that number drops to 2% and remains fairly constant throughout our adult lives.
So if you are a writer, or a painter, or sculptor, etc., count yourself among the few who have never, ever given up on a gift given to many, but realized by few.
To savor and honor that gift here are seven steps to continue to empower your own creativity.
Step 1) Remove Creativity Killers. Sometimes the words are said by others, sometimes from within, so if you catch others, or yourself saying any of the following then you’ve run into a Creativity Killer. Follow the Rules. Don’t Ask Questions. It’s Hard. Be Practical. Be Serious. Think of [fill in the blank]. You Can’t Afford [fill in the blank]. Yes, But. You Don’t Have the Time. You Don’t Have the Money. Don’t Be Foolish. The list goes on and on but you don’t have to buy into the Creativity Killers.
Step 2) Develop a Creative Environment. You know best what spurs ideas, fuels your passion, creates energy. Is it color? Certain objects? A wide horizon? A secluded space? Honor your sacred creative space, whether it’s a desk top, a room or something else, and it will honor you. So take a good look at your working environment. Does it foster your creativity? If it doesn’t, how can you change it?
“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow” – Charlie Bower
Step 3) Surround yourself by people who support you and challenge you to be the best at what you want to accomplish or do, not what they want you to accomplish or do. The more time you spend with creative people engaging in creative activities, the more creative you will become. Conversely, the more time you spend with nay-sayers or limited thinkers, the more time . . . you can fill in this answer. Who are you surrounding yourself with?
“Reaching new goals and moving to a higher level of performance requires change, and change feels awkward, but, take comfort in the knowledge that if a change doesn’t feel uncomfortable, then it’s probably not really a change.” John C Maxwell.
Step 4) Challenge yourself constantly and be willing to feel uncomfortable. Delight in exploring something new, something different for you. What have you done lately to push your comfort levels? To challenge yourself? When have you broken your routine? Driven a different route home or read in a genre different than the ones you usually read? When have you tasted a new cuisine? Explored a new location? Daily we’re given opportunities to push our limits, so what’s holding you back?
Step 5) Creative thinkers don’t fear failure. Why? Because they hold a different expectation of what failure means. Didn’t achieve what you had hoped for? For many this is considered a failure, but what if it meant something different? Any situation holds the seeds of new knowledge, self-awareness and new direction.
“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” – John C Maxwell
Creativity requires a willingness to look stupid. It means getting out on a limb, knowing that the limb often breaks! And if it does, take that opportunity to spread your wings and fly!
So what about you? What does creativity mean to you? How have you faced the highs and the not-so-highs of being creative or wanting to feel creative? Feel free to comment and out of those who do comment one name will be drawn for a copy of BREAK INTO FICTION™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells or a Fiction book of your choice depending on the genre you love.
Mary Buckham is an award-winning fiction writer, co-author with Dianna Love of BREAK INTO FICTION: ™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells from Adams Media [June 2009], co-founder of http://www.writeruniv.com/ and a highly sought after instructor both on-line and at live workshops around the country. To find out more about Mary, her Manuscript, Synopsis and Query help, her Lecture Packets, Workshops and Writing projects visit her website.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
KATHARINE: I am not sure I have a patented method exactly, but it is always my goal, whether it is teaching Yale undergraduates (which I did for eight years), or teaching brief intensive workshops (which I did at the Paris Writers Workshop for three summers), or doing thesis advising for Columbia MFA students (which I have done for the past four years just about every other semester), or teaching a weekly workshop like the one we did together, Roberta, to help writers find their own voice and write whatever it is they mean to be writing. I would never want to hijack someone's writing, which I think certain writing teachers do all the time, either consciously or unconsciously, because they only know how to write the way they do it, and they aren't necessarily able to tune in to whatever it is that is going on for any other writer. I think we all know of writing workshops where everyone in the room is there because of an ambition to write just like the teacher, superficial strategies for which are exactly what will be offered. I would be horrified if a student starting imitating me, and it would feel like a failure to me as a writing teacher. My goal is to help people find their own voice every time, to do whatever it is they are doing, only better.
ROBERTA: Katharine's brand new book True Confections, is just out from Shaye Arehart Books--and it has the most gorgeous cover! Please tell us about the book, including how you came upon the idea of setting a novel in a candy factory.
KATHARINE: First of all, that cover! I love it, It was the product of a lot of brainstorming and going back to the drawing board. It was really a collaborative effort, conceptually, among my editor, the art director, and me. I suggested the concept of the candy bar having all the typography on it, and I supplied an old advertisement that this candy was based on.(Dedicated aficionados recognize at a glance that the candy bar on my cover is inspired by the original Goldenberg's Peanut Chew.)
My last novel, TRIANGLE, was set partly on the premises of the Triangle Waist Company, which went up in flames on March 25th, 1911. So this is a return to a factory setting. But it was writing about the Triangle fire for a New York Times Op-Ed piece
and writing about the undocumented children who died in that fire, just as children today are dying in garment factory fires in Third World Countries, now that we outsource our appalling labor practices and our tragedies that go with them, that led me to chocolate.
Because there are child slave laborers working in cacao plantations right now in Cote D'Ivoire, which supplies more than half the world's industrial grade chocolate. And while I didn't write about them, since I was writing about children at risk in Third World factories making cheap goods for our consumption, that got me thinking about the moral issues of chocolate, and from there, it was a small leap to a chocolate factory in New Haven where one member of the presiding family has self-serving spasms of guilt over where the chocolate comes from.
This plot element actually moved off to the side before too long, but it was how I got to a chocolate factory in the first place. And from there, it was great fun setting up some more not unrelated moral dilemmas. The narrator is the non-Jew who marries into the Ziplinsky family and is never really able to assimilate, no matter how hard she tries. And Zip's Candies has been making Little Sammies, Mumbo Jumbos and Tigermelts since 1924. These three candies are each inspired by an aspect of the very problematic children's book Little Black Sambo. True Confections is a novel about chocolate, and a family business in crisis, but it is also very much a novel about race.
ROBERTA: Every so often, you may email Katharine and find that she's in the Paris part of her life, which has me completely green with envy. How did you come to live part-time in Paris? And will you give us some insider's tips on what to see and where to eat?
KATHARINE: Let's not forget how all that terrific the chocolate available in Paris was essential to my work. (I am actually somewhat serious.) In 2000 my husband was beginning to write his majestic biography of the architect Le Corbusier, and he was on a sabbatical leave from the Albers Foindation, which he directs here in Connecticut, to do resrearch in Paris. So there was a rented apartment, and one of our daughters enrolled in a high school semester at the International School of Paris while he was there, and I was back and forth a great deal. Next thing, the high school was too good for her to leave, his research was taking longer...somehow, we ended up buying an apartment "for the duration," which made good economic sense, sort of. Charlotte got her International Baccalaureate from the ISP and went from there to a British university, Nick finished his research and found that it worked well to divide his time more and more between Connecticut and Paris, his Le Corbusier book was published here in 2008 by Knopf, and in France in 2009 by Fayard. We seem to be able to keep it going indefinitely, as Nick has a great deal of work that takes him to Paris all the time. He is there right now, about to go to Senegal as part of his work with the American Friends of Le Kinkeliba.
Katharine, thanks for stopping by Jungle Red today--and also congratulations on the terrific review in the New York Times! Read more about Katharine and her books at her blog. She'll also stop by JRW later today to answer comments and questions.
Today Jungle Red Writers welcomes Wayne Pollard, author of Bo’s Café Life, his look at the writing life through the eyes of Bo, an aspiring novelist. Bo spends his time in a café writing and talking to other writers who are also on the quest to get a book deal. Take it away Wayne!
WAYNE: I became a writer by choice – just not mine. I was fired from my last position as the marketing director of a software company. Believing that I should live each day as if it was my last, I gave the president of the company a piece of my mind. This made it rather awkward for me when, apparently, I didn’t die that night.
After I got fired I was angry and I used this to write an article that was published in CIO (Chief Information Officer). CIO was a difficult magazine to get published in and the editor I worked with told me that as a writer, I was either very good or very lucky. That’s when I realized that I was a writer.
Although I created Bo’s Café Life, I am not a cartoonist; I am a writer who’s pretty damn good at drawing cups. I use the cups as a means of showing the strip’s setting: a café.
Like Bo, I spend a lot of time writing in cafés. I go to a café nearly every day and there are two things I know for sure. First, never have two large coffees and a bran muffin before sitting on an hour-long bloggers panel. Second, cafés are not just about the coffee.
I write in cafés because they make me feel more creative. And if I don’t feel more creative, at least I look more creative. Yes, the coffee in cafés can be overpriced, but it’s worth it. I’ve considered trading down but my muse doesn’t do fast food.
Just prior to creating Bo’s Café Life I was feeling down because another agent had decided not to represent me. I wasn’t surprised; I had written a satire about the civil rights movement that guaranteed I wouldn’t get a book deal. I was sitting in a café, telling my frustrations to a chai latte and a blueberry muffin, when the idea of writing a comic strip that takes place in a café hit me.
I knew that I wouldn’t be very good at drawing faces: I wanted to stick with drawing cups. I remembered seeing a few Doonesbury strips that didn’t have people in them, just dialogue and a drawing of something, such as the White House. So, I knew that strips without people had been done before and that I could do it, too. I’ve always liked reading about the relationships between famous writers, such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I wanted to capture some of that but with humor.
Bo’s Café Life is primarily about determination and persistence; Bo is determined to get a book deal. That’s what the strip is really about, pushing on with a dream despite the tremendous odds you face. And Bo will keep trying.
Good luck to you and Bo! Read more comic strips here. And Wayne and Bo are standing by to take your comments and questions.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
So what's the secret to spotting trends Jungle Red Writers? Are you good at it? Can you give me some tips? If not, tell us a story about what you missed!
HALLIE: Don't ask me! Three years ago I was telling people to forget about writing vampire mysteries. It would be so passe a few years hence. Not.
RHYS: I think some people are born with the trend gene. My daughter was one step ahead of fashion all the way through high school. When I was in London in the swinging sixties (doesn't that date me?) I was right up there with Mary Quant--dress up to my thighs like a British flag and white plastic boots with windows in the side. Since I left the entertainment biz and got married I've never tried to keep up and frankly I don't miss it. I know what suits me and am content. Funnily enough my daughters look at pictures of me and can't believe that I threw away clothes that are now fashionable again!
ROBERTA: OH man, Rhys, wish we could have seen you in the British flag and those boots!
HANK: Pleeeze. In 1980, I got a phone call from a guy who was working on a start up company. At the time,I was the anchor of the weekend news for the NBC affiliate and thought I was hot stuff. This guy showed me the new offices, and told me he wanted me to be the Los Angeles bureau chief of this new news organization they were putting together. But I was truly a trendspotter,so I knew it was doomed to failure.
No thanks,I said. Miss Know It All.
Afterwards I said to a pal--can you imagine? They think they can show news for 24 hours a day? No way. They're nuts.
ROBERTA: Ouch, that one hurts, Hank. But just think, maybe you wouldn't have met Jonathan, nor would you know all of us:).
HANK: Oh, exactly! NO regrets. More hilarious, I had a news director who came into the office in 1975 with a yellow plastic thing. I said--what's that? He said--"It's called a 'videocassette.' They say videotape is going to replace film. But don't worry. It'll never last."
JAN: I actually think I'm a pretty good trend spotter. I picked up that Financial News was going to become big, back in late 1970s. So I jumped in. The bad news was that I got bored and jumped out in 1986 (Okay to have a baby) just when financial news really took off.
I find that a lot. I spot a trend, but too early. And then if you want to jump back in, it's too late.
But I think all of us spot a trend from time to time, just not ALL the TIME, or the EXACT right trend that would profit us best at the moment.
RO: Clueless when it comes to trends, especially clothing. If I'm wearing something that's in fashion it's probably an accident. I realized in the fourth grade that I'd never be fast enough to keep up with them so I took a pass. I see pictures of myself from high school or my twenties and think...I would still wear that - and sometimes do! That doesn't keep me from buying InStyle magazine, my favorite guilty pleasure airport magazine to which I now subscribe. I like knowing what the trends are but rarely want to wear them myself.
My notable non-fashion, clueless moment was when my former boss told me he'd forged a relationship with the WWF, the World Wrestling Federation, to distribute their videos. I thought, jeez, wrestling? That'll last a year and he'll be stuck with videos of Hillbilly Jim and Junkyard Dog. He made a ton of dough, wrestling is still going strong, and Hillbilly Jim was one of the nicest guys I met in the video business. What do I know?
ROBERTA: Okay Jungle Red readers, do you have the trend-spotting gene? And what have you missed?
Don't forget to come back often this week--we'll have three visitors: a comic strip artist/writer, the author of TRUE CONFECTIONS, and advice for empowering creativity. And we'll be talking books, books, books...
Thursday, January 14, 2010
My favorites are a cube of Monet pictures that can be changed according to my mood--the snowscape is rarely chosen in winter. Instead it's the beach in Dauville. I have a tiny wooden top that a craftmsn in Udaipur India made for me. it spins beautifully. I also have a spinning disk with holograms on it.And I like wind up toys. A cat that plays a saxophone and mechanical teeth are the latest.
I do have my award nominations framed on one wall, to remind me that if I don't get back to work, I'll never win another award in my life.
Please tell me, dear Jungle Reds, that you don't have pristine offices!
On the wall, I have my Gerald Loeb award, a journalism award, framed covers of my novels, a poster of Aix En Provence, where I spent a semester in college and month last summer. Also three -- count em -- three bulletin boards. One is for moving around scene cards when organizing a novel or screenplay. . One is for stuff I don't want to lose, and one is filled with letters from people I love.
RO: I can't say that my office is neat. It's a bit more tidy now than it's ever been but it is filled with things that I love to look at. I've got two walls of windows so that I can look at the trees and the birds. The telescope takes up a lot of space. The sofa and curtains are 40's barkcloth and there are lots of throw pillows. On the walls..dozens of bird and flower prints, a Hopper poster, a Vladimir Tretchikoff print (one of his blue ladies from the 50's) and a cherry blossom painting I picked up on the street in China. Shell and coral collections, ceramic deer vases, a china cabinet filled with vintage linens, a plastic angel that lights up, a pink flamingo stuck into the pot of a very large plant, a squeezable brain, three vintage lamps, lots of plants. And tons of books. It's a wonder I can think with all of this stuff here, but I love it!
And I took some fun pictures of all the stuff in my office at home and of course I downloaded it to the wrong computer. Sorry, you'll just have to imagine how it looks!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Today it's my pleasure to welcome Penny Warner. Apart from writing darned good mysteries, there's not much she doesn't know about parties. She has written books on how to host any kind of party you can imagine and demonstrated her talents on the Today Show, no less! Now she has put her talents together and started a mystery series featuring a party planner.
Thanks for the kind introduction. I’ve been looking forward to guest blogging on Jungle Red—what a great site! And what a great bunch of mystery writers. I’ll bet you all put on some great parties—lots of jungle prints with splashes of red, poison chocolates, a game of Truth or Dare... Now, on to the interrogation…I mean, interview…
RHYS: Where did this interest in party planning come from?
PENNY: It all started when I was three and had my first birthday party. I got to dress up like a princess, invite all my friends over, open a bunch of presents, and eat chocolate cake decorated with M&Ms. I knew from that point on that parties were my destiny. Trouble was, my birthday only came around once a year, so I had to think up other reasons to party. (Don’t you love that “party” is also now a verb, as in “to party!”)
RHYS: I forgot to mention that Penny has this wonderful dry sense of humor. So Penny, tell us about your new sleuth
PENNY:Presley Parker (named after Elvis—her mother was a big fan), was recently downsized at her abnormal psychology teaching job at San Francisco State University. Her mother, once the party queen of San Francisco café society, encouraged her to try the event-planning business, since Pres often helped her mom at various functions. Reluctantly Pres gives it a try. After the City’s premiere party planner mysteriously dies, Presley finds herself hired to plan Mayor Davin Green’s “surprise” wedding on notorious Alcatraz—with a “ball-and-chain” theme. But a major party foul occurs when the bride-to-be is later found dead floating in the bay, a victim of poisoned chocolates. When Presley becomes prime suspect, she gets help from her quirky co-workers, as well as the mysterious crime scene cleaner Brad Matthews who helps tidy up her tarnished reputation. She realizes that if she doesn’t solve this mystery, she’ll be exchanging her party dress for prison stripes.
RHYS: You're not new to the mystery genre, but your former series, featuring a deaf sleuth, Connor Westfall, was serious and dealt with many social issues. This one is all fun. Which is closer to the real Penny Warner?
PENNY: I love them both, but I have to admit, since I majored in partying the first two years at the University of Oregon, I’m more like Presley. Unfortunately, they didn’t offer a degree in the subject, so I got my teaching credential and taught deaf kids and sign language for a number of years. Still, I never gave up my love for hosting creative parties, and began writing books on the subject for both kids and adults. It’s not easy juggling a life of partying with teaching and writing, but thanks to my ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder—Presley and I also have this in common), I manage.
RHYS: You're a lady of many talents--you've written children's mysteries and a non-fiction Nancy Drew bible. Obviously you have a strong connection with children. Were you ever a teacher?
PENNY: I’ve been teaching Child Development and Psychology at the college level for the past 30 years. My readers often question why a child development instructor would want to write murder mysteries. I think, when you raise children, it’s obvious, but I do promise my readers that no children—or cats—are harmed in the making of my mysteries.
RHYS: What is next for you and your sleuth?
PENNY: I plan to have a margarita, but my sleuth has, what you’d call “a life,” so she’s busy hosting parties. In her next book, HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH, she plans at Murder Mystery Party at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Naturally, someone winds up deader than a decaying artifact. When she’s finished solving that case, she’ll head to the Winchester Mystery House and learn HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER SÉANCE. RH
RHYS: When is the new book out in stores?
PENNY: Tuesday, February 2—any time after midnight…And it’s only $6.99!
RHYS: Thank you and good luck with the book! Maybe you can help us throw a Jungle Red party some time--and if anyone has a question to ask Penny, she's promised to stick around.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
RHYS: I guess that's why we became writers, so that we could play at being other people every day. I certainly enjoy spending time in Molly Murphy's world and even more so in the glittering environment of Her Royal Spyness. So do non-writers fantasize about being other people as much?
Friday, January 8, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
A funny thing happened on the way to the 2010 preview. I thought it would be fun, you know, to compile a list of upcoming books and stories from the friends of Jungle Red. Fun to see the coming attractions. So I asked around, requesting just the basics and figuring I’d just put it all together, slap it on the blog, and have a fun look into he future.
But it turned out to be more than that. As I sat at the computer, copying and pasting and downloading and alphabetizing, it became more than an edit session. Forgive me for being sappy, but it became a lovely ritual. Here were so many peoples’ hopes and hard work and years of devotion and persistence. Each time I made name bold, or put a title in caps, I thought of the person who created it. How often they’re thought about it, how they certainly struggled , and how excited they must be to have their pub date draw near.
It started as a kind of little gift to you—a way to let fellow authors have a tiny moment in the spotlight. (Such as it is.) But it turns out, it’s a gift you have given to me. To allow me to think of each of you, separately, and as part of our writing and reading community. And to share in your happiness. Thank you.
Anyone who’s not listed—put yourself in the comments!
(And the covers are randomly interspersed…and some didn't work at all. Blogger wins that round. Sigh. Think of the spacing as...surprising.)
And happy happy new year from all of us at Jungle Red Writers.
COMING IN 2010!
A KILLER PLOT
(A Books By The Bay Mystery)
THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE
A Cheese Shop Mystery
Berkley Prime Crime
The BLONDE SAMURAI
CHAPTER & HEARSE
#4 in the Booktown Mystery Series
Berkley Prime Crime,
August 3, 2010
According to the gossip around Stoneham, New Hampshire, Tricia Miles cannot put down a real murder mystery. After all, the owner of the mystery bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, has been spending more time solving whodunits than reading them…
SOME COST A PASSING BELL
Double Dragon Publishing
Love can survive death, but so can hate; the two collide in this haunted Ozarks tale of murder, betrayal, and heroism -- on both sides of the grave.
FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE
October 1, 2010.
Digital Armageddon descends on the city of Angels.
BETWEEN DARKNESS & LIGHT
Downtown Los Angeles' financial center is the heart of this thrilling murder mystery and the unwanted love that grows between a cop with a dark secret in his troubled past and an up and coming world class artist.
IF BOOKS COULD KILL
LIVE FREE OR DIE
Mainly Murder Press
August 15, 2010
THE DIVA PAINTS THE TOWN
Berkley Prime Crime
Sophie Winston could hardly turn down her deceased neighbor’s last request for a bequest party, but she had no idea that the crafty old man brought the guests together for a deadly reason .
WINGING IT: A MEMOIR OF CARING FOR A VENGEFUL PARROT WHO’S DETERMINED TO KILL ME
Simon & Schuster
"VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR"
in Chesapeake Crimes: They Had It Comin'.
A Dirty Business Mystery
St. Martins Minotaur
(Ro! Your cover would not download! CLick here to see it! Http://www.rosemaryharris.com )
SCHOOLED IN LIES
A Kendra Clayton Mystery
Boulevard West Press
December 31, 2009
SINK OR SWIM
Mainly Murder Press
December 1, 2010
Teresa Leigh Judd
Anthology: Ghostly Dreamspell
“THE PURRSISTANT CAT”
“Mystery, Mischief and Mayhem”
Anthology: Cats in a Dreamspell
L & L Dreamspell.
WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF DEATH?
Mainly Murder Press
Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine
A CORNER OF UNIVERSE
Feb. 17, 2010
OUR LADY OF IMMACULATE DECEPTION
(A Roxy Abruzzo Mystery)
Donna Russo Morin
THE SECRET OF THE GLASS
March 1, 2010
REVENGE FOR OLD TIMES' SAKE
(A Tracy Eaton Mystery)
March 30, 2010
UNDER THE EYE OF KALI
An Anita Ray Mystery
by Five Star
At a seaside hotel in South India four women tourists find far more than sandy beaches and palm trees under a romantic moon, and Anita Ray must find a missing tourist and a murderer before her aunt's hotel is ruined.
Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant
FED UP (paperback)
the fourth Gourmet Girl mystery
January 4, 2010
Berkley Prime Crime.
Jessica Conant Park and Susan Conant
COOK THE BOOKS
(the fifth Gourmet Girl mystery )
March 2, 2010
Berkley Prime Crime.
(Third in the Agatha Award-winning Rachel Goddard series)
Poisoned Pen Press
Blackmail. Murder. Summer is deadly in the mountains of Virginia.
STRONGER THAN SIN
Forever from Grand Central Publishing
A football player sidelined by a degenerative bone disease would risk anything to return to the game he loves, including a radical gene therapy--but when obtaining a cure threatens his family and doctor, he must change his plan to protect them.
NEXT TIME I'M GONNA DANCE
January 1, 2010
SHOOTING INTO THE SUN
May 1, 2010
Hank Phillippi Ryan
(Fourth in the Agatha-winning Charlotte McNally Mysteries)
Feb 2, 2010
When everyone has a secret, reporter Charlotte McNally learns it’s possible to know too much--and the real secret is knowing when to tell.
BLACK BEANS AND VICE
(A Supper Club Mystery)
STIRRING UP STRIFE
(A Hope Street Church Mystery)
Cooper Lee and the members of the Sunrise Bible Study find murderers while they search for friendship, romance, and answers to life's biggest questions.
THE PATH OF THE WICKED
(A Hope Street Church Mystery)
Cooper Lee and the members of the Sunrise Bible Study must discover the identity of a killer preying on the elderly.
THE WAY OF THE GUILTY
(A Hope Street Church Mystery)
Cooper's sister finds a body in the trunk of her car and the members of the Sunrise Bible Study must foil a smuggling ring dealing in illegal aliens, forged documents, and heroin.
(A Dead-end Job mystery)
Helen Hawthorne solves the murder of a dead customer -- and really, truly gets married this time.
AN UPLIFTING MURDER
(A Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper paperback)
Josie mystery shops lingerie this time!
St. Martin's Press
A romantic paranormal mystery.
"THE GREEN CROSS"
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
A young Marrano sailor on Columbus's first voyage
Hurray for everyone! If you have a new book or story coming out next year, tell us all about it in the comments!