Friday, August 31, 2012

TONY BROADBENT--SHADOWS IN THE SMOKE


DEBORAH CROMBIE: I've had such fun this week, talking about some of my favorite books and authors. And now I have one more, my friend Tony Broadbent.

SHADOWS IN THE SMOKE is the third book in his In the Smoke series, set in late 1940s London, and featuring dashing Cockney cat burglar, Jethro. You might guess how much I like Tony's books by the fact that that's my quote on the cover (Squint really hard...) What you can't see is that I'm in very good company--the blurbs on the back jacket are from Michael Connolly, Lee Child, and Jacqueline Winspear! (I'm hugely flattered to have got the front!)  I'll let Tony tell you more.

DEBS: Tony, I love love love your Jethro books, and I don’t know of anyone else writing anything similar.  How did you come up with the idea of Jethro as a character? (And it’s just Jethro—we don’t know his last name. Will we ever learn it?)

TONY BROADBENT:Your blurb describes our Jethro to a T: ‘A rakish Cockney cat burglar with the soul of a poet.’ Lovely stuff. Thanks ever so. Jethro is based on the father of an old friend of mine­­­—who I never ever met—but who was an honest to goodness cat burglar in and around London. And as my ‘old china’ (Cockney rhyming slang: old china = old china plate = mate) had a career in the London theatre, I put the two together and ‘voila’—our Jethro.

The Smoke sold on the log-line: ‘To Catch A Thief—in postwar London.’ And along with the very nice things you say about Jethro, a reviewer for Booklist said: ‘Jethro could have been played superbly by Cary Grant. (Now if any of the bloggeratti are unaware of Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece ‘To Catch A Thief’—starring the incredible Cary Grant and the ever-lovely Grace Kelly—I suggest they stop doing this and immediately go access their video source and have ‘a Butcher’s hook’—as Jethro might say—more Cockney rhyming slang = to take a look. (And if I knew Jethro’s last  name, I’d tell you, honestly I would. All I know is it probably begins with the letter ‘H’—which I discovered by a very close reading of The Smoke.)

DEBS: And the time period is so fascinating. London in the late forties is The Smoke.  A tough place, filled with bombsites, still in the throes of austerity.  The gangsters were not to be trifled with (the next decade would see the rise of the Kray twins) but Jethro, who may be a creeper (cat burglar) but is as honorable as they come, always seems to get on their bad side. But that London had its charms as well, and a thriving vitality. When I read your Jethro books, every detail is so perfect I feel as if I’m there. How do you get that authenticity?

TONY: That London of bombsites was there well into the Sixties—and when I was nipper—a very young kid—my father would always take me up to London—for the fun of it. So I actually visited many of the areas I write about—Church Street and Petticoat Lane (street markets) in particular—and actually saw Jack Spot—‘Spottsy’—one of the Lords of The Underworld—on Church Street. (I wasn’t half as impressed as I was when I bumped into and met the famous American cowboy star—Tex Ritter—at the Wembley Arena for his Wild West Show—and he tousled my hair and said “Howdy pardner”. I blush to think that I must’ve been in full cowboy regalia myself. But all part of the fun. And different times, maybe, but heroes are ever important. And our ‘body memories’—sights, sounds, smells—of time and place never really go away. All it needs is a few nice, old black and white photographs to bring it all back. The details—come from reading all manner of things—autobiographies of stage star and crime star and ex-Scotland Yard coppers—newsreel, newspapers—anything and everything.
 
DEBS: I think it’s quite a challenge to write long and complex novels in the first person, but you do it very well and I think that’s part of what gives the Jethro books such a sense of immediacy. Was that a conscious decision? Does the line ever blur between Tony and Jethro?

TONY: The challenge in writing, of course, is to try keep your head on straight—and only ever revealing what Jethro would actually know at any one time. I’ve tried all manner of different ‘work-arounds’ to the problem—and some have succeeded more than others.

And as for ‘keeping my head on straight’ with the character of our Jethro. In my head, I always give him the voice of the young Michael Caine—a great British actor— a man of humanity and humor—born and bred in London—the youngsters out there will know him as Alfred the butler in the latest ‘Dark Knight Rises’ film trilogy starring Christian Bale as the caped crusader. (Again—our heroes are ever important—regardless of how they might kit themselves out.) All I have to do is read some lines of narrative in Michael Caine’s (younger, Cockney) voice and I’m away and running, so to speak.

As for the line blurring—how can it not? That’s why I introduced other ‘pop’ heroes of mine into the narratives—the author, Ian Fleming; the actor David Niven; even the extraordinarily talented Michael Bentin—one of the originators (along with Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, and Harry Secombe) of the ‘national obsession’ BBC radio comedy show in 1950s Britain—‘The Goon Show’.
And so—yes—when’s all said and done, I just try conjure up the dark streets and alleyways of the London of the late Forties and early Fifties—and I’m away and running, itching to climb the nearest drainpipe, up and onto the rooftops—an eye open for any open windows of interest.

DEBS: I'm going to hunt for a copy of To Catch a Thief, and a few Michael Caine movies, all the better to imagine Jethro. Readers, SHADOWS isn't out until October 16th, but the first two books in the series, THE SMOKE, and SPECTRES IN THE SMOKE, are available in trade paper and as e-books.  So if you haven't made Jethro's acquaintance, here's your chance to catch up.

Or, Tony has very kindly offered to give a signed copy of the THE SMOKE to the first commenter who can translate this phrase into Cockney rhyming slang:

"I went upstairs to have a look at my wife and couldn't believe my eyes."

And Tony will give an ARC of SHADOWS IN THE SMOKE to the reader who can  tell us what nickname Jethro gives to the CIA agent James Russell in SPECTRES IN THE SMOKE.

Are you up for the challenge?

Tony will be checking in today to respond to questions and comments, so do drop in and say "hi."

He can also be found at www.tonybroadbent.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

One last bit of Jungle Red business: Thanks to everyone who came to Lucy's party yesterday. Dee (Gram) is the winner of the Keys Cuisine cookbook and Amy is the winner of DEATH IN FOUR COURSES. Please email LucyBurdette at gmail dot com to arrange delivery.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Behind the Book: Death in Four Courses

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Get out your limeade (or your margarita), put on your Jimmy Buffett, and get ready to party! Here at JUNGLE RED we're celebrating next Tuesday's release of our own Lucy Burdette's second Key West Food Critic Mystery, featuring plucky food writer Haley Snow. (Lucy, can I say plucky? I mean the adjective in it's very best sense--Haley doesn't think of herself as brave, but she does what needs to be done if her friends are in trouble.  She's my kind of heroine.)

Put together a great setting, wonderful food, and terrific writing, and you have a combination Publisher's Weekly calls "yummy." Now, here's Lucy to tell us more!

LUCY BURDETTE: Talk about providence. Not too long after I signed the contract to write the Key West food critic mystery series, I learned that the Key West Literary Seminar would be focusing on food writing in January 2011. The event was called THE HUNGRY MUSE, featuring foodie luminaries such as Frank Bruni, Madhur Jaffrey, Jonathan Gold, Diana Abu-Jaber, and many more. Not only would I be able to take notes from the best in the business, I could write the whole thing off!

I pictured my food critic character, Hayley Snow, as she anticipated covering this conference for her online magazine, Key Zest. She would be so thrilled to hear and meet her writing idols. But she would have mixed feelings too, as she tried to land interviews with bigwigs, write snappy but thoughtful articles, all while comparing her abilities and her fledgling career to theirs. And maybe Hayley had invited her well-meaning, foodie mother for the weekend, not realizing quite how vulnerable she’d feel working on this important assignment?


With the background in place, I looked for more ways to ratchet up the tension. Suppose the keynote speaker threatened to divulge some of the other writers’ potentially career-threatening secrets over the weekend? And suppose someone would kill to hide one of those secrets? And then what if a dear friend was implicated in this murder? Oh, I was rubbing my hands with fictional glee over the possibilities…

I write best when immersed in the setting I’m writing about. So I pictured Hayley attending the events I was attending—the opening lecture from a foodie luminary (in reality, Ruth Reichl; in Hayley’s world, Jonah Barrows), the cocktail party at the Audubon House, the panel discussions on topics such as “transubstantiation” and “cultural stew—spicing up language and life,” which became “Food Writing as a Funhouse Mirror—Marcel Proust Meets Bobby Flay.” 


And then there was food! For Hayley's benefit, I snagged a ticket to one of the extra events, The Flavors of Key West, a multi-course dinner and wine-tasting at Louie’s Backyard. And ate more food—dinner at Santiago’s Bodega and lunch at La Creperie (chocolate crepe pictured on left), where Hayley takes some guests and quizzes them about the murder…I’ll let her describe it:

"The waitress delivered our meals: Greek salads thick with feta cheese and Ni├žoise olives folded into buckwheat pancakes, a spinach and mushroom omelet, and the ham and cheese sandwich crowned with an egg over easy and an order of french fries on the side.

“Besides, if the conference sponsors aren’t happy,” Sigrid said, plunging her knife into the sandwich so the yoke flowed like yellow lava over the ham onto the crunchy stalks of potato, “Dustin’s out of a job.”

I loved developing the oddball secondary characters, like my fictional novelist Sigrid Gustafson, mentioned above, and imagining what they might have written and how they'd talk about their writing at the conference. Here's Sigrid expounding on the meaning of her novel:

“In Dark Sweden, the murderer reveals himself over a platter of raw oysters…At the moment the detective recognizes how he’d missed this opportunity to clinch his case, he also understands that his finicky palate will continue to interfere with his job unless he opens himself up, like a reluctant mollusk.”

Another character, Fritz Ewing, made his name writing poetry about protein. Here’s a snatch from his poem called “The Butcher.” 
          
At night, he brings his apron home, layered with the detritus of his day.
A splash of blood from the rib eye steaks carved for the rich man on the hill.
A touch of green from lobsters cracked and cleaned for the fussy housewife,
Who will eat pink flesh but not green, no matter how pleasing the taste.
Marrow from hacked bones,
Distributed to fancy restaurants and slavering dogs alike.

But it wasn’t only the food and the oddball characters that I loved writing about. I’m crazy about Key West, period. There’s something magical about the island. I feel so lucky to spend time there and to write books set on the island. My friend Mark Hedden summed the sense of what's so special about Key West up well:

“The thing about Key West is that it is ultimately a fragile place. Low and small and flat and just sitting there, unprotected, in the middle of all that ocean. One big hurricane, a foot or two of sea level rise, and we could be wiped off the map. Every day you live here, there’s a sense that you’re getting away with something.” 


And that’s the way I feel about writing DEATH IN FOUR COURSES—sure it was a lot of work; but the kind of work that leaves me feeling...like I’ve gotten away with something.

DEBS:  And now I'm hungry (and envious that you got to hear Ruth Reichl speak...) I'm going to get out my copy of DEATH IN FOUR COURSES and contemplate recipes. 

Readers, you can do the same. There are lots of ways to pre-order the book—you can pick your poison:

Barnes and Noble
Amazon
Indiebound
Or for a signed copy, RJ Julia Booksellers
 
And don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in our double-barreled drawing--for a copy of DEATH IN FOUR COURSES and for a copy of KEYS CUISINE, Flavors of the Florida Keys, by Linda Gassenheimer. (So you can cook like Hayley!)
 



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

REAL MEN DON'T SHAVE--OR DO THEY?

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Today we move from the sublime to the, if not ridiculous, at the least the very shallow. Has anyone else noticed the recent trend towards the absence of male body hair? It was very evident at the Olympics, of course--you won't see a stray hair on the manly chests of divers or swimmers or runners. Or, it seems, models or dancers or many movie stars.

Not that I'm lamenting the days of the full fur rug sported by the likes of Robin Williams or Burt Reynolds (or the fake one worn by Steve Carrell in The Forty-Year-Old Virgin--ouch!!!)--but I've decided I miss seeing a little normal body hair on men. Oh, for the days of Sean Connery and Tom Selleck in their quite modest swim trunks!

And now, having started noticing, I've become a bit obsessive. Does he or doesn't he???? My two most recent Nice Chest Hair awards go to Dominic West in The Hour, and Ewan McGregor in Salmon Fishing in Yemen. (Not that I wouldn't like either one of these guys with or without.)
But they are brave about it, these smooth-chested (and smooth-thighed) blokes. Witness Channing Tatum here suffering for his art in preparation for Magic Mike. (Did I mention strippers in the above list of NO HAIR guys?) What about you, dear Reds? Do you prefer your men au natural? And would your fictional heroes wax for a good cause?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I can't discuss this.I can't even think about this. I've NEVER thought about this.  I am closing my eyes. I am closing my ears. La la la la la.

HALLIE EPHRON: I never got what the big deal was about men's or women's chests... well okay, I sort of do. Okay, I get it. But men's chest hair? Don't swimmers get rid of it because it slows them down, or is that a myth? Same reason they don't wear boxers. What I do miss, though I know you didn't ask this Debs, are those halcyon days when women didn't have to shave, period. We pretended we were European.


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: My first reaction was NO, but then I had to admit that there's a certain amount of manscaping that really improves the, shall we say, quality of my viewing experience. For instance: Nose hair, ear hair and eyebrows appearing anywhere on the face that isn't directly above an eye. Back hair. Ugh. Sorry, gentlemen of Mediterranean descent. I see men walking about on the beaches of Maine and all I can think of is "human shag carpet."

But chest hair? Who cares? Hairy is nice. Smooth is nice. Same for the top of the head. I like a full head of hair just fine, but I also LOVE the sexy bald look. Also beards. (This will not surprise anyone who's met my husband.) The most attractive thing about a man is his self-confidence, not his pelt (or lack thereof.)

DEBS: Hallie, I was never brave enough to go European. And obviously, that cultural trend has reversed itself. And Hank, you're too funny!

For the record, Duncan would never wax--unless it would help him solve a case.

What about you, readers? Are you embracing the smooth-men trend? And our guy readers--would you shave or wax? And would you tell if you did?

(Oh, and just for comparison, here's the latest Bond, Daniel Craig. Notice the difference?)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

LOUISE PENNY--A BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY


 DEBORAH CROMBIE:  A high point in my year is the publication of a new mystery by my friend Louise Penny, and today is the day A BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY hits the shelves! 

For those who might not be familiar with Louise's books, they are set in Quebec, often in the sometimes magical village of Three Pines, and feature Chief Inspector Gamache of the Surete, as well as his family, friends, and colleagues. I've loved Louise's books since the first, STILL LIFE, and they've just gotten better and better. And this one--I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek at the galley, and I can tell you it will knock your socks off.  It also has a special significance for me, as you will see.

Chief Inspector Gamache and his colleague, Jean Guy Beauvoir, are called to investigate the murder of the choirmaster in an isolated abbey.  There, they find not only a closed circle of suspects, but unexpected truths about themselves, and now Louise will tell us a little more about A BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY.

DEBS: I think it’s so interesting that we’ve both chosen to write mystery novels that are centered on “the beautiful mystery” of Gregorian chant. Mine, A FINER END, is set in Glastonbury, and the abbey where the chant was sung has long been in ruins.
But in A BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY you’ve set your story in a modern day monastery, hidden away from the world for centuries in a remote part of Quebec. Is Saint-Gilbert-Entres-les-Loups based on a real monastery?

LOUISE PENNY:  Thank you, Debs!  Actually, the monastery is inspired by one not far from our home.  Michael and I have been there quite a few times and always send visitors there.  They sing the Gregorian Chants as part of their Divine Office – and have the BEST shop, filled with produce from monasteries around Quebec, including their own….cheeses, chocolates, pies, jams, preserves, and CDs of chants.   But – it became clear in researching this that I couldn’t set the book in a monastery, or even an order, that really existed, so I dug into history and found the Gilbertines, an order that actually once existed, but went extinct.

DEBS: Can you tell us how you came to write about chant? It is rather obscure—and absolutely fascinating.

LOUISE:  I think I sort of backed into the chant thing.  I was really interested in two other issues – the power of music and the power of silence.  I loved that contradiction that a silent order could become world famous for their voices.  So I began to think about the different ways we communicate, if not through speech.  At the same time, I recognized the powerful effect music has on me – and I suspect, on most people.  But I can only speak from personal experience.  When I’m planning and writing a book, I listen to a lot of music.  Not when I’m actually writing, but surrounding it I do.  In fact, each book has its own ‘sound track’.  When I get stuck, or have some time, I’ll get in the car and put on the ‘sound track’ and empty my mind.  When I’m on a flight I plug into the iPod, and empty my mind.  And that’s when inspiration strikes.  Music seems to open a channel to come creative place I can’t normally get to.  At the same time, a piece of music can transport us to another place and time, and not just evoke that memory, but the emotion.  It can inspire great courage, and reduce us to tears.  I was fascinated by it – and all this led me to look into the very first western music – plain chant.  If music is a drug, then plain chant is uncut heroin for many. 
 
I wanted The Beautiful Mystery to look at the monks and their devotion to God, but also their devotion to plain chant – the word of God, sung in the voice of God.  And what some of them would do to defend it.  

DEBS: As crime novelists, I think we are always intrigued by the closed circle of suspects, and you’ve certainly given us that in A BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY.  Twenty-four monks. A locked door. So Gamache and Beauvoir know from the beginning, as do we, that the murderer must be one of these men. It’s a wonderful opportunity to explore character, and the idea that no matter how intimate the circumstances, one can never completely know another person.

LOUISE:  Yes, exactly!  I loved that about this community of men – who lived so intimately, in such isolation, and yet never spoke.  But some developed loving relationships, and some loathing.  So that a bitter, but silent, civil war was being waged, though it takes Gamache and Beauvoir a while to realize that.  I love the hermetic environment of some crime novels, that growing sense of claustrophobia, of the walls closing in, of intimacy and security turning into a prison.   And someone they thought of as a brother, being in fact, a stranger.  Capable of such a vile crime.  How could they not know?  How is it they didn’t know?

DEBS: You’ve taken us away from Three Pines in this book. We only see Gamache and Beauvoir, and as with the monks, the isolation serves to reveal things about the detectives. Can you say which came first—did you choose the setting because it would remove Gamache and Beauvoir from familiar circumstances and colleagues, or did the exploration of their relationship arise out of the setting?

LOUISE:  Hmmm – that’s an interesting question.  I knew I’d be setting this book in the remote monastery a number of years ago, when I first wrote the outline.  It’s the first Gamache novel set completely away from Three Pines, and I knew it would be time – and necessary, for the characters, and for me as a writer.  But by this stage in the series there’s a very strong character development arc, with serious issues faced by both Gamache and Beauvoir.  It seemed this would be a perfect place to let that ferment.  Two men who have lived and worked closely, who have an intimate relationship, and who are facing a crisis.   Like the monks.  What will they choose to do?  The monastery acts as a sort of crucible.  There’s no place to hide.  And eventually, in the great silence, everything is revealed.  What could be more terrifying that silence, when you have to come face to face with yourself? 

DEBS: In eight books, I think you’ve done a masterful job of avoiding the pitfalls inherent in writing about a closed environment like Three Pines.  As much as we love the village and its inhabitants, every few books you’ve taken us to other settings, so that when we come back to Three Pines it’s like meeting an old friend. Has this been deliberate?

LOUISE:  Thank you, Debs.  You and I talk a lot about that very danger – of falling, unwittingly – into a routine.  Coming from you, whose books are always fresh and alive, that’s a great compliment.  Yes, like you, I’m keenly aware of that danger and so every second book is set, for the most part, away from the village of Three Pines – because I don’t want to fall into a pattern.  And, so that, when I do go back to the village (as I am right now writing the next book) it’s like returning home but seeing it with new eyes.  I genuinely enjoy the company of the characters – but I have no desire to be imprisoned in the village or by the characters.  It’s so important to be unpredictable, but natural – so that what happens to the characters is natural, though sometimes tragic.  It’s critical to me that readers know that I love the characters, but that sometimes horrible things will happen, as it does in life.  I never want a reader to pick up a Gamache book and think, ‘Same old, same old.’  But – I do want them to feel a sense of belonging, of community – of being among friends.  As you’ve achieved so masterfully, Debs, with Duncan and Gemma, two people I no longer think of as ‘characters’, but as living, breathing people.  With lives sometimes successful and happy, and sometimes devastating. 

DEBS: In case readers are worried, they won’t be deprived of the tantalizing descriptions of food that usually accompany a visit to Three Pines—the monks eat well, and the monastery’s specialty is wild blueberries covered with dark chocolate.  Any idea where we might find these?

LOUISE: As a matter of fact, that was inspired (read: lifted) from real life….every monastery in Quebec (perhaps in the world) has a vocation and there’s one in the Lac Saint-Jean area of Quebec that makes, among other things, chocolate covered wild blueberries.  We used to get them when I lived in Quebec City.  But they’re rare and precious.  Blueberry season is very short and the monks don’t use preservative.  So you can only find them for a couple of weeks.  They sell out very fast, so spoilage is never an issue. 
Shocking, really, how little creativity actually goes into my books.  I’m just so lucky to live in this amazing part of the world that has one foot in the present and one in the past.  Cutting edge technology is created in Quebec (the home of Bombardier) and monks who sing plain chant and make chocolate covered blueberries, as they have for centuries.  And all I have to do is pay attention, and pay respects. 

Thank you for this, my friend.  You are such an amazing talent, and so supportive and kind.  I’m a huge fan of your work, as you know, and cherish our talks, getting to compare experiences, that are at once different, but often very, very similar – especially the internal struggles to create the very best books, and to make sure we never, ever fall into a rut. 
Thank you, Debs!

DEBS: You're so very welcome, Louise, and congratulations on a fabulous book! And one last thing--when I was writing A FINER END, I acquired a fragment of chant manuscript from (where else?) an antiquities dealer in Portobello Road, so I'm including a (bit blurry) photo in hopes that it will provide a little visual treat for readers of A BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY.

Readers, you can learn more about Louise and her books at her website, or on her Facebook page.  

Louise is already on book tour, but she'll try to check in and say "hi" in the midst of her travels tomorrow.

And a last bit of Jungle Red business: If you missed taking our JUNGLE RED FAMILY FEUD survey yesterday, never fear, you have two more weeks to respond here.





Monday, August 27, 2012

Reds Poised to Take Cleveland!


HALLIE EPHRON: For the second time ever, almost the entire Reds gang is going to Bouchercon--the annual World Mystery Convention. Our panel is Friday (10/5) at @2:45 and we are attempting the never before mastered: Game Show!

We're talking Family Feud, and when the "survey sez..." it will be our friends and followers who get their say. So whether you are going to Bouchercon or not, run(!) right over to  and TAKE OUR SURVEY -- Please!! As usual, we want to hear what you think.

If you can't come to the Bouchercon panel, you'll have to wait until the week after to find out the results - we'll post them right here on JRW along with photos.
We are, by the way, coming to the panel dolled up in a way that I will not divulge, but trust me it has generated plenty of controversy among us and separated the clothes divas from the clothes whor... um, horses.

There's a great tradition of this, dressing up at mystery conferences, because authors are shameless and will do anything to promote their books. It's legitimized at the New England Crime Bake with a costume party which has featured several Sherlock Holmeses (memorably Joseph Finder), a scary Goth Lisbeth Salander (Nikki Bonanni at left), and at least one lobster (Stephen Rogers, I think). Malice is famous for its hats, and I remember a panel of authors who came dressed in rubber gloves carrying feather dusters; another with pink feather boas and tiaras. Trench coats and shades abound at Bouchercon and Thrillerfest.

Among us we've probably been to hundreds (and hundreds) of mystery conferences. Any memorable moments involving feather hats, feather dusters, or trench coats?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Remembering, of course, that we always ask ourselves "WWSGD?" And wouldn't wear anything that Sue Grafton wouldn't wear.  Rosemary and I are, however, angling for elbow-length gloves.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Rhys, Louise Penny, and I contemplated dressing up in togas and garlands for a Three Goddesses panel we did (where was that? Baltimore?) but, thankfully, we abandoned the idea.

HALLIE: I could not find a photo of Sue Grafton in opera-length gloves. Or a toga, for that matter.

LUCY BURDETTE: I'm definitely in for the toga party. In fact I love costumes of all kinds--love the New England Crimebake costume party and banquet. Last year I came dressed as Nancy Bartholomew's country western singer character, which gave me an excellent excuse to wear my blond wig and my cowhide skirt:). We don't get too many chances to dress up as adults so I grab them when they float by:).

ROSEMARY HARRIS: I generally ask myself ..."would Hank wear this?" I don't always answer yes, but it has kept me from making a few truly unfortunate choices. I think Nancy Martin and I once had a conversation about the black pants and black jackets that are trade show staples...who knows maybe I'll break out of my rut this time...I know ALL the reds are trying. I don't think I'll be wearing this outfit (this pic is from Crimebake's Vampire Ball) but you never know...

HALLIE: Rosemary, you were tasteful, indeed!

And oh, how lovely would it be if we all showed up at Bouchercon in Armani. You'll have to show up at the panel to find out.

We hope to see lots of friends there. In the meanwhile, TAKE THE SURVEY!
CLICK HERE!  or enter this link in your browser http://tinyurl.com/dxcs6dy.


And share your costume experiences. And if you know Cleveland, share with us what we should be sure to do/see/eat while we're there.

THIS JUST IN: as promised, Hank as Harriet Vane--with Nikki as Lisbeth Salander and Margery Flax as Emma Peel!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Just want to be...your teddy bear

ROSEMARY HARRIS: Okay the day you've been waiting for - dolls, book giveaways and your teddy bears. Let's kick things off with the king - Elvis at his youngest and hottest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhdUucs8AlY

Drum Roll...
Monday's winner (Slugfest)- Thelma Straw
Wednesday's winner of Zoe Sharp's book - Jack Getze
Friday's winner of Vicki Delany's book - Karen in Ohio

and ...all the pix were wonderful but the the top teddy bear/doll/doggie pix are

KAYE'S TEDDIES


 
DRU'S Babies
 
MO'S Gigi

JOAN'S Sparkles and Brownie

DARLENE'S Bill
 
                                                                         LESLIE's teddy



REINE'S

 
PAULA'S.
 
 
                                                             SANDI'S Twicket!

Sandi, pls contact Hank at hank@hankphillippiryan.com
Jack, authorzoesharp@gmail.com
Karen, vicki@vickidelany.com

 
Enjoy!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

ROSEMARY HARRIS: I hate to lose things. 

I know...EVERYONE hates to lose things. But I REALLY hate to lose things. In fact, I'm still looking for things that I lost years ago, because I can't believe that they're not here somewhere - under the bed. In some drawer or jacket pocket that I haven't checked.

I can remember looking for things on moving day - thinking that something misplaced would miraculously reappear as if to say okay we'll stop torturing her now. Or here I am!

I was rewarded for my persistance 2-3 years ago when two necklaces that I'd somehow "lost"  FIVE YEARS EARLIER were found in a duffel bag I was about to throw out. It was a miracle.

It was also the event that will probably mean that I'll continue to look for lost things....forever. Someone once said that when you die all your old pets come to greet you. I hope so. Lady, Clyde, Running Fox, Piccadilly, Leon, Tommy and Patrick  - hi guys! 

With any luck they will be carrying all the gloves, scarves, earrings, ipods, credit cards, umbrellas, wallets, laptops, eyeglasses, keys and pens I've lost when they greet me....

How long do you continue to look for lost things??