Friday, September 10, 2010

Getting to Know You Day

Whoooo are you? Who who, who who?
**The Who

HANK: Hey! Who's out there? If we talk about what we're doing and where we are and what we're thinking, will you do the same?

It's Getting to Know You Day on Jungle Red!

One of us has a brand new book out--hurray, Rhys! So she gets to go first and get the spotlight. The rest of us are..well, you'll see.

And then it's your turn. Introduce yourself!
And one lucky commenter will get a free copy of Rhys' new book! And hey, why not, someone else will get one of mine--AIR TIME. (Any other JR's want to jump in here? Watch the comments, readers, and see!)

RHYS: Royal Blood is spilled today!
Today my penniless royal heroine is back with a new adventure, called Royal Blood.

Lady Georgie is thrilled to be asked to represent the royal family at a wedding in Europe, until she finds out it's at a castle in Transylvania. She is a modern young woman. She doesn't believe in vampires--but something is definitely crawling up the castle wall, and why does the bride have blood running down her chin? Rhys has had tremendous fun with a completely spoof of the vampire genre. If you love to laugh and be scared at the same time, then this is for you.I'm setting off on a book tour this week, and would love to see Jungle Red fans along the way. The schedule is posted on my website.

HANK: I'm in Boston, and where did summer go? My dahlias are amazing, and I can't even cut them fast enough. Still fighting the stupid biting ugly earwigs that love to live in the beautiful flowers. (Is that a metaphor? I do think it is.)

In my study, working working working. Will it be a new book? I'm thinking about how many people it's believable to have killed in one two-week period in one city. A big city. So--what's ridiculous and what's logical? (On so many levels.) I had a synopsis, but that's getting changed every second as I write the actual book.

In my day job as TV reporter--desperately looking for a blockbuster story or two. (Any ideas?) And got a new sweater dress and boots. So it's fall, for sure. (Anyone wearing the little ankle boots with skirts? Can't get used to the look.)

HALLIE: I'm enjoying everything about summer's end. Going barefoot. Eating delicious fresh tomatoes and corn. Sleeping with the windows open. Walking on Wollaston Beach (Boston) where it's easy to find parking.

Noticing how all the weeding this summer I did in my garden has paid off and everything looks abnormally tidy and peaceful. Ideas for the next book are starting to bubble up. Did we have stretches of hot disgusting summer weather? I've already forgotten.

Also gearing up for "Seascape Escape to Write" retreat in Madison - this will be the fourth time Roberta and I and S. W. Hubbard and I have run this intensive Friday-Sunday workshop in a wonderful house that used to belong to Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue set on the beach in Madison CT.

ROBERTA: Of course, I'm getting ready for "Seascape: Escape to Write" too! We're expecting 15 students this year, all crime fiction writers--so that's a lot of work reading everyone's submissions so we can be prepared. Always so much fun to put faces to the names and the work--and then to watch the stories improve over the weekend by leaps and bounds!

Last night, I took the train into New York (from Connecticut) to the MWA New York chapter meeting where James Patterson was the speaker. I won't take up too much time here--I've posted more on my blog. ( If you don't think that room was crammed with people wanting to know the secret of his success!

And work--yeah. Slaving away on a thriller, maybe it's suspense, never can tell the difference. And waiting to hear about a couple of other irons in the fire. Does everyone have their fingers and paws crossed out there?

JAN: After two and a half weeks on the beach (in Nantucket) I'm ready for fall. I never want to eat grilled food again, and I'm thrilled to be home and back to my work routine. While I was away, I got a lot of big breaks on my non-fiction book, tentatively named the Combat Zone, and am working out the fine points of the proposal. This is the same 1976 murder I wrote a screenplay about and let me tell you, it's incredibly hard to go from a Screenplay to a book. You have to get the first structure out of your head, but it doesn't want to stay out. It keeps infiltrating.

I also finished the first draft of my novel, The Devil In Waverley, when I was on vacation YAY!!! Still a a second draft to go, but the Challenge and the change of seasons have done wonders for me. And if I'm being completely honest, I've benefited from tennis elbow and not being about to get on the court!

ROSEMARY: I was at the Patterson dinner too. Got to sit with the great man himself. Really charming - especially when one questioner asked how he chose his writing partners "Do people send you sample chapters?" Yeah, right!

My garden (in Connecticut) was heavenly this summer, but I'm bringing in far too many plants to overwinter. Spent two long wonderful days at the US Open and hope to see Roger Federer hoist that trophy before I head for the Cape where I will kayak and hatch some ideas for next book.

Oh, yes...lots of drama this week over the cover for SLUGFEST. Life would be so simple if people just did what I told them to do.

HANK: Oh, YES. I'm with ya, Ro. Going to mention that to my boss right now. And SPILL! What did James Patterson say? And as for paws and fingers,yes, crossed. Big time. (And for you, too.)

So, your turn! Who's out there? Where are you? What's on your mind? What are you working on?


  1. I have no mind left. Just finished the draft of the next orchard book, where the only murder took place in 1795! I've given my protagonist four bodies wihtin twelve months--can't I get away with a book without a body? Just once? But I can hear my editor in my head: "it's quite nice, but not a lot happens..."

  2. Hi Hank, you know me but not everyone else.
    I'm Debbie from the St. Louis area a full time employee of a graphic design firm. I am a member of the board of directors of my library district and I've just read over 30 resumes for potential new directors because the present director is retiring. I also moderate the General Fiction book club at B&, review for a few publishers and publications and I am a reading fanatic. I love Hank's books and have read most of the Jungle residents here and enjoy all kinds of genres. Happy Friday everyone!!!

  3. OH, Debbie! So wonderful to see you! (Thanks for the kind words...xo) always manage to think of something, right? But I'm thinking about that, many people can reasonably get killed, anyway?

  4. Hey, Debbie (me waving frantically from the back of the room!) Happy Friday back atcha.

    Sheila - finished a draft! Lucky you. That's my favorite place to be in a manuscript. Where I am, page 6, not so much.

  5. Hello All,

    I will see Rhys when she comes to Wichita on Sunday!

    As for writing, I am a Guppy working on my first manuscript, a WW2 mystery. I usually write during naptime and gymnastics class due to having four kids, 7, 5, 3, and seven months. Despite having a full house, we are also hosting a German exchange student this year. Never a dull moment.

  6. Hi Hank and Jungle residents. :)

    I'm Kim. I live in Ontario Canada where fall is setting in. The leaves are changing color, the night darn cool. Um...where did summer go? lol

    I mainly write romantic suspense and I'm waiting to sell my first novel. In the meantime, I'm working on the first book of a paranormal suspense series and writing my first proposal.

    Hank...ankle boots and skirts? Not for this girl. Not a look I want to be seen in. lol

    Happy Friday!

  7. Love your blog. I try to look at it every day. I'm up here freezing (52 degrees) in northern Minnesota. I'm making revisions on my first draft of my first novel and alternately thinking: "Hey, that's not half bad," and "What @&$#! Did I really write this stuff?" I am also taking a CJ Lyons class, which I know will help me whip things into shape.

  8. Hi All,

    I'm Karen and live near Palm Springs, California where we're happy because it only hit 97 yesterday. I've just finished my proposal for a nonfiction book (need to bring home the bacon) but my heart lives in my fiction--strange murder/alien pods/dystopian/stories. And, am just ramping up for a 60 day challenge at Bikram yoga. Gotta work off the summer.

    Happy Friday!

  9. Hi Everyone! First off, I love all Jungle Red Writers' books, although I'll admit I haven't read them all (not enough time in the day!!). As for me, kids are back in school, it's almost time to put the garden to bed for fall, and I've still got rewrites to do on ms #3. My first mystery, Death By A Dark Horse is coming out in February so I've been mostly busy with all that work, and HOLY COW! There's a lot to do!! (Not telling you anything you don't already know, though, huh?)

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  11. Hey, Melissa! Tell Rhys hi from us..she'll love that you came to Jungle Red!

    Kim C--yeah, I saw a couple of changing leaves here,too..and the air is certainly different. Weird, huh? Good luck with your writing! (As Roberta says, crossing paws.)

  12. Julie, you are not alone!
    My husband will say--how's it going? And somedays I say: Fantastic, I'm so happy!
    And the next day: This STINKS and it will never work.
    And it's the *same* manuscript.


  13. Like Hallie and Roberta, I'm getting ready for Seascape, but I'll be sitting on the other side of the desk - in the student chair (hopefully not the dummy chair in the corner). Looking forward to spending the weekend with a house full of mystery writers.

  14. Hi all,
    Debbie - nice to meet you here, I guess we'll all meet in person when bouchercon is in St. Louis next year. All I know about SL is the Arch and Albert Pujols, so looking forward to that.
    Melissa...four kids and you write? Like Hank, you must have more than 24 hours in your day!

  15. Posting this for Helen Sanders!

    My name is Helen Sanders. I live in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. I am working on my third novel.
    I am counting down the days until CrimeBake because two of my friends and I are coming up on the train.
    I can't wait to meet and learn from y'all. My second novel will be critiqued by one of the authors. See you in November.
    Helen Sanders

  16. Hi all,

    I am a new guppie and currently working four shorts. Can't seem to work on only one story at a time.

    I've just finished an article by Ann Charles. Needless to say Wow...I'm not alone.

    I thought a time or two to write a novel, but I love short stories and since that is what I like...that is what I write.

    I visit this site as often as my time allows and will visit again. The information that I find here is invaluable.

  17. I'm querying agents for my first novel, and working on the second. Also, I'm spending a lot of time pouting because I can't go to Bouchercon this year. I went to Indianapolis last year and had a ball. But, we're already made the cross-country trip for the year, and The Husband cannot be swayed. I love this blog!

  18. Hi Hank,

    Good to see you again! Loved reading Air Time, and Prime Time - great entertainment.

    I'm excited because my RS manuscript Tuesday's Child is a finalist in Brava's Writing with the stars contest! That's made for an exciting start to the month. Then there's the whole getting kids back to school thing - almost as exciting. Lol. Other than that I am working on my YA books.


  19. Congrats Dale on the win, and Susan, congrats on finishing your first novel. This is a great time of year to send off your queries.

    Correction I spent my summer at MARTHA'S VINEYARD, not Nantucket.

    None this matters to the rest of the world, of course, but to a long time vineyarder -- this difference is crucial.


  20. Hi, everyone. Your books all sound like must-reads! I'm putting the finishing touches to my mystery novel, Murder on the Interstate, third in my Logan & Cafferty series, and recently submitted my first children's book, The Mystery of Spider Mountain. I need a vacation. :)

  21. Hi, everyone. Your books all sound like must-reads! I'm putting the finishing touches to my mystery/suspense novel, Murder on the Interstate, third in my Logan & Cafferty series, and recently submitted my first children's book, The Mystery of Spider Mountain. I need a vacation. :)

  22. Hi, everyone. Your books all sound like must-reads! I'm putting the finishing touches to my mystery/suspense novel, Murder on the Interstate, third in my Logan & Cafferty series, and recently submitted my first children's book, The Mystery of Spider Mountain. I need a vacation. :)

  23. Hey Eileen! Welcme to the wonderful Guppies--it's a terrific group.

    Susan--what a beautiful horse! ANd what an exciting time for you..

    OH, Karen,..97! Amazing. It;s 70 here today..

    Tger--xoxo--Cannot imagine you in the dummy chair! Are you coming to CrimeBAke?

  24. Dale! Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much! And wow, congratulations.

    Jean! SO nice to see you! Great interview (as usual) with foJRW Karen Olson on your blog--and small world--she'll be here tomorrow talkng about the Rat Pack.

    She's worried you all won't know who that is....
    what do you think about that?

  25. Hi all, I'm Ilonka, retired accountant, from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where it's been uncharacteristically raining, raining, raining all summer. Since I melt in the rain, this weather lends itself to working on my latest mystery. None published yet, but I live in hope.

    Karen, I'm happy to hear that weather in the Palm Springs area is cooling off. I usually spend a few months there every winter. Do you (or anyone) know of a mystery critique group in the area?

  26. Hello everyone,

    My name is Bob and I write from Chatham, New Jersey. This blog is the best! I had the pleasure of being interviewed here by the incredible Hallie Ephron last weekend. What a great topic for today! The passion for writing that shows in these comments is truly encouraging. I was also at the MWA meeting last night in NY. I saw Rosemary Harris there but I'm sorry I missed meeting Roberta Isleib. It's now my goal to meet all the Jungle Red contributors.

  27. have the most interesting life! Don't melt..and good luck on the challenge! It's fun seeing you on Sundays.

    Bob, you're terrific. Thank you. (And we're STILL WAITING to hear what James Patterson really said....) And you and I will meet, if not sooner, at Deadly Ink! Arent you a fan guest of honor? Truly lookng forward to it.

  28. First of all, I love Jungle Red. It's been on my blog roll since day one. I'm VR, a California transplant living in Atlanta. I've had the pleasure of taking several of Hallie's fabulous workshops at the Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference. In fact, my first writing workshop ever was taught by both Jan AND Hallie. How cool is that? I just signed with an agent (HUGELY exciting) and am making edits on my first novel, a thriller, while completing the draft of my second book.

  29. VR! Congratulations (what a lot of lovely news today!) and eager to hear more about it.

    (I lived in Atlanta, working at WSB TV for five years...)

    ANd yes, indeed, Hallie and Jan are terrific teachers. ANd you're the proof! Thanks for the kind words.

  30. Well...some highlights from the JP dinner -
    James says he writes 360 days a year. He gets up at 5-5:30 and writes. Then takes a break and writes some more! The man's a worker. His co-writers are generally people he already knows in some capacity...I think for the latest book, Postcard Killers he arranged to meet a very successful Swedish writer and write with her. He writes a very detailed outline (what happens and to whom, not what color everyone's hair is)and then send it off to his co-writer. When the manuscript is returned he finishes and polishes. "And then they send you the big check." His actual words. He loves writing his young adult series and got into it because of his (now) 12 yr old son who has already written his own book! He does his own advertising and pays for it himself. How about that!

  31. Oh, Tiger, if you have half as much fun as I did at Seascape, you'll be in great shape. I absolutely loved it, and they are the best teachers!

    I'm skipping B'con, but will be at CrimeBake, so I'll see a lot of you there. Can't wait!

  32. I'm Earl and I'm working on something I know isn't fun for any writer -- the dreaded synopsis. The book is an Action/Mystery/Thriller, which may not even be a recognized sub genre. Anyway, think Jason Bourne meets Jack Reacher and they watch a Chuck Norris movie. Oh, well. Back to work now.

  33. Earl,
    I'm working on the dreaded synopsis too. I HATE IT!!

    VR - Wow, how nice to think Hallie and I may have h a tiny, itszy bitzy positive effect. I hope we meet again sometime soon. Congratulations on your tremendous success!! And I'd love to interview for the blog when your book comes out so feel free to email me through my website!

    Thanks Hank for the kind words.

    And Paula, I'll see you at Crimebake!!

  34. And Jean,

    Congrats on your incredible productivity!!


  35. I'm hoping that the "Getting to know you day" is two days!

    I live in Pennsylvania. I'm a Guppy and one of the SinC Blog Army. I had started sending out queries on my mystery, but after taking CJ Lyons' query class, I'm now rewriting the ending!

    You ladies keep my TBR pile much too big. I really love the royal spyness! And Molly. And Hank's books. And.... Like I said, my TBR pile is about to topple!

  36. Ilonka,

    I'm looking for a mystery critique group now too. I can let you know when I find one if you'd like....Karen

  37. Karen,

    Maybe we could get something going. Could you email me?


  38. Thanks, Norma...! And I'm LOVING the SinC blog! Great job.

    Ilonka, meet Karen!


    Winner of Royal Blood: Dale Mayer
    Winner of Hank's book of your choice: VR Barkowski
    Winner of Rosemary's Pushing Up Daisies: Juilie Miller

    Contact me via my website and send me your address!