Monday, January 3, 2011

First Monday in January

ROSEMARY: On the first Monday in October, the Supreme Court opens for business - this first Monday it's my job to bang the gavel and open Jungle Red for business for another year of commentary, interviews, conversation, writing advice and encouragement, rants, cheers, jeers from six - and soon to be - eight mystery writing women. Yup, the picture above still shows six of us, but in the coming weeks we'll be joined by two new voices - stellar talents from coast to coast - (that was a small hint) who will be flashing their talons as soon as they get their Jungle Red manicures.

Right now, I'm looking at the new year like a new ream of paper - what's it going to be filled with in 360 or so days? Will I hit my marks? Surprise myself? Lose the last five pounds? Climb another mountain? I've unwrapped my brand new Frogs calendar and started to fill in...

This week is a busy one as I deliver page proofs for Slugfest (in an italics quandary which I would love to get feedback on later in the week..) On Wednesday I bang the gavel again as the new President of Mystery Writers of America's New York Chapter. Next day it's off to San Diego with 15 fabulous writers - T Jefferson Parker, Naomi Hirahara, Kate Carlisle, Vickie Doudera, Jeri Westerson, Joanne Fluke, Gary Phillips, Ken Kuhlken, Tim Hallinan, Sue Ann Jaffarian, Sophie Littlefield, Kelli Stanley, Dianne Emley, Harley Jane Kozak and our own Hank Phillippi Ryan for a party at Mysterious Galaxy on Friday night and an all day event at MidWinter ALA the next day.

How are you kicking off the new year?

HALLIE: Starting it off so delighted that we're being joined by two of my all-time favorite writers. One from north and one from south of us (another clue.)

Otherwise, same old same old. Writing writing writing, one word/sentence/page at time. Counting counting counting as I go. I do love the new book I'm working on--trying to get a good head of steam because March 22 I'll be taking a break to promote "Come and Find Me."

And looking forward to Lifetime running the movie of "Never Tell a Lie" -- and I can finally stop telling people I DON'T KNOW when they ask me when is it going to run. I think I'll be watching it like I watch Red Sox games, with my eyes closed, afraid of what they're going to do to it next.
On a personal front, trying to slow down enough to show my sweet husband how much I enjoy his company. Staying connected with my daughters and cherished friends. And trying to cook a few dishes I've never used before--maybe this is the year of the croquembouche chez moi.

ROSEMARY: Just tell us when to come over for the croquembouche!

ROBERTA: Oh yes, are we ever excited about our upcoming new members! And can't wait for Hallie's movie. Since they didn't consult you on anything, you can't be held responsible right? Unless it's fabulous of course!

I am psyched about my new food critic series. Headed to Key West tomorrow to attend the Key West Literary Seminar, which is focused on food writing this year. Will get a chance to meet (or at least hear from!) Frank Bruni, Ruth Reichl, Calvin Trillin, and lots more...and then I must go back to writing like the wind. Deadline looming very very large on the horizon. And I still have to get used to my new name (Lucy Burdette!) and figure out how the heck to integrate her into my life. Suggestions very welcome....

I'm so jealous about ALA, Ro, maybe next year....

JAN: The last five pounds, Ro, where are they? And Hallie, um.... so WHEN is the movie version of "Never Tell a Lie" going to run? My daughter, who read Hallie's book TWICE, will want to know, along with the rest of us.

One of the first things I'm going to do in 2011 is initiate another Writers Challenge on Jungle Red, so stay tuned here and on Twitter at @janbrogan #JRWritefirst -- I'm hoping to finish two books in 2011. That sounds incredibly ambitious, except that I've been working on both of them --one fiction, one non-fiction - for quite some time. I'm especially excited about the non-fiction book, tentatively titled The Combat Zone --about a murder and trials of the 1976 murder of a Harvard football player in Boston's Combat Zone.

On the personal front, the first goal never changes (and I have made SOME progress) CHECK my EMAIL less, and practice guitar more.

HANK: Hallie, when when when? There's something about a new year, right? Where so many wonderful things can happen. (And oh, yes, we've got SUCH a lovely surprise for you! We're so happy!) (And there were clues in my New Year's poem--did you see that?)

As for me--madly juggling day-reporter job and writer-job. Working on some big stories for TV. Working on a new book--but almost afraid to talk about it, why is that?

But, owning it, it's new, it's different, it's a challenge, and I have no idea if it's good. I should know by now, shouldn't I? Since I'm on page 267.

My calendar is filing up like crazy--I'm already having to turn gigs down. Isn't that amazing? San Diego, then NYC for the national board of MWA meeting. And I promise I am going to try to keep a little bit better balance this year. Which I'm going to kick off by taking the red eye home from California. Okay dokey then. I'll start AFTER that.

RHYS: my first priority in the New Year is seeing my orthopaedist tomorrow and hopefully getting this cast off so that I can type again and not rely on battling with a speech program that doesn't always understand me.
I too am absolutely thrilled that our new Jungle Red Writers are two of my favourite people in the mystery world and two of the best writers that I know. Are you all suitably curious now? We should have a sweepstake and hear your guesses on who they are.

As far as my own work is concerned I start a new book the moment this cast comes off, we head back to Phoenix where I can work in peace and I look forward to long walks in the sunshine and desert. Oh, and I do need to lose five pounds too after all those holiday parties. Those parties all made sense in the old days when cakes and puddings and sugar were treats and when one needed the calories to keep warm all winter. Now we should really get together and serve celery intimate juice at our parties (I've left this misspelling in to show you what my program is doing to me -- I said tomato juice)

RHYS: And I would have said that one of my resolutions was like Hank - not to go rushing around so much, to kick back and enjoy life more. But I've just been filling in my new calendar and I see that I'm going somewhere about every two weeks until May. Someone needs to chain me down!

ROSEMARY:...I'm so glad Rhys is not really drinking something called "intimate" juice..

Stop back on Wednesday for a visit from Vito Colucci, author of Inside the Private Eyes of a PI. Vito's been called a "real life blend of Columbo, Kojak and Serpico" and has worked some of the nation's highest profile cases including the Michael Skakel, Jayson Williams and honeymoon widower) George Smith cases. Come back and pick his brain (I have!) and the best question or comment of the day will win a copy of Vito's book.


  1. Celery intimate juice! Rhys--you could make a fortune..

  2. Can I guess? Is one Charlaine Harris?

    Mmm, intimate juice. Sounds like an aphrodisiac, doesn't it? A friend calls her iPhone's tendency to make up words for her "clairnoyance".

    I've also resolved to lose five pounds, and to finally write a book. Yikes!

  3. Love the flashing their talons comment! You guys have many exciting news items here.

    My 2011 kick-off is in full swing. I'm taking Alex Sokoloff's online course on Screenwriting Tips for Authors, and I've enrolled in a (gulp) poetry workshop.

    Karen in Ohio, good for you!

  4. I'm not doing a thing "long-term" until next week. My Only gets married on Saturday. She and her sweet fiance were living here (he in the GUEST room!) while they finished degrees. They now have their first place and have been moving out. I'll finally get "real" office space (for the past ten years, I've been in a glassed-in "Florida" room--freezing in winter, stifling in summer) and my guest room back, which will be filled with out-of-town guests for the weekend.

    First goal of the year is to survive until this time next week. After that? I'm going to finish some projects while pretending my agent isn't shopping the first book in my paranormal crime series around.

    Travel plans are limited to RWA in NYC this year. I have hopes of joining other professional author associations, so extra money is budgeted for that.

    Hallie, be sure to tell us when so I can set the DVR!!!!! Jan, following you on Twitter! (Any other JRWs on twitter besides Hank?) Roberta, I like nothing better than "mystery meat". Can't wait for the new series! Rosemary, enjoy your tenure at MWA/NY. Rhys, keeping fingers crossed on good medical news. I toy with the idea of going to a voice program but with my accent and my tendency to ramble when "writing out loud", I'm not sure it's a viable option. Can't wait to meet the new folks. (I'd love it if Kate Carlisle was one of them. :D )

    Happy New Year, everyone. May you be healthy, wealthy and wise!

  5. I just found out!
    "And Baby Will Fall" is the movie version of "Never Tell a Lie," and it's premiering on the Lifetime Movie Network Sunday, January 23, at 8 PM!

  6. Somehow this year I'm not feeling that exciting "anything is possible" vibe, at least not so far, but some of you are inspiring me to remember it.

    Can't wait for all the new stuff around here - new bloggers, new books, new movie! And in the meantime, I'm finally ready (gulp, I think) to start my agent search in earnest.


  7. Hallie, I'm setting the DVR! How fantastic!!!

  8. I'd like to lose the FIRST five pounds. However, since I'm eating homemade caramel corn as I type this, I suspect this qualifies more as a fantasy than a resolution. Unless, of course, I go on the world famous Celery Intimate Juice diet...