Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tell Us One Wonderful Thing!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: It’s been a rollercoaster week for the Reds. Each us of us has had wonderfully amazing things happen—and had deep sorrows and losses and illness. And that is life, I guess, and I am so honored to be part of this dear Reds family. And a big question for you coming up below.

My week? Along with my ridiculous cold and pre-event hideous allergy attack (but all fine and show went on just swell, thanks to  goodness and allergy pills) WHAT YOU SEE is getting AMAZING reviews: “superb,” says Oline Cogdill,  “Flawlessly done” says Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore, “With echoes of Dennis Lehane at his level best,” says the Providence Journal, and “Drop everything and pick up this book!" says Associated Press. (You can do that here.)

So I am on the road, and HAPPY and crazed. Audiences at my signings are FABULOUS and I am so grateful. (Sunday at Book Carnival in Orange County, and Tuesday at Poisoned Pen! See you there?) 

Thursday I headlined with Tess Gerritsen and BA Shapiro.

 Lookit the crowd!

 And last night Susan and I had a signing together at Jabberwocky Books in Newburyport! It was fantastic.

(We seem to employ similar gestures. Love that!) And it was an amazing night. Thank you, owner Sue Little! And the terrific Connie Hambley and Donald Bain's daughter Laurie were in the house!

But here’s one thing I could not have predicted.  This was the signing in Indianapolis.

See the woman in the front row, in kind of the middle, in a gray jacket with a scarf? That is my High School home ec teacher! In 1966!  Mrs. Teeter came to my event at the Carmel Library, and joined about 65 others to celebrate WHAT YOU SEE.  But I celebrate Mrs. Teeter. She must be what, 90 now? And she remembered me totally. Aw.

I said to her—I loved home ec! But, I confessed, I can tell you now, fifty years later, I did not really enjoy the baked bean burgers you taught us to make. Nor was I a big fan of your tuna pizza.

She allowed as how they weren’t her favorites either.

But you taught me how to sew! I cried. And really, almost cried.

And  then I remembered my skirt. We had to make skirts, and Mrs. Teeter had told us a gathered skirt was the easiest.

So I decided to do pleats. Of course.

She also warned us not to choose a fabric that was plaid, or had any kind of one-way-only design, because it was really difficult to match the seams.

 HA! I thought. No problemo.

Problemo! Mrs. Teeter and I reminisced about the skirt I made, which was beautiful, and the pleats actually worked, EXCEPT the one-way pattern (which included little fringe) was right side up on the front, but wrong side upon the back.  Sigh. Can you imagine? Don't, actually.

I will never forget that, and from the look on her face, she hadn’t forgotten either! I guess I was a lesson for her future classes.

But how sweet is that moment? And how amazing of her to come.
So let’s focus on the great things, the sweet things, the memorable things.

What wonderful thing—one wonderful thing!—happened to you this week?

Friday, October 30, 2015

YAY FAYE! (Kellerman, of course!)

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  How many authors are on your must-read list? We reds dare to wager that Faye Kellerman is one of them! Her newest book, THE THEORY OF DEATH is out right now—and here, by the numbers, are three fabulous things. One: a brief but insightful interview sent to us by Kaye herself!]

Two: Faye will be there throughout the day answering your questions! YAY!

And if you needed more? She’s giving away TWO books! So leave a comment and you are entered. Whoo hoo. Thank you, Faye!)

So since the book is THE THEORY OF DEATH and has a big math theme—lets talk numbers! How did you do in math? And do you feel the same way now?

But first—a little chat with Faye herself--!

*What's your writing routine like?

I usually write in the morning and early afternoon but I can write anytime. I I find that I've usually finished up in 3 to 4 hours. It's never a  perfect first draft but I have something on paper that I can edit the next morning.

*You've written over 25 books about Decker and Lazarus, how do you find new ideas for the series and what's been the most challenging part of writing these characters over the year?

I try to keep the characters fresh by putting them in novel situations and seeing how the react. It is challenging because you've used up a number of plot ideas and words and phrases. But life is long and things come to me. I'll tell you one thing. You can't write stranger than life. There is a world of weird things out there!

*How much research was involved in THE THEORY OF DEATH?

I was a math major so I really enjoyed this book. The challenge was to find the right math to fit the plot and then make it accessible  I hope I did that. And I hope I wasn't too far gone with my theories. 

*What can fans look forward to in your latest release?

It's coming out October 27th. My granddaughter's birthday. We're doing a mini tour in Cherry Hill, NJ, St. Louis and Atlanta as well as a couple of stops in Orange County. I hope to see and meet some of the fans. 

*What’s next for you?
I'm working on the next Decker/Rina novel for release in 2016 and also a stand alone novel that I hope to get out in 2016 or 2017. Lots of books: so little time.

HANK: Wow. What a schedule! So hey, Reds—let’s hear about your math days. (Or daze..…)  And what would you like to ask the fabulous Faye?

   Now living in upstate New York, former LAPD lieutenant Peter Decker is plunged into a bizarre web involving academia, underworld crime, and calculating killers in this compulsive novel in New York Timesbestselling author Faye Kellerman’s beloved Decker and Lazarus series.

Former LAPD lieutenant Peter Decker is relishing the quiet and slow pace of his new job with the Greenbury police department. The work is low stress and engaging, and it’s been almost a year since the last murder in this sleepy upstate New York town.

Then the body of a nude man is found deep within the woods, shattering Decker’s peace. The death appears to be a suicide—a single shot to the head, the gun by his side. But until the coroner’s ruling, the scene must be treated as a suspicious crime. Without any personal effects near the body, Decker must dig to uncover his identity, a task made difficult by the department’s tight budget and limited personnel. Luckily, Decker gets some unexpected help when his friend and former Greenbury colleague Tyler McAdams calls, looking for a quiet place to study for his law finals.

The investigation takes Decker and McAdams to Kneed Loft College, where they must penetrate the indecipherable upper echelons of mathematics and mathematical prodigies. Beneath the school’s rarified atmosphere they discover a sphere of scheming academics, hidden cyphers—and most dangerous of all—a realm of underworld crime that transforms harmless nerds into cold, calculating evil geniuses. It will take all of Decker’s experience and McAdams’s brains to penetrate enigmatic formulas and codes and solve a dark, twisted crime devised by some brilliant and depraved masterminds.

Faye Kellerman lives with her husband, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cn U TXT Me Now?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  So I'm at my computer, in my study, happily writing away. My timer is set for 30 minutes. I am doing it! Yay! And then, from the dining room, PING! Someone has sent me a text.

I ignore it.

PING! The thing pings again, of course, because I didn't instantly answer it.

So, I'm thinking about texting. Yeah, its great for "I can't find you!" or "I am in the third row by the exit door. See me waving?"   Or "I'm late! Sorry!"  Or  "No onions, okay?" All good.

But the demanding tone of that ping drives me crazy. ANSWER ME NOW, it insists. And then we know the people on the other end are standing there, waiting for you to answer them because they want to talk to you, but if you can't talk to them right then--for very good reasons, whatever they are--then people are concerned, or upset, or annoyed. The other day in Florida, someone said to me--"I texted you! And you didn't answer. Are you okay?"

Am I okay? Yeah, I am okay, but I didn't want to answer right then. Because I was in the shower, and I missed it, and then I didn't instantly check for shower-time texts. I don't mean to sound cranky--do I sound cranky? I am truly not cranky. I am just wondering about the tyranny of texting.

Maybe I simply have to get used to it. Like the phone. I can EASILY easily ignore the phone. Maybe I have to learn to ignore texts. And texts have built-in messaging, right? Because when you text, you automatically leave a message!

So, yeah, brilliant. That's the answer. Think of a text as "leaving a message." And that the textee will get back to you asap. Really they will.

Reds, do you text? What do you think about it? Answer me NOW!

RHYS BOWEN: My granddaughter aged thirteen is the only one in her class who is not allowed her own phone. Recently her friend said to her "You are so lucky not to have a phone. You don't have to put up with all the drama. If someone texts me and I don't answer right away she gets so miffed."

I find texts really useful for updates, finding each other, as Hank said, but I rarely get or receive texts apart from that. And since I leave my cell phone in my purse when I'm home, a text can be three hours old and unanswered.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: The Tyranny of the Text--I love it! But not the text itself. I switched off the push email on my phone because the constant pinging drove me bonkers. It only takes a few seconds to check email if you think there might be something important. But you can't just switch off texts, because that's the whole point, right? It might be something important. But half the time when I'm out and about I don't hear them, so I tell my family if it's really important, CALL ME. And I hate auto correct, so texting is sometimes useful but not fun. When I'm writing I put the phone in the other room...

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING:  I used to put the phone on silent
when I worked, but then I would worry I was missing something important. So I downloaded tunes and gave each family member their own ring tone - easy to tell if it was The Boy needing a ride back from practice or something I could ignore for the time being. Of course now, my kids all text me, and I haven't figured out how to give them their own text tones. Is it even possible? Anyway, I agree with you, Hank. Texting is like leaving a message, as is voice mail: the person calling or texting can expect a response when it's convenient for me.

It sounds selfish, but I'm not going to text when I'm driving, or writing, or making dinner, or spending time with my husband. And I'm not going to return a call when I'm tired or distracted or when my head is stuffed with All The Things I Have To Do. I'm getting to the point where I'd much rather Skype than call, anyway. Am I the only person whose hand and arm gets cramped when talking for a long time on a cell phone? Did you ever think you would miss those clunky phone receivers, the kind you can tuck against your shoulder? Am I actually 88 years old? (Probably.)

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: I have my phone's ringer off most of the time, but check it during regular intervals — really only for texts from the Kiddo. (Although texts range from "Went to the nurse because of asthma" to "Bored right now." Hubby and I text during the day to check in and also coordinate who's doing what after school and the dinner plans (who's cooking what, who's picking up what). My agent texts sometimes, because she knows I get things/do things faster with a text than a phone message. Basically, no one I know talks on the phone -- it's all texting and emailing now. Oh, except for Skype -- yes, Julia, Skype is great! I'm in Kansas City, MO on tour right now and Skype is a great way to keep in touch with the family! I love it when the cats will walk over the keyboard....

HALLIE EPHRON: I'm like Pavlov's dog when that text bell chimes... salivating for some exciting tidbit. The only people who text me are my kids and it's usually with a grandkid picture. But how did we ever travel without it? Three nights ago I flew into Newark and my sweet son-in-law was picking me up and we found each other by texting (I was at departures passenger pickup and he was at arrivals passenger dropoff.)

Also great for when you're meeting someone and one of you is running late... though am I the only one who thinks the ability to text makes it 'ok-er' to be late?

HANK: Oh, SO true! As if typing out  "traffic :-( " or "runninglate" makes it okay.  I guess it's the good news and the bad news. Because at least you know, and can stop worrying.

 I got a text the other night, when I was almost asleep.  I answered because it pinged, for gosh sake, and I adore her. Then she texted back: Wht R U doing awake?

How about you, reds and readers? Are you text-happy? Or R U NAF?  (Not a fan...)