Monday, July 27, 2015

Views from the Trail

The SECOND draft is done! Yes, I’ve crawled out of the writing cave yet again.

With a Vengeance has been sent off to my beta readers—fresh eyes to read the entire manuscript straight through. In the meantime, I’m taking two weeks off to do other things. Like blog. And begin outlining the next Zoe Chambers mystery.

And get out in the sunshine!

This weekend, my camera and I hit the bike trail between Ohiopyle and Confluence on a beautiful summer day.

I wasn't the only one enjoying the day. This guy was fly fishing at the confluence of the Casselman River, the Youghiogheny River, and Laurel Hill Creek. My hubby was out there on the Yough (pronounced YAWK) somewhere, too, but this wasn't him.

 Here's a view of Confluence...both the town and the spot where the Casselman comes in from the upper right, is joined by Laurel Hill Creek on the upper left, and merges with the Yough at the bottom of the frame.
Further along the trail, I took a few moments at this little mountain stream, which slices through the wooded hills on its way to the Youghiogheny.

 There were kayakers aplenty on the river.
 The Great Allegheny Passage is an old railroad bed. Across the river, a still-active line carries a lot of train traffic. One train passed while I was taking photos.
 Lots of rafts float the river, too.
I love this abandoned railway trestle over the bike path. Notice how the town's kids have created murals on the supports.
The one sight I didn't photograph was the beautiful, but camera-shy doe, who crossed my path.

I'm glad I took advantage of the day off. And I hope the rest of you take some time to enjoy the view from wherever you are, too.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Coming Up For Air

I have spent much of the last month sitting in front of my computer, writing like a crazed woman. That’s my excuse for not having blogged recently, and I’m sticking to it. However, this past week, I typed two lovely little words (The End), so I’ve resurfaced, albeit briefly, to catch up.

My first bit of news: Circle of Influence has been nominated for the David Award for Best Novel. This announcement came completely without warning. I awoke one morning to congratulatory posts on Facebook.

Let me just say, don’t assume I know about good stuff happening to me. More often than not, I learn about this stuff from Facebook or Twitter friends who bring it to my attention. I did set up a Google Alert for myself once, but it doesn’t seem to work. The only one I ever received was about a particularly scathing review. I can do without being alerted to bad news.

Anyway, I am now registered to attend the Deadly Ink Mystery Convention in New Jersey in August for the awards banquet.

Another bit of news: Bridges Burned was given a fabulous review in Mystery Scene Magazine! Since it was good news, Google Alerts didn’t clue me in on that one either. I subscribe and was eating my lunch and scanning the new issue in blissful ignorance when I turned the page and there I was!

And more recent news: the Zoe Chambers mystery, formerly known as Book #4, now has a title. With A Vengeance. Some titles come easy, some not so much. This one took almost as much thought and research as the book itself. But I love it.

In the process of completing the first draft of With A Vengeance, I pretty much fried my laptop. Last weekend, while hunkered over it, the poor beast starting making terrible sounds and got so hot I expected it—or the table it was sitting on—to burst into flames. Not wishing to lose my manuscript, or even part of it (I do backup religiously), to a computer meltdown, I shut it down and ordered a new machine. However, the new one hasn’t arrived yet, so I’m still using the old one, which of course, is functioning just fine at the moment, thank you very much.  

After taking this weekend to relax and read, I’ll crawl back into my writing cave on Monday to begin revisions.

See you all next time I come up for air!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Malice Post Mortem

What a fabulous weekend. I wish I'd taken more photos, but I was too busy having fun! Therefore, I've had to steal photos from others. Let's say I borrowed them. It sounds better.

Saturday was a blur of nerves and anticipation. I still hadn't slept well and was feeling the effects. Thankfully, I did lay down for a couple of hours after my book signing and dozed a little. It was enough so that I was ready for the banquet.

I love this picture with my Henery Press chicks, Rachel and Erin. Besides, Rachel's sweater and lanyard discretely camouflaged my real waistline, making me look like pretty fab in my new dress! Honestly, I'm not THAT thin!

The fabulous Alice Loweecey sat at my table at the banquet and posed for a buddy shot with me.
Alas I did not win. The Agatha for Best First Novel went to my dear friend Terrie Moran. I'm really thrilled for her! That's the perk of becoming pals with the competition. You're happy no matter who wins.

But I still didn't sleep well Saturday night and was feeling a little rough around the edges Sunday morning. At least I don't think it showed too much for this picture of Joni Langevoort, Ellen Byerrum, me, and Martha Reed modeling our statement necklaces. Mine blends in with my sweater, but trust me, it's there!

Now I'm home. The clock struck midnight for this Cinderella and the ruby slippers have turned back to Muck Boots. Okay, I know I'm mixing my shoe movies, but my slippers were red, not glass. I'm back to being a hardworking writer...and my editor tells me she's very glad for that.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Malice Domestic: FRIDAY

I'm extremely sleep deprived so forgive me if I don't make a lot of sense this morning. 
Friday, preparing to take on the day.

Our New Kids on the Block Panel went well. I'm so honored to be included with this fabulous, witty group of women.

And we really do like each other!

Circle of Influence sightings in the book store.

At Opening Ceremonies, we received our nomination certificates. It's really real!

Today is THE DAY. Breakfast with Sisters in Crime, book signing, and tonight, the Agatha Awards banquet. 

And hopefully, in between there somewhere--a nap.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Countdown to Malice: We're HERE

Martha and I said goodbye to the Mercersburg Inn after a fabulous breakfast and made the final two-hour drive to Bethesda, arriving early afternoon. Once we were checked in, our first stop was Uncle Julio's, an incredible Mexican restaurant we'd visited last year and dreamed about ever since. We were not disappointed. YUM.

Back at the Hyatt, the crowds were gathering and the mystery world's biggest family reunion started kicking off, if not officially (that happen's today).

Four of us Agatha Nominees for Best First Novel met in person for the first time at the bar (of course).

Left to right: Me, Tracy Weber, Terrie Moran, Sherry Harris. Missing from the photo is Susan O'Brien, who arrives today.

Thanks to the fabulous Dru Ann Love for taking the photo--and for telling each of us that we were going to win. #HedgingHerBets.

Today the real adventures begin. My New Kids on the Block panel is at 1:00. Opening Ceremonies are at 5:00 followed by a mixer with the Henery Press crew.

Let the party begin!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Countdown to Malice: Wednesday

My travel buddy, Martha Reed, has family in Mercersburg, PA, which is on the way to Bethesda. She asked if it would be possible for us to leave a day earlier than our original plan so she could see them and attend a function at the school here. She promised to put me up in my own hotel room so I could unwind a bit before the big weekend. Hubby was fine with the plan, so we hit the road this afternoon.

What Martha didn't tell me was the "hotel" was actually the Mercersburg Inn, a Georgian mansion, bed and breakfast. Very historical and lovely.

And we're the only two guests in the house. And we're on separate floors!

It's gorgeous! I hope it's not haunted.

I'm thinking it would be a great location for a writers retreat for our Sisters in Crime back home!

Tomorrow: breakfast and then on to Bethesda and Malice Domestic!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Countdown to Malice Domestic – Monday

After spending the weekend holed up at our camp (for Hubby, it’s The Fishing Camp…for me it’s The Writing Camp), making good progress on the 4th Zoe Chambers Mystery, it’s now officially the Monday Before Malice.

Malice Domestic officially begins on Friday, however my traveling companion (Martha Reed AKA Thelma—or Louise—I can never keep us straight) and I are leaving on Wednesday so she can attend another event in Maryland that evening. This leaves me with very little time to get everything done that needs to be done.

Today’s agenda: Spend the day with Mom, pick up my dry cleaning (my two good jackets for the convention), and pack.

Doesn’t sound like a lot, but the problem is WHAT to pack. Those two jackets, yes. Three pairs of GOOD jeans (my uniform of choice), my fancy dress and red shoes for the Agatha Awards banquet—and then I’m stuck. I can’t decide which tops to wear over the jeans and under the jackets. And which shoes should I pack. I have my two pairs of tried-and-true comfy shoes, but I also need cute-and-painful shoes for the dressier after-hours gigs.

I’ll figure it out. Or I’ll pack fifteen tops and decide what I feel like wearing when I get there.

In the meantime, here’s a shot of my red shoes for the banquet. I know these are going!