Friday, May 23, 2008

Bruce Hale and suspense

Last night, Bruce Hale, amazing author of the popular Chet Gecko middle-grade mysteries and other books, conducted a teleseminar on putting more suspense in your novel. I really, really wanted to get in on this phone call class.

But, 5:00 pm in my house, especially 5:00 pm the night of the high school swim team banquet, is chaotic and insane.

So, I wait until almost the very last minute to see if I can possibly pull this off.

It's 4:45 pm. I take a deep breath. Yup. I'm going in.

I hop online. I sign up for the class with PayPal. I check my email inbox for instructions. For 5 minutes solid, I hit the refresh key nonstop. Nada. Nothing. Yikes. I waited too long to sign up. I don't know the special phone number. I'm gonna miss the whole thing. Wah.

But wait. I write mysteries. I know about clues and following leads. Surely I can crack The Case of the Missing Teleseminar Phone Number.

I check Bruce's website. Voila. A phone number. Wow. That was quick. I am an excellent detective. I should probably contact the San Diego Police Department and offer my services. After Bruce Hale's talk on suspense, that is.

I dial. A real live person picks up.

"This is Bruce."

Me: (kind of screeching) Bruce Hale? You're Bruce Hale?

Bruce: Yes.

Me: (definitely screeching) Chet Gecko's Bruce Hale?

Bruce: Yes.

Me: (babbling) I almost made it to your signing when you were last in San Diego. But then this thing came up with one of my kids. And I couldn't make it. And, hey, I have a middle-grade mystery coming out with Delacorte Press in December.

Bruce: That's great.

Me: (more babbling) And now I'm trying to get into your teleseminar about suspense and how to make your book unputdownable. And I thought maybe this was the secret phone number. But obviously it isn't because you just picked up. And, anyhow, how secret a number is it if I can fine it online in, like, three seconds?

Bruce: I'm checking my email now. And there you are. Let me tell you the number and the code for the class.

I hang up and call the real secret number. The class was really really good. We learned a variety of strategies for upping the suspense in our novels.

And I'd tell you all about them. But where's the suspense in that? (Oh, come on. Surely you saw that coming. :) )

I will tell you that Bruce is very informative, very humorous, very entertaining. And he's laid back and easygoing. Because look at how cool he was when a screeching babbling female called him out of the blue thinking she'd nailed some secret phone number.

I think I'll email Bruce and let him know how much I appreciated the class.

On second thought, I might as well phone him.

Guess what? Next week, there'll be a mystery guest on this blog. Someone from the dark recesses of my past...

How do you like that for a little suspense?


Anonymous said...

Wow! I think I had a .05-minute of like-blabbering to Rick Riordan at his signing last week, but I'm pretending he didn't notice.

We heard Bruce talk at a school a few years ago--he had the kids rolling with laughter. I agree with you--great writer!

Travis Erwin said...

Dark recesses of your past .. Now I'm wracked with suspense.

Shelli said...

I've never heard of a teleseminar. That's very cool!

Mac and Cheese said...

How cool is Bruce that you can actually get him on the phone just a few minutes before he teaches a class!

alex keto said...

Ah, come on. At least throw us a bone or one helpful tidbit that Bruce offered.

Laura said...

That is so cool...what a neat teleseminar...hope you can use some of his suggestions.

Looking forward to the guest blogger.

Have a great weekend.

Angela said...

Too funny you reached him by phone.
You should call again - for sure!

gabe said...

I've said it before - but I'll say it again. Barrie, you're just so funny!

Beth said...

Oooow, I love dark recessed pasts. Will Bruce be conducting that class again? It sounds great.

Annie said...


What a guy! Looking forward to next week.

Anonymous said...

What a great guy! How funny he actually picked up the phone. I am glad you enjoyed the teleseminar. Sounds like a very valuable teaching tool.
Can't wait to see who your mystery guest did learn new things about suspense from Bruce, you got me wondering.....
Hope your weekend is going great!


Charles Gramlich said...

You are a detective. Sounds like a very nice guy. I'm glad you were able to make it.

painted maypole said...

that's hysterical. I LOVE that he answered the number that's on his website. so cool.

Kellan said...

That's cool that you actually spoke to him - was he just as excited to be speaking to you!!!???

Hope you are having a good weekend - see you - Kellan

Sara Hantz said...

Wow how exciting to actually talk to him on the phone.

Patti said...

i hope one day to get a call like, i'll know how cool to play it.

Christina Phillips said...

How funny Bruce actually answered the phone! Glad you made his teleseminar!

Alyson said...

Hilarious! I'd be just like you, babbling and not knowing what to say.

Bill Clark said...

What a great post! Your karma is obviously in high gear.