Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A dear friend died

Near the end of last week, a dear friend died.

Florence Moyer. Flo.

Flo's next book, MISTLETOE AND MURDER, will be released November 2009 as part of Steeple Hill's Love Inspired Suspense line.

About five years ago, a wonderful writer named Misty Simon started an online loop. Several writers joined. We had different goals, but they were all writing related. People came and went from the loop. Some hung in longer than others. Some posted lots; some posted less.

Eventually, there were only seven of us left. Seven writers who stayed. And got closer. And more supportive. And more of us got published. Over time, we've even developed a odd list of expressions specific just to our group. Our own little loop language.

Flo was an integral part of our little clan. She offered words of wisdom, her wit, her very unique perspective on life. She worked hard at writing. She personified persistence. Flo landed her dream agent. She landed her dream editor. Her writing career solidified. Then, unfortunately, cancer knocked at her door. More like pounded it down.

Some of us have met in real life. I've met two of the members. Not Flo.

None of us has met everyone in the group. Today we decided to rectify that. We're planning a get-together for the summer of 2010. In Portland. We'll spend time remembering Flo. And getting acquainted offline. And writing.

Thank you, Flo, for all that you gave. Your input helped me become the writer I am today. I'll never forget you.


Here's the cover of Flo's November 2009 release.

Click for a tribute to Flo by Kathy Holmes

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Town Monday: Seaport Village

This is a view of Seaport Village from the Embaradero

Seaport Village is a unique shopping area on San Diego Bay.

You park your car in the Seaport Village lot (hint: make sure you get your ticket validated for two hours of free parking, even if it means buying a cup of coffee), then wander along four-ish miles of paths that lead to various free-standing buildings which make up fifty plus shops. There are several restaurants as well. No two stores are alike. For example, there's a kite store, a shell store, a wooden toys stores, a wind chimes store. Oh, and there's a hot sauce store, which figures in I So Don't Do Makeup!

Could a trip to Seaport Village end up being an over-priced bayside shopping experience? Uh, yes. If you let it be.

BUT, you are meandering right next to the water. And there's something exhilarating about that ocean view and air.

AND there's a great grassy area for kite flying.

AND you never know what street performers you'll bump into. Last April, there was a free-of-charge busker festival. (A busker festival features all sorts of street performers from sword swallowers to jugglers to musicians.) At the end of August, there were magic classes for kids. Here's a link to the Events Calendar

This is the sign outside one of my favorite establishments at Seaport Village.

Here's a shot from inside. It really is a terrific bookstore + coffee shop. There are even free board games (like checkers) and tables where you can play.

I always include some time at Seaport Village for my out-of-town visitors.

Seaport Village: West Harbor Drive + Pacific Highway
website for Seaport Village
phone: 619-235-4014.

And now for a little trivia....Here's what says about the verb "to busk":

–verb (used without object)
1. Chiefly British. to entertain by dancing, singing, or reciting on the street or in a public place.
2. Canadian. to make a showy or noisy appeal.

Say what? "To busk" has a different definition in Canada? I must check with my sisters!

I was also going to include more trivia about the "upstart crow." However, I've run out of time. I'll get to it, though. One of these days.

For links to the other MTM participants, please head over to our My Town Monday blog which was set up by Clair Dickson. Also, if you're even mariginally thinking writing a My-Town-Monday post, please do! Join in! We'd love to have you!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When life is not a catastrophe. Yay!

I didn't take this photo. It's from google images. But you'll get the idea from it.

Last night at midnight, my cell phone rang.

Child #1 was still out and about.

The blood coursing through my veins immediately turned to ice water.

Every parent of a driving teen reading this blog can relate. Every parent of a child who will one day be a driving teen can probably too.

Child #1: "Mom, Mom, I hit the median."

Me: "Are you hurt?"

Child #1: "No, but my tire popped."

Me: "Is anyone hurt?"

Child #1: "There's no one else around. But I can't drive home. The rim's wrecked."

Me: "Get out your AAA card and call for a tow truck. I'll wait up."

I think back to my days as a speech pathologist at a San Diego hospital. Back to when I had two guys in their early twenties on my case load. One had wrapped his vehicle around a tree. The other looked away from the road to adjust his car stero and careened into a transport truck.

Both guys were brain damaged. Neither would ever go back to the way he'd been pre car accident.

A popped tire and a bent-out-of-usefulness rim?

So not a catastrophe.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

MyTown Monday: Our Chameleon Cage

For today's My Town Monday post, we're visiting my house. Our veiled chameleons' cage, to be exact.

Because before I went to Oklahoma, something uberly exciting happened here.


I know, it's craaazzzy. She laid 23 eggs at the end of May. There are only 5 healthy eggs left from this first batch. The 42 eggs from this second batch look plumper and healthier. She's laying eggs about every 3 months. Holy Color-Changing Reptile!

She was a little cranky with the male for a couple of days before THE EVENT. See the blue robin-eggish spots which indicate pregnancy.

Here is her very fat tummy. Not including her tail, she's about 5 inches long. We still can't believe she had 42 eggs tucked in there.

Child #2 and Child #4 fill a five-gallon flower pot with sand from our sandbox. They stir in water for a damp mixture.

She begins to dig. It takes her 7.5 hours to dig a tunnel, disappear into it, lay 42 eggs, climb back out of the tunnel and smooth it over. (It took her 9.5 hours to lay her first batch of 23 eggs. So, she's definitely speeding up now that she knows what she's about.)

After digging down about 8 inches, Child #2 finds the first layer of eggs. Here he is setting them carefully in vermiculite in a deli dish.

Our incubator is full! With FORTY-SEVEN eggs (5 from the first batch + 42 from this second batch). Child #2 has started planning how he'll spend his riches. Each baby fetches $25 from our local reptile pet store.

Here's the proud papa. Not really. He slept through her whole ordeal.

For links to the other MTM participants, please head over to our My Town Monday blog which was set up by Clair Dickson. Thank you Clair! I'll be back to a regular kind of post next Monday, but I couldn't resist sharing the good news.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I So Don't Do Spooky BOOK TRAILER!!

The biggest hugest thank-you to Bookworm who made this book trailer. Just made it as a surprise for me and then posted it on YouTube and on her blog. How incredibly wonderful it that?!

I'm in Oklahoma doing school presentations and participating in an author panel for EncycloMedia (a conference for educators).

I'm showing this beautiful, fun, snappy, excellent book trailer to everyone who will watch it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Town Monday: Surprise!!!

Guess where I was on Monday?

Not San Diego. Not L.A. Not Toronto.

Give up?

I was in LAMAR, OK for an all-day-long school visit at their K-12 school. MOSS Public School.

(Actually, I just Googled Moss School and the address is in Holdenville, which means I don't, uh, know EXACTLY where I was. Not unusual for me!)

What can I tell you about Moss? With their elementary school and high school combined, they have a student population of a little under 300. They have a great reputation for sports. They have hardworking students and staff. They offer both breakfast and lunch. They have tons of school spirit.

What else?


The students were amazing listeners and asked great questions.

Look at these students. You can just tell they're a terrific bunch!

A brave volunteer

The teachers were helpful and friendly and...

they had a luncheon for me with delicious food! I could've eaten until I popped.

This is one of the beautifully-decorated tables laden with scrumptious food.

Here are some of the delightful Moss teachers.

More wonderful Moss teachers

You know you've "arrived," when you're allowed access to this room... ;)

I was thrilled to hang out at Moss, presenting to students, chatting with students and staff. T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D!

Not just because everyone was fun and kind and interested in books and reading and Sherry.

I have a special connection of the heart to this rural Oklahoman school.

Look whose senior picture is hanging in the hallway of Moss High School?

My DH's. Awwwww... (Yes, he's had a serious hairstyle change.)


Thank you Mrs. MItchell for donating your classroom and your techie expertise! Thank you Principal Cartwright for setting up this visit! Thank you staff and students for being so warm and welcoming!

For links to the other MTM participants, please head over to our My Town Monday blog which was set up by the lovely and talented Clair Dickson.

p.s. Thank you to my psychic niece for getting me safely to Moss. And for loaning me her deodorant. Ack. Too much info!

Oh, yeah, and thanks for manning the clicker during the powerpoint presentation.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

And we have a cover!

Yes, we have a final cover for...


I So Don't Do Makeup--Book #3 in the Sherry Holmes Baldwin humorous middle-grade/tween mystery series will be in bookstores, May 11, 2010

And, in case you've been tossing and turning at night, worrying that you're not in the know, here you go...

I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES--Book #1, paperback version, Nov. 10, 2009

A girl. A guy. A ghost. A heist. Yikes!
Meet reluctant sleuth Sherry Holmes Baldwin!

I SO DON'T DO SPOOKY--Book #2 in the series, hardback,
in stores December 8, 2009.
(Which is practically right around the corner. Ack!)

Sherry Holmes Baldwin is baaack!! Sherry and her ghost mother team up in a new mystery involving The Ruler (Sherry's stepmom) and a stalker. It's scary. It's spooky. It's fun. Oooooo.
(And for those of you have emailed, yes, Josh is back too!)

All these books are available for pre-order.

In the U.S.: amazon and Barnes and Noble

In Canada: Chapters Indigo

And so as not to leave out any of the covers: Book #1, hardback version, is currently available all over the place.

Many thank-yous for indulging me this blatant self-promotion post. At least you know I don't do this very often. ;)

End of commercial.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Town Monday: La Jolla, CA

It's been a long, long hot summer. By last Friday, my kids had been off for ONE HUNDRED NINE DAYS. That's A LOT of togetherness! And, while my children are decidedly adorable, a mother needs to know when to stamp her little flip-flopped foot and say, "Enough is enough."

So...I called four very good friends and arranged for an Evening of Escape to La Jolla, a super affluent, San Diego community. An Evening of Escape involves adult conversation, fancy food, umbrella drinks, a sea breeze, beautiful views and a stroll along boutique-lined streets. I wish you all could've joined us.

La Jolla is so affluent even the trash cans are pretty.

Here we are, posed in front of our new friend, the Half-Naked Mermaid Statue.

We chose a restaurant with an ocean view. To the right, we could see La Jolla Shores.

To the left, we could see La Jolla Cove.

At this particular restaurant, half-priced appetizers and happy-hour drinks were available on the patio, but were full price in the main restaurant. We, uh, chose a table on the patio.

BTW, this is not an unusual arrangement in La Jolla restaurants. So, if it's Happy Hour when you're picking a watering hole, keep in mind that prices can vary depending on where you sit.

Anyway, we ordered 9 of the 19 appetizers (that's 47.4% for you detail-oriented readers) on the Patio Menu, which turned out to be more than enough dinner for the six of us. My favorite was the Ahi Tuna Poke. I do have a love affair going with raw tuna. Second was the Slow Braised Short Ribs. Third was the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail. Fourth was the Mongolian Beef Flat Bread.

Anyway, everyone had the opportunity to taste everything. A few prejudiced, I-like-my-food-cooked people skipped the Ahi Tuna Poke. All in all, we had a delish dinner and drinks for under $20 a person. In La Jolla.

Here's the shrimp cocktail. You can't tell from the picture, but the bowl of sauce is sitting on a lemon slice. Very cute presentation.

That, my dear bloggy friends, concludes this week's My Town Monday post. And now I am hungry.

For links to the other MTM participants, please head over to our My Town Monday blog which was set up by the lovely and talented Clair Dickson.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Book Review Club (September 2009)

Are you sitting down? Nice and comfortable? A coffee and a cookie nearby? Ready to delve into some great book reviews as we head into the fall? Good. You're in the right place. Welcome to the EIGHTH (I know, it's incredible!) meeting of The Book Review Club. And we're just in time for September 6 which is Read a Book Day and for Banned Books Week (September 26-Oct 3)!

I'm going to hop right into my review because there are links to terrific reviews below, and I want leave you time to check them out. know how sometimes you're craving a piece of chocolate? And the more you try not to think of it, the more it's on your mind. And, eventually, you just give in, find the treat and enjoy.

In book terms, a Perry Mason mystery is that chocolate treat for me. Luckily, last month I picked up a copy of the 1969, 12th printing (it was first pubbed in 1943), 75-cent, paperback edition of Perry Mason Solves the Case of the Buried Clock and stuck in on my bookshelf. So, when the craving hit, I was prepared.

Here's the CBS logline from the just-under-an-hour episode based on this book. It aired Nov. 11, 1958.

A camera’s flash triggered by a buried clock figures into a murder case, where the chairman of a bank is accused of killing his son-in-law

What do I love about Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason books?

-I love reading the Cast of Characters. For example, the Buried Clock has Adele Blane, "who always looked five years younger or twenty years older" and Vincent P. Blain, who is "Father of Adele and Milicent, rich, charming, dignified, worried."

-I love the dated language. Like: "I sure led with my chin on that one." Like: "That's the kind of cur he is."

-I love knowing little details about Perry Mason, such as his love of a good steak, how he keeps his cigarettes in a humidor, how he walks with a long-legged gait. And don't even get me started on his ever-cool secretary, Della Street.

-And I adore the wrap-up courtroom scene where the brilliant Mr. Mason unveils the murderer and ties up all the loose ends.

To finish off, here are a few interesting facts about the author, Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970): He got kicked out of law school after about a month for fighting. He worked as a typist in a law office, studied law BY HIMSELF, then took the bar and PASSED. He hung out a shingle at THE AGE OF 21 YEARS in Merced, CA. He practiced law until 1933 when The Case of the Velvet Claws was published. He wrote under his own name and SEVEN pseudonyms. He loved the courtroom and steak. He married his longtime secretary (as in, she worked for him for over THIRTY years) when he was SEVENTY-NINE and she was SIXTY-SIX. I think they were waiting for his first wife to die. (I pulled these author facts from a previous post on this blog. So, if they sound familiar, no, you're not going crazy.

Below are links to a bunch of wonderful reviews. Please, please, please hop around and visit. Oh, and HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Reviewer Keri Mikulski who just landed a FOUR book deal with Razorbill/Penguin. I'm sure one of us will be reviewing her first book in spring 2011!


Thao of serene hours: CRAZY BEAUTIFUL by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: GO ASK ALICE by Anonymous

Kaye of the Book Review Forum: THE SEIGE OF MACINDAW by John Flanagan (book #6 in the Rangers Apprentice series)

Stacy Nyikos: WEEDFLOWER by Cynthia Kadohata (middle grade)

Jody Feldman: THE PUZZLING WORLD OF WINSTON BREEN by Eric Berlin (middle grade)

Keri Mikulski: SAMANTHA HANSEN HAS ROCKS IN HER HEAD by Nancy Viau (middle grade)


Sarah Laurence: THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC by Richard Russo (literary fiction)

Kathy Holmes: RED, WHITE AND DEAD by Laura Caldwell (mystery series)

Scott Parker: THE WAY HOME by George Pelecanos (crime)

Patti Abbott: OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout

Jenn Jilks of My Reflections: THE BEST LAID PLANS by Terry Fallis (winner of the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour)

Beth Yarnall: OBSIDIAN PREY by Jayne Castle (AKA Jayne Ann Krentz)(paranormal futuristic romance)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'es-do-well: THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE by Stieg Larsson (mystery, 2nd in the Millenium series)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE ACTOR AND THE HOUSEWIFE by Shannon Hale (humorous women's fiction)


Zu Vincent of Through the Tollbooth:TRUE NOTEBOOKS: A WRITER'S YEAR AT JUVENILE HALL by Mark Salzman

And that, folks, sums it up for September's meeting! Reviewers--if I didn't link to you, please leave me a comment and I'll fix the error right away. My kids are still home for the summer and I'm a bit frazzled.