Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Resolution: Fight the Green-Eyed Beast

New Years Resolution Time!

As usual, I've got a few. I might share others down the road, but the one I want to discuss today is envy. I'm swearing it off again. Yes - again. Attached below is a post I wrote in 2009, which was the last time I gave this subject serious consideration. At the time, I wanted two things very badly, and it was causing me considerable angst, sucking up my concentration and leaving me with a restless, edgy malcontent that wasn't much fun for me or anyone around me.

Interestingly, I eventually got both those things - after a fashion. Nothing we long for  ever turns out to be exactly what we expect, does it? - and I suppose there's a lesson there for another day.

I am one of the most determined and relentless people I've ever met, so my argument against envy doesn't have anything to do with futility. I truly believe we can have almost anything we truly want - which makes it very important to choose wisely.

The list of things I want on the cusp of the new year looks a little different than my four-years-ago list. The big things don't change (my children's happiness, satisfying work and enough money to live on, time with my friends) but the sparkly treasures which beckon on the other side of the fence do. I think I have extraordinary taste - it's not sports cars or granite countertops or collagen injections that I covet - but unfortunately, even the most gorgeously-spun daydreams don't justify rearranging the universe.

I think it's important to let God/Fate/whatever have His/its hand in the unveiling, too. So I humbly pledge to try to give up the clamoring and demanding and grasping, and allow the pebbles to roll down the hill on their own. There's bound to be a pretty one in there somewhere.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
There have been only two times in my life when I’ve really struggled with envy. Or more precisely, with wanting what I couldn’t have.

The first was during my teen years. I wanted just about everything that other people had. Specifically, I wanted larger breasts, and to be shorter. I coveted other girls’ clothes, boyfriends, Bonne Belle lip gloss, and so on. Aristotle calls envy “pain at the good fortune of others,” and as I looked around at my peers, every flawless complexion, every new pair of wood-platform Bare Traps, every fresh-minted couple making out outside the band room seemed conjured specifically for my torment.

Time passed. I left my central-Missouri town, that hotbed of unrequited longing, and as I made my way in the world, enough of my cards came up aces that I enjoyed a few decades of relative serenity with my lot. I certainly reaped a bigger haul of life’s bounty than I ever anticipated, at least when it came to material stuff. And I also figured out the very valuable lesson that about 95% of what we end up with is in our control. In a general sense, I figured out what I wanted and set out to get it, and tried to remember to be grateful.

Now I’ve bumped up against the demon again. There are two things I want badly and I can’t figure out how to get my hands on them.

In the first case, I might well be able to have the thing, but there’s a ramp-up that I’d rather skip over, a worthiness I haven’t worked hard enough to develop. I want this thing now, perseverance and temperance be damned.

In the second case, I have no justification for my desires at all. This thing belongs to someone else and there’s no case to be made that I deserve it. I didn’t do anything to earn it. And I can’t have it. Period.

And that knowledge burns. Oh, it burns. Author Joseph Epstein writes: “Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all.” Did he ever hit that nail on the head: go out and commit a little gluttony, lust, or greed, and at least you’ll have some good memories while you’re doing penance.

But envy? It feels like shit. There’s that hollow-gut emptiness, that giddy–with-no-outlet frustration, layered liberally with shame, because, come on, it’s not very nice to want to play with other people’s toys. (Remember how repugnant Woody Allen’s “the heart wants what it wants” justification was?)

The traditional punishment for envy, when one arrives in Hell to do one’s time, is submersion in freezing water. In Dante's Purgatory, envy-ers get their eyes sewn shut with wire. Neither sounds like much fun, but truly, living with envy is its own punishment – it’s the only sin to come with a handy boil-in bag. If you believe in a vindictive God, you probably hear Him laughing as you writhe with envy.

I know of only one cure for envy: time. Eventually you’ll either want something else even more (probably not a sign of karmic improvement) or you’ll rise above, immersing yourself in rewarding philanthropy or a consuming hobby, or become a Buddhist or something.

Neither, unfortunately, holds the least appeal for me at the moment. I prefer to just sit here and suffer.

Shakespeare is credited with the “green-eyed monster” phrase, though technically he was speaking of jealousy. (Our linguistic sloppiness has mired the two concepts in hopeless confusion, but jealousy is usually a 3-person deal where envy concerns 2 people plus a thing.)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

In honor of the occasion I thought I'd share a photo from the archives, in which I am wearing a holiday vest, for which I think I should get more points than just an ordinary reindeer sweater. (Though I probably owned one of those too.)

And this is me now. The baby from the first picture grew up to be my beautiful girl, as you can see, and her brother's bighearted and strong. That's enough blessings for anyone, and I wish you your own generous helping of Christmas magic and peace in the new year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

HORIZON - picked for B&N's Best Apocalyptic Fiction

I have been lucky enough to receive a number of really sterling reviews in my time, but this one is on another order entirely, and I just had to preserve it here, so I can look back on it in the future on those tough days when I'm feeling less than brilliant.

I think most authors would agree that the most satisfying feeling is when a reader "gets" you - when they respond to your work exactly as you'd hoped they would, riding the emotional wave that you unleashed when you started the first page. Paul Goat Allen has been that reader for me, and I'm grateful from the bottom of my heart.  Here's an excerpt from his post:

The Best Apocalyptic Fiction Releases of 2012

The Aftertime trilogy is Littlefield’s magnum opus – just a timeless, towering work of apocalyptic fiction.”

Read the full text here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Get Me While I'm Cheap!!

Hey darlin's - - been wanting to experience a little Littlefield for yourself, but don't have a lot of scratch? Well, now's the time to strike...

  - AFTERTIME is the Kindle Scie-Fi/Fantasy Daily Deal for $1.99

AND this is the last few days that you can get BLOOD BOND for $1.99.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sharing Failure

A while back, the New York Times ran a piece by Sarika Bansal titled "The Power of Failure." The idea that we learn and grow from failure is certainly not new, but something Ms. Bansal said resonated for me. She was quoting a woman who runs a nonprofit:

“Not talking about [failure] is the worst thing you can do, as it means you’re not helping the rest of the organization learn from it. It gives [the failure] a power and a weight that’s not only unnecessary, but damaging.”  

This was on my mind as I was thinking about several friends who've enjoyed phenomenal success this year, hitting major publishing milestones that have made them the envy of the book world. Only because I know them personally am I aware that in every case, they struggled and suffered mightily along their path. To a one, they became so demoralized - by poor sales, dropped contracts, caustic reviews, professional jealousy, etc. - that they considered quitting. Series ended; proposals were rejected. In short, before they succeeded, they failed spectacularly.

Their stories are not mine to tell. But I have wondered how many discouraged authors would benefit from hearing that our idols did not experience unfettered ascent to fame and fortune.

The New York Times article suggested an interesting resource, a blog called Admitting Failure. You can read others' stories here or add your own. But I advocate starting smaller. Pick a trusted friend and talk about your failure experience, resisting, if you can, the urge to edit or put a positive face on the event. Talk about how it made you feel in the moment - and how you felt about it several days or months or years later.

What I've discovered is that the more hurtful, embarrassing, and even shaming a failure was in the past, the prouder I feel of having endured and survived it now - and the more likely I am to have learned from it.  Naturally, that feeling is heightened if I later succeeded in a related endeavor - like finally publishing after being rejected many times - but it's also true even if I never succeeded.

For instance, I was never a good manager of people. I tried - I tried with a lot of heart, I must say - when I managed a small technical group at Northwestern University many years ago. But where others lead with intuition and grace, every conflict and disagreement felt acutely painful to me, and my efforts to resolve them clumsy. I did my best to learn and apply techniques of good management, but I have to believe that everyone was relieved when I finally gave up that role.

Still, when I think of the most difficult moments - performance evaluations where I spoke truthfully and was not supported by my superiors, disciplinary measures that resulted in acts of defiance, an accusation of racism against me, and - memorably - an occasion when an employee of mine told me that I reminded me of the nuns in the orphanage where he grew up and asked me if I had bugged his phone - I am proud of myself for having tried. I just wish that I had felt more comfortable talking about those experiences with others.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor...through Lucy's eyes

Next February, my novel GARDEN OF STONES will be released. In the coming months I'll be talking more about the research I did into the Japanese American experience in World War II. I did not anticipate how deeply it would affect me, nor how much time I would spend "inside the head" (a phrase I don't especially care for, but I don't know how else to express it) of my characters.

Lucy Takeda was fourteen years old on December 7th of 1941. She was aware that something was brewing in her neighborhood, but in the manner of teenagers everywhere - especially those who live in relative comfort, protected by their parents from the harsher realities of the world - she was occupied with her friends, school, and boys and gave little thought to the possibility of war.

On that Sunday morning over seventy years ago - which would have been  warm and pleasant in Los Angeles - Lucy's father felt ill, so her mother allowed her to go to church with a neighbor family. Bored by the sermon, Lucy's mind wanders ; then the doors to the church are abruptly flung open and the world will never be the same for any of the Japanese Americans in the congregation.

A bit of that scene is included below. Meanwhile, here are a few images that I find arresting; the black and white photography gives a surreal, almost quaintly cinematic quality to the pictures.

* * * * * from GARDEN OF STONES * * * * * 
On Saturday Renjiro wasn’t feeling well. The next morning, he stayed in his dressing gown to read the paper, and Miyako told Lucy that if she liked, she could go to church with the Koga family from down the street.
Lucy welcomed the chance to sit in one of the pews up front between the young Koga children, her hands folded on her lap as she stole glances around the congregation, knowing she was being admired. Rarely did a week go by without someone stopping her family outside the church to tell her parents how beautiful and well-mannered Lucy was, how much she resembled Miyako. And Lucy knew that she would receive even more compliments than usual after she spent the service seated between the squirming Koga boys, helping their mother keep them quiet.
She wore her navy coat with frog closures and her patent shoes and combed her hair until it shone. Lucy knew she was a beautiful girl, but for some reason this impressed adults even more than the other children in her class. Maybe it was because she had grown up with many of them, seeing each other every day. Now that she was fourteen, Lucy thought she could see signs of maturity in her face when she looked in her mother’s vanity mirror—a narrowing of her cheeks, an arch in her brow that more closely echoed her mother’s. Lucy wasn’t particularly vain, but she had observed her mother carefully enough to know that beauty was a tool that could be used to get all sorts of nice things. The best fish in the case at the market, say; or a seat on the trolley on days when it was crowded.
As the reverend came to the end of one of his long and boring sermons and the congregation stood to sing the hymn, Lucy kept her eyes downcast as though she were praying. In reality, she was staring at Mrs. Koga’s brown pump, noting smugly how dowdy the plain, unadorned shoe was compared to the dressy high-heeled pairs in her mother’s closet. Lucy’s feet were still smaller than her mother’s, but soon they would be able to share—if she could convince Miyako that she was old enough for heels. By the age of fifteen, surely? These were the thoughts she was entertaining when the doors at the back of the church creaked open and two anxious figures burst inside, interrupting the listless singing of “Faith of our Fathers.”
Later she would remember the unfamiliar words repeated over and over by the adults all around her, Pearl Harbor and torpedo and casualties—but in the confusion inside the church all Lucy could think about was that some unknown disaster had taken place and she was here, daydreaming, thinking selfish thoughts while her parents were over a mile away by themselves, her father ill and her mother barely able to take care of either of them. It was the first time Lucy understood that it would fall to her to help them if something bad had happened, the first time she realized that in some ways, her childhood was already far behind her.

Text Copyright © 2013 by Sophie Littlefield
Cover Art Copyright © 2013 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved.
® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

BLOOD BOND - $1.99 for a few more days

Yikes! Just got word that the promotional price on BLOOD BOND will be expiring in less than two weeks. For now, you can get it for $1.99 at all the usual locations (links available at my web site).

Here's a sample of reader comments so far:

“A finely-crafted, character-driven novel that should appeal to a wide range of readers.” – Badass Book Reviews

“I was wondering how a white female author would be able to portray a male Pakistani detective and I am glad to say that she does an amazing job! Brilliant plotting keeps the story moving forward at the perfect pace.” – Mysteries Etc.

“Joe Bashir is relatable and likeable. And he’s hot. Give Blood Bond a go, and find a new character to love.” – Tez Says

....and you can read an interview where I discuss the book here, at BOLO Books.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Booklist Review of GARDEN OF STONES

Just got my Booklist review, and I'm pretty delighted with it!

Issue: December 1, 2012

Garden of Stones
Littlefield, Sophie
Feb 2013.

Suspense, mystery, and love drive the intricate plot in this moving drama of women in a Japanese American family over the course of three generations. In 1978, Patty is preparing for her wedding when her mother, Lucy Takeda, is accused of murdering a man in her neighborhood. Locals say they could identify Lucy by her horrifying facial deformity. Back to 1942, after Pearl harbor, when Lucy, 14, is called "Jap" at school, and even her best friend avoids her. Lucy cannot speak Japanese; to her, we means Americans. But she and her beautiful widowed mother, Miyako, are forced from home in Los Angeles and imprisoned in the Manzanar concentration camp. Life in the camp is a big part of the story - the grim forced labor in Block Fourteen, the dust and heat and overflowing toilets, and also the sexual abuse that Miyako suffers. How far will she go to save her daughter? Patty sees photo albums with images of her gorgeous grandmother and mother. What happened to Lucy? The shocking revelation is unforgettable. 

- Hazel Rochman


A while back I shared the news that my AFTERTIME series with Harlequin Luna will be re-released in the spring of 2013. Today I got the go-ahead to share the first of the amaaaaazing new covers.

Sugar, you've never seen AFTERTIME like this....

I can't even tell you how much I love this. Pretty much everyone's been stunned into silence over the concept the art department came up with. I guess that's bragging, except I didn't have a thing to do with it. I haven't received my copies yet, but when I do I'll do a little giveaway.

For more information about the book, including some really great reviews and award nominations it picked up when it was first released, go here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Little Bribes

How do you trick yourself into getting your words done? Because we all do that, right? I don't believe there's a writer out there who doesn't sit down each day with a frisson or soupcon or smidge or enormous steaming cauldron of dread, convinced this is the day when the magic ends, the inspiration runs dry.

But you either make yourself do it or you don't.

Lots of us choose the latter route, sometimes for years. It's been a while since I discussed the six-year (!!!) dry spell I had, when I did more whining than writing. But yeah, that happened.

Eventually we figure out how to force ourselves to roll that boulder up the hill, and I'm convinced most of us use little bribes. Some of you may know I'm a big fan of 45/15s (so simple - you write for 45 solid minutes and then you have 15 minutes to do whatever you want) because they have a built-in reward. But I have scores of others.

Lunch is a big one. I'm so lunch-motivated, it's pathetic. I'll do just about anything for a handful of Fritos. But if I tell myself it's 1500 words before lunch, well, then it's 1500. I don't cheat. I'm a bitch of a boss.

Lying on the floor with Dog is good (or, in the summer when the kids are home, lying on the floor with Junior, who's always up for it). I've also convinced myself that it's good for you. After all, it unrolls that spine that's been all bent while you've been working.

Getting the mail, seeing what's on offer at, looking at Jonathan Hayes' photos (especially the private collection ones!), and texting Nicole Peeler when she is in the middle of a lecture are all treats.

But you need something bigger for finishing up for the day. I mean, every time you finish your words, (or your editing, if that's where you're at) - that's a huge victory, right? You proved you were a real author for another day, and that's - wow, that's so big I can't think of the right word for it. It's everything.

I'm sure you have your own idea of what's called for. I imagine TR Pearson popping a top on a Pabst, sitting on the porch and throwing pork rinds at the hound, for instance. I imagine Elizabeth George doing a little yoga and listening to Ted talks podcasts. Whatever floats one's boat.

Here are a few of my favorites:
  • going to Home Depot and putting paint chips in my purse for that shoplift-y thrill
  • going to Sephora and spraying a dozen different perfumes all over myself
  • eating dinner at a dive in Chinatown while reading a book
  • walking to the top of Mountainview cemetery at sunset and watch the city turn on its sparkle
  • ...and, of course, that perennial favorite - a Grand Avenue nail shop

Lordy do I ever need a manicure

Would love to know what you all do to get through the words, especially if it's an idea I can steal...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Back from the East

Last week, I went out East with Junior to look at colleges. She'll be graduating from high school in the spring, then catapulting herself headlong into the future, hungry for adventure. She's more than ready - I, as you might imagine, am not.

This storefront in Philadelphia pretty much represents what I want in a school for my child. Sorry about the picture quality - but the sign reads "Precious babies Learning Academy - WELCOME TO OUR SCHOOL!!" I wish you could see their logo: it's a kindly octopus holding eight swaddled babies in its eight arms, looking down on them fondly while they snooze.

That is what I want for my own precious baby: to be coddled somewhere safe. Naturally, it's the last thing she wants, so off we went to look at alternatives up and down the east coast.

We did manage to squeeze in some sightseeing on the way. This one's for you, Gigi - a pug-dog gargoyle? - near the Columbia campus.

 In DC, we hit the constitution museum...

...where we chatted with the framers at this sort of bronzed cocktail party exhibit.

That's my girl!!  (You'll be voting for her in a few years, just FYI :)

Visiting the world war II memorial had special significance to me this time because of all the research I did for GARDEN OF STONES. 

I was so happy to see lots of East coast relatives. Somehow, in between the non-stop talking and maybe a glass or two of wine, I forgot to get a picture of my cousins Maureen and Bryan. But here I am with my cousins Kaili and Praveen, who have the best guest room ever.

Junior in a cousin sandwich :)

Thanksgiving dinner at my brother's house!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving with my brother and his family in Boston this year. But I wasn't about to skip cooking Thanksgiving dinner, a tradition I've missed only once or twice in twenty-five years. I just did it a week early! I made all the dishes that I always do, which was a bit of a challenge in my pint-sized kitchen. But my sister brought dessert (homemade pies) and everyone else brought low expectations and high enthusiasm and it turned out great.

I started the day by watching football, which if you know me at all, you'll realize is quite a rare event. Once or twice a year, watching sports seems like just the thing - it puts me in the Thanksgiving spirit.

My sister Kristen brought her amazing cherry pie. Kristen *hates* it when I put her on my blog :)

Dog got a bath for the occasion (she is wet and not very happy in this picture).

My son brought a hearty appetite...

Wishing all the best to you and your families!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Live from Thrillerfest...

While I was at Thrillerfest a few months ago, I sat down with Jeff Rutherford for a nice long chat.  lf you've been hankering for a glimpse inside my head, this interview is as good a place to start as any. Jeff and I talked about all of my current projects, as well as the writing process and the journey to publication. Lots of shout-outs to friends and colleagues!

Thanks to Jeff,  and to the Reading and Writing Podcast.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I'll Miss You, Tish

I was saddened to read that Letitia Baldridge, etiquette doyenne, died last week.

Twenty years ago, as I planned my wedding, I was so incensed with the tradition of addressing married women by their husband's name ("Mrs. Robert Smith") that I wrote a letter to Ms. Baldridge demanding to know how she could possibly condone the practice. She was kind enough to write me back, believe it or not. The letter was dictated (some of you may remember the old notation indicating that a letter had been typed by someone other than the author), but signed by the great lady herself.

I wish I'd saved that letter, but I can tell you that it was gracious, well-reasoned, and concluded with her sincere best wishes - none of which I could claim for my own letter.

The worst part is that I gave her short shrift: Ms. Baldridge was a true feminist. Just an extraordinarily polite one. As this New York Times article says, "Her brand of feminism was subversive; it wore a good dress."

Also, I believe she was brave. It takes courage to take a stand against any powerful institution - but doing it in the 60s as a female must have been daunting. Recently, Baldridge offered advice for the White House's new social secretary, a position she herself held: "The West Wing is the men's've got to be strong and say no."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Was Part of the Solution

You know that old saying, that you can be part of the problem or part of the solution?  I've been guilty of the former my share of the time, but I'm trying to address that. I'm the least political member of a fairly idealistic and opinionated family, and I've avoided politics because of an aversion to the dinner-table warfare conversation that many people seem to enjoy. So while I've voted in every presidential election since I've been eligible, I've often taken a pass on the more minor races.

Three things happened to change that. First, we moved to California, where every citizen in the state is invited to decide dozens of issues every go-round through propositions and initiatives. Fellow Easterners, it's crazy - they send you a booklet the size of a Sears catalog in the weeks leading up to the election describing each one with purple and often misleading language supplied by lobbyists and zealots from each side, and then it's up to you to sleuth around and figure out what the heck is really going on. Like there might be Proposition 32 to Not Kill Puppies and then you find out you're really voting to put high-test lines through your neighbor's backyard.

Second, i somehow raised a daughter who passionately wants to change everything for the better, and is willing to run for office and serve to make it happen. She spent much of the last few months campaigning for a young, idealistic candidate in our neck of the woods. How can I let her down by not paying attention?

And third, I moved to Oakland. Enough said!

Last night I helped out in the returns center in a school in the middle of Oakland. From 8pm until after 11pm, about 20 of us waited in a dark parking lot for cars bearing clerks and inspectors from our precincts to drive up. I was the clipboard person - my job was to get them to sign that they had brought their ballots and equipment. We all pitched in to unload the duffle bags and boxes full of printers, scanners, tape, extra ballots, and so forth onto a waiting truck, and then volunteers drove the ballots to the courthouse. I talked to everyone. Early in the evening when it became clear that Obama had won, there was such an expression of joy that I felt lifted to be part of it. In the blocks around us, we could hear shouting and fireworks going off. Cars would drive by and holler out "Obamaaaaaaaa!!!!!" at us. There was exactly one grumpy person the whole evening, and we all felt sorry for her.

I drove a young woman home who wants to be a journalist. We had a good talk. Turns out we were both there for the same reason: we wanted to understand how the process worked and be a roll-up-your-sleeves part of it. I'll definitely do it again next time.

images courtesy of Oakland Local and The Oakland Press.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Win the entire AFTERTIME trilogy!

I was invited to do a post at Book Chick City for their "Thirty Shades of Zombie" feature. I thought their graphic was pretty slick, and I appreciated their suggestion that I write about a fresh aspect of zombie-dom . You can check out my essay - and enter to win all three books - here.

Meanwhile, I know I've been kind of lurking lately. Sorry about that. I did manage to get out this weekend for a Sisters in Crime event with a bunch of friends. Here's a photo of me, Juliet Blackwell, and Gigi Pandian at Books Inc. (photo courtesy of Gigi, who also read from her new book Artifact).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What I've Been Up To

Oh dear, I seem to have lost a week there. I feel like that happens whenever I go off to Bouchercon. I return just entirely good for nothing.

Dog pix are so utterly gratuitous, but who can resist?
But I haven't been completely idle. I'm revising the hell out of a book, for one thing. Also, I *installed a light fixture.*  This might not sound like much to all you handy types (looking at you, K-kins and Julie and that amazing woman at Bouchercon who built a house from scratch with her four kids) - but for me, this was a HUGE accomplishment. For one thing, I had to spend an entire day worrying about electrocuting myself. I talked to a bemused Lowes man about it at length, to be honest. 

After that, I felt I'd earned a night out with the twisted H. sisters. There were TACOS FROM THE BEST TRUCK EVER. They let you bring them IN THE BAR. Seriously? There can be no better evening than that. Keep your La Grenouille, your La Folie....I'll take La Baggy's any old day.

Well, after that, things got a little vague. *Somebody* turned fifty so we *had* to party zombie style. Or something. I'm not sure what we were doing here.

Oh - and this happened. :) Probably I'll wear them to Educator's Night at Copperfields this Thursday. They'll make me look smart, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

BLOOD BOND Cover Reveal & More!

Next month, on November 20th, the first book in my new mystery series featuring Pakistani-American detective Joe Bashir will hit the electronic shelves.

BLOOD BOND is my first book with Pocket Star and my first project with editor Abby Zidle and I couldn't be more delighted on all counts.

I've got great news for readers, reviewers, and anyone who's watching their book budget:

  • Readers can check out an excerpt on my web site - read the first chapter!
  • Reviewers and bloggers can request a free advance reading copy at Edelweiss - click here!
  • The book will be offered at $1.99 at first. Not sure how long that will last, so I hope you take advantage of the savings! You can pre-order now from all the usual suspects...

Monday, October 8, 2012

GARDEN OF STONES - featured at Netgalley!

If you've checked out Netgalley recently you'll see they've made a few changes - not least among them, featuring GARDEN OF STONES among the titles on their home page!  I was thrilled to see the book front and center, and now reviewers and bloggers can request it here.

GARDEN OF STONES will be out in January of 2013. You can read more about it here.

I can't wait to hear what you think of the book!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Just a Few More Thread Reviews

I'm off to Bouchercon! As I type this, I am on hold with United waiting to see what delightful solution they come up with for my cancelled flight. Yay! Meanwhile, I thought I'd share a few more reviews for HANGING BY A THREAD:

"The story is written very well, and the details fall into place at just the right times...a great book for both mystery fans, and fans of paranormal books." - Unabridged Bookshelf

"This author has done a great job of combining a YA with all levels of romance, friendship, and the harshness of returning to a small town when you’ve tried so hard to leave it behind - with the ultimate chilling mystery that readers will never guess. Outstanding on all levels! - The Feathered Quill

"A great mix of suspense and mystery, and a little paranormal mysticism...will keep you turning pages past your bedtime!" - Cat's Thoughts

Monday, October 1, 2012

stAy, A's

I know I'm the worst kind of fan, a jane-come-lately who doesn't know a thing about the game, but I had the best time yesterday at the A's game against the Mariners! I had lived in Oakland for about thirteen minutes before I realized I was home like no other place has ever felt like home before, and I mean to make it mine.

So I suddenly kind of care a lot that our team doesn't go elsewhere. As you can see, we are a pathetic lot who didn't even bother to wear team colors (except for Ty), but I'm on it - green and gold for everyone, including Grampa and Gramma.

These folks know what they're doing - and the bleachers were absolutely the best seat in the house.

A little A's history and a plea - read more here and buy the T-shirt:

Oakland has a proud history of professional baseball going back to the 19th century. Teams like the Live Oaks, Colonels, Larks, and the Black Colored Giants established a tradition of baseball in the east bay since before our grandparents were born. This great inheritance is under threat however, as it has been many times before. The Athletics, who first won the hearts of Oakland with their string of 3 World Series championships starting in 1972, are threatening to leave town for somewhere with better demographics and a bigger appetite for luxury condos. Luckily, fan organizations like BaseballOakland and Let's Go Oakland! are working to make the A's stay. At the moment though, it's impossible to know the outcome, with so many moving pieces and heavy hitters involved. The best way to avoid the fate of Montreal, is to show your love for the A's, and your desire for them to stAy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

My New Wheels

I got my first car in 1984, while I was in college. It was an eight year old Honda Civic, and my Dad co-signed the loan with me. My payments were around a hundred bucks and I paid them out of my waitress tips. 

I loved that car. I had a Foreigner tape that I played over and over, and I drove around with the windows down so that the whole world could enjoy "Cold as Ice" with me.

These are the cars I've had since then:
1988 Red Subaru Justy
1992 Silver Jeep Cherokee
1995 Green Subaru Legacy
1997 Green Toyota Sienna minivan, which the kids are still driving
2004 Gold Volvo station wagon

Over the years my cars got bigger and sturdier, until driving that Volvo felt like driving a large chunk of asphalt around. Now I live in the city and I'm back in a tiny car. I love it. I feel like it could spring up onto the sidewalk to avoid a police chase if necessary. I'm pretty sure my son could bench press it.

 The Obama sticker's on its way; meanwhile I'm making do with this:

I found a local car wash. I love car washes - wielding the wand and trying to time the soap and rinse exactly to your tokens. Julie and I took a writing break to check it out. Writing breaks on beautiful autumn afternoons - that's got to be in the top five reasons why we have the best job in the world.

Friday, September 21, 2012

School Library Journal Review - and Bay Book Co.

Pleased to report that School Library Journal had nice things to say about HANGING BY A THREAD!

LITTLEFIELD, Sophie. Hanging by a Thread. 270p. CIP. Delacorte. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-385-74104-0; PLB $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-98982-7; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-375-98356-6. LC 2011047773.
Gr 9 Up–Clare Knight recently moved back to Winston, California. She inherited more than a home from her family; she also inherited an affinity for sewing and design as well something darker. A seamstress, she redesigns vintage clothing, and with one touch of a garment, she can see the life of the person who wore it. As she prepares for her junior year in high school, Rachel, an old friend, introduces her to the popular crowd, and Clare finds herself invited to one wild beach party after another. However, behind the carefree life in this seaside town lies a terrible truth; two children have been murdered in as many years and on the same date. Parents fear it will happen again. With Clare’s gift comes great responsibility, and the teen finds herself caught up in the mystery of these tragic deaths. The author keeps readers hanging on to each page with a fast-moving plot, but sacrifices fluidity in the process. However, most teens will not mind at all. Littlefield includes just the right amount of conflict, mystery, fashion, teenage mischief, and hot guys to keep readers entertained, and they’ll enjoy the ending that ties together all the loose threads.–Mindy Whipple, West Jordan Library, UT

I marked the occasion by taking a drive out to Half Moon Bay to sign books at Bay Book Company. You really can't beat a September afternoon along the Northern California coast - especially if you drag along an amusing friend and have a leisurely lunch after.

Juliet (Blackwell) and I were intrigued to discover that Bay Book Co. has an astonishing stock of cigars secreted away in their own little room. We briefly considered buying a couple to bring to Bouchercon, but decided we've already got enough bad habits.

Manager Jeff Broyles and assistant manager Sue Pope made us feel right at home... did the bookstore cat. She used to be feral, apparently - now she looks right at home in her new setting!