Monday, April 30, 2012

Dog's Secret Stash

I came back from Edgar Week and Malice Domestic to find Dog looking a little...bloated.
This is not an uncommon occurence at our house, as regular readers know: Dog has an uncanny ability to get into cabinets and up on counters and into Tupperware and suitcases and backpack, anywhere that even a crumb of food has been stored. As I tracked her around the yard, trying to see what she had in her mouth (a half-digested Sharper Highlighter, in green) she inadvertently led me to her Secret Stash.
I had never fought my way into this forbidding overgrowth before - imagine my surprise...she has apparently been dragging her prey here to devour it for quite some time now.
But not everything makes it to the stash. Sometimes we discover her in time. Last week's tally of items that "went missing", just for fun 1 box Krusteaze pancake mix 1 dehydrated Mountain House hiking meal 1 box girl scout cookies 1 can mixed nuts 2 molded foam packing dividers from box received from 6PM

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day of Silence

just a quick note today as I preserve typing time...but I just had to share this photo of Junior and friend C. They are simultaneously observing Day of Silence and Bike to School Day. High school is so much better now than it was 30 years ago!

Monday, April 16, 2012

AFTERTIME, Italian Edition

So evidently the Italian edition is coming out this month. I just stumbled upon the cover:

What do you think? I'm diggin' that Hawaiianesque flower on the front, I have to say. Not sure what it means - but cool, very cool. Wish I knew what all these Italian bloggers were saying. Hope they like it!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

ARKANSAS Literary Festival Report

Back from Little Rock! Forgive the paucity of details - conserving typing energy

You haven't lived until you've tried deep-fried black-eyed peas...

My session with Deb Crombie (and her pink hippo Leo)

out on the town with Kendall and John Hornor Jacobs

Publishers Weekly on A BAD DAY FOR MERCY

It's Stella season! Last week marked the paperback release of 2011's A BAD DAY FOR SCANDAL (sorry, I was busy being accident prone or I would have let you all know) and the fourth Stella book, A BAD DAY FOR MERCY, will be out June 19th.

Happy to report that PW had nice things to say:

In Anthony Award–winner Littlefield’s solid fourth crime novel featuring Stella Hardesty (after 2011’s A Bad Day for Scandal), Stella leaves Missouri for Wisconsin, where her sister, Gracellen, has received a severed ear in the mail and a $30,000 ransom demand for Gracellen’s grown stepson, Chip. Things get even stranger when Stella arrives in Wisconsin and finds Chip, both ears intact, dismembering a body in his house with the help of his Russian girlfriend, Natalya. The pair swear they found the man, Benton Parch, who happens to be Natalya’s abusive ex-husband, dead when they got home from the movies; they’re only trying to clean up the mess. Chip and Natalya point Stella toward Benton’s former business partner, who’s angry that his name was left off the patent for a version of Spanx for men that the two invented. And then there’s the underground Botox ring to investigate. Littlefield makes sure her feisty heroine has plenty to do. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary Agency. (June)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day Three - Only Twenty-Seven to Go

So to cheer myself up I painted my nails...purple of course to match cast. Also am plenty amused by friends' play-by-play texts from the Romantic Times bar scene. Sigh...wish I was there.

Rather than whine (cause I'm tempted, though my friend R. is in her way over with emergency *cheer* of the liquid sort) I thought I'd share this sterling advice from a writer pal who went through this herself not long ago. You may wish to clip and save if - like me - you are the clumsy sort!

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Rule # 1: Avoid housework at all cost. You have a cast...aka, a built in excuse...USE it to your FULL advantage! Simply think of your hand covered plaster as a handy pointer to wave at objects that need to be picked up, moved, dusted, vacuumed, etc. If the housecleaners...aka children...give you any gruff, club them over the head with your "pointer." They'll hop to your next command without delay!

Rule # 2: Call your editor - TODAY - and tell her that your manuscript/revisions/copyedits/page proofs will be late. When she asks which one of those you mean, let her know you mean all of them. You have a built in excuse...USE it to your FULL advantage! If she attempts to argue, begin telling her exactly how you broke your hand, describe it in all its terrible gory glory as only someone as adept at descriptions like you could. Wait for her to tell you that it's just fine, you may take all the time you need, and that she really must be off to a (completely made-up) meeting.

Rule # 3: Call your agent and inform him/her of your terrible, nearly fatal injury. Let him/her know that you are in near constant pain, and the only thing that could possibly ease the awful discomfort is a shiny new lucrative contract for your next book. Make sure to mention that you've just had a lovely chat with your editor, and now might be the perfect time for him/her to make that call.

Rule # 4: Do not exercise! Avoid doing anything that could in fact make your hand swell. Have one of your housecleaners...aka the children...locate some comfortable pants, (with elastic waistband) for easy dressing. Also, be sure to keep your strength up. Fuel that broken hand with plenty of sugary calories! You're eating for two now, you, and that cast!

Rule # 5: Tell everyone within a 50 mile radius of your terrible plight. Be sure to mention how difficult it is for you to cook even a simple meal. During said discussions, make sure to have your calendar at the ready to easily schedule all their visits and accompanying casseroles.

Rule # 6: Spend your time usefully by watching lots and lots of TV. You know how new story ideas can come from anywhere, right? Why not take advantage of the vast array of ready-made ideas the boob tube can provide? And plan ahead - make sure your helpers...aka, the children...have arranged a nice array of snacks within easy reach to help fuel those creative juices!

Rule # 7: This is perhaps the MOST important bit of advice I have. If you have been prescribed ALL COST, avoid answering interview questions! Just say, "Not now, I've broken my hand and simply don't feel up to it." Then, hang up immediately. Do not answer a single question...especially not on tape! (I actually learned this rule too late...true story!) :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Arkansas Literary Festival

I don't imagine too many of you faithful readers of this blog will find yourselves in Arkansas this week, but just in case, I would love it if you came to see me at the Literary Festival in Little Rock. I'm very excited about this for a few reasons. First of all, Arkansas is right next door to Missouri and so it's practically homeland and I can't wait to get back around my people. The vast horizon, the food, the way people talk, the big smiles...I miss the midwest so much sometimes.

And if that wasn't enough, I get to be in two sessions, one for mystery and one for Young Adult Fiction. For the YA one I'm on my own....but for the mystery one I'll be interviewed along with....Deb Crombie! Yes, *that* Deb Crombie, the one I read for years, never dreaming that one day I'd actually meet her much less share a stage with her.

Pardon me while I fan myself.

And the other extremely exciting thing is that I get to meet some author friends who I've only known online so far. One is local author John Hornor Jacobs, who stole my editor Adam - still furious about that, but he wrote a damn good book so I'm grudgingly forgiving him.

Read about the festival here - my appearances are at 10am and 1pm this Saturday.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter

We celebrated Easter early this year, because I'm going to be hiking in Death Valley on Sunday (yayyyyy!)

Junior pretty much ran the show this year. When she found out Grammy and Grampy were coming. she decreed we should have Polish Easter, so I commenced cooking. I don't care for Polish cuisine (except for the part where everything has a stick of butter or two in it) but I made an effort anyway and it wasn't half bad, despite the fact that you can't get decent kielbasa where I live. (If anyone has a source in the bay area, please let me know!) A few additional stragglers joined the group.

Grammy brought the baranek, the cake baked in the shape of a lamb. After dinner we played our favorite family game, Paper Telephone. It takes a while to explain, but hilarity is pretty much guaranteed and all you need is paper and pencils.

Blessed Easter to all of you who celebrate it!

Here's me and Grammy with the mushroom strudel

The girls decorating eggs...

Yes, this is homemade borscht. (Dad taught me to say it the Polish way, except I can't seem to get the "schzsszt" sound right.) From real beets. I have the red hands to show for it.

Yes, we still have an egg hunt! I imagine we will still be doing this when Junior is thirty...

The baranek before...

...and after the ritual beheading, a family tradition