Saturday, May 26, 2012

Winner - Good-for-you/me contest

Thank you so much to everyone for the great recipe ideas. You guys are truly creative with your greens and I'm almost sort of excited to try them!  Farmers market today, plus Dad and Judy are cutting the rest of their greens in preparation for traveling, so I'll be receiving a bounty.

The winner of a copy of A BAD DAY FOR SCANDAL, chosen via random.org, is Lisarenee. Please send your snail mail address to sophie@sophielittlefield.com and I'll get the book to you asap! (and let me know who you would like it signed to!)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Good-for-You Contest: win BAD DAY FOR SCANDAL

One of the banes of my existence is those deep green leafy veggies we're supposed to be eating so much of. "Yuck" sums up my feelings about them. But recently my eye doctor explained that people whose family history includes macular degeneration really need to step up and eat gobs and gobs of spinach and kale and such. Lutein's the key - you can read more about it here.

Luckily, my dad and his wife Judy are organic gardeners with an abundance of greens they are happy to share. They supply me with bags of the stuff whenever I ask, and I've started sauteeing away.



I need more ideas to make this stuff palatable, people!  I will send a signed copy of the paperback of A BAD DAY FOR SCANDAL to the best idea that comes my way. Just comment with your idea or a link or whatever you got.

So far, I've been adding Trader Joes brown rice and soy sauce. I also chopped it up and add it to canned soup. (Yeah, I know it's terrible, but I haven't had time to start cooking again since I got the go-ahead from the doc.)  Please don't suggest ruining a perfectly good lasagna...or, worst idea I heard yet, a spinach smoothie ("Add a banana and you won't even notice!" my friend claimed....).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Spex

Many of you are accustomed to seeing me in my librarian glasses, which I adore, especially for their pearly-pink interior. It's one of those details that's all the more special because no one knows it's there but me.

But I recently got a pair of just-for-reading glasses, and I think I might like these even more. They're the geek me, the *real* me, myopic and easily distracted and bleary from staying up until the wee hours reading.



My glasses style icon is Gigi Pandian, who has long maintained that everyone looks better in glasses. What do you think, Gigi?



Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 15: Done!!!!

Yessssss!  Went to the doc today full of trepidation. She sat down with me and all my x-rays and we had a great talk. My fingers are NOT broken, just very stiff and swollen - and I'm out of the brace!  That's right - I'm typing like a normal person again for the first time in five weeks!  SO excited, I can't even tell you. My little finger doesn't really work yet, and I've got some physical therapy ahead, but I'm definitely on the road to good-as-new.

Don't know if things like this happen to remind us to be grateful...but I am sure feeling grateful. I'm sure I'll soon return to my usual take-everything-for-granted ways, but for today I'm delighted that I have the use of these marvelous hands.

Celebrated with a trip up Mt. Diablo (well, I hadn't been to the doc yet at that point, so it was more like pre-celebrating). I only hiked the summit trail, and on the way down I got turned around and added an extra 2.5 miles, which I wouldn't have minded except I was afraid I was going to be late for my appointment and it was half steep descent and the other half...yes, steep ascent, which I was trying to do quickly. Needless to say I was pretty worn out.


Should sleep well tonight!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 14: Movie Night

A couple of my pals came up with a brilliant idea to cheer me up: watching Wonder Boys, surrounded by pets, after a fantastic meal of cowboy steak and potatoes, and cheap white wine (and one bottle of good french wine to shake things up.)

I was a Chabon fan back when country wasn't cool. I remember buying MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH back when they first invented the trade paperback format and thinking Gosh this is so darn *literary*. But you know what - it makes a way better movie. Even with Michael Douglas, who we all hate passionately...every time he whines about his book taking so long to write, we screamed - screamed! - with derisive laughter.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 13: Caffeinate

Sorry, I fell off the schedule there briefly - a busy mothers' day with my kids and family was followed by an entire day of basking in the new-series glow.

Today, however, I started my new book. I had a good talk with Erika, my editor, and we agreed on the rough outline for the new book. It's tentatively called GRAY HOUSE (love!!!) and it is as shiny and sparkly as any new project ever was, which is to say, quite shiny and sparkly indeed!

Early days in a new book, I love to lay down some serious word count. This time around I can't do that. I think I'm at a little more than half my usual productivity (which kind of makes sense, since I have a little more than half my manual dexterity at the moment.)

I did meet up with the Cabal this morning for some coffee drinking and motivation:


Monday, May 14, 2012

New Series Announcement!

I'm thrilled and delighted to announce that I have sold the first two books in a new series to Pocket! The as-yet-untitled novels feature thirty-ish Joe Bashir, a hunky Pakistani-American detective in an affluent suburb of San Francisco.

Let me just say right up front that I LOVE Joe Bashir. If I was fifteen years younger - and he wasn't imaginary - we'd be involved, for sure. On second thought, I guess we *are* involved, since I've written a number of short stories as well as a completed book and a number of proposals featuring Joe and his colleagues.

The best thing about this new venture is that my new editor is Abby Zidle. I've had a writer-crush on AZ forever, and not just because she claims that her edit directives "are made of kitten whiskers and moondust" - that woman is SMART. Scary smart, and you all know how I feel about smart.

I don't have many details yet, but let me share the pitch for the book. If you're wondering where it fits in the Littlefield imagin-o-rama, I'd say the Joe books are more procedural and "serious" than the Stella series, not as gruesome as the AFTERTIME series, while still being very character-driven. Barbara (who, you'll remember, calls me the 2nd-worst pitcher ever) likens them to John Sandford's work, a comparison I'll be glad to take, thank you very much!

I'll share more when I have more, but for now I'm just excited about the new venture. Onward!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day Eleven: Maternal

Taking a break today to stop and smell the [mother's day] roses...


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day Ten: Complain

...or should it be advocate? I come from the "nice girls keep their mouths shut" era, and while I think we can all agree that I've made great strides in overcoming this early training, I am still a bit cowed by doctors.

But this is serious. Things aren't coming along the way I was expecting, which affects nearly all aspects of my life  - work, physical activity, sleep...even housework, which has fallen off precipitously. I called the doc today to ask to be seen and was roundly dismissed. I was told I "must be overdoing it,"  even though I have been adhering carefully to instructions I was given. But I hung in there. I don't care to be patronized - do you? So, we'll see. It's entirely possible that neither I nor the docs can speed this recovery along, but since so far I'm not seeing the results they predicted, I'm going to make sure we've covered all the bases.

(I have to confess to carrying around this little disapproving voice that's been muttering "how dare you?" all morning. God, I hate that wretched voice.)

Meanwhile, so as not to be a total drag, I got to see my UK cover for AFTERTIME (out this fall)!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day Nine: Orderly

I'm on a brief break between finishing STONES and beginning my sparkly new project on Monday. I'm catching up on lots of miscellaneous things, but today I got to thinking it was time for the office cleanup that usually takes place between books. Nothing major - just tossing stuff that "timed out" (sadly that's how I handle much of what's on the to-do list lately) and putting everything back where it goes. And oh...that sewing project I foolishly thought I'd have time for? No. I caught up on the mending (I am part of the .00001% of people who still patch holes in jeans, hem skirts, etc.) and packed it all back up.

Here's the Before and After:



Thursday, May 10, 2012

I'm in Cemetery Dance!

Horror fans know that the go-to print rag for short fiction, review and commentary is Cemetery Dance. I've been trying to get a story in there for *years*.  This month I finally did!


"Jimmy's Legacy" marked the start of my interest in healing - later, the my young adult books BANISHED and UNFORSAKEN featured a teen girl healer. I adore this story, for a number of reasons. It's far from perfect, and as I read it these several years later, I see things I  wish I could fix. But that's just an author's sign of life - if you're breathing, you're improving your craft.

Here's a fun little coincidence. I am currently reading my brother Mike Cooper's followup book to CLAWBACK. In it, Silas Cade gets to know his estranged brother. It's a charming  (if raucous and bloody) brothers' tale...and so is Jimmy's Legacy. I think it's fun that Mike and I wrote stories imagining what a relationship between adult brothers might be. Neither resembles our relationship (just to make it clear, Mike is not Calder *or* Jimmy, and I'm pretty sure I'm not Dave - although I guess you never know!)

And one more little gem, meant to inspire those among you who are seeking publication and getting discouraged by the long road. When I first submitted "Jimmy's Legacy," I had no agent or book deal. A lot can happen in a few years.

Would it amuse you to see my query letter? I know I was amused... :)


Editor
Cemetery Dance magazine

November 26, 2007

I would like to offer you a look at my story, “Jimmy’s Legacy,” which runs 6,600 words. This story made the final round for the upcoming Hardboiled Horror anthology from Notorious Press, edited by Jim Van Pelt.
 
In “Jimmy’s Legacy,” a young journalist named Calder goes home for his brother Jimmy’s funeral, to discover that his troubled brother picked up the gift of an odd kind of healing before he died. Calder learns that Jimmy used his gift to change the lives of several people including their cruel mother and, in the end, Calder himself.
 
I have written professionally for ten years, publishing articles in computing, parenting, and women’s magazines, and most recently working as a copy writer and editor for C&T Publishing. I have sold two dozen stories to True Story, True Confessions, and other magazines, and co-authored a primary-school biography (OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.: THE SUPREME COURT AND AMERICAN LEGAL THOUGHT, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2005). I have completed eight novels.
 
Thank you for taking the time to consider my work.

Sincerely,

Sophie Littlefield


Day Eight: Community

Today I loaded up the calendar with dates - with friends, family, old neighbors. Since I busted my hand I have made a conscious effort to do something sociable every day, because it goes so far in keeping my spirits up. I've had a friend-date every day for the past week and I'm filling up next week...since I'm not really emailing much these days, I'm spending a lot more time on the phone, too.

Just a few of the folks I'll be seeing soon:





Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day Seven: Adorn

I have been wanting to do this forever. Several years ago I got one done in the cartilage on the other side. I was with my favorite cousin, and she had one done too, and I have always loved it. But it hurt, oh my yes it hurt, not so much at the time but when trying to sleep on it.

But what better time to go for it than when I've vowed to be brave?! - and oh yeah, I finished the final edits on GARDEN OF STONES today, so I had something to celebrate. (Maybe my editor Erika Imranyi will run out and get hers done too, since she worked as hard on these revisions as I did.)





Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day Six: Visitin' Day

Getting out of the house is a good idea for a hermit-writer like me, and seeing my favorite people always makes me feel a thousand times better. Such was the case today, even though the deal was that *we* were supposed to be making *her* feel better: darling Rachael is fresh from an operation and under strict orders to rest.

She's not very good at sitting still, though. She and Julie and I had a bed picnic with all kinds of treats, and we admired her new running shoes (now *that's* a great idea for celebrating healing!) and played with all the pets in residence and gossiped and ogled the UPS man.

And you know what? I barely notice this brace anymore, other than the typing thing. (And eyeliner - that's still beyond me.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day Five - Hike It Out

I'll admit it - day five was tough. A stick-to-it work schedule combined with a tough conversation I really didn't want to have had me feeling a little low. This is what I usually turn to in times of stress:


Ahhh, the kettle chip...salty, crunchy. I think there's something very soothing about crushing things in one's jaws. But it's not really all that great for you. And with my physical activity somewhat hampered these days I don't need to be pushing lard to the top of the ingredient list . (And yes, Judy, I'm taking my extra calcium!)

Anyway here's what I did instead. Glorious! The trails are in great shape right now, with a little undergrowth but none of the annoying stick-burrs that come later in the season. Now cows yet either, just me and Dog.

Photo courtesy Bay Area Hiker

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 4: Celebrate

Junior turned seventeen, something that doesn't happen every day. Per family tradition, she got to pick the day's activities: a showing of "The Graduate" at the Castro followed by dim sum.

I set everything aside - worries, deadlines, housework, and tried to appreciate every minute, including the naked men relaxing in the sun in front of a little cafe nex to the theater (hey, it's the Castro!) and me and Dad sneaking into a Chinese wedding so we could ooh and ah over the bride in her gorgeous scarlet dress.



Also, The Graduate is still fantastic, although it reminds me that every middle-aged woman in film who possesses a libido must be punished. Oh well, at least in this one she isn't killed or mocked.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day Three - Welcome Spring

For a few weeks my summer-clothes box has been spilling all over my tiny bedroom. For those of you not familiar with glorious Northern California, we have surprisingly cool springs marked by the occasional warm day. So from March through May you have to be ready for either, which wreaks havoc on a gal's closet - especially if it's on the smallish size, as mine is.

On a related note, a couple of my friends have worked hard at paring down lately, and I've been hankering to follow suit. I think most of us have too much stuff - I know I do, anyway. More than I can wear, more than I can use.

So today I made the big switch: winter things packed, summer things hung. And I allowed only what fit, even on the shoe rack (and the High Shelf of High Heels, of course). Everything else must find new homes. I feel virtuous!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 2 - Forgive the Hand

I've spent a couple of days feeling really mad at my broken hand-bone for not healing quicker. Then I woke up today and thought - Wait, *I* was the one who broke it. My fingerbone was just minding its own business when I slammed it into that rock. So I decided not only to forgive but to show my hand how happy I am to be attached to it. I was in the middle of this challenging synopsis, tearing my hair out a little (Mike later helped me fix it) when I thought fuck it and went and got myself the fanciest manicure I could think of, shellac french, and a pedicure for good measure. Sitting in the chair, I thought all kinds of peaceful healing thoughts. That was a couple hours and a few bucks well spent.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 1 - focus

I've been feeling pretty down about spending three more weeks in a brace with all the attendant physical activity restrictions and work issue. So I made a big decision. Instead of wallowing in self-pity for the next 21 days, I'm going to try to do something positive each and every day, some healthy or brave or difficult thing I would ordinarily avoid.

 Starting today.

 I read a lot and I walk a lot and usually I combine the two, but I have to admit that it's challenging with only one hand. (Trying to juggle book, dog leash, and dog, um, leavings in Target bag with one hand is just too hard.) Also, my introversion generally makes me use the book as an excuse to not talk to strangers. ("oh so sorry, didn't see you coming down the path with your poodle/stroller/bicycle because this book is simply so absorbing!") So for the next 3 weeks I'm not bringing books on my walks/hikes. And I actually said hi to everyone I passed today and stopped to let some kids pet Dog.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Never Write, I Never Call...

a little update for those of you who may be wondering if I've disappeared: sorry to be so incommunicado, but my latest visit with my hand specialist reveals via x-ray that i am healing slowly. i can't even begin to tell you how shocked and annoyed I was by that news. I mean, what the hell, ME??? slow to heal???? doesn't grit and hellfire mean anything in Bone World? Evidently not, cause I'm in this brace for 3 more weeks:
I appreciate the Freddy Kruger vibe of my new brace, courtesy of brace artisan Barbara, who custom sculpted it for me. It's cool that I can take it off to shower, but doc says no typing or weight lifting. So....please forgive me for being scarce; I'm saving all my one-handed typing for the books.