The Week Before Christmas

And all through the house…many creatures were stirring, but none were a mouse!

This would be because of all my cats wandering around, y’see…

These same felines are the reason we do not currently have a Christmas tree.  Eight of the 10 are fairly well behaved when it comes to tempting things dangling from high places, but Taz and Haggis do not understand the concept of boundaries.  There is no ledge high enough that they will not jump.  The world is their oyster and all items their toys.  We are still debating the wisdom of throwing caution to the wind, putting softer, disposable ornaments on the bottom branches and seeing what happens…  but that might not happen this week.

Holiday plans for this week (official week ending Sunday the 23rd) are:  Some shopping ( although most of that will happen between the 26th and 28th – we’re going to see my family in San Diego that weekend and most of our shopping will be in prep for that trip); listening to Christmas carols in the evening while cooking and cleaning; at least one viewing of A CHRISTMAS STORY; and relaxing.  My main goal this holiday season is to stay relaxed.  Holidays are supposed to be joyful and happy, right?

Now if I were working on the sequel to MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon, my main character Connie would be getting ready for the holidays.  The first book takes place right before Halloween  and while I’ve got the plot basically outlines, I’m not sure how far in the future the sequel will take place.  I’d better figure this out ’cause Connie ends the book with…oh…wait.  I’d better not say anything else.  Spoilers, doncha know.

I’m looking forward to the weekend.  Dave and I are going to visit our former son Wookie (now Ned) at his new home on Saturday.  His new dad, Matt, is full of holiday spirit and just a hoot to be around.  We may go to my cousin Jon’s holiday party in Sacramento, depending on Dave’s health (he’s been battling a cold and has to be in good shape for the drive to San Diego next week).   And that’s about it for the week before Christmas.   I would be happy spending most of it hunkered down at home, cuddled under warm blankets and purring kitties, a glass of good red wine in hand.

Vanity post

This picture was taken last night at a Solstice Party.  I don’t usually like pictures of myself these days and this was a pleasant surprise.  If I could just figure out how to remove the lantern growing out of my head, I’d have a great potential author photo!
Thank you, Joan!  Lady in Red

It’s Meme Time!

I’m still not entirely sure what a meme is (I could google it, but I’m too lazy…), but I’ve been sent one by Dani at HotButtonPress and I have vowed to do this.  And then it will be sent to other bloggers.  HAHAHAHAH!!!!!    So…now it begins.

What have you just read?

I have just read the first two Bloodline books by Tanya Huff, Shopaholic and Baby by…by the gal that writes those books and my mind is blanking…, A Latte Trouble by Cleo Coyle, and lots of other books.  I read on the Muni every day, read when I walk anywhere and lose track of what I’ve read.

 What are you reading now?

Now I’m reading… what am I reading?  Ah yes, Designer Knockoff, a fun mystery set in Washington D.C. with reporter  Lacey Smithsonian as the protaganist.  It took me a while to get into it, but now I’m loving it.  Lots of cool vintage clothing details, a sassy heroine reminiscent of a Hepburn character, and an intriguing plot.
Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
The next Tanya Huff Bloodline book.

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?

Urm…  I have never been forced to read anything.  I actually seek out bad writing.  We’re talking SHOWGIRLS bad.  So bad that it’s fun.  I have a book by D.B. Patterson (a zombie book) that’s so badly written, it’s now a party game with my friends.  We open it and read a paragraph at random.  Bliss…

What’s one book you always recommend to just about anyone?

well…Murder for Hire, of course!  🙂  Seriously, it depends on the person, their interests and the genre.  For horror, WHERE THE CHILL WAITS by T. Chris Martindale.  It inspired my very first (one of two) fan letters.

Admit it, sadly the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?

Even MORE sadly, no.  I just started going to the library in San Francisco.

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?

Nope.  I have impeccable taste.  Good AND bad.

Do you read books while you eat?While you bath?
While you watch movies or TV?
While you listen to music?
While you’re on the computer?

Yes to all of the above.  I love to read.  If the movie is really good,  I won’t read.  But I read when I walk.  I love to read and find every opportunity possible.

When you were little did other children tease you about your reading habits?


What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?

Sigh…the last Harry Potter book.

Have any books made you cry?

If I’m in the right (or wrong) frame of mind, anything will make me cry.

Okay then.  Time for me to tag my blogger pals!

Bye, Trapper…

Baby TrapperI just got an email that Trapper died. Trapper was a Canadian lynx at EFBC/FCC, just a few years old. The following is from the EFBC/FCC website:

In the fall of 2007 we noticed he had some balance issues, occasionally had trouble walking straight, and couldn’t jump as well as he used to. We moved him to a smaller cage with less chance of him injuring himself. He was brought to the vet for an MRI in October. The news was not good. His condition is called a Chiari-I like malformation, syringomyelia C1-C3. Basically in the back of the skull the cerebellum is being pushed against the skull, blocking fluid from draining down the spinal cord, which caused the neural tube to expand with fluid. This is a congenital defect, sometimes seen in humans, and often in a breed of dog known as Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

A veterinarian who has performed the same surgery on dogs operated on Trapper in November. The back of Trapper’s skull was removed to allow the cerebellum to expand, and the top of the C1 vertebrae was removed to allow fluid to escape.

Dr. Berry then placed a wire mesh titanium basket over the back of the skull to protect the brain.

He evidently came out of the surgery okay, but…well, he didn’t make it. I don’t know the details. It’s heartbreaking. Trapper was special. I mean, all the cats out there are special, whether they’re people-friendly or totally wild. Trapper was a sweetheart. I can’t stop crying right now.Trapper

Reliving my childhood

Or at least parts of it.  The parts when I was shy and awkward.  I used to be a very friendly, open kid who’d make friends anywhere.  But after a few negative experiences dealing with the kind of casual cruelty that kids specialize in, I became a lot more hesitant about approaching people and spent quite a few parties hiding out in corners.  I outgrew that over time and have had relatively few awkward moments in my adulthood as far as interacting with strangers, but today at the Mystery Writers of America/Sisters in Crime holiday party at M is for Mystery Bookstore, I had about an hour of pure, agonizing shyness, straight out of grade school.  I clutched my glass of wine with one hand, Dave’s arm with the other and felt my heartrate speed up as I began to hyperventilate and wonder what the hell I was doing there.  I vanished behind a long row of bookshelves and tried to get control of my breathing and stop myself from making a hasty escape back to the car.

It got better.  A very kind woman, Susan S. (webmistress for MWA) took me under her wing and introduced me around to a few people.  The ice melted, my breathing returned to normal and I ended up having a great time.  Sold a few books, bought some and had them signed by the authors, and am really looking forward to the next SinC event.   But tonight was an object lesson to me that we may grow older, but we never really leave our childhood behind, both the good bits and the bad. 

Upcoming MFH events and the Ghosts of events past

*yawn*…  And that’s not a reflection on my continued enthusiasm and excitement when it comes to promoting MURDER FOR HIRE…it’s a genuine ‘I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open’ type yawn.  Part of it comes from an hour tae-bo workout, a long walk on the beach with Dave and Boska, and still catching up with my sleep after five days of sleep deprivation.  Said sleep deprivation was caused by a houseful of guests last weekend.  Guests got the guest room, which is usually kitty lock-up at night so we can sleep the night through without feline aerobics.  When we have guests, however, the cats are free range.  Their cat boxes are in the hallway outside our room.  I have upwards of eight cats sleeping on me…when they’re not bouncing off my stomach and head.  I love them all very much.  But when it comes to sleep, I prefer to limit the number allowed in the bedroom.

But I digress.  Last Saturday we had a big old bash to celebrate the publication of MFH.  We had around 40 people or thereabouts for an evening of gourmet food, courtesy of Pete Sloman (with the assistance of his sou chef and and son Ernie), many bottles of wine (courtesy of everyone) and much fun was had by all.  I sold around 10 copies of the book and was genuinely touched by the enthusiasm and support of our friends and family for my accomplishment.

Last night  (Friday) I had a book signing at the West Portal Wine Styles (thank you, James and Gail!).  It was held in conjunction with a wine tasting featuring the wines of Lynne Wall. It was an interesting experience in that there wasn’t really an opportunity to do any kind of presentation or talk, but I had a basketful of books, sold 10 and enjoyed some great wine and the company of friends.  We topped the evening off with Brazilian food and a viewing of Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE at our house.

I had an unexpected sale this morning when our postman knocked on the door at 9am (no, we were NOT up yet) wanting to buy two copies.  Mike is a sweetheart – we usually run into him at George’s Zoo weekend mornings when we’re buying coffee for our beach walks – and I’d told him about MFH.  He wanted copies for his sister and his cousin’s wife.  Dave told him we’d meet him at George’s Zoo in 15 minutes or so.  I was not ready for company and had to persuade Haggis, Foster and Maddie that Mom had to get out of bed.   So I sold two copies at George’s Zoo to our mailman.

I’m still working on setting up my Blog Book Tour and am hoping to have it all set and scheduled for January.  There are so many things to learn, such as RSS feeds, how to set up a Squidoo lens, Google alerts, and…and..stuff.  It’s a bit overwhelming and I hearby propose we add two to four hours in the day with two of those hours specifically to figure out where the hell WordPress keeps the templates!

Tomorrow I’m going to the Mystery Writers of America/Sisters in Crime holiday party at M is for Murder in San Mateo.  I joined Sisters in Crime, both the national and northern Cal chapters, and am looking forward to meeting the various local mystery authors attending.   I may be an author, but I’m also a fan!   And I’ve been invited to speak at Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime, in February.  They sound like a fun, supportive group of fellow writers and fans alike and I’m really looking forward to the experience.  More details as I get ’em.

Still going to local bookstores and sending out postcards and I hope to have some more signings around the Bay Area in the new year. It’s a lot of work, but I really am having a blast and that’s the important thing.  That and catching up on my sleep!