The Next Step!

I’ve mentioned my skill at walking and reading…so this is obviously the next step in Dana’s evolution as a multi-tasker!

 “Walk and type at the same time! Walking upright is a sure sign that you’re evolved, but we think you should take it one step further and walk upright while computing. The Connect-A-Desk is a new product that gives you the ability to use your laptop with both hands free, to type while walking or standing. Includes the laptop harness & desk, everything you need to use your laptop computer while standing. Works with any size laptop, notebook, or tablet computer. Adjustable to fit any size person. Quick and easy to put on and take off and ergonomically designed for comfort. It’s truly mobile and portable, no need for a laptop cart or stand. Connect-A-Desk makes any laptop truly mobile. Taking notes with a full size keyboard while having the ability to move around can be of great value to almost any laptop user.”

I really really really want this… 

Taking a Break from Erotic Romance, back to my Mystery roots!

Tuesday night I participated in a mystery writer panel along with fellow authors Ann Parker (Silver Rush mysteries), Mark Coggins (August Riordan series) and Camille Minichino (Periodic Table mystery series) at the Castro Valley Library.

To the right are me and Ann, while below Ann and I listen in evident fascination to Mark.  And below that you can see throngs (yes, that’s right!  Throngs!) of audience members coming up after the talk to buy copies of our books.  That’s Camille at the far end of the table, btw.  All in all a very satisfying event!

Muni Woes

Lately I’ve been doing a lot thinking and writing on the Muni (using my handy dandy Alphasmart!).  I do my Artist’s Way endorsed morning pages, work on outlines, posts, notes…whatever needs doing.  I usually read on the Muni, but given the two deadlines I have (200 page novel due 1/1/09 and non-fiction co-written book on female sexuality due 2/1/08), I’ve been really upping the writing discipline.  My brain is wearing thigh high black leather boots and a corset, cracking a whip whenever I open a book (unless I’m in the bathroom or walking.  Can’t write while walking), telling me to get with the program.  Or else.  CRACK!!  And Muni time is a good 40 minutes there and 40 minutes home.

Oops…wait a sec…I have a kitten chewing on my chin and purring…

Okay, he’s finished now.

On a good day, the Muni is a wonderful place to work.  On a bad day, not so much.  A good day is:

1.  when the person who sits next to me is relatively slender and aware they’re not alone.  My rear is generous enough to take up exactly one Muni seat, no less, no more.  I don’t enjoy sharing my half of the seat with someone else’s butt, elbows or any other body part.  It’s even more fun when my seat mate falls asleep on me.  And yes, it’s happened more than once.

2. The person next to me is not a male who can’t sit without spreading his legs as wide as possible.  See above re: sharing my space.  Keep your legs together, guys.  Or does your package really need that much fresh air?

3. The person next to me practices good hygiene.  This also goes for anyone standing in my immediate vicinity.  Wash, people!  Use deodorant!  And leave the heavy perfumes at home; think before poisoning your fellow passengers with a noxious cloud of cloying scent.

4.  The person next to or near me doesn’t have an iPod or MP3 player turned up enough to where I’m forced to share their musical tastes without being able to actually hear it clearly.  It’s irritating white noise and I can only think the person connected to the headphones is going to be deaf in a very short time and then turn their damn music up even louder.

5.  The person next to me has good cell-phone etiquette and keeps the volume down and the conversation short.

6.  The person next to me or near me is not a crazy CHUD.

A bad Muni day is when any combination of the above occurs.  It makes writing a challenge.  Sometimes I overcome the irritation and forge ahead; other times I have to restrain myself from beating someone over the head with my Alpha.

Today started out as a bad day on the ride home.  A group of half dozen teens trooped on board and sat two rows in front of me.  Loud, hyper teens.  They weren’t mean, they didn’t swear, but oh, they were loud.  I tried to write for a few more minutes, but finally gave up and pulled out a book.  I had a bit more success focusing on reading, but not a lot.  I was working up to a really fine irritation when one of the kids stood up to let an older woman sit down.  The train lurched and she fell heavily into the seat.  Immediately all the kids asked if she was okay, sincerely concerned.  My irritation melted away and I smiled.  Five minutes later they began a rousing rendition of LION SLEEPS TONIGHT.  My smile wavered, but lasted through all the choruses of ‘Weemawep aweemawep’ and beyond.  I did not, however, get any writing done.

Taking a short break from cozies

I’ve been expanding my reading list over the last year. Up to the point I joined Sisters in Crime and started hanging out with fellow writers, I only read mysteries within my preferred genre: humorous cozies. Then, after meeting Simon Wood, then president of the Sisters in Crime NorCal chapter, I decided I really needed to give his book, PAY THE PIPER a try. I also picked up a copy of TUNNELS by Michelle Gagnon. Both are definitely NOT cozy (the books, that is. Simon and Michelle are both kinda cute and cozy); they are disturbing psychological and sometimes graphically horrific thrillers. But despite the lack of food and clothing description and amateur sleuths who date cops, I myself enthralled by both books. Rather like the day when I was 10 or so and my taste buds suddenly decided they LIKED lasagna and cheesecake, I found I suddenly had a newfound appreciation for this hard-edged style of mystery thriller. I picked up several of the Irene Kelly mysteries by Jan Burke, both of whom I’d met at Left Coast Crime (and yes, I KNOW I haven’t finished writing about my experiences there yet…picture me shuffling my feet and hanging my head in shame.) Both were extremely nice and personable, although Jan Burke seemed almost shyer than I was when I talked to her – as are Simon and Michelle.

All of these books have several things in common as well: tons of suspense, believably flawed and interesting heroes/heroines, twisted villains, and, as mentioned earlier, they are REALLY disturbing in parts. They also wouldn’t allow me to my usual juggling two or three books at a time (I tend to keep one in the bathroom, one on the bedside table, and one in my purse for travel) routine. OH no, these books wouldn’t allow competition. “Put that friggin’ cozy mystery down, you!” They wanted to be read all the way through without interruption (I just read Michelle’s second book, BONEYARD and carried it with me everywhere, including to the bathroom at work).

I really wanted each and everyone of these books to end well, without losing any of the main or subsidiary characters I’d become fond during the read, and I had to continually stop myself from flipping to the last chapter to make sure I wasn’t going to be VERY upset with the authors. I really hate getting attached to characters only to have them die horribly on me. As to whether or not this happens in any of the books mentioned, I’m not gonna say. I will just say that despite whatever fates these authors decided on for their characters, I found their books compelling enough to read more of them. Not that I’m forswearing my cozies! I’m just expanding my literary taste buds.

Upcoming Virtual Book-signing Events

My friend and fellow writer Steve Prosapio, is holding Bookdays on his blog, virtual interviews and book drawings with four writers, including myself.  Steve’s blog is here.  Below, in his own words, is a more comprehensive description of the events.  Please stop by his blog, both on the dates mentioned and just to check it out!  And yes, a free copy of MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon, will be up for grabs!


They say that March comes in like a lion…


But I’m hereby declaring the next thirty days, “March out and buy a book” month! In support of that, I’ll be hosting virtual “book-signing” events each Wednesday this month on my blog. In fact, I’ll no longer refer to the fourth day of the week as “Wednesday” any longer. It’s now called “Bookday.”


Okay, that last part might be a bit over the top, but the “book events” will be fun.


Without further ado, here’s who will be joining us:


March 5th – Chicago, IL

Geoffrey Edwards, author of Fire Bell in the Night, a historical novel set in antebellum South Carolina that centers on the trial of a man who helped an escaping slave.


March 12th – San Francisco, CA

Dana Fredsti, author of Murder For Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon, an almost-cozy murder mystery about an acting troupe that specializes in spoofing, not sleuthing…until bodies start stacking up. 

March 19th – Sienna, Italy

My review of Too Much Tuscan Sun by Dario Castagno, a memoir of a Chianti tour guide. I recently met Dario at a book signing. I’d corresponded with him from time to time since purchasing his book in 2005.


March 26th – New York, NY

Seymour Garte, author of Where We Stand:  A Surprising Look at the Real State of Our Planet. This nonfiction work explores environmental topics and suggests what we can do to better care for the earth. 

Stop by for any/all of these events on my blog. Interviews with the authors will be posted and some of them have agreed to stop by the blog that day to discuss their work and answer questions from the audience (aka the No Bull Gallery). You do NOT need to be registered with Live Journal to participate. You can post anonymously (hit the “anonymous” button after clicking your comment), but please make sure to put your name on the post. Books and/or gift cards will be given away on the Friday following the visits to those who participate.


Don’t miss out on your chance to “mingle” with published authors (and win free books)!


Again, these events will be held ON MY BLOG on the posted dates. I will be “replaying” the interviews, so to speak, on my home page but if you want to win prizes, come and post to the BLOG itself. “

Drawing for Three (3)! Copies of Murder For Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon…

…will take place tomorrow night at approximately 7:00pm Pacific Standard Time.  I’m compiling the lists from my lovely blog hosts, must type it up, cut the names into separate strips of paper, then put ’em in my handy dandy fedora, stir ’em up, and pull out the winners.   Whew!  I’ll be posting the winners on my blog as soon as I finish the drawing and will also send the names to the seven hosts so they can post the winners as well if they so desire.

Thanks again to everyone who followed the tour, whether or not you left comments!  And a huge thanks to Elysabeth, Dani, Kat, Blaize, Nessa, Mr. Fab and Redzilla!  You all rock (can I stil say that at my age?) and made this experience a fantastic first blog tour for me!

And now to sip some very lovely Rosenblum Abba Syrah and read the rest of DARK TIDE by Elizabeth Forrest…

Dates for my Tour!

Yes, the tour for Murder for Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon, is slowly coming together. I will have an official page for this on my website under The Goods section, but what’s the use of a blog if I can’t further promote myself and my lovely host bloggers? I’m very excited about this, but the coolest part is the wonderful blogs I discovered when researching the tour and meeting some incredibly talented and nice people. Please take a look at my list of tour stops:

Sunday, January 20th

Elysabeth’s Emerald City

Monday, January 21st

Tuesday, January 22nd
Kat’s Random Thoughts

Wednesday, January 23rd
Chrysalis Stage

Thursday, January 24th
Kitty Litter

Friday, January 25th
Pointless Drivel

Saturday, January 26th
Redzilla Attacks!

These are all on my blogroll, which got ate by WordPress when I added my RSS feed and link to the blogbooktours group on yahoo. My lovely and talented website designer, Leslie Keats, is working on recovering said blogroll and my blog archives. If you need website design, I cannot recommend her highly enough! And aside from her web design talents, she surfs and enjoys drinking wine while watching bad movies. My kinda gal!

Upcoming Blog Tour

Yes, that’s right.  I’m actually going to DO this blog book tour I’ve been dropping hints about for the last month!  It’s going to start the Monday of the third week of January.  If I had a calendar nearbye, I’d give you the date.  but I don’t and I have felines lounging on me and can’t get up to check.   Does this make me lazy?  Perhaps.  Or does it make me a good mother?  I prefer to look at it that way.

So I’m gonna be doing interviews and guest posts at…six different blogs, hosted by six diversely talented writers and bloggers.  Still working out the logistics, but we will be having several drawing for free copies of my book, MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon.  If you win, you’ll have to bake your own chocolate chip cookies to eat while reading it, but the book itself will be free.

I will be posting a schedule with the dates and urls of the blogs I’ll be visiting and hope you’ll stop by all of them and check it out!

Morning Glass, Adventures of a Legendary Waterman, by Mike Doyle

I just finished the above titled book by Mike Doyle, legendary surfer and all around waterman. Doyle was one of the original crowd at Malibu and, as I found out from reading his autobiography, the book and subsequent movie BIG WEDNESDAY (directed by John Milius) were based on Doyle and the other surfers at Malibu during the uncrowded, halcyon days of the late ’50s.

I loved this book. Written in a matter-of-fact, totally non-judgemental voice, Doyle captures the joy of surfing and shares the adventures, triumphs and failures of his life in an honest and inspirational way. I would recommend MORNING GLASS to surfers and non-surfers alike – anyone going through a life crisis will benefit from Doyle’s story. He’s living proof that you can change paths at any point in your life and find happieness and success. A real testiment to ‘follow your bliss and success will follow.’

Unfortunately the book is now out of print and copies are going anywhere from $50 to $200 bucks. I lucked out and found a copy for $20 on, but it was the only one below the $50 price point.