Day 22 – Better Late Than Never…

 Last night I had every intention of writing my post ahead of time, but this plan was derailed first by what was supposed to be a quick stop at Vin Debut, our favorite local wine store and bar in San Francisco, and then by brain-sucking kittens.  We really should have known better re: Vin Debut.  It’s never just a three hour tour.  James, one of the owners, was in and we ended up sitting and talking for at least an hour and having one or two more glasses of wine than intended.  This got us home around 6:30 or so instead of 5:30, and then cats and household had to be tended to, including the second time suck…  Kittens.

What can I say?  When they stare up at you with those wittle faces and start climbing on you and purring and curling up under chins, in the crook of an elbow or on stomachs… This on top of wine equals instant nap time.

So… no writing last night.  Good intentions lie out on the pavement somewhere.

We’ve been on the go today since getting up at 6:30 (waaaahhh!!!) a.m., something that seems just innately wrong on a Saturday.  A quick trip up to Healdsburg, then to the Bullseye Range for May’s Sisters in Crime NorCal meeting.  Sisters with Guns, you betcha!  We had some class time with one of their instructors, who discovered just how many questions a group of mystery and crime writers can come with having nothing to do with gun safety.   Then we did some shooting in their indoor range and I discovered just how much of a kick my snub nose Taurus .38 special has, which is a hell of a lot.  But … but it’s so wee and cute!   I’m happy to say all of my and Dave’s shots except two hit our zombie targets (I love the fact you can buy zombie target sheets), including a delightful grouping of headshots and one right through the mouth (that was Dave’s).  Bite THIS, zombie bitch!

Home now and spending time with cats, kittens and computer.  It’s been a very satisfying day.

Come visit me on Fatal Foodies, with a special guest!

Nadia Gordon, author of the Sunny McCoskey mysteries, is my guest on Fatal Foodies today. Stop by and say hello!

And don’t forget, Wednesday is Ravenous Romance Day on Unbound, with the lovely Sephera Giron!  I’ll post a reminder and the direct link beforehand, but add it to your calendars!

Other news, Mugatu was adopted this Saturday by a very lovely woman who lives nearby and has three other cats to keep our little girl company.  Two more to go.  Friday is the big day to get them fixed – did I mention thank you to everyone who donated?

Thank you!     

Sunny Monday

It’s GORGEOUS outside today.  Sunny, warm and quite Southern Californian in its balmy breeze.  Definitely a change from San Francisco’s usual June Gloom and fog shrouded hills.  Not that I’m complaining about the fog.  It is one of the reasons I moved up here.  But I do admit a little sun now and again is welcome.  It’s nice to get some color and remember what it was like when I had my perpetual golden tan.  Ah, the blissful ignorance of youth…

I had a great weekend.  Twilight Tour at EFBC/FCC (to read more about it, go here for my post at Fatal Foodies); wine and snackage (Seeduction bread, olive oil, uber rich cheese and wine) with my sister; a gorgeous drive back up the coast early Sunday morning; and then a full afternoon at home, including beach walkies, writing and getting the laundry done.  I honestly can’t (and won’t) complain!  

Ooh, and thanks to my relentless walking and new love affair with my pedometer (I’m average 12,000 steps a day), I have lost enough weight to fit into some really nice summer pants my sister gave me.  And…yes…I do believe…yes, my waist is slowly but surely returning!  

I am in a very good mood, especially for a Monday. 

I raised this cat…

Ned picking out the wineYou can tell ’cause he’s picking out the wine.

This is Ned, the cat formerly known as Wookie.  He is Haggis’s and Taz’s brother.  If you go on my website and look at the picture under ‘drop me a line,’ you’ll see Ned with Taz and Angel (now called River after the cute but crazy gal on FIREFLY) helping me edit my book. Ned went to live with our friend Matt, proud father of Mitch, another plumpalicious black feline.  The two of them became best buddies (or domestic partners, as Matt calls them) and it’s now difficult to tell them apart.

This is the upside of fostering.

The downside is when you lose them.  The kittens and Mom Cat we’re fostering now came to us with upper respiratory problems and eye infections, compromised immune systems.  We lost little Gabriel a couple weeks ago to pneumonia…and last night we lost Gorilla, the little tortie, to the same thing.  Matt sent me pictures of Ned to cheer me up, reminding me that a lot of the times the fostering story has a happy ending.  He’s right.  This is why we keep doing it despite the heartache.

But I am officially ready for Bastet to stop repossessing her children before their time.

Trader Joe’s Wine Alert

If you’re a wine lover, you’ll know that the more you taste, especially as you taste better wines, the more difficult it is to find a truly satisfying wine for a bargain price.  By ‘bargain’ I’m talking under 10 bucks, although it’s easier to find a nine dollar wine with some complexity than, say, a five dollar wine.  I miss the days when a bottle of Black Mountain Fat Cat Cabernet from TJ’s was all I needed to make my tastebuds happy.  I still have a deep sentimental attachment to that particular wine…but it doesn’t quite do it for me the way it used to.  So when I find a really good wine for under 10 bucks these days, let alone five bucks, it’s a gift from the gods…specifically Bacchus.  And I found one today.   Dave and I were doing a quick TJ’s run before the monthly Sisters in Crime Nor Cal meeting and…

Hmmm.  I shouldn’t be sharing this information.  I should be hoarding it like Smaug horded his gold before those nasty little hobbits (we hates them, we do, yessssss, preciousssss) showed up and ruined his mellow dragon lifestyle.  I should keep my mouth shut and insure that the supply of my new grapey love will be at my local TJs for a few months.

And yet…

I find an unsuspected spark of nobility within my dragonish soul and even a bit of guilt at the thought of NOT sharing this new wine find. So…here it goes.

2005 Chariot Gypsy.  The label shows a woman in a red head scarf astride a chariot, very much in the vein of a Major Arcana tarot card.  The back only says it was bottled by Jim Neal wines in St. Helena, California.  Nothing about varietals.  I have no idea what grapes were used in the making of this wine (although its rich, spicy characteristics lead me to suspect a zinfandel or syrah in the blend).  The price tag?  $4.99.  The placard in the store said One Time Buy.  When it’s gone, it’s gone.  So I had to try it.  We took it to the SinC meeting and cracked it open aong with an inexpensive Spanish cava.  The cava was okay.  The Chariot?


This is a winner, folks.  As mentioned, it’s rich and spicy, almost like a Sangiovese (hmmm…maybe…) and goes REALLY well with pizza.  It’s got a lot more complexity than most 4.99 wines and the bottle was quickly emptied by the attending Sisters who are into red wine.   We stopped at TJ’s on our way home and bought some more of it to make sure the one bottle hadn’t been a fluke.

It wasn’t.

So if you’re a wino and have a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood — or know someone who willl ship it to you — hie yourself hence and get some of this wine!  You will not be sorry.

I will, though.  Because when it’s gone…it’s gone.

Now excuse me while I curl up on top of the remaining bottles


Will Write for WIne

Every Thursday Dave and I go to the Wine Styles in West Portal for a wine tasting.  We’ve been going ever since the store opened a year or so ago because the owners, James and Gail a: are really nice, b: have great senses of humor (they’ve seen COLD COMFORT FARM and have ‘seen something nasty in the woodshed’) and c: there is good wine to be tasted.  What’s not to like? 

Last night Mark, our favorite wine rep, was doing the pouring.  He had two sparkling wines and four reds (two syrahs and two pinot noirs).  The reds were all from wine maker Jim Walker, who was also there along with Mike (didn’t get his last name), He Who Grows the Grapes.  Mark asked me how the book sales were going and this sparked a conversation with JIm and Mike about my writing and more specifically, my murder mystery Murder for Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon.  Long story short, I ended up trading a signed copy of my book for a signed bottle of Orentano pinot noir (well out of our budget) and while I don’t think either side ended up with a bad bargain, I’m feeling mighty chuffed that someone would want to give me a lovely bottle of wine for something I wrote.  I guess it’s the same as being willing to shell out money for either the book or the wine, but they were so jazzed over the book and asked so many questions about it, it just made me feel awfully special!  It was a great boost for my ego and my incentive to keep writing.  It had the additional benefit of leaving the budget open to purchasing another of the reds, a yummy Fieldsa syrah, which was an amazing wine for a very inexpensive price. 

It also underlines points made by other August Blog Challenge participants on how it’s possible to market one’s book just about anywhere.  Heck, I didn’t even have to bring it up.  I think it helped that I had an equally genuine interest in the wine (and not just from a tasting standpoint – wine is one of my passions) and I don’t have much of an ego when it comes to my writing.  I’m not shy about it, but I’m always surprised and pleased when someone wants to take about it and takes the time to ask me questions or visit my website.  And it also gave me a great idea for my third MFH mystery…  All good things! 

Happy Friday, all! 

A Week Without Blogging

Oh, the shame of it!  The stain upon my honor will never be washed from the fabric of the laundry of life.   Nay, there is not enough spiritual spot remover to expunge the…the…er…well…

Never mind.
I didn’t write any posts last week.  At this rate, it will be time for Left Coast Crime 2009 by the time I finish my series of posts about Left Coast Crime 2008.


Last week was one of those ‘got a social event every friggin’ night except Tuesday night’ type of weeks.  And Tuesday night I got a stomach bug.  The weekend was taken up with more social activity; my sister Lisa was up visiting from Venice Beach (one of the cool parts of Los Angeles) and we had a full weekend of beach walking, ferry trips, wine tasting and exploratory drives up the 101 and 116 to the coast.

I did, however, finally finish the prologue for BAD RAP, my current WIP.  Third person is NOT my friend and it took me an inordinate amount of time to hammer it out.  But it’s done, I’m happy, I tasted good wine and took my first ferry ride since moving up to San Francisco.  I haf no regrets!

But I do have a hell of a lot of posting to catch up on.

I’m also doing another mini blog tour in prep for a live (not dead!) signing tour with fellow mystery writer Jess Lourey, author of the hilarious MURDER BY THE MONTH series.   She’ll be promoting her new book AUGUST MOON and I’ll be promoting MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon.  To check out our tour stops in the Bay Area to Seattle, starting the Wednesday before Memorial Day, go here.   I’ll be doing an interview with Jess on Pointless Drivel on April 22nd.  Don’t worry, I’ll post a reminder.

Jess and I are planning on a pacifistic Thelma and Louise type drive from San Fran up to Seattle.  Only problem is we both wanna be the Susan Sarandon character.  Which is okay ’cause even though we won’t get laid, we won’t get our money stolen by a sexy drifter either.