Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Same time, next year

I've been back from St. Louis for three days now, and I'm anxiously awaiting the weekend so I can get some real rest.

St. Louis, you ask? Why were you in St. Louis?

For Bouchercon, one of the largest mystery conventions in the country.

I started going to Bouchercon in 2005, when my first book SACRED COWS, was published. I met Alison Gaylin, Lori Armstrong, and Jeff Shelby there in Chicago, and we started the now infamous First Offenders blog. First Offenders is defunct now, but Alison, Lori and Jeff and I are still good friends. Jeff couldn't come to St. Louis, but Alison and Lori and I got part of the band back together and shared a room.

Bouchercon is a little like college in that there are a lot of late nights in the bar, thus, the reason I'm a bit wrecked. But it's an incredible amount of fun.

Some highlights of the weekend:

Lori winning the Shamus Award for her book NO MERCY. It was so great to be able to be there and share that with her.

Meeting Eoin Colfer of ARTEMIS FOWL fame and Daniel Woodrell, who wrote WINTER'S BONE, one of my favorite books.

Lunch with Reed Farrel Coleman and three lovely ladies who "bought" a meal with two mystery writers.

Meeting Mary Jane Haake, a tattooist from Portland, Oregon, who is featured in the book that convinced me to write the tattoo shop mystery series: BODIES OF SUBVERSION: A HISTORY OF WOMEN AND TATTOO by Margot Mifflin.

Sharing Linda Brown's (of the now defunct Mystery Bookstore in L.A.) excitement about traveling to China to meet her new daughter soon.

Explaining to a waitress that while Trey Barker really does have a gun, he wouldn't actually shoot her if she gave the check to me and not to him.

Having Harlan Coben give me a nickname (although I'm still not sure about it).

And seeing and chatting with: Sean Doolittle, Steve Hamilton, Wallace Stroby, Con Lehane, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Jim Benn, Lyssa Keusch, Peter Spiegelman, Jim Fusilli, John Connolly, Lauren Henderson, JT Ellison, and loads of others I just can't think of right at the moment. Like I said, I need a really good night's sleep.

Next year: Cleveland.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer break's over, time to get back to work

It's Labor Day. And I've just now realized I haven't posted in almost 2 months. Consider it my "summer off" blogging, even if it didn't start out that way.

So what have I been up to for the past two months, you ask. Best answer: Not much. I have been reading and hanging out at our pool club (it's not as chi-chi as it sounds) and I finally, in the past couple weeks, have started writing something new. So I guess you can say I took the summer off from writing as well as blogging.

The new book is another young adult novel. It's sort of a crime novel mixed up with a coming of age story. I haven't gotten very far yet, but I did have my 14 year old daughter and her friend read the first 10 pages a few days ago and they both liked it, in fact, they were a little annoyed that there wasn't more and that I'd ended in mid-sentence.

This is a good sign.

I hadn't been sure of the direction of this book, which is why it took so long to really get started. I knew the basic story, but I wasn't quite sure how to tell it. I ended up taking what I'd initially wrote and cutting it and moving things around and turning it into more of a prologue and then jumping into what happened "before" the prologue, to see where the characters had started and how they end up where they end up.

I still don't have all the details worked out, and I'm sure I'll have more fits and starts, but it's finally starting to gain momentum and I'm beginning to be at the point where I'm feeling that I need to write every day again.

It's been a while since I've felt that way. But after writing a dark crime novel for adults about teenagers doing dangerous things, I needed a little break from writing about teenagers. Fortunately I'm getting over that now.

So what have you all been doing while I've been absent? Did you have a nice summer? Any nice vacations? Anyone starting a new book, reading or writing one?