Saturday, March 27, 2010

Library Love, Part Deux. Thank you, Tomball, Texas!

It's no secret around here that I love my library. Now I love another library too. But it's okay. Libraries don't get jealous.

Last week I was invited to visit the mystery book club at the Tomball College and Community Library. Talking to book clubs is always fun, but this one was especially welcoming. I knew I was going to like it there when I walked in the door and Angela Hunter (left), from the Friends of the Library, told me I looked like a teenager. Fifty points to my new BFF.

Georgia Owens (right) planned an outstanding event. She even decorated with a parachute! I was greeted with a ginormous, laminated rainbow sign that said, "Welcome, Rachel" and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers that she later sent home with me. Thank you, Georgia! They are almost as lovely as you! :-) Her husband Mike, even catered for us. He makes great queso. Thanks, Mike!

Much as I was loving the decorations and food, the visit got even better once we started talking. What a great group of readers! We talked about lots of things, including, but not limited to:

  • Final Approach
  • My next book, Dead Lift
  • How I write
  • Cover art
  • Where book ideas come from
  • Life at NASA
  • My hobbies and follies
  • Our favorite authors
  • Our favorite mystery series-es (is there a word for this?)
  • Fashion trends of the 1960s
  • Snobby women
  • Women who wear too much make-up
  • How Jerry Baker from the Houston Chronicle will one day make us famous
  • Whether I could possibly move to Tomball so I could hang out with all my new friends, pictured here.

This was a fabulous group, one of the most fun yet, and I had the time of my life.

Sincere thanks to Georgia for setting this up, and to Angela for buying more copies for the Friends of the Library. See you guys in a few months for Dead Lift. Library Love!

Friday, March 26, 2010

In My Mind, I Run Like a Kenyan

And write like one too, I guess. The full story is at the Stiletto Gang today. Please click through and reassure me that I’m not alone here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Left Coast Crime: Best Advice Summarized.

Usually when I return from conferences, I write posts that are too long. What can I say? Conferences energize me, and the energy manifests in a torrent of words.

My opinion about the importance of attending writing conferences is already documented, so in the spirit of my last post (Just Say 10 Words and Shut Up), I will simply share the best two pieces of advice I took away from Left Coast Crime: Booked in L.A.

#1. Tim Hallinan: When pushing through a story outline or synopsis, try writing brief opening lines of dialogue for each scene and then summarizing--briefly--how you see the rest of that scene or chapter going. Then move on.

#2. Twist Phelan: For short stories, think about a character you wouldn't want to spend a whole book with. Or maybe find the one exciting thing that happens in the life of an otherwise normal person.

Both food for thought.

Here's a picture of Tim and I. Can you tell I adore him? In a few weeks I'll be guest blogging for him, talking about my "writing process." I hope the piece will generate some discussion here because I'm always keen to learn how others make up their stories.

My goal for March is to write a synopsis for Book #3 so I'll report back how Tim's advice works out for me.