Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Watch out Bouchercon! Here I Come ....

I'm as nervous as a high school girl before the big prom. I'm going to Indianapolis this week for Bouchercon, a huge conference for all things mystery.

How's my dress? Will I get a corsage? Please, please tell me this little bump on my nose is not turning into a pimple!

I'll be among 400 or so other authors and more than 1,000 fans in attendance. I'm sure I'll feel lost in the masses, a nameless face in a bustling crowd. If I believed in the power of positive thinking or those self-affirming exercises, I'd be standing in front of the mirror right now repeating these words: ''You're a wonderful author. You'll be discovered. People will form long lines for the chance to buy your books.''

(OK, I actually DID say those words this morning ... just hedging my bets)

I got a slot on a panel, so that's the good news. 1:30 pm on Thursday, Southern Voices, with my friend and fellow author Vicki Lane, and the wonderful, funny Cathy Pickens moderating. The bad news: We're on against a program by the head guy for author relations with Amazon.com. So I know where all my writer friends are going to be, especially if Mr. Amazon is giving anything away. (And it's not sitting and listening to us drawl, y'all).

I'm looking on the bright side, though: Bouchercon gives me the chance to connect with people I might not have met otherwise. Indianapolis will be a nice break from the never-ending summer swelter of south Florida (It's October, for crying out loud. Can we get some relief from temps in the 90s and 2,000-percent humidity?) And, since there won't be a prom date with a powder blue tuxedo and a low tolerance for alcohol, I won't wind up with throw-up on my dress.

Unless I get REALLY nervous, that is.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Happy Place

Who needs the New York Times? Publishers Weekly can go pound sand. And Oprah? Who'd want to sit on that stinkin' couch of yours anyway?

I have something even better than anointment from that Holy Trinity of book arbiters: A Happy Folder.

Recently, I had one of those days when I couldn't write a thing that didn't suck. When I pouted that PW hasn't reviewed my books, even though they've sprinkled their stars upon some of my fellow Midnight Ink authors. When I pondered hanging up fiction and returning to journalism.

Then I remembered that newspapers are sounding a death rattle, that nobody's hiring, and that friends and former colleagues in the media are losing jobs right and left.

In other words, not a happy day.

Until I got an email from a reader, telling me she loved my book. I thought back to why I left the news biz. I wanted to make people laugh, to bring some levity to a post-9/11 world that felt sad and deadly serious. And here was somebody writing to tell me I'd managed to do just that.

That's when I got the idea of sifting through my emails to create a feel-good folder. I'd fill it only with nice notes from readers. Here's one, from a woman in Birmingham, Ala:

My doctor had been concerned about my rising blood pressure, from stress of constant terrible news on TV. Your book was the perfect antidote: I laughed, felt like I actually knew your very real characters, and was so thoroughly relaxed that my blood pressure went down!

Here's another, from a reader who discovered the Large Print editions of my Mace Bauer Mystery series:

I get migraines from eye strain. It has been a long time since reading was fun for me until your books.

And another one, from a woman who said she's eagerly awaiting Book 3:

I couldn't wait to write and tell you how much I loved your book... funny, clever, LOL, great read ...

After paging through my Happy Folder, the day didn't seem so depressing after all.

PS to Oprah, if you're reading this. I didn't mean it about your couch.