Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sparkle Power

Do you think Sue Grafton is running around her house today, trying to find something dressy to wear on Saturday night, along with a pair of black pants that don't make her look fat?

On the eve of Malice Domestic, an annual conference for fans of mystery novels, I'm still wading through piles of clothes in my bedroom trying to choose the least hideous things to pack. Don't get me started on shoes. Comfy = ugly. Cute = tortuous. I usually opt for comfort. I'm packing a pair of bright pink Nike sneakers. 'Nuff said.

Grafton is the author of the zillion-seller Kinsey Millhone series (From A is for Alibi, all the way to U is for Undertow, so far). On Saturday night at the conference, which annually draws some 500 mystery aficionados, Grafton will receive a lifetime achievement award from Malice Domestic's board of directors.

I can't wait to see what she's going to wear.

I myself may have gone a bit overboard on the Saturday sparkle. Witness the jacket pictured above, a little number I unearthed for $15 at a thrift store. I always like to imagine who might have worn these ''gently used'' frocks before I found them. My husband is convinced this jacket belonged to a magician's assistant. When the stage lights bounced off those green, purple and silver sequins, all the better to distract -- or maybe blind -- the audience from his magical sleight of hand. Either that, or it was a cast off from a performer who rode horses in the circus.

"Maybe the former owner wore it on an exotic cruise,'' I said.
"Yeah, that would have to be Carnival Cruise Line,'' he said.

What a kidder.

I know the jacket is a bit (okay, a lot) over the top. I know it fairly shouts ''Come to the Carnival! Look at me!'' But, hey, I have to do something to stand out from the crowd of a couple hundred mystery authors who will be at Malice Domestic. If I had a whole alphabet worth of titles like Sue Grafton, that jacket would have stayed on the rack at the thrift store and I could show up in jeans.

But I need a little sparkle power, a little sleight of hand since I've only managed this far to write four books. If you're asking, here they are: Mama Does Time, Mama Rides Shotgun, and Mama Gets Hitched, are already out. Next up, in September: Mama Sees Stars.