Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

I really like this holiday for a lot of reasons. Here are ten of them:

1.) It's not particularly religious and there are no services of any kind to observe nor do you have to buy gifts, light candles or eat anything weird unless you really want to.

2.) Florists, Hallmark and See's Candy don't have too much of a stake in it.

3.) No retailer in their right mind has a Halloween linen sale or a Halloween discount on tires.

4.) Kids love it.

5.) There's candy. A lot of it.

6.) There's fun scary stuff on TV instead of the usual scary unfun stuff.

7.) You can dress up if you want to - but you don't have to.

8.) pumpkins pumpkins! pumpkins!!!

9.) People come to your house - mostly little kids in funny costumes.

10.) This year it's on a Tuesday, which in our area is 3 for $1 taco night at Del Taco. We get to have a treat once a week.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Beautiful Things Over The Weekend

1. We re-arranged the furniture in our mid-century modern house. Less is more. The empty spaces are beautiful. The pictures are of a Cliff May in Long Beach (not ours, but ours is similar)

2. We met Stephen - another Cliff May owner - and talked about mid-century architecture over lunch at El Tropicale.

3. I watched "
Grey Gardens" again - and although Edie Bouvier Beale's voice drives me nuts sometimes, it is a window into the past, the unrealized future and mild mannered madness. It's a bizarre masterpiece that brings back a lot of the reasons why I like conceptual art.

These are pictures of Little Edie at different times in her life. Big Edie (her mother) Bouvier Beale was Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis' aunt - Little Edie was her first cousin.

Funny how life takes these wild and unexpected turns - Little Edie was a beautiful debuntante - but became a reclusive eccentric, like her mother.

How much is genetics and how much is environment and how much is that individual spirit?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

LAndmarked for Murder Launch Party!

Okay, here's the promised picture: (That's me in the purple, lower right)

This was at the Mystery Bookstore in Westwood CA - that's editor Michael Mallory in the fedora, Paul Marks next to me and Jinx Beers in pink (Dee Ann Palmer is right behind Jinx in red) I'll get everyon'e else's name up as soon as I can remember them - oh, yes, that's Darrell James next to Michael Mallory... We had a terrific time. More pics were taken - I'll try to get them. The cake was beautiful - with the book cover on it!


I didn't know I made them when eating. Now I have another semi-conscious habit to watch out for, along with all the wheezing, grunting, cursing and raspberry-noises I make while trying to do the simplest tasks. Sigh. (Oops - there's another one.) I used to function quietly - what do you suppose happened? Maybe the machine just gets noisier as it gets older. I'll have to think about this - there's a story in there somewhere.

A Beautiful Thing

The sleeping pets.

This is Typpee - she's a poodle mix we got at the Humane Society - her little back left leg is all withered, but she gets around just fine. She's a sweetie.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


The weather has been bizarre this week - first a chill wind, followed by hot & sunny, and this morning a dense fog. What's going on with the climate here? Maybe I should get ready for something really unusual, like hail or tropical rains.

1. I saw a tiny - and I mean no longer than about two inches - baby lizard in a parking lot. It was the cutest little thing and turned its eedy-beedy reptilian eyes on me.

2. Pizza Margherita. Wow. Thin crust pizza with white cheese, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil. Heavenly! (Had it last night - along with some world-class root beer for dessert. I get a craving for good root beer sometimes.)

3. My attorney called me with good news and I got to hear his handsome voice over the telephone. The man is a gorgeous hunk. All television and movie lawyers should look this good. Sort of like George Clooney, mixed with a little young Dustin Hoffman - oh, it's impossible to explain why the image is another Beautiful Thing - maybe I can find a picture of him!

Here's a picture of my husband - my lawyer is *almost* as good-looking.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Well, the book launch party was a complete success! When I get them, I'll post a few pictures so you can see all my fellow authors and the editors of LANDMARKED FOR MURDER. I am delighted with the book, and look forward to our next signing.

More Beautiful Things:

1. The cats - all three of them - asleep on the patio last night. They are very prickly with each other but last night were nearly touching. What can make you sleepy faster than the sight of sleeping cats?

2. The office this morning was very quiet. I work in a cubicle farm that is normally a noise factory, but lots of folks took the morning off. It was so peaceful.

3. The sky this morning - it's really the night sky at 5:30 AM when I see it - was full of stars and a light breeze was blowing. It will be hot and clear today.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I went out to lunch and parked under the eucalyptus trees near the resevoir. A very tall water bird - white, possibly an egret - was standing on a moss-covered rock. He looked like the living incarnation of good fortune. When the trains roared by on the neighboring track, he watched them go by, the breeze lifting his feathers.

A well-dressed lady in a late-model car pulled up next to me at the stoplight. She didn't notice me - she was singing to the music in her car, head thrown back, mouth open wide, fingers tapping out the beat on the steering wheel. Her windows were closed, so all I heard was the whoosh of the wind through the trees. She looked happy.

I got a fun email at work - one of the girls here has a pet snake, a pretty ball python, at her house. She photographed herself with the snake on her head and sent me the picture. I laugh every time I think of it.

I discovered a new and wonderful site - THREE BEAUTIFUL THINGS

Clare in Tunbridge Wells, UK publishes Three Beautiful Things every day - some sweet, wistful, some joyous, some striking and all beautiful. It has inspired me to do the same, at least for today.

1. The girl in the McDonald's window grinned out in the early morning - her silver earrings gleaming, her silvered smile another bit of moonlight.

2. I saw an owl on the way to work the other morning, large and grey and flapping on a chain link fence. It turned its beautiful and startling round face to me. This week I have seen a blue heron, several snowy egrets, a flock of circling vultures and a hummingbird. It's been a good week for birds.

3. The crisp wind bit me on the face this morning - is summer gone? Good - I like the in-between time!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Book signing news! LAUNCH PARTY!!!

Authors & editors (including Harley Jane Kozak and me!) will be signing the new LAndmarked for Murder Anthology:

Saturday, October 21, at 5:30 PM
1036C Broxton
West Los Angeles, CA

Join us there - Meet Michael Mallory, Susan K. Beery
and the Anthology Authors

A Halloween Flash Fiction Contest for Bloggers!

Author Matt Dinneman has posted this fab contest on his blog, Fireflies in the Cloud

Here's my entry:

Tasty Treats

I love Halloween. Abby is finally old enough to trick or treat and I made her the cutest costume. She giggles every time she sees it.

I cautioned her not to talk about it, though. We have neighbors who don't celebrate Halloween and I don't want them ruining this experience for Abby.

This year, when the first little princess rings the bell and shouts, "Trick or treat" Abby will switch places with her and be on her way to a new family. And I'll have another little girl – either a tasty snack or a protégé, depending on the bite.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


It's a new project with 20 authors writing five flash fiction stories each - and I get to play! Just press the button up there to go to the website and you can read more about this brainchild of Ben Marroquin of Storymask.

I recognize a few of my fellow authors from the mystery e-lists, and a couple from the science fiction world. This is gonna be fun!

Wait. I have a deadline to write *5* stories? Uh, maybe not so much fun. Maybe work.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Some notes on writing flash fiction …

It's hard to write short fiction – you can't ramble, you can't get flowery in descriptions, you can't take two pages to set the scene, your characters have to describe themselves through their words and actions and you have to limit your cast and number of locations to the minimum necessary to tell the story.

What a pain.

Oh, wait. Those are the same rules you should be setting for yourself no matter what the length of your story.

One of my favorite tricks is to write the story, regardless of its length, then go back and edit it. I pare and re-word and re-write. I smooth the choppy results and do it again. I stop doing when I reach the desired length. What's the desired length? Well, for a
FlashShot story, it's 100 words or less. For Flashing in the Gutters, it's 700 words or less. For Flashes of Speculation, it's 1000 words. If your story clocks in at 3,000 words, then paring it down to 1,000 words will be a neat exercise. Getting it down to 100 words might be a wee bit more difficult.

What makes a good flash piece? Opinions vary, but I think it's the kernel of a story, at least one character and a plot twist. The plot twist is what gives a satisfying ending when there are so few words.

So try a flash piece. The shortest one I ever wrote for submission was for Nick Andreychuk at
Nefarious, a whopping 55 words…

Here's one just for you:

Train Station

I stepped back to admire the view. I thought he looked like George Clooney. But I felt an elbow and the platform ended under my foot. His eyes widened in surprise as the commuter train roared down on me.

"Watch out!" A high, girlie voice. Not George Clooney after all.

(only 50 words!)

Blogs you need to read if you are a.) going to write or b.) just love to read.

Naomi Hirahara - one of the mavens over at Murderati - has a super interview with Sue Ann Jaffarian, President of the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime, complete with pictures!

Lots of interesting tidbits, including mention of LAndmarked for Murder and me! (okay, they misspelled my name once, but who's counting?)

And POD-dy Mouth mentions the Murderati interview today - nice going, folks!

If you don't look in on Murderati, POD-dy Mouth, EVIL EDITOR and Miss Snark at least once a day, you are missing out as a writer!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


We'll be signing LAndmarked for Murder at Book 'em in South Pasadena, 1118 Mission St., South Pasadena, CA 91030 626-799-9600 1-800-4BOOKEM
Tentative date is December 9th - more info as it becomes available!

On December 2nd, look for us at Mystery and Imagination Bookstore, located at 238 N. Brand Blvd. in Glendale, California 91203

More fun signing the anthology!! Come on out, Glendale is such a pretty little city - with some great places to eat, a knockout Ben & Jerry's, and the Galleria mall, too. You could get some holiday shopping in, too. (Hey! LAndmarked for Murder would make a great holiday gift!) Wonderful old-fashioned main street (where the book store is) and plenty of interesting little shops and stores. I hope to see you there!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Book signing news! LAUNCH PARTY!!!

Authors & editors (including Harley Jane Kozak and me!) will be signing the new
LAndmarked for Murder Anthology:
Saturday, October 21, at 5:30 PM
1036C Broxton
West Los Angeles, CA
Join us there - Meet Michael Mallory, Susan K. Beery and the Anthology Authors