Wednesday, November 4, 2015


We all get them. Songs, even just three-note progressions, that play in your head like an iPod on repeat.

My typical earworms fall into two categories:
  1. Music I know well and have loved (and overplayed) for years.
  2. Brand-new songs I know two lines (or three words or three notes) of.
In the first category, I have "All I Ask of You" from Phantom of the Opera. I just saw a link to the new video of Josh Groban and Kelly Clarkson singing it in someone's Facebook feed...and without watching it, the song is now stuck in my head. Thanks for that.

But you know what's even worse for me? The music I have to totally, completely avoid all playing of? The music I have to come up with another song to sing in defense to try (usually ineffectively) to keep from becoming an earworm? "One Day More" (or really anything) from Les Miserables. There it goes again...

That one has especially been an issue because of all the parodies and tributes, like my favorite, about eating gluten free:

Those are the earworms that stick. The second category don't last as long for me, thankfully, given that I only know a couple words. That doesn't mean I don't get excruciatingly bored of "no one hears the silent tears collecting" (from Kelly Clarkson's "Invincible") or "hello from the other side / I must have called a thousand times" (from Adele's new song "Hello").

So here's what I want to know: what are your earworms? Are there any that stick with you more often, or is it random?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Do You Reread?

Since I quit my job earlier this year (yay for self-employment!), my book-buying habits have come to a screeching halt. I suppose it's proof that I wasn't actually addicted, since I was able to stop, but phew, it was tough!

But because I'm a fast reader, and because I've had a Kindle since day one (in defense of bookstores, I buy there, too!), I have LOTS AND LOTS of ebooks in my library. So this year, I started rereading instead of buying.

Fortunately, I'm one of those people who doesn't remember every single detail of every book I read two years ago—I remember very few, to be honest—so it's almost like buying new books! It's better, in a way, because I remember that I liked a series, but not precisely why, and then I know I have four, eight, or 17 books ahead of me that I'm going to love.

It's like Christmas. All year.

So here's what I want to know from you you reread? do you remember everything you've read? and how many books do you buy each month?!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Red Flags—Updated!

That's right, we zazzed up the back-of-the-book copy a little bit (what? it's a word). Still the same great cover and release date (coming next April)!

And look, major links are up: Poisoned Pen Press, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

When Kate Reilly arrives in Long Beach, California, a week ahead of the Grand Prix, she’s immediately plunged into a new social scene—as well as a murder investigation. Her cousin Billy is found dead, with Kate’s card in his pocket. The cops want to know why, and sponsors and race organizers—anxious to keep racing’s image clean—want Kate to investigate. Doubting she can solve another murder, especially that of a relative she despised, Kate reluctantly agrees.

At the same time, coaching a gorgeous and talented actress for a celebrity race brings Kate into the orbit of Hollywood’s hottest bachelor. And then a local FBI agent takes notice of more than her driving and sleuthing skills. She goes from Sony Studios to Venice Beach and from Rodeo Drive to the Hollywood Hills, attending parties, power-shopping, and dodging unwelcome paparazzi. Kate’s ballooning media exposure generates national commentary, testing her composure and forcing her to get ahead of the stories—whether critical or flattering.

Kate’s professional dreams are also coming true. The upcoming Grand Prix is her first race with a new sponsor that’s also funding an IndyCar test drive and a ride in next year’s Indy 500—along with future possibilities in NASCAR. The downside? New sponsor Frame Savings is owned by her family, and its management, outside of her long-estranged father, is unfriendly to her…even rivalrous.

Kate must stay on her toes as the Long Beach race weekend begins. She’s negotiating the next steps in her career, driving two racecars and coaching a third, discovering more about the disreputable members of her father’s family than she wanted to know, and juggling questions and suspects. On track, red flags fly to warn her of danger. Off track, Kate struggles to interpret warning signs and stay out of a killer’s grasp.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Note About California

Dear retailers,
Dear the rest of the country,
Dear Mother Nature,

It's October 6. I realize Alaska and Austria have already had snow. I realize the East Coast is swimming down their streets. And I realize it's officially the Halloween season.

But it's still summer here.

I further realize no one feels sorry for us Californians when we talk about the monotony of dry, 86-degree weather day after day, month after month. I get it. We're fortunate in a lot of ways. But our seasons are as every bit as screwed up as yours.

You all know about our high average temperatures. But there's something else about the climate out here you don't understand ... and it causes a hell of a lot of problems.

Summer in the rest of the world is June, July, and August.

Summer in California starts in mid-July and goes to mid-October.

Of course, we residents are all pretty used to this. But the rest of you aren't, and that's what causes us so many problems. (I'm looking at you, retailers.)

I've got plenty of examples:

  • Summer supplies and clothing are taken out of stores in mid-July—right as it gets hot here.
    Which means there are four air conditioning units for sale at Home Depot when hundreds of overheated California residents go looking for one on July 22.
  • Winter supplies and clothing appear in August.
    Which means it's 95 degrees outside and Target's featuring wool coats.
  • Social media fills with comments and delight over fall weather, first rainfalls, and pumpkin-spice everything. Christmas decorations appear. It's late September.
    It's 95 degrees here, and we haven't seen rain in three years.
I'm not asking for sympathy, I'm merely explaining the flip side of sunny California. Though I do admit to wishing some enterprising store managers would buck their corporate orders and keep appropriate stock on shelves for an extra month. 

And if anyone wants to stock up on air conditioning units next May, come September, you could make a killing selling them at two or three times face value. Something to consider...

Still Roasting in Southern California

Thursday, September 17, 2015

RED FLAGS Cover Reveal!

The book is done, the summary is written, and the cover is designed. Here are the details to tide you over until April 2016!


Professional racecar driver Kate Reilly arrives in Long Beach, California, to promote the upcoming Grand Prix, not expecting to identify a dead body or solve another murder—especially when the victim’s a relative she didn’t even like. Her new sponsor and the race organizers apply pressure, wanting to keep racing’s image clean, and Kate reluctantly agrees to investigate.

From Sony Studios to Venice Beach, from Rodeo Drive to the Hollywood Hills, Kate plunges into the Southern California scene. She parties with movie stars, “takes meetings,” and shops with rich housewives, all while trying to uncover a motive for murder. At the same time, she’s negotiating the next steps in her professional racing career, including testing a new racecar on an oval track.

In the flurry of excitement, neither Kate’s murder inquiries nor her personal life run smoothly. She discovers more about the disreputable members of her father’s family than she expected or wanted to know, and her temper frays. She publicly juggles two attractive men, drawing intense and unwanted attention from paparazzi. And worse, this ballooning media exposure generates national commentary about her career choices, talent, and femininity.

The Long Beach race weekend begins with Kate constantly on the go, fielding questions, involved in three separate racing series, and closing in on a killer. Red flags warn her of danger in the racecar, but off-track, Kate finds it hard to heed the signs and stay out of a killer’s grasp.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Interview and Gold Medal

A couple weeks ago, I had a really great conversation with Raceline Radio Network Toronto about my Kate Reilly Racing Mystery series and the recent awards I've won. That's right, me and Scott Dixon, newly crowned IndyCar Series champion, were on the show...sadly not hanging out together!

The Raceline Radio Network site has the interview (from 13:44-20:10).

I even spilled the beans about a recent award I hadn't mentioned yet, a Gold Medallion in the International Automotive Media Competition, which was awarded for receiving 97-100 points (out of 100) in the judging.

That award joins the two (two!) #1 Motorsports Book awards I've received from the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA), for each of the last two years (Braking Points in 2013 and Avoidable Contact in 2014).

It's an embarrassment of riches!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Saving Lives

The racing world lost a great talent, a good friend, and, by all accounts, an amazing human being this week. Justin Wilson will be profoundly missed by even those, like myself, who'd never met him. A race fan commented on social media that if there were any photos of him not smiling, they must have been Photoshopped, because it simply didn't happen.

I certainly have feelings about the danger of racing, the danger of racing open-cockpit cars in particular, and the weird state of being a fan of racing. But Doug Patterson (an excellent photographer and social media friend of mine) put it best: "I love this sport for the greatness and awesomeness it can bring out in competitors and fans. I hate this sport for the unbearable price it on occasion demands."

But I want to talk about what felt to me like the cherry on top of my sundae of regret that I'd never meet JW or see the further impact he had in the racing world. The capstone on the story of what a decent, generous human being he was. The fact that by donating his organs, which he'd chosen to do and his wife approved, he saved the lives of six other people.

That's generosity and decency in action.

So to Justin Wilson, to Natasha Richardson (Liam Neeson's late wife), and all of the other non-famous, generous departed souls out there who've allowed others to live when they could not ... thank you.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to honor the lives of those who gave so much is to commit to being an organ donor. I've been registered since I had the choice, and I urge you all to register also. Find out how to sign up for your state.