Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Deadlines Are Good for Me

The good news is that I've settled into this new lifestyle of mine well. I'm rested, more healthy, and more engaged with friends and life. I'm actually able to contemplate (and consider enjoying) coming events and family visits.

The bad news ... well, there isn't much, except for needing a little more income than I'm getting. But I'm working on that, too.

The best news, however, is that I'm actively working on the next Kate book again, and I worked out some deadlines with my editor. Yes, deadlines. Because they work for me.

It's that overachiever problem again. If I know a deadline is actually reasonable, I will meet it (and usually I'll be early).

(Side note: if I'm handed an unreasonable deadline, I'll just get angry. See: former day job.)

So now I've got deadlines, which is a good thing. Because now I'm accountable to more people than just myself, and I can set myself measurable goals every day. I think that's one of the problems for me with writing a novel.

The goal: write a novel. There's planning to do. Outlining. Character profiles. Plotting. And then the writing of somewhere between 90,000 and 100,000 words. Then editing that down to 85,000-90,000. Starting to write a book feels like staring up at a mountain and knowing I need to reach the top.

But usually, fortunately, once I get partway up, I can stop and find some structure. Make a plan. And know when I'll finish—necessary, since my publisher actually likes to plan for a release. If you can imagine.

Bottom line: Kate #4 (working on a title) should be out a year from now, April 2016. It's set at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, and I hope to do some fun promotion around the actual race coinciding with the book release.

I'm leaving you with some photos from the Long Beach race to hold you, including one of me and my friend Barb in the pits of the race winner, Scott Dixon.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Week's Words (April 17)

Since I'm off to the races this week, some words of inspiration from one of Kate Reilly's heroines, the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500.

I think this is true of many of our human endeavors:

"Racing is a matter of spirit, not strength."
--Janet Guthrie

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

5 Questions With: Patsy White, Pit Spotter

I enjoy watching IndyCar racing, but I’m afraid I’m never paying attention when a pit reporter is talking, because I’m always trying to catch sight of Patsy White in the background. I know I’m not supposed to see her, because it’s her role to arrange things and stay out of the camera’s sight—but I keep hoping!

I envy Patsy her job of managing the work the on-camera “talent” does in pit lane, because I like knowing how things work behind the scenes (that’s why I write a mystery series set in racing). Patsy not only knows how things work, but she makes sure it all happens and gets done well. That’s my kind of woman.

Patsy answered some questions for me about why she loves racing and what her dream job is. Read on to find out more....

Tammy: What do you do for a living?
Patsy: My job title is Pit Spotter. That means that I am the eyes and ears for my announcer at a race track. From checking on rumors to listening to the scanner during a race and knowing what is important for the announcer to follow up on. I have worked with enough different announcers that I also have to know their style of reporting and what is most important to them.

How'd you get there?
I met my husband LeRoy in 1975 as he was coming back from England working in Formula 2. Following him around from track to track turned me into a race fan. My background is actually in the medical field—as a medical assistant. That was a hard job to do part time.

Why racing? Why do you love it?
I think what I really love about racing is the people. It's actually a large travelling family. And I feel like I have family in every series of racing over the years. Being a wife in racing gave me the connections to so many more people in later years. Some of the team managers I have known since they first started in racing.

What's great about being a woman in racing?
I have never really thought about being a woman in racing. It is for sure a man’s world, but that is changing. I think my job is actually better suited for a woman. We can multi-task better than a man. LOL.

What's your dream job?
I am doing my dream job!


Follow Patsy at @patsylwhite.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Week's Words (April 10)

These words have kept me going in difficult times. Why is this so hard sometimes?

"Let your words be anything but empty.
Why don’t you tell them the truth?"
--Sara Bareilles

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April Releases from Poisoned Pen Press!

Congratulations to my fellow Poisoned Pen Press authors with releases this month. I've read and enjoyed all three of these books, so I can assure you, you're in for a treat!

Bye, Bye Love: A Cat DeLuca Mystery #4 by KJ Larsen (find out more)

Partial description: Chicago’s Pants On Fire Detective Agency targets liars and cheats. But PI Cat DeLuca is once again up to her smokin’ skinny jeans in murder.

Cat is out running in a neighborhood park when she crashes over the faceless body of Bernie Love. Bernie was the finance guy to the scary Provenza family, with whom he grew up. And friend to Cat’s shady, Ferrari-wheeling-cop Uncle Joey. As she hauls out her phone, Cat is assaulted by someone with a Rolex, stun gun, and wheelbarrow. When the cops show up, the killer is gone. And so is the body.

This is one of those slightly over-the-top, slightly madcap series that I so enjoy. Cat DeLuca is a hoot.

False Tongues: A Callie Anson Mystery #4 by Kate Charles (find out more)

Partial description: The Reverend Callie Anson should have learned her lesson by now: revisiting the past is seldom a good idea. But she succumbs to peer pressure and attends a reunion at her theological college in Cambridge, where she is forced to confront painful memories – and the presence of her clueless ex, Adam.

I'd never read one of this series before, but I enjoyed Callie as a heroine and a person.

Blood Sweep: A Posadas County Mystery #20 by Steven Havill (find out more)

Partial description: Gifted fifteen-year-old Francisco Guzman has become an internationally renowned concert pianist, touring the world under the auspices of his music conservatory. That gives his mother, Posadas County Undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman, plenty of reason to worry–and that’s magnified when she learns that he’s in Mexico’s crime-ridden Mazatlan for a concert series where he may be the target for scam artists and kidnappers.

This was another first-read for me in the series, and while it stood alone just fine, it definitely made me curious to see what other adventures Estelle and her family and friends have had.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Week's Words (April 3)

My new weekly series: inspiring words to keep us all going. These give me hope to keep trying to blaze my own trail!

"I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done."
--Lucille Ball

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Really Cooking Now

I mean the headline a couple ways.

First, I've finally gotten my head in gear and started writing again. (Hooray!) More on that to come as I actually make some progress.

Second, this last week finally saw the release of the book I never dreamed I'd be part of. Seriously, no one who knows me would EVER dream I'd be part of a cookbook.

Because I only cook about four items (two of which are hardboiled eggs and rice).

And yet, when the call went out more than a year ago from Mystery Writers of America, asking for people to submit recipes for a collection ... how could I resist?

Lo and behold, there I am, next to Sue Grafton, James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, and Scott Turow. (Actually, I'm literally next to Richard Castle, the fictional hero of the television show.)

And it's really my recipe! My much-modified gluten-free banana bread, made with teff flour and any other goodies you want to toss in—lately I've been substituting gluten-free oats for some of the flour.

I have to say, as a cookbook, it's awfully fun to read, because every recipe comes with a story about its relevance to the writer or his/her character or books. Plus there's a lot of good-looking food inside as well.

So check it out on the publisher's site: MWA Cookbook. And if you make my banana bread, let me know!