Monday, April 14, 2014

Who Do You Think You Are? Mario Andretti?

(This is Part 1 of the "My Epic Weekend" series of posts ... because everything amazing that happened over the weekend will take more than one post to explain.)

I was prepared for a whirlwind of activity as the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend arrived, but I had no idea of how mind-blowing it would end up being. The first day, Friday, was overwhelming, and I spent the next two days coming down from that high (and watching good racing).

To start things off with a bang, my friends Barb and Mary arranged a surprise for me: all three of us got rides in a two-seater IndyCar. That means a pro in the front seat and a passenger (us) in the rear. For one lap around the LBGP circuit, at plenty of speed.

That was exciting enough, and then I was randomly placed into the line to take a turn in the first car. The one being piloted by Mario Andretti. Yes, THE Mario Andretti.

Really, is there anyone you would trust more to drive you around any pavement in any vehicle anywhere?

I got one exhilarating lap around the Long Beach circuit, during which I kept thinking, "REMEMBER THIS! This is Mario F**king Andretti driving. REMEMBER THIS!"

To make matters even more awesome, Barb and Mary had found a friend, pro photographer Scott James, to record our adventures. Like this great shot of me waiting for Mario to pull away. (This image and the next are copyright and courtesy of S. James Photography.)

So not only did we experience an incredible moment—we all did, since Mary got a lap with former pro (and current team co-owner) Davey Hamilton, and Barb went a lap with current pro (and friend) Martin Plowman—but we also got incredible shots to help us remember the moment.

Like this one, just after I'd gotten out of the car and been divested of my helmet. You can hear what I'm thinking, can't you?

"I just got out of a car that Mario Freaking Andretti was driving!"

(Yes, I actually used the swears in my head.)

Then we made our way back to the Indy Racing Experience trailer, where we got out of our firesuits and lingered, talking. That's when Mario returned, changed clothes, and was kind enough to pose for photos with me to commemorate the moment.

And that was what happened in only the first two hours of the race weekend! More to come about the incredible generosity and kindness of the racing family in Part 2....

Monday, April 7, 2014

Here Comes the Circus

That's right, it's race week in Long Beach! The trucks should start rolling in mid-week, and by Thursday night, the key players—drivers, teams, media, and fans—should be here. Which means I've got to get prepared!

My husband and I have a saying (I think he coined it): The business of racing happens at the track.

You can arrange and plan and make deals for months, but everything will come together at the race track during a race weekend. Or some new deal will be formed. Or you'll meet the contact you never dreamed of meeting. Or I'll get 27 questions answered in a 20 minute period, which otherwise would have taken three weeks and 15 emails.

It's happened over and over. Like when I ran into Dr. Don Panoz (founder of the American Le Mans Series, at right) in the Atlanta airport and handed him a book (come to think of it, he never did write to tell me what he thought; maybe I'll see him this weekend and ask). Or when I met Harlan Charles (project manager for the new Corvette Stingray) and handed him a book. There's a theme here.

So here's my to do list:

  1. Hand a book to anyone important!
  2. Meet IndyCar driver Pippa Mann for the first time.
  3. Interview my friend Pattie (and maybe other women in racing) for the Steel Ovary Nation site.
  4. Check in with Corvette Racing driver Oliver Gavin to see if he's reviewed my racing scenes in Avoidable Contact.
  5. Bother Corvette Racing Manager Doug Fehan (at right) just because he makes me laugh.
  6. Ask someone at The Racer's Group a question about the brake-light system in a Porsche.
  7. Hang out with super-crazy race fans Barb and Mary.
  8. Run into all the people I'm not thinking about yet but will be excited to see.
  9. Figure out where to kill someone for Kate's book #4, Hot Lap!
  10. Hang out with my friend, former co-blogger, and Bouchercon 2014 toastmaster, Simon Wood.
  11. Agree with all my race friends who live in the Midwest and South that yes, LA is a little nuts.
  12. See if I can spot the porn stars in the paddock this year (really). 
  13. Figure out why someone might need to die for Hot Lap.
  14. Give away some Team Kate gear?! (Who wants some?)
I'm sure there's more. Fortunately I have four days to finish the list....

Friday, April 4, 2014

April 4 Roundup

Saturday I'm going to be part of the Literary Orange event, which I'm very excited about for two reasons:
  1. I've never attended before, and I've heard great things.
  2. One of the keynote speakers is Marlo Thomas. Hello? Paging my childhood!
If you're in the Irvine area, maybe you should stop by!

And in case you missed it, I blogged this week on the Poisoned Pen Press site about starting the book process all over again—and how to put myself in a receptive frame of mind for the creative process. I'm not sure I have the answers, but the best suggestion I got was "jalapenos." (I'm not kidding, check out the comments.)

Here's the blog: And Start All Over Again

And here's the video I wanted to embed, but couldn't on that site. 

Happy weekend!

Monday, March 31, 2014

What are you reading now?

While hosting a table at the Ladies of Intrigue event over the weekend, I asked everyone what they're reading now.

I'm not asking your favorite book ever, if what you're reading's good or bad ... even whether you're embarrassed to admit to it.

Just tell me: what are you in the middle of reading, right now?

My turn:
I'm reading Charles Todd's fifth Ian Rutledge novel, Watchers of Time.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pink Hair and The Helmet

I find that life goes along at sort of the same-old, same-old pace for a while, and then, BOOM. Things change all at once.

For me, the last six months were a slog. Some good times (and plenty of professional success), but a head-down, don't be distracted, get this thing done kind of time. No social life, not much fun. Because I was finishing a book.

But now it's done, over, turned in! Hooray!

And suddenly it was time for some shopping. For some attention paid to myself. And for some fun.

Now, BOOM, in the span of a single week, a few aspects of my life are very, very different.

For one, I have pink hair. Not solid pink, kind of layered. (I'll take and post a better picture of it soon, but this one with my friend Rochelle will have to do.)

For another, I have a new, fun car to drive. See, I've been driving a leased Buick the last couple years, and the lease will be over soon. So my husband has been shopping for deals. And he found one. What I like is the quirky, fun aspect of the car (I've missed personality in my daily driver; I love the Buick, but it is personality-free).

It's small, cute, and a great lease deal. Plus it feels good to go zero-emission. Yes, we have a Fiat 500e (all electric!).

Meet the Helmet.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Avoidable Contact: The Cover Reveal!

The cover for Kate's third adventure is here! And it's gorgeous! How's this for evoking the mood of the 24 Hours of Daytona?

And to whet your appetites, here's the summary:

Racecar driver Kate Reilly is suited up and ready for the start of the legendary 24 Hours of Daytona. But what’s ahead will test her will and nerve more than any other endurance race.

Even before the green flag waves over Daytona International Speedway, Kate receives word her boyfriend Stuart is fighting for his life after a hit-and-run earlier in the day. Still reeling from that news, Kate must absorb other shocks in the race’s opening hours, including an on-track accident with tragic consequences and an eyewitness who claims Stuart was run down deliberately by someone from the race paddock.

Alternating stints behind the wheel of her Corvette racecar with stretches of quizzing colleagues and searching for clues, Kate taps every possible source—friend, foe, and family—to find out who’s after Stuart and why. As the race clock counts down to zero hour, Kate must come to terms with her own fears about the past and decide who she’s willing to trust. Only then can she identify who’s willing to kill to keep a secret buried—and stop them before they lash out again. 
Avoidable Contact will be released in August 2014. Pre-order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (I know it's got the old title, we'll fix it).

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Team Kate Coast to Coast

This weekend will mark the end of the racing season for two series: IndyCar and the ALMS. Of course, it's not only the end of the season for the ALMS, but also the end of the line before it merges with Grand-Am next year. But Team Kate will close 2013 out with a bang—that's right, we'll be at both races this weekend, giving away Team Kate prizes. (Hints: watch for a Team Kate giveaway at the IndyCar tweet-up, and look for me at Petit!)

What you can win:
  • Team Kate book bag, earplugs, bookplate, belt buckle
  • Swag from Glass Hammer Racing, Pressdog, or #SteelOvaryNation
  • Team Kate shirt OR signed copy of Dead Man’s Switch
  • **Kate Reilly Limited Edition Kreisel watch (for Time to Win prize only)
Team Kate Prize
What you need to do:
  1. Take a photo of yourself with someone in a Team Kate shirt (like the two of us pictured here)
  2. Tweet it to @katereilly28
    Post it to Facebook and tag me (Tammy Kaehler)
Women in Racing Prize 
What you need to do: 
  1. Take a photo of yourself with a former or current female racing driver, or any other woman involved in racing in a professional capacity (e.g., working on a crew, driving a pace car, reporting from pit lane, etc.)
    (bonus prizes for a Glass Hammer Racing driver, a Woman of pressdog® or a #SteelOvaryNation sign)
  2. Tweet it to @katereilly28 (referencing @GlassHamrRacing, @pressdog, or #SteelOvaryNation)
    Post it to Facebook and tag me (Tammy Kaehler)
Time to Win Prize*
(*including a Kate Reilly limited-edition Kreisel Timepiece)

Number available: 2
What you need to do: 
  1. Take a photo of yourself with me AND either a woman in racing (defined above) or a member of the Corvette Racing team
    (bonus prizes for a Woman of pressdog®, my friend Pattie [pictured here], a Corvette Racing driver or team manager)
  2. Tweet it to @katereilly28
    Post it to Facebook and tag me (Tammy Kaehler)
Good luck hunting us down!