Monday, August 25, 2014

Fun and Research in Fontucky

Over the Labor Day weekend, I'm headed for a couple adventures, all to do with racing. With IndyCar, specifically. But it won't all be sunscreen and race fuel. And it's highly likely all of it will show up in a future book....

Next Saturday evening is IndyCar's season finale at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. The town otherwise known as Fontucky to the rest of the greater LA area (no offense meant to Fontana or Kentucky ... it's just a long way east of here). I'll be out at the track Friday for practice and qualifying, as well as there on Saturday for festivities and the race itself.

That will be one adventure—my second IndyCar oval race and my second at that speedway (I attended my one and only NASCAR race, so far, there a couple years back). Yes, I expect it to be hot. But I expect to hang out with a whole bunch of fellow crazy race fans/friends—including @cogitoergobibo, aka, the other member of "the crazy hair color race fan club" (pictured here with me on the front straight of the Indy 500; hair colors are more crazy in person). So we'll find shade and drink plenty of water. 

The other adventure will take place Sunday night, because the same friend got us both tickets to the IndyCar championship banquet. That's up at LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles, and it's a situation that will require a whole different dress code! Cocktail attire, I'm told. I'm looking forward to seeing what the scene is about.

I'll be comparing it to the one other Series championship banquet I've attended. That was the ALMS party 10 years ago. I remember it being partly interminable and partly a whole lot of fun. Then again, I knew more people then and was more connected to the series. This time around, I'll be more on the fringes. But whether I'm connected or not, it'll be a great opportunity for people watching and note-taking. 

Sometimes when I go to a race, there's specific research I need to do. But most of the time, I'm enjoying the event, taking in everything that's going on, and waiting for ideas to come to me. Not that I'm plotting new books or scenes in the moment. Instead, I'm soaking up the scene and the interactions for use later, when I need them. In particular, it helps to see how real-life drivers interact with passers-by, fans, and their teams. It helps to see what they're doing and when throughout a race weekend.

And I'm sure it'll help to see how they all interact—and what kinds of relationships they really have with each other—when the pressure and the performance of a race weekend and series are over. 

Kate might not ever end up at an IndyCar banquet (at least in print!), but you never know what I encounter next weekend might turn out to be useful. I sure can't tell you yet! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Poisoned Pen Press Cover: Kittens Can Kill

Coming in March 2015, from Poisoned Pen Press!

Kittens Can Kill: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir

The dead don’t keep pets. So when animal behaviorist expert Pru Marlowe gets a call about a kitten, she doesn’t expect to find the cuddly creature playing beside the cooling body of prominent Beauville lawyer David Canaday. Heart attack? His three adult daughters angrily blame drug interactions, feline allergies—and each other. And begin to feud over their father, his considerable estate, and that cute ball of fluff. While the cause of death is pending, each sister has an axe to grind –with arguments that escalate when David’s partner reads out the will.

Pru’s special sensory talents and sensitivity to animals that caused her to flee the cacophony of Manhattan for the quiet Berkshires add further problems. The local vet is overwhelmed with money running out. There’s that needy Sheltie and some invasive squirrels?  But the dead man’s kitten, his former partner, and his troublesome family keep drawing “wild-girl” animal psychic Pru back in. Despite the wry observations of her trusty tabby Wallis, now the wrongfully accused kitten’s guardian, and the grudging compliance of her cop lover, this may be one time when Pru can’t solve the mystery or save the kitten she wants to believe is innocent. A single witness knows the truth about that bright spring morning. How far can Pru investigate without risking her own hidden tale? 

*    *    *    *    *
About the Author
Clea Simon is the author of the Pru Marlowe, Dulcie Schwartz, and Theda Krakow mystery series, as well as three nonfiction books. A former journalist, she lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband Jon and their cat Musetta.

Learn more about Kittens Can Kill and Clea Simon on her website.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Taking a Break

With my blog tour and two great bookstore events, I've been talking about myself and Avoidable Contact for two weeks straight, so I'm going to shut up for a few days!

But before I go quiet, just a little bit of recap...

Saturday, I was down in San Diego at the fantastic Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, sharing an event with my fellow Poisoned Pen Press author, Ken Kuhlken. We had a great turnout, thanks to my San Diego friends and family who turned out to tailgate (yes, really) before the event and then stayed to hear me and Ken talking about writing.

Thanks also to surprise guests Barb and Mary, all the way from Scottsdale, AZ! (Call it the "San Diego 350"?!)

In other news, my "two weeks of promotion" wrapped up on Saturday with a couple last posts:

I still have a couple guest-blog spots coming in the next few weeks, as well as at least one more bookstore event (a big Poisoned Pen Press party in Scottsdale next month). Thanks for reading along!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Weekly Tour Roundup

The second week of Avoidable Contact means more blog stops and more chances to win a copy of Dead Man's Switch!

(It's almost over, I promise. Seriously, I'm tired of talking about myself so much!)

Fresh today! A thorough and interesting interview with Omnimystery News, including my 140-character summary of Avoidable Contact.

A review and a giveaway at Fundinmental, by a NASCAR fan. 

A review and a giveaway at the Community Bookstop, where the reviewer notes, "This book was fabulous and such a difference from many cozy mysteries nowadays."

A review and blog post on Michele Lynn Seigfreid's blog, where I'm talking about a decade of change. Can you believe it's been 10 years since I first went to a race?!

Another peek inside my mind—or at least at my writing space—in a Q&A at Brooke Blogs.

Rhonda at Readalot blog (like that name) gives Avoidable Contact four stars and says I even made her want to watch a race to see if there's really that much drama!

Another interview at Deal Sharing Aunt in which I'm asked if I "have to" travel to research the books. It's a chore, you know....

Over at A Blue Million Books, I'm asking (and answering) the question ... should we be writing what we know? (Hint: I say no.)

One of my favorite quotes comes from Mystery Playground's review"Whether you’re an actual race car driver, or you just play one at the mall, this book is a fun read."

In my interview posted at Cicero's Children, I talk about sidekicks, beta readers (are those the same thing?), and racing school.

A review from Mommasez, including this gem about Kate, "She's definitely the epitome of a strong female heroine and she's likeable to boot."

And almost the last blog post on my tour: at Back Porchervations I'm confessing that I sometimes ask that question, too. You know, the question that authors don't know how to answer: how the heck do you come up with that stuff? 

I've got one more of each kind of post remaining in my tour: an interview, a review, and a blog post—but this blog post has a twist: it's written by Kate! Stay tuned, and find me on Facebook or Twitter for more.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Launch Party!

It was a lovely party yesterday at Mystery Ink to celebrate the launch of Avoidable Contact! Thanks to all of you who attended and listened to me babble on about racing and writing. Thanks to Debbie Mitsch for hosting and providing the book cake! Finally, thanks to Pam Beard (PB Shoots) for capturing the day.

Reminder: I'll be at Mysterious Galaxy next Saturday, August 16, 2 p.m. with Ken Kuhlken. Hope to see you there!

Here I am, talking (action shot!).

Posing with bookstore owner Debbie Mitsch and fellow author (and critique partner extraordinaire) Rochelle Staab.
We even passed the helmet around for everyone to try on.

The cake!

And the books.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blog Tour Off and Running

With the launch of Avoidable Contact, I've embarked on a virtual tour. It's also time for a lot of different reviews to show up. Here's a round-up of the news and my blog visits so far!

A look at what I'm reading (or what I was reading a week ago...) on Writers Read.

A great review from Publisher's Weekly, including my cover quote, "as exciting as a spin around the speedway."

A review in the Oswego Patch from a non-race fan who found the racing scenes "fast paced and nail biting."

A mention in the weekly roundup of BOLO Books.

The Page 69 Test about how indicative page 69 of Avoidable Contact is of the rest of the book (answer: very!).

An interview and a giveaway of Dead Man's Switch with Shelley of Shelley's Book Case (who's also a racing fan!).

A short post on Lucienne Diver's Drivel about my not-so-secret reason for writing about Kate Reilly.

Amy from the Bad Groove blog, says Avoidable Contact has "moved into first place" as her favorite Kate Reilly Racing Mystery, in her #NASCAR Reading List review. (Yeah, Amy knows it's not NASCAR, but it's her blog.)

An interview with IndyCarUK, a fan of American open-wheel racing living in the UK.

More to come, stay tuned! And connect with me on Facebook or Twitter for more.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Release Day: Avoidable Contact

IT'S HERE! IT'S HERE! (Feel free to imagine me walking around all day with a copy of the new book in my hands ... I guarantee that's what I'm doing.)

As I mentioned in the newsletter that went out yesterday (sign up to receive the next one, though I'll warn you, I'm a very infrequent mailer), someday, I might get over being thrilled and humbled at the sight of a new book with my name on it. I'm so grateful that I get to create Kate Reilly and populate her world with fun people—and that so many of you enjoy reading about her. I can't thank you all enough for your support! (Get all the details on the story.)

If you want to know more about the story behind the book—or if you want to get your hands on a signed copy—you have a couple options:

  1. Stay tuned to my social media streams (Facebook and Twitter), because tomorrow I set off on a blog tour, where I'll be posting, being interviewed, and being reviewed—and I'll be giving away a few copies of the first in the series, Dead Man's Switch
  2. Come see me at a local bookstore! I have two events in the next two weeks, and a longer-term schedule on my Events page (plus more activities to come).

    Saturday, August 9, 4 p.m. 
    Mystery Ink, Huntington Beach, CA
    I've been promised wine, cheese, and cake—join us for the official launch!

    Saturday, August 16, 2 p.m.Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA
    Signing with fellow Poisoned Pen Press author Ken Kuhlken
I hope to see you in-person or online—and I'd love to answer any questions you might have about Kate, her posse, and Avoidable Contact. Just send them my way!

Happy reading!