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!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Missing My Friend

Last week was a lost one for me. I had a great time at Left Coast Crime the weekend prior, but I returned home needing two things: a doctor's appointment and to give up caffeine.

That's right, no caffeine. My sweet friend, that hot cup of milky black tea each morning. Dammit.

The reason, for any of you wondering, is that I have celiac disease, and I've been possibly pushing my limits with my daily dose of goodness. Possibly. Something has been giving me an unpleasant reaction lately, and since caffeine will be one of the first "get rid of it" orders a doctor will give, I decided to be proactive.

Though I've also been sad.

As a result of both my malaise and lack of stimulant, last week was ... mostly lost. I thought when the headaches stopped (day four), I'd get my energy back.

That's not exactly what's happened. I've gotten some work done, but mostly I've been sitting still, resting, and indulging my lack of motivation. Which is good for reading a lot of good books, but it's not so good for general productivity, book writing, or drumming up new work.

I'm not beating myself up about all this, because I figure it's still a bunch of detoxing and recovery from a lot of years of too much stress over the old day job. But I am starting to be eager to feel better and be more motivated.

So this week I'm turning over a new leaf. I'll get more done and do less resting. And I'll go back to my hot cup of tea--it'll just be decaf this time. And we'll see how this week goes....

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A New Attitude

I'm off to Portland tomorrow for the annual mystery convention known as Left Coast Crime. I'll be on a panel, co-hosting a lunch with a couple fans (with Tina Whittle), and co-hosting the Tiara Table at the banquet (with Rochelle Staab). Along the way, I'll be meeting, seeing, and catching up with dozens of writers and readers (many of whom are good friends).

I have a promise for you all this year: I'll be in a better mood!

Now that I have no day job, I'm recharging. Detoxing. Getting enough alone time so that I'm finally to the point of wanting to socialize again. Turns out—and I hadn't realized how much this was true until the pressure was off—I wasn't getting enough time to recharge my introvert's batteries. And that made me tired, sad, and anti-social. Even when I wanted to see and meet people.

But I'm more rested this time around. I've felt stirrings of interest in initiating social activities (for perspective, that hasn't happened in years). So I'm looking forward to seeing how much more I'm engaged at this upcoming convention.

Let's get real for a minute, however. Don't expect me to be the life of the party! Still an introvert over here.... (By the way, here's the best article/chart about introverts I've ever seen. As that shows, it's not about enjoying people, it's about where we get our energy.)

But I will promise to be more welcoming and friendly. So if you're at Left Coast Crime, find me, talk about pink hair (I have it), pick up some Team Kate earplugs (I'm sure you've got a use for them), and let's talk about good mysteries!

See you in Portland!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March Releases from Poisoned Pen Press!

Congratulations to my fellow Poisoned Pen Press authors with releases this month! I can recommend them both!

Kittens Can Kill, Clea Simon (find out more)

Partial description: 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. 

This was the first of Clea's series that I read, and you can believe I'll go back to read the earlier titles in the series. A good story and a fun twist on animal mysteries.

Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: Japan, Vasudev Murthy (find out more)

Partial description: In a seriocomic novel that radically ups the ante, Sherlock Holmes and Watson find their match in more than one man (or indeed, woman) as a clock inexorably ticks. History, mystery, romance, conspiracies, knife-edge tension; a train in Russia, roadside crime in Alexandria, an upset stomach in Bombay, careening through Cambodia, nasty people in China, monks in Japan–here’s a thrilling global chase that will leave you breathless (occasionally with laughter) as the Sherlock Holmes: The Missing Years series begins.

I'm looking forward to the next books in the series, because this one was a lot of fun and very cleverly done. Good job, Vasudev!

And if you're a reader of Mystery Readers Journal, look for Barbara Leavy's article in the March issue, titled "Some Thoughts About Depressed Northern Detectives."