Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Signing Saturday!

I'm pretty excited to be signing and selling books at the coolest, most relevant bookstore around—with a bunch of other car nuts and a couple other fiction writers. Events here are known for drawing cool old cars to the streets outside the store, and sometimes even a famous face or two.

Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day with us!

2900 W. Magnolia
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

5 Questions with Pippa Mann, Revisited

Racing driver Pippa Mann will return to the Indianapolis 500 this year for the fourth time, and it’ll be her second time “going pink.” That’s right, she’s returning with her pink racecar, supporting—and supported by—the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Pippa’s starting a big campaign aimed at rounding up more support … but not for her own funding, though she scrambles as much as any racecar driver for that. No, she’s aiming to get us all involved with the mission to end breast cancer forever. Along the way, she’ll celebrate the fighters and survivors by carrying their colors into battle on the racetrack.

I’m going to #GetInvolved, and I hope you will also. To kick things off, here are five questions Pippa answered last year before the “greatest spectacle in racing.”

Tammy: Why do you love to race?
Pippa: I love the adrenaline, the feeling of speed, of controlling that powerful car underneath me. I'm competitive, so I love beating the boys on their own terms, too. Much like the horse riding I started with, it's one of the few sports where we get to play together and compete as equals. I love that about motor sport.

What's your racing goal or dream?
Haha, this is easy! Winning the Indy 500 one day!

But I personally have a second goal, pertaining to the Indy 500, that I feel very strongly about. Currently I am the only female pole winner ever at IMS, which I achieved in Indy Lights in 2010. In a race, so much can go wrong, so much is dependent on everything else around you. In qualifying, it's just you and the car your engineer has managed to give you—there are still all sorts of factors that come into play, but so many fewer than on race day. One day I want to repeat my feat from Indy Lights in an IndyCar at IMS. I want to be on pole for the Indy 500.

Aren't racing and the fight against breast cancer a strange combination?
You might think, but here's a different perspective: The Indy 500 reaches millions of people. Literally, millions. Millions here in the U.S., millions across the world. There are around half a million at the track itself when you combine race day and carb day attendance together, before we even get into the people who come out for qualifying weekend. The parade through downtown Indy on the Saturday before the race is the third largest parade in the U.S., after the Rose Bowl parade and the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, and it's also televised nationally.

The potential reach, to hopefully connect with people via this pink car—this entire pink program—and to raise awareness, is massive. Don't think of this as a motor race. Think of it as a national platform at one of the biggest, most prestigious sporting events of the year, with a female athlete to help spread the word. Then it's a campaign on this same, amazing national platform, to try and raise funding by those who want to get involved in a bigger way, too.

Why is this pink car so important this year?
When I was a teenager, who just started racing, I never wanted pink anywhere as a part of my racing program. I didn't want to be perceived as "the girl" on track, I wanted to be perceived as good, someone who the other drivers either respected—or given karting was, ahem, occasionally something of a contact sport—even someone they feared and knew not to mess with. Pink didn't really fit into that vibe.

That was an attitude that took me a long time to grow out of, and the first time my thoughts about it really changed was actually due to Sarah Fisher again. My first year in the U.S., in 2009, I vividly remember her car at Homestead, when they turned her entire program pink during breast cancer awareness month for Susan G. Komen. I had never seen that before, and it stuck with me.

Now here I am, five years later, with my own pink Susan G. Komen IndyCar. This time, instead of running it for breast cancer awareness month, we're running it at the Indy 500. It's a program I am incredibly proud to have put together, and I am proud to be associated with such a great organization and with a cause that means so much to me. We are using our program to raise awareness and funding [through #GetInvolved], and my helmet is changing color for the first time in over 10 years to match our program.

Then there's the completely secondary reason why this program is kind of cool, and this is something I have only grown into admitting over the past few years.

Let's face it, 99% of little girls do like pink. I have worked with so many young karters, and met so many little girls who are race fans out at the tracks over the previous five years. They are always so pleased to be able to cheer for me when I'm driving, and so sad when I'm not. Completely aside from the big reasons why I want to run this car, to me, it's kind of cool that all those little girls who are fans now not only have a girl to cheer for in this year's Indy 500, but also can cheer for a girl in a pink car!

Tell us how different it is to say "my race is no longer about me"?
I'm a racing driver, and we have a bad habit of thinking of ourselves first and foremost nearly all of the time. So yes, it is pretty weird not only to say that, but also to feel it, and to know it deep inside, too. I'm not out there racing for just me and my team this year, and this car means so much more than racing a car with just a standard logo on the side.

This isn't even really about racing anymore. It's about using this race, and the entire Indy 500 event, as a platform for a campaign to raise awareness and funding for a disease that one in eight women in the U.S. are diagnosed with. Every time I say “one in eight,” I am reminded how scary that statistic is. My family has been touched too, but we're not the anomaly, we're the rule. That's why this is not about me or my family personally. It's about everyone who has been affected or touched in whatever way. This is much, much bigger, and way more important than me.

Follow Pippa at @pippamann and find out more at
Photo credits: Chris Owens (more).

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