Bouchercon: Where Hard-Boiled, Noir and Cupcakes Converge in Crime

Logo Bouchercon was held in St. Petersburg, Florida this year.  More than a thousand mystery/crime authors, bloggers, publishers, bloggers, readers and others who love the genre come together to rekindle friendships, make new contacts, conduct business, teach/learn the craft and celebrate the best in crime fiction and non-fiction.

It was my very first Bouchercon, and I had a blast.  This conference is overwhelmingly immersive.  I was pleased to participate in an event on the first day of the conference called Coats of Many Colors where authors were tasked with sharing a name or two of other authors who Coat of many colorsdeserved more attention.  I listed Stefani Deoul (On a Larp); Stephen Mack Jones (August Snow) and Penny Mickelbury (The Gianna Magglione/Mimi Patterson mystery series).  Later that day, I was honored to be on a panel that discussed the tropes of the private investigator genre with five experienced practitioners of the craft.

On Saturday, I paired up with a DC area writer friend, John Copenhaver, to do the Author Speed Dating event.  John and I gave our two-minuteAuthor Speed Dating spiels to nearly 80 readers moving from table-to-table, while breakfast eaters munched on pastries and listened attentively.  It was exhausting and exhilarating.

The 3-day conference was filled with panels, presentations, interviews of celebrity crime writers, book signings….

and cupcakes.

cupcakes

 

 

Books, Broads, Beach

I had so much fun at the Rehoboth Beach 2018 Women’s Fest, an event sponsored by Camp Rehoboth.  Deoul-Jacobs Stefani posterMy writer/friends Stephanie Deoul, and Fay Jacobs (and fabulous broads) were on hand to promote their books which were recently honored by the Delaware Press Association. Fay is also a Camp Rehoboth Board member.

They, like me, are Bywater Books authors.  We were joined by fellow authors, Marianne K. Martin, Ann McMan and Lisa Gitlin as well as our publishers, Salem West and Kelly Smith.

All the authors did readings (I read from my upcoming book), sponsored by GCLS, the premier supporter of lesbian-themed literature. We met readers and signed books, and I made it to the beach. Yaaaayyyy!!!

20180413_153329 (2)

 

 

 

Wake Me When It’s Over will be available May 15, 2008 and can be purchased as an ebook at Bywater Books. Thanks for purchasing, reading, and reviewing my books.

Book small version

Grateful to Dru’s Musings & Michigan Chronicle: Wake Me When It’s Over

Award-winning mystery web blogger Dru Ann Love, was kind enough to post my book cover reveal for Wake Me When It’s Over, the second book in the Charlie Mack Motown Mystery Series.    Drus-Book-Musings-web-site2

 

 

MC logoAlso a love shout out to the Michigan Chronicle of Detroit who posted a blurb about WMWIO in the city and lifestyle section of their online newspaper.

You can find the Michigan Chronicle post  Here.  Thank you Michigan Chronicle.

WMWIO

Available where you buy your books on May 15, 2018

….and Dru’s Musing post Here.  Thank you Dru Ann!!

Writing Life: New Orleans Style

hotel-monteleone-new-orleans-hotel-exterior1-623x416Wow. What a time at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival.  In association with the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, this New Orleans gumbo of LGBTQ writers, Saints and Sinners imagepublishers, publicists, teachers, and book sellers included craft panels, author readings, poetry events, awards, presentations, master classes, Saints and Sinners paneland book signings.

And, of course, steps from the fabulous Hotel Monteleone where most of the activities were held was music, food,red fish grill street strolls, bands, dancing…and cocktails. One of my favorite stops was the Red Fish Inn where I overindulged in white wine, gumbo, jalapeno cornbread, and chocolate bread pudding.

I was a panelist for a discussion about  the mystery genre with the fabulous New Orleans crime/mystery writers, Greg Herren and Jean M. Redmann; as well as award-winning authors, Ali Vali and Jeffrey Round.

Saints and Sinners panel

I also discussed historical fiction writing with Judith Katz, Vanda, Jeff Mann and Matthew Griffin. I was honored to be in the company of all these good writers of LGBTQ themes.  Judith and I both happened to wear turquoise that day.

Of course,I also indulged in meeting new friends and old, and that was the best seasoning of this amazing literary event.   Saints and Sinners, hope to see you in 2019!!

What Golf Has Taught Me About Writing

I have always been a golfer even when I wasn’t.  My father played golf and he often watched the tournaments on television; I watched him watch golf, and play golf, and perhaps that is where my affinity for the game comes.  Golf is a sport filled with beauty, imagination and precision.   When one steps to the tee and looks onto an immaculately manicured, 300-yard fairway, it is an awe-inspiring view of soaring possibilities.   When one approaches the close-shaven turf of a green it is a challenge to succeed measured in inches. Continue reading

Provincetown Women’s Week

Wow. Did I have  a good time in Provincetown this year.

I spent a lot of time with my Bywater Books family–they are ALL talented, fun ladies.  I got to hang out with my new editor Elizabeth Andersen, who is a former editor for the nationally syndicated Doonesbury, and Calvin and Hobbes comic strips.WomensWeekLogo

How lucky am I?

I also met other amazing authors who I have admired from afar. I did readings with some of them. I read from Long Way Home: A World War II Novel, Bury Me When I’m Dead, and from a short-story in the Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices From the Gay Bars anthology whose sales will support the youth services of two LGBTQ agencies, one in Philadelphia, another in NYC. Our Happy Hours

The readers I met.  Amazing.  Discerning, supportive, wonderful people with interesting lives which include loving books.

I played Wiffle ball (look out knees, don’t fail me now).  I saw the amazing Suede, who was in a particularly sentimental mood. So was I. I met film director, Donna Deitch who screened her iconic Desert Hearts.  We all remember the first time we saw that film’s love scene.

A few pictures.20171014_113939
Panelwiffle ball team

 

Words On a Train

I, too, like writing on a train.  Yesterday, in a 2-hour trip from Philadelphia to Washington, DC I outlined my next book.   That’s the kind of productivity I can’t usually find at my desk.

Up to now, the appeal of writing in DC’s cafes/coffee shops/bookstores has eluded me. Orders for lattes, cranberry scones, and milling hipsters does not inspire my prose.  I need a grittier approach.  Case in point, last week, to get myself writing, I yelled aloud (in my own house) Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!!Train yard

My current writing is a set of short stories (more on that later) and a crime series, with lesbian protagonist, P.I. Charlene “Charlie” Mack.  It’s set in Detroit, in the mid 2000s, when Detroit was caught between an era of chaotic and depressing government mismanagement, and its inevitable slide to insolvency.  Then, sliders were more prominent than scones; liquor more ubiquitous than lattes.

The stimulation I need to write this series, comes from watching people in the urgency of their lives.  So, there’s nothing like sitting in a train station for a half-hour  before your announced departure, and spying the microcosm of humanity that parades there.   I get great ideas for clothing descriptions, how people walk, body language, and what I’ve come to label the various train “types.”

My short stories are about the dynamics of relationships–among friends, within families, occurring in casual encounters, playing out in workplaces.  Many of these stories depict the lives of black people, in all their huge normalcy, innovation, dysfunction, hope and challenge.

Those stories are supported by my life and experiences, but also from the information that bombards me from television, Twitter, Tedtalks, telephone conversations, and train rides.

Train travels…short and long…are wonderful sources for dialogue, eavesdropped or overheard.  The window seat provides a panoramic view of the backsides of people’s lives where industry, poverty, and creativity abound.  Peering into the backyards of houses gives you a better sense of how folks live, then the facade of curb appeal.  The manufacturers of today and yesterday display their real enterprise at the rear of factories.  Graffitti–phat, bold, cursive and colorful, demonstrates the vitality of ideas that wish to be expressed.

For me, riding the rails sparks my imagination; and locomotion stirs my writing.

 

The Writing Life

AWP Adichie-Coates

Full House at AWP 2017 for Chimamanda Adichie & Ta-Nehisi Coates

I attended my second conference of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) this past week.  It is a very well attended gathering of students, administrators of MFA writing programs, publishers, scholars, and writers of all ilks.

I love the diversity of this conference in both its attendees, and the topics covered.  Hats off to the AWP organizers for the breadth of topics covered in the more than 300 sessions.

Somedays, I learned a little bit; other days, I learned a lot about the craft of writing.  That’s why I attended.  But the most important thing I gained was a renewed sense of my power and goals in writing.

Poets ruled this conference (and the world, I’ve come to realize).  As a fiction writer, I am inspired by poetry.

The immersion in the life of writing:  reading, pitching, crafting, researching, collaborating, encouraging, reviewing, critiquing, teaching and learning were the gifts I received during AWP.

Thank you!