This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking at the “And the Women Gather” Annual Literary Event in Deland, FL sponsored by Desert Sage, a lifestyle wellness company. We left the house early to arrive in plenty of time for the book event, especially when I saw there was a Tuesday Morning store along the way. After shopping for autumn-themed goods, we headed into the historic downtown. Our first stop was The Muse Bookshop which is a wonderful bookstore to browse in for an afternoon.
We lunched a De La Vega, a Latin restaurant with a pleasant interior and an interesting menu. Here is my avocado stuffed with shrimp for the entree and flan for dessert.
Next, we headed a few doors down to the Museum of Art where the event was taking place. Guests came from all over Florida for which I was grateful. Our host, Lorna Owens, started off the event with a general introduction.
James Ryan, a guitarist, followed with a medley of popular songs.
Recently, I attended the breakfast sponsored by Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter at the Florida Library Association conference. Sixty librarians had signed up for this event. We ate first, and then jumped into Author Speed Dating. Since there were five of us, we had the librarians spaced out at five tables. During the allotted time, we each gave a spiel about our books before the bell rang indicating our time was up. We hopped from table to table this way. The librarians seemed to enjoy hearing from us individually, and it was a great way for us to inform them about our work.
We gave a panel afterward on “From Cozy Cats to Crazy Killers…Investigating the Mystery Novel Genre” with authors Diane A.S. Stuckart, Ann Meier, Linda Hengerer, M.C.V. Egan, Nancy J. Cohen, and Robert Brink.
The following weekend, I gave a talk at an author luncheon at Temple Beth El Sisterhood in Fort Myers. This was a lovely event with a Chinese meal and a booksigning. I met a lot of nice ladies and enjoyed our conversation.
On the way home, my husband and I stopped off at Naples. We got our morning exercise strolling along Fifth Avenue with its historic buildings and tropical foliage. Then we headed home via Alligator Alley.
FLORIDA AUTHORS ACADEMY
If you’re in Florida, take a look at the schedule for classes this summer. Here is mine: Saturday, August 24, 10 am to 12 noon, “Agents, Query Letters, & Synopses” with Nancy J. Cohen, Florida Author’s Academy, Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore, 104 West Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444. Phone: 561-279-7790. $25 fee for class. Advance reservations requested. http://www.flauthorsacademy.com/
FACEBOOK BEACH PARTY – June 6th! SAVE THE DATE! Join Nancy J. Cohen & Maggie Toussaint to celebrate their recent releases at a Summer Beach Party on Thursday, June 6, from 7pm to 8pm. Fun and Prizes! https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty/
GIVEAWAY Enter June 1-18 to win a free mystery from the prize vault at Booklovers Bench.
“Where do you write?” is a common question for writers during book talks. Readers might imagine us toiling away on an old typewriter in some attic with a tiny window. Or perhaps they see us working on a sleek laptop while enjoying the breeze from a seaside veranda. We could be creating our masterpiece in solitude while viewing a lake and sipping tea on a screened patio as crickets drone in the nearby woods. Or maybe we pound away on our keyboards while drinking coffee at the local Starbucks. Don’t you see folks there working on their laptops and wonder if they are aspiring writers?
My work environment is more mundane. I work at home. I have a dedicated home office. I am surrounded by things I love, such as books and memorabilia and gifts I’ve bought myself to commemorate my published works.
I love my corner desk so much that I don’t ever want to leave this house. As I sit here now, straight ahead is my Dell computer monitor. I use an ergonomic keyboard by Adesso that has saved my wrists. On shelves above, I have writer-related gifts from my kids and others, and a collection of trolls to represent the Trolleks who are the bad guys in my Drift Lords series.
Looking to my left, down below are lots of drawers. One extension to my desk serves as a printer stand. Above this are my latest plotting notebooks, some books on writing, and proofs for my latest works in print. On the very top are a collection of novelty pens and a train locomotive from a fan painted with the cover from Murder by Manicure. Most treasured behind a glass door are my Flamingo Award from MWA Florida Chapter and a Lifetime Service Award from Florida Romance Writers. Behind these awards is a signed photograph from Star Trek star Jonathan Frakes.
To my right are how-to writing books in the crime fiction field, copies of all my books in various print formats, a jeweled calculator, a world clock, and a pencil holder from Area 51. Flashlights, emergency radios, and portable lanterns stand at the ready on every surface in case we have a power blackout during hurricane season.
Bored yet? We’re not done! I have a separate mahogany desk for correspondence, and this is where I pay bills and do the household accounts. Above this is a bulletin board and various medals and framed certificates for accolades I have earned.
The closet in this former bedroom had been converted into bookshelves before we moved in and was one reason why we loved the house. The shelves are totally full. Besides my reference books on all subjects and more books on writing, I have a paperweight collection, an onyx chess set, a sword I bought in Spain, and other tchotchkes.
The room is completed by three more sets of plastic drawers from office supply stores, mailing supplies, two tall bookcases, and more reference materials.
I spend all day in this room. It’s my home within a home. Can I work elsewhere? I’ll dabble at marketing and revisions when away from home, but I can only create in this environment with silence for company. No background music or coffee house chatter for me. I need quiet.
I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into my work space. Now for those stacks of papers that need filing…. Until next time!
My new website has launched! Come and take a look:
I love the colors, artistry, and layout. It’s SO much better than what I had before. Thanks to Dee Tenorio for her amazing talent and design. I highly recommend her services at Laideebug Digital.
So what do you think? I’ve needed this upgrade for a while, so I am excited to have finally done it. Now you can view my books based on series or genre. It’s so much easier to navigate.
Between my book launch for Peril by Ponytail and getting the website up to speed, I haven’t had much time for blogging. And I’m leaving soon for the New Smyrna Beach Book Festival and Bouchercon, so I’ll be gone for the next few weeks. This means I’ll have lots to talk about when I get home, but you’ll have to wait a bit to hear it. In the meantime, you can follow my tweets and posts on Facebook for when I’m able to go online. This hiatus might last until November unless I can squeeze in a post before my next events in Bradenton, FL. For details on these events, Click Here.
So enjoy the beginning of the Fall season, and I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks for your support!
Contest Alert–One More Day!
Enter Now to win a Collectible Handcrafted Porcelain Drummer Doll or one of two runner-up prizes – a pair Arizona crafted earrings and a signed paperback Hanging by a Hair. I bought the doll while in Arizona doing research for Peril by Ponytail. U.S. Residents only please.
I awoke to the news there had been a home invasion robbery and murder in my town. Although we’re a western suburb of Fort Lauderdale, our city doesn’t experience violent crime all that often. So when it does occur, it’s scary. What’s even more scary is that I just got a call from a mystery writer friend of mine, and it happened right across the street from her. I hadn’t even connected the addresses. She can see the CSI folks out her front window.
This incident brings home the fact that a random act of violence can happen to anyone. All we need is somebody to follow us home because we drive a nice car, or a nutcase to obsess on us, or else we’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Often these cases end badly. No wonder we want to read crime novels where the villain is caught and justice is served. I’d say this is Reason #1 why we read this genre. Stories may reflect on social ills and grapple with weighty issues, but they still reach a satisfactory conclusion, unlike real life.
An HEA ending (i.e. Happy Ever After) makes us less afraid. These stories force us to confront our fears, especially in psychological thrillers or romantic suspense. In my case, I prefer to read lighter fare, humorous mysteries where no one likes the victim and the amateur sleuth catches the crook. I accept that these are fantasies, because in reality, murder is a somber and sad business. Survivors mourn the dead. The killer may never be caught. So what do you say? Do you get your thrills from gritty crime fiction, true crime, or stories rife with forensic details? Or would you rather confine reality to the news and read a book with an HEA that leaves you with a smile?
We crashed later that eveningat the Holiday Inn Express in Tavares located on the tranquil Dead River. A quaint seafood restaurant, Fin’s, is nearby.It was about fifteen minutes away on 441 which was good, because my workshop started in the morning at nine o’clock back in Leesburg.
I spoke on How to Get Published: The Business of Writing. My talk covered the basics on manuscript preparation, query letters, synopsis, how to get an agent, the value of networking, contests and critique groups, self-editing, and more. We had about forty people in the audience and they asked good questions. I enjoyed speaking to such an enthusiastic crowd.
For a lunch break, my husband and I cruised 441 and settled on the Red Lobster. Then we headed back to the library for my afternoon session, a panel entitled “Murder, Love, and Laughter” with mystery authors Elaine Viets, Mark Schweizer, Elizabeth Sinclair, Delores Wilson, and Nancy J. Cohen.
Kudos to Judy Buckland, Lake Co. Library System’s Program Coordinator, for a terrific turnout and a great event. Thanks, also, to Raintree Booksfor selling our work.
And now for the plug: Support your local libraries! Take out books and DVDs, join Friends of the Libraries, attend their events. I can’t tell you how many readers have written to me to say they first discovered my mysteries on the library shelves. Libraries are more like media centers these days with videos, computers, even digital downloads. Take advantage of this public service and visit your local library. Hugs to all librarians!
Come to Sleuthfest in warm and sunny Ft Lauderdale February 25 – 28, 2010!
Sleuthfest is the largest conference for mystery writing in the US. This year’s theme is Lights, Camera, Write! with a focus on screenplay and script writing. If you haven’t registered yet, here is a very good reason to attend :
Guest of Honor Stephen J. Cannell
Stephen J. Cannell sold his first script to the TV show “It Takes a Thief” in 1968. His first steady job in television was as a story editor on “Adam-12” (1968). He created a character named Jim Rockford for a script he wrote for the series “Toma” (1973), a show he was producing at the time. That script was rejected by ABC, so it was rewritten and eventually became the pilot for the classic NBC series, “The Rockford Files” (1974). From there it becomes nearly impossible to list all of his work. He has either written or co-written over 300 television scripts, and created or co-created over two dozen television series. He has won an Emmy, two Writer’s Guild Awards, two Edgar Award nominations, and has a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame. Despite his many accolades, his first love continues to be writing.
At Sleuthfest, Stephen J. Cannell will be the keynote speaker at lunch on Saturday February 27. At 2:30 on Saturday, he will be participating in a session “Hollywood War Stories: Tales From the Trenches” with Paul Levine, writer of the TV series JAG, and other shows. Then on Sunday at Brunch, he and Neil Nyren, Senior VP, Publisher, and Editor in Chief of G.P. Putnam’s Sons will be interviewed by Oline Cogdil, Mystery Book Reviewer.
If you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late to get the early registration discount. Tracks on the craft of writing and business aspects of writing are also being offered.