Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Galleys and ARCs and Blurbs—Oh My!

Last week I received what in the olden days of letterpress printing would have been called the “galley proofs” of my mystery novel—the book typeset, or rather, digitally formatted to look like typesetting. Nowadays it’s called the “advance copy,” and my editor informed me that this would be my last chance to make corrections to the text.

I’ve gotta say it was a thrilling feeling to open the document and see my manuscript—which has taken four years of writing, editing, honing, and further tinkering—finally looking like a real live book.

Title Page of Advance Copy

And it was interesting how, in this new format, typos, repeated words, and other problems with the text suddenly popped out at me from the page. I’ve now finished my final edits, and the content is thus finally out of my hands.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dying For a Taste: Cover Reveal!

It’s here, the moment you’ve all been waiting for (okay, maybe not all of you, but I’ve been waiting anxiously for it). The cover art for my forthcoming mystery novel, Dying For a Taste, is now complete:

Pictured is the restaurant owned by my protagonist Sally Solari’s family, which is located on the Santa Cruz Wharf, and you can see the Giant Dipper roller coaster in the distance. (Yes, for you Santa Cruzians, it’s true that the Boardwalk is not technically in that position relative to the Wharf, but that’s what you call artistic license.)

Being an avid cyclist, I’m thrilled there’s a bike on the cover (Sally rides a Specialized Robaix in the story), and I’ve also gotta say it’s pretty darn exciting—and weird—seeing my name splashed across the cover of a real live book.

So, many thanks to all the supportive folks at Crooked Lane Books for the terrific concept and art!

Dying For a Taste, which is currently in the copy-edit stage, will be released by Crooked Lane Books in the spring of 2016.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Cop For a Day (Part Two)

This is a continuation of my previous post regarding the Citizen Police Academy, offered twice a year by the Santa Cruz Police Department.


The SCPD Special Weapons and Tactics team is part of their Emergency Services Unit (ESU), which also handles hostage negotiations and scuba dives (usually to recover evidence). Being a part of the ESU is in addition to an officer’s regular post with the department, and generally comprises about 10 hours of the officer’s work week.

The tactical (SWAT) portion of the ESU is responsible for high-risk searches and arrests, hostage rescues, dealing with barricaded suspects and armed suspects, and terrorism. It takes about one hour to deploy the Santa Cruz SWAT team.

Here’s a photo I took of the lucky student who got to show off the extremely heavy SWAT team gear to the rest of our class:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cop For a Day (Part One)

Twice a year, the Santa Cruz Police Department offers a ten-week course for members of the community, called the Citizen Police Academy. Figuring this would be a great way to get some insights for future mystery novels—not to mention being interesting in its own right—I decided to sign up for the most recent session.

Officer Joe Hernandez of the SCPD’s Community Service section ran our class, which consisted of guest speakers, field trips, and demos (including class participation!).

I learn how to conduct a high risk search of a building
(Photo: Deborah Elston)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Criminal Intent in Culver City

Last weekend I attended the California Crime Writers Conference, a biennial event put on by Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and the SoCal Mystery Writers of America. (See here for my blog about the 2013 CCWC in Pasadena.)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pinch Me, Am I Dreaming?

Today—after years of writing; rewriting and revising; querying literary agents; and then more revising once I found the agent of my dreams—I signed a publishing contract. It’s a two-book deal with Crooked Lane Books, a brand new crime fiction imprint out of New York City.

Yes, I am thrilled to death—an apt euphemism for a mystery writer, no? But I’m still having a hard time believing it’s all real.

Crooked Lane Books was started last year with former Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press editor Matthew Martz as editorial director and former St. Martin’s publisher-at-large Dan Weiss as chief publishing consultant. Nike Power, who has interned at St. Martin’s, as well as Knopf/Doubleday and Lippincott Massie McQuilkin, is my new editor at CLB.

As noted on their website, Crooked Lane Books is

a crime fiction imprint that publishes today’s most gripping mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels. From high-concept thrillers and white-knuckled suspense to traditional mysteries and literary crime, our titles consistently deliver driving plots, engaging characters, and stunning twists from the most talented authors on the scene.

Their initial list of titles will be released starting this coming August, and my book, Dying For a Taste (previously known as A Matter of Taste), the first of my Five Senses mystery series, is set to be published in the spring of 2016 and its sequel the following year.

I’ve already been working with my new editor (!), Nike, and I think we are going to get along swimmingly as a team. Her ideas for tweaks/additions/revisions have been terrific and she is wonderfully enthusiastic about my manuscript.

So here’s a huge thank you to everyone who has helped me reach this point, especially to my agent at Folio Literary, Erin Niumata, who truly believed in me and got me the deal!

Check here for updates as I navigate my way through the revisions, design, printing, and publishing of my very first novel!

Monday, February 23, 2015

An American Composer and English Tea Sandwiches

Robin and I have now returned to California, and one of the reasons we left Hawai‘i earlier than usual was so I could participate in a very exciting musical event: The preeminent American choral composer Morten Lauridesen would be composer-in-residence for a week in mid-February at Cabrillo College. 

During this time he’d attend music classes and chorus rehearsals and do a Q&A session, with the week culminating in a concert of his music under the baton of the talented and tireless Cheryl Anderson.

Dr. Lauridsen at our rehearsal
(with Cheryl at left)