Thursday, November 07, 2013

RIP Michael Palmer

Medical Thriller author Michael Palmer passed away last week. So sad.

I've only met the man twice, but he was so kind both times, I've always had a special place in my author fandom for him. 

The first time I met him was when I was attending the Maui Writers' Conference in 2004. I had been enrolled to take a week-long workshop with the great Paula Danzinger, but she passed away shortly before the conference, so I was re-assigned to Bob Mayer's group. Bob was great and I thoroughly enjoyed the group, but I was going into the week feeling rather displaced. As such, I was mindful of others I thought might be feeling the same way. One afternoon at a larger pep-talk session (a break from the intensive workshops), I noticed this quiet, teddy bear-ish man sitting over in the corner by himself. I had no idea who he was, so I thought maybe he was a shy attendee or something, and I went over to talk to him. He didn't act put out that I didn't recognize him or realize what a big deal he was in the publishing world, but kindly whisper-visited with me throughout the presentation. Imagine my surprise (and embarrassment) when I saw him sitting at his table at the faculty signing the next day. I quickly bought Extreme Measures for him to sign, and nervously approached his table. He graciously took the time to talk with me again, and said he enjoyed our chat the day before. Class act.

I met him again in July at the Thrillerfest Conference in New York. I was in the bar area with my friend Carla Buckley, who knows Mr. Palmer through ITW, so she invited him to join us when she saw him across the room. He was there to meet someone else, but he gamely stopped to talk before moving on. I said hello and reminded him of our meeting in Maui years before. Though he clearly didn't remember me, he was again so kind and just went with it. ("Oh, yes. Nice to see you again." Such a kind heart.)

We lost a good one.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Yes, so it has been a long time since I "came back" to my blog. Clearly, consistency has not been my companion this summer. A lot has happened since I last wrote, including our location change - I'm now happily blogging from Hiroo, Japan.

But that's not what we're here to talk about. I'm very happy to celebrate the release of my friend and GCC sister Amanda Ashby's newest book, DEMONOSITY. You may have seen Amanda around online (she can be found messing around on twitter, managing her fandom on facebook, or simply being awesome on her website). If you haven't met her, allow me to make the introductions.

Amanda is the celebrated author of YOU HAD ME AT HALO, ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HALL, FAIRY BAD DAY, and the MG series SOPHIE'S MIXED-UP MAGIC. She hails from the Land Down Under, where she earned a degree in English and Journalism. After bouncing between England and New Zealand for a decade and a half, she settled back in Oz with her husband and two kids, where she watches too much TV (kidding), indulges in plenty of good chocolate (not kidding), and writes.

Here's the skinny on DEMONOSITY:

The Black Rose–a powerful ancient force–has been let loose and has taken up residence in Celeste Gibson, popular girl at Cassidy Carter-Lewis’ high school. Thomas Delacroix is the spirit of a fourteenth-century knight who is devoted to protecting the Black Rose, but he needs a contemporary living being to take on the challenge. That’s where Cassidy comes in.
She’s a quirky high school junior who just wants to dress in her vintage clothes, hang out with her best friend, and take care of her father, who is recovering from surgery. She’s the last person who would ever volunteer for such a task, but no one actually asked her.  Now, like it or not, she finds herself training before dawn and battling demons at parties, the mall, and even at school. But hey, no one ever said high school was going to be easy.

Kirkus Reviews calls DEMONOSITY a "paranormal romp", and School Library Journal says it has "satisfying substance." 

Amanda's Writing Tip: 

"I’ve never written a book with a ‘real’ theme in mind before but with Demonosity I knew that my heroine was going to have to make a choice between a good brother and a bad brother and so I decided to explore that during the book. I’ve also always been fascinated with Pride and Prejudice and how Lizzie discovers that the difference between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingham is that one has all the goodness and one has all the appearance of it. And so I went into this book really focused on letting Cassidy discover her own Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingham.
            By doing this, I was surprised at how much fun I had and ended up using the idea of good and bad in a whole lot of other unexpected ways as she explored her relationship with other people in the book (particularly her mother). Probably the biggest surprise was the ending, because I had been convinced that I knew which was going to be the ‘good’ brother but when I came to making Cassidy choose, I was really torn.

            So I guess my writing tip is to not be afraid to use themes and really see how they can apply to all parts of the story, not just the central story. And fun. Fun is always good!"

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Right Time

Well, I'm back. Thanks to all of you who have been hounding me to update my blog and keep you posted about the huge changes and exciting projects on the horizon.

I've been waiting until I "have the time" to jump back into blogging, but I never do, you know? There's always something to be done, especially now. If I keep waiting for the right time, we'll all be waiting forever.

So here's what's up. My family and I are moving back to Japan. These past several months have been a mad dash to pack our stuff, get the house ready to sell, update passports and visas, find an apartment in Tokyo, get the kids registered in the international school, make the rounds to doctors and dentists, plan and execute the farewell tour to say so long to family, an unexpected load of insurance paperwork after being robbed, etc., etc., etc.  Finding the time to work on my writing has been hard enough, let alone blog about it.

But. I've discovered while I was away that there are things I'd love to share with you. And I know what's coming, so I'll want to share that, too.

The blog is not going to be perfect. It may not be pretty. But it's back.

How about you? Is there anything you've been waiting for the right time to start, to finish, or to learn? Share!

And stop waiting!