Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books 2017 - Part 2

Author signatures!!! Including mine!!!

My first panel of the day Saturday was Michael Connelly in conversation with Daniel Pyne. Pyne will be taking over as the showrunner for Bosch beginning Season 4 (Season 3 just debuted on Amazon Friday night). The previous showrunner, Eric Ohlmeyer, has moved over to The Man in the High Castle. Pyne also recently published a novel, Catalina Eddy, which sounds fantastic and is now on my Amazon wish list.

After the discussion I headed out to get in line for Mr. Connelly. I brought my brand-spanking new copy of LAst Resort for him to sign. The line wasn't as hellish as I'd feared - I probably only waited about twenty minutes to get to him. I explained that I was in the anthology and that it was the first time I'd been published. He's pretty low-key and not very chatty, but did take the time to write this:

I'm proud to say that I didn't make a bumbling fool of myself in front of him. In fact, I don't think I even stuttered once. It was an awesome experience.

After that, I headed over to the Sisters in Crime Los Angeles booth to say hi and show off my newest treasure. Matt Coyle, my editor, had been signing earlier at the booth, but it was the same time I was seeing Michael Connelly so I thought I'd missed him. Luckily he was still around, so I got to chat with him. He also had me sign a copy of LAst Resort for him - my first book signing!

Sunday, as I mentioned before, I saw L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan at a panel called Hooray For Old Hollywood. After the panel I bought his book Not To Be Missed: Fifty-Four Favorites From a Lifetime of Film and had it signed, along with Hard-Boiled Hollywood: Crime and Punishment in Postwar Los Angeles by Jon Lewis.

Next up: panels!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books 2017 - Part 1

Another FOB is in the books (heh). Now I have to wait until next April. I swear I'd go every weekend if they had it that often.

As far as bringing home truckloads of books, I actually used a lot of restraint this year:

Yup. This is it.

I got Hard-Boiled Hollywood and Not To Be Missed autographed by the authors. Kenneth Turan is so sweet! We bonded over our love of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which is one of his not to be missed films.

The FOB was officially kicked off by the always awesome Trojan Marching Band. Here they are from my not-so-vantage point in line to see Michael Connelly.

More to come...

Friday, April 21, 2017

I literally cannot keep up with the MasterClass offerings

Because James Patterson, Aaron Sorkin and Shonda Rhimes apparently weren't enough, MasterClass has just beefed up their roster with the addition of Pulitzer-winning and Oscar-nominated playwright/screenwriter/director David Mamet to teach dramatic writing.

"You cannot learn how to write drama without writing plays,
putting it on in front of people and getting humiliated."
Do watch the entire clip. The whole thing is incredibly quotable. Spoiler alert: Mamet isn't a fan of French films.

You know the drill by now. Ninety bucks, and David Mamet is your writing instructor. I'm juggling the Patterson class with having just started the Shonda class and that's in addition to the UCLA program. But Mamet's class is definitely on my to-do list, especially after listening to that trailer.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Is "The Keepers" our next national viewing obsession?

So apparently if you liked Making a Murderer, you're going to love The Keepers.

The newest true crime series from Netflix doesn't debut until May 19, but you can watch the riveting trailer now.

According to the article, Sister Cathy was a nun murdered in Baltimore in 1969, and her murder was never solved. Twenty-five years later a woman came forward and claimed she had been sexually assaulted by a local priest around the time of Sister Cathy's death, and furthermore that she had confided in the nun. The inference was that Sister was killed to keep her from exposing the priest.

The Keepers follows a pair of amateur detectives as they investigate the case. And if you aren't hooked yet, watch the trailer. Trust me. I've already marked May 19 on my calendar.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

When you piss off sports fans, then want their help

I'm not a football fan, but even I know it's sport for a lot of people to disparage New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. For the most part, it seems to reek of jealousy. The guy is hugely successful, and never were his haters thwarted more than last January, when it looked like the Atlanta Falcons were burying the Patriots in the Super Bowl, only to see Brady quarterback the Pats to a comeback for the ages.

Last weekend, at the Boston Marathon, this guy made a sign to encourage the runners, and someone posted it on Twitter:

Then this happened:

Flattering, no?


ESPN has been shedding viewers for a while, pissing off a lot of people by injecting one-sided politics into their programming decisions. And apparently Patriots fans hate them even more for their treatment of Brady. Somewhere along the line maybe ESPN will learn that actions have consequences, and if you're a sports channel, maybe pissing off sports fans isn't the best business model.

The whole exchange, along with hilarious reactions from other Tweeters, can be found here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's only April, and we have our Father of the Year right here

Sometimes the internet can be used for good.

Take this guy: Ben Sowards is a Cedar City, Utah father of eleven, four of whom were adopted from foster care. And now he's an internet star.

From the article:

On Friday afternoon, Ben's wife, Connie, told him that their 6-year-old daughter, Valerie, had had an "accident" at school. She was crying from embarrassment and saying that she wanted to go home, so of course dear old dad went to pick her up...but not before splashing some water on his pants around the groin area.

When he got to Valerie's school, he asked to use her backpack to cover up his own "accident".

At first, she was stunned, but then she started laughing because she found it so funny and totally forgot about her own troubles.

Pic snicked from the linked article.
One of Soward's older children tweeted the episode, complete with pictures, and you know what happened next: totally viral.

Parents like this really make a difference in a child's life. What started out as a traumatic, mortifying experience for a little girl turned into something she could laugh about. That has to be huge for a child that age, and can't help but shape the person she'll be someday for the better.

Do take the time to check out the whole article, which includes more pics, the original tweet and reactions from Twitter. Spoiler alert: the world loves this guy now.

H/T to Country Living Magazine on FB for the link.

Monday, April 17, 2017

More Bundt pans!

Gotta love Nordic Ware. Well I do. The latest must-have:

The mini-cakes are referred to as "Bundt Charms".  All the different patterns in one pan! So cool, except for the part where I'm seriously running out of storage space. In fact, I was just thinking today how I need my kitchen to be the size of my living room. That would be fantastic.

I still kind of miss cooking school. It was great to have a huge kitchen and the big industrial-sized tables to work on.

I did bake a loaf of no-knead bread today in a dutch oven and it turned out great. Will post pics later.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


This pool is on the 42nd floor of a Houston, Texas apartment building, 500-600 feet above the street below. Prepare to barf.

More info about the Sky Pool here.

Would you?

Monday, April 10, 2017

How not to fly the friendly skies

Add United Airlines to the list of companies that don't know how to customer service.

United overbooked a flight, then asked for volunteers to give up their seats (for a premium, of course) because they had four employees who needed to be "repositioned" for another flight. Unfortunately they didn't get enough volunteers, so chose some poor schmuck at random to be "deplaned". Turns out the poor schmuck didn't want to leave, so he was forcibly removed...and roughed up in the process. And of course there's a video.

The situation was only worsened when United released their official announcement about the fracas, and of course, Twitter got into the act.

With the recent Pepsi Cola fail, the inevitable "hold my drink" tweets started popping up.

#BoycottUnited promptly went into overdrive. Not only is this event going to cost United potential future customers, it's also costing them long-time flyers:

More fun:

Hopefully United can look for the silver lining...

This is really bad. UA is not only going to probably have to pay that guy millions, but it could really impact their business for months if not years to come.

And I agree with the guy who suggested Oscar Munoz update his resume. He should have promptly owned up to how awful this was. Instead he released an anemic PR statement that only exacerbated the fallout.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

At LAst!!!

The release date isn't until April 17th, but Amazon is already shipping LAst Resort. I had preordered and Mom and I received our copies on Thursday. So I'm officially in print for the first time! 

You can (if you're so inclined) order it here.

It's so weird seeing my name in a book. It's also weird seeing the story (Crime Drama/Do Not Cross) in a book as well - I've only seen it printed out on 8x10 paper. It's just so surreal. It's also something I could get very used to.

LAst Resort editors and contributors will be doing author panels at The Last Bookstore in Downtown L.A. on June 17 and at Vroman's in Pasadena on July 8. In addition, Sisters in Crime L.A. always has a booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (April 22-23 this year). My editor, Matt Coyle, will be signing at the SinC LA booth, but I'll probably miss him as I'll be standing in line to get my copy of LAst Resort signed by Michael Connelly during the period Matt is scheduled.

Big thanks to everyone at Sisters in Crime Los Angeles for the opportunity, and to Matt for being such a kickass editor.

Update: Shortly after I posted this, I got an email from SinC LA asking if I would like to participate in an author panel at Santa Monica Public Library in Ocean Park on June 24. Of course, the answer is yes. Other authors on the panel are Craig Faustus Buck, Vanessa A. Ryan and Laurie Stevens. It will be at 2pm. Drop by if you get a chance!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Wrap-up: UCLA Extension TV writing class #1

So I ended up getting an A+ in my first UCLA TV writing class, thanks to my outline for a Better Call Saul spec that everyone in the class, including the instructor, seemed to really like. We get a couple weeks off, then in the next quarter we'll turn our outlines into actual scripts, now that we've got out stories worked out.

I have to admit that I am really pleased with the way the script turned out, especially when you consider the clusterfuck that the class seemed like at the beginning.

The system they use is fantastic. I'll used it for all future TV specs. I wish I'd gotten into this program years ago. I really do recommend it highly.

Friday, March 31, 2017

March Words of Wisdom

If anyone ever dismisses you for being too sensitive, ask yourself this: Who is more fragile? The person who is brave enough to say when something hurts? Or the person who cannot apologize or admit to having caused pain? Sensitivity, empathy, compassion - these are badass superpowers. --Nanea Hoffman

Nothing can take the sting out of the world's economic problems like watching millionaires give each other gold statues. --Billy Crystal

Acting should be bigger than life. Scripts should be bigger than life. It should ALL be bigger than life. --Bette Davis

The weak are the most treacherous of us all. They come to the strong and drain them. They are bottomless. They are insatiable. They are always parched and always bitter. They are everyone's concern and like vampires they suck our life's blood. --Bette Davis

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed. --Ernest Hemingway

Make a concentrated effort to surround yourself with positive, nourishing, uplifting people - people who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams, and applaud your victories. --Jack Canfield

Even now, as we live in the trenches of this world, we are assured that God is in control and He is good. --Sarah Young

Be whoever you want to be. People are going to judge you no matter what you do. --Unknown

Don't let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out. --Robert Tew

Don't ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, or my kindness for weakness. --Unknown

Give the gift of your absence to those who do not appreciate your presence. --Unknown

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go. --Irish Proverb

If you find yourself asking yourself, "Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?" chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death. --Steven Pressfield ("The War of Art")

Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it. --Unknown

Be the person that makes others feel special. Be known for your kindness and grace. --Unknown

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. --Mahatma Gandhi

The mind is like water. When it's agitated, it's difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle and get calm, everything becomes clear. --Unknown

To many, the words love, hope and dreams are synonymous with horses. --Unknown

Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends. --Tom Waits

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Well, I found the one thing that can close down Bourbon Street

Torrential rains in New Orleans right now. Via Earthcam:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

I relate to enough of these that I thought it was worth posting

20 Things Only Highly Creative People Understand.

A few that hit home:

They cannot multi-task effectively...


Often, this requires solitude for periods of time...

Most of the time, actually.

...highly creative people often can quickly shift from joy to sadness or even depression. Their sensitive heart, while the source of their brilliance, is also the source of their suffering.

I know it sounds pretentious as hell, but it's true. I envy people who are emotionally tough.

Creatives are notorious procrastinators because many do their best work under pressure. 

Oh good, it's not just me. Actually, this is how I just got through my first UCLA Extension TV writing class, and came out with an A and a hell of an outline for a Better Call Saul spec. All assignments were due online by Friday at midnight, and each and every one was submitted on Friday evening, except for the one that didn't get done until Saturday. Nothing about this story existed when this class started; this wasn't the show I was planning on speccing. But when I had to come up with something, I did. The rest of the week was mainly spent thinking about it. But nothing actually got done until the deadline was looming.

Although I do wish I didn't procrastinate. It's a personal failure IMO.

They have difficulty finishing projects.

Again, oh good, it's not just me.

Check out the whole article and see what you think.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Camels of Monrovia

Last Friday, after running some errands and doing some shopping, Mom and I headed over to the Monrovia Farmer's Market. If you've never been there, it's very family-oriented, heavily attended and really fantastic.

For diehard foodies it might be a bit light on produce, but I still managed to score a huge bunch of celery, some big beautiful strawberries, kumquats, dandelion greens and a lovely bouquet of lavender. It also has some really talented jewelry vendors. I ended up with two necklaces, plus my Mom bought the matching ring and earrings to one of them for my birthday. Very pretty stuff.

There's also a ton of food vendors, plus plenty of places to eat on Myrtle Avenue, where the market is located.

There's also really incredible stuff for the kids. There were three or four of these giant inflatable slides, and the petting zoo included not just pony rides, but camel rides as well. Seriously.


Mom and I had dinner at Jake's Roadhouse.

Monrovia is a beautiful town with a lot of local history, and its farmer's market is huge and highly recommended.