Friday, February 27, 2009

When I write "pissed"...

I mean "pissed off," that is, "annoyed." Imagine my surprise to read that my British copy editor assumed that my character was "tipsy."

Two people, separated by a common language! (Still working through Shades of Grey copy edits.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Happy Mardi Gras everyone! Have fun! Be safe!

Translating into English - update!

I have the copy edits! They look ... fine! Did you know that the British (or is this just my publisher) do not use a period after "Mr"? True! Big sigh of relief (about the edits being fine, not the loss of punctuation).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Translating into English

I've just gotten the cover copy for Shades of Grey from my editor and I am having a bit of culture shock. Not only does my British publisher Severn House hyphenate room-mate and sub-letter, but it has my heroine "in the frame for murder."

It all sounds quite charming, put that way. But I'm sort of dreading the copy edits of the book itself. (At least I spelled "Grey" in the British fashion, quite unconsciously.)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

R.I.P., Socks

Socks, the black and white tuxedo cat who had been adopted by the Clintons in the White House, earning the sobriquet "First Cat," was euthanized yesterday. Socks, who had been living with former White House secretary Betty Currie since the Clintons left the White House in 2001, was reportedly 20 years old and had been undergoing treatment for cancer for several months.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Strange inspirations

What inspires you?
I've had some problems sitting down and writing this week. Maybe I'm tired. Maybe this is a natural down time, some 30,000 words into my new project. Maybe it was working sick all last week...

Anyway, each morning I've told myself that it's ok if I don't make my word count. But something keeps coming up. I went to the gym and realized, "Aha! The letter opener is stolen!" (this makes sense to me). I got a call from a friend and realized, "Dulcie hasn't hung out with her friends in a while." I get yelled at by my cat (a common occurrence) and... well, you guessed it. I've made my word count each day this week (thus far).

My UCLA students asked me recently how to keep on writing. I think the only answer is that you do it. One inspiration at a time.

Monday, February 16, 2009


While it is very nice to be quoted in The New York Times (as a mystery author, no less), I need to qualify. I'm not that shy. What I was trying to tell the writer was that, given my druthers, I'd prefer to be home with my husband and cat than out at a conference. And I had in fact just experienced a major economic setback. So cancelling out was in part to save the airfare and hotel, but it also allowed me to follow my heart and stay home, rather than sit around a hotel bar and think about how much money I was spending. I guess that was too complicated and he needed to boil it down. Ah well, it's all press, right?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Grey Matters" is a go!

Well, my editor liked my synopsis for the second Dulcie book. Loved it, actually. Which is very heartening, especially considering that I only have about 100 pages written and so I'm really just guessing how it will all turn out. (In all fairness, I do know my characters pretty well by now, so I think my guesses are close. Plus, she's an editor. She must know that we never stick to our synopsis letter for letter, right?)

And in even better news, I think my coldy-flu-y virus is finally abating. I no longer want to whine and cut my own head off. I'm beginning to realize how behind I am on everything. This is progress.

Monday, February 9, 2009

C.J. Sansom's "Revelation"

this ran today in the Boston Globe. A bit trimmed, but you get the idea. Still sick...

Oh, and this link isn't a pre-order link to Shades of Grey. Not yet. Right now, it is just a sign up for alerts – so they'll let you know when the new book is available.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sick as a dog, happy as a cat

Jon and I are taking turns wandering from room to room and falling asleep on various pieces of furniture. Musetta seems to approve. Wish I felt like a human, but just found out that "Shades of Grey" is now available for pre-ordering on Amazon, which makes it seem much more real. Why pre-order, though? Why not just available for ordering? (I'm not questioning the process – please, pre-order! Just the phrasing: Do we really need the "pre"? Can't you just "order" an item to be shipped when it is available?)

Friday, February 6, 2009

She likes it!

I can't really complain about being busy. I much prefer it to being bored! Still, sometimes it's overwhelming and sometimes just deeply confusing to have multiple projects in various stages.

But sometimes it all becomes clear. Yesterday, I heard back from my editor at Severn House: She likes what I've done with "Shades of Grey" (really likes it, words like "even stronger" and "great" were bandied about) and so the manuscript is moving on to copy editing. And so yesterday, I had one of those instinctive reactions. Yes, I'm already deep into the next Dulcie book. Yes, I have "Dogs Don't Lie" waiting for me to re-read and revise it. And, yes, I'm gearing up for the "Probable Claws" launch. Still, after I got that news, I just had to take a break and spend most of the afternoon cleaning – really cleaning. My nose is still stuffy from all the dust I raised, and even in this weather I was bathed in sweat. No matter. The nest is now ready for the next project to hatch!

And... I'm now an Indiebound affiliate! Which means that this link should take you to an independent bookstore near you.

And finally, this is just plain silly!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where do you get your ideas?

People often ask where I get my ideas. Now I have a perfect story to tell them!

Last week, I sent an advance reading copy (bound galley) of "Probable Claws" off to a woman who runs a website on cozy mysteries. This week, I followed up to make sure she had gotten it. She responded that she had, but because it was sent via media mail it had been opened and inspected by the US Postal Service. Wonderful woman that she is, she asked why.

She was told that everything that is sent via media mail is X-rayed, for starters. And, I quote:

"I asked the lady at the post office and she said if there's anything in "media mail" that doesn't belong (like drug-impregnanted paper,which, she says, is a problem), the feds return it to the sender."

Which blows my mind. First of all, that drug-impregnated paper is common enough to be a problem. And also that they send it back.

You know this is going to show up in a book at some point.

and... here's my latest review for the San Francisco Chronicle. Nina Killham's "Believe Me."

Monday, February 2, 2009


Publishers Weekly, Feb. 2, 2009

Probable Claws Clea Simon. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-59058-564-1
Music journalist Theda Krakow once again proves a feisty and determined sleuth in Simon's lively fourth cat-themed mystery (after 2007's Cries and Whiskers). Theda alternates between the cat world, dominated by her pet, Musetta, and the Boston area music scene, about which she writes for local magazines and newspapers. When her retired policeman boyfriend, Bill, buys into a successful club that's a cop hangout, Theda can't help feeling a little jealous, though she admits she also has a problem with Bill's attitude—he's too patronizing. Meanwhile, contaminated cat kibble at the animal shelter run by her friend Violet may be the work of a poisoner. When Theda, guided by blood on Musetta's paw, discovers Rachel, a shelter vet, lying on the treatment-room floor with a fatal stab wound, she gets arrested for Rachel's murder. Well-drawn characters, a plot with many strings to unravel and plenty of appealing cats make this another winner for Simon. (Apr.)