Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No severance pay?

All through the 1990s, I worked at the Boston Globe. I made some great friends there and I learned a lot. Now, I'm not sorry I left, but I've also always understood why others stayed. It is the biggest newspaper in the region. The most respected and seemingly the most secure. But over the last few years, I've also seen friends take buyouts. And now - layoffs. Several people I know were among the 27 employees laid off on Friday, including one dear friend. But what nobody had told me (everyone is very shaken up and teary) is something I just heard on the radio: Those laid off were not given any severance pay. None.

Now some of these are people who have worked for the paper decades. They were not "fired for cause." They've done nothing wrong except be extraneous in a lean time. And they're not given two weeks' pay? A weeks'? That is low.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Which are safer: cats or dogs?

The Globe's Judy Foreman tackles that question today. Of course, those of us who love our pets don't really look at them as a source of infection...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Powering through proofs

Hooboy, I'm reading Shades of Grey one more time – page proofs. This is my last chance to catch anything. Could the pressure be higher?

On a more fun note, I just heard that 70 copies of Probable Claws will be shipped to me next week. I sign most of those and ship them back (those pre-signed copies go to bookstores that have ordered them). Some, though, I get to keep! And I think that means it will start showing up in bookstores soon, too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Remembering Eddie Bo

It's funny, I never really played his albums much. But I always turned up the radio when an Eddie Bo song came on. "Check Your Bucket" "Hook and Sling" "Check Mr. Popeye"... Any appearance by Eddie Bo was always the highlight of our visits to New Orleans. And not just because of his infectious piano-based funk and swing. Eddie was just a very good-natured and incredibly talented man. And he was always just there – abandoning the piano to get people on their feet, squatting down and butt shaking, on the stage at Tip's French Quarter or at the Fest, marshalling four or even six other pianists up to the double grand pianos at the end of Piano Night. Making people dance and smile. And now he's gone.

Great appreciation on the WWOZ site, and I'm listening to yet another tribute on the station now. (Tune in online.) "Got a hole in it..." Speaks to our hearts.

Thank you, Eddie.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

HBO takes on "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency"

And I, in turn, take on the Anthony Minghella production in my review in the Boston Phoenix. I quite liked it, largely because Minghella was quite respectful of the books. That said, he did change some things. One difference that I couldn't fit into this review was a new character, an openly gay hairdresser (in the picture to the right of Scott). He's a good character, but I found it a little odd that when the books deal quite openly with AIDS (Mma Makutsi's brother dies of it), the TV adaptation has a gay character and it is never mentioned. Also, the agency's first home is a lot nicer than it is in the book -- I felt a little bit as if the producers wanted to make Gabarone nicer and more open even than it is in the book. Well intentioned, but why?

Friday, March 20, 2009

They're here!

My new bookmarks, that is. (Pictured front and back.) Email me with your snail mail address if you'd like some!
(You can also pre-order your Shades of Grey and your Probable Claws now, too!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

California dreamin'

I'm sitting here in my Cambridge office, hoping the temperature really does hit 50 degrees today, but in my heart I'm in California. In print, too: The San Francisco Chronicle ran my review of "Revenge of the Spellmans" today. Fun book - and if any of you liked the first of the series, and the second less so, take heart. Lisa Lutz has discovered new sources for madcap mayhem in this third outing.

I've also been given a shout-out by Victoria Zackheim on the Kepler's Bookstore blog, The Well-Read Donkey. I contributed an essay to Victoria's lovely anthology, "For Keeps: Women Tell The Truth About Their Bodies, Growing Older and Acceptance," and she's the guest blogger over there this week for this wonderful Menlo Park indie. Thanks, Victoria!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Sometimes, I think writers never stop working.

I'm deep into the first draft of the second Dulcie Schwartz book, and I've started dreaming about it. Nothing useful, like "oh, she should be stalked by the killer" or "why not make the tortilla into a clue?" No, dreams that I'm about to go onstage and I haven't finished reading the script. Or that I'm posing naked (but it's ok, in the dream, I have a body like Karita Matilla's, which is all one could want for a woman of our age). It's disconcerting. I wake up and am confused to realize that I'm not writing, that I have, in fact, been asleep. But I like to think that all that subconscious stuff will play out in the text as I chip out word after word from my grudging mind.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Decisions, decisions...

So, I'm getting bookmarks made up to give away at my various events, conferences, etc. (Malice Domestic! Murder Underbones party on April 21!). I think these look pretty great, but I'm not sure about the "The feline ghost did try to warn her..." (on the back/Shades of Grey side). It's short and to the point, but would it be better as "Her late, great cat came back to warn her...."? Does that say "ghost cat" clearly enough? Is it better? Worse? Let me know! And if you want a bookmark (or five) let me know, too. (This is the front and back of the same bookmark.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy anniversary, PW blogger Barbara Vey!

Wow, can it have been two years? Publishers Weekly "Behind Her Book" blogger Barbara Vey is celebrating two years of blogging about all sorts of fun books -- romance, mysteries, you name it. She's having QUITE the party on her blog today, with tons of prizes, book giveaways, and more. The party lasts all week, but today is devoted to mysteries, suspense, and thrillers. Come on by!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Separated at Birth?

Since I posted my Shades of Grey cover (left), my buddy Brett pointed out its similarity to this REM cover (right).

Well, there is a similarity in tone, I agree. But it's nothing like what happened when my first book, Mad House, came out in paperback with this beautiful, evocative cover (bottom left) and then, a few months later Hootie and the Blowfish's album "Musical Chairs" was released (bottom right):

I mean, at least I really love REM!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Shades of Grey SENT (again)

Today I finished going through the copy edits and then went out and shoveled out my car. Hoo boy.