To lighten the tone after my last cranky post, here’s a snapshot taken yesterday at Barnes & Noble, Valencia, California. Kwei Quartey is the author of the Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery series, the most recent of which is CHILDREN OF THE STREET. Kwei is a delightful guy and I’m always glad to see him. He periodically sends me lighthouse photos he snaps while traveling, most often from Ghana, his home country.
Big thanks to Jackie Vick and Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles for setting up our panel discussion. Also to Lori Christian of Barnes and Noble, a most gracious and knowledgeable hostess! We’re hoping to put together a lighthouse discussion in the future.
If you missed this event, all of our books are available at Barnes and Noble, as well as that other big online bookseller you might know about.
January 12, 2011 – Santa Paula, CA – The earliest of California’s 35+ lighthouses have protected its coastal waters for over 160 years, and are thus a big part of the state’s history. According to local So. Cal. author Pam Ripling (who also writes as Anne Carter), these iconic symbols of protection, guidance and times past evoke a variety of thoughts and emotions. In recognition of Blanchard Community Library’s Centennial Celebration of California History, Ms. Ripling will share her knowledge of our West Coast beacons, relating how they came to be and where they are now.
Beginning with an overview of the multitude and variety of light stations constructed statewide, Ripling with focus on a few of her favorites, relating rich historical detail and anecdotal background. Ms. Ripling will also explain how, as a mystery author, she is inspired by lighthouses and works with them as aura-enhanced settings for her novels. Throughout her travels, Ripling has visited many of these lighthouses and will offer an entertaining PowerPoint slideshow to augment her presentation.
Also included in Ms. Ripling’s talk will be a discussion for fiction readers and aspiring authors about the fascinating process of researching her subjects. She will explain why an abandoned lighthouse six miles off the California coast might be the perfect setting for romance…and possibly murder. Using the real-life St. George Reef Lighthouse as her inspiration, Ripling (as Anne Carter) penned her second paranormal lighthouse mystery, CAPE SEDUCTION, (Echelon Press, 288 pp., $13.99), released in the fall of September, 2010.
Extensive research included interviewing one of the last keepers from St. George Reef Lighthouse. While the station in Ripling’s book is entirely fictional, the Coast Guardsman’s memories were invaluable in helping the author create a believable setting for CAPE SEDUCTION. “He described in great detail what it took to keep the lighthouse working—without electricity—in the 1940′s, and what one would have to do to survive locked away in a tower entrapped by treacherous seas.”
Born in the Midwest, Pam Ripling is the author of six published novels, a variety of fictional shorts and non-fiction articles. The married mother of three is a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles and her short story Just Like Jay appears in their newest anthology, MURDER IN LA LA LAND.
Ms. Ripling will be signing a limited number of her books for attendees.
Blanchard Community Library is located at 119 North 8th Street, Santa Paula, CA 93060-2709. For more info on the library’s Centennial Celebration, contact District Librarian Daniel Robles at (805) 525-3615.
Happy New Year.
Have been thinking about what to say, but I’m so late I’m afraid all the good topics have already been written. And it’s already the 4th; folks are probably DONE hearing about how bad the ending of LOST was, how sad it was when so-and-so passed away, how shocking it was to see Miley sucking on a bong. Okay, maybe not so shocking, that.
And the year to come? My plans? I have plenty. In the writing arena, I’ve made some decisions concerning my backlist, which has been just sort of sitting without much support from me. These three books are going to get a minor makeover and be re-released under my own publishing byline by this spring. New edits, new covers, new prices. I mean, why not?
Becoming a publisher means I can publish some other things, too, experimental works and some shorts for a couple of
new authors just wanting to dip a toe in the water. I’ll need an editor or two, and some help with the cover art. Cover art must be first rate, it’s the very first impression and if it’s shoddy or amateur, no level of quality in the book will make a difference.
That being said, my books with Echelon (CAPE SEDUCTION, POINT SURRENDER) will stay with Echelon. I have no desire to move them, and will continue to promote them alongside my newly released backlist work. If I’m right, all will benefit. I will focus heavily on ebooks this year (as if I haven’t for twelve years already!), although with the help of sites like Amazon’s CreateSpace I can re-release my older books in paperback as well. I’m glad for that, for those people still digging in about paper.
Once I reach a level of completion with this project, I’ll be able to resume work on my next lighthouse mystery. ANGEL’S GATE is started, but I felt it was heading toward a proverbial cul-de-sac and I need to back up and take a turn. I’m hoping to be able to convince the PTB to let me inside the real Angel’s Gate Lighthouse in Los Angeles Harbor. I just need to meet the right person!
On January 22nd, I’ll be speaking at the Blanchard Community Library in Santa Paula, California. The topic? Lighthouses, of course! Specifically, California’s lighthouses, and how they helped shape our history (it is California history month, after all.) I will focus on a few specific beacons, then segue into those that inspired my work. Really looking forward to this event.
Considering Romantic Times Convention on April 8 at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. Pricy, but lots of fun. Will advise.
April 30/May 1, in addition to my yearly stint signing with Sisters in Crime/LA, I’m joining a small consortium of authors in a booth at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, this year being held at the University of Southern California. I hope UCLA fans won’t stay away!
The cabin in the mountains is coming along nicely! Should be done late February. I can’t wait to hunker down with my books and hot toddy before a roaring fire…
Over the holidays, my niece and I took a day off and drove up to Santa Barbara for lunch. To our astonishment, both Barnes and Noble and Border’s were selling out their inventories, both closing their doors on December 31st. These stores are across the street from each other. I guess Santa Barbara book buyers will have to turn to the web. And ebooks?
Speaking of those minute miracles, I am rapidly filling up the new COLOR NOOK my husband bought me for Christmas! Man, do I love this device. I’ve always been somewhat of a gadget person, but this thing is fab. Does almost all that an iPad does – for half the money. I’ve loaded it up with songs, photos, books – I can do a crossword puzzle, check Facebook, write an email and edit my latest manuscript – and I can do it in the dark!
Further to my “Long Lost Relatives” post, I was contacted by my newly discovered cousin’s ex-wife. I wrote her back, giving her all the info I had and the one photo from my website. She has yet to respond, but I can wait. It’s been my whole life, after all.
It’s not writer’s block. I’ve never really experienced it to any degree. What I do experience is the inability to write due to guilt. Good old-fashioned shame over wanting to write when I have other stuff going undone. Trivial, unimportant stuff like paying the bills. Making dinner for the family. Moving the laundry along. Taking care of my customers’ needs. Yeah. Dumb stuff. But until those tasks are done, I can’t sit down and write. The problem arises when I never get caught up.
It’s all about not wanting to be interrupted. I could sit at the computer for, say, 30 minutes between tasks and start working on a story. But for most writers, 30 minutes just won’t cut it—it takes that long, sometimes, to really warm up to what I’m writing. So I’m reluctant to put fingers on the keyboard unless I have some significant, quality time to write. I just can’t be rushed.
The book launch for the Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles anthology MURDER IN LA LA LAND was just a kick! I believe nine of the 12 authors and two of the three editors made appearances at The Mystery Bookstore in Westwood. The crowd was fun and receptive, the bookstore staff was generous and accommodating. I enjoyed meeting Paul Marks, Terri Nolan, Jane DeLucchio, Kathy Kingston, Donna May, Kathleen Piche and Lenore Carlson, all extraordinary LA LA authors. I’d already had the pleasure of meeting Gabriela Vazquez, my terrific editor Eric Stone, and it’s always a lark chatting with the witty and behatted Michael Mallory. Also on hand was the charming Naomi Hirahara, another of our fine editors. Missing were authors Jack Maeby (whom I’ve met before), Patricia Morin and Jude McGee—we’ll catch up at a future event. (Jude is off gallivanting around Spain, poor kid!)
Lots of positive feedback on my short entry, “Just Like Jay.” I’m encouraged to start writing shorts again. If I ever get my chores caught up.
For those of you not “in the know” – “La-La Land” is the not-so-affectionate nickname of our City of Angels (originally El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciúncula or The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Little Portion); some just call it “Smell-A” (nasty, ain’t it?)
Why “La-La?” The definition, “A state of being out of touch with reality,” has been applied to the residents of Los Angeles, poking fun at our oddball, possibly eccentric ways. Being the eccentrics we are, we tend to just laugh it off. Anyone who’s seen “L.A. Story” would understand. When the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime looked for a name for its newest anthology, it just seemed to fit. The call went out for short stories concerning crime with a local flare. My story, “Just Like Jay” was selected! When you see the company I’m keeping, you’ll know why I feel so honored.
MURDER IN LA-LA LAND is being published by Top Publications. As one of the anthology authors, I’m excited to announce that a launch party has been set. A favorite local bookseller has graciously arranged for us to unveil our new book amid happy festivities!
The Mystery Bookstore, Westwood, Los Angeles
Saturday May 22, 5pm
I certainly hope some of my readers will be able to come by. As it turns out, advance copies of CAPE SEDUCTION should be in hand by that time as well! (Formal release will be at Printers Row in Chicago in June.)
Although people keep asking, I’m not allowed to divulge the identity of the mysterious “Jay” in my story. I will only say that the tale involves a particularly vintage Oldsmobile, and the chance sighting of L.A.’s most beloved nighttime talk show host. Ahem.
Aside from the notion that I am, in fact, going mad, everything seems to be fine.
Everyone is quick to say, “2010 will be better!” Even in the bank today, a customer—a stranger to me—called out the same, asking for my concurrence. I do believe that people everywhere are ready to feel better. They are ready for recovery, and their attitude may just be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I hope so.
About 2009? What do I remember? What influenced me?
John. Although most things take no particular precedence, one event does stand out above all the others: the death of our friend John. Nothing quite so profound has happened to me before. Nothing pervaded my mind so completely for so many weeks and months. The shock notwithstanding, the empathy I felt for his widow—my best friend—was, and is, enormous. Unbidden, the memory of her phone call still haunts me. It’s not something you can forget. Nor was John someone you could forget. If a man’s wealth is truly measure by the love and grief of his survivors, John was a very rich man. Other things….
Going back to school. So proud of myself for doing it. I enjoyed my classes, I worked very hard, was rewarded with good grades. 2010: Will resume classes in February.
My family. Hubby had to change jobs, but is working and fully recovered from his health scare of a year ago. Major thankfulness on that front. Kids are now working (yes!), and happy at their jobs. Daughter went missing, alien teenage girl took her place. Still looking for the original, but the replacement turns out to be not so bad.
My writing career. Finished two novels, nearly finished a third. CAPE SEDUCTION is a great book, probably the best I’ve written, has a wonderful cover I had the pleasure of designing myself, and will be released soon. OLD ENOUGH, another middle grade mystery, is yet to be submitted. (My bad.) My WIP, UNMASKING PAULIE BINGHAM, is nearing completion and at the moment is a long book. Of course it will be shaved down, eventually, and I don’t look forward to that prospect. JUST LIKE JAY, a short story for Sisters-in-Crime/Los Angeles’ upcoming anthology, MURDER IN LA LA LAND, will be published this spring. Huge, puffed-out-chest-pride on that one. 2010: Will finish Paulie’s story, will start third paranormal lighthouse mystery. Will try to work on getting OLD ENOUGH at least submitted…
Part Two to follow…..