Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dental Chair Ideas

Blogging rocks!

What am I blogging about here today?  I'm still not entirely sure, but thinking about it yesterday really helped me get through an unpleasant dental procedure.  Instead of focusing on what was happening to me, I brainstormed about what I'd blog about. 

And it wouldn't be that dental procedure. 

I thought about what I should be doing that day: continuing my final edits on the manuscript for my second Superstition Mystery, which is due on November 1. 

I thought about the promotion I've been doing for my first Superstition Mystery, which will include my Orange County, California, launch party this Saturday at 11 AM at Mystery Ink, in Huntington Beach.  And the article on superstitions that I just sent to Fresh Fiction, although I'm not sure when it'll be up on their website.  And the remaining blogs and articles that I've committed to write, although nothing like the volume I undertook for my wonderful Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. 

I thought about last weekend, when I attended the Birthday Bash of the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America on Saturday, and the regular meeting of the Los Angeles Chapter on Sunday. 

I thought of my upcoming fun at Bouchercon, which will be in Long Beach next month and the wonderful questions I just received from the moderators of the panel I'll be on at 8:30 on that Saturday morning, "Must Love Dogs and Cats."  Very appropriate, don't you think? 

I told myself I should check to see if there were any superstitions about dentists when I got home, which I did.  I didn't find any, but there are quite a few about teeth.  For example, you can make a baby's teething process easier if you put bag of others' teeth around his neck.  And of course there's the tooth fairy, who leaves money under the pillows of a child in exchange for the baby teeth that fall out.   Oh, and it's good luck to have a gap between your front teeth.  I wonder if orthodontists know they could be ruining their patients' futures.  

Anyway, my procedure was soon over and I was able to leave--to head home and start writing this post! 

How about you--do you find ways to distract yourself in a dentist's chair?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Shed Not the Bitter Tear

Here’s a pretty epitaph that was set above a number of young women’s graves, this one over Patience Holmes, age 24, of Plymouth, Mass.:

Shed not for her the bitter tear
Nor give the heart to vain regret,
‘Tis but the casket that lies here,
The gem that filled it sparkles yet.

Had a busy, fun weekend.  Friday Ellen and I went to a matinee performance of “Life Could Be A Dream,” which was performed at The Old Log Theater in Excelsior.  I am going to set the next Betsy Devonshire mystery there, and wanted a look at how the new owners revived and restored it.  It’s really nice – and what’s more, the performers were very talented, and the show was great fun.  All those wonderful old “doo-wop” songs had the audience, heavily senior, applauding and cheering. "Who Put the Bomp," “Unchained Melody,” “Stay,” many others, the whole show performed by just four men and one woman, full of energy and feeling.  I’m going to have to dial it down some for my version of a play put on out there.

Saturday I had a friend over in the morning to carve pumpkins.  They aren’t the real kind, but the artificial ones you can buy in places like Michael’s.  I like to do elaborate patterns, and doing it on a real pumpkin is such a waste!  All those hours of work, and in a week or less, you throw it away.  I’ve started a gargoyle’s face and will have to work hard to finish it by Halloween. 

Then we went to a writer’s group meeting, where my synopsis of Ebenezer’s Christmas Yarn was praised – with a strong suggestion that I don’t have enough suspects and need to revise it.  Unfortunately, they’re right.  *sigh*

Then we went to see a movie, “The Book of Life.”  I really liked it, it’s brilliant and colorful and made me understand the Mexican tradition of visiting the graves of their departed relatives on the Day of the Dead.

Sunday I rode with my producer to take a look at the site the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) holds its annual Warriors and Warlords camping event.  It’s in Osseo, Wisconsin, a few hours from the Cities.  We are thinking of filming my book Knight Fall there.  I wasn’t wild about it, the site is a work in progress and the woods are mostly white pine, but it’s close to us compared to the site in the book (a campground in western Pennsylvania) and the owner is very excited at the idea of a movie being made on his property. 

This coming weekend we will be in Indianapolis for the grand mystery convention, Magna cum Murder.  I’m going to be on two panels.  I’m excited and hope I can hold up my part – the moderator of one of the panels is Parnell Hall, a wild and crazy and hilarious man.  Wish me luck!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Last Week in Las Vegas

I’m sorry there was no blog last week. And sorry that all I could offer was barely a sentence with no punctuation. I wrote that from my phone. I am not the best typist on a full size keyboard let alone the little binky one on my phone.

I had the best of intentions of writing my blog on Thursday evening as I usually do, even if I was in Las Vegas. It was not a pleasure trip. I was there for training for our family business and the Green Valley Ranch where we stayed isn’t even near the strip. (And no, we’re not learning how to be blackjack dealers.) I had spent an intense four hours learning new stuff, followed by a socializing event. The next day was going to be even more intense and would go from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.. By the time I went back to the room, I was tired, but determined to compose my blog.

There was supposed to be “complimentary” Internet. I had connected once already, though it took a long time to get online. But when I tried to check my email this time, I couldn’t get a connection. It might have been because we were literally in the last room on our floor and the connection wouldn’t go that far.

I fiddled with it for a while and finally gave up on being able to post my blog and typed in the excuse on my phone which luckily doesn’t need an Internet connection. It was late and all I could think of was a nice hot shower and some sleep. I was sure I had done something wrong the previous night when I had tried to take a shower and the water was barely lukewarm. After all, my husband said had said the water was nice and hot when he took his shower that morning.

The bathroom was quite luxurious. A nice big bathtub, separate shower and sink that looked like it was in a wood cabinet. I turned on the shower and let it run before I stepped in. It was just like the night before, maybe even a little cooler. I was sure I had it turned all the way to hot. Needless to say, I didn’t linger in the water.

Next morning, no problem for my husband. When I brought up the water temperature of my shower again and suggested that maybe they turned off the hot water late at night, he looked at me like I was crazy and again suggested maybe I’d turned the shower on incorrectly. I could see his point. I mean, this was Vegas. If ever there was a late night town, this was it. They couldn’t be turning off the hot water at night, could they?

On the third and last night, the same thing happened. This time I wised up and tried the sink and bathtub, feeling guilty for wasting water as I let the water coming out of the spigot marked hot, run. No hot water from either of them. Now I knew I wasn’t crazy about the temperature of the water, and I was sure I was operating the shower correctly. There was no hot water, anywhere - at least in our room.

When we complained, the hotel people seemed baffled, then reluctantly admitted that the hot water had been worked on the first night, but couldn’t explain the other nights and they said maybe I hadn’t turned the shower on correctly. C’mon, how complicated is turning the dial on a a shower. It was pretty obvious they had been turning off the hot water while it was worked on for all the nights. Then we brought up the Internet problem. They couldn’t understand why I was having a problem, emphasis on the I as though it was somehow my fault, but finally agreed that maybe our room location had something to do with it.

And what did they offer us for our (really my) inconvenience. They took off the resort fee - a ridiculous fee that a lot of the hotels add on now, which gives you the “complimentary” Internet and free local phone calls. And they offered us a food credit that basically covered one breakfast. Finally when we’d been refused a late checkout, they gave us the extra hour. I might add that we had a hassle with the food credit and even with the late checkout, the housekeeper came to the door at least twice (even though we had the do not disturb thing on) asking when we were leaving.

Boy, was I glad to get home. Internet whenever I wanted. A hot shower or bath 24/7. What luxury and no resort fee.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Challenge of Saying Goodbye

Hands released into the sky to the white dove

September was a tough month for me, on many levels. My dog’s health started to fail; my own wasn’t that much better. We had a minor flood at the studio, and my husband managed to bring home every virus in the greater Seattle area. We’re all doing much better now, knock on wood.

But throughout the challenges of last month, one constant remained: writing. I sent an early draft of my third book, Karma Can Be Killer, to my agent and editor on September 20th. October 3rd, A Killer Retreat went off to my publisher for its final, final edits. (Which means that I have to trust that what I’ve written will be “good enough.”)

Once they were floating on the Internet ether, I found myself in that achingly empty zone between writing and feedback. I love my two newest creations, but will my readers? And if they don’t…
I try not to think about that. ;-)

Instead, I look around my shamefully messy home, feeling slightly off kilter, My 500-hour yoga teacher training program winds up in January. The next 200-training starts a few weeks later. In less than a month, I’ll be eyebrows deep in book launch activities for second book while writing revisions of my third.

Friends tell me to sit back and take a breather. My husband says I should finally pick up a vacuum. Instead, I spend my days pondering. What should I do next? I won’t know if Midnight Ink plans to renew my first series for at least six months, maybe even a year. Should I continue writing Kate’s story and trust it will find a publishing home? Maybe I ought to start the Maui-based series that’s been tickling me? Perhaps it’s time to play with the Orcas Island-based spinoff that has been rattling around in my head for almost two years now?

Then again, I could experiment with nonfiction. A friend recently told me I should write the true story of my life with Tasha-dog; two veterinarians suggested the same thing. She’s certainly taught me life lessons that I’d like to pass on to the next generation. Then again, if I’m going to make my living as an author, perhaps it’s time to take my first writing class.

I’m sure it won’t be long before something fills the void, but in the meantime I’m content to float for awhile, daydreaming. That’s the beauty of writing. I create my own worlds, fall in love with my characters, and have the privilege of saying goodbye over and over and over again. It’s not much different than birthing a child, or certifying a yoga teacher training class, for that matter.

As I stand at the crossroads, I only know one thing. Whatever comes next will sometimes be frustrating, sometimes frightening, sometimes fulfilling. Please wish me luck on the journey.

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.