Was it murder--or something serious?
Philip Marlow in Murder, My Sweet

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I Love Paris

One of the saddest things I've seen on FB and Twitter over the past few hours is this sort of "shaming" people for the outpouring of sympathy and horror over the terrorist attacks in France.

The feeling in some quarters is that the media coverage has been disproportionate given that there are terrorist attacks in Beirut and other places in the Middle East on an ongoing basis.

But I think this is the very problem. Yes, coverage of violence in the Middle East is routine. The Middle East has been at war as long as I've been alive. Some of my earliest TV memories are of war in the Middle East. The Six Day War. Black September. The Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The Iranian Revolution. Those are just a few of the conflicts I recall being part of the adult dinnertime conversation. And that's the pre-Gulf War stuff. So yes, sadly there is a certain inevitable numbness which develops as we eat our supper each evening and view what start to feel like almost daily atrocities.

It doesn't mean that what happened in France is somehow more terrible--or that we should give up on pushing for peaceful resolution in the Middle East.

Surely it's not an either/or situation? I've not noticed such a surplus of compassion and caring in the world that people need to be shamed or scolded for reacting to the tragedy in France.

I have family in France. I have a French publisher--and French readers who have become real life friends. I am grieved and horrified by what occurred in Paris--as should we all be grieved and horrified.

And there is no "but". There is no postscript or qualification. Tragedy is tragedy. And the attacks in Paris are no less horrifying because the world is full of horror.

The day that we become numb to word of new tragedy--to the news of fresh tragedy--is going to be the greatest tragedy of all.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

This is where I hope to post some photos of the trip...

But I've started this blog before the trip, so I don't know if I actually pulled myself together or not. Maybe I am still curled in a fetal position in my warm, comfy bed. :-D

Just in case, here's a nice photo which covers both sisterhood and longstanding friendships.

Friday, September 18, 2015

I am a Nosy Neighbor

One of the big changes in this move is that our former house was nicely secluded on a very quiet cul-de-sac. We were surrounded by tall trees and high fences and the desert hills.

And now...not so much.

In fact, not at all. We're on a relatively busy street (compared to our old place) and there are no trees in the backyard and the fences, though sturdy, are not all that high. In fact, I look down from my bedroom window into the backyards on either side of us and behind us. Directly behind us is a wall of tall trees, so that actually does provide a sense of privacy. But a sense of privacy is about all it provides.

I was a little uncomfortable about that (and still am, actually -- but I have plans for potted trees in strategic areas) and every time I walked into the backyard to swim, I felt like I was being observed. And possibly I was. In fact, I know I was on one side because I looked up one afternoon and saw the guy next door watching me through his bedroom window.

I did a double-take, he closed the blinds--and hasn't opened them since. :-D

But see, I don't make much of that because I noticed the other night that I am forever peering down into my neighbors' yards. I'm not looking into bedrooms or anything! (I swear.) But I am curious. It's part of that writerly thing. I hope. I'm curious as to why the people behind us are forever topping up their pool but NEVER outside swimming. I'm curious about the guy with the confederate flag in his garage. I'm curious about the neighbors who are up at three in the morning--all lights blazing. I like the dogs on either side of us and I spend long minutes watching them play. I like staring at the lights through the trees at night.

Sometimes I'm just enjoying looking down at our own garden--so pretty with all the lights and the chimes and the water--but also I'm nosy as hell. Let's face it.

Maybe part of it is still getting used to the house and the neighborhood. Who are these people? I don't know my neighbors yet, and I'm curious. And also friendly. But no one around here seems particularly interested in making friends.

But maybe that has to do with my reputation for standing at the windows and spying on them...

Friday, September 11, 2015

Thirteen Days and Counting

Laura and I were going over the itinerary for Scotland this evening, and I can't decide if I'm more thrilled or panicked.

Leese is talking about buying wellies and we're making dinner plans with writer friends (that's going to be interesting) and...and...and I feel overwhelmed.

There are a lot of really talented musicians on this tour, so it's going to be very good from a musical standpoint. I'm very into the music again--maybe because I can feel (recognize) that we've shifted into a lower gear. That was really brought home to me this weekend. Angus from Brother came by to say goodbye as he too is retiring. I mean, we're not retiring (and frankly, I doubt if he is either--it's Celtic music! It's in our genes. We will all be doing music in some form till we die) but we've been cruising along picking and choosing our gigs for the last few years. In other words, it's a hobby now. And has been for probably a decade.

And I guess I only really accepted that five minutes ago. :-D 

And what my point is, I'm not sure. Too much wine with dinner? Fear the plane will go down? The ferry will go down? The Orkneys will sink? ;-D  

Lots of changes--and more coming. I began the release process for Murder in Pastel (somehow it doesn't feel like a launch this time--more like freeing something I've kept in a cage, letting that bird with the crooked beak back into the sky).

Already--the book is not live yet--people are sending kind notes of concern and warning. I've made such a point of my privacy for so long--and I have not altered my feelings on this--but it's just become so complicated, so convoluted to preserve complete and utter anonymity. My intention remains to not address it--the last thing I want is to mess with people's suspension of disbelief. Some people do not want to know, have resisted picking up all the hints I've dropped, and I respect that. I want to protect that.

Will that be possible? I don't know. It might send the wrong message.

I'm not looking for reader crossover. I see writers dropping the veil in hope of that very thing. And I'm not saying they're wrong, but I don't need it. I don't believe there is much potential for crossover. That said, I have never been ashamed or uncomfortable about what I write as JL.

Which doesn't change the fact that I want my personal life to remain personal and private.

So I don't know.

Anyway, it's a been an interesting day. It looks like Corpse Pose will indeed go into Japanese translation (how funny if the publisher is Shinshokan?).     

Mr. and Mrs. Murder

The full proposal on Mr. and Mrs. Murder will go out this week.

I feel it's safe to talk about the project now. It would be difficult for anyone to scoop because just buying all the resource materials is costing a fortune. I don't know that many scholars who can afford to plunk down the 3K I did in December alone for various titles. In fact, it's reached the point where Mr. Thrilling can't bear to hear the numbers. :-D

But we've got one hell of a library on married sleuths and the book will be a nice mix of the academic and the entertaining.

I am loving every minute of the research. Well, not the straining credit card part--though I do love book hunting--but the reading. So many new-to-us authors and new/old books, hours of reading the stuff I love most. And totally guilt-free!

Mr. Thrilling is handling most of the writing in the proposal because I've been so busy with my own solo projects. It's hard for me to quiet my inner control freak. But this is what he is so very good at. This is the kind of writing that wooed and won me on DorothyL all those years ago. :-)

Friday, September 4, 2015

On the Road Again

Off to Pleasanton this weekend. 

It's the 150th year! (Of the games not our performing there--though sometimes when I look in the mirror...)

And I am SO unprepared. These last few weeks have been nothing but writing (and thank God the book is done and off to copyedits) so no vocal exercise, no preparing sets, no packing. I'm doing it all now, running around the house singing in Gaelic while I try and remember things like my boots.

God knows what the neighbors think. :-D 

Our very favorite Chinese restaurant in the world is in Dublin and I am hoping we have dinner there one night. I live in fear of the day we arrive and discover it's finally closed.  It's impossible to find decent Chinese food around here.

This is always a great gig. We've held the Four Seasons stage for...jeez...fifteen years now? Sixteen? Seventeen? Anyway, a long time and we've got so many friends and fans who we only see when we play up north. So it will be good. Plus, it's a lot of playing--three hour-long sets a day, minimum--and we always end up breaking out a lot of the really old material we haven't done in years.

Past and present overlapping through the music...