March 30th, 2009

Live in Portland? I’ve got a signing AND I’m teaching a class

Reading at Powells
This is a shameless plug for my upcoming reading at Powells Cedar Hills Tuesday, April 7 at 7 p.m. I would love to see some of my LJ friends there. I’ll be talking about my new young adult novel, Torched. I’ll also talk about my new adult mystery, Face of Betrayal, which I co-wrote with FOX legal analyst Lis Wiehl.

Torched is about 16-year-old Ellie. When her hippie parents are arrested for growing marijuana, the FBI offers her a choice. Infiltrate the radical environmental group the Mother Earth Defenders, or her parents will go to jail. But when Ellie joins the group, her loyalties are compromised – and she also finds herself falling in love. Booklist says “The contemporary mix of politics and thrilling action will grab teens, not just environmentalists, as Ellie must decide how to save her parents and save the earth. … This suspenseful story will spark discussion about what it means to fight for right ‘by any means necessary.’”

Face of Betrayal begins when 17-year-old Senate page Katie Converse disappears from Northwest Portland while home on Christmas break. Three women take a special interest in her case: Allison Pierce is a federal prosecutor, Nicole Hedges is an FBI agent, and Cassidy Shaw is a TV crime reporter. Together the three women band together to find Katie. Their prime suspect: a senator who may have gotten a little too close to the girl. Publishers Weekly calls it a "sizzling political thriller" with a "seamless plot [that] offers a plethora of twists and turns."

Want to write a mystery?
I’ll also be teaching a class on mystery writing at Annie Bloom’s Books in Southwest Portland.

Commit the perfect crime: learn to write a mystery, thriller or suspense novel. Millions of people read mysteries – why not a mystery written by you? Currently, 6 of the top 10 New York Times hardcover bestsellers and 8 of the top 10 paperbacks are mysteries, thrillers, or suspense novels.

Whether you’re a beginning writer or already have a work in progress, you’ll benefit from this supportive, results-oriented workshop led by an author who just had her eighth book published. Through writing assignments, discussions on craft, and instructor and peer feedback, you’ll learn the fundamentals of crime writing. By the time class ends, you’ll know how to choose point-of-view, develop characters, write lively dialog, handle violence, increase tension, and plant clues, as well as critical techniques for self-editing. You’ll also learn practical tips for attracting the right agent. This is a highly interactive class – so be prepared to write, read, and talk!

Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland
- Sundays, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
- Begins: April 26
- $225 for 10 classes ($60 deposit)
- Register by e-mailing:

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Hey - that's not a dog!

This morning began with the computer refusing to turn on and my husband discovering we had no milk. Since we are both dedicated cereal eaters (cereal is our go-to morning meal, meal replacement, snack, and dessert), this was a catastrophe. I picked up my keys and headed for Seven-Eleven.

It was about six-thirty when I headed back. A small dog was trotting down the middle of the road.

Only it wasn't a dog. It was a coyote. Half-grown and looking confused, if I'm any judge of coyote emotions. And heading in the directon of busy Barbur Boulevard and the I-5 freeway.

We're a couple of miles from Gabriel Park, where I know there are coyotes. And way up above our house is a green spine of undeveloped land. Every five or six years we see white-tailed deer, and about 15 years ago, memorably, a buck with a full rack of antlers.

Maybe I'm in the minority, judging by this article, but I kind of like coyotes. It was interesting to read about how well adapted they are to urban life, even more than I imagined.

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Can you make a bestseller?

Well, if the publisher has anything to say about Darling Jim: A Novel, they will.

I’ve got several emails from the publicist about this book, and now I’ve got a finished copy that came packaged with a nice little notebook. Little giveaways or crime-scene tape wrapped around a book a sure sign somebody is putting marketing dollars in.

I’m keeping the notebook, but the book won’t get reviewed by me. You had to stretch a lot of credibility – and for me it just snapped. It’s difficult to pull off a book that is supposedly a diary – and this book has TWO diaries. In real life, people don’t write detailed descriptions of scenes, complete with setting and lines and lines of dialog.

Oh well, I have a feeling I might have been looking for a little less gothic and little more mystery.

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