Tuesday, May 31, 2011

So I Married a Demon Slayer winner

We also have a winner for the So I Married a Demon Slayer advanced reading copy. That is: Ren.

Congratulations!

We have winners!

Thanks again to Lexi George for joining us today. Isn't she fun?

Now we have two winners. Each of you will get an autographed copy of Demon Hunting in Dixie. The winners are: Julie and Christina C.

Congratulations! Just email me at angie @ angie fox.com and I'll put you in touch with Lexi!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Something Wicked welcomes Lexi George


Today, Something Wicked welcomes Lexi George, author of Demon Hunting in Dixie. She's talented. She's funny and we're excited to have her here.

I love romance. I love to read it. I love to write it.
Most of the time.
I love my heroes and my heroines. I love getting inside their minds and hearing what they’re thinking. Their emotional journey is satisfying. I enjoy creating dialogue and I love the sometimes zany secondary characters that appear out of nowhere on the page, and the unexpected twists and turns the story can take.
I enjoy building the sexual tension.
And then . . .
It. The sex scene.
I will tell you my dirty little secret. One of my favorite things about reading romance novels is the sex.
Unlike Billy Crystal’s character in When Harry Met Sally, I do not read the last page first to see how the story ends. But when I start reading a new romance, I always thumb through the book, find the culminating moment, and make a note of it. I don’t read it, mind you. But I know what page it’s on.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. It’s supposed to be about the romance and the glorious, all-conquering, life-changing love between the H and H. And that’s great too.
But I like a steaming hot sex scene. And knowing where Tab A meets Slot B in the book gives me something to anticipate.
But writing a love scene? Arggh!
How to make it romantic and sensual but not purple? You know what I’m talking about. ‘His magnificent scepter’ or ‘her steaming tunnel of love.’
Ew.
It’s a quandary. Euphemisms are tricky. And as for the medical terms . . . If I were a guy, I’d be picketing Washington or NIH or wherever demanding a better word. And I’m not crazy about the anatomically correct term for the girl part either. Nothing romantic or hot about either one of those words.
So what’s a romance writing girl to do? Sometimes you just have to call it what it is. Or, rather, what you character would call it.
And, ultimately, that’s what it’s all about: being true to you characters.
The last love scene I wrote took me the better part of four days to write. It also required a big bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream and several glasses of wine. But I did it.
Or, rather, they did it.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate writing sex scenes. But I pull my hair out trying to get it right, because love scenes are important.
Evocative.
Emotionally satisfying.
And darn hard to write.
So what about you? Do you look forward to The Moment in the romances you read? Do you enjoy reading sex scenes that are sweet, smoking hot, in between or all of the above? Leave a comment and have you name in the hat to win one of two copies of Demon Hunting in Dixie!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Clock Is Ticking

I have a confession to make—I’ve been taking a bit of a break from writing. Not that I haven’t been working on “writer” related stuff. LOVE LIES BLEEDING is coming out in eight weeks and I’ve two big conferences coming up—DucKon in Schaumburg, Illinois June 17th and Fandom Fest in Louisville, Kentucky July 22nd. Why would these things take up so much time you might ask, but honestly getting ready for the debut and the conferences can take up as many hours in a day as writing. Here’s a partial bullet list of the things I’ve been working on:

•Finish the arrangements with the graphic designer for new business cards, bookmarks, and postcards.
•Complete the list containing the addresses of around 2k independent bookstores and libraries which are targeted to receive the above mentioned postcards.
•Order the postcards.
•Mail the postcards.
•Send editor, agent, and the publicist assigned to LOVE LIES the marketing plans.
•Contact the Animal Rescue League about a possible book signing/fund raiser.
•Finalize the arrangements for a Q&A session at the Newton Public Library to be held on July 28th.
•Tweak notes on a creative writing workshop to be given at Fandom Fest.
•Work with website designer to create a “Jess McConkey” site.

When I stop and think about all the things that I need to accomplish over the next eight weeks, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed. As I’ve said before, I do have an issue with time management and that’s a trait that isn’t always conducive to staying on task. Will it all work out in the end? Probably—as Angie and Casey can confirm, this isn’t the first time I’ve painted myself into a corner and then have to hustle like a mad woman to finish something. And this time I am getting some help—my youngest daughter is working part time as my personal assistant—that’s the good part. (She’s the lucky one who gets to address and stamp all those postcards!!) The bad part is that she’s inherited her mother’s same issues with time management. So the bottom line…can two procrastinators pull off all of the above?

I’ll let you know!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Diary of a Mad Brainstormer

Each time I post something about my brainstorming group, I get questions. What do we do? And how do we do it?

To help answer those questions, I’ve written up a diary of my last week’s brainstorming session.

Saturday–thanks to mechanical troubles and a mid-air medical crisis, one of our brainstormers is 7 hours late arriving in Cleveland. But once we’re all together, we’re rarin’ to go. It’s raining, so while it would be great to sit on a patio somewhere, we head to a Middle Eastern restaurant to eat hummus and catch up on news, both personal and professional.

Sunday–more rain, but it hardly matters. We settle in at the Hampton Suites and get to work. Today, two brainstormers have sessions. One is plotting the second book in a loosely connected series. Lots of political intrigued and an international crisis or two. This author is definitely working on a bigger stage than the one I’m used to! In the afternoon, we worked on a traditional mystery. On the surface, reading the author’s notes, it looks like a slam dunk. But on closer examination, we find time line problems, and motivation that needs shoring up. We’re too tired to do tarot today so we promise ourselves we’ll catch up with two readings another night. In the evening, back to the Middle Eastern restaurant we all loved.

Monday–our sessions are conducted to the patter of raindrops. In the morning, we work on an inspirational romantic suspense. We do not worry about the characters’ faith journeys. That’s a problem this author will tackle alone. Instead, we concentrate on plot. She’s come up with a story that’s simple and powerful. It’s fun to add the twists and turns that will make it a page-turner. In the afternoon, we discuss my Pepper Martin mystery #9 which I’ll need to start writing soon. Did you know Superman was invented in Cleveland? Somehow, the fact comes up in conversation and we take off running with it. Plenty of laughter in this session. I hope that means there will be that much fun and energy in the book. We start our tarot readings and as always, they are interesting and insightful. There is talk about another night of Middle Eastern, but I nix that and we decide, instead, on a seafood restaurant. I love fish, but order chicken. Go figure.

Tuesday–more rain, but we hardly notice. We don’t have time. A women’s fiction writer is up first, and she has a complicated plot underway and is unsure if she’s attacking it the right way. We think she is and she’s reassured, and we discuss ways she can handle the story. In the afternoon, we’re back to our first brainstormer, the one writing the international thriller. I’ve had a revelation and I announce it: we need to think of this book as a James Bond movie. Once we have that idea in place, the plot bounces along. Two tarot readings tonight, and we’re finally caught up. Dinner: an Italian restaurant where they serve me enough penne pasta for an army. The nice thing about brainstorming in town is that I come home every night. My husband appreciated the doggie bag!

Wednesday–I’m up again, and I’ve got an idea for a new mystery series. So much to figure out before we can even begin to talk plot! Who are the characters, what are they up to, and why are they involved in murder? I come with an already determined setting and they love that. Now all we have to do is create the world that will exist there. My time flies by, and when it’s over, I’ve got the bare bones of an idea. Still plenty of hammering out to take care of, but things are falling together. This afternoon, we’re back with the inspirational romantic suspense writer and a different idea than the one she brought up in her first session. It’s another winner, full of Southern atmosphere and suspense. Can’t wait to read the finished product! Tarot reading for my new idea. Not sure I like where that reading was headed, which was darker than I’d anticipated the book to be, but I will re-examine it and see what I can keep from the reading. Dinner? Is it time for dinner again? We try for a restaurant in my little town, but it’s crowded and noisy, so we head back toward the hotel and find an Irish pub. A quiet Irish pub? Tonight it is, and we use the time to keep talking. And talking.

Thursday–it can’t possibly be our last brainstorming day! And it can’t possibly be still raining. We finish up with the women’s fiction writer and the traditional mystery writer. Another tarot reading. And dinner, of course, this time at a chain restaurant that is less than stellar.

No matter. Food or no food, rain or sunshine, brainstorming is always exhausting, invigorating and challenging. I cherish my brainstorming group. I’m lucky to have their collective experience and wisdom. Now all I have to do is sit down and write those books!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Want to win an advanced reading copy?

Happy Tuesday! I was wondering what to write about today until a package arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon. The advanced reading copies for So I Married a Demon Slayer are here. So of course I have to give one away.

This is an anthology that is coming out on August 30. The other authors are Kathy Love and Lexi George. We're all writing about demon slayers who have found themselves in, er, compromising positions.

My contribution, What Slays in Vegas, is the story of the one half-succubus who got away after The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers. Poor Lizzie didn't realize she missed one.

Here's the blurb:
When a sexy succubus comes up against a fearless demon slayer intent on killing her boss, a truly wild Vegas night turns into a quickie wedding. But in a city where anything goes, a demon slayer wedding a succubus is strictly forbidden. Which doesn't mean either is rushing to jump out of the marriage bed.

Just post and tell us why you'd want to marry a demon slayer and you're entered to win the advanced reading copy. Oh and if you want to double your chances, I'm also giving one away on my author website. Triple your chances by entering a third ARC contest on my Facebook Fan Page. Whew! Good luck!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Foreign Covers

It is always interesting to me to see the foreign covers for my books. Often, I think they are really cool, sometimes maybe even better than my US one. And other times...it's just like...Wow! Is that the same book? Take a gander at the German cover I just received, and compare it to the US cover. What do you think?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

And the winner is...

I don’t know what happened last week…first my post was there then it wasn’t. Finally it reappeared, so thanks to all those who were patient and left a comment!! And a big thank you for all your best wishes! And now here’s the winner….

Kat Bryan!! Congratulations Kat—I really hope you enjoy “Jess McConkey’s” debut and thanks for your support!! Send me (shirley@shirleydamsgaard.com) your mailing address and I'll send it off to you this week.

To all the rest of our readers—this won’t be the last chance to win a copy of LOVE LIES BLEEDING. The release date is July 26th and the week prior I’ll be giving away eight copies. (Eighth book—eight copies!)

Again thanks for all the comments and I’ll see you next week!
Best,
Shirley

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

MASHing it up

Thanks to everyone who suggested titles last week. As I mentioned, my publisher wants a new title for my upcoming paranormal MASH series. Anyone who suggests one that I give to my editor gets a "thank you" in the book. If your title is picked by the good people at St. Martin's Press, I'll name a character after you.

I'm still compiling my list, so there is time, but if you want to take a look at the suggestions, check out last week's post and also my Facebook page. Why am I not surprised that the Facebookers went hog wild?

This week, I've also begun the second book in the Monster MASH series. Right now, I'm calling it Death Takes a Vacation, but as you know - titles change. It picks up three weeks after the end of book one and I'm having a blast so far.

It's both strange and exciting to jump into a new book. Strange, because I'm not sure what happens next.

After coming off the end of the previous book, when everything is coming together and I'm wrapping everything up, I know exactly how things need to unfold. The beginning of a book is the opposite - it's so full of possibilities that I find myself almost tripping over them.

Both are neat places to be, but so different, that it takes a mental switch (and perhaps a few M&M's) to navigate through.

And then there's this new character that I love. But that I can't introduce until about Chapter 10. It really makes sense for this to happen at that point in the book. Still, it's hard to be patient. I was never very good at holding back on surprises.

But I'll keep trying. And writing. Thanks for coming along on the journey!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mother's Day Book Winners

Happy Monday everyone!

Time for the Mother's Day books winners! I headed over to random.org and two numbers magically appeared.

The winner of Jennifer Ashley's PRIMAL BONDS is Donna!

The winner of Christine Feehan's SAVAGE NATURE is SandyG265!

Congrats, you two! Thanks for your comments.

Time for me to dive back into writing my second book.

Friday, May 13, 2011

New Cover & New Story


First of all, I am SO excited that I simply had to share my new cover! I just received the final cover for my July book, TOUCH IF YOU DARE, and I had to post it. I have had a lot of great covers, including the one for KISS AT YOUR OWN RISK, which came out in January, but I really think TOUCH IF YOU DARE is the best I've ever had. I don't know if it's the man, the sword, the colors, the swirling smoke, or the whole combination, but I just can't get enough of it!

I'm so sorry for my missed post last Friday, but I was in the midst of something exciting. I was writing a book that was MAGIC, and I couldn't be stopped! I've been on a long personal and professional journey for a while now, trying to get things aligned, and I've been making progress. And then, about a month ago, I got hurt and was laid up for a bit. After being cranky for a couple days, I decided to take this time to really focus on my writing. I started brainstorming a new story, a very emotional, character driven contemporary romance set in a small town in Maine. I've never written a story like that, but it was calling to me. And there, in the quiet of my injured time-out, this incredible story came to life. After a week of brainstorming, I started to write, and magic happened. Seventeen days later (this Monday), the story was written. It usuaally takes me six arduous months to write a book, and this took SEVENTEEN days that were effortless, beautiful, easy and a total joy. The end result is a beautiful as the journey, and I realize that, for the first time in my life, I have become the storyteller I was meant to be. Truly, it's a gift.

I'm in the midst of revisions, and then it will be off to my agent. I don't even need to wonder if she will like it. The magic is there, and she will know it too. I am so happy! What about you? Have you ever had magic happen?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Win an ARC!!


Last week I mentioned one of the things that I love about being an author. Here’s another—when, after months of hard work, you finally get to see that manuscript in print! It may be an advanced reading copy and not the final product, but it still gives you the feeling that “yes, this is really going to happen!”

I got to experience that yesterday. The UPS guy dropped off a nice big box of LOVE LIES BLEEDING arc’s. And believe me—I couldn’t get that sucker opened fast enough, but when I did, there they were, staring up at me—books, not rubberbanded sheets of paper. I didn’t care that they’re uncorrected proofs…they still look like books to me.

Now if you don’t care either, here’s what I’ll do—anyone who posts a comment today will be entered in a drawing for one of these Arc’s and I’ll announce the winner next week.

Just so you know what you’re getting, here’s the description from the back cover:

“Samantha Moore was the golden girl with a perfect job, a perfect man, a perfect life, until a random act of violence left her unconscious for two months. The Sam who awakens from her coma is a far different person. This new Sam is bitter and terrible pain, force to endure a diet of medications that make her sick, forgetful, paranoid, and struggling to hold a firm grasp on reality.

When her family sends her to a quiet town to recover, Sam is furious that they’ve placed completely under a physical therapist’s care and robbed of what little freedom she had left. Enraged Sam lashes out at the “nice people” who say they are there to help her and claim that her outbursts are just the byproduct of her condition. Or are they? As strange things begin to happen, it becomes clear that Sam’s fears may not all be in her head, and that the friendly inhabitants of her new town are far more secretive—and deadly—than they appear to be…”

Good luck--I'll announce the winner next week!!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Storm Warning

I probably won’t be checking in next Wednesday. In the event that anyone notices (!), I thought I should explain myself.

I’ll be with my brainstorming group and this time, they’re coming to Cleveland!

See, once a year, I meet with four talented, wonderful and successful writing friends. We spend five days working on our current ideas, new ideas, plans for the future. Since there are five of us, we each get two half-day sessions and in that time, we can talk about any project we want.

This year, I’ll be plotting Pepper Martin mystery #9, slated for publication in October 2012. I’m pretty open to ideas so if any of you out there have a ghost you’d like Pepper to meet or some predicament you’d like to see her get into, let me know.

For my second session, I’ll be working on a very different project, the idea for a historical mystery. No, I don’t have a publisher for that one. But I’ve got this plot pounding away inside my head, and I’m intrigued. I think it’s worth discussing and at least working up a proposal. What say you readers, would you read a mystery set in Victorian England? I’m thinking dark and gothic-y, though not paranormal.

My friends arrive on Saturday and the next week will be challenging, enlightening and exhausting. One thing I know for sure, I am grateful for these wonderful writers and always eager to hear what they have to say, not only about my ideas, but about their own. Our sessions are always wonderful learning experiences.

In addition to our "regular" sessions, we’ll also be doing tarot card readings for our books and characters. Another thing to look forward to.

I’ll check in in two weeks. Hopefully by then, I’ll have some time to recover!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Want to be a character in my next book?

It's a little known fact that book titles change all the time. Typically, the author will decide on a title while writing a book or a book proposal. In some cases, the title will come to an author before the rest of the book. That happens to me a lot. A title will pop into my head and introduce a situation that makes me want to write.

Still, every author knows not to get too attached because upwards of around seventy-percent of book titles are changed by the publishing house. Either they don't fit the finished book, or maybe they don't say what the marketing department wants to say. They could be too long, too short, or just not it.

I've been unusual in that I've gotten to keep my titles. Well, until now. This latest book is going to get a new title. I originally named it The Monster MASH because I'm writing about a group of offbeat paranormal MASH surgeons. And while my publisher is on board with the drama and zaniness inside the book, they want a grabby-er title (And yes, I'm making up a word. I like to do that.)

Anyhow, I've been thinking and thinking of a new title. But then it hit me: Why not ask for a bit of help? So I'm holding a contest. Help me re-name The Monster MASH. I'm open to any and all suggestions. If your title is one of the ones I present to my editor, I'll thank you in the book. If your title is the one we go with, I'll name a character after you.

Post any and all suggestions below.

A bit of background: The monster MASH is located down in limbo during a big immortal war. There are vampires, werewolves, demi-gods, sphinxes and about every other creature you can think of. The protagonist is a half-fairy surgeon who was drafted away from her paranormal medical clinic in New Orleans. Oh and she can see dead people.

One of my re-title suggestions was The Truth About Cats and Demi-Gods. My editor said close, but not it. So think of that kind of vibe. Thanks and good luck!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers Deserve Great Books on Mother's Day

There's just something about Mondays and getting things done that you missed during the weekend. My life's definitely no different.

Yesterday was Mother's Day! Happy Belated Mother's Day to the moms out there who work so hard to keep the engine of our households running. My day yesterday went great and I got to relax and read. (Which is why I'm playing catch-up today...) Besides reading and breakfast in bed, I also took out some quality time on Netflix to watch a few bad horror movies. I'm a sucker for a fun flick to scare me, and I'm always willing to give a movie a chance. Hey, I could find something that everyone hates, but I enjoy. It's possible. Not yesterday anyway, but it's possible.

When I wasn't watching movies, I was reading. And boy, do I have a huge TBR list. To get an idea of how much I'm reading, I listed it all here. Any way, I just got my hands on DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. A great young adult dystopian book. But I also have several e-readers on my iPAD for all my other books. Yes, you read that right. I have multiple e-reader applications on one device. I have:

It's...an interesting way to read my books. The iBooks is the reader for the iPad and allows me to read my ePub books and PDF based books. The majority of my books are there. The Kindle books are the ones I buy from Amazon. Since I have trouble saying no to a free book when there's a sale that app is loaded! Txtr is an iPad application that lets me read files that can only be read through Adobe Digital Editions. Basically, ADE doesn't have an application for iPad, so any books I get that would only be downloadable through that reader wouldn't be transferable to the iPad. So I downloaded Txtr and voila, I'm back in business! OverDrive is an iPad application that allows me to search and download books from my public library. It's great. I listen to a lot of audiobooks that way. Right now I'm listening to Ally Condie's MATCHED. And I have Laurell K. Hamilton's GUILTY PLEASURES on hold next. (I've waited so long to read that book so I can start the series. I even bought a copy and still haven't read it. LOL) So far, I've found though that 5 days isn't long enough for someone as busy as I am to listen to a whole book.

To celebrate Mother's Day and fulfill our need to read books to stay sane and happy, I'm having a giveaway. I got a nice stash of books from DABWAHA, so I want to share the love! For two lucky winners I have an ARC of Christine Feehan's SAVAGE NATURE and then I have a copy of Jennifer Ashley's PRIMAL BONDS. Just leave a comment to enter.

So how did your Mother's Day go? :) If you didn't celebrate, did you get outside to enjoy the weather? It was gorgeous here in Saint Louis. Perfect time for my husband to finally mow the lawn.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On being a writer

Sorry I missed last week—I had Internet “issues!” And this week I was at a bit of a loss when it came to coming up with a topic, but Casey’s little “P.S.” yesterday gave me an idea while it reminded me of one of the reasons I love being an author.

Over the years, I’ve worked a lot of different jobs, especially as a teen and young adult, and I can truly say that there’s never been one that I’ve found as rewarding and fulfilling as this one. Not only do I have the opportunity to challenge myself (is that next book going to be a hit or a miss???) and meet a lot of wonderful readers, but I’ve had the chance to enjoy the camaraderie that exists among writers.

Let’s be honest—in the workplace one is always running into those who resent seeing someone else succeed. There can politicking going on behind the scenes and in some environments, one meets those who pat you on the back with one hand while knifing you with the other. That has never been my experience when it comes to meeting and getting to know other writers! And when you stop and think about it—that’s rather remarkable. After all, in a way, we are all competing against one another for that space on the bookstore’s shelf--for that reader’s hard earned dollars--but it’s something that never comes into play. All the authors I know are more than willing to applaud your success and commiserate with you when things are “less” than what you’d hoped!

Not only that—they’ll bend over backwards to help you. Need a website designer…an inexpensive printer to do two thousand postcards? Not a problem—let me hook you up with this guy I know and here’s the site of the online printer I use. (Stephen Zimmer’s recent response to my marketing woes.) Need a blurb? Sure—I’ll take time out of my busy life and away from working on my own “stuff” in order to read your four hundred page manuscript! (Casey and Kris Neri’s answer when I asked them to take a peek at LOVE LIES BLEEDING.) Got a problem with one of your characters? Just give me a call and we’ll work it out. (What Tamara Siler Jones responded even though she knew said phone call would probably take a couple of hours!!)

A few years ago, I was in Los Angeles for a Sisters’ In Crime event and several of us (Donna Andrews, Dana Cameron, Denise Swanson, Carolyn Hart, Jo Dereske, Patricia Sprinkle) got together for dinner and a couple of drinks. Later, when I returned to my hotel room, I felt like going down on my knees and thanking the powers that be for the opportunity to hang out with a group of such wonderful women and for allowing me to be a writer. And you know something?? After six years—I still feel the same way!

That’s it for this week—see you next Thursday!
Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Back to Reality!

Don't worry, I made bail!


Back from the Malice Domestic conference in Bethesda, Maryland, and as usual after a conference, I’m exhausted. It’s great to see friends, talk to readers, sit on panels and sell lots and lots of books. But it’s great to be home, too, where I can rest my voice and my feet and wear my jammies and my fuzzy slippers instead of dressing like a grown-up.
What did I learn at the mystery-focused conference? I’ve been think


ing about that. For what it’s worth, here’s what I picked up:



Book-themed books are big. Thinking about writing a mystery series? This weekend, I met authors who are writing books about libraries, book collectors, literary agencies, you name it. If it’s about books, it’s popular.



E-books are making authors some nice money. Own the rights to an old book? Want to write a new book or a short story? E-books might be the way to go. (That being said, I haven’t put up any of the books I own the rights to yet. Maybe when I’m done writing the book I’m working on.)



Book reading and buying is a subjective thing. We all know this. And I guess that’s what makes publishing so interesting. I talked to readers who HATE certain books. I talked to readers who LOVE those same books. It’s kind of comforting, isn’t it? We don’t have to please everyone all the time. We just have to please the people who like the kinds of books we’re writing.



James A. Garfield is hot. OK, not in the literal sense. The president has been dead for more than one hundred years. But I did a panel on using real people in fiction and since my book "Tomb with a View" featured the ghost of JAG, his name, naturally, came up. It sparked a lively discussion that included a whole lot about the man and I announced at the end of the panel that I think his name was mentioned more in that hour than it had been in the last hundred years. So here’s to my bringing history to life! Even with ghosts.



The Crime & Punishment Museum in DC is very cool. I ducked out on the conference and visited it on Saturday afternoon. Great exhibits on the history of punishment (including Medieval torture–yuck!), a whole exhibit on the mob and Las Vegas, some great police memorabilia, a crime scene that visitors can investigate and an autopsy room that teaches about evidence, dental records, etc. It was great fun, and very interesting. I visited with another mystery writer and at one point (looking at an exhibit about poison) found myself saying nice and loud, "You know, I really need to poison someone. I haven’t done that in a while." Really must watch making those kinds of pronouncements in public!



PS--Shirley, lots of readers asked about you. I reminded them about your new book and told them it was coming out soon!