Thursday, March 09, 2006

Writing, A Drive-By Signing, and Minor Celebrity

Well, I am still waiting for a contract, but since I'm nearing the halfway mark, I think this is pretty official.

I am writing another Alias book! This one is titled A Touch of Death, and is about a potential pandemic - think avian flu - and isolation, physical and emotional. With the cancellation of the series after this spring's windup, I don't know if there will be any more opportunities, but at least I get to do this one. I am excited about the ideas I'm working with, and writing like mad. (So why am I taking time to post here? Uh, let me think about that ...) The book is due by April 15th, but I am hoping to have a draft by the end of the month.

The first book, Strategic Reserve, just hit the stands. I still need to send out copies to my folks, and my in-laws (Hi, Mott & Jim - I promise to send it soon!), and a copy for a guy my husband knows, who did us a big favor (which I'll get back to in a minute). I didn't know exactly when the book would be in the stores, but I now have a pretty good idea.

See, a couple days ago, I went to the grocery store. Would love to say there were tons o' copies in the Safeway, but there weren't. However, our local indie bookstore (this town is too small for a chain store) is right next door to the grocery. We walked past the book store, and the guy who works there waved at us to come in. When I stepped through the door, he shoved a stack of copies in my hands for me to sign. It was so cool to have someone actually flag me down to sign books - made me feel like a Minor Celebrity. I know I'm not much of a celebrity, but there are some people who make you feel that way.

Steve, and his friend Jeff, are two of those people. When I landed the first Alias book, Steve went looking for a sign that said "Authorized Personnel Only," like the one in the subway on the show. He looked for weeks, and couldn't find anywhere to buy one. This is where Jeff comes in. He has access to a printer that will put images on foamboard. I don't know how it works, but the results are really cool. Steve got to talking to him, and he said he could make a sign. Well, he went all out. It is streaked, just like the one in the series, and there are screws in the corners of the picture. He did it as a favor, and sent it to Steve, who surprised me with it. It's hanging in a place of honor in my office now, reminding me that I can be a Minor Celebrity.

Writing isn't necessarily about being a celebrity. Stephen King, Nora Roberts, J.K. Rowling, John Grisham - they didn't get into this field to be famous. They did it because it is work for which they have a deep passion.

Writers write because we want to tell stories, and have people read them. I hope readers will pick up my books, and enjoy spending time with the people in their pages. The rest doesn't matter.

Life Goes On

A couple days ago, a friend of mine said he feels like he is keeping up with my husband and me by reading our blogs. Even when we don't post very often. So now I feel kind of guilty about how long it's been since I was here.

The last month has been a bit turbulent, though I am beginning to think that's just my life, and I'm kidding myself if I think it is ever going to settle down.

After Banzai died, there was some major adjustment, and we are still getting used to the fact he's gone. Our other cat, the mighty Oz, has become a total attention sponge. He missed his playmate, and we really aren't the best substitutes, but we're all he's got. We are thinking about getting him a kitten to train in his evil, cat ways - like climbing into the rafters and playing with Steve's space collectibles - but we aren't doing anything about that quite yet.

A couple weeks back, we did go to a convention in Pasco, Washington. Radcon is a smallish con, that has been slowly growing out there in the Central Washington desert. They are trying to develop a program track for writing, and their efforts are starting to pay off. We had a wonderful time, got to catch up with a lot of old friends, and meet some new ones. This is one we want to go back to next year. Something we don't always say!

Going over, we stayed the night at the Columbia Gorge Hotel, in Hood River, Oregon. It's an historic hotel, famous for their five-course breakfast. I can now attest that breakfast takes at least ninety minutes, and is worth every second. The scenery is gorgeous, and we took pictures of the half-frozen waterfall outside the dining room after we ate.

I did have to spend a few hours each day tucked away in my hotel room, with my laptop, trying not to fall behind on my writing. More about that on the next rock.