Monday, February 8, 2010

Still Busy

Keith here.

My last, Smasher, came out in October. The plan was to focus on a "tour" with three dozen events that would go on until December. (Here's a retrospective of October and November.) But to my surprise, things are still hopping. Let's look at the last nine days.

Last Saturday I was down at the splendiferous Cerritos Library in SoCal for "Murder on the Menu" where Padmini Prabhakar of the Cerritos Library corralled fifteen of us crime fiction writers to speak to an enthusiastic lunchtime crowd of hundreds. Patty Smiley moderated a motley crew consisting of Dianne Emley, Stephen Jay Schwartz, April Smith, and me. Dianne, Stephen, and April were all terrific - witty and insightful. Patty kept us on our toes.

That's me between the witty and charming crime fiction aces Patty Smiley (l) and April Smith (r).

I always love hanging out with fellow writers. Great, as always, to see fellow InkSpotter Sue Ann Jaffarian who has been typing so hard she has two inch thick calluses on the pads of her fingers, along with old acquaintances Eric Stone, Bob Levinson, et al.

It turns out that two of Daughter #2's favorite authors of all time were going to be at the Cerritos Library with me. So I brought her along, and she had the chance to chat with Susan Kandel (Dial H for Hitchcock) and Joanne Fluke (Plum Pudding Murder). They were both friendly, attentive, and everything she could have hoped for. She also became a fan (as did I) of Hannah Dennison. #2 hardly needed the airplane to fly back home. But we had to hurry. I was signing books that evening at the Feast of Jewish Learning in Los Altos Hills. Amazingly, the logistics worked out and we made it.

The crew at Mystery on the Menu. My panel is seated. From left, Stephen Jay Schwartz, Dianne Emley, Patty Smiley, me, and April Smith. On the far left standing that's Susan Kandel, next to her is Eric Stone, Sue Ann Jaffarian is standing between April and me , and on the far right is Padmini Prabhakar, the woman in charge.

Sunday, the next day, I was doing a greet-and-sign at Kepler's where, mirabile dictu, Smasher is again the #1 paperback fiction bestseller.

Tuesday night I hit M is for Mystery to watch the fabulous Kelli Stanley launch her City of Dragons in front of a raucous audience of fans who were slinging back the sake and potstickers. The book is picking up great reviews everywhere and is a February Indie Next List pick. Can't wait to read it. (I also accused the store of not having any Smashers in stock. Pam, the buyer and one of my favorite booksellers in the world, took me to the shelf. She pointed. There they were, right where they should have been. Pam in turn accused me of not being able to spell my own last name. I pled not guilty to that charge. But I did confess to not knowing my ABCs. It will take me a long time to get out of probation on that one.)

That's Edgar nominee Sophie Littlefield and Juliet Blackwell on either side of the effervescent Kelli Stanley at M is for Mystery Tuesday night.

After Kelli's wing-ding and a good night sleep, I ended up back at M is for Mystery fourteen hours after I'd left it. How's that? Pal Carol Fitzgerald, the chief honcho of and all-around book maven, was in town for a BEA meeting. I'd consented to be her chauffeur/tour guide. We swung back up to M and then to Books Inc in Palo Alto. On the way back to my car after a sushi lunch, we met a woman who was walking out of the beauty parlor where she'd been reading my Dot Dead. She asked me for an autograph. Carol couldn't stop laughing. I had a great time. Here's Carol's take on our adventures.

With the terrific Carol Fitzgerald of at Books Inc in Palo Alto.

No rest for the wicked. This week is for writing and taxes except Wednesday when I'm teaching three classes at Los Altos High School during their Writers' Week. Next Saturday back at Kepler's for greeting and signing.

Speaking of signing, I'm signing off. So long.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great pics and events, Keith!

I'm jealous about the "crowd of hundreds" at Murder on the Menu. That would be fun...I'm usually speaking to a crowd of a dozen. :) Sounds like an awesome venue and fun place to hang out with other writers, too.

Mystery Writing is Murder

JournoMich said...

That is a lot of work, but it sounds like it's paying off! I'm bookmarking your travels for The Day in The Future.


Lisa Bork said...

Congrats on being #1 at Kepler's. How great your daughter could join in for the library event. I'm exhausted just reading about all you've done. Way to promote!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

It was great seeing you at Cerritos, and especially meeting charming daughter #2. Will see you at Left Coast Crime in a couple of weeks!

Keith Raffel said...

Elizabeth, Sue Ann was there, too, so you know I wasn't the draw. Michele, not sure what the bookmarking means, but it sounds good. Thanks. Lisa, you know that hanging out with colleagues is fun. Sue Ann, see you at Left Coast Crime!

G.M. Malliet said...

Sure, it's easy to sell books on the *West* Coast where you never get snowed in. We're still trying to figure out how to get the giant fallen tree out of our patio.

Seriously, Keith, this sounds wonderful and as if you're having the time of your life, as you jolly well should! You are a name brand!

Beth Groundwater said...

Great photos, Keith, and it looks like you're having a great time. It's hard to fit in writing time between all the promotion activities, isn't it? I have two book club visits, a signing, and am hosting two authors (Sue Ann J today!) at my blog this month, and that's a SLOW month!

Alan Orloff said...

First the Valley, then California. Watch out US of A! Great going, Keith. Let me know when you barnstorm the DC area--I'll escort you.

Keith Raffel said...

Gin, I lived in DC for 4 years. Two snowflakes are enough to tie traffic in knots. Beth, wouldn't it be great if we could have a whole staff to take care of everything but the actual writing? Alan, is "barnstorming" DC slang for hitting every bar from Tyson's Corner to Bethesda?

G.M. Malliet said...

[insert sound of spluttering, sort of pfffsst sound]

Two snowflakes?! *Two* snowflakes?!!?! Keith, we're buried in the stuff! Honest!

Alan will back me up here. Or maybe he's off "barnstorming" somewhere.

Julia Buckley said...

Keith, great to hear that you're keeping the momentum!

Alan Orloff said...

Gin, you are correct. We are buried in the stuff, and we've got another 8 - 12 inches coming tomorrow! And worst of all, my kids are home from school Tues and Wed (and beyond!).

(And with all this snow, I'm "barnstorming" in my basement!)

Keith Raffel said...

The basement, Alan? Don't you mean the wine cellar?

Jessica Lourey said...

Keith, you have so much momentum, I think you need a theme song. What'll it be? "Everybody Wants You," by Billy Squier, maybe?

Deborah Sharp said...

Man, I'm tired just READING about your adventures! Wish you were going to be at Sleuthfest this year. I'd buy you a beer and find out how you keep going, and going, and going, and going .....

Keith Raffel said...

Jess, My theme song? What else but Paperback Writer. "Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?"

Deb, come on out to Left Coast Crime. My dream is to follow in your footsteps on to The Today Show.