Just want to take a moment to pimp fellow mystery author Steve Hockensmith, who writes a bunch of stuff, including the Holmes on the Range series, which I love. In his recent blog post, he writes about the art of the short story.
Our temperatures have been in the single Fahrenheit digits for a couple of days now, so to get Josie O (my Chihuahua) her quota of mental stimulation, I’ve been taking her to stores. Yesterday we went to Marshalls. I put her carry box in the front of the cart, and she stood with her front paws on the edge, like the figurehead of a ship if the figurehead of a ship were covered in fur and made licky faces at people. (Note to self: horror movie idea: seafaring werewolves.)
Afterwards, I stopped by Ideal market and bought Popsicles, because no weather is too cold for Popsicles unless you’re in a tent.
In other news, I’m reading Maddy Hunter‘s Passport to Peril mysteries, which are hilarious. In Pasta Imperfect, two bestselling romance writers bicker about how “ten inches of flaming virility” really behaves.
“People have actually done surveys and the consensus is, it doesn’t throb!”
I cleared my throat and raised a tentative finger in the air. “If you ladies don’t mind my asking, if it doesn’t throb, what does it do?”
“Maybe it quivers,” Nana said thoughtfully. “You know, kind of like a handheld blender.”
So I’m going to put Maddy Hunter on my list of fantastically funny mystery writers, up there with Laura Levine, that goddess of laughter.
Lastly, I seem to be over my embarrassing writers block and working well on Critter from the Black Lagoon again, although there was a moment when it was possibly going to be Beaver from the Black Lagoon, because in addition to killer hogs, prehistoric central Florida was also home to beavers the size of black bears.
Luckily, a cooler head prevailed (my head, just cooler), and I’m sticking with pigs.
I’m still shooting for a July release date, which is the soonest I can bring it out according to my contract with St. Martin’s.
P.S. If you don’t understand the title of this post, it’s a reference to the movie Groundhog Day.
It all began yesterday, as I stood in line at the Post Office. I checked my voice mail and there was a message from Dreux (pronounced Drew) DeMack, a producer at COCO (Colorado and Company), Denver’s Channel 9 morning show.
Hi, Esri! We were wondering if you could be on the show tomorrow to talk about The Portrait of Doreene Gray.
Eek! The message had been left at 11:00 that morning, and now it was 3:30. Due to a surfeit of stupid political calls, I’d been ignoring unknown numbers. I called back and told Dreux’s voice mail I’d be overjoyed to come. Then I rushed home and washed Josie O. Then I rushed to Nordstrom Rack and bought a cute new dress, suitable for TV.
But I didn’t hear from Dreux the rest of the day. I resisted the urge to beat my head against the wall. Now that I’d missed this chance, would they call again?
The next morning, today, I woke up around ten to eight and dialed Dreux’s number, just in case. He picked up.
Hi, Esri, I just walked in the office. Sorry I didn’t get your voice mail yesterday, but we’d still like to have you on today. Did you get the message I left on your phone about an hour ago?
I hadn’t, but the upshot was that they wanted Josie O and me there sometime between 9:30 and 9:45. It was now eight o’clock. I had an hour and a half to get myself and Josie ready and drive to Denver during the tail end of rush hour.
No problem, Dreux! I’ll be there!
Esri’s 4-Step TV-Prep Program
Step 1. Drink a cup of soy milk to avoid passing out from low blood sugar.
Step 2. Careful grooming: Brush teeth. Wet ridiculous bed head. Attempt style with super big bobby pins. Give up and pomade it into submission. Put a whole crap load of make up on, and the aforementioned dress.
Step 3. Get Josie’s stuff together. Sweater dress, toys, treats, food, water bottle, leash, ohmygod why does this dog have so much stuff?
Step 4. Drive to Denver.
We made it there at 9:20 or so – plenty of time for Josie to have a wee on the manicured lawn and for me to sign in and get my visitor’s tag. Dreux came out and met me, and was just as warm and welcoming as last year. Great guy. This time, I was with the regular host, Denise Plante, a tall, gorgeous creature with boots I wanted to steal right off her shapely legs. I refrained.
It’s chilly in a TV studio, except on the set proper, which is warmed by those bright, bright lights. Josie O sat quietly in her carrier while I reviewed my script and went over my answers to questions. Up on the set, Denise talked with guests about new treatments for thyroid problems and low mortgages. Dreux wandered over and looked down at Josie, who was napping.
Him: She’s really good.
Me: Next time, you’ll have her on and skip me.
Finally it was our turn. I ran the mic up my dress, made sure my books were propped up, and gave Josie a few treats. Earlier I had walked around the set to get her familiar with it, but she didn’t seem to care. Josie has been in so many situations that her attitude is, “Is this what we’re doing now? Okay then.”
Denise gave me a lovely introduction, read the blurb for my book, and then asked about Josie. As I answered, I put Josie on the floor and had her do a spin, then picked her back up and took her sweater off, so she wouldn’t get warm and fuss. We only had about five minutes, and she sat quietly in my lap the whole time, being cute, which is her job.
Then we were done, and it was time to pack up. I asked Drew when the show would air.
Didn’t I mention? This was live. We’ll probably run it again, though, because it’s general. I’ll let you know any subsequent air dates. Remind me to send you a DVD of your segment.
So there it was, my second time on COCO and Josie’s first. As before, I did fine, but I also could have done better. Short appearances are a real art, and it’s hard to stay tightly on message. But hey, I had a cute dog with me.
If you’re interested in Josie’s sweater, you can find it at The Doggie Market on Etsy.com. Just click here.