Friday, December 22, 2006

Thank you, Graham!!!

Let us all pause and give a big shout out to Graham Powell, whose Crimespot is the one-stop shopping spot for all mystery and crime blogs. Check there first to find the most recently updated blogs, by category.

Thanks a million for all your work, Graham!!

Alex

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dare to be bad

"Dare to be bad."

This is what my jazz teacher said in the middle of dance class last night, to try to push some younger students into taking more chances. He went on to say "I'd much rather have you be over the top and have to tell you 'That's too much, now, sweetie, tone it down'. It's much easier to get you to scale it back than to get you up to performance level to begin with."

As in dance, so in writing, I think.

"Dare to be bad" is not a new concept for me. DTBB was our motto in my college theater group. It was amazingly liberating. I mean, what's the worst that can happen on stage? You can suck. Furthermore, you're going to suck. Guaranteed. Sometimes you just suck.

But once you get over your fear of sucking? That fearlessness translates into a confidence that takes you places you were always afraid to go, before. And once you've made a bad choice, you've eliminated somethiing that doesn't work and are one step closer to finding something that does work.

Same with the page. So you write a scene, chapter, sequence that sucks. It's just paper. Throw it away. Use what you just learned to write something better.

Don't mind me, I'm just speaking to myself, here, because I'm having performance anxiety about my third book. But hearing those particular words coming out of my teacher's mouth last night reminded me - you get nowhere in dance, writing or life - without risk.

Dare to be bad.

Hah. This week, I am fearless. ;)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Ken Bruen and Dream Tag

It's cocktail hour over at Good Girls Kill For Money, so come have a Tiny Guinness with Tasha and her guest, the most excellent Ken Bruen, one of my new favorite people in the universe.

Also, we're playing Tag at Murderati today. Here's the scary and illuminating question: What are the five things YOU'D like to do someday?

Play if you dare...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Trader Joe's - THANK GOD

The very first North Carolina Trader Joe's opened last week in Cary - known around Raleigh as "Stepford", but that's another post. The important thing is, the new store is a ten-minute drive from my Raleigh house.

In California, we all take TJ's for granted. With the rock bottom prices on staples like milk, nuts and of course, wine; and the vast variety of specialty foods that can only be described as FUN - there's really no need to grocery shop anywhere else and the place is so COMFORTABLE. And the staff are all so happy and helpful (real salaries, profit participation and medical benefits will do that, funny, isn't it?).

I swear half the time I jump on the plane to go back to LA it's because I miss Trader Joe's. And I haven't bought cheese, which normally I live on, even once in Raleigh because after TJ's, the prices are just criminal.

So of course I went to TJ's on Saturday. It looked like the place had been hit by looters. The shelves were practically empty - but the register lines stretched to the back of the store. It was a 45-minute wait to check out, and you could barely move through the rivers of people in the aisles, but no one was complaining - the general mood was giddiness, if not sheer ecstasy.

Some of us have been waiting a long time for this. And others are catching on.

I talked to people in line who have been driving to DC (up to now the closest TJ's) to get their fix. Once people heard I'm from California, I became the expert from afar and had people coming up to me from all over the store asking for recommendations. I myself, absolutely NOT a foodie, bought almost $300 worth and half my favorite things were already out of stock. But the best thing was seeing all these people who had never been inside a Trader Joe's, wandering wide-eyed around the aisles like children on Christmas morning. Converts if I've ever seen it.

Yes, it was a good week in Raleigh. The times, they are a changin'.


http://www.traderjoes.com/

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Book drive for Nidorf Juvenile Detention Center

The UCLA YALSA chapter (Young Adult Library Services Association) is having a book drive over the holidays to collect books for the Nidorf Juvenile Detention Center in Los Angeles and has created a Nidorf Wish List on Amazon.

Books can also be dropped off in person at UCLA's Powell Library.

Paperbacks only please! These books are to go into the living units, where the kids can only have paperbacks. There is an urgent need to provide books to this population--thanks so much for doing your part!

For more information please e mail: books4nidorf@earthlink.net

Monday, December 04, 2006

Murderati bound

I am thrilled and honored to announce that I've joined the wild and wicked cast of Murderati, my favorite murder blog. I'll be blogging there on Saturdays, and of course mixing it up with the gang throughout the week, as well as doing my posts here on Mondays and whenever else the spirit (or procrastination) moves me.

Here's a look at the new lineup - hope to see you there!