Goldfish Brain

I’m monumentally bad at dates.  The Christmas after I got married my mother-in-law got a new pair of sneakers and she said, “Oh, I wish I’d had these on XX of some-month-Bethany-doesn’t remember.”  And I said, “Really? What happened on that date?”  And they all stared at me because it turned out that was the day I got married.  Which may seem a bit rude to my poor husband, but in my defense I also can’t remember what year I graduated from college.  And one time I spent an entire day being really annoyed because my friends kept calling me (I was in the middle of a project) to wish me happy birthday.  Every single call was a surprise.  So, I’m not saying that I will absolutely forget that some day (14th?  15th? No, seriously, what day is it?) in February is Valentine’s Day, I’m just saying that the odds are not in my husband’s favor.  But on the other hand that means if he remembers all that lovely chocolate will be a wonderful surprise.

Unfortunately, this type of memory blockage also means that my memory for VERY IMPORTANT FACTS related to my characters is also somewhat lacking. Like last names, eye color, the details of their backstory.   Given enough time and rewrites it all gets a bit fuzzy.  Bulletproof Mascara, for instance went through 9.5 rewrites (I’m counting the typo catching pass as .5 of a rewrite).  That means that the villain Jirair Sarkassian went from being Texan to Armenian somewhere around draft 6.  And in An Unseen Current (Available everywhere April 28! Available for pre-order on kindle now!!) I dropped an entire villain between draft 1 and 2.  Which wouldn’t be much of a problem if I didn’t insist on writing sequels.  It’s a bit of an embarrassment to have to read your own book to find out what you wrote, but apparently readers insist on continuity and well, just generally making sense.  But having just read Bulletproof Mascara and Compact with the Devil (in preparation for the forthcoming High-Caliber Concealer), I can honestly recommend my books to people.  I’m very funny and my plots actually do make sense.  I give myself two thumbs up.  I probably can’t review myself on Goodreads, can I?

The Stubborn Way

Originally published on 02.03.15 on the Girlfriends Book Club.

We’re pondering New Year’s Resolutions and rejection here on the Girlfriend’s Book Club for the next few weeks, and while I gave up New Year’s Resolutions some years ago (if I want to start something new or improve myself, I probably shouldn’t wait for January) rejection seems a bit like my oxygen dependency problem – it’s just a part of life.

My first love / day job as a graphic designer keeps my life chock full of rejection. Even my business partner seems to enjoy rejecting a lot of my ideas. (Why can’t I put El Presidente on my business cards? What do you mean it’s not professional?) Between the beat down of the college critique forum and a decade of working in the field hearing client opinions that range from “um… I think you missed the mark” to “I hate it so much I would burn it” I’ve gotten pretty good at handling rejection. (Ok, so maybe they didn’t actually say “burn it” but I saw it in their eyes.)

So you would think that it would be easier for me to take rejection from publishers. But it doesn’t. Every rejection comes with a large packet of self-doubt. Maybe that book isn’t any good. Maybe I should rewrite? Maybe I should burn it? Maybe I should stop kidding myself that I have any writing talent at all and go home, snuggle with my dog and drink a bottle of Jameson? (Admittedly, I would not be drinking straight Jameson because I’m a pansy. So then, I’d stop and think, “If I’m mixing it, maybe I should switch to something cheaper?” Which would devolve into me just having some Ginger Ale and probably taking the dog for a walk.)But what I have learned from graphic design is that many things get better with perseverance. Draft two is almost always better than draft one. And stubborn people can find a way to make dreams come true.

Which is why I am so happy to announce that my murder mystery, An Unseen Current, set on Orcas Island (In Washington State’s beautiful San Juan Islands) with its cast of quirky characters and too weird to be true events (some of which are really true) is finally going to be published on April 28, 2015. I was so excited the day I first sent the manuscript off and so sad the day it first came back to me. Perhaps it was too odd, or perhaps it was too Washington and not enough New York for the big guys? Honestly, I don’t know, and I don’t care. I’m just glad that it has finally found a home and release date. So if you enjoy some quirks with your cozy’s please mark your calendar to enjoy An Unseen Current!



You never know what’s beneath the surface.

When Seattle native Tish Yearly finds herself fired and evicted all in one afternoon, she knows she’s in deep water. Unemployed and desperate, the 26 year old ex-actress heads for the one place she knows she’ll be welcome – the house of her cantankerous ex-CIA agent grandfather, Tobias Yearly, in the San Juan Islands. And when she discovers the strangled corpse of Tobias’s best friend, she knows she’s in over her head. Tish is thrown head-long into a mystery that pits her against a handsome but straight-laced Sheriff’s Deputy, a group of eccentric and clannish local residents, and a killer who knows the island far better than she does. Now Tish must swim against the current, depending on her nearly forgotten acting skills and her grandfather’s spy craft, to con a killer and keep them alive.  Pre-order for kindle.

Flying Flags

Originally published on 01.27.15 at The Stiletto Gang.

I had to laugh when I read Debra Goldstein’s post yesterday about football being “only a game”.  I live in Washington State, which, in case you’re living in a hole, is home of the Seahawks, contenders the upcoming football high-holy day – the Super Bowl.  Although, even when living in a hole, I’m fairly certain that you probably felt the Beast Quake or possibly Richard Sherman dropped by to tell you how awesome he is, and then probably stuck around to make pointedly blunt statements about the corruption in the NFL.  Football may be only game, but tis the season for every football fan everywhere to lose their dang minds.

As I’m only an occasional football watcher I find most of the fan-actions a bit mystifying.  Twelfth man flags decorate every building, a local tattoo parlor is offering a 12’s tattoo special and last game against the Packers the Seattle City Council banned cheese from the premises.  Like Debra, I say, “But it’s only a game!”  Not that I say that very loudly – my husband would glare at me.

But also like Debra, I identify with the way fans pour over every detail, dissect plays, and watch every report on the subject.  A fan, no matter the subject, wants to know all about the thing they love.  So I don’t wave a twelfth man flag, but the books on my shelf tell their own tales (pun intended).  Anyone visiting my house knows where I stand on the topic of Lord of the Rings (pro) and the work of cover artist Thomas Canty (also pro) and Tintin (highly pro). I don’t have any tattoos, but I can quote The Walrus and The Carpenter – it’s tattooed on my brain.  And as for cheese… no, sorry, I have nothing there. Cheese is never banned at my house and neither are books.

Am I the only “12th Man” uber book fan out there?  What “flags” are flying on your bookshelf?