Across the books and in person.

Welcome! Since I write two English mystery series, I thought it would be fun to chat about that. And about England. Specifically, Derbyshire, since that is the county I know the best. If you have questions about my books, about mysteries or your own writing, or want to know something about England -- perhaps you're planning a visit -- I'd love to talk with you. Let's start chatting, shall we?

Derbyshire VIllage

Derbyshire VIllage

Friday, September 17, 2010

No Rest for the Wicked

It dawned on me yesterday that in a week my author friend Esther Luttrell will be here -- in St Louis and staying with me.  She's staying with me as we hit the area on our talk/book signing tour.  It will be a learning experience, I'm sure, but it will also be fun to share the events with her.

She is the author of a mystery novel, Murder in the Movies, some screenwriting books, and her current book Dear Dean...Love, Mom.  She's working on the sequel to Murder in the Movies, which should be good, if M in the M is any indication.

Don't let the screenwriting books confuse you -- Esther spent years in Hollywood as a screenwriter. Also as a television producer.  She is also an independent documentary writer and producer (many of her films have been aired on PBS.)  She is a super-talented lady.  If I had one tenth of her talent, I'd be thrilled!  Which is one reason why she'll be in St Louis next weekend.  She's giving a three-hour workshop on character development to my Sisters in Crime chapter.

That will be one of the less frantic bits of our weekend, I'm guessing.  I don't know what we were thinking (or if we were thinking!) when we put together our schedule.  Man, it'll either make us or break us.  The craziness begins Friday, Sept 24 with a 9 am talk at the Shepherd's Center.  Then she goes to a solo book signing that afternoon in Union, MO and I go to an alumni author event at my alma mater.  Both are at the same time and both run two hours, if you can believe it!  Saturday, Sept 25 is the 9 am workshop, followed by a book signing at Main Street Books from 2-4 pm, then we rush down to Ste. Genevieve, MO for a ghostly talk from 7-9 pm.  Sunday she talks at a lunch and we have our ghostly talk again at The Book House at 7 pm.  Monday we give our "Heart to Heart" talk at the Arnold library, speaking on our paths to publication.  Which, by the way, will be touted in the Jefferson County newspaper, as I was interviewed this week by a reporter.  I think we collapse on Tuesday, but I'm not sure.  My brain is already shutting down from fatigue!

Those ghostly talks....  That's the backbone of our tour.  Our Spirited Mysteries Tour.  Esther will talk about some ghostly things that have happened to her and family members, ghost stories passed down through the generations; I will talk about the ghostly/spirit-driven English customs that I used in three of the Taylor & Graham novels.  Sainted Murder deals with St Nicholas and his devilish companions, The Coffin Watchers uses the custom of watching the church porch -- a strange event whereby villagers take assigned times to sit on the church porch to watch for the spirits of the village's residents to pass by, a sighting confirming that the person will die within the year!  The third spirited custom is Turning the Devil's Stone, which I used in Horns of a Dilemma.  Each year the villagers must turn a one ton boulder to ensure that no disaster will befall the village, inhabitants and surroundings farms.  The stone was not turned one year during the first world war and a series of disasters did strike the district; ever since then the villagers make certain to turn the stone.  These are real customs and rather odd and spooky, so I'll talk about them.

 We repeat the zaniness, to a degree, again one weekend in October and in November when Esther returns.  By then we either will be hardened, experienced pros or borderline certifiable.

Should be fun, tho.  We've got four talk topics in all, so depending on the date and place we will be speaking on a variety of subjects.  I hope to see some friends at these venues, as well as make new friends.  We're looking to doing it all over again in the spring, but on a several-state tour.  Just so it doesn't interfere with my book signing at Tutbury Castle in the summer!  Hah!

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