"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Friday, July 15, 2016

Because it's Friday

Here's a little excerpt from A MORE DEADLY UNION, just because it's Friday:

* * * * * * *

Oh no oh no oh no. Benny’s mind raced about like a cyclone, a whirl of thoughts and ideas, swirling too fast for him to capture one and focus on it. The bright sun outside the hospital had reflected too harshly on everything. The people milling around inside the emergency room had been too loud and too colorful and too busy. It was all too much.
Thankfully, he was home. Home, where he could see all his things and relax. Now that structure was restored to the front of the house, he had been able to move back in. He went into his kitchen and poured himself a glass of milk. Milk was soothing. It was white, a blank slate to calm his brain.
Skip was shot. Skip. Shot. The words kept rolling around. Skip could be scary. Actually, all policemen were scary. He didn’t see Skip, or any of the police, often. Still, there was a leaden feeling to his insides, all the way to his toes. Skip was hurt, and some of the policemen were dead.
Dead, like my mom. I miss her so much. I miss watching TV with her and the smell of her cooking. I wish she was here to tell me what to do.
Willem had told him to give blood, but that was out of the question. Doctors and needles made him want to pass out. Of course, so did talking to police most of the time. Benny waddled from one room to the next, his dress loafers making soft clicks on the wood floor.
I should give blood but I can’t give blood. His brain buzzed in agitation again, and he started talking to himself as a way to focus.
Skip needs help. How can I help him?”
Benny ambled up the stairs to his room, and looked at the Matt Helm posters on the walls surrounding his round bed, an original from the movie set. Every night, he went to sleep dreaming he could be like the man on the poster. Matt was sure of himself, just like Dean Martin. He knew how to do practically everything. He could drink and gamble and play golf. Sometimes he even played golf for charities.
Benny stared up at Martin, smiling, surrounded by beautiful women. What would Dino do?
An idea sprouted, a tiny idea. Benny wanted to grow it bigger, but he didn’t know how. He knew who could grow it, though.
Picking up the phone, he dialed his friends, the Nickels. 

* * * * * * *

How is Dino going to help Benny out? Want more? Your copy is waiting for you, in either Kindle or Paperback.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bright side of the moon

I dream a lot.

Most of my dreams are trips through the looking glass -- everything's weird and wrong and I'm usually prevented from doing anything I think I need to do. I usually wake up and tell Dale, "Wow, I had the weirdest dream."

To which he replies, "You always say that. They can't always be The Weirdest." (And yes, his voice capitalizes "the weirdest.")

My grandmother believed in the magic of dreams, that they could reveal truth. When my grandfather died, she told me a few days later that she dreamed of him the night before. In her dream, she was afraid to tell him he was dead, but he kept nagging her to tell him what was wrong. At last he told her, "I know I'm dead." When she asked who told him, he said, "Mrs. Smith*" (*I don't remember the actual name.) 

She woke up, went to the kitchen and began to read the morning's paper, and saw Mrs. Smith's name in the obituaries. 

I hope Mrs. Smith didn't treat my grandfather like he was an idiot, just because he didn't know he was dead.

I've had a couple of interesting dreams in my life, so when I have one that's crazy-fascinating, I like to take it apart and see how it might apply to my waking life. I'm not sure if it's helpful, but sometimes it's just comforting to know that I'm dreaming of snakes because I'm stressed, and take steps to relax.

Last night, I had one of those "The Weirdest" dreams. It involved a couple I haven't seen for awhile coming to see us, an old house, dementia, and faux fur. As I drove to the ranch this morning, I was thinking about that dream and what it means in my life at the moment. I decided to record it as I was driving, so I didn't forget it.

I selected my Notepad App, turned on the microphone speech-to-text option and started telling the dream. As you can imagine, not all the words ended up translating, but the last sentence made my hair stand on end. What I said was, "I know this dream must mean something."

What was typed was, "Hope I mean something."


What about you? Do you dream? Do you remember them? Do you dissect them?

Here's a little dreamy song:

Lordy, I love her voice.

Bonus points: If you can name the song I took the title of this post from, I'll send you something!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Get 'em while they're hot!

I swore I wouldn't, but I'm doing this because I love you.

THE HOT MESS is free this weekend. Free, as in, go to Amazon, click on it, and get it delivered to your Kindle in mere seconds. Read one of my Peri Minneopa Mysteries, and you'll be hooked. Want proof? Here:

This is also absolutely the last weekend that A MORE DEADLY UNION will be available for 99 cents. Why, yes, you can try it before you buy it:

On Monday, the price of both of these thrilling mysteries hikes to a still-manageable $3.99. I'd like to point out that this is less than a tall vanilla latte, lasts longer, and contains no calories. But if you're looking for a good deal...

Get your copies today!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Feeling the love.

On Friday, I released my book, A MORE DEADLY UNION. It was fun, but on Monday, I had the release party. For two hours, we took over Craftsman Wood Fired Pizza (http://craftsmanpizza.com/), thanks to owner Joe Rasic. 

How did it turn out? I think these photos tell the story. 

Rick Ochocki was the first to arrive. And yes, I wore the tiara (and I thought of Tameri Etherton, who couldn't attend).

I get by with a little help from my friends. Dot Caffrey held the mic so I could read.
Dino came to the party. Everyone wanted a photo op with him - even PJ Colando and Garrett Miller.
Garrett, BTW, took most of these shots.

Pina Bell needed an autograph - of course I obliged!

As usual, I was moving around too fast to get a steady photo.

My lovely and talented assistant, Cristina, took over the book sales - she was phenomenal!

MOST of the folks who came - I was so overjoyed! Thanks, Garrett, for this shot!

Me and The Boy.

My only regret is that no one captured Marcus and his smokin' hot combo du jour on video - they were so damned good, everyone was throwing money and compliments at them.

Right to left: Donghee Kim, Mark the Bassist, Marcus the Sonny-boy. They were AMAZING.

And now that the book is out in the world, onward to bookstore signings, library events, and more!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A letter from the front

Dear Writer Friends Who Struggle to Get Their Books "Out There",

Next weekend, I will be releasing my 11th book. With each release, I've done about the same amount of release-style advertising. I've used social media, I've run Goodreads giveaways, Amazon promotions, blog tours, etc. It seems like each thing I do is less effective the second time around, which is frustrating.

You want to believe that your books will become more well known if you have more books out there to find. So I made the decision to try something different with A MORE DEADLY UNION. 

I hired a publicist.

My few friends who had used them gave me mixed reports, from "I love mine," to "she kept sending me places where I couldn't possibly sell anything." But I met Paula Margulies at the Southern California Writers Conference in San Diego, took her workshop, spoke with her briefly, and filed her name in the back of my mind.

When it came time to start planning this release, I visited Paula's website (http://www.paulamargulies.com/) a bunch of times, spent several days wrestling with indecision, and finally contacted her. We laid out a plan, a price, and a timeline, then I took a deep breath and a deep drink of good wine. As usual, I stood atop my personal roller-coaster and looked down at the frenzy that awaited.

It's a view I'm used to.

How's it going? So far, she's sent out press releases, given me two lists of book reviewers and book contests, a sample query letter for book reviews, and set me up to sign at bookstores (3 confirmed, 3 pending), and talks at libraries (1 confirmed). That's two weeks' work.

In two weeks, I've learned two things:

1. Having someone else tell everyone I'm the bomb makes it easier for me to say it. My friends and I discuss this often -- we can sell someone else's books better than our own. You all know me. Even a couple of blog posts ago, when I was promising to be the Big, Talented Fish, I was wondering how I was going to do that. Apparently, when I read my publicist's press release referring to me as "acclaimed author Gayle Carline" and talking about my "thrilling new mystery", I can start talking about this person, Gayle Carline, and what an acclaimed author she is.

I'm either getting better at promoting myself, or I'm developing a split-personality disorder.

2. Author Gayle Carline may be acclaimed, but little Gayle Sue still wants to recoil from the spotlight. After 11 books, as hard as Paula is pushing me forward, there's still a hefty chunk of me that says, "No, wait! If I start getting noticed, and people start taking me seriously, then I'll have to get serious about this." 

So what? *in a teeny whisper that only you and I can hear* "if i become a serious author then i'll be a bigger target for people who hate my books and my writing and i'll probably have to write more and give up something that i like doing now and Life. Will. Change."

Maybe it will. If it does, I just have to suck it up and enjoy success. 

What's next? My launch party is next Monday. It's going to be My Big Fat Book Party, semi-expensive and hugely fun. In the meantime, I'm having a good time working with the fabulous Paula. I'll report back with more gigs and results!

Love you and keep writing,

P.S. For some reason, every time I think of a publicist, I picture this clip:

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