The 2023 Desert Sleuth Anthology is just out! The name of the anthology is So West, Wrong Turn. I introduce two new characters--part of a fun series set in Tucson!
My podcast on The Write Approach just went live! My topic? "Screenwriting Your Way to Better Fiction." I'm interviewed by the charming podcast hosts J.W. Judge and Barbara Hinske.
Party Wine, Sofi's story about restructuring the family wine cellar despite dead bodies, is a finalist for a Silver Falchion, Best Investigator category. (A falchion is a sword.) Winners will be announced on August 19th at Killer Nashville.
I get to speak on several panels! If you’re attending the conference, look for me here among these other writers:
Friday, August 18th: 2:50pm-3:40pm Writing Believable Amateur Sleuths: Rebecca Butler, Kathryn Lasky, Judy L. Murray, Robi Robbins, Gay Yellen (Magnolia Room)
Friday, August 18th: 3:50pm-4:50pm Description: Too Much or Not Enough: Baron Birtcher, Michael Bradley, K.L. Murphy, Jim Nesbitt, D.R. Ransdell, MayJean Zajac (Azalea Room)
Sunday, August 20th: 10am-10:50am The Ideal Setting for Conflict in Each Scene: Kimberly Collins, Les Edgerton, Tracee de Hahn, Marcy McCreary, D.R. Ransdell (moderator), Mike Rubin (Magnolia Room)
I haven’t attended the conference since 2013, when Andy Veracruz’s first book came out! It will be fun to return, mix in with other writers and readers, and talk about Sofi’s exploits. Perhaps I’ll also come up with a plot for Sofi’s next book!
from 2013, my first Killer Nashville!
It's almost time for Tucson's version of Left Coast Crime! The annual mystery conference takes place each spring somewhere to the left of the Mississippi. This year I'm one of the organizers. Fingers crossed!
I'll also speak on a couple of panels.
Thursday 1:15-2 Panel explaining about Tucson
Thursday 5-5:45 "How Do You Know What's Funny?" I'm on with a couple of bigwigs including Mike Befeler, Leslie Karst, and Ed Lin. But the cool part is that the panel moderator is Catriona McPherson. No one gets funnier than that!
If you're in Tucson, consider coming for the conference! At the very least, sign up for a one-day pass. That way you can see a little of everything!
I'll be pushing Party Wine, my newest mystery. The book takes place in my cousins' village in Northwestern Italy. Sofi wants to renovate the family property in the Old Country, but she has a big handicap--she doesn't like wine!
Tucson Festival of Books (Tee-FOB)
Spring break is upon us, meaning that a third of my students skipped class today! They’re excited about the Tucson Festival of Books, which starts on Saturday, March 4th! (No, they’re halfway to Miami, Barcelona, etc.) The two-day festival is a real winner.
Stop by and say hi:
Sat March 4 from 10-2 at the Arizona Mystery Writers Tent #216
Sun March 5t from 10-2 at the Tucson Sister’s in Crime Tent #427
Fall 2022 has been a good season for contests!
"Free Fall," in which seasoned character Kique takes an unusual job in Maine, won Third Place in the Arizona Mystery Writers content.
Brotherly Love took Third Place in the Arizona Authors Association for fiction.
But Carillon Chase took First Place! Now that's exciting!
The Arizona Authors Association hosted a lovely banquet at the Moon Valley Country Club up in Phoenix. The friendly group of writers and readers shared their stories and bits about their work. Can't wait to go again next year!
D.R. at the Moon Valley Country Club
My big dream was, after years of working on the manuscript, drafting, workshopping, and more drafting.... that I would be able to finish my new book, Party Wine, before attending Bouchercon, the big international mystery conference that takes place each fall. Well, I'm leaving for the conference tomorrow, and I finished formatting the book--with the help of a very patient friend--yesterday!
You can read about Party Wine here.
It's special to me because it takes place in Piemonte, in the fictional village of Monteleone, which is very strangely like--uncannily like--my cousins' village of Borgofranco d'Ivrea. Do any of the characters bear resemblance to people I met there?
I'd better not say! But if you want to read about Italy, wine, and troublemakers, this might be the right book for you. It's also a lot cheaper than a plane ticket to Italy.....
Last week I gave a presentation to the Chapter FU of the P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) Sisters in Springfield, Illinois. (Okay, I had an "in"--my mom is a member!)
This volunteer group dedicates itself to promoting women's education. The members were interested in my own education--how I became a mariachi player!
That road was a tough one. Learning by ear was probably the biggest challenge. However, I also had experiences with several difficult men who failed to meet my lowest expectations!
Hear the first part of my presentation here!
The best part is that mariachi, while curing my homesickness for my time in Mexico, led me to other creative endeavors. For example, I created a CD of revenge songs. Most importantly, I created Andy Veracruz. Now he's the star of five mysteries.
As a mariachi violinist, he has to play favorites such as "La bamba" five times a night. When that happens, he can't help himself. His attention wanders. He witnesses--well, find out more by reading Mariachi Meddler and the rest of the series!
Hear the second part here.
I had a lovely time at the festival! I got to do a little book reading and talk to everybody about my book. Since not too many novels include scenes in a carillon, the novel was a hit! Read all about it here!
PARTY WINE was out September 2023