Michael Haskins

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sometimes small packages hold big surprises!

I recently flew into smoggy LAX and was picked up by my niece, Alexis Bolter, and we met my sister Patty – Alexis’ mom – at a small café in Brentwood for lunch. My sister lives in Malibu, where the temperatures hovered around the mid 70s! I came prepared for summer and explained that 74-degrees was winter temps in Key West. I needed to borrow a sweatshirt to sit outside with them, in the evening.

After unpacking, I checked my e-mails at home. Of course, I am not there and I receive an e-mail from an editor saying he had attached an edited copy of my book and that I need to go through it and yeah or nay the corrections. Most of the editing had to do with punctuation after quotes. Let me simplify it, after a quote I used a comma when the words were spoken as the speaker did something while talking.

Example: “I think you should’ve shot him,” Norm tied his shoes and smiled. I thought that was correct, the editor doesn’t. Now, example: “I think you should’ve shot him.” Norm answered the phone. I thought that was right, and the editor agrees. So, now I have to print out the whole manuscript and reply by line, by page that I agree or do not.

There are a couple of other things. They question my spelling of “Durty.” The name of the bar is “Durty Harry’s,” so I have to explain why I spelled it that way. I am saving this project for when I get home.

Wednesday morning Patty drove me to South Pasadena and I visited Barry at Book ‘em, a mystery bookstore I used to haunt when I lived in the LA area.

I put together a small package with a copy of the March/April issue of EQMM with my short story in it, a list of blurbs from writers about my book, and a brief synopsis of the book, and a color photo of me. The idea for that is that if they were going to do a signing they could post the info and photo. I also included a sheet from the publisher giving the store a 40-percent discount on its order, if the books were for a signing.

Patty and I were joined by my friend Norm Cote and his wife, Annie, for lunch at Damon’s in Glendale. Norm and I go back a long way and it was nice getting to see him again. After lunch, I went to Book Fellows down the street from Damon’s and left my package, since Christine who owns the shop is only available on Sunday and Monday.

James Lincoln Warren, a SoCal member of Mystery Writers of America, met me Thursday at Mystery Books in Westwood, where he introduced me to the bookseller and I left my package. We had lunch and then James took me to Dutton’s in Brentwood, where I dropped off another package.

Dutton’s made the news recently, because the property owner has plans to teardown the building and go high-rise. Apparently, the store’s regular customers raised hell and the media has reported that the new building will house the bookstore. I went to a lot of signings in that old building and am glad it isn’t going away, but it will lose something – in my opinion – when it moves into a modern building.

Check out James' blog, Criminal Brief, a link is off to the right.

Friday, I had an interesting experience. While still in Key West, I received a report that a new neighborhood bookstore was opening in Flintridge, Ca. I e-mailed the store and asked about dropping by and received an e-mail back saying to come in. I met Sandy Willardson, the store’s event coordinator, and we discussed my book and website. The Flintridge Bookstore and Coffee House has a nice mystery section and I look forward to signing there. In talking with Sandy, she mentioned she also does event coordination for Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena. Vroman’s has two stores in Pasadena and has to be one of the oldest in the area. Of course, I said yes!

I think that's the whole purpose of this post. Never judge a bookstore by its size or location. I will gladly sign wherever I am asked, and in the case of the Flintridge Bookstore, it turned into an opportunity to sign at one of Pasadena's oldest and largest stores.

As soon as I can confirm a publication dates, it looks like I will have a few book signings in the LA area. If you are close by, I hope to see you there.

I am off to look at the edited version of my book. I need to print it first … oh well, I’ll tell you all about it, later.

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Map