Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wegmans and me

Wegmans logo
For those of you who aren't familiar with the name, Wegmans is a regional grocery store chain that just happens to be headquartered in my home town. I can remember my parents shopping at the Mt. Read store when I was eight or ten (and we won't get into how many years ago that was). I've been shopping there since I had my first apartment (again--too many years to mention.) So it was a thrill for me to walk into the store yesterday and see ...

Well, hold on a second and let me backtrack.

I have wanted to get my books into Wegmans for almost four years. I can understand why they wouldn't want to bother with my small press books, but when Murder Is Binding came out last year, I tried again. Never heard from them.

A little over three weeks ago (? I'm iffy with time), I was in one of the stores and just happened to run into the woman who stocks the bookshelves. I told her I was a local author and pitched Bookmarked for Death. She took my bookmarks and said she'd ask her boss if they could stock the book.

In the meantime, I have a friend who works in the Wegmans main office. Just yesterday I heard from her, and she suggested I write to the general merchandise manager, send her a copy of the book, and tell her about Murder Is Binding's latest print run. Sniff. I only had one copy of the book, but I wrote a letter and zoomed to the P.O. After that, I went to the same Wegmans store where I'd talked to the stock lady. And there, at eye level, in all its purple glory, was Bookmarked for Death. The problem was--there was nobody in the aisle to see my happy dance or hear me shout: HEY, IT'S MY FIRST SIGHTING OF MY NEW BOOK!!!

I still would dearly love to have a book signing at Wegmans flagship store. Hey, they do it all the time in their Fairfax store with authors like Mary Higgins Clark (as chronicled in USA Today)--why not me! If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.

But--weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee--I'm in Wegmans!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Almost two weeks ago, I hinted that I had projects in the works I couldn't talk about. Guess what? I still can't talk about them. But I might be getting closer.

Meanwhile, life goes on. I finished my big postcard project. The bookmark project continues, and I've been signing between 50-100 bookmarks a night because the requests keep coming in. Yesterday I got a note from an indy bookstore in Central New York asking for them. You bet! The package is ready to go, along with a request for bookplates from a library in California, and a request for a bookmark from a fan.

A fan. I always hoped I'd have fans, but I never believed it would happen. And now I want some sycophants. (Anybody wanna lobby for the job?)

Progress on the new book hasn't been as good as I'd hoped, but I'm inching along and have already made the bare minimum word count for the month. (I have today and tomorrow--just think what I might still accomplish!)

Bookmarked for Death has been popping up all over the place. Weeeeee! I'm guest blogging next Wednesday on The Diva Dishes, and next Saturday on Poe's Deadly Daughters. I guess that'll be my blog tour for the book. Much less than I did for Dead In Red, but I've been so busy with other promotion, I didn't get off my duff and scout around for guesting opportunities. Then again, I'd have to write six or seven different posts, and I have enough trouble coming up with ideas to keep this blog going.

Speaking of this blog, I've contracted for a new banner. I got to see the first pass and I LOVE it. I hope to post it sometimes next week.
And then there are the secrets I alluded to up above. If even one of them comes through, I will be a LOT busier in the not-so-distant future. I'm thrilled and terrified at the same time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I don't know how I ever got everything done when I had a full-time job. I worked 40 hours; I had a booth in an antique co-op (for nearly 12 years), and I wrote. In between I did the housework and laundry. Now that I'm a work-at-home author, I don't have enough hours in the day to write, promote, help my parents out now and then, and clean the house.

For a while now, things have been getting out of control. A lot of it is just clutter, and I'm trying to address it. I have to part with some of the paper. I need to part with stuff I'll never use--especially stiff that was destined for the co-op booth and never made it there. (And where am I going to find the time to do that.)

Part of my problem stems from collecting reading material. Not just books, but magazines. I've come to the sad conclusion that I'm going to have to part with something--in this case, it's gotta be the magazines--cause I ain't giving up my books. I'll keep my Victoria, Romantic Homes, Tea Time, and some of the British decorating issues, but I'll have to part with most of the rest. (Sniff.)

We need more bookshelves. The problem is -- we have nowhere to put them. We're working on it.

Cleaning lady
When I broached the idea of hiring someone to come in once or twice a month, I was surprised at how enthusiastic hubby was. Apparently, he's as tired of looking at the dust bunnies as I am.

All I really want is someone to clean the kitchen and the bathroom and vacuum the living room. Now to clean up the house enough to have someone come in and clean it up more.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


A couple of years ago, I signed a birthday card for my niece. I wrote: Happy Birthday, Amanda! Love Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Frank. When she opened the card, she frowned and said, "What does this say? I can't read cursive." I was stunned to learn that they no longer teach children to write--my niece, now age 17, still prints like she did in grade school.

What are these children going to do when it comes time to open a checking account, buy a car, or sign a lease? It boggles my mind. Not only that, but will the fact that I use cursive date me?

Boy, do I use cursive. With a new book on the cusp of publication, I've been signings hundreds of bookmarks and postcards that are going out to readers, libraries, and bookstore. Sometimes I get hypnotized by writing the same thing over and over again and end up writing the wrong name. Or a combination of my names: L.L. Barrett and Lorna Bartlett. Like the title of this blog says, it's no wonder I'm Dazed and Confused.

And speaking about this blog ... I'm not sure what to do about it. It's apparent that my Lorna name is better known and will stay that way, so I'm considering moving Dazed and Confused to another URL. I've hired a web site designer to come up with a new banner. Do I change color schemes? Do I make it more girly? Decisions, Decisions.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Moving Up A Notch

Two weeks ago I reported that Murder Is Binding was the #11th most popular paperback at the Murder On The Beach Mystery Bookstore. That was a big thrill me to know my book had done so well for that store.

Yesterday, my chum Leann Sweeney wrote to tell me I'd moved up a notch at the Mystery Lovers Bookshop--and Murder is Binding was their 10th bestselling paperback. Once again, I'm in great company, along with Nancy Martin, Donna Andrews, Elaine Viets, and Rhys Bowen.


I'm very fond of the Mystery Lovers Bookshop. Last spring, I had the opportunity to be a part of the thirteenth annual Festival of Mystery, a remarkable assemblage of 50 authors and hundreds of readers who gather in Oakmont, PA, the Monday after the Malice Domestic conference. I hope I get invited again this year.