A Week (or so) in Pictures

Saturday, May 2

20150502_134120It was ideal weather for the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby–both at Churchill Downs and in Houston, where I dropped in to chat with a local book club. Hey, where’s my hat?

Then, to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day, I joined authors Ann Weisgarber (The Promise)Matthew Salesses (I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying), and Mike Freedman (School Board) in a literary death match at Brazos Bookstore. As Erika Jo Brown wrote on Inprint’s blog, we “had 30 minutes to complete a story based on a hitherto unknown prompt. Benjamin Rybeck, Brazos’s events coordinator, chose a cheeky passage from IBDa romance novel. The certified Harlequin wove a web of intrigue, including a hero in a tux ‘barreling down the highway,’ a crooked senator, a Porsche, a longed-for horse, and chiseled good looks all around.” The judges–Rich Levy of Inprint, Giuseppe Taurino, assistant director of the University of Houston’s graduate program in creative writing, and Michael Hardy, former arts editor of Houstoniachose Matthew’s story, which featured “glistening horse nether regions attached to a human stomach”, as the winner.

Sunday, May 3

IMG_1517Take me out to the ball game! The Challenger Division of WULL (West University Little League) is a baseball program for kids with physical and mental challenges. During games, middle- and high school volunteers act as “Buddies”, which fosters friendship and understanding and affords players the opportunity to participate in a structured athletic program regardless of limitations. This was the last game of a really great season.


Monday, May 4

Sushi Monarchs: My screenwriting partners Line up Germs_01_small(Tobey Forney, Dave Eagleman, and Sarah Blutt) and I got together at our favorite sushi joint, Sushi King, to celebrate Tobey’s completion of her novel and the beginning of the querying process, and to talk about our almost-funded animated feature Germs! Our producers are pitching it at Cannes this week, so more on that soon.

Tuesday, May 5

IMG_3416Bookseller and author Jamie Kornegay read from his debut novel SOIL at Brazos Bookstore. I’d been looking forward to Jamie’s southern gothic since February, when we met at Winter Institute.

Wednesday, May 6

Shelagh Shapiro and I talked about WHISPER HOLLOW for her wonderful Burlington VT radio show about writing called Write The Book. Her comments and questions were insightful and interesting.

That night, I visited with the Quenby Book Club. They had told me that they read as many wine labels as books, but they were being modest. Their questions were smart and challenging and we talked non-stop for two hours.

Thursday, May 7

I’m a writer and a fighter, and I got to tap into my inner Bruce Lee with nunchaku practice during class. I could swing those danger sticks for years and still not be as good as this four-year-old.

And if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain. Reader extraordinaire Valerie Koehler, owner of Blue Willow Bookshop, brought bags and boxes of books to a social gathering in support of West University Elementary School–and sold all the copies of WHISPER HOLLOW she’d brought. (I don’t know if my presence inspired or guilted readers into buying them.)

Saturday, May 9

PBSI was invited to address the winners and finalists of the 2015 Houston Public Media PBS KIDS Writers Contest, which offers children the experience of writing and illustrating their own book. I spoke to them about being fearless.

Vote for Pedro! Voting codeWhat better way to honor the 100-year campaign to give women the right to vote, which they did for the first time in 1920, than by exercising that right in our municipal election. I’m proud to be among the record number of voters who turned out to elect a slate of city council members who plan to restore citizen-driven decision-making.

That night, my husband and I celebrated seventeen years of marriage by binge-watching “House of Cards.”

Sunday, May 10

IMG_3466My sweet babies brought me handwritten letters and breakfast in bed, and later–I’m still not quite sure how this happened–we brought home the newest member of the Cander clan. Meet Rocky, who evens out the household estrogen/testosterone ratio, and who has stolen my heart with his affection for good literature.