While visiting family in Utah I had the thrill of seeing my first two novels in bookstores: Chance’s Bluff and the just-released A Place Called New Hope. It was my first time seeing my books on the shelf beside my favorite writers. Of course I took lots of photographs in Deseret Book and Seagull Book stores to document the occasion.

Soon after, I was lucky enough to attend the Left Coast Crime mystery writers’ convention in Reno, where my friend and fellow-author Michele Drier, president of the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime, spoke on one of the panels. The discussions ranged from writing political thrillers to cozy mysteries to writing in several genres. Best of all, I came home with lots of books for my ever-growing to-read pile!

I may have said this before, and will probably say it again, but one of the greatest pleasures of writing is not just putting down stories on the page, which I love. It is getting to know fellow writers, who, it turns out, are some of the nicest, most generous people on earth. Whether household names or still developing their skills, they are witty, warm, and, surprisingly not at all competitive. When one succeeds, everyone else is thrilled for him or her.

In a way,  seems counter-intuitive because many writers, including me, are naturally introverts. In fact, part of what attracted me to being an author was the idea that I could stay at home and play with my imaginary friends without having to go out and make conversation with real people, a thought that used to strike terror into my heart.

So why is it so easy to mingle with other writers?

It must be that we face similar struggles and challenges and share some of the same interests, twisted or otherwise. A writer of cozy mysteries told me that the readers of these sweet stories are surprisingly blood-thirsty, which I suppose is true of the writers as well! Historical writers share fascinating and amazingly specific details of life in the past, that make me try to figure out how I can include them in my stories.

In spite of all the fun, I confess to being a tiny bit relieved when it was time to go home and return to my laptop and plotting–and resting up for the next writers’ convention.

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A Place Called New Hope on the shelf at Deseret Book Store

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Edgar Alan Poe and me at the Left Coast Crime Convention

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Friends from the Capitol Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime

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