Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Day 5 Houston

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

I was in Kansas City on Thursday, Lawrence  yesterday–where I got to see one of my brothers and his wife–and then on to Houston in a tiny spinewrecker airplane.  Last night in Lawrence two teen-aged boys came to the event and Ii was thinking, boy am I cool–I even speak to sixteen-year-old boys.  Turns out they’d been sent by their English teacher to sit through an author appearance, and afterwards, one asked me who I was.  I said my name and he asked if I was a writer, or just reading someone else’s book.  So–a good corrective for the over-active vanity!

I fly early tomorrow to Chicago, where I’ll race to the western suburbs for an event and hope to be home in time for Kol NIdre.  I feel melancholy much of the time on the road–one is lonely, cut off, and then I get to events and am happy to see everyone and perk up again.

I also feel melancholy about observing Yom Kippur in such a distracted way.  It’s a funny thing–I’m at the atheist end of the agnostic spectrum, but Yom Kippur is such a sacred day.  After many years of walking away from Judaism, I started observing it out of respect for a grandmother who was murdered in the Vilna ghetto on Yom Kippur.  I was named for her, and as a child, I hated being named for a murder victim–I thought it doomed me to follow after her.  Now, though, it is a day where  I can get centered, where fasting brings a kind of peace and introspection, and I wish I didn’t have to spend part of the day doing laundry, filling prescriptions and repacking for the next week on the road–but I hope my grandmother will understand and forgive me.

P.S.  I’m posting in a Houston hotel; Genny has pictures from Bethesda which I’ll add when I’m back home at my own machine.

Day 3– DC to KC

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Genny from the cyber community came down from Jersey to my signing in Bethesda last night–great to meet in person.  I had a brief time in the White House–wasn’t allowed to take pictures, so imagine me getting an apple from the bowl the First Lady keeps in her office.

Tuesday night in Chicago–I outsold Dan Brown–I feel like my dog retrieving a particularly large football–she likes to steal them from the school field near our house  If I don’t get to them in time she chews nice holes in them.

When I get back to Chicago I’ll post some tour photos here.  I’m waiting for a ride to the airport and am off to KC.  I am way too old and tired for a different city every night.

Genny and Sara do Bethesda

Genny and Sara do Bethesda

Genny and Sara get it together

Genny and Sara get it together

dc trip and sara paretsky-63

Genny and Sara do Bethesda

Cheryl K, thanks for not posting any NCIS news!

On the Road

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

With V I and Hardball.  I’m leaving today, September 22, and will be home only briefly between now and October 19.  I’m looking forward to meeting some of the cyber team while I’m traveling, and I feel very fortunate that I have the chance to meet so many readers in person.  At the same time, it’s hard to leave home, hard to leave husband and puppy behind.

Here are the three of us, at a burial for one of our granddaughter’s stuffed animals–shredded by the dog in questionHPIM0073_2

I’ll try to post some updates from the road, but I likely won’t travel with my computer, so bear with me as I leave this post here for a time.

Thanks.  And don’t forget to join the raffle for a V I t-shirt by emailing:


Sunday, September 20th, 2009

“Voices like these can ring in your ears for 40 years and more,” writes Marilyn Stasio about Hardball in the New York Times.

“Warshawski enabled the creation of contemporary female crimestoppers such as Grace Hanadarko (Holly Hunter) in the cable TV series Saving Grace,” says Julia Keller in the Chicago Tribune.

Happy New Year

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

It’s Rosh Hashannah today, the Jewish New Year, and I hope for everyone who reads here that this will be a year of health and happiness.  Traditionally, one eats an apple for sweetness.  It’s hard to imagine that there’s ever been a month, let alone a year, where the whole planet was at peace at once, and it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll achieve that now, but–against all odds, I hope we find peace, in our own lives and in the whole world.


Ready for Take-Off (or getting there)

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

We launch Hardball on September 22, and I’m slowly getting ready.  We had t-shirtsP9050065_2-166x300 made (be sure to join the raffle if you want one) I’ve done a few interviews, including the chance to take part in NPR’s “You Must Read This” series.  I’ll be launching the tour at Barnes & Noble in Old Orchard at 7:30 on September 22, but I’ll be doing some stock signings during the day, including one at Women & Children First at 5 p.m.

I had to have some rotten bone dug out of my jaw last week and a bone graft put in, so I am also ready to challenge myself physically on the tour.  The experience made me remember a time about 15 years ago, when I was on tour in Germany.  Despite obsessive flossing, brushing, professional care by the yard, I have terrible teeth, and one of them gave up the ghost in Frankfurt.  The publisher sent me to her dentist, who hacked and sawed and splintered the tooth, all the while murmuring, “Erschrecken Sie sich nicht” (a polite way of saying don’t freak out.) A Jew in a German dental chair, staring up at the Siemens logo on all the equipment while someone smashed my tooth to smithereens, I was freaking–but forty minutes later I was live on Frankfurt television, pretending nothing had happened.  So I expect to rise above my recent surgery as well and be ready to see as many of you as will join me on the road.

Writing in Slow Motion

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

After I wrote about Richard Poirier, and his desire that we “read in slow motion,” I started thinking about all the things that are better done slowly.

Nicole Hollander once did a Sylvia episode that shows the devil offering a man “life in the fast lane” in exchange for his soul: “Fast cars, fast women, fast food.”Sylvia_logo

The Slow Food movement encourages us to savor what we eat, and pay attention to it, instead of wolfing down a burger and fries on the run.

I have to do about 40 minutes of exercises every morning so that my neck–seriously injured in a car accident a few years back–feels good enough to get me through the day.  I have to do them slowly, so I can be attentive to what my body is doing–do them too fast, and I can exacerbate the injury.

And finally, there’s writing.  Everyone writes at her or his own pace, in our own way.  For some people, that means they’re incredibly prolific.  Two people in the Outfit blog where I participate write three or even four books a year.  They may be afflicted, or perhaps gifted, with what Edgar Allen Poe called, “The Midnight Disease,” a compulsion to write that’s so overwhelming that you’re unable to turn it off.  Most sufferers actually only write gibberish, but a handful, like Poe himself, or Robert Louis Stevenson, turn the disease into enduring literature. Stevenson wrote Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a week — and that was by hand.

For most of us, though, slow writing is how we work best.  That’s certainly true for me: thinking through the story, discarding it when it isn’t working, living with characters until they come to life–I couldn’t do that if I had to write on a treadmill, churning out so many pages a day.

Everything in America works in the opposite direction, though–we’re supposed to text as we commute–however dangerous it is, and however much it leads to anomie, because we need to do more faster.  Eat while we commute, read, write, everything, done all at once, faster, faster, faster.  Regardless of the pleasure we lose along the way, both as readers and as writers, the publishing industry seems to think that if we’re not churning out texts at top speed, we’ll lose our audience and our market.  For some reason, losing readers because we’ve let ourselves be bullied into being sloppy writers never seems to be a consideration .

Well, to quote the incomparable Lily Tomlin, “The problem with the Rat Race is, even if you win, you’re still a rat.”

Strange Times for Books

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

“I shall always treasure my books, but I shall do so for antiquarian reasons alone.  I am at the same time tremendously excited, as a reader and learner, by the possibility of someday soon being able to carry the equivalent of the Library of Congress in the palm of my hand.  That will be the realization of humanity’s dream since the inception of discovery hundreds of thousands of years ago.”

Thus spake the headmaster of the $42,850 a year Cushing Academy in Massachusetts, as he announced the school’s plans to get rid of all their books, and replace the library with e-readers and a cappuccino machine.

Okay, no comment here, except it’s hard for me to believe that as Oog and Aag fashioned their first cave drawings a hundred thousand years ago, they were imagining the Library of Congress in the palm of their hands.  images

I learned about Dr. Cushing’s bold plan from the PW blog.  For the school’s 450 students, Dr. Cushing plans 18 E readers in lieu of the 20,000 books–which are all being given away.  And he’s building a $50,000 state of the art coffee shop where the library once stood.

Here’s my own favorite response to the news, posted by someone named Caryn:

“They require no outside device to be useful. They never need to be recharged and can be utilized anywhere, for hours or even days on end. They survive being dropped, tossed around, kept in purses and backpacks, used in the sun and sand. They are decorative. Most never need updating. They provide a unique tactile and often emotional experience. They can be stored for indefinite periods without any loss of function whatsoever. I don’t know, sounds like some advanced technology to me.”

V I, The T-Shirt

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

We created a t-shirt to celebrate V I’s return to business.  They’ll be available as raffle items at the stores where I’ll be on tour, but I’m also holding a raffle through my website so that people who want shirts and can’t make it to my tour events can have a chance to get one.  My husband took these snapshots on our backporch: the back shows the Hardball jacket cover, the front is a silhouette of V I, with the message, “V I is Back.”  If you want to join the raffle, just send an e-mail to us at with “t-shirt raffle” in the subject line.

back of shirt

back of shirt

front of shirt

front of shirt

Thanks, Sara

And the Winner Is…

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Where was V I Warshawski while I was working on other projects?  We posed the question, and people with way more imagination than I have came up with ideas that were both clever and appropriately cynical.  Although this is Chicago, the fix was not in.  No money or goods or even services changed hands in determining a winner.  Instead, the judging was completely arbitrary.

The winner gets an advance copy of Hardball and a V I t-shirt.  There are also two runners-up, who each get a V I Warshawski t-shirt.

Because of the detail and the passion in her storyline, the winner is Marjory (July 28).  Mark Casey’s poem was too clever to overlook, and the Bag Lady’s involvement of my personal favorite, Geraldine Graham from Blacklist, make them the two runners-up.  Thanks to everyone for taking part.  I hope you had as much fun writing as I did reading.

By the way, after our arbitrary panel (consisting of me and my retriever) chose Marjory last night, I had a lurid dream involving Prince Charles.  I was in the chapel at Windsor imagesas the Queen celebrated the prince’s fortieth anniversary as Prince of Wales.  She had given him a sapphire ring, which he showed me and I pretended to admire–it was hideously gaudy.

Prince Charles Sapphire Ring

Prince Charles Sapphire Ring

And then at the end of the ceremony, the Queen announced that as a special present, she was returning his wife to him.  Diana suddenly appeared–at which the prince leaped to his feet, screaming, “I don’t want her, I don’t want her,” and ran down the street.  I don’t know what that dream means to Freud, but it tells me to lay off Marjory’s posts and hot fudge late at night–bad combo!


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September 2009