16 posts categorized "Chronicle News"

February 01, 2010

To Boldly Go

by Hank Phillippi Ryan

How brave are you?

But wait--before we see today's main feature and plumb the depths of your fears and courage, we bring you some special messages:

FIRST: Hurray for Sarah! The adorable movie, "Lying to Be Perfect" based on Sarah's The Cinderella Pact premiered on Lifetime TV Saturday night...and it was charming.  If you haven't read TCP,  you're in for a treat. If you haven't seen LTBP, check your On Demand listings.

AND THEN: It's time for DRIVE TIME! As you've no doubt noticed from the relentless countdown counter on the upper left of your screen, today''s the release day for DRIVE TIME,Drive Time FINAL 300med the newest book in my mystery series featuring the smart and savvy TV reporter Charlotte McNally. It has a wonderful blurb from our dear Robert B Parker on the cover...

And Library Journal gave it a starred review! Here's just part of the rave:  "Buckle up and prepare for a wild ride!...Placing Ryan in the same league  as Lisa Scottoline...her latest book catapults the reader into the fast lane and doesn't relent until the story careens to a halt. New readers will speed to get her earlier books, and diehard fans will hope for another installment."

And interestingly, ripped from the headlines, it's all about the dangers of recalled cars.

(And hey, order a signed copy of DRIVE TIME from Mystery Lovers Bookshop and mention TLC--and get a wonderful black canvas tote bag and free shipping! Today only for the tote bag--usually you have to buy three books to get it!) 

We now return you to our regular programming.

How brave are you?

It was back in oh, 1980. I was a not-quite-cub but not-quite-experienced TV reporter in Atlanta. If you want to picture it, I had long long dark brown hair, my shoulder pads could rival Dick Butkus, and my eyebrows were straight out of Brooke Shields. You remember.

With all the fearlessness and ambition and confidence of someone at the beginning, I hoped, of a career, I was planning to move to the networks, take over from Barbara Walters, and cut a swath through journalism, breaking stories and catching bad guys and uncovering the truth. 

But how to break out from the pack of other wannabes? Space-shuttle-challenger

And then I saw the ad in Columbia Journalism Review. NASA was looking for applicants to become the first journalist in space. One lucky reporter would be chosen to ride the then-brand-newish space shuttle, and report first hand on their experiences.

Bingo. I saw my career path rising like  the shuttle itself. My insightful  and thoughtful and technically brilliant reporting, I figured, would transform me from medium fish in a medium pond to big fish in the biggest of ponds. I plotted the whole thing out, rubbing my hands in anticipation. I was perfect for this assignment. I was young. A woman, and I figured, they had to choose a woman. This was going to fly.

I sent in my request for the application, and could hardly wait. Space-shuttle-launching

When the thick brown envelope arrived in my mailbox, I ripped it open. Inside was a multi-colored multi-copied stack of paperwork, as elaborate as a college application. Full of forms and questions and medical stuff, if I remember correctly, and lots of blanks to fill in. Piece of cake, I thought. I'm young, healthy and brave. Bring it on.

And then, I saw the biggie. There was an essay question. Tell us, it requested, in five hundred words, exactly why you want to be the first journalist in space.

Drat. I hate essay questions. Just let me go, I thought. You won't regret it. But after a moment of petulance, I knew  that if I wanted to blast off, I'd have to write that essay.

I decided to make the best of it. Maybe there was a point to it, anyway. Maybe it would be a good thing, emotionally and intellectually, if I really did explore why I wanted to be the first JIS. I mean, "desire for fame" probably wasn't a very compelling reason. And probably was not going to charm the judges.

So I sat at the kitchen table, as I remember, contemplating my future. Imagining being the first journalist in space. I'd go through all that training, cool. I'd bond with the other astronauts. Cool. I'd suit up in one of those protective outfits, great. I'd climb into the space shuttle, wave at the camera, and blast off into space.

Pause. Pause.

Pause. Pause.

Not a chance, I decided. Not a chance in the world. When I actually had to imagine fifty billion pounds of thrust (or whatever) blasting me into the unknown on a little space shuttle thing with vast nothingness around me and, basically, no back-up plan if something went wrong, all the wind went out of my sails. 

I was staying earthbound. No question. I folded up that application, tucked it back into the envelope, and tucked the  envelope away somewhere. Traveling in my head was as close as I got to space travel.

Reality had trumped ambiton. And I wasn't as brave as I'd imagined.

The journalist in space program was halted, of course, after the tragic ending of the teacher in space program. And I remember, with some irony, that I was sent to New Hampshire to cover the Christa McAuliffe story.  And that was a powerful lesson for me about true bravery.Space-travel

So I'm wondering. Space travel.  Just one question: Would you go? 


April 12, 2007

Thursday Update on Elaine

Thursday's Update on Elaine:

Elaine is looking good, according to her friends Kris Montee and Barbara Parker, who visited with Elaine and Don last evening.  As of today, doctors are optimistic about a full recovery.  It's suggested that we not send flowers at this time, but cards are most welcome.  Rather than post her address here---and if you don't have access to it on one of the membership lists of organizations Elaine belongs to--why not send it to us, and we'll forward your card to Elaine?

Send to:

Elaine Viets
c/o Sarah Strohmeyer
45 State Street, Suite 210
Montpelier, Vermont 05602

April 11, 2007

Elaine update....


ELAINE UPDATE.............. 5:45 p.m.

Word this afternoon is that Elaine continues to show amazing signs of improvement. While stroke is very tricky to predict, every indication is that Elaine is coming out of this faster than expected. She is regaining consciousness and showing signs of her old self. (Watch out, docs!)

We at The Lipstick Chronicles are deeply touched by all the wonderful, thoughtful and obviously heartfelt best wishes for Elaine's speedy recovery. We can't wait to show them to Elaine and Don. We know they will be as moved as we are.

We love this blog - but we love our readers more. Thank you. Thank you.

Oh, one last word. If you've been thinking of sending flowers to Elaine's hospital room, we understand it's better to hold off until she's out of ICU. That might be in a couple of days.


Our beloved Elaine Viets had a stroke last night at 9 pm. She is just out of surgery. Elaine_2

The good news is that the doctors expect her to recover, and she will be able to write again. However, she has a long tough recovery road ahead of her.

Her husband Don and the Tarts are asking you for positive thoughts and prayers. We will keep you posted here on the blog as we know additional facts in order to avoid confusion.

If you'd like to send her a message, please post it here, and we'll make sure she gets them.

October 08, 2006

Heart Of Tartness Book Club Reminder

Just a reminder that the next Heart of Tartness Book Club will be this Friday, October 13th!

Definitely_dead Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

You still have time to order and read this great book.  Here's a link:

Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris herself will be with us that day so we're all looking forward to a great discussion - see you then!

September 17, 2006

Heart of Tartness Book Club Announcement

The Book Tarts are delighted to announce that the next book for the Heart of Tartness Book Club will be:

Definitely_dead Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

Our next online meeting will be on Friday, October 13th - spooky!  Here's a link to buy this great book (and to order any other book too, including Charlaine's previous books in the series):

Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris herself will be with us that day, which is a real treat, so mark your calendar, get this terrific book and read!

September 03, 2006

Links O'The Week

Wow!  The success of our first book club was amazing. And the magaritas delicious. Thank you, loyal readers and the hundreds of new visitors who came to check out the Tart action.  Now we're really looking forward to next month's Heart of Tartness Book Club adventure--and wondering how it can be topped!  We owe Rebecca the Bookseller bigtime for organizing and for keeping the discussion flowing. 

The festive air of this holiday weekend (or maybe it's just some wind leftover from Ernesto) prompts the Book Tarts to supply our loyal readers with the pleasures of two links of the week for your enjoyment. Sometimes the good stuff just cries out to be doubled.

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Check 'em out:

http://www.angryalien.com/  (Tell us which one you choose!  Is Orson Welles rolling over??)

And http://www.glumbert.com/media/cattoilet.html  for the animal lovers among  us.

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Enjoy your Labor Day weekend.  It's back to work on Tuesday.

March 10, 2006

Coming to a Bookstore Near You!

Coming to a Bookstore Near You! 

This Weekend's Tart Events:

Nancy Martin will sign HAVE YOUR CAKE AND KILL HIM TOO at the Borders on Shelbyville Road in Louisville, KY, on Saturday, March 11 at 2 p.m.  For more info, call 502-893-0133.

Susan McBride will sign THE LONE STAR LONELY HEARTS CLUB at Barnes & Noble, 13995 New Halls Ferry Road, Florissant, MO, on Saturday, March 11 from 2-4 p.m.  Call 314-830-3596 for more scoop.

A little bird tells us Nancy will be checking in from the road later on, so stay tuned!

September 18, 2005

Sunday Scoop From Lipstick Land

Lipstick Sunday Scoop From Lipstick Land

First off, the Book Tarts bow to our friend Donna Andrews who spent much of Friday doing emergency surgery on our blog after effed-up coding turned most of our site into italics.  Not that Donna doesn't have enough on her plate already, considering the fact that she writes two mystery series, blogs, and does a million other things on the side.  So we owe her big, and she can call in that chip anytime.  If you see her before we do, please, kneel, kiss her hands, and say, "We're not worthy, we're not worthy!"  (She likes that.)

Beverly at the Louisiana Library Association told me they don't need books as there's nowhere to store them.  But they would greatly appreciate monetary donations to rebuild school, public and academic libraries.  You can make checks payable to LLA-Disaster Relief and send to:  LLA, 421 South 4th Street, Eunice, LA  70535, or go to their web site for more information.

Sarah's stand-alone THE SECRET LIVES OF FORTUNATE WIVES is out in four days! (Thanks, Sarah, for the correction).  I've already started reading it ('cuz I have connections), and, man, she's a modern-day Judith Krantz.  Only she writes better than La Krantz ever could, but don't rat on me to Judy.  This one's about scandal in the suburbs, and you won't be able to put it down.  She starts her book tour soon, so catch her if she comes to your town.

Let's see...Nancy's getting her beach books and bathing suits packed for a trip to Aruba...Harley's playing AC/DC for her kids in the car on the way to school and writing her third Wollie book...and I...um, I mean, Susan's finishing up revisions and doing galley corrections.  Yes, yes, we know.  It is, indeed, a glamorous life.

Now get out there and enjoy your Sunday!


The Book Tarts

September 09, 2005

Post-Bouchercon Thoughts

Post-Bouchercon Thoughts

Since we're always interested in the continuing debate about "The Girl Ghetto" in crime fiction, we wanted to share some illuminating scoop that's come to light post-Bouchercon, provided by honorary Book Tart and friend, Elaine Viets.  It's all food for thought, and we'd love to hear what you have to say.

Here are Patti Sprinkle's figures, which she compiled from the program (Patti is outgoing president of Sisters in Crime).

The biggest discrepancies occurred Thursday, which has the lowest attendance, with many people arriving Thursday afternoon and evening, and on Saturday, which has the highest attendance:

On Thursday, 11 out of 17 panels were without men or had one man.
On Saturday, 13 out of 19 panels had 1 woman or no women.

On Thursday, a panel described as "writers on the cutting edge" had no women.

On Saturday, "These Funny Guys and Dolls" had no women.

"Self-Market Yourself" -- no women.
"The PI and Pop Culture" -- no women.
"I'm a Guy, I'm a Girl: Writing the Opposite Gender" -- 1 woman.
"The PI Short Story" -- 1 woman.
"Lovable Villains" -- 1 woman.

Panels dealing with PIs, police, hard-boiled or noir are more likely to be all male or almost all male and run on Saturday, the most visible day. There were no cop or PI panels on Thursday.

Traditional mysteries were sidelined to Thursday and Friday, with only 1 on Saturday. Male writers of cozy or traditional mysteries are less likely to be included on panels.

To which Elaine comments:

I heard from both men and women who were shocked that traditional mysteries had been sidelined to Thursday and Friday, while cop and PI mysteries were given Saturday showcases. The idea of "cutting edge mysteries" being all male was outrageous. The discrimination against male traditional mystery writers also surprised them.

This imbalance is particulary bad at a conference named for Anthony Boucher, a man who appreciated all aspects of the mystery world, from cozy to hard-boiled.

Here's the good part -- future conference organizers promised this would not happen at their Bouchercons. They would be more careful about their programming.

So special thanks to Patti Sprinkle, who took the time to gather those figures. Sometimes, speaking out does make a difference.

Another of our favorite people, author, blogger, and self-promotion guru M.J. Rose, weighs in with her response to the above-noted stats:

That sucks.


I'm so used to women being marginalized I hardly pay attention to it anymore. It's more of the same old, same old. But before I throw stones, in some areas of the genre there are more men writing than women so it is harder to make everything equal - just as there are more women writing in some areas than men. (I figured I'd give the excuse before the organizers claim it.)

I could get crazy about this, just as I could get crazy about how many women authors don't get reviewed vs men authors, just as I could get crazy about how male fiction is never called that but women's fiction is always called that, just as I could get crazy about "old timers" bemoaning how women and what they write sully the mystery/suspense genre, just as I could get crazy how male thrillers get so much more attention in general in the press than women do, just as I could get crazy that a 50 year old man is handsome and a 50 year old woman is close to invisible. It all sucks.

Living well is the best revenge and so is writing well.

The good news is that something like three times as many women buy and read books as men so no matter how things like B'con play out, when it comes to sales and readership, women are still going head to head with the big boys. The bestseller lists are much more equal than anything else in this biz.

I know at ITW we plan to do everything as equally as we can - we started off with three men and three women on the board of directors so that helps. But then again B'con was organized by two women right?