Behind the Door # 7

There’s so much to say this week!

First, the stuffy caladrius winner for last week was Kristin Peterson of Puerto Rico, Kristin– I hope you got it by now! 🙂

A Better World officially comes out today — Tuesday, April 9! But because traffic in LA is nuts and events on weekends are more accessible, I launched the book with a signing at Dark Delicacies on Saturday, April 6. Film critic Amy Nicholson hosted the Q&A. She’s so good! No wonder she’s at the top of her field! There are Q&A partners, and then there are experts in their field who are incredible at what they do. So that was awesome. Amy’s podcast “Unspooled” is likewise awesome.

Friends and readers packed the house, the book sold out, kids played in the aisles, and a good time was had by all. Afterward, Myrtle, the librarian from my daughters’ former elementary school (Wonderland) hosted snacks and cocktails at her house. This was amazing. The kids all played poker with almonds (?); the grownups relaxed and talked. I can’t imagine anything better. If you’re reading this and you’re like: I went to that dumb event but nobody told me about the after-party! Blame me. Myrtle volunteered and when I saw the wonderful turnout, I thought: This is too many people. She doesn’t want so many people! But Myrtle is the coolest librarian on the planet and was like: Should I have done an old-fashioned Texas shout out once your reading was done? Because I was ready for all 80 people!

What was especially nice about Dark Delicacies is that Del and Sue, the owners, have known my family (and the kids) for many years. That bookstore feels like home. What was also nice was having my husband JT show up early with flowers. And our kids. Nice all around.

After dinner that night (grilled cheese and tomato soup!), the family dropped me off at LAX. I took the red eye to Baltimore so I could sign with Cynthia Pelayo and Todd Keisling at Vortex Books and Comics, a new bookstore owned by writers Mary SanGiovanni and Brian Keene. These two banged their drums– the turnout was spectacular, and I was so happy to meet so many readers.

Vortex Books and Comics is a gorgeous store. Mary and Brian know their clientele and acquire on their behalf. They also host meet-ups for writers, D&D games, and all the good stuff you dream about, when you imagine a local bookstore. The town of Columbia, PA, is likewise worth a visit. It’s right on the Susquehanna River, no relation (or maybe a relation?) to the Susquehanna Hat Company.

Abbott and Costello! It’s a deep cut!

Before heading back to the west coast, I had the good fortune of visiting nearby relatives. We watched the eclipse together. What was especially neat– they have a pond full of frogs that began to sing, thinking it was twilight. Also, man– it got cold!

Photo by David Brunton

The eclipse got me thinking about that 1883 Krakatoa Volcano eruption, whose particulate matter surrounded the globe for weeks and months, making the world dark. What did people think when that happened? How did it change their understanding of their place in the world?

Anyway, I’m on a plane, heading back home to LA for the next event – Village Well Books at 7pm this Thursday in Culver City. I’m hoping the genre guy there, writer Colin Hinckley, puts me in the hot seat. Hot seat!

Speaking of genre! It’s been hard for people to figure out whether they’re supposed to call my books thrillers, horror, sci-fi, or literary. I have not made it easy on these people, as I can’t figure it out, either.

More stuff –

Whut? A New York Times Review. Highlight- “As with any good satire, the real subject of this novel is not the morally bankrupt town of Plymouth Valley but our own culture, and how the most privileged among us so often ignore the misery of those outside our own walls. “A Better World” is a dark and unsettling mirror.”

But also – a hometown review and interview through the Los Angeles Times!!! The other highlighted author is Nova Jacobs, whom I know a little, and is a very nice, very smart person.

LA Times reviewer Paula Woods said: “A Better World” is a cautionary tale of a family’s sacrifice gone wrong and a high-water mark in the career of a novelist who’s already won three Bram Stoker Awards. My only warning: Don’t start this book on a school night. Beware the sacrifice!

ABW also got mentions in the Center for Fiction newsletter (!), The Washington Post, and Crime Reads.

So, that’s cool!

The tour is getting smaller!

Thursday, April 11, 7pm, Village Well Books: 9900 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA.

Sunday, April 14, 11am: Rhinebeck Center for Performing Arts, in conversation with Hilarie Burton:

Monday, April 15, 7pm: The Strand, NYC (828 Broadway, New York City, NY), in conversion with Patrick Radden Keefe.

Saturday, April 20, 4:30-5:30pm: The Los Angeles Festival of Books Panel — Haunted: The Contemporary Gothic Novel.

May 8, 7pm: The Best Bookstore in Palm Springs.

Wednesday, May 15, 7pm: Exile in Bookville, in conversation with the excellent and awesome and very cool Gillian Flynn.

More to come. The hotels I stayed at were weird.Perhaps more aptly characterized as portals to sad dimensions full of deep pile carpet and windows that don’t open.

Yours sincerely,







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