TGIF Blog Party – you’re cordially invited!

CocktailParty Anon painting Wash PostFriday’s officially my day for guest bloggers, but I haven’t had time to choose someone and pull together a coherent post, so I’m throwing a party instead. As Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett would sing, “Pour me something tall and strong – it’s five o’clock somewhere!” Stop in, bring your favorite dish, and introduce yourself – the party will run all weekend. I’m bringing pasta with my raunchy homemade pesto featuring basil from my garden and a big box of Franzia chardonnay (when it comes to wine, I’m cheap and easy.)

I borrowed this idea from Alexis Grant, who got it from literary agent Rachelle Gardner, but in keeping with my former career as an art therapist, I’m adding my own twist with a little creative visualization. Writers, envision yourself at a great cocktail party at your favorite conference. Personally, I’m picturing the party the Mystery Writers of America throw after their Alex Katz the-cocktail-partyEdgars Symposium in New York City. Now imagine you’re introduced to someone you’ve always wanted to meet – a top agent, maybe, or your favorite author. You’ve got only a minute or two to captivate them so much that they’ll be dying to read your book.


Okay, now write down that speech and post it here as a comment! Be sure to include a link to your website or blog if you have one. But you don’t have to be a writer to join the party – readers of all persuasions are welcome too! Come on in out of lurking mode and let us hear from you. I hope we can all discover some folks we’d like to know better.

If there’s something exciting going on in your life that you’d love to share, feel free to do that too. I’ll start: I’ve been spending much of the week in Woodstock helping my daughter Stacey paint the rooms in her new house. Her daughters, Kaya, age 10 and Jasper, age 3, spent the past week with the other grandparents in Connecticut, so the moving and painting blitz could happen without distraction. But they’re driving the kids back today, and we’ll all converge on the house this afternoon. It’ll be the girls’ first night sleeping in their new home. I’m hoping Kaya will like the celadon green we picked for her room, and we’re pretty sure Jasper will love her pale pink walls. On the way there, my husband and I will pick up a fancy cake and get an appropriate message inscribed.

The day will be especially meaningful because Stacey’s husband, Adam, died unexpectedly on August 25th last year. As you can imagine, they’ve been through a difficult journey since then, and it’s marvelous that they have the chance to celebrate this new beginning. Sometimes the joys of family surpass the pleasures of the writing life.

25 thoughts on “TGIF Blog Party – you’re cordially invited!

    • Hi Alexis! Hope you’re still enjoying your visit to NYC. Alexis has a great blog, everyone – lots of informative links for writers.

  1. Here’s my dream-come-true fantasy — I am attending a (make-believe) conference for anyone who has won the Emily Dickinson first book prize, awarded to poets over the age of 50. I introduce myself to each of the female winners and say to her, “Gee, you don’t look a day over age 30! Won’t you please read my poetry blog?” Then I send them to–

  2. Two parties in one week – I’m usually not such a party animal! I’m Jane Kennedy Sutton, the author of “The Ride” – a funny, poignant mis-adventure of a woman who is taken on the ride of her life – in more ways than one. You can find out more at my blog

    And, Julie – I see we have the same great taste is wine! When will they come up with a wine rack for boxes?

    • Hi Jane. Your description would definitely intrigue me if you told it to me at a party. I’d immediately ask, “What kind of ride? Tell me more.”

      And your taste in wine is superb. My wine rack is the top of my refrigerator, where I have the boxes lined up. If you want to go a little upscale compared to Franzia, I recommend the Corbett Canyon boxes – the pinot noir is a piquant red with a beautiful ruby color, good for warding off heart attack and stroke with a glass a day.

      Taste in wine is a whole other subject. In fact, maybe a subject for another blog! Hmmm . . .

  3. Here I am, a plate of French cheeses and chunks of baguette in my left hand and a chilled bottle of Hogue Gewurzetraminer in my right. I’ve asked the elder ladies of the Florida Flippers to come with me. I hope you don’t mind. They’ll behave, as long as they don’t find any bodies in your bathtub (or drink too much).

    • Mmm, I love French cheeses – I was born in Wisconsin, and cheese is arguably my favorite food. But who are the Florida Flippers? Are they in one of your books? Tell me more – and you have the right to brag a bit more. Don’t you have a brand new book out?

      Hey, this is actually a great way for us to practice our “elevator speeches.” Readers, there’s still time to join the party.

    • Hi Marvin. Thanks for stopping by. The party’s running through the weekend, so you’re welcome to add a bit more if you want!

  4. Thanks for the invitation, Julie. I love the replies so far, and sorry I’m a little late to the party. It IS going on all weekend, though, right? 😉 Unlike Pat, I think I’ll be going for a nice glass of red wine with bacon wrapped scallops and spinach dip and veggies.

    In my sleuth, Claire Hanover’s, second gift basket designer mystery, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET, she’s vacationing in Breckenridge, Colorado with her family. They encounter what seems to be an accidental death on the ski slope that turns out to be MURDER!

    And my sympathies, too, to Stacey and family.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Beth. Your description really intrigues me, especially since I love skiing.

      Coincidentally, I just had red wine and bacon at dinner. No scallops, though – I made whole wheat pasta with a kind of primavera sauce with tomatos, basil and rainbow chard from my garden. Added a little bacon for a garnish. Yum!

  5. Hi, Julie,
    Thank you for the invite! Ok, twist my rubber arm — I’ll be thrilled to tell you about my latest new book titled “The First Excellence”!

    Set in mainland China, the story follows a young Chinese-Canadian woman Li Fa-Ling on a journey to the land of her birth. Trying to discover the mystery of her lost childhood, Fa-Ling soon finds herself thrown head-first into another kind of mystery, involving murder, kidnapping, and religious and political instrigue.

    Like your previous commentor, Karen Walker, and myself, Fa-Ling is a survivor of childhood abuse and is made of the same stern stuff of all survivors. Abandoned along with her newborn sister at the age of 4, Fa-Ling spent 5 years being raised in the poverty of a Chinese orphanage before being adopted at the age of 9. The abuse she suffered during those years lent her a context for life that few can appreciate.

    Along with Chinese Detective Wang Yong-qi and his uncouth but brilliant partner Cheng Minsheng, Fa-Ling must stop a brutal kidnapper — before another newly adopted baby girl goes missing!

    Hope you will all check out my book when it becomes available in Sept09 from and

    Julie, thanks again for this wonderful opportunity!
    Best in writing…

  6. Hi everyone. Thanks for the good comments so far. It’s now Sunday morning and I’m off to a real party with a book club at Lake George. The woman who invited me says this group buys lots of books, so I’m hoping the day will pad my coffers a bit.

    Meanwhile, this virtual party is still going on – hope you’ll join in. I don’t plan to pack it in till my next post, which I’ll write sometime Monday. I have several possible topics, but I’ve realized I probably shouldn’t announce the next topic till I’m sure of it. For example, I still haven’t written the one about close encounters with superstars in the 60’s. I swear I’ll get to it this week, though.

    • Hi Stephen. Congratulations on all your sales and book signings. I’ll visit your blog – I’d love to find out more about how you’re doing it, and to invite you over here for a chat.

  7. Just sneaking in the door before the party ends. That slinky broad in the corner looks like someone who’d be interested in The Surest Poison. That’s not a drink, however, it’s the title of my first Sid Chance mystery. A former Green Beret in Vietnam, then National Park ranger, then small town police chief, now Nashville PI, Sid is hired to find who was responsible for a toxic chemical spill a dozen years ago. The guilty party doesn’t want to be found and three murders make that plain. Sid and his part-time associate, Jaz LeMieux, have to dodge the bad guys as they follow the twisting trail.

    The Surest Poison won the Silver Falchion Award for best book at the recent Killer Nashville mystery conference. Hmm, the slinky broad is too tipsy to care. I’ll try the other side of the room. Thanks for the invitation, Julie.

    • Glad you stopped by, Chester. Your book sounds fascinating, and I wish I’d been able to attend the Nashville conference – it’s a great town.

  8. Hi, Julie: YOu’ve gone a million miles just since the last time I visited your blog. It’s mind-bloggling! All kinds of information on it, and so much so that I’m scared silly. All I want to do is write my books: another one just accepted as a sequel to Midnight Fires (forthcoming April, ’10) and when do I find time for blogs and blog tours (but I’ve got to do one) or Twitter or Facebook….I need a fairy godmother to drop down by my computer and tell me what a writer with minimal time should do first, and then second, and then third!
    Anyway, your blog is fantastic and I’m open mouthed in admiration.
    Should I do a blog tour before– or after my novel comes out? May I be a guest on your wonderful blog, say in March?
    Oh, yes: I’m off to Paris in two weeks to walk in Mary Wollstonecraft’s footsteps during the French revolution. Heads rolled during the Grande Terreur, sometimes 3-500 a day, and she walked in blood. Imagine! And then lost her own head (metaphorically speaking)–she fell in love with a feckless adventurer.
    Enough of blood. Bonne nuit pour le moment. Et merci…

    • Hi Nancy. Congratulations on having another book accepted – that’s really exciting! And have a great time in France.

      Since you have a contract for a new book, I think you’re wise to stick with that. You’re right that there’s a lot to learn when you decide to commit to the world of blogging and online promotion, and you’d be wise to wait until nearer the release date for Midnight Fires.

      For me, this online networking has been all-consuming since May, and I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting my fiction. I’m hoping all this work will eventually help me land the book deal of my dreams, but it’s a gamble. In the meantime, I’m having a great time with it.

      I’d love to have you as a guest in March, if not sooner. Meanwhile, bon voyage!

  9. This party is a great idea! I want to join in, but am in the throes of major edits with my fourth mystery, Gator Creek. I love the way you designed this site. I’m bookmarking it so I can come back and spend time here. Best of luck with it! You’re off to a terrific start!

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