Analyzing handwriting for Adobe. Imagine the fun of getting to do what you love and having your best friend along for company. Linda Larson, who is a colleague as well as a friend, said yes when the software company, Adobe, asked her and me to work at some of their huge conventions. The idea was to use handwriting analysis to promote their Adobe Sign product.
The company sent us to San Francisco for Adobe conventions a couple of times, and to San Diego, where we analyzed the handwriting of people who wanted to try the app. Visitors to the booth would write and sign their name on an iPad, then Linda or I would tell them what their handwriting revealed about their personality. Interestingly, they didn’t like their writing as it appeared on the screen, and preferred writing on paper, which we provided.
In San Francisco, more than 80,000 people attended the event during the week. Adobe put us up in the Zeppelin Hotel, a boutique hotel that charged over $600/night! For any Led Zeppelin fans, here’s the bathroom wallpaper. The ceiling light projected the Peace sign.
We walked to the Convention Center each day and got lost several times. When we got to the booth, people were always lining up to have their handwriting analyzed.
We also worked at the offices of their client, Apptus, analyzing their employees.
During that gig, I took time out to be interviewed on a local TV news show about the presidential candidates. That was fun.
We’ve been doing these big conventions for many years. Without exception, we bring hundreds of visitors to the booth. Most of the time, the companies who can afford to hire us are in the medical field.
Dozens of friends gathered at Mimi’s Cafe in Ventura on November 14, 2017 to help me celebrate the release of my latest book, Written Off. Food, prizes and lots of fun. As she has for all my other releases, Debbie Mitsch of Mystery Ink drove all the way up from Huntington Beach to sell books at the Written Off launch party.
We had such a great time, I plan on doing it again when my next book, Proof of Life, comes out early in 2019.
Local author and buddy James Francis Gray also had a table with his books.
James is the best-known author in Ventura. He belongs to every networking group there is and he’s the best person to know if you need the word spread about something you are doing. He touts the Latino Expo and has made Tatiana’s Coffee & Tea the most popular independent coffee house in Ventura. Tatiana and Diego display local vendors’ wares there, several of which are authors, including yours truly.
Everyone seemed to be having a great time. I gave anyone who brought a prize a 30-second commercial to talk about anything they wanted to. There were all kinds of prizes. My good friend Tracey Bolton, a phenomenal psychic medium, donated a reading. The person who won really lucked out. Everyone who buys books gets a free ticket for each one they purchase. Then I do a drawing free handwriting analysis.
Since moving to Ventura in 2004 I’ve made some great friends, many of whom became my readers. When I got published, they all came out and supported me. It’s warm feeling to know you belong to a community.
At the end of October, 2017, the zany ladies of the Hillside, Ventura, Book Club read What She Saw (a young woman with amnesia. For the second time, my friend Amy Herron invited me to attend their meeting as guest author. They met the night before Halloween and they dressed up as characters from the book. What a thrill to see my characters come to life that way! Almost as good as having it made into a movie (almost).
Irene Mefford (in mermaid green) hosted the event at her home in Ondulondo, a neighborhood in the hills high above Ventura. Imagine the view of the lights at night, the Pacific Ocean during the day. Irene went all-out with fabulous Halloween-themed food. She created claw-shaped meatloaf, witches head apples in cider, Jello shots in huge syringes. As you can imagine, by the time we got around to judging the costumes, everyone was in a great mood.
Teri Casey dressed as Jessica Mack’s backpack! How’s that for creativity? She won a prize for that great costume.
Tragedy strikes the book club
Tragically, few short weeks later, Irene’s beautiful home became one of a thousand casualties of the Thomas fire, a heartbreaking loss. Other club members in the neighborhood were also evacuated. These terrifying experiences teach us a lot about what is really of greatest value in our lives.
The good news is, the book club continues to meet and I hope to be invited back again some time. How would they dress up for my upcoming book, Proof of Life, which is the sequel to What She Saw.
What She Saw, a young woman with amnesia. Imagine waking up on a train and realizing that you don’t know who you are, where you are going. or where you came from. Furthermore, something tells you that you can’t call the cops.
Famous mystery authors at Bouchercon and me. When Bouchercon, the largest mystery fan convention in the world came to Long Beach, CA, I got a pic with a couple two famous mystery authors. Plus, I’m honored to say, both fellow Brit Simon Wood and Jeffery Deaver provided wonderful cover blurbs for my 2016 book, Outside the Lines.
And that’s not all. Mr. Deaver told me he used my book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis as a reference for The Devil’s Teardrop. Why? The book features a forensic document examiner like Claudia Rose and me. Pretty cool, no?
Several of his books have been made it popular movies, including The Bone Collector with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. I just hope some of that talent, hard work and good luck rubs off on me!
Here’s what these two famous mystery authors said about my book:
“Utterly compelling! “Outside the Lines” joins the ranks of those rare thrillers that expertly blend nonstop plotting with keen perceptions of the characters—good and bad—who populate this wonderful tale.” Jeffery Deaver
Simon Wood, author of “The One That Got Away” wrote,
“An expert witness makes for expert storytelling in “Outside the Lines.”
Going to mystery writer conferences and appearing on panels is one good way for a mystery author to get visibility. Especially at Boucheron, where there are usually over 1000 attending, it’s great exposure. I’m a little more comfortable at Left Coast Crime, where there are about half that number. Besides, I’m more of a house cat, more likely to attend when it’s on this side of the country.
My 2016 book, Outside the Lines called for a book launch party. I held the event in the clubhouse where I live. Since half the book takes place in my home country, England, we had a Brit-themed book launch party for around sixty people.
See Suzanne Sweets‘ gorgeous dessert display below. Those morsels were as delicious as they look. The table of British foods came from Rosie Lee British Imports in Ventura. The board had pictures of scenes from the book. Prizes, great food, lots of fun.
Book launch parties are great fun because it’s a chance to give back to the readers who support me. When Poison Pen came out, I held the first launch party in the patio of a haunted hotel. Unfortunately, the owner and I had a misunderstanding about what he would provide (almost nothing) and what he would charge for it (a lot!). I learned from that mistake. From there, I went big and had a party or two at the Wedgewood Banquet Center with Written in Blood and Dead Write. More fun, food, and prizes.
The next couple of launch parties were held at the home of Martha Jaffe, my wonderful travel planner, in the Ventura Keys. She shopped for finger foods with me, cooked for me, and made everything perfect. What could be better than hanging out on a deck in the Keys in August with fifty of your good friends and readers?
Last year, 2017, when Written Off was released, I decided to host the launch party at Mimi’s Cafe in Ventura. Fellow author, James F. Gray, co-hosted and helped foot the bill. No wonder he’s one of my favorites! We had around 70 guests. It went so well, I think we’ll do it again when Proof of Life comes out in 2019.
My 2015 author events included appearances at more than 30 events! A tour de force.
My philosophy is: Writing books is hard and getting them published is harder. But the hardest part of all is getting them into the public eye. Ways to do that is to give talks, appear at book signings, and meet our readers. Like me, many writers are introverts who are not always comfortable doing this. though I’m one of the introverts, I’m lucky to have begun public speaking at the age of 11, so I don’t mind addressing large groups.
My 2015 author events included speaking at several chapter meetings of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation and signing books at the L.A. Times Festival of Books. The authors, all sold their (our) own books at the Camarillo Writer’s Club, where the audience was large and varied.
One event was spontaneous when a speaker couldn’t make it to the Ventura County Professional Women’s Network. I was asked to fill in, which I happily did. I served on the board of directors of VCPWN from 2004-2018, as president for two years, and also in several other positions. It remains a favorite organization.
At the Center for Spiritual Living in Camarillo I spoke about graphotherapy and how to work through blocks to success with handwriting exercises. Graphotherapy is something Claudia Rose taught Annabelle Giordano when they met in Written in Blood.
Then, there was the Camarillo Newcomer’s Club, and the release of Outside the Lines, which I talk about in another blog post.
My lovely author friends
I’m blessed with such good friends to share the spotlight at these events. As part of my 2015 author events, I often co-hosted with Lena Rivkin when speaking to handwriting analysts. Lena is the Vice-President of the SoCal chapter of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation. Whether we are at writing groups or libraries, it’s always fun to chat with other authors and hear their experiences. And the best thing is to meet the readers who support us.
Inkslingers Ball came into being when my tattoo artist son, Erik, asked me to order some supplies for him. Surfing the web, I found an old tattoo convention titled The Inkslingers Ball. In case you didn’t know (I didn’t), inkslingers are tattoo artists. That was a Tada! moment. I knew that name was a book title waiting for the right story. It took a while to gel, but finally, Insklingers Ball the book came into being.
I always start with a title and build a story around it. In this case, Erik drew a sugar skull tattoo for me. In the story, it’s connected to several deaths that homicide detective Joel Jovanic, is investigating. To bring the connection closer to home, Claudia Rose’s young friend, Annabelle Giordano, secretly gets the tattoo and places herself in grave danger.
During the research phase, Erik took me to the Insklingers Expo in Pomona, California. Talk about sensory overload! I hope I translated my experiences to the page. I really love this book. I know, I wrote it and shouldn’t say that. But I do!
My longtime pal and former student, Christine Zinn, drove all the way down from San Jose to the launch party. That’s 400 miles! And that’s true friendship.