Hallie Ephron Signed Book

My signed copy of Hallie Ephron’s “Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel”

What a fantastic weekend!

New England Crime Bake was, in a word, inspirational. The workshops, the instructors, the camaraderie … fantastic. And all that fretting about meeting Hallie Ephron? Pfft! Hallie was nothing short of friendly, down-to-earth, and incredibly helpful. I will forever be grateful to her.

Hallie’s critique of the first 15 pages of my book exceeded every expectation I might have had. I could immediately see how her thoughtful insights were going to positively impact the entire story. The time and effort she obviously put into her review completely blew me away. I mean, the woman is a teensy bit busy, what with her writing career, writing book reviews for the Boston Globe, teaching the craft of writing, attending book signings, participating in panel discussions and workshops with other authors, and on and on. And yet, with all that, she couldn’t have been any nicer or more accessible to this as-yet-unpublished writer.

Now that it’s all over, I suppose I can confess: After months of nervous excitement and anticipation, I came very close to missing my meeting with Hallie!

I made an early night of it Friday because the agreed upon time for our meeting was 8:00 the following morning. Yikes! What was I thinking? Everyone who knows me knows I am a confirmed Night Owl. I returned to my room around dinner time, showered, ordered up room service, packed my tote bag for the next day (including a notebook and multiple pens), laid out my clothes for Saturday morning (well, I made sure they were all hung neatly, and together, with shoes placed precisely on the closet floor below — oh yes, I was in full obsessive mode), set the alarm on my cell phone for 6:30 a.m., and climbed into bed hours before my normal sleep time.

In retrospect, of course, I realize this was a big mistake. Off my normal schedule, I tossed and turned throughout the night. When the alarm went off at the appointed hour, I was in the first sound sleep of the night, so I ignored it. This is the cell phone equivalent of hitting the snooze button. It went off again at 6:40, 6:50, and who knows how many more times. All I know for certain is that I awoke (without benefit of any alarm sounding) at …


With precisely 20 minutes to go from recently unconscious to meeting-ready, I sprang into action. (Not exactly advisable once you are in your fifties. Just saying.) As I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, I looked myself straight in the eye, and (I swear to you) said out loud: “Even if you have to go downstairs with no makeup and sleep creases on your face, you are not missing this meeting!”

Somehow I managed to brush my teeth, wash my face, apply makeup, fix my hair, dress, and be in the meeting room … with five minutes to spare! It was a marvel of determination and desperation, a feat not likely to be repeated … ever. If Hallie had any inkling she was gazing upon my “15-minute makeover,” she was too gracious to let on. For, when we met, she apologized to me for being two minutes late. If she’d only known …

And I guess now she will. giggle


Taking Stock in the New Year
On the Eve of New England Crime Bake
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