Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weekend Tidbits

Since I was out of town this past weekend, I'm a little behind on sharing some items with you. The first is rather important and I'm hoping this isn't the first you're hearing of it. I have a fellow blogger and friend in New Zealand, Craig Sisterson, and he sent me this information regarding the earthquake and the victims:

"Kia ora from shaky New Zealand,

As many of you will know, on Tuesday at 12:51pm NZT the city of Christchurch, which suffered a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in September last year, was struck by another massive earthquake - this time much shallower and more violent. This earthquake is completely different to last year's one, which caused massive property and infrastructure damage, but we were blessed with no loss of life. As of this morning NZT, more than 100 are dead, and another 220+ missing, and hundreds badly injured. There have been no signs of life from under any rubble for more than 36 hours, which is heartbreaking for the more than 1000 rescuers, from several countries, who are working their way through what is a pretty dangerous environment.

I now live in Auckland, but I went to University in Christchurch, so have many, many friends living in what is/was a wonderful city. Those I have talked to/emailed/texted/FB-ed are safe but badly shaken, but there are several I've not yet heard about.

As the days go on the people of Christchurch will need a lot of help. There will be months, even years, of rebuilding, and as of today more than half the city is still without power/water. Organisations like the Red Cross and many others are doing some fantastic work, supported by caring people from all over New Zealand, and all around the world.

I thought I should share with you some ways you could help, if you felt like doing so. All of us down this end of the world would appreciate it, that's for sure.

California mystery writer and Professor Margot Kinberg is setting up a charity raffle - "Do the Write Thing" - of signed mystery novels, to raise funds. Several authors have already donated signed copies of their books, and she is looking for more, so she can create the biggest/best raffle possible. People will enter the raffle by donating to the Red Cross. If you are a mystery author willing to help out, please contact Margot at

You can read more about Do the Write Thing here.

**note from Jen: since I'm late in posting this, I wanted to include the post from yesterday announcing the raffle. Check it out for a chance to win a book prize pack.

I have also placed on my website information about various ways to donate/get involved here.

I know we are all busy with many things in our lives, but I would urge you all to consider helping in any way you can, and feel comfortable doing. The crime and mystery writing community - writers, readers, and reviewers etc - is a very connected one, with a great sense of community and camaraderie. Christchurch was the home of NZ's most well-known mystery novelist, Dame Ngaio Marsh, and the current home of several NZ crime writers (the three I have contacted, including Paul Cleave who some of you met at Harrogate, are all safe, but badly shaken). It would be terrific if we could all pull together and help them out.

Thanks for reading.

Kia Kaha from Aotearoa". 

And while I'm late in getting that posted, I hope everyone can - at the very least - offer prayers and positive thoughts as the people of Christchurch work to rebuild and recover from this tragedy.

Presently, there is some sleuthing going on down in Florida, but in a couple of weeks the Left Coast Crime folks will be meeting up in Santa Fe. Ken Isaacson is going to be moderating a panel called "Which Came First the Lawyer or the Writer?" If you're going to be in Santa Fe, you may want to check out the information Ken's posted on Facebook (hopefully that works; I always manage to mess up Facebook links) about this panel, which will include Laura Caldwell, Gabriella Herkert, Paul Levine, and Sheldon Siegel. I will not be at Left Coast Crime, but if anyone goes could you please send a great big hug to Gabi for me?

Another charity opportunity that is going on right now involves libraries. Karin Slaughter has started up a group to raise funds to help the struggling libraries. You can see the slew of auction items available here. And you can (hopefully) check out the "Save the Libraries" Facebook page, here.

If you attended Bouchercon in San Francisco or you are already registered for St. Louis, you should soon be receiving your ballot for the Anthony Awards, if you have not already. Please be sure to fill this out and send it back. Show the love for your favorite books of 2010 so they can be recognized.

If you aren't registered for the St. Louis Bouchercon, it'll be here before you know it. Don't miss out on the fun. This is going to be one incredible Bouchercon.

I recently learned that Brian Freeman is going to be passing through the Cleveland area in May. I'm very thrilled about this. I had made a New Year's resolution that I would attend at least one author event each month. So far so good. This month will be Linda Fairstein, which is actually next week! But, since I'm making the effort to do that, I also wanted to share some links with you to author tour schedules. If you can get out to an event, please show the authors and bookstores/libraries some support.

I'll continue to update you as I learn about authors' tour schedules. I think this summer is going to be killer, so stay tuned.

In Jen's Book Thoughts news...make sure you check back tomorrow. I have a fun contest to announce with some rather fine prizes. And on Monday the Amateur Sleuth tournament will begin. Lots of fun stuff going on and it's keeping me busy. Hope you enjoy it, and happy reading!


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