Monday, September 24, 2007

North to Alaska!

I'm off to Bouchercon, a big mystery conference held in a different city every year. This year, it's in Anchorage, Alaska. Sure, I thought, how bad could it be...until they told me there might be snow! We Californians (at least those of use from the Bay Area) aren't used to weather with a big "W" -- we tend to whine when it rains, much less snows...

Still, there's a chance I'll get to see Aurora Borealis or even a moose, so what could be better than that?

Fellow Sister in Crime (or is it Mister in Crime?) Simon Woods is nominated for an Anthony Award, so I'll be rooting for him. After the conference, I'm taking part in the Authors in the Bush Program, which sends unsuspecting souls like me and Simon (and several others) off to different remote villages to teach writing in the schools for a few days. We have a whole curriculum having to do with a mystery surrounding the murder of a rabbit...there's a fingerprinting exercise, and we'll conduct interviews of the suspects including a wolf and a bear. Should be great fun!

My assignment is Hooper Bay, a village that suffered a terrible fire last summer. I'm anxious to see their new school building, and visit the surrounding area.

You can find more information about Hooper Bay here:

Check back for photos upon my return October 4!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Portrait Contest Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kristin Lindstrom
September 19, 2007 Art Lover's Mystery Series

Hailey Lind Releases Portrait of Contest Winner!

Second Portrait Deadline Extended to October 15

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Hailey Lind, who writes the Art Lover's Mystery Series, has released the first portrait won under the 2006 Portrait Contest to winner Barbara Hussey of New Orleans, selected from the hundreds of readers entered. Ms. Hussey, a Katrina survivor who lost everything in the storm including all family photographs, wanted a

Julie Goodson-Lawes holds the finished portrait of Lillie Richoux and the
church directory photo from which she worked.

portrait painted of her late mother, Lillie Richoux, along with the pink roses that she loved. The only surviving photograph was located in an old church directory. Coincidentally, the portrait is due to be delivered to Ms. Hussey on her birthday.

Hailey Lind is the pen name for two sisters, Carolyn Lawes, an historian, and Julie Goodson-Lawes, an artist. Ms. Goodson-Lawes painted the custom portrait for Ms. Hussey.

A portrait contest is held for the release of each mystery in the series, and the current contest coincided with the launch of Hailey Lind’s third book from Signet, Brush with Death, in July. The winner of the contest will receive a portrait of themselves or a loved one painted in the style of an Old Master -- such as Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, or Raphael -– from a photograph. Readers, booksellers, reviewers, and other interested parties can register for the contest at the author’s website, or by mailing a postcard with their name, email address and phone number to Art Lovers Mystery Series Portrait Contest, 871 N. Greenbrier Street, Arlington, VA 22205. The deadline for the current Portrait Contest, originally September 30, has been extended to October 15. The winner will be selected October 25.

In order to enter, readers must answer a question taken from Brush with Death: What religion did little Louis Spencer's family practice? No purchase is necessary. The contest is open to legal U.S. and Canadian residents ages 18 and up. There is a limit of one entry per individual and e-mail address. The winner will be selected at random from all entrants and notified by email or phone. (Employees of Penguin Putnam and its subsidiaries are not eligible to enter.) More information on how to enter and on contest rules is available at
This is my dog, Sam. This isn't part of the Press Release, I just think she's adorable

Monday, September 10, 2007

The First of Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth and Adventures in Sculpting

Personally, I'm rather fond of sloth -- I like to imagine I look a little like the woman above while I'm being slothful...though the reality is probably not quite so lovely. She's likely to wake up with a crick in her neck, anyway. But I digress.

While pondering themes for a series of garden sculptures for a client, I happened upon the idea of rendering romantic sculptures depicting the 7 deadly sins. Sins are such fun, especially those spelled out in other times -- they seem so relatively innocent now, in comparison to modern evils like genocide and fomenting environmental disasters.

The Seven Deadly Sins are Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, and Pride. I'm not sure of the order, but I don't know if it matters. They're all nasty, just the same, and according to medieval scholars, deserved particular punishments in hell.

Above: The Seven Deadly Sins
Below: The punishment for Sloth was eternity in a snake pit.

I am first and foremost a painter -- I love the sensual feel of paints and brushes, the building up of the pigments, the layering of tones and shadows. But along with San Francisco mosaic artist Karen Thompson of Archetile , I've been venturing into the exciting world of sculpture.
3-D art can be accomplished in two basic ways: by taking away (as in chipping away at a marble slab) or by adding (as in clay). Karen and I wanted something that would endure in an outdoor setting, and since I don't really trust myself with sharp objects --and have had zero training in this area-- we decided to steer away from expensive stone carving. Instead, we began with a rebar structure, added wire and styrofoam, and sculpted out of cement and sand. Afterward, Karen and her assistant Mary added the mosaic blanket.

From concept to reality

The fun part of making seven sculptures of beautiful women representing the seven sins is that it would take the viewer a while to realize what the figures represented, if they ascertained it at all. From early concept drawings, we considered certain engineering difficulties and the steep learning curve. Finally, we decided to begin our adventures in sculpture with particular, Sloth as depcited by a beautiful sleeping woman.

This was the original small clay concept, or "maquette", and the wire frame we thought we would need contstructed in rebar to support our slothful type -- in concrete, our girl's a bit hefty.

Above: On the rebar frame, we wrapped styrofoam and steel wool in chicken wire to hold the cement.

Below: Building up the cement/sand mixture. The working time is limited, as the cement goes through a chemical trasformation as it dries. We scratched the surface so that the next layer would adhere.

After her first body dried, we wrapped her in a silk sari to study the folds for the mosaic, to be applied later:

Above: Nearing completion in Karen's mosaic studio! (And she's still asleep, I might add.)

Below: The in-progress and nearly complete Sloth, from the rear. With each layer of cement, our Sloth fills out and becomes more vuluptuous.

A couple more shots:

I'll post pictures of lovely Sloth when she's installed in her new home in a pecan grove in Phoenix, Arizona. We hope to have the beautiful Gluttony join her soon.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Yreka...just because!

Good to know:

at a rest stop just beyond Shasta Mountain, you can still find espresso.

This summer has been full of travel and talks for the newest release in the Art Lover's Mystery Series, Brush with Death.

Oakland-based artist half of Hailey (aka, Julie) spoke all around the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Mystery Bookstore and M is for Mystery in San Mateo, then trekked down to San Diego and Los Angeles to appear at Mysterious Galaxy and the Los Angeles Mystery Bookstore. I also spoke at several libraries, especially in San Jose, in support of the Adults' summer reading program.

The summer whirlwind came to a close with a trip up to the northernmost region of California, in what is known as Jefferson State (see below!) . My parents own 20 acres on a mountain bordering Scott Valley, and I've been visiting the area since I was four years old.

The Cabin

Two views from the cabin

In the Bay Area things change so quickly it's hard to recognize much from one's childhood; but the Scott Valley area has always seemed nostalgic to me -- it looks virtually the same as it did when we used to come into town to use the laundromat, buy Jolly Ranchers from Willard's General Store, and ooh and aah over the two-headed calf in Fort Jones' charming town museum.

Last July I went up to the cabin for a brief retreat with some friends, and dropped by the Yreka Bookstore located on the town's charming, old-fashioned Miner Street -- largely unchanged from its days as a Gold Rush center. The store was closed (it was the 4th of July, after all) but I left a note and some bookmarks. Upon my return home to Oakland, I received the sweetest phone message from Mary Ellen Rock, owner of Yreka Bookstore. "You're our very favorite author!" Mary Ellen declared in a soft south Carolina drawl. She may have been stretching the truth just a tad, but I'll take what I can get....

She invited me to visit the store to do a signing when I went north again to close up the cabin for the winter. On August 30 I arrived to find a table decorated with balloons and beautiful lilies, and homemade cookies and punch. Over the next few hours I met old friends and new -- the Heskett clan, the Enos clan -- and chatted with Pat, Michelle, and Mary Ellen of the bookstore. We were even featured on the front page of the Siskiyou Daily that Friday, complete with a color photo! (Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me--so no photos of the Bookstore Gang!)

Mary Ellen Rock has a wonderful motto (which is in reference to a popular author whose name I won't mention): "I will not stock hatemongers." Words to live by!

Ah, the beauty of a small town. I met so many wonderful people --Annette, Trina, another Mary Ellen, Dori, Deborah-- signed a lot of books, talked art and writing and local memories. Thanks to all of those in Yreka and the surrounding area for the warm welcome. See you next summer!