Saturday, October 31, 2009

We've Got a Winner!

Congratulations to etrainer! He's FINALLY the winner of one of my giveaways after faithfully entering a number of previous ones. I am so pleased for you, Ed, and will be mailing out your autographed copy of 9 DRAGONS, the matchbook, and scented candle and bookmarks as soon as I hear back from you with your snailmail addy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

9 DRAGONS Book Signing at Vroman's & SPECIAL GIVEAWAY

It was a dark and stormy night, and traffic out of downtown L.A. was snarled in every direction.  It is a truism that Los Angelenos forget from season to season how to drive in the rain, so everywhere were fender benders, stalled cars, Sig alerts, and generally weirded-out drivers who drove either too slow or too fast for conditions and swerved unexpectedly to avoid puddles.  However, I, your intrepid blog reviewer, ventured bravely into the melee and the rain for what should have been a 20-minute drive to Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena.

An hour later, after having had to go a long distance out of my way on surface streets to avoid a Sig alert on the 110N, I finally arrived at Vroman's.  Nerves frazzled, hair limp from the rain, and annoyed that a number of vehicles parked in the lot behind the bookstore were taking up two spaces, but armed with cameras and excitement, I climbed the stairs to hear Michael Connelly talk about his newest novel, 9 DRAGONS. 

I came in on the last few minutes of his talk and missed even more because the crowd was so great that I had to go around to the other side of the room in order to even see the podium.  After hiding my umbrella and raincoat under the Christmas tree (!), I pulled out my little digital point-and-shoot and scurried up to the front of the room in time to snap off a couple of shots of the crowd as it dispersed ~ some folks leaving but most waiting patiently to get in line for their moment in the sun when they would get their books signed. 

I wandered around, shamelessly eavesdropping on conversations and occasionally breaking in to ask questions.  Everyone agreed Connelly gave a heck of a talk and that 9 DRAGONS sounded really good, some adding that they couldn't wait to get home so they could start reading it.  It seems that most had read all of Connelly's prior Bosch novels.  One woman said she'd just finished THE LINCOLN LAWYER and loved it, though it didn't have Harry in it.  I was able to assure her that THE BRASS VERDICT was even better, and she got out of line to go the stack of Connelly's books and pick up THE BRASS VERDICT then and there.  Another woman showed me a copy of THE CONCRETE BLONDE and remarked that it had been her first Connelly (coincidentally, that was also the first Connelly I'd ever read) and she wanted a signed copy of it in her library.  One man in line had a half dozen copies of 9 DRAGONS, and I couldn't help wince to think of how Connelly's hand would feel in the morning after signing so many books.  Then I met a woman with a bag full of books ~ "One of each of his novels, and a copy of each anthology in which he has a story."  Ouch!  That's a lot of autographs!

As I waited in line, I watched Connelly interact with his fans.  It seemed to me that he had changed and was different from how I remembered him a decade ago.  Though the charm was still there, he seldom cracked a smile, yet the quality that shone through was the way he listened to each fan with complete concentration, ignoring everyone and everything else in the room.  He seemed to be truly interested in what each one had to say and responded easily to their questions and praise. 

When I got to the front of the line, after having bought a copy of 9 DRAGONS for him to sign, I told Mr. Connelly that I was participating in his blog tour and that I would be posting some pictures of the book signing on my blog, along with my review of 9 DRAGONS, which I told him I thought was awesome.  He was completely focused on me and what I had to say, and even asked me for the name of my blog!  In that moment, I felt truly special.

I also lost my sense of purpose.  I'd come as a "reporter" of sorts, but I failed to follow up on a number of comments he'd made, one directly to me!  I'd asked him if he ever planned to get on Twitter, and he said, "I'm trying to finish a book and can't afford the distraction of Twitter right now."  I should have asked him WHAT BOOK?  What's it about?  What's the ETA for release?  Instead, I blathered on a bit longer and then, feeling I'd taken up enough of his time, said thanks and made way for the next fan.  So, reporters everywhere: there is no need to worry about your jobs.  I am a total failure as a reporter.  But I did get a couple of really nice pix.  And an autographed copy of 9 DRAGONS.

Which brings me to the next point:  As a way of thinking all my blog readers for their loyal following, I am going to give away an autographed copy of 9 DRAGONS to one lucky follower who comments and tells me what their favorite Michael Connelly novel is.  I'm also going to include a matchbook (you'll understand when you read the novel), a package of Gold Candle (TM) scented bookmarks and a scented candle.

You must be a follower of Just One More Page...Or Two, have a street address (no p.o. boxes, please), and leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win.  No email address, no entry.  I'm going to pick a name using on October 31 (the day before NaNoWriMo starts).  This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE.  Good luck!

Friday, October 16, 2009


I'm helping to raise funds to
#beatcancer, by blogging, tweeting
and posting Facebook status

Click here to join me!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Winners of 9 Dragons

Between my job and a nasty migraine that was brought on by the change in the weather, I am late posting the winners of the 9 Dragons giveaway, but that is soon to be remedied ~ in fact, right now!  Without further ado, the winners' names as drawn using are:

Carol M.
Beth (BBRB)
Congratulations!  I know you're going to just love 9 Dragons!

I will be sending each of you emails.  Please respond in 48 hours of receipt so the books can be mailed out as soon as possible.

Thanks so much to everyone for participating!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BlogTour Review of 9 Dragons, a Harry Bosch Mystery/Thriller

I first met Michael Connelly back in around '95, at the L.A. Book Faire, after I'd read (and loved) his first two or three Harry Bosch novels. His manner was a little shy but quite charming, and I was properly charmed.  Over the years, I've seen Michael a few times at different book events, and, though he is no longer quite as shy, he is still as charming as ever, except now (at least last time I saw him) his hair's a little grayer and he has a beard.  And I'm still in love with his novels. Tonight, I'm getting ready to leave for Vroman's in Pasadena to attend Michael Connelly's book signing and to listen to him talk about 9 Dragons, and needless to say I'm pretty stoked about it.

Because I just finished reading 9 Dragons a couple of days ago and loved it. With 9 Dragons, Michael's done it again, in a big way. This might be the best Harry Bosch novel since Echo Park. No more cold case unit, Harry's back in Homicide where he belongs, doing what he does best ~ pissing people off, going off the grid, and solving crimes.

The story starts out slow, with Harry and his gun-shy partner catching a case that at first seems like nothing more challenging than the pedestrian shooting of a liquor store owner in South Central. But as Harry starts digging, he discovers that the victim was being extorted by one branch of a mysterious and violent Hong Kong gang known as the Triad. When the Triad bagman is arrested as a suspect, things start popping, but this is Harry ~ he's not going to let a little thing like threats to his life, or even his job, stop him from bringing the murderer down. Then his 13-year old daughter Madeleine goes missing from a mall in Hong Kong where she's been living with her mother, Harry's ex-wife, and the stakes are suddenly raised to almost unbearable heights as the danger turns more deadly than anything he's ever faced before. By the middle of the novel, I literally could not put it down. I could only hold on tight and thank heaven I was on vacation so I didn't have to get up early the next morning for work.

As I said earlier, I've been reading Harry Bosch mysteries since the mid-90s when, on a fluke (because I liked the title), I picked up Concrete Blonde. Through the years, I've watched Harry get into (and out of) some really bad scrapes, but this might be the most exciting and emotionally devastating of all. In 9 Dragons, Harry is as tough and uncompromising as ever, a maverick with an unwavering sense of duty who does what it takes to get the job done, even when he's scared shitless inside.

When you read it, I believe you'll agree with me that 9 Dragons is awesome ~ a thrilling mystery from a wonderful writer at the top of his form.

Oh, yeah, when I get back from the book signing tonight, I'll be drawing names of lucky winners of 9 Dragons as well as posting pix of the event, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What I Did On My (Late-)Summer Vacation? (Why, I read, of course!)

I'm on vacation, visiting my youngest sister in a small town in Eastern North Carolina, not far from The Outer Banks, where she is temporarily (so far a little over a year) residing. Other than my first day here, which was sunny & warm, it's been rainy and cool ~ perfect weather to stay indoors, relaxing, catching up on each other's lives and, of course, both of us being avid readers, catching up on our reading.

My sister just started Duma Key, which she is enjoying, and I finished 9 Dragons* yesterday morning. Though I'm not planning to post my review of it until Tuesday when I also draw the names of the winners of five (5) copies of 9 Dragons, I just couldn't wait to tell you that it's one of the best Harry Bosch mysteries I've read in a long time!

It started out pretty low-key and stayed that way for the first half of the book, which was good because I began it on the first day of visiting my sister so I didn't feel compelled to hide in the bathroom to read it instead of spending time with her. But then, when I was reading it before bed the other night, WHAM! What a ride! It took off like a jet and did loop-de-loops for the rest of the book, and I literally could not put it down to sleep until I finished it (at 4 a.m.)!

So now I'm reading The Shack, which my sister said is wonderful. I've heard mixed reviews, but the first part (though about an emotionally difficult subject) was good, if slightly simplistic in the writing style. I've also started Black Ships by Jo Graham, after having read and loved her second novel, Hand of Isis. So far (about 30 pages in), I'm loving Black Ships too.

All together, I brought five books with me to read: The above two, as well as The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson, an historical novel by Georgette Heyer, and a collection of short paranormal stories, including one by Jim Butcher. And if that isn't enough to take me through the week and the flight home, my sister has a bookcase full of novels (many by Stephen King) that she says I'm welcome to take home with me.

Ah, life is sure good!

*In compliance with the latest Big-Brother government intrusion into the private sector(strange how it's acceptable to legislate bloggers who get books for free from the publisher but it's so not okay to have a public option in the health care reform bill because it's seen (by some) as government intrusion ~ GAH! DON'T GET ME STARTED!), "9 Dragons" is a review copy that I got for free from the publisher Little, Brown, a Division of Hatchette Book Group. The publisher is also allowing me to give away five (5) free copies to five (5) of my readers whose names I draw on October 13. In exchange for all that, I am going to post my honest review on my blog on Tuesday, October 13. I'm also going to attend the book signing with Michael Connelly at Vroman's in Pasadena that evening and take pictures. I will probably also buy a copy of the book so I can get Mr. Connelly to sign it for me. But the copy of the book I already read and just mentioned above was really good was sent to me gratis. Just want to make that crystal clear. I'd also like to make it clear that I get no other remuneration than the free copy of the book for my review, either from the author, the publisher, or any bookseller. In other words, if my review convinces you to go buy the book, I get nothing out of it except the knowledge that you are going to have one hell of a time with it, and the satisfaction of a book lover who has been instrumental in turning on another book lover to a great book.