Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Book Launch Diary

Ever wonder what an author does to launch a book?

This last Friday evening was the beginning of my book launch for Tahoe Ghost Boat.
I sent out 2300 emails to announce my new book, then drove across town to Artifacts in the Raley’s Village Center. (I always do my first signing at Artifacts because the owners used to own Neighbor’s Bookstore, and they were instrumental in helping me begin this business, sitting down with me and answering a thousand questions back in 1999 and then helping me when my first book came out in 2001. They sell a lot of my books.)
I signed books for three hours, chatting with many people who’ve been coming every year since the beginning. I also met a lot of new people who’d heard about the Owen McKenna mystery series and wanted to check it out. Some people wanted their picture taken with me. Yikes. But I smiled and tried to be gracious.
Afterward, I went home for a quick dinner, grabbed a few hours of sleep, then got up Saturday morning and headed through the Tahoe traffic and down to Sundance Books in Reno.
At Sundance, I gave a talk, told them a bit about Tahoe Ghost Boat, did a reading, then signed books and, oh yeah, smiled for more pictures. Before I left, one of the store owners asked if I could provide them with a second display so they could showcase more of my books. It’s hard to get a store to put in a display for your books. This was the first time a store has wanted to devote double display space for my series, so I was excited!
When the Sundance crowd thinned out, I jumped in the car and drove up the canyon to Truckee where I stopped at The Bookshelf to see that they had a good supply of the new title. I’ll be up there again on Thursday for the Truckee Thursday street celebration where I’ll be signing at The Bookshelf’s tent. But they were eager for the new book as long-time Bookshelf employee Carol had just finished reading her Advance Review Copy of Tahoe Ghost Boat and pronounced it my best book yet. Really? I like to think so, but I've got a bit of bias on this issue.
Next, I headed south toward Tahoe City on 89 alongside the Truckee River which, incidentally, is still flowing well despite the drought. (Lots of rafters!) I went to a store called Geared For Games in the Boatworks Mall in Tahoe City. Geared For Games sells a lot of books for me and they wanted me to do a signing. They set me up in the middle of the renovated old warehouse mall and I repeated my efforts, signing books for an hour and smiling for more pictures.
After that, I updated and refilled the Geared For Games Owen McKenna display. The owner also owns the Mind Play store in Squaw Valley, and they sell my books, too, so I filled an order for that store.
By the time I got home, 24 hours had passed since the first book I signed at Artifacts the evening before. One day, five stores, hundreds of books signed, 175 miles driven, and a lot of happy readers. (Hopefully, they will still be happy after they’ve read my latest book!)
And when I got home, I noticed that the Kindle version of Tahoe Ghost Boat had jumped onto Amazon’s Private Investigator Bestseller list.
Am I lucky or what?
Now I regroup, and start another round this coming week. A talk and signing at the library on the South Shore, then The Bookshelf in Truckee, then a talk and signing at Shelby’s books in Minden, NV, then back to the South Shore at the Red Hut, then to Carson City, Reno, then Genoa, Nevada, Placerville, CA, Sacramento, San Jose, Quincy… You get the idea.
Thanks to all of you for your support and interest!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Quick Basics Of Tahoe Boat Inspections

There is a large amount of information available on Tahoe Boat Inspections, but it is hard to wade through it for the most basic information of all. So here’s the drill on the basics.

Question: WHO needs a Tahoe boat inspection?
Answer: Everybody who puts a boat or even a facsimile of a boat into any of the Tahoe Basin’s lakes. Even if your boat is a tiny little inflatable pretend kayak or a homemade dinghy, you need an inspection. Even if your boat is brand new and has never touched water, you need an inspection.

Question: WHY are boat inspections necessary?
Answer: Because our Tahoe lakes are pristine bodies of water, and if invasive species of plants or animals from other places come into Tahoe, they will wreak havoc. Some already have. You may think that you have no such life form on your boat, but that’s for the inspector to decide. Some of the bad-ass critters they’re looking for are microscopic. Some may even have gotten attached to your brand new boat when its hull was water-tested at the factory.

Question: WHERE do you get your boat inspected?
Answer: There are currently four inspection stations. One is at Alpine Meadows Road just off Hwy 89, west of Tahoe City. Another is at Northstar, just off Hwy 267, north of Kings Beach. The third is in Meyers on the South Shore, near the intersection of Hwys 50 and 89. The fourth is at Spooner Summit on Hwy 50, east of Glenbrook. (Note that the Spooner Summit station is closed July 20.) The Northstar inspection station is only open Thursdays through Sundays. Alpine Meadows, Meyers, and Spooner Lake are open 7 days a week. Here’s the link to inspection locations:  Tahoe Boat Inspection Locations

Question: WHAT happens if I launch my boat without an inspection sticker?
Answer: They won’t let you launch at the boat ramps. If you launch from some other private location, they will probably see you. (You know about the eyes in the sky, right?) If you get caught without your papers/stickers in order, you will be very, very sorry. The minimum fine is $5000, and rumors are that they will take you to a dark room for special rehabilitation techniques that they learned from the CIA.

Question: HOW much does the inspection cost?
Answer: From approximately $30 to $125, depending on boat size and whether you are a one-time user or you want to take your boat in and out multiple times. By any measure, the fee is practically nothing compared to the cost of your boat or your trip to Tahoe. And if your boat is a non-motorized canoe, kayak, or paddleboard, then there is no cost. (But you still gotta have the inspection.)

Question: WHAT if I don’t launch my boat in Lake Tahoe, but go to one of the other Tahoe Basin lakes like Fallen Leaf or Echo Lake or Spooner Lake?
Answer: You still need to get an inspection.

Question: WHAT if I’m coming up from the valley and the inspection station is way out of my way? For example, do I really have to drive past Echo Lake and go all the way down to Meyers to get my boat inspected and then turn around and drive back up to Echo Lake?
Answer: Yes.

Question: CAN all this be summed up into something easy to remember?
Answer: Yes. If you have a boat of any kind and you want to use it anywhere in Tahoe, your first and most important stop is a Tahoe Boat Inspection station. Click here for all the details: Tahoe Boat Inspections

Sunday, July 13, 2014

How Often Does It Rain During Tahoe's Summer?

Short answer? Not often at all. In fact, Tahoe is one of best places to plan an outdoor event well in advance without worrying about rain.
Long answer? Most outdoor event planning in Tahoe is during the months of July, August, and September. People wonder if their travel or party or wedding or family reunion will get rained out. It can, but it is very likely that you will have perfect weather.
Tahoe’s weather includes famous amounts of snow in the winter, but July, August, and September are drier than all but the three driest months in Phoenix and Tucson!
Enjoying Tahoe Sunshine!

Most people would agree that the weather that is most likely to “drown out” your event is a thunderstorm. In fact, during those three months the possibility of a thunderstorm happens on only 10% or less of the days. That’s three days in July and August and even less in September. And when a thunderstorm comes, it usually doesn’t drop much rain and it is usually over quickly
What are the other sources of precipitation? Light rain happens on only 3% of summer days, or one day a month. And light rain in Tahoe is usually very light, a few sprinkles at night and that is all.
Truth be told, there is also the possibility of light snow. I know, it seems ridiculous to get snow in July or August, but all of us long-term locals remember times it has happened. When the rare cold front pushes in off the Pacific or down from the Northern Rockies, the resulting snow is usually very little and it melts fast. The snow won’t interrupt your event as much as the cold air will. But there’s only about a 1% chance of snow in July and August. Toward the end of September, the chance of snow rises to about 4% to 5% of days, which translates to one or two days in September.
There have been times when an actual winter storm blows through in the end of September, dropping substantial amounts of snow, but the chance is very small. And while the snow may hang around for awhile at higher elevations, it always melts down at lake level within a day or two.
Yes, people come here for the gorgeous landscape, but one of the mains reasons why Tahoe is so popular in summer and early fall is because our weather is generally perfect. Hot sun during the day (average high 79 degrees), cool to cold at night (average low 40 degrees - great sleeping weather!), and mostly clear blue skies.
So go ahead and plan your outdoor event and come up the mountain to play! The odds are very good that you won’t have to worry about rain.

P.S. Official qualifiers and disclaimers apply. If it is critical that you don’t get hit with precipitation, plan for an indoor backup location!

Here are links to averages on two weather websites.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sneak Preview - My New Owen McKenna Mystery

In less than one month, my new book will be out!

Here’s the Back Copy:

The Girl Is Effervescent With Life

Gertie O'Leary is a 15-year-old girl with a messy bird's nest of red hair, a serious softball pitch, and a dream to be a movie director. She also has a $2 million price on her head.
But Somebody Wants Her Dead
When a gang led by a killer the FBI calls Mikhailo the Monster takes Gertie as the centerpiece of an extortion plot, the girl's mother calls Tahoe Detective Owen McKenna for help.
Her Parents Don't Care What Happens
McKenna finds out that Gertie's stepfather has just died in what looks like a boating accident and that Gertie's mother cares more about not losing money to blackmail than saving her daughter.
It Looks Like Detective McKenna Can't Save Her
As the unwanted child of divorced, self-focused parents, Gertie has no defenders. So McKenna appoints himself her savior. But McKenna is one man up against a small army of twisted murderers whose orders are to kill the girl…

I will be doing a range of booksignings in the area. Here’s the current list with the possibility of more being added. Come join me!

July 25, 2014 4 - 7 p.m. Premier booksigning for TAHOE GHOST BOAT at Artifacts 4000 Lake Tahoe Blvd (in the Raleys Village Center just southwest of Heavenly Village) (530) 543-0728
July 26, 2014 11 a.m., Talk and Signing for TAHOE GHOST BOAT, Sundance Bookstore at 121 California Avenue, Reno, NV (775) 786-1188, Reno
July 26, 2014 3 p.m. Signing TAHOE GHOST BOAT at Geared for Games, Boatworks Mall, Tahoe City, CA
July 30, 2014, 6:30 p.m.Talk and Sign TAHOE GHOST BOAT at the South Lake Tahoe Library, Rufus Allen Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA
July 31, 2014, 5-7 p.m.signing TAHOE GHOST BOAT at "Truckee Thursdays" downtown Truckee, CA (I’ll be at The Bookshelf tent.
August 1, 2014 6:30 p.m. Talk and Signing for TAHOE GHOST BOAT, at Shelby's Bookshoppe, 1663 Lucerne St. in Minden Village, Minden, NV 775-782-5484
August 3, 2014 8:30 a.m. SIgn TAHOE GHOST BOAT at The Red Hut at Ski Run, South Lake Tahoe, CA
August 9, 2014 8:30 a.m. Sign TAHOE GHOST BOAT at The Red Hut, 4385 S. Carson, Carson City, NV
August 10, 2014 8:30 a.m. Sign TAHOE GHOST BOAT at The Red Hut, 3480 Lakeside #1, Reno, NV
September 27, 28, 2014, Exhibiting TAHOE GHOST BOAT and my other books at the Candy Dance Festival, Genoa, NV.
October 8, 2014 1 p.m. Incline Village Book Club
October 15, 2014 4:30 - 6:30 Signing TAHOE GHOST BOAT at the Minden Library, Minden NV
October 18, 2014 3 p.m. Talk and Signing TAHOE GHOST BOAT at the El Dorado Arts Council's new gallery space at the Fausel House, 772 Pacific St., Placerville, CA
November 7, 8, 9,, 2014 Exhibit and sign TAHOE GHOST BOAT and my other books at the Sacramento Fine Arts Show,  Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento, CA
November 21, 22, 23,, 2014, Exhibit and sign TAHOE GHOST BOAT and my other books at the Sacramento Harvest Festival, at the California State Fair Grounds, Sacramento, CA
November 28, 29, 30, 2014 Exhibit and sign TAHOE GHOST BOAT and my other books at the San Jose Harvest Festival, San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA