Saturday, February 16, 2008


Two things before I (Donis) get started.

Please toddle on over to my website at your convenience. I have a very special guest blogger - my sister - who sent me a mouthwatering report on the beef tenderloin she tested for inclusion in my next book. Literature is one thing, but eats are something else altogether.

I'm not going to the awards banquet for the Oklahoma Book Award in Oklahoma City on March 8. I had agreed to teach a workshop on mystery writing several weeks before I found out that my last book is an award finalist. I had literally found this out only minutes before I wrote my last post, and I got all excited and lost my head. I'd like to go to the banquet, but I wouldn't back out of an agreement at this late date. I was gratified to be asked to teach this mystery workshop, and actually somewhat amused, too. Because as I ponder what I'm going to say, realize that I'm rather mystified by the process myself. I won't be admitting that, however.

Earlier this week, I did a gig at the Ajo-Salazar branch library in Ajo, Arizona. It was fabulous. I love doing talks in small towns. A year or so ago, I did a talk in Boynton, Oklahoma, where my books are set. Boynton used to be a bustling little town in my youth, but now it's falling down and fading away, with a population of 200 soaking wet. It really was soaking wet, too. I was blessed during my whole tour that year with beautiful weather, except for the single day I was to speak at the Boynton Historical Society. The Historical Society is housed in an ex-Dairy Queen on the main drag, one room about 20' X 20'. Rain was coming down in buckets, so I didn't hold out much hope for a crowd. But rain or not, I think every single one of those 200 people turned out and jammed themselves in the room. I've never had such an appreciative audience. Of course, I suspect I'm the only person in the history of the world to write novels set in Boynton, Oklahoma.

But I digress.

Ajo is a town of about 3800 located in Southern Arizona, 115 miles west of Tucson and 40 miles north of the Mexican border. There is nothing out there. It's located smack in the middle of the Sonoran Desert preserve, and a forest of saguaro cactus. The scenery is spectacular. Ajo (pronounced AH-ho. You can guess what the natives call it.) is a company town that the company left many years ago. There was a gigantic copper mine there that has now closed down, leaving a huge hole in the ground (thus the nickname). Ajo has now become something of a retirement destination, because the weather is unbelievably beautiful in the winter, and housing is dirt cheap. It has also become an artist's colony. So it may be out in the middle of nowhere, but the people who live there are pretty savvy. I had a very nice crowd who kept me talking for an hour and a half. I used every bit of my A material and made up more on the spot. The Friends put me up at the Ajo Bed and Breakfast, a beautiful new adobe house on the edge of the desert. I couldn't have asked for a better gig. I love small towns. By the way, for those of you who don't speak Spanish, ajo means "garlic". Don't ask me.

And last, just today I heard another author speak at Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, and my editor was there. Out of the blue she brought up Kindle. She said that her husband loves it, but she reads so fast that the machine can't keep up with her. I think that Kindle is here to stay - the fact that books in electronic format will be in print forever is very appealing. But I don't foresee the end of books in paper.

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