Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Writer in the Mirror

Today, I'm guest blogging at Elizabeth A. White's Book Reviews about my surprising revelations when rereading my first books--the Iris Thorne Mysteries.

The first two books in my long out-of-print Iris Thorne series--Cold Call and Slow Squeeze--have been re-edited, refurbished, and are again on sale. You can buy them for the first time ever as e-books and trade paperbacks.

The Cold Call e-book is on sale for just $.99! Buy for Kindle, Nook, or iPad.

The e-book of the second in the series, Slow Squeeze, is on sale for $2.99. Buy for Kindle, Nook, or iPad.

For print book lovers, you can ask your favorite bookseller to order the books for you or you can buy the trade paperback of Cold Call here or Slow Squeeze here.

I'm sure you'll enjoy meeting Iris Thorne as much as I had fun reconnecting with her--and with the writer I was back then when I wrote those novels.

Happy holidays to all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Big News! Meet Iris Thorne -- Again

I'm delighted to announce that I'm re-publishing my long out-of-print first series--the Iris Thorne Mysteries--and the first book, Cold Call, is now on sale!  Iris Thorne is a sassy, scrappy, and sexy Los Angeles investment counselor and amateur sleuth. The five books in the series were published by Simon and Schuster from 1993 to 1999. I'm so happy to introduce Iris to new readers and hopefully longtime friends will want to renew their acquaintance with her. 

Cold Call is now available as an e-book for the first time ever and a beautiful trade paperback edition will be available soon. You can buy the e-book at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and Smashwords.

I'll launch the second, Slow Squeeze, in December--in time for holiday shopping! The remaining three titles--Fast Friends, Foolproof, and Pushover--will be released throughout early 2012 as both e-books and trade paperbacks. You'll be able to order the paperbacks through your local bookstore as well as via IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

Here are the new book jackets, which I think are terrific:
  

A fan who posted this comment on Amazon.com gives a great overview of the series: 

5.0 out of 5 stars Before "Occupy Wall Street," Iris Thorne fought the big boys in COLD CALL

Readers who have fallen in love with Dianne Emley's fantastic Nan Vining thrillers might be unaware of the really great mystery series the author wrote years earlier featuring the complex and appealing Iris Thorne.

A few stylish touches (like Iris' leaky old Triumph sportscar) add color and texture to this novel set in L.A. in the 1980s. Iris wants to make a good living in L.A.'s financial district while still doing the right thing -- a lesson in ethics some of the folks down on Wall Street still seem not to have learned even today. Maybe they should all quit their shenanigans and instead read this very entertaining novel.
A great read for mystery fans, lovers of L.A., and those who enjoy a scrappy heroine taking charge of an action-packed plot.

I do hope you'll give my Iris Thorne series a try--and maybe post a reader review as well.

It's been so rewarding for me to revisit my first books. With the distance of time, I've reread (and lightly edited) them with fresh eyes and can finally appreciate how fun they are. I have lots to say about this interesting journey, from reconnecting with that debut author I once was to embracing the self-publishing world after years of being in "big" publishing, but will hold off until my new blog is launched (I'm moving it to WordPress).

As far as a new Nan Vining and other books, I've been very busy behind the scenes on a couple of projects. I don't like talking about works-in-progress. I'm superstitious that way. I hope to reveal details about new books soon. I'm also updating my Website, long in need of an overhaul. My gorgeous new site should be up in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, you have restored, refreshed Iris Thorne to keep you company, and she's good company indeed.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New French Edition of A VIF

Just out, the French pocket edition of CUT TO THE QUICK.  Presenting A VIF -- published by Belfond Noir.  C'est trop beau!  Thank you, Belfond!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Detective Kilcoyne Part 3 -- Cold Case of a Murdered L.A. Sheriff's Deputy

Here's the third installment of Detective Dennis Kilcoyne's, LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division, talk given at the California Crime Writer's Conference in June 2011. 

Kilcoyne described investigating in 1998 a then thirteen-year-old unsolved murder of L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy George Arthur. In 1985, Arthur was a sergeant assigned to the Men's Central Jail near East Los Angeles. One night, Arthur had completed his shift and was driving home in his 1979 Chevrolet van when, after a struggle, he was shot and killed by someone who had hidden in the van's back seat.  The murder was originally thought to have been a car accident until the autopsy revealed four .25 caliber slugs in Arthur's skull.  Some witnesses saw one man limping from the scene. Other witnesses saw two men leaving the scene.  Specks of DNA gathered from the van's windshield were believed to belong to the killer who was likely injured in the crash.

LAPD was in charge of the investigation as the murder occurred in the city. A joint task force was created with the L.A. Sheriff's Department.  Investigators focused on Arthur's work, believing he was targeted by gangs from his jail duties and prior years as a gang officer.  There were several suspects, but a case couldn't be made.  None of the suspects' DNA matched the samples from the windshield. The case went cold.

In 1998, Kilcoyne was assigned to lead a task force with both RHD detectives and Sheriff's investigators, all of whom were new to the case in order to look at the investigation with fresh eyes.

Kilcoyne spoke to our group about investigative tunnel vision, in this situation stemming from the fact that the victim was an off-duty cop.  "Cops throw up blinders.  It's white hat versus black hat, but we forget that cops have personal lives."  The task force began examining Arthur's private life, just like they would any other homicide victim.

At the time of his murder, Arthur was separated from his wife who was also a sheriff's deputy. The separation was amicable and they'd both been dating other people.  In 1985, Arthur's wife had expressed to investigators her suspicions about a sheriff's deputy she'd been dating named Ted Kirby.  She said that Kirby was possessive and had stalked her.  After Arthur's murder, she'd seen Kirby with a bandaged head and knee.  

Kilcoyne said that Arthur's wife was young and very attractive and the investigators had blown off her concerns.  As he put it, they told the grieving widow at the reception following the memorial service, "Very nice, sweetheart, now get me another beer."

Kilcoyne and the task force began gathering DNA samples from all the people Arthur and his wife had dated during their separation. Kirby wouldn't provide his without a warrant.  Kirby had moved to Spokane, Washington and the investigators travelled there, obtaining their warrant.  

Meanwhile, the focus on Kirby had led certain investigators to believe that Arthur's wife was somehow involved in his murder which Kilcoyne said made no sense.  But the talk had upset Arthur's wife to the point that she called Kilcoyne at home one Sunday morning to ask if he was going to arrest her. 

He asked, "Do I need to arrest you?"
"No."
"Then I won't arrest you.  Besides, it's Sunday and I don't like to arrest people on Sundays."

After Kirby's DNA was found to match the samples from the van's windshield, Kilcoyne and his team returned to Spokane to arrest him, only to learn from his wife that a week before, Kirby had put his wedding ring on the kitchen table, had walked out the door, and had disappeared.  Kirby's house backed up to a U.S. Park Service forest.  It was June, but there was still snow on the ground.  Kilcoyne wanted to walk around the forest and have a look, but the local cops said that he'd need to get a warrant to conduct a search on federal land, which would take weeks.  The LAPD detectives went home.

Over a month later, a couple of reporters from a local news station decided to enter the forest behind Kirby's house to have a look around.  They climbed over a wire fence and had walked about fifty feet when one guy said, "There he is."  His colleagues thought he was kidding.  "No, seriously.  He's right there."  Kirby's body was leaning against a boulder.  He'd shot himself in the head.

Here's a July 15, 1999 L.A. Times article about Ted Kirby's remains being found and the unanswered questions that still remain.

Solving the Arthur case gave the LAPD and the LAPD's Scientific Investigation Division a lift after the battering they'd endured resulting from the O.J. Simpson double homicide investigation. 

In the next installment, Kilcoyne reveals surprising details about the O.J. case.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Detective Kilcoyne Part 2: The Golay and Rutterschmidt Case Continued

This is a continuation ofDetective Dennis Kilcoyne's, LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division, talk given at the California Crime Writer's Conference in June 2011. Part 1 is here

Kilcoyne had more to say about investigating the "Black Widows": Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt. 

The women, both in their seventies, had taken out multiple life insurance policies on homeless men whom they later murdered, staging the crimes to look like hit-and-run accidents.  They collected millions.  Kilcoyne said that Golay was financially well-off, owning several properties and living in an upscale home in Santa Monica.  Rutterschmidt however lived in a small apartment in Hollywood and struggled to keep up with Golay's lifestyle.  Rutterschmidt had a goal of getting enough money to move to Canada and start a business.  When asked what Golay's motive was, Kilcoyne said he didn't know.

Because "the girls" were charged with mail fraud from mailing forged life insurance policies, federal crimes were involved and an FBI agent was assigned to work the case with Kilcoyne.  The push-pull between municipal cops and G-men treading the same turf that's a crime novel staple apparently has a basis in reality.  Kilcoyne poked fun at his FBI cohort, describing him as a guileless redhead from the Midwest whom the LAPD RHD team nicknamed "Opie."  

When the day came to apprehend the girls, Rutterschmidt's arrest went smoothly.  Kilcoyne was concerned about taking down "the mastermind" Golay and planned for every eventuality. Kilcoyne had a video crew on-scene because he wanted a record if Golay accused the cops of wrongdoing. 

Golay's home was a fortress with high walls.  On the arrest night, a team rapeled over them and onto Golay's property. Golay was home alone, reading on a couch in her living room, wearing a flimsy nightgown.  Kilcoyne remembered seeing a single book on her coffee table.  The book jacket was creepy, with eyes looking out.  He said the title was something about "the sociopath inside" and pointed at the audience and said, "Probably one of you guys wrote it."

I did some research and the book was likely The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout.  Truly, you can't make this stuff up.

After they pulled Golay, then 74, out of the house and she was standing on the sidewalk in her see-through nightie, handcuffed, Kilcoyne had a chance to razz the FBI agent whose eyes dropped when looking at Golay.  "Caught you looking, Opie.  Got it on tape."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cop Talk - Detective Dennis Kilcoyne Part 1

I'm just getting around to posting my notes from the great California Crime Writer's Conference that was held in Pasadena in June 2011.  I pulled together most of the speakers for the "Matters of Crime" track. Luck shone upon us as we had a terrific line-up. I'm going to post a series of excerpts from the notes I took during the sessions. Here's the first.

Me and Detective Dennis Kilcoyne
We were very honored to have Detective Dennis Kilcoyne of the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division speak to us.  RHD is the elite investigative team within the LAPD which handles the most challenging cases in the city--challenging either because of their complexity or their celebrity component. 

Detective Kilcoyne is one of the RHD's top investigators.  Notable cases he's worked include: the double murder involving O.J. Simpson, the Ennis Cosby murder, the Bank of America shootout in North Hollywood, the Doris Duke death investigation, several murders of police officers both on and off duty, the killer grannies who insured and then murdered homeless men, dubbed “the Black Widows,” the case involving serial murderer Lonnie Franklin, dubbed the “Grim Sleeper,” and more recently, the savage beating of the Giants fan at Dodger Stadium.

Detective Kilcoyne has served as the president of the California Homicide Investigators Association for the past six years.


We crime writers were rapt as Detective Kilcoyne described some of his most notable cases, dropping insider details.  He talked at length about the "black widows": Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt.   Golay and Rutterschmidt were longtime friends in their seventies, glamourous party "girls" who were sort of low-rent Gabor sisters.  They took out multiple life insurance policies on homeless men, naming themselves as the beneficiaries, put the men up in cheap apartments and took care of them until two years had passed.  After two years, under California law, it's difficult for insurance companies to contest life insurance policy benefits.  So when the victim's time was up (literally), "the girls" gave him a cocktail of  booze and ground up prescription drugs, laid him in an alley, and ran over him with a 1999 Mercury Sable.  They were convicted of murdering two men and are serving consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.  Kilcoyne says they still don't know who was driving the car used to run over the men.

Kilcoyne described Golay at "the brains of the operation" and "the most evil person I've come across in thirty-five years" in law enforcement.  "The girls" became volunteers at a large church in Hollywood that feeds the homeless.  While appearing altruistic, they were in fact "shopping" for victims. 

Kilcoyne says the girls were at first at a federal prison because they were arrested for mail fraud, a federal crime, which gave the LAPD time to put together the murder case.  Kilcoyne said the federal prison was like "a country club" where the girls enjoyed playing cards and the other prisoners treated them like celebrities.  This did not sit well with Kilcoyne.  Finally, he was able to move them to an L.A. jail and he picked what he thought was the worst one: the 77th Street Jail in South Central L.A. 

He told a funny story about transporting Golay to that jail.  He was driving his RHD sedan and Golay was in the back seat with a detective.  It was a hot day in the middle of rush hour and he took the surface streets through residential neighborhoods.  He was traveling around 20 miles per hour when a football got away from some kids and flew into the street.  He couldn't dodge it, so he ran over it.  It went "ka-thump... ka-thump" beneath the wheels and shot up behind the car.  After it made the noise, he turned to look at Golay and said, "Sound familiar, Helen?"

She replied, "That's not funny, Dennis."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Research and the California Crime Writer's Conference

Wrote a piece about doing research and how the California Crime Writer's Conference can help at my friend Petrea Burchard's terrific blog Pasadena Daily Photo.

The conference is June 11 and 12 at the Hilton in Pasadena, CA.  Some of my "real world" law and order friends will be presenting as I organized most of the Forensics track. 

On Saturday, June 11, I'll be introducing these great sessions:

Money Matters - Fraud & Scams with Detective Joseph Allard, Pasadena PD

Homicide 101 - with LAPD Detective Dennis Kilcoyne, Robbery/Homicide Division.  Detective Kilcoyne has worked on many notable homicide cases including O.J. Simpson and Ennis Cosby. He headed the task force that nabbed the notorious "Grim Sleeper" serial killer.

On Sunday, June 12, I'll be "in conversation with" these accomplished women:

See You in Court - L.A. Superior Court Judge and former L.A. Deputy D.A. Karla Kerlin discusses being on both sides of the bench.

Women in Blue - What it's like to be a woman on the force. Margaret York, ret. LAPD Deputy Chief and Kathleen McChesney, PhD, first F.B.I. Executive Assistant Director.

Also on Sunday, I'm introducing this session:

Use of Force - Methodology, training, tactics and equipment with Sergeant Eduardo Calatayud, Pasadena PD

There will also be sessions on writing, marketing, and publishing your book.  The conference is only held every two years.  I think the programming this year is spectacular.  Have you signed up?


Friday, April 29, 2011

LA Times Book Fest and Reality

L.A. feels cold, damp, and crowded.  Sleeping at home seems oddly quiet without the sound of crashing waves.  The cats are sure glad to see us home. Husband and I just returned from a fabulous vacation in Maui.  A delayed 10th wedding anniversary and a couple of big birthday celebrations wrapped together. 

I had hoped to get some writing done and I did, working with great focus every morning.  I had felt as if I was circling a rat's maze with the plot of the new book and the change of scenery was just what I needed to see things from a new perspective.  Perhaps a change of scenery might work for you, too, if you find yourself maze-bound in a story you're working on.  Something as simple as taking your work to a park or a cafe might do the trick.  I'm going to try this from time to time.    


On Kaanapali Beach. Yes, UCLA Bruins...
I am holding a USC Trojans visor. Don't ask.
 

The L.A. Times Festival of Books is this weekend.  I will be signing there Saturday, April 30:

12:00 - 1:00 Mystery Ink, Booth 370

2:00 - 4:00 Sisters in Crime, Booth 373 

If you're around, come by!

Tonight, Friday, April 29, Mystery Writers of America, Southern California chapter is sponsoring a pre-festival party at from 6:00 - 9:00 at Skylight Books.  There will be free eats and drinks, and lots of writers and readers.  It's open to the public.  This is the first time Skylight Books is hosting this party. It was always packed and big fun at its previous venue, our dearly departed The Mystery Bookstore in Westwood.  Again, if you're around, come by!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vive la France! French Edition of Nan Vining #3

My French publisher, Belfond Noir, has just released Jusqu' au Sang, the French translation of The Deepest Cut, Book 3 in my Nan Vining series.  Jusqu' au Sang means "Until Blood." Eric Moreau is the translator of all my books into French.  Bravo!  Isn't the book jacket great? 

You can order it through Amazon France here.   

French edition of The Deepest Cut

Here's the Belfond edition of the first Nan Vining: The First Cut.  The French title means: "An Echo in the Night."  Order it here.

French editon of The First Cut
And here's the second Nan Vining, Cut to the Quick.  The French title means: "Raw."  I love it.  Order it here.

French edition of Cut to the Quick.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tucson Festival of Books -- March 2011

I love this festival.  This year was its third and it just keeps getting better but still keeps its fun unpretentious soul.  One of my best friends and her family live in Tucson, so I've gotten to know and love the city over the years. What a pleasure to see good friends. 

My husband and I drove from the L.A. area. It's a seven to eight hour drive, mostly through desert.  I love desert landscapes.  Maybe it's because I was born and raised in Southern California, but the desert resonates with me.

So, some photos of a great event.  The first three photos were taken by Leslie Pape. I snapped the last four.



The "Blood and Guts--Violence in Crime Fiction" panel with L to R: Zoe Sharp, Cara Black, me, and Rebecca Cantrell







 
 
 
 
"The Seamy Side of Paradise: California Crime" with L to R: Thomas Perry, me, and T. Jefferson Parker.

"Against the Odds: Women in Jeopardy" with L to R: Juliet Blackwell, Wendy Corsi Staub, me, and Libby Fischer Hellman.
At the festival, an unintentionally funny display about the perils of drinking and driving.

Morning hike in Ventana Canyon. Cottontails, pheasants, bird songs, fresh air, and solitude.

On the drive home.  Outside Quartzsite, AZ. 

Heading home, westbound on I-10.  "Prisoner of the white lines on the freeway..."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tucson Festival of Books March 12 -13

This weekend, I'll be at the Tucson Festival of Books on the campus of the University of Arizona.  This is such a great festival.  So much fun. Come on out.  It's springtime in the desert.  It's going to be sunny with temperatures in the 80s.  Did someone say "sleeveless"?

Here's where I'll be during the festival.

Saturday, March 12, 2011  

10:30 – 11:30 p.m.
Signing – Desert Sleuths Sisters in Crime - Booth 109 in West Mall

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Signing - Clues Unlimited – Booth in Central Mall

2:30 p.m. Panel followed by book signing until 4:00 p.m.
Blood and Guts: Violence in Crime Fiction
With Rebecca Cantrell and Cara Black. Moderator – Zoe Sharp
Venue: Integrated Learning Center, Room 140

Sunday, March 13, 2011

10:00 a.m. Panel
Against the Odds: Women in Jeopardy - MODERATING
Libby Hellmann, Wendi Corsi Staub, and Juliet Blackwell
Venue: Student Union - Tucson Room

1:00 p.m. Panel followed by book signing until 2:30 p.m.
The Seamy Side of Paradise: California Crime
With Thomas Perry and T. Jefferson Parker.
Moderator - Patrick Milliken from the Poisoned Pen
Venue: Integrated Learning Center - Room 120

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hello Again, Flintridge Bookstore and Coffehouse

My last post was a eulogy for L.A.'s great Mystery Bookstore, closing after twenty-six years. 

Now, a month later, I'm heralding the opening of a fabulous independent bookstore--the Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse!  Actually, the store is re-opening following a location move after it was destroyed by a runaway big rig in a horrible 2009 accident.  Still, it's an audacious enterprise to open the doors of an inde store in this chilly climate for book-and-mortar bookstores.  Kudos to owners Peter and Lenora Wannier their vision, faith, and courage.  And it's wonderful to again participate in store events set up the the terrific Sandy Willardson.

Come out on Thursday, March 3, 2011 to support this great store!  The Flintridge Bookstore and the L.A. Chapter of Sisters in Crime are sponsoring a mystery night with thirteen great local mystery writers (including me).  The fun begins at 7:30.  Stop by and say hi.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To The Mystery Bookstore, With Love

Just found out that The Mystery Bookstore in L.A.'s Westwood neighborhood is closing. How do I begin to express how sad I am and what a sad thing this is for Los Angeles?

Perhaps, best to begin at the beginning. I had long been a patron of the store's original West Hollywood location on Beverly Boulevard when it was called Mysterious Books, run by Sheldon McArthur.  He and assistant manager Richard Brewer knew everything and everyone in the mystery genre, in both the creative and business sides. 

After I'd sold my first book, Cold Call, in 1992 (published in 1993 under the name "Dianne Pugh"), I attended one of Mysterious Books' birthday parties which were always packed with authors and fans. I was exicited to attend as a "real" author.

The book Connelly signed for me that day.
After chatting with Shelly, he pointed out a bespectacled man standing alone.  "That's Michael Connelly," he said. "His first book is out. It's fantastic. You should buy it because Connelly is going to be big." I thought that was a bold statement, but I went over and introduced myself and asked Michael to sign a book for me. We chatted. I asked if he was contracted for another book and he said he was writing a second book "on spec."  I remember feeling a little smug because I had just inked a two book contract... 

With Bobby McCue and Linda Brown.
Fast forward fourteen years to 2006.  With five books in my Iris Thorne series by Dianne Pugh behind me, I took a hiatus from writing for a few years and pretty much retreated from the writing world, which is a story for another day. Mysterious Books was now The Mystery Bookstore and had moved to its Westwood Village location. I'd landed a book contract for my new Detective Nan Vining series under my newly minted married name "Emley." I headed off to Westwood (my former home as a UCLA student) to sign The First Cut. I was thrilled when "Dark Bobby" McCue ("dark" because of his tastes in crime fiction) had selected it as his pick for the month. I met Linda that day, too. We had a great event and a great chat during and I signed the "jailhouse register." On the front table were a few of my Dianne Pugh books. They'd been her fan as well and had wondered where she had gone.

Me mugging with a Nancy Drew standee (taken by Bobby)
So many fun Mystery Bookstore book launches (mine and friends), parties, and stories. So many great book recommendations by Bobby and Linda, who, of course, knew everything and everyone in the genre. 

We had some silly fun at my last signing there for Love Kills in March 2010. In the window was a cardboard standee to commemorate Nancy Drew's 80th birthday. Of course, I had to have a photo with it. Might they have a prop I could hold? A fake gun, perhaps?  Linda and Bobby scurried around and came up with a magnifying glass. We took some photos, all of us giggling like kids, and they put one of the photos in their newsletter.

When Kirk Pasich and Pamela Woods bought the store, I thought, "Whew, the store dodged a bullet."  I admired their dedication to mystery books and authors, and I admired their bravery, taking on an independent bookstore in this day and age. I applaud you, Kirk and Pam, for taking a stand, even though the bullet was out there, waiting. And Bobby, Linda, Stephen, Clair, Emily, Graham, Ingrid, and Allie, and all the staff I've gotten to know through the years (forgive me if I've missed anyone), thanks for the memories. Los Angeles is lessened by the store's passing.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

ALA Mystery Day January 8 and a Wooden Pal

The sugar, butter, flour, measuring cups, and measuring spoons have all been put away for now. We're writing, dieting, going to the gym, and being completely serious. Well, within reason.

What's up the road... A head?
Here's my first event in 2011 and it's a pip. On Saturday, January 8, I'll be speaking at Mystery Day at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting.

There will be a great line-up of crimewriters all day. After my panels, I'll be signing and giving away copies of my books. Yes! Books. Gratis. Until they run out.

Here are my two panels:

11-11:45 California Girls

Naomi Hirahara, Jeri Westerson, Dianne Emley, Sue Ann Jaffarian, moderator Hank Phillippi Ryan

and:

3-3:45pm Laugh or I’ll Kill You

Vicki Doudera, Jeri Westerson, Dianne Emley, Rosemary Harris, moderator Sue Ann Jaffarian

I'm looking forward to both panels, but I'm really intrigued about being on a humor panel. I've spoken on many types of panels, but never one about humorous mysteries.  All my books are laced with dark humor and I think I have a pretty wicked sense of humor, so this discussion will be an interesting first for the new year.

On Friday, January 7, at 5:00 stop by Mysterious Galaxy bookstore for a meet and greet with many of the crimewriters who will be speaking at ALA's Mystery Day. I'll be there, too. 

About the photo with my watchful buddy... Anyone who knows me knows I can't resist mugging whenever there's a prop around.

Hope to see some of you this weekend.