(Not) Drinking from Cacti & Other Fun Road Trip Facts

Whee! We recently drove from California to New Mexico for the Left Coast Crime conference. I love gathering random factoids on road trips. At a pit stop in Phoenix, we stopped by the Desert Botanical Garden. Thank goodness it wasn’t too hot. (The temp would go up to high 80s later on.) I was wowed by all sorts of cacti (but please don’t give me a pop quiz on them). Unfortunately, I was also sad to discover that you can’t really drink water out of a barrel cactus. It’s more like a glue or sap … [Read more...]

It’s Conference Time!

When is a conference not a conference? <drum roll> When it happens in March 2020. The last time I went to a writing conference was in 2020 for Left Coast Crime in San Diego. It was surreal experiencing the shutdown of the entire event. Notices were quickly taped to doors and windows. People scrambled for their phones to rearrange transportation and find lodging. I resigned myself to canceling my hotel reservation (hoping for a refund) and traveling the two hours back to Los … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Tokyo Zodiac Murders

5 stars Genre: Impossible Crime/Locked-Room Mystery The Tokyo Zodiac Murders Intricately deceiving. The letter that sets up the stage is hard to decipher, but the puzzle aspects continue at a rapid pace for the rest of the novel. I think if I had a better grasp of Japanese history and geography, it would have been even more fascinating. Shimada did an amazing job of creating a puzzler of a story. There were so many moving parts. My only minor issue is that there’s a lot of … [Read more...]

To Swag or Not to Swag?

It’s conference season time! As an author, a lot my time is spent in solitary creation. There comes a few points every year where I actually get to go out and meet folks, including readers. This happens at book festivals, and to a smaller extent, at bookstores. Fan conventions, though, are a different beast entirely. These gatherings invite readers to mingle with their favorite authors. They’ve been on pause (or virtual) for the last few years, so I’m excited to see them up and running … [Read more...]

A Blooming Kind of Hope

Spring happens to be my favorite season of the year. There's something cheerful about new, emerging blossoms that brings me joy. Maybe the feeling I get can be defined as hope. This year, I noticed neighborhood trees bearing cherry blossoms early. They were showing off their floral finery a week or two ago. In synchronicity, I splurged on daffodils in anticipation of spring. But something strange happened recently. The petals curled in on themselves and hid their splendor. Honestly, … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Stretchy Ice Cream

Stretchy ice cream: dense, creamy, and pliable frozen dessert Who knew stretchy ice cream was a thing? Well, I didn’t. Not until one family member had to do a project about ice cream versus gelato versus… (Whether this was an actual research project or something they made up has yet to be revealed.) Anyway, stretchy ice cream does stretch, but it’s not super elastic. If you’re thinking rubber bands, you’d be wrong. There is a kind of give to the ice cream, though, and it’s quite fun to … [Read more...]

Bookstore Fail

My most recent trip to the bookstore was a bit of a bust. The fun thing about being a published author is the chance to hop into a bookshop and see your books on the shelf. Usually, my MO is to browse the online catalog (if there’s one) to make sure my books are actually carried in the store. This time, I winged it. I was already running errands and would be in the area anyway. I went up to the info desk and asked if they had any of my books in the store. Nope. A little zing of … [Read more...]

Book Review: Trouble Is What I Do

5 stars Genre: P.I./noir Trouble Is What I Do A pleasure to read. I love all the various characters and how unique they are. This book really shines a light on today’s world and racist attitudes. Although sometimes Leonid goes back and forth in time, I found the histories mostly fascinating. Mosley does a great job of teasing out both nuanced and fierce family relationships. Find more of my book ratings and reviews here. … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Kok Chai

Kok chai: golden fried puffs filled with sweet peanut bits Yes, the Lunar New Year feasting is still continuing in my household. I got a batch of homemade kok chai delivered to me (thanks, fam!). These golden pastries are also known as mini peanut puffs. If you’re a peanut lover, these are an excellent snack! They’re like fried dumplings but instead of being filled with meat and vegetables, they have sweetened peanut bits. The ones I ate also had yummy coconut pieces mixed … [Read more...]

Lunar New Year 2022

Happy Lunar New Year 2022! It’s time for snacking! Honestly, some of my favorite treats pop up around this season. I’m a sucker for those nut-embedded and sesame-studded sticks. They have that winning combo of crunchy and sweet. Tang yuan balls are also fun to eat. I didn’t grow up having these around Spring Festival, but I enjoy their glutinous chewy exterior and hidden interior treasure. (It’s no surprise that, of course, I like the tang yuans with peanut butter filling—see above … [Read more...]