Saturday, November 1, 2008

Theme Day: Books

Dianne Emley is not a book. You can probably tell from the picture.

Emley writes books, though, and I was honored when she agreed to be my theme day photo. Despite her decidedly ungritty appearance, she's the author of "gritty, intense and hard-edged" detective novels: the best-selling The First Cut, first published in 2006 and due out in paperback December 30th; Cut to the Quick, a paperback original on sale January 27th, and The Deepest Cut, the hardcover conclusion to "the Nan Vining trilogy," in stores February 24th. Together they're a thrillogy centered on detective Nan Vining of the Pasadena Police Department.

Like her heroine, Emley lives in Pasadena. I wanted to meet her because of that and because it's inspiring to meet a fellow writer who's achieved success. Plus I read the first chapter of The First Cut on Dianne's website, and it wowed me. Without a single wasted syllable, she makes every word move the story forward. The ability to do that is something many writers envy. Warning: this is not namby-pamby stuff. (Can we still say "namby-pamby" in the 21st Century?)

As Dianne and I walked in the Arroyo she told me she likens the work of a writer to that of an Olympic athlete. You have good days and bad, but you have to work every day. When you're defeated you get back to it. When you win, you know it's the work you've put in that gives you your power. "Writing is an obsession," she says, "and you have to bring a level of obsession to it to make the stories come alive."

Dianne gave me a copy of The First Cut (yay!). I'm not finished with it yet but I will be soon - I can't put it down, and I won't have to wait long for the next two. I've already marked my calendar for the launch of The Deepest Cut at Vroman's on February 25th.

Pasadena boasts many published authors. Nonfiction writer Weston Dewalt recently made headlines when he helped LAPD detectives crack a child serial murder case. Kathleen Thorne-Thomsen creates wonderful books for kids. Katherine Shirek Doughtie writes about men, midlife and motherhood in her essay collection Aphrodite in Jeans. There are more. I hope to meet them all.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in the City Daily Photo Blogs theme day!


Jilly said...

A different take on the Theme and so nice to meet your lovely author. I love the word thrillogy!

Joy said...

Great take on the theme. I enjoy meeting authors myself.

Do visit Norwich Daily Photo and find out what I have in store for this month's theme. Happy theme day! Enjoy your weekend!


A Pinay In England
Your Love Coach
I, Woman

Clueless in boston said...

Thrillogy! wonderful word. I will definitely look for this series. Nice interpretation of theme day.

Dianne Emley said...

Thanks, Petrea, for the great write-up. I'm honored to be featured here!

Mademoiselle Gramophone said...

Oh, thank you for telling us about Dianne Emley.

The first cut is the deepest--er well I don't know I've got to read all of them first.

Oh gad! There she is.... Ms. Emley, is the first cut the deepest? No! Don't tell me--I love mysteries.

Chuck Pefley said...

Petrea, what a wonderful slant for this theme day. Bravo! I'll check out this lady's work when I get the chance.

And as far as I'm concerned you can use namby-pamby well past the 25th century :)

Petrea said...

Jilly, yes, cool word, isn't it?

Hi Joy, welcome and thanks.

Clueless, do look for it. I'm really into it!

Hi Dianne. Thanks so much for taking part. It was fun to meet you and I really enjoyed writing this post.

Mlle Grammophone, I know you'll read these books!

Thanks, Chuck. It's not every day I get to say "namby-pamby."

altadenahiker said...

Good luck tonight Sweetie.

Laurie said...

Great portrait, P! Thanks for the heads up on yet another local author that I simply must read!

Kim said...

Petrea, thanks for introducing us to Dianne and her work. How fun for you to meet and chat in the lovely city that both of you write about. So, does your blog work count as part of that everyday exercise in your writing skills as you prepare for the literary Olympics? :-) I know I enjoy your daily posts as much for what you say and how you say it as for the views from your lens.
Plus, you're a wonderful social director, bringing together so many friendly voices in the conversations here in your Pasadena living room. Through you I discovered Laurie's incredible pen and have become better acquainted with many of our mutal CDPB buds whom you seem to get talking about all manner of stuff. It's a gift you have.
Tell me, given the titles of Dianne's "thrillogy," do knives factor into the plots? If so, I'm a bit too delicate for that. . .real nightmare turf for me, so I might pass until her next series. Having just seen "Changeling" last night with its great 1928-1933 LA crime plot, I'm in the mood to read some SoCal-based fiction.
Best to you, and thrill that audience!
Seattle Daily Photo

USelaine said...

Oooh! Oooh! Cool! Forget Tryphena - you can play Nan Vining right there on location, with the real author on board! Yay!

Cafe Observer said...

P, I think you 4got to say, "say cheeze". The 1st Principle of Shutterladybuggin.

Do u remember what the weather down under was like that day?

Kelly said...

Great choice for Theme Day, Petrea! I haven't read these books, but I will reserve them and give them a look!

Katie said...

What a fun way to highlight books! I will immediately go out and get the first in Dianne's series. And now that I at least know a bit about what Pasadena's like, it will make it all the more fun to read her books. Can't wait to start reading them!!

Petrea said...

Thank you, Altadenahiker.;)

Yes you must, Laurie!

Kim, thank you for your generous praise. My "Pasadena living room." I like that. As for knives, I haven't gotten far enough to know if we'll see any scenes with them but they've definitely figured in scenes that happened "off-screen," if you will. You might look for books by Dianne Pugh, crime novels written by Ms. Emley pre-wedding and currently out of print. If the current set gets famous enough the Pugh books could get a reprint. Thanks for the tip on "Changeling," I'm glad to know it's good.

E, I may be too old to play Nan but I'm looking for a character...

C.O., I got smiley shots. I chose the tough-girl one because I liked it. The sun was blaring hot and right in her eyes. She was a trouper.

Kelly and Katie, I hope you'll watch for the books. If you don't find "The First Cut," I'll remind you when it comes out in paperback. I might do some photos here of sites featured in the book.

Christie said...

How very cool! It would be lovely to meet someone you really admire as a writer. I have met a few authors that I enjoy and finding out the "inside story" of their books was fascinating, which made me enjoy their books even more!

(By the way, if you get the chance, check out "King Bidgood's in the Bathtub" if you get the chance--by Don and Audrey Wood. Totally worth the read, but don't miss the details in the pictures, that is the amazing and wondrous part.)

Anonymous said...

I hope it's a wonderful opening night for you!!!. I'm writing this while your on stage so good thoughts in your direction.

Petrea has chops!

Therese said...

Glad to read that the theater's evening went well.
Sometimes when passing by a book store certain titles attract my eyes. Here it's "Aphrodite in jeans" by Katherine Doughtie...

Petrea said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Christie.

Thank you, PA :)

It did go well, Therese.

Kim: There's a knife. Ah! Tense scene! Yowza.

Kris said...

No easy task, completing a book!

Tash said...

Wow - this is the best of the best for Theme Day! I'm going to have to mark my calendar for that book launch. Haven't been to Vroman's in about 20 years.