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Friday, October 3, 2014


Michele Drier, a former investigative reporter and fifth-generation Californian, is the author of the paranormal romance Kandesky Vampire Chronicles and the Amy Hobbes Newspaper mysteries. Learn more about Michele and her books at her website

How to be a Guest

I used to be a good guest.

My mother taught me to always ask the host or hostess if I could help in any way.
I always kept the bathroom I was using absolutely clean. I always arrived with something—a bottle of wine, some oranges from my tree, a homemade dessert, a new book.

I always stripped the sheets from the bed I’d been using and put those and any towels into the wash.

This was all before I decided to write series, when I lived a normal life.
Now, well, not so much.

For Labor Day, I drove a couple hundred miles to visit friends. These aren’t casual acquaintances; these are people I’ve known for years. I went to high school with him; she’s my closest friend. I’ve spent enough time at their house over the years that I know where they keep extra towels and toilet paper.

They give an annual End-Of-Summer party, and this same group of people has been getting together for many years. It’s comfortable; the conversation is all about catching up on kids and grandkids and growing heirloom tomatoes.

Because I’m in the middle of writing the third in the Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries and just wanted to get through this scene I put off getting ready to go until Saturday morning. Complicated by phone calls from critique group members, I was w-a-a-a-y behind schedule as I grabbed clothes. But not my laptop. I was going to be a guest this weekend.

We all write and read a lot (she’s the executive editor for a group of papers; he’s a lawyer and mediator,) and conversations always revolve around what we’re currently reading, what we just finished reading, what we’re planning to reading next, and I tried, I honestly tried, to engage in the discussion without constantly talking about my own books. I also tried to stay engaged in the conversation. This was hard as I’m working through some plot problems and don’t know how to leave them behind.

I managed until we went out shopping and to lunch the day after the party, a 45-minute drive. They were chatting in the front seat when one of them turned to me and asked a question. I said, “Huh?”

They looked at each other, turned to me and said, “What are you doing?” I must have had a blank stare while idly watching traffic go by.

“Writing,” I said.

I did help with dinner, I did strip my bed, I did tidy the bathroom.

Even though I wasn’t on my laptop, I couldn’t stop writing.

Are you able to put your next book or short story aside and just be a guest for a few days?

Snap: All That Jazz
Nik and Jazz, both employees of Kandesky Enterprises and passionate lovers, are having a tumultuous time. Are their differences too great? She's a contemporary, hip, young career woman working in the fast-changing world of celebrity gossip journalism in Los Angeles. He's a 500-year old vampire living in Kiev, Ukraine and running the Kandesky Munitions factories. She deals with celebs and sun, he deals with terrorists and dark.

Is their overpowering attraction enough to build a life-long future, or will their relationship fizzle out before Maxie's and Jean-Louis' wedding, dying faster than a Fourth of July sparkler?


Michele Drier said...

Thanks for having me as a guest, Lois, but I didn't bring you wine!

Lois Winston said...

LOL! As long as you don't bring me whine, we're fine. ;-)

Vamp Writer said...

My wife says I never listen! She and her sister often "marathon talk" either in person or on the phone in which case I "zone out." Actually I'm "communing" with one or more of my characters learning what exploits of theirs should be in the next novel. If she asks me why I didn't answer her the next time, I'm going to tell her "I've been writing!" My guess is that will still go over like a lead balloon but why not just admit what I've been doing all along! LOL

Diane Vallere said...

This is so true! Too often I fade out into my head and miss scenes of movies and questions from loved ones. I guess it's a good habit to keep a spare bottle of wine around the house.

Angela Adams said...

I enjoyed your post, Michele. Best wishes with your book.

Michele Drier said...

No, Lois, I save the whine for my daughter LOL. And Vamp and Diane, I think I'm just going to declare "eccentric" the next time somewhat asks what I do!

Gloria Alden said...

Actually, Michele, I can't write unless I'm home in my own writing space, Maybe that's why I'm told I'm a good guest and easy to have around. Do I work on plots in my mind at least a little? Yes, if something pops up that makes me think about it. Otherwise no. Most of my plotting comes with my daily walk in the woods with my collie, Maggie, or when I sit down with a pen and paper which is how I start each story or chapter before transferring what I wrote to my computer and finishing what I started there.