When I’m up to my armpits in alligators, the hands on my office clock rotate as quickly as the hands on a clock in a John Garfield/Lana Turner movie. I received the galleys for my "paranormal history-mystery romance," THE LANDLORD’S BLACK-EYED DAUGHTER. They are due back "yesterday." The clock hands are rotating faster than a speeding bullet. And yet I know I should use my Murderati Tuesdays to write something relevant, something really profound, like…


The answer is yes, and I’ll tell you why.

Before my Landlord galleys arrived, I was "tweaking" the glitches in the scanned versions of my Ellie Bernstein/Lt. Peter Miller "diet club" mysteries, TROW DARTS AT A CHEESECAKE and BEAT UP A COOKIE, for backlist publication. Naturally my thoughts turned to how many readers will actually buy these updated versions, and will my publisher negotiate with the fantastic cover artist, Peter Caras, who created the covers for my mass market paperback editions, and my…


Don’t turn away, guys (or click off this blog). Don’t pretend you never think about how you’d look in spandex and/or jeans that mold your butts.

So I’m happily tweaking, eh? And thinking about when these books first came out. Thinking about the pretty clothes I wore to my booksignings and conferences and my one TV appearance – someday I’ll tell you about my first -and last- TV appearance! Thinking about the straight black skirt that molded MY butt, and the skin-tight jeans with Mickey Mouse as a cowboy embroidered on the back pocket (in those days you could see my back pockets because I tucked my shirts in).

Thinking how I actually said "No, thank you" to Diane Mott Davison’s brownies, when we did that Denver booksigning together.

Thinking about the skinny T-shirt Tom and Enid Shantz gave me, as a gift, when I signed Beat Up a Cookie at the Rue Morgue.

Thinking about how that skinny T-shirt fit!

Without a bra, even.

Recently, some really nice people sent me pictures from last June’s Murder In The Grove conference.

So, okay, you can look in a mirror and fool yourself. You can look in a mirror and see what you want to see. But you can’t hide from photos. No matter which way you turn a photo (even upside-down), you can’t change your appearance.

So, for the record, I’m back on Weight Watchers. And writing a new book.

Recently, when Julia Buckley interviewed me for her blog, she asked the following question: Deni, you used to be a Weight Watchers lecturer.  I’ve joined Weight Watchers three times, and each time my starting weight is higher.  What would group leader Ellie Bernstein say to me?"

My answer: It took Ellie two tries to reach her goal weight. The first time she attended a party and saw her ex-husband and his new wife — a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader — at the party, and she scarfed up the party goodies like a recently-repaired Hoover. Then she binged for weeks, always planning to go back on her diet "tomorrow." When she finally rejoined Weight Winners and reached her goal, she called her experience "WW II" — "Weight Winners II." As for what Ellie would say to you, she’d say, "You’re a wonderful person, thoughtful, intelligent and talented, and you deserve to be healthy and attractive. But losing weight isn’t everything. Be proud of who you are and what you’ve achieved." She might also quote Dave Barry, who said "The leading cause of death among fashion models is falling through street grates."

Julia also asked: Can we ever eat what we want to again and still lose weight?  Keep in mind that what I WANT to eat is a big chocolate cake.

My answer: Eat as much chocolate cake as you like. Just don’t swallow it.

The entire interview is on Julia’s blog.

Remember my blog entry on "Walking the Dog"? Remember how I said if you write one page a day,

at the end of a year you’ll have a book? I’m thinking if I lose one pound a week…
This is what I look like at the end of a busy, up-to-my-armpits-in-alligators day.
Over and out,

14 thoughts on “QUIBBLES & BITS

  1. Jeff Cohen

    I’m with you, Deni! My next book is due out in September ’07, and I plan on being… a certain number of pounds lighter by then. You weirded me out, though, writing about this, because today was the day (I swear!) that I had earmarked to start the Weight Watchers (online, so no meetings) program. And I’m determined. It’s that annoying “exercise” part I always have the problem with, but let’s make a pact–you and me together! (I don’t know what the pact is, but we should make it.)

  2. Naomi

    Do I smell a Murderati Weight Challenge?

    And, oh yeah, photos do hurt. Inspired me to do some heavy lifting before my debut mystery came out. And vow to never wear ivory socks with black pants and black shoes ever again.

  3. Beatrice Brooks

    Deal, Jeff! Except, it’s a well known fact that men lose faster than women, and, FWIW, I thought you looked perfectly fine…no, make that perfectly terrific at Malice!

    A Murderati weight challenge, Naomi? Love it! But why just Murderati? All Murderati readers are welcome, too 🙂

    Typo: It is of course THROW Darts at a Cheesecake. Argh.

    Rob, if you hadn’t already guessed, the photo is a “leftover” from last week’s blog on my sister Eileen. Once again, she is getting made up to star in a horror flick…I think.

    Next week I’ll talk about something really relevant…like…well…maybe pets in mysteries 🙂

    Singing sum-sum-summertime and watching the hands on the damnfool clock spin like a wonky compass,Deni

  4. Julia Buckley

    Why, this interview with Julia Buckley sounds downright delightful! (Thanks for the free advertising).

    And Denise, since you are a singer, I’m sure you know that The Landlord’s Black Eyed Daughter sounds like the title of an Old English folk ballad. Perhaps you could set it to music and sing it at the book signings?

  5. Jeff Cohen

    Yeah, I’ve heard that “well-known fact” before, Deni. Apparently, my butt hasn’t heard it, however. Perhaps it takes a while for the news to make it back there.

    You’re on!


    P.S. What are we agreeing to, just so I’m sure?

  6. Beatrice Brooks

    Julia, Loreena McKennitt sings a folk song called “The Higwayman.” It’s based on the Alfred Noyes poem and has the following lyrics:He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting thereBut the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,Bess, the landlord’s daughter,Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.Great song!Hugs,Deni

  7. Naomi

    We want wagers here, Jeff and Denise. Hard cold cash. And probably the rest of the Murderatis want in on the action. I know I do.

    And THE HIGHWAYMAN–was that the poem that Anne recited in Anne of Avalon? Loreena McKennitt–she’s great.

  8. Pari

    I’m in for the weight loss — though my goal is only 10-15 lbs. Heh heh heh. I should be falling through the grates by Magna.

    Can I shake on it with you, Deni . . . and Jeff?

  9. Beatrice Brooks

    Here’s a cyber-shake, Pari. Although I’ve never gone into much detail, the food program I use for my fictitious “Weight Winners” diet club mysteries is a combination Weight Watchers and Total Wellbeing Diet (from Australia). I’ve been on it for a month and have lost 9 lbs.Hugs,Deni

  10. Jeff Cohen

    Oh sure, Deni–goad me into a bet, and then inform me you’ve already got a nine-pound lead! Well, I’m willing to go along with this charade, but I have to understand the parameters. How does a Murderati Diet Challenge work?


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