Diana Renn

Mysteries that Matter


Greetings from Seattle, where the skies are blue and — well, at the moment my hotel room is swaddled in clouds and mist. But I’m hopeful this will burn off and we’ll have a lovely summer day here, like yesterday. Here’s photographic evidence that it is not always gray and rainy! This is a fountain at the Seattle Center. Temps soared yesterday afternoon, and kids — including my son, the little guy in the water here — flocked to this oasis.

I’m staying with my family on Queen Anne Hill, in an old hotel that’s supposed to be haunted, though I have yet to see a ghost. I’m hopeful on that front too. The hotel has equal doses of quirks and charm. Creaky floorboards, dim hall lights, graceful banisters that call out to be slid down. (I always wanted to slide down a staircase banister. I’ve never done that. Have you? Maybe on my last day!)

In good company at Third Place Books!

I’ve had some time to hang out with family, and some book events going on. On Tuesday evening, I did an event at Third Place Books, in Lake Forest Park, my old neighborhood. What a fun time! They were very welcoming. Bestselling mystery author J.A. Jance had read there just two hours before me, and the reading area still felt electric. I was thrilled to meet two people on a mystery marathon; they had gone to her event, had dinner, and then returned to hear about TOKYO HEIST.

With my dad, who’s taller than he looks. I’m wearing precarious heels.
With my mom, also taller than she looks. Darn these heels!
With Ron Hippe, actor/musician, longtime friend

Reading at Third Place Books was deeply meaningful for me. I consider it my neighborhood bookstore, even though I live 3,000 miles away. I’m in Seattle about three times a year, and within 24 hours of arrival, I’m there, stocking up on my reading for the week or getting books for my son. My roots as a reader and writer also run deeper in that building, to the Lake Forest Park Library right downstairs. Returning to the building where I’d grown up reading, now with a published book in hand, was a wonderful experience. It was also great to have my parents there, as well as some old friends from high school!

Author J. Anderson Coats came! And behind her, a guy in a Sakura-Con T-shirt. Violet wears one too in Tokyo Heist!

Then yesterday I visited Golden Age Collectables in the Pike Place Market, where I used to work on vacations back in my college days. In TOKYO HEIST, Violet works in a comic shop too. But I must stress that the made-up store in the book is VERY different from the place where I worked! GAC sells comics, manga, graphic novels galore, movie memorabilia, and many more fun things, and they have a staff that knows everything about everything. This was one of the best jobs I ever had, and I was delighted to find my former employers still so enthusiastic about their business, which is booming, and it was fun to meet the current staff there. I signed some books for them, so if you’re in the area, you can stop in and pick one up! And definitely check out this cool store if you’re in Seattle looking for anything related to comics or film!

Stay tuned for more notes from my Seattle trip. If you’re here, check out my events page for more bookstore appearances! 

For the first time in my life, I have nothing to read. Nothing! I’m totally disoriented. I’m twitching and hallucinating and muttering to myself. I’m visiting family, 3,000 miles away from my tower of nightstand books. I came here having hastily packed, with only one half-finished novel (which I read on the plane), thinking I would just buy new books while I’m out here. Because I’m not in the Middle of Nowhere. I’m in Seattle. A reading city, bursting with incredible bookstores.

But my time during bookstore hours has been taken up with family activities over Memorial Day weekend. My time has not been my own. I did orbit Third Place Books at a farmers market on Sunday, but had to help my parents carry vegetables. We had walked to the market, and had a big dinner to cook. I cast longing looks at the bookstore and experienced chest pains as I walked away. Radishes? Who cares about radishes? I am out of reading material, people!

I could have borrowed a book from my parents, but we have different tastes in reading (Death Begins in the Colon just isn’t calling out to me right now for some reason). Besides, it’s a new book I’m craving. An uncreased cover. The crack of a spine as I turn to page one.

I’ve never been in this situation. When I pack for a trip, I’m more likely to throw in an extra book than an extra shirt. I’ll wear the wrong type of footwear all week but have an ample layer of words. Even as a kid, I’d look forward to picking out my special “airplane books” so I’d never be caught without reading material. Maybe it’s a habit I picked up from my grandmother, who never went anywhere without a paperback mystery in a neat paper bag.

Yet here I am. Inexplicably bookless. I’m starting to understand the appeal of a Kindle.

I awakened early today, groping for a book that was not there. I looked at the clock. Three hours till the nearest bookstore opens. Could I dash there before visiting my grandmother? Squeeze in a book run before picking up my rental car and heading over to see my mother? One thing I love about my hometown is the abundance of drive-through coffee joints. Why don’t we have 24-hour drive-through bookstores? (The Kindle. I know, I know. I’ll think about it).

One hour and forty-two minutes until the nearest bookstore opens. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.