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The V I Sweepstakes–Be First Past the Post

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Body Work will be out on August 31 and we’re holding a sweepstakes to celebrate.  Body Work tattoos, books, and a grand prize of memorabilia of V I Warshawski’s Chicago will be given out every week during September.  White Sox and Cardinals fans–if you win the grand prize you’ll have material for your dart boards all winter long.

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V I, the Video

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

With the help of dynamite videographer Ben Chandler, we created a Sara, V I, and Chicago that gives me a chance to show you a little bit of V I’s Chicago, and to talk about V I and about the new book, Body Work.

Sara, V I, and Chicago

Body Work from Sara Paretsky on Vimeo.

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Really, the Winner Is…

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

We got 23 great questions that tested how well I know V I and sent me back to some of my own books for the answers. Choosing a winner was tough. We weren’t looking for some unquantifiable “best” question, but one that made us laugh or sent us to the archives or made us see V I through a different lens.

First place goes to:

Who has been attacked more — Mr. Contreras or all of V I’s lovers combined?

Submitted by JoAnn Welsh

First runner up:

In Boom Boom’s will he gave  VI  money but requested that she not spend it all on what?

Submitted by Genny Winne

Everyone who submitted a question will get some Body Work tattoos; JoAnn and Genny get signed books. Stand by for an email requesting your mailing details.

Many thanks to everyone for taking part in such a light-hearted contest in the dog days of summer. The complete list of questions is:

Q:  How do you pronounce Warshawski?

Q:  What colour is VI’s hair?

Q:  How tall is VI?

Q:  With what letter of the alphabet do VI’s favourite comfort foods start?

Q:  What is VI’s favourite “comfort/indulgence” colour?

Q: When Mr Master’s asks “What does the ‘V’ stand for?”    What is V I’s response?

Q:  What profession did V I’s mom what V I to pursue?

Q: In Boom Boom’s will he gave  VI  money but requested that she not spend it all on what?

Q: Who is the only person that calls VI   “Vicky”?

Q: Where did V I get her manual Olivetti typewriter?

Q: What’s the raciest thing VI’s worn in the books?

Q: What recordings of Gabriela singing exist and who owns them?

Q: Tony worked with many members of law enforcement while a policeman.  Which are mentioned by name?

Q: Where did Mr. Contreras fight while in the military?

Q: Which of Mr. Contreras’ family members are named in the VI books?

Q: Which of VI’s cousins are named in the books?

Q: How did VI meet Lottie?

Q: How many kids does her downstairs neighbor have?

Q: What is Mitch’s parentage?

Q: How did VI acquire Peppy?

Q: What is Mr. Contrera’s first name?

Q: Who has been attacked more — Mr. Contreras or all of VI’s lovers combined?

Q: How many times has VI been saved by a dog?

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The Age of Fear

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

I’m taking part in a new series on the Investigation Discovery channel called “Hardcover Mysteries,” where I join Sandra Brown, Linda Fairstein and others in presenting true crimes, and I just spent a couple of days in Los Angeles to help present the show to the Television Critics Association.  Dave Cargill, who produced the series, is from Scotland, and that soft brogue has persuaded stronger people than me to do more unlikely things.  The story we worked on was a sad case of domestic violence in my home town of Lawrence, Kansas.  It will air on October 25; the series as a whole debuts on October 11.

Because I was on Chicago time, I was  out looking for cappuccino by six.  The only other people out that early were Hispanic-looking people watering the lawns and trimming the shrubs of Beverly Hills.  I followed a “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy, but something told me that many of these servants of the rich and powerful probably did not have green cards.

A gardener trimming hedges on a Beverly Hills estate

Which brings me to the Age of Fear.  I did an event at the Mystery Bookstore in LA while I was there, and someone asked why V I refers to the Age of Fear in Hardball. It’s easy these days to catch the Panic Express, with jobless rates at close to 10 percent for over a year, and the endless war in Iraq/Afghanistan bringing ever more casualties, ever more reprisals, ever more depression.  But we have a 24/7 cable and Internet news cycle that deliberately stokes the engines on the Panic Express, deliberately panders to everyone’s fears, and is turning us into a nation of hysterical xenophobes.

Just one example.  9/11 responders have major health issues, including abnormally high mortality rates, apparently from inhaling the dust at Ground Zero in the months they worked on the site. A recent bill in Congress would have provided funds for their health care. Republicans blocked the bill; one apparently said “people get killed all the time.”  But they are out pounding the drums of fear over plans to build a mosque and community center four blocks from Ground Zero.  “Peace-loving Muslims, refudiate this plan,” one talk-show host demanded, with a quaint disregard for the English language.  Plans for mosques are under attack all over the country now: we don’t want Muslims in our back yards, our front yards, or, apparently, in our country, although several conservatives hastened to assure the country that even though they’re opposed to building mosques, they’re all about religious freedom.

For immigrants, the picture is even more hysterical.  We’re getting the call to repeal the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, the one that guarantees us equal protection under the law, regardless or race, creed, or previous condition of servitude, and the one that says anyone born in these United States is a citizen (unless they’re Barack Obama, in which case 27 percent of the country is sure  his Kansas mother was a Space Alien.  As a Kansas woman myself, I kind of resent our citizenship being impugned, but that’s another story.)  I know a Polish immigrant who is sure that Mexicans are destroying her life and that of her daughter–but I have never seen any signs that she wants to be up at six a.m. trimming a hedge on a rich white person’s estate.

Fear is the absolute sure-fire killer of creativity.  We live in very difficult times and we need to feel free if we are going to come up with creative solutions to our economic woes, and to the instability and terrorism at play in many countries and societies these days.  Turning ourselves into an armed fortress where we’re ready to arrest and deport anyone who looks or believes differently than we do is about the most enslaving activity we can indulge in.

I am not immune to the Panic Express, and I could  write about the way it infects me.  But I long for the Freedom Train and its journey to laughter and creativity.

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Really, How Well Do You Know V I Warshawski?

Thursday, August 5th, 2010
Body Work will be in stores on August 31st. Here’s your chance to get a signed pre-pub copy of the actual book. A lot of people complained that the questions in the “How Well Do You Know V I?” quiz were too simple.  What question should we have asked to make the contest as tough as V I? Submit your question to vi-bodywork@mindspring.com. We will pick a winner on August 15th, and the winner will be chosen on totally subjective criteria. Among the considerations will be: Is it really about V I? Did it make our panelists laugh? Did it force our panelists to delve into the V I archives?
One question per email, but you may send multiple email. On August 15th when we announce the winner we will post all of the submitted questions.
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And the Winners Are…

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

We’re happy to announce three winners of advance reader copies of Body Work. These people knew their V I and were lucky in the drawing:

Celeste Day Moore, Lorraine Flatt, and Stine Bakkelokken

Congratulations and thanks for taking part.

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