Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

A member of my writing critique group, who travels often on ship cruises with his wife,  hadn't responded to our group's emails. We didn't know why. I thought he'd gone on a cruise and had no WiFi.  But our meeting date approached, he sent in sent his submission for critique then all went silent. A deafening silence. No answer to emails or even confirmation that we were meeting on Sunday morning.
Then the Coronavirus came and long story short, the news erupted on Friday that the Grand Princess cruise ship outside San Francisco Bay had 20+ people ill with the virus.
Videos showed helicopter's lowering crews with test kits onto the ships deck hours later. All the passengers were quarantined.  Of course, our writing group member was one of the several thousand on board the ship to be quarantined. We finally got an email from him. He complained he was in solitary quarantine, with gourmet food, lots of movies and BORED! He emailed his critiques of our submissions from his porthole overlooking the SF Bay. He requested we record our critique of his work, so he could hear human voices no matter how 'savage' his words we'd be.
My critique came back headlined:

done while being held prisoner on a cruise ship

Somehow via FaceTime and several iPhone's recording on Voice Memo we shared critiques of his and our work - we recorded critiques, chimed in to members who were stuck at home - moi - and it felt eerie and great. Eerie in that this Covid19 virus is everywhere I turn in SF.
Tomorrow's event with the South Bay Writers Groups got cancelled because the SF Health Dept recommends not to be in groups of fifty people. On and on. We heard today the Tucson Festival of Books was cancelled. I will cancel my plane ticket and will miss roomating with my pal, and good friend of Zoë, Libby Hellmann. Libby was going to come back with me to SF so I've got a big sad face.
Here's my upcoming event in Virgina, if it doesn't get cancelled.

March 20-21, 2020
Virginia Festival of the Book
Panels: Friday, 2-3:30 PM at the New Dominion Bookshop: Cara reads from and signs Murder In Bel-Air
Saturday, 4 PM, Omni Hotel, Ballroom B: “Watching the Detectives” with Cara, Deborah Crombie, Meredith Doench & Art Taylor
Charlottesville, VA

Cara - Tuesday

Also my next book THREE HOURS IN PARIS come out on April 7 --- more soon.


  1. I must admit I've never been attracted to a cruise with 2000 other people. Now wild horses couldn't drag me on board!
    Hope he's okay...

  2. Me,too Michael! We heard yesterday that all passengers disembarked in Oakland and he went into a two week quarantine.

  3. It's humorous to me, your use of 'SF' in this post. I've read science fiction (referred to often as SF) most of my life, and the current playing-out of the corona virus is SO much like many 'SF' scenarios over the decades, it's hard to know whether the chills up my spine are from deja vue, horror, or a virus I've contracted... :-)

  4. The thing about cruises with 2000 guests is that half will always be asleep, and a quarter in the casino. But nobody will seek you out and want to talk to you!!
    I got home from my 'writing retreat' late last night, woke up with sore throat and temperature so I am self isolating. My doc is not seeing anybody face to face so fingers crossed!!

    1. Hope you feel better. I've never, ever been on a cruise ship + will keep it that way. Evidently Left coast Crime is happening!

    2. Our fingers, toes, and all else remains tightly crossed for you! B&J

  5. I'm with Michael on not fancying the idea of huge numbers of people on a cruise ship, but that's more down to me being grumpy than worried about infections! (Although my ex-sister-in-law and her husband ended up on a cruise where so many passengers were struck down with some nasty diarrhea and vomiting bug that was so bad they were flying out micro-biologists to investigate.)

  6. Going on a cruise sounds worse and worse.
    Oh, and the Virginia Book Festival was JUST cancelled.
    I'm self-isolating then and finishing the last third of this book WIP since I've got ALL this free time.

  7. I'm here in the bay area, Caro. I friend ho came to have lunch with me took a photo of the cruise ship from the Bay Bridge. So weird to see that monstrosity in that place.

  8. A pajama party via Zoom is in order, I think. Sujata, Cara, Zoe? And Caro when you're better. Susan and Annamaria too. OK, Michael...Stan, Jeff... you guys can make an appearance as well.

    1. Thanks for the invite, Libby, but do I get to wear my Spongebob onesies?