An Uncapped Pen

February 19, 2008

The man can drink coffee . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — cindylv @ 4:32 am
Tags: ,

Tim Hallinan

Over the weekend, my friend and I drove out to Santa Monica to meet Tim Hallinan, author of several novels and fellow Dickens Challenger. He selected the location, The Novel Cafe, where he does most of his writing when he’s in town.

I was very nervous about meeting him, so I brought my friend (screen name: Angel) with me. The minute he walked into the courtyard, I recognized him from the photo on his website ( As I extended my hand to greet him, he pushed right past it and enveloped me in a warm, welcoming hug. I realized I had nothing to be nervous about. I introduced Angel, who also received a hug, and then he gave me a copy of his next book, The Fourth Watcher.

Cindy with Watcher

After he ordered a tureen-sized coffee, we discovered he and Angel had friends in common, and then spent the next few minutes playing who/where/when . . . It was fun to listen and watch how animated he is when he speaks. The word sparkly comes to mind. He told us about the book he just finished, Bad Money. It sounds like it’s going to be another great novel.

Angel had a lot of questions about how he comes up with his ideas, how he writes, etc. He patiently and quite generously answered all our questions. Then he asked if I wouldn’t mind loaning him my copy of A Nail Through The Heart, so he could sign it for the waitress at The Novel Cafe. She was almost delirious with gratitude, as you can see in the photo below.

After a second tureen-sized cup of coffee, we drove him home and he replaced my copy of his book. I can’t imagine meeting a more genuine, generous, sparkly guy — AND he’s one heck of a good writer!



  1. I’m so envious!!! It sounds like a really great time and who wouldn’t love a place called, “The Novel Cafe”???

    When I was stationed up in the high desert in California back in the early 80s, Santa Monica was my favorite haunt whenever we’d make that drive down Cajon pass and into L.A.

    What a great experience. Ain’t the blogosphere something?

    Comment by lisakenney — February 19, 2008 @ 5:59 am | Reply

  2. Thanks, Lisa. This experience was just the cherry on a perfect day. I wish I could have spent a few hours writing while I was there, but now I know how to find it! My friend Angel sent me the photo holding Tim’s book. Can you tell how excited I was? All the way home I was praying I didn’t get stopped for driving under the influence of Tim. ;*D

    You’re absolute right. I’ve made so many close friends electronically (I call them e-friends until I actually get to hug them). I can’t wait to delete the “e-” preface from your name on my list!

    Comment by cindylv — February 19, 2008 @ 6:25 am | Reply

  3. Oh and Lisa…Tim and Cindy talked about you. ;-)

    I kept thinking to myself, OMG, that’s the Lisa that posts on Cindy’s blog.

    Cindy, thanks so much for an unforgettable experience. I truly enjoyed my day with you.

    Comment by angel — February 19, 2008 @ 11:37 pm | Reply

  4. Hey, well I was talking about all of you too (you too Angel!) :)

    Just had my own “meet a fellow blogger” night in San Antonio myself. I just love the blogosphere! Can’t wait to meet you in person too!

    Comment by lisakenney — February 20, 2008 @ 5:53 am | Reply

  5. Cindy,
    The Novel Cafe, great name like Lisa said. I am feeling envious too. In my case, its only a few thousand miles since i get to meet any of you. Well what’s a few whatever between friends.

    Comment by Usman — February 20, 2008 @ 12:57 pm | Reply

  6. OK, I hereby propose to the Dickens Challengers, that the first one to sell their book (and get a hefty advance) funds the DC meet and greet. Who’s in?

    Comment by cindylv — February 20, 2008 @ 4:08 pm | Reply

  7. Count me in!

    Comment by lisakenney — February 20, 2008 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

  8. Has to be hefty advance.
    Where’s Tim, he’s the one with the contract. :)

    Comment by Usman — February 21, 2008 @ 4:58 am | Reply

  9. I’m game. Especially since we unpublished writers have about as much chance of getting a big advance as, say, Mike Gravel has of being elected president. I would love to meet my fellow DC’ers in person. And the group won’t be complete without Usman.

    I checked out an early Hallinan novel, “Skin Deep,” from 1991. From the first few pages I can say it’s good, but that Tim’s writing has improved since then.

    It’s good to learn that Tim is as generous a soul in person as he is on the web. I just hope he doesn’t suspect me of being a Nozer because I admitted I didn’t like coffee.

    Comment by Steve Wylder — February 23, 2008 @ 2:47 am | Reply

  10. MIKE GRAVEL for President!

    (I was hoping for an new candidate to endorse!)

    Comment by cindylv — February 23, 2008 @ 2:55 am | Reply

  11. Thanks Steve for endorsing me as the missing piece.

    Cindy thanks for the message on my site today. Can you please send me your email, Tim’s and Steve’s. I suppose you have all of them.

    As you can see I am not posting anything on the blog these days. More later.

    Comment by Usman — February 23, 2008 @ 10:06 am | Reply

  12. Okay, just for something to do, I checked the price of airfare from ISB to LAX (I figure if Usman is flying across the globe, the very least I could do is drive five hours to LA). We’re looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $2000-2500.

    I’m hoping the first one to sell gets a really, really big (JK Rowling-sized) advance!

    Comment by cindylv — February 24, 2008 @ 2:32 am | Reply

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