Tuesday, February 05, 2013

This Is So Not A Swan Song...

By Robin 'Red Hot' Kaye

Here I am writing my swan song and I'm wondering where the heck we came up with the term. Does anyone really know?

From Wickimedia Commons

I'm wondering if it has something to do with Swan Lake, because, well, how many swan inspired books, movies, ballets or operas are there?

So I do what every normal, basically lazy writer does--I google it. Once I saw what it means, I decided this was so not my swan song.

Did you know that the beautiful swans we picture when we think of the word swan are called Mute Swans?

The legend is that they only 'speak' when they're dying.

Like I said--that's so not happening.

If you want to hear my voice, come visit me: I'll be blogging a a few times a month on Blame It On The Muse.

You can always visit me on my website, on Facebook--I have my personal page, my Fan Page, and on the Killer Fiction Writers Page.

Then there's me on Twitter. My twitter feed is sporadic but fun. You just never know what I'm going to tweet about when I'm at Starbucks. And I can also be found blogging

So just to let you all know, I, like the rest of us Killers, will be around and ready to chat with anyone available.

I have a feeling I'll be talking well after I'm dead, but hey, I guess that should only bother you if you're my children. I often tell them I'll come back just to give them a good scare.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Swan Song

It’s my last post here at the Killer Fiction blog. It’s been a long, good run for all of us, but things change and technology marches forward, always forcing us to a new medium of communication in order to keep up.

But the Killers are not going away. We’re simply relocating to our Facebook page. It allows us more direct interaction with readers and to post more often when we have announcements, releases, contests, etc. or just a pair of new shoes we'd like to show off.

I know some of you are not fans of Facebook, and honestly, I resisted for a LONG time. But for those that don’t want to get online and find “friends” etc., all you have to do is set up a page under a pen name. Call yourself Reading Goddess or Queen of the Library. No one you might want to avoid can find you that way, and you’ll still be able to Like your favorite author pages and keep up with them on a much more regular basis than through blogs. I usually post on my Facebook author page once a day or more, and offer readers a look into my everyday life—something you can’t really get on blogs.

I’m sorry if some of you make the decision not to move with us, but I wish you’d reconsider. I promise, we didn’t make this decision lightly or to offend. The harsh reality for writers is that it’s impossible to keep up with all the social mediums available, write books, and ever see our families, so we have to handpick one or two items to use, feeling it’s better to do one or two things well rather  than five things poorly.

For those that boycott Facebook, please sign up for our newsletters. We announce new releases, contests and other fun things through that medium.

Thank you all so much for supporting the Killer Fiction blog all these years!

Signing off, one last time……

Deadly DeLeon

Saturday, February 02, 2013


          I love Women’s Fiction, mainly because the characters in them are just regular, real life people that I feel comfortable being around; so comfortable, in fact, I can envision myself sharing a beer with them.

          Like most authors, I pull the characters in my novels from people close to me. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that my beta husband, of thirty-nine years, Jim, has had a strong impact on the characters in my novels. Jim is the consummate animal lover. Our dogs are, for the most part, rescues. One of them is a sheltie named Cassie, or “Crazy Cass”, as I like to call her. We’d initially decided to purchase only one dog: an eight-week old sheltie without issues (for those of you who own shelties, that statement is almost an oxymoron).

          From the second we arrived at the breeder’s home, she gave us the sales pitch, trying to talk us into purchasing two shelties; one normal baby pup, and one---shall we say---with issues. As Jim and I tried to befriend this older dog named Cassie, she slithered into a corner. Making eye contact with this dog nearly caused her to go into convulsions. Jim was ready to cough up a small fortune so that we could take both dogs home. I refused to budge, insisting I wasn’t about to pay a breeder for a dog with hip dysplasia in need a lobotomy.

          The breeder apparently sensed my reluctance and sold us the eight-week old puppy at the agreed upon price, tossing in Cassie as a freebee. The good news is that after four years, Cassie has made significant progress. While she’ll never be as affectionate as the other dogs are, Jim and I both love the fact that we’ve made this dog’s life better. We expect little in return, and on some level, that’s the mark of a true animal lover.

          And that brings me back, full circle, to the topic of creating real life characters. In my novel, LAST CHANCE TEXAS, the hero is a large animal vet named Nathan Wainwright. What makes him likeable to the readers is that he often treats animals for free, insisting that the animal’s welfare must take precedent over the owner’s ability to pay him for services rendered. Although well educated, mucking out stalls to make the animals lives more comfortable isn’t beneath him. Obviously, the man doesn’t take himself all that seriously and you can’t help but love that in a hero!

          Nathan Wainwright has definitely passed the litmus test. I think he’s someone I could share a beer with. For all I know, Nathan and my husband might be the ones with more in common. “Drink up, boys, the beers are on me.”
Comment for a chance to win a copy of Tessa Gray's book!  Two lucky commenters will win. Check back around 9 PM central time to see if you've won.  



Friday, February 01, 2013

I'm a Blog Killer

You probably already know that the Killer Fiction ladies are all making our final curtain calls. But just from blogging.

We'll still be around in all our own hideouts (mine are amandabrice.net and Facebook), as well as at the Killer Fiction Facebook page. And really, that seems to be the way things are going these days -- interaction moving to social media rather than the blogosphere.

So don't be sad. You can't get rid of us that easily. (Besides, where would you hide the bodies?)

Plus, we're working on a sooper sekrit project that I think you'll LOVE. It's very excited. So stay tuned!

Anyway, as part of my own swan song, I wanted to take a moment to thank Gemma for making the initial suggestion that resulted in inviting me to hang out with y'all. I was just a baby in the world of publishing (still am!) and had just had a baby (and then had another), and it was such a thrill to get to play with the Big Girls.

But like I seem to do, I killed this blog.

No really! I'm a blog killer.

I used to blog with the Fictionistas, a fantastic group of (then) YA authors, consisting of me, Kristen Painter, Gwen Hayes, Melissa Francis, and Rhonda Stapleton. But as time went on, our writing habits diverged (not everyone was writing YA anymore) and eventually we decided we'd rather, well, you know, write our books than a blog, so now we continue to have an email loop for friendship rather than cross-promotion.

Then last spring I joined YA Indie, which was a vibrant community of indie-published YA authors, blogging about writing and publishing. Two weeks ago, the YA Indie blog founder Dalya Moon decided to restructure the focus since she was no longer focusing on YA and should spend more time writing books than blogging about books, so instead of a daily blog about self-publishing, it  became Heck YA! Indie, which is a twice-a-month-ish blog put out by Dalya herself.

And now the Killers have decided to suspend the blog.

What's the common theme here? I'd like to say it isn't me, but well, would that be entirely true? Sure, I doubt I myself killed any of these blogs, but I did happen to be a contributor to each of them and now they're gone.


Right about now, my blogmated at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood should probably be worried.

Anyway, thank you to the Killers for letting me come play, and also for the friendship. And thank you to my readers for loving my books. Come join us on Facebook!

And if you're in the DC area, come join me on Sunday, February 17 at the Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill for the first Romance Lovers Get Together. You'll enjoy complimentary drinks and appetizers -- including a specialty cocktail named by Washington Loves Romance readers -- in a fun, casual atmosphere. Prizes, including a huge gift basket stuffed with all kinds of book goodies and a $50 Amazon gift card, will be given away.

And not only will it be fun, but you'll be raising money for an excellent cause. All profits generated during the event will go to the Washington Literacy Center.

See ya!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Parting Gift: Secrets

As most of you know, Killer Fiction blog is leaving us. Of course I'll still be blogging but I will no longer be playing the field with my "Killer" mistress.  Instead I'll save my snarking, emoting and promoting for kyradavis.com, the blog I've been married to since the beginning...well at least since Sophie was born. My blog and I sort of had a shotgun wedding.  And of course I look forward to posting on the Killer Fiction Facebook page.

I keep trying to think of how to bring this to a close in a satisfying way...when a television series ends you want answers. Mysteries are supposed to be solved, disputes settled, secrets revealed. My mysteries are in my Sophie books and any dispute of mine that you might be interested in are also enclosed within my novels. But I do have a few secrets I can share...secrets I've never posted anywhere before....

...for instance, for those of you who have read the Sophie books you know that Sophie's on-again-off-again boyfriend is a hot Russian guy who served in both the Israeli and Russian army before moving to San Francisco.

The secret is, I met that guy. I even went out on a date with him. He was Russian and he had indeed served in both the Russian and Israeli armies. I met him at a party in San Francisco back when I was in college. Our eyes locked across a crowded room. He was beautiful, sculpted, intense.  Fair skin with dark hair...I couldn't look away. It was a dinner party and we sat next to one another. The chemistry was so exceptional that even now, thinking back, I get goosebumps.

And then he had to go and screw it all up by opening his mouth.

It was such a bummer. I tried to convince myself it was a language problem. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and went out on a date with him...by the end of the date it was clear, this wasn't a language problem. He was just sort of a womanizing jerk. Even his advances were clumsy. He drank a bit too much and asked if I could drive him home...in his car...which would mean that I would have to take a cab from his place which he swore he'd pay for. I got up to his place to make a call and he said, "What's the rush? Make yourself comfortable and you know, take off your jeans!"

I didn't. I left, irritated that reality didn't live up to the chemistry of that moment. It's really amazing how quickly you can conjure up a fantasy and how suddenly that fantasy can be yanked away. So, years later, I wrote the fantasy, injected it with the permanence of ink and then I gave my fantasy-Anatoly to Sophie. I stretched out that magical moment and now thousands of readers can have him without the messiness of reality(although there are lots of murders in my Sophie books, so I guess that's kinda messy).

It's not the only time I've done that. Mr. Dade in Just One Night isn't entirely fictional either. I did date a man who had a PERFECT body and salt & pepper hair. A guy who came from a lower middle class family and a truly traumatic childhood only to pull himself up by his bootstraps and work his way up in the world, eventually starting a company that now grosses a little over $100 million a year. If I told you what that company was there's a good chance you'd know it. He has the expensive car and the beat-up dirt bike. He wears the cheap t-shirts and lives in a house he bought from Richard Gere...a house that has one of the most amazing views I've ever seen of the city. And he had a fierce, almost pathological individualism...one that didn't always sit well with me. Weakness in those in his life was not tolerated. He strongly believes that we should all be motivated first, last and always by our own self-interests. If we do something kind it's not because it's "right" on a societal level but because it A) makes us feel good and B) it improves our lives. Everything was put in the context of "I." No love should ever be above the love we have for ourselves. The goal should always be to enhance our own lives.

And yet he would express true distress when he saw a homeless person shivering in the cold. He had empathy.  He quoted Ayn Rand and then praised community service. He could be totally light hearted but control was so very important to him. He said he loved life and yet he seemed to have to work so hard to remind himself to be happy. He was full of contradictions and although I didn't love him I found him to be absolutely fascinating. My friend suggested that maybe I was dating him just to figure him out. That might have been the case. But in the end we just weren't a good match. As I said, we weren't in love.  Our world views were simply too different, our connection not quite strong enough...and part of me was in love with another man. Unlike Kasie, I didn't cheat. But I did choose that other man over him. That didn't work out either but I don't regret my choice. My Mr. Dade wasn't the man for me but I still thought he was fascinating so I wrote him for Kasie. And in some ways Kasie, with all her contradictions and her attempts to be one thing but suppressing other aspects of her true nature...well she was somewhat inspired by my Mr. Dade too.

So those are my secrets. I'm only revealing them once, here on a blog that is about to disappear. I may erase it at the end of the weekend. I'm not all that interested in having Mr. Dade read this and track me down again. Like I said, he's never been in love with me (I didn't break his heart) but I intrigue him and when something sparks his interest he can be a very persistent guy.  I just don't think I want to go down that road again.  And I sure as hell don't want to be tracked down by Anatoly.

So this is just for you, my Killer Fiction readers, during our last days here. Thank you for letting me share my writing adventures with you over the years. It's been an enormous amount of fun and I hope that you'll keep the fun coming by joining us over on Facebook. We've all shared to much to become strangers.

--Fashionista Fatale

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In The Beginning...There Was This Cuban Restaurant in Dallas...

Jana, Kathy, Christie, Gemma, Me & Farrah at that Cuban restaurant, July 2007
This is where it all began.  July 2007, in a Cuban restaurant in Dallas.  Dorchester Publishing took its authors to dinner.  And while we were sitting there, eating, drinking and laughing, an idea was born.  Our then editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, suggested that since we wrote funny, mystery/romance - we should get together and create a blog.  By August, Killer Fiction was live.
Authors have come and gone, but the core is there and if I do say so myself - we are still as wickedly entertaining as we were 5 years ago.  Gemma's had some adorable babies and Christie's still cracks us up...Kathy has seen her tripletts through college and Jana is building us all new houses with retaining walls...and my hair is gray.  Well, more like silver, actually.
Thank you friends for making Killer Fiction so much fun to be a part of.  We are not going away - just to another place at Facebook.  Look for us there.  And watch for some exciting projects coming down the pike (does anyone know what a pike is and why you'd come 'down' it?).
Stay in touch (don't make me come after you).  We'll see you over on Facebook!
With love,
The Assassin

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Sad Swan Song

WINNERS UPDATE! WINNERS UPDATE!  Thanks so much for stopping by my last blog to chat with me and Shauna!  The lucky winners of Shauna's book are: Sabrina Robert, Sarah S., and Kristi!  Please shoot me an email at: christie (at) christie-craig.com and let me know if you'd like an Amazon or B&N book and we'll hook you up!  Congrats!

You know me, forever curious, so I looked up what Swan Song really meant.  There’s a legend that says that Mute Swans are . . . well, mute, and never sing until they are about to die and then they sing the saddest and most beautiful song.  Doesn’t that just getcha right in the heart?  True, it sounds poetic.  But it also sounds terribly sad.  First off, for a girl who’s a bit of a jabber, not to be able to talk is terrible.  But then to only get the gift right before you’re about to croak, well that’s just downright screwed up.  So I was really happy when I read it was all a lie.  Oh, the Mute Swan really exists, but they are simply less vocal than the other swans.  Sort of like some people we know, they don’t have a lot to say.  Or they have a lot to say, but are too shy, too private to share their thoughts and opinions.  I guess you could say if I was a swan, I wouldn’t be a Mute Swan.     

Ahh, but while the legend is a lie, it’s not a lie about Killer Fiction closing our doors.  And it is a sad swan song.  I will miss reading all the other Killer Fiction gals’ blogs. It was great to keep up with each other.  And while our reasons for saying goodbye to this venue are completely validated, as I already said, I wouldn’t make a good Mute Swan.  Anyone who has met in me person can testify that I’m simply not a shy person.  Some of my friends say I could talk to a nail in the wall.  And they’re right, but only if the nail could talk back.  I like to talk, but I also like to listen. Which is why you will not only be seeing me on the Killer Fiction Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/KillerFictionWriters but you can still come visit my blog Laugh, Love, Read, at http://christie-craig.com/blog/.

Anyway, it may be goodbye to Killer Fiction, but if you ever need a chuckle, want to read about the new stupid things my hubby’s done (believe me, I thought he might stop this one day, but I’ve given up hope) or maybe you’re just curious about what authors I’ve been reading, pop over and say hello.  I blog every Tuesday.

No, you won’t find all my KF buddies there, but who knows, maybe I’ll have them stop by every now and then and entertain us with their humor.  And you know if I hear of them doing anything worth gossiping (I mean blogging) about, I’ll be the first share it with you.

And now…because it’s not really goodbye for me, I’m going to introduce you to Shauna Allen.  Shauna isn’t just a buddy, she’s also assisting me over at Christie-Craig.com.  Ahh, but Shauna is also a writer.  And a darn good one.  If you like bad boys, tattoos and cupids, all wrapped up in a sexy, witty writing style, you gotta read her.  Today I’ll give away a copy of Shauna’s e-book to three lucky people who leave a comment.  So make sure to leave a post.  And don’t forget to come visit me at my new blog site.
Take it away, Shauna: 


Labor Pains

Thanks, Christie!  So glad to be here and thanks for letting me be in on your Swan Song and saying a fond farewell to Killer Fiction!

A friend and writer I respect immensely told me recently that writing a book is a lot like giving birth.  Well, in my “other life,” my full-time job is a labor and delivery nurse.  I thought about her analogy for a moment and had to laugh.  She is absolutely right. 

We start with a tiny seed of an idea.  We nourish it, we love it, we have all kinds of hopes and dreams for it . . . you following me here?  Then, the time comes to bring it into the world.  And it’s a painful ordeal which, for some of us, can become a downright ugly, bloody affair full of tears and screaming.  There’re no epidurals in publishing. 

But, hey, in the end we get to hold our little bundles of joy in our hands and proudly proclaim, “I created this!”  Amazing! 

But, wait. 

Like babies, the work has just started.  The cuteness will always be there—just look at that cover!—but we still have to get our butts out there and work for it.  Um, did we sign up for this back when we were germinating those precious little characters in our minds?  Well, if you want your baby to succeed, yes you did. 

Ah, a mother’s, I mean an author’s work is never done. 

In my book, Inked by an Angel, my hero and heroine have drastically different relationships with their own fictional mothers.  And even though my hero, Jed, is a tattooed bad boy, I made sure he had a teensy-weensy soft side when it came to his mother.  Here’s an excerpt so you can see for yourself:

Sweat poured from his head and stung his eyes as Jed pushed his father’s ancient lawnmower in neat lines through his mother’s backyard.  He paused long enough to shuck his T-shirt and wipe his forehead with it before tossing it to the porch. He knew his mom would probably prefer he left it on just in case her neighbors were to peek out their windows and get a good eyeful of him. Not that Paula Gentry gave a rat’s ass about other people’s opinions, and she’d never once said anything about being embarrassed about his appearance, but he knew she’d probably just as soon have him not rock the boat in her nice, quiet, conservative neighborhood.
 "Jedediah!” she called from the shaded back patio, her hand perched on her hip.
He stopped pushing the mower, but left it running, and turned to face her. “What?” he yelled over the racket.
“Are you almost?” She stopped mid-thought. “Where is your shirt?” She looked around, presumably for those nosy neighbors he’d already scouted for himself.
He shrugged and kept on going. He was almost done here anyway. Surely, if they were gonna look, they’d have looked by now, and they would’ve seen the bald man full of tats and piercings. Oooh. Big, scary man. Big damn deal. It’s not like he hadn’t been here before and wouldn’t be here again. They would just have to get used to him being around here. A lot.
He finished the yard and shut off the mower, pushing it into the shed before striding up to the porch. With his eyes on his mother’s face, he bent over and retrieved his sweat-soaked T-shirt from the chair she’d draped it over and pulled it back on.
“You wanted me to take a look at the air conditioner, Mom?”
“I just needed you to see if the filter needs to be changed.” She studied his face. “Jedediah.”
He raised a brow in question.
“I’m not ashamed of you, son.”
He nodded once. “I know that.”
Her eyes softened. “You don’t have to do all of this for me, you know.”
She reached out and brushed a hand across the koi fish tattooed across his forearm. “No. You don’t. I’m just so, so sad that your father isn’t here to take care of these things anymore.”
He felt a little pebble tumble off his heart. He swallowed. It killed him to remember how devastated she’d been when Dad died. She could hardly function for a while. It was almost as if he’d left them on purpose. But, by not taking the doctor’s advice, he had. And he didn’t want any part of a love that could tear him up like that. Never again.
“I know,” he reassured her. “That’s why I do them now.” He cupped her chin so she’d look up at him. Her eyes were shimmering with tears, nearly breaking him. “I always will. I’ll take care of you now.”
She nodded, held back her tears. He was grateful. “I know, sweetie.” She brushed a kiss to his cheek. He caught the familiar scent of her Liz Claiborne perfume. She pulled back from him, gathered herself, and smiled. “Are you staying for lunch?”
“Did I smell chicken and dumplings on my way in?”
“You did.”
“Then yes, I’m staying.”

Mothering–nurturing and loving something to fruition— is so worth it.  In all that you do.

So let’s celebrate all those ‘mommies’ out there . . . whether you’re the mother to a child, a furry creature, a fictional character, or perhaps something else . . . we’ve all got our own labors of love.  So tell me, what’s yours?


Thanks for being here, Shauna!  Gotta love those tough guys that love their mamas!  So, like she said, tell us about your labors of love, whatever they are, and three lucky commenters will win a copy of Shauna's book which will be released from Soul Mate Publishing this week!  Good luck!

Shauna grew up an only child with two open and loving parents in Central Texas.  She’s married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother to three fantastic (no, that’s not a typo!) teenagers. 

When she’s not writing, editing, or acting as a personal assistant to a NYT Bestselling author, Shauna enjoys reading, movies with Gerard Butler, vacays to the beach, and hangin’ with the kiddos–even if they don’t like hangin’ with her!

For more information about me or my book, please visit my website and blog at: www.shaunaallen.com
Soul Mate Publishing: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com
Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/shaunaallen7/

P.S. Here's the book trailer for Inked by an Angel : Book I of the Cupid Chronicles if anyone wants to take a sneak peek!  :)