Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why did the blonde cross the road...

I just started working on the 5th High Heels book, in which Maddie and her cast of kooky friends encounter a murder among the world of wedding planners. So far, I’m having a blast. Two blondes in super high heels chasing after a killer on the loose - what’s more fun than that, right? So, in honor of Maddie’s sometime less-than-rocket-scientist blunders, I’ve complied a list of my fav blonde jokes. Enjoy!

What do you call a blonde skeleton in the closet?
Last year's hide and seek champ.

How can you tell if a blonde's been using the computer?
There's white-out on the screen.

Why did the blonde got fired from the M&M factory?
For throwing out the W's.

What is the difference between a smart blonde and bigfoot?
Bigfoot has been sighted

Did you hear about the blonde lesbian?
She kept having affairs with men!

What do you call 15 blondes in a circle?
A dope ring.

What do you get when you offer a blonde a penny for her thoughts?

Making Babies:

Three women who were at the gynecologist having pre-natal checkups The doctor asked the first woman "in what position was the baby conceived ?"

"He was on top, " she replied.

"You will have a boy!" the doctor exclaimed.

The second woman was asked the same question.

"I was on top, " was the reply.

"You will have a baby girl, " said the doctor.

With this, the third women, a blonde, burst into tears.

"What's the matter?" asked the doc.

"Am I going to have puppies?"

Terminology used by blonde nurses:

Artery -- study of paintings
Bacteria -- back door of cafeteria
Barium -- what doctors do when treatment fails
Caesarian section -- district in Rome
Cat scan -- searching for kitty
Cauterize -- made eye contact with her
Diarrhea -- journal of daily events
Dilate -- to live long
Fibula -- a small lie
Hangnail -- coat hook
Impotent -- distinguished, well known
Labor pain -- got hurt at work
Morbid -- higher offer
Nitrate -- cheaper than day rate
Node -- was aware of
Outpatient -- person who had fainted
Pelvis -- cousin of Elvis
Post operative -- letter carrier
Rectum -- damn near killed 'em
Seizure -- Roman emperor
Serology -- study of knighthood
Tablet -- small tab
Terminal Illness -- sickness at airport
Tibia -- country in North Africa
Tumor -- an extra pair
Urine -- opposite of you're out
Vein – conceited

And finally…

Why are dumb blonde jokes so short?
So brunettes can remember them. (hehe)

Anyone else have some good blonde jokes? Lay 'em on me.

~ Gemma "Trigger Happy" Halliday

I'll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours Part II: The Garage Getaway...

Several weeks ago Trigger Happy Halliday and Leslie 'The Assassin' Lantry posted pictures of their home offices--the quasi-factory where all those 'killer' stories are manufactured and committed to manuscript form on the computer. So, I thought I'd share a picture of what I call my 'summer office'.

You see, I bought a house with a garage that housed a television and VCR repair service on one side of the structure. It hadn't been used for anything except storage for a number of years, however, and needed some TLC. Still, I immediately saw the possibilities for a home office that would actually take me out of the home. Well, fifty steps, at least. So, as time and money permitted, I worked on converting the TV shop into a writer's escape. I yanked off the tattered, old, green carpet that covered the length of the work bench and replaced it with a nice, serviceable wood top. I did it all by myself, folks. Uh, with a little help from a brand new drill and a miter box. Later I added a nice, big room sized-rug, a loveseat, plus a TV for some background sound. When I work in the garage office, I take my laptop with me. The shop was outfitted already with surge strips so that was a nice added feature. My horse bridles hang from a hook on the wall. What you can't see to the left are shelves that house two western saddles. Hey, I could have horses again someday. I'm not that old...

Since I've had summers off, I generally get up each morning as if going to work and grab my cup of coffee and head out to the garage office. I write until noon--or whenever I need to use the restroom--and often will stay out there writing until the wee hours. In one 24 hour period alone in the garage office, I wrote 57 new pages on a contracted project--a personal best for me. My kids know I'm working when I'm in the garage office--and know not to interrupt unless absolutely necessary. I'm still close at hand if needed so a win-win for everyone.

Now that winter has set in, I've moved my office back into the house so I don't have the added expense of heating the detached garage. Since my oldest son is in college and rarely home, I have taken over his room and it serves as my office at present. It's next door to my bedroom and is on the other end of the house from the triplets so if I'm up late writing or get up at my usual 5 a.m. to work, I won't disturb them. And no. I won't be posting a picture of this office. Not today. Not until I have time to sort, shred, file and toss. (I could swear there was a bed in here when I moved my writing stuff in, but at present I can't find it. It's a mystery!)

Still the in-house office is not the same as the 'seasonal office', I'm finding. Too many distractions. (I have my very own Kid Nation) Too many temptations. (Food and puzzles come to mind) As a result, I'm behind on my next Calamity Caper. Big time. I'm really gonna need a couple of 57 page weekends to make this deadline, that's for sure. And with the holidays smack dab in the middle of what time I do have left...? Well, let's just hope Old St. Nick has an Energizer Muse in his bag for Ol' Bullet Hole here.

She's been a real good girl.

And she's so gonna need it.

Catch you next time!

~Bullet Hole Bacus~

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Spartans! Prepare for Mashing!

First of all, I MUST apologize for not blogging last week! My wonderful friends here at Killer Fiction have graciously forgiven me but I want to apologize to everyone else who reads this. No, I don't have a great excuse like George Clooney begged me to run away to Italy with him (no-calling bastard), or Nora R. begged me to collaborate on her latest book.

I was cleaning my house for Thanksgiving. Yup. Boring. So I'm apologizing to everyone out there. Believe me - I would've rather been blogging.

I'd also like to incorporate the most recent holiday into my blog today. By the way, why is Thanksgiving the only holiday where we celebrate food with food? Someone needs to come up with more of those.

As a writer of humor (at least, I like to think I'm writing humor), I'm thankful for the people out there who are funnier than me. When I'm struggling to pen some witty dialogue, I look to tried and true sources of inspiration (what? you thought I read War and Peace?) like my AbFab or Monty Python dvd's, chapters of J. Maarten Troost's books, etc.

But I'm always on the lookout for new stuff too. Lately, it's come in the form of Mitchell & Webb clips on You Tube, but a friend just recently sent me something wonderful. It's Some of you may have heard of my fetish for all things related to the movie 300. Well, go to this website and type in 300. There are some great parodies (and lots of photos of really buff college guys dressed as spartans) from old Transformer cartoons set to the soundtrack, etc. My personal favorites involve clips of cats, apples as the 300 fighting a large jug of eggnog as Xerxes, and 305 which claims to be "what if The Office met the 300?"

Check them out. They might just inspire you too. At the very least, you'll understand why my potatoes resemble Spartans (check out the tall potato sporting a 6-pack)) and get a laugh out of your day.

Your most humble assassin,


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Daddy's Girl


All your well wishes, thoughts and prayers worked miracles. My dad got through his surgery with a wonderful prognosis - it's NOT cancer, it's some kind of an infection that caused scar tissue but infections can be cured.

I am still in Alabama and still celebrating my release. Just found out the bookstore here already sold out. Woo hoo! (Of course, they may have only ordered four but, hey, they've sold out.)

Thanks, guys!

-Crime Scene Christie

Today is the day Divorced, Desperate and Delicious hits the stands. Am I thrilled, excited, dancing on clouds? You bet your bottom dollar I am. But I’m not dancing on Texas clouds. Today, I’m in Gadsden, Alabama, my ol’ stomping grounds, spending some time with my dear ol’ dad. We’ll probably open a bottle of Red Vino and celebrate large.

And here comes a confession: I’m a daddy’s girl, and a 100% full-fledged daddy’s girl at that. As the only girl in the family, I’m special. I’m also cuter than cute, and smart as a whip.

Don’t believe me? Just ask my daddy. He’ll tell you. You see . . . I am a daddy’s girl because without a doubt I am the apple of my daddy’s eye.

I can honestly say that I don’t think there’s anything I could ask my dad for that he wouldn’t bend over backwards to deliver. I can imagine calling him up and my saying… “Dad, there’s no popcorn in Houston. I want popcorn.”

I can hear his answer, “Do you want the real buttered kind or that light crap you always eat?” Then he’d fill his truck with popcorn and drive it all the way to Houston to deliver my heart’s desire, even if it was the light crappy kind.

Yup, he has a big heart, but he’s a tough ol’ dude, too. A southern, barrel-chested hardworking, contractor/plumber with calloused hands to show for his years of work. His work ethic was instilled in me. Which is why I never cop to writer’s block. I mean…not once have I heard him say… “I can’t plumb today. I have plumbers block.”

I’m sure there were days he plumbed better than others, like I write better than others, but he always showed up and so do I. Of course, he hasn’t quit working. Seventy-one years old, and he says as long as there’s stopped-up crappers, he has “crap” to do. (You might guess that I inherited my creative language from him.)

Yup…it’s perfect that I’m here on my release day, because according to my dad, my language isn’t the only thing I got from him. He claims he deserves at least half my royalties because I inherited my art of making up stuff, or as he calls it, “bullshiting”, from him. All I can say is . . . well, he is a contractor.

Another thing I inherited from my old man is his sense of humor. His knack of seeing the lighter side of life, of laughing and joking, even during a crisis. I can honestly tell you that when you get us together, we’re dangerous. We’ve practically gotten thrown out of restaurants because we couldn’t stop laughing. Once he literally had me thrown out of his hospital room, because he’d had surgery and he couldn’t look at me without laughing and it hurt to laugh.

I remember the time after his open heart surgery that he lay in the hospital bed and looked up at me with his stubborn, I’m-a-tough-guy expression and said, “Christie, you have to be a man to go through this surgery.” Then his tough-guy expression faded and he said, “And I ain’t no man. Get that nurse’s ass in here and make her give me some pain meds!”

And when we got him home, we laughed our way through his recovery. I remember they’d given him a heart-shaped pillow to hug when he coughed and when he did cough he’d get me to come over and hold the pillow to his chest so it wouldn’t hurt so much. But according to him, it still hurt like hell had just taken a nip out of his butt.

There was this one time, he had a coughing spell. He sat on the sofa, I stood beside him holding his pillow to his chest while he hacked and moaned. When he finally stopped, exhausted, he looked up at me. His eyes shined with emotional mist. “Baby,” he said and his voice shook a little.

Right then, I sort of knew what he was going to say and my own eyes grew misty. And standing there, holding his heart-shaped pillow to his chest, I awaited my, “I-love-you and can’t-thank-you-enough for being here” speech. Hey, we all want to be appreciated, right?

Then in his shaky voice, he continued, “I gotta tell you. You really need a breath mint.”

Yup. That’s my dad. Never a dull moment. And always a lot of laughter.

So I’m here to celebrate my release date with the man from whom I inherited a lot of my best and maybe wackiest qualities. Then tomorrow, we’re going into the hospital to have a mass removed that they found on his lung. We’re thinking positive, that everything is going to be fine, and we’re gonna laugh our way through another recovery. I truly believe that, too. But if you get a minute, send some positive vibes our way. This Daddy’s Girl can use all the support she can get.


Crime Scene Christie

P.S. If you get a chance, please come visit me at the BookEnds' blog today - Tomorrow jump over to Fresh Fiction’s blog where I’m the guest blogger: I promise you, this one will only make you laugh and maybe. . . fan yourself a bit. Yup…it’s hot. Oh…there’s also a contest. So go check it out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

In Moderation

With the holiday season upon us, I was reminded of a motto that I have a tendency to purposfully forget. Thanksgiving day, my husband and I were at my parents' house for the traditional feast (well, we're from Louisiana, so our traditional feast includes dirty rice and baked beans, but hey, who's complaining), along with my brother, sister-in-law and my niece. My niece, who will be three in January, usually doesn't miss a trick unless distracted, and that's exactly what I did. I distracted her with a giant stuffed cow and baby cow.

She was so busy hugging her new toys that when her mom said "what do we say?" trying to prompt her "thank you," she replied instead with her comeback for when you ask her if she wants a piece of candy - "in moderation." I have to admit, it never ceases to tickle me that a two-year-old has a better grasp of that term than I do (even if it is occasionally misued when enamored with stuffed cows). So it immediately sent me off thinking about how the holidays are not really a time that moderation is the foremost item on people's mind. With all the food, gifts, decorations, etc. one could never call the holiday season moderate.

When we were on our way home, it occurred to me that romance novels don't subscribe to the "in moderation" motto either. In fact, they seem to beg for the exact opposite. The heroine can't just be cute with a good personality - she's got to be beautiful with a flaw like a hangnail. The hero had to be strong, ripped, must actually listen to the heroine AND remember what she says, must love children and cats, and must never, ever get impatient when one doesn't drive a stick shift or know tools the way he does. All the characters must be larger than life and it's even better if the setting is so unique and alive that it becomes a character of its own. And heaven knows the sex is not moderate. The hero must be able to pull off a nickname like "the walking tri-pod." He must know how to perform and enjoy foreplay and must never, ever fall asleep immediately afterward. Longer, faster, harder, more, seem to be what the readers want (especially if my editorial notes are any indication).

And you know what - I think it's great! Romance books are SUPPOSED to be the fantasy. Romance books are SUPPOSED to be the escape - the place where every woman gets to live her dream through the actions of a character she's bonded with. Who wants to pay $6.99 to read about a sink full of dishes, a cat with a hairball problem, and a man who leaves his dirty underwear on the floor and won't take out the trash? Not me!

So bring on the gluttony of romance. Moderation is over-rated anyway.

Deadly DeLeon

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's almost over...and it's only just begun!

It's almost over:

So I’m approaching the end of NaNoWriMo. I’m at a word count of 40K and I think I can squeeze out another 5 or 6K before the end of the month. So I didn’t win. But I’m not a loser.

I got a lot accomplished and almost none of what I’ve written makes me cringe so maybe (just maybe) when I finish the revision process will go easier.

...and it's only just begun:

And now we are full swing into the holiday season. I have mixed emotions about the holidays. I honestly can’t decide whether I love them or hate them. Stores and malls can be filled with some of the most vile types on the Friday after Thanksgiving and the last Saturday before Christmas. Though I’ve never personally witnessed any hissing, fisting, grappling, and trampling over the last [insert grossly-overpriced-plastic-good-that-whirs-giggles-or-beeps here] I think that's only because I stay home on those days. The idea of it saddens me. I couldn’t enjoy television last night because every single commercial set began a jewelry store that implies a woman’s affection can be purchased with diamonds. It was followed by a commercial from another jewelry store that implied that a woman needs multi-diamond necklace to remind her of the special occasions in her life. It was a terrific trifecta when the commercial set was closed with one where a woman was complaining that expensive household appliances and mattress were gifts inferior to her brand new Cadillac.


The commercialism of the holiday can be overwhelming and disheartening.

Then, when I believe I’m at my wit’s end, I experience something that reminds me that there are people out there that still remember the good of the holiday. Such the case last night. It was late and I was at my nearby superstore looking for cold medicine. There was a worn and weary grandmother trying to deal with a screaming 3 year old. Screaming is an understatement. When it comes to kids I have the patience of Job but this kid’s screeches sent trills down my spine. While wrestling with the kid so he didn’t jump out of the bas-cart and hurt himself, the grandmother’s handbag fell and spilled out everywhere. I dropped to my knees to help gather all her scattered belongings and as I was crawling along the store floor I realized there were no fewer than six of us doing the same thing. While we were gathering up her stuff one of the managers on duty came over opened the toy the child was screaming about and started to play with him right there, advising the woman she could finish her shopping, they would be there playing. The grandmother hesitated and said the boy had special needs. The manager smiled and told the woman she had an autistic child at home and recognized the tantrum.

The boy was quiet. The manager was fully engaged with him. The grandmother’s handbag was full of its contents and set right in the bas-cart and we all went back to doing what we do.

I wish they had holiday commercials like that.

Contest Announcement:
Time for a new contest! The winner will receive an autographed copy of my book and one of MY (Oprah? Forgeddabout her...) Favorite Things: a Lush gift card. You'll get the gift card by email so you can pamper, mollycoddle, indulge and spoil yourself through the holidays.

Read and comment!

Friday, November 23, 2007

‘Twas the day after Thanksgiving

‘Twas the day after Thanksgiving when all through the shops,
Soon there’d be shoppers, pulling out all the stops.
Clearance signs were hung in the windows with care,
Touting big savings, specials and great gifts to share.

At dawn, shoppers waited two and three deep,
To get their hands on the bulging clearance heaps.
Early bird specials and sale signs galore,
Urging them to fill up their bags with more.

When out from the PA there arose a loud roar,
“Doors are open. TMX Elmo, aisle four!”
Away to the aisle they flew in a rush,
Throwing elbow and curses and getting all flushed.

The perfect gift for a girl or a boy,
They’d be Supermom for getting that toy.
When what to their overtired eyes did appear?
But a sold out sign, “Sorry, try again next year.”

And the frenzy didn’t stop in the toy aisle, oh no,
Half priced electronics where the next thing to go.
Jewelry, watches and fine perfumes too,
Flew off the shelves as the shoppers blew through.

With the breaking of dawn, the lots filled to the top,
And as the day wore on, the crowds didn’t stop.
More rapid than lightning the hordes multiplied,
They whistled and shouted and gave a battle cry:

“Now Gap! Now Gucci! Now Abercrombie and Fitch!
On Nike! On Prada! Out of my way, you bitch!
To the top of the escalator, to the top of the mall
Now shop away, shop away shop away all!”

As wild beast before a feeding frenzy attack,
Shoppers were armed with their game plans in tact.
So up to the boutiques and strip malls they came
With a wallets full of bills and charge cards in their names.

A cell phone for Jimmy, an ipod for Sue,
An electric nose hair trimmer for old Uncle Stu.
With coupons clenched in their tight little fists,
They wouldn’t slow down ‘til they’d checked off their lists.

Grab bag gifts for the office pool,
Stocking stuffers, trimmings and lights that looked cool.
Their hearts filled with generosity of the season,
But then, if it was on sale, did they really need a reason?

The racks, how they emptied, the shelves soon laid bare,
All the toys in the carts, no last Elmo spared.
The stores were soon plucked like that Thanksgiving bird,
The salespeople dazed by the holiday herd.

They spared not a word, shopping with all their might,
Checked off their lists, then turned to take flight.
And putting their wallets back in their bags,
They left in a flurry of receipts and tags.

They sprang to their SUV’s, to the traffic they took,
And away they all flew, with tired dazed looks.
But I heard them exclaim, ‘ere they honked their horns twice,
“Happy shopping to all, and to all a good price!”

~Gemma "Trigger Happy" Halliday

Thursday, November 22, 2007


It's Thanksgiving, 2007, and already I'm behind. I'm still in my p.j.'s--a treat in and of itself as I normally hit the ground running before five a.m. and am dressed for 'success' by six. I've enjoyed reading the other Killer Fiction authors Thanksgiving blogs--what blessings they are most thankful for, what special memories or traditions this day holds for them. As I sit here in my gray, baggy, but warm and comfy sweatpants and sweatshirt, in my warm, cozy home, I can't help but think about how many of our fellow Americans won't be sitting down to a big, long table with the place-settings filled with their loved ones, but instead are serving our country many miles away from their homes and families. So today I feel especially grateful for those individuals who sacrifice and serve so Americans from sea to shining sea might sit down this day with our dearest friends and family members and celebrate those blessings of liberty secured--and maintained--for our nation at a very high cost, indeed, and--sadly, we often take for granted. Myself included. So this Thanksgiving I salute our men and women in uniform who dedicate their lives in service to our country. God bless you and keep you safe.

I'm nostalgic, too, this Thanksgiving as it marks the last year my children will be at home. Next year, who knows where each of us will be and whether we will be together so all thoughts of writing and housework and email are set aside for the day and replaced with jigsaw puzzles, (we're still struggling to finish that 1,500 piece puzzle I bought several months ago!) games, and movies--along with lots of good food. And yes, Bullet Hole is roasting a bird. I know. Scary thought, isn't it? Especially for said bird...!

What's even scarier is the thought that I might actually be crazy enough to join those psycho shoppers who venture out at midnight or four a.m. tomorrow to hit the stores for those 'Black Friday' sales. But, hey, who can resist DVD's for three bucks each? Or baby crock pots for five dollars? Or feetie pajamas for ten smackaroos?

Okay. 'Fess up. How many of you will be shopping 'til you drop tomorrow???? Uh, see you there.

Oh, and have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving holiday while you're at it...

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm Thankful For . . .

News Flash:

Okay…it’s not big news. But I just wanted to ask you to pop over to Dorchester’s website to see another blog I did for them:

Also, on Friday, I’m told that Dianna Lovesnell is going to be blogging about me on Fog City Divas blog site.

Hmm… I’m hoping it’s good stuff, but hey… you never know about them writer types.

Crime Scene Christie

Each year at Thanksgiving, my mother would make all of us list what we were thankful for. Something about saying them aloud made us stop and realize our blessings. Now remember, I was the middle child between two brothers, so some of their lists were about the bra size of the new girl in school and about winning the loudest arm-pit noise contest.

Of course, I was the sane one, right? My thankful list were always legit. My list contained things like . . . the well-endowed girl’s good-looking younger brother, that my iguana had learned a new trick (yes, I swear he did tricks) and I always included that I was grateful for my loving and generous parents. (Yeah, I learned about PR, AKA sucking up, at an early age.)

My point is that when we are young, we don’t always have our thankful-thinking caps on straight. To make my point, I just walked into my living room and asked my seventeen-year-old-son what he was thankful for this year. His answer: “For my loving generous mom, of course.” (Okay, so my son takes a bit after me.)

As we grow older, our thankful-thinking caps get straightened a bit. We see things such as good health—our own, like my recent benign biopsy—and the health of those we love, like our parents, to be blessings. We value career successes, good friends, spouses who tolerate being blogged about most weeks, family, a good makeup concealer, slimmed line clothes, an underwire bra that doesn’t torture, and a pair of jeans that really does make your butt look smaller, especially after Thanksgiving.

Last year, about this time, I’d gotten the call from my agent that I’d sold four books in one day. Oh heck yeah, I had a lot to be thankful about. This year, I’m waiting with bated breath for the release of my first Single Title romance, Divorced, Desperate and Delicious, which will be released November 27th. I’m so thankful about that. I’m thankful for the wonderful reviews I’ve gotten so far. And I’m thankful for the co-divas of Killer Fiction. And I’m really thankful that my readers here at Killer Fiction are tolerant of my wacky sense of humor. (And that’s not sucking up.)

So, here’s hoping you all have a great Thanksgiving and my wish for you is that the food is great. But if it isn’t…if the turkey is dry and the dressing is runny, if the dessert ends up to be Rolaid pie, if your uncle wears his naked-lady tie and starts making arm pit noises, I hope you will find something to laugh about, something that will make a great memory for later years, and something for which you can be thankful.

Now, make sure you comment on our blog. You never know when you might win one of our wonderful prizes. And speaking of our contests, my prize--giving time is coming up soon and I’ve got some special treats that I think you’ll all love.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Crime Scene Christie

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Mystery of the Missing Thanksgiving

It's official - Thanksgiving must have been kidnapped. (Hey, I write mysteries. I get to be dramatic). Why kidnapped, you wonder?????? Well, you don't really have to wonder. The evidence is all around you. Remember last month when everything was orange and black? Pumpkins, ghosts, scary spiders and creatures hulking in doorways......candy with black and orange wrappers, black and orange streamers in your co-workers cubicle. Yeah, you remember - it was Halloween. Halloween is cool and fun and it's always interesting to see what people do for that holiday.

But then I noticed that the pumpkin patches disappeared, the streamers came down, and everywhere I looked, read and green with flashy gold and silver began to take its place. The radio began playing Jingle Bells and such (and since it was still 85 degrees in Texas, it seemed a bit out of place). So WHAT, I ask you.......happened to Thanksgiving?

I remember the old days (I'm not that darned young), when you used to do all your Christmas fare the day after Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if it was a fine way to work off all the turkey and pie from the day before, but hey, it was a tradition. It was the biggest shopping day of the year. A lot of people are off work, so everywhere you looked men were out in yards hanging lights under the careful direction of women with taste. Fall decorative items, like haystacks, scarecrows, pumpkins, corn and all those pretty fall leaf wreaths came down and in their place went up the red and green.

Not so this year. It's like Thanksgiving doesn't exist. And that is a very bad thing. C'mon, Thanksgiving is a great holiday. What could possibly be wrong with a four-day weekend and a holiday that centers around eating??????? Are we really going to let the retailers take over our lives and push Christmas back yet another month? And where does it stop? Are they going to assasinate the Easter Bunny next year and claim he's outdated? What about Fourth of July - have we been celebrating freedom long enough?

At the rate we're going, the entire year is going to be a red and green technicolor event. Which would please cats to no end since they finally get a whole year of a colorful world. But I'm not so sure it would please me.

I like Thanksgiving. I like having four days off work - one of which I plan to write, write, write, with. I like the fried turkey and dressing and pies and football after eating. I like that I don't have to think up gifts and fight people at the mall to buy them for Thanksgiving.

So please put away your pretty red balls and gold streamers and wait just a few more days. Thanksgiving is a great holiday, and we ought to remember that!

Deadly DeLeon

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm baaaaaack...

I've had the most unproductive 10 days with NaNoWriMo and am barely to the 1/2 mark. This week, of course, I will get nothing accomplished as I will spend Mon-Wed trying to get all the work done I haven't done in the last week and a half and Thurs-Sun eating gluttonous amounts of food.

But I'm not counting it as a failure. Not yet anyway. I've written more in the past 15 days than I have all year put together and that is progress of which I'm proud.

This year I'm thankful for:
The health of those in my family. After a challenging 18 months of benign brain tumors, terrible car accidents and cancer all my family is recovered/ing and doing well.

My son. Who just moments ago ran into the room, threw his arms around my neck and kissed me because he, in his words, "just remembered how much he loves me."

Happiness. There have been days -- too many days -- I've just felt like I was never going to be able to crawl out from underneath it all. I got to spend the past several days seeing a fabulous city through the eyes of my son. One night we were looking across the fantastic cityscape and I was at that moment the happiest I've been in a long time. It felt good. The being happy and the realizing it.

What's on your table?
This year I'm going to attempt a TurDuckEn.

And I'm gonna wrap it in bacon.

Y'all know you want some.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Typo Queen

First off, congrats to Dru, the winner of our latest prize pack from moi. :) Dru, contact me with your mailing address and I’ll get it right out to you. gemmahalliday (at) gmail (dot) com.

We’ll be posting another contest soon, this time with a fab prize from Leslie, including an advanced reader copy of her upcoming book, GUNS WILL KEEP US TOGETHER. I am so jealous!

Now, on to my neurosis of the week. I have a problem. It’s big. Huge. And probably the worst one a writer can have. I am a typo fiend.

I’ll admit I never learned to type in school – I’m of that generation that came after it was sexist to teach little girls to type in school (heaven forbid we all become secretaries!), but computers weren’t in every room of every house in America yet. And texting? R U CraZ? Years off still. So, I fell between the typing cracks. Yes, I’m a hunt and pecker. Granted, I can hunt and peck at almost 70 words per minute. Just some of the words aren’t quite the ones I meant to type.

My first drafts often have babies drying in their cribs, mysterious men diapering into thin air, and more times than I can count my heroine has barley made it to her car before a musked man chases her down while the hero stares at her heaving beasts. And I can’t tell you how many misplaced coma’s I’ve had in my lifetime. Oy.

But, I was glad to hear I was not alone in this affliction. Take listen (if you can follow alone) to Taylor Mali’s thoughts on typos, or "The Impotence of Proofreading".

So, fess up. How many other Typo Queens are out there?

~Gemma "Trigger Happy" Halliday

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bullet Hole's Fabulous Focus Group: Tell Her What You Really Think!

Another election cycle is upon us and we’re hearing a lot about focus groups again. A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their attitude towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Today you all will comprise Bullet Hole’s very own focus group and I will be seeking your input relating to, er... packaging. Let me explain.

I’ve blogged before about my Calamity Jayne covers--how much I adore them and how I think the branding is pure genius. I’m spoiled. I admit it. You walk into a bookstore, spot one of these covers, and you know it’s a Calamity Jayne book. How totally cool is that?

My May, 2008, release is not a Tressa Jayne Turner mystery. Entitled FIANCÉ AT HER FINGERTIPS, it is a romantic comedy. Sort of. It’s one of those books you hear authors refer to as the ‘book of my heart.’ Often these books never sell. I lucked out. Mine did. It’s special to me. Writing this book convinced me that I should be writing comedy.

So, I plan to unveil the cover for this book here at Killer Fiction for the first time. And that’s where you come in, focus group of mine. I haven’t decided yet exactly how I feel about the cover and I need your input. Here’s the set up. I want you to imagine you’re walking into a bookstore, Wal-mart, grocery store or drug store and you are searching the shelves for a fun read. And you see this:


Okay, focus group. Focus. Would you pick this book up? Pass it by? Barely even notice it? Snatch it up right away? Blink in rapid succession several times only to discover it’s still there? What? Quickly jot down those key first impressions--both positive and negative. Done? Good.

Now let’s pretend you’ve picked the book up and turned it over to read the back cover copy. It reads:

A romance novel that’s out of the box.

“Who are you seeing?”

Debra Daniels thinks she’s found the answer to the age-old question women have been plagued with ever since Eve first said “Why not?” when Adam asked her on a stroll through the Garden. In need of a break from her matchmaking mother and a score of hellish blind dates, to Debra the do-it-yourself boyfriend-in-a-box kit is a gift from Above. Fiancé at Your Fingertips: Touted as the single woman’s best defense against pitying looks and speculative stares, it comes with everything the single-and-slightly-desperate woman needs to convince friends, family and coworkers that she has indeed found Mr. Right. And “Lawyer Logan” is definitely that. Tall, handsome…and fictitious. Debra is going to have an absolute blast with her faux beau—until he shows up on her doorstep acting as if he has every right to be there, and in her arms. That’ll be the start of a romance truly outside of the box, and where the real fun begins.

All right, group, you’ve read the back blurb, so what do you think now? Does the cover convey the tone of the book? Is it consistent with the summary? Take a few minutes to record your opinion.

Still with me? Okey dokey.

Next, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the comment link and post your cover analysis comments: good, bad, or indifferent.

And that’s it. Thank you for participating in Bullet Hole’s inaugural Focus Group on cover art. I’m really anxious to know what you think of the cover. What? Me? What do I think? Well, naturally I’ll wait to decide where I stand until after I’ve heard what my fabulous focus group has to say...
Just like a real politician!

~Bullet Hole~

I'll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours...

I have finally unpacked my office. Kind of. Sort of. Okay, so what you don't see in these pictures are the four boxes still on the floor out of sight.

Anyway...I remember there was this one site once where you could look at the offices of famous writers. It was really cool, ranging from complete catastrophies to gilded antique desks with stunning vistas to a small table in the hallway. To me, it was like a voyeuristic peek into the lingerie drawers of best-selling authors.

No matter where we work, we all personalize our work area. In past day jobs, I did the same thing. Now, I actually have my own space - for the past three years in the old house, I wrote on the couch in the living room. Granted, I share my office with my husband's massive library o'death and mayhem - but it's good research. Although he wasn't too happy when I put my Wonder Woman and The Tick action figures in front of his big, tough books. Too bad.

So, here's my desk in all it's glory (which is from the Kathy Ireland collection at Oak Expressions - I kid you not). As you can see, I'm a bit hung up on Maleficent - my favorite Disney character (villains are soooo much more interesting than those wimpy princesses) and I try to keep it somewhat organized...well, at least when company's coming over.

I'd like to see the writing spaces of the other fabulous Death Divas on Killer Fiction. The gauntlet has been thrown down ladies. Let's see what you've got.

"The Assassin"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thanksgiving, Food & Grandma Memories

Gemma’s Thanksgiving blog got me thinking about food and cooking. Then I thought about my grandmothers.

Aren’t grandmas synonymous with food? Fried Okra, fried chicken, flaky buttermilk biscuits, unchewable jello, unidentifiable pies, and Johnny-Come-Lucky dressing?

Yep, those are my food/grandma memories. Strange?

Maybe. But you know, I have an explanation, right?

Grandma Bessie could cook like no tomorrow. And according to the Surgeon General, if you ate it regularly, there wouldn’t be too many tomorrows. She had southern cooking down to an art. The bowl of leftover bacon grease, and Crisco—after she gave up lard—were her best friends. She never met a vegetable she couldn’t batter and fry and make taste like a piece of heaven. Her fried chicken was to die for. Figuratively and literally. It was finger-licking, heart-stopping, artery-clogging scrumptious.

Ahh, but what a way to go.

Grandma Bessie’s motto was: every southern gal had to learn to cook a mean bird. So, with the aid of a extra-large can of Crisco, I can almost—I said almost—do my grandma proud and cook a piece of fried chicken that will send your taste buds to paradise and your waistline to Weight Watchers.

Then there was Grandma Evelyn—a woman born before her time. She wanted to be a writer, but no decent woman did that in her day. (Wonder if that still stands?) Back then the only two careers acceptable for women were teaching and nursing. She chose education. Born in 1913, she is one of few women to get a college degree. To say she was brilliant is an understatement. But to call her a good cook is a stretch of anyone’s imagination.

Now, part of her cooking impairedness was due to an emotionally-induced issue, which was why we all forgave her for the food poisoning events. Her motto was . . . no leftover left behind. At eight years old, her father died, and her mother and seven siblings went to bed hungry a many a night. So even late in life, Grandma couldn’t bring herself to throw food away.

Come Thanksgiving, she would make her clean-fridge dressing. What ever was in the fridge went into the dressing. My dad had another name for that recipe: Johnny-Come-Lucky dressing, cause after eating it, only if you were lucky did you make it to the john in time. Yup. Eating at grandma’s was risky business and it wasn’t just on Thanksgiving.

Have you ever tried to eat a piece of Jello in the bottom of the bowl that had the consistency of shoe leather? You should know, Grandma Evelyn also believed in the clean-plate club, so if you got the chuck of unchewable Jello—and Grandma’s Jellos always had one chuck—there was only one option. After you chewed on it for a while, you somehow sneaked it onto someone else’s plate. I’ve seen a piece of Jello make the rounds of the kitchen table at least twice.

However, when I think of Grandma’s cooking quandaries, I mostly remember the pie episode. I, with a boyfriend, had been invited over to her house for dinner.

Anyway, off we go, over the river and down the hills to Grandma’s house. I was very selective about what I put on my plate. Canned veggies were usually safe. Still hungry, I awaited dessert. Other than Jello, her desserts were passable. But this pie, well, it was the oddest pea green color. I had it down for pistachio, but my first bite proved me wrong. Don’t misunderstand, it wasn’t bad . . . just strange.

“Grandma, why kind of pie is this?” I asked.

Grandma smiled. “Now, that’s a funny story.”

Of course, I stopped eating. (Can’t say the same for the boyfriend.)

“I was making a chocolate pie,” she explained. “But when I pulled out my cocoa, I only had a teaspoon. I decided to make it a vanilla cream, but I was fresh out of vanilla extract. Then I got the idea to make it a chocolate mint, since it did have a half teaspoon of cocoa, but I was out of mint flavoring, too. But when I was looking for mint flavoring, I came across a pack of . . . Rolaids. They kind of have a mint flavor, but who knew they would turn it green like that?”

Yup, you got it. My grandma had just served me and my boyfriend a slice of Rolaid pie.

“How is it?” she asked.

I looked at the green bite balanced on the end of my fork. “Not bad,” I told her. “You should cook one for Thanksgiving.”

Hey, maybe it would help counter the Johnny-Come-Lucky dressing.

So there you have it, my grandmas/cooking memories. What about you guys? Any holiday/cooking memories you’d like to share? (Want me to share some of my grandma’s recipes?) Come on…in only two days we’re giving away another prize. The more you post, the more your name goes in the drawing. And send a few friends our way and get your name entered 10 times.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Habits We Could Do Without

ANNOUNCEMENT: Cory - you have won the autographed copy of UNLUCKY! Please email me your autographing preference and mailing address at jana (at) And congratulations on your win and your bad habit!

C'mon, let's admit it - we all have habits we wish we could easily shed, and it's probably a definite that if you live in the same space with another human being, they probably have some habits you could do without as well. So today, we're going to play a game. I'm going to throw out a habit I could do without (well, technically, one I wish my hubby would shed), and then I want everyone else to chime in with their own unappreciated habit (or one of those they live with). Now, I'm not talking about anything evil, or mean, or hurtful - I mean stupid things that ought not to bother us but do. I'll go first and maybe you'll get the idea.

Most women go through life hoping their husbands will learn to leave the seat down on the toilet, and that's a valid problem. After all, no one wants to stagger into the bathroom in the middle of the night and dip their hiney in cold toilet water. But at my house, I have the opposite problem. Not only does my husband leave the seat down, he puts down the lid also. So instead of a wet, cold dip, I get carpet butt when I traipse into the bathroom in the wee, dark hours of the morning.

See what I mean - no death, no tragedy, no injury to self or others - just a weird feeling that I don't necessarily like on my bare tush in the middle of the night.

Now it's your turn: what the habit you could do without?

Oh, and did I mention - all bloggers who post habits will be entered into a drawing to win an autographed copy of UNLUCKY.

Have a great Monday!

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thanksgiving Recipes

The day after Halloween I saw a Christmas commercial on TV. Macy’s (my home away from home) had their tree up on Oct 12th. Oct 12th!! Is it just me, or is Christmas coming earlier and earlier each year? Not, mind you, that I’m complaining. I am a total Christmas junkie. But I feel bad for poor Thanksgiving, kind of like the middle child getting lost between the creepy little brother Halloween and the sparkling older sister, Christmas. I love Thanksgiving. The idea of taking a moment each year to truly be thankful for all that you have. So much of our lives is spent reaching for the things we don’t yet own, haven’t yet achieved, aspire to be. Once a year it’s just nice to look back and realize how grateful we really are for what we have.

Oh yeah, and I love the food, too. :) Gemma’s diet does not exist on Thanksgiving. Or the days leading up to it, filled with pre-holiday baking. Or the leftovers days afterward. Okay, pretty much all of November. Sadly, my idea of cooking is reading the heating instructions on a frozen dinner, so in my family I usually get the task preparing the drinks and snacks. I know it’s a little early, but in honor of giving poor neglected Thanksgiving a little face time, here are a couple of my favorite recipies:

Sugared Pecans:


1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

1 pound pecan halves

1 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Grease one baking sheet with butter.

In a mixing bowl, whip together the egg white and water until frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

Add pecans to egg whites, stir to coat the nuts evenly. Remove the nuts, and toss them in the sugar mixture until coated. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Hot Butterscotch Chocolate:


2 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps

0.5 oz. Amaretto

1 Instant Hot Cocoa Packet


Make hot cocoa in a coffee mug according to the packet directions. Add the other ingredients and stir well. Garnish with a layer of Whipped Cream if desired and serve.

Cranberry Craze Cocktails:


3 oz. cranberry juice

2 oz. orange juice

1½ oz vodka

dash of lime juice

lemon lime soda

frozen cranberries


In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine cranberry juice, orange juice and vodka. Shake sharply and strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with soda, then squeeze a dash of lime juice and sprinkle with frozen cranberries.

To make them virgin for the kids, just leave out the vodka!

Anyone else have recipes to share? Hey, if they’re simple enough, I may even give them a whirl this year.

~ Gemma “Trigger Happy” Halliday


Don’t forget about the great contest we’ve got going on. I’m giving away a signed copy of UNDERCOVER IN HIGH HEELS along with a set of high heels shoe themed wine charms – perfect for entertaining this holiday season!

Bring a friend to play on our blog and you’ll be entered to win a fab prize from moi! We’ll be drawing one winner at random from our prize hat on November 16th. Every time you comment on our blog between now and Nov 16th, your name will be entered in the hat. BUT, if you tell a friend and she posts on our blog that you sent her here, you’ll both be entered in the hat TEN TIMES! Good luck!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bullet Hole hits the airwaves. Insert ear plugs now...!

I had an interview yesterday. I've done interviews before. Several of them, in fact. My first one was the result of a call I made to a radio station after I heard the radio personalities discussing my first book, Calamity Jayne. They put me right on the air. It was 5:30 a.m. in the morning and I was half-dressed, my hair wrapped in a towel, my voice still husky from sleep. It was the best I've ever sounded.

I know everyone says they hate the way their voice sounds when recorded. For me there's good reason to feel that way. Whenever I hear my voice played back, I'd swear I'm listening to a cross between Minnie Mouse and Olive Oyl. Truth be told, I do a pretty good impression of both. As well as the Wicked Witch of the West--but that's another story. It's this whole Midwestern nasal twang I've got going. It just doesn't reproduce well.
Still determined to promote my books as best I could, I took my not-ready-for-radio waves show on the road last summer when my second book, Calamity Jayne Rides Again, came out. Set at the Iowa State Fair, I thought, what better way to promote the book than broadcast live via a 50,000 watt blow-torch from the state fairgrounds. The same radio personalities I had my radio debut with invited me on (brave souls) and as I stammered my way through the interview I spotted McGruff the Crime Dog walking outside the radio studio. I found myself lusting after McGruff's deep, gravelly, hoarse voice. The critique of my radio gig began almost immediately.

Them: I heard you on the radio. Too bad about the cold.

Bullet Hole: Cold? What cold?

Them: You didn't have a cold?

Bullet Hole: No. Why? Did I sound like I had a cold?

Them: Nevermind.

Now as if having a voice that made you wish for fingernails against a chalkboard wasn't bad enough, I also tend to come down with a serious case of motor mouth when I'm nervous. My latest radio interview was no exception. I'd take a deep breath and and begin answering the interviewer's question--not stopping to inhale until I was gasping for air. Real cool.

Next came the faux pax. We all make them. I just happen to do it a lot. And at the wrong times. (Sounds a lot like Tressa, doesn't it?) When the interviewer asked where locally my book could be purchased, he touched a bit of a nerve. I live in a small town and the only place to buy a book locally is the local Wally's World. Unfortunately, for some bizarre reason, the only book of mine the store has stocked was my very first. Since then, nada. Zilch. Zero. Regardless of numerous customer requests. So, I think I must have made some snarky remark like "Unfortunately even though I live in this city and the book is set in rural Iowa, my books have not been available here locally." The radio guy shut the recorder off. "I think we better try that again," he suggested. Motor Mouth strikes again. But I get it. Advertising revenue and all that.

I came home after the interview and dropped onto the couch.

"How did the interview go, Mom?" my son asked.

"The radio guy only had to stop and erase me twice," I responded, "so improvement."

"You want me to listen to it when it runs and tell you how you sounded like I did last time?" he asked.

I shook my head.

"Thanks, but I like you too much, " I told him.

I came home today to a message from another radio station inquiring about an interview. God help me if a TV station rings me up.

The things we do to sell books...!

Oh, and before I go, even though my local Wally's World didn't get my recent release, I went out last night and there was Jana's book Unlucky. Good for them!

I bought it.

Good for me!

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ghost Chickens In the Sky

I am in Author Heaven. One of the few perks of being an author is the ability to run away for a couple of days to work - all I need is my laptop. That's what I'm doing now. Perhaps the best anniversary gift ever - my husband, Tom, sent me away (that sounds bad, doesn't it?) - across the Mississippi River - maybe a whole mile away from my house, to stay at The Abbey for a few days so I could escape the "Mom! Mom! Look at me!" mantra and actually sleep without a cat on my face and a pug on my feet.

Let me tell you - it's heaven...AND it's Iowa.

The Abbey is a four-diamond hotel rated highly by National Geographic Magazine to boot. (I always wondered about that phrase, "to boot." What in the hell does it mean?) Anyway, it's a former cloister built in 1914 by Carmelite nuns. These women would join the order and agree to never step foot outside or look upon an outsider again. They lived in 8' x 9' cells, sleeping on boards covered with straw. They were barefoot and had permanent blinds on the windows (which is a real shame considering the fabulous view of the Mississippi from my room). Food and other necessities were put through a turn so peddlers couldn't see them - hell, even the priest delivered mass through a metal screen with a black curtain. (I think I may be overdoing the "hells" a bit. I'll try to stop.)

Can you imagine living like this? I can't. I know, this is about a vow of poverty and humility, blah, blah, blah, but come on! If I could time-travel, I'd come here in 1920 with some strippers from Chippendales, Grey Goose vodka, a poster of Clive Owen, several pair of PRADA shoes and sleep number mattresses to show these chicks what life is REALLY about.

Where was I? Oh yeah. So, the sisters eventually moved and some Franciscans bought it for a community center. In the last decade it was purchased by a couple in California and they turned it into a luxury hotel. It still has the original chapel and a museum "cell" showing you how these women lived. Each guest room is about three or four cells and the walls are unbelievably thick. It's the perfect place for a self-imposed, monastic getaway. AND, it's costing me about $100 a night. I LOVE the cost of living here.

But wait! There's more! Did I mention they have full, complimentary breakfast with eggs, sausage, fruit, etc? The best part is the professional chef they have for dinner. He delivers the menu to the front desk at 6pm for a four-course dinner (for $27!!!). Last night I had tomato soup; mixed green salad with mandarin oranges, cherry tomatos and poppy seed vinigarette; pork medallions in mushroom sauce with wild rice and veggies; and apple compote with strawberries for desert. That's right, I'm getting fat. Well, I am taking the stairs on occasion and I'm sure my fingers are working off some calories on this keyboard...right?

I'm at least hoping to see a ghost. The nuns were buried in a crypt in the basement. Last night I heard what I thought was a ghost chicken for about an hour. Yes, I'm serious. It sounded like a chicken. But, since chickens are probably not allowed in a four-diamond hotel, I'm going to assume it's a ghost.

Soooooo, Tom. I'm sorry to tell you, but I'm moving in here. That's right. I'm leaving you for a hotel with a ghost chicken. Tell the kids I love them and bring them by every now and then. In the summer, the pool is open. They should like that.

Leslie "The Assassin" Langtry

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My Day In Court, Or Why I’m Killing the Bailiff in My Next Book.

Last Thursday, I was summoned to court. No, I wasn’t the one on trial. I’m innocent. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (They don’t know about my compost pile, or why my flowers, are really so pretty.) But I was quite miffed at the summons. It’s not that I don’t think it’s my civic duty, I’m fine with duty, but not re-duty. I’d been hit with jury duty three weeks before. Why is it that my number gets drawn at the courthouse and not at the official Texas Lottery Building? And why is it that the summons never comes when I don’t have a ton of deadlines?

Anyway…I was miffed. I considered accidentally losing the envelope in my still blooming flower bushes as I walked in from the mailbox, but then with my luck I’ll be the one they decide to make an example of and they'd wind up on my doorstep, handcuff and arrest my butt for not showing up. I can see the headlines now: Romance Author of Divorced, Desperate and Delicious is dragged away from computer, braless, sobbing, still wearing PJs, no makeup, and having a bad hair day. (Photos available.) Meanwhile an investigation is undergoing to uncover exactly what said author uses to fertilize her flower garden.

I really don’t want those bodies found.

So…here I am, going to the county courthouse, protecting my flower-garden secrets, miffed, and only mildly looking better than I imagine the picture of me if I was arrested. (Hey, I managed to put a bra on.) Now, for those who don’t know me, let me explain something. I’m emotionally whacked. When I’m sad, I get funny. Confused, I make a joke. When scared, I go for hilarious. But when miffed…oh boy, I don’t hold back, I’m firing with all cylinders. Basically, humor is my defense mechanism for dealing with emotions.

I’m barely seated when the Bailiff eyeballs me from across the room. I see in his expression that I’ve been tagged. By tagged, I mean I’m the one he’s decided to pick on. This probably doesn’t happen in all courthouses, but our county Bailiffs have the misconception that they are comedians. And they use some poor unsuspecting juror to be the butt of their jokes. Now…remember, I’d just been there three weeks before, so I’m not so unsuspecting and he’s basically toast.

After his first wise-cracky remark, directed at yours truly, he chuckles and tells everyone he’s only joking, but then his wife had told him that morning that he wasn’t funny. I politely raise my hand and he calls on me. I, in a very serious voice, advise him that he really needs to start listening to his wife.

When I get more laughs than he did, well, that upsets him, and he starts firing harder, but of course, I’m ready, and remember, I’d heard his routine, so sometimes I tell his jokes before he gets a chance too, and that gets his goat. He finally catches on and asks me… “You’ve been here before, haven’t you?”

I smile. “Yup, and you need a new routine.”

Well, that went over about like a fart in church, and he thinks he’s being clever and holds a vote. “How many people think we need escort Ms. Craig over to the ticket line? Please raise your hands.” Not one hand goes up. Then I take the floor, (yeah, I’m pretty much out of control by then) and I make my case and then poll the audience on how many think our Bailiff needs to be ticketed for not being funny. Sixty hands go up.

Bailiff crosses his hands over his barrel of a chest and asks, “What do you for a living?”

I don’t lie. (Well, not about that.) “I write romantic comedies that involve murder.”

Audience laughs and someone says to the Bailiff, “And you, might have your own chapter.”

I answer, “Yup, but it’s going to be a long chapter, because he’s gonna die slowly.”

Now, I’m having so much fun heckling the Bailiff that I don’t stop and think about the possible repercussions. And when I do think about it, it’s too late. He’s standing there with the list of twelve jurors, out of sixty, mind you, that have been chosen for the jury. Randomly, selected of course.

Randomly, my butt! I saw the look on that Bailiff’s face when he went back to get the randomly-selected list!!!

Now I wish I could tell you that the case was some high-profile murder case—we have plenty of them in Texas, mostly ‘cause we know how to kill people—but nope. Some lady didn’t want to pay her speeding ticket. We all lost a day’s work, wasted the court’s time because she didn’t want to pay for going 27 miles over the speed limit. We sent her to the chair—yep, we do that in Texas, too. However, on the positive side, I ended up passing out my cards and promoting my book. So, there you have it, my day in court. Moral of the story, if you go for jury duty and don’t want to get selected to serve on the case, don’t heckle the Bailiff.

Have any of you been chosen for jury duty? Got any juicy stories? Ever been pulled over for speeding?

Remember the contest? Post a comment and you’re entered to win a great prize.

Oh, here’s another contest that might interest you: A couple of Dorchester authors have graciously designed a contest to help promote a few of the new authors, (yours truly as one of them). Details are at and This contest will run until the end of November, and then they'll draw a winner. So, go check it out.

Crime Scene Christie

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Off The Fashion Train

It's a beautiful Monday morning and I have to start it with an apology for not doing drawings for either of the winners for last week's prizes. I claim book-launch related stress as my excuse. You see, book launch took almost all of my mind so I only had one brain cell remaining. Then I had to use it at McDonald's trying to convince them that meat & bread only meant really just that.

So without further ado - the winner of the Jana DeLeon prize basket is estella!!!!!!

The winner of the signed copy of UNLUCKY is catslady!!!!!!

Ladies, please email me at jana (at) with your mailing info so that I can get your prizes out to you. And congratulations!!!!!

Before I start my complaining for the day, I thought I'd share with all of you exciting news - I've accepted an offer from Dorchester for my next two books. They are the first two in a series of romance/mystery hybrids (in Louisiana, of course), the first of which features a woman haunted by her dead mother-in-law. You've got to love that one, and I can't even begin to tell you how much fun I'm having writing this book.

So now on to my rant for the day - when people jump off the fashion train.

Now, I'm not saying everyone ought to run out and buy the latest designer whatever. Heck, I don't either - and probably won't unless I get that whole Paramount picture movie deal I dream about. I just find it fascinating that at some point and time in everyone's life, they simply jump off the fashion train and from that point forward, they continue to wear/groom in the same style as the day they jumped off. C'mon, you know what I'm talking about - you've all seen old men in a breakfast restaurant with their socks up to their knees - dress socks usually - with shorts.

For those of you who don't know, I changed jobs (I start the new one tomorrow) from the training department to documentation. So no longer will I be jetting (or tarmacking, as I usually manage) around the country training people - instead, I will be manning a desk at my home in Dallas writing the documentation that other use to train. Well, training was a client-facing position so I had to change certain things about my appearance in order to look "professional." Of course, as soon as my transfer was approved, all bets were off and Jana got right back to being Jana.

You see, I have this boss who jumped off the fashion train somewhere in the late 80's, early 90's. The worst part of this is, he's actually younger than me. But he has no sense of style at all. So the first thing I did was visit my hairdresser. I'm a natural blonde with highlights and lowlights in my hair for that streaked effect. The last time I went in, I had my hairdresser put the black back in my hair. You know, it's that section on the back (the bottom layer usually) that is colored darker than the rest of your hair. If you visit any mall and throw a rock, you'll probably hit someone who is wearing a similar style.

So I'd actually had my hair done for a couple of weeks when he walks up and says "why is the back of your hair black?"

So I reply "because it's hip and trendy and now, and you couldn't possibly understand. You really need to get out more."

Mind you, at least 25% of the women at my company have hair like this, but apparently he hasn't noticed. Hey, at least he didn't say anything about my nails. As soon as I had the black done in my hair, I headed straight to the nail salon, had them remove my very professional solar nails with the French tip and exchanged them for acryllic in bright, glittery, hooker pink! I swear, with my hair and nails back to normal, I hadn't felt that good in over a year.

So what's your look, your style????? And when do you think you'll jump off the fashion train?

- Deadly (but still trendy) DeLeon

I'm a "Fall Back" Grouch...

How is it that only a few hours into the time change I’m already feeling the oppressive seasonal depression of shorter days and less sunlight? Yeah, yeah, yeah...the sun is full up when I go for my morning jog but I don't necessarily count that as a good thing. It just means that uncloaked by the soft, sympathetic light of dawn my neighbors can better see me wheezing and panting up and down and around the neighborhood. Yay?

On a happier note, thus far NaNoWriMo is going along swimmingly. I’m 9382 words into my project without a stumble. And what’s more? They’re in sequence! I’m notoriously bad about writing scenes out of sequence and then trying to connect them. I know most writers will jot down a few ideas for future passages so they won’t forget them but I’m worse than that. I’ll get bored at chapter 3 and then way ahead and write on from there. Not so bad until I then have to go back and force where I left off to wed where I pick up.

Apologies for the brevity but I’m vacationing later this week and have to get in another 8 or 9K words before Thursday.

I hope to have access to a computer on Sunday but if not, I’ll return Nov 18!

Happy Writing!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Wooing Hollywood

This week I was in Los Angeles for the annual Screenwriting Expo. Wow. What an experience! Here are the highlights:

Day One.
I arrived in L.A., made my way from the chaos that is LAX to the airport Marriott. The place is crawling with screenwriters. How can I tell? Well, apart from the conference badges around their necks the look of cynicism and desperation in their eyes in unmistakable. I stand in three separate registration lines, get all my passes and go to my first workshop – one on honing the perfect pitch. Great workshop, very fun, interactive, I realize my pitch sucks, must give it complete overhaul.
Second workshop is about turning books into movies. The agent giving the workshop outlines the way to get paid three four separate times for the same book. (Must ask my agent about this!)
Had an early dinner and hit the hay in anticipation of a full day tomorrow.

Day Two.
Sleep in, call my good friend Jax Crane to see when she’s arriving. She has a date (the little scamp!) so won’t be in until afternoon. I head off to my first workshop solo. Another one on pitching. This guy contradicts what the first lady said. Hmmm… interesting. Spend lunch reworking my pitch yet again.
Have my first pitch session. Oh my – what a process! First we had to find the production company we were pitching to on a big board, then find the corresponding table number they’d be sitting at, then find that table on a big map of the room. Then we were called into a holding room in the order of our pitches. Once there we were reminded again to hold onto our table numbers, then we were herded (Moo!) into another holding room, waited there, then herded into a third holding room where we had to sit in the chair with the same number as our company’s table. Then, finally, we were let into the huge room full of pitch tables. I pretty sure by the time I sat down I didn’t remember my own name. But I knew my table number!
Jax finally arrived that afternoon and we went to dinner in lovely Inglewood (note the sarcasm here, Inglewood is NOT lovely) where we had the worst waitress ever, but were afraid to complain because it was the kind of neighborhood where she might be carrying a switchblade beneath her apron. Left a big tip (just in case) then hightailed it out of town. Went back to the Marriott where we met up with a few fun writer who bought us drinks. (Anyone who buys the drinks is fun in my book!)

Day Three.
Got up early and had breakfast with my lovely agent, Nephele Tempest. She took Jax and me to the Grove, a very cool Disney-eque shopping center in L.A. We walked around after breakfast exploring the farmer’s market and doing a little window shopping. I even got to sign a book at the local Borders!
After breakfast I had two more pitches. Both promised they’d call me. (Just hoping this isn’t like when a guy says “I’ll call” at the end of a date…)
Hit another workshop, then met with one of the producers involved in the SPYING IN HIGH HEELS TV show. Great guy, very nice, very un-typical Hollywood. Gave me some tips on pitching. Odd enough, completely contradicting what the other two workshops had said. Hmm… refine my pitch once more…
Had dinner with Jax then came back to the hotel to change for a Halloween party. I was a detective so Jax decided at the last minute to go as a cat bugler. (Involving another hold-your-breath-and-try-not-to-get-shot trip to Inglewood for costume pieces.) I think we pulled I off, yeah? The party was fun, free flowing booze, lots of great costumes, and Jax even got hit on by a baby-faced Mr. T.

Day Four.
My last day, packed full of – what else? – pitches. Have completely abandoned all pitch suggestions, winging it at this point. Am a complete pro at navigating the many holding rooms by this point, giving out pointers to the newbies.
Between pitches did a little exploring with Jax around L.A. and landed at an Indian restaurant for lunch. Gorge on veggies and naan bread before going back to the hotel for one more pitch, then off to the airport. Two hours sipping coffee at LAX and I’m back home!

The best part? When I got back there was an email from the last manager I pitched to requesting to see my screenplay. They like me, they really like me!

So, how did you all spend your Halloween week?

~Gemma "Trigger Happy" Halliday