Friday, May 30, 2008

Duck and cover

This week I went on date #2 with The Firefighter. Fabulous. I would swear he got even hotter. And the requisite getting-to-know-you stuff is actually kind of fun with him, instead of the tedious chore it’s been with other guys. I learned he likes to listen to Sinatra (I love oldies!), just bought a new freezer for his martini bar (He has a martini bar in his house. Be still my beating heart.) and – this was the clincher – loves to shop at DSW (a.k.a. my shoe mecca). Yeah, you heard me right. A hot fireman that likes to browse shoe stores. Oh. My. God. Seriously he’s so cool, I’m waiting for the secret child or deranged ex-wife to pop out of his past any second.

So, to celebrate great date #2 (a rarely see but often fantasized about phenomenon) Mom and I decided to go to the mall. Ever since Mom put up her snakier than snark online dating profile, she’s been my idol. So after a good twenty minutes of me gushing in a giddy post-date haze, I asked how her dating life is faring.

“Ahn.” She shrugs.
“Hmm. Just ahn?”
“Well, okay, there is this one guy…”
So, I drag out of her that she’s met a retired former Navy captain. The first date went okay and he’s asked her out on a second for this weekend. “But,” she says, “he wants to go hiking.”
K, normally hiking might be fun. But when a gal meets a guy online, it’s probably best not to go out in the wilderness alone with him until you really know each other. I mean, even the Bicycle Thief and the Fighter with the body in the closet faked normal for the first three dates before showing their true colors.
So, I agree with Mom, hiking is not such a hot idea.
As we make our way through Macy’s, I offer up some alternatives. A stroll through the park? (Kind of like hike-light.) A walk through downtown? (Like hiking, but with window shopping.) Dinner and a movie? (Okay, nothing like hiking, but I know she hasn’t seen Indiana Jones yet.)
We’re walking through men’s wear, and I’m running out of ideas, when mom stops mid-step, abruptly veers right, and power walks the opposite direction.
O-kay.
I jog after her, catching up just as she shoves me around the corner into housewares.
“What was that about?” I asked.
Mom points over my shoulder. “That was him!”
I turn around. “Who?”
“The captain. The hiker wanna-be. He’s here!”
No. Way. What are the chances? So, I peak around the corner just in time to see a tall, blond guy paying for a pair of gray slacks. He’s slim, thick head of hair, strong jaw. Not bad, really. So, I say, “Let’s go say hi.”
Mom shakes her head. “Now way. Can’t.”
“Why not?”
“I’m wearing the same outfit I wore on the date!”
I look down. She’s in flat-front jeans, black shirt, white cropped jacket. Pretty cute date outfit, actually.
“If he sees me in this again, he’ll think I don’t have any other clothes!”
I do a giggle/snort thing. But, I have to agree, in her situation, I’d totally duck, too. No one wants to be a fashion one-hit wonder.
So, we hide out in housewares (picking up a new set of margarita glasses and a nacho bowl) while waiting for him to finish shopping. Finally the coast looks clear, and we emerge, making our through the mall.
Only, we make it just three stores in before Mom grabs my arm and veers left again.
I look up.
And the blond guy is dead ahead, coming right toward us. Man, he gets around!
Mom propels me into Anne Taylor, shoving me behind a rack of a-line skirts.
“Oh no. Oh crap. Do you think he saw me?” she pants.
I peak out. He’s making a beeline for the exit, no sign of recognition on his face.
“Doesn’t look like it.”
She does a sigh of relief. “Oh thank God.” Then her expression relaxes and she lets out a little laugh. “You know, maybe I will go on that second date. We’re obviously a lot more alike than I thought.”
“Because he shops Macy’s, too?” Hey, I gotta admit, a Navy captain who does Macy’s is almost as cool as a shoe-shopping firefighter. (Almost.)
But, Mom shakes her head, the laughter growing now. “No. Because he was dressed in the same outfit, too!”
Mental forehead smack.

Okay, so, fess up. Anyone else ever done the duck and hide thing from a guy? What’s the most silly, ridiculous, down-right embarrassing thing you’ve ever done when running into an unexpected acquaintance?

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Covers, Old Friends, and Hiatuses...we've come a long way, Tressa Jayne!

Most of you recall the cover of my first book, CALAMITY JAYNE, with the cute blonde holding the ice cream cone. The book that started it all for me. The cover, a cute, eye-catching one, also initiated cover branding for the series, as well. Folks knew for sure when they saw the book cover with a different food item obscuring a portion of the cover model’s face that this was the latest Calamity Jayne mystery. Instant recognition. And with most cover art, it’s always been a sort of a love/hate relationship. Readers either love ‘em or hate ‘em. Some readers thought they were too YA. Some felt the cover model didn’t depict Tressa Jayne accurately (the hair, you know). Others thought the covers were awesome and just right for the series. Me? I always like to be different so I thought they were cool, too.

But all things must come to an end.
With the upcoming November release of my sixth Tressa Jayne Turner mystery, the art department decided it was time to go another direction with the cover. Therefore, without further ado, may I present the cover for my sixth Calamity Jayne mystery, ANCHORS AWEIGH.
Whoa. That didn't upload right. The background is supposed to be more of a sky blue. Not sure why that went all funky on me. Oh well. You get the gist, I hope. So. What do you think of the cover? I was surprised, to say the least, as I had expected more of the same branding as had been done with the previous five covers. It’s growing on me. My only concern is that those readers who are waiting for the next book in the series won’t recognize it as a Calamity Jayne book as easily as before.
Still, all good things must come to an end.
Even series. Even series we love. Even series love to write.
Yep. That’s right. ANCHORS AWEIGH is slated to be the last book in the Calamity Jayne series. As Trigger Happy can attest to with her fabulous High Heels series, when you’re writing a series, it’s always a challenge to keep each book fresh and funny and new and exciting. When you love a cast of characters as much as you have to when you write a series, you really want each story to be better than the last. You want to give these characters the funniest forum you can to showcase their idiosyncracies, their unique personalities, their growth as individuals. You simply want the best for them because you care so much about them. They’re family. Friends. Muses. Even alter egos at times. They deserve the best. Your best.
From most accounts, I’ve succeeded in keeping each story in the CJ series to those standards I expect and believe me when I say I’ve had an absolute ball doing it. But it’s equally important to me to take this series out on a high note and ANCHORS AWEIGH seemed like the perfect vehicle to accomplish just that. (When you’re editor emails to tell you he’s reading the book and he can’t wait to see how it ends, you know you’re in the ballpark.)
So, it’s with a great deal of pride, personal satisfaction, and yes, a tear or two, that I bid a heartfelt ‘see ya’ to Tressa Jayne and the Grandville Gang.
Well, for now, that is.
Because with ‘Calamity and Company’ you just never know what’s waiting down the road a piece.
And for Bullet Hole here? How will she fare without her favorite comical cast of characters whispering in her ear all the time?
She’ll cry a little. Snot a little. Second guess herself a little. (Okay, more than a little. ) Then she’ll dig into that thick file folder of story ideas of hers, put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard) and get back on the horse and sink spur.
Hey. What else would you expect from a cockeyed cowgirl from the Heartland?
Yeehaw!
~Bullet Hole Bacus~



Wednesday, May 28, 2008

IN-Frequently Asked Questions of the Damned


So, this morning, as I'm getting the kids ready, Margaret asks me, "Mom?" (Because that is my actual name anymore) "What state is Washington DC in?" I immediately answer, "DC or District of Columbia, is it's own city-state because the founding fathers didn't want any state government to have jurisdiction over the nation's capital." Yes, I was showing off. Mainly because last week's question, "Mom?" (There's that damn name again) "What's the difference between Cummulonimbus Clouds and Nimbus Clouds?" went rather badly when I replied, "Um, well, Cummulonimbus is a cloud that has accumulated Nimbus..."

It's funny how a fourth-grader can make you feel like an idiot. I would never be stupid enough to go on that "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth-Grader" show. Never. I'd rather have to perform the Chicken Dance (shudder) in my grandmother's underwear on American Idol.

Anyway, the question made me think of AC/DC, which made me wonder if Pepe the Prawn resembles Steve Buscemi, which made me think about Ding Dongs (and I LOVE Ding Dongs) which made me think of my website, which made me think of my upcoming premier of my FAQ page. Don't ask how my mind works. I'm not sure but I believe on some days the hamster inside runs faster on his wheel than other days.

So, I'll give you a few of questions that didn't make the cut;

"I'm actually thinking of becoming a hitman. Are you aware of any training available?"

My response; "Yes. You should definitely contact the FBI. They are looking for people like you."

"Have you ever thought of giving Tanqueray Gin shots away at your booksignings? I think that would be great!"

My response; "Oh sure. There's nothing funnier than watching kids shopping for books totally loaded."

"What's Louis' middle name?"

My response; "Um, that's a good question. I'm sure he has one. It's just that I'm too lazy to give any of my characters middle names."

"Can you really garrote a man with circular knitting needles?"

My response; "Sure. You just have to get your knee in the back of the couch for leverage and make sure you hold on for a while after they pass out." (Note - this is not, I repeat, NOT, from personal experience. It is totally hypothetical.

"I've got a great book on my grandmother's life as a housewife in the 1950's in Bettendorf. I'm sure it's a bestseller. Will you send it to your publisher?"

My response; "Hell no. Unless she was a serial killer or prostitute, no one...even me...cares." And if she was both a serial killer AND a prostitute, I want to read that.

And my favorite:

"How many licks does it take you to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?"

My response; "Thirty-two. And it has to be chocolate." My children have never had a chocolate one because I raid them from their Halloween stash each year and keep them hidden away to work on when I'd rather eat an entire chocolate cake.

Well, there you have it. What about you? What's the weirdest question you've been asked?

The Assassin

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

P.S. More Contests

All About Romance has posted an interview with me, with another contest. Go check it out.
http://aarafterhours.blog-city.com/christie_craig_contest_and_interview.htm

Wedding Jitters? Me? Are You Kidding?



Well, it’s Release Day. Weddings Can Be Murder hits the bookstores today. So, you know where I’ll be most of the day, right?

Stalking bookstores, lurking in the corners, spying to see who picks up my book, waiting to see who buys it. If you’re out in the bookstores, I’ll be the suspicious woman hiding under a hat, and behind the dark sunglasses, carrying a cattle prod. (Hey, cattle prods have always been a big part of my marketing strategy and my first book did very well.)

Anyway, in honor of “R” day, I’m posting a feature, and contest, that is now up at Dorchester. And in addition to the contest mentioned below, which I hope all of you will enter, I’m giving away a T-shirt and a pack of note cards to one lucky poster who posts sightings of my book on this blog. I’ll be watching all week for anyone who posts, and next week I’ll announce the winner. Oh, and since June is about Weddings, I’ll be holding contest on all my Tuesday blogs, so stay tuned. Also, just for heads up. I’m going to be guest blogging at http://novelthoughts.wordpress.com/ June 2nd and there’s going to be a contest happening over there too. So pop over.

* * *

It’s June, marriage is the air, and with my book Weddings Can be Murder hitting the bookshelves, I’m getting a lot of questions about my thoughts on weddings and my ability to write about wedding jitters. Surely I, happily married for twenty years, hadn’t relied on any of my own “jittery” experiences. Right?

Well, I can honestly tell you that unlike my character Katie, I never had a serial killer after me, and for certain I never got locked in the dark with a sexy PI. Nor did I, like Katie, have a . . . a need to hurl at the thought of getting married. Although, there was that bad shrimp cocktail that got served at my reception. . .

Not that the shrimp, or even my wedding memories are where I got the plot for this book. But when people ask about my experience with wedding jitters, and wedding faux pas, well, I do recall a few personal wedding reminiscences. Let’s see . . ., I remember the cold feet, the bad shrimp, a lucky cat, and one dead pigeon.

They didn’t happen in that order, of course. I think the dead pigeon came before the bad shrimp. And the lucky cat after the dead pigeon. However, looking back, it might have been the bad shrimp that led to the untimely death of the poor bird. I’m not really certain.

I wasn’t certain of much that day. Hey, it was my wedding. I mean, there I was, standing out in the apartment building’s courtyard, about to take the till-death-do-you-part vows before God, family, and about a dozen people I was certain had crashed the wedding for the reception’s finger food. (Not that most of those people weren’t sorry because of the bad shrimp, but we won’t go down that road.) The point is, I was standing beside my husband-to-be, knees knocking, staring at the preacher who had arrived over an hour late (his tardiness probably the cause of the bad shrimp), and I was having a serious bout of wedding jitters.

“Do you, Steve, take this woman . . .” Oh yeah, I had the jitters. And I had ‘em bad. So bad that I was looking left, right, front and back, trying to figure out the best escape route.

“I do,” Steve answered. And that’s when the dead pigeon arrived. Well, it wasn’t dead upon arrival, but its hap-hazard flying form led me to expect that it wasn’t long for this world. Of course, I hadn’t expected its life to end so quickly, or violently, and I sure as heck hadn’t expected to witness it.

Yup, the haphazardly flying pigeon smacked head-first into the brick wall right behind the preacher.

As I watched the lifeless bird plummet to the manicured lawn, I couldn’t help but wonder if it hadn’t been some cosmic sign. My entire wedding party and guests also witnessed the bird’s demise. And then we got to witness the lucky cat who ran to collect the prize. And that’s when I realized that, sign or no sign, the bird’s unfortunate end was my opportunity for escape. I hiked up my white skirt and had one foot out.

My plan was squashed when my husband-to-be took my hand. Okay, so he was on to me. I gasped in a deep breath and tried not to stare at the cat with the dead bird in his mouth strutting across the lawn.

“Do you, Christie, take . . .”

“Excuse me,” I said and motioned for the inexcusably-late man of God to stop. I looked at my husband-to-be still holding my hand. I looked at the crowd, who all leaned forward as if they couldn’t wait to know what I would say—or do—next. Oh yeah, they’d lost interest in the lucky cat and the unlucky bird show and hoped to see an episode of the escaping bride.

I refocused on my fiancé. “How about if we just continue to live in sin?” I whispered.

He touched my cheek. (And this is the part I remember most about that day.) Then he whispered in my ear, “I love you. I love your daughter. I promise you. I promise you with everything I’m made of, that I will never hurt you. Take a chance on me.”

You see, I had been hurt. And boy, was I scared. But one look into the eyes of the man tenderly studying me, and right then the dead bird, the lucky cat, and the ungodly-late preacher all lost importance. And I took a chance that day. A chance on love. Twenty years later, I can say my chance paid off.

So . . . back to the question I’m being asked. Did I draw from my own experience to write the wedding jitter scenes? You bet your bottom dollar I did. And maybe the bad shrimp inspired Katie’s hurling problems. I know several of the wedding party, wedding crashers, and even the honeymooners had some time at the throne.

But the thing I have mostly drawn upon to help me write my novels is the love that I felt that day and have continued to feel through the years.

Love can be a scary thing, with or without serial killers, but when you get it right (and my characters always do) there is nothing more rewarding or more valuable in this life. Here’s hoping my sexy and suspenseful stories continue to make you laugh and continue to remind you of the value of love.

So anyone of you out there have a story to share? Share it here and then send it to me on my email below, and I’ll make sure you get entered in the contest.

Crime Scene Christie

Contest:

Do you have a heart-warming story or amusing faux pas about a wedding or falling in love? If so, share your story and you could win a “Pamper Me Like A Bride” basket from Christie Craig. Basket includes: a promotional Sexy, Suspenseful and Seriously Funny T-shirt, chocolate, candles, sensuous lotions and soaps, and a pack of Craig’s own note cards. The winner and runner-ups will be posted on Dorchesterpub.com as well as on Christie Craig’s website. Winners will be chosen at random and notified the last week of June.

Submit stories, 250 words or less, to christie@christie-craig.com by June 30, 2008.



Sunday, May 25, 2008

YouTube Sunday

You guys are awesome! I've been getting so many cool YouTube videos all week. But my absolute fav this week has come from JenZ - Korean Baby Singing Hey Jude! So cute! I'll admit, I'm a bit of a Beatles fan, too, so this one had me grinning from ear to ear. JenZ, email me and I'll get your copy of UNDERCOVER IN HIGH HEELS out to you ASAP. I'll be giving another copy out next Sunday, so keep those videos coming!





~Trigger Happy Halliday

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hot Nights, Dark Desires

Hi ladies! Please welcome three – er, four - of my favorite steamy authors, Stephanie Tyler, Larissa Ione, Sydney Croft, and my critique partner for the last 6 years, Eden Bradley. Together they’ve written an AWESOME anthology called Hot Nights, Dark Desires set in sexy, sultry New Orleans. Take it away ladies…



*Stephanie Tyler: NIGHT VISION is a really special novella to me – one that I wasn't sure would find a home. My current agent, however, was convinced. It's the novella she signed me on – and even though I'd gotten a close call on it right before I sent it to her, nothing ever materialized. So we decided that I'd work on other things and she said, don't worry – we'll find a place for Night Vision – the right opportunity will come along.

See, I wrote that novella, and my first Blaze, in the months after leaving my first agent who, after signing me on a book, decided she didn't like anything else I wrote. She was a really new agent and a really nice person (I don't even think she's agenting anymore) but man, she killed any self confidence I had by turning down proposal after proposal. And so, after we split, I was very, f*** it – I'm writing anything I want. And I came up with two proposals, one for Night Vision and one for the book that would ultimately become Coming Undone, my first Blaze and the first book I ever sold. And I got bites on both stories, although the bite for Night Vision never materialized – but I'm convinced those stories sold because I wrote them for me. I wrote what I wanted and I stopped trying to please the elusive 'someone' and instead, wrote to please myself. It was my ode to Road House - with an alpha hero and an equally strong heroine and I loved writing it.

2006 was a dream come true – I sold to Blaze, to Bantam as both me and with Larissa as Sydney Croft. But Night Vision kept bugging me.

So my agent, who is also Larissa's agent and Sydney's agent and Eden's agent said, I have an idea. And suddenly, I'm like, Larissa, we need to write a chapter and a synopsis for a Sydney novella!!!

This is the part where Larissa claims she almost killed me, because we were in the middle of a writing frenzy – you know, on things already contracted.

*Eden barging in: Of course, I had no idea about any of this because I’d only met Steph and Larissa briefly at the previous year’s RWA conference. All I knew was that I was dying to write this tattoo novella and was bugging our agent about finding a home for it, because, ya know, the abject terror of my first New York contract, dealing with having just finished my first full-length novel for Bantam and a novella for Berkley, and facing doing my second novel was not enough insanity for me. But that’s the thing about being a writer-it’s like existing in this strange state of schizophrenia where your characters start talking to you and you can’t always shut them up. And we don’t even need medication! Well, most of us don’t…Anyway, on with the story.

*Stephanie: So the three of us chatted via email and I told them that my story was set near New Orleans and dealt with an artist and Eden already had a novella she was dying to write about a tattoo fetish, so that fit perfectly. Larissa and I came up with an idea for a photographer for the Sydney novella, so that would fit into the art theme. The only change I made was to make my story post-Katrina, since it was originally written the March before Katrina happened.

And so we got our chapters together and our Bantam editor (again, we all share the same one) loved the proposal and bought it! And I was all like, and my part is all written already!

And Larissa's like, moron, did you forget you're half of Sydney?

Which, of course, I had – I was like, let that Sydney Bitch come up with something on her own. Which, of course, she didn't.

And, of course, I had revisions on Night Vision, so the word 'done' really wasn't correct.

*Waving – Larissa interjecting to say that most everything she's said so far is accurate, right down to the moron part* Yep, we suddenly had a novella to write while we were in the middle of writing Seduced By The Storm, and I was in the middle of writing my second Demonica book. The part she has conveniently forgotten? Well, the fact that all of this – an anthology containing novellas by Eden, Stephanie, and SYDNEY, was proposed to our editor before I even knew about it. I got this email from her that was like, hey, our editor loved the anthology idea! We need to come up with a proposal! Me: What anthology idea? Steph: Um…I thought I told you…

*Okay, back to Steph:*sighs* Okay, I don't remember that happening - I just remember all three of us were all excited when we sold this anthology because it's actually Bantam's very first Erotica anthology. Which is way cool.

*Eden Interjecting
: Ohmygosh-I had no idea Steph did this without even consulting Larissa! And she let her live! Good thing Larissa’s such a nice person. Or maybe that’s what that small scar on the side of Steph’s head is about…?

But yes, very exciting to be a part of Bantam’s first erotic anthology. Our editor made it clear it was a sort of experiment for Bantam, so we were all pretty thrilled that she had that kind of confidence in us!

*Back to Steph again
: So anyway, for the Sydney novella, we knew that we wanted to make the hero part of the ACRO (Agency for Covert Rare Operatives) world where the other Croft novels are based, but we only had a short span so we couldn't bring ACRO fully into the novella. So Hex, the hero, is in New Orleans and he's there to help a supermodel named Brenna who's haunted.

*Larissa here again* So yes, Shadow Play is the only paranormal addition to the anthology. I call it "paranormal lite," because with the short length we couldn't go as deeply into the paranormal or ACRO world as we do with the single-titles, but we still managed to squeeze some ghosts in there. Oh, and I got to make fun of yet another one of Stephanie's weird hero names. (She's glaring at me, but really…Hex? Trance? Ender? Oz?)

*Steph’s response: I LOVE those names!! Creed – don’t forget Creed!! Do you guys like odd names for characters? Any all time favorite character names for you?

*Eden chiming in: I love the character names-Creed is a favorite! My hero in this novella is Tristan Batiste. It’s New Orleans, so he had to have a French ancestry. French men are sexy-who’s with me on this? Actually, New Orleans is sexy! I swear, the place is just magical, and if you haven’t ever been, you must go. Right now! Stop at Café Du Monde and eat beignets and drink chicory coffee and watch the world go by. I could spend hours there. I have spent hours there!
Or…you could just read our anthology and get a real feel for the area.
So, why did I write about a tattoo artist and a woman who’s obsessed with tattoos? Mostly because I have a thing for art in general, and a thing for tattoos-which you can find out more about by visiting my blog: http://www.edenbradley.blogspot.com/ I’m talking about tattoos there all month in celebration of the release of our anthology.
I love tattoos-on men, on women. I think they’re a little dark, a little sexy. What do the rest of you think about tattoos?

Meanwhile, here’s the blurb for our book:
Inspired by the sultry heat and sensual ambiance of New Orleans, this steamy collection delves into the erotic underground of the Big Easy. Here is a tantalizing trio of stories by three rising stars that will tease your imagination—and seduce your senses.

Lush, haunting, and provocative, New Orleans has something to satisfy every desire—as three very lucky women are about to discover. In “Shadow Play” an ex-supermodel desperate to revive her career seeks the help of a gorgeous, reclusive photographer with a special gift—and offers him anything he wants in return. The result is a series of erotic positions captured on film—along with a mind-blowing physical connection neither expected…. In “The Art of Desire” a sheltered young woman turned on by the idea of getting tattooed dares to make her fantasy a reality. But as her arousing sessions with a dangerously handsome tattoo artist move from the tattoo parlor to the bedroom, they make an impression that’s more than skin deep…. And in “Night Vision” when artist Catie Lanford hires professional cooler Bat Kelly to whip the failing bar she’s recently inherited into shape, she’s not looking for a lover—until she lays eyes on the sexy wild man. Soon they’ve agreed to mix business with pleasure, and Catie discovers that Bat is just what she needs to set her artist’s imagination—and her body—on fire.

Abandon your inhibitions and excite your spirit with a gathering of tales that’s as sexy and spicy as the city of New Orleans itself.


You can find it on Amazon or on Barnes & Noble online, or at your local bookstores!
I hope you’ll visit us on the web for more book info, news and updates:
http://www.stephanietyler.com/
http://www.larissaione.com/
http://www.edenbradley.com/
http://sydneycroft.com/

Thanks to the ladies at Killer Fiction for having us!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Is it hot in here?

I posted last week that I’d joined a new online dating service in hopes of finding a guy that isn’t on the FBI’s most wanted list. Well, I actually ended up joining not one service, but 5. Yep, 5. Hey, I figured I might as well go big. And, being the new girl on these sites, I got a blitz of emails from guys. Generally, I prefer to talk to one at a time, but knowing that once that new-girl smell wears off I won’t get nearly as many emails, I decided to take full advantage of the phenomenon this week. I’ve been emailing myself silly. I actually had to organize my messages this week into three categories – guys I might like to meet, guys that I really wish would lose my number now, and guys that I can’t remember who they are.

With the buffet of boys to choose from this week, a select few even made it past the requisite number of emails to the phone interview stage. They were:

1. Bachelor Number One
His profile seemed very nice. But, I totally melted when I saw the picture of his two little girls. They were adorable! I like kids anyway, but these two could be on cereal commercials, they were just that cute. So, had to write to him. When we talked on the phone he seemed really nice, so I kind of let it slip that I’d been on a few bad dates before. Like, super weird you-wouldn’t-believe-me-if-I-told-you dates. Then I made the mistake of wondering allowed, “Aren’t there any just nice normal guys out there.”
“Well, I’m normal,” he says.
“Thank God.”
“I’ve got a normal job, two great kids, I even have a picket fence.”
“Seriously? A real picket fence?” I start picturing myself in a June Cleaver apron…
“Yep. Normal. Well, except... there is one thing.”
Uh oh. I'm almost afraid to ask... “What?”
“There’s one thing I wasn’t totally truthful about online. My marital status.”
I knew it was too good to be true. He’s already got a June!
“See,” he says, “They didn’t have a box to check for my status.”
I’m thinking back. “They had single, separated, divorced, widowed… what else is there.”
“Coma.”
“Excuse me?”
“I’m still married, but my wife’s in a coma.”
Only me. I swear this stuff only happens to me.

(P.S. No, I didn’t hold that against him. Very sad story really, and I admire how well he’s coped… but not totally normal either.)


2. Bachelor Number Two
A bit younger than I am, but very cute and I see chemistry happening right away. Nice to talk to on the phone. But… he kept asking about my books so he could go buy them. K, normally, I’m all for making a sale. But I’ve learned over the past few months that giving a guy my book and web info isn’t always wise. I won’t go into how many inappropriate myspace comments I’ve had to delete from my professional page due to boys I’ve been out with not taking a polite hint to hit the road. But it’s a lot. So, I generally keep that info to myself. But, Young Dude was persistent. So persistent that after I said, “No, I’ll tell you all about it when I know you better,” he apparently took it upon himself to do some investigating online. I have no freaking idea how he did it given the limited info I gave him about myself (probably many hours of googling late into the night), but he did, indeed, find me. Then proceeded to text me little hints that he knew who I “really” was. Maybe it was supposed to be cute… but it felt a little creepy bordering on stalkerish.

3. Bachelor Number Three
I may have mentioned this guy last week. The firefighter I wrote to? Well, he wrote back. (yay!) We talked to him on the phone and he sounded nice, could hold down his end of a conversation, no skeletons popping out of his closet (yet). A good decade older than I am, so I was a little wary, but sounded decent enough. He suggested meeting for coffee the next morning. Cool, I’m in. So, I direct him to my fav Starbucks (the one where they know me by name and order. Yes, I’m a total addict.) and hope for the best. I walk in the door and…
Oh. Wow.
Pardon the pun, but firefighters are HOT! Seriously hawt. Totally cut, great tan, nice chiseled features, beautiful hazel eyes. What started as a quick cup of coffee ended up with me pretty much playing hooky from writing all day (sorry Leah!). Though, after I told him I was a romance writer, he said I could easily write off our day together as “research”. ;)

Sadly, it will probably be a few days before I see him again, as a massive wildfire broke out in hills above our town the next morning. As I’m writing this, over 3200 acres of redwood forest and 10 homes have already burned. This is upsetting not only because of my newfound appreciation for firefighters, but because I grew up in those hills, just miles from the fire. I’ve been glued to the news all day, hoping my firefighter man gets it under control soon!
(Notice how I called him "mine" already? Yep, I can tell this guy is so gonna be trouble…)

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, May 22, 2008

If it Weren't for Bad Luck...

Have you ever been tempted to believe you might be jinxed? That for some reason you’ve become a bull’s eyes for life’s slings and arrows? Gauging from this week’s events, I think I must have done some serious under the ladder walking, had a herd of black cats skitter across my path, and broken a mirror…or two.

Here’s the deal. This is graduation week for my triplets. Yes! I’ve done it! I have managed to get my trio to this auspicious day all by my lonesome. Sorry to burst some folks’ bubbles here, but no villages were involved in raising this trio but rather one hyper vigilant, hyper motivated ex law enforcer type mother. So I’m celebrating too. Maybe more so than the kids are. Well, certainly as much as they are.
Anyway, back to my trials and tribulations. As you may recall, last week I blogged about finishing a recent book. I also mentioned that my daughter had marked said auspicious moment by erping in the bathroom. Well, that started a whole cycle of illness throughout our family unit. Four days later my other daughter caught the bug. And this is no ordinary bug. It’s like the mother of all intestinal viruses. It puts you down for a good three days and while I won’t get graphic here, it comes with all the nastiest stuff you associate with the worst flu ever. And it seems to last forever.
So when my second kid came down with it, I started to get concerned. I had planned my week carefully. Yard work on the weekend. Cleaning the house Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Menu planning and shopping Thursday. Cooking Friday. Hauling out the patio furniture and setting things up Saturday. And my most important plan? I CANNOT, WILL NOT GET SICK!!!
First came the yard work. I’d had leaves bagged from last year to get rid of, limbs from a seemingly always shedding sycamore tree to haul away, weed pulling and bush trimming. I must admit that when I’m writing, certain things tend not to get done. Weed eating among them. I borrowed my dad’s beater pick up. I spent a day filling it with yard debris. And I mean filling it. By the time I was done I had 30 bags of lawn debris, sticks, and limbs. Time to put the tarp on. Each time I toss the bright blue tarp over the load, the wind blows it off before I can even get one of the tie-downs in place. So, before I could provide the neighbors more entertainment I yell for my son. He comes out and together we manage to get the tarp spread over the load. I end up having to slide completely underneath the truck to find secure places to fasten the tie-downs. I check the load, nod approvingly at the results of my labor, take off and head out to dump the load. And suddenly it’s cyclone time! The wind blows so hard I’m constantly checking the rear view mirror to make sure the tarp is still there. Then I discover a string of motorcycles on my tail and in my mind’s eye I see the tarp blowing off and over the head of the cyclist and him wiping out and the string of cycles behind him going down this way and that giving a whole new meaning to the word ‘roadkill’, so I pull off to let them go around. I ended up doing that three times. I’ve never seen so many motorcycles in my life! And all on my tail. Not surprising, I suppose, given the fact I wasn’t going over 45.
I make it to my destination safe and sound, kiss the ground as I get out of the truck, and realize I’ve left my gloves and long sleeved shirt at home. I swear a little, but remove the tarp and begin to unload the truck. I had put the heavier branches on top of the load and when I went to toss one of the bigger branches off I lost my balance on the tailgate and fell off the truck and into a pile of branches. By the time I finished unloading the truck, I had huge bruises on my legs and my arms looked like a couple of the black cats I mentioned earlier had gone at me like I was freaking catnip. I was dirtier than I’d ever been in my life.
I drove home, showered, and dropped into bed. The next day was cleaning day number one. I could barely get out of bed. I was so sore I had to walk hunched over like an aging dowager with a hump. (Hey. Be nice. I’m not that old.) Undeterred from the tasks at hand I sectioned the house off. I’d get the worst jobs out of the way first. So I tackled the laundry room and the bathrooms first. By the end of the day I felt good about my progress. I was on schedule. On track. Looking good. My son (who had also been spared from the crud) and I exchanged our mutual optimism that we had managed to elude the bug from hell.
Then Tuesday came. And along with it, ‘the crud’. And it’s been worse than I could have imagined. Now I’m not normally a wimp when it comes to being sick. Hey. I gave birth to triplets. I’m no stranger to pain and discomfort. But let me tell you, I wasn’t prepared for how nasty this particular bug is. And how freaking long it lasts. Tuesday I either had my head in a bucket or my fanny on the…Well, you get the point. Every joint and muscle in my body ached. My head hurt so bad I had to keep an ice bag on it to keep from embarrassing myself by abject moaning. And I had to miss my daughter’s final band concert.
By Wednesday the news was no better. My son had also succumbed to the virulent virus. It had become personal. Me? I was determined to tame the beastly bug. I showered and told myself it was a case of mind over matter. I put a load of laundry in the washer and managed to hang it out. And that was all I got done that day. It was back to bed and back to the bucket. And I missed scholarship night.
That was last night. This morning I feel shaky and bleah. I haven’t had a thing to eat for two days, everything I drank was recycled, and I am two days behind on my cleaning. Unlike Gemma who last week blogged poolside looking tanned and cute, I’m propped up in bed with my laptop on my lap, looking like something out of Dawn of the Dead.
As I lie in bed last night unable to sleep only one thought gave me comfort.
At least I finished the damn book!
Have you had any ‘Murphy’s Law’ moments? Times when things went from bad to worse? Strings of bad luck that just wouldn’t end?
If so, let me know. I could use some cheering up.
~Bullet Hole~

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blue Berry or Cherry?


Okay, I’ve been under deadline pressure-the kind where you only allow yourself two potty breaks every five hours. Yeah, I’m holding my bladder to finish scenes, and then one of my good buddies, Francyne, sends me this email questionnaire. Sort of a . . . let’s get know each other better email, with a list of questions.

Now, first of all, Francyne has known me for over 20 years. I didn’t think there was anything she didn’t’ know about me. But then I start reading these questions and well…I’ll admit I’m not sure she does know all this stuff.

But the real question is: Why the heck does she really need to know this? I mean, what does one’s preference of blue berry or cherry tell you about a person? Are blue berry people better people that cherry people?

Nevertheless, Francyne’s email also came with a threat. If I didn’t answer, she was going to do it for me and send it out to everyone we knew and some people I didn’t know.

Now, I usually don’t answer these things, but . . . there was Francyne’s threat.

She doesn’t have a lot of dirt on me, but there was the time we were in the Luby’s Cafeteria in Tomball Texas, and the sheriff came in. He comes storming right to our table, accusing me of being a peeping tom. He’s shaking his handcuffs at me, causing a big scene, and threatening to arrest my butt.

Thing was, the sheriff was good buddies with Francyne’s husband. I figured it out pretty quickly, but to everyone in the cafeteria, I was a two-bit pervert peeping into men’s bathrooms. I’ll bet I was the talk of Tomball that day.

Anyway, because Francyne and her husband have been known to take things a bit far at times, I decided to answer the questions. But because I’m still under the gun of the deadline, I decided to just post my answers to Francyne’s list of get-to-know-me-better questions as my blog post.
So if you want to bitch about this post, I'll send you Francyne's and Richard's email.

But I'm sure you are all gonna be thrilled to know if I'm a blue berry or cherry person.
Anyway, what I’d like for you to do is pick a few of these questions, or all of them, and answer them. Come on, let's have just a little bit of fun, deadline, or no deadline.
Crime Scene Christie



1. What is your occupation? Nut case. Okay, writer.
2. What color are your socks right now? You are kinky, aren’t you?
3. What are you listening to right now? The television in the next room. My son left it on. Can I kill him?
4. What was the last thing that you ate? Something fat free. I swear it was.
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Only if my life depended on it and I no longer felt concern about anyone else’s life on the road.
6. What color would you be, if you were a color? Thin. That is a color, right? Okay, bright pink. (hmm, what does this say about a person?)
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Tom Cruise (I’m sure it was him, he didn’t say anything, but I still know it was him.)
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes, but I’m ticked at her for sending it. I’m supposed to be writing a blog.
9. How old are you today? 29. (I said I’d answer them, but I never agreed to tell the truth)
10. Favorite drink? Wine. Lots of it.
11. What is your favorite sport to watch? Frog gigging.
12. Have you ever dyed your hair? Not on purpose.
13. Pets? I don't have time to answer this question, but . . . Four cats, one very elderly dog, two rats, one rabbit, 20 or so turtles, and an occasional raccoon and possum.
14. Favorite food? Anything fat free that doesn’t taste like cardboard.
15. Last movie you watched? The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Great movie.
16. Favorite Day of the year? The day I turn in this book.
17. What do you do to vent anger? Bury people in my compost pile.
18. What was your favorite toy as a child? My shovel.
19. What is your favorite, fall or spring? I’m gonna have to research that.
20. Cherry or Blueberry? Cherry (Now just exactly what does that tell someone about a person?) I mean, are the blueberry people better than the cherry people?
21. Do you want your friends to email you back? Not if it comes with another list of questions.
22. Living arrangements? Outside of a county facility, without an ankle bracelet. (At least at this time.)
23. When was the last time you cried? Yesterday, when I thought about having to put my dog down.
24. Who is the friend you've had the longest that you are sending this to? You
25. Who is the friend you have had the shortest that you are sending this to? ?
26. What is a place you've never been, that you hope to see someday? Hmmm… Hell.
27. Why? People are always telling me I need to go there. (Actually, I want to see Italy.)
28. Favorite smell? A puppy. (I think it would have been more interesting to ask about the worse smell.)
29. Favorite board game? Operation. I loved sticking those tweezers into that naked guy. (Isn’t that scary?)
30. First concert that you ever attended? Hank Willians Jr. (Hey, it was free.)
31. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? Cheeseburger (Fat free, of course.)
32. Favorite Car? The kind with four wheels.
33. Favorite cat breed? House
34. Number of keys on your key ring? Three, one to my house, one to my car, and one to my compost pile.
35. How many years at your current job? You’re still trying to figure out how old I am, aren’t you?
36. Favorite day of the week? The day I get this book done!
37. How many states have you lived in? 3 and South America. State penitentiaries do count, right?
38. Favorite alcoholic drink, if any? If any? Seriously, don’t you know me better than that? Red Wine, in a big glass.
39. If you're old enough to remember, what is a favorite television show from the early 1970s? Duh, how old do you think I am?
40. What was the last thing that made you laugh? You, for thinking I had time to fill this out.
41. If you could be someone else for fifteen minutes, who would it be? What’s Brad Pitts wife’s name?
42. What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten? A fly, but not on purpose.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Strange and Interesting Breed

I was thinking the other day, about how writers are a strange and interesting breed of people. Put two or more of us together and I guarantee the talk will center on something to do with our books - whether it's technique or some particularly interesting research that you found in your writing process, we always want to share.

Unfortunately, sometimes we forget we're in public when we start sharing. Like restuarant sort of public.

Consider the time I was with a group of writers and we (of course) had to discuss writing the "love" scene. Which of course, led to some quite interesting conversation about nouns and adjectives and other descriptive terms, which then led to the subject of anal bleeching, which some had not heard of at all, and others got to describe in great detail (and later pull up pictures on the internet when we were back at the hotel). We were deep (pardon my pun) into the anal bleeching part of the night when I realized an entire table of college students had stopped talking and eating in order to listen to us.

I haven't seen that kind of rapt attention in church or a rock concert. I'm pretty sure some of them weren't even breathing.

And then there's the time I was plotting one of my books (in a restuarant, of course) and trying to figure out a good way for the woman to get away with murder. So I said something like "I've got to figure out a way to kill him without suspicion. And poison is out because that's how I killed the last guy." Then I went on to discuss the rest of the plot and come up with a creative way of offing one of my characters.

But SOMEONE at the restaurant didn't realize I was writing fiction, so she followed me to the parking lot and was jotting down my license plate number as I drove away - laughing until I cried. You gotta wonder what the police thought about that phone call.

So, have you ever said anything in public that you didn't mean to be overheard???????

Deadly DeLeon

Sunday, May 18, 2008

YouTube Sundays

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of emails with links to funny YouTube videos. Some are cute, some political, some wild, but all of them crack me up to no end. So, while Bethany is away, I thought I’d try something new here and institute YouTube Sundays. Throughout the week, email me (gemmasreadermail@gmail.com) with the funniest, craziest, most gut busting YouTube videos you can find, and I’ll pick one winner to post each Sunday. What does the winner get? Well, aside from serious bragging rights, we’ll come up with a fun prize each week. Next week… a signed copy of UNDERCOVER IN HIGH HEELS! Sound like fun? Then get watching and email me those links!

I’ll start this week off with one that Mary sent me about writer promotion. Too funny!





~Trigger Happy Halliday

Saturday, May 17, 2008

You Want Me To Drive Where? with Tera Lynn Childs

Hi, Guys!

I'd like to introduce to you a good buddy of mine, Tera Lynn Childs. I read her in a contest years ago and thought this girl is good! I love it when I'm right. She sold shortly later.

Welcome to Killer Fiction, Tera!

Crime Scene Christie


* * * *

All my life I’ve been a pretty daring girl. In kindergarten, I walked home through downtown Montreal. At seventeen, I moved to New York for college. I have plans to visit, well, everywhere. But even I have limits. Things I don’t want to try, like skydiving and eating chocolate-covered insects (definitely not simultaneously). Like my mental list of places I will never, ever drive. Delhi. Bangkok. Paris. England. Sometimes limits change, though. Here’s how I wound up on the road in one of my no-drive zones...

On my first trip to England I had an astonishingly short can’t-leave-without-seeing-it-list: Bodiam Castle. This storybook stronghold had been an obsession since I first saw a picture of it’s crenellated towers, lilypad-filled moat, and bucolic setting. (Yeah, I never thought I’d use the word “bucolic” properly in a sentence, either.)



There was just one problem. Bodiam is kind of in the middle of nowhere. To get there using public transport would require three busses, a train, and a caravan of pack mules. I didn’t have time for that kind of expedition, which left me with one terrifying but unavoidable option: I had to rent a car.

Okay, I thought as I headed for the car rental company. I can do this. It’s for Bodiam.

The clerk handed over the keys and I faced my fear--a bright blue Ford that could fit in my bathtub. Deep breaths. This wouldn’t be so bad. I was already on the south side of London. All I had to do was head further south and slightly east. I had maps and everything.

Then I climbed behind the wheel. Instead of a nice little stick on the steering column, there was a scary big stick between the seats. (No, not that kind of stick, gutter-dwellers.) A standard transmission. I had to drive a stick shift...with my left hand!

Calm down, I chanted. It’s for Bodiam. I knew how to drive a stick. So what if I had to manipulate it from the passenger POV? I could do this. Left hand on the stick, eyes wide with terror, I pulled out of the parking lot with the intention of heading southeast.

You know, until that moment I never realized just how disconcerting it would be to drive on the other side of the road. Since I was already in the flow of traffic, I had two choices: A) drive headlong into an oncoming vehicle, or B) follow another car nose-to-bumper.

My chosen bumper headed northwest. Away from my destination. But heading the wrong way was preferable to a head-on collision, so I followed. By the time I reached the M25, a big loop around metro London, I had the shifting and the driving on the left thing down. Success! Finally, I was on my way to Bodiam at moderate speed.

As everyone else zipped by at mach ten, I tried to convince my brain that the slow lane (where I definitely belonged) was on the left. My brain disagreed. I kept checking my rearview mirror, expecting some jaunty Englishman in an cherry red MG to barrel into my backside, only to find myself staring out the driver’s side window at the sky above since--aaargh!--the rearview was on the left, too! But no matter how many times I told myself to check left--left, left, left!--my brain stubbornly refused to believe.

Finally, after navigating through tiny villages on rural roads so narrow even my bathtub-sized car felt like a squeeze, I found the road to Bodiam. My heart raced like I was meeting the man of my dreams, my own medieval knight in shining limestone. The castle came into view! I pulled over (on the right, sigh) to snap a few pictures from a distance, then sped on to the entrance.

I screeched the bathtub to a halt. A long rusty chain sagged across the drive, a big brown sign hanging low over the dirt:

“All rural National Trust properties are closed due to hoof and mouth disease.”

Nooo, I screamed (in my head--this was the bucolic English countryside, after all). After everything I’d done for Bodiam, this was my reward? All that arguing with my brain and shifting with my left and finding sky where the rearview should be, just so I could shoot a fuzzy snapshot across a sheep-filled field from half a mile away?

Seven years later I’m still a little bitter. (Can ya tell?) I got to see other wonderful things--like the picturesque ruins of Pevensey and the pastel-colored resort town of St Leonards-on-Sea--but my dream castle was still (literally) a distant dream.

At least I have a reason to go back. Bodiam--and England’s drivers--had better be ready, because next time I’m taking the fast lane!

~Tera Lynn Childs
http://www.teralynnchilds.com/

Friday, May 16, 2008

Heat Wave

It is hot - I’m talking HOT – in California this week. 104. Seriously. My brain is in a total heat wave fog, every cell focused on just one thing – stay cool. I’ve been spending my days at the pool (yes, ogling the hard bodied lifeguards) and sipping anything with ice and umbrellas in it. So, this blog comes to you poolside today. :)

Despite the heat, I have been continuing on my journey toward finding Mr. Right. I met 13 different guys this week. Yep, 13. Two individual dates, 11 speed dates. This brings my total of different men dated for the year at 38 . K, when I said I’d go through every guy on the west coast to find Mr. Right, I really didn’t mean it literally.

And I have to say, the more dates I go on, the more blasé I’m starting to feel about men in general. I’ll admit, they’re all starting to run together. This week I met a couple of perfectly nice guys, but none of them thrilled me. There wasn’t anything terribly wrong with them. Good jobs, nice homes, pleasant conversation. But I just wasn’t excited. I didn’t go home and check to make sure my cell was on in case they called. I didn’t haunt my email inbox waiting for a note from them. I didn’t even mentally picture what they’d look like in those hot lifeguard shorts. (Sorry, hard to concentrate with cute lifeguards around.) I’m starting to wonder if it’s me, or if I’m just meeting really bland guys. I know, I did say after the Pirate and the Fighter in the Closet that I just wanted to meet a nice normal guy. But, now that I have, I’m realizing that my whole trade-in-the-bad-boys-for-Ward-Cleaver strategy is kind of backfiring. Problem is, I’m just not that into Ward Cleaver.

In light of this, I went online today – onto a new service – to see what was out there. To see if I could find a compromise between Ward Cleaver and pirates that might excite my romantic side while still keeping practical Gemma happy, too. Here are excerpts from some of the profiles I found:

To get things started, you should know that I have a brilliant mind. I have a very large IQ.

(Not to mention ego.)

I'm a good man who is looking for a good woman for a good long term relationship. I'm a good man with good values. I have a lot to offer a good woman. If you're interested feel free to contact me.

(What do you want to bet someone told him to write a ‘good’ profile?)

Looking for a woman who is caring, honest, and secure. And it would be great if she has nice feet. And paints her toenails. Preferably red.

(Hmm. The words “foot” and “fetish” come to mind.)

Communication and intimacy might be considered my forte, but there is much more to discover given a little time. I love doing my personal work, and deeply appreciate the strong souls who'll dance with me in mutual growth.

(I suddenly feel the need to sing Kumbaya while wearing hemp and Birkenstocks.)

No brats need apply here. No drama queens or self-centered valley girls. I am looking for wit, determination, and substance wrapped in a humble shell of sweetness. I have yet to meet my match. You can't handle this.

(I’m laughing too hard to even comment on this one.)

You - Passive Aggressive ? Do you get pissed about stuff and when asked about it say.. "oh.. nothing.. I'm fine" And then just plot about how your going to make the offending parties life as miserable as possible.... EVEN THOUGH THEY JUST ASKED YOU WHATS UP. Type the back button now. I don’t wanna meet ya.

(Gotta love a man who wear his aggression right up front.)

I'm am a fit, stylish, energetic & attractive looking to make a cosmic connection to a groovy gal.

(Far out, man!)

And my favorite… (yes, I kept his original spelling)

Man of few words, Multy dimensional, spritual, keep myself in shape. I am interested in variety of subjects and activitis. Interested in Someone who is original, speaks her heart, being fit is a plus and education makes sense


(Too bad your profile doesn’t.)

Okay, so after much searching I did find two guys with coherent and non-scary profiles to write to. A firefighter (hey, a real life hero!) and a hot Latin guy with really pretty blue eyes. We’ll see if either writes back. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime… I have another round of frosty drinks to order and there are lifeguards out here who aren’t going to ogle themselves.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, May 15, 2008

That Was The Week That Was!

I’m pouting today. I just read Leslie ‘The Assassin’ Langtry’s blog post and I have a serious case of ‘poor pitiful me’ because I don’t have a personal assistant and unless I nab one of those ‘major deals’ you read about on Publisher’s Lunch, it’s so not gonna happen. (Picture Bullet Hole face down on the floor pummeling the oak laminate with her fists, and kicking and screaming ‘NO FAIR, NO FAIR, NO FAIR!) See how quickly I went from pathetic whining pouter to tantrum throwing brat? I’m a writer. I wallow in emotion. Hey. We all do!

I sure could have used a personal assistant this past week. Who am I kidding? I could have used half a dozen assistants. Last week was…eventful.
We’re creeping up to graduation day—times three—at my house. That means sending out graduation announcements, party invitations, menu planning, cleaning house, yard work, plus all the regular crap that needs to be done on a daily basis. Pretty full schedule, wouldn’t you agree?
You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.
I got a wild hair (I get them sometimes) and decided that, come you-know-what or high water, I was going to have my next book done by Mother’s Day—or bust! That meant I would have to write nearly 200 pages in a week’s time. An author friend I know—who also happens to be an ex cop-- wrote his first book in eleven days. Eleven days! That’s three days shy of two weeks! (Another person besides ‘The Assassin’ to throw darts at this Saturday night.) Anyway, being the competitive fiend (and quasi feminist) I am, I figured if he can do it, I can do it! Of course, at the time I made such a bold declaration I forgot he didn’t have triplets graduating from high school and getting college plans finalized, nor was he chief cook and bottle washer at his establishment.
Undeterred, and with chapter outlines in hand I set out to finish the book! Here’s some idea of how it went:
Monday: Off to a great start! Wrote 31 pages! Doing the happy dance!
Tuesday: Son notified me there was a big puddle of water under the washing machine. Danced with a mop and bucket. Only wrote 17 pages. Will need to play catch up tomorrow.
Wednesday: Butt is beginning to fall asleep from all the time in the chair. Didn’t quite catch up as yard needed mowing. Was just happy the mower started. Still managed 30 pages.
Thursday: A decent day. Wrote 24 pages. Convinced butt is now flat as plywood.
Friday: Son got a job. Had to celebrate. Kept the nose to the monitor and fingers to the keyboard and wrote 43 pages! Good news: my butt doesn't ache any more. Bad news: I no longer have a butt.
Saturday: Started my day at 5 A.M. determined to keep going until I finished or fell out of my chair, whichever came first. In a marathon session, I wrote all night and finished at around 4 A.M. Sunday morning. Total page tally for this day: 52 pages, bringing me to—drumroll here, please-- a grand total of ONE HUNDRED NINETY SEVEN PAGES in a week’s time!.
Sunday: Drag myself to bed at half past 4 after saving my manuscript on CD, zip drive, lap top, desk top, and family computer just to be safe. Was awakened at 5:30 by daughter hurling chunks in the bathroom across the hall with the worst case of flu I’d seen in a while.
Happy Mother’s Day and pass the Lysol.
It’ll take me a month to catch up on my sleep, my backside will never be the same again, and I seriously don’t know if anything I wrote makes the least bit of sense, but at least I finished the d*!@ book!
So, what’s the last thing that kept you up all night? (Only ‘G’ rated material, of course.) When’s the last time you pulled an all-nighter and why? Writing? Work deadline? College exams? Sick kid? Dance marathon? A night out with the girls—or boys? Movie marathon?
Share away!
~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just Another Manic Mother's Day


Before I begin – check out my new and improved website and see my first ever contest! I know, it took me f…o…r…e…v…e…r. But now I have the Amazing Kim so things are looking up! More on that later.

How was your Mother’s Day? Mine was okay. It’s always too much and my husband is always out of town but it was good. As usual there’s the running around to celebrate the occasion with both of our mothers (and did I mention my husband always seems to be out of town?). Which means I’m always up early, fixing breakfast, making a…whatever it is I’m supposed to take with me and yelling at the kids four times to get dressed and moving. By the end of the day I’m usually exhausted and a total bitch. This time we spread it out and had it (and like five birthday/etc. celebrations thrown in) over the course of two days and just for fun I threw in running the zip line at camp for another girl scout troop.

Some women fantasize about Fabio (never understood that one) or George Clooney (okay, I get that) or receiving diamonds as big as a baby’s head, vacations on the Riviera, winning American Idol, etc. I have always fantasized about having Mother’s Day to myself.

It begins like this; (and remember, don't attempt this fantasy on your own - I am a professional and your brain could actually implode just imagining that this day is possible)

I arise around 11am, with a plate of chocolate Krispy Kremes and a large glass of milk on my nightstand as my kids hand me goofy cards they made myself (okay, I at least have that part every year). I take a long, steaming bubble bath in a spotless tub (again, this may be difficult to imagine so don't even try if you have a heart condition), while listening to Samuel Barber. When I come downstairs dressed in a cashmere hoodie and yoga pants (which I don’t have yet. why don't I have that yet?!) to find my house has been completely cleaned (I know…it is just a fantasy - don't hurt yourself). It’s a beautiful day outside, of course, and we lounge in the backyard watching the kids play, a good book in my hands and a pitcher of mimosas on the table. At night, we order a pepperoni lover’s pizza (with cheese in the crust – arteries are sooooo overrated) and watch a movie I want to watch (I’m not sure this would ever be possible).

Sigh.

I did get a kick-ass gift this year – my new assistant, Kim. I met her at the Chicago Spring Fling conference and she works for authors, setting up and managing marketing stuff among other things. Because of her, I have pages on My Space, Facebook, a real contest on my website, a montly newsletter, etc. She’s awesome and may be the coolest Mother’s Day gift ever (and no, we didn’t violate any slavery laws - you can't own a human because that would be wrong. sigh.).

So, things turned out pretty good. And someday, just maybe, in an alternative universe when the moon is in the seventh house (whatever the f%$#! That means), I’ll get the day off I want.

What did you do?

The Assassin

Winner, Winner, Winner

Keri Ford, you are the winner of the note cards.

Please shoot me your home address on my website email addy.

Congrats.

And thanks to everyone who played.

Crime Scene Christie

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You want to know what?

As a writer, I get all sorts of questions tossed at me. Some of them are what I call repeaters, questions that get asked a lot. For those, I have my prepared answers down pat. Some questions are downright funny--people wanting to understand the strange mechanics of how a writer’s mind works. I usually just make up an answer for those, because please, I don’t understand how my mind works, either.

Some of those questions are just weird, and they make me laugh. Then there are the others that give me concerns about my fans, readers, and human population in general. (You know who you are.)

However, no matter what category those questions fall into, most of the time, (okay, there are a few exceptions) I still love being asked. Why? First because, curiosity generally means interest and interest could result in book sells, and second . . . Well, was it Will Farrell who said, “Inappropriate behavior always makes me laugh.”

So just for grins, and laughs, let me share some of those questions. I’ll also share my answers. And okay, because you are who you are, I’m going to go one step further and even give you the truth.

* * *

Question: “Do you ever take your characters with you when you go places?” (Can you believe I’ve been asked that more than once?)

Answer: Of course, I do. But I insist that they pay their own way, unless I have a buy-one-get-one-free coupon.

Truth: I usually just stick them in my purse, and don’t feed them and sneak them into places without buying them a ticket. I save the buy one get one free coupons for real friends.

* * *

Question: “When you hear your characters talking to you, how do you know that it’s just creativity and not that you really are crazy?” (Internal comment: duh.)

Answer: “Does it really have to be one or the other?”

Truth: Anyone who sits around all day and spends hours envisioning and writing about the lives of their characters, along with making facial expressions in the mirror so she can describe them, has to be a little bit bonkers.

* * *

Question: “Is your husband jealous of your heroes?” (This answer has variations.)

Answer if Hubby isn’t around: “Of course, he’s jealous. My heroes are so hot, he knows he can’t compete.”

Answer if Hubby is around: “Jealous? Why? He knows I pattern all my heroes after him.”

Truth: Just as there is a little of myself in each of my heroines, there really is a bit of my husband in all my heroes.

Funny anecdote: Recently, my husband was reading one of my books and he started laughing. “Hey, this sounds like something I would say.”

“ Yeah,” I told him honestly, “Now, turn to page 123, and see if you can just get your six pack to look like his.”

“I’ll try if you’ll grab a feather duster and turn to page 220.” He gets a twinkle in his eye.

Moral of the funny anecdote: Sometimes fiction and real life can co-mingle and it’s a win-win for everyone.

* * *

Question: “Do you research your scenes?” (Asked by some sleazy-looking man in which fiction and real life will never co-mingle.)

Answer: “Of course, I do.”

Second question: (Yup, I know it’s coming) “Do you ever need a research assistant?”

Answer: (Given with a straight face and hopefully not showing signs of my inner most thought, which is GROSS!) “Of course I do.”

More expected sleaze to come: “In that case, I’d love to volunteer.” Sleazy guys scratches himself in an inappropriate place.

My smartass reply: “I’m so thrilled you offered. Let me run get my gun. I’m doing a scene where some scumbag gets shot in the kneecap and I need someone to describe how it feels. And I happen to love my husband too much to ask him to do it.” (Statement ending in a very serious, you-gotta-be-joking eye roll.)

Truth: I write funny and sexy love stories. I’m very proud of my genre. I’ll be the first to make a joke and don’t mind a comment or two about the sexy content of my books. (Hey, sex can be funny.) But one should never forget that my stories are about two people falling in love and making a commitment to each other and the relationship. Hubby is the only one I co-mingle with.

* * *

Question: “What do you do when your characters misbehave?”

Answer: “I call the fiction police to arrest them and put them in solitary confinement.”

Truth: I generally sit back and enjoy it. Like I said, inappropriate behavior makes me laugh and if I’m laughing, so will my readers.

* * *

Okay…those are a few of the questions I get asked. And now, what I’m offering you is the opportunity to ask me even more questions. I have to warn you upfront. Stupid questions about my love scenes will generally warrant stupid answers. And oh yeah, remember I’m southern, which means I will never tell the truth if a lie will make a better tale. But go ahead and give it your best shot.

And to one lucky poster, I’ll offer a pack of my note cards. So come on, play along with me.

Crime Scene Christie

Monday, May 12, 2008

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Remember Forrest Gump????? Mama always said that stupid is as stupid does. Well, I'm not so certain that Mama had it all right. Sometimes stupid is just plain stupid. Consider these quotes from actual court proceedings:

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-one-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty-one.

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitt'in me?

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh.... I was gett'in laid!

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS: None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Are you shitt'in me? Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it?

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Now, what's most disturbing about all of these, is that it's the person who spent 8+ years gaining a "higher" education who has their head all the way inserted. This is a prime example of what my grandma called "educated fools."

So what's the dumbest thing you ever heard a smart person say?

Deadly (Dumbfounded) DeLeon

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Interview with a Boy

Unfortunately, our regularly scheduled guest blogger, Madelynne Ellis, had a family emergency was unable to come blog today. (Even though she’s rad, and you should all go check out her books!) So, in her place, I found us another last minute guest. As you lovely ladies know I am clueless as to how men think. So I thought I would get the straight scoop on how guys view love from my favorite guy-in-training, my neighbor’s eight-year-old son, Nick.

Me: Hey, Nick, thanks for letting me interview you.
Nick: You’re welcome.
Me: So, tell me, what do you think about girls?
Nick: Girls are cute, girls are funny, girls are cool. Girls are soft, I know ‘cause one hugged me before.
Me: Do you have a girlfriend?
Nick: No I do not.
Me: Do you want a girlfriend?
Nick: Yes.
Me: So, what do you look for in a girlfriend?
Nick: I just look for any kind of pretty girl.
(Oh yeah, he’s a guy.)
Me: How about smart girls? You like those too?
Nick: Yeah, smart girls are good, too.
Me: Have you ever had a girlfriend?
Nick: Once. When I was seven. We would just play in class and sometimes we would chat when we were doing our work.
Me: Sounds fun. Is she still you’re girlfriend?
Nick: No. She was starting to be mean to me. And she just decided she didn’t want to be with me anymore.
Me: Bummer. Breaking up sucks.
Nick: It does. I haven’t had a girlfriend since I was seven. Now I am single.
Me: Do you like being single?
Nick: Yes. But I really want a girlfriend.
Me: What would you do if you had one? Go out on a date?
Nick: I can’t go on date until I’m thirteen. I think going on dates would be pretty fun. We could chat and know a little more about each other and stuff like that.
Me: Sometimes dates are fun. (Sometimes not so much.) So, when you’re thirteen, what kind of date would you take a girl on?
Nick: We would eat dinner, laugh, and talk. Then we’d both pay at the end of the dinner. Or I would just bring a coupon.
Me: Thrifty man. Clever thinking. So, Nick, I have an important question. What do you think love is?
Nick: Love is something you can think about when you’re a kid, and then when you’re a grownup you can get married and your wife will help you pay your bills.
Me: Sounds like a sweet deal. So, I’ve had a hard time finding the right guy to date. Any advice for how I can weed out the good ones from the bad ones?
Nick: Well, if he smells bad, if he sweats real bad and if he has any pimples that’s bad. And if he’s really strong, that’s good. If he’s really funny, if he’s really smart, that’s also good. And that’s probably all you need to know about dating.

There you have it. All you ever needed to know about dating from a 2nd grader.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Needier Sex

As I’ve mentioned here before, I decided to subscribe to an online dating service to try to meet some relationship minded guys. I love the online thing because it’s a way to connect to a lot of people at once and probably guys who are more serious about a real relationship than you’d meet in a bar or nightclub. One big drawback, however, is that you can only tell so much about a person from a two paragraph blur and a couple of pictures. So, my best friend, Suze, and I have devised a sort of set of rules for weeding guys out. We exchange at least three on-system emails (meaning anonymously through the dating site) before giving out our real email addresses, and at least three more after that before giving out a phone number. By six emails, you can usually tell if the guy is illiterate, perverted, or actually a thirteen year old boy. And that’s when the phone test comes in.

I’ve weeded out a couple guys at the phone stage. You can tell a lot more about a person by the way he speaks on the phone than through an email. For example, there was Bad Dad Guy who was absolutely stunning in his photos, but on the phone he was screaming at his kids in the background every five minutes. Nice guy. Yeah, he was out. There was Hopped Up on Speed Guy, who talked a mile a minute and used the F word as a catch-all adjective - out. There was Valium Man, and, no, not because he was a valium addict, but because he was so freaking boring on the phone that I had to pinch my arm to keep myself awake when I talked to him - out. And, most recently, there was The Dude.

The Dude had some pretty hot pics on his profile, I will admit. And, after exchanging the requisite number of emails, he seemed literate, had a real job, didn’t suggest anything rated R. I took the next step and gave him my number. He called right away, that same afternoon.

On the phone he was very sweet, but it quickly became clear he was just a little too “dude” for me.

Him: Dude, you sound hot!
Me: Uh… thanks?
Him: Your voice is like, total hotness.
Me: O-kay.
(insert loud noise in the background)
Me: Um… what was that sound?
Him: (Giggling) Dude, that was my mixer. I’m making brownies. (more giggling)
Me: These wouldn’t by any chance be “funny” brownies, would they?
Him: No, dude, these are like totally serious brownies.
Me: No, I meant… uh, never mind.
Him: You like brownies?
Me: Um, sure.
Him: Dude, if we got married, I’d bake you brownies all day.

Whoa. Did The Dude just say the “M” word. Okay, time to nip this stoner in the bud. So, I tell him I’m meeting up with a friend that evening and have to get off the phone.

Him: Cool, where you guys going?
Me: Uh, you know, around.
Him: I could meet you there.
Me: Oh, gee, thanks. But this is a girl’s night out kind of thing.
(whew, quick thinking!)
Him: Oh. That’s a bummer. But call me back as soon as you get home, okay?

Um… call him back? No, the conversation was done. No calling back. We’re kinda finished here. He can consider himself weeded.

But, apparently that wasn’t clear to him. By the time I went to bed that night I had two voice messages and two texts from him. The next day, he calls again. Twice. The messages getting increasingly more upset. And whiny. There is nothing in this world I find less attractive than a whiny guy. So… three days and countless more messages later, I’m getting fed up with him hijacking my voicemail. I finally call back.

And that’s when I’m treated to a lecture on how rude I was to wait this long (three whole days!) to call him again. He hasn’t heard from me in “forever, Dude”. He goes on to say that in the meantime (while he’s been leaving me five hundred messages a day) he “met” someone else. Okay, not met, but called someone else. And he doesn’t talk to more than one girl at a time. I’m thinking, “Hallelujah! Move on already.” But, no. He says that since he’s talking with this other girl now, we can only talk as friends.

Oh brother.

How to tell him I already have enough friends? So, I say, “Dude (trying to speak his language) I already have enough friends.” He says okay, we hang up.

That night… another message. Two more the next day. One a day for the rest of the week. Me thinks someone ate too many funny brownies and their brain has turned to mush. How does he not get that I’m not interested? I’m left with two choices – change my number or tell him to bugger off again.

Changing my number sounds like paperwork (which I hate) so, I chose option B and call him. But, before I can tell him in no uncertain terms to take a long walk off a short pier, he starts in on another lecture about how “friends” call “friends” back.

Him: I thought we were friends.
Me: You do realize I've never met you, right?
Him: How am I supposed to get to know you if you never call?
Me: Excellent point. Let's just give up on the whole getting to know each other thing, okay? I think we know enough.
Him: What, you can’t find the time to pick up the phone and call me even once a day?
Me: (Laughing. Out loud. A big snorting thing.) Seriously? Once a day? I have a life. A busy one. I’m lucky I have time to shower once a day.
Him: Dude, that ain’t normal. Friendship has needs. You should put your friends first.
Me: Dude, don’t ever call me again.
Click.

I’m happy to say I’ve only received two more messages from Needy Dude since then. I think he’s almost got the point.

So, help me gals, how can I weed out the needy boys before I give out my number? ‘Cause, seriously, I don’t think my voicemail box can take another one like this guy.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

When Technology Turns On You

No image today. I'm not even going to attempt to upload an image. Not today. No way. Let me explain.

You see, I love technology. I don't know what I'd do without my computers, internet, email, printer, fax, telly, and CD player. But when you get used to having it available and working well and then it's gone, it's like Little House on the Prairie time.

Okay. I'm exaggerating. I tend to do that. But let me tell you what my week has been like. I'm working on a new project. A cross between a police procedural, a romantic suspense, and a thriller. Yeah. I'm a square peg in a round hole kind of gal. None of my stories fit neatly in any genre. Anyway, I'm pushing to get to 'The End' by Mother's Day. How cool a gift to me would that be? This past weekend I did the twenty hours straight thing on Saturday and Sunday. In one twenty hour period I wrote 45 pages. So Monday followed and that meant district tennis tournaments for my daughter. Since it's her last year, I feel a certain obligation to attend. Plus, I'm a huge tennis fan--and an even bigger fan of my daughter. But I still needed pages! So, I grabbed my binder, laptop, blanket, and cooler and headed for the tournament. I got one page written and a had a nice pink burn going by the time I left.

Tuesday, I start my writing routine early determined to make up for lost pages. I click on Mozilla Firefox to do some research and wait. And wait. I frown. I pay for really high speed internet and the page is loading like I'm back on dial up. Or slower. I try a couple more pages. Same thing. I try another computer. Still sloth speed. So, I call my computer guy and tell him about the problem. He comes over and we call the Internet Service Provider. I'm listening to elevator music for about ten minutes before we finally get through to a technician. She goes through all the troubleshooting steps with my computer guy. Everything checks out on my end. So, she gives us an incident number and says she'll pass it up to the next level of support. We should have a call back within 8 hours. Well, guess what? This is day three and I still haven't heard boo. Meanwhile, I'm waiting five minutes for a page to load. (This is NOT an exaggeration!) Sometimes the page times out before it even loads.

This is particularly frustrating when you're writing and want to do a quick fact check. I have to jot down everything I need to go back and check. The alternative, however, is to get on the phone and call the ISP technicians again. The last time I did this myself I spent two hours on the phone with the guy. But if I call my computer guy back, it's another service call charge.

What to do? What to do?

So, what would YOU do? Call the techs back? Forge ahead with your story? Pitch a fit? Threaten to sue? Eat more chocolate?

I'm considering grabbing the speaker phone, a hunk of dark chocolate, sitting down in front of my computer and dialing the ISP guys up. I've got a pretty grim murder scene to write. Maybe the tech support call will provide...inspiration.

~Bullet Hole knocking on wood and crossing fingers this post will upload~