Monday, June 30, 2008

Money Well Spent

I was in Petsmart yesterday, and of course, if I’m in a pet store I have to look at their wares. So I checked out mice and geckos and snakes and then rounded the corner to the birds. There were those cute little finches and then the standard parakeet. Which reminded me of a story about how years ago I thought it would be a good idea to own birds and a cat at the same time.

So I had a couple of parakeets and they were pretty and turquoise (my favorite color), and they were a mess, but I like them anyway. Well, one day, the cat managed to get IN the birdcage. Hey, he was a Siamese cat and everyone who knows cats knows how sneaky the Siamese are. So by the time I got to the scene of the crime, the cat had bitten one of the birds. There was no blood, mind you, and at first I thought everything was okay. Until I noticed that when the bird ate, the seeds popped out a hole in his throat.

Okay, so this might be a problem (unless you need to lose weight and right now, it’s not sounding like a really bad idea for me personally), so I packed up the bird and took him to the vet. The vet said she could put a stitch in the bird, so the bird had surgery. $50 later, I was on the way out the door with my stitched $15 bird. Now, I know some will point out that I could have let the cat finish off the bird and bought THREE birds with that $50, but I’m an animal lover and was happy to pay for the surgery.

So the vet said to watch the bird closely and call her the next day to tell her how it was doing so she could give me further instructions. So the next afternoon, I check on the bird who seems fine (food staying contained, anyway) and I call the vet’s office. I tell the assistant who I am and why I’m calling and she says she’ll check with the doctor. She comes back a few minutes later and says “Dr. Turner is aghast that bird’s still alive.”

Really? Dr. Turner wasn’t aghast when she charged me $50 to stitch him up.

Well, apparently to spite Dr. Turner, that bird went on to live two more years. So I guess my $50 was money well spent????????

Deadly DeLeon

Sunday, June 29, 2008

YouTube Sunday!

This video is one of my all time fav bits from one of my all time fav comedians, Eddie Izzard. (Whom I will actually be seeing in concert next month. Wee!) But, until Nikki sent me this clip, I had no idea how funny it could be set to Legos. Congrats on the win, Nikki!

Next week I’ll be giving away another pack of steamy Ellora’s Cave playing cards, so send me more of those funny videos!

(P.S. Despite the Legos, the language in this video is not for kids.)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hero-Worthy Inspiration with Natasha Moore

Please join me in welcoming the fantabulous author Natasha Moore to Killer Fiction as she talks about one of my favorite subjects – heroes. (*sigh, swoon*) Natasha writes erotic romance for Ellora’s Cave and deliciously spicy contemporary romance for Samhain. So, feel free to drool as she talks about her hot hero inspirations. (I know I will…)

I want to thank Gemma for inviting me to be a guest here at Killer Fiction today. For the last couple days I’ve been trying to find some way to tie together my two very different stories that were released last week, besides the fact that I wrote them. My sexy contemporary romance, The Passion-Minded Professor from Samhain, is a novel about a divorced diner waitress and a chemistry professor that takes place over a couple months. Sunrise is a short erotic romance included in Ellora’s Cave’s latest Cavemen anthology, Jewels of the Nile II, about a local artist and a concert musician that takes place over a couple hours.

Then I started thinking about my heroes – don’t we all? lol – and I realized that out of all the heroes I’ve written (and I just signed my eleventh contract, so I’ve written a few) these are the only two who I named after their inspiration. I don’t even have a person/actor/fictional character as inspiration for all my characters, but I did for these two very different heroes.

Chemistry professor Dr. Daniel Jennings is a typical absent-minded professor at the beginning of The Passion-Minded Professor. My inspiration for his character was Dr. Daniel Jackson, a role played by actor Michael Shanks in the Sci-Fi Channel’s series, Stargate SG-1. Intense, intelligent and passionate, he was the perfect jumping off point for my Daniel.

Sunrise started with the heroine, Caroline. I knew her right away. Well enough that I started writing the story in first person, present tense without even planning to. She’s waiting for her lover, not sure if he’s coming tonight, not sure if he’s ever coming back. Then suddenly, he’s there. And he speaks. And he sounds just like Alan Rickman. I had no idea until that first line of dialogue that my hero was British. So I had to name him Alan.

I love it when my characters surprise me. It’s one of the best things about writing. How about you? Have characters in a story you’ve read or written surprised you enough that you still remember it?

And if you’d like to check out the blurb, excerpt and/or buy your very copies of my new releases, you can check them out here:
The Passion-Minded Professor
Sunrise in Jewels of the Nile II

Romance with more…sizzle

Friday, June 27, 2008

Communication Situation

I cannot communicate with men lately. I’m not sure what happened, but it’s just not working this week. Maybe I’ve just met too many of them lately (40 and counting…), or maybe it’s going over and over that same get-to-know-you conversation, or maybe it’s just something in this hot, smoky California air (80 separate fires currently burning in Nor. Cal.!) that’s messed with me. But I cannot communicate with men.

First off, I am disappointed to say the Firefighter did not step up to the plate. I'm pretty certain he never read last week’s blog (so much for subtle hints about flowers, huh?) and the one conversation we had this week went something like this:
Him: When can I see you again?
Me: You’re the man with the busy life, you tell me.
Him (after very pregnant pause) I might be going camping. So, not this week.
Me: (mumbling) Figures.
Him: What?
Me: Nothing. Have fun. Gotta go. Buh-buye.
It’s been two weeks since I last saw him. Even though he continues to say he wants to see me, I have to believe that if he were that interested, he would have found the time by now. As it is, I have to take those Sex & the City words of wisdom to heart and figure, he’s just not that into me.

Which leads me to the second bit of proof that my communications this week are cursed. Michigan Man. We met online and, after a fun phone conversation, I agreed to meet him a few days later. I’ve been working like a demon this week, so we ended up meeting kind of late at night. I’d just come off a long day of rewrites followed by a long phone conversation about more rewrites. I was mentally beat. Not good. I have a condition called foot-in-mouth-itis, and it strikes especially hard when I’m tired. Michigan Man was really cute, very “boy next door” Midwest look about him. Not the type I usually go for, but a really sweet guy and a good listener. Again, not good for my condition. I ended up spilling the whole thing about my January 1st resolution to find Mr. Right, my mis-adventures in dating since, the Pirate, Coma Guy - good lord, I even told him he was number 40! Way too much info.
Me: So, after all that, I’m kind of what you’d call a dating pro.
Him: You mean like a… (long pause)… real pro?
Me: What do you mean, ‘real’?
Him: Like, for profit.
Me: Oh my God, I am not a hooker!
Him: (blushing) Right.
By the end of the night he looked sufficiently scared and kept asking if he was going to end up in a blog. (um… duh!) Poor guy…

And, my communication issues just got worse as the week went on. Mr. Real Estate (remember him from last week? My own personal Mr. Big.) asks if I’m free Wed night. Since he’s so much fun, I answer, absolutely, yes. So, Wed morning he texts me: “How does 7 look?” I answer back that it’s perfect. So, seven rolls around and I’m ready, waiting, and even a little excited to see him. Only he’s not there. So, I call him. He picks up right away.
Him: What’s up, sweetie?
(How cute. He called me sweetie. Squishy feeling.)
Me: Fine. Where are you?
Him: Just driving through the car wash. Why?
Me: It’s seven,
Him: (long pause. Yeah, I’m beginning to dread those by now.) Wait… you thought I meant we were meeting at seven?
Me: Um… yeah?
Wrong. He goes on to tell me that he meant he’d call me at seven to decide what time we wanted to get together. So, basically, that morning he texted me to make a date for a time to make a date? Mental forehead smack. Please, don’t confuse the blond like that.
But, to his credit, he apologizes for the confusion, says he’ll drop everything and be right there. And he did, pulling up five minutes later and getting ready to go out in record time (even for a guy!). Seriously, he was showered and dressed in the time it took me to read just one People’s Best & Worst Dressed column. We ended up going out for wine tasting and Chinese food (which, you wouldn’t think is a very good combo, but actually, it was!) and had a really fun evening, so I guess it all worked out. At one point he even asked if he could take me to a baseball game this summer. Considering that our local team’s stadium is kind of ghetto-adjacent, I hesitated a little. But he assured me that as a “hot blonde” no one would give me any trouble. Mr. Big called me a hot blonde. (There’s that squishy feeling again.)

But, even though that evening ended well, it wasn’t the end of my communication difficulties.

A couple weeks ago this guy wrote to me online. Super blond hair, super blue eyes, super tan. All California boy. (Can you tell my thing for lifeguards is getting out of hand?) We exchanged a few emails, talked on the phone a couple times, and he seemed like a nice guy. Polite, intelligent, a total “manly” man - a little rough around the edges, maybe, but owns his own construction business, so no slouch. We agreed to meet for coffee 11AM Thursday morning. Even set a place and time. Fast forward a few days. He calls, but I’m not able to answer. (Okay, honestly, I didn’t answer because I was out wine tasting with Mr. Real Estate at the time.) So, he leaves a message, says he’s just checking in to make sure we’re still on for tomorrow. It’s really late by the time I get home from my evening of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, so I decide to wait until morning to call back. Morning rolls around, but, not knowing him well enough to know if he’s an early riser, I text instead of calling. I let him know that, yeppers, we’re still on for coffee.
So… 11AM rolls around. I head off to Starbucks, grab my latte, sit in the sun. It’s a nice day out (despite the smoke) so let a few minutes roll by. And I start to get that feeling. You know the one – that stood up feeling. I pull out my phone and call him. He’s really surprised to hear from me.
Him: Wow, Gemma?
Me. Yeah. So, did you get my text?
Him: What text?
Me: Crap.
So, I tell him, the one where I confirmed that, yes, I’d be here.
Him: You’re there?
Me: Yes, I’m here. (And, apparently being stood up.) Where are you?
Him: When you didn’t call me back last night, I figured you didn’t want to see me after all, and I went to work instead.
So, after a few minutes of polite chit-chat, I hung up on my California Builder Guy and decided this was just not my week. Instead, I took my latte and myself across the street to the beauty supply store and bought an extravagant amount of scented lotions, bubble bath, and hot pink toe nail polish and decided a weekend in, hanging solely with my girly-girl self, is definitely in order. At least until I get this communication situation under control again.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Continuing Saga of Bullet Hole’s Shape-Up Pledge—or Why I Needed an Inflatable Doughnut

You’re all familiar with the fact that I started on this ‘Shape Up or Spread Out’ campaign to get in better physical condition. Right? I’ve blogged about my first experience at the Fitness Center. My daughter still wears dark glasses, enters five minutes after me, and sticks her Ipod headphones in her ears and pretends not to hear me as a result. Can’t say I blame her. It must be pretty traumatic to see your mother extricated from one of the weight machines by the Jaws of Life. Okay, so I exaggerate. The point is…okay, so I forgot the point. I need my coffee!
Anyway, since the weather has warmed up, I decided to take my act on the road. Which means I take a walk every morning from 2-3 miles depending on whether I can afford to flop down on the sofa for half an hour when I return or not. I walk the same basic route every morning. And I walk in a cemetery. That’s right. The walk from my house to the cemetery and around it once is a little over a mile and a half. Why do I walk in the cemetery? First off, it’s peaceful. No one disturbs you there. And, if by some chance someone did? I’d get the best workout of my life by hauling my cookies out of there. Win. Win. I also like the cemetery because the grass is always cut with liberal use of the weed-eater apparent. By contrast, when someone says, “It’s a jungle out there,” I often think they’re talking about my yard. And probably the most compelling reason I walk in the cemetery? I don’t pass any convenience stores on the way where I might be tempted to stop and buy a Crispy Crème Doughnut or my personal favorite, the jumbo-sized frosted sugar cookie to nibble on. So, my walking program is up and running. Well, so to speak.
But we all know it only makes sense to diversify. You know. So you don’t get burned out or bored limited to one physical activity. So me? I selected biking! Why? Primarily because I already had the bike. A rather nice bike. A bicycle that was just like new—minus the cobwebs and flat tires, that is. So, one day my son and I got the bikes out of the shed and cleaned them up, and then hauled them to the gas station to get the tires aired up. I lubricated the chains and tested the hand brakes and speed shifters. We were good to go. Or so I thought.
We got on our bikes and headed out. You’ve heard the saying, ‘It’s just like riding a bicycle’ when referring to something you hadn’t done in a while but that you’ll pick up right away when you do it again. Well, that little statement doesn’t take into account certain morphological changes that take place over time. No. I’m not talking about evolution or adaptations, I’m talking about butt spread. And teeny, tiny bicycle seats. And how they are so not compatible. And I’m talking about knee joints that don’t work like they used to. (Think the Tin Man without his oil can here!)
We had just ridden a few blocks when I hit the first pothole and I knew I was in for trouble. By the time we’d gone several more blocks, my posterior was in a state of perpetual agony. Determined not to let my son know I was in distress in de derierre, I stuck with it until we finished our inaugural ride. Back home I looked at my son.
“I’m going to have to make some adjustments,” I said.
He noticed my heavy, labored breathing.
“What kind of adjustments?” he said. “An oxygen tank?”
Funny kid.
I shook my head.
“It’s nothing major. I just need to raise the seat.”
I have this freaky knee thing that requires me to almost fully extend my legs on the downward pedal strokes. I lifted the seat as high as it could go.
“You’re joking,” my son said. “That looks ridiculous.”
“I have really long legs,” I explained. “It has to be this high.” I got on and tried it out.
I now had to hunch over the handlebars like Quasimodo.
“I’ll need to raise the handlebars, too,” I mentioned.
My son shook his head.
“Ya think?”
I made the adjustments and then got back on the bike. My tippy toes barely touched the ground. I winced at the contact with the seat. “I just need one more thing and I’m good to go,” I said. “A new seat.”
He frowned. “That seat has hardly been ridden on,” he pointed out.
“It doesn’t exactly fit me,” I said.
“They’re not one size fits all?” he asked.
I raised an eyebrow.
“Not all of us were born without a butt like you,” I pointed out to my skinny kid. “One of my butt cheeks is bigger than that entire seat,” I pointed out. “I’m getting a new seat.”
I dragged the kid to the store and to the bicycle aisle. I stood there and stared in awe. I couldn’t believe what I saw. A bike seat with two gi-normous gel pads on it. Sweet! I selected one and stuck it behind me and ‘sat’ on it in mock bike-riding fashion. It felt like heaven.
“This is incredible! Who knew? Are you sure you don’t want one, too?” I asked thinking about the potholes and how he had zero padding to absorb the impact.
“An old lady seat? Forget it.”
“It’s not an old lady seat,” I told him. “This is!” I held up this super-sized, super-cushioned seat the size of a major league catcher’s mitt.
“What if the gel pads explode?” he asked and I frowned at the implication.
“They come with or without the pads,” I said, showing him. “I’m getting this one.”
He looked at the seat for a long moment.
“Yeah. Okay. I’ll get one, too,” he said. “But just so you know, I’m telling my friends you made me do it.”
‘It’s just like riding a bike, Bullet Hole.’
To the person who perpetuated that treasured saying, I have a wee token of affection for you.
It's a ‘like new’ bicycle seat.
And it comes with simple instructions on where to stick it.
Have you taken something up after being away from it for a long time? A hobby? A sport? A club? Has it been a positive or negative experience for you? Any biking moments you care to share to get me psyched up for more biking? (Or scare me off it?)
Where do you enjoy walking? Do you walk daily? Carry weights and swing your arms and the whole nine yards?
Share and share alike!
~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I'm experiencing some serious trouble with my Internet connection, but I did want to post something so I'm typing quickly between breakdowns. I just thought you'd get a kick out of this sign we saw last night at the kids' track meet. Kind of ominous, eh? It kind of reminds me of what I'm dealing with right now with this !@%# computer.

My favorite sign is from a movie theater that used to exist here. On the doors was a sign that said Non Barrier Free Access. Wrap your head around that one while I do battle with my Internet today and think of me!

The Assassin

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Contests & Hornworm Porn

Winner, Winner, Winner.

Tori Lennox, you won the drawing for the note cards. Please shoot me your snail mail address to my website email addy.

Congrats and thanks for posting.

And guys, don't forget to enter the trivia contest. I'm already getting some entries.

Crime Scene Christie

Today is the last blog day for the release month of my latest book, Weddings Can Be Murder. And I’m holding two contests today. One is for a pack of my personal note cards, and all you have to do is post a comment to be entered. The other, well, it’s the biggie prize. The “Pamper Me Like a Bride Basket” which will include, a Tee-shirt, note cards, chocolate, candles, books, and some other goodies.

Here’s how it works: Hopefully, you’ve bought a copy of Weddings Can Be Murder. (If not, you still have time, because you’ve got a week to enter the contest.) Below you will find trivia questions about the plot and characters of Weddings. All you have to do is answer them and . . . email me the answers at christie(@) christie-craig (.) com. All emails with the correct answers will be entered into the drawing. I will announce the winner next week on the blog. So make sure you pop back in next week so you can shoot me your snail mail if you are the lucky winner.

Now…on to my life lesson for the day.

If you know anything about writing, you’ve probably heard the saying, “Write what you know.” Well, as a photographer, I’ve learned the lesson, “Know what you photograph.” And while looking for images to include in this piece, I found another valuable lesson to include. “Know what you eat!” And the only reason I include the last lesson is because it’s so appropriate for the Wedding Trivia.

Now, here’s something you don’t know about me. I’m a horticultural photographer, I do a lot of garden photography. Unfortunately, because I shoot plants, doesn’t mean I know crap about them, or that I can garden. Nope, in addition to be being a horticultural photographer, I’m pretty much a horticultural serial killer. I’ll blog more about this later, but that’s just to give you a bit background.

Anyway, almost every year my husband and I attempt to grow a small veggie garden. Considering my dark side, it generally doesn’t work out. Normally, things either never get out of seed form, or die in infancy. But then this one year we actually had tomato plants grow to be big and strong. They blossomed with pretty yellow flowers that would soon turn into tasty tomatoes. Then it happened. We walked outside to see our beautiful sturdy plants, only to find something missing. Like the entire head of my one of my tomato plants. Gone. Decapitated. And duh, if someone’s gonna kill these plants, it should be me!

Then my hubby sees the culprit—a large very fierce-looking worm with a horn on top of its head. It was also kind of pretty, bright red horn, beautiful butterfly-like patterns tattooed on its wormy skin.

Hubby, who knows everything, (just ask him,) told me it was a tomato hornworm, that they could eat an entire tomato plant in hours. Well, the fierce-looking creature had to go, but it was too pretty to kill. Hey, I kill plants not bugs. But just because I don’t kill ‘em, doesn’t mean I won’t take advantage of them. I saw myself selling a short filler article about tomato hornworms, so I snagged my camera.

Hubby, who knows everything, helps me. I get my close up lens, my tripod, I’m ready to shoot me some worm. But while I’m willing to shoot a worm, I’m not willing to touch a worm, (Did I not tell you it was fierce looking?) so hubby places the worm on tomato plant. After the long, trying photo shoot, we reward the worm by taking him to our neighbor’s garden, the man who is always rubbing his horticultural successes in our faces. (Hey, all’s fair in horticultural war.)

When I get my slides back, I’m blown away by the sharp images. Oddly, I never took a good shot of the entire body, but hey, close-ups are hard to do, plus it was the colorful head/horn that really was worthy of photographing. Then I went to do my research, you know, the quick filler material to include in the piece and . . . well, I learned two things:

1) We’d been outsmarted by a flashy hornworm.
2) My husband doesn’t know everything.

You see, the colored horn isn’t on the worm’s head, it’s on the worm’s butt. It was meant to fool predators who would go for the throat and come away with only a bite of butt. I’m guessing it was also meant to show up photographers with know-it-all hubbies who might hang the worm upside down and proceed to take pictures of its ass. Yup, I was fooled into shooting worm porn.

So…know what you write, know what you photograph and as for the “know what you eat”? Well, while looking for good picture of a tomato hornworm’s ass, (I tossed my hornworm porn for fear the FBI would discover it) I found this: and I just have to say… “That worm was lucky all I did was take pictures and didn’t serve him up for dinner.”

Now, on to the trivia questions:

1) What did Katie do that reminded Carl of his mother during the end of her life?
2) What kind of worms did Carl eat?
3) What actor did Carl remind Katie of?
4) What was the catch word that Katie said was not Ray-like to say, and yet she ended up saying it a lot and even used it in the last few paragraphs of the book?
5) Name at least one of the dogs that Carl got stuck with?
6) What weapon did Katie use to take down the killer?
7) What scene in the book will encourage men nationwide to help women with household chores?

Remember, send me the answers at my email address listed above. But don’t forget to post a comment, tell me about one of your life lessons, or about seeing Weddings.

Crime Scene Christie

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Book Promotion

Leslie, I've come up with an idea to promote your next book, thanks to Walter Moore in Butler, MO. Check out this story that hit the net last month and made a lot of people's heads spins and me laugh out loud. You see, Butler, with Max Motors (car dealership), has decided that gas might not be the only thing his customers are interested in getting free with a car purchase - so he's offering a choice: $250 gas card or semi-automatic handgun.

Now, this is brilliance in my opinion and it's backed up by the numbers - 80% of the customers are chosing the handgun. Apparently some aren't as pleased with Butler's promotion, but c'mon. He's not giving them a handgun with the keys to the car. He's giving them a certificate to go claim the gun and they have to pass all the normal background checks required as if they were purchasing the firearm themselves.

But imagine if he'd drive into the dealership and a salesman would greet you and show you the car you were interested in. You select a model, take a test drive, then head off to financing to work the numbers. Finally, after you've signed on the dotted line, they hand you a set of keys, a pair of plastic googles, and headphones, then you head out back to the firing range where you get to take your pistol for a test drive.

No, wait, that won't work at all. No way would a car dealership give someone a handgun AFTER they've dealt with the finance guy but BEFORE they've left the lot. Unless, of course, their advertisement for finance personal includes the words "monthly salary includes cell phone, demo, and kevlar vest...........

So what do you think, Leslie????? You think Dorchester will go for distributing handguns with each order of your next hitman book? How cool would that be!? :)

Deadly DeLeon

YouTube Sunday!

Oh. My. God. I was dying of laughter this week watching the YouTube videos all of you have sent in. I’m really starting to look forward to the weekends now. But, my absolute fav this week is this hilarious telemarketer call sent in by Dawn. I was in tears. I am so doing this next time I “win” a vacation to a timeshare resort. Dawn, congrats, you get the pack of sexy Ellora’s Cave playing cards!

Next week I'll be giving away an advanced reader copy of fellow Dorchester diva Eve Kenin's Hidden. I read this one, it's fab, action packed, steamy hot and not out until next month! So... send me those funny videos!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Maria Grazia Swan's Diary of a Single Boomer

When I first heard the title of Maria Grazia Swan’s book, I laughed out loud and knew I had to read it. Boomer Babes are true stories about love and lust over 50. While the ladies in her stories have a couple years on me, I can SO relate to them. Dating is hard at any age! But, not only does she have some hilarious stories of dating disaster, but there are also some really beautiful happy endings and stories of true love as well. I HIGHLY recommend this book – the way it’s broken up into lots of different stories makes it an excellent beach or vacation read. So, take it away Maria…

Diary of a Single Boomer

Friday night, during what should have been the cusp between happy hours and dinner and a movie. I'm sitting home, alone, adding up my monthly bills to be filed under
”beauty expenses.” I'm not implying I'm a beauty; it's just an easy file name to remember. Botox; $300, check. Restylane $420, yes. Photofacial $300, done. Haircut, color and style, $180, yep. Personal trainer $240, you bet. Manicure and pedicure $55, of course. Life coaching session, $120, can’t live without them. Deep tissue massage, $65, felt so good. I hope I haven't left out anything. It’s time to total up the various amounts, and I’m looking for excuses to postpone the inevitable.
It’s going to drive me to binge on Tic Tacs again, and that may be good for my
breath but not for my teeth. Oops, see? I forgot the teeth whitening, $299. Then again, who cares about fresh breath when the only one here to appreciate it is my cat, and she is not particularly prone to shows of affection.

Why am I so bitchy? I should be thrilled. This morning I read an article in the Rep bragging about how fabulous Boomers are. It actually said something like “The new look of middle age---Fabulous.” Well, I'm middle age, and so are most of my friends and we do deserve to be called fabulous, and we have the bills to prove it. I’m sure there are Boomers who look fabulous without spending a lot of cash. I’m just not one of them. I could have joined Debbie at the favorite Scottsdale club tonight but truth be told, I'd rather have a root canal. That's no reflection on the establishment, mind you. They serve decent food, mix exotic drinks, and play fun music.

It’s just that the place is crowded, especially on Fridays and Saturday nights, and I end up feeling invisible. Have you ever felt that way? There you are, with your new, sexy little dress, your tallest stilettos and your flashiest bling-bling. You smell good, you feel good and you step into the place with a pound of attitude and a ton of expectation. Hey, there is a full moon out, you drove with the top down, and the radio was playing your favorite tune. How more perfect can life be?

You get your first reality check when the fifty-something hunk who caught your eye in the parking lot walks right by you, steps on your open toes, and without slowing down to apologize, makes a beeline for the sweet thing half his age rolling her skinny, exposed hips on the dance floor. Did I say skinny? Make that bony.

It goes downhill from there; the place seems populated by women under forty
and men over fifty. I swore never to go back after that time when I got caught
on the dance floor between the tremendous, man-made mammaries of a flashy
blonde and the equally tremendous beer belly of the older man chasing after her.
I was able to slip away before they exhaled simultaneously, and no, they never noticed me.

So I sit and listen to an interview with Terri Hatcher of Desperate Housewives
fame; she is complaining about a lack of dates. Terri Hatcher? Holy cannoli! If she can't get a date, what are my chances?

The phone rings; "Hello?" It's Judi, my do gooder friend, and I really mean, “do good.” She invites me to one of her typical outings the next day. "It's for a good cause. It's Singles Saturday, and we will help box food for the homeless. There will be lot of singles, men and women, all volunteers. Come on, it'll be good for you. And fun."

How reassuring. Still, singles men. And a good cause. I can show off my whiter
teeth. "I'm in," I say to Judi, "What time are you picking me up?" She says 9:00 a.m.

I smile and say, “Sounds…fabulous!”

I push aside my bills and nuzzle my cat, who knows, she may appreciate my minty fresh breath after all.

Maria Grazia Swan

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Law of Three Strikes

Last week Mr. Firefighter and I had a bit of a miscommunication. He works 24 hour shifts, so his schedule is, to say the least, kind of odd. Trying to work out a day we are both free has been a challenge. I suggested a movie Wednesday. He, miraculously, agreed. I was, of course, psyched. Wednesday rolls around, and I call to see when and where we should meet. Oops. He thought I meant next Wednesday, he was working that Wed. Okay, weird schedule, honest mistake, I had a little chuckle. He said he had a chunk of days off this week, so we agreed to see each other on Monday.

Fast forward to Monday. That morning I get a message that his nephew has a tournament, and he really wants to go see it. Would I be upset of he canceled on me? Hmm… Upset? No. It’s actually kind of sweet that he wants to see his nephew play. Very sweet, in fact. (You may have noticed that I have a big soft spot for guys who like kids.) But, disappointed? Yes. Very. It’s been over a week since I’ve seen him. And, since I know I’ve mentioned how hot he is, you can imagine how bummed I am. But, I understand things come up. Hey, I’m sure I’ve been in that same position before. No worries, we’ll get together soon.

Tuesday two things happen. a) Mr. Firefighter discovers this blog. (If you look back to last Friday, you can even see his comment posted! I’m a little nervous. Honestly, telling him where I bear my soul is about the biggest commitment I’ve made to a guy in… ever?) And b) He asks if I want to come over that night. Um…no brainer. Yes! He asks when, I retaliate with a time, and he says he’ll get right back to me. An hour later I get a call. He’s changed his mind. He has an early flight the next morning, he’s gonna pass. Maybe we’ll get together next week when he gets back into town.

Now, I like to think of myself as a pretty understanding girl. As the other Killer Fiction ladies who know me well can tell you, I’m generally a very laid back person. Not much upsets me, I take most of life in stride, and I’m pretty live and let live. But… pass? You pass on that extra helping of mashed potatoes, you don’t pass on an evening with your girl. And, while each incident was understandable in itself, that makes three times in a row now that he’s canceled on me. Were he anyone else, I’d be saying three strikes and you’re out, pal. As it is, I’ve modified this rule: three strikes and I make a date with someone else. Yes, he may be adorable. Yes, I really like this one. And, yes, I could totally fall for this guy. But I am so not a wait-by-the-phone kind of girl.


Let me tell you all about Mr. Real Estate (think Mr. Big from Sex & the City). 35, cut bod, gorgeous brown eyes with those kind of long dark lashes that make you go all warm inside. I met him a couple weeks ago and we did lunch at a little Mexican place in town with this really beautiful back patio area that makes you feel like you’re actually in some Mexican oasis. Terra cotta balconies, flowering vines, beautiful mosaic fountain. Unfortunately, he was just coming from a meeting and I was just on my way out to one, so we had to cut things short. We barely had time to wolf down a couple of enchiladas and some cold Coronas before I had to leave. But, apparently leaving them wanting more is a good thing, as he was very eager to see me again. So, as soon as strike three rolled around, my passed-on self called him and we made a date for the next night.

I had a conference call that evening about one of the new TV projects I’m working on, so it was kind of late before we got started, but we ended up at this really cool brewery restaurant sampling their different award winning beers. Who knew beer came in so many different flavors? Even though I’m usually more of a martini girl, it was a lot of fun. I think my favorite was the Little Brown Bear beer. I swear it was almost chocolaty.

After the restaurant, it was a nice night out, so we walked to the movie theater and saw Iron Man. Okay, honestly, we saw the beginning of Iron Man. Neither of us was totally impressed (really, we waned to see Hancock, but it’s not out yet. *pout*) So, about halfway through, we decided to bail on Robert Downey and went back to his place to watch a DVD on his new flat screen instead. (The thing is HUGE!) Anyone ever seen the Danny DeVito movie Drowning Mona? Screwball murder comedy at its best. I was giggling out loud the whole time. Bette Midler makes a fab murder victim.

So, the moral of the story… boys, you either gotta step up to the plate or you forfeit the game.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

P.S. I'll be sure to let you all know next week if it’s game over for Mr. Firefighter or if he redeems himself with some sort of grand romantic gesture. You know, roses are always nice…

Thursday, June 19, 2008

When Life's a Zoo...

Life’s a bit hairy in the Heartland. As I blogged last week, areas of my state have been hit with a record five hundred year flood. The Capitol City barely escaped wide scale devastation and downtown Cedar Rapids became ‘Water World’ in a matter of hours. Everywhere you go you see the effects of the flood waters: roads closed, fields that have become lakes, pumps pumping away, and wet, ruined carpets and furniture being hauled to the curb. After a winter that lasted nearly six months and included near record snowfall many Midwesterners were craving a nice, quiet, uneventful spring.

So didn’t happen.

Yesterday I decided that we needed a break from the zoo that life had become. So, naturally we went to the zoo.

I gotta confess up front that going to the zoo--any zoo--is not a particular hardship for me. In fact, I have very fond memories of the zoo. The zoo was a place I often took my four children when they were young. They were as intrigued and captivated by the extraordinary animals that hailed from places we’d never visit as I was. And anything that kept four young kids occupied, well, I was all over that.

Now, our little zoo in Des Moines can’t compare to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha or the St. Louis Zoo but it has a certain charm that is appealing. Like the fact you can walk just two measly miles and see the entire zoo and say a ‘howdy do’ to each of its inhabitants and not be moaning about how sore your feet are or how pitted out you are. Bigger is not always better. (And yes, that observation comes from a romance author.)

I handed my camera off to my daughter so we would have pictures that weren’t off center or blurred and that didn’t include a portion of a thumb or finger in the left hand corner. Yeah. I suck at photography. I’m told I have no patience. I’m basically a ‘point and shoot’ kind of gal. You can imagine how well that worked for me out on the firing line at the firearms range during the Public Safety Academy and subsequent recertifications. Let’s just say my fellow officers drew straws to find out who had to flank me on either side at the range.

Anyway, I’ve selected a few pictures, courtesy of my oldest (by 90 seconds) triplet, Katie, to share today.

Mama (Rosie) & J.P.
Here's looking at You 'Kid'
(Sorry! Couldn't resist!)
Rosie and J.P. are not regular zoo residents but are ‘on loan’ to our zoo for the remainder of the month. J.P. was adorable!

And now for my zoo finale--and for your viewing pleasure--the first (and last, I’m guessing!) documented case of Bullet Hole Bacus practicing her milking technique on one very accommodating bovine. Just so you know---it was an ‘udder’ disaster. Hehe!

Anybody have a favorite place the family all enjoys visiting together? Or someplace you go alone to recharge the batteries so you can feel human again? Any activity (knitting, cycling, walking, chess, solitaire, Guitar Man) you engage in when you need a ‘time out’?

Oh, and a head’s up! I’ll be blogging over at the Seekerville blog ( ) next Wednesday about my ‘yellow brick road’ to publication so stop by and say ‘hey’.

‘Til next week,

~Bullet Hole~

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What The Hell Is That?

It's been a weird week. Not that it isn't ALWAYS a weird week for me, but this one is really strange. First of all, I have this plant from outer space in my yard. It's sooooooo Little Shop of Horrors. I have no idea what in the hell it is. The leaves are super velvety and there's the beginnings of yellow flowers emerging on top. I'm standing next to it because you have to see how freaking tall it is. I'm about 5'10."

All summer we've watched it grow up through the rocks in the swail (another story for another time) but couldn't bring ourselves to take it down. "Let's see what it turns out to be..." my husband and I find ourselves saying to each other for some reason. I can't help but wonder how many sci-fi horror flicks began with that simple premise. As far as I know, it hasn't devoured any of the neighborhood children. There are a few less squirrels around, but maybe there's a rodent bubonic plague going around, or perhaps they are on vacation in the Hamptons.

I've named the plant "Al." Why? Because the cactus is named "Bob," of course.

The kids had friends over the other day while I was writing. Conor said, "Hey, let's set up our own business!" I thought that was kind of cute and went back to being deep in thought about my book...something to do with killing a guy with a pair of tweezers and an apricot. Anyway, a few minutes...or maybe hours...later, Ian (you know him as Louis Bombay) came down to tell me it was time for me to visit the businesses upstairs.

In Jack's bedroom, Conor and Jack had a gun store. The guns were pretty reasonable - a mere quarter bought me a lovely faux pearl-handled .38. And they'd even opened Jack's window to give me the chance to practice "shooting" bunnies and squirrels, something I don't even do in fiction. Conor insisted on seeing my FOID card (Illinois' firearms owners identification card) and I thought that was very responsible of him.

I took my pistol (unloaded, of course) and went next door, where Margaret and Ian were running a spa specializing in massage. Ian did this thing to my back with his elbows that would make any masochist proud. Enpurpled and armed, I went back to my book.

Then it hit me. For businesses, my kids were running an underground arms operation and a massage parlour. Instead of lemonade stands or factories that made widgets, my kids had a genuine red-light district worthy of Deadwood. Junior Achievement would be so proud...

And then, I've been delving into the family history this week and came across a name in the Quincy, Illinois newspaper from the 1890's: Otto Hellwagon. Sigh. Isn't that wonderful? If you saw that in a novel, you'd say "what a ridiculous name! They can't possibly expect the reader to believe it!" They don't make names like that anymore. It's a shame, really. Otto Hellwagon. Go ahead, say it. It just trips poetically off the tongue.

So that's a normal week, right? I'm sure it has nothing to do with the plant. And once I get past these weird dreams I'm having where "Al" asks me to feed him Pizza Rolls and teacup Chihuahuas, I'm sure everything will be just fine. Right?

The Assassin

The Day I Got my Hyphen or . . . The day I Became a Porn Star


Stephanie you have won the prize for June 17th. Please email me your snail mail addy at my web site address, www (.) christie (at) christie-craig (.) com.

Congrats and thanks for posting.

P.S. Remember next week is the big prize giveaway. I'll be posting trivia questions about Weddings and everyone who gets them right will be entered to win the Pamper Me Like A Bride Basket.

I know, I know, you regular readers are probably saying . . . “But wait, we thought that it was Gemma who skirted close to that edge.” You do remember that blog, right?

Well, surprise, surprise, surprise. This just goes to show that you never really know someone until . . . well, until the person gets crazy enough to show her true colors. And what color is that, you ask?

It’s red.

Yup. My face was red with embarrassment. Not embarrassed enough to keep this a secret. Hey, lucky for you guys, I’m a tell-all, uhhh, “show-all” kind of person.

It happened several years back—before the sales of my latest novel releases. (I’m blushing just thinking about it.) I was desperately working on my novels. When I say desperately, I mean I was obsessed.

My thought process was that if I could write a bunch of books, then when I finally sold, I would have this great back list. (Hey, it worked out, but there’s a downside to being obsessed.)

You see, I was also juggling my day job—a very successful freelance career. I wrote for a large variety of magazines, I penned articles on: toilets, window treatments, stupid bank robbers, the warm fuzzy feelings of motherhood, tomato horn worms, Tom Selleck, and birth control for cats.

My point is, well there’s two points. First, if they’d pay me, I’d write it. Editors knew this, and I was constantly getting assignments just from my website alone. However, I did have some scruples. I mean, I had yet to take my clothes off for a public venue.

My second point is that I was very, very busy. So busy I ignored things like spam-looking emails. (Looking back, this is where my problems began.)

Anyway, I’d been getting lots of spamish-looking emails trying to sell me domain names. I had my domain name, Why would I need another? Then I get a call from some really nice guy who worked for my internet server. “Did I know that I had let my domain name lapse?”

I’d thought I’d bought it for five years. It seems I’d only bought it for three. Hmm, so those emails hadn’t been spam? And now the domain-name place wanted to charge me hundreds of dollars to keep my name/web address. Since my website was on all my business cards which I passed out regularly to prospective editors/clients, I really wanted to keep it.

Thankfully, my internet guy said to just let it lapse and he’d buy it back the next day for the same minimal fee as before. Such a nice guy. I mean, normally, my husband would have taken care of all that, but he was in Mexico working for three weeks.

So I was back to work as usual. Plugging away on my books and meeting deadlines writing more articles about toilets. The next day, I get an email from a casual acquaintance. It read: “Wow, checked out your website. Saw a whole new side of you.”

Now, this person is known to have a whacky sense of humor, and I just assumed she’d read the newest article posted on my website about how cats were better than men. (But you know what they say about assuming, don’t you?)

Anyway, later that day I got a phone call from my brother in Florida. I was so stingy with my writing time, I almost didn’t take his call. But since he was supposed to show up in a few days with several of his motorcycle buddies to do some dirt bike racing, and they were all going to bunk at my house, I gave in and answered.

“Hey, sis,” brother said. And he had that tone about him. The same tone he used when he asked me to pull his finger. “Uh,” he continued, “I told my buddies that you were a writer and gave them your website to see what you wrote.”

“Yeah?” I didn’t have time to chitchat. I had books to write. “And?”

“And one of them just called. Let’s just say he’s very excited about “coming” now. Really wants to meet you.”

“Me?” I’ll be honest, I got concerned. But not for the right reasons. I mean, I thought the guy was probably either, A: a guy with a toilet fetish, B: really liked Tom Selleck, C: wanted to discuss feline sex. None of the above appealed to me.

Brother continued to laugh. And I got this feeling he was really enjoying this. Like it was payback or something. And yeah, this is the brother I found his magazines under his mattress and mentioned them to my mom. So it kind of scared me.

“Sis, have you checked out your website lately?” he asked.

Duh, I didn’t have time to check out my website. But I did it. I typed in And when it said I needed to be eighteen to enter, I got really scared, but when the first image popped up, I totally freaked. I mean I didn’t even check out Christie Craig’s face, mostly because the face wasn’t in the image.

I screamed, hung up on brother who was enjoying this way too much and called my internet guy who’d completely lost his “nice guy” status. “You said you would buy it back!”

“I tried,” he said. “But someone already snagged it, but don’t worry, I bought you Christie Craig with a hyphen.”

“Don’t worry? DON’T WORRY!!” I screamed again. “I’m now a porn star. I can’t be a porn star. Editors have my website.”

I heard him punching keys and then he . . . laughed. He laughed really hard and then said, “Wow, can I have your autograph.”

I hung up on him.

Then I called the man who always fixed my problems. I called my hubby in Mexico.

“Help. I’m a porn star.”

“You’re a what?”

“I lost my domain name. Another Christie Craig bought it. Now is a porn site. What can I do? I’ve got to get them to take that down!”

I heard him typing, and he got really quiet. “Sweetheart,” he said calmly. “I’m afraid you can’t make them to do that.”

“But baby,” I pleaded. “People are going to think that’s me.”

He got quiet again, and said. “No, baby. They won’t think that. You got way more up on top than she does!” Then he . . . laughed. Really hard. And I hung up on him, too.

So there you have it. The day I got my hyphen . . . or the day I became a porn star. Moral of the story: Don’t let you domain name lapse!

Okay…it’s still June, so post a comment, tell me about something embarrassing that happened to you, or tell me if you seen Weddings on the bookshelves. Or just post a quick hello and you’ll be entered in a contest to win a Sexy, Suspenseful and Seriously Funny Tee-shirt and a pack of Christie Craig note cards. Come on guys, if I can tell you about my porn days, you can post a comment!

P.S. The “other” Christie Craig has since closed house. I’m thinking it’s because she had too many emails asking her to write about toilets.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lack of Aggravation Where You Least Expect It

So last week I talked about how great our hospital system is, and everyone agreed and some had their own horror stories which were much worse than my own. So this week, I thought I'd continue my tirade and mention a couple of other things that I find strange or aggravating and then surprise you by telling you about something that SHOULD have been aggravating and wasn't.

So first off in the "huh" list - clothes where the label says "One Size Fits All." Uh, not? So you have one size shirt and let's just say it's an extra-large for example. So everyone who wears an x-large will look okay in the shirt and everyone smaller can certainly get in the shirt, but can we please get a definition of "fit." I mean, if you're an x-small, an x-large may go over your shoulders, but what's to stop it from continuing over your hips and onto the floor. And then there's the opposite problem - if you're bigger than an x-large, then it might cover your all, but something equally as important might just be hanging out. I once say a nightshirt in WalMart that had it right - the tag read "One Size Fits Most."

Next complaint - you know I couldn't be complaining and not mention clothes. So I did a rant about babydoll tops a month or so ago, and this is part two of the "fail to boobage" class of fashion wear - bathing suits. Can someone please explain to me why if any woman can buy a great set of boob for 5k, all bathing suits seem to be made for women with an A cup?????

Last complaint - grocery shopping. I was in the grocery store on Sunday and wanted to pick some diet shakes. Why does every distributor think that all people are insulin resistant??????? You can enter a diet aisle without seeing a billion products directed at people's problem with carbs. Well, it just so happens that I don't have a problem with carbs, or sugar, for that matter. I am FAT resistant. So while I could eat a steady diet of Lipton noodles, low fat brownies and light beer and still loose weight, don't thing in a single egg or god forbid butter or I'm not only not losing, I'm gaining. Well, I couldn't find a single shake with less than 5 grams of fat b/c they're all geared for the atkins leftovers. Since my daily intake of fat is limited to 20 grams, I'm not exactly eager to get a fourth of my daily dose out of a bad tasting shake.

Now, for my surprising non-aggravation story. I bought a new car! AND they offered it at $200 over invoice right from the start, showed me the invoice, and told me they had great financing. So I test drove the vehicle, liked it a lot, but didn't feel like commiting right away. So I headed back to work (I had done this on my lunch hour) then called the back that afternoon to ask what they could do with the financing. They called back literally 2 minutes later and said absolutely no money out of pocket (unless I wanted) and 0% for five years. So being cool as always, I said "you're kidding me."

They weren't kidding. So I had a co-worker take me around the corner to the dealership and I signed the paperwork for my new car. I got a Suzuki SX4 Hatchback. It's an economy cross-over SUV. Quite frankly, it looks like my Infiniti Crossover SUV had a baby. :) Except the baby gets double the gas mileage and I'm purchasing it for $400 less a month than I was leasing the Infiniti.

So yeah! New car and no aggravation - what are the frigging odds?

Requested pics - this is what the car looks like now:

This is what it will most likely resemble when I am done with mods - except with black base and lots of turquoise in the graphics. :)

Deadly (Dumbstruck) DeLeon

YouTube Sunday

This week’s winner is Maithe, with the video she found of Gummibär.
Yay, Maithe! Next week I'm giving away a pack of Ellora's Cave Golden Age of Hollywood playing cards, featuring different hot, steamy covers on each card. Very fun! So, send me your video finds!

Okay, I will admit that the first few seconds of this video I was confused. The next few, I started to smile. Then giggle. But by the end, I was busting up. By the third time I watched it, I was singing along. Careful, it’s addictive. Oh, and if you go to Gummibär’s website (, you can hear it in Hungarian, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Brazillian and (my favorite) Spanglish. That’s one talented gummy bear!

And, because it’s summer, here’s the encore. ;)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Spiritual Adventure Author Jon Gregory

Today my good friends and wonderful author, Jon Gregory, has been cool enough to come play with us. Jon’s written mystery and adventure novels (I’m half in love with his recurring P.I. character) and has recently switched gears a little to write a spiritual adventure story. I’ve read it. It’s really fun. And he’s currently giving away the ebook version of it for free. (Yep, totally free. Told you he was cool.) So, please welcome Jon, then go download his book and tell all your friends how awesome it is.

Hi there. Jon Gregory here, author of the self-published The Return of Arthur: A Spiritual Quest.

Yes, the subtitle says it all. My book is indeed a spiritual adventure. And, no, I didn't always write spiritual adventures. I used to write mystery novels, in fact. Which is how I met Gemma Halliday.

Anyway, let's get right to it. Why did I self-publish my book? And why the drastic change in my writing, from mystery novels to spiritual adventures?

Okay, first question: The Return of Arthur: A Spiritual Quest was written for a very sick friend of mine (more about her below), and time really is of the essence to get her story out there. Remember, traditional publishers take up to two years to publish a book. By self-publishing, I got the book out instantly.

Second question: Why the switch in writing gears? Well, I discovered something curious about myself when writing my last mystery novel: I was getting tired of writing mystery novels. In particular, I was getting tired of describing various creative ways of killing people.

So one day I sat back and considered my alternatives. I certainly didn’t have to write murder mysteries. No one was forcing me to do this. Yes, I enjoyed writing mysteries, but I did not enjoy depicting man at his worst.

So why not show man at his best?

I thought back to various books that had inspired me. In particular, The Alchemist. Now here was a book that inspired me to be a better person, that helped me make better choices in life. That showed me the beauty in the world and the good in all of us. I liked that. I wanted to write something like that.

But what? I wasn’t sure. So I let the thought percolate, and a few weeks later something interesting happened.

First of all, do you believe in signs? I do. It’s okay if you don’t. We all have our own set of beliefs that gets us through the day. At the core of my beliefs are signs or omens. I feel God, the Creator, the Universe (or whatever you want to call the force that drives this world), can use signs to help guide us through life.

Sure, why not, right?

Anyway, signs or not, something interesting started happening. Everywhere I went I saw something King Arthur. From books to movies to street names to tee shirts to commercials to advertising…anywhere and everywhere.

Okay, I thought. I get the message. King Arthur it is.

And so I started doing a little research on the man and discovered there’s a small city in England called Glastonbury that's heavily associated with King Arthur. Although no records of Arthur exist (he lived way back even before the Dark Ages, fifteen hundred years ago), Glastonbury had long been considered home to everything King Arthur…from Camelot to Avalon to the Holy Grail.

But one legend stood out above the rest, and it goes like this:

King Arthur would return one day to usher in a new age of enlightenment to all mankind, where he would rule once again.

Oh, really?

Well, guess what, folks? I had my story.

And at about this time, my friend June came into the scene.

I first met June through Myspace a few years ago, back when I was peddling my mystery novels. She was always the first to help promote my novels, always the first to reply to a bulletin, always the first with a kind email. Never once did she ask for a single favor in return. I remember once when she described coercing all her family members to order copies of my novels. I liked that. A writer’s best friend, right? Again, she never once asked for anything in return. June was a good friend, a nice friend.

But I had no idea she was a sick friend.

One day I read a bulletin she posted. Her bulletin asked a single question: Why hadn’t anyone responded to any of her recent blogs?

(Yes, I know, lot of this is Myspace speak, but bear with me.)

Curious, I headed over to her page and read one of her blogs. And discovered she had been diagnosed with something called LAM, a rare disease that attacks, among other things, the lungs. June even posted an x-ray of her lungs, an x-ray that was covered in white dots. These “dots” were in fact cysts that were filling her lungs. Cysts that could eventually suffocate her to death unless she was either cured or received a lung transplant. Folks, there's no known cure and lung transplants have only a 60% survival rate.

So, here’s this amazingly sweet girl who was always the first to help me peddle my books, the first to send me a kind note of encouragement, and she was dying. And no one was willing to help her.

Well, not on my watch.

So I did the only thing I could think of. I wrote to her and asked her if she would be interested in starring in one of my books that would feature a character with LAM. Well, I can safely tell you that she was fairly excited with the idea. I next told her I was thinking of writing a modern-day parable about the return of King Arthur. Again, I can safely tell you that she was thrilled with the idea, as she loved anything and everything King Arthur.

Now a year and six major moves later (I moved from Oregon to California and now to Nevada), The Return of Arthur: A Spiritual Quest is done. What happens next is up to God.

But if you want to help, please head over to and order yourself a copy or two of the trade paperback. I’m donating half of all proceeds to June’s LAM foundation. (And, yes, I’m currently giving away the e-Book for free. Yes, free. Enjoy.) Either way, thank you for reading and thank you for inviting me to your party.

God bless and keep smiling,
Jon Gregory
To order the book:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Finally, a guy who gets it!

Mr. Firefighter suggested dinner last weekend. I, of course, was pretty psyched. (See previous posts in which I describe how hot he is.) So, he calls me the day before to work out the details of when and where. He mentions that he lives near this nice beach area where there are a bunch of great little restaurants, so, if the weather’s nice, we could just walk from his place. Quaint restaurants near the ocean, romantic evening walk back to his place – sounds perfect. Except for one little snag. I eye my closet. And the ridiculously high pair of pink strappy heels I’d picked out to wear.

“Um… how long of a walk is it?” I asked.

“Not far.”

I bite my lip, eyeing those adorable pink heels. “Hmm…”

As any gal who has ever spent any time in really adorable shoes knows, they are not made for walking. Walking equals blisters which equals pain which equals cutting the evening short when you really wanted to spend a little more time getting to know one yummy firefighter.

“So,” I ask, “exactly how far is not far? Because I need to know how high my heels can be.”

He laughs. Hard. But, luckily he’s read THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR STRUTTING and knows how serious I am about my shoes. He promises it’s not that far, but maybe not stiletto friendly. With one last longing look at my pink heels, I dig into my closet while on the phone with him, searching for a pair that still scream “yowza!” while being able to take me on a short hike to the restaurant and back.

But, as I’m discarding pair after teeteringly tall pair, the most amazing thing happens. Mr. Firefighter says, “Tell you what – you wear whatever pair of heels you want, and we’ll plan the rest of the evening around that.”

I freeze. Did he just say what I think he said?

“Seriously?” I ask, my gaze pinging back to my adorably pink shoes.

“Seriously. Hey, the world should revolve around your shoes.”

Wow. Someone pinch me. Finally a guy who gets it!

So, we end up driving (yay!) to this great little Italian restaurant in Santa Cruz. For any of you that have read Melanie Jackson’s novella in STRUTTING, you might have an idea what Santa Cruz is like. For anyone who hasn’t yet, people who live there have adopted a slogan - Keep Santa Cruz Weird. And they’re serious. It’s the most anything-goes, eclectic mix of people you can imagine, all stuck together in one funky little beach town. I love it. And the restaurant we went to was pure Santa Cruz. It was called Lucio’s and owned by this cool Italian guy named, you guessed it, Lucio.

Lucio is a skinny, energetic, spitting image of Albert Einstein. And he knows it. Alongside portraits of himself, posters of Einstein are pasted all over the walls of his restaurant. In one corner of the room, a TV was playing the movie Borat. At every good scene, Lucio would jump up and down, directing all eyes to the TV. (Nothing like two nekkid Kazakhstani guys wrestling to fuel your appetite, right?) He spent the entire evening laughing, joking in his loud, heavily accented voice, bouncing from one table to another kissing people on the cheek. (I counted. He got me 8 times.) He was like the Energizer Bunny. On speed. With big fluffy white hair. He made the whole restaurant feel like one big party. Especially when he put on the dance music, did a booty dance across the dinning room, and pulled out colored wigs for all the cooks to wear. No joke. Sorry the pic is so blurry (it’s hard to shoot straight with your phone when you’re laughing so hard you’re crying), but, yes, that is a man in pink braids and one in a platinum bob with a bow in his(her?) hair. I think there was a blue afro somewhere, too. Lucio himself - possessing wild enough hair naturally - opted for an Indiana Jones hat instead (“Look at me, I’m Indy! I’m-a de Indiana Jones, everybody!")

Needless to say, I think I burned off every calorie off my incredibly tasty meal laughing that night. Way too much fun. I can't wait to go back.

So, what are your favorite restaurants and what keeps you going back?

~Trigger Happy Halliday

P.S. Happy Friday the 13th everyone! (cue ominous music...)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

When the Laughs Don't Come Easy

I love to laugh. In fact, laughter is as necessary to me as breathing. But there’s not much to smile about for Midwesterners like me this morning. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana and other Midwestern states are experiencing record flooding. In fact, Iowa’s governor stated that some areas of the state are facing a five hundred year flood. I believe it. Many of us in the nation’s mid-section feel like we know how Noah felt during those forty days and forty nights of rain. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating the actual duration of our precipitation event, but it sure feels like it’s been ages since the skies were clear and the sun shined for an extended period of time.
It’s getting tougher to laugh.
Following a horribly long, wet winter, we’ve been hit hard by a cool, wet spring characterized by record numbers of tornadoes. One such storm almost leveled the small community of Parkersburg two weeks ago killing eight.
Even harder to laugh.
Last night I left my night class to drive home and turned on the radio to find out yet another tornado had hit the state, this one dropping into a boy scout camp located in western Iowa literally obliterating the camp. Four scouts were killed and forty other people were injured.
Almost impossible to laugh.
And the rain continues. In areas that can’t hold any more water, heavy rain falls. I spent the night checking the basement to make sure it remained dry and watching the ceiling begin to leak.
Laughter’s a pipedream.
With so many folks in such bad shape across my state, those who’ve lost a loved one or those who’ve lost a home filled with treasures and keepsakes, you begin to believe that smiles and grins and chuckles and laughs may be a long time in coming.
How, I ask myself, can I sit down and write humor today of all days? How can I be funny when I feel so sad? When so many of my fellow citizens are hurting?
And then I recall the emails and letters I’ve received from readers. Like the one from the woman with cancer who found joy in the misadventures of a lovable, albeit sometimes ditzy, blonde. Or the one from the hospice nurse who thanked me for writing books she could lose herself in after a particularly long, hard shift. Or the email from the woman going through a divorce and the incumbent tough times who surprised even herself by laughing out loud as she read one of my books.
That’s when I remind myself that our books make a difference--a real difference in the lives of our readers. Our stories let folks put their troubles and grief aside for a moment and escape into another world for a tiny slice of time. Our stories give hope and reassurance and permit readers to believe in happy endings. Even when their reality is far from happy.
So, I’ll plant my butt in my chair and write. Because that’s my job. That's what I do. And each word I type will be dedicated to all those who find themselves going through hard times in the hope that what I write can bring a smile to a face that badly needs one.
Writers write. That's what we do.
Iowans persevere. That's what they do.
~Bullet Hole~

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mum's The Word...

Before I begin, I have to explain the above photo. You see, my mother has decided that all my blogging about the outdoors have made me appear too boyish. We were at a wedding in Chicago and she took this picture with the explicit demand that I post it so people would know I didn't spend all my time rolling in the mud, flinging knives and swinging from ropes (she's exaggerating - I don't spend ALL my time doing those things...sometimes I sleep). I posted this photo because I'm afraid of my mother. If you read my books, you'd know that she is Carolina Bombay.

Now that I think of it, I guess my mom really plays a prominent role in my books (and apparently, my blog). Book Three - STAND BY YOUR HITMAN - has my mother as both Carolina Bombay and as her sister, Missi's mother - California (Cali) Bombay. Why did I feel the need to put her in two characters? Well, one reason is because I CAN (yes, I'm sticking my tongue out) and the other reason is because both women, at various times in my life, are my mother.

For example, before I met my husband, my mother was constantly trying to fix me up (if you are 1) a woman and 2) have a mother - you know exactly what I mean). I included a little nod to that wonderful (and in no way, frustrating) time in my life in Book Three as Missi is sent to participate in a cheap, Canadian knock-off of Survivor called Survival in order to stalk a Vic. Cali believes Missi (widowed and 45) should use this as an opportunity to find a man. Here's an excerpt:

“Sorry, babe,” Mom said in a sing-songy voice. “A job’s a job. Oh! I knitted you a knapsack to take. Send the boys over for it, will you?” And then, she hung up on me. Yes, my own mother.

To say that panic had set in would be unfair. I was on the edge of full-blown mass hysteria. I started to pace back and forth while my children calmly watched me rant like a lunatic.

“I can’t do this! There’s no way I’ll be ready in time! And why do I have to fly to Canada just to come back down here to Costa Rica? That would at least buy me a day or two! Who are these people? If I kill the producer would they drop the show?”

“It says here that you are a homemaker from Texas,” Jack said quietly. In spite of his mischievous nature he knew when to avoid a joke at my expense.

“What?” I spun on my heel.

He sighed as if having to deal with me was some sort of chore. “You’re a homemaker from Texas. Widowed. You went to college on a bowling scholarship and in your free time like to cook, decorate and long to find another man to take care of.”

“Bowling scholarship?” Monty asked, missing the point entirely.

“Give me that!” I ripped the page from my son. Yup. That’s what it said, alright. Where in the hell did they get that? I can’t cook, and decorating the condo damn near killed me. Mom! She must have written this. I’ll kill her!

“You can’t bowl!” Monty informed me.

I pointed at the door. “Go upstairs and tell Grandma I’m NOT going!”

A few minutes later, my son returned with the bag and a note from Mom that read, Hope you like the bag, honey. Be sure to get waxed before you go. Can’t get a man if you’re hairy like a monkey. The tote bag she knitted for me said Hot to Trot. Get Me While I’m Hot.

If she weren’t my mother, I’d kill her.

My sister, Jenny, is also featured rather prominently in the same book. The character of Sami, a sweet, but foul-mouthed electrician is based entirely on her. You might think that sounds weird but I consider it a loving tribute. Jenny is, in fact, an electrician and let's just say that her usual pet names for us run from the affectionate "Dumbass" (usually reserved for holidays and special occaisions) to the creative "Buttdart" (more commonly used in text messages, when shopping, or introducing her to important people).

Here's an introduction to Sami, based on her introduction to the other contestants on Survival;

“Hell. My name’s Sami. And don’t any of you assholes even think of calling me Samantha.”

I realized that from here on out, virtually everything Sami said would be bleeped.

I'm curious - does anyone else do this...or is it just me? Let me know if you use your family for characters in your writing. After all, I may need a new family after my mom and sister read this.

The Assassin

Lessons I've Learned


Linda C. please contact me at and give me your home addy so I can send your gifts.

Thanks for posting everyone. Remember, read Wedding and get ready for some trivia questions to the big basket prize.

Crime Scene Christie

Okay, my husband sent me a humorous email that had some funny age appropriate truths. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to write my own truths. So here are some things I’ve learned on my jolly little path called life.

P.S. Pop over to to read another blog by yours truely. There's also a contest over there!

Hard truths I learned as a Kid
1) Your mom will eventually find the vegetables you didn’t eat and you hid behind the refrigerator.
2) Your dog probably won’t eat your broccoli, but if he does don’t let him sleep with you that night.
3) When your mom changes your younger brother’s diaper, don’t stand too close.
4) Never trust the girl next door to cut your hair.
5) When learning how to ride a bike, never use your brother’s bicycle.
6) When the boy next door says he’ll show you his, if you’ll show him yours, make him go first.
7) When your brother tells you to pull his finger, don’t!

Hard truths I learned as a Teenager

1) Getting caught by your granddaddy who is only wearing his underwear when you’re receiving your first kiss isn’t the end of the world, even though it feels like it.
2) Never kiss a guy when you have the hiccups.
3) Never beat a guy at arm wrestling if you want him to like you.
4) Always retie your bikini top before diving off the high dive.
5) When the boy next door says he wants to show you his favorite toy, he’s not talking about his Rubik cube. Basically, stay away from the boy next door.
6) When cleaning your brother’s room, never look under his mattress. And if you do, don’t go show mom. Your brother will never forgive you, but it does sort of get even for him asking you to pull his finger.

Hard Truths I learned as an Adult

1) The sheer agony of childbirth is easy compared to raising the child but it’s worth it when you first hold the precious bundle.
2) When a man says he doesn’t want you anymore, you are usually a lucky gal. Divorce is survivable; being married to some jerk is a lot harder.
3) Just because one man you loved did you wrong, doesn’t mean the next one will. Love deserves a chance.
4) Raising teenagers makes nailing pudding to a wall look easy.
5) If you son asks you to pull his finger, don’t! (Is that hereditary?)
6) Wrinkles don’t hurt until you get a new prescription for your glasses.
7) When you find out the boy who used to live next door to you is a preacher, don’t laugh too hard because the person telling you the news probably belongs to the church and will want an explanation for your laughter.
8) Never let age stop you from feeling young.
Because it’s still June and because it is my release month for Weddings Can Be Murder, I’m giving away some more note cards and a Sexy, Suspenseful and Seriously Funny Tee-shirt. So post away. Tell me some truths you’ve learned. Or tell me where you’ve seen Weddings Can Be Murder on a store shelf.

Also, I’m going to be holding a big contest at the end of June. I’ll be asking some questions about the Weddings Can Be Murder plot. The people who answer the questions correctly, will be put in a drawing to win a Pamper Me Like a Bride basket. Inside, I’ll have great books, chocolate, candles, a Tee-shirt, and other goodies. So pick up a copy of Weddings and be ready to answer a few questions.

Crime Scene Christie

P.S. Don’t forget that next Sunday is Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day dad!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Guess I'll Just Go On And Die - And I HAVE Insurance

If any of you have been to the emergency room in the last well, ten years or so, maybe you've noticed that no one actually acts likes there's an emergency anywhere. I was thinking about something that happened to me three years ago and thought I'd share it with you.

I had allergy testing done during the week - you know where they put all the stuff you might be allergic to on needles then poke a ton of them in your arms. Then you sit and wait to see what you have an allergic reaction to. Well, guess what - I'm allergic to everything and my arms showed it within a minute - not the normal ten. So the doctor was afraid I might get sick from the testing and told me to double up on my allergy medicine. Which apparently sent my heart spiraling.

So of course, it's Saturday when the problem appears. My heart would simply stop beating for a couple of seconds, then give a HUGE beat that spiked through the top of my head and made me dizzy. So I did what any good technology geek would do - I googled it. Well, turns out the PVC's (which are annoying but benign) and the precursor symptoms to a heart attack are apparently the same. So my husband and I headed up to the emergency room to have someone check out my heart.

First off, I told them my heart was stopping on a fairly regular basis, but I still had to wait 2 hours in the waiting room. Once in the room, we waited another 2 hours after testing for an answer. So finally I grabbed a nurse and said "I'm just going to go. Apparently nothing is very wrong." And she says "You can't leave. There's something wrong with your heart. We're admitting you to the hospital." Well, doncha think that was information someone should have given me hours ago??????

So we wait and wait and wait and wait, and my husband every 45 minutes or so keeps asking if there is any progress and what is going on, but can't get anyone to take interest. He walks back in the room frustrated beyond belief and says "I can't get anyone's attention out there." Finally fed up, I said "I can," and pulled all the heart monitoring equipment off my chest. So the machine flatlines, alarms went off and I awaited the attention I was long overdue.

It came 15 minutes later.

So I said to the nurse "I flatlined 15 minutes ago and you're just now coming in here?" To which she replies "Oh that machine hasn't been working right for weeks." Well, that's encouraging, especially if they're using it as a basis to decide I need the additional expense of a hospital bill.

So they finally get me into a hospital room and I haven't eaten in forever. My chart clearly says that I'm in there to have my heart monitored until I can have a stress test and I have 5 million wires hooked up to my chest. The nurse goes to the cafeteria to get me a dinner (b/c the regular round has already happened), and does she pick me up the food for heart patients? Of course not - she shows up with chicken, pasta (all salted), a soda and a chocolate brownie. Well, let's see salt, caffeine and a shitload of carbs - probably all the things you need if your heart has problems.

I ate every damned bite of it.

For the record, I had PVC's and they still turn up occasionally. Not sure why as I can't find a common thread between anything I'm doing and when they happen, but I am sure that if I'd been having a heart attack, I probably would have passed away before anyone noticed.

So anyone else with a hospital horror story?

Deadly (Not Yet Dead) DeLeon

Sunday, June 08, 2008

YouTube Sunday!

Oh my God, I am having so much fun watching all your YouTube videos! I think I laughed for half an hour straight last night. This week, it was really hard to chose just one. So, since I was out of town last week and didn’t post a winner, I’m picking two!

The first one is called the “Evolution of Dance” and comes from Dawn. Congrats, Dawn, I’ll send your signed copy of UNDERCOVER IN HIGH HEELS out tomorrow!
(P.S. I had tears in my eyes by the end of this one.)

This second one, called "Buhlud", is for all you mystery fans. I’m seriously going to have to write some “buhlud” into my next book. ;) Thanks to Theresa for sending it in. Theresa, your prize is going out tomorrow!

Keep those video suggestions coming - we've got more signed books to give away next week!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Gemma’s Hollywood Adventure

I've spent last week bopping around L.A., pitching a TV pilot script based on one of my books and signing at the big huge Book Expo America convention. So much fun! Here’s the recap of my trip:

Day 1:
Drove down to L.A. and pulled up to my hotel holding my breath. I’d booked it online through one of those discount travel sites, so I had no idea what I was getting into. But it's just a couple blocks from Rodeo Drive, so can't bee too bad, right? Oh. My. God. Gorgeous! I truly felt like I had arrived in Beverly Hills. Posh glass doors, smartly dress doorman, bubbling fountains, huge suite, private hot tub, chocolates on my pillow… I could so get used to this.

After unpacking, my manager picked me up to go to my first meeting in Hollywood. Unfortunately, the traffic was horrendous, every street below Sunset at a standstill. Finally we figured out why - it was the night of the Sex and the City movie premier. (How cool! I was in Sex and the City traffic!) Once we finally made it to the restaurant, this uber chic artsy place surrounded by trees and fountains, I had dinner with my manager, a producer, and this woman with an amazing true story that they wanted to develop a TV series around. Let me tell you, she was a crack up! We had such a good time, and I’m really excited about the project. Very chick litty but with a cool, edgy new twist. Can’t wait to get started.

Day 2:
Woke up early and my lovely manager came to pick me up and take me on a whirlwind day of non-stop meetings.

First up was a visit to a big agency. And when I say big, I mean holy-crap-that-whole-freakin-building-belongs-to-them big. Just slightly intimidating. We valet the car, walk in and there’s a reception desk with, not one, but three polished looking receptionists with headset things, who told us to have a seat and they’d let the agent know I was there. So, we cross the marble floor to the marble staircase and sit on one of the sofas in front of the marble tables and watch this modern art projection piece on the marble wall. (See a decorating trend here?) I’m trying not to get dizzy watching the projection art thingie, when my manager nudges me in the arm. I look up. This really hot guy has just walked into the reception room to wait. I stare. And realize I recognize that hot guy. It’s Matthew McConaughey! I try really hard not to pull out my cell phone and take squealy fan-girl pictures of him. (P.S. He is just as gorgeous in person. Tan, blonde, cut, that lopsided adorable smile… crap, I’m drooling again.)

After the agency, we head to a couple of meetings with network and producer types where I feel so incredibly cool that we’re “on the list” to get on the studio lots. These studios are all over town, so we’re driving back and forth through L.A. traffic all day. Let me tell you, there is no better place to people watch. My list of “only in L.A.” sightings:
A hummer parked on someone’s front lawn (at least it wasn’t on cinderblocks)
A billboard for where to buy marijuana (Seriously. With an 800 number and everything.)
A long haired guy in silk robes and love beads sitting on the front lawn of an apartment building, meditating in a cross-legged position… with a cup of Starbucks next to him.
Gotta love this town.

After my meetings, I was beat. I met a friend, mystery author Jon Hargrove, for enchiladas and much needed margaritas at a hot Mexican place in Beverly Hills. We had a great time watching the Lakers come from behind to semi-final victory. (Go Kobe!)

Day 3:
Started the day off with a network meeting, then headed out to the convention center downtown for the Book Expo America, a HUGE book fair. Every kind of book or book gadget you can imagine on display. Tons of free books for the taking everywhere you turn. I was in heaven. I signed copies of ALIBI IN HIGH HEELS at the Dorchester booth, along with fab authors C.L. Wilson and Jennifer Ashley. Some incredibly brilliant person at Dorchester decided it would be a good idea to serve wine during the signing, and we just had a blast! It was so much fun meeting all the booksellers and wonderful to meet some of the Dorchester sales force for the first time.

From the Expo, I jetted out to one last TV agent meeting in Beverly Hills, then over to Chinatown for dinner with my Dorchester peeps. Round trip total miles: 20. Time to travel it: 2 hours. Serious traffic. The homeless guy with the shopping cart on the side of the road was moving faster than I was. No joke.

Day 4t:
After three days of non-stop meetings, I’m ready for a break. I meet up with some of my fun L.A. author friends – Eden Bradley, Shante' Lanay , and Dana Belfry – and we head to Venice Beach for a day of sangrias and people watching. It was an experience to be sure. Some really neat jewelry vendors and funky little boutiques, but the highlight by far was the locals. Some of my favs:

Punk with a pink tricycle (we waited around to see if he would ride it… he never did. Very Disappointing.)
The King of Muscle Beach (Flex for me darling!)
The famous roller skating turban wearing, guitar playing Venice Beach guy!

Day 5:
I pack up and say goodbye to my movie star hotel and drive back to the Expo. I get there right as it opens. Because today, I’m on a mission. There are free books inside, I’ve got a huge trunk in my car - you do the math. I grab two tote bags and scour the booths, filling both so full that I’m about to topple over. (Okay, at one point I did topple over as I reached for a book on the floor. But no one needs to know that…) I drop those books at the car, then race back in for more. At the end of the day, I have six tote bags stuffed to the brim with books. I’m a little giddy. I go back inside one last time to sign books at the RWA booth (which is set up to look like an adorable little Italian café!) with the lovely and talented Miss Sylvia Day. Then, I pack myself up into my car and head out of town (at a crawl, because, of course, there’s traffic).

Day 6:
My arms/shoulders/back are so sore from carrying pilfered books I can’t even lift my arms to my keyboard. Oy. Need a chiropractor pronto. But so worth it for all the great books. Hmm… maybe I’ll just take the day off and read instead…

So, how was your week?

~Trigger Happy Halliday