Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

I'm a little late to the game today. Yes, I know it's Monday, but it's a holiday, so it doesn't register like a regular Monday. Thank Goodness! Have I ever told you all how I hate Mondays....this week? So this morning, I got up bright and early at 6:30 am and wrote until 10:30, then headed out to see Prince of Persia.

I really liked it. Of course, staring at Jake Gyllenhaal for a couple of hours is hardly torture, and the movie was good too. (grins)

Lately, for relaxation (what little I attempt) I've been trying to do some crafty sort of stuff while watching tv. I added glass beads to a candle holder a couple of weeks ago that turned out nicely and then some people on one of the writer's forums I visit turned me on to a new website. You can create your own stuff (kinda like Cafe Press, for those that are familiar with it), but this place seems to have more selection. You create graphics or take pics, upload them to the objects and create your own stuff. You can also create your own store with your stuff and get a commission on the sale.

Despite attempting to learn Photoshop for over a year now, I have to say it still gives me the craps, but I'm getting better. Unfortunately, not better enough, fast enough, so I cheated and got a cheap, easy-to-use graphics software to play with. So here's my official store.

As you can see, I've only managed a couple of things and clearly I have some color preferences and like the girly stuff, but it is kinda fun. Not sure I'm ever going to purchase that notebook for $18, but the mousepad and the coffee mug are maybes.

And I'd also like to apologize ahead of time for anyone who visits the site and gets sucked into the graphic designing hole.

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, May 28, 2010

I hate sprinklers... and really need some sleep

Okay, sprinkler update (because I know you are all dying to know):

My grandfather came over last weekend and had the brilliant idea to put a brick over the offending sprinkler. We did. It worked like a charm the first night. But then the second night, someone moved the brick. Jerks. I moved it back. Great night’s sleep. Third night, someone moved it again. Gah! Would encasing the sprinkler head in wet cement be going too far?

And we encountered another problem… a second sprinkler. Turn out, when the first one is under brick, the water pressure of the others is higher. Which means the second farthest one from our bedroom now pelts the wall.


The Man suggested we go stick a wine cork in the sprinkler head to stop it up. That is plan B.

(Can you tell how obsessed I’ve become with sprinklers? Three full blog posts it’s occupied. If the men in white coats come to take me away, I’ll likely be curled in a fetal position in the corner, rocking and muttering, “sprinklers, sprinklers, sprinklers”.)

Okay, when I haven’t been obsessing about lawn care this week, I’ve been gearing up to teach a series of online workshops this summer. I had a lot of fun doing this last year, so I’ve expanded them this year to include a couple new ones. You can check them all out on my website at:

The first one on power editing, called What Not to Write, starts June 7th, so if anyone wants a little kick in the pants to get that manuscript in tip top shape, check it out.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Patience is a virtue...But I want it NOW, Babushka!

Another week has gone by and I'm still playing the agent waiting game. Good thing I was gifted with an abundance of patience. What's that I hear? It sounds like tittering. Okay. So maybe patience isn't really one of my strong suits. Which brings to mind a book I used to read to my children and hadn't thought about in a very long time. Until now, that is.

Written and illustrated by Patricia Pollaco, BABUSKA'S DOLL the story of a selfish, young girl who wants everything 'RIGHT NOW!' Fed up with her granddaughter's whining, Babuska goes to run errands leaving Natasha behind with a very special playmate: a doll who mysteriously subjects the unsuspecting Natasha to the same whiney, 'I want it now' treatment she perpetrated on her grandmother. By the time Babuska returns home, Natasha has learned a very important lesson about the perils of 'me first' thinking. It's a wonderful story and the illlustrations are fabulous so if you have a wee one who might be getting a wee bit full of him or herself, pick up a copy and read it to them.


So. Here's a question for those of you who have or are doing the 'agent search'. Do you go the one-agent-at-a-time query route or do you send out multiple queries to different agents and agencies? Is there a proper etiquette here? Are you wiser to query multiple agents so you have a base of comparison as you interview prospective agents or is it more suitable to focus on one at a time? I'm getting antsy-pantsy to find a new agent and get back on the publishing treadmill and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

Tomorrow's my Friday for the work week! Anybody have any special plans for Memorial Day weekend? I may get to weed and feed my yard this week. Looks like the weather may finally cooperate.

Have a super--and safe--long weekend!

~Bullet Hole~

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Day Has Come

Winner! Winner! The winner of the $10 gift certificate to Amazon is ....Cheryl! Congrats, Cheryl!

Don't forget, I'll be blogging a lot this week and will be giving away prizes all month long!



It’s here. The day Shut Up and Kiss Me is officially released. You can bet I’m biting my nails, hoping my baby looks pretty sitting on the bookstore shelves and praying that tons of readers will be leaving the store with my book snug in their purchase bags. Then I hope when they get home, they look around at the different chores they need to do—you know, like vacuuming, dusting, and scrubbing toilets, and I hope they say, “Oh, what the hell!” and they pull my book out of that bag, curl up on the sofa, or in the bed, and let me take them away on a romantic adventure that promises to make them care, laugh, and sigh.

And because today is release day, I’ll be holding contest every week at Killer Fiction for the next month. Today’s contest is simple. Just tell me where you buy your books and one lucky person will receive a $10 gift certificate to See, that’s simple, right? I’m also hosting a contest on my website. Check it out below:

What I've Learned from Romance Novels:

In 250 words or less, tell me what you've learned from romance novels. The winner will receive a fun, get-ready-for-the-beach basket.

It's almost summer time and you know what that means-gathering up your beach gear and heading to the shore with a copy of your favorite romance novel. To celebrate my new release, and the arrival of summer beach fun, I'm holding a contest just for readers. The prize will include: A beach towel, a sand bucket, sun screen, body lotion, and a signed copy of Shut Up and Kiss Me and more.

To enter, write me a 250 word essay on "What I've learned from reading romance novels" and email it to me by clicking here. Please no attachments - just copy and paste your essay into the email message. Winners will be published on my blog at Killer Fiction. Deadline for receipt of entries is June 15th. Good luck!

But that’s not all, I’m also hosting numerous contests at various blogs. Today, I’m giving away two ten dollar gift cards to B&N. And then there’s Wednesday and Thursday and then next Tuesday. See the list below:

May 25th - Tracy Madison's Blog - Fate and Destiny…Do you believe? One commenter will win a $10 gift card to B&N
May 25th - Pop Syndicate - Interview with Christie. One commenter will win a $10 Gift Card to B&N
May 26th - Sia McKye's Thoughts Over Coffee - The Art of Jabbering & Networking at Conferences. One commenter will win an autographed copy of Shut Up and Kiss Me.
May 26th - Running with Quills - Making Your Dreams Come True. One commenter will win a 15$ B&N gift card
May 27th - Romantic Times - The Banana Peel Effect - One commenter will win a $10 gift card for Barnes and Noble.
June 1st - Write By Bethany - An interview with Christie. One commenter will receive an autographed copy of Shut Up and Kiss Me
June 1st - Romance Novel Sluts - One commenter will receive a $10 B&N gift card.

Now I just want to say thank you for stopping in, and don't forget to leave a comment about where you buy your books, and I hope you have a wonderful day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Boring Adults

Remember when you were a teenager and you looked around at adults and thought they were incredibly boring? No matter what, adults seemed old to me. For example, my cousins may have been 20 when I was 10, but that was an adult, so now that I'm 42 and they're 52, they still seem old to me even though we're not that much different in decades. Then I see silly kids in the store and I realize, they're looking at me and thinking I'm just some old, boring adult, too. And compared to being a stupid teenager, I am.

I sometimes wonder how any of my high school friends made it to adulthood without a major crisis. I was not that much of a risk-taker, other than running through cemeteries (and that's a whole other story), but some of my friends had serious issues. Like take my friend Joe (we'll call him). Joe was a great alcoholic our senior year of high school. Back then, the legal drinking age was 18, so it's not like he was breaking 50 major laws to buy the was the driving afterward that was a problem.

Joe also liked to steal road signs, along with a couple of other friends, and he decorated his room with them. Of course, that turned out to be a really bad idea the time he drove drunk, sped, ran two red lights and four stop signs running from the police...and led them right back to his house, where he hid in his room.

But there was this one time that Joe pulled a great funny with the help of a sober friend. Joe's parents were out of town, so Joe was having the obligatory teen party. It was summer, so kids were milling around outside, inside - this is a half-acre lot, so plenty of milling room. I was in the den with a group of kids watching that horror classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Well, Joe's girlfriend picked that night to break up with him, so Joe picked that night to stand in the middle of the den, down an entire bottle of vodka and give her the bird along with the words that go with the bird.

Then he passed out on the floor, and since the show was over, we went back to the movie. (Remember, we were too young and stupid to think he might be dead) So Joe wakes up and slinks off to the garage. A sober friend followed him and caught him getting ready to fire up the chainsaw. NOT a good idea when sober, much less after a bottle of vodka and when said ex-girlfriend is still "milling" in the backyard. So the sober friend takes control - he removes the chain from the saw, fires it up and sends Joe in the house to terrorize people.

I have never seen people move so fast. Kids ran out doors, jumped out windows. It's a miracle things weren't broken in the fray - including kids. But it was funny. And still makes me wonder how some of us made it to be adults. Or heck, maybe some of us never did. I don't know where Joe is, but maybe he's still drinking vodka and playing with chainsaws.

What about you - surprised you or some of your friends lasted beyond the teen years?

Deadly DeLeon

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Caption Contest - Come Join The Fun!

Hey. . . Since I know you guys love books and have practice writing photo captions that I've posted here at Killer Fiction, I thought I'd let you know about a contest Dorchester is doing with my RT photos. Contest ends soon, so make sure you enter now!

The following 3 candid photos featuring various contestants of the Mr. Romance competition.

a) with Diane and Tanya from the Dorchester team

b) performing together

c) acting out a scene with author Marie-Claude Bourque

These photos have been selected after much debate, and in some cases, protestation, for a Caption Contest!

So lend your wit and levity to captioning these pics and the best of the best will win a selection of books worth $50, including Connie Mason's Lord of Devil Isle featuring Mr. Romance 2009, Charles Paz, on the cover and American Title V winner Marie-Claude Bourque's Ancient Whispers.

The winner will be announced Tuesday, May 25th. Good luck and have fun - I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

To see more photos plus videos and a recap of RT - click here!

To enter go to:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rant Update

Sooo…. Remember that sprinkler from last week?  The one that pelts our house like a freakin fire hose every night at 3am and 4:30am?  Well, I did, in fact, get some very sly neighborhood kids to break it for me.  They took the entire head clean off.  Bwahahaha.  I was looking to a nice peaceful night’s sleep.

Then at 3am the fire hose started.  Apparently when it’s broken, it still spews water.  It just doesn’t rotate like it’s supposed to.   Guess where it spews?  Directly at my bedroom!  Instead of running back and forth, it spray directly at my bedroom.  Or, more accurately, the metal storm drain running down the length of my bedroom wall.  So, now instead of a fire hose, it’s a fire hose hitting a metal drum.  Fab.

It’s been three days since I’ve slept.  This is what I get for directing young children to destroy property.

I saw the landlord lurking around our place today and almost grabbed him to talk about my sprinkler woes.  Only I wasn’t dressed and figured he wouldn’t appreciate the early morning moon, so I will be emailing him tomorrow.  If that doesn’t work, I’m gonna pay the kids to break the water main to the neighbor’s house.  That’s not wrong, is it?  

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another Week in the Trenches...

It's Week Five of my Great Agent Search--'great' being somewhat ill-suited for a pursuit that invites rejection, humiliation (see my first week's post) and terror at the possibility nobody wants you.

This week I'm in a waiting game. Agent Nibble Number One requested material for review two weeks ago. The response time on partials is four weeks. You can imagine the state I'm in.

This week my plan was to write, write, write while I waited, waited, waited. While I didn't get the volume of writing completed I'd hoped for, I did manage to work on several new projects. This week's next biggest project? Waging all-out war on that *#@! creeping charlie that has invaded my yard.

After asking advice from every homeowner I saw and Googling 'Killing Creeping Charlie' (I so hope this search doesn't get me put on some list somewhere) I settled on a 'no-fail' solution (with easy-to-follow video, no less) offered by a master gardener turned TV garden host.

The instructions are pretty basic. A garden hose. A dial sprayer. Weed B Gon Max. Turbo Spreader Sticker. A dry, sunny day. And the ability to measure and count.

Simple enough.

Hey. I know what you're thinking.

I begin to gather the necessary equipment. I pull out my garden hose, screw it onto the exterior faucet and pull it to the front yard. It's too short. I screw on another hose. Turn it on again. No water pressure. I investigate. The second hose has a huge rip in it. I write down 'hose' on my shopping list along with the sprayer and weed eradicator and spreader sticker. I hit the local Wally's World, find the weed killer and grab a hose, but can't find the Spreader Sticker anywhere. Now before I found these 'easy' instructions for choking off charlie, I'd never heard of spreader sticker--and apparently neither had the garden 'gurus' at my local stores. I struck out big time on the spreader sticker.

So today, I go in search of the final ingredient needed to initiate and sustain my month-long battle with Charlie the Creeper. And guess what? Rain is in the forecast.

First round to Charlie.

On the bright side I can use the rainy day to write--and wait for 'the great agent call' or check for 'the great agent email'. And eat way too much chocolate while I'm waiting.

All I can say is if I don't hook an agent soon, Creeping Charlie so hasn't got a prayer.

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sgt. Assassin's Birthday!

It's Sgt. Assassin's 44th birthday today! And how does he get to spend it? With some sweaty guys in a dust-choked, humid tent! Yay!

I do feel bad about that. But it is hardly my fault, right? No! But since he's 9 hours away, I need to think of a creative way to celebrate his birthday.

Why? Because last November was our 20th Wedding Anniversary. I spent it curled up on the couch with a bottle of Mad Housewife Chardonnay and a pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food. I was wearing sock monkey pajamas and watching GLEE, or V, something like that. I'm pretty sure one of the kids was sick and we were out of milk.

You know what? Let's just forget I said all that and pretend I was in a coma. That sounds much better.

So anyhow, since I didn't really do anything interesting for such a huge milestone as that, I feel like I should do something interesting now, right? So, I'm open to suggestions. Any, suggestions. Seriously. I'm kinda desperate. Don't make me hit the ice cream section of HyVee out of desperation.

The Assassin

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Guest Blogger - Jan Hudson


Linda Henderson you are the winner of Jan's book. Please send me your snail mail address at christie (at) christie-craig. com.

I don't know about you guys but I've always been fascinated by dreams. That's why I so excited to have romance author Jan Hudson as our guest blogger this morning. Jan is a dream expert in her other life and she has very graciously agreed to share an excerpt with us from her unpublished book proposal on dreams.

Jan has helped me figure out several of my own dreams and her insight was amazing. But Jan is also one heck of a writer. And today, she'll be giving away a copy of her book. So make sure you leave a comment and pop over here tomorrow morning to see the winner announced.

So, take it away, Jan!



The following is an excerpt from an unpublished book proposal by dream expert Dr. Janece O. Hudson aka Jan Hudson author of THE MAVERICK, Harlequin American Romance, May 2010. (Last of the Texas Outlaw series.)


Last night, 1,438,225,000 movies of the mind played in the bedrooms of the United States, all of them unique, many of them vitally important for the people who dreamed them. By ignoring the dreams that you had last night, did you fail to heed a message that warned of the early stages of breast cancer or heart disease? Did you miss the stock tip that could have made you rich or the creative idea that could have made your life a thousand times easier? Did you miss an answer to your prayers or a key to greater happiness and fulfillment in your relationships?

Learning to tap that wondrous inner source of wisdom and to work with your dreams is the greatest gift you could give yourself. The world's finest diagnostician, market analyst, creative thinker, sage, and counselor is as close as your pillow.

The advice is free. Deciphering the advice takes a bit of effort.

Psychologists have constructed elaborate theories to explain the mysterious content of dreams; other analysts, more arcane and less scientific, propose their own sets of meanings to dream symbolism--many of which strain credibility. All strive to make sense of the movies of our minds with tomes filled with incomprehensible psychobabble or dictionaries of outlandish definitions for various dream elements.

Grab your popcorn and a package of Junior Mints, and let's briefly explore the wonderful world of dreams, those movies of the mind that entertain us (or scare us) every night while we sleep.

“Oh, I don't dream," you say.

Not true. Scientists have discovered that everybody dreams from four to seven dreams each night--unless they're three sheets to the wind or on certain drugs. With a little practice, you can learn to recall and record your dreams.

-- It’s simply self-suggestion. Try these easy steps before you go to sleep at night:

-- Place an open notebook and pencil beside your bed.

-- Suggest to yourself that you will remember your dreams.

-- When you awaken--before you move--try to capture some-thing (a feeling, a fragment, an entire dream).

-- Write it down in as much detail as possible. Include emotions/body reactions.

-- If you get nothing, roll over in bed and see if something comes.

-- Date your entry and write a brief account of the previous day’s activities (like a diary). Include thoughts, emotions, fights, awards, dilemmas, etc. (Dreams are about current events in your life.)

-- Repeat each night for a week. You’ll get results. I guarantee it!

"Why would I want to record my dreams?" you ask. "Aren't they all about Freud and sex and hating your father?"


Most contemporary dream analysts agree that dreams are about a wider variety of subjects than those Freud suggested. The things that fill your days also fill your nights. (If all a person dreams about is sex, we wonder what’s going on during the day.) Dreams are about work and play and family, about relationships and aspirations and disappointments. They are about physical, emotional, and spiritual needs--and about a world of other things, including the past and the future.

I think of dreams as messages from our inner counselor and agree with Carl Jung and a number of other psychologists who tend to think of dreams as instruments to help keep us in balance and headed down the road of growth, self-actualization–or whatever they may label becoming the best that we can be.

My experience indicates that dreams, including nightmares, are very often about our needs as defined by psychologist Abraham Maslow–everything from the most basic physical ones (food, water, shelter, and yes, sex) to the most wondrous spiritual ones. They run the gamut from the profane to the profound, from suggesting the best brand of canned tuna to buy to those that take a man to task for hurtful behaviors toward his son, and those that are clearly prophetic.

Some dreams are funny; some are mundane; some are scary; some are deeply moving. Some dreams encourage us to exercise or cut out sweets; others warn of dangers in our pathway. All are messages to be interpreted, information to be used.

"That's very nice," you say, "but all that weird stuff I dream about doesn't make a lick of sense, so how can I use it for anything?"

You're not alone in your feelings. If dreams are movies of the mind, lots of people feel as if they’ve stumbled into a theater playing a foreign film--with no subtitles. In many ways that’s exactly what they are. Dreams are played in another language, a language of concrete images instead of abstract thought, a language that’s an amalgam of feeling and experience and unconscious scripts, and we have to learn to speak the language to be able to translate the meaning.

Always remember this critical point: Dreams are very personal and highly individual, and you are the best interpreter of your own productions. While we can make some generalizations about themes, characters, props and actions, everyone’s experiences are different. Don’t trust books with lists of symbols and meanings stating such specifics as dreaming of finding gold means you’re going to be rich or dreams about black-eyed peas means that Aunt Harriet is coming to visit next Tuesday. It’s not that simple.

Quick tips for interpreting dreams:

-- Themes: Read over the dream you’ve recorded and see if you can find a theme, a “high concept” if you will. Feeling lost, frustrated, anxious? Is you dream about direction, change, decisions? How does it relate to your actions or thoughts yesterday?

-- Look at figures of speech for clues. Metaphors and analogies often show up in dreams as concrete images for abstract ideas. A bear pushing a person off a building might indicate a “bear market” to an investor; a car with a flat might signal a dreamer who is “flat tired” and needs to rest. (Your car sometimes represents your body.)

-- List symbols and the meaning each has for you. (Writers and English teachers are great with this.) If you dream about a duck, what does a duck mean to you? What do you associate with your sister, an airplane, an office building, being naked? Now can you get a better idea of what your dream is about?

I hope this helps get you started. If you have a puzzling dream, I’ll be happy to help the first five people who e-mail me the complete dream at

Roll ’em.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Someone Pass Me Coffee

I hate Mondays. Have I ever shared that piece of information with you? I actually have no idea why I chose Monday for my blogging day when I am rarely awake and lack any energy on Monday. If I received 52 sick days a year, I would call off sick every single Monday. I don't get those people who take a vacation day on Friday. What's the point of that? It's Monday that stinks!

America Idol update: Down to the wire with Crystal, Lee and Casey. I'm sorta surprised that Casey made it this far. Not that he doesn't have talent - what a fantastic guitarist, but I just figured he wouldn't sustain the popular vote. America is rather silly sometimes with their voting. What DOES surprise me is that with all the availability of song choices this year, he STILL hasn't done a Stevie Ray song. I bet he could get the guitar down and surely that would win votes. Ah, well, no one said he was a genius, right? I still think Crystal should win. She's clearly the best and most polished artist there.

Last week weirdness: My two best friends will tell you that nothing normal ever happens to me. I get all the oddball things. So remember how a couple of weeks ago, I was sicker than sick with bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infection, etc. Well, not sooner was I breathing right again that I noticed this bump on the top of my foot when I was shaving. Since I don't spend all day staring at my feet, and it was were a bone is, I checked it against the other foot to see if it was out of line. Sure enough, it was bigger. Well, this is the foot that I've broken motorcycle racing, so I just figured it was flared up or something and ignored it. The next day, I looked down and could see it from 5'8" away. Then I started wondering if it was a spider bite.

So the next day, the darn thing is twice the size - now the size of a quarter and swollen a good half-inch up from my foot. So I go to my doctor who says it's not a spider bite and gets me in with a podiatrist, who tells me its a harmless cyst, well, except for the part where it's located on my foot exactly where the top of shoes go. So I can't exactly wear shoes. I can put a flipflop partially on that foot and Human Resources is going to LOVE that one if they catch me. So I direct the podiatrist to try to drain the thing and he gets it about half it's size. But it's big again the next day.

So basically, if I sit on my butt and never move and soak the foot in warm water every couple of hours, then it stays small. If I move much and don't soak, it gets huge. Well, I'm not Paris Hilton and while I DO sit on my butt all day, I kinda have to go to work to do some of it. So this is not going to work unless I want to go barefoot or wear socks or flipflops the rest of my life. So now I have to find a doctor to do surgery to remove the darn thing.

I couldn't have just had a spider bit.....noooooooooooo, that would have been far too simple.

And I have a favor to ask for all our loyal readers (and any visitors), please click on this link and cheer for Margot. This is an online contest where you cheer for the person riding the bicycle and the cheers are all for those battling cancer. Margot has been battling Ovarian cancer for two years. So please vote. Word is, she has been encouraged by all the cheering so far! You can vote every day after 9:00. Thanks!

Deadly (limping) DeLeon

Friday, May 14, 2010


I’m generally a pretty laid back person, but lately there is something that is driving my crazy. Seriously crazy. It’s my neighbor next door. Or, more accurately, his yard.

So, when we first moved in , the building next door had flooded. The guy living there had had enough and was moving out. Two weeks later, repairs on the flood began. Which meant that first thing in the morning (we’re talking 6am here, as soon as the sun was up) there was a worker outside our bedroom window. And I mean RIGHT outside. Two feet away. Banging, digging, clanging. And the worst part - it was just one worker. We prayed he worked fast.

After a week of being awakened by lone worker at sunrise every morning (mind you, the man works nights, so he’s only just gotten to bed and I’m with the baby getting up all night, so I’ve really only just got to bed by then, too) lone worker brought friends. Three of them to finish up the job. They all spoke Spanish. Loudly. Then started singings. (Serenity now!!)

Finally, after digging up their whole yard and replacing all the plumbing, the work was done. Yay! We were looking forward to a peaceful night’s sleep for once.

That night at 3 am, sprinklers right outside our window gurgled to life (like a geyser) and proceeded to pelt the outside wall of our bedroom with water. It sounded like a fire hose or pressure washer.

Then, at 4:30, the same sprinklers went on again!

Every night since then, we get pressure washed at 3am and 4:30. Every. Single. Night.

Last night, we’d finally had enough. The man and I both popped out of bed (cursing, I might add) and scoured every window to find which was the offending sprinkler head. We think we found it. It’s out by the sidewalk. My plan today? Break the sucker off.

Okay, that’s my rant. Anyone else have something you wanna get off your chest? Free rant session today!

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Agent Nibble Number One

Another week has elapsed in my search for new literary representation. And what a week it was. Between work, rain up the whazoo, keeping a 'weather eye' on my basement floor drains, and getting trapped in a car wash with my son (more on that in a bit) I desperately needed something positive to combat the doldrums I'm feeling.

A nibble from an agent was just what the therapist ordered.

And it couldn't have come at a more opportune moment.

Here's where the car wash comes in. Picture this scenario:

My son is home from college. Saturday morning I take my car to get serviced. My son picks me up in his car and asks me to drive it as he wants to see if I think it's running okay. I get behind the wheel and we drive to the local Walmart and decide to drive through the car wash. We put the money in for the deluxe wash and the overhead door comes up. I pull ahead. The undercarriage washer comes on. I just clear the overhead door when I notice the battery and engine lights on the dashboard are on. Then I realize the car isn't running. I put it in park and try to start it.

It won't start.

I wait for the undercarriage washer to shut off and when it does, we get out and I raise the hood. Now, I'm not sure why I raised the hood because I really didn't have a clue what I should be looking at, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Meanwhile, my son tries to start his car again. No luck.

We're looking at each other and trying to figure out what the heck to do when the overhead door behind us starts to go down. We watch as it closes.

I look around for a way to open one of the doors but can't find the emergency release. Plus,even if we do manage to get the door on the other end up, if we push his vehicle through the car wash, it will activate the deluxe-wash function we'd just paid for--which would not be good a'tall.

I get on the phone. I call the emergency phone number for the car wash, my brother, and two repair shops. The car wash guy and my brother promise to be right out. Neither repair shop (including the one working on my Jimmy) had anyone to send out. But they did offer the brilliant deduction that 'something must've gotten wet' to explain why the car stalled.

The car wash operator shows up. A sweetheart of a guy, he cancels our deluxe wash and opens one of the overhead doors so we 'll be able to push the vehicle out of the bay when my brother gets there. Unfortunately, our Good Samaritan has neglected to put a cone out in front of the overhead at the entrance to the car wash bay and the three of us are standing there in the bay with the car doors wide-open waiting for my brother when suddenly the overhead door opens and the undercarriage washer comes on full-blast, showering us with a hard, biting spray.

Now I know how my siding felt when I power-washed it last spring...

I could only stand there in utter disbelief as the car wash guy sprinted for the control panel and my son and I shivered, looking like drowned rats.

My brother arrived shortly thereafter. His response? "This could only happen to you."

I beg to differ. I'm pretty sure this was a bona fide 'Tressa Jayne Turner' moment.

We pushed the car out of the car wash, let it sit with the hood up for ten minutes and it started. My son drove home. (No way you gonna get me to drive that car ever again. ) We arrived home with ice-cold, water-logged butts due to wet car seats and I made a vow not to venture out again--ever!

Dried out--but grouchy as all get-out, I closeted myself in my office. I opened my email program. And there it was. A response from Agent Number 2! And not a 'thanks-but-no-thanks' response! An 'I'd like to see more' response! I spent the rest of Friday and the following day preparing the requested material for submission and emailed it off Sunday night.

While I'd love to believe this agent is 'the one'--that she'll fall in love with my writing, that we hit it off, and she ultimately turns out to be the perfect advocate for my books and the consummate career-building business partner I'm looking for, the reality is that rejection is always a possibility in this business. No matter that you've worked your hind-end off. No matter how many books you have under your belt. No matter how badly you want it.

So while I'll keep my fingers crossed that this is that perfect fit I'm looking for in a literary agent, I'll also try not to get totally depressed if it doesn't work out that way. And make sure I have lots of chocolate handy just in case.

How do you deal with rejection? Are you a 'get back on that horse right away' kind of individual or do you lick your wounds for a while before putting yourself back out there?

And so the hunt continues.

When I do land my perfect agent, I'm so gonna have the biggest cyber party ever. And you'll all be invited!

~Bullet Hole who is now and forevermore terrified of car washes~

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Klaatu Barata Nictoe...

Stephen Hawking said last week that when extra terrestrials visit Earth, we should be afraid...very afraid. Now, I've seen Independence Day, and The Day The Earth Stood Still (both versions). I remember those damned aliens making Richard Dreyfus build an escarpment out of his mashed potatoes. I've seen V (both versions). And I think Hawking might be onto something here.

I mean, who really thinks aliens will hide in our shed, eating our Reece's Pieces, or that they will hang out, playing music at the aforementioned escarpment (notice that in Close Encounters, we never really saw what happened to the humans who got onto the space ship. Pssst...How to Serve Humans was a cookbook on the Twilight Zone.

So with all these ominous, movie aliens and Hawkings advice, you'd think we would be cautious about interacting with what's out there, right? WRONG. Here is what NASA sent into space to let others know who we are:

I know what you are thinking...well, what I was thinking when I found this. First of all, NASA send this map at the bottom to let them know we are the third planet from the sun. Here we are! Right here! Come and suck up our resources! Aim your Death Star here!

But what really concerns me is the human forms in the image. First of all, the man is waving "hello" in a friendly manner. How do we know aliens are friendly? How do we know we aren't actually flipping them off? We don't know what their body language (or if they have bodies) is? There are nations where you cannot show the sole of your shoe without offending. What makes us think that the "hey, how ya doin" wave will mean the same thing in Klingon?

But the worst transgression, in my mind, is that NASA chose to depict humans naked. Oh, it's not for the reason you think. I don't care if aliens know how our genitals are attached. No, the thing that worries me is that we are basically telling them, "Hey! Our bodies are soft, weak, vulnerable and delicious! C'mon down!"

We can all thank NASA for sending this into space and demonstrating to the tentacled, giant-headed aliens how to find and kill us. I think we need to come up with something else. And I'm taking suggestions.

What do you think?

The Assassin

RT Report and Images

Some people believe that what happens at RT (Romantic Times Convention, stays at RT. But seriously, what fun would that be for you guys? I mean . . . you wouldn’t want to miss out on all the fun, would you?

So here are the highlights. Lots of great writers, just to name a few: Karen Rose, Lori Foster, Lori Wilde, Kate Douglas. Lots of old friends to visit, lots of new friends to make. Lots of readers running around looking for their favorite authors. Lots of workshops to give. Lots of great food to be had at many different restaurants. Lots of booksellers to shout out to. Lots of good wine to be savored while eating great food. Lots of creative energy floating around the hotel from so many writers.

Too many late nights spent giggling in bed—it’s like a spend-the-night party when you have a girlfriend rooming with you—especially after a couple of glasses of wine.

Too many early mornings, especially after wine-induced, late-night giggles. Too many parties to attend while wearing shoes that leave the feet screaming . . . “Where did you put the tennis shoes? Seriously, didn’t you pack the tennis shoes?”

Too many hot-looking, shirtless men. Wait, did I say too many? Can there be too many? I’ll let you be the judge. Here are the pictures I promised from RT.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Fart Game

Most kids play the fart game. And parents play the fart game, by blaming the kids. Lots of people blame the dog. Well, last week, I was working from home sick, and I'm pretty sure my dog blamed me!

So I'm working at the dining table as usual and there's construction around my house so lots of loud noise. The Sheltie, Bogey, kept jumping up and barking at big trucks passing, etc. and driving me insane, so I finally yelled at him to lay down. So he walked over next to my chair, flopped down on the floor in a huff and let out a loud fart. Then he yanked his head up, eye's wide and stared directly at me like I'd done it. It's official - the dog blamed me for farting.

For any of you who haven't ever seen this video, it never ceases to make me laugh. This goon was a preacher on the air in Dallas and nothing makes me happier that he's gone. Of course, that was after he bilked the elderly and poor people out of their money.

So what about the rest of you - any fart stories you want to share?

Deadly (I-swear-I-didn't-do-it) DeLeon

Farting Preacher 2 - Click here for more amazing videos

Friday, May 07, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy early Mother’s Day!

It’s my first Mother’s Day as a mom of two, so I’m feeling twice as lucky this year. :) Mr. 10-year-old already gave me his gift… a purse… does he know me or what? He also gave me a set of candlesticks, but he said they are from the baby. Nice of him to help his brother out with a gift like that, huh?

This year I decided to do something different for Mother's Day. In an effort to whip this mommy body back into shape, I’m supposed to run my first 5K on Sunday. Only, I threw my back out holding the wiggly little worm this week. Gah! I’m currently icing and stretching in hopes I’m back together by Sunday. Wish me luck!

As for my own mom, I got a little help from the publishing industry in giving her a Mother’s Day gift this year. A story I wrote about her last year was picked up to be published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom: 101 Stories of Gratitude, Love and Good Times book! I’m super excited, and so is she! The story is about her adventures in dating… which are almost as wacky as mine were! (Almost. So far she has found any bodies in closets or dated any pirates.)
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom: 101 Stories of Gratitude, Love and Good Times

Anyone else have fun plans for Mother’s Day?

~Trigger Happy halliday

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Week Three: Bullet Hole's Great Agent Search

Okay, so I'm not this desperate. Yet. But agents beware: it may come to this.

After moving on from the train wreck my first conversation with Super Agent Number One turned out to be, I pulled myself up and retooled my query and continued down my list sending out a e:query to my next potential prospect. I've yet to hear 'boo' in response to my e:query. Of course, it's only been two weeks. Maybe they're on vacation. Maybe they've been admited to the hospital. Or in the middle of some very major negotiations for a very big-name client. Or...maybe the agent got wind of my prior 'performance' and decided to take a pass.

Me? I'm going for the auction excuse.

And so the pursuit continues.

Last week after blogging I took time to write first chapters for two projects that had been simmering on the back burner for sometime. Both projects are, I think, high-concept and just a little bit 'out there'. In other words exactly what you'd expect from the author of CALAMITY JAYNE. And speaking of good ol' Tressa Jayne, she's started to whisper in my ear again and she's telling me she's ready for another misadventure. So, I've also been working on a seventh Calamity Jayne mystery proposal to include in the new query package I plan to send via snail mail this week to lucky Super Agent number 2. More on the CJ angle soon. I'm having trouble coming up with a title for this book and I've never written a book without at least having a working title and don't want to jinx myself (God knows I don't need any more bad karma) so I'll be asking for title suggestions soon.

Meanwhile, today I'll be moving the 'boy' back from college so that will zap most of my time. But tomorrow I'll be back at the computer fine-tuning the new project material, double-checking the finished stuff, revamping my query, and mailing off a Priority Envelope to the newest agent of my dreams.

No hill for a hill climber.

Oh, and I just learned Romance Writers of America's National Conference which was scheduled to take place in Nashville (big hugs to everyone in that water-ravaged city) July 28-31 is moving to The Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando. I've been checking airline fares and this unexpected turn of events has almost got me reconsidering my decision not to attend. Sounds like a fabulous time after the winter we just survived. How about you? Does this change in conference location alter anyone else's plan to attend or not to attend RWA National? I'm still 'on the fence'. Still, I figured what better place to stalk...that is, connect with potential agents?


~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Really Long Post About 12 Year Old Girls...

It's a 12yr old's birthday with 6 girls, I think, what could go wrong?

Well, okay, so nothing went wrong, per se. It was a drama-packed party. The trip to the mall was interesting because 1) I misjudged the number of girls to seats in the van ratio - forcing one child to sit on the floor in the back (do not turn me will make me angry) and 2) I heard things like this, "Shut up EVERYONE! I have something important to say!" (car goes quiet) "Bananas are an excellent source of pottasium!"

My friend, Michele, went with me and was a good sport considering she is used to boys and not girls. These particular girls have been in my girl scout troop since kindergarten, so I was prepared for the occaisional dramatic "emergency." In fact, we were shopping in Dillards (and doing quite well, I might add) when we got this text message; (all of the following is text except for Michele's comments. Apparently, I read each one aloud - go figure)

Meg: We have a problem.

Me: What?

Meg: Well, um, Kelly 1 and 2 are mad at us.

Me: Why?

Meg: Bcuz of bathroom confusion.

Me: Bathroom confusion?

Meg: Meet us outside jcpenney.

Me: (in no hurry to leave really cute sweater set) What happened?

Michele: Shouldn't we go see what happened?

Me: Oh no. It will change in 2 minutes and I have to buy this cute tote bag.

Meg: Kelly had to go to the bathroom really bad but we made her wait and she just went with Kelly anyway and we didn't all stay together and we found each other and now we are all mad.

Me: Um, okay. So don't be mad. It's a party.

Michele: Are you sure we shouldn't go?

Me: (looking at the most adorable shoes) Nah. They probably worked it out during the course of that overly long text.

Meg: Well, they ignored us earlier for about an hour.

Me: Are you all together?

Meg: No. Kelly 1 and 2 just left.

Me: (Actually taking an interest now) What? You were supposed to stay together!

Michele (from dressing room): Maybe we should go...

Me: No. It's okay. I have Kelly 2's cell number. Dammit, she's ignoring the calls. (Texting) Kelly, reply to this message or I call your mom.

Kelly 2: Okay.

Me: Make up, okay? It's a party for christsake.

Kelly 2: We are back with them.

Meg: Kelly 1 just told us if she had her period she would've killed us.

Me: Um, what?

Meg: Kelly 1 is now crying! JUST COME PLEASE!

Michele (emerging from the dressing room in a very flattering red blouse): She's crying? Maybe we should go.

Me (shoving her back inside to try green shirt): They cry all the time.


Me (to Michele): Hey, she used all caps this time.

Michele: Okay, let's just go.

Me: Trust me, it will be fine by the time we get there.

Meg: Kelly 1 won't come with us and Kelly 3 is throwing up in the bathroom.

Me: Kelly 3 always throws up when she eats weird combinations. (Looking at Michele) Fine. Meet us at Younkers.

Meg: No, meet us at jcpenney.

Me: (sigh of a thousand martyrs) Fine.

By the way, when we got there, they were all best friends again. Imagine that? I never did find out what was meant by "bathroom confusion," although maybe that's for the best. When I asked them what the whole thing was all about, they didn't know.

The rest of the night passed in a blur, basically because of one very yummy bottle of Malbec.

The piece de la resistance came at 2am. I woke up to find six girls standing over me.

Me: Yes?

Kelly 2: Do we have anymore duct tape? We used it all.

A few hours later they woke me again.

Kelly 3: I made a list of the 19 different donuts you can get us at Dunkin' Donuts.

Me: Wow. There really are 19 different donuts here. Wait, what does "NO CAKE" here in pink mean?

Kelly 3: No cake donuts. The other kind.

Me: Aren't all donuts cake?

All girls: NO!

To their credit, I handed the list they made to the kid behind the counter and he said he could do it. I threw in a couple of "cake" chocolate donuts for me. After all, I think I earned it.

Here's what they were doing with the duct tape:

They were duct taping each other into Meg's new tv box and sliding whoever was inside all over the house.

I can NOT make this stuff up, people.

-The Assassin

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Guest Blogger Tracy Madison

Good morning! Well, I’m back from RT – had a blast visiting with old friends and making some new ones. I’ll give you the lowdown next week--with pictures of some hot guys. Today, Killer Fiction is thrilled to have Tracy Madison with us to talk about writing routines, plotters and writing by the seat of your pants. Sounds like a great topic!

And now for some great news to go with that great topic: Tracy is giving away a copy of A Breath of Magic to one lucky commenter, so please post a comment. Also, go check out Tracy’s website and read about the Month of Mysticism she’s running between April 26 and May 31st.


* * * * * * * *

Routines, Plotters, and Writing by the Seat of your Pants

I’m often asked what my writing routine is by non-writer friends and family members. Usually, my husband is with me when this question is asked, and he also gets the same question. You see, I’m not the only writer in my house. Huh-uh. One crazy person isn’t enough for my family. My husband’s (Jim N. Duncan) first book (an urban fantasy with a really cool new take on vampires) will be out in 2011 from Kensington Publishing.

So there are two of us insane people in my family.

In the same house.

In the same freaking office.


And guess what? Our writing routines couldn’t be more different.

My husband, bless his little heart, is a PLOTTER. So for him, answering the question “What is your writing routine?” is simple for other folks to understand. He figures out the story—every single aspect of the story—before he begins writing. This man, the man I chose to marry, plans every scene and what is going to be asked/revealed in that scene before he begins writing even once measly sentence of the story.

And I sort of want to smack him. Sometimes. Every now and then. Not that often at all, really.

Because I am not a pre-plotter. Oh, I know bits and pieces. I know my characters. I know the journey of the story. But how I’m going to get from Point A to Point B to Point C is a mystery until I get there. Heck, half the time all I know about the conclusion is “They will be in love and live happily-ever-after!” Yeah. Try writing a synopsis with that.

So, I get frustrated when I try to explain my routine/process/whatever-you-want-to-call-it, because what I do is more along the lines of instinctive writing. I start off with some basics, very, very basics, and then I start to write. I am quite methodical, however, as I don’t jump around in the story. I write in a very linear fashion. Scene one to scene two to scene three, etc. But I always get to a place where I have to stop. And think. And re-read what I’ve already done. And then think some more.

My husband, on the other hand, once he’s done with the plotting stage, just writes. His forward motion continues from that point with nary a bump in the road. Because he not only knows his destination, he knows every twist and turn on the way. So yes, when I’m in the middle of writing a book, and I’m staring at the same page for months and months (oh, okay, hours), and he’s over there typing away, I want to pick up a pen or a pencil and toss it at him. You know, just to stop the typing. For a few minutes, at least. J

But the truth is, no matter how frustrating my “routine” is, it’s mine. It’s what works for me. And yeah, it isn’t always easy, but I can’t change the type of writer I am. My husband can’t either. He attempted to go the “organic” writing route once, by plotting the story to the mid-point, thinking he’d have enough information in his head to write the rest of the book without the plot already figured out.

But guess what? He couldn’t. He was completely stalled and couldn’t write another word.

I admit I found this humorous. What? A wife can’t laugh at her husband? He laughs at me!

The point of this is that writers are unique. Every single one of us. We each take a different path to put our stories down, and none of those paths are wrong. For me, my best ideas don’t come to me before I write a book, they come to me while I’m writing. When I consider some of the amazing moments in my stories—moments I never would have thought of before I started writing the book—I can’t complain. Well, I can’t complain too much.

So yeah, there are days where Mr. Plotter is pounding away at his keyboard and I’m stuck. Where I’m frozen, staring at my screen with a tight, scary, suffocating pressure in my chest, wondering if this is the book that will not be finished. But then, somehow, I remember the type of writer I am, and that my stories evolve differently than his. And that’s okay. Because my way, as difficult as it can be, often feels like magic.

For example, my newest release, A Breath of Magic, is bar-none the most difficult book I’ve written to this day. And while there are a lot of external reasons that played into this difficulty, I also had a hard time connecting with my heroine, Chloe. And for me, that is the worst thing that can happen. My stories evolve from character. So it took me a while to really dig in and understand Chloe’s journey. But once I did, the story evolved beautifully. So much so, that A Breath of Magic has a special place in my heart, and now, it’s my favorite of the three.

And, at the end of the day, I’m not willing to give this type of magic up. Huh-uh.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not practicing my aim.

* * * *

Christie here again. I have a teaser for next week's blog - a pic I took at RT during the 2010 Mr. Romance Cover Model contest. Woo hoo!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Choosing a Mate

On a freelance writer's forum last week, someone brought up the topic of how to talk to women on a dancefloor, as they were writing an article on the topic. The writer said that despite a lot of research, all they could find was trite stupid one-liners and gimmicks, but nothing substantial. Which, of course, led to the topic of how one meets a mate and how one makes themself attractive to a mate, especially men.

One young guy on the forum (who is a real sweetie) said, "It's really simple. You say 'I've got a job and I don't live with my parents.'" Of course, I had to laugh, because, well, he's got a point. But then that brought us around to how many people marry for reasons other than love. How many people are looking for a paycheck or safety, etc. Now mind you, security is not a bad thing, but I think it's bad if you marry someone who loves you and you ONLY marry them to take care of you. That's one-sided and bound to be a disappointment to your spouse over time.

I had a co-worker years ago that told me when she started dating a guy, she asked herself two things:

How would her furniture look in his house? and
If she died in a tragic plane crash would he dress their children stupid?

As a romance writer, clearly none of the above named reasons are enough for a reader to buy into the romance between hero and heroine, but I wonder if society's standards are so skewed, weird or simply low.

What do you think?

Deadly DeLeon