Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I know this post is a little late in the day today, but I have a great reason.  I just spent the morning at my 10 year old’s Halloween parade at school.  So fun, so many great costumes.  So flippin cold standing outside for two hours!  But fun.  My boy went as a skeleton/zombie biker. 

This was one of the more creative costumes I saw.  Jack!

Okay, this kid cracks me up.  I’ve known him since 1st grade, and every year he dresses as food.  One year he was a bowl of spaghetti, one year a box of popcorn.  This year… French fries!  (He kept yelling at the other kids to “Stop eating me!”)

But, my favorite has to be the many San Francisco Giants baseball players.  There were tons!  Yes, I live near San Francisco, and, yes, everyone here totally has World Series fever.  Myself included.

On Sunday I’ll be taking the big boy and Baby T trick-or-treating. I'm dressing as a cat... at least I'm wearing the ears and a tail. :)   It’ll be Baby T’s first time, so I’m not sure how much actually trick-or-treating and how much crying he’ll do, but we do have an adorable costume for him.  The Puny Pirate!

 No, that's not him in the picture.  Why?  Because every time I put this on him he bursts into tears.  The kid hates the ruffles.  He pulls at them and yells every time I put it on him.  My backup plan if he pulls another “No Puffy Shirt!” on me on Halloween is to dress him in his Giants T-shirt, draw in a black beard with eyeliner, and have him go as Brian Wilson. 

So, what are you guys dressing up as this year?  Any big Halloween plans?

~Trigger Happy Halliday
P.S.  Go Giants!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nothing Sexier Than A Man Who Lets You Sleep

So it seems I have a sinus infection. Not fun.  One of the more telling signs was/is complete and total fatigue. On Tuesday I was so exhausted I literally needed to pull over and take a nap in my car.

And that's when I was swept off my feet.

See, a guy who I have recently started dating happened to call while I was parked in some random Starbucks parking lot slumped over my steering wheel with my eyes closed while all the caffeinated pedestrians around me were undoubtedly wondering if I was homeless and/or drunk.  At that time I didn't know what the problem was, only that I wasn't feeling well and I couldn't stay awake.  I was actually a bit teary while talking to him. "I know we're in the stage of our relationship where I should be trying to make a good impression," I whimpered, "and I know what I'm about to say isn't going to do it, but I feel like crap! I'm sleeping in my car, I feel like I want to throw up and my nose is clogged!"

So not sexy.

But you know what he did? He asked me a few questions about my location and after realizing that I wasn't far from his place he temporarily left work and asked me to meet him there.  When I got there he tucked me into bed, told me to sleep as long as I liked and to make myself at home and then he went off in order to get to his next meeting.

Yes, really.

Now the guy I dated before him flew me to Vegas, took me to his favorite (and very expensive) restaurants and Vegas shows and even handed over some of his winnings so I could buy myself an expensive shoes.

And none of that impressed me as much as this new guy's offer to set me up for my mid-afternoon nap.  Offering material pleasures is easy for those who have means. But THIS guy actually went out of his way for me when there was absolutely nothing in it for him (other than possible exposure to some horrible disease).  He has no idea how many brownie points he's earned.

I liked him before but now I am officially smitten.

--Kyra the-sleepy-Fashionista-Fatale Davis

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Its The Most Vonderful Time of The Year!

Mwah, hah, hah, hah!

Halloween, baby! Woo hoo! I am a total spaz for Halloween! We decorate the house more than we do at any other time. I have more than a dozen animatronic characters, a haunted village that moves and makes noise, and my iPod has 3 separate Halloween playlists.

Here are a few things that frighten me most about Halloween this year:
  • Midterm Elections. Nothing strikes fear into my heart more. The politicians running for office are creepier than eating cheesecake at Hustler Hollywood (which I did once - shudder. Trust me, don't ever eat dessert where you can see and smell latex genitals). Anyway, the campaign ads make outrageous claims, "Bob Blarfandar eats human babies for breakfast and has sex with squirrels in front of the neighbors..." Or maybe that's just my state? You guys probably have normal candidates.

  • Slutty kid costumes. I've seen more midriff-baring, daisy duke-skirted, thigh-high wearing elementary school girls in stillettos than I ever need to see again. What is WRONG with parents? "Oh, look at Susie! We had to use makeup shading on her chest to give her cleavage, but isn't she adorable?" Funny how they react when I respond, "Actually, she looks like a five year-old the rest of the girls in her kindergarten class." When I snap and start sniping people from my roof, these parents will be the first to go.

  • Bad weather and bad weathermen. As temps and such begin to go south, we will vasilate between rain/mud and sleet/ice. Which means the weathermen will have all kinds of dire predictions, like, "The conditions are ripe for a Godzilla Attack in Henderson County tonight..." I mean, where exactly do you go hide from an iminent Godzilla attack? The basement is only good for tornados. Running around outside will get you eaten or fried. Why don't the weathermen actually prepare us for this stuff?

Well, that's my list of what's scary this year. What are you afraid of?

The Assassin

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cut it out!!

When I was a kid, my mom used to say those words all the time. And depending on exactly how bad “it” was, she would often scream it versus say it. And she wasn’t talking about getting a pair of scissors and making paper dolls, either. These were the last three words she used before she came storming into a room, or turned around to the backseat of the car, and started dealing out punishment.

While you may not believe me, ninety-nine percent of the time, she wasn’t talking to me. Nope. I was a good kid, the only girl, and quiet. I mostly lived in my head, telling myself stories. I didn’t have any idea I wanted to be a writer, but man, I wrote books in my head. Most of those books were about a girl and some really cute guy, a good kisser, of course. And oh, yeah, the girl didn’t have brothers.

You see, it was my two brothers who got those words tossed at them regularly by my mom. Not that I didn’t have to hear them. Mom and Dad were smart. I don’t know if they made me this way, or if I was born this way, but I’m a buffer, a person who, when caught in the middle of a conflict, feels compelled to solve the conflict.

My parents would put me in charge of my brothers, and if there were seats involved, I was always in the middle. Like a weather forecaster, I would predict disasters. “You’re gonna make Mom mad, and she’s going to ground you.” Or, “Mom’s going to send Daddy in to talk to you two.” When Daddy was sent in, it was never good.

Sometimes, I was even pushed to the point that I used those three words myself. “Cut it out!” I’d yell at my brothers. Seriously, have you ever been in the backseat between two juvenile delinquents who liked to jab each other, or play paper, rock and scissors and the winner would hurt the loser and then the loser would get mad and go after the winner? Do you know how many times, I had to crawl out between a fight? If their antics didn’t involve violence, then it was usually worse.

They called them barking spiders. The game was to see whose spider could bark the loudest. Or whose spider could get the car windows rolled down the quickest. When spiders weren’t involved, they would burp. Or make barking noises with their armpits. Once, my oldest brother got his hands on what he called a liquid fart. It was some chemical in a little bottle and he would bring it on car rides and occasionally open the top and release the odor in the air.

But there was that one time when my younger brother wanted the liquid fart, but my older brother wouldn’t give it to him. So, younger brother decided to just take it. So there I am, in the backseat between my two brothers fighting over liquid fart. And it happened. They spilled it, all over the car and all over me. I was wearing a citrus-scented perfume. All day I smelled like a citrus fart. And for months, that backseat was not a pleasant place to be.

Recently, when thinking about days gone by, I realized something. Even though I didn’t know I was going to become a writer, my childhood was a training ground for my career as a novelist. I not only forecast bad things to come, I’ve matured and now I make them happen in my books. Then when things start really getting bad, I’m a conflict buffer. I have to get in the middle of my characters’ conflict and help them solve problems. Sometimes, I just have to get out of their way and let them solve their own problems. And sometimes I’m the one who yells, “Cut it out!” In “Don’t Mess With Texas”, my next humorous romantic suspense that I just finished, those three words came into play. Not to stop conflict. It was my internal editor screaming that my book was too long. Only she didn’t speak up until too late.

You see, I’m what writers call a pantser. I don’t plot, I don’t plan, most of the times I only have a vague idea of what’s going to happen on the next page. I just write, and write, until the book ends. Amazingly, most of the time, my internal editor is on duty, even though I don’t know it, and when I finally write those last words, I glance up at the word count and while I’m always over what I should be, it isn’t so bad that my editor has more than a mild heart attack. But this time, when I ended the book, I looked up and I had a heart attack. Not a mild one, either. And immediately, my internal editor, who’d obviously had been sleeping on the job, suddenly pops in and starts screaming…”Cut it out!”

So that’s what I’m doing this week. Cutting it out. Not scenes. I almost refuse to cut out an entire scene. I’m such a linear writer, that if I put something in the book and try to take it out, it creates a butterfly effect. So I cut out words and find unnecessary sentences.

So, if my childhood was my training ground, you might be wondering how I work in the barking spiders. Well, if you’ve read my books, you’ve probably noted that on occasion, I use what some people refer to as potty humor. (My non-fiction writing partner Faye Hughes refers to it as Alabama humor, although I don’t know what she’s talking about. You see, she’s from Mississippi.) Personally, I like to say that I write books about real men, who are nothing more than boys, just like my two brothers. And this book is no exception. My hero owns an English bulldog and they aren’t known for having great intestinal tracks. And let’s just say those spiders bark at some very inopportune times.

So, what about you guys? What have you been doing? Do you have some childhood memory to share? Brothers you want to complain about? Or if you are a writer, do you have problems with word count? Come on, share a little. I told you about my brothers and their barking spiders.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ransacking the Underwear Drawer by Diane Kelly

It’s no secret that people think accounting is one of the most boring, mundane jobs on the planet. But those on the inside know different.

Being an accountant allows you to ransack your clients’ underwear drawers.

Not literally, of course.
But figuratively.

When you review clients’ financial records, you learn more about them than you ever wanted to know. Their hopes and dreams. The issues that tug at their heartstrings. Their deepest, darkest secrets.

A client might make substantial charitable contributions to an animal welfare organization, while also providing a hotel receipt for a business trip on which he charged an in-room porn movie - proving he, too, is an animal. It’s a little embarrassing to explain that the IRS might frown on a deduction for “Debbie Does Dallas.”

A client might have set aside a tidy sum for his children’s college education, but have diverted an even tidier sum to the twinkie he’s keeping on the side. Naughty, naughty boy.

Financial records might show tuition paid to a Catholic girls’ school, along with payments to a pharmacy for a teenager’s birth control pills. Substantial donations to the church building fund along with substantial charges at The T & A Cabaret. Thousands spent on spa treatments but mere hundreds paid to the full-time nanny. Alimony and child support paid to a string of ex-wives by a client who routinely trades in his families for newer models.

Investments that tanked. Gambling losses. Get-rich-quick schemes that proved to be get-screwed-quick cons.

It’s all there in black and white in the financial records.
And, as they say, numbers don’t lie.

Diane’s debut novel starring an IRS agent will be released in September 2011. Details at

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Jig is Up

This week was a big moment in my 10 year old’s life.

After having just dropped $70 on something called “Egyptian Krux” at the skateboard shop (I’m still not sure what I bought him.), I told him that there were going to be no more big purchases until Christmas. If he wanted something he couldn’t afford with his allowance, he should put it on his Christmas list and send it to Santa.

The Boy: Yeah, about that Santa thing...some of my friends don’t believe in Santa.
Me: *pulling a shocked face* How could they not?
The Boy: They say he isn’t real.
Me: They must have just been bad last year.
The Boy: *rolling his eyes* Come on, Mom. I’m ten. You can tell me the truth.
Me: You think your mother would lie to you? *More shock on my part… looking faker by the minute I’m sure*
The Boy: Yes
Me: I hardly ever lie.
The Boy: So, tell me the truth - is he real?
Me: Do you think he’s real? (Yes, I'm totally evading the question here.)
The Boy: I think that parents put toys under the tree after the kids go to bed and just say that it’s Santa. Am I close?

It’s obvious the kid is on to me. So, with a heavy heart and the realization that his last magical Christmas has passed, I fess up. I tell him that there was a St. Nicholas who brought toys to children many years ago. But, after he died, the parents thought the kdis would be so disappointed that they carried on the tradition to keep the magic alive. (Not bad, eh?)

The Boy seemed a) disappointed there is no magical sleigh or flying reindeer b) impressed that I’d actually been able to keep up a lie for so long, and c) worried he might not get present from “Santa” this year. I assured him that as long as he was good (and never breathed a word of this to his younger brother) he would.

That was a sad day for me. My little boy had grow up. But… it got worse…

A couple of days later, The Boy lost a tooth. As you can tell from the Santa conversation, he’s way too cool for kid stuff now, so he was very blasé about the whole lost tooth thing. Which is probably why his mom forgot all about the lost tooth by bedtime. (That and the fact that The Baby Who Won’t Sleep is turning me into a zombie. I swear, some days I’m lucky I remember how to turn on my computer.) All night I forgot about the tooth. Imagine my Bad Mommy moment when the next morning I wake The Boy up for school, he pops out of bed, gleefully checks under his pillow… and sees not money from the tooth fairy, but his tooth still sitting there.

Doh, doh, doh!

Yeah. I had to fess up about the fairy then and there, too. And I gave him an extra dollar for being so understanding. He seemed okay with it (money talks – he must be my kid), but on the way to school that morning he turns to me and says:

“You know what, Mom? I think I’ve figured out why you never look very hard for the eggs that the Easter Bunny hides.”

Oh, well. We had a good run.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, October 21, 2010

When Your Book Gets A Hollywood Make-Over

I’ve always said that if my books were adapted to television I wouldn’t make a big deal about the changes Hollywood would want to make to my stories.  I’m not an “artiste” and I know that what I’m writing is commercial fiction rather than high-minded literature.  So I figured that if I was ever lucky enough to get my work adapted I would be understanding, even encouraging, of decisions to tweak or even out right change things in order to make my work more TV-friendly.

But here’s the thing, now there is a real chance that the Sophie Katz Mystery series will become a television series (although it's FAR from definite) and I’m being asked to make some real changes.  Turns out real changes are much more daunting than theoretical ones.  Go figure.  Every time I’m asked to make a change a little voice in my head starts stammering, “But, but, but, that’s not the way it goes!”  Fortunately most of these suggestions are delivered via email so I can scream, stomp my feet and pout in the privacy of my own home before writing up a very calm and politic email response.    

Of course not all the suggestions are bad. Sometimes (once I’ve finished screaming and pouting) I realize that the suggestion in question is really quite good.  But of course as soon as I make peace with the change another, more drastic change is put before me and then I have to add throwing things to my screaming-stomping-pouting tantrum.

The reality is that an author’s books are sort of her children (although admittedly I do love my actual child significantly more than my books but you know what I mean). When someone tells you that in order to adapt your books they will need to be changed in significant ways it’s like they’re telling you that your daughter has just walked into the office of a nearby plastic surgeon where she plans on getting a new nose and boobs.  And now your daughter doesn’t even look like you!  She’s transformed and been given a totally new image! It’s like your daughter is Cher!  And all you want to do is shake your child and say, “What the hell was wrong with the family nose?  I have that nose, and if it’s good enough for me it’s good enough for basic cable!”  

But you can’t approach it that way.  Children (and Hollywood power players) don’t respond well to hysterics.  So instead you say, “Hey, I understand your need for a new look, but why don’t we just start with a little bit of collagen and take it from there?”  

That’s where I’m at with this thing. I’m sitting with my daughter during her consultation with the plastic surgeon trying to find ways to enhance her natural beauty without totally changing her look.   

And every once in a while I remind myself that no matter what the plastic surgeon does, he won’t alter the essence that makes my child unique. An essence that I helped to foster and develop.

And when I can remember that I don’t have such a big problem with the nose job.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Killer Fiction welcomes Angie Fox

I would like to introduce my doppelganger, or maybe I'm hers...Angie Fox! Angie will be blogging on alternative Wednesdays with me and I'm thrilled to have her!

In the tradition Christie started, I'd like to begin with a brief interview of our newest "Killer." Interview questions can be so dull sometimes - so I thought I'd ask her the three favorite questions I've ever been asked. Here goes!

- "Are you or were your relatives ever demon hunters in real life?"
Yes. I come from a long line of demon slayers. My grandmother had the gift. She used plug demons from her front porch down in South St. Louis. She always used to say, “You never know what form they’ll take.” But boy was she unpopular when she was forced to slay the Swanson Ice Cream man…er, demon.

-"You write just like a man - are you sure you aren't one...oh wait, that doesn't work. How about: Where do you get the ideas for the demons in your books?"
If you mean men write by putting their fingers to the keyboard and going to work, then I suppose I write like one. Then again, following that train of logic, we can all agree that Stephen King writes like a woman.

As far as where I get my ideas. I have no idea. I just pick out an idea that amuses me and I go with it. For example, the Accidental Demon Slayer books began when I started thinking about what would happen if a straight laced preschool teacher suddenly learns she’s a demon slayer. And what if she has to learn about her powers on the run from an eccentric mad scientist demon? Ohhh and wouldn’t it be fun if she’s running with her long-lost Grandma’s gang of geriatric biker witches?

I wrote my ideas on the back of an envelope, and when I read it the next morning, decided this was something I could have a good time with. I liked the idea of a reluctant heroine thrust into a series of extraordinary situations, when all she really wants to do is to get her normal life back. Ha! As if I'm ever going to let that happen.

-"If you could have one celebrity fan, who would it be?"
Josh Holloway – because then he might let me sit in his lap.

Welcome to Killer Fiction Angie!
The Assassin

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Search for my Muse

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

Lately it’s as if I’ve been hit over the head, time and again with the fact that I am muse-less. All my writer friends have muses, my buddy DT Tarkus (a man writing romance) has a vodka-swilling, lap dancing muse who likes to take her clothes off. While I’m happy for him, I’m wondering why I don’t have a Hugh Jackman look-alike who drinks 20 year-old scotch and does lap dances for me while whispering fabulous turning points in my ear. I mean really, if Barbara Walters rates a Hugh Jackman lap dance, I think I should be able to imagine a muse who would entertain me at least that much.

I’ve gone in search of my muse partly by necessity. You see, I belong to a new grog called Blame It On The Muse and all the authors on the grog are supposed to interview their muses. That’s pretty hard to do when my muse is either non-existent or invisible, deaf, and mute.

How does one find their muse? Hell, right now I’m considering lying about my muse, but I’m one of those disgustingly honest people—the only thing I lied about as a kid were the sins I committed when I had to go to confession. Ah the pressure of the confessional. Aside from the occasional fight to the death with my sister who outweighed me by 70 pounds, what did I have to confess? I’ll tell you what, nothing. So I’d kneel there knowing that Father Francis was on the other side of the screen bored to tears. I’d make up confession-worthy sins just to have something to talk about and a few Hail Marys to say so I didn’t look like the goody-two-shoes I was. Unfortunately, by the time I had anything really interesting to confess, Fr. Francis was ancient and I worried about causing the man to have a stroke or heart attack from the shock. But I digress…back to my missing muse.

In my quest to find my muse, I’m taking an online course called Muse Therapy. It just started and the first homework assignment is to name my muse, figure out what ticks him off, and what turns him on. If I knew how to do that, I wouldn’t have a missing muse. I’m beginning to wonder if my muse is one of those annoying men whose head is always buried in the sports page or texting on his cell phone and answers every one of my questions with the words “Yes dear” spoken in a foreign language? Or God forbid, what if my muse went and died on me? That’s my biggest fear. You see, I used to take my 120 lb. Lab, Sambuca out every night just before I went to bed. Sambuca was the Austin Powers of dogs—the boy could pee for five minutes straight until we’d have a river running down the driveway. There I’d be, standing up hill from him for obvious reasons, while he peed and great ideas would pop in my head. We had to put him down in April and even though I take Jasmine, our sweet pointer mix, out every night, she doesn’t pee on the driveway and I don’t get any great muse-worthy ideas. I’m so desperate I even took the box containing Sambuca’s ashes, sat him on my desk, and prayed for canine inspiration to no avail. Maybe dogs don’t pee in doggie heaven, or maybe the big devil dog that he was, is doing time in doggie purgatory. Either way I’m pretty much screwed.

So either I sent my muse to the great doggie park in the sky or I’m just too literal to have a muse. Honestly, I have to wonder if the people who claim to have sprites sitting on their shoulder passing them ideas and plot points are either certifiable or just damn lucky. I want to know how I can join them—either option would work for me. After all sanity is highly over-rated. What I would give to have someone pass me the keys to unlock the secrets to a New York Times Bestseller!

So far, I’m no closer to discovering my muse, though I have to tell you, I really hope my muse is a gorgeous male. I mean, if you could pick a muse, wouldn’t you want him to be someone you could stare at for hours while you look as if you’re working hard gazing at your computer screen?

For those of you who have a muse, how did you hook up with him or her? And for those of you who don’t, where do you get your great ideas? Oh, please don’t tell me that they come to you while you’re cleaning the toilet, having a muse moment with my dog peeing was about as bad as I want to get, cleaning the toilet is just out of the question.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Epic Fail & Celebrity Books

I guess you guys noticed I looked skinnier last Monday, right? Nah, that wasn't me and I'm not skinnier. For anyone who hasn't noticed the redesign of the KF site, we have added five new killers to the mix. It's tough work being a killer and some of us were getting old and tired on the job. Plus, fresh blood always makes a killer happier, so I hope you're all enjoying our new members!

First, I want to share with you an epic fail of the English language. Warning: Spew Alert!

So what do you think - honest mistake? bad school system? truth in advertising? No matter, it makes for a good laugh.

Next up - Snooki gets a book deal. For those that love, hate or try to avoid the reality show Jersey Shore, it's coming at you from all ends. Apparently, it wasn't enough that The Situation was on Dancing With The Stars, now everyone's favorite jelly-roll hair girl signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster to pen none other than - a romance novel.

And then the fray in the writing community began. Now, let's begin by saying, there's no way Snooki is actually writing a book and we know it, so if you want to argue that ghost-writing is an insult to writers, then you better take on mega-industry James Patterson first. So move on to point two, which is why all the hate? Some writers seem to take the stance that celebrity books take away slots from legitimate writers, but that is just not true. Celebrity books are a category unto themselves, and I would argue, make the publisher scads of money so they have to spend on legitimate writers.

So what say you? Insult or cash flow cow? And are you going to try that Mickey D's wrap?

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, October 15, 2010

If it walks like a duck…

Baby T is officially a toddler now, and running around the place like crazy. He’s uncontainable - he can get into or out of anything. Seriously. Anything. Though, his favorite game is still playing in the toilet. Especially since he learned how to flush it. Coincidentally, The Man’s bluetooth has gone missing…

Anyway, in addition to walking/running/flushing, he’s starting to talk a lot lately. He’s always been a babbler, but we can actually distinguish one babble from another now. The Man bought him the Your Baby Can Read system, and, while Baby T’s not actually up to proofreading my books for me yet (though, I’m hopeful) he is saying most of the words on the video. He says, “gorilla”, “clap”, “dog”, “duck”, “Uh oh” (he uses that one a lot), and “Dada.” Wanna know the one word he won’t say? “Mama.” He used to say it. It was one of his first words, usually wailed at top volume when he was hungry/tired/hurt. Now, all I hear is Dada. All day long - Dada. He's completely forgotten the Mama.  So, yesterday, I sat the boy down for a serious talk.

Me: Can you say, “mama?”
Baby T: Dada.
Me: Ma-ma. (with very slow annunciation)
Baby T: Dada.
Me: No, make a “MMMMMM” sound. Mmmmmama.
Baby T: Dada.
Me: I’ll give you a cookie if you say, “mama.”
Baby T: Dada.
Me: Can’t you say anything else?
Baby T: Duck. Quack, quack!

Today, every time I ask him where mama is, he points at me and says, “quack.” Tell me this phase is a short one...

~Trigger (and duck) Happy Halliday

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Titillating Titles

A few years before I was first published I was standing in line at Starbucks reading Jennifer Weiner's Good in Bed. I have always felt that reading in public is kind of like being plugged into your iPod at a gym---they’re both international symbols for “don’t talk to me.” 

And as is the case with the iPod, it is a symbol that many choose to ignore.

Thus I wasn’t all that surprised when the guy in line behind me tried to start-up a flirtatious conversation.  I answered his questions politely but made a point of not looking up from my book. That’s when he asked the question. “What are you reading?”

Good in Bed,” I said before realizing that this was not a wise answer to give. I closed the book hoping the cover would somehow explain away the title but the woman’s legs peeking out from beneath the bed sheets didn’t help a lot. “It’s actually not about being good in bed. It’s about a plus sized woman coming to terms with…” I continued to ramble on idiotically thus inadvertently starting up the very conversation I had been so eager to avoid. I had been working on my first manuscript for about six months at that point and still hadn't given it a title. I swore to myself that if I ever got it published I would not do to my readers what Jennifer Weiner had just done to me.

By the time my manuscript was being pushed onto the desks of editors it was titled Words To Die By.  I was fortunate enough to sell that manuscript as part of a three book deal to what was then Red Dress Ink (and is now Mira).  When my new editor called to introduce herself she was effusive.  She started by telling me that she loved my characters, she found my mystery to be suspenseful and engaging and she adored the way my book was “funny without being slapstick.” She then paused and said in a pleasant but extremely firm voice “The title has to change. It doesn’t tell the reader anything about the book.”

I wasn’t offended. In fact I felt her willingness to criticize added validity to her compliments. So I happily agreed to come up with something new. I played around with a few ideas—Dying For A Cup of Coffee, sprang to mind as did City Parking Can Be Murder but it was my mother who ended up coming to my rescue.

“You’re protagonist wrote a book called Sex, Drugs And Murder so why don’t you play off that and title your book Sex, Murder And A Frappuccino?”

I submitted the idea to my editor and while she really liked it she suggested that it be changed to Sex, Murder And A Double Latte due to copyright considerations. She ran it by marketing and they were thrilled. My book was officially christened.  Shortly thereafter the concept for the cover art was described to me. "It's an illustration of a woman wearing a mini skirt," I was told. "She's standing with her legs spread apart and in between her legs are the words, Kyra Davis, and the title." 

Yes, really. Fortunately the description was more sensational than the reality. Turns out my name was placed between my protagonist's knees rather than her thighs.

.Sex, Murder and a Double LatteA few months after that was all sorted out I was standing in line at the very same Starbucks I had read Good In Bed in. A man got in line behind me and tried to pick me up (apparently this was like the Studio 54 of Starbucks). I didn’t have a book to hide behind (not that it helped me a lot the last time) so when the little old man in front of me asked for the time I used his question as an excuse to start up a conversation with him thus avoiding the man behind me.

The elderly gentleman’s name turned out to be Henry and in no time at all I had told him I was a soon-to-be-published writer. Upon hearing this Henry called over his wife, a sliver haired lady who had been scoping out the lowfat scones, and introduced her to his new friend, “Kyra, the author.”

“You’re an author? How wonderful! What’s the title of your book?”

“The title? Why, were you planning on buying it? Because it won’t be in the stores for a really long time.”

“So we’ll look for it when it does come out. You simply must tell us the title, dear.”

There was just no out. “Sex, Murder And A Double Latte.”

“Oh,” the woman looked to her husband and then back to me uncertainly. “Well…I like lattes.”

“Yes,” her husband chimed in enthusiastically, “and I like sex!”

See, that’s what I get for bad mouthing Jennifer’s title.

--Fashionista Fatale
AKA: Kyra Davis (this new alias is going to take some getting used to for me)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Leslie Langtry's Lovely Lady Lump, Part Deux

So, the orthopaedic (funny way to spell that) doctor I saw the other day told me I have a ganglion cyst. He took (well, his much lower paid assistant actually took) x-rays. I looked at them but didn't see anything. And yet it looks like my wrist is nine months pregnant with a space alien baby who wants to eat my brains - and probably already has started.

I asked if I could take the x-rays with me cuz it was really cool seeing my finger bones...but he said no. I told him that technically, since the photos were of me, and I did not remember signing a release form, the x-rays should be mine. I have a spot at home for them...right next to the wisdom teeth that inspired Dak to kill Gin's dental surgeon in GUNS WILL KEEP US TOGETHER.


So the hump is much bigger. I think one of my kids might be in there. So the doc said it looks like a ganglion cyst and it needs to be drained...after they schedule - in the near future - a very expensive MRI (oh, and did I have any plates in my head or metal in my eyes before we begin?)

So I have this lump the size of New Jersey, and it hurts, and the doctor knows what it is, but wants me to have an expensive procedure first, and it HURTS. The doctor nods and walks away. So I look up photos of ganglion cysts on the web, because I am a sado masochist.

The needle they use looks very large.

Of course there are folk remedies too that literally dozens swear by. Sometimes, in places like rural Appalachia, they call this a Bible Cyst. Here's why....they would hold your hand down, cyst side up, and slam it hard with a Bible. Then you would swear a whole lot which made for ironic fun for the witnesses. The fluid would drain internally out of the cyst (because it exploded) and into your other tissues.

The very large needle is looking good now.

If anyone has a better, less painful or messy idea, please let me know.

The Assassin

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Tuesday Twofer

Winner! MsHellion, please forward me your snail mail address at christie (at) Christie-craig (.) com

Okay, today you’re gonna get a twofer, two blogs in one. A bit about C.C. Hunter and then a short interview with the wonderful new killer on board at Killer Fiction: You are gonna love Robin Kaye, guys. And if you haven’t read her, well, you should

But first, I want to share with you my new video. Or shall I say C.C. Hunter’s new video. Shouting out to Carol Webb from Firebrand Media Management, who did the video for me. Thanks girl!

Born At Midnight by C.C. Hunter

I also got my website up for the new book, Born At Midnight. And if you go there and click on Contest, you’ll read about my first contest. Also, Check this out: Forty-eight copies of Born at Midnight are being given away at Good Reads: And Forty-eight copies being given away at Library Thing: So, go check them out. Who knows, you might just win a book!

And now for Robin Kaye…

* * *

Robin’s Bio:

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Robin Kaye grew up in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge next door to her Sicilian grandparents.

Living with an extended family that's a cross between Gilligan's Island and The Sopranos, minus the desert isle and illegal activities, explains both her comedic timing and the cast of quirky characters in her books.

She's lived in half a dozen states from Idaho to Florida, but the romance of Brooklyn has never left her heart. Robin has won numerous awards including the Golden Heart for Best Contemporary Single Title, back-to-back Holt Medallions for Best Romantic Comedy, and the Golden Leaf award for Best Single Title. She currently resides in Maryland with her husband, three children, dog, and a three-legged cat with attitude.

* * *

To introduce you guys to Robin, I asked her to answer three very serious, profound questions. Because as you know, I’m always serious and very profound.

1) If you weren't a writer, which one would you more likely be? And why? A: Garbage collector. B: Truck Driver. C: Member of the bomb squad.

I'd like to say a member of the bomb squad, but since I have a difficult time telling my right from my left, I don't think I'd be very successful. "No Robin, cut the red wire on your other left." Boom. I don't think it would be a good fit, not to mention the bomb squad outfit is soo not attractive. Since I refuse to collect garbage even at my own house, I'll be damned if I'd do it at someone else's so Garbage Collector is out. I guess that leaves me to drive a truck which wouldn't be far off from what I do if you consider a Sequoia a truck. I have three kids therefore I drive and drive and drive.

2) What is one secret about yourself that no one else knows? Come on, we aren't going to tell anyone. Will we guys? (Wink. Wink.)

Okay, as long as you swear not to say anything....I was a bouncer at a bar called Swamp water Al's. Yes, all 100 pounds of me (I was a whole lot skinnier then). Well, one night I was there with a girlfriend (not in my bouncer capacity) and this guy wouldn't leave me alone, even after I told him nicely to remove his hand from my breast or I'd mail it back to him. The jerk didn't stop so I pushed him against the wall and made sure he wouldn't be bothering another female for at least 24 hours. I ended up getting kicked out of my own bar. I did, however, make sure the man was never admitted into the Swamp again.

3) If you had one do-over in your life, what would it be?

My biggest regret...I was invited to sail from the Panama Canal to Australia in a 47 foot Beneteau I wanted to go but I had a difficult time getting my passport. I thought I'd have to send the info to Albany since that's the capital of NY, when in actuality if you're born in the boroughs like I was, you send it to Brooklyn. I didn't get it in time and they had to leave before Typhoon season so I missed the boat, literally. I heard it was a miserable trip, 20 - 40 foot seas the entire time. Heck, they lost the crew when they hit Fiji, still, I wish I had gone. What an adventure.

* * *

Now, for fun, I want you guys to answer one of the questions above. And one lucky commenter will win a copy of Robin’s earlier release, Breakfast In Bed. So come and post away.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm So Turned On!

I am so turned on. I just can’t stop myself. I keep doing it over, and over, and over!

Nope, not talking about nookie here. I’m talking about editing. There’s just something that comes over me when I’m in the revision process and my inner editor is turned on. I can’t turn her off! I find myself editing everything, everywhere.

When shopping over the weekend, I mentally cringed when I overheard the non-word “irregardless” used. I later drove past a Toys я Us store, called their customer service line from my cell phone, and hollered, “Turn that R around! And while you’re at it, make it Toys are We!” On the way home, I stopped at a corner, whipped out a sharpie and marked out the unnecessary apostrophe on a “Make Thousand’s Working From Home” sign posted on the telephone pole. Since I was already out of my car, I edited the sign the homeless man was holding, correcting his sentence fragment “Will work for food” into “I will work for food.” While he didn’t appreciate the editing services, he was more than happy to take my dollar.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who suffers from ED – Editorial Dysfunction!

Visit Diane at

Friday, October 08, 2010

One Year Old!

This week was Baby T’s first birthday! It’s amazing that both he and I have survived one whole year. It feels like time has flown by… on the other hand, what is that old saying? Time flies when you don’t get any sleep… ;)

Anyway, to celebrate his first year on the planet, we took Baby to Disneyland. Our trip:

Day one – We pile into the car in the morning, pack a case of diapers (just in case), three bottles of sunscreen (because Orange County hit a record high of 113 degrees the day before – perfect weather for standing in line in the sun all day, no?), and ten DVDs to keep Baby happy in the backseat, then set off for the seven hour drive to Southern California. We pop in The Wiggles DVD that I got from Netflix for the ride into the player. Baby is elated. Unfortunately, the DVD is scratched, so it only plays the first half of the movie. We pop something else in the player. Baby cries. He only wants The Wiggles. So, we watch the first half of the DVD again. And again. I think we hit ten times by the time we finally arrived in Anaheim at the Disneyland Hotel. I kid you not, I can recite the whole thing word for word now.

So, we picked the Disneyland Hotel to stay in this trip, even though it’s a little pricier, because it has the monorail that runs from the hotel to Disneyland – no need to walk, no need to park the car at the theme park. Perfect for shuttling Baby back to the room for a nap mid-day. So, as soon as we check in, we go online and check out the park schedule for the next day. Guess what? The monorail is down for maintenance. I call the front desk and get into an argument with the clerk that ends with the phrase, “We’re going to have to agree to disagree, Ma’am.” If I wasn’t surround by pictures of Mickey’s Mouse, I’d be tempted to be upset.

Day Two – We get up early, lather with sunscreen, and walk the entirety of Downtown Disney to the theme park, praying that the tickets we bought off craigslist before coming actually work to get us in. Wonder of wonders, the guy was legit and they do. (yay!) We take Baby on It’s a Small World as his first intro to Disney rides. At first, he’s in awe, checking out all the dancing dolls. Then, he tries to reach up and touch them. Then he looks confused – “Um, are they ever going to stop singing, Mom?” By the end, he’s totally over it, trying to jump out of the boat. But the ride is 15 minutes of air conditioned bliss (Did I mention the record heat? Oy.), so we’re happy.

We get off the ride and get an ice cream. We do another couple rides, then stop for water. One more ride, lunch in the shade and more water. Seriously, it’s October. A heat wave? No fair. We spend a long, sticky, hot day trying to find the longest, most air conditioned rides we can. Then hit the pool that night.

Baby T on the King Arthur Carousel with Daddy

Day Three – The name of the game today is keep cool. We start off the day with water rides in the California Adventure Park. Baby plays for hours in the water fountains while Big Boy rides the Grizzly Rapids. When everyone is soaked, we hit the margarita stand for frosted cocktails. (Why on earth did we not do this yesterday?) We do a few more water rides at Disneyland, sit in the shade and eat ice cream, then have dinner in Downtown Disney where we do more margaritas. Back to the park after dark for a few more rides, then we hit the shops for souvenirs before retiring to our rooms.

Big Boy in the biggest balloon hat on the planet in Downtown Disney. (Really, he's having fun.  It's just that he's ten, and the Tween Code requires he wear a semi-sulking expression at all times.)  

Day Four – We planned to spend the morning swimming before packing up, but a freak thunderstorm derails those plans. (Bear in mind, this is L.A. It rains twice a year here. When I say “freak,” I totally mean it.) So, we pack up, load everyone into the car, and settle in for another seven hours of The Wiggles. (For those of you curious, yes, I did send the DVD back to Netflix the second we go home.)

Overall, great trip. Lots of fun. I highly recommend the margaritas.

Happy birthday, Baby T!

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Why I Write

Those fortunate enough not to have been bitten by the writing bug often wonder what compels us authors to sit down at our computers, day after day, word after word, sore back after sore back. After some soul searching, I recently discovered there are three primary reasons why I write.

Reason #1: I enjoy the sense of power writing gives me.
In my real world, I can’t get my son to change his underwear or eat a vegetable, but when I sit down to write, my characters do exactly what I tell them, right when I tell them to do it. I decide whether my character will wear her faded blue jeans and a sweatshirt or the trashy mini-skirt and satin halter. She has absolutely no say in the matter. If I don’t like what a character is saying, I can cut him off in mid-sentence. I can give my characters a wedgie should I so choose. If my characters piss me off, I can arrange to have their throats slit. Yes, writing is power.

Reason #2: My life is pretty damn ordinary and writing allows me to experience things I never will in my “real” world.
Unless working part-time as a tax advisor, attending PTA meetings, and scrubbing toilets can be called fun, my life is pretty dull. But through my writing, I can sky dive into an active volcano and live to tell about it. I can scale Mount Everest wearing nothing but a bikini and a pair of flip flops. I can go on a European tour with an all-female punk rock band whose roadies are male underwear models. Yee-ha!

Reason #3: I’m a closet skank.
I’d never cheat on my husband, but after 19 years of marriage, our love life has become somewhat . . . um . . . er . . . predictable. Through my love scenes, however, I can vicariously sleep with dozens of sexy men and never risk contracting a disease or being served with divorce papers. If I’m in the mood for something exotic, Enrique comes to visit, rolling his R’s as we roll in the hay. Pierre is always good for a French kiss, and he makes French toast the morning after. For some down and dirty fun, a randy redneck in the bed of a pickup fits the bill. I can lose my virginity dozens of times, yet never lose my reputation. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Introducing Guest Blogger - Janice Hardy!

We All Need a Little Mystery

A good friend of mine writes cozy mysteries, and when she first started reading my fantasies (novels, not the other kind) she remarked that she’d never be able to make up an entire world like I did. I found it incredible that she could write in the “real world” and not have the luxury of making stuff up when she needed it. Two totally different writers approaching their stories from two totally different perspectives, but what we both agreed on, was that all stories need a sense of wonder. Without mystery, stories just weren’t any fun.

I’ll read just about any genre out there, but I’ve always been drawn to science fiction and fantasy when I write. I think it’s the wonder that draws me in. Not only do I get to follow the plot mystery (how will this turn out?), but I get to create a world with its own mysteries and complexities. Every time I turn a corner, something new and amazing has to be figured out.

How do these people make a living? How did this culture evolve? Where did this magic come from? When did these problems begin? Each world-building exercise is a mystery to be solved for me, and figuring out that mystery is as much fun as writing the actual story. But it doesn’t just end with what I write. These are also questions that fill my mind as I read or watch a story, regardless of what genre.

Any time a story can surprise me it’s a win. Surprising a writer is hard work, because we plot all the time and can usually spot a twist coming a mile away. But when it happens, it’s such a thrill, and I enjoy the story all the more because it took me someplace new and unexpected. It’s the little joys I remember.

Better still, is when you’re not sure how all the pieces fit together, but you start figuring the plot out and seeing the truth under the misdirection. You have to know what happens next because you need to know if you’re right. Were you smart enough to solve those puzzles? Were you really one step ahead or did they fool you, too? Figuring out the twist of a movie to TV show before my husband is a major victory at my house, and one I revel in when it happens.

It’s even better when it happens in my own work.

I outline my novels, but I never plan how my characters are going to achieve the goals I’ve set for them. It would spoil the mystery to know how they were going to solve this delicious puzzle I’ve concocted. I write myself into corners (not recommended unless you enjoy a challenge and a bit of hair ripping) and put my characters into situations that take me days to find a way out of. The moment when the solution comes to me is one of the best in world.

Because I’ve solved the mystery.

And with luck, my readers will wonder what on earth can happen next because that’s what I felt as I was writing it. If I had no clue how to get out of things, it should be just as unpredictable for my readers. Maintaining that sense of wonder keeps the wonder going. It keeps the mystery alive.

And who doesn’t love a good mystery?

Blue Fire Blurb
Part fugitive, part hero, fifteen-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.

Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer—if she doesn’t destroy it first.

Janice Hardy Bio
A long-time fantasy reader, Janice Hardy always wondered about the darker side of healing. For her fantasy trilogy THE HEALING WARS, she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her books include THE SHIFTER, and BLUE FIRE from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. She lives in Georgia with her husband, three cats and one very nervous freshwater eel.

Link to Blue Fire Online Retailers


The Other Side of the Story Blog

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Music Moments

WINNER!!!!!!!!!!!! Bet you have won the copy of Shut Up and Kiss Me and the copy of the CD The Fancy Shapes. Please send me your snail mail address at christie (at) christie-craig (.) com

“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” Plato

It’s happened more than once. I’ll be in my car, listening to the radio, and a song will play. I’ll get pulled into music or the lyrics.

Suddenly, wherever my mind was, I’m not there anymore. I’m in the song. If it’s a sad song, I probably have tears in my eyes and my mascara is running down my face. If it’s happy song, I’m smiling ear to ear and looking pretty goofy. If there’s a lot of rhythm, I’m probably doing a little dance, my butt bouncing on the car seat. If it’s a song I know and love the words to, I sing along, belt out the words as if I’m on a stage, as if I can sing and my “carry-a-tune” thingamajig doesn’t have a big hole in it. But it doesn’t matter. I’m in a moment and I forget.

I forget that the people stopped at the red light are staring at me, wondering what kind of fruitcake I am. Not that I really care, but when I do see them snickering and staring, I blush just a little bit. But then I tell myself that when they see me in a middle of a music moment, they’re thinking the same thing I’m thinking when I see someone else in one. I usually smile and if my radio isn’t on, I turn it on. Because, well, music is good for us. And getting lost in one of those music moments is heart-healthy.

Like the quote above states, music finds a place in our souls. Music is therapy. No, seriously, there is a thing called music therapy. In some states, Medicare will even pay for it. I’m not joking. Google it and you’ll see.

So why am I talking about music today? Well, I have a song. Okay… I don’t have a song. My book, Shut Up and Kiss Me, has a song. It wasn’t exactly written for my book, but you’ll never guess what the title is: Shut up and Kiss Me, and it mentions soul mates in the lyrics, and if you’ve read my book, you know it’s about soul mates. “Shut Up and Kiss Me” is by The Fancy Shapes, a New York based band that melds smart pop with Afro-tropical rhythms. (That’s what it says in this cool review at Barnes and Noble. All I know is I like the music.) Anyway, would you believe their new CD Fun City releases today? How’s that for another coincidence?

So I’m gonna call it my book’s song, and The Fancy Shapes are going to let me do it. In fact, if you pop over to my website you can even download a copy of the song for free. But better than that, I’m also going to post all the links here. And if you like it as much as I do, you can follow the link to B&N and order a copy of the CD.

Listen to Shut Up & Kiss Me

Download the song for free

Buy the CD

You know, I’m with music like I am with books. I sort of like different types. I love Country Western, love the stories the lyrics tell. I like rock & roll, the hypnotic fast rhythm that gets your soul popping. I love Irish music that seems to get into my blood and make my feet start tapping. Jazz music that pulls me into a certain mood. Folk and easy listening are right up there on my likes, as well. When I write I can’t listen to music with lyrics, so if I do listen to music it’s often classical.

I guess you could say, I’m not a music snob, or a music connoisseur. If it tickles my fancy then I fancy it. And my fancy gets tickled a lot. With music, of course. Hmm, I guess you could say I am with music sort of like I am with books. I read across genres.

So what about you guys? Do you have a song? What type of music do you like? Do you regularly get caught up in a music moment at red lights? Today, one lucky person will get a copy of my book and a copy of The Fancy Shapes’ Fun City. So make sure you post. And today I hope everyone will take a few minutes to slow down and listen to your favorite music—to get lost in the moment.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Lori Lethal Avocato!

Hi All,

Thanks for letting me join this stellar group of "killers!" LOL I love the moniker, Lori Lethal Avocato! I am working on the Lethal in Lace series for those who wonder where the title came from.

Great to be here!


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Fall Shows

I am so excited that fall shows have started the rounds. HOUSE is back with some of the most brilliant writing and acting on television. Seriously, if you haven't watched this - try it. But rent the seasons in order or you will miss the backstory subtleties. HELL'S KITCHEN is back and I'm sorta worried on that one. This has to be the worst set of candidates I've ever seen. I'm starting to wonder if people are being selected for the show to produce ratings by being mental or awful, but for those of us who want to see a real competition, it's only annoying. Besides, didn't the HK producers learn from that whole American Idol "Sunjaya" fiasco? Anyway, I don't like anyone on there yet and quite frankly, would physically strangle a few of them if they were in my grasp.

But probably the most entertaining of all the train wrecks on television is JERSEY SHORE. I know, I know. People may groan and shake their heads in dismay, but Lord help, that show is funny. I don't get all the whining by those from New Jersey who somehow think it reflects poorly on them. Do they really think the entire country is so stupid we think those kids are representative of an entire state? Not to mention that what they do represent is a specific subculture found in the New England regions - the guidos. They are not making this up - that's the way of life they've chosen, just like skaters or goths or whatever other subcultures exist.

Where else are you going to learn great expressions like the "smush room" (the only room in the shared household with a double bed - you get the idea) or here a girl referring to getting lucky as "getting it in?" They're young, they're having fun and they're making a ton of money partying. If I could have acted a fool for money when I was in my early twenties, then never had to worry about money again, I probably would have. New identities just aren't that hard to come by. LOL

Last week, there was a big fray in the writing community because one of the JS stars, Snooki, got a book deal for a romance book. Snooki has been unlucky in love so far on the show, but she did coin the "get it in" phrase and she has indeed "gotten it in" twice so far this season. (She wasn't so lucky in the first season) So some writers are outraged and downright angry. Again, I don't get it. Snooki did not take a romance slot from a legitimate work. Celebrity books are not slotted with the rest of our works. Publishing is a business. So the publisher hires a ghost writer, puts Snooki's name on the book, and makes a ton of money while the kid is somebody. Sound business decision. And the money made on a Snooki book can be used to market or acquire more works by real writers.

I guess I'm just infinitely practical, or perhaps it's because above all else, I still view publishing as a business first and foremost. But I'm not calling foul. What about you?

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, October 01, 2010

Guest Blogger Maria Grazia Swan

This week I am at Disneyland celebrating Baby T's first birthday. (OMG, can you believe it's been a year already? Time flies when you get no sleep...) So, to fill in for me is the fabulous Maria Grazia Swan. Take it away, Maria...

I’m convinced that the way you like your eggs may say a lot about the people you date

By the time we reach midlife and the much anticipated midlife crisis, most of us have a pretty good idea on how we like our eggs cooked: scrambled, poached, sunny side up. For me is scrambled because, coming from Italy, is either scrambled or hard boiled, and I really mean hard.

We order without even thinking. It’s good that we know what we like and don’t have to pop Prozac to calm our nerves before deciding. It’s bad that we unreflectively make that same choice again and again. With all the new trends, you’ll find almost infinite ways to cook eggs, omelet, huevos rancheros, eggs benedicts, frittatas. But, we tend to stick to our safe, familiar routine.

Sort of like we do with dating.

Before we go out on a date with someone, we ought to learn their likes and dislikes, so that instead of playing the old game; “What do you want to do?” “I dunno, what you want to do?” We should have a plan. A plan? For a date? Believe me, it can pay off.

Most people opt for a movie. That way, if you don’t like your date, at least you don’t have to talk. I say, forget the movie; go to a comedy club You still don’t have to talk and you do get entertained, and most important, you get to see how your date reacts to the jokes told by the stand-up comedians, regardless of how ‘politically correct’ they are-or aren’t-. That’s like 3-D for the soul, and it works both ways, so you may learn from your own reactions.

Afraid too much laughter will put wrinkles on your face? Go to an art show. Most are free, and they even serve refreshments. Here again, little talk, much expression of soul.

Personally I stay away from dinner for a first date. I don’t want to sit in judgment of, or be judged by the choice of restaurant or the price of the food ordered. Meet for happy hour, if the chemistry is there you can stay for dinner, if it’s not, drive home carefully.

Yes, dating has a lot in common with eggs: if you rush the cooking you may get sick, if you cook your eggs too long, they get rubbery and tasteless and please, treat each egg gently, they break easily. And we certainly all like our eggs fresh. Hey, some people even like them raw. If you are allergic to eggs…get egg substitutes. They may not taste the same, but they are good for you. And if you need something to talk about with your date, how about: ”What came first, the egg or the chicken?”

The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.
Gloria Steinem

~ Maria Grazia Swan

Maria Grazia Swan is an author and motivational speaker who shares relationship advice and guidance for women re-entering the social/dating scene. Maria empowers and encourages single women to be bold, fearless, and sexy in their pursuit of life and love after age 45. An award recipient from the Women’s National Book Association, Swan is the author of Boomer Babes: True Tales of Love and Lust in the Later Years (Leisure Books). Visit