Thursday, March 31, 2011

There's A Lot Going On For Sophie Katz

A lot of you have been asking me when the next Sophie book will be coming out.  I know I have been vague to say the least, never committing to anything beyond, "I'm working on it." 

Commander in Chief: Part One (The Inaugural Edition)And I am working on it but I have to put it aside for a few weeks so I can give my focus to writing, polishing and perfecting a pilot for an original TV series that is in development with Lifetime.  At the moment it looks like the show will simply be called "Sophie Katz." Or maybe just, "Sophie." Rod Lurie, creator and producer of Commander In Chief has signed on to executive produce should the series be picked up. Rod is also known for his movies The Contender (starring Gary Olson and Joan Allen), Nothing But the Truth (starring Matt Dillon) and The Last Castle (starring Robert Redford) and many others.  Oh and he WILL be known for his upcoming movie, Straw Dogs, starring the love of my life, Alexander Skarsgard. It was through Rod that I actually got to meet Skarsgard which was kinda cool (understatement).

The Sophie series will feature all the characters my readers have come to love but it will have very different storylines than the ones you've already read. And yes, of course Anatoly will be a major part of each and every story.

Sex, Murder and a Double LatteIt's all incredibly exciting however we still have a long way to go before Sophie has the opportunity to stroll into America's living rooms. For one thing, Lifetime has to actually LIKE my pilot enough to film it.  Then they have to like what they've filmed enough to pick it up. Then the ratings have to be strong enough to keep it on the air.  Lots and lots of variables.  But it's a promising beginning.

Even if the show doesn't get picked up I must say that I'm enjoying the process of creating it a lot.

As for the book...the release date is somewhat contingent on how this whole thing plays out. I've been advised that I should coordinate the release with certain bench marks in the show's development and, if I'm extremely lucky, its premiere. That doesn't necessarily mean I'd wait for the premier of the series to release the book but I might wait until Lifetime launches their publicity campaign.  Keep in mind, this isn't a Lifetime movie or a mini-series but a regular ol' ongoing series. Currently Lifetime's only two original series on air are Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva

But that's going to change.

I'm also not 100% convinced that self-publishing isn't the way to go for me. I've had six books published through traditional channels and I do have a following, many of whom read ebooks. So then the question is, do I really need a publisher? New York Times bestselling author, Barry Eisler certainly doesn't think he needs one. He just turned down a $500,000 advance so he could self-publish through ebooks.  So as you can see, I have a lot to think about. I can promise you that the 6th Sophie book really and truly is in the works and regardless of whether or not things work out with the television show, I will be releasing it for public consumption in the not too distant future.   

Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip GlossFor now, everybody keep your fingers crossed for me and, if you haven't already done it, sign your name on the petition to make a Sophie Katz TV series.  Can't hurt to let TPTB know that there's a demand for our girl ;-)

--Kyra "Fashionista Fatale" Davis

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cheryl Ann Smith's THE SCHOOL FOR BRIDES!!! Leslie Langtry says, READ IT, OR ELSE!

I'm so excited! It is my honor to introduce Cheryl Ann Smith and the premiere of her very first novel, THE SCHOOL FOR BRIDES! The novel, pubbed by Berkeley, is about a daughter of a courtesan who trains other courtesans on how to be proper, marriageable ladies.

Cheryl is the reason I am pubbed. We met at an RWA mixer - and hit it off. At the Dorchester Spotlight, she dragged me up there and made me pitch to Leah Hultenschmidt. I really, really didn't want to, but there's no saying "no" to Cheryl! Anyway, when I did a signing tour of Michigan, Cheryl was right there with the family to show up and support me. This is so awesome!

So, without further adieu, the funny and talented debut of Cheryl Ann Smith!!!

-The Assassin

Terrible Mother of the Year Award

I like to think I’m a decent mother. I don’t buy my kids expensive designer clothes, but they don’t go to school in floodwater-short jeans either. They’re fed and loved and I did choose for them a decent father from the genetic pool; so they are a cute bunch. But, alas, there are times when I really, really, mess up.

I don’t think sending my son to class in pj’s for pj day, on the wrong week, will ruin his life. And I don’t suspect shuttling my daughter off to school when she only has a small tummy ache, only to have her barf on the school bus; will earn me a visit from social services. After all, what child hasn’t barfed on the bus?

The bake sale can manage if I forget to bake cookies, and if I haven’t washed wash jeans in awhile, there must be a pair in the hamper that isn’t that dirty. I am a busy writer and sometimes my children must suffer for my art. I like to believe that occasionally eating fat and preservative-laden TV dinners will only make them stronger grown-ups. And preservative clogged bodies mean that at least at least they (and the cockroaches) will still be standing after the Armageddon.

But there are times when I truly earn my terrible mother of the year award. Those times when I make a joke when not considering my audience, or without remembering that my oldest two children (girls) will take any opportunity that I open up to torment their little brother.

Let’s take our trip to Orland for example. The kids were very excited about making their first trip to Disney. So-far so-good right? Right. However, sadly, I’m never one to leave well enough alone. So, I joked that we couldn’t afford to take them all, so one would have to stay home with the grandparents. The girls eye-rolled and I didn’t think anything more about it. Until my son who was about five at the time, came up to me a few minutes later, tears in his beautiful green eyes, and asked me if it was he (with the assurances of his two delightful sisters) who was going to be left behind.

I assure you, that the guilt of the moment still lingers to this day. After I convinced my beloved (and traumatized) son, most vigorously, that mommy just made a very bad joke, and that we would never leave him behind, he smiled shakily through his sobs, happy to know that I did indeed love him enough to take him to Disney World.

Not my finest Mommy moment.

It’s times like these when I go from terrible mommy of the day, to terrible mommy of the month, year…century. Okay, I think the trophy has a permanent place on my mantle. But I can’t be the only mom whose kids will someday need therapy, am I?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Aim for the Crotch

I did something a couple of weeks ago that I normally don’t do. I’m generally a calm, peaceful individual. I don’t care too much for violence. Yes, I occasionally kill someone in my books. But I think anyone who has read me knows that the people I whack deserved it. So the point I’m trying to make is I usually don’t pick up a gun and shoot something for the fun of it.

Well, until now.

I still remember the weight of that Glock in my hand. It was heavier than I thought it would be. Loading it wasn’t easy either. My hands were sweating and I broke a nail. That ticked me off royally. I was told to aim low. I think someone called it the crotch-shot aim, because when you shoot your reflexes jerks the gun up and that way you’ll probably still hit your target. Personally, I think aiming at the crotch is a great idea. Might even be a way to avoid pulling the trigger.

I was also told that to aim properly, I needed to find out which of my eyes is my dominant one. The way you do this is to focus on something then close your eyes and open one, close it and open the other, and go back and forth like that for a while, and see with eye the “focus itemed” didn’t shift. The non-shifting eye is your dominant eye.

By the way, I’m a lefty. Most people are rightys. I’ve been telling people my brain is mis-wired—now I got the proof. Anyway, so there I was…Gun in hand, broken nail, crotch-aim on, blinking like a crazy woman, and worried about how my brain was skewed. But I wasn’t backing down.

They told me to never put my finger on the trigger until I was ready to shoot. But I was ready.

I won’t lie to you. I was nervous. Shooting things shouldn’t be taken too lightly. A little bit of sweat rolled down my brow. Okay, it was more than a little bit. I had enough sweat pooled in my cleavage to drown a medium-sized rat. But I think anyone who saw me still knew I meant business. They weren’t about to get between me and my target—even if I didn’t aim at their crotch.

When the gun fired, it was loud—even with the ear muffs on. I jumped, my heart started running around my chest like a bird trying to escape a fireplace. I squinted at my intended victim, which was the paper bulls-eye, to see if I’d hit pay dirt. I had. Dag-blast it. I was pretty good. Yup, I went to the shooting range, with my Northwest Houston RWA Chapter (waving to all you gun-toting writers out there) and got me some hands-on experience at shooting things. This is gonna come in handy with my books. You know you’ll be reading about the crotch-shot aim in my books and when you do, you’ll know where that little bit of research came from.

Oh, I brought home my target too. Showed my hubby and my son. I told them all about it. The dominate eye, the broken nail, and the crotch-shot aim. And I then I reminded them that I was on a deadline and didn’t like to be disturbed.

Oh, notice those lower shots down there at the bottom of my target? Well, I was aiming at the crotch and actually got it. Yay me!!

And now…I just want to remind everyone that today is the day my baby hits the streets. I’m talking about my book, Born at Midnight, Book 1 of my new YA paranormal series Shadow Falls, written under my pseudonym C.C. Hunter. I’ve always said that an author’s books are like her children. We put our hearts and souls into trying to shape them into something that can stand on their own two feet, or stand up on a bookshelf. And always somewhere in the process of trying to mold them, they drive us crazy. They talk back to us. They go on tangents. They make us feel as if we’re crazy. We threaten to give up on them, and at times we wish we could. We’re so ready to send them out into the world, and then we worry ourselves sick when they do go out into the big ol’ world. We cry over them. Ahh, but we love them. And we want other people to love them, too. And here’s hoping you do love my baby.

Born at Midnight is a book I’m extremely proud of. It has my humor, and it has my unusual characters, and it has a lot of heart. It also has a few vampires, shapeshifters, witches, werewolves, and few faes.

As some of you know, I always run contests when I have a book release and this one is no exception. I’m giving away a Kindle. That’s right. A Kindle. Oh, and there’s six other prizes. Three copies of Born at Midnight and three copies of an ARC of the second book in the series, Awake at Dawn, that will be delivered as soon as the ARC is available.

Also if you are in the Houston area, please stop by my launch party at Katy Budget Books on April 1st from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, you can go here – Launch Party.

To enter my contest to win a Kindle, all you have to do is go to read the post on my C.C. Hunter blog called “Tweet my Book and Win a Kindle” and click on the “Tweet and Enter to Win” button. It’s that easy. And today is the last day to enter. So don’t waste any time. Go do your clicking now. And if you ever get a chance to go to the gun range, just remember, aim for the crotch.

CC, signing off. Gonna go think about shooting something else.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Want to be a Cowgirl - by guest blogger Ann Charles

Cowgirl Ann Charles, Author of the Deadwood Mystery Series

I recently presented my tax workshop at the Greater Seattle Romance Writers chapter and wow! What a group of talented and smart women! One of the writers I met was Ann Charles. Once I met Ann, I knew we had to have her as a guest on our blog. Ann is the author of the Deadwood Mystery Series and, like the authors here at the Killer Fiction Blog, writes books with smart, strong heroines.


Here's what people are saying about Ann's release:

"This gem has a bit of everything...mystery, romance, comedy, suspense, and even a bit of the paranormal. Ann Charles has a winner in Violet Parker. I have a new favorite author in the mystery genre! ***** FIVE STARS!" ~Huntress Reviews

"Watch out Stephanie Plum, because Violet Parker is coming your way." ~Deborah Schneider, RWA Librarian of the Year 2009 & author of Promise Me

"It's no wonder Nearly Departed in Deadwood won the best overall book for the 2010 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense!" ~Susan Schreyer, author Death By A Dark Horse

"Nearly Departed in Deadwood is a delightful mix of on the edge suspense and laugh-out-loud humor. Ann Charles is a star in the making!" ~Gerri Russell, award-winning author of Seducing the Knight

* * *
From the back cover:

The first time I came to Deadwood, I got shot in the ass.--Violet Parker

Irony is having a big ol' fiesta and Violet Parker is the piñata. Little girls are vanishing from Deadwood, South Dakota, and Violet's daughter could be next. Short on time and long on worry, she's desperate to find the monster behind the abductions. But with her jerkoff co-worker trying to get her fired, a secret admirer sending creepy love poems, and a sexy-as-hell stranger hiding skeletons in his closet, Violet just might end up as one of Deadwood's dearly departed.

And with no further adieu, let's welcome Ann to the Killer Fiction Writers Blog! - Diane Kelly

I Want to be a Cowgirl
by Ann Charles

For many, many moons, I’ve wanted a pair of purple cowboy boots. But being that I live in Seattle where cowboy boots are more of a fashion extravagance than a day-to-day essential clothing item, I keep putting it off. However, the inner cowgirl in me has come up with a rather ingenious plan to make those purple cowboy boots a necessity. But before I tell you her idea, let me backtrack a little to explain who I am, and why the marvelous and super smart Diane “Killer” Kelly asked me to come hang out with you all at Killer Fiction today.

I grew up on a small farm in Ohio. We didn’t wear cowboy hats, we didn’t ride horses. We farmed. Period. The land was flat, the sky was always powder blue in the summer due to so much humidity. We bucked bales in John Deere hats and plain old work boots. But many evenings, as I watched the sun set on the western horizon, I daydreamed about moving out West, living on a ranch, being a cowgirl.

After high school, I moved to Southern California. Beach bum was more my style then. A few years later, Flagstaff, Arizona became my stomping grounds. Sure, there were cowboys there, but I was attending Northern Arizona University, known as a “granola” college. Cowboy hats were a rarity. From Arizona, I jumped to Seattle. Grunge was the name of the game at the time. No cowboy anything to be had.

By this time in my life, I’d started writing stories. Funny thing about these stories—most of them took place out West. Most had cowboy elements or characters in them. Most held elements of the daydreams belonging to that young farm girl from Ohio.

A few years ago, I paid a visit to my mother in Deadwood, South Dakota. She’d moved there back when I was in junior high, and I was lucky enough to visit her in the Black Hills every summer for over a month at a time while growing up. (Note: Deadwood is full of cowboys.

Anyway, while driving into Deadwood, an idea for a story hit me. It involved a single mother of twins, a new job in a new career in a new town—Deadwood. I chose Violet for her name, wanting something old-fashioned. I wanted her to be witty and sassy, strong yet compassionate, determined and too curious for her own good. And I wanted her to have a pair of purple cowboy boots.

Over the next several months, I wrote Violet’s story, titled Nearly Departed in Deadwood. The struggle for publication was long and full of frustration and near misses with big New York publishers. In the end, there publishers repeatedly expressed doubt about Violet’s story appealing to a “big” enough audience. But I knew in my heart there was a big audience for Violet. I knew that tastes for stories weren’t the same for mid-westerners and westerners as those who live in New York, and my gut told me Violet would find a following. So, I partnered with a small press publisher, pulled all of the strings I could reach, asked my brother to draw the cover and the interior art, and went to print, both in ebook and trade paperback.

The promotion work started years ago, as friends and family and fellow authors watched me struggle to obtain publication, take my fair share beatings, but never give up. By the time Nearly Departed in Deadwood came out in ebook, it already had a large team of supporters determined to see it succeed. Since publication, volunteers have freely given their time to help spread the word. The city of Deadwood and surrounding towns have joined in the movement. Now, Violet’s fanbase is growing stronger by the day, readers loving her sense of humor and cheering her determination to succeed.

But what does this have to do with that ingenious plan to score a pair of purple boots (did I mention the boots I want cost $400)? Simple—Violet Parker’s talisman is her purple boots. As you read her story, you come learn the importance of these boots. They even made the cover!

As I promote the book, readers want posters and key chains and magnets with the purple boots on them. When I show up at a book signing, they expect me to represent Violet. To be witty and sassy, to be strong yet compassionate, and most importantly—to wear those purple cowboy boots. So you see, thanks to Violet and Nearly Departed in Deadwood, I now have the perfect excuse to buy those purple cowboy boots.

Finally, this farm girl from Ohio gets to be a cowgirl, like I dreamed of doing so long ago.

What about you? Do you have any old daydreams that have come true that you want to share? Or any fun stories about your author journey? Did you daydream about being a cowgirl or cowboy when you were a kid, too?

Thank you, Diane, for inviting me to be on the Killer Fiction blog today. It’s a huge honor to get to hang out with you all!

Ann Charles


Chapter One
Deadwood, South Dakota
Monday, July 9th

The first time I came to Deadwood, I got shot in the ass. Now, twenty-five years later, as I stared into the double barrels of Old Man Harvey’s shotgun, irony was having a fiesta and I was the piñata.

I tried to produce a polite smile, but my cheeks had petrified along with my heart. “You wouldn’t shoot a girl, would you?”

Old Man Harvey snorted, his whole face contorting with the effort. “Lady, I’d blow the damned Easter bunny’s head off if he was tryin’ to take what’s mine.”

He cocked his shotgun—his version of an exclamation mark.

“Whoa!” I would have gulped had there been any spit left in my mouth. “I’m not here to take anything.”

He replied by aiming those two barrels at my chest instead of my face.

“I’m with Calamity Jane Realty, I swear! I came to ...”

With Harvey threatening to fill my lungs with peepholes, I had trouble remembering why I’d driven out to this corner of the boonies. Oh, yeah. Lowering one of my hands, I held out my crushed business card. “I want to help you sell your ranch.”
The double barrels clinked against one of the buttons on my Rebecca Taylor-knockoff jacket as Harvey grabbed my card. I swallowed a squawk of panic and willed the soles of my boots to unglue from the floorboards of Harvey’s front porch and retreat. Unfortunately, my brain’s direct line to my feet was experiencing technical difficulties.

Harvey’s squint relaxed. “Violet Parker, huh?”

“That’s me.” My voice sounded pip-squeaky in my own ears. I couldn’t help it. Guns made my thighs wobbly and my bladder heavy. Had I not made a pit stop at Girdy’s Grill for a buffalo burger and paid a visit to the little Hens room, I’d have a puddle in the bottom of my favorite cowboy boots by now.

“Your boots match your name. What’s a ‘Broker Associate’?”

“It’s someone who is going to lose her job if she doesn’t sell a house in the next three weeks.” I lowered my other hand.

I’d been with Calamity Jane Realty for a little over two months and had yet to make a single sale. So much for my radical, life-changing leap into a new career. If I didn’t make a sale before my probation was up, I’d have to drag my kids back down to the prairie and bunk with my parents ... again.

“You’re a lot purtier in this here picture with your hair down.”

“So I’ve been told.” Old Man Harvey seemed to be channeling my nine-year-old daughter today. Lucky me.

“Makes you look younger, like a fine heifer.”

I cocked my head to the side, unsure if I’d just been tossed a compliment or slapped with an insult.

The shotgun dipped to my belly button as he held the card out for me to take back.
“Keep it. I have plenty.” A whole box full. They helped fill the lone drawer in my desk back at Calamity Jane’s.

“So that asshole from the bank didn’t send you?”

“No.” An asshole from my office had, and the bastard would be extracting his balls from his esophagus for this so-called generous referral—if I made it back to Calamity Jane’s without looking like a human sieve.

“Then how’d you know about my gambling problem?”

“What gambling problem?”

Old Man Harvey’s eyes narrowed again. He whipped the double barrels back up to my kisser. “The only way you’d know I’m thinking about selling is if you heard about my gambling debt.”

“Oh, you mean that gambling problem.”

“What’d you think I meant?”

Bluffing was easier when I wasn’t chatting up a shotgun. “I thought you were referring to the ... um ...” A tidbit of a phone conversation I’d overheard earlier this morning came to mind. “To the problem you had at the Prairie Dog Palace.”
Harvey’s jaw jutted. “Mud wrestling has no age limit.”

“You’re right. They need to be less age-biased. Maybe even have an AARP Night every Wednesday.”

“Nobody told me about the bikini bit ‘til it was too late.”

I winced. I couldn’t help it.

“So, what’re you gonna charge me to sell my place?”

“What would you like me to charge you?” I was all about pleasing the customer this afternoon.

He leaned the gun on his shoulder, double barrels pointed at the porch ceiling. “The usual, I guess.”

No longer on the verge of extinction, I used the porch rail to keep from keeling over. Maybe I just wasn’t cut out for the realty business. Did they still sell encyclopedias door-to-door?

“This ranch belonged to my pappy, and his pappy before him.” Harvey’s lips thinned as he stared over my shoulder.

“It must hold a big place in your heart.” I tried to sound sincere as I inched along the railing toward the steps. My red Bronco glinted and beckoned under the July sun.

“Hell, no. I can’t wait to shuck this shithole.”

“What?” I’d made it as far as the first step.

“I’m sick and tired of fixin’ rusted fences, chasing four-wheeling fools through my pastures, sniffing out lost cows in every damned gulch and gully.” His blue eyes snapped back to mine. “And I keep hearing funny noises at night coming from out behind my ol’ barn.”

I followed the nudge of his bearded chin. Weathered and white-washed by Mother Nature, the sprawling building’s roof seemed to sag in the afternoon heat. The doors were chained shut, one of the haymow windows broken. “Funny how?”

“Like grab-your-shotgun funny.”

Normally, this might give me pause, but after the greeting I’d received today from the old codger’s double barrels, I had a feeling that Harvey wore his shotgun around the house like a pair of holey underwear. I’d bet my measly savings he even slept with it. “Maybe it’s just a mountain lion,” I suggested. “The paper said there’s been a surge of sightings lately.”

“Maybe. Maybe not,” Harvey shrugged. “I don’t care. I want to move to town. It gets awful lonely out here come wintertime. Start thinking about things that just ain’t right. I almost married a girl from Taiwan last January. Turned out ‘she’ was really a ‘he’ from Nigeria.”


“Damned Internet.” Harvey’s gaze washed over me. “What about you, Violet Parker?”

“What about me?”

“There’s no ring on your finger. You got a boyfriend?”

“Uh, no.”

I didn’t want one, either. Men had a history of fouling up my life, from burning down my house to leaving me knocked up with twins. These days, I liked my relationships how I liked my eggs: over-easy.

Harvey’s two gold teeth twinkled at me through his whiskers. “Then how about a drink? Scotch or gin?”

I chewed on my lip, considering my options. I could climb into my Bronco and watch this opportunity and the crazy old bastard with the trigger-happy finger disappear in my rearview mirror; or I could blow off common sense and follow Harvey in for some hard liquor and maybe a signed contract.

Like I really had a choice. “Do you have any tonic?”

VISIT ANN AT! Links to buy Ann's books can be found at:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Melissa Ohnoutka

Hey Guys...

Here's another RWA Chapter mate with her book, and a blog about something we all can relate to. Fear. Welcome Melissa and take it away.

* * * *

Conquering Fear, Let me Count the Ways

Publishing a book really takes a lot out of you. Mentally, emotionally, physically. I had no idea. At one time I thought you just wrote a book, sent it in and voila! People would love it as much as I did. It wasn't long before reality hit hard. My first contest was a real eye opener. Gulp. I thought about throwing in the towel, but it was too late. The writing bug had me and wouldn't let go. It was just too rewarding and fun to give up. Other mom's look forward to getting out of the house for some physical activity like the gym, running or playing tennis to unwind. Me, I want to create something.

But it's taken years for me to come out of the closet so to speak. I started writing seriously when my second child was born to save my sanity. She's now almost fifteen years old and, even to this day, if you asked someone close to me if they knew I was a writer you'd get this blank stare. Or even a comment like, "Nah, you must be talking about someone else." Then if you tell them you're quite certain it's the right Melissa Ohnoutka (could there possibly be another person out there with my name?) and I write about murder, psychos, human trafficking, etc. and they'd really think you'd swallowed some kind of hallucinating drug. My poor mother still thinks something horrible happened to me when I was little that she doesn't know about. Why else would this weird stuff be floating around in my head? LOL

So why not tell people I'm a writer? Hmmm…Good question. And I have lots of answers, none of which are any good. All I have are a bunch of excuse for keeping quiet. Fear tops this list. But fear is part of this wild and whacky game, right? Another in my top five is blaming it on being shy and not wanting any attention drawn to myself. Speaking in front of people turns me into a babbling brook of stutters, short quick sentences, and sends my heart pounding like crazy. After four years of queries, conferences and face to face pitches, I've learned that being shy and giving into the fear just isn't going to cut it. These challenging experiences are helping me grow and making me stronger. No matter how much they seemed to hurt.

So when Christie asked if I would like to do a guest post, my first reaction was to run for the hills, dig a deep hole and stay there till one of my kids came looking for me. They would you know. Especially when supper wasn't ready or they needed a pair of clean socks. But thankfully common sense and that part inside me that loves to write knocked me around a bit and I realized the error of my thinking. You betcha I want to be a guest.

I owe this new found courage to a great book I came across last year. "Failing Forward," by John C. Maxwell. And it's not just for writers. No matter what your dream is, there is one truth and it rang loud and clear. There is no success without failure. So take those risks. Move forward. And Dare to Dream!

If you'd like to find out more about my new release "Faithful Deceptions" or what's up next, please visit me at:

Links for Faithful Deceptions:

Amazon -

Barnes & Noble -

Thanks for having me ladies!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The High Heels Mysteries

I’ve been getting a lot of reader mail lately, the majority of it asking for one thing: more High Heels Mysteries.

SPYING IN HIGH HEELS was my first sale to a NY publisher, in 2005. It was back when chick-lit was hot, and a chick-lit mystery was a shiny new idea. I had always hoped this book would become a series, but, as a new author, of course my publisher was reluctant to commit to that. But, luckily readers liked my take on a chick-lit mystery well enough that reviews were great, it won a couple awards, and sales were pretty decent. All meaning my editor was excited to work with me on my second book.

KILLER IN HIGH HEELS was the hardest book I have ever written. There’s something about writing that second book that makes you certain your first success was a fluke. Was I an actual writer with enough talent to do this for the long haul or just someone who just wrote one good book? And it didn’t help things that I had two deaths of close family members at the same time – one of whom I had *just* written into my book before she passed away. Let me tell you, it’s really hard to write comedy when dealing with grief. Needless to say, when this book came out, I was sure it was going to flop, be horrible, be as painful for readers to read as it was for me to write. Amazingly, it wasn’t. In fact, I’ve had people tell me that it’s the funniest of all the books I’ve written. And it did well enough that my publisher offered me another contract.

The premise for UNDERCOVER IN HIGH HEELS was actually a collaboration between my fabulous editor and I. She had the idea to do a Desperate Housewives spoof, and thought Maddie would be the perfect person to take this on. Combining that idea with my past experience working the film industry, we came up with a fun book about a murder on the set of a TV show that was a blast to write. And I guess that fun I had with it translated to readers as book #4 followed.

By the time I began writing ALIBI IN HIGH HEELS two things happened. One – I optioned the rights to a “Spying in High Heels” TV show to Hollywood. Two – while Hollywood was digging the chick-lit, NY publishing was not. The format of fun, fashion-minded characters in lighthearted situations was supposedly out and serious Oprah-style literature was in. So, while we planned for a TV version of the book, my editor and I both made the decision to end Maddie’s journey on a high note and let ALIBI be her last adventure.

That was the plan. But, as I wrote the book, I realized that Maddie really deserved a great end. So I ended the book (and the series, I thought at the time) with a straight out of the movies, huge hook, big bang ending. Only when my agent read the manuscript, she told me, “Um… you know we need to know what happens next. You have to write another book now.” And when my editor read it, she gave me the same line, word for word. We jokingly kicked around idea for a fifth “Wedding in High Heels” book, and, after a little while, we decided we weren’t joking, and I agree to do just one more Maddie story.

MAYHEM IN HIGH HEELS was my absolute last High Heels book. I took great care to NOT end this one with quite the bang as ALIBI. A happy ending that was clearly an ending in my mind. That left everyone happy. That tied up all the storylines I’d been kicking around for years. That left me satisfied and, I hoped, readers satisfied as well.

That was in 2008. Fast forward to 2011… I have left the original publisher of the High Heels books, with the rights to all these books, and there are now some great venues for me to make these books available as an Indie author. And you know what I realized being Indie means? It means that, unlike large publishers, I have the luxury of publishing whatever books I want to, regardless of the trends in big publishing. It also means that, thanks to ebooks, Maddie has found a whole new audience of readers that are discovering her for the first time and writing to me telling me that these fun, fashionable books are a welcomed light-heated escape from the sad economy, the depressing job market, and the natural and political disasters cropping up in the world right now. They’ve been telling me they’d like more fun.

Know what? Me too. Who doesn’t want more fun, right?

So, I’m super excited to say that I WILL be bringing Maddie back for another full length adventure! I plan to start working on the 6th book in the series very soon, which I will Indie publish hopefully sometime next year. (Indie also means no deadlines – woohoo! - so I’ll let you know as I get closer to finishing when the actual release date will be.)

My only problem now is coming up with a new title for this next chapter in Maddie’s life. Anyone have any suggestions?

~Trigger (and High Heels) Happy Halliday

P.S.  In between the books I also wrote two short stories featuring Maddie, that can be found in ebook only.  CHRISTMAS IN HIGH HEELS and, just this past February, SWEETHEART IN HIGH HEELS.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More e:Book covers!

Two weeks ago I posted prospective cover for the fourth book in my Calamity Jayne Mysteries series, CALAMITY JAYNE GOES TO COLLEGE. The input was unanimous: the cover was a stinker. So, I went stock art shopping (again) and picked a simple, but appropriate, image for the cover. Here's the new cover:

I think it's a definite improvement.

I also had the opportunity to get my fifth Calamity Caper e:Book up on and Barnes and Noble. com. Here's that cover:

I'm down to the final book in my Calamity Jayne Mystery backlist, ANCHORS AWEIGH, and I hope to have it up next week. Then, that leaves my paranormal romantic comedy, FIANCE AT HER FINGERTIPS. Once that is up, I can finally get back to 'new' projects.

I'll post the covers for those final two books in two weeks.

Oh. And today is my birthday. How am I celebrating? I'm working a ten-hour shift.

Do I know how to party or what???

Have a great Thursday!

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring break with a vampire

Hi, Angie here reporting to you from the Fox household, which is now on Spring Break. Although with all of the pandemonium, I'm still trying to figure out what part of it is a break. Ohhh! Maybe they mean breaking things around the house. In which case, I understand. We're already down a flower pot (my bad), a glass (still not sure who did that) and part of the banister (serenity now).

In the midst of it, my agent came up with this pretty neat idea. I have this novella that I wrote a few years ago for The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2. It's not part of any series, but a stand-alone story about a vampire princess who decides to rebel and runs into a hot Scottish supernatural bodyguard. Happens all the time, right? Well, since so many people have e-readers now, we're going to be posting Love Bites up on Amazon as a short story.

I saw the final cover last night - my first vampire bite-y cover. Which means now I need to finish polishing the story. There are a few things I want to change after looking at it again (Isn't that always the way?). Plus, a really good friend of mine who writes Scottish historicals (Kimberly Killion - look her up - she's awesome) sat down with me the other night to give our Scottish bodyguard a modern-yet-medieval brogue. He is about eight hundred years old, after all. I really should have done that the first time, because I like it so much better.

It's been a lot of fun - a great way to relax and do something different. So I suppose I'm taking a break this spring after all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Domestic Gods are the Greatest!

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

Today, my husband and resident Domestic God made me play hooky. He told me we've both been working way too much and needed a day to ourselves.

I was thinking he'd take my son--Domestic God in Training--on one of his 10-miles hikes. He shook his head, reading my mind (something he does remarkably well). "No," he said, we're going out together. I'm taking the day off and so are you."

I felt his forehead to see if he had a fever. He didn't. Then I looked a him through squinty eyes wondering if I was hallucinating. It's not often two people with three busy teenagers go off gallivanting and spend a day together. I can't remember the last time we did...maybe six years ago.

He took me to Longwood Gardens--one of my favorite places on earth. We drove to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania on this cloudy morning. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to go since the weather report called for rain. He smiled and told me that with any luck, we'll be the only ones there... Sigh. It occurred to me then that my Domestic God makes almost everything in my crazy writer's life more bearable. I thought I'd tell you about how he does just that--well, what I can write about without blushing too much, anyway.

➢ My Domestic God wakes me up every morning with a smile and a cup of coffee. I choose to believe he does this because I’m worth it. He tells me he does it because he loves me—and because of that pesky safety issue. I’m downright scary until after I’ve had my coffee. The man has learned the importance of buying great coffee and has extraordinary coffee-making ability. It’s a gift.

➢ Laundry and cleaning: Before I began writing seriously, my Domestic God did laundry only when he was in fear of having to wear his “emergency spare” pair of underwear—the dreaded Christmas Tigger boxers which, in his estimation, were not only embarrassing, but very uncomfortable. But I digress.

In case you are unaware, cleaning and laundry are my nemesis. As a stay-at-home mom, I did my fair share of both. Okay, I’ll admit, I did as little of my fair share as possible. Still, I did more cleaning and laundry than anyone should be subject to in a lifetime.

When I began working toward publication, my Domestic God sat me down and told me he’d been thinking. He’d decided that writing and taking care of the kids were two full-time jobs. Since he only had one job, it was only fair that he take over the cleaning and laundry. After he revived me from my dead faint, he got very lucky.

➢ Childcare: It’s always been understood my Domestic God either take over childcare responsibilities when he came home from work or he cooked dinner. While sufficient in the kitchen, DG is not the cook that I am. He always took over the changing of diapers, bathing of kids, and telling of bedtime stories while I cooked. He regarded it as his quality time with the kids. I regarded it as my quality time without them. Until the kids were old enough to clean up after dinner, DG usually did the dishes, too, God love him.

➢ My Domestic God is willing to be brave and inconvenienced. He and my son—DG in Training—are called upon to kill bugs and pick up dead critters the cat drags in—even if it means driving home from work to do so. My DG doesn’t understand why I can play with octopi and snakes, deal with any amount of blood or medical procedures, not be bothered by live mice and critters, but totally freak when I come in contact with a dead mouse or squirrel, or worse, a not-quite-dead mouse or squirrel. My Domestic God knows not to tease me about my ick tolerance, and appreciates the opportunity to show his true heroic qualities. My DG in Training has yet to learn either of those finer points.

➢ My Domestic God is handy around the house and with cars. And if he's not able to do whatever needs done, he's willing to pay those who are. I have mentioned that it would be really nice of him to make sure whomever he hired be easy on the eyes--I do so love a man in a tool-belt--but then, my DG has his own tool-belt and can fix pretty much anything. He’s also easy on the eyes, although these eyes wouldn’t mind some variety in dreamy tool-belt-wearing men. Unfortunately, I’ll probably never get to drool over another, but then I don’t have to deal with the guys who aren’t so dreamy and have a penchant for showing off butt cleavage, either.

I'm really lucky that I've had a DG from the moment I said "I do" but I left out the most important way my Domestic God has made this crazy writer's life bearable. He’s been my best friend, my fiercest supporter, my biggest fan, my bullshit meter, and the person with whom I celebrate all my successes and failures. And yes, we celebrate failures. He’s taught me that you learn more from failures than success.

We've always thought of this adventure in publishing as a learning experience. We knew we were going to make a lot of mistakes before we figured it all out--if we ever figure it out. But in the end, I know that whatever happens, my Domestic God will love and support me through it all. That’s the most important quality in a Domestic God.

I've just found out that the first three books in my Domestic Gods series is now available in a bundle on the Kindle! I hope you'll check them out.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Before Some of You Lynch Me

As anyone who's been within ten feet of me in the past month knows, my first Harlequin Intrigue, THE SECRET OF CYPRIERE BAYOU, released at the beginning of March. Sales are great and I've been getting fabulous email from readers, but one thing that several people indicated gave me a YIKES moment.

Before I explain the moment, let me give you a little background information about your average writer - we don't read our own books. The galley review is usually the last time we read our work unless we're doing a small piece as a reading at conference. Why? Well, there's many reasons starting with we don't have time to read much and ending with a book's never perfect so we'd find something we wanted to change every time we read it. So we avoid the frustration by not reading our own work once it's in print and out of our control.

Sooooooooo, because I did not read my own book, I did not realize that there's no indication in it that my next book, which releases in July, is a related book with the follow-up story. I swear, I did not leave you all hanging! In July, you'll meet Justine, a beautiful historian hired by Olivia to research the family tree of laMalediction and locate the cursed emeralds.

I wish there had been some indication in the back of the book that let you know I didn't leave dangling threads everywhere on purpose. I will be certain to request it the next time I have related books. I still can't guarantee I'll get it, but I promise that if you come here and ask, I'll always provide a thread ending for you, even if I have to manufacture it for the blog. :)

Also, all of you Monday-morning readers, please take a look at the blog post below mine. Christie Craig has a prequel of her paranormal YA available for download for FREE! I downloaded mine yesterday and as soon as I finish my current book, it is first on my list to read!

Deadly DeLeon

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Turned at Dark

Yay! I’m celebrating today because my short story Turned at Dark, which introduces my Shadow Falls series, is available for free eBook download today at all major online retailers. Turned at Dark is Della’s story, and explains how she became a vampire. And did I mention it’s free? So, what are you waiting for? Go get your copy!



Barnes and Noble


Friday, March 18, 2011

Dance Anywhere

At 3 pm EST today (Friday, March 18, 2011), Dance Anywhere will be taking place. This event is a simultaneous worldwide public art performance and YOU are invited to partipate.

You don't have to be a professional dancer, or even involved in dance in any formal way. The only requirement is to have fun. Wherever you are, take a moment and MOVE! Nod your head, tap your toes, shake your booty. Just stop what you're doing and join in.

I, for one, will probably mark the occasion by nodding my head. See, I broke my toe the other day and I'm currently sitting at my desk with my foot propped up on an overturned trash can. Good times. So no dance class for me...

So I guess I'll just have to get my dancing fix from watching Dancing with the Stars, instead. Yes, DWTS returns on Monday, March 21 for a new season of watching pros and celebs vie for the coveted mirror ball trophy.

Don't laugh, but I love DWTS. It's been my guilty pleasure for years. The costumes, the music, the moves, the bling. I think I'm most excited about Karate Kid Ralph Macchio and Superbowl star Hines Ward this year, although Kirstie Alley ought to be entertaining. (Although probably not in the way she intends.)

I admit, it's not their most interesting cast, for sure. But I'll still be tuning in.

Of course, I have an ulterior motive. Exactly one month after the DWTS premiere, I'll be launching my brand new YA mystery, Codename: Dancer! Codename is set at a performing arts boarding school, where a ballroom reality show is being filmed.

Check out the blurb:

"Aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak is thrilled when hit TV show Teen Celebrity Dance Off comes to the campus of her performing arts boarding school. She trades the barre for the ballroom and gets set to cha-cha-cha to stardom with Hollywood wonderboy Nick Galliano.

At first their partnership is awkward, because Dani is in awe of her longtime teen idol crush. But soon their chemistry is heating up the dance floor and the attraction moves into real life. Could he actually like her?

Her excitement is short-lived, because someone wants her off the show. Bombs, poisoning, arson… Will Dani’s 15 minutes of fame be over before she reaches age 15? Dani and her friends are suddenly at the center of some serious sabotage. And if she doesn’t find out who is behind it, her next pirouette could be her last.

It's like "Nancy Drew in toe shoes" in this light-hearted tween mystery, a finalist for Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award for Best Young Adult Romance."

There's still another month before the launch, so I guess I'll just have to watch DWTS in the meantime. And hope my toe heals. Ouch!

(By the way, sorry for the delay in posting. I was still feeling a little loopy from the Percocet, so I needed to wait until it wore off soon. Otherwise, I'm sure this post would have been more like ghjkh31 3198 vhr 21j ihryrjhghj rhg v. Which is kind of like what it looks like when I let my toddler type.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Japan Needs Us.

When the news of the Japanese earthquake was broadcasted across the stratosphere, one number kept banging around in my mind, 8.9.

I was near the epicenter of the Loma Prieta earthquake of 89'.  It was a 6.9 earthquake, the largest the continental United States had seen in over fifty years.  It destroyed the downtown area my hometown of Santa Cruz.  That's not hyperbole.  There is not a single building along the main strip of Downtown Santa Cruz today that was there before 89'. All those pre-89 buildings just collapsed.  People died. The merchants were literally operating out of tents for years. But of course what I remember most is that moment when a typical California earthquake become more serious. A friend of mine had come over to my family's home after school. My mom was busy with something in the kitchen, my stepfather was up in Oakland with a friend for the third game in the world series and my older brother was ignoring all of us as he watched TV.

And then things started to move.

Downtown Santa Cruz after 89' quake
My friend rolled her eyes and muttered, "I hate these things," as my mom ushered us under the doorframe.  My brother was a little slower to comply and then...everything just changed. The house was shaking too much and it immediately became clear that this wasn't a "typical" anything.  Finally grasping the danger, my brother grabbed the dog and held him still.  My mother gasped and yelled, "Oh my God, this is the big one!" And as we all watched the ceiling, waiting for the chimney to come crashing through, I wondered, "The big one?  What does that really mean? Are we all going to die? Will it be painful? Will California go into the ocean just like in the movies?"  I didn't get it.  Not just because I was a kid but because it was impossible to "get."

That was 6.9.  This is 8.9.  That is beyond my comprehension.  At least one of their aftershocks was bigger than anything California has experienced in three hundred years. And while we ALL are praying and hoping for the Japanese people I think it's fair to say that everyone in California is taking a moment to ask themselves, are we prepared?  And being prepared is so much more than storing extra water, a flashlight and a first aid kit.  Even before 89' my mother had drilled it into my head that nothing heavy or breakable should ever be hung over the bed, not even a framed picture and ideally your bed shouldn't be near a window.  Food is hard to get after a disaster so, in addition to water, I always keep a Costco box of protein bars on hand.  And then there's the issue of gas. After the 89' quake we all learned the dangers of allowing your tank to get too low.  If you need to go on a search for your loved ones or, God forbid, evacuate an area quickly, you don't want to run out of gas because the gas stations might not be open for days.   

But then again, a lot of this stuff won't make a difference if the building your in collapses.  I dearly hope that if I have to live through a quake bigger than the Loma Prieta quake I will conduct myself with the dignity, courage and calm that the Japanese people are exhibiting now.  Their strength is awe inspiring.  And I think it's worth noting that while we've heard of food shortages and the like we have not heard a single report of looting or price gouging.  In the last decade or so lots of disasters that have occurred in third world countries have been reported by the media but to see one of the wealthiest nations in the world suffer this, a country that boasts the world's third largest economy...well it's much easier for us to make comparisons between how things are being handled there and how they would be handled here.  One thing is clear, regardless of how wealthy your country or state is, when you suffer a disaster of this proportion you need the compassion and assistance of the international community.  I honestly believe that when the time comes (and we all know it's coming) Japan will be there for us.  Now we need to be there for them.

Here are links to organizations that can facilitate your support:

American Humane Association 
Doctors Without Borders
International Medical Corp
Save The Children
World Vision

--Kyra "Fashionista Fatale" Davis

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Need A Vacation...

I need a vacation. Or I'll eat people. Or I'll be naked in the bell tower. Or I'll take hostages at the local Dairy Queen. I'm serious.

I haven't really had a vacation in 3 years. We've had a couple weekend getaways, but nothing where we're just sitting on a beach, or a mountain, or even a crappy hotel room, doing nothing with nowhere to be and not even a hint of housework to be had.

I would blame Mr. Assassin. He HAD to go to Iraq. I HAD to use up all my vacation time taking care of kids. Now I'm surrounded by friends who tell me they are going away for Spring Break. My boss is even going to spend a week taking care of elephants.

I came home from work Monday night with a plan. "We," I told Mr. Assassin, "are going on a family vacation the first week in June." I'm talking a resort with white sand beaches in Florida. And yes, fruity cocktails made of vodka and an orange wedge will be permanently grafted to my hand.

I told him that we could spend every day sitting on the beach, doing nothing. I showed him websites I'd selected and even the audio book playlist I'd come up with for the drive down there.

Mr. Assassin nodded, when I was through and said, "Sounds great."

Wait for it...

"But it can't interfere with the kids' camps and activities, can't interfere with our work schedules, and we have to be able to afford it."

My husband might "accidentally" have an "accident" in his sleep tonight. You'll know, because my Facebook status will go from "married" to "going on vacation."

The Assassin

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One Misconstrued word: One Big Embarrassment

WINNER!! Rebekah E. You are the winner of the Hotter In Texas fan. With no rubber!!!!! LOL. Rebekah, email me at christie(at) and give me your address. Thanks.

Also guys, please join me tomorrow for another funny blog and contest at:

See ya!!!


Hey...I'm also over at B&N. Pop over and see a link to another contest.
Contest! Contest! Contest!

Want to win a free copy of my short story, Turned at Dark, along with the first three chapters of Born at Midnight, my Shadow Falls novel that releases March 29th, under my pen name C.C. Hunter? Do you want it really badly? Okay…You win! That’s right. Everyone wins. Turned at Dark is a free download at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and where ever e-books are available. You can also read it at Macmillan.

Turned at Dark

Barnes and Noble

Independent and strong-willed Della Tsang hadn’t believed in ghosts until she saw her dead cousin darting into the shadows of an alley. She hadn’t believed in vampires until in the dark of that same night she is turned into one. Introduced to a strange world of supernaturals, she struggles to accept this new reality. Unfortunately, the boy she loves senses something different about her and can’t accept her. Should she follow her vampire cousin’s lead–walk away from everything she’s knows and loves—and fake her own death? Or should she set her pride aside and ask for help from the camp leader of Shadow Falls—a camp where supernaturals go to learn how to cope with their powers. Either way, her life as she knows it, will never be the same.

And now for my blog:

Last week, I had one of those experiences that reminded me how one misconstrued word and one wrong assumption can totally throw off a conversation and lead a person to making an idiot out of herself. Here’s what happened.

Okay…some of you know that my new series, Hotter In Texas, is set to release August 23rd. Yup, between writing two series, short stories, and guest blogs out the kazoot, I’ve been a busy, busy girl. So busy that I’ve started scheduling regular massages to help me relax. And that afternoon was my appointment to get my massage. Hey…it’s my reward for working so hard. But before I go to get my massage, I have chores to do. Some of you know that I’m basically a promo slut. I love finding perfect giveaways to offer as little prizes to my readers and booksellers. So after some brainstorming, my agent and I came up with the idea to buy some mini fans. Get it? Hotter in Texas and a mini fan? So . . . part of my morning chore was ordering said fans from the Internet. With that accomplished, I stepped out to do my daily hour walk, another thing that helps me relax.

When I returned, I went into my office to start producing pages. My email dinged and I saw I’d gotten a confirmation on my order of the fans. Right then Hubby stepped in the office and said, “Oh, you got a call. They can’t get the rubber you wanted.”

I look at the screen. I didn’t even know the fans had rubber in them, and then I look back at my husband. “But they confirmed everything.”

“Then I guess that’s why they called,” he said.

Mentally, I chewed on that for a few seconds and stared at the screen, then I stared back at hubby.

In a no-big deal tone he said, “They want you to call them back.”

I sat there, my brows pinched, trying to understand. “I didn’t ask for a special kind of rubber.”

“Then call them and tell them that,” he said.

“I don’t even know their phone number,” I said, feeling frustrated.

“Then get it off the caller ID,” he said and walked out.

I stared at the email for a few more seconds and decided to forego the call and just shoot them an email. I type out a quick message. “Did I miss something? I didn’t see where I was supposed to ask for a certain type of rubber? But any rubber will do as long it’s red. And not poison or something, just in case someone accidentally puts it in their mouth.”

With that taken care of I started to work on my pages. A little later, Hubby walked back in. “Did you get the number?”

“No,” I said. “I just shot them an email.” The puzzlement that I felt from before bubbled back up. “I still don’t understand what they want.”

He shrugged. “All they said was that you were going to get a different rubber. Your rubber is sick.”

“What?” I said. “My rubber is sick? What the hell does that mean?”

He shrugs again. “They didn’t say what was wrong with her.”

“Her?” I asked. My rubber has a gender?

He shrugged. “Yeah, the person you get to rub on you. She’s sick.”

“My masseuse?” I dropped my head on the desk. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I still haven’t gotten an answer from the fan people.

So . . . have you ever made an idiot out of yourself? Leave a post and I’ll send one person a red, Hotter in Texas fan. And don’t forget all of you are a winner today, so go download or read my short story and the first three chapters of Born at Midnight.