Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Writer's Path

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

A few weeks ago, after a meeting with my editor, she told me the synopsis of my next book, Call Me Wild, was due on her desk within a week. The next day, a Monday afternoon at 2:00, I emailed the copy edited manuscript of my December release, Wild Thing, to my editor. I had an entire two and a half hours of blissful self-adulation. If I hadn’t be driving my fifteen year-old to dance most of that time, it would have involved a toast, maybe a quiet celebratory dinner with my own domestic god, but my life isn’t that romantic. Instead, I received a high-five from my daughter and spent my evening at her dance school among other tortured dance mothers and fathers.

The next morning in my dentist’s office, I spent fifty minutes being tortured. I endured the second half of a root canal. I thought nothing could be worse than the first half. I was wrong.

If I were ever to write a Romantic suspense, I’d definitely have a deranged dentist as my villain. Mind you, I told my dentist this after he put away his drills. He chuckled softly as he removed my bib. When I touched my ear only to find it numb, I asked if he'd gotten a little carried away with the Novocain. He smiled in that way dentist have when speaking to difficult patients and said. “Did you feel any pain?” The answer of course was no, but was it necessary to numb my whole head and neck?

I wrote my blog with no bib and no drink. I was so numb, I was afraid whatever I imbibed would dribble down my chin without my notice since the entire left side of my head lacked feeling. Is it any wonder that while I lay in the torture chamber called his office, my mind wondered down the path it always does? I call it the writer’s path. It’s the place I’ve visited all my life and used to get in trouble for when I was in school. The teachers remarks on every report card or progress report were always “Robin is constantly daydreaming.” Before your first book—it’s called daydreaming, after—it’s called plotting.

The word plotting has a romantic suspense-like quality to it. You plot murders, you plot clandestine attacks, you plot the overthrow of governments—that sounds a whole lot more exciting than plotting a book. But it’s not.

The books I plot come alive in my mind like a movie running through my brain. The characters I shape are as real as any person in my world although they’re better looking, thinner, and for the most part, vastly more interesting. They’re wittier, funnier, and richer—after all, I write fiction.

While lying in the chair at my dentist’s office, Call Me Wild took shape in my mind. And when I wrote the synopsis, it just spewed out of me onto twelve pages over a long day spent at my Starbucks between a lunch outing and breaks visiting with my favorite baristas.

At 9:30 that night, they closed the doors, locking me out of the store. Since I was only a few paragraphs shy of writing the end, I sat outside at the tables and completed the synopsis. As I emailed it to my agent, I called to tell her the synopsis was on its way. “Where are you?” she asked. I told her I was at 'Bux, my writing nirvana. She informed me that Starbucks had closed a half-hour before. Leave it to my agent in California to know what time my Starbucks in Pennsylvania closes. “Go home!” she yelled, as I packed my computer. “I’ll call you after I’ve read it.” Since it’s an hour and a half drive home, I left and was halfway home when she called back. My agent loved it, thank God!

Even though the synopsis was very detailed, knowing me, Jessie James, my heroine, will probably have a run in with a dentist and come out of his office wondering when she’ll be able to drink without dribbling and how long it will take before she could speak without sounding as if she were in desperate need of some serious speech therapy. I won’t even go into the thought I had about the way a rubber damn feels in one’s mouth when the area is shared with the gloved fingers of a Novocain wheedling dentist—after all this is a family friendly blog, is it not?

It does make one wonder how many real-life experiences make their way into the pages of other author’s books.

If you are interested in a sneak peek of my December release, Wild Thing, the first chapter will be on my website in the next day or two!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope you're all getting a day off work to celebrate, or if you're like me, catch up on everything you can't get done during a regular weekend.




Before I get to sale stuff for the holiday, I have to tell you all, I saw The Fast and the Furious latest release last weekend and it was fabulous! Paul Walker is still my fantasy man. I was especially happy that all the cast (that hasn't died in a past episode) was back for this movie. The plot was solid, the dialogue excellent and there was plenty of really cool driving. What's not to like, especially for a gear-head in love with Paul Walker? I give it two definite thumb's up.



Now, for sales. I currently have TROUBLE IN MUDBUG on amazon and bn for a mere .99. So tell a friend since I know all my regulars have already read it. :)




For bigger and better sales, try this one: You may have heard of Lee Goldberg because of his work on many popular television shows like Monk, Diagnosis Murder, Baywatch, Nero Wolfe and others or you may have read some of his books. Well, Lee is celebrating two years of epublishing his backlist by making his book THE WALK for .99! To make the deal even better, anyone who purchases THE WALK and emails Lee at lee (at) leegoldberg (dot) com will receive a free ebook of FACE OF EVIL , the first in his DEAD MAN series of books.



How can you beat it? TWO books for .99 from a fabulous author! I'm totally in.




Have a great Memorial Day!


Deadly DeLeon, who apologizes that Blogger is insisting on double-spacing everything this morning (sigh)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Guest Author Jax Cassidy




MOMENT BY MOMENT by Jax Cassidy


A big thanks to Gemma for allowing me to hijack her blog today to talk to you about a topic that’s dear to my heart. I’ve always been passionate about charities and participating in fundraising efforts because I grew up in an altruistic family. My mother and father have spent the majority of their lives helping others. Whether we opened our homes to strangers, who had nowhere to go or no one to turn to, or actively helped with charitable events, I was taught to embrace a lifestyle that encompassed compassion and kindness to others at a very young age.

As you know, it’s been a little over three months since the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster occurred in Japan and I don’t think I could ever erase the images of those events from my mind. It’s a reminder of how fragile life is, how swiftly everything can be taken away in a matter of moments. Sometimes we’re so busy with our lives that we don’t realize how quickly time slips away from us. With time, we go about our daily business and forget about the citizens who are still trying to piece their lives back together.

I try to check on the progress of Japan and the slow rebuild, but the truth always hits hard. The loss is staggering with more than 24,000 people dead or missing. That’s basically an entire population of a small town! The government has estimated that damages from the disaster could reach as high as 25 trillion yen, or more than $300 billion. These numbers seem somehow surreal, and although there has been an outpouring of support; Japan is still suffering as they face a recession.

These details are unsettling and compelled me to contribute in some small way. Beyond personal donations, I wanted to do something more—something special. SHIBUYA MOMENT is my love story to Japan and I wanted to channel my emotions into something that was beautiful. Hopefully I’ve captured the exoticness of this country for you to see.

Lastly, I hope this post will bring awareness. Everyone should take just a moment out of a day, week, or month to help others. Giving, in any form, is such a beautiful act and you’ll feel good about doing it.

* * * * * *

I’m doing an awesome giveaway to help raise money for charity. The prize is valued at over $500 and includes a Kindle 3G & Amazon Gift Card. All you have to do is visit my website and blog for more details.

* * * * * *

SHIBUYA MOMENT…

Freelance photographer Seren Takahashi wants to heal her wounded soul after a devastating loss. While embarking on a personal adventure into Tokyo’s Shibuya district, she discovers a city rich in culture and vibrant in its exoticness. What she hadn’t expected was finding closure and rediscovering the true person hidden inside. When she gives into destiny’s pull, her journey awakens a need to live in the moment, embrace her fears, and open her heart to love.

Author’s note: All author proceeds from the sale of this story will be donated to the Red Cross and ShelterBox for the relief effort in Japan.

* * * * * *


Author Bio:

Jax Cassidy followed her dreams to Paris, then Hollywood to pursue a film career but managed to fall in love with penning sexy romances and happy endings—finding Mr. Right was just an added bonus. She writes contemporary, paranormal, and multi-ethnic romances and is Co-Founder of Romance Divas, and award winning writer’s website and discussion forum. Jax is also known as one-half of the retired writing team of Cassidy Kent.


To learn more about Jax, visit her online at http://www.jaxcassidy.com/

Social Networks:
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jaxcassidy
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jaxcassidy

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm a Killer

And I don't just mean this blog.

No seriously, though, I seem to be a Celebrity Killer. Beware all ye celebrities who I namedrop into a manuscript.

Famous people who I refer to into various stories of mine have this really unfortunate habit of dying on me. First it was Heath Ledger, then Natasha Richardson, then Brittany Murphy.

My most recent "kills" have been Elizabeth Taylor and just a couple of weeks ago, basketball player Robert "Tractor" Traylor.

This is really getting sort of freaky. So Katy Perry and Snooki, seriously ladies...be careful out there. I hereby apologize in advance for having namedropped you both on Page 1 of Codename: Dancer. I didn't realize what I was doing at the time!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Not So Ordinary Movie Night At The El Capitan

I don't work for Disney but I'm going to use this post to advertise for them. It's the least I can do considering what they did to make movie night with my son so spectacular this last Tuesday. Because the one thing you can't take away from Disney is that they know how to put on a show.

For over a year my son has been counting down the days until Pirates Of The Caribbean, On Stranger Tides reached the theaters.  I figured that for his patience he deserved to see the film in style. So I got us VIP tickets to see it at Disney's El Capitan Theater, a 1920s theater on Hollywood Blvd. that has been fully refurbished. VIP means we get reserved seats so of course chose center, first tier balcony, because really, how often do you get to watch a movie from a balcony anymore? The theater itself is gorgeous and seeing anything in that space would be a treat. But of course, Disney can't just leave it at that. Oh no. Instead when I got the tickets they suggested that I download the Android Pirates El Capitan app so I can more fully enjoy the experience. I figured, what the hell. It's free, right (unlike the very pricey 3D tickets)? But when I downloaded it and tried to see what it was all about the app explained that since I was not yet at the El Capitan theater I would have to wait to see what app features awaited me.

Oddly enough this made this app a lot more exciting for me and my son. I mean it's just a stupid free app but knowing that I had to wait to open it? Like it's a Christmas present or something? Well as sophisticated as I like to think I am, that just appeals to the little kid in me and it certainly appealed to my son. 

So again, I'm thinking, lets milk this for all it's worth. We arrive early so we can go to the El Capitan adjacent Disney's Soda Fountain where we had dinner and shared in The Fountain Of Youth (a special float that they themed after the movie). And finally we got to the theater itself.  

When we stepped inside the cast members at the door handed us our 3D glasses and two velvet pouches filled with metal (faux antiqued gold) pirate coins. After checking out the props from the movie that they had displayed in the lobby we checked in to the theater using my Pirate App (it even makes sure that you're checking in for the correct showtime). It instructed us to go to the VIP concession stand and show them my phone. I did and we were given two popcorns in novelty Pirates buckets, two bottled sodas and four metal pirates pins (the kind you can use for the pin-trading they have going on at the theme parks). The only problem I had at that point was finding a way to hold two popcorns, two sodas, two velvet pouches of coins, a bunch of pins and my phone without dropping anything. Even with my son's help I failed at the task but eventually made it up the stairs to the balcony. There an usher guided us to our seats.

So now I can go to the next feature on the app. My son and I gazed at my phone as a video played featuring interviews with the actors and behind-the-scene glimpses of the movie we were about to see. I tried to go to the next feature but it informed me that it wouldn't show me that feature until after the film was over (and since it knew what show we were there to see it had the whole thing timed out). So more stuff to look forward to.

And in the meantime we are in the most gorgeous theater on earth. After only three previews they had the Before-The-Curtain show complete with music, beautiful imagery, props reminiscent of what you might have seen in a 1930s Broadway musical (except more high tech) and cannons that shot gold confetti into the air.

Yes, really.

Oh yeah, and there was the movie too. I think it was a fun flick but honestly by that point my son and I were so unabashedly wrapped up in the whole Disney experience that it could have sucked and I wouldn't have minded too much. And as anyone who has ever seen any of the Pirates films knows, all of the action sequences are thoroughly enhanced by an awesome soundtrack.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger TidesAnd as it turns out, that was the last feature on my phone. When the movie ended we went back to my app to find out that I now had the entire soundtrack for the latest pirate film. 

And this was just an ordinary movie night at The El Capitan. Yeah, I know, it was totally over the top. But it was also totally fun. If every movie experience was like this I think I wouldn't be using Netflix so much.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Conversation with My Thirteen Year Old



Me: How was school?


Her: Unnnnh.


Me: Anything happen today?


Her: Unnnnnh.


Me: What did you have for lunch?


Her: Unnnnh (rolls her eyes - like I know what that means).


Mr. Assassin Enters, Stage Left


Him: Hey Meg! How was school?


Her: Awesome! (Names have been changed to protect the stupid) Brian talked to Sally today! Can you believe it? And Mr. S. gave me a solo in jazz band! And Annie wants me to spend the night Friday...and I took a test and think I got an "A"...and the coach gave me the sign up sheet for track camp this summer...and I'm all out of eyeliner...


Me: Y0u need me to take you to Sephora to get eyeliner?


Her: Unnnnnh (followed by double eye roll).


I CANNOT WIN.



The Assassin

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You Can Never Go Home Again. Or Can You?

Contest! I'm also over at RomCon, giving away a copy of Born at Midnight and blogging about getting in touch with your inner teen: Pop over! Link

Have you ever noticed that when you leave home, you leave pieces of yourself there? Like your friends and family. You leave footprints in the sands of time, and you leave memories in the hearts of people you love. You also take pieces of home with you when you go.



You take your own memories, your accent, your distinctive way of looking at the world because you walked on that particular piece of earth. You take a few scars—some emotional, some physical—that you earned doing some things you maybe shouldn’t have done. You take the lessons you learned, like who you are, and the moral compass that will guide you for the rest of your life. All of it, the memories, the lessons, the people and even the accent are unique because you lived in that certain place and were surrounded by those certain people.



And those people in Gadsden, Alabama, my home town, are open, friendly and welcoming. They are easy to get to know and hard to leave; they’re the kind of people who hug you the first time they meet you. The kind of people who don’t put up fronts, but invite you to know who they really are.



I drove past the house in Alabama City where I lived most of my younger years. Darn, it’s so small! I saw some of the trees I used to climb. Trees were I used sit under in the shade and make necklaces of wild flowers. I crossed over railroad tracks, the same tracks where, when I was young, I pretended were balancing beams. I’m pretty sure that accounts for a couple of those scars. I walked past the house where I got my first kiss. While Texas is also my home, I will forever be an Alabamian. I’m a Dixie girl.



And this last week, I went home to Dixie. I spent time with my dad, my niece, my nephew (waving at Austin) and my dad’s girlfriend, AKA, my favorite shopping buddy, plus some old friends and my cousin. We bought shoes and purses, watched old western movies, talked about our favorite authors, watched Austin play video games, and drank coffee at my dad’s favorite restaurant--the Waffle House.



I did a lot of things I do when I go home, but this visit I did even more. The Gadsden Public Library asked me to help kick off their summer reading program for teens. Carol York and Nicole, GPL employees, escorted me to three different local high schools (I swear she wasn’t speeding) where I got to talk to the students about my book Born at Midnight and about being a writer. I visited Gadsden High, Gaston High, and Glencoe High. (Yeah, they love the letter “G” back home.)



I got to meet and greet the teens who are high on life--teens, who, like the characters in my Shadow Falls series, are trying to discover who they are, and how they will fit into this world. I loved every moment of it. All the schools were wonderful, but one offered a slightly more poignant punch for me. Glencoe High is where I went to school. While most of the school has been rebuilt, I still took a trip down memory lane. I realized that while I didn’t know I would end up writing when I walked the halls of that school when I was a teen, so many of my characters were born there. Because when I went to recall what it was it like to be a teen, you can bet I went back to those halls. I recalled the not so tasteful school lunches, and the feelings of excitement, anxiety, and insecurities that I carried inside me. I remembered with clarity the need to fit in, the crushes I had on certain boys, and the dreams of where my life would take me.



Then there was the big teen event at the Library. I got to meet old friends I hadn’t seen in years. (Sorry Debbie for getting you confused with someone else!) I got to meet fans who drove over an hour to come see me, and mother/daughter groups who both have read my book. I got to see old fans who came to see my Christie Craig events in the past. We laughed, we got silly, and I made more memories and put a few more footprints in the sands of time in my hometown.



If you haven’t gone home in a while, I don’t care where you are from, I recommend you give it a try. And thank you, Gadsden, and a huge thank you to Carol and Nicole and all the schools who invited me in for making my trip home such a wonderful experience.







Christie, aka C.C. Hunter






Gaston High School




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Glencoe High School




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Gadsden High School




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Gadsden Public Library Teen Zone Event










Monday, May 23, 2011

Dance as if No One is Watching - by Diane Kelly


Dancing as if no one is watching . . . with a fish bowl on her head!

My daughter is on a competitive dance team and danced in no less than seven numbers this season, including ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical, both as small groups and as a production team of over forty girls all on stage at once. This past weekend, I crawled out of bed at the crack of dawn and spent all day Saturday in a crowded theater watching dress rehearsals and all day Sunday at the two recitals. I sat for so long my legs and butt fell asleep.

And I loved every second of it!

My daughter takes classes four days a week and teaches younger girls on a fifth day. She never tires of dancing. When I’m in the kitchen, I often hear her feet stomping in her bedroom over my head, tapping out a number. Her size nine-and-a-half feet sometimes stomp a bit too hard and break a light bulb in the kitchen below, but it’s a small price for us to pay. I’m thrilled she has found something she is so passionate about.

I recently saw the quote “Dance as if No One is Watching.” I can’t recall whether it was on a refrigerator magnet or a garden stone, but either way the words resonated with me. The words inspire us to indulge our passions without regard to what others might think.

Such wonderful advice.

An age-old piece of advice often given to writers is “Write as if everyone you know were dead.” In a sense, these words are saying something similar to the dance quote. Essentially, both are telling us to do what we would do if we didn’t have to answer to anyone else, if we didn’t have to fear criticism. It’s only by letting loose that we can truly discover all that we are capable of, right?

Yet . . .

Isn’t there some value in criticism, too? After all, if we dance as if someone is watching, might we not strive harder to refine our technique, to put on a crowd-pleasing show, to perfect our skills? If we write as if people we know will read our work, might we not strive to write something impressive, well-crafted, and marketable?

What are your thoughts on this subject? We’d love to hear them!


Diane Kelly's debut romantic mystery - Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure - will be released on November 1st and is available for pre-order now at online booksellers.

Friday, May 20, 2011

SHIBUYA MOMENT


My best friend, Jax Cassidy, has a new short ebook out this week. Usually I'm not big on pimping books on the blog (other than mine, of course ;) ) because, well, I know so many great writers that I'd be talking about another great book each week. But this one is different because Jax wrote it as a tribute to Japan, and is donating all proceeds from the sale to help rebuild Japan from the horrendous devastation they're still suffering. Jax's wonderful storytelling and vivid descriptions of the city make this a really beautiful piece for a beautiful cause, so I hope you'll all go check it out today.


She's currently hosting a giveaway for $500 in prizes. Rules for entry are here:
http://jaxcassidy.com/shibuya-giveaway/

And here's a blurb and a short excerpt of SHIBUYA MOMENT:

Freelance photographer Seren Takahashi wants to heal her wounded soul after a devastating loss. While embarking on a personal adventure into Tokyo’s Shibuya district, she discovers a city rich in culture and vibrant in its exoticness. What she hadn’t expected was finding closure and rediscovering the true person hidden inside. When she gives into destiny’s pull, her journey awakens a need to live in the moment, embrace her fears, and open her heart to love.

***

I dropped my chin, fighting the tears that threatened to spill. Max let out a deep breath beside me and wrapped an arm around my shoulders, drawing me close so I could lean my head against him. We sat in prolonged silence and I appreciated that he didn’t pry any deeper. I felt comfortable in his arms. Safe.

I’d never shown weakness or tears around people but somehow this strange connection allowed me to be myself without any barriers. I could be vulnerable with him without being judged. I closed my eyes for a brief moment when the sound of Louis Armstrong’s A Kiss To Build A Dream On floated around us.

Was I dreaming?

I lifted my head and the sweet song transported me to another place, another time in my imagination. My thoughts sailed on a cloud of memories and Max stood up to pull me to my feet. I wasn’t sure what he was doing but as he slipped an arm around my waist, I had an idea of what his motives were.

“Dance with me,” he said.

I had a feeling he was trying to make me forget my sorrows for a moment. We swayed to the music, moving to the rhythm with ease. He whirled me around and I laughed until I rolled back into his arms. We stood a hair’s breadth away and a shiver slid down my spine. His hands tightened around my hips in a gentle, yet possessive gesture and I wrapped my arms around his neck. Leaning into him, I could smell the earthy, masculine scent and my body heated up. Awareness swept through me as the stirrings in the pit of my stomach made me ache for more.

I grew bold, longing to be closer to him, inhaling his cologne at the crook of his neck. I closed my eyes and drifted off into a calming paradise as breathtaking as the rooftop garden. We moved to the song and my defenses slipped further. I could feel Max’s warm breath against my neck moving closer, lightly grazing my flesh and I wanted something I shouldn’t yearn for. I lifted my head to look at him. To see the gorgeous blue eyes that carried me away with the tranquil ocean waves.

As if he felt the same pull, Max dipped his head and captured my lips in a kiss that melted the ice around my heart. He tasted warm and sweet, reminding me of hot cocoa, fireside, on a snowy day. He deepened the kiss and I sighed against his lips, giving into his probing tongue. Both of us caught up in the fire engulfing our senses as we explored, teased, danced to the same perfect rhythm of blissful discovery.

My heart hammered against my chest, my hands trembled as I weaved my fingers into his hair. Feeling the softness at my fingertips as this moment burned into my soul. I gave into the spontaneity I’d never allowed myself to experience. Spontaneity I’d never known would be so intense and overwhelming.

What’s happening to me?

I broke from his hold and covered my mouth with my hand. My lips still tingled, throbbing from the electrifying kiss. Max and I stood frozen in time. I didn’t know what to say or how to express this strange awareness. A freedom that had seemed to fill the well of emptiness I had carried all these years. In a Shibuya moment, my life was just beginning.

***
So everyone go buy a copy and start your weekend off with a great read while supporting the Japanese relief effort!



~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Did It!

The last time I blogged two weeks ago, I was contemplating whether or not to list my home for sale to move closer to my work. Betcha can't guess what I decided. ;) Yup. As of last Tuesday my home is on the market.

With the unpredictable nature of the housing market, there's no way of knowing whether or not my place will sell, but I figured I might as well give it a shot.

Moves are in vogue. Two weeks ago the college kids moved back. This week, one will be moving into an apartment for the summer to take summer term courses. At the same time, my folks' move from the country to town has been moved up to this week, as well. Then, in a little over two months form now, the triplets will be moving back for their final year of college. and there's always the possibility yours truly will be moving this summer.

It's all a bit overwhelming.

But sell or no sell, I'm looking forward to spending time this summer with family and friends along with spending time with various fictional characters near and dear to me as I devote what 'free' time I have to new writing projects.

What plans do you have for this summer? Any special trips, projects, goals, or plans for this summer you'd like to share? Any good pointers on how to keep all the balls in the air during what looks like it's going to be a busy summer?

Off to get the gal moved. Have a great Thursday!

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Want to be a character in my next book?

It's a little known fact that book titles change all the time. Typically, the author will decide on a title while writing a book or a book proposal. In some cases, the title will come to an author before the rest of the book. That happens to me a lot. A title will pop into my head and introduce a situation that makes me want to write.

Still, every author knows not to get too attached because upwards of around seventy-percent of book titles are changed by the publishing house. Either they don't fit the finished book, or maybe they don't say what the marketing department wants to say. They could be too long, too short, or just not it.

I've been unusual in that I've gotten to keep my titles. Well, until now. This latest book is going to get a new title. I originally named it The Monster MASH because I'm writing about a group of offbeat paranormal MASH surgeons. And while my publisher is on board with the drama and zaniness inside the book, they want a grabby-er title (And yes, I'm making up a word. I like to do that.)

Anyhow, I've been thinking and thinking of a new title. But then it hit me: Why not ask for a bit of help? So I'm holding a contest. Help me re-name The Monster MASH. I'm open to any and all suggestions. If your title is one of the ones I present to my editor, I'll thank you in the book. If your title is the one we go with, I'll name a character after you.

Post any and all suggestions below.

A bit of background: The monster MASH is located down in limbo during a big immortal war. There are vampires, werewolves, demi-gods, sphinxes and about every other creature you can think of. The protagonist is a half-fairy surgeon who was drafted away from her paranormal medical clinic in New Orleans. Oh and she can see dead people.

One of my re-title suggestions was The Truth About Cats and Demi-Gods. My editor said close, but not it. So think of that kind of vibe. Thanks and good luck!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Changes

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye


With three teenagers, I’ve seen more changes in the last few years than I could ever imagine. With each change I see my kids go through, I watch as they lose their equilibrium or center of gravity, and struggle to find it again. Like a puppy with too big feet, they trip all over themselves for a while. It’s not comfortable. It’s sometimes scary. And there’s no going back to their old equilibrium—it doesn’t fit any more.

My son has been working toward his Eagle in the Boy Scouts. It’s something that has to be done by his 18th birthday. He’s been racing against a clock and he lost. There’s no possible way he’s going to able to get project approval and get the project done before his birthday in late July. It’s his own fault in a lot of ways; he should have taken the steps to get the badges needed much earlier than he did—but a young boy with ADD doesn’t get that what he does when he’s 12 will effect what happens when he’s 17. Still, for the last few years he’s worked hard, completely focused, did all the right things, and still he failed.

My boy took the largest disappointment in his young life like the man I always prayed he would become. He made me so proud. He didn’t rage at the leaders, he didn’t stomp off, he didn’t blame anyone. He just thanked them for all the help they’d given him and came home to break the news to me and my husband. My son showed me that you don’t have to be an Eagle to soar like one.

Now I’m watching him gain his new equilibrium, turning his energy in a new direction, looking at his next goal, determined not to make the same mistake again but struggling to balance.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the book I’m working on and I realized my hero and heroine are going through the same thing… Okay, not the same thing—I doubt Fisher Kincaid was ever a boy scout, but both my hero and heroine’s lives just went through a huge change, and their both finding their balance.

Jessie, a sports reporter for the NY Times, got laid off. She has no hope of being able to find another job doing what she loves since news papers are becoming more scarce than the incandescent light bulb. She sublets her apartment (she can no longer afford) and takes a friend up on his offer to crash at his second home in Boise, and finally write that book she’s always talked about.

Fisher is a twin. He and his twin, Hunter, are closer than close. When they were kids and one got hurt, they both felt it and the only way they could tell which of them was hurt was to check to see which was bleeding. They’ve always known what the other was thinking and feeling, they were best friends, constant companions, and confidants—even as adults. Since Hunter married, Fisher’s feeling completely off balance and he’s not sure why. He’s happy for Hunter’s, thinks the world of Hunter’s wife, and other than sometimes feeling like the third wheel, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with his life that he can see. Well, except for being in an unexplained funk.

Looking back at my books, I find that most of my characters are always just finding their feet, or trying to, when they meet their perfect match. Something has to be off to make them vulnerable to cupids arrow because for some reason, my heroes and heroines have issues with the whole love thing. They figure out together how to prop each other up, only to fall apart during the big black moment. Then they always have to gain their equilibrium on their own before they can come back together.

I have a feeling their not going to handle these changes with as much grace as my son did, however. Still, I predict they’ll be soaring too, eventually.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Random Monday Morning Stuff

SALE!!!! Now that I have your attention: The many wonderful authors over at Backlist eBooks are having a sale. You can purchase backlist and new books by your favorite traditionally published authors at discounted pricing for a limited time. Click here to check out the sale.

So I was at Lowes over the weekend picking up a replacement light switch cover for one I got paint on (years ago - but that's another story) and when the guy rang it up, it was over $4, for a plain white cover. So he said "That can't be right. That's ridiculous!" Of course, it was the last one in white, but he checked the sku and he'd input it correctly. So then he calls over another girl and says "$4 for that - that's ridiculous." And she agrees. So he says to me "How about $1?"

So he rang it up for $1.

I wasn't even aware they could DO that! And then on my way driving home, I was thinking that I should have asked him to talk to the dude at Best Buy. When I upgraded my iphone a year or so ago, the phone charger for the old phone wouldn't work on the upgraded phone (of course, since that's how they get you) and the new phone charger was $60. I completely balked and refused to buy it, which meant I had a dead iphone lots of times. It wasn't the money. It was the principal of the matter. Finally, someone came out with an after-market one for $12 and I bought that.

Or have you ever bought a spare or replacement cord for your laptop? If not, be prepared to shell out $60-80 for that, too. I had to buy one to replace one a dog chewed years ago and it was $80 for a laptop that I'd paid all of $350 for. Seriously. Where's the Rip-Off Report when you need them.

So anyone else got a rip-off or discount story?

Deadly DeLeon

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sibel Hodge's new chick lit mystery!


I just finished reading an awesome chick lit mystery, Be Careful What You Wish For, by British/Cypriot author, Sibel Hodge. I thought it might appeal to Killer Fiction fans, so here's the details, straight from the author's website:
________________________

For fans of Janet Evanovich, Kate Johnson, and Gemma Halliday...

Armed with cool sarcasm and uncontrollable hair, feisty insurance investigator Amber Fox is back in a new mystery combining murder and mayhem with romance and chicklit…

Three deaths.
A safety deposit box robbery.
The boxing heavyweight champion of the world.

Somehow, they’re all related, and Amber has to solve a four year old crime to find out why.

As she stumbles across a trail of dead bodies and a web of lies spanning both sides of the social divide, it’s starting to get personal. Someone thinks Amber’s poking her nose in where it’s not wanted, sparking off a game of fox and mouse – only this time, Amber’s the mouse.

Amber’s forced to take refuge in the home of her ex-fiancĂ©, Brad Beckett, and now it’s not just the case that’s hotting up. So is the bedroom…


All Levi Carter wanted to be was the boxing heavyweight champion of the world, but at what cost?

All Carl Thomas wanted was to be rich, but would his greed be his downfall?

All Brad Beckett wants is to get Amber back, but there’s a reason for the ex word.

Be careful what you wish for…you might just get it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sibel Hodge has dual British/Turkish Cypriot nationality, dividing her time between Hertfordshire and North Cyprus. She is a qualified personal trainer, sports and massage therapist, and writes freelance feature articles on health, fitness, and various lifetyle subjects. Prior to this, she also worked for Hertfordshire Constabulary for ten years.

Her first novel, Fourteen Days Later, was short listed for the Harry Bowling Prize 2008 and received a highly commended by the Yeovil Literary Prize 2009. It is a romantic comedy with a unique infusion of British and Turkish Cypriot culture. Written in a similar style to Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes, Fourteen Days Later is My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Bridget Jones. My Perfect Wedding is the sequel to Fourteen Days Later, although it can be read as a standalone novel.

The Fashion Police was a runner up in the Chapter One Promotions Novel Competition 2010 and nominated Best Novel with Romantic Elements 2010 by The Romance Reviews. It is a screwball comedy-mystery, combining murder and mayhem with romance and chick-lit, and the first in a series featuring feisty, larger-than-life insurance investigator, Amber Fox. Written in a similar style to Janet Evanovich and Myron Bolitar, The Fashion Police is Stephanie Plum meets Harlan Coben. Be Careful What You Wish For is the second Amber Fox Mystery.

Links:
Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Careful-What-Amber-Mystery-ebook/dp/B004VGWJYE/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&m=A7B2F8DUJ88VZ&s=digital-text&qid=1302602323&sr=1-7

Amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/Careful-What-Wish-Amber-Mystery/dp/B004VGWJYE/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1302602475&sr=8-4

Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/51824

Website www.sibelhodge.com

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's BACK!

I had a whole post planned for today, but I think I'm going to just put it off until next time.

As you know or may not know, Blogger went down at some point yesterday and just came back online a few minutes ago. I have to admit, this has made me an extremely antsy girl. I've been trying since late last night to post today's blog, and getting very twitchy indeed when it wouldn't let me in.

"But, but" -- I sputtered -- "I have blogs! And guest blogs!"

I'm supposed to be the guest blogger today over at Reader Girls (http://www.readergirls.blogspot.com) to promote Codename: Dancer, but considering as yesterday's guest blogger never got featured either, who knows what's going to happen. Actually, it appears that yesterday's guest blogger is being run today, so hopefully mine will be tomorrow? *shrugs*

I can't really complain, of course. Free promo is free promo, whenever it occurs. But it's really amusing how dependent we become on the Interwebz.

Our forums go down -- ACK!
Facebook goes down -- What are we going to do?
Twitter goes down -- Oh no!!!!!!

(OK, that last one doesn't apply to me, since I have an irrational fear of Twitter, but you know what I mean.)

What internet programs/websites/social media have you become dependent on?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

You May Be 32 But You're 40 In Hollywood Years

While at Starbucks I noticed a woman who was wearing an outfit that didn't so much shout as scream "I'm the stereotypical, Martha Stewart loving, suburban mom!" I immediately knew she had just left an audition. A few minutes later she came over to talk to the guy at the table next to me (who she apparently knew) and sure enough she had just finished reading for a mom role in a Disney TV show. The thing that surprised me was that the kids she was supposed to play "mom" to were in their teens and there's no way this woman was much older than 32.

"I went straight from hot girl in car to mom of fifteen year olds," she laughed (but not too merrily). "I never even got to be mom of toddler. I skipped that stage."

Salt (Deluxe Unrated Edition)That's the weird thing about Hollywood. Here mid-thirties is middle aged. There are a few actresses who manage to hold onto their sex-symbol status after thirty: Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Eva Longoria...Angelina Jolie. It isn't a very long list. But it SHOULD be a long list. I can't tell you how many gorgeous, totally fit, thirty and forty-something women live in this city! I can pretty much guarantee you that the woman dressed like the cookie-cooking-housewife would still be considered hot by any guy lucky enough to put her in his car. This idea that moms of teenagers need to look like they're 30 is the whole reason why everyone around here is running out and getting their face filled with age-defying snake venom.

But personally I would prefer to keep all needles away from my face. But maybe, when the wrinkles come, I'll go another route. For instance I could start telling people I'm four years older than I am. That way I'll spend my life hearing people say, "Wow! You look so young!"

Hey, it's cheaper than snake venom.

--Kyra "Fashionista Fatale" Davis

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Dream Job

While I'm on the subject of promotion (even though you don't know that yet) I want to let you know that for this week, 'SCUSE ME WHILE I KILL THIS GUY is on sale for 99cents on Amazon Kindle! Check out www.dailycheapreads.com for more great books on sale!

Okay, so I now know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be the guy who comes up with promotional materials. Not pens or squeezy stress things (although I must admit, squeezy things are my favorite!) - but the more, unique stuff. I think I can come up with better crap than what's out there. For example...



Ah, the old 55 gal. drum mug. You already think of your coffee as hazardous sludge. But someone came up with the idea that you can really convince yourself and others that you only drink the worst.




This is a clock. It doesn't run on batteries or solar power, no no! It runs on liquids. Any liquids. They advertise it as a survival thing for when you are starving and thirsty in the wilderness and absolutely MUST know what time it is! They claim it can run on water, juice or beer. No word on whether it runs on urine or not. Of course, if you ARE trapped in the wild, starving and thirsty and absolutely MUST know what time it is, that may be your only option. Unless you are in the dessert and dehydrated, that is. Then, you're pretty much screwed.


And for the anal-retentive germaphobe (you know who you are), not only is this keyboard safe in soap and water - it is also antimicrobial! I have found peanutbutter, almond slivers and pudding on my keyboard but have never, ever felt the need to wash it in a sink.

This is one I would've invented and I certainly would've bought it, had it been around when STAND BY YOUR HITMAN came out. That's right - it's a wacky wall walker! It doesn't look like an octopus but it does come in yellow. I might actually have to look into this one. I wonder where I'd put the explosives...

What would you invent for promotions if you could?

The Assassin

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

From Sweet Romance to a Murdering Smartass: One Writer's Journey

Winner!!! Helen, you have won the copy of Born at Midnight. Please contact me through, cc(at)cchunterbook.scom.



Thanks everyone who stopped by and posted!!! I'm about five pages now from writing "the end" and doing a happy dance.










Hey...well, I'm "this close" to finishing Taken at Dusk, my third YA. So today I'm posting guest blog I wrote and that was published over at http://www.mysteriesandmargaritasblogspot.com/.




And because I'm feeling generous, I'll give away a copy of Born at Midight to one lucky poster. So make sure you leave a comment.








Years ago, in another life, I wrote and published a Silhouette Romance. It was a sweet story with wholesome characters, and I’m proud of that book. However, after having some difficulties selling another book, I put novel writing on the back burner and focused on my photojournalism career. I took pictures that appeared on the covers of national magazines, and I wrote nonfiction, wrote words to feed knowledge-hungry individuals. I wrote about China, about the homeless, about calligraphy, about horny felines, window fashions, skunks, tomato horn worms, ugly shoes, and bad moles.

Basically, if an editor would pay for it, I wrote it. And after about an eight-year sabbatical from writing novels, and too many years of writing about things other people thought were important—like tomato horn worms—I suddenly had an uncontrollable urge not to die a one-book wonder. I wanted to write my own thing, to write my own story as it played across the screen of my mind.

Now the thing you have to know about me is that when I really get a bee in my bonnet, I don’t play around. I announced my intentions to my husband, to my kids, my friends and to the innocent bystander behind me in the grocery store line. I even announced it to my gynecologist, during a pap smear. I, Christie Craig, was going to write, sell, and publish another book even if I had to kill somebody to accomplish it.

While I didn’t realize it at the time, that’s exactly what it would take to make my dream come true--killing someone. Well, it wasn’t just one person, there were several. And I admit when I whacked my first person, I suffered terribly. My heart ached and I cried, and guilt sat on my shoulders like a five-hundred-pound gorilla. But as soon as I knocked off the gorilla and washed the imaginary blood off my hands, and I reread my deadly scene, I had an epiphany: Nothing can liven up a party or a plot like a dead body. I really found my mystery-suspense voice and that’s when I sold my books.

Since then, suspense, mystery and murder are as prevalent in my work as flies are on a bad banana. Yes, there’s romance, and lots of humor, but to be honest, I’m not sure I can write a story without having one person kick the bucket. Or at least having someone try to kick someone else’s bucket. Let’s face it, death or someone facing death, just adds a zing to a manuscript. It can be more of a zinger than even a hot sex scene.

Now since then, I’ve sort of gotten creative on how I kill people, or how I keep my characters from being killed by other people. Of course, I’ve used the typical guns, knives, and an occasional vehicle—from a Cadillac to a Saturn. But I’ve also gotten creative and threatened people with toilet plungers, the tank top of the back of a toilet, a tampon, and an egg beater. Hey…it just keeps things interesting.

And when I was approached to write a young adult, my first question was: will I still be able to kill people, because I’m good at that?

The editor assured me that I could kill people, bring them back to life, and then kill them again if I wanted to—this was going to be a paranormal. Another thing she told me was I wasn’t going to have to stop being a smartass. As a matter of fact, she said the reason she wanted me to write a young adult was because I was a smartass. Dag-blast it, I didn’t even know I was a smartass. Yeah, I had a few zingers here and there but . . . Right then, I added being a smartass to my list of talents. Hey…you take what you can get.

Writing young adult has been a blast. If you are familiar with my Christie Craig books, you’ll still see some of my smartass humor in my Shadow Falls series for St. Martin’s Griffin. And someone is either gonna die, or come close to dying, and while these books might not have as much sex, you’ll find plenty of sexual tension.

In a nut shell, Born at Midnight, the first book in my new Shadow Falls series under my new pseudonym C.C. Hunter, is about young girl who has spent sixteen years trying to figure out who she is, only to discover she doesn’t know what she is. As the tagline of the book says: It’s not your average identity crisis. Kylie Galen is about to go on an adventure of self-discovery, love and friendship. There just happens to be some vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves, faes and a few witches around, too. And when she’s told she’s one of them, but they don’t’ have a friggin’ clue what she is, well her life pretty much goes to hell in a hand basket. Trying to figure out what she is is a real mindbender.

Personally, I think identity crises, aren’t just something that happens to women in their teens. Heck, with each new stage of life, I find myself reevaluating--trying to reinvent myself with a new wardrobe, hair cut, or hair color. And when I look at the woman in the mirror, sometimes I just stare at her trying to figure out who the heck she really is. Life is a journey of self discovery. It’s so difficult at times it can drive a person to being a smartass and a murderer on paper. Not that I’m complaining, those are my talents.

So there you have it, how I went from sweet romance to being a murdering smartass who also writes YA. Ahh, but it’s been a good journey. I hope some of you will give Born at Midnight a try. You can even snag my free short story, Turned at Dark. It’s Della’s story and it introduces the Shadow Falls series.



And I’d love to offer a free copy of Born at Midnight to one person who posts a comment and tells me a little about their own identity crisis. Or maybe about some of their talents in life. Come on, share a little.

Monday, May 09, 2011

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT by Diane Kelly



My daughter, who is a junior in high school, is at that wonderful phase of life when she’s deciding what she wants to do with her future. With creativity and intelligence, a near-perfect GPA, and an abundance of ambition, she can do virtually anything she wants to - except become a doctor or test pilot. She’s got too weak a stomach for either.

Should she attend an art school? Maybe, but there would be no fun football games to attend. A large public university? Such a place would enable an easy change of majors should her career aspirations shift, but one can sometimes feel lost at a big school. Should she remain in the state, where tuition will be cheaper and she can come home frequently for free laundry service? Or should she spread her wings (and stretch her parents’ finances) by looking into out-of-state schools?

As I was talking to her about her options, I realized that what’s actually occurring here is far more than a college and career choice. She’s figuring out who it is she wants to become, where she fits best into this crazy world we live in.

She’s engaging in character development.

Her personal process is very similar to the character development process a novelist goes through for the fictional people who star in their stories. Character development is one of the things I love about writing, and my stories are always character driven. I start with a character – such as Tara Holloway, the butt-kicking Treasury agent who stars in my “Death and Taxes” series (pictured above) – and then figure out more about who this character is, where she’s come from and where she’s going, and what can happen to her that will teach her things not only about the world around her, but also about herself. Though my books are light and entertaining, I’d like to think they bring some larger issues to the table, though in a subtle way.

Like characters in a story, all of us are constantly finding our place in this world, sometimes readjusting how we see ourselves or where we fit in. Our own personal character development never stops. None of us are the same person today that we were ten or twenty years ago, and we’ll be someone different ten or twenty years from now. We aren’t necessarily striving to achieve some type of “ideal” version of ourselves, because what we might consider ideal can and will change. Rather, we’re in a constant process of self-development and self-discovery. And isn’t it fun?

Here are some things I’ve learned about myself and the world in the last few years:

1) I’m no longer the diehard social butterfly I once was. Although I enjoy an occasional get together, I enjoy being alone sometimes, too. And that’s perfectly okay!

2) Although I exercise somewhat regularly for health reasons, I’m simply not willing to do what it takes to have a perfect beach body. There are other things that mean much more to me than abs of steel.

3) I admire people who have convictions and stick to them, yet I have a low tolerance for intolerant people. As a result, I will sometimes feel conflicted about others who seem narrow minded. But I’ve also learned it’s okay for me to hold conflicting opinions about others. These feelings don't necessarily have to be resolved.

What are some things you’ve discovered about yourself?

Friday, May 06, 2011

I have a new look!

Okay, well in all honesty, it’s my books that have a new look, not me personally, but I'm super excited about it. My Hollywood Headlines series has gotten a serious makeover this week with all new covers and titles. Why the makeover, you ask? Lemme tell you.

Originally when my editor and I came up with the concept for this series I had some titles in mind that I liked. HOLLYWOOD SCANDALS was the first one, with other “Hollywood” things coming for future books. At the time, they were primarily going to be released in print. And print distribution databases have this weird quirk where often you can only see the first few letters of a title without clicking on it. Meaning that at first glance in a database, all my books in this series would look like "HOLLYWO", potentially creating some ordering confusion. Not good. So, I went with my editor’s suggestion of different titles, and we came up with SCANDAL SHEET for my first book.

And then I got a glimpse of the cover art for SCANDAL SHEET.  Let’s just say some covers are better than others. Without dissing anyone in the art department, I almost cried when I say the original cover.  Okay, I'm woman enoughto admit it, I did cry. A lot. It was a perfect cover for a contemporary romance, maybe even a sexy Harlequin style book… but had nothing to do with the story I wrote. It didn’t capture the edgy feel, the humorous style, the snarky tone, or even that it was mystery. It was a disaster. And, sadly, when it released, I heard the same comments from readers and booksellers. So, from the first, there are some things I've wished I could change about the look of this book.

And now I can.  :)

Now that these books are primarily being sold online, there are no tricky database issues. They’re all instant downloads or print on demand, so the ordering is being done directly by consumers.  And… I really did like my original titles. So, back they went. SCANDAL SHEET become its original conception of HOLLYWOOD SCANDALS, and it’s sequel, THE PERFECT SHOT is now HOLLYWOOD SECRETS.  And they both have new covers that, I think, totally capture the sexy, cool, face-paced feel of the stories.  What do you guys think?


I’m just now finishing up the last book in the this series, HOLLYWOOD CONFESSIONS, which will be out in early June. At the same time, all three books in the series will be available in print with their hot new covers as well.  I can’t wait!



~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Moves and more moves!


It's that time again. My triplets are moving home from college. When you read this, I'll probably be lifting, lugging, repositioning, moaning, groaning, and/or all of the aforementioned. I've done this before. Several times now. But this time, it's different. This fall when they head back to college , they will be seniors. Their last year of college.


Oh, buddy. Where did the time go?


Moves seem to be running in the family of late. My folks plan a move from the country to town here in the next few months and I'm contemplating a move myself.


You see, I commute approximately 85 miles to work and home each day. With the cost of petrol around four bucks a gallon, it makes less and less cents...er sense to continue this daily drive. Not to mention the wear and tear on my vehicle--and yours truly--especially during the winter months. And, perhaps just as important is the fact that I'm ready to be closer to social events and activities not available in a small town setting.


Still, I'm naturally conflicted about a possible move. First there is the inevitable hassle of having to keep my house neat and clean so it can be shown. Then there's the obligatory dickering and haggling over price (and appliances and curtains, etc.) plus all those lovely fees and costs that make your eyes cross when you start adding them up. And, of course, there's the actual move itself.


This week I told myself I'd have to make a decision one way or the other. I listed the pros and cons. Positives and negatives. Upsides and downsides. And I'm still in sell-or-don't-sell limbo.


I hate making big, important decisions. I generally get them wrong.


I've got three more days before I have to make my decision.


What's the biggest decision you've made lately? How long did you take to decide? How'd it turn out for you?


Wish me luck !


~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Adventures in Home Ownership

Have you ever been tempted? I mean really tempted? I'm fighting the urge this morning and the object of my lust isn't a warm brownie or even the chance to be naughty. No, I'm trying really hard not to touch the broken faucet in the bathroom.

You see, I'm not a plumber. Some of you may have already realized that if you've seen the Accidental Demon Slayer books in the store or read Love Bites. But sometimes, I forget. I want to fix things, even though I shouldn't.

Case in point: the last time I tried to fix something. I'd been after my husband for several weeks to repair a running toilet. It was a waste of water, it was annoying and worst of all, when the house was quiet at the end of the day, it became that niggling thing that made me feel like we hadn't quite gotten enough done.

So when the house was quiet and all I could hear was the blasted toilet running, I decided to do something about it. It was just plumbing, right? Pipes and ball plungers are logical. They follow the rules of physics. I could reason my way through it (or so I told myself). And just because it was 11:50 p.m. didn't mean I couldn't start a new project.

My husband wasn't in town to talk me out of it, so I went and got tools from the basement, I put on a baseball hat (not sure how that was supposed to help, but I did it), I lifted the back lid and started fiddling. Now I am proud to say I figured out the problem. The little tube with the ball on the end needed to be out of the water and the water would stop running. But that's where my expertise ended. How to get the little ball to stay out of the water? Holding it up all night wasn't an option. See? Logical.

While figuring out what to do next, I bent the little tube back, just to see how far it could go. I was curious. Do you want to know how far it can go? No, you don't.

Snap! The tube broke. Then the one attached broke. Water shot up to the ceiling. It was like a geyser. Water shot out toward me, in case I wasn't soaked enough. I swam for the phone and frantically called my husband to ask him how the heck I was supposed to shut off the water.

He told me about the valve on the side of the commode (proving yet again that I'm not a plumber).

The bathroom was filling with water faster than the Titanic. I was on my hands and knees, trying to turn the knob, only it would not budge (no doubt fastened by someone much stronger than me). I was reduced to begging a toilet knob to turn while scrambling through my mental rolodex to decide which neighbor to wake at midnight in order to turn the knob in a bathroom that now has at least a half an inch of water on the floor.

But after much begging, the knob turned. The water ceased. I was soaked to the bone and the toilet was way, way broken. I cleaned everything up, thanked my frantic husband (who was full of instructions now that I'd decided I never wanted to see another toilet tank). I took a shower and pondered just why I thought I was a plumber in the first place.

Want to know my theory? I think it has something to do with the fact that writers are curious people. The same thing that makes me want to ride with Harley bikers and their dogs is the same thing that made me want to explore the intricacies of toilet maintenance. If the tube hadn't snapped, I might have succeeded (Don't tell my husband I said that. He's still a bit horrified.) The plumber just laughed.

But I can learn. I can be patient. Unless the plumber takes a while longer. Then all bets are off. Now where is my life jacket?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

My Nearly Perfect Day!

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

It's amazing to me that yesterday was a nearly perfect day, especially since it started with only three hours of sleep and an hour and a half drive at dark o'clock in the morning. I drove my ballerina, Twinkle Toes to school in the next state, dropped her off, told her to have a great week, and headed for my favorite Starbucks in the world.

Of course, any perfect day for me begins (and sometimes ends) with coffee. I'm an addict. If there's a 12-step program for caffeine addicts, please don't tell me or anyone in my family. If my dear husband knew, he might just force me to go to the meetings and then what would everyone drink?

I walk into the Carlisle Crossing 'Bux, say my hellos to the manager, the baristas, the regulars, and hand Trudi my Venti travel cup and my Gold Card. There's no need to order, they all know my drink better than I do--especially after only three hours sleep. My lucky table is open, I pull out my laptop, plug in, log onto the internet, and when I look up, I realize someone has delivered my coffee. Perfect! I throw out a blanket Thank You! and pull up a fresh document to write my suckopsis...I mean synopsis.

Those of you who are writers know that the dreaded synopsis would put water-boarding to shame on the Richter Scale of torture. Still, they must be done, so I hunker down and proceed to type and beg for refills.

By the time my dear friend and fellow addict comes to collect me for lunch, I'm six pages in and the story is flowing like a movie through what's left of my caffeinated brain. I registered a kiss on the cheek, heard Dana say "Do you believe that about Bin Laden?", respond with a "Huh?", and completed the paragraph I wa writing. I looked over my screen and saw Dana lounging in his favorite chair, drinking his green tea iced tea, and checking messages on his blackberry. "What about Bin Laden?" I asked. Dana smiled and said, "You're kidding right?" He proceeds to inform me, between his laughter, that I was the last person on the planet to hear Bin Laden had been captured and killed. My husband called to see how things were going. I mentioned Bin Laden and was thrilled to be able to inform Dana that I was not the last person to hear, my dear husband was!

After a most enjoyable lunch, Dana returned me to my favorite table at 'Bux and I wrote and wrote, begged for coffee, and wrote some more. At closing time I was just finishing up so I let them lock me out while I typed furiously. At 9:56 I had finished the best synopsis I ever wrote--all 12 pages. I called my agent, told her I hadn't even edited it, and emailed it to her. She said, "Wait, 'Bux is closed. Where are you?" Only the agent to a true caffeine addict knows the operating hours of her author's favorite Starbucks. "I'm outside the front door," I answered, "It's all good, they still have the Wi-Fi on." She yells at me to go home and tells me she'll call when after she reads it. I drive over the mountains and through the woods (literally) and even before I'm home, my agent calls back and absolutely gushes over my day's labor. "It's perfect!" she exclaimed--it was also a miracle since she only found a few typos." My agent isn't known to gush so I'm more than pleased.

A book is born!

See I told you it was a perfect day. Now all I have to do is raise a New York Times Bestseller!

So, what does your perfect day look like?

Monday, May 02, 2011

A New Cover & Other Great News

I have a cover for Bayou Bodyguard!

Bayou Bodyguard releases in July and will finish up the story about laMalediction and the cursed emeralds when historian Justine Chatry bites off more than expected when she takes a job researching the cursed house's history.

And in other great news - I've accepted a three-book offer from Harlequin! I already had a single-book contract with an early 2012 release and looks like the next three will release late 2012 and (hopefully) back-to-back months! So look for four books from me in 2012.

So for a change, it's a good Monday. Despite the ongoing, never-ending rainstorm that has my Sheltie barking like a fool.

Deadly DeLeon