Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!!!


Today's the day of ghosts and goblins and even more important, marathon television runs of horror movies! I'm not actually doing anything for Halloween - after all, it is a work day (and the worst day - Monday), I don't have kids, and my neighborhood is sorta quiet. bah humbug

But in keeping with my normal Halloween tradition, I did see a scary movie this past weekend. I saw Paranormal Activity 3. So here's the skinny; I didn't think it was all that scary. Mind you, I have never once actually been scared by a movie, but I know creepy when I see it. IMHO part 3 is not as creepy as either 1 or 2. Part 3 took us back to the sister's childhood, supposedly to explain how the demon (or whatever) came to start haunting them. There's a HUGE gap left in between when the demon shows up and how they get to adulthood. I suppose if they continue to make money on this story, there will be a Paranormal Activity 4-68. Another complaint I have is that the cool things shown on the coming attractions were not in the movie. WTH? So they use stuff to draw you in that isn't even in the final cut? What is that - the Hollywood version of bait and switch?

Anyway, it was all right, but not the best creepy I've seen, which was very disappointing as I haven't seen a good horror movie in forever. I guess I'm going to have to break out my own collection.

What about you? Do you do anything special for Halloween?

Deadly DeLeon

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What's On My Kindle


Winners! Winners!


Krisgils, you won Don't Make me Make you Brownies By Nina Cordoba


Refhater, you won Border Heat by Teri Thackston


Zita, you won Spider's Dance by Will Graham


Mo, you won Virtues' Design by R.M. Brand


Please send me your email address at Christie(at)christie-craig.com


Thanks and congrats.



Contest! Contest! Today each of these authors are giving away an e-copy of their book. All you have to do is leave a comment. Then make sure you come back Monday morning and see who won. The winners will be announced on the top of this blog along with instructions of how to get your free e-book.



As an author, I love to read. If I didn’t absolutely love reading, then I doubt I would have ever become a writer. Books have always been extremely important to me. So, I thought you would like to see what I am currently reading on my Kindle. Also, I thought you’d appreciate three things you will learn from reading each book.







Spider’s Dance by Will Graham



The worst environmental disaster of the millennium leads computer security and forensics consultant Nicholas White into a labyrinth of intrigue and danger, a mystery with roots going back to World War II.


When an oil rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, the company Nicholas works for is held responsible for the catastrophe. Assigned to offer technical assistance to rescue/recovery sites along the coastline, Nicholas notices irregularities that start to form a pattern…. and he begins to suspect the explosion was not an accident.



With the help of an alluring but skeptical Interpol agent who has her own agenda, Nicholas unravels a web of deceit and death leading back in time to the Holocaust.... and is forced into a final confrontation with an inhuman killer.



Three things you’ll learn from reading Spider’s Dance:




  1. Flying in private jets, being met by a car and driver, and living and working out of a hotel suite in New Orleans while on an expense account sounds glamorous, but it wears out real fast, usually around the fifth week.

  2. Questioning Corporate Politics can get you into real trouble. Instead of just getting fired, you can end up in another country, fighting for your life against a homicidal madman.

  3. When the Right Woman comes along, even the most confirmed, stubborn, difficult, 'I'm not the marrying kind' bachelor will revise his behavior and attitudes almost immediately.




By Virtues’ Design by RM Brand




The Empire will fall. Jacob Murak, Emperor of Alinia and keeper of all magic, knows this and there is little he can do but watch and wait. There seems no hope for his people as they are systematically killed in a war meant to weaken his resolve as much as it is to weaken his forces. This is made worse by the magic he must use to fight the enemy, which traps him under the weight of guilt that leaves women battered and him bitter. The twinkling angels in the night sky do not weep for him. They have witnessed his shame. As punishment they send him one of their own, a woman from another world who knows no magic except the inventions she weaves in her mind. This beautiful engineer isn’t afraid to explore his nightmares and face the demon within him. This only deepens his sadness, even as it intensifies his desire for her. He must have her, but the cost will be great.

Maria can't believe she’s fallen in love with a man she met in her dreams. Dream men are supposed to stay where they belong, in her head. She is a civil engineer, not a woman prone to flights of fancy, but there is something peculiar about these dreams, something a little too real. Then again, maybe her mother is right. Maybe this dream man is just her subconscious trying to help her heal from the wounds of a nasty divorce. But things start to happen—marks appear on her body, the car keys go missing, and then there is a visitor who says he knows about the dreams and where to find her otherworldly lover. Could this be real? Dare she believe? It will take a miracle to be with Jacob, not to mention a whole lot of magic.



Three things you’ll learn from reading By Virtues’ Design:





  1. Aliens from other worlds will eat your chocolate cake if you leave it out overnight.

  2. Make sure to fill the gas tank before you go to sleep, just in case you need to go somewhere while you’re dreaming.

  3. Make sure to dress before heading to the dinner table. You never know who might conduct a video conference through your soup.


<!--[if !supportLists]-->


Border Heat by Teri Thackston



Murderous drug runners, a wildfire in the Texas desert and the President's runaway daughter…Game Warden Shannon Walker didn't sign up for any of this. Add a sexy Secret Service Agent, unexpected betrayal and a desperate escape into the desert, and the border becomes hotter than Shannon can handle.

















Three things you’ll learn from reading Border Heat:




  1. A lot of things can burn in the desert.

  2. Texas Game Wardens receive training that is the same as--or more rigorous than--federal law enforcement officers receive.

  3. The dangers that drive us apart can often also bring us back together.






Don’t Make Me Make You Brownies by Nina Cordoba




Raised by vegetarian hippies, Abbie Greenwood wants to save the world. But the L.A. TV station where she works won’t let her do the globally important stories she wants to do, and now the “guys upstairs” are suggesting she mix a little of “the nasty into her helping-people segments. Afraid the TV biz is going to suck out her soul, Abbie takes all the time-off she’s saved and house sits for her sister in the suburbs of Houston where conservatism and good barbequing skills are highly rated. Once in Houston, Abbie causes a ruckus with a column she guest-writes for the neighbor-hood newsletter and butts heads with the president of the homeowner’s association from across the street. Rick’s a real hunk (yum!) of a lawyer (yuck!) who drives a fancy pickup (wasting natural resources), is an ex-rodeo cowboy (too macho, but kinda hot) and has been known to vote conservatively on occasion (dead faint). Unfortunately, he’s also irresistible and available since his wife took off, leaving him with their six-year-old daughter.






After some malicious neighborhood mischief followed by a hot encounter in his kitchen, Abbie decides she’d better stay away or this guy could change her life in a way she never thought she wanted. But when her volunteer job, teaching English as a Second Language, gets her arrested on suspicion of smuggling illegal aliens, who is the only emergency contact her sister left? Mr. Hunky-Annoying-Across-the-Street-Lawyer, of course. And as Abbie feels herself getting “sucked in” by Rick, she realizes life’s decisions aren’t always as black and white as she’d like them to be.







Three things you’ll learn from reading Don’t Make Me Make You Brownies:




  1. The quickest way to get laid is to go to your local homeowner's association meeting.

  2. Under the right circumstances, even dog crap can be sexy.

  3. Oil, water, and eggs are optional. Brownie mix is edible straight from the box



Remember, leave a comment and you could win an e-copy of one these fabulous books!













Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy SAFE Halloween

You may notice that this blog is LATE. Like, very LATE. There's really no good excuse for that, but here goes.

See, my almost 2-year-old daughter had an allergic reaction today. We're not 100% sure to what, but we're working under the assumption that it was the sesame seeds on her bread at lunch.

All it said on the menu at daycare was "wheat bread." It's never once said "sesame seed bread" but when I got there to pick her up after her teacher called to say she'd broken out in hives and was acting clingy (her eyes were all puffy and swollen and were just little slits), I noticed that there were seeds on the bread.

She's very, very allergic to tree nuts (life-threatening anaphylactic reaction), and mildly allergic to eggs. Sesame seeds actually did show in her bloodwork report at a very low level on the RAST scale, but her allergist said she'd never seen a true sesame seed allergy in all her years in private practice, so we shouldn't worry about it.

Well, apparently even if it's rare, you can in fact have a sesame seed allergy. And she has one. Relatively mild (thank God!) since we didn't need to break out her EpiPen and it resolved itself with Benadryl, but still.

If you've read my novel, Codename: Dancer, you know that my heroine Dani has a dangerous peanut allergy. I actually wrote this long before I ever knew that my daughter was allergic to tree nuts, so this is now a very personal subject for me.

So yeah, that was my excitement for the day, and why this post is late. Which brings me to my next point.

HALLOWEEN. Did you know that many of the most popular commercially-made Halloween candies are actually manufactured on the same equipment (and in the same facility) that processes nuts, even if the particular candy in question does not contain nuts?

It's true. For example, I'm sitting here staring at a bag of snack-size Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars. The ingredients are milk chocolate consisting of sugar, milk, chocolate, cocoa butter, lactose, milk fat, soy lechithin, emulsifier, and vanillin. No nuts, right?

Well, even if it doesn't contain nuts, it's still not safe for my daughter or any other tree nut-allergic child to eat because it was processed on the same equipment that processes ALMONDS. It says this on the label on the bag itself, but not on any of the individual wrappers, so it would be very easy for a kid to eat it and not know, and and spend the end of a happy holiday in the hospital.

Same with plain M&M's. I'm not talking about the peanut ones or the peanut butter ones. Just the plain ol' regular ones. In Canada, M&M/Mars processes plain M&M's in a safe facility, but not so in the US. Plain M&M's are processed on the same equipment that processes peanuts and tree nuts.

This is a recipe for cross-contamination.

In recent years, with the rise in food allergies making the news, many people have decided to add a nut-free option to their Halloween candy bowl. But even if you're trying to do the right thing, your supposedly safe candy might actually NOT be safe after all. According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), the only commercially-available chocolate candy to be 100% safe for tree-nut allergic and peanut-allergic children is Dove.

Halloween should be a time of fun and excitement for kids. They shouldn't have to worry about not being able to breathe after eating candy that was processed on equipment that processes nuts. So I urge you to please consider some totally nut-free SAFE options in your bowl, such as Skittles, Smarties, or even pretzels. (But please check the bag to make sure the pretzels were not processed on nut-contaminated equipment. Snyders is a safe brand, and they have tiny individual snack bags perfect for Halloween. Some of the other brands are not safe.)

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tax Deductible Kink


A few months back my neighbor told me about another friend of hers who is a published author.  This friend actually writes nonfiction and is a university professor who teaches human sexuality and has "researched" deviant sexual behavior.  His area of interest is where the line is between playful (and acceptable) kinky fun and actual dangerous sexual psychosis.  So of course he's written a book on the subject.  I don't know the title of the book and even if I did I'm not sure I'd mention it here.  I'm not a prude but what was described to me was enough to make me think this book might be in the WTF category of nonfiction work and I wouldn't want to list the name of an author who I'm about to make fun of. 

So here's the thing: This guy hasn't just interviewed a bunch of fetish-loving folk, he's taken it upon himself to walk-the-walk.  "He made an appointment with a dominatrix named Mistress Kitty," my neighbor explained.  "She stripped him down, tied him up, spread eagle in a standing position, and then she attached clothespins to his testicles.  He said that made him nervous although apparently it didn't really hurt." 

I'll admit that I didn't know how to respond to this at first, although I have found that the image she painted has stayed with me to this day.  "He has had to be really careful about how he writes about all this," my neighbor explained, "because he's sort of in danger of not being taken seriously by his colleagues in the world of academia."

"Really?" I asked trying (and failing) to keep the sarcasm out of my voice, "the other university professors might actually make fun of him just because he let Mistress Kitty put clothespins on his balls? How judgmental."

My neighbor nodded solemnly.  "Those people are really conservative." 

It occurred to me at that point that we were having one of those only-in-LA kind of conversations.  But hey, I was willing to roll with it.  "So," I said thoughtfully, "if all this is being used for research for books and academic papers then all his visits to fetish clubs and appointments with dominatrixes...those are all tax deductible, right?" 

Again my neighbor nodded, this time with a smile.  "I know. He says he has the best job in the world!"

Personally I think that's a matter of opinion.  Not everybody enjoys having clothespins attached to their  private parts.  But obviously if it works for him, more power to him.  As far as I'm concerned, as long as all parties involved are consenting adults, his behavior (and theirs) falls into the category of playful kink and he doesn't really pose any danger to society.  He may be a danger to his own career if he wants to both write about this stuff AND continue to teach at a university or any other establishment that isn't financed by the porn industry but that's not really my problem.

I just thought it was good blog material.

--Kyra "Fashionista Fatale" Davis

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ghouls and Goals




Winner! Winner! Virginia, please snail mail me your address to send to Liz. You won a copy of her book.









Today I have another guest blogger with us. And she’s talking about ghouls and goals. One of my favorite subjects. Well, not ghouls, I can do without them, but goals . . . Oh, yeah, those I love. Thank you Liz, and I already have your book on my kindle and can’t wait to read it. Oh…and thanks for signing with me. We had a blast. Liz has some of neatest friends—fun, full of laughter, and a little bit crazy. Just what we all need in friends. Now…I’ll turn it over to Liz…


* * *


First of all, thanks to the wonderful Christie Craig and her band of merry suspense writers at Killer Fiction for letting me come and hang out with them today. I’ve decided that since we are about to enter the only month in the year set aside as the spooky one, it might be fun to compare ghouls versus goals. Webster defines ghouls as legendary evil beings that rob and feed on corpses. Goals are the marks set as limits to a race.


I kinda think the two are closely related and I’m about to tell you why.


Each year at the December meeting, my local chapter passes out sealed envelopes to every writer attending who wrote their goals for 2011 and put them in a sealed envelope at the December meeting in 2010. Until last year, I have NEVER met my goals since I aim big. This year I reached another one. I can’t wait to open my envelope.


But you know what? I’ve decided it isn’t about meeting goals at all. It’s about doing what we love to do with the hope that one day we will hold our books in our hands. It’s about the camaraderie we get from all the writing groups we join, all the writer friends we make along the way. We don’t need the validation from someone to know we are authors, all of us.


This month, Liver Let Die, the first book in my Clueless Cook Mystery series came out, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that. But it didn’t come easy or without drama. That’s why I’m going to tell you about all the ghouls that have tried to take away my goals for so many years.


CHASING THE MARKET – Although I’ve never actually done that until just recently, I have to list this as the number one reason why it took so long for me to find a publisher willing to take a chance on me. I never really did go for what was selling—I usually wrote what I loved and, unfortunately, what NY wasn’t buying for one reason or another.


Manuscript Number One - my Colombia book – the ghouls said no way you can have a romance in Columbia. Two heroes will never work in a romance. (My favorite book, BTW.)


Manuscript Number Two - my YA – the evil blankity blanks said it was too gritty back when I wrote it…not gritty enough now.


Manuscript Number Three - my first mystery about stealing sperm which I did not realize was a mystery until recently (long story!) NY said it broke too any rules, so Mortal Deception will go up on Amazon this week at the great introductory price of $.99 until the end of November. Be forewarned, it is not a cozy and is written under the pseudonym, Liz Roth (my maiden name,) so that my cozy readers won’t download it, expecting the PG version.


Manuscript Number Four - my ghost story - the jury is still out on that one, as I wait to hear what the editors at Thomas & Mercer are going to do about it. If they reject it, I will put it out there myself. This is the story that pole-vaulted me into the publishing world. So why is it still looking for a home, you ask? Because my editor loved it but couldn’t use it. She was looking for a cozy series and said she would have to take out all the “good” parts to convert this one into a cozy. Could I write a cozy, she asked?


Which brings me to chasing the market. Cozies are selling right now, or at least they were. I had no idea what a cozy was when she asked, but you can betcha I quickly came up with a proposal and got a three book deal. They say by the time you sit in on a chat at a conference with one of the NY publishers, and they tell you what they’re looking for, it’s too late to start writing one. Now, if you already have a manuscript that would fit their needs, good for you.


The second thing that has kept me from selling sooner is my own STINKING THINKING. It throws me into writers’ block so fast, my head spins. “I can’t finish this manuscript.” “I’ve run out of things to say.” “No one will ever want to read my stuff.”


What’s up with that?


And lastly, meet the “You suck ghoul.” We’ve all danced with him once or twice or a million times before. I’ve let too many contest critiques, comments on my stories, and/or rejection comments make me doubt myself at times. Right now, I am smack in the middle of getting reviews for Liver Let Die. Hello, roller coaster ride!! Most are great, some average, but a few are not so good. All my published author friends, including the incredible Christie Craig, tell me not to read them, but that’s impossible. I’m surprising myself, though, by not letting the boo birds out there convince me I’m a bad writer. Different strokes and all that.


I wrote a book, dammit! That’s something to celebrate. So, when I read a bad review, I reread one of the really good ones. Take that, all you haters out there.


Last weekend I had the pleasure of signing Liver Let Die next to Christie, and I can’t tell you how awesome she is, which you all already know. I made her tell the mattress story to a standing–room only crowd at the bookstore. It was the third time I’d heard it, the second that day, but I laughed as hard as the rest of the audience . It’s classic. Thank you, Christie, for inviting me to sign with you. It’s a memory I will keep forever..


Okay, I’ve bared my soul and told you all my insecurities, Now I want to hear yours so I don’t get even more insecure. What ghouls are keeping you from achieving your goals?


Maybe if we can find a pattern, we can put our heads together and find a way to say “Bite Me” to the goal-sucking ghouls.


And guess what? Berkley is giving away a free copy of Liver Let Die to one lucky commenter (U.S. only, their request.) Be sure and give your email address so we can contact you.



Excerpt from Liver Let Die:


Jordan dropped her review on Dwayne Egan’s desk and stepped back to await her fate. She’d spent the entire morning researching foie gras on the Internet and had come away outraged and ready to make a stand on the issue.


That was before Egan grabbed the report and lowered his eyes to read, and all her bravado dissipated. Shifting nervously and second-guessing herself, she tapped out the melody of a rock song along the side of her slacks with her fingers.


Too late to change her mind as Egan motioned for her to sit.


She eased into the chair behind her, eyes fixed on the editor while he finished the first page and flipped to the second. Her nerves were like aliens ready to burst through her skin.


“You actually ate this?” he asked, finally glancing at her over the top of his silver-rimmed reading glasses.


“Yes and no,” she replied. “Mostly, no.”


Egan had already turned back to the report, re-reading the first page. “And this is how they get the duck liver?”


Her eyes lit up. Maybe he wouldn’t scream at her after all. “Yes sir. They force-feed the animals to fatten them up.” She paused, remembering how the pictures had sickened her, how seeing the tubes shoved down their throats had nearly made her gag. “The ducks are kept in tight cages so they can’t exercise or even move around.”


“Geez! And they’re serving this right here in Ranchero?”


“Yes,” she answered quickly. “At a price that would water your eyes.” She stopped, not sure she wanted to remind him how much she’d charged on the company card.


Egan dropped the report on his desk and leaned back in the chair, hands behind his head, making his ears protrude even more. “This is going to ruffle a few feathers at Longhorn Prime Rib.” He grinned, obviously pleased with his play on words.


Jordan shifted in the chair. “I was totally complimentary about the restaurant in general.” She thought about the Chocolate Decadence Cake that had doubled as breakfast that morning. “The desserts were phenomenal and the service – fantastic.”


Egan studied her face, his head tilted as if in deep thought. “I had you pegged for a simple meat and potatoes girl. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why you’d order this when you’re obviously so outraged at how they get it.”


Here it is! This was where she’d have to admit she was clueless when it came to fancy food. This was where he’d realize what a big mistake he’d made giving her the job. “The waiter recommended it. Said it was imported from Canada. Since I knew it was too expensive to ever try on my own, I went with it.”


“I still find it hard to believe you’d even order the dish, knowing how you feel about it.”


“I thought it was chicken,” she blurted, looking away for a moment, imagining the pink slip falling from this week’s pay envelope.


Egan threw back his head and laughed. And continued to laugh until Jordan finally gave in and smiled.


“So, let’s see,” he began when he was finally able to speak. “I have a culinary expert who has no idea what she orders at restaurants.” He slapped the desk. “That’s rich. Loretta would never see the humor in that, of course, nor would she be caught dead ordering anything but a thick, juicy steak.” He leaned forward and lowered his voice. “And just between you and me, she wouldn’t know foie gras from chicken piccata, either, even if it bit her on her overpaid butt.”


“I’m sorry, sir. Maybe you should give this job to someone else.”


His eyes bored into her. “Are you joking? This is going to grab the attention of every animal lover in Ranchero who probably has never even looked at Loretta’s column before.” He slid the papers across the desk. “Take this down to the copy room ASAP. I want it in tonight’s edition.”


Stunned, Jordan grabbed the report and headed for the door.


“Oh, and McAllister?”


She whirled around, expecting her little bubble of excitement to burst like a piñata at a birthday party with eight year old boys on a sugar high.


“From now on, you’ll do a bi-weekly column with recipes and food information. Fancy food like this. A couple of exposés would be great.” He rubbed his hands together. “If my gut is right, with the exception of the restaurant owner, the good citizens of this fine town are going to love you.”


“What about the Personals?”


He smiled. “Look at this as a freelance opportunity,” he said. “And the Personals as your day job. Now go.”


Jordan wondered how he could say that with a straight face, but she was too excited to care. She hurried out the door, surprised to see Jackie Frazier smiling. She’d obviously been eavesdropping. She imagined her, as Roseanne Roseannadanna saying, “It’s always something,” and she smiled back.


Who knew fatty duck liver could wipe the sarcasm off the secretary’s face and maybe even jump-start her career?



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Nina Cordoba

Guys, I've got a real treat for you today. Nina Cordoba is guest blogging here at Killer Fiction, and I guarantee you're going to love her post. Nina's one funny lady, and a talented indie author of romantic comedy. So, Nina, take it away!

CC


************************************************

Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Minutes!

Nina Cordoba

Ever look down at the scale and wish you could instantly drop the number by 10 pounds or so? In my romantic comedy Don’t Make Me Make You Brownies, even Abbie starts obsessing about her body with super-hot Rick watching her every move.

Well, I have a secret weight-loss system I’m going to share exclusively on this blog, and it’s guaranteed to lower your numbers almost instantly. All you need is the ability to follow my instructions and some elementary math skills.

We want to begin this exercise with a good, clean starting number—I call it my “gross” weight—so you must prepare before you get on the scale. The following advice may seem obvious to anyone who’s been watching her weight, but I learned when I was teaching adults not to assume anything.

Here it is: Pull your big girl panties OFF.

I know this flies in the face of the advice Christie Craig has been giving for years about how you should “pull up your big girl panties,” but I guarantee, she’ll make an exception in this case. So pull them off, along with all your other clothes. (If you’re frightened by your own naked reflection in the mirror, move the scale to a different room.)

Next, remove all jewelry, including wedding and engagement rings. If you refuse to remove them because you haven’t taken them off “since he slipped them on my finger 20 years ago, blah, blah, blah,” then I don’t think you’re committed enough to our endeavor and you should just stop reading before I reveal my secret system.

For the rest of you, now that you’re stark naked, suck in a deep breath, blow it out, and step on the scale. Take note of the number, but don’t panic! That’s not your real—net—weight. You have to do a little math before you get to your actual, lower number.

First, you must allow for your hair. Whether a sleek bob or a flowing mane, it certainly shouldn’t be counted against you weight-wise. If your hair ends above the shoulders, subtract 1 pound from your weight. If you have long hair, or what we call “Texas hair”—even above your shoulders—you’ll need to take off at least 2 pounds (allowing for all that hairspray build-up).

Speaking of hair, if you haven’t had your legs, face, and bikini area waxed in the last couple of days, take off another pound for body hair, including all the hair growing under your skin that hasn’t popped out yet. It really adds up!

Are you wearing any Band-Aids or birth-control patches or do you have any keloid scars? If so, take off a half pound. These things are heavier than they look. You just don’t know it because their mass is distributed evenly over the surface they’re covering—I’m all about the science, you know.

Do you have long, polished nails? If so, subtract a half pound for the parts growing past your fingertips and the paint. Fake nails? Take off a pound. Those suckers are heavy!

Still with me? Sorry if the fractions threw you, but it’s important that we’re precise in our measurements in order to get your real number. I’ll wait while you go get a calculator…

Okay, ready? Next, consider what’s inside your body. At any given moment, you have food and water making its way through your digestive tract. Since this stuff is only there temporarily, it shouldn’t be counted against you. Subtract 3 pounds.

Oh, and when I was replacing the filters in my air purifier and air conditioning vents the other day, it was clear there are tons of particulates floating around at any given moment. It’s safe to assume many are using you as a landing strip, so take off a half pound for dust accumulation.

And you may disagree, but I feel strongly that people should not be penalized for genetic anomalies they have no control over.

Do you have a large nose? Full lips? Thick eyelids? Moles? Warts? Big ears? Big feet? Take a half pound off for each of those minor genetic differences—in the case of big feet, that’s a half a pound per foot. Personally, I subtract a quarter pound for the “beauty mark” on my cheek.

Likewise, if you have an unusually large head, subtract 2 pounds for medium-large, or 3 pounds for super-sized. These physical abnormalities are not your fault, and you shouldn’t have to suffer for them every time you step on the scale.

Finally, do you have any reason to believe some of your internal organs are larger than normal? Has anyone told you that you must have the bladder of an elephant? Do people say you have a big heart? Ever have the feeling your brain is just a little bigger than the brains of the goofballs you work with? Subtract 1 pound for each of these conditions.

Once you’ve taken all these issues into account, be sure and do the math carefully. We wouldn’t want the numbers skewed in case you have to officially report your weight when getting a driver’s license, for instance.

If you follow my instructions correctly, then, like me, you can get ready every morning feeling as if a weight has been lifted off you!

What about you? Do you have any instant weight loss tips for me? Is there anything I overlooked?

Nina Cordoba is the author of Don’t Make Me Make You Brownies and Not Dreaming of You. You can find her books and her blog at www.ninacordoba.com .

Winner! Winner!

We have a winner in the Pet Photo Caption Contest! The winner is Sarah with "What do you mean the dog show people won't let me wear it? I'm a winner, aren't I?" for Photo number 4. Congratulations, Sarah! Please send your snail mail address to me at christie(at)christie-craig.com. You have 24 hours to claim your prize.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Is "Dream Job" an Oxymoron? by Diane Kelly



Okay, as I write this blog on Saturday, Oct. 22nd, I’m sitting outside A Real Bookstore in Fairview, Texas with my buddy Angela after attending a booksigning for fellow Killer Fiction author Christie Craig and my DARA chapter-mate Liz Lipperman. Angela and I are both on our computers. She’s been working on her latest story, while I’ve been trying to think up an interesting topic for this blog. (Had a sangria with lunch. Bad idea. It put my brain to sleep.) Then, lo and behold, Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” came on over the speakers. When he got to the line “I’m sick of sitting ‘round here trying to write this book,” I had to laugh at the irony of that line being sung over the heads of two writers hard at work.

Will I ever get "sick of sitting 'round here trying to write this book?" NEVER!!! It's so much fun to create characters and stories. I have more ideas in my head than I’ll ever be able to get down on paper. I wish there was some way to stick a USB cable in my ear and directly download the stories from my brain to a computer file.

It’s a blessing not only to have work that feels much more like play, but also to be paid to do it. I wish everyone could find a job they love this much.

The new reality shows based on occupations are intriguing. Hell’s Kitchen. Pawn Stars. Ice Road Truckers. The Biggest Catch. Dog the Bounty Hunter. Through these shows, we get to see the inside secrets of all types of jobs. All of them are far more interesting than they might seem at first blush.

Are you working your dream job? If not, what would your dream job be? What about the job appeals to you? Post a comment and you might win a copy of Death, Taxes and a French Manicure. The winner will be chosen at random and posted around 9:00 pm central time. For more chances to win a book plus a $10 Barnes & Noble e-giftcard, visit the blog at my author website, www.dianekelly.com, from now through Oct. 31st.

Thanks for visiting us here at Killer Fiction!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Guest Author Lillian Grant


The Strange Things that Inspire

Have you ever wanted to ask an author where they got an idea for a book?  Sometimes it might be better you don’t know…no amount of therapy could fix you once the truth was revealed. However, I think your minds will be safe if I share where the inspiration for my latest book care from. Really, trust me.


‘They’ always say ‘write what you know’ but for many of us ‘what you know’ just isn’t worth writing about. Some days though God smiles on you and something happens to spark an idea that you can only imagine will become the next best book ever. 


By day I am one of the people that Hollywood insists on dressing in badly fitting suits, plastic shoes and glasses, always with the glasses. Even when they cast a breathtaking beauty or pretty boy the glasses are still mandatory…yep, I’m an accountant. The truth is far prettier than Hollywood paints it. Due to dress codes we are more likely to look like we stepped from the pages of Vogue business and we don’t wear glasses, most of us have had laser eye surgery. :)

Anyway, as part of doing the ‘boring’ accounting thing I was sent to Sydney to work on a major merger deal for a client. Travel for work is far from glamorous. You catch a plane that leaves before most normal people are awake and get stuck in a hotel room in a city where you have no idea where you are going and have nobody to talk to.  At the end of very long day I usually prefer to call room service for dinner. I hate sitting in a restaurant all alone. The waiter insists on taking the other place setting away and your table for two becomes a table for one so you can’t even pretend your dining companion is late or has stood you up.

Meal ordered, I kicked off my shoes and gazed out the window wondering which direction my room faced and whether I could see the Sydney Opera House or the Harbour Bridge. I could see nothing but an office block across the street. A knock sounded and I crossed the room and opened the door and looked up and up and up.  Stood in my bare feet my measly 4feet 10inches only came to the young guy’s waist. Tired, and not at my sparkling best, I gawped and asked how tall he was.  I think he said about 6feet 7.  He served up my meal and we joked about the difficulty of buying clothes at either end of the height scale.  The chance to talk about something other than work and to enjoy some harmless banter made my day. I suddenly felt human again. 


Dinner consumed and wine bottle empty, I pondered the story that grew into my latest release Mergers & Acquisitions. My hero is no giant and my heroine is far younger and prettier than me but  I guess the moral of the story is some minor event can lead to big ideas. I wonder if my lofty waiter has penned a novel about me, perhaps a book about pixies…or more likely trolls.


So, have you ever had an experience you feel certain would make a great story?  Leave a comment and only luck person will win a free copy of my latest tale, Mergers & Acquisitions.

My website www.lilliangrant.com


Mergers & Acquisitions

Accountant Emily Armitage is stuck in Sydney for the weekend, working on the numbers for a hotel sale while fighting off the unwanted attention of her boss. However, things begin to look up when she steps onto her balcony and meets the man of her dreams.
When her new neighbor delivers room service, along with a shoulder massage, delicious foot rubs, and easy charm, she succumbs to the obvious attraction. Having spent a passionate weekend together, Monday morning brings an unwanted revelation. Randy’s been keeping secrets that could change her life.

Suddenly uncertain, she is forced to make a choice between her career and a man who adds up to perfection. Should she stick with the hotel acquisition or take a chance on their passionate new merger?

 Excerpt:

A knock on the bedroom door woke her from a warm, exotic dream. It involved a beach, lots of suntan lotion, and the long fingers of her mysterious next-door neighbor. The hazy recollection made her shiver in delight. However, she realized she must have lain at a funny angle. She now had a crook in her neck to go along with her still-pounding headache. As she crossed the room, she rubbed at the muscles in her shoulder in an attempt to release the tension and ease the pain. Opening the door, her hand stilled mid massage. Oh, my God, it was the man of her dreams.

“Good evening, ma’am. Room service.”

She frowned in confusion. “I thought you were in hospitality?”

He smiled. “I am, and I have your dinner. So, can I come in?”

She stepped back to give him room to maneuver the cart inside.

“Where would you like it?”

She was miles away. Her hand was still on the doorknob as she stood admiring his backside from across her room. He looked even better in her bedroom than he had on his balcony. His question had a dozen inappropriate answers dancing on the tip of her tongue.

“Like what?” She purred seductively.

He turned and grinned at her as she let the door handle go. Despite the heat in her cheeks, she tried to pretend she hadn’t been checking out the goods or imagining him offering something more than dinner.

“Your meal. Where would you like your meal? Is the table okay?”

Emily nodded. “Sure, the table is fine.”

He pushed her laptop to one side and placed the tray down.

“Would you like me to open the wine for you?”

Usually she would open it herself, being single and independent, but the longer he took, the better she liked it. Emily walked toward him, still rubbing the muscles in her neck. “Please.”

He lifted the bottle, checked the label, and nodded his approval. Corkscrew in hand, he soon released the cork from the neck and poured a generous amount into her glass.

“Are you trying to get me drunk?”

He placed the bottle on the table. “I would never encourage a guest to overindulge,” he said, with an amused lilt to his voice.

Emily maneuvered around to the chair, being careful not to bump against him. As gorgeous as he was, she didn’t want to appear to be giving him the come-on. No matter her fantasies about him, she was a guest, and the last thing she wanted to do was get him sacked. There must be rules about staff dating clientele. Besides, she didn’t do one-night stands. She dated Tony for months, and they’d even been engaged before she discovered what a huge disappointment he was. No harm in a bit of window-shopping though.

Before she had a chance to take her seat, he pulled it out for her. Once she was comfortable, he insisted on placing the napkin in her lap. She glanced up and smiled at him. “Thanks. Are you usually this attentive to your guests?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Only the pretty ones.”

Emily felt blood rush to her face and looked down at her plate. Did he think she’d been fishing for compliments? Maybe he charmed all the female guests so he would receive a bigger tip.

“How’s your head?”

Wineglass halfway to her mouth, Emily frowned. “How did you know I have a headache?”

“You have all the symptoms. The way you closed your eyes on the balcony, and now, rubbing your neck.”

She took a sip of the dark red nectar and let the spicy fluid slide slowly down her throat before letting out a loud sigh. “I should have gone to the pharmacy, but I just wanted to escape the madness downstairs and hide in my room. If I call the reception desk, do you think they would have something I could take?”

“You don’t need meds.”

He reached out, took her glass and placed it on the table, then stepped behind her. She wondered what he planned to do, but if it got him to stay longer and helped ease her headache, she wasn’t going to fight. When his long fingers started to knead the muscles in her shoulders, she sighed. Her initial thoughts about his hands were spot-on. He was good, really good. If he could make her feel this amazing with a shoulder massage, imagine how fantastic he could make her feel if his fingers traveled further. The tension flowed away, released by the gentle pressure. After a couple of minutes, he stopped and rested his hands on her shoulders.

“Lean back.”

“What?”

He placed a hand on her forehead and gently pulled her head toward him. “Tip your head back and rest against me.”

She did as he asked, and his fingers started their soft but effective work on her temples. She closed her eyes and didn’t even attempt to stifle a moan of pleasure.

“I’m Randy.”

Emily opened one eye, stared up at him, and raised her eyebrow. She wasn’t quite sure how to respond to his revelation, even though his confession wasn’t a totally unwelcome disclosure. If he kept gazing at her like that, she was sure the response, so am I, would tumble out of her mouth before she could stop it.

His dark eyes twinkled with amusement, and a smile played at the corners of his mouth. It seemed he wasn’t completely unaware of the effect he was having on her.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I know I'm a week early, but I'm hosting a week-long Halloween Trick-or-Treat party, so let the celebrating begin early!  Myself, along with 14 other Young Adult authors (including our own Christie/C.C. Hunter) are giving away treats to every person who visit our virtual "homes" between Oct 24th and Oct 31st.  Check out all the deets here: http://www.gemmahalliday.com/trick_or_treat.html


This year I've decided to dress up as a witch.  Actually my costume is very much like the girl in my graphic.  Check it out:


That's me wearing the same witch costume with my son, the Pikachu Pokemon, a couple of years ago.  Sadly, The Boy has informed me that he's too old to trick-or-treat this year.  Instead, he wants to have a sleep over with his friends and stay up all night watching horror movies.  I ask you, where's the chocolate in that?  Luckily, I still have Baby Boy to torture...er, dress up.  And the best part is, he's still too young to protest.  Yay!  I'm thinking an adorable fluffy bunny.  Bwahahahaha!

Oh, and just for kicks, here's my man dressed up for Halloween as a cop a couple years ago.  Hot, right?  You can see where I get my inspiration for Ramirez. 



Anyone else have fun Halloween plans?  Good costume pics to share?

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A new mystery series is unleashed!

I love it when neat things happen to nice people, don't you? And that's the case with the release of DESPERATE HOUSEDOGS, the first in a brand-spanking new Pampered Pets Mystery series by debut author(s) Sparkle Abbey. Sparkle Abbey is actually a writing team of friends and neighbors, Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter, two extremely motivated, hardworking and talented women who got together and came up with a terrific new series that will have you howling with laughter and begging for more! Their pen name combines the name of Mary Lee's rescue cat, Sparkle, and Anita's rescue dog, Abbey. Too cute.

Here's a little teaser:

When Caro Lamont, former psychologist turned pet therapist makes a house call to help Kevin Blackstone with his two misbehaving German Shepherd dogs, she expects frantic dogs, she expects a frantic dog owner, she even expects frantic neighbors. What she doesn’t expect is that two hours later the police will find Kevin dead, his dogs impounded; and that as the last person to see Kevin alive (well, except for the killer) she is suddenly a person of interest, at least according to Homicide Detective Judd Malone.

I've added links to their books below. You can visit the authors at www.SparkleAbbey.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Desperate-Housedogs-ebook/dp/B005WZL0RK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319069424&sr=1-1

I can't wait until the work week is over and I can 'dig' in.

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's in a Name?

Good news. We have a title for the first book in my new series. As many of you recall, in addition to the Accidental Demon Slayer series, I'm going to be writing separate books about a paranormal M*A*S*H unit.

When I sold the new series to St. Martin's, I'd titled it The Monster MASH. I thought that was pretty fun - and yes, I have a weakness for campy 1960's monster songs. My editor loved the book, but thought the title could use more of a sexy tone. She asked me what else we could do.

I had to think about that. Usually, the title just comes as I write. I'd done only one other title brainstorm and that was for The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers. The original title for that book was A Girl's Guide to Demon Slaying. And it was an easy switch. We did it in a phone call. Dangerous Book was my second idea, really.

So how hard could it be to re-title the MASH series?

I came back with some more funny titles, like The Truth About Cats and Demi-Gods, and In Stitches. Not sexy enough, my editor said. Okay, so that was true. Hmm...I opened it up to readers, who came up with a lot of the same things I did. "Almost," my editor said to a few of them. That's when I truly realized there's an art to this title business. It's not just about what happens to be amusing or funny at the time.

I was also starting to get a bit desperate. I considered adding a slew of vampires so I could name it Undead...anything. (Just kidding - sort of.) We needed to name this puppy.

Luckily, St. Martin's came back with a title with the word Immortal in it. I thought it was good, and my agent had an idea that everyone liked even better. So now we have a title: Immortally Yours.

Whew. Before I was in this business, I never knew what went into a book title. I still didn't until we had one that didn't quite fit. And that's the great thing about having an editor and a publishing house behind you - everyone keeps working until we have something that fits well and that everyone likes.

Never again will I take an easy title for granted, or an editor that is willing to sift through all kinds of crazy ideas until we find "the one." Thanks again to everyone who offered ideas during the great title hunt.

The second book won't be this hard, will it? Wait. Let's not think about that just yet...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Problem with Perfume...

By Robin 'Red Hot' Kaye


I have a problem with perfume—several problems actually. The first is, I’m desperately allergic to most of them. I avoid the fragrance aisles in department stores, I think those people who walk around with perfume spritzers are the devil incarnate, and I can’t shop at Hollister or even walk past Bed Bath & Beyond without a few puffs of my inhaler.

I was at a conference a few years ago where they asked the attendees not to wear perfume because there are people in the world, like me, who start wheezing and coughing when exposed to those who bathe in noxious scents. I sat two rows behind a woman who obviously had not gotten the memo and reeked of Ew d’ Putrescent. My throat closed, my bronchi constricted, and I began wheezing and coughing. I had to leave the workshop before it began, but even that didn’t help. The pungent perfume clung to my clothes and forced me back to my room for a quick wardrobe change. Two days later, my clothes still held that foul scent.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore perfume—well, the few I’ve found that I love and can wear without requiring a trip to the emergency room. When I find one, I covet it. I keep the beautiful bottles on the mirrored tray on my dresser, pull the cap off and take a sniff, and sigh in contentment. But I don’t wear them. Sure, if I go out for a special occasion, I’ll put it on, but how many special occasions do I get? Not enough. I’ve always thought that wearing perfume on a daily basis was a waste of money. The stuff certainly isn’t cheep.

There was one perfume that for some reason, I wore often: Trish McEvoy, 9, Blackberry and Vanilla Musk. I couldn’t help myself, I loved it that much. It was light and dark, decadent and soft. I bought a small bottle and used it all up, and for the past three years, I’ve saved the empty bottle—wanting to buy more, afraid I’d forget the name, the number, and heck, if I took the top off and sniffed really hard, I could still smell the scent. But with a family of five including three expensive teenagers and the turn in the economy, it was difficult to see the necessity of perfume. The empty bottle sat on my dresser.

Last Monday, on the way to drop my mother off at the airport after a wonderful weekend visit, we stopped at the mall to grab a bite to eat and ended up at Nordstrom’s Café. Now going into a mall with my mother is dangerous. If shopping were an art, my mom would be Monet. If she’s not working, she’s shopping—it’s been her life-long hobby. Over the years, she’s dragged me through every mall on the Eastern Seaboard and made me hate shopping. While at Nordstrom, I took a swing past the Trish McEvoy counter for a spritz of my favorite perfume, I asked the price and found they had a special on a gift box with a big bottle of 9, and a small bottle of 9 Sexy for the same price as one big bottle—what a bargain. I made a decision at that moment, that when I received my advance for my NAL contract, I would run back to Nordstrom and buy that gift set. It would be my one atta’ girl present to myself. It killed me to walk away without purchasing it–I was strong. But then, I was also with my mother. On our way out of Nordstrom, she purchased a sweater, turned to me and said, “I’ve got a present, so now you need one. Come on, let’s go back and get you that perfume.” I was floored and elated.

The next day I was getting dressed, looking at the beautiful bottles on my mirrored tray and thought, no, I won’t wear it because I don’t want to waste it and then I thought, how stupid is that? What good is having perfume if you don’t wear it? It’s like banking all your money and never spending it on anything but bills, never enjoying it. Not wearing make-up unless you’re going out-on-the-town. Not buying flowers unless you’re having company. I’ve decided that I’m going to literally and figuratively wear perfume every day, no matter what. I’ll do it for me. How can it be wasteful if I enjoy it? I just realized, after all these years, I’m worth it.