Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Parting Gift: Secrets

As most of you know, Killer Fiction blog is leaving us. Of course I'll still be blogging but I will no longer be playing the field with my "Killer" mistress.  Instead I'll save my snarking, emoting and promoting for, the blog I've been married to since the beginning...well at least since Sophie was born. My blog and I sort of had a shotgun wedding.  And of course I look forward to posting on the Killer Fiction Facebook page.

I keep trying to think of how to bring this to a close in a satisfying way...when a television series ends you want answers. Mysteries are supposed to be solved, disputes settled, secrets revealed. My mysteries are in my Sophie books and any dispute of mine that you might be interested in are also enclosed within my novels. But I do have a few secrets I can share...secrets I've never posted anywhere before....

...for instance, for those of you who have read the Sophie books you know that Sophie's on-again-off-again boyfriend is a hot Russian guy who served in both the Israeli and Russian army before moving to San Francisco.

The secret is, I met that guy. I even went out on a date with him. He was Russian and he had indeed served in both the Russian and Israeli armies. I met him at a party in San Francisco back when I was in college. Our eyes locked across a crowded room. He was beautiful, sculpted, intense.  Fair skin with dark hair...I couldn't look away. It was a dinner party and we sat next to one another. The chemistry was so exceptional that even now, thinking back, I get goosebumps.

And then he had to go and screw it all up by opening his mouth.

It was such a bummer. I tried to convince myself it was a language problem. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and went out on a date with the end of the date it was clear, this wasn't a language problem. He was just sort of a womanizing jerk. Even his advances were clumsy. He drank a bit too much and asked if I could drive him his car...which would mean that I would have to take a cab from his place which he swore he'd pay for. I got up to his place to make a call and he said, "What's the rush? Make yourself comfortable and you know, take off your jeans!"

I didn't. I left, irritated that reality didn't live up to the chemistry of that moment. It's really amazing how quickly you can conjure up a fantasy and how suddenly that fantasy can be yanked away. So, years later, I wrote the fantasy, injected it with the permanence of ink and then I gave my fantasy-Anatoly to Sophie. I stretched out that magical moment and now thousands of readers can have him without the messiness of reality(although there are lots of murders in my Sophie books, so I guess that's kinda messy).

It's not the only time I've done that. Mr. Dade in Just One Night isn't entirely fictional either. I did date a man who had a PERFECT body and salt & pepper hair. A guy who came from a lower middle class family and a truly traumatic childhood only to pull himself up by his bootstraps and work his way up in the world, eventually starting a company that now grosses a little over $100 million a year. If I told you what that company was there's a good chance you'd know it. He has the expensive car and the beat-up dirt bike. He wears the cheap t-shirts and lives in a house he bought from Richard Gere...a house that has one of the most amazing views I've ever seen of the city. And he had a fierce, almost pathological that didn't always sit well with me. Weakness in those in his life was not tolerated. He strongly believes that we should all be motivated first, last and always by our own self-interests. If we do something kind it's not because it's "right" on a societal level but because it A) makes us feel good and B) it improves our lives. Everything was put in the context of "I." No love should ever be above the love we have for ourselves. The goal should always be to enhance our own lives.

And yet he would express true distress when he saw a homeless person shivering in the cold. He had empathy.  He quoted Ayn Rand and then praised community service. He could be totally light hearted but control was so very important to him. He said he loved life and yet he seemed to have to work so hard to remind himself to be happy. He was full of contradictions and although I didn't love him I found him to be absolutely fascinating. My friend suggested that maybe I was dating him just to figure him out. That might have been the case. But in the end we just weren't a good match. As I said, we weren't in love.  Our world views were simply too different, our connection not quite strong enough...and part of me was in love with another man. Unlike Kasie, I didn't cheat. But I did choose that other man over him. That didn't work out either but I don't regret my choice. My Mr. Dade wasn't the man for me but I still thought he was fascinating so I wrote him for Kasie. And in some ways Kasie, with all her contradictions and her attempts to be one thing but suppressing other aspects of her true nature...well she was somewhat inspired by my Mr. Dade too.

So those are my secrets. I'm only revealing them once, here on a blog that is about to disappear. I may erase it at the end of the weekend. I'm not all that interested in having Mr. Dade read this and track me down again. Like I said, he's never been in love with me (I didn't break his heart) but I intrigue him and when something sparks his interest he can be a very persistent guy.  I just don't think I want to go down that road again.  And I sure as hell don't want to be tracked down by Anatoly.

So this is just for you, my Killer Fiction readers, during our last days here. Thank you for letting me share my writing adventures with you over the years. It's been an enormous amount of fun and I hope that you'll keep the fun coming by joining us over on Facebook. We've all shared to much to become strangers.

--Fashionista Fatale

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In The Beginning...There Was This Cuban Restaurant in Dallas...

Jana, Kathy, Christie, Gemma, Me & Farrah at that Cuban restaurant, July 2007
This is where it all began.  July 2007, in a Cuban restaurant in Dallas.  Dorchester Publishing took its authors to dinner.  And while we were sitting there, eating, drinking and laughing, an idea was born.  Our then editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, suggested that since we wrote funny, mystery/romance - we should get together and create a blog.  By August, Killer Fiction was live.
Authors have come and gone, but the core is there and if I do say so myself - we are still as wickedly entertaining as we were 5 years ago.  Gemma's had some adorable babies and Christie's still cracks us up...Kathy has seen her tripletts through college and Jana is building us all new houses with retaining walls...and my hair is gray.  Well, more like silver, actually.
Thank you friends for making Killer Fiction so much fun to be a part of.  We are not going away - just to another place at Facebook.  Look for us there.  And watch for some exciting projects coming down the pike (does anyone know what a pike is and why you'd come 'down' it?).
Stay in touch (don't make me come after you).  We'll see you over on Facebook!
With love,
The Assassin

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Sad Swan Song

WINNERS UPDATE! WINNERS UPDATE!  Thanks so much for stopping by my last blog to chat with me and Shauna!  The lucky winners of Shauna's book are: Sabrina Robert, Sarah S., and Kristi!  Please shoot me an email at: christie (at) and let me know if you'd like an Amazon or B&N book and we'll hook you up!  Congrats!

You know me, forever curious, so I looked up what Swan Song really meant.  There’s a legend that says that Mute Swans are . . . well, mute, and never sing until they are about to die and then they sing the saddest and most beautiful song.  Doesn’t that just getcha right in the heart?  True, it sounds poetic.  But it also sounds terribly sad.  First off, for a girl who’s a bit of a jabber, not to be able to talk is terrible.  But then to only get the gift right before you’re about to croak, well that’s just downright screwed up.  So I was really happy when I read it was all a lie.  Oh, the Mute Swan really exists, but they are simply less vocal than the other swans.  Sort of like some people we know, they don’t have a lot to say.  Or they have a lot to say, but are too shy, too private to share their thoughts and opinions.  I guess you could say if I was a swan, I wouldn’t be a Mute Swan.     

Ahh, but while the legend is a lie, it’s not a lie about Killer Fiction closing our doors.  And it is a sad swan song.  I will miss reading all the other Killer Fiction gals’ blogs. It was great to keep up with each other.  And while our reasons for saying goodbye to this venue are completely validated, as I already said, I wouldn’t make a good Mute Swan.  Anyone who has met in me person can testify that I’m simply not a shy person.  Some of my friends say I could talk to a nail in the wall.  And they’re right, but only if the nail could talk back.  I like to talk, but I also like to listen. Which is why you will not only be seeing me on the Killer Fiction Facebook page: but you can still come visit my blog Laugh, Love, Read, at

Anyway, it may be goodbye to Killer Fiction, but if you ever need a chuckle, want to read about the new stupid things my hubby’s done (believe me, I thought he might stop this one day, but I’ve given up hope) or maybe you’re just curious about what authors I’ve been reading, pop over and say hello.  I blog every Tuesday.

No, you won’t find all my KF buddies there, but who knows, maybe I’ll have them stop by every now and then and entertain us with their humor.  And you know if I hear of them doing anything worth gossiping (I mean blogging) about, I’ll be the first share it with you.

And now…because it’s not really goodbye for me, I’m going to introduce you to Shauna Allen.  Shauna isn’t just a buddy, she’s also assisting me over at  Ahh, but Shauna is also a writer.  And a darn good one.  If you like bad boys, tattoos and cupids, all wrapped up in a sexy, witty writing style, you gotta read her.  Today I’ll give away a copy of Shauna’s e-book to three lucky people who leave a comment.  So make sure to leave a post.  And don’t forget to come visit me at my new blog site.
Take it away, Shauna: 


Labor Pains

Thanks, Christie!  So glad to be here and thanks for letting me be in on your Swan Song and saying a fond farewell to Killer Fiction!

A friend and writer I respect immensely told me recently that writing a book is a lot like giving birth.  Well, in my “other life,” my full-time job is a labor and delivery nurse.  I thought about her analogy for a moment and had to laugh.  She is absolutely right. 

We start with a tiny seed of an idea.  We nourish it, we love it, we have all kinds of hopes and dreams for it . . . you following me here?  Then, the time comes to bring it into the world.  And it’s a painful ordeal which, for some of us, can become a downright ugly, bloody affair full of tears and screaming.  There’re no epidurals in publishing. 

But, hey, in the end we get to hold our little bundles of joy in our hands and proudly proclaim, “I created this!”  Amazing! 

But, wait. 

Like babies, the work has just started.  The cuteness will always be there—just look at that cover!—but we still have to get our butts out there and work for it.  Um, did we sign up for this back when we were germinating those precious little characters in our minds?  Well, if you want your baby to succeed, yes you did. 

Ah, a mother’s, I mean an author’s work is never done. 

In my book, Inked by an Angel, my hero and heroine have drastically different relationships with their own fictional mothers.  And even though my hero, Jed, is a tattooed bad boy, I made sure he had a teensy-weensy soft side when it came to his mother.  Here’s an excerpt so you can see for yourself:

Sweat poured from his head and stung his eyes as Jed pushed his father’s ancient lawnmower in neat lines through his mother’s backyard.  He paused long enough to shuck his T-shirt and wipe his forehead with it before tossing it to the porch. He knew his mom would probably prefer he left it on just in case her neighbors were to peek out their windows and get a good eyeful of him. Not that Paula Gentry gave a rat’s ass about other people’s opinions, and she’d never once said anything about being embarrassed about his appearance, but he knew she’d probably just as soon have him not rock the boat in her nice, quiet, conservative neighborhood.
 "Jedediah!” she called from the shaded back patio, her hand perched on her hip.
He stopped pushing the mower, but left it running, and turned to face her. “What?” he yelled over the racket.
“Are you almost?” She stopped mid-thought. “Where is your shirt?” She looked around, presumably for those nosy neighbors he’d already scouted for himself.
He shrugged and kept on going. He was almost done here anyway. Surely, if they were gonna look, they’d have looked by now, and they would’ve seen the bald man full of tats and piercings. Oooh. Big, scary man. Big damn deal. It’s not like he hadn’t been here before and wouldn’t be here again. They would just have to get used to him being around here. A lot.
He finished the yard and shut off the mower, pushing it into the shed before striding up to the porch. With his eyes on his mother’s face, he bent over and retrieved his sweat-soaked T-shirt from the chair she’d draped it over and pulled it back on.
“You wanted me to take a look at the air conditioner, Mom?”
“I just needed you to see if the filter needs to be changed.” She studied his face. “Jedediah.”
He raised a brow in question.
“I’m not ashamed of you, son.”
He nodded once. “I know that.”
Her eyes softened. “You don’t have to do all of this for me, you know.”
She reached out and brushed a hand across the koi fish tattooed across his forearm. “No. You don’t. I’m just so, so sad that your father isn’t here to take care of these things anymore.”
He felt a little pebble tumble off his heart. He swallowed. It killed him to remember how devastated she’d been when Dad died. She could hardly function for a while. It was almost as if he’d left them on purpose. But, by not taking the doctor’s advice, he had. And he didn’t want any part of a love that could tear him up like that. Never again.
“I know,” he reassured her. “That’s why I do them now.” He cupped her chin so she’d look up at him. Her eyes were shimmering with tears, nearly breaking him. “I always will. I’ll take care of you now.”
She nodded, held back her tears. He was grateful. “I know, sweetie.” She brushed a kiss to his cheek. He caught the familiar scent of her Liz Claiborne perfume. She pulled back from him, gathered herself, and smiled. “Are you staying for lunch?”
“Did I smell chicken and dumplings on my way in?”
“You did.”
“Then yes, I’m staying.”

Mothering–nurturing and loving something to fruition— is so worth it.  In all that you do.

So let’s celebrate all those ‘mommies’ out there . . . whether you’re the mother to a child, a furry creature, a fictional character, or perhaps something else . . . we’ve all got our own labors of love.  So tell me, what’s yours?


Thanks for being here, Shauna!  Gotta love those tough guys that love their mamas!  So, like she said, tell us about your labors of love, whatever they are, and three lucky commenters will win a copy of Shauna's book which will be released from Soul Mate Publishing this week!  Good luck!

Shauna grew up an only child with two open and loving parents in Central Texas.  She’s married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother to three fantastic (no, that’s not a typo!) teenagers. 

When she’s not writing, editing, or acting as a personal assistant to a NYT Bestselling author, Shauna enjoys reading, movies with Gerard Butler, vacays to the beach, and hangin’ with the kiddos–even if they don’t like hangin’ with her!

For more information about me or my book, please visit my website and blog at:
Soul Mate Publishing:
Pinterest :

P.S. Here's the book trailer for Inked by an Angel : Book I of the Cupid Chronicles if anyone wants to take a sneak peek!  :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Final Adieu

As Kathy mentioned yesterday, we have made the unanimous decision to move our Killer group from this blog to our Facebook page.  Never fear - we're not going away!  In fact, as we shift our focus away from blogging, we've come up with some new ideas for 2013 that we think our readers are going to enjoy even more.  So please do stay with us as we relocate to our new home on Facebook!   


I want to extend a huge thank you to all of the Killer Fiction blog readers and supporters who have been with us over the years.  We all sincerely appreciate every single one of you, and we hope you'll continue to follow us as we move forward with new endeavors in the coming year.  

Hugs & Heels forever!

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Last Roundup

We've had a great ride here at Killer Fiction Writers blog. From the original Killer Five to our present Killer roster, I've been so fortunate to hang out with such amazing authors. Alas. All good things come to an end. And so it goes with the Killer Fiction blog. With more and more folks hanging out on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and You Tube, the Killers thought it was time for a new focus. So, at least for now, we're going to suspend this blog and put the focus on Facebook and other social media outlets.

So, most of us Killers will be saying our "see yas" in the next few days and urging you to keep connected via Facebook at

Me? I've got my head down and I'm focused on the finish line for my next Calamity Jayne caper. Check out the Killer Fiction Writers Facebook page for updates!

See you there!

~Bullet Hole Bacus~

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Clearing the clutter

A few weeks ago, I was at the library and found this book called Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. I've always been interested in Feng Shui, but end up getting confused by the grids and charts and the fact that every article I read or book I see tends to have a different philosophy. This is supposed to be enlightening, but it just ends up confusing me. Anyhow, I picked up this book and immediately saw that it had no big charts. Point one for said book.

It turned out to be less about placing certain objects in certain spots and more about releasing things from your life that you no longer need. It's a simple idea, but so hard to do in reality (at least for me).

In fact, the book was so good that when it was overdue at the library (is that a form of clutter?) I went ahead and bought a copy. It gives step-by-step instructions on how to clear the things out of our lives that serve to muck things up - not only that stack of school papers or bills on the dining room table, but those unfinished projects that just serve to make us guilty. Or what about all the stuff in the basement that we never use? You ask yourself: Do I love it? Do I actually use it? (and not just once ten years ago).

It was amazing to me just how many things in my life failed that simple test.

It's not about pristine neatness (thank goodness), but more about only having things in your house that work for you. Like having a junk drawer works because it is a catch-all. Having all drawers be full of junk is less workable.

It's amazing to find out what's really clutter. I went down in our basement and started going through things: like the serving platter we've never used (yet we hosted Christmas eve this year), the seven plastic tubs of cake pans that my mother-in-law gave us. Yes, she had a business selling cakes, but when am I going to use an Alf pan? I found cool things from college that I do plan to keep. But I also found my freshman year diary that gives a day-by-day replay of my miserable first year at school. Why am I holding on to that?

It's been my mission to fill the trash cans every week with clutter. The charity trucks have been by twice this month already and it has been cathartic in a way I never expected. Yes, there are things I will always keep - like that little box of cute baby outfits from when my kids were little. But to have space in my basement - and to know I made that space in my life - it really has been priceless.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

And The Plot Thickens!

By Robin 'Red Hot' Kaye

I spent all day yesterday sitting at Starbucks with my critique partners, Laura Becraft and Deborah Villegas plotting my next book. I’m so thankful for these two women—they’re my best friends, they're the closest of sisters who adopted me and made me one of them, they're my support group, my bullsh*t meters, and a veritable laugh factory. They are also talented writers and fabulous plotting and critique partners.  I’ve written my last five novels and one novella with their help, and I can’t imagine how I managed to write the first three books without them.

Deborah and Laura at one of our favorite New York haunts--the St. Andrews Restaurant and Bar. 

Yesterday they took my blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year, and made it one filled with joy and laughter. My blue Monday was especially blue because my college boy flew the coop that morning and winged his way back to Boise State for classes tomorrow. Somehow they still managed to make me laugh so hard I was thankful I always do my Kegel exercises—as were the Starbucks employees, I’m sure!

Yes, Laura, Deborah, and I are those weird women cackling at the window table in Starbucks. It is ‘our’ table, and thanks to my Deborah—the shy and reserved one—we were able to get the nice man who was using it to move. I offered to pay him off in coffee, but he kindly refused and said he’d seen us there so often, always at our table, he wouldn’t dream of messing with our mojo. And mojo is exactly what we have. When we work together we feed each other more than just coffee and iced tea lemonades. We call each other on taking the easy way out—and yes, we’ve all been known to try to get away with it, we force each other to dig deeper, to write fresher, work harder, and we help each other finish our books.

Yesterday we plotted an incredible story for my third Bad Boys of Red Hook book and now all I have to do is write the synopsis—a thing that puts the fear of God into most writers—and do it justice. I’m not worried—believe me, they’ll tell me if I don’t make the grade.