Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!!

I hope everyone is in the spooky spirit. Me – I think I ate my weight in candy corn last night as I carved pumpkins in my pumpkin colored heels and drank pumpkin beer. (see a theme here?) Tonight, I’m hosting a kid’s trick-or-treat party at our house (despite the fact that it’s raining cats and dogs here. It’s California! It’s not supposed to do that!), then off for a little more adult costume fun with Mr. Big later. ;) This year I’m going as a witch and have this teeny tiny slinky Elvira dress that I swear will not fit if I a) eat one more piece of candy corn or b ) even think of another Starbucks pumpkin scone. But… the effect is so worth it. I promise to take lots of pics!

In the meantime…

It’s time for our first annual Halloween costume contest! We got so many fun entries – you are a creative bunch! Here are the best of the best. Chose your favorite then vote by posting the number of your fav (or favs - I know I have a couple!) in a comment. The winner will receive a mini spa set of Autumn apple goodies and some cool books to go with it. And the contestants are:

#1 A Sexy Pirate Chick (Way. Hawt. Johnny Depp, eat your heart out!)

#2 Bun in the Oven (If I ever have more kids, I’m so wearing this one! I love it!)

#3 Fabulous Witchy Woman (This one was an actual hand-stitched costume worn by a reader. I’m so impressed! I can’t sew a button on straight…)

#4 It’s a Girl… no wait, It’s a Boy! (Shhh… I’ve been told we cannot tell this man his picture was submitted by his very wicked friend. Hehe)

#5 Revenge of the Bridesmaids (I love this one. On so many levels. )

#6 Vibrating Boob Girl (Ahahahaha! Just… ahahahaha! For anyone who doesn’t know… at last year’s RWA conference, this lovely reader’s phone was on vibrate. Leslie told her to put it in her shirt… then kept calling her! I know, Leslie is so bad. Which, incidentally, is why we love her so much.)

Okay, kids, you pick the winner. Just post your vote in the comments section.

And happy Halloween!!!

~Trigger Happy (and Pumpkin Crazy) Halliday

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Better late than never!

I'm late posting. It' s been one of 'those' mornings in one of 'those' weeks. And just because Tressa Jayne Turner's latest 'Calamity' was released this week, I really didn't need any real time misadventures to mark the occasion. But 'stuff' happens.

What stuff?

You'll be sorry you asked.

It all started with new pictures and frames I've been putting off hanging for ages. I get them out determined to finally get them mounted on the bare living room walls only to decide that the walls look a bit dingy next to the freshly painted dining room. Net result? Sand dollar. That's the color I'm painting the living room walls. Two walls are done with two to go. Now even my kids' friends think I've lost it.

Then we get hit with winds with gusts up to 70 mph. I hear a 'crack' and go out to see my pear tree, heavily laden with big, jumbo-sized pears that make cardboard taste yummy, has a limb cracked and hanging. So, Bullet Hole Bacus, student of most everything and master of nada, drags her stepladder out to the back yard, tree saw in hand, to saw through the limb so it will fall. Piece of cake, right?
It took me half an hour to get that puppy cut down. I got beaned in the head three times with falling pears. No. No Isaac Newton moment for me, but I did let loose with some coarse pirate prose left over from my ANCHORS AWEIGH research. Arrgh!

Next came the flat tire on my son's car. I don't mean just semi-flat. I mean totally deflated, flat as a pancake, can't even drive it to the corner to air it up flat. So, I drive out to my folks to borrow their air compressor, come back and discover I don't have the right do-hickey (technical term) to stick on the valve stem. So I call the garage and run over and pick up a portable air tank, come back, and inflate the tire. The air goes out almost as fast as I can put it in. I over-inflate it, (I don't recommend this, by the way) jump in the car and drive as fast as I can to the tire shop. I leave the car there, come home, and remember I have a three hour Public Administration mid-term to take.

I just finished the exam.

Next up? A paper for Constitutional Law.


Trick or treating?


My daughter's college band concert performance.

And one of these days I need to pick up all those @#*! pears.

Have a happy Halloween! Don't eat too much corn candy and peanuts!!!

~Bullet Hole Bacus~

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Puppies of the Apocalypse

Okay, so it's the Halloween season and we've been watching a lot of horror movies. The most recent was this evening with I AM LEGEND. And it got me thinking. What is the one dog breed you would want to have with you after the apocalypse?

In this movie, Will Smith had a German Shepherd. That made sense. These are tough, smart, intuitive dogs with a fierce sense of loyalty. That's nice.

I have a Pug and a Basset Hound. So basically, I have a lapdog who would be considered "good eatin'" by the measles/rabies infested zombies. Or a dog who would gleefully welcome them into my heavily fortified fortress, licking their bald, veiny skin and rolling over to have his tummy rubbed.

Either I have a small, overweight dog that eerily resembles Jack Elam or a "mentally-challenged" hound with the jaws of a velociraptor who, if he had a voice, would sound like Mortimer Snerd.

I think I'm doomed. What do you think?

The Assassin
(Short deadline - short blog)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We Laugh

It all started with a mammogram and then lunch. Francyne and I had been critique partners for over ten years. Nita belonged to our chapter and was helping with the chapter’s writing contest so we asked her to join us for lunch for a couple of weeks to discuss contest business. We laughed, we talked business, laughed, critiqued a bit, and laughed. We ate, oh, and then we laughed. Laughing was big on our lunches.

On this day, Nita told us she had just gotten a call that the doctor wanted her to have a biopsy on a rash that had been noted on her report by her x-ray technician during her mammogram. A silly little rash around her left nipple. I mean, who’d ever heard of a nipple rash. We laughed and teased her that it was just a hickey.

The next week, when Nita met us, she dropped the bomb. It wasn’t just a rash or a hickey. She’d been diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)—one of the hardest breast cancers to survive. The odds were not in her favor. We were stunned. And of course the first thing out of Francyne’s and my mouth were, “What can we do?”

Nita didn’t hesitate, “Let me meet with you every week. I need . . . to laugh.”

I swallowed a bit of fear down my throat, the seriousness of the mood weighed on my chest. But I’d learned at an early age about the power of laughter. So I looked at Francyne, then back at Nita. “Man, I knew people wanted to join our critique group, but I didn’t know they’d go so far as to get cancer just to get in.”

We all laughed.

That started our weekly laughing-through-cancer lunches. We laughed through Chemo, more biopsies, and we laughed through hair loss.

“I’m sorry, guys.” Nita tossed off her hat during one of our lunches. “I can’t stand to wear a wig . . . or a hat.” We inspected her shiny, bald head. She had a perfect shaped head, and more courage than any woman I’d ever met.

“No problem,” I told her. “Just wear big earrings so people won’t think we’re having lunch with Mr. Clean.”

We laughed.

We arranged our meeting days so it didn’t hit on throw-up days. Nothing ruins a good lunch like that.

The extreme Chemo caused numbness in her hands and feet. During one weekly lunch, Nita kept dropping her food, when about the sixth piece of shrimp hit her blouse she threw down her fork with a clatter.

You would know that at that moment the restaurant went silent. Every eye in the room shifted to Nita, the bald lady with big earrings, having a well-deserved mini meltdown. I saw frustration in her eyes as she bellowed, “Look at me! I’m a mess. I can hardly walk. I’m wearing my lunch. I can’t even feed myself!”

And in the silent restaurant, I bellowed back, “Don’t forget you’re bald, too!”

Nita’s frustration dissolved to laugher. Even several of the restaurant patrons joined in laughing.

Weeks later, the treatment and cancer were taking its toll. Nita, wanting to have her ducks in row, started planning her funeral. She was searching for someone to give her eulogy and getting frustrated because she couldn’t find anyone she liked. During lunch, after hearing her fret, I’d had enough, “Quit this,” I snapped. “If you die, I’ll give your damn eulogy.”

Her eyes widened. “Christie, that’s a wonderful idea. Will you really?”

My throat tightened. Jeepers, what had I gotten myself into, but I couldn’t tell her no. “I’ll tell the mattress story and have everyone laughing,” I said. “Now quit worrying. You’re not gonna die.”

After Nita’s mastectomy, Francyne and I went with her to a specialty store to pick out her fake boob. We all piled into the tiny dressing room and started checking out shapes and sizes for Nita’s boob. Some were too pointed, some were too round, some too perky, some not perky enough. Francyne and I were checking out our own shapes. It was a real boob-analyzing party. And in that tiny dressing room, three friends, one still facing the fight of her life, we did what we did best . . . we laughed.

We laughed so hard that the sales clerk came back to check on us. “I’ve never heard anyone laughing in here like that,” she said.

Nita, wearing the too-perky boob, poked her head out of the curtain. “That’s what we do,” she said. “We laugh.”

That was nine years ago. Today, while you read this, I have an appointment to keep. It’s a celebration of a life. While we still meet once a week, today is special, it’s Nita’s birthday. I’ll tell her what I tell her every year since she’s been cancer free. “You know, the only reason we let you join us was because we thought you were dying.”

And she’ll tell me just like she always does, “Tough titty.” In truth, Nita is an amazing woman, her courage--her non-whining attitude--is an inspiration to us all.

The mammogram where the rash on Nita’s breast was noticed is what saved her life. I just went last week for my annual smooshing-of-the-boobs celebration. Have you had your mammogram this year? If not, go do it. And tell a friend to have hers. Oh, and if someone you know gets a bad diagnosis, remember to laugh. Laugher really is the best medicine.

Happy Birthday, Nita!

Now, here’s what I want from you guys. Tell me about an amazing woman/friend in your life. Hey…us girls gotta stick together.

Crime Scene Christie

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Want To Believe

So some of you might know I'm a HUGE X-Files fan. In fact, I just finished an X-Files marathon of season 1 - season 7. I kinda need to buy season 8, I guess and find out if Mulder is returned and see Scully have the baby. An episode I watched the other day featured Mulder finding a genie. Every time people made their 3 wishes, however, it was never quite what they had in mind. Like the guy who wished for a yacht and she put it in his trailer park space - completely and totally landlocked. So Mulder rolled her out of her magic carpet and in doing so was due three wishes. Knowing her history of not quite giving the wisher what they were going for, he thought about it a while and finally decided that the reason it didn't work for others was because their wishes were for selfish gain only. So he told her he wanted peace on earth. She said "no, you don't." He insisted and so she made it happen - by removing all human beings from the planet.

You gotta love that sense of humor. Cynical, perhaps, but that doesn't make it any less true. I find the show fascinating - loved the characters and mostly loved the storylines, whether it was a conspiracy show or M&S were off on some non-UFO related investigation. I love the unexplained because I love figuring things out. The paranormal offers so much cool stuff to consider with no concrete proof - or at least no proof today.

So in keeping with my upcoming release (Feb '09) that features a ghost, I've decided to blog about different unexplained phenomena and see what you all think. For the record, I personally believe in the possibility of everything. Who am I to limit God?

Today's topic - Bigfoot.

Why Bigfoot, you might ask....well, remember in Sep when me and my friends went to stay at a haunted hotel in Jefferson, Texas? Well, Jefferson is well known as being the most haunted town in Texas, but it's also the home of the annual Bigfoot convention every year in October. You see East Texas contains the most Bigfoot sightings of anywhere else in this region. So some people are probably thinking it's a bunch of yahoos and weirdos, wearing costumes or tromping around the woods. Not at all. The speakers are well-educated zoologists, anthropologists, authors, college professors who find the subject fascinating and devote their spare time to looking for answers.

The Texas branch has a website complete with an interactive map showing all Bigfoot sightings with a description of the sighting. The site also lists all detail of sightings as it becomes available. One of the recent posts was a police record from 1990 where a woman, her friend, and her three children were driving down the highway at night and reported a tall hairy creature that ran across the highway in front of their car then off into the woods. This is what the reporting officer had to say about their claim:

I believe the witnesses to be of the highest credibility and I believe they truly believe that they saw a bigfoot. Misidentification, while often a possibility, can likely be ruled out in this case. All witnesses had clear recollection of an upright and tall subject. There is no other species that can be comfortably applied within such descriptive parameters. I could detect no hints or signs of hoaxing, either by the witnesses or that they were hoaxed. It seems unlikely that someone larger than the average human would don a suit and risk running across Highway 59 only a few car lengths in front of a vehicle traveling at approximately 60 miles per hour; while possible, it seems improbable.

This case appears to be another example of an event reported by multiple and highly credible observers, for which there is no conventional explanation that is readily apparent.

For those of you who might want to read more, the url for the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy is

Soooooo, what do you think? Bigfoot - fact or fiction?

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dating can be Murder

Since starting this blog and posting about my own dating disasters, I’ve gotten notes from a few readers telling me that they’ve been inspired to start dating again themselves. Not sure how. I mean, did they not hear the part where my date turned out to be a pirate?! Or hiding bodies in his closet?! But, considering I sort of feel partly responsible now for whatever shape their love lives may take, I thought I’d repost a few of my tips for making it out of the singles scene alive.

1. The Set-Up
We all have well-meaning friends who fancy themselves master matchmakers. My advice - avoid them at all costs! Let’s face it, if this “great guy” your single friend is setting you up with really is so great, she’d be dating him herself. And if a married friend tries to set you up, take a close look at her husband. If he’s Brad Pitt, I might trust her judgment. Otherwise, take a pass. It just leads to that awkward post-date discussion where you have to tell your friend that, as attractive as the portly bald look is on her husband, you’re just not sure it’s really your type.

2. The Alibi
Always have an alibi to get you out of a sticky first date situation. Me, I have a system with my best friend, Suze. If a date is heading south, I excuse myself for the ladies’ room and text Suze with a “911”. I then go back to my date and wait for Suze’s call three minutes later saying, “The house is on fire. Get home now!” Voila, date over! And a lot easier than trying to climb out the bathroom window.

3. The Accomplice
It’s always less pressure to go on a double date, especially early on in a relationship. So, invite a single friend to come along with you on your next date, and tell your Mr. Wonderful to do the same. It’s a great way to set a more casual mood, and, as an added bonus, you get to meet one of his friends! You can learn a lot about a man by interrogating his acquaintances when he steps out of the room.

4. The Body
Let’s face it, chemistry is important. Lots of dating services now have extensive personality tests to match you with your perfect like-minded mate. But if there’s no physical “wow” between you, all the compatibility in the world isn’t going to make a difference. While every relationship progresses differently, if fireworks don’t shoot through the sky the first time you get up close and personal with Mr. Wonderful, chances are you’re better off as just friends. Trust me, every girl deserves “wow”.

5. The Evidence
Whatever you do, don’t let the rosy glow of new relationship cloud your judgment when it comes to the hard facts about your new man. “Between jobs” means “unemployed”. “My car is in the shop” means he takes the bus. And that “older roommate” he lives with? Yeah, it’s his mom. If the evidence points to “loser”, don’t be fooled by his charming smile and smooth lines. Run. Run for your life, and don’t look back!

While not every relationship is destined for a happily-ever-after ending (as I well know!), sometimes the thrill is in the investigation as you and Mr. Wonderful get to know each other. And who knows, if you’re lucky enough, you just might end up with a perfect partner in crime after all!

So, any other dating tips to add, ladies?

~Trigger Happy Halliday

P.S. Don’t forget to enter our Halloween Costume Contest! (see the right sidebar for details!) And check back here on Oct 31st to vote for your favorite costume.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bon Voyage, Calamity & Crew!

They're here!!!

Yep! Tressa Jayne Turner and the Grandville Gang have officially set sail on their latest misadventure--this time aboard the cruise ship, Epiphany, in my latest release, ANCHORS AWEIGH! While the departure date was technically October 28th, as is often the case with such things, the launch came early. I received my box of books late last week. I never fail to squeal with gleeful joy each time I open a box of my books. I also still pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. So, Tressa Jayne Turner--and me vicariously, as well, I suppose--now have a six-pack. A series six-pack, that is. We're both too fond of junk food to ever see the real thing on our abs. Or anything remotely close to a six pack. Sigh.

Along with my seventh book's release--and coupled with my home improvement extravaganza--I decided it was time to actually think about updating and enhancing my television viewing experience. I was hesitant to do so. I haven't had cable or satellite or anything other than the 4-5 major networks since I was divorced a decade and a half ago and being the television/movie/news and political junkie I am, I was afraid to open myself up to all those viewing options that come with Dish, Cable, or Direct TV. However, in getting ready to switch from analog to digital TV, I discovered my old antenna just wasn't going to cut it. So, I decided rather than paying to have another antenna installed on my roof, it was time for Bullet Hole to bite the bullet and get hooked up with the HDTV experience.

I called yesterday and investigated my options.


The 'Cable Guy' is here and by the end of the day I'll have uber channels to flip through.

I'm terrified.

I have college course work to complete, books to write, holidays coming up, and I'm convinced I'm at risk for an addiction that finds me spending way too much time sitting in front of my television eating my fall guilty pleasure party mix of corn candy, peanuts, and M&M's.

I MUST exercise will-power!

I MUST impose self-discipline!

I MUST maintain control!


I'll have TWO HUNDRED channels to view?!?

And FIFTY of them will be High Def????

Oh, buddy, Bullet Hole's in some perilous waters of her own.

Ah, well. I expect my agent or editor (or both) will be more than happy to bean me in the head with a life preserver.

And a favor, please. If you have any suggestions on channels/programming you think I should check out now that I've dragged myself out of the stone age of television--kindly keep 'em to yourself!

So, how was your week?

~Bullet Hole Bacus~

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Proof That I Really Need To Get Out More - Or There's Something Wrong With My Tea...

Name - Roger “Race” Bannon
Age - 32
(in 1966 - the year I was born)
Born – Willamette, Illinois
Parents – John & Sarah Bannon
Occupation – Government Agent, Bodyguard for Jonny Quest
Right handed
(Not sure why this is important but what the hell?)

I've been doing nothing but writing for months. Mr. Assassin actually let me out of my cave for a little respite and here is the first thing that came to my Bombay-addled mind:

Is it wrong to be obsessed with a cartoon character? And when I say "obsessed" I must add that I've been this way since I was four years old (of course at that time he was 36 - but age is just a number).

Is that weird? How many of you are thinking of clicking away from this page now? Be honest.

I've been in love with Race Bannon since the first time I saw him fighting South American pygmies/lizardmen/Zulu warriors/Zin/invisible electricity monsters/poisonous snakes/a very slow-moving mummy/assorted indigenous folk who, no matter what language they speak, all yell "Aieeeeeeeee!," a giant pterydactyl and monsters who were really some guy in a costume. (I always wondered who made those. You never saw the bad guy with a sweatshop full of women making weird clothing. And I can't believe the evil minions had those skills - they could barely handle two-syllables at a time. I know this because they were always drawn with beer guts and broken noses.)

Oh yes! That prematurely snow white hair; tanned one-dimensional body; the red cossack shirt and gray slacks that didn't really match (real men don't care about fashion) and the ankle bootlets always tripped my trigger. Even when he was dyed purple by those berries he was hot. Oh, that wacky Benton Quest - not telling him the dye had to wear off! (I can see why they didn't give him a woman bodyguard - she'd stab him in the head, then back over him with the Land Rover twenty or thirty times. At least, that's what I would've done.)

Maybe it was his velvety, in-chargey voice. Or perhaps it was his way of saying, "I used to be pretty good with a bullwhip," or "Let's practice our judo!" I don't know. But whatever it was, he had me at "Johnny, Hadji, you two stay here!"

That man could do anything, from driving a hovercraft, to impersonating a river god, to snapping necks like twigs, to cuddling that adorable dog, Bandit. Sigh. Did I ever mention that I wanted to initially name my son (Jack) Race Bannon? Well, until I found out there is an S&M author with that name. I'm serious. Look it up. That was a shock when I was googling "Race Bannon."

I've always wanted to write a book on Race's early years in the service - before he was assigned by some mysterious government agency to watch over the Quests. That is my FanFic fantasy. Who knows? Maybe someday I'll actually do it. Do you think Hanna-Barbara would mind?

Well, back to work on I SHOT YOU, BABE (because no matter how hard I try, it won't write itself for some &%$#! reason). You know...Craig Daniels (the inspiration for Coney Island Bombay) looks a little bit like Race Bannon. I never noticed that before. Hmmmm...

The Assassin

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Day I Almost . . . Bought the Farm

It was 1995 at a writer’s conference in Houston. I’ll never forget it. It was the day I almost . . . bought the farm, did my last jig, almost two-stepped right into the light. Yup, I almost died. And the crazy thing was that I let it happen because of a personality flaw.

Not intentionally, of course. You see, I’m a retreater.

Sure, I love being in the limelight. Love giving workshops. But when I’m angry, upset, or sick, I do just the opposite. I retreat. Yup, my hubby never worries about getting yelled at, it’s when I get quiet that he starts sleeping with one eye open. That or he starts taking my temperature to see if I’m sick. Because if I am, he’ll never hear about it from me. Heck, I’ve had surgery, other surgeries, scheduled before he knew anything was wrong. I mean, why cause a scene?

I come by this honestly. Not that I come from a long line of retreaters. Oh, no, it’s just the opposite. My flaw stems from my need to compensate for the failings of my foremothers. No doubt about it, I come from a long line of drama queens. If my aunt clipped her toenail too close, the entire neighborhood, including the plumber, and her gynecologist would know about it. They’d know about it in detail, too. Every painful pinky toe detail. If she suffered from constipation, she’d get all gussied up and make a show of going to the grocery store to purchase a laxative. She’d talk about her problems to anyone who would listen, the checker, the bagger, and even the guy buying a case of beer. My point…everyone will know about it.

The same thing happened when she was angry. I seriously think the adage, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” came into being because of an ancestor of mine.

Hence, I’m a retreater.

So that Friday night during a dinner with an editor, when I started experiencing a little pain, (just a little gastritis I’m sure) I basically ignored the twinges. First thing Saturday morning, as I gave my workshop, the twinges had become a bit more uncomfortable. I blamed it on the broccoli. I mean, we all know what that veggie can do.

Workshop completed, I decided to go up to my room and die. At the time, I seriously didn’t know dying was a real option.

Around noon, my side was really hurting. Yes, I’m still convinced it was gas—in my defense, my fever had pretty much fried all my brain cells. Anyway, I remove all my clothes and climbed into bed. That’s when I realized that not all my brain cells have been cremated. Because it hit me that if I died, someone would find me butt naked in bed. So I got back up and put on my clothes.

Before I crawled under the covers, I went against my better judgment and called my husband, who is only an hour’s drive from the hotel room. He doesn’t answer, so I leave a message.

“Hey, babe. It’s me. Give a call if you get a chance.”

An hour later, I redialed. “Hey babe. I . . . uh, call me please.” (Translation: I think I’m dying.)

An hour later. “Babe, I don’t feel very well, (Translation: I know I’m dying) call me.”

An hour later, fever around 104. “Babe, I might be sick. (Translation: It’s been nice knowing you.) Love you.”

Again, remember that my brain cells were fried from the fever. Still as hard I tried I couldn’t imagine calling down to the front desk and asking for an ambulance to go. And I really couldn’t imagine being wheeled down the elevator, through the lobby on a stretcher. I mean, this is something my aunt would have done. Dying was a much better option.

But deep down I knew I had to do something. I mean, I had books I wanted to sell. So I reached for the phone . . . but before I picked up, it rang.

“What’s wrong?” Hubby asked in a panic.

“It’s probably a gas bubble.”

He didn’t buy the gas bubble story and arrived in record time. And when he looked down at me on the floor because I had crawled to open the door, he really panicked.

Shortly later, in the ER, when a surgeon told us he’d have to remove my appendix, I argued that I’d eaten broccoli. My husband interrupted and said he’d seen a show on laparoscopic surgery to remove an appendix and it was a piece of cake. Hey, the man was trying to make me feel better.

The doctor shrugged. “It’ll take me an hour to set up that surgery, your wife will be dead in an hour.” Obviously the doctor didn’t worry about making me feel better.

Hubby sighs. “I guess you’re just gonna slice her open then.”

I argued they should give me some Beano and send me home. I argued all the way in the operating room. I argued with the prep nurse. I tried to get up and leave the room. Hey, at that point I was running almost a 105 fever and had some hardcore pain meds running through my veins. The last thing I remember was arguing with the anesthesiologist.

The doctor came in a few days later and asked, “Why in the hell didn’t you get help before you did?”

I told him the truth. “Because my aunt clipped her pinky toenail too close.”

Hey, I was still on the hardcore pain meds.

So there you have it, my near demise. Any of you ever brushed up against the pearly gates? Are you a retreater or a drama queen?

Crime Scene Christie

Monday, October 20, 2008

Exorcist Dishwasher

First thing, I have to apologize for forgetting to blog last Monday. I beg off with the excuse of the most horrible cold I have ever had. Didn't leave my house for five days. So my mind wasn't working all too great.

Today, I want to tell you about my Exorcist dishwasher. Most of you know I moved into a new house at the beginning of the year, and have been working through the list of contractors, uh, messes, for lack of a nicer word ever since. But this dishwasher thing caught me by surprise.

I'd put on a load of dishes to wash then went in the bedroom to fold laundry and watch tv. I went back to the kitchen a while later. The dishwasher was done with the dishes, but I noticed a ton of water on my kitchen counters. So I was thinking "man, you made a mess rinsing off those grape, then I realized the water ran all the way down the counter. So I look at the floor, expecting to see a flood, but it's dry.

By then I'm confused, but still looking for an answer. I look up at the ceiling, even though it hasn't rained, and all is clear. So then I figure maybe the dishwasher backed up into the sink and it did an Old Faithful routine. Then the sink should be wet, right? I peer over into the sink...dry as a bone.

Now, physics is one of those sciences that has always confused me but I DO understand the basic principals. It was official...I had an exorcist dishwasher. So I did what any mystery writer would do - I turned the dishwasher back on so that I could solve the case.

I'm disappointed to say that the answer wasn't near as interesting as the problem, but then in a way, I guess that's true about most crime. It's usually about something basic and sordid, like money, power, sex, or greed - and the occasional high school cheerleading slot.

So this is what happened. On the left side of the faucets on my sink is an overflow valve. (Some of you might have a salad shooter there instead) Well, the dishwasher drains into the garbage disposal, and sometime the garbage disposal can back up into the dishwasher line and cause blockage. When that happens, the water then comes out of this overflow valve. Which is a great solution as long as you've got your overflow valve turned to face the inside of the sink. But you see, mine was facing the back of the sink, so when the dishwasher tried to drain and couldn't, all the water went shooting out across my cabinets - not a drop IN the sink.

So mystery solved. And a project on the table. Had to take that line off and clean it out before I could use the dishwasher again, but hey, now I can add dishwasher repair to my long list of jobs I can now perform.

Deadly (Dishwashing Diva) DeLeon

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kim Lenox, Avenger

Please help me welcome Kim Lenox to Killer Fiction. Kim is not only a fabulous writer, she's a good friend. Take it away, Kim!

Crime Scene Christie

* * * * * *
I’m a news junkie -- I always have been. Even as a child, I remember watching the evening news, and taking local and world events very seriously. I was always particularly affected by stories where innocents were victimized. Where a real life villain had been cruel, and hurt someone. I’d lie in bed at night, and think about the state of the world, and feel so helpless. Other times, I’d just get mad. That’s where my Avenger fantasies began. In my child’s mind, I wore a cool black leather outfit and a mask. Okay, so I looked an awful lot like Catwoman from the old Batman television show. In stealth and shadow, I’d stalk those dictators and murderers and thieves, and through a combination of surprise, cool martial arts moves and gleaming, whirling weaponry … I’d soon have them at my feet, begging for mercy. My Avenger fantasies lasted for a couple of years … but I got older, and didn’t have them so much anymore.

After college, I worked at a law firm for several years, but eventually took a job with a nationally renowned accident reconstruction firm. Accident reconstruction is similar to what you see on the television series, CSI, but the cases center around vehicular accidents. The engineers I work for determine how the accident happened, how the drivers and vehicles reacted, and through mathematical computations and computer modeling, they make an opinion as to who was at fault. In any given file there are very specific observations about vehicle condition, as well as documentation and photographs of accident damage. There are measurements, diagrams and photographs of the accident scene, and any skid marks, gouge marks or other accident related evidence. The more personal aspects of the accidents are revealed through witness statements, depositions and medical reports -- and sometimes, unfortunately, through autopsy reports and photographs. I’ve always enjoyed CSI and NCIS and other shows like that, but those shows are fiction. The people in my office, depicted in those reports and photographs were real. I rarely ever looked at those photographs. Not because they were too gory, or too disturbing, but because in my mind, Death (with a capital D) was that deceased person’s most private, most humble state and I, as a stranger, had no business intruding.

Fast forward a few years, and I found myself working on a book proposal. I thought it would be interesting to write a dark Victorian paranormal romance, and entwine real life events with my fictional story. My hero is an immortal hunter, tasked with tracking down and eliminating the most evil and deteriorated of mortal souls. Who better to hunt than the infamous murderer, Jack the Ripper? Cool idea, right? So I started doing some research, because at the time, all I really knew about Jack was that he’d murdered some prostitutes, and he did it with a knife. Or some kind of blade? Gosh, who knew? I didn’t. So I got my hands on some books … and the books included witness statements, autopsy reports and, yes, photographs of the victims. Instantly, those “prostitutes” became women to me -- their names were Mary Ann, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary Jane. They were daughters, sisters, wives and mothers. Jack likely had even more victims. None deserved what happened to them. Suddenly, Jack the Ripper wasn’t “cool” anymore, especially because he was never caught. Despite all the suspects and theories and ideas and evidence – which likely include letters written to taunt the authorities -- no one knows who he was. The idea that he got away with his crimes didn’t sit well with me. That instinct from childhood awakened in me again. I wanted justice for those women.

That’s how I became Kim Lenox: Avenger. No, I don’t creep in shadow or use cool martial arts moves or wield weaponry -- but my immortal Shadow Hunters do. If you’re interested in seeing Jack the Ripper “get his”, check out a copy of my debut release, NIGHT FALLS DARKLY. You can also learn more about the book, and read an excerpt on my website:

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Perfect Man

As most of you know my New Year’s resolution this year was to find Mr. Right. Unlike my resolution to visit the gym daily (ish) or give up sugar (ha!), this one I’ve actually tried to follow through with. Come New Year’s Eve, I’ll take stock and let you know how successful it’s been. ;)

But, in the course of the dating, the dumping, and the disasters, my girlfriends and I have been refining exactly what it is that makes the perfect man. Mostly, we’ve found that the dating sites get it all wrong. Their profile surveys focus on things really don’t end up mattering at all. We could care less what color his eyes are or if he’s “slim” “average” or “athletically” built. What makes the perfect guy is much more than a laundry list of physical traits. So, with each fellow my girlfriends and I have weeded out, we’ve kept an ongoing list of what actually constitutes our perfect man. Here's what we've come up with so far:

The Perfect Man is…

Someone who will find my flaws endearing and my strengths inspiring.

Someone who can make me both laugh and cry… but more often laugh until I cry.

Someone who is smarter and stronger than I am, but is willing to let me pretend I am both.

Someone who trusts me with his secrets and will still love me after I confess mine.

Someone who will hold my hand at the movies and not hog all the popcorn.

Someone who will become more and more attractive to me with each passing day.

Someone who makes breath catch, my stomach clench, my heart beat too fast… and makes me love every uncomfortable minute of it.

Someone who changes diapers.

Someone who will dry my tears without questions and take care of me even when I swear I don’t need them.

Someone who will make my mother relieved, my grandmother proud, and my friends jealous.

Someone who will hug me as tightly for my successes as for my disappointments.

Someone who feels like home.

Someone who will look at me with the same adoration that Grandpa did Grandma, even after fifty years.

Someone who will sleep with his arms around me, even when I snore.

Someone who will wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day, despite fear that I might not return it.

Someone who makes me look forward to every day.

Someone who will let me make mistakes, let me apologize, and let me back in.

Someone who could have any girl, but wants me.

Someone who has never committed a felony – either on the high seas or dry land.

Someone who would put me on the lifeboat first.

Someone who will lean on me as often as I lean on them.

Someone who makes me believe in happy endings outside of a Disney movie.

Someone who is not afraid to fall in love with me. Deeply, madly, can’t-live-without-me, camping-outside-my-door, dedicating-sappy-songs-on-the-radio, burning-his-porn-stash, and forsaking-all-others in love.

Okay ladies, what are your must-haves? What makes your guy perfect? Add to the list!

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just what the Muse Ordered...

Sometimes opportunities come along you simply can’t resist—never mind that one has worked 12 plus hours and has a ‘to-do’ list that rivals my wip for word count. Such an opportunity presented itself this week. You’ll understand once I explain that this opportunity dealt with not one, but TWO New York Times Best-selling romance authors.

You’ll understand even better when I tell you their names.
Yep. Two of my favorite historical romance authors were here in the Heartland this week and I wasn’t about to let this chance to meet them and pick their collective author brains pass me by.
I wasn’t disappointed.
I’m always fascinated to hear writers’ stories about how they started writing, their writing process (plotter versus pantser), and I very much enjoy hearing of their funny experiences with editors, agents, copy editors, art departments and readers.
I just finished reading Julia Quinn’s latest release, MR. CAVENDISH, I PRESUME. I’d previously read Quinn’s ‘companion’ novel, THE LOST DUKE OF WYNDHAM. These books represent a first for Quinn—and, perhaps, a first period. Two books written with different heroines and heroes, but written about the same incidents but from different points of view. This truly fascinated me and I was curious as to just how one would go about writing these books. So I asked the author.
“With a great deal of difficulty,” Quinn assured me. The books were written simultaneously, which made sense. But, Julia added, it was a very tricky proposition, indeed, as she couldn’t get too much ahead of herself in one POV’s story or it could totally screw up the story for her other protagonists. It was something she’d always wanted to do, she said. But now that she’s done it, Quinn added, she won’t do it again.
It was a difficult multiple birth.
I loved both books!
Laura Lee Guhrke (SECRET DESIRES OF A GENTLEMAN) garnered my amazed respect (and yes, I admit, some ‘NO FAIR!’ sentiment) when she admitted she really has no idea when she starts writing what is going to happen to her hero and heroine. No idea at all.
I am in awe.
Her books are such wonderfully complex, emotional stories that I'd swear she must’ve spent hours and hours and hours on character worksheets, story boards, and white boards with tons of sticky notes. (In other words, my typical SOP.) Sigh.
As I said before, NO FAIR!
I love being around other writers. I love the fact that their thoughts often mirror my own. Or that they understand those little idiosyncracies unique to writers. Or that they think it’s not only perfectly normal to hear voices in your head, but actually believe it’s like a positive thing.
Sometimes this is just what the ‘muse’ ordered.
It certainly was for me.
Writing is a gift.
Writers spending time with other writers:
Hope your week is filled with inspiration and time to recharge your batteries.
~Bullet Hole who may post this early because she can't get it to save~

"Maverick" and Mr. Assassin

Bernie "Maverick" Sapp and Mr. "Scotch" Assassin

By The Power of Greyskull!

Okay, this was a tough decision. There were many, many great ideas generated last week. But the winner is Lisa Alber for her '80's workout suggestion of Jennifer Beals and Richard Simmons! Lisa! E-mail me with your address at!

So what did I end up going as? Well, I was pretty sure I couldn't pull off Jennifer Beals. But just before the party I had a flash of inspiration. I went as a 42-year old, disgruntled Strawberry Shortcake. Here I am in costume with my friend Michele, who went as a Ghostbuster. Don't I look disgruntled? Doesn't she look adorable with a vacuum hose in her son's backpack?

It was great. I had a whole backstory and everything. Basically, in the late '80's I was down-sized due to a three-rock a day crack habit and a scandal at Studio 34 involving 3 circus clowns, a gallon of everclear and a bicycle lock.
I married He-Man in the early '90's and divorced him (mainly because Mr. Assassin refused to go as a middle-aged, disgruntled He-Man) in the late '90's because I got sick of hearing "By the power of Greyskull" by the so-called "Master of the Universe" in bed - all the time. Well, that and he was cheating on me with Jem AND the Holograms (those whores).

I kicked drugs shortly after and am now just your average, garden-variety alcoholic. I hate the smell of strawberry, which sucks because my hair smells like that all the time, no matter what I do. These days I work a few kids parties and as an occaisional "escort" just to keep vodka on the table.

By the way, my friends thought it was weird that I had a developed back-story. Non-writers, eh?

So that was me last weekend. What did you do?

The Assassin

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My new worst enemy.

She hates me. I know it. But hey, I’m not crazy about her, either.

Okay, that’s a tad of an understatement. I pretty much loath her as much as she does me. However, she always seems to get my blood pressure up, while I don’t faze her. It almost appears as if she chuckles at my attempts to rile her, and I swear I hear her taunting me, “Ha, you don’t have what it takes.”

It would be easy if I could just walk away, but she’s taken up residence in my study.

Yup, as I write, she peers over my shoulder. If I dare go grab a snack (You know, the good snacks, like those little Halloween candy bars, that shouldn’t have calories in them, but do) she stands as a reminder to how hard it is to get the calorie-results to go away.

Yup, my new worst enemy is a Pro-form 320 Elliptical machine.

I swear, guys, I didn’t know what I was doing when I paid to bring her home. I mean, I thought we could become instant friends. People at the store swore I’d love her. Love her?

Would somebody please tell me how that is possible? She’s a torture machine. And I didn’t come by this opinion hastily. I fully intended for our relationship to be one that I would cherish. The day after I brought her home, I got all suited up, like going on a date. I put on my new workout clothes, an extra swipe of deodorant, and with my head held high and determined to win the battle of the bulge, I crawled on top of her.

I want you to know that I lasted a whole . . . two minutes.


Hey, I knew I wasn’t in the best condition, but . . . two minutes? Come on!!! I can almost hold my breath for that long. But after a measly 120 seconds, I was a goner, toast, a bundle of spasming muscles and nerve endings. (And please do not compare this to an orgasm, because it’s not the good kind of reduced-to-a-puddle type of feeling. Ahh, but being the fighter that I am . . . I got my breath under control, sopped the sweat off my brow, and crawled back on top of my new worse enemy to give her another taste of me.

And you will be so proud to know that I SHOWED her. I made it to two and half minutes!


And when I got off – okay, when I fell off— my heart was taking laps around my ribcage, and I’m pretty sure my lungs were chasing my heart around the chest cavity, because I sure as heck couldn’t find the ability to draw any oxygen into my air-receiving organs. And it had to be because the lungs were missing and not because two and half minutes on an exercising machine had restricted my ability to breathe.

So I sat there, a sweating heap of toast, gasping, on my office floor. And like most of us when we are at rock bottom, our brains start flashing bits and pieces of memories at us. (Sort of like a near death experience.) Anyway, the memory my brain chose to toss at me at this totally inappropriate moment was one that happened the day before. The memory involved me, standing before my enemy (before she was my enemy) wide-eyed with enthusiasm, and my dear-sweet, totally-frugal husband at my side. Then I heard the words he’d spoken to me, “Are you sure you’re going to use this?”

“Of course, I’m going to use this.” I looked at his disbelieving smirk and said, “I promise.” Then I handed over “HIS” credit card to pay for my new worse enemy.

With the memory and my promise floating around my oxygen deprived brain, that’s when it happened. That’s when I found the strength within myself. I would not be outdone. I would, at all cost, prove my husband wrong.

And believe me when I say I fully intend to keep that promise: “Of course, I’m going to use this.”

Which is why I need your help.

You see, I need to come up with a really good use for this piece of crap that I brought home. A use that involves anything other than what it was intended to do.

I’ve considered using it as a book shelf.

I offered my feline the top of the line Fancy Feast
to use it as a cat climber.

I’ve toyed with the idea of making
it a clothes hanger.

However, I’m still not sure if that’s good enough, so until I can find that perfect use, I’m obligated to continue to climb on top of this beast. By the way, I’m up to four minutes.


So please, guys. Help a girl out. What can I use this torture machine for?

Crime Scene Christie

Friday, October 10, 2008


Halloween is just around the corner, and I cannot wait! I love this time of year… the leaves turning brown, the fresh it-just-rained-for-the-first-time-this-season smell in the air, the weather cool enough to pull out my awesome boots that have been hiding all summer. And the candy. Any holiday that involves free candy is a-okay with me. So, getting in the spooky spirit, I thought I’d share some of Trigger Happy’s finest Halloween moments from years past.

My first Halloween – look at that, I went as a baby from the ‘70s!

Little Gypsy Girl (Though, coming from a California hippy family, that also doubled as every-day wear.)

Someone get that doctor a wet-nap – stat!

One sassy clown (Actually, my great-aunt handmade that costume for my mother when she was a kid… and it lasted through 4 more unruly munchkins. I won a costume contest in 3rd grade for it!)

All the Halliday kiddies – my brother (superman) my sister (the fairy princess – notice the aluminum foil crown – tre chic!), Mom (the Parisian artiste) and me (the farm girl).

Here's what my good friend, Jax Cassidy, and I dressed as last year: I was the detective, she was the cat burglar. Our outfits were a lot sexier before it decided to be freezing cold in L.A. in October (never happens!), so we traded in our fishnets for jeans and stocking caps. Still very fun.

This year, since we dangerous divas here at Killer Fiction all love dressing up so much, we thought it would be fun to do a little cyber Halloween Costume Contest! All you have to do to enter is send in a picture of what your cyber costume is this year. It can be a real costume you wore, a drawing, a cartoon, a pic of a costume you found online – anything! Just send the picture (or a link to it) to: and, on Oct, 31st, we’ll post the funniest, coolest, and most creative ones, and you will all get to vote for your fav. The winner will get a little spa set of Autumn apple scented goodies and whatever fun reads we can scare up.

Okay, I’ll go first… here’s my cyber costume this year (in fact, I love it so much, I may ever really wear it for Halloween):

Barbie!! The ultimate blonde. ;)

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Three weeks before we raise 'Anchor'!

The 'launch' date is almost here. The sixth--and final???--book in my Calamity Jayne series, ANCHORS AWEIGH, is scheduled to set sail October 28th. I always get a little insecure at this time. You start telling yourself that your book is horrible and nobody will want to read anything you write ever again after reading it. That's why an author tends to look at those early reviews with her hands over her eyes, peering at the printed words through the gaps between her fingers.

Being an author sure the heck ain't for wimps.

I received my first review for ANCHORS AWEIGH, last week. It came from Romantic Times Book Review. My last book, FIANCE AT HER FINGERTIPS, received Four and 1/2 Stars from RT, but they've been somewhat stingy with their stars when it comes to my 'Calamity Jayne' series. I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, when I received the review last week to see ANCHORS AWEIGH had received a very nice review, as well as Four Stars! Here's what the RT reviewer had to say about AA:


Bacus provides a perfect escape into Tressa's world, where her very own Jack Sparrow and Will Turner are after her. There may be a possible murder plot, and the staff is trying to kill their passengers in the way of healthy eating, but Tressa is still her hilarious, down-to-earth self. A fun, fast read!

Summary: Tressa Jayne Turner is always attracting trouble, and once it finds her, she can't let it go. Her next bout occurs on a cruise ship where she's celebrating her grandmother's recent wedding. Once she's there, Tressa realizes her beef-loving self is stuck on a healthy lifestyles ship for a week, that someone is planning a murder, and she has two very good-looking men vying for her heart. (Lauren Becker)

Not bad for an inaugural review, ay mi hearties?

Of course, that doesn't mean Bullet Hole here won't be using her own pirate's kerchief to cover her eyes and peek over as she views additional reviews once they start sailing in. Arrgh!

And more good news from last week! I learned the German rights to my last release, FIANCE AT HER FINGERTIPS, sold.

All in all it was a pretty darned good week.

Oh! I also repainted the bottom portion of my bedroom and added a colorful border waist-high around the room. It looks fabulous!

Today? It's back to the book for Bullet Hole.

How's it looking in your neck of the woods?

~Bullet Hole who must see 'Appaloosa' this weekend!~

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Look! Cute Animals Who Live In My House!

I have no reason for posting this photo. It doesn't relate to the blog. I just think it's pretty %$#!*$#! adorable.

So, Mr. Assassin and I are going to a Halloween party this weekend and the theme is the 80's. We've run through the gamut of costume ideas;

  • DEVO (Mr. Assassin has a bullwhip ;)
  • Ronald Reagan & Margaret Thatcher (I do a mean Mags impersonation. Of course, I also do Ethel Merman singing "I Want Your Sex" but that's neither here nor there)
  • The cast of RED DAWN (Wolveriiiiiiiiiiiines!)
  • The United Colors of Benneton
  • Clara Peller & The Beef (guess who gets to be The Beef?)

You get the idea. It's tough because we are actual relics of the 80's. Should we just go as ourselves? I guess we could go as our 1984 yearbook photos. Maybe not. You'd have to shoot me before I'd put that Jessica McClintock Gunne Sax dress. I looked like Holly Hobby in that damn thing.

I'm taking suggestions here. Best suggestion wins a guinea pig. No, wait, better yet - a signed copy of STAND BY YOUR HITMAN - signed not only by moi, but also by my sister, Jenny, who IS the character of Sami. Hell, I'll throw in Mr. Assassin's signature too - I'm that generous.

The Assassin

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Charm of a Bad Boy

Winner, Winner, Winner.

Wendy, you have won a copy of either DD&Delicious or Weddings Can Be Murder and a pack of note cards. Please email me at my web site address and send me your address, so I can get those in the mail to you.



Do you guys remember my book Divorced, Desperate and Delicious? Lacy took a singing fish to Chase’s head when he took her hostage in her own home. Remember she let him eat a cat-food sandwich? Of course that was to get even with him for handcuffing her to the bed. Ah, they were a fun couple to write about. Quirky and crazy. I got quite a bit of fan mail on that book.

But oddly enough, one name that appeared in many of those fan letters was that of Chase’s best buddy. Everyone loved the bad boy, the player, and the no-good womanizing hunk of a man named Jason Dodd.

Okay, I admit it, I kind of had a soft spot for Jason, too. It’s that bad boy charm—the devilish twinkle in their eyes, their hard bodies, their come-here baby smiles. Ahh, but it’s more than just their drop-dead sexiness. For me, and I think for most of us, it’s the challenge. The challenge to tame a bad boy. And it’s also their wounded souls. Most bad boys are bad because they’ve been hurt. They wear their free spirits, their love-me-and-leave smiles, as armor. And what woman doesn’t crave to tear down that armor and make the old haunts disappear into a blissful future. Oh, yeah, my readers loved Jason.

But as we all know, it takes a special girl to tame a bad boy—a special girl to get past the armor and into the heart of a wounded soul. And I had just the right woman. Remember Sue? She was Lacy’s best friend in the first DD&D book. After one glimpse of bad-boy Jason Dodd, Sue was questioning her no-date, no-men, no-sex lifestyle. Yup, Sue had a thing for Jason even in Divorced, Desperate and Delicious. But “her thing” gets taken to whole new level in their very own book.

In Divorced, Desperate and Dating, released November 25th, Sue and Jason go toe-to-toe. Or rather, lips to lips. Jason wants Sue. Sue wants love. And a stalker wants Sue dead. Jason is determined to seduce Sue while he plays the role of body guard. Jason’s theory: We might as well have fun. Sue is determined not to become just another of his conquests. Sue’s theory: She’s not playing poker with her heart. After chapters of laughter, sexual tension, tapping into each other’s emotional pasts, and catching a stalker before someone ends up toast, Sue manages to do what every girl dreams: She tames and catches her very own bad boy. Below is the back cover blurb for Divorced, Desperate and Dating.

Sue Finley murdered people…on paper. As a mystery writer, she knew all the angles, who did what and why. The only thing she couldn’t explain was…well, men. Dating was like diving into a box of chocolates: sometimes the sweetest-looking specimens were candy-coated poison. After a breakup with a bank robber and a divorce from a cross dresser, she gave it up for good. Then came Detective Jason Dodd.

Raised in foster homes, Jason swore never to need anyone as much as the parent who abandoned him. That was why he failed to follow up after experiencing the best kiss of his life: real passion was addictive. But when Sue Finley started getting death threats, all bets were off. The blonde spitfire was everything he’d ever wanted—and she needed him. And though this novel situation had a quirky cast of characters and an unquestionable bad guy, he was going to make sure it had a happy ending.

So there you have it: My next release about a bad boy and the heroine who tamed him. And here’s what I want to hear from you: what is it that makes you fall for a bad boy? Come on, tell me what it is. I’m getting ready to start a new book, and I’m looking for some new bad boy traits that will make my new heroine melt right into her panties.

And to one lucky poster, I’m giving a way a pack of note cards, and either a copy of Divorced, Desperate and Delicious or Weddings Can Be Murder. So . . . come on, tell me what it is about bad boys that makes your heart go flutter.

Crime Scene Christie

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Miss Kitty

Where I'm from in Louisiana, there was a bar called Miss Kitty's. It was a popular place and big with the younger set. Lot's of beer, country music, and the occasional fist fight in the parking lot...your basic redneck attraction. Miss Kitty's was owned by a very large, woman with big hair and lots of makeup and jewelry who believe it or not, was called Miss Kitty. And Miss Kitty was a character straight out of a work of fiction.

One afternoon, I was at a jewelry store with a friend who was having her engagement ring adjusted. Miss Kitty was there picking up a piece of custom jewelry she'd had made. We got to talking about jewelry and engagement rings, etc. while we were waiting and Miss Kitty told us this story. She said her daughter had been married once before but it didn't last very of those high school sweetheart things. So the daughter was remarrying but she still had her engagement ring from her first marriage and it contained a really nice diamond. So the daughter suggested that she could have the diamond removed and set into another piece of jewelry for herself. Her new husband-to-be balked at the thought of his wife wearing the "tainted" diamond and forbid her to wear it in any form.

Well, Miss Kitty thought that was bullshit and so did the daughter, but rather than cause a ruckus the daughter just gave the ring to Miss Kitty and told her to make something for herself. About that time the jeweler came out from the back with Miss Kitty's package. I asked, "So did you make it into something nice for yourself?"

Miss Kitty smiled and winked, then said, "No, I had it made into a tie tack for him."

My friend and I were still rolling laughing when she pulled out of the parking lot in her big yellow Cadillac. If there's ever a Steel Magnolia's II, I think Miss Kitty should have a role.

Deadly DeLeon

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Jenyfer Matthews does the Women's Fiction Festival

Every year the Women’s Fiction Festival takes place in Matera, Italy. And, every year I spend a week being completely jealous of everyone who gets to go. This time around, author Jenyfer Matthews, was the focus of my jealousy, but she was kind enough to give an awesome recap when she got back so we can all live vicariously through her fabulous experience.

Picture it: a wildly talented but largely unknown romance author attends her first writers conference, hoping to snag an agent and better yet a book deal for her latest project on the strength of a face to face pitch. She arrives in Rome, exhausted and travel worn after a red eye flight, only to run into another author (YA) and online friend in the airport. YA author friend introduces romance author to her traveling companions: two literary agents, a romance editor, and a Hollywood producer / screenwriter and his lovely wife. Romance author spends the rest of the short flight to the conference town regretting her travel attire and lack of mascara.

Romance author ends up being adopted by the glam group. She ends up pitching her book to one agent over dinner her first night, shopping with the second agent and romance editor another morning - finding the perfect Italian leather shoes for the closing gala for only 10 euro - and tossing around ideas with the movie producer during happy hour. Romance author stays in a quaint cave-like hotel in the historic area of town, requiring her to walk home alone late at night through twisting cobblestone streets, following signs to The Museum of Torture to find her way, often after consuming large amounts of fantastic food and wine. (Insert great potential here for pratfalls and other physical comedy here) By end of conference, romance author is invited to submit her full manuscript for consideration by all with whom she has spoken. She sells the book and the movie rights for a huge advance and lives happily ever after.

Sounds like the premise for a kooky chick-lit book doesn't it? (The only thing missing from this above scenario is an affair with a sexy Italian man - and that was on offer too, only I didn't think my husband would approve.) Aside from the thus far fictitious HEA ending (though some might also quibble with the opening), the above is actually a summary of my experiences this weekend while attending the Women's Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy.

This was my first experience attending a writer's conference and I have to say I think I've been spoiled for all future conferences. The location was definitely a draw for me - not only is it a relatively quick flight from my home in Cairo, Egypt but Matera is a World Heritage Site and has been the backdrop for several films, most notably The Passion of Christ. When we weren't attending workshops, we were plied with food and drink - I hardly had time to work up an appetite between coffee break and happy hour buffets. But just in case you did still find yourself feeling peckish, the town was also having a food festival where you could sample and purchase local products. (I wasn't the only one who bought chunks of stinky cheese!)

The most amazing part of this conference however was the opportunity to speak to industry professionals in such a friendly atmosphere. I had arranged appointments with the agents and editors before arriving but in the end I really didn't need the appointments because there were so many opportunities to talk to people otherwise. The size of the conference - less than a hundred attendees at a guess - was what made that level of casual interaction possible.

If spending time socializing with authors, agents, and editors in such lovely surroundings isn't convincing enough, here is another good reason to go to Matera - Italian designer leather goods. Need I say more?

Jenyfer Matthews

Friday, October 03, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes

Inspired by Leslie’s Jack-isms this week, I thought I’d share one of my OMG moments with my little man.

Little Man was about six when this happened. I wasn’t dating a whole lot then, so this was kind of a new concept for him, seeing Mom dressed up and leaving the house without him. So, I was getting ready to go out – doing my hair, make-up, and all that good stuff – when Little Man came into the bathroom.

LM: So, where are you going tonight?

Me: A movie.

LM: (perking up) A cartoon movie?

Me: No.

LM: Oh. (undaunted) But, do you think he likes kids?

Me: I’m sure he does. But this is a grown up night, so you’re going to stay home with grandma.

LM: (pouting) Oh.

Me: I’ll be home by bedtime to tuck you in.

LM: K. So… what’s this guy’s name?

Me: Shane.

LM: That’s a good name. So… are you going to kiss him tonight?

Me: (freezing, mascara wand in hand) What? No! I mean… I don’t know…no!

LM: If you kiss him, are you going to use your tongue?

Me: (poking self in eye with mascara) What?!! Where did you hear about kissing with tongues?

LM: I dunno. TV maybe.

Me: No. I will not… be doing that. We’re just going to a movie, then I’m coming home. That’s all.

LM: Oh. Okay, then. But, Mom?

Me: (exasperated) What?

LM: Are you gonna let him touch your boobs?

Me: (dropping mascara on the floor, making huge black, goopy mess) That’s it. I’m disconnecting the cable.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ta Da! What I Did On My Summer Vacation...

It was a busy summer. One minute I was wiping away tears (joy & sadness) at my trio's high school graduation and the next I was tool belt deep in Bullet Hole's version of Home Improvement in the Heartland. I 'made over' five rooms in my home. The triplets' bedrooms, a room that used to be a formal dining room and the room that used to be the dining room before the formal dining room. Clear as latex caulk, right?

Ah, well. Not to fear. I come bearing pictures of what my family has termed, 'Mom's Magnificent Obsession'. And while we're not quite there yet, I thought I'd share some snapshots of what I've been up to that has kept me from being as active online as I normally am--and what's sent me off to work more mornings than not with paint in my hair. Indigo Batik Blue is SO not my color...

Our HIHT (Home Improvement in the Heartland Tour) begins in one of the triplet's bedrooms. Since they are next to each other, I decided to go with the same color scheme in both rooms. One room was a gun-metal gray while the other's walls were a 'bleah' yellow. The rooms were repainted with a nice off-whitish color on the top and a tan on the bottom. Chair rail (stained and varnished by yours truly) separates the colors. Here is a picture of one of the room's corners so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about.
Didn't know ol' Bullet Hole had it in her, did ya? Next we move to a room just off the kitchen that was added as a formal dining room along with extra bedroom sometime after the house was built to accommodate a growing family. Originally, the dining room had been off the living room (one of those 'L-shaped' numbers) and when we moved to this home, we used the formal dining room as a dining room. The picture below shows what the dining room looked like when we moved in.
However, those of you with teens know that the time spent at the dining table is basically on an 'eat and run' basis and we found we weren't utilizing the space much at all. So, when the rec room downstairs got flooded out for the third time, I decided it was time to reevaluate the situation. Since there was a perfectly good dining area off the living room, I decided that's what I'd use it for again. So, we turned the dining room into a nice, cozy, TV/Video Game room. Here's the end result:

Of course, this meant that the used-to-be-now-once-again dining area had to be updated. Naturally.
So, more paint, more chair rail, and lots of 'blue hair' later, that room was updated. Here's what it looks like now:

And there you have it. What Bullet Hole Bacus did on her summer vacation. I still need to hang pictures in all of the rooms and get knick-knacks in place, but we're getting there.

Now my agent tells me I really need to get back to writing. Uh, don't tell her, but I've got my eye on my kitchen and bathroom next.

Speaking of writing, the reviews for ANCHORS AWEIGH are starting to trickle in and I'll share some of those plus some foreign rights news of my own.

~Bullet Hole who has met the miter saw on the field of battle and bested the beast!~

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The World According To Jack

Jack (my son, for those who have not yet participated in the yak-tipping/goldfish-impersonating initiation you must undergo in order to read this blog) turned 8 this summer. Apparently, this is the age where your children start to say things that force you to do the cartoon double-take. Or maybe it's just my kid. Here is a sampling of Jack-isms from the just this past month;

Jack (not happy with something I asked him to do): Mom, you'd better be nice to me.

Me (not happy that he's questioning my omnipotent authority): Why's that?

Jack: Because someday, I'm gonna be a 5-star general and then your Commander-in-Chief...just like Dwight David Eisenhower.

Me (wondering if Jack has been secretly watching Mad Men): I still win. Even the President has to answer to his mother. Now clean your room.

This one happened two days later:

Jack: (sobbing on the sofa in the middle of the afternoon): Mom, I'm really sad.

Me: You're 8. It's a beautiful day and you have no homework. What do you have to be sad about?

Jack (still crying): Because I want to get married someday and I also want to be the Pope and I can't do both.

Me: Um... Go out and play. (I know, I won't win any motherhood wisdom awards for this one.)

Here's my favorite. It happened a couple of days later, while I was watching the presidential debate:

Jack: (Appearing beside me suddenly and completely naked from his shower) I'm gonna vote for McCain.

Me: You can't vote. (Thinking about this for a second) Wait, Why McCain?

Jack: (shaking his head as if I'm retarded) Because if he wins, there will still be an Iraq war when I'm old enough to go and fight.

Me (yelling as Jack dances naked out of the room): I liked it better when you wanted to be the Pope!

I don't know. Maybe he's going through a growth spurt or eating WAY too many Sour Skittles lately. What do you think?

The Assassin