Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Furnace That Ate Christmas

Before the Ice Age:

After Ice Age:

You'll never guess what I got for Cmas! Go on! Guess! No? Seriously? Okay. Well, maybe I should just start at the beginning.

I woke up Christmas Eve morning to find that 1) my period started, 2) there was a mysterious (and very large) crack in the picture window no one would claim, and 3) the furnace had committed suicide.

It was subzero temperatures and we managed to lure a furnace repairman to the house with promises of quintuple secret overtime, only to have him scratch his head and say, "Damn. That is one old furnace." You can guess that he said the parts weren't just not available...but actually had been extinct for decades (with the possibility of never actually having existed at all). It would be at least a week, he said, after wishing us a Merry Xmas and climbing into his shiny (and warm) Lexus.

We managed a couple of space heaters from the Pleostine Age which succeeded in making the spot they were in (and a two inch radius) hotter than the surface of the sun. We built magnificent fires in the fireplace and bundled up. Still, you could see our breath in the house and we discovered that sitting on an ice-cold toilet is never really a pleasant experience. Never.

It dipped to ten below zero that night. The next morning found us all shivering as Mr. Assassin started a fire in the fireplace. It was fun watching the kids' fingers turn blue trying to open their presents as their words hung frozen on their breath in the air above them. Two dogs and two cats claimed the fireplace as their own and defended it with rabid efficiency. A few hours later, Mr. Assassin looked at me quizzically as I placed a box of tampons next to the fire.

Mr. A: "That's flammable. You can't put that there."

Me: (My eyes opened so wide Marty Feldman would've winced) "Well, after you put the equivalent of a popsicle inside you, you can tell me what to do with a box of ice-cold tampons."

I was awake for hours. And I didn't blink for two days.

So, for a whole week, we went through ten years worth of wood until bedtime, when we had to leave the flue open all night to make sure the fire was out. This meant waking up to polar icecaps on the alarm clock and entertaining dangerous thoughts like, "I'll bet it's warmer in the refridgerator..."

But today, none of that mattered. I jumped out of bed giddy as a five-year old the day of her big trip to an all-you-can-eat Ben & Jerry's (oh, and if such a place does exist, please let me know immediately). The Furnace Guy was coming! We were going to get a new furnace! For the first time in a whole week - we were going to have HEAT! The house wasn't going to smell like burning carpet (my bad) or kerosene space heaters (the smell of which would have worried me, if I could feel anything in my arms and legs).

After what seemed like an eternity with a forever chaser of Jagermeister (ugh) we finally got it! Remember that scene in that '70's movie about that Billy Joe McAllister-Tallehatchee Bridge guy when the family gets their first toilet? It was kind of like that.

A miracle. A !@#$#@! Cmas miracle. Sigh.

Happy New Year!

The Assassin

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's That Time

Okay, I have a confession to make. Don’t you love it when people confess? I do. Because more times than not, confessions involve sex, lies, and maybe even a videotape. And for some unexplainable reason, most of us are all ears when it comes to one of those things.

However, you can stop rubbing your hands together with glee. My confession isn’t all that juicy. I’m saving that confession for next week, or maybe it’s the week after that, or maybe I’ll just add that one to the novel I’m working on. You know, confessing through my fiction. Hmm, you’ll never know which scene I really lived. I like that much better!

The confession I am going to make today isn’t all that unusual. Heck, I’d bet that most of you, if you chose to do so, could make the same confession. And maybe that’s what I’m hoping for. I don’t say that in the sense that misery loves company, although most of the time it does, the meaning I’m aiming for is more along the lines that there’s strength in numbers.

You see, my confession is that I didn’t meet all my New Year’s resolutions. Did you?

Some of those resolutions (after some quiet time to analyze, study and reflect upon) I decided were downright stupid. And I chucked them into an alternate universe where they are more likely to happen. Like I’m ever REALLY gonna get back into those size three jeans! (Anyone need a couple of ten-year-old size 3 jeans?) And the goal of teaching my hubby the fine art of flipping pancakes, well . . . it’s a goal I’ve given up on. I even bought him a waffle iron for Christmas. I refuse to clean batter off the ceiling one more time! Seriously! And instilling in my son and hubby the fine art of wiping of their feet before coming inside . . . well, some things you gotta accept are beyond a man’s capabilities. Thank goodness mopping isn’t one of them, because they have been doing a lot of that after the failure of wiping their feet happens.

But some of those, okay, most of those unmet resolutions, I can’t blame on anyone but myself. I simply failed to keep my eye on the goal. You have to know that I’m not big on failure. Nor am I big on punishing myself, either. I mean, confessing wipes away the failure, right? And if not confessing, then starting over is sure to work.

Now, it wasn’t altogether a total loss of a year where resolutions are concerned. I was able to check several things off my list. I never completely missed a deadline. I have exercised more. For those of you who remember my torture machine, I’m up to 14 minutes. I managed to get three massages. I’ve managed to laugh more. Laughing more is always on my New Year’s Resolution list. ( I hope it’s on yours, too!) So, I have to pat myself on the back for the things I have accomplished.

But deep down, I know I could have done a little better. Things I’m vowing to work on a little more diligently this year are: losing weight, achieving a better balance of work and family, being more productive so I can work less, and finding more “me,” “family,” “friends” time.

Personally, as I reflect on how best to meet my goals, I see lots of little ways to accomplish them, but there’s one thing that I know would help me to achieve each item. And that thing is something I know how to do, but somehow slipped up on this year. That thing is to commit myself to the goals. About ten years ago, I was given a poem, beautifully written, and framed by an elderly neighbor. It sort of spells out what commitment really means. I can’t tell you how many times I read and reread this poem during those years when I struggled to get published. I know if I can find the same commitment to the other issues in my life as I did to my writing back then, without a doubt, I can be a success.

I’m posting the poem below, and I hope it helps you to get a little closer to making your own dreams come true. Meanwhile, if you’re feeling up to it, share with me your own goals for the New Year. Any tips on how you plan to accomplish them? We can all use the encouragement. Like I said, misery loves . . . I mean, there’s strength in numbers.

Happy New Year.

Crime Scene Christie
A big thank you to everyone who jumped over to Barbara Vey's blog and posted. Reading those comments was like reading my eulogy. Not one person said anything bad. And we know that's not right!


Commitment is what
transforms a promise into reality

It is the words that speak boldly
of your intentions
And the actions which speak
louder than words

It is making the time
when there is none.
Coming through time after time
after time
Year after year after year

Commitment is the stuff
character is made of,
The power to change
the face of things.

It is the daily triumph
of integrity over skepticism.

Bring in the New Year with the NIGHT OWL ROMANCE NEW YEARS WEB HUNT.

Enter the Hunt for the chance to win Ebooks, Advanced Reading Copies, Print Books and other author goodies. The hunt runs Jan.1st – Feb. 1st, 2009. Make sure to get your entry in soon. There are well over 30 items to win. Go to for contest details.

Monday, December 29, 2008

An Exercise in Futility

So because of the holidays last week, I didn't tell yall about my car wreck. Yes, it's simply not December if you don't have a car wreck. It was a Tuesday and Dallas had one of those ice days. You know, where the temperature here goes from 70 to 20 and it rains. To say we're not equipped to handle ice here is a serious understatement. And then there's the added bonus that I live far outside of the city in a rural area.

I wouldn't have even bothered to try to go to work, except that it was the day of our Christmas party. I held out for a long time, mostly due to the serious traffic on the only highway out of my town. It seems that a cattle trailer had overturned just in front of the bridge (yes, the only bridge out) and was blocking the road. My neighbor had taken a jaunt up there on his 4-wheeler to check out the situation. You gotta love living amongst rednecks - they have equipment for any occasion. And hey, it could have been worse - at least there were no cattle in the trailer this time!

So once the cattle traffic had cleared I decided to drive a bit down the road and see if I could manage 30 miles of that to work. I got a mile down the road and turned around, deciding it wasn't worth it, not even for all-you-can-eat Italian food. I was 20 yards from turning back into my subdivision when a guy coming in the opposite direction lost control and slid straight toward me. I managed to avoid a head-on collision with some pretty fancy ice-driving (if I do say so myself), but he managed to take out the passenger side of my car before spinning me around and stopping on the shoulder of the road.

While we were exchanging info, the local cops came to check out the situation. This was the conversation that ensued:
Cop 1(while chewing Copenhagen): M'aam, is your car drivable?
Me: Yes, but I have no mirror and I need to go the other direction.
Cop 1: No problem. We can block traffic to get you turned around. 'Bout how far you going?
I point to the entrance to the subdivison just feet away: There - I'm going right there.
Cop 1 looks at Cop 2, spits then says: Man, that sucks!

This is the "official" word of the local police.

While I was exchanging info, another wreck happened just feet in front of us. Then as I was returning to my house, another in the same spot. The final blow was the SUV that slid off the road and took out a utility pole - the subdivision across the street lost all their power. So 4 wrecks in the same spot in a matter of a little over an hour. After the fourth, the city decided that spot might need some sand.

Next time, I swear, I don't care if Paul Walker is coming to the Christmas party, my happy butt is staying at home. And for your groaning pleasure, a pic of my five-month old, used-to-be-sparkling-new-and-perfect car. (sigh)

Deadly DeLeon

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas is Over

Christmas is over, but the tree still twinkles. All the gifts are opened. The leftovers are almost gone from the refrigerator. So what did Santa leave you this year? Do you have some New Year’s resolutions forming in your head?

As for what Santa brought me? As I type this, I’m sitting on my vibrating and heating chair cover I received from my daughter and son-in-law, so if my words are little shaky you know why. My son gave me a very beautiful Christmas tree. A seven-footer, and it’s still filling the house with holiday scents. Hubby gave me an antique table for my living room, a pair of earrings, and an antique stain glass window. Mom gave me jewelry and my dad gave me a GPS for my car. No more getting lost. Yeah, right. I don’t know if I can drive and listen at the same time--but at least when I get lost, now I can blame it on the electronic device. And then there’s the cold/flu Santa left for me under the tree. Ugg. Let’s not forget the extra few pounds from all those holiday treats. Bet you can guess some of my New Year resolutions, huh.

Then there’s the writing news that I’ve received in the last few weeks. Good news. Fabulous news.

Weddings Can Be Murder has been nominated for the Reviewers’ Choice Best Romantic Suspense for 2008 from Romantic Times. Wow, talk about surprised and delighted. And then, just this morning, I was notified that Barbara Vey of Publishers Weekly has posted a review of Divorced, Desperate and Dating up at her blog. If you have a chance, pop over there and post a comment. I’m doing a happy dance in my vibrating chair.

Okay, I hope everyone has a happy after-Christmas weekend. We all probably worked really hard for the holiday. I know I did. All the shopping, wrapping, cooking can be exhausting. So relax and don’t panic, but you do realize that you’ve only got 363 days before the next one.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Crime Scene Christie

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas the Sequel

Merry Christmas everyone!
Okay, I’m a day late, but who says Christmas has to be just one day, right? Chances are there are lots of leftovers still in the fridge, tons of wrapping paper still littering the living room, and at least half the toys still unbroken. Let’s just pretend today is Christmas the sequel! Which is exactly what I intend to do, spending the day playing guitar hero (my awesome gift!), drinking the last of the egg nog, and doing absolutely nothing. Because, after the whirlwind the last week has been, I’m pretty sure I deserve it. Shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, my hands cramping from writing a bazillion Christmas cards. (Okay, I gave up halfway through and did e-cards to most of my friends. But, I ask you, what says the holidays better than a cute little Hoops and Yoyo rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’?) And then Christmas Eve at Mr. Big’s (where I met his family for the first time. Lovely people! Will fill you in on all the details next week. After I come down from the candy cane high.), then Christmas day Mr. Big spent here where he got to meet all my family - Mom, the boy, my sister, her husband, their adorable little 1 year old girl, and both my brothers. To say we had a full house is like saying Mrs. Claus is a little on the “curvy” side. Understatement alert. Oh, and in the midst of all that fabulous fun… copies of my new book arrived!! Mayhem in High Heels, the last book in the High Heels series, doesn’t officially release until Tuesday, but I got my big box of author copies right before Christmas. Best. Present. Ever.

So, while I lounge on the sofa trying to achieve the status of video game rock star, I’ll leave you with the video book trailer for Mayhem in High Heels. Hope you enjoy!

~Trigger Happy (and Video Game Rock Goddess) Halliday

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas is Here!

Christmas really sneaked up on me this year. Between family, work, college stuff, writing stuff, and winter weather (yes, the dreaded 's' word has made repeated appearances here in the Heartland)this holiday season found me out doing the lion's share of my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve Day. It wasn't a pretty sight. When I got a look at the checkout lines, I almost decided to simply write everyone a check this year. Considering the economy--and the fact that there was zero chance of having to stand in a hellish 'return' line, I doubt anyone would have complained.

I decided to go through a self check out at one store.

It was brutal.

The stupid check out kept requiring an associate to keystroke in ID numbers or store numbers or code numbers.

And the gift cards?

Never again.

Picture this. A looonng line of crabby, irritable, mutual procrastinators trying to finish up their shopping the day before Christmas and the frazzled blond in front of them keeps scanning items that turn the light at the check out red and initiates a message that requires a sales associate to respond.

I got more dirty looks than I give the city snow plow driver when he races by the house and covers my newly shoveled sidewalk.

I barely got out of there with my life.

Then I get to the grocery store only to discover I've left my list and recipes at home.


Then when I got home, I realized I'd misplaced a bag of groceries somewhere.

It was in my bedroom with the gift bags.

How do you spell 'ditz'?

I managed to finish my meal prep and gift-giving tasks in time to enjoy a very nice evening with the family.

Today we had Christmas with my folks and siblings and their families. Everything was terrific, but I've made a promise to myself that next year I will have all my Christmas shopping completed before Thanksgiving.

I also think the idea of a vacation somewhere warm during the holidays has a certain appeal.

So, how was your Christmas?

Any special moments you'd like to share? Any 'Calamity Jayne' moments? Try a new recipe? Get a really awesome gift? Get a really LAME gift?

Chime in!

And MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and to all a good night!

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Some Random Christmas Eve Thoughts...

Merry Christmas Eve! As I sit here at my laptop, mind racing over everything I still have to get done, I have a few, special thoughts to share with you.

I have an uneasy feeling my eldest isn't buying the Santa thing this year. Something about the way she just handed me her list and said, "You know what to do," tipped me off. As the holiday grows near, I noticed that she doesn't talk about the Fat Man or watch endless holiday movies about him. When I ask her about this, she rolls her eyes. I know I should talk to her about it, but I'm more terrified to do so than I was when we had THE TALK a couple of weeks ago. Since when did it get harder to talk to your kid about Santa than sex? Or is that just me?

Who came up with "Xmas?" Who said, "Well, hey! We can just shorten "Christ" to "X!" I don't mean this in a religious way but out of the curiousity a wordsmith has with such things. No one has ever been able to explain to me why "Jack" is a nickname for "John" or "Peggy" for "Margaret." I think whoever did it just got lazy. And maybe they were a little dyslexic, cuz shouldn't they have come up with "Cmas" instead? it just me?

Shouldn't I feel bad that my daughter just wants MY cellphone for Cmas? (I've decided right now to start a new trend with the "Cmas" thing.) I have the OLD enV. She doesn't like the NEW enV. And they don't make the OLD phone anymore. Should I feel guilty that giving her my old, used phone (which is what she says she wants) excites me because now I get a brand new phone for Cmas? It is just me...I know it!

And what's weirder is my eight year old son has asked for mining tools. No. I'm not making this up. He sits in one of the clear plastic boxes I store sweaters in, wearing a hard hat, and takes off down the stairs like it's a mine shaft. I have no idea why. We haven't watched any documentaries on the subject recently. Nor have we been discussing black lung or zinc production around the kitchen table. Now I get it! It's NOT me! It's my KIDS!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please tell me your kids are weird too. Please???

Merry Christmas!
The Assassin

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Traditions & What's in the Oven

It’s Christmas time. I have deadlines. I still have gifts to buy. I have a bird that is waiting for me to clean out its innards. Oh, joy! I have to go sit on Santa’s lap. Oh, joy! But that Oh, Joy! isn’t sarcastic. I love sitting on Santa’s lap.

Now all you dirty little minds stop going there. I know . . . it’s hard not to go there. I mean, we don’t really know what Santa looks like under that red coat and beard. He might be Brad Pitt. Well, he could be! Don’t ruin my fantasy!!! And for goodness sakes, don’t do what my agent did last year and send me a link to an article where a woman was arrested for sexual assaulting a mall Santa. And can you believe she asked if I was visiting that town? When I sit on Santa’s lap, I behave. I have to. I have my family all around me.

Seriously, the man under the red outfit isn’t why I enjoy sitting on Santa’s lap. I enjoy it because well, it’s tradition. I can remember being young and Mom taking me and my two brothers to Sears to hop up on the Jolly Ol’ Soul’s lap and tell him what we wanted for Christmas. I pretty much knew the truth about Santa, but it still felt magical.

Then during my first Christmas with hubby, on a whim we piled on top of Santa for a picture, and without realizing it, I had created another tradition. A Craig tradition. Every year, the Craig family goes to the mall and stands in line for an hour or two, sometimes even three hours, to get our pictures with Saint Nicolas. You can bet your bottom dollar that I hear whines. “Why do we have to do this every . . . every year?” or “I swear Santa pinched my butt!” (This one coming from my husband!) or “You are not putting that picture out, I look fat.” (This one coming from myself.)

But then, when I bring out the pictures every year, it never fails, the person who whined the most, spends the most time looking through the images. In 24 years, we’ve only missed one year, and it was because we were in Alabama taking care of my dad after his heart surgery.

I know I’ve blogged about these pictures before, but this year is special. (And it’s not because I’m sure it’s Brad Pitt under the red suit. But like I said, don’t tell me it’s not. This is my fantasy!) The reason this year is special is because we have a new addition to the Craig family. No, I didn’t dump Mr. Craig and get a new man. And no, Mr. Craig didn’t decide to run off with Santa last year. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, in spite of some of Mr. Craig’s flaws, he’s a keeper.

The new addition I’m talking about is still in the oven. My daughter, who yesterday I swear was asking Santa for a Care Bear, is pregnant with my first grandbaby. Goodness, where do the years go? (See this years picture and just for grins I'm adding the one when I had my son in the oven.)

Christmas Past . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . .Christmas Present

Yes, that means, I’m gonna be a grandma. But the first person who calls me granny is gonna get their merry little butt kicked. And if you don’t think I can do it, talk to the bird that just had his innards removed.

In all seriousness, Christmas is a great time to reflect on all we have. And I don’t mean the gifts under the tree, I’m talking about friends, family, and loved ones. So hug someone you love a little tighter. Tell someone you don’t get to see very often that you miss them. Smile at a stranger. Give someone who needs it a helping hand. And laugh. Laugh a lot. And hopefully this holiday, you’ll take the time to curl up with a good book. Hey…if it’s Divorced, Desperate and Dating, that’s even better.

So here’s what I’d like to hear from you. Tell me about one of your Christmas traditions. Tell me about the book you hope to curl up with this holiday. And oh, yeah . . . tell me what man you imagine is under the red suit. (After seeing Brad Pitt old in the clip about his upcoming movie, I might be rethinking my under-the-red-suit man.) Or share with me a few grandma stories. Hey…I’m about to become one.

Merry Christmas!

Crime Scene Christie

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Since I won't be blogging again before Christmas, I wanted to make sure I wished everyone a Merry Christmas, or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever. I do Christmas, so I thought I'd share some Christmas pics. the first is of my tree, decorated to match my pretty turquoise walls.

Next up is my mantel - it matches of course. I am particularly proud of the wreath since Michaels wanted $80 for them and I made mine for $12. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out. Not only that, but I got to thinking - cost $12, sell for $80 - jeez, I'm in the wrong profession!

And what Christmas would be complete without dressing your pets in something stupid. Here's my Santa helper Sheltie, Bogey.

And finally, Cat in Christmas Drag.

Everyone have a Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, December 19, 2008

Meeting the Family

I’ve been a little bummed out the past couple of weeks because between insane work schedules and both of us being sick, Mr. Big and I haven’t seen much of each other. And, with Christmas just around the corner, our schedules don’t look to be opening up anytime soon. But, the other day he completely surprised me by asking me if I wanted to meet his family. :O On Christmas Eve. :O
Putting aside the hugeness of the spending a major holiday together, I have a feeling that in Big world, the meeting of the family is super huge. At first I was really excited, the I was touched, now… I’m just kinda nervous. I really don’t know much about the family at all. I think I’ll be meeting the sister, brother-in-law and Mom. :O The more I think about it, the more nervous I am. I have no idea what to expect. And, even worse, I have no idea what to wear. Help!

Big didn’t give me any clues as to the dressiness of Christmas Eve in his family. (I can probably ask for some, but I have a feeling they’ll come in that non-helpful guy-speak, along the lines of “whatever you want is fine.”). I know he usually dresses on the upscale casual side of things, so I’m guessing along those lines? So, I have a couple ideas picked out and I need your help to find the perfect impress-the-family outfit.

Outfit #1

Green sweater, black jeans, red pumps.
The snag: Jeans might be too casual.

Outfit #2

Sweater dress, black tights, tall black boots.
The snag: Same outfit I wore to Big's Christmas party a couple weeks ago. And I'm pretty sure he'd notice the re-run.

Outfit #3

Little black dress. Always a classic.
The snag: Brrrrrrrr! It's freakin' cold outside!

Help! What do I wear? Any alternative suggestions? I'm heading to the mall today, so I'll update with pics of anything I may find. But, I'm feeling clueless.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yes, Bullet Hole, there is a Santa!

Things are tough everywhere. We know it. And likely to get worse before it gets better. We know that, too.

Several weeks back the publishing industry experienced its own 'Black Wednesday' complete with lay offs, restructuring, merging of lines, etc.

Yep. It's tough all over.

Which brings us to Christmas, 2008.

With the long-term health of our economy so uncertain and the value of the U.S. dollar so up and down it would make a yo-yo dizzy, it's a good thing the true reason for the season isn't linked to stock prices and 401K values.

A real good thing.

Still, when one sets out to shop for family and friends, the reality of a shrinking family budget can morph even the jolliest of Christmas elves into one of those homicidal gremlins from the seasonal horror movie.

Like I said. It's a good thing Christmas isn't about things.

Recently, the reason for the season and the generous nature of people was brought home to me in a big way. As I posted last week, my ancient washer and dryer gave up the ghost within a week of each other and I was forced to go shopping for large appliances when I should have been shopping for stocking stuffers.


After a rather disappointing experience with a rather rude salesman at one of the leading department store chains, I decided to shop closer to home. My brother recommended an appliance center in a town ten miles from my home. He'd done business with the store and was very satisfied. So, I drove over and purchased a washer and dryer from them.

They were to deliver the set last Friday afternoon. They were there Johnny-on-the-spot, a pleasant surprise in and of itself. The two appliance specialists were over-the-top friendly--and appropriately apologetic--when they determined the plumbing leading to the washing machine from the basement was just a hash mark from the stone age on the timeline.


I was bummed out. They would have to take the washer back until I made arrangements to have a plumber come and run a PVC connection that brought me out of the 19th Century.

Great. Three kids. No washer. And a plumber's bill.

Merry Christmas, Bullet Hole.

I called my plumber and, to his credit, he promised to come over the next day--a Saturday--and 'take a look' at the situation.

Here's where the story gets good.

Friday evening my phone rang. It was one of the nice young men who came to bring and install the appliances. He was wondering if I would mind if he came over the next day to run the plumbing for me. FREE OF CHARGE.
I almost dropped the phone.

The young man explained that he and his family would like to come over and do this for us as an outreach from their church at Christmas time.

Something else happened that doesn't occur too often.

Bullet Hole Bacus was speechless.

That's right.

Without words.


Write it down, folks, it's not likely to occur again soon.

The next afternoon this young man, his wife and two boys arrived with the store truck and proceeded to run the plumbing from my washer to the basement. Just because they wanted to do a good deed at Christmas.

On a Saturday.

When they could have been spending time with their family.

I was humbled.

And moved.

And uplifted by the love of God's people.

So, to Grace Fellowship Church in Pella, Iowa, and to Brad and Erin Rolffs and their two sons, thank you!

Thank you for reminding me so amazingly--and timely--of the true reason for this season.


And I promise I'll pass it on!

Merry Christmas!

So what good deeds have you been the recipient of that have really touched your heart? What 'reason-for-the-season' moments have you participated in or experienced?

Share and share alike.

'Tis the season!

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Does This Imaginary Skirt Make My Imaginary Butt Look Big?

Leslie Langtry Hangs With Fab Pal Kim Castillo at Second Life Xmas Party

I just went to the best Xmas party! And I didn't even mind that it was 10 degrees with six inches of snow outside. I flew over the party tents, rode ice horses and got to hang with 600 authors and fans at Brenda Novak's Virtual Party on Second Life. I got to meet Lani Diane Rich - one of my favorite authors and Brenda Novak told me my books are funny! Woo hoo!

That makes it sound easy, doesn't it. Here's what really happened. I spent several hours trying to give myself clothes and hair (it's bad form - and yet stupifyingly easy - to go to even a virtual party naked) and set everything up. I even went to the party a couple of hours early to practice...everything. Did you know it's really hard to just walk forward in these things? For some strange reason I kept running away from people who were talking to me. I really didn't mean to do that.

I have to admit though, I laughed so hard I cried. My ten year old had to help me change my skirt from pink polka dots (which is sooooo me) to sequined red (one thousand times better). My eight year old had to help me drive the sleigh out of the party tent because I couldn't do it (fortunately, the party hadn't started yet or I would've gotten thrown out). I found myself walking through people driving various vehicles into trees, landing in the ocean - which was weird because it wasn't anywhere near the party, and standing in the snow in high heels for hours on end.

Kim found me right away - thank god. It was fun to talk to readers and writers with blue hair, dressed like Zena Warrior Princess and this one chick with twenty foot tall wings. that's right, wings.

The conversation was peppered with stuff like this;

"Dude, a naked woman just ran by in pink shoes!"

"My hair fell off! Help me find my hair!"

"Don't look now but there's a topless, bald woman behind you."

"Did anyone else see that ten foot tall snowman move?"

No, I'm not kidding. I managed to get one of my skirts off (for some reason I was wearing two at one point) only to find it sitting on the ground waiting for me half an hour later. I also managed to take snapshots - unfortunately one was up my skirt - a shot that would be normally impossible to achieve.

Still, it was a great time and I'll do it again anytime (as long as I have several hours to figure out how to eat the mountain of imaginary chocolate covered strawberries people kept giving me. And no matter how many Flaming Polar Bears (I believe we are talking double digits here) I drank, there will be no hangover in the morning. That's the one thing I'm sure of.

Virtually Yours,
The Assassin

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Right Brained, Left Brained and Other Weird Stuff

Maybe it’s because I’ve got a faulty-wired brain, (dyslexic and all) or maybe it’s because I’m a writer. Oh, heck, I don’t know why, but I love learning about weird/odd sort of stuff. Which is why I loved Jana’s post about spontaneous human combustion and the one about Big Foot. I mean, curious minds want to know, right?

It’s not just the off-the-chart strange stuff that I’m curious about. It’s a lot of the little things that we don’t think about. For example, did you know some scientists believe the ability to roll or curl your tongue together, making a cylinder like shape, is hereditary--as is the ability to touch your nose with your tongue? (Gosh, I wish I had a spy camera to see how many of you are actually doing this right now. But don’t feel bad, I’m doing it myself.) And there is the other hereditary oddity of the connected or non-connected earlobes. Some people’s lobes are danglers and others people’s end where the lobe connects to the head.

The other day, while reading my RWA chapter loop digest, another equally curious writing person posted another strange thing.

While sitting at your desk in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles. Now, while doing this, draw the number '6' in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change directions. Why?

You bet your bottom dollar I tried it. And she was right. My foot went left, or was it right? Oh heck, what’s important is my foot changed directions. Does yours?

Another favorite subject of mine is the whole right brained/left brained phenomenon. I know it’s a real puzzler as to why I’m curious because I don’t know my left from my right, but I still love reading about this stuff.

About a year ago, someone posted this link. It’s a dancing girl and depending on how you see her move will tell you if you are right or left brained. Go check this crap out. I promise, if you are one of the ones curling your tongue, attempting to touch your nose, or checking out your earlobes you’re gonna love it.,21985,22556281-661,00.html

Then the other day I popped over to the Barbera Vey’s blog and spotted one of those quizzes, created by Margie Lawson, a writer and psychologist, designed to answer if you were right or left brained. Go check it out at:

And just for fun, let’s do a survey. How many of you can: touch your nose with your tongue, curl your tongue? How many of you could see the dancing girl moving clockwise or counter clockwise? Could you make her change direction? And if you have time, take the quiz and see if the two tests prove to be the same. And when you post your answers, tell me if you are a writer or not, because I’m wondering how many of writers share a common weirdness.

Here’s my own answers: I can touch my nose with my tongue and can curl my tongue. Oh, just for a side note, I can also tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue. (See how talented I am?) I have non-dangling earlobes as do my two children. Hubby also has non-danglers—earlobes that is! I definitely saw the dancing gal moving clockwise, which they state means that I’m right brained. I couldn’t seem to change her directions this time, but I swear I could do it last time. And the quiz from Barbera Vey’s blog? I scored a 17, which made me fall into the strong right brain category.

Okay…let’s share what all of you discovered. It will be intriguing.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Here's Your Sign

Any of you ever seen the Blue-Collar Comedy Tour? One of the comedians has this saying he uses when someone says/does something incredibly stupid - "here's your sign." I personally imagine the sign as a big white board that hangs around your neck by thick yarn and has the word "Dumba$$" on it. But you are free to make your own sign.

Well, Friday one of those "here's your sign" moments happened ON me, and I thought I would share.

I car-pool with a coworker who lives 10 miles into my drive to work (30 miles total), so I headed out to meet her (it was her day to complete the drive in) and since I arrived early, I pulled into the gas station to get a coffee and a snack.

Well, the guy behind the counter, who had just rang up my order, hands me my bag after paying and doesn't even bother to see the extra-large coffee that he'd just totaled and he hit it with the bag. Of course, the coffee did one of those physically impossible moves and managed to turn over and send a single stream of coffee that showered my from the chest down. Not one drop was left in the cup.

Now first off, thank God I was wearing blue jeans or this probably would have hurt! Unfortunately, it was enough of a dousing that it sank right through the blue jeans and since I'd bought caramel pecan coffee, it was sticky! The entire store had gone quiet, kinda like those slow-motion moments in the movies where even the machines stop running, but then the manager grabbed a mop and started cleaning the floor. Not one of the idiots bothered to offer to get ME another coffee since I didn't exactly have one any more and I'd already paid for it.

So I asked idiot boy for my bag, refilled my coffee, and got in my car to make the 10-mile drive back home. I had to put my jeans and (used-to-be) white tennis shoes to soak, and then take another shower to get the sticky off. Of course, that was my last clean pair of jeans (as it was laundry weekend) so then the digging in the closet for clothes insued.

I'd already called my co-worker and told her to head on without me AND tell our boss that I would be a little late if she wanted me clean and not angry all day. I swear, there are some days you just shouldn't get out of bed.

I'm still rather put out that no one - and I mean no one - EVER offered me an apology. I know they were all horrified and probably scared of being sued, but come on?????? What the heck happened to manners?

The really interesting thing about this to me is that I am 41 years old and something like that has never happened to me before. I mean it - not one time in 41 years has anyone spilled a drink on me. Is that some kind of record?

Deadly (not-Decaffeinated) DeLeon

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Celebrating the Season with a Touch of Amore

When Faye Hughes, my non-fiction writing partner, asked if she could blog about the holidays here at Killer Fiction, I immediately said yes. Imagine my surprise when I found out she wanted to reprint an article she wrote about me for Houston Lifestyles and Homes. (Okay, so I was tickled pink!)

Here is Faye's article

~Crime Scene Christie

Celebrate the Season with a Touch of Amore

Romance Author, Christie Craig offers Seasonal Tips for Adding More Romance to Your Holidays
By Faye Hughes

The holiday season is upon us. Not only is there the house and tree to decorate, there’s gifts to buy and parties to attend. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that this time of year brings, but to make this holiday truly memorable, you should take some time out this December for a little romance.

That’s right. We said romance.

While Valentine’s Day is thought of as the most romantic holiday, Christmas comes in a close second, and for good reasons. “Christmas abounds with opportunities to introduce romance into your home and your relationship,” says Christie Craig, a Houstonian romance author. “From the black-tie parties and gift-giving rituals to mistletoe moments, Christmas is an excellent time to show your significant other how much they mean to you.”

Craig says it’s not so much about carving more time into your already hectic holiday schedule to introduce romance, it’s about bringing the romance into the seasonal rituals you already do. Below are Craig’s top tips on how you can add a little romantic sizzle to your holidays.

Think Romance when decorating for Christmas

Most everyone adds those decorating touches for the holidays. This year, as you pull together your home’s seasonal attire, take romance into consideration. “When penning a romantic scene in a book, a writer knows the importance of setting the scene to match the mood,” says Craig. “The right setting is just as important in real life.

Adding touches of romance to your home isn’t just about lace and frills and the color red, but about creating a luxurious mix of textures and surfaces.” Consider replacing plain throw pillows with richer fabrics like silk or chenille. If adding new tree trimmings to your decorations list, consider a few romantic symbols of heart-shaped ornaments, and a twig or two of mistletoe above a doorway is always good. When moving furniture around for the tree, consider facing the sofa to the fireplace for some after-hours snuggling, and move chairs a “touch-me” closer to create a more intimate setting.

Play with Light

“Light is a huge component when creating a romantic ambience,” says Craig. “You might be surprised how many times the lights go out in my books.” Adding dimmer switches, or replacing overhead lights with warm lamps can help set a romantic mood in any room. Candles or a soft roaring fire in the fireplace can also add that special touch. We’ve all heard of eating by candlelight; why not try eating by Christmas lights. Or eat in front of the fireplace. “If you are feeling really playful, take the Christmas lights into the bedroom. Stringing a few lights around the canopy of the bed is bound to put a smile on your lover’s face,” adds Craig.

Love is in the Air

Can you smell it? “While we’ve all heard the saying about falling in love at first sight, I discovered it would be more appropriate to say, falling in love at first sniff, after doing research for my novels on the physical aspects of falling in love,” says Craig. Scientific studies prove that your sense of smell affects the areas of your brain that project feeling and perceptions and it, therefore, affects mood. Adding scented candles to your home is a perfect way to bring in a hint of romance.

So, what scents are considered romantic? According to a study by the Smell and Taste Foundation, a study of over 100 men concluded that men found the smell of cinnamon to be more of an aphrodisiac than any perfume. Pumpkin pie was also a top pick. “Our grandmothers always told us the way to a man’s heart was through their stomachs,” jokes Craig. Other top scents were: vanilla, black licorice, lavender, Ylang Ylang, oranges, and jasmine.

Remember When

Ask any couple about the most romantic time in their marriage and they’ll probably name their wedding and honeymoon. “Bring back those loving feelings this holiday season by incorporating those wedding and honeymoon pictures as part of your holiday decorations,” suggests Craig. Invest in some holiday frames to display some of your favorite romantic occasions. And when you’re sitting down in front of the roaring fire, with the cinnamon candle burning, start a few conversations with, “Remember when…”

Movie Night

Taking a night out of the hectic hustle and bustle of the season to watch Christmas movies has almost become an American tradition. Why not choose a romantic holiday movie to add a bit more cheer to your season? Below is a list of some romantic flicks that bring out the holiday season:

The Bishop’s Wife

The Shop Around the Corner

White Christmas

Mixed Nuts

While you Were Sleeping

It’s a Wonderful Life

A Gift From the Heart

Nothing says “I love you” more than the right gift and it doesn’t have to come with a big price tag, either. “Be unique and playful with your gift-giving,” says Craig. “Make a pack to exchange at least one naughty and nice gift and move the holiday spirit into the bedroom.” Get some sexy Santa lingerie or festive silk boxers. Attach a bill or check to a Victoria’s Secret catalog, along with note to him saying, “Your choice.”

“Make the gifts personal,” says Craig. “Having a piece of jewelry engraved makes it ten times more special.” Another great way to make the gift special is to write love notes on the gift cards or add their favorite candy to the gift. Anything you can do to show that the gift was from the heart will add a bit of romance.

Take a Little R & R.

With so much to do and so many demands on your time, nothing can put you in the mood for romance more than taking time for yourself. A bubble bath with candles, a massage to help ease away the stress, whatever your secret pleasure, indulge yourself. After all, everyone needs a little rest and relaxation this time of year. “What better way to bring on a romantic mood than by reading a romance novel,” says Craig. “Christmas really is a great time to let our hearts grow fonder and to let love fill our lives and homes.”

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Author Jenna Bayley-Burke

Please join me in welcoming one of my good friends and fellow romance divas, Jenna Bayley-Burke! What’s a romance diva? Glad you asked. :) Romance Divas is an award winning forum and resources site for romance writers. If you haven’t yet checked it out, I highly recommend it. You will not find a more supportive group of writers anywhere, and their collective knowledge on publishing is amazing. Just be warned that the forums can be addicting. (And, no, I’m not on commission from Romance Divas. You need this info later in this post. Read on…)

And that’s where I met Jenna. She writes really fun contemporary romance, and her latest book, The Cinderella Complex, is coming out December 29th. Here’s a little info about it…

She's got the man and the wedding of her dreams. If only love were part of the fantasy. Heather Tindall is forced to temp as a personal assistant until her dream job as an event planner comes along. Worse, her new boss has a penchant of running off new assistants before lunch. Six months into their working relationship, her dedication still manages to surprise him. But her best efforts to protect his personal life can't keep the press from seeing him as anything more than a playboy. Then it dawns on him that the perfect solution is right under his appointment book. Swept off her kitten heels, Heather can't help but accept the proposal of the man with whom she's fallen in love. She hopes that in time he'll come to feel something for her. Curtis is determined not to feel anything, for anyone, ever. He'll do anything Heather wants, but he's not going to fall in love with her. Except that will never do for a girl with a Cinderella Complex.

Sound cute? I definitely think so! And, if you can’t wait until the 29th, Jenna has a free holiday read called First Love, Second Chance available here: First Love, Second Chance

Whenever a new book comes out, the hardest part is promotion. Where to promote, how much, what to say? And at the holidays it can be even more of a challenge. (Trust me, I know about this. Remember my next book Mayhem in High Heels comes out five days after Christmas. Hey, look at that - I slipped a promo in there, too. ;) ) Anyway, back to Jenna… here’s her take on trying to promote a book during the holiday season. Take it away Jenna…

Feeling Grinchy About Book Promotion

Every Diva down in Divaville liked writing a lot...
But that Jenna,who lurked through Divaville, did NOT!
How Jenna hated promoting! She'd written crap all season!
We all know just why. A cute baby girl was the reason.

It might be her head wasn't screwed on just right.
It might be, perhaps, that her hair is a fright.
But I must tell the most likely reason of all,
May have been that her jeans are still two sizes too small.

Whatever the reason, and she has quite a few,
She wound up in December, not spreading any news,
Lurking around the Diva boards with a sad, snarky frown,
She kept hearing other Divas news in their town.

For she knew every Diva in Divaville was stellar,
Each busy now, penning their next best seller!
"And I have a book out!" she whispered unclear,
"I have to get promoting! It's practically here!"

Then she smiled, with her fingers rapidly drumming the keys,
"I MUST find some way to promote my book!" PLEASE!
For soon, I must shout out but not annoy
So everyone will buy it and spread holiday joy!

To sell! Oh, the ploys everyone employs!
Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing she hated! The NOISE!

But at Divas, fun and hot, all come together for a book feast.
And they'd feast! And they'd feast! And they'd FEAST!
They would feast on sweet stories, and sexy man beast.
And all would read my book as soon as it's released!

Jenna Bayley-Burke

Friday, December 12, 2008

Party at Mr. Big’s

Last weekend Mr. Big threw a huge Christmas party at his house. We’re talking 150 guests, tents outside, outdoor heater, caterers, a bar set up in every room of the house. It was big. Massively big. And full of people.

Women people.

Scantily clad women people.

Now, I’ve known from the very beginning that Mr. Big was a party boy. He likes to go out, have a good time, has tons of friends. Many of them, apparently, girls. I busted up laughing one day when I one day stumbled up on his MySpace page. Remember that I met him on an online dating site? Well, every photo of him he had posted on the dating site, he had the original of on his MySpace. And by original, I mean non-cropped version. In the originals, there were different girls hanging on him in every photograph. He’d cropped them out to post on the dating site. Clever boy. But, looking at the pictures on his MySpace, I have to admit, they tickled my jealous bone a little. Especially the ones from last year’s Christmas party where the theme was apparently lingerie, as there were photos of him in boxers with some nearly nude blonde’s legs wrapped around him.

I hate Nearly Nude Blonde.

Okay, back to this year’s Christmas party. Big told me it was a ties and cocktail dresses event. However, it’s December. So, I picked this long-sleeve sweater mini dress, tights, and a pair of killer high-heeled boots. I figure dressy, but I won’t freeze my nuggets off. I get to the party, and, by the fact that I have to park a block away, I see it’s already in full swing. I go in, find Big, who, by the way look incredibly hot in his suit and tie, and we start to mingle. Or rather, he starts to mingle. On our way from one end of the house to the other he is stopped by no less than five girls. Dressed in just-below-the-booty, sleeveless, cleavage-baring, neckline-plunging-I-kid-you-not-to-the-belly-button little scraps of fabric. All of them model-thin, wearing more eyeliner than Marylyn Manson. Who all scream his name, throw their arms around him, and kiss him. One even grabbed his butt.

Picture me standing there, now feeling about as covered up as a nun at a porn convention, holding out my hand saying, “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m chopped liver.” The only consolation – all the girls are accessorizing their screw-me stilettos with goose bumps. They’re hovering near the heaters, cowering next the fireplace. I may be a nun, but I am the only one not risking frostbite. Point for me. (I think…)
(Oh, and guess who else was there? Yep. Nearly Nude Blonde. Thank the gods, she was there with a new guy this year, but I still paused to silently hate her a little. Hey, I’m only human.)

So, I make it through the room without clawing anyone’s eyes out (which is a sure sign I should be up for a Nobel Peace Prize), and Mr. Big pours me a drink. Incidentally, there are drinks everywhere. A bar set up in every room. A bathtub full of beers on the lawn. A shot luge. (What’s that you ask? Yeah, I did too. See explanation here. I starred at the 300 pound block of ice so long that some kind person took pity and explained it to me.) Huge tubes dispensing some kind of punch. Beer pong set up in an empty bedroom. The numbers of local taxi companies pasted to the front door. It’s a serious party.

But, to Big’s credit, he sticks by my side the entire night, ignoring every other girl there. What’s better? I meet his co-workers. Which is cute that he wants to introduce them to me, but the really cute thing is that they proceed to tell me how he talks about me all the time at work, how they’ve been dying to meet me. After one of them visited the luge, he even let spill that, “This guy is so in love with you!” Were it not for the vodka breath and drunken slur, that would have been a total “Awwwwww!” moment.

However, meeting his friends also had another side effect. I got to know a whole new side of Mr. Big. Friend number one: “Aren’t you freaked that Big is moving to a new place in a couple weeks?”

Me: “Um… should I be?”

Friend: “Dude! He’s gonna be within walking distance from downtown. Doesn’t that worry you?”

Me: “Uh… no? Should it?”

Friend: “Okay, if I were gay, and I was dating Big, I would totally be worried. That guy’s a total player. You should be worried.”

Thanks. I am now.

As if that wasn’t fun enough, I had at least three other friends come up and tell me stories about Big that were… illuminating… to say the least.

Honestly, despite the girl friends who forgot to put on all their clothes, I trust the guy. But, as the night wore on, I realized that I really don’t know as much about Big as I thought I did. I mean, things I really should know. Mr. Big and I have been dating six months now, which, by my standards, is past the getting-to-know-you stage and into the are-we-getting-serious?-‘cause-it-feels-like-we’re-getting-serious stage.

So, I need your help, gals. What do you do if you’re in the serious stage and realize you really haven’t gotten to know each other yet?

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Computer Ate My Blogpost!

No. I didn’t forget to blog last Thursday. I wasn’t sick. I didn’t oversleep. I didn’t blank on something to blog. (Trust me. I’m rarely at a loss for words.) But I am frequently a victim of Murphy’s Law. In fact, I often think it should be renamed to Bacus’ Law because generally if something can go wrong, it will. And at the worst possible time. Such was the case last Thursday.

I was up early as usual. I’ve been getting up at before five for so long it’s hard for me to sleep beyond that hour. Now that I have a 45 minute commute to work and the weather is hardly driver-friendly, I tend to get up even earlier. So, last Thursday I awoke, did my Nordic Track workout, showered, and since I had a three-hour on-line final scheduled for one of my three college courses to complete, and being the dedicated student I am (hehe) I decided to get that lovely little exam out of the way first. So I made a pot of coffee and closeted myself in my office, logged onto my online course, and began the exam.

I need to explain a bit about the exam process. A student is permitted one attempt only to complete the exam and is also allowed only a certain amount of time in which to finish the test. No pressure, right? Anyhow, this particular exam consisted of multiple choice questions followed by essay questions. I answer the multiple guess—I mean choice—questions and roll right into the essay questions. Some people hate essay questions. I like ‘em. I’m a writer. I’m more comfortable writing long essay answers than I am trying to figure out where the instructor is trying to trick me in multiple choice questions: in the question itself or in one of the multiple choice selections. But back to the test. I’m halfway through the exam and I click on save to save my last answer and instead of my answer being saved, I get a notice that the connection was interrupted. Okay. No sweat. This sometimes happens when you have a particularly long essay question to draft before you save so I click on ‘refresh’. Same response. Now I’m getting a bit nervous. I try again. My pulse rate starts to increase. And I may have muttered a naughty word.

I check the connection. No apparent problem there. I boot up my laptop—all the time knowing my test-taking time is ticking off--and find I can’t connect to the internet. Ditto for the kids’ computer. And the clock is ticking…

By this time, my Little Mary Sunshine demeanor of that morning has devolved into something more clearly associated with The Exorcist.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

I call my Internet Service Provider to report the problem.

Not the smartest thing to do when one is already, uh, on the edge.

The ‘tech’ had me unplugging this, by-passing that. I was a sight to behold, crouched on my haunches, attempting to figure out which cord the technical support person was talking about. After half an hour of ‘Wireless Networking for Dumb Blondes’ I was ready to hang myself with the Ethernet cord.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

I finally hung the phone up, called my computer guru, and he talked me through the process, only to ultimately discover the problem was not on my end, but with the service provider.

Ding. Ding. Ding. Time’s up.

By late afternoon, my internet was still down, my exam time had elapsed, and Bullet Hole had missed her first blog post ever.

Over all, it was one bummer of a Thursday.

On a brighter note, I emailed my professor the remainder of my exam answers once my internet was back up and he was very understanding.

And today? Today is a mixed bag.

All three final exams are behind me and I’m officially finished with all my courses this term so I’m celebrating this achievement.

Tonight I have a book signing party that I’m looking forward to. (Pictures next week!)

I survived the worst commute to work I’ve ever experienced Tuesday morning when the roads were one hundred percent ice-covered, a thirty mile per hour wind howled, and travel was not recommended.

Oh. And both my washer and dryer pooped out this week.

I know the feeling.

And again today I'm having difficulties getting my post to publish...

Okay, folks. I’ve grumbled about computer and major appliance unreliability and the weather. Now it’s your turn to vent here at Bullet Hole’s ‘Bitch’ Session. Do you have Murphy's Law moments you want to get off your chest? Anything lousy happen to you this past week? Any pet peeves that irritate more of late? Feel free to purge. Remember, you’re among friends.

We’ll provide tons of tea and sympathy--and we won’t tell a soul…


~Bullet Hole~

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Divine Miss "M"

(The following was written by an author who has been driven insane by her deadline and too many Bette Midler songs on her iPod. There are no guarantees that this will make any sense. Read at your own risk. You have been warned.)

The Magnificent Maleficent

You know, it really is hard to find good henchmen anymore. They all want dental and a flexible spending plan. And none of them...I mean none of them, are interested in 401K plans. It's the economy. You'd think that in desperate times, people would need work...hell! Welcome the opportunity!

Maleficent has those lovely little trolls to do her bidding. I can't even get the kids to clear their dirty dishes in the morning. Maybe I could get some trolls? Wait! I know!

Now if I could just get her to clean the toilets and do my evil bidding, I'd really have something.

Bananas are our friends.

The Assassin

Do You Do It?

Winners, Winners, Winners!!!

Okay…I drew Virginia’s name out of the hat to win the Christmas lights and flashy button and prizes. For the book and prizes CrystalGB, you have won. (Let me know which book you would like, too.) However, because it’s Christmas I pulled a few other names as well. Amy, Michele, Traveler and Kristi, you four have won a pack of Christmas Cards and Christie Craig pen (that for some reason cats seem to like a whole lot.) Anyway, please shoot me your snail mail addresses at christie @ christie-craig. Com (No spaces)

And… if you’d like to see an interview of yours truly go check out:

Oh, and Thursday, that’s tomorrow, Faye Hughes and I will be guest blogging over at: And there will be prizes to be given away over there, too.

Quick note:

((Make sure you check back tomorrow to see if you won. Since this is a Christmas prize, I need to get the prize out ASAP. Thanks! CC))

We all do it . . . don’t we? Please, don’t start getting hoity toity on me and claiming you’ve never done it. I mean . . . let’s face it, we are all human.

What am I talking about? I’d give anything to know what’s running through all your minds right now. Wait . . . I can imagine what you’re thinking. But I’m not talking about that.

Or that other thing.

Oh, heck, I’m not talking about “THAT” either. I would never do that!

I’m talking about re-gifting. Don’t go playing goody-two-shoes on me. We all get gifts that . . . well, don’t suit us. And I mean, what kind of a person would just throw them away? Seriously, that would be a waste.

So we do the thing we don’t talk about, we re-gift. Here at the Craig house there are four different types of gifts than end up in my re-gift landmine. I actually keep them in different compartments. I go to my closet, and depending on the . . . loved one . . . I’m shopping for, I pick up the appropriate old suitcase. Below are the different types of re-gifts that commonly find their way into the Craig household.

1) The Near-Miss Gift

This is the gift that in all honesty is pretty neat. You know, that gift that you’d probably keep but . . . the truth be told, you know someone else who would just love it so much more. There are little things off with the gift, like the color or the size. You haven’t worn a size 6 blouse in seven years, but your mother-in-law doesn’t realize it. Other near-miss gifts are things like . . . that stuffed deer head that would be perfect for Uncle Bernie.

But seriously these are gifts that aren’t so bad . . . well, not so bad for someone else. And since you weren’t lucky enough to get a gift receipt, you’re like . . . stuck with it. Unless, you just happen to know someone who would . . . well, love it. Here’s an example: one time my neighbor gave me an antique pukish green jar for Christmas. The kind you would put on a kitchen counter. It was a nice jar, but my kitchen isn’t pukish green, but guess what? My mom’s kitchen is puckish green and holy moly she collects antique puke-colored jars. How perfect is that? I was even proud to give my mom the pukish green jar. I mean my mom’s comment when she opened the gift was . . . “Oh my gawd, how long did you look for this before you found it!”

2) The You-Shouldn’t-Have Gift

Normally, these gifts come from someone who knows you. People who claim to be close to you. People who just can’t wait for you to open it so they can see your expression of gratitude. And yet when you rip off the paper, the only thing you can think is. . . duh, what the hell were they thinking?

Like the time, some unnamed person, (wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings) gave me a shirt with two different colored sleeves, this shirt also had a different colored front that was the shade of blue and the back was pink, and the collar was . . . purple. You’ve heard of the coat of many colors, well this was the shirt of many colors. Many…many colors. I mean . . . hadn’t the man been married to me for over 20 years? Had he ever, ever seen me wear a shirt with two different colored sleeves? I don’t even do big prints.

3) The What-Clearance-Rack-did-this-Come-off-of Gift

These are the gifts that, well, come with that red sticker on them, or at least with the sticky stuff that was left from the clearance sticker. A lot of times, these gifts also provoke the “What the Hell” expression, but it’s apparent that this well-chosen . . . piece of crap was purchased on some 75% off rack. Like a box of candy that expired last January or a fruit cake so old that it is now fermented. And you know better than to ask if they have a receipt.

4) The Already-Re-gifted Gift

Yup, this is the gift that without a doubt you know has done time in someone’s closest. It’s that Santa candle that didn’t hold up too well during those summer months. And what’s really bad is that you think you gave it to them last Christmas.

I once got a very nice book of poetry from a cousin. She went on and on of how she’d picked it out just for me because I was a writer. What my cousin didn’t realize is that someone had written her a very nice and personal note in the back of the book. Since then, I always check out gifts before they go into one of my old suitcases.

5) The Okay-This-is-Supposed-to-be a Joke Gift”

Personally, I love these gifts. You know me and laughter. And when I get something that makes me laugh, I can’t wait to give it to someone else. The problem is, if you break out laughing and it wasn’t meant to be funny. But other “Joke gifts” include things like the roll of “Organic” Green toilet paper with large print claiming it to be made from Poison Ivy leaves. Yes, these gifts are the perfect White Elephant gifts. Things like a nice framed leopard-printed thong that I got from a friend last year. Ugg? Has that thing been worn? Shhh. I’m re-gifting it this year at my annual white elephant gift party.

Another example is . . . last week’s Pooping Santa prize, or this week’s prize: the delightful light and sound button. You press the button, which sort of looks like an easy button gone wild, and it lights up and plays a bit of a famous song. It is the kind of thing that after someone hits it three or four times, you want to take it away from them and force feed it down their throats. But hey…it’s really cute and funny the first two or three times.

When I saw this at the Hallmark store (Yes, I love Hallmark and it wasn’t even on clearance) I knew I had to get it for a prize. It plays a very special song. This song was actually showcased in my book, Divorced, Desperate and Delicious. Chase and Lacy were rather occupied, really occupied, when this song played over Lacy’s sound system. Chase even joked with Lacy about never having done what he did while that song played.

Do you know the name of that song?

So . . . here’s what I’m doing. Everyone who guesses the name of the song will get their name in the hat for the “Light and Sound Button,” a pack of Christmas cards and a “silly” pen. However, I will also be giving away a second prize package of: one of my books, a pack of note cards and a silly pen to anyone who is willing to share their own re-gift story. Either tell me about a gawd-awful gift you received, or tell me about one you re-gifted.

Come on, play along with me. If no one guesses, I’m gonna have to re-gift it next year. And remember the age-old adage that makes re-gifting okay: It’s the thought that counts.

Crime Scene Christie

Monday, December 08, 2008

Natural Blonde

Today's mystery is not a new's a repeating theme. You know, the theme of why do repairmen think all women are stupid? I'm pretty sure I've blogged about it before, but hey, then something else needs repairing and I get to revisit the stupidity all over again.

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned the electrician. I had to call the electrician earlier this year because the light over my sink went out. Just went "poof" one day. I thought it was the bulb and changed it but to no avail. Then my dad was over one day and we hooked up his voltage meter to it - no juice. And since the house is under warranty, a call to the electrician was in order. When he came out, I knew there was going to be a problem because my dog didn't like him. Now, my Sheltie likes everyone! So I'm thinking this guy has to be a butthead of the first order for the Sheltie to growl. Then first-order butthead proceeds to ask me if I'm sure it's not the light bulb. DUH? So he fixed the light and I ask what the problem was. He claims it was never wired. I say that's not possible as I've been using it for two months. He tells me I was mistaken. HELLO? I'm mistaken about using a light for two months in my own house.

So anyway, with that lovely episode to go on, you can understand why I've put off calling about the garage light for about five months. But the warranty is up at the end of January and I've been wanting to do some work in the garage, and since it gets dark at 5:30 now, I sorta need it. So I called the electrician hoping I'd get anyone out here but the idiot. No chance. The idiot showed up. I pointed him to the garage light and you'll never, ever guess what he asked.......

Yep, you got it. "Are you sure it's not the light bulb?"

To which I replied. "Well, which light bulb are you referring to? I've been through four in the last five months, three of which were CFL's and guaranteed to last 8 years. I've tried turning on the light with the garage door open, closed, in process, and since one breaker serves the garage, the hall, the front bath and the living room, and I assume they were wired in that order, I've tested the light running parallel with each of those switches - off and on. There's a short and the garage light is catching it."

The whole time, I'm thinking why do I bother. I keep wondering if just saying "you know, I'm not a natural blonde" would be a better defense than giving a list of my diagnostic prowess. Of course, it wouldn't be true...I am a natural blonde. Darker over the years but still on the blonde charts.

Of course the light worked while he was there, even though it hadn't bothered to come on for the previous week before, but I insisted he changed out the plate for the switch and the light. There's a short somewhere. I'm certain.

Even if the electrician thinks I'm smart enough to make enough money to own a house, but too stupid to change a light bulb. How does that one work exactly?

Deadly (no dumb blonde) DeLeon

Friday, December 05, 2008

Hilarious High School Essays

I recently stumbled upon this list somewhere online (Amazing how one link leads to anther which lead to another and another and sudden your search for which caliber gun would leave the smallest hole in a victim turns into a tangent on the flooding streets of Venice!), and it was just too funny not to share. Also, I’m injured this week and typing with just three fingers, so I’m totally into the pre-written for me blogs. :) Rosie the Wonder Hamster got sick this week and, as I was trying to give her medicine, her feverish little rodent brain mistook two of my fingers for yummy carrots. And bit them. Hard. Ouch. Blood, purple swelling, bandages, many curses involving threats of feeding her to the neighbor’s cat. (No, don’t call the ASPCA on me, I didn’t really. But there may be a tiny fuzzy victim in my next book…) So… to spare me more awkward typing, here is a list of actual analogies and metaphors taken from high school essays. Enjoy! (And you may not want to take a mouthful of coffee before reading. Just sayin’.)

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie,surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil,this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame…maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

26. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.

27. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

28. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

To See, Or Not To See...

Margaret just got her first pair of glasses. She's in fifth grade and as soon as she got them, she proclaimed, "OMG! (she actually talks like that) I CAN SEE!"

The other day, Mr. Assassin found my first pair of glasses. That's them above. I got mine in fourth grade. I showed them to my daughter and she pretended to vomit. Nice.

I was in fourth grade when I got these stylish babies. And while we have age in common, there isn't much else about the experience that was similar. Oh sure, my "Granny" glasses were the peak of fashion in 1975. But I didn't look nearly as cool in mine as Margaret does in hers.

Let's take a little trip back in time as I explain getting my first pair of glasses to my daughter;

Me: Alright, quit with the gagging noise. I get it.

Margaret: YOU thought THESE were cool??? What was wrong with you?

Me: Um...Grandma picked them out (trying to lie convincingly in order to save face in front of a ten-year old).

Margaret: Not buying it. Grandma's cooler than you.

Me: Anyway, I remember we drove 20 miles into the city to get tested for my prescription and pick out my frames. I believe the exam took about...oh, three hours.

Margaret: Mine was only fifteen minutes.

Me: (Ignoring her) And they brought me the entire selection to pick from. There were five different styles.

Margaret: You mean 500, at least, right?

Me: Actually, my memory might be exaggerating...

Margaret: I knew it!

Me: There were only three frames to choose from. And believe me, these were the best ones.

Margaret: (Holding them between the tips of her thumb and forefinger as if she might catch leprosy) Why are they so heavy?

Me: Because that's 100%, non-scratchproof, non-shatter resistant glass, baby. And they didn't have thin lenses then. That's real steel in the frames.

Margaret: Mine have featherweight, scratchproof lenses and were ready in an hour.

Me: That's the other thing. These took three weeks to make. And then they cost about $800.

Margaret: (Rolling her eyes) Oh yeah. You had it sooooo good back then. Face it, Mom. My glasses are awesome and yours are gross.

Me: Hey! Look! (I try to shout as she walks away) These frames were made in France! Yours were made in China! Ha!

Somehow the conversation seemed like a hollow victory. And I didn't even get the chance to point out the really cool "L" sticker in the corner - now glued on by the passing of time. How in the hell did we see with all those damned initial stickers on the lenses anyway?

I guess in the long run, what I remember most from getting my first pair of glasses was that my boyfriend, Derek...Something, broke up with me because I was a "four-eyes." Margaret's boyfriend didn't even bat an eyelash - even asked his parents when he could get glasses. At least there's some small consolation in that.

The Assassin