Monday, August 31, 2009

Movie Madness

Sorry for the posting delay. I had to be into work at 7:00 am and I'm just now getting awake enough and out of meetings enough to post.

So today, I have a rant. Shocker, right? That "I" would have something to complain about? And this complaint is a two-parter.

Yesterday, I went to see The Final Destination in 3-D. For those of you who don't love the horror circuit, this is one of those more new-age versions of a slasher movie and I think there have been 3 other Final Destination movies prior to this one. So my first complaint is the upcharge for the 3-D glasses. They charge you $3.00 more and claim it's for the glasses, but you can't use the glasses again for another 3-D movie - even though it's the exact same glasses! Then, to add insult to injury (IMHO) they place these big bins outside the theatre for people to drop their glasses in to "recycle." Are you kidding me? The only thing recycling is the theatre's profit.

Now, understand that my main problem with this charge is the manner in which it's presented. If the charge was included in the cost of the actual ticket in order to cover the effects cost of 3-D effect, then I wouldn't complain. But to claim you're charging me for the same tool over and over and over again, but I'm not allowed to reuse it is just setting yourself up for this argument from customers over and over again.

Anyway, I will likely have 100 pair of 3-D glasses at my house before this new trend is over, because darn if I'm contributing more to their bottom line. Heck, the cost of popcorn alone probably paid their utility bill for the month.

Second complaint - why do some people think it is perfectly okay to bring a 4-year old to a slasher movie? Hello! Are you TRYING to breed the next biggest serial killer? Have you watched one too many episodes of Dexter and think you need one of your own?


Deadly DeLeon

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Author Stephanie Adkins

The fabulous erotic romance author Stephanie Adkins is participating in a really fun contest this week, so to tell you all about it, here's Stephanie...

This Labor Day, September 7th, several authors from Liquid Silver Books and I will be hosting another blog tour for your viewing enjoyment. The theme this time is Lickable Laborers. Oh yes … that means we’ll have lots of hot pictures for you to drool over. Licking your computer screen is totally optional. LOL Since Labor Day is also the release date for my novella, Resisting Kane, I will be giving away a free copy to one lucky grand prize winner. He or she will also receive the following items from other LSB authors:

Wyoming Solace by Alanna Coca
$10 Meijer gift card from Jeanne St. James
Satisfy Me by Madison Scott
Illicit Hunger by Dee Carney
Furry, Fluffy & Wild from Celia Kyle
Once Bitten by Trina M Lee
Intimate Strangers by Gem Sivad
Of Flesh And Blood by Tina Holland
The Extremist by Juniper Bell
InDescent by K.Z. Snow

All you have to do to be entered in the drawing is leave a comment on every authors blog along the trail. The tour will start with Alanna Coca, who will leave a link to the next author on the tour (which will be me). I’ll post the next blog and so on and so on.

So mark your calendars! You sure don’t want to miss the eye candy! I look forward to seeing you there!

Stephanie Adkins

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Birds and the Bees

The other day I did something really stupid. I decided to take the boy – a curious nine year old – with me to my prenatal appointment. I figured since we’re mostly in the weighing and measuring the belly phase, it might be interesting for him to hear the baby’s heartbeat and check out all the pictures of new babies on the midwife’s walls. Big mistake. Did I mention he’s Mr. Curious?

So, as soon as we leave, we’re driving home and he asks – yep, you guessed it – how babies are made.

Doh! Why is it that even though every parent knows this is coming none of us are truly prepared to answer that question? I’d like to think I’ve been pretty open with the boy, and he has a basic knowledge of male and female anatomy and the fact that a stork does not, in fact, bring babies. But this time he wanted the whole story. He started asking detailed questions about how a woman could try to have a baby, how long you have to try, where the eggs come from, how many a woman has, where, exactly, in the body they go, how twins are made, etc.

I think I did a pretty good job explaining the scientific side of things, considering I was navigating the freeway at the time and didn’t have google handy. And he seemed pretty satisfied. He was quiet for a minute. Then the dreaded question…

“But how, exactly, does the sperm get from the man’s body to the woman’s?”

I’m really glad he was in the back seat so he didn’t see how red my face turned.

“Um, well, they have sex.” (For some reason that last word came out of me in a church-like whisper. I write romance. You’d think I could handle saying the word out loud. Apparently, not so much when in front of my kid.)

“Right. Kissing and stuff. But I don’t get how kissing makes the sperm come out.”

Oh boy. So, with beet-red cheeks, I launch into an explanation of the “and stuff” that goes along with the kissing part.

His response: “Whoa. Hold on. You mean the guy and girl, like, fuse together? Like conjoined twins or something?”

Me: “Uh… kinda? Not exactly… I mean, you’re not really stuck together so much as… well, it’s complicated…”
(Why on earth didn’t I buy him a book with nice little cartoon pictures like my mother did? I never until this moment realized how wise she was.)

Him: "Weird. I don’t get why anyone would want to do that."

You have no idea how glad I was to hear him say that. I did a big sigh of relief, thinking I had done my Mom duty, The Talk was over, we had both survived. (And I was pretty sure I deserved some Ben & Jerry’s for that!)

But no. It couldn’t be that easy.

I pull the car into our driveway, we get out, start walking up the front steps.
And The boy actually stops in his tracks. He glances down at my big belly. A look of total and complete horror comes over his face.

“Ohmigod! That means you had sex!!”

“Uh… kinda?”
And I’m ashamed to say that at that point I actually ran – yes, ran – into the house. Then ordered him a book from Amazon with lots of cartoon pictures.

Why do I have the feeling he’ll be playing this moment out in therapy for years to come?

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Great Mouse Adventure

Imagine if you will being abruptly yanked from a deep slumber by louds thumps, thuds, and--even more dramatic, terrified screams and shrieks originating from somewhere in the other end of the house. This was the scenario that played out at my home in the wee hours of the morning several days ago. Eyes blurry from sleep, I managed to grab my baseball bat from its place bedside and threw open my bedroom door and made my way down the hallway, prepared to defend my hearth and home.

One of my daughters' bedroom lights was on and I cautiously pushed the door open and peeked inside. There, perched on a chair with a frying pan in one hand, holding the ends of a towel wrapped around her still wet from the shower body with the other hand, was my last born. And yes. She's blonde.

"Wh...wh?" I managed before she interrupted.

"There's a mouse in my room!" she yelled. "It almost ran across my feet! And it's HUGE!"

"A mouse?" I frowned wondering how a frying pan became the weapon of choice when battling a rodent and then winced, thinking of the cleanup involved in dispatching said rodent with said heavy skillet.

Or a baseball bat for that matter.

"Maybe even a rat! It was gigantic!" She went on.

I took a step back towards the door. I myself am no fan of mice, no matter how cute and adorable the animators with Disney or Pixar make them.

"Are you sure?" I inquired just about the time the vermin in question made a mad dash for my own feet. Both mother and daughter vacated the room in record time, slamming the door shut to prevent the mouse from escaping into the house.

I looked at my daughter with her wet hair and slipping towel and frying pan and began to laugh. And laugh.

"You're some 'bad ass' mouse hunter," I told her, wiping my eyes.

She was not amused.

I sent 'Mighty Mousette' as I'd dubbed her off to get some clothes on. It was just after four A.M. and both of us had to be at work early. I searched out some more suitable weaponry, including a broom and a tennis racket, and we prepared to defend our keep and vanquish the intruder. I instructed the other daughter (the one who'd worked until one and we'd woken up with our antics) to go get mouse traps while we planned a frontal assault on her sister's bedroom.

Unfortunately, this mouse proved to be rather resourceful. After leading us on a chase around the bedroom floor, the villain had the where-with-all to retreat into my daughter's closet. Now, if you know anything about a 19-year-old girl, you also know what her closet is typically like. Cluttered is way too mild a term. And point of fact, I wasn't about to go through everything in that closet piece by piece in order to find the clever critter who had retreated into the safety of the closet's clutter. No way, pilgrim.

With time ticking away, we had no alternative to set several traps, shut the door, and lure Mr. Mouse out into the open and into one of our traps. To be safe, I had set down sticky glue traps, plus some traditional mouse traps. A bit of mouse overkill, you say? You don't know this mouse.

And now for a bit of advice for mouse trap makers: Don't try to improve on the mouse trap, folks. Don't tamper with a design that works. Just give me a simple, easy to set, easy to bait mouse trap. Nothing fancy. Just functional.

It took me half an hour to get two of the new traps set.

The daughter and I left for work, secure in the knowledge that one of the four traps we'd set for the resident rodent would nab the trespasser.

The other daughter (the one with the bedroom next to the room occupied by Mr. Mouse) called my cell phone as I drove to work.

"It's scratching at the door," she said.


"The mouse. I can hear it scratching at the bottom of the door," she told me.

"Are you sure?" I asked. "Does it sound like it's dragging a trap around maybe?" After all. With four traps set in a modest sized bedroom, surely the mouse couldn't avoid them all.

"I don't think he's in a trap," she said. "I think he's trying to gnaw through the door."

And so it went throughout the day with my daughter giving various 'updates' on the scratching sounds coming from her sister's bedroom.

"Should we try to kill it?" she asked when her sister got home from work.

"Better wait for me," I advised, recalling her nearly naked sister poised on the desk chair with a frying pan at the ready.

I get off work and drive home. The other daughter has gone to work (lucky girl) so it's just Mighty Mousette and Mom to hunt down and eradicate the alien presence in our home.

I changed out of my work uniform, donned hiking boots (don't judge me) and set several sticky traps outside the daughter's bedroom door in case the mouse made a mad dash for the exit when I opened the door.

I cracked the door open.


I go in.

And discover the *#@! mouse has chewed a quarter sized hole in the carpet behind the door in an attempt to escape! I also discover that one of the sticky traps has disappeared. Gone, baby, gone.

Puzzled, I cautiously begin to look through the room. I move the bed. Smack things around in the closet. No sticky trap.

I finally pull the bed into the middle of the room only to discover the sticky trap stuck to the bottom of a rug that was some distance away from the trap initially.

Damned glue trap.

And then I see both mousetraps have been sprung.

But no mouse.

Now I'm really mad.

So, I reset the traps and add another one for good measure. I shut the light off and close the door.

Five minutes later we hear a trap go off.

I slowly open the door and peek at the trap behind the door. Nothing. I look at the one in the corner. Still set.

I then poke my head over near the bedside table and look down at that trap and there he is sitting on top of the sprung mouse trap casually eating the bait. I bring my broom down on him. Bam! He scampers back to the safety of the closet.

Now this is really war!

I dig out two more mousetraps and set them, turn the light off, and close the door. No sooner had we returned to the other room than we hear a trap go off.

My daughter and I look at each other.

We return to the door of her room, slowly open the door, and peek in. And there he is. Caught in Trap Number 3. All the fight out of him. Permanently.

"He's disgusting!" my daughter shivers, and takes a picture with her phone to show friends.

We dispose of him appropriately (the neighbor's cat was thrilled) and went about the task of cleaning up the room and laundering bedding.

Today I went into the daughter's bedroom and my breath hitched when I noticed the other traps I'd left set had been sprung.

No. Couldn't be.

I went out and bought new, better traps (which means the old-fashioned ones) and set them to make sure we didn't have any additional 'lodgers' in residence.

This evening my daughter finally advised me she'd sprung the other traps by accident.

Good to know.

And that's the story of the Great Mouse Hunt. The downside is the time and energy wasted in eradicating the rodent.

The upside? My daughter finally cleaned out her closet.

Do you have any 'unwanted visitor' stories to share? Any critter phobias you experience? As Helen Keller put it, 'Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.'

I dunno. I think I could do 'nothing' for a change.


Bullet Hole Bacus

The Chicken Heart That Ate Girl Scout Camp & Other Tales of Woe...

"A woman in possession of a zombie story, will be in want of more
zombie stories..."
-Jane Austen

It's time for my annual Labor Day camping trip with my girl scout troop. This will be our 6th year of spending quality time together with monster mosquitos, wobbly canoes and rope burns as I spend my time teaching girls how to start really big fires and how to get burnt marshmallows out of their hair without screaming. Sigh. Has another year really gone by so quickly?

No one has more fun/screaming/trauma than us. No one. I've been with these kids since they were in kindergarten. Now they are in sixth grade. You know what that means...don't you?


I've been waiting seven years for this. Each year, my troop begs me to tell a scary story and each year I refuse, knowing that if I even begin the one about the hook scraping against the top of the car, I would spend both nights of that trip as a sleepless zombie with enough lanterns lit up to give the appearance of noon at the Equator.

This is a rite of passage. This is an important tradition.

And yet, my delight is somewhat dampened. I hate to admit this. But I only remember the one scary campfire story (the aforementioned hook story, naturalmente). Sad, isn't it?

Where did my memory go? I used to be full of bullsh...I mean tales of terror! I scared my sister so bad once with a vampire melodrama she had to sleep with a string of crucifixes around her neck for a month. They were made out of bendy straws and unfortunately after the first night, they looked like swastikas, causing our mom to ask her why she was afraid of Nazi's attacking in the night.

So why can't I remember all those deliciously terrifying, therapy-inducing campfire stories? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

Wasn't there one about the girl with a ribbon around her neck that kept her vagina from falling off or something? I vaguely recall the story of campers disappearing one-by-one every night...or was that Friday the 13th and Camp Crystal Lake?

I've tried the internet. Not good. I either get something so corny Barney would spit on it or bizarre porn. Neither really works for girls who have mastered sarcasm that would make the writers of The Office jealous, and who still believe if you kiss a guy you'll get pregnant.

Well, I'll figure something out. If you guys have anything, let me know. I'm getting kind of desperate...

The Zombie Assassin Chickenheart

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Top Ten Rules of the Craig House

Okay, I’m not a big follower of the rules. Well, except when they’re my rules! Now, ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m a tad of a rule bender, and rule tweaker. I was mostly born that way. I mean, when my mom told me that I had to clean my plate, I did. The fact that I cleaned it by scraping the peas and hominy-God I hated that stuff—to a nice, little hideaway behind the refrigerator, is just a little manipulation of the rule. When my editor tells me my books have to be 90,000 words or less, I simply delete spaces between the words. Hey, if he wants to fix it, that’s his business. When I handed him the manuscript it was only seven thousand over the word limit.

Nevertheless, we do have some Craig rules. Some of them came into being because of some extraordinary experiences. Others are just . . . well, normal household rules.

1) No snakes in the refrigerator.

The son was five and he found mama very negative about his recent barrage of pets. The three frogs he’d captured and stored in his toy box. The neighbor’s kitten he’d kidnapped and hidden in his sock drawer. But the one that incited the actual rule was when I opened the butter dish and found what suspiciously looked like a baby copperhead tucked behind the blue cheese. (Oh, no animals have been harmed by my son. There was the dead squirrel, but he picked that up off the side of our yard—road kill—right before he carried it to show our new neighbors.)

2) No Play Dough in the sugar canister.

Yes, I explained that this was the last pack of Play Dough I would buy if he lost the tops again and wasn’t able to seal the cans and stop the fun little entertainment from drying out. Well, guess what the sugar canister came with—a nice little seal top.

3) No whole eggs, shells still on, cooked in the microwave.

“Can I boil an egg in the microwave?” I was asked by my then seventeen year old son. YES, Seventeen!
“No. If you put a whole egg in the microwave, it will explode like a bomb in seconds.”
(Warning: Anything that blows up and fast sounds like a good thing to a seventeen year old.) “Holy crappers, Mom! You were right. That egg is plastered all over the microwave.”

4) No farting at the kitchen table.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?

5) No condoms in the dryer for mom to find later.

“It was AIDs’ awareness day and they were passing them out at college and I forgot to take them out of my pocket.” Right, I bought that.

6) No running from mommy when I’m trying to snatch the dingle berry that is dangling from the fluffy hairs that surrounds your cute little bottom.

(This is not my son I’m referring to, just in case you thought it was. Or hubby. “Come on kitty, if you want to sleep with mama, the dingle berry has to go.”

7) No throwing up hairballs on the kitchen table when company is walking in the front door.

I think this is pretty self-explanatory as well.

8) No wearing boxers around the house that doesn’t have button front. Yes, mama thought you were cute when you were two and used to streak through house, but things change!”

9) If it smells funny, or taste funny, don’t, DO NOT, ask me to taste it or smell it.

“Sweetheart, this milk tastes bad, really sour, can you taste it?” Sweetheart, doesn’t like sour milk, I don’t even like milk period, why would I want to taste it if it’s bad?

10. No letting Junior’s pet rats loose in the bathroom when Grandma Ginger is visiting.

I think this is another one of those that should be self-explanatory. However, it might have been hubby who instigated this. What can I say, she’s his mother-in-law. you guys have rules at your house? What rules do you bend, break, use to your favor? What were the rules at your parents' house? Come on . . . share a little.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Talent.......But No Taste

I've been watching America's Got Talent, and I have to say that I'm a bit confused by many, many things. First of all, the judges are just weird. They dismiss people who have talent and put people through who don't but do something different. Well, who cares. My dog does things that are different - that doesn't mean someone's going to give me a million dollars. It almost seems like they're shooting for a variety show rather than a talent show because they're always saying things like "We already have 4 magicians and only 1 of you can go through." Really, why? If all 4 are fabulous, and the other acts are 60-year-old dancing grandmothers (yes, she made it through) or something equally as stupid, then please, please, please give me 4 magicians.

Now, the show is at the point where America's doing the voting, and even though I already knew that America had talent, but no taste, I still shake my head every year I watch reality shows. I mean really. Check out this YouTube video - this guy didn't make it through and he's fabulous and TOTALLY Vegas. I really liked him in the auditions, too. He auditioned as a singing group - he's the lead and his three best girlfriends were his backup. The judges basically told him that he was great but they weren't so he wasn't going to make it. The girlfriends asked if they would take him if the girlfriends quit, so that's what they did. How's that for friendship?! So he had to hire new backup singers in Vegas and had days to put together a good show and was still lightyears better than others.

The only think about these shows that saves me from running screaming into the street is that I know from past successes that the people who need to see the talent, do. Look at Daughtery or Jennifer Hudson. They didn't make it to the top on American Idol but it's hard to argue they aren't successful now. In fact, they're far bigger than a lot of the past Idol winners.

America, please remember, these are TALENT competitions. This isn't a vote for high school prom queen. Can you please leave your popularity vote off the shows.

Deadly DeLeon

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Author Cassandra Curtis

And the winner of Cassandra's latest ebook in the Shifting Tides series is... Refhater! Refhater, email me at gemmahalliday (at) gmail (dot) com to get your prize. Congrats!!

* * *

Please join me in welcome to KF and fabulous writer and wonderful friend, Cassandra Curtis. Her romances are so much fun, so well written, and so steamy you won’t be able to resist. Plus, she’s so cool, she’s giving away a book to one lucky reader today. (See why I love her?) So, take it away, Cassandra…

Injecting Life and Humor Into Your Characters
By Cassandra Curtis

My character, Eleanor (in my current work-in-progress) is pretty upset with me. I just made her go through an exercise regimen only a drill sergeant could love. I made her eat postage-sized helpings of steamed fish and veggies, then forced her to smear some iridescent purple gunk all over her body and wrap herself in plastic wrap!

Telling her that I wouldn't make her do anything that I wouldn't do isn't helping. She is still upset with me. It could have been worse, though, and I speak from experience.

Many years ago, my sister bought into a multi-level marketing deal and the product they pushed was a smelly, iridescent purple cream that promised to eliminate cellulite. The jar came with a small white applicator paddle and a sheet of directions.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to smear purple crap all over your naked body with a tiny paddle? Well, I do. I also know how difficult it is to wrap yourself in plastic wrap after smearing said purple crap all over your naked body. (It takes approximately one hour to make sure all exposed areas are covered with the cream and another hour to get the damned plastic wrap to go the way you want it to! Even after you're finished, the wrap slides and tries to unravel).

Next you lay perfectly still (they make a special note of that in the directions) on towels as the gunk starts to make your skin itch and crawl. After about 2 hours, you turn on your stomach and wait another 2 hours. Then you can peel off the plastic wrap, take a shower and check out the now smooth contours of your cellulite free body! Yeah, right.

I was in the middle of doing a strategic flip onto my stomach when the doorbell rang. Maybe they'll go away. *Ring, ring, ring*—okay, so maybe they won't.... so I threw on a thick terry-cloth robe and cinched it tight, and went to the door, opened it, and saw it was a UPS guy. He was tall, dark-eyed and muscular—a hunk, to be precise. As I reached for the clipboard and pen, I noted his eyes go *south* and wondered what he was staring at, and hoped whatever it was, he liked it!

I finished signing my name and smiled at him with my best flirty look as I handed him back the clipboard. He bent to pick up the box and kind of stayed like that—in suspended animation for a minute or two—before standing to give me the box. His lips quirked upward as he said goodbye, and then left.

It was only as I put the box on my coffee table and straightened that I saw my reflection in the large mirror above the sofa. The terry robe had opened ever so slightly and a six-inch strip of purple-smeared plastic wrap hung loose between my legs! Wah!

Later, when I managed to get 'round to opening the box—it was stacked with jars of the cream. I guess my sister expected me to throw a party.

Oh yes, Eleanor, it could always be worse.

Shifting Tides: Soul Of The Sea

By Cassandra Curtis

ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-562-1 (Electronic)
Third and final book in the bestselling Shifting Tides trilogy from Amber Heat

Jill Kohlson is a woman looking for answers and bent on revenge. Her plans take a side turn when she travels to Mermaid Isle and meets the handsome Botoa brothers.

Gavin and Garde are twin Dolphine Botos, a race of Brazilian shapeshifters that, according to myth and legend, can claim your soul and take you to the Encanté, an enchanted undersea world.

The twins share everything, including their lovers. For the first time in her life, Jill can explore all her sexual fantasies and appease her hungry appetites. She knows there is no future in the summer fling, however, especially if the brothers discover her secret—a magical amulet she wears to disguise her true nature.

When the twins’ foster father Silas Mariner is kidnapped, Jill realizes her one chance to find answers has disappeared, too. With the help of her friend Melissa, she infiltrates the compound of crime boss Nick Sharkey, and must make the toughest decision of her life. Fulfill her lust for revenge, or risk all to save the twins and the one she loves…

To Read An Except, go here:

About the author:
Cassandra Curtis is the author of the Shifting Tides paranormal erotic ebooks, which will be available in print this October 2009. Her website is: You can follow her exploits on Twitter: Cassandra is also a founding member of the popular Midnight Moon Cafe author group:

Want to win a copy of her latest ebook in the Shifting Tides series? Leave a comment here and enter to win!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

Just a reminder to the lovely winners from last week’s anniversary bash to email me for your prizes: gemmahalliday (at) gmail (dot) com. Seriously, I’m dying to give this stuff away!
Print copy of Another Time, Another Place – MsHellion
T. Sue Versteeg ebook of winner’s choice - Becca Simone
Her line in T. Sue Versteeg’s next book – Inez Kelley
Mini spa set - Deborah Blake!


Okay, now on to today’s blogginess…

Can you guess what it’s about from the title? Yes, it has to do with German. And, yes I totally needed an internet English to German translator to even put that title together. (What can I say, I’m a product of the California public school system. The only foreign language they teach here is Spanish. Trust me, I can order good Mexican food like nobody’s business.) Okay, since I can’t hear any guesses coming my way, I’ll tell you… my books are going to be translated in to German! Yay!

I’m super excited about this! Both Spying in High Heels and Killer in High Heels will be making the transition, and I cannot wait to see what the German covers look like. (You can check out my Polish covers for these two books here. I totally dig them.)

When I told my family about the sales, my brother was psyched because he used to tutor German student and might be able to read so of the book. (Squee! I wonder how much they’ll change…) My grandfather promptly reminded me that I have German blood flowing through me courtesy of his mother’s side of the family. (If I’m calculating correctly I’m about 1/8th German.)

Unfortunately, that, and the fact that Oktoberfest rocks, are the only things I know about Germany. So, I turned to my good friend Google to day to fill me in. Here are the top five interesting things I found out about Germany:

1. Germany is actually officially called the Federal Republic of Germany, or Bundesrepublik Deutschland, in German. It’s bordered by the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; to the east by Poland (OMG, my books are gogin to be in neighboring European countries! How cool. And conviniet should I ever convince the powers that be to send me on a European book tour. Hint, hint…) and the Czech Republic; to the south by Austria and Switzerland; and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

2. There are more than 150 castles in Germany, some of which are still inhabited by their original aristocratic families.

3. There are more than 1500 different types of beer in Germany. The normal beer sized glass is 1 liter. When ordering beer, if you hold up your thumb, that means you want one beer, but if you hold up your index finger, that means you want to order two.

4. German toilet paper has the softness of American paper towel. Ouch.

5. Some of the place you may encounter in Germany are:
Volkhof river (the “V” is pronounced like an “f”)
And my favorite... the small German town of F*cking. Yes, for real. Spelled and pronounced just the way you're thinking. A few questions immediately pop to mind. Are the residents called F*ckers? What are their mothers called? Do the kids have to go to F*cking High School? And, yes, I am DYING to do a booksigning in this town now. Just because.

So, any of you ever been to Germany? Know any fun facts about the language, people, or country in general?

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to Basics

It's official. Summer is over. Well, maybe not according to Mother Nature and the calandar, but as far as the grumbling masses who must head back to school this week are concerned, it's a sad 'so-long' to Summer '09.

Sad, indeed.

This past Saturday I moved my boy into his off-campus apartment. The house will grow incrementally quieter over the next week or so as one daughter prepares to head back to college as well and the other daughter picks up more hours at work and begins her college commute once again.

Sunday I alternated between mopping tears and mopping floors in an depressingly empty house. I figured I might as well get a clean house out of the ordeal.

Yesterday I drove the two girls up to see their brother's new digs and to deliver items we'd missed the first time around (including a rather important parking permit decal) and I had to deal with yet another tear-jerker of a goodbye. This one for a more extended period of time. So last night I began a paper shredding-frenzy. You can't believe how much PAPER four individuals are capable of accumulating. By bedtime I had two large bags of shredded material to my credit.

I'm not coping well with these changes.

Today I'm painting the garage.

I clearly have a problem.

I think my son is also concerned. He texts, calls, and emails frequently to 'check in'. Could be he's just worried about what I'll do with his bedroom in my present frame of mind. Could be he has reason to be uneasy.

My daughters and I discussed this on the drive home.

"Do you think he's homesick?" I asked.

"I think he's terrified," one daughter said.

I stared at her.

"What do you mean? He's afraid to be on his own?"

She gave me one of her 'you are so clueless, Mother' looks and shook her head.

"He's afraid of you being on your own," she responded.


"You do have a habit of going a little nuts at times, Mom," my other daughter chimed in. "You know. A little OCD about certain things."

I frowned.

"OCD? How so?"

"Your HIPs!" the girls chorused.

"I beg your pardon!" I fumed, wondering how I could be blamed for what genetics (and birthing four children) had bestowed on me. "My hips!"

"Your home-improvement projects," the girls clarified. "You were going psycho with them before you were on your own. Who knows what it will lead to when there's no one around to monitor you."

"Monitor me?"

"She means 'assist' you," daughter two added, an attempt at damage control.

"I see."

Over the last year or so they'd seen their mother paint every room in the house, stain, finish, and install chair rail, tear up tile and put down laminate, paint cabinets, paint houses, tear up flower beds, plant flower beds and veggie plots, gut the basement post flood, demolish garage cabinetry, and fill a gi-normous dumpster. Yeah. I guess they have a point.

"We'd just like to be sure when we're not around that you're not...overdoing it," the daughters assured me. "Besides, this is finally YOUR time! It's time for you to have some fun for a change!"

"Fun?" I said. "Fun?"

"Fun." The girls repeated and smiled at me.

"Like what, for example?" I asked.

"Well, one of your friends wanted you to take a belly dancing class with her, didn't she?" Daughter # 1 suggested.

I gave her my version of a 'get real' look.

"Okay, not a good example," she continued, "but you really need to stop and smell the roses, Mom."

"Really," Daughter #2 agreed.

It finally hit me. I didn't need new tile in the bathroom. I didn't need the ceiling in the living room painted. What I needed was to get back to my writing. Not just hit and miss, but full-time, butt-in-the-chair, marathon midnight chips and salsa sessions.

HIPS be damned!

I needed to lose myself in a book.

So, as children everywhere prepare to head back to school in a big way, I, too, will be 'hitting the books'.

Back to the basics.

It's time. Past time.

It finally feels right.

So, I've whittled down my 'to-do' list to the bare bones. Once I finish painting the garage and the remainder of the house trim, it's 'Kathy time'.

And Kathy time is truly the 'write time'!

What are your thoughts about this time of year? Are you a parent who shoves the kidlets out the door to the bus or are teary-eyed or depressed when fall shoves summer clean off the calendar? How do you (did you) deal with empty-nest syndrome?

Now I need to finish that *@!# garage so I can do the 'write' thing!

Catch you later!

~Bullet Hole Bacus~

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You Asked for a Photo of a Shaved Dog...

YOU have won a FABULOUS Prize!

No, you haven't won the dog. With as much blood (I cut myself a couple of times) sweat (did you know dog hair sticks to sweat?) and tears (I'm pretty sure the dog cried) as it cost, I'm not giving Muppet away.

No! Two of last week's participants have each won a copy of my friend, Ella March Chase's The Virgin Queen's Daughter and my other friend (yes, I have two), Susan Carroll's Twilight of a Queen TOTALLY personalized because I really do know them!

So who is it? Who came up with the most devious method of choosing a winner? And why am I dragging this out (besides the obvious reason that I'm completely out of ideas)?

Well, it was tough. On the one hand, I was very tempted to smother the guinea pigs in mayo, write names all over them and then coat my hands in K-Y. I thought it was a brilliant idea that Sarah had.

Have you ever tried to get mayo and K-Y out of a pet's hair? No? Well I have. And believe you, me, it can't be done without gallons of Dawn dish liquid and a bottle of grain alcohol.

So, I went with the one I knew I'd have fun with...guns. Now, the original concept called for bb guns. But wouldn't it be a LOT more fun with semi-automatics? And I am a card-carrying member of the local indoor shooting range. So I packed up my .45 and hit it.

Here's the problem. I'm a very, very, good shot. I know that doesn't sound like a problem. But whoever's name is in the middle is gonna get picked. Of course, I didn't realize this until half an hour into it and hitting Hellion's name over and over cuz it's in the middle and that's traditionally where I aim. I don't have it in me to aim blindly. And because I can see the target, there's no random. Ever.
So I came home and sulked. Not alone. I had a couple of bottles of Mad Housewife. And while I sulked, I channel surfed. Because nothing goes better with a morose attitude and liquor like coasting through bad tv.

How was I going to pick a winner? Technically, I'd already tried a somewhat mutated and more dangerous version of Robyn L.'s suggestion. So Robyn L - you win!

But I needed another winner. As I sat there, drinking and watching really old episodes of Charmed (it was on three stations in a row, if you can believe that), I noticed a strange pattern evolving. First, my friend, Sara, e-mailed me (because it's just not multi-tasking if I can't check e-mail while drinking, sulking and watching tv). As soon as I hit "send" in the reply, an ad for "Terminator" came on, talking about Sarah Connor. I changed the channel and found (and I am not making this up, folks) a Hall and Oates video (did I ever tell you I skipped my junior prom for a Hall and Oates concert in Cedar Rapids?) for the song "Sarah Smile" was airing. At that moment, my daughter came into the room (yes, I drink in front of my children all the time) and asked what my half-sister's name was again. It is, in fact, Sara.


Sarah wins the other book set. Which is cool because I really did love the greased guinea pig ploy and really weird because you need to get out of my head now. Please.

I liked that contest. If it wasn't for the headache that followed this strenuous and creepy decision-making process, I'd do it all the time.
So there you have it.

Robyn L. and Sarah, e-mail me at so I can send you your books.

Until next week when I'll come up with a new contest because this was WAY too much fun!
The Assassin

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Don't Do It!!!

Winners, Winners, Winners!!

Since I had so many comments, I'm going to give away three prizes. Wendy, Deblwalker, and CheekyGirl, please email me at Christie (at) Christie - Craig (dot) com (No spaces)and let me know which of my novels you would like or if you have all of them, I'll send you a surprise book of one of my friends.

((Because today I'm feeling lucky to be alive, I'm giving away a prize to one lucky poster. See details below.))

Today, I had this very inspirational blog planned about connecting to the passion in your life, but something happened. My hubby happened.

Yup, get ready for another hubby story. I’m not sure if it’s as good as “spot cleaning” or the “Burger King while in labor” stories, but it’s close. It involves a non-advice-taking hubby (will they ever learn?), a titty bar (No I have not gone into another profession), a pothole/sinkhole the size of Cleveland, and three non-English speaking, rope-toting, titty-bar-attending men. Do I have your interest yet?

Hubby is taking me out on a date. How special. That should have been my first clue that something wasn’t going to go right. Now, don’t go jumping to conclusions about him taking me to a titty bar, either. The titty bar just happened to be there as did the pothole, and the large-busted woman walking across the fine establishment’s parking lot, which some might blame for us landing in the pothole.

But first, back to the date. It included a nice dinner, grilled Amberjack, baked potato and hot French bread and butter. Yum. The dinner was top notch. The movie?: The Time Traveler’s Wife. I would argue that it got a C+. It had me sobbing about miscarriages, death, and frostbite. Well, after the movie, the date went downhill. Rapidly. And when I say down, I mean several feet down. Add the mud, and the muddy water and I’d have to give the overall date a C. Not an F because let’s face it. I got a blog out of it, and you got some entertainment. Hubby, he just got himself in all sorts of trouble.

The downhill portion of the date started after we left the movie. Hubby, driving around the block to get back on the main freeway, passes the titty bar. Now it’s eleven P.M. on a Saturday night, meaning the establishment is hopping, and the lights are flashing, Girls, Girls, Girls. And yup, crossing the well-lit parking lot is one such girl. Big Texas hair, and her dynamic duo pair, Lucy and Ethel, were Texas super sized.

Hubby makes his turn. Now, I was not going to accuse Hubby of being distracted by the woman, but he seemed to think it was important, and I’ll explain why I think this is in a minute. Nevertheless, there’s a woman, there’s a turn, and there’s this water filled hole taking up a forth of the road, the ditch, and some of the woods.

As hubby is mid-turn the headlights hits the object of my concern. Not the woman, mind you, but the freaking huge pothole/pond. How big is it? Well, I swear if I’d brought my fishing pole I could have caught a fish in it big enough to mount on the wall. Hubby slams on his brakes. Yup. He slams on his brake just before the passenger-side tire of the car falls into the hole.

Wow! We are saved. I catch my breath. Then hubby does his man thing. You know the one when a man leans up, peers over the wheel and out the windshield, to see how close he came to disaster.

I look at him and my heart starts pumping because I see it in his eyes, the no-big-deal attitude that gets men in trouble. I grab his elbow. “DON’T DO IT!!” I say.

He looks at me. Yes, he actually looked at me! Gave me the…I-got-this-babe look, releases his foot off the brake, and inches forward. Now, he’s an engineer and I still don’t understand how he figures that driving slow into a pothole is going to bring about different results than driving fast into a pothole?

It happens . . . Bam! The front tire (on my side) falls into the pothole. The car is hanging a good three feet down. Can I remind you that there’s water in the hole and I’m not sure how deep this hole goes? Water is lapping against the bumper. I’m checking to see if it’s coming into the car.

Hubby’s eyes dart to me. I see it in his gaze. Not fear. Not remorse. I see that he knows he screwed up and this is going to be blogged about.

Immediately, he puts the car in reverse. The car’s tires spin, spewing water under the car. He puts the car in forward. Steps on the gas, spews more water.

I decide not to panic—decide to control my urge to escape and open the door and fall into the who-knows-how-deep sinkhole. Instead, I look at hubby and calmly ask. “What part of DON’T DO IT! did you not understand?”

He chooses not to answer, probably on the grounds that whatever he says will be used to incriminate him. Instead, he gets out of the car.

Now, he’s not exactly a heavyweight, but without his weight in the driver’s side, the car dips down a little further. I grab the dashboard and question my next move. Most of which involves me hitting my husband with something and I wonder, should I try to climb over the gearshift and get out of the car?

I’m holding my breath, watching him look at the front of the car, then he does it. He shakes his head, turns and heads across the street right to the titty bar. I wonder if he knows how badly he’s screwed up and decides to go be entertained by naked women because he’s pretty sure he can’t make it any worse at this point.

He walks around the parking lot. The big busted, big haired woman, having heard our little accident, is watching, then much to my hubby’s credit, he returns to his trapped wife in the car.

He gets something out of the trunk. Returns to the front of the car with our spare tire. I’m thinking…does the man not know we’re in a pothole? Maybe the tire is flat, but unless he brought his scuba diving equipment, he’s not changing it right now. But no, he drops the tire into the water. What the hell? I wonder if this is like throwing a penny in the well to see how long before you hear it hit bottom. But nope, he’s thinking if the hole has a bottom, maybe he can use the tire to drive off of, which his little trip to the titty bar parking lot was about looking for a piece of wood. (Now, I’ll bet there’s plenty of wood inside the titty bar, but not the kind that comes from trees.) Unfortunately, the hole is too deep and our spare tire is pulled into the murky depths.

That’s when I see a pair of headlights. The car pulls up behind my car, and three rather large men, dressed in baggy clothes, get out of the car. Hubby comes to the window, and throws me his phone, but doesn’t say a word. Great! Did he want me to call 911?

Remember it’s almost midnight. Remember we’re not in what you would call the best neighborhood. Remember I’m stuck in a car half sunk in a pothole with the flashing lights, Girls, Girls, Girls blinking in my vision. One of the guys opens his trunk. Oh, also remember that I’m a writer, with a very active imagination, and I picture these guys pulling out a shotgun, robbing my husband, and pushing me and the car the rest of the way into the sinkhole that has already claimed our spare tire. Lucky for me, they don’t pull out a gun, it’s rope. There not going to shoot us, just tie us up.

I hear dialogue. The guys’ ability to speak English is limited—matched only by husband’s limited ability to understand limited English. I’m watching through the side mirror and see my husband fall to the ground. I’m hoping he’s doing something with the rope to the car and not on the ground being tied up.

Needless to say, they weren’t criminals, just three guys out to watch some adult entertainment who also happened to keep rope in their trunk. And who decided to be good Samaritans. They tie the rope to their car and pull us out.

Hubby offers to pay them for there efforts but they refuse. I imagine them going home and having their wives ask, “Have you been to a titty bar?” And them telling their wives, “No, We’ve been helping some poor stupid gringo get his car and wife out of a sinkhole.” Hey, I don’t begrudge them the excuse, they did save me.

Now, on the way home, after I repeat my question a couple of times. “What does…DON’T DO IT! mean to you?”, we start laughing. When I tell him the blog worthiness of the story, he cringes, but agrees to let me tell the story (like he could stop me) but with one condition: I have to include the part about the busty woman in the parking lot.

At first, I’m confused, then his reasoning becomes clear. It’s an embarrassment for a man to drive into a pothole, but . . . if the reason is due to him looking at a big breasted woman, then it’s okay.

Does this make sense to you? Okay…there it is. How I spent my Saturday night. What did you guys do? Do you have any hubby stories to share? And because I’m feeling grateful to be alive, I’m giving away a prize today. A copy of one of my books, or if you those, a copy of one of my friend’s books, and a Christie Craig pen and notebook. So make sure you post a comment. Oh, FYI, we were able to retrieve the spare tire.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Terry S - you have won a copy of TROUBLE IN MUDBUG in the anniversary drawing. Please email me through my website with your mailing address.

I am not one of those people who jumps on bandwagons, especially when it comes to television. Even with the dvr, I never seem to have enough time to watch all the things that might interest me, so new series are something I avoid completely. Until they've been around for years and everyone tells me I should watch it. Then sometimes I give it a go.

Well, for years everyone has told me to watch Dexter. I've been able to easily avoid doing so as I don't have Showtime and have no intention of getting it, but recently I signed up for Netflix and Dexter just happens to be one of the shows you can watch on demand. So I've been watching it and I have to say that everyone was right - I DO like it.

Dexter is a serial killer. A complete sociopath who is also a forensic specialist and has a "code" about only killing bad people that he got from his adoptive father....a cop who taught him how to appear normal in society and not get caught.

It's a fascinating premise and the writers have done an excellent job with Dexter's point of view. After all, the guy doesn't really have much going on in the way of emotions, but it's not something the rest of us would think about that way. Some of his thoughts during emotional moments are hilarious but really make a lot of sense. Michael T. Hall's (Dexter) dry, matter-of-fact delivery of those sentiments only serves to make it even funnier.

If any of you were Six Feet Under fans, Michael T. Hall played the character David, the responsible funeral-home owning brother.

For those of you who enjoy a darker humor, Dexter might be a great choice to catch up on. There is tons of backstory and it's unfolding as the seasons pass. The character has a lot of depth considering he has limited emotional capability. Altogether, very well written and excellently acted!

Deadly DeLeon

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Welcome to another lazy Sunday! Sleeping in is about the most glorious thing on the planet, right? Something I know I’ll be doing precious little of soon… but I’m totally getting my fill now. ;)
And for your reading pleasure on this lovely, lazy Sunday, we have a fabulous special guest, Toni V. Sweeny. Toni writes not only romance but also science fiction/fantasy and horror. I, for one, am impressed. So, take it away, Toni…

Carrying a Theme through Several Generations

One thing about writing about a dynasty--it covers a lot of territory and a whole lot of people...centuries of events...millennia of generations... I took the easy way out. I decided to write about the beginning and the end of a dynasty--the rule of the kan Ingans of the Emeraunt Galaxy, in fact. My series, The Chronicles of Riven the Heretic (Bloodseek, Blood Curse, A Singing in the Blood, and Barbarian Blood Royal) told the kan Ingans' origins. My series, the kan Ingan Archives, told of their inglorious end thirty-one hundred years later. The series didn't start out that way, but--as usual with characters with which I have dealings more than once--Aric kan Ingan and his Black Shield friends yanked the book out of my hot little hands, and, in their superiorly militant way, took over. If they'd let me handle things, the story might have ended differently; then again, knowing my penchant for Unhappily-Ever-After endings, it might have been worse!

Family sagas are a lot of work because you have to keep track not only of the characters' names and physical appearances, but also of their ages, especially if each novel encompasses a number of years. Sometimes it's easier to make a tangible chart, a family tree or spreadsheet with all the relationships, ages, etc., so it can be referred to from time to time. In Blood Sin, the main character, Aric, goes from age twenty to thirty; the second novel (tentatively titles Sinner's Exile) opens ten years later and covers five years of his life. In the third novel, at the age of 46, Aric returns to Arcanis. When Aric left his home, the woman he will eventually love was six-years-old. When he meets her again in the third book, she's twenty-two, and his decision to marry her scandalizes his friends because he's now twice her age. Age plays a very important part in these stories so I had to keep close tabs on how old everyone was and when.


And what is all this leading to? To the promo for my new book. Blood Sin, the story of a man who falls in love with the wrong woman. (Don't they all?) A man who was destined to be the most powerful person in the galaxy until Cupid skewered him with one of those little darts. A man accused of committing a crime and unable to prove himself innocent because to do so would reveal he's committed an ever greater crime. It's got plenty of love, sex, and violence. A real winner!

Check it out.

Blood Sin is available from Leucrota Press.

Toni V. Sweeny

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Author T. Sue Versteeg

Winners! Winners! Winners!
I was dying of laughter reading all the great (or terrible) pick-up lines. But the winners are…
Print copy of Another Time, Another Place – MsHellion
T. Sue Versteeg ebook of winner’s choice - Becca Simone
Her line in T. Sue Versteeg’s next book – Inez Kelley

Ladies, email me at gemmahalliday (at) gmail (dot) com for your prizes. Congrats!


Please join me in welcoming super cool author, T. Sue Versteeg! She writes super fun romance books for The Wild Rose Press, and I completely covet her cute tagline: Romance Escape Artist. Because, who doesn't want to escape into a romance, right?

First off, I just have to say how big of a fan (borderline stalker) I am of Gemma Halliday.


Gemma is who I want to be when I grow up as a writer. There, I said it. Thank you for allowing me a bit of a fan-girl moment.

Second, this just so happens to be my baby boy’s 21st birthday, so please join me in a drink or three for CJ! Happy birthday and Momma loves you. Wow, I can hear him groaning from cyberspace. Okay, I think I’ve sufficiently embarrassed him.

Now let’s have some fun!

I know cheesy pick-up lines have been blogged many times before, so I’m putting a spin on that. I’d love to hear about some of the quirky and fun come back lines you all have used, or at least felt like using. I’ll start the ball rolling with my favorite work of drunken genius so you can get a feel for what I’m talking about.

Let me set the scene for you first: Ladies night at my favorite hang out, complete with loud music and lots of cheap booze. I’m out with two of my best friends and we’ve pretty much cleaned out the bar’s supply of Apple Pucker and Jell-o shots. A gentleman--wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves haphazardly cut off, hat hair with no hat in sight, complete with a big wad of chewing tobacco tucked in his lip--taps me on the shoulder. I spun around on my chair and stared directly into what I’m sure he considered his best impression of bedroom eyes. Meanwhile, the bar is still spinning and coming to a stop behind him in my head.

He finally speaks after spitting in his cup. (FYI: yes, I believe I recall fighting back vomit there.) “Did you feel that magnetic attraction drawing me across the room to you?”

This is where I would normally swoon and give him a cute girly giggle, regardless of how awful the line was—if I were the slightest bit interested. Not so much this time. I know you are all stunned. At this point my friends were perched on the edge of their seats and practically leaning over me to listen in.

I released a heady sigh and ran my hand down his arm. “Does this mean if I turn back around, it will propel you back across the room?” For those of you who’ve never played with magnets, when you turn one of them around, the other one scoots away.

What can I say? I come from a long line of smart-asses. I’m happy to report that he took my snarkiness in stride and I was referred to as the fiery redhead for the rest of the evening.

So, it’s your turn. Tell me about your shining moment in the world of bad pick up lines. If you haven’t had the luck, or bad luck as it may be, to endure a cheesy come on, tell me what you’d like to say back to some of the really bad lines you’ve heard from others. I’ll give away one print copy of Another Time, Another Place and one e-book of the winner’s choice to two of the best posts. Plus, I will use the winning comeback line (with a special thank you to the winner in the acknowledgements) in my WIP. Lay ‘em on me!

T. Sue Versteeg

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dorchester Editor Leah Hultenschmidt

And the completely randomly picked winner of a mini spa set is… Deborah Blake! Deborah, email me at gemmahalliday (at) gmail (dot) com with your snail mail address, and I’ll get your price out to you ASAP. Congrats!


I hope everyone’s enjoying our week of guests, prizes and anniversary fun. And if you think it’s winding down just because it’s Friday… it’s not! Today I’m giving away a mini spa set to one lucky random poster, so fill up that comments section. And, even better, I have one of my very favorite people in the whole world here to chat with you guys, my editor Leah Hultenschmidt. Not only is she a fabulous editor that always finds a way to make my manuscripts *that* much better, but she's also a wealth of information about what’s hot, new, and happening in publishing

Leah edits both Romance and Westerns at Dorchester Publishing, where she has worked for nine years. After several years in heading Public Relations and Promotions, she’s now back to doing what she loves most—editing books. Some of her most recent projects include the USA Today best-selling Immortals series and Angie Fox’s New York Times best-seller The Accidental Demon Slayer, and, of course, Jana, Leslie, and I keep her busy editing our books as well. ;) Leah has been named among the Who’s Who of Professional Management, and in 2006 was a finalist for PASIC’s Editor of the Year Award. You can follow Leah on her fantastic industry blog Romantic Reads.

Leah has graciously agreed to take all your burning questions about publishing today in an open Q&A. (See why I love her?) Feel free to ask anything about Dorchester, publishing or submitting in general, or upcoming trends and titles that are all the buzz. (Just please no individual manuscript pitches. If you’re interested in submitting to Dorchester, you can check out their submission guidelines here.)

Just a note: Leah has to leave the office early today, so if she doesn’t get to your question this afternoon, she’ll pop back in on Monday to answer.

So... post away!

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Everything in Moderation

My soon-to-leave-the-nest son has drawn the winner of the $10 Barnes and Noble gift card. And the winner is......housemouse88!!!!

Drop me an email at kathleenbacus (at) iowatelecom (.) net, housemouse88, and I'll get your gift card in the mail. Congrats and thanks for stopping by Killer Fiction!


One lucky commenter will be chosen to receive a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card to celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of our Killer Fiction Writers' Blog. So chime in for a chance to win!


Boy am I glad I'm not the only one here at Killer Fiction to forget about securing a guest blogger. (Thanks for making me not look like a total screwup, Les.) Besides, Iowans have to stick together.

It's not that I didn't vaguely remember that it was the second anniversary of our Killer Fiction blog. It's just that I kept putting off actually doing anything about it. I can, I think, be excused for being a bit absent-minded. It's 'that' time of year again.

In spades.

The calendar tells us that it is time to prepare to head back to school--or in my kids' cases, back to college. This weekend I'll be moving my son into his apartment at a university about ninety minutes away from home. Not a horrible distance, but not easily qualifying for that 'just happened to be in the neighborhood and decided to drop by' scenario.

A circumstance for which my son is probably eternally grateful.

He'll be missed. My son and I share a lot of interests and are pretty tight. So, needless to say, I'll return home with a 'Rudolph' nose and plugged sinuses after I've left him there and waved goodbye.

I still have an extra week to prepare for the departure of the other daughter who goes away to college. Then it will be just my youngest (by one minutes and 22 seconds) triplet who still commutes to her classes and mom left at home.

As I told my son yesterday when we went shopping for apartment 'stuff', "It's the end of the world as we know it."

Sniff. Sniff.

So as I said, I can be excused for spacing on the guest blogger for this reason alone. But there's more.

As many of you know, I'm painting the exterior of my house. Hadn't planned to do it until

next year, but when the weather turned out freakishly cool and I got to the point I couldn't stand the old color, I decided to go for it. As a result, I've been spending a lot of time on a ladder, paintbrush in hand. I'm basically down to the trim and the garage. The end is in sight!

If those two circumstances aren't enough to merit a 'bye' in the guest procurement department, I must also add a full time job to the mix.

And last, but not least, there is the 'garden.

Okay, it's not really a garden. It's tomato plants. I love homegrown tomatoes but being a bit of a tightwad, I don't like to have to pay premium prices for them when I have a perfectly nice backyward in which to grow them myself.

So, this year I decide to do it. And, with most projects I undertake, things generally uh, snowball. From 3 plants, my plot quadrupled to 12. And everything was going very well. Until the weather decided to be historically cool for June and July delaying the growth and development of the tomatoes to such an extent that while I have tons of tomatoes on the vine, very few have actually ripened.

Now, with August temperatures soaring into the 90s we typically experience, those tomatoes are now ripening. All at the same time.

I went out and did a 'headcount' last night. Each plant has approximately 20 mature tomatoes which will no doubt ripen about the same time. That means, any day now I'll have about 200 tomatoes to deal with.

Now as I said, I love tomatoes. I'm just not too sure how much I'll love them when I have to deal with them in bulk.

I will give some away, of course, but I really would like to try and use them in some kind of food prep (short of canning, which would be ug-lee). I'd really like to try an easy salsa recipe so if you have any EASY, but good recipes for salsa, post 'em here. (I accidentally deleted your email with the recipe, Glynna, so if you could post it or resend it, that would be appreciated.)

Anyway, those are my 'the dog ate my homework' excuses for not having a guest blogger this week.

How is your fall shaping up? Care to commiserate on empty nest syndrome, gardens or summer projects gone wild, or just give the highlights of your summer? Have at it. Oh. And don't forget to post a fave recipe for tomato consumption if you have one.

Have a super day!

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why the %$#! is One Image Shorter Than the Other? You'd think that in TWO YEARS I'd be able to figure that out!

Okay, I didn't get a guest. I'm a little forgetful. Okay...I'm a lot forgetful. But I do have a cool prize! One random blogger today will win an autographed copy of The Virgin Queen's Daughter, signed by one of my critique partners, Ella March Chase and a signed copy of my other CP Susan Carroll's latest book (signed of course) Twilight of the Queen, which just came out! And if you come up with the best way to randomly chose the winner, you too will win these books! Am I great or what?

You'd think I'd be good at anniversaries. After all, aside from my birthday this week, this year marks my 25th High School Reunion and my 20th Wedding Anniversary. (Now I'm depressed...where did I put that bottle of wine?) But this 2 Yr. with Killer Fiction is special. One, because these women still actually allow me to participate and Two, I've gotten to make some great friends here. And whether I'm prank calling Hellion on Terrio's cell or trying to figure out what in the hell Nikki texted me (sorry I forgot that scene about the poodle - it was Sunday and I had, like, beer...), it's so amazing to have people who love what you do.

Without Killer Fiction, I wouldn't have all of you incredible and hilarious women in my life, and I wouldn't have you guys to give me a hard time every week, on Wednesdays. I actually look forward to that.

Right now, I'm looking for the most interesting method of randomly selecting a name to win the fabulous prizes above. It could involve my guinea pigs, mayonnaise and rope, or K-Y wrestling with Post-its. The most original idea will also get a set of books by my friends Ella and Susan.

So give me your best shot! And remember, (do I even need to say this?) the weirder the better.


The Assassin

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Two Years & Discriminating Tastes

Winner! WINNER!!! Aimee St. Claire please email me at christie(at)christie-craig (.) com.

AmPRIZE FOR TODAY. I will be giving away either a copy of The Everything Guide To Writing Romance, or a $10 certificate to So make sure you leave a comment. P.S. The Pitching video didn't download right, so to see a better version go to

Gosh, two years? Two years we’ve been at it here at Killer Fiction. It’s kind of scary when I think about all the things I’ve told you guys. You know about my fears, my phobias, my body hang-ups—even my obsession with my bras. You know about my husband’s flaws and his good characteristics. You’ve heard about the story of my daughter giving birth. You even know about my son’s tattoo. Gosh, darn, you’ve even heard about my fling with the elephant. I’m sure you pretty much figured out that I’m a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

But that’s okay, because I’m a writer, and hey, I like my Happy Meal way of life. Who needs all those fries anyway? I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t think how darn lucky I am that my publishing dreams have come true. Oh, sure I’m still busy trying to improve, trying to become a household name, but for the most part, I’m living my dream. It didn’t happen overnight. And for all those of you out there trying to reach your own dreams, be it to be a writer, or to be the best baker of zucchini chocolate chip cookies, I’m here to tell you to never give up: Dreams do come true.

Today I’d like to introduce you to my guest blogger, someone who helped me make my dreams come true, my agent: Kim Lionetti. Now, our relationship hasn’t always been easy. (I’m talking about from her perspective, not mine. Honestly, can you imagine having ME for a client?) Whenever I call and say, “Hey, I have this idea and need you to. . .” I swear I hear her moaning. Not that she’s not up for whatever I toss her way. Anyone who has allowed me to hog tie her, blindfold her, put a gun to her head, handcuff her to a chair, put her in the shower, and take pictures of her, well the woman has gotta have some guts. And it shows that she’s just crazy enough to be my agent.

Oh, make sure you peek at the videos that Faye Hughes and I produced that ran with our workshops: The Great Agent Hunt and Pitching Without Striking Out. Staring Kim. (It will explain the whole hog tying and gun stuff.) Then read Kim’s blog about an agent’s discriminating tastes along with some tips for querying and pitching to her. Oh, and a special thanks to the other two starring in the Pitching video, my editor Chris Keeslar and the fabulous writer Terry McLaughlin.

The Great Agent Hunt:

How To Make The Perfect Pitch (Without Striking Out):

Take it away Kim:

Kim Lionetti is a literary agent with Bookends ( representing romance, young adult, mystery, pop culture and pop science. She began her career at Berkley Publishing — a division of Penguin — working as an editor for over eight years. Kim is currently catching up on queries, so she has closed submissions until October 1st. Feel free to send her a query in October as she’s still taking on new clients -- especially those with strong, unique voices like Christie Craig’s. To learn more about Kim and BookEnds visit, and


I think pretty much everyone is picky about something. Could be books, cars, movies, clothes, food, or tattoos. We all have our quirks. Well, I’m here to confess that I’m an agent, and yes…I’m about as picky as they come. My husband might say I’m critical…I prefer to say I have discriminating taste. 

I was born with some of those tastes, others were learned in my adolescent years of discovering what I thought was the bees’ knees and what I wouldn’t be caught dead with, but A LOT of them were developed over fifteen years of working in the publishing industry and reading thousands of submissions. I challenge you to spend day-in and day-out being bombarded by anything and not get jaded. Lucky for me, I’m being bombarded by books. Doesn’t get any better than that for an avid, life-long reader. Still, it probably explains why I can be so darn critical – ahem – I mean discriminating.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it really is a valuable truth of publishing. When agents and editors – me included – are reading their queries and submissions, we’re looking for a reason to reject – not a reason to buy/offer. This isn’t because we’re a bunch of mean, ol’ nasty Simon Cowells (although Christie would probably tell you I have my days – don’t believe her). It’s just the nature of the business brought on by the sheer volume of writers who want to be published.

So when you’re writing your query, polishing your book and preparing your pitch, remember to tailor it toward the most discriminating of readers. THAT’S your audience. With that, I’m going to leave you with the list of things that immediately turn me off in a query/manuscript/pitch and turn on that huge, bright red stoplight in my picky brain. If you think any of them need explanation, please just post a comment, as I’ll be around all day to respond. And let met know what sets off your stoplight at the bookstores!

• Pitching a screenplay, short story collection, children’s picture book, science fiction or academic book to me -- you clearly didn’t do your homework
• Using a gimmicky query letter. “This package will self-destruct in 10 seconds if you don’t read my first page!”
• Beginning your manuscript with 5 pages of backstory
• Telling me this book was 10 years in the making
• Addressing your query letter to all of the BookEnds agents and/or all of the agents you can think of
• Pitching 2 or more books at once
• Introducing your plot as something that’s never ever been done before
• Memorizing and then reciting your pitch to me like it’s something you studied for the SATs
• Stating in your e-mail that you want to write cozies, science fiction and self-help nonfiction
• Opening your first chapter with pages and pages of interior monologue
• Presenting yourself as “the next Dan Brown”, “the next Nora Roberts” or “the next Stephen King.”
• Including your expected advance and print run in your query letter
• Mailing your manuscript in a greasy, used pizza box (Don’t laugh. It happened. Well, okay, you can still laugh.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Samhain editor Angela James

Welcome to our 2nd Anniversary Party!

All of us Killer Fiction gals are so thrilled to be celebrating two years of blogging here and thankful for all the great readers we’ve met along the way. To celebrate our blog birthday, we’ll be giving away prizes throughout the week, and we’ve invited a few special guests to come play with us.

To start off our week of fun, we’ve got a fabulous lady in the house, Angela James, Executive Editor of Samhain Publishing!

Samhain was launched in November of 2005 with a goal of bringing to compulsive readers books that allow them to discover new worlds and be taken on adventures through the creative minds of today’s brightest authors.

Primarily a digital publisher, Samhain also publishes print versions, which turn their stories—and beautiful cover art—into something to touch and hold and love. Their print books are available in Borders, Barnes & Noble and Chapters as well as other chains and independent bookstores. Though, their ebooks are available from their website instantly and a fabulous green alternative to print!

Some of Samhain’s notable authors include R. G. Alexander, Shelli Stevens, Lorelei James, and Lauren Dane, just to name a few.

Angela James is Samhain’s executive editor, publishing all genres of romance and erotica, as well as fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction with strong romantic elements. She’s also the author of the Nice Mommy ~Evil Editor blog, which is a wealth of publishing and industry information.

Angela has been kind enough to come answer all our blog reader questions today. Please ask anything about writing, romance, the state of the industry, epublishing, or any burning questions you’ve been dying to ask an editor. (Just please no individual manuscript pitches. If you’re interested in submitting to Samhain, feel free to read their submission guidelines here:

So… fire those questions away!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Caroline Fyffe - Where The Wind Blows

Today, I'm pleased to introduce the Killer Fiction community to Caroline Fyffee, a debut author at Dorchester whose book, Where the Wind Blows, has just hit the bookshelves. Take it away, Caroline!

* * * * * *

What is with Romance Writers of America and false alarms? You wouldn’t think the two go together, but they must. The only experience I’ve ever had with a bomb or fire scare in a luxury hotel has been at an RWA National Conference.

Does anyone remember Dallas, 2007? We were awakened from our sleep by an alarm followed by a very calm computerized female voice advising us not to gather our belongings, but to evacuate immediately. Dread coiled around me as I remembered our room was on the fourteenth floor! My roommate was just barely awake when I stated pulling at her to hurry as she tried to dress. I flung on a robe and pulled open the door. At any moment we were going to be blown to smithereens. As we hustled down the hall with a handful of other people we didn’t know, the alarm still echoed up and down. Doors opened, some people just looked out, others hurried past us in the opposite direction and I wondered which of us was going the wrong way. At the stairwell we began our descent, still hearing the alarm. Within a few minutes the only thing we could hear was our breathing and the sound of our hearts beating in our ears.

Thank goodness my roommate was levelheaded because I’m not at all. She kept telling me it was just a false alarm, not to worry. In the parking garage was where our flight of stairs deposited us. We swooped in a group, much like a school of fish, hunting for an exit. The first exit we found was locked. A fluke? Who locks exits? Apparently luxury hotels. Yes, all the exits were locked! I wasn’t the only one thinking tons of cement would soon be smashing us like pancakes.

Washington, DC was my second experience. Although nerve-wracking this time wasn’t nearly as frightening because, one-now I was experienced, two-it happened in the middle of the day, and three-I was only on the second floor and easily took the open-air escalator down and out. Without a doubt the worst shock was when I realized I’d gone off without my iPhone!! Thankfully another writer picked it up for me and was there waiting at the conference room where she knew I would return looking for it.

Were you in either of those evacuations? If yes, what was going through your head? Or has there been another time you’ve had a close call?

On a funny note several weeks later I learned that one of the people I’d been trapped in the parking garage with was an agent I’d been querying. LOL. If I’d only known! Talk about a captive audience!


My book is now out! In celebration I’m giving away a copy of, Where The Wind Blows, to a poster. Also, if you want to enter my Under The Western Sky Contest that’s running August 1st to December 1st., all you need to do is watch my Book Preview on my website, and write me a last line for my story. We’re looking to have fun. Grand prize is a night stay in an ol’ western bunkhouse under the stars. Check the details at

Friday, August 07, 2009


I have to share some major cuteness with you all today.

My sister lives in Lake Tahoe, a great resort town on the California/Nevada border in the Sierras. Fabulous skiing, beautiful hiking trails, pristine lake. Unfortunately, It’s also about 4 hours way from me, which means I don’t get to see sis and my adorable little 1 ½ year old niece that often. (That’s her up there in her very first set of pigtails.) And, sadly, Adorable Niece is just at that stage where she doesn’t remember me from visit to visit yet. I’m that weird stranger lady who looks like she’s gonna pinch cheeks. (Which I do.) It usually takes until the end of the visit for her to finally warm up to me… and then next visit we start all over again. Sigh.

But… my sister is one of my few family members who is also a faithful reader of my books. (Did I mention that she’s my favorite sister?) She has all my High Heels books on her shelf in her living room. Not only is she a big reader herself, but she reads constantly to my niece. It’s one of their fav things to do together. Adorable Niece grabs a book from the shelf, takes it to Mommy, and crawls up into her lap.

So, the other day, Adorable Niece toddles over to the bookcase, and what book does she pick out for Mommy to read? Is it Elmo? Peter Rabbit? Once Upon a Potty? Nope. Spying in High Heels. :) The girl has taste.

It made me do a great big “Awwwwwww” when sis said she turned to the back page with my pictures and Adorable Niece got all excited. She remembered me! (Or maybe my pictures reminded her of Elmo. Not sure…) Either way, I think we have a future romance reader in the family.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

P.S. Don't forget to join us next week for our 2 year anniversary party! We're kicking off the week Monday with a Q&A session with Samhain executive editor Angela James!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hacking Away in the Heartland...

Well, this one will be short and--not sweet. For the last week I've had a sore throat and my head and sinuses have felt like they were filled with concrete. Yesterday I started to cough. And cough. And cough. So I saw my wonderful doctor this morning. Her diagnosis? Sinus infection and bronchitis. I've visited my local pharmacy (thank goodness for DRUGS!) and I'm going to wrap up in my favorite blankey, pour some cranberry juice over crushed ice, grab my jumbo box of tissues, and be a pathetic faux invalid for the rest of the day.

The upside? Another opportunity to catch up on DVD movie rentals.

Catch you all next week.

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things...

I've had a lot of questions recently from fans who ask, "What goes on inside your head, exactly?" I decided it was time to show a few of my favorite stuff...the stuff that would(should a volcano erupt in Illinois or a sandstorm bury the midwest) make an archeologist tilt his head like a confused chihuahua wondering if haggis is edible.

Welcome to my world:

This is the best bag EVER! It's based on an actual Harlequin novel, written by a MAN. But the best thing is the title, combined with the bloody knife in the woman's hand, her smug demeanor and the look of horror of the guy behind her. It is never know with women.

A photo of the faculty wives club at a small Iowa college in the 50's, admiring a painting they'd recently acquired. Check out the sight line of the woman looking at the photo.

Another photo by the same artist. Same women's club at the NYC Met. She's holding two purses so somebody's in the bathroom and look what frames her.

Another favorite - 3 suffragettes. I have this not only because I'm a feminist, but also because you can tell what each woman is thinking by the look on her face.

I love tea and the fact it's a pink elephant explains why I like "tea."

This is a treasure. Some friends of mine, um, borrowed this sign from a women's restroom because I loved it and talked about it so much. You did not see this. I disavow all knowledge of this sign.

My friend Jane gave me this mug. Remember Gin Bombay and the 4 dozen cookies Vivian the Evil PTA president wanted her to bake?

So tell me, what's in your office?

The Assassin