Friday, February 26, 2010

The Perfect Shot has a cover!

Guess who has new cover art… it’s me!
Okay, that wasn’t very hard to guess, was it? But, here it is, my fabulous cover for the second book in the Hollywood Headlines series, The Perfect Shot:

Isn’t it awesome?! I have to say, I think this is my favorite cover of all time. It’s so James Bond. But with hot pink!

In honor of my awesome Bond-ish cover, here’s an excerpt of The Perfect Shot. This is the first time I’ve posted it anywhere, so I’d love to hear your thoughts!


The Perfect Shot

Chapter One:

“Come on, baby, just an inch to the left…” I shifted, feeling my feet go numb.

“That’s it,” I coaxed. “Right there, that’s the spot… yes!”

My finger hit the shutter, and I popped off five shots in rapid succession before my subject ducked back behind the curtain of magnolia trees shading his property. I lifted myself up onto my elbows, checking the digital window to see my handiwork. Hot. I’d caught Trace Brody shirtless, a beer in hand. I was too far away, even with my telephoto lens, to make out the label on the bottle, but I knew he always drank beer when the temp rose above 90. He was too manly for those fruity wines, not pretentious enough to drink the trendy martinis his other Malibu neighbors enjoyed.

I’d been watching Trace for weeks now, ever since his publicist had finally confirmed rumors that the hot young actor was engaged to American’s sweetheart, Jamie Lee Lancaster. Think Angelina and Brad… without the tattoos and horde of kids. You’d be close. Then imagine if they suddenly announced they were going to have a big blowout wedding on a cliff above the Malibu coastline. The press about peed their collective pants. My boss, Felix Dunn, editor in chief of the L.A. Informer, included. He’d pulled me from Britney watch and immediately put me to work documenting Trace’s every move between now and the big day.

Not that I minded. I’m much rather spend my days laid out on the hillside above Trace’s multi-million dollar spread in Richie-Rich-ville than chasing Britt on her latest Starbucks run. At least here I got the shirtless view.

I stretched out again on the grass, ignoring the way it tickled the exposed skin at my midriff between my too-low jeans and my too-high T-shirt. (The curse of being a nearly six foot tall women - nothing was ever long enough). I wiped a bead of sweat from my upper lip and put the lens back up to my eye again, slowly sweeping the tree line for another glimpse of my subject.

“Come on, Trace. Play nice.”

Miraculously, he walked right into my line of vision. I could swear sometimes he actually heard me.

“That’s my boy. Now turn this way, give me a smile, honey.”

I watched him set his beer down on a table. He reached both arms up to the sky, stretching, letting out a cat-like yawn.

“Tired? Being a movie star must be such tough work, huh?” I clicked off a couple shots.

Trace moved his head side-to-side, working out the kinks in his neck. I lost him for a moment as he crossed the patio toward his Olympic sized swimming pool, complete with faux rock waterfall and hot tub painted to look like a bubbling lagoon. But my lens caught up with him again as he approached the diving board.

“Fancy a little swim?” I asked the deserted hillside.

As if in answer, Trace dipped a toe into the water. Apparently satisfied with the temperature, he shrugged, walking out onto the diving board.

I hit the shutter, taking three quick shots. He bounced a little, staring down into the crystal clear blue water. But he didn’t jump. Instead his hands strayed to the waistband of his trunks and, in one swift movement, they fell round his ankles.

I froze. My eyes glued to the lens, a small bead of sweat trickling down between my breasts. I think I might have even forgot to breath. The only part of me that seemed to still be working was my trigger finger, clicking off shots like mad. Felix would have a heart attack when he saw these.

Then give me a raise.

Trace kicked his shorts away, then walked his gloriously naked self out to the edge of the diving board.

“Good God, you’re beautiful,” I whispered. Not that I expected anything less. He was, after all, a movie star. But this was one man who needed no airbrushing. How he managed to avoid that white-butt-tanned-torso thing, I had no idea. Lord knows I would have known by now if he were a nude sunbather. But he was a smooth, warm, honey color from his perfectly hardened six-pack abs to his perfectly hardened… other parts.

“Jaime Lee must be one happy women, huh, Trace?”

He ignored me. Of course. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it was weird to talk to him out loud. Almost worse than talking to myself. But I couldn’t help it. He had no idea I existed, but he’d been my constant companion for the past six weeks. At a safe distance, of course. If I ever actually came face to face with the movie star, I’d probably wet my pants. With a telephoto lens and a football field between us, I was cool as a cucumber at a day spa. In person? Well, let’s just say I’ve never been one of those people-persons. I liked people fine, but my gift has never been an ability to carry on clever conversations with the opposite sex while looking suave and sophisticated. My conversations with guys usually included lots of blushing and really smart comments that came to me only after the cute guy had moved on to the sophisticated brunette at the next table.

So, some people talked to their plants, I talked to movie stars who didn’t know I existed.

Naked ones, currently.

I watched as he reached his hands up above his head, bounced once on the diving board, then cut cleanly into the pristine, blue water with hardly a splash.
I felt sweat travel down my spine and could almost feel the sweet, cool water washing over my own skin. I shivered, goose bumps breaking out on my arms as I popped off a few more shots of Trace resurfacing.

“Baby, that was amazing,” I told him, suddenly feeling like I needed a cigarette.
I watched as he pulled himself from the water, shimmering droplets clinging to his gym-sculpted body, and wrapped a towel around his waist before picking up his beer again and heading inside.

I sat up and peeled the lens from my eye. The distance between my secluded hillside and his fancy pool was immediately apparent, and I let out a long breath as his French doors shut behind him.

I’m not sure how long I watch his closed doors, reliving my glimpse of Trace au-natural, before my phone rang from my pocket. Shifting in the grass, I slipped it out.

“Cameron Dakota,” I answered.

“Cam,” came my boss’s voice. “Where are you?”

“Malibu. Why?”

“We got a tip that Jamie Lee’s trying on wedding dresses in Beverly Hills,” he said, his British accent giving his words a lilting rhythm. “How fast can you get there?”

I bit the inside of my cheek. “If I get caught speeding, will the paper cover the ticket?”

I could hear Felix’s wallet squeaking in the silence in the other end. Finally he relented. “Yes.”

“Give me twenty minutes.”

Felix rattled off the address of the boutique where Jamie Lee had been spotted. Then added, “If she settles on a dress today, I want to be the first to run with a photo, got it?”

“Aye, aye, chief.”

“And Cam?”


“You get any good pics of Trace today?”

I pulled up my view screen again, checking out the series of nude shots that even a tabloid like the Informer would have to censor parts of. I couldn’t help a grin.

“Did I ever.”

What can I say? Being the paparazzi’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.


~Trigger Happy Halliday

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Miscellaneous Thoughts...

That's right! That's what I'm talkin' about! As I mentioned in last week's blog, my very favorite candy is back on store shelves! Cadbury Creme Eggs.


I know. In the grand scheme of things it's not as if it's that big of a deal. It doesn't have the significance of a debate on health care reform (I like SO don't want to go there) or the salaciousness of a sex scandal, but I'm a 'simple pleasures' kind of gal.

And proud of it.

After reading Christie's blog recounting a friend's battle with her husband's sudden and serious illness and his miraculous recovery, one realizes that the things we hold most dear don't come with a price tag, yet are infinitely priceless. Her friends' story also underscores the power of faith and the role that determination and a willingness to never give up play in achieving truly awe-inspiring outcomes despite the odds.

In writing, as in most areas of endeavor, we buck the odds. Shrinking lines. Fewer slots. Less sales. Lower advances. Reduced promo dollars. As I've said before, being an author and writer is not for wimps. That goes for both pubbed and pre-pubbed. It takes the same kind of steel-in-the-spine stick-to-it, single-minded, focus Christie's friend displayed over her husband's hospital bed. A commitment to making things happen. Great things. Miraculous things.

Despite the 'experts'. Regardless of the risks. No matter the odds. I'm going to recommit to living each day to the fullest, to show my gratitude for the people who share my life, and keep working towards the dreams I have yet to fulfill.

As Helen Keller said, 'Life is a Daring Adventure or nothing.' (Okay, so maybe in my case it's more 'misadventure' than adventure.) And the first step to achieving is believing!

So thanks to Christie, for sharing her friends' remarkably inspirational story. How have you or someone you know persevered in the face of huge obstacles or odds stacked against them? Any pearls of wisdom to encourage or lift others who might be fighting the temptation to give up or give in? Inspire us!

~Bullet Hole, keeping the faith~

Misty, Watercolor Memories...Of The Way, I Was...

First things first! I screwed up and didn't post the contest winners! Here they are: Abigail Beal, Refhater and TerriO! E-mail me at to claim your prize!

I was at a wedding last weekend. That's what the picture is from. Free beer and roses everywhere is just too much temptation for me. And as we all beer tastes better. That is, until the kegs run out and you have to actually BUY beer. That beer tastes just isn't free. And suddenly, Leslie has no more cash in her teeny, tiny but oh-so-chic handbag and that makes Leslie sad.

A number of years ago, before I was an author, I'd started a drinking club for women. A secret club. We called ourselves WAD (Women Are Drinking). I formed chapters in Virginia and Iowa. We had laminated membership cards that said, "Buy me a drink, and no one gets hurt." Once a month, we'd meet secretly and hit a town where no one knew us. We always had one (may I say, disgruntled?) designated driver - so hey, we were responsible.

What did we do? Well, we'd go to clubs and request Tori Amos songs and when the dance floor cleared, we'd try to dance to Tori Amos (you pretty much have to be drunk for that). Sometimes we would be just standing there, but think we were moving. Once, we got tattoos. One time we got thrown out of a bar and ended up skinny dipping in a lake where it was so dark we couldn't see. And then there was the time our designated driver had to take us to the bathroom as we formed a human chain of drunk women so we wouldn't fall over. Darlene puked in the beer cooler.

Mr. Assassin loved it. He always could hear my ride drop me off a mile away as we shouted, "SHHHHHH! YOU'LL WAKE THE WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD!" A car of giggling women would pull up and I'd roll out onto the grass laughing. Tom would scoop me up and take me inside.

I miss those days. I was ten years younger and an idiot, but it was fun.

So, last weekend I dropped off the kids, said goodbye to the housesitter, and met up with my friends to drive two and a half hours south to a very small town on the Missouri, Iowa border.

I won't tell you what happened. But it was nice to get out and drink with the girls again. Granted, the teenage DJ had never heard of Tori Amos so we had to settle for Lady GaGa. And no one even puked in the beer cooler...didn't even come close.

The Assassin

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Saw A Miracle Today

I saw a miracle today. The last ten days I’ve had a front row seat to a heart wrenching, but beautiful love story. For anyone who says romance isn’t alive--for anyone who says romance is silly, or insignificant, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. I’m also here to tell you that miracles do exist. As a matter of fact, after what I’ve seen, I’ll argue the fact with you until the cows come home.

Jody Payne is one of my critique partners, if you remember, I mentioned her in my post about Chocolate Martinis. She’s the colonel’s wife, the one with more life experience, but still looks too darn good in her jeans. She’s spunky, she’s spry and she’s probably the most stubborn woman I know when it comes to accepting someone’s help. Can you imagine this women with a broken shoulder, wearing a brace to keep her from moving her right arm, and telling me she can buckle her own seatbelt? And how did she get this broken shoulder? Well, it depends on who you ask. When she called me and asked if I would post on the loop that she wasn’t able to type, and therefore would be lurking, I was more than happy to do so. I posted what she asked me to, and then told the group that she had broken her shoulder by having wild, kinky sex with her husband. Since she couldn’t type, everyone had no choice but to believe me. And if you ever saw Jody and John together, that would give my story more believability. They love each other. It was apparent in how they teased and looked at one another. And when I saw John that Saturday afternoon, he was laughing about the post.

Now the truth of how she broke her shoulder is she was run over by a horse. I don’t think it was the same horse that kicked her in the head, giving her a concussion a while back, or the one who broke her ribs and caused her lung to collapse. And of course, none of these incidents were the horse’s fault; accidents just happen when you deal with big animals. But the fact that she still works the horses blows my mind. I’d have thrown in the towel at the concussion stage. But not Jody. Yup, she has an independent streak in her. But these last ten days, I’ve also learned something else about Jody Payne.

She’s probably the most courageous woman I know. This isn’t to say she wasn’t scared, or even worried, but her smile, her ability to focus on the positive, even when there seemed to be so little positive to grasp, well, it was downright amazing.

You see, Jody’s husband, John Payne, a retired Colonel, now a teacher at a college who still found time to work with the horses that stable, had suddenly started acting incoherent. Fearing he was having a stroke, she managed to get him in the car, and she drove him, with a broken shoulder, to the hospital. It wasn’t a stroke. They shortly diagnosed John of having encephalitis.

Within a few hours, John was unconscious. Within a few days, this man who was so much like Jody, a man who never slowed down, was on ventilator and a feeding tube. The doctor’s prognosis was not hopeful. But Jody’s hope never wavered. “I’m asking for a miracle,” she said. “And isn’t this what romance writers do? Write about miracles, believe in miracles?”

I visited Jody most everyday, I watched her lean over the hospital rail, over the man whom she had walked through life with for over fifty years, and say, “I’m here, John. I’m here. You are not alone.” I think she said it to him two or three times each time I would visit. My heart would clutch at the love you could see in her eyes and hear in her voice. That, I thought, is romance. That is love. And each time I went home, I hugged my husband a little tighter.

Well, today I went up to see her. They had removed his breathing tube because he seemed to breathing well on his own. Amazingly, the night before he had even woken up, had spoken but hadn’t seemed extremely coherent. But while I stood in the CCU room with Jody, she did what she’d done all those days. She leaned over that bed and said, “John, I’m here. You are not alone. I’m here.” And that’s when the miracle occurred.

John opened his eyes, he focused on her and said, “I know.”

She started talking to him. She made a joke, and when she did, he smiled. A few minutes later, the doctor came in and John responded to all his commands. The doctor was simply amazed. He looked at Jody and said, “This man is going to walk out of this hospital.”

We know John still has a long way to go before he’s completely out of the woods. But the woods we can face, because today, we saw a miracle. Today I saw the power of love.

I hope reading this blog and knowing Jody’s story will encourage you to hug the ones in your life, to never take for granted the time you have with each other. I hope it will remind you that miracles do sometimes happen. I hope you’ll send all the positive thoughts John and Jody’s way.


Monday, February 22, 2010

A Thing of Beauty

I saw a YouTube video last week that was a thing of beauty. Granted, YouTube is a fascinating place to visit, but I try to stay away or I end up losing massive amounts of time there. But there are a couple of people that if they tell me *I* personally need to see a video, I know already it's geared to me.

This is a video of a DEA agent speaking for a group - looks like maybe a community thing, as all ages are there. You don't have to watch the whole thing. About a minute gets all you need.

WARNING: Spew alert!

My favorite line:

"I'm the only one in this room profession enough, that I know of, to carry a Glock-40."


Thank God he wasn't ATF.

Soooooooo, do you think he was fired? Do you think he's been doing some of his own confiscated product?

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, February 19, 2010

Scenes from Starbucks

Since mini-me came along, our house has not had a second of quiet. Not that I mind a happy, noisy house, but it’s not very conducive to writing. So, I’ve started taking my trusty laptop to Starbucks every morning to get my semi-quiet writing time in.

My local Starbucks is pretty large, and happens to be pretty centrally located. Couple that with the fact that we’re smack in the middle of Silicon Valley (which means 50% of the people who live here telecommute to work on their laptops), and the high number of unemployed in the area (i.e. being interviewed for telecommuting jobs by guys telecommuting on their laptops), and I’m finding a pretty interesting cast of characters that regularly show up to work at Starbucks. Let me introduce a few:

This lady comes in every single day at the same time (10:58am on the dot) wearing exactly the same thing. Exactly. A ball cap pulled down low over her yellow (not blonde… we’re talking clown coloring yellow) hair, a cotton skirt, a fuzzy leopard print jacket, and metallic gold flats, carrying a coach purse and wearing lots of gold jewelry. At first I thought her lack of outfit changes and odd outfit choice spelled homeless person. Nope. She drove off in a Jag today. Convertible. Go figure.

Next is this lady:

Five points to the person who can spot the dog. Yep, it’s in her jacket.

It may be a little hard to see in this pic (yes, these are all taken stealth style on my phone), but these three people are holding hands and praying. From what I overheard, they needed to make sure that Jesus was down with their business deal before they started their meeting. Now, I have nothing against prayer in public… I’ve just never heard this particular one before. (“Dear Lord, please bless this meeting, bless this website, may our launch be bathed in your glory…”)

Look, it’s Adam Lambert! (Plus twenty years and twenty pounds.)

But, my fav group are these three ladies I was sitting next to the other day. I was typing my little heart out and overheard them talking about a new website for tweens that they’re launching next month. Having just sold a YA series myself, I was intrigued. (Yes, I was eavesdropping. So sue me.) The lines I picked up?

“Okay, you’re in charge of finding writers.”
“What should we pay our writers?”
“I don’t know, but I think we should pay them a lot. Writers are so underpaid.” (No, seriously! They really said this! )
“If only it would be easy to find someone who could write for a tween audience. Where on earth do we start looking?”

Um, yeah, I totally leaned over and introduced myself at that point. ;)

Okay, that’s where I do my writing. (And you thought all the wacky characters in my books were fictional. Ha!) Where do you write? Any fun characters hang at your local watering hole?

~Trigger Happy (and slightly hopped up on caffeine) Halliday

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What light thru yonder window passes...OMG, it's the SUN!

I'm in a great mood this morning. I've got a song in my heart (and if you'd heard me sing, you'd want me to keep it there) and a spring in my step. I've got a grin a mile wide plastered on my pallid, pale, Vitamin D deprived face and it's all due to a hot, glowing orb made up of about ten gases and elements.

The sun.

I'm not sure how many days we've gone this winter without seeing the sun, but judging from the general attitude of folks in winter weary regions, it's time Mr. Sun hung around for awhile. It's getting scary out there.

Monday there were two news items about assaults taking place over snow removal disputes. The weapons of choice? Snow shovels, of course.

Road rage is on the rise. (Exhibit A: last week's blog)

And each evening after a day of celebrating the seemingly simple task of getting back and forth to work, a certain lassitude or lethargy often appears. A sharp reduction in motivation. A dearth of energy. It's at this point where an almost uncontrollable urge to just sit and 'vej out' takes hold. (Note, the term 'vej' has nothing to do with the consumption of leafy, green, healthy vegetable-types)

Which may account for the recent back-and-forth I had with my physician when I sought treatment for ear infection and accompanying vertigo and was routinely weighed.

Doc.: We've gained a little weight over the winter, haven't we?

Me: Oh, I wouldn't say you've gained all that much...

Doc: I'm pregnant.

Me: Oh.

Doc: What's your excuse?

Me: SAD, maybe?

Doc: Sad?

Me: I think I could have SAD.

Doc: Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Me: It could be.

Doc: Are you depressed, Kathy?

Me: I am now.

Doc: Are you getting enough exercise?

Me: Does snow shoveling count?

Doc: How about your walking?

Me: Well, there is this bum knee...

Doc: What is your diet like?

Me: Before or after I discovered they'd put out the Cadbury Creme Eggs in the Easter candy aisle?

Doc: I don't think you have SAD, Kathy.

Me: You don't? You mean...I've become a...COUCH POTATO?!!

Doc: If the couch fits...


Looks like it's back to 24 Hour Fitness for Bullet Hole. I've got to shed ten lbs by spring. Anyone with me?

Oh, and before I sign off, I want to give a major congrats shout-out to my big sister who recently retired from the Iowa State Patrol at the rank of Captain after thirty-two years of service. Enjoy your retirement, D. You've earned it! And we SO have to collaborate on a book. Oh, the tales we could tell!

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

If Leslie Langtry Ran The Olympics...

(I will post the winners of last week's contest at the end of today! Keep following!)

If I did the Olympics, things would be a little more interesting. Don't get me wrong, I love the Olympics. I just think that with a little tweaking, it could really be, well, fun!

-Curling/Rink of Fire: A glaze of grain alcohol on the ice is lit on fire as they slide with the stone. The broomers have to use live cobras to sweep the ice as the stone slides.

-Ski Jump Biathalon: Skiers have to soar through the air while shooting the wings off of mosquitos with .44mag revolvers. They don't score any points for dead mosquitos.

-Figure Skating Improv: Figure skaters won't know the song until they are poised on the ice to start. At any time, the music can change to another genre completely. For example, start with Enter Sandman by Metallica, change to Tiny Tim's Tiptoe Through the Tulips and end with polka music. To make it fair, they have to dodge cleverly disguised quicksand pits.

-Naked Men's Luge: Um, do I need a reason?

What would you come up with?

The Assassin

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What are you reading?

Okay, today were going to try something new. Today, I want to hear from you. I want to know what books you are reading and enjoying. I want to know how you came to read the book. Was it recommended? Were you drawn to it by the cover? What kind of covers to do you like? Any covers you don’t like? Did you read a review and think it sounded good and just had to get it?

Then I want to know what pulls you into a book? Is it the characters? Is it the plot? Do you always read a certain type of book? Or do you venture out in different genres?

How long do you give a book to pull you in? Do you read the first page and if it doesn’t’ grab you, do you toss it? Or do you give the book one chapter? And make sure you tell me if you are also a writer. I think writers sometimes read differently.

And because I never expect you to answer questions that I don’t, here are my answers:

I recently read Susan Andersen’s, Bending The Rules. I loved it. I’ve bought, Lori Wilde’s “The Sweetheart’s Knitting Club” but I haven’t read it yet. I also bought Susan E. Phillips latest book and haven’t read it yet either. I read six "Rita" books, but because it's a contest, I can't tell you the names. But I had several that were really good.

These above authors are pretty much automatic buys for me. But I do regularly pick up books just because of the cover. I will then read the back cover blurb and a few pages before I invest in it. I think I buy most of my books due to recommendations. Someone will say, “This author was so good.” And I’ll have to go find out for myself. I also read Romantic Times Magazine and will sometimes read a review and then go pick up the book. Do any of you read Romantic Times Magazine?

What pulls me into a book is a character that I want to love. It can be either the hero or heroine, but they need to intrigue me. It can be a great plot, but if I don’t care about the people, I will probably set it down. I read across the board in all genres: historicals, contemporaries, young adult, and paranormal. But not a whole lot of fantasy. I will give a book about 25 pages and if it hasn’t pulled me by then, it usually gets placed in my “maybe someday” pile. There’re too many in that pile right now. And since I did clean off some of the books I'm probably not going to read, I will be shopping for some great reads to build up my to-be-read pile. So come on, recommend some great reads and educate me in how you choose a book.

Oh, and because I always try to offer one little chuckle: My son, who is in Pennsylvania at school, called me the other day and said, “Mom, something is wrong with my refrigerator.”
“What is it?” I asked.
He said, “It doesn’t produce food like the one we have at home. I keep opening the door and checking, but it’s just not working.”

Hey, you gotta love those kids. Now, make sure you let me know what books you are reading.


Monday, February 15, 2010


You ever have those moments where you just go "huh?" I get them a lot, even though people rarely surprise me any more, I still sometimes have to shake my head or raise an eyebrow. Then there's the weather. The weather in Texas this year has advanced me from head-shaking and eyebrow-raising to cussing. It snowed. In Texas. A lot. 12.5 inches to be exact. What the heck is that? The Sheltie had to wade to pee. We are simply not equipped for a foot of snow. On the upside, I got to work from home. On the downside, snow is usually associated with COLD.

Have you guys been watching the Olympics? I LOVE the winter Olympics. I think it's the thrill-seaker in me, because so many of the events are fast and frantic and on the verge of out-of-control. I am eagerly anticipating Sean White's snow boarding. That guy is amazing on wheels or snow.

So that being said, and I want to preface this by saying that it is extremely sad that an athlete died during luge practice - but I still love luge. Some high-placed political figure (I didn't get his position or name) from that athlete's country made the comment that "no one should die doing a sport."

Okay, seriously? Those guys are vaulting down a sheet of ice at 90 mph laying on a cookie sheet with knife blades on the bottom. People die from a fall in their bathtub every year - and I'll bet they weren't doing 90 mph on the way down. Reality is, if you are going that fast and you hit an immovable object, and you're not surrounded by a cage (as in auto racing), the energy has to go somewhere, and I'm betting it won't be the immovable object.

Many, many sports are dangerous. I am an extreme sports junkie, so everything I enjoy has that edge of danger to it. Let's face it, that's why I like it and that's why the athlete's do it.

Then there's the stupid comments about injuries. Someone (can't remember who) was talking about the awful fact that one of the American mogul skiers has had six knee surgeries and she's only 35. Well......yeeeaaaaaahhhhhhhh. Have you WATCHED them ski on moguls? There's no shock absorbers on skis, so what do you think is absorbing all that banging and twisting? There's one sport that I wouldn't even attempt. I've skied - sorta (whole other story) - but launching down a vertical sheet of hills on a couple of rulers in not going to happen for this girl. I can imagine the horror. I'd hit that first mogul and end up with a ski inserted so far up my hiney, it would require surgery for removal. And what amazes me the most is they'll wreck and slide 200 yards, then pop back up, still on the skis. Hell, no - I'd be laying there waiting for ski patrol, Vicodin and a scotch.

More speed skating tonight. I hope to see Apolo Ohno win another medal. Love that kid.

So what are you watching? Favorite events? Thoughts on speed or knee surgery?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Valentine’s Day conspiracy

A though on Valentine's Day by the fabulous author, Maria Grazia Swan...

Ever wonder what romance was like before lovers world wide became enslaved to the Valentine’s Day rituals?

Wonder no more, I’m here to share my knowledge of the subject.
I grew up in Italy, since I’m Italian that’s not a big surprise. I had my first crush, my first kiss and all that jazz just like any regular girl, here or there. The only thing I knew about Valentine’s Day was what I learned in catechism class, from the catholic nuns, and you can believe me when I tell you it had nothing to do with romance and lovers.

If you Google St Valentine, you’ll get all kind of stories of martyrdom relating back to the third century and Romans emperors.

Third century, my friends, makes Valentine older than Hugh Hefner!

The first time I heard St Valentine’s name linked with romance/love/lust, you pick it, either one works for me, was when I was dating a Count. I hate to associate the word ‘date’ with the Count as it was more or less a sexual thing that didn’t last long. By the way, being a Count is not a big deal where I come from, unless you are one of the few Counts with a title and money. This one had both and the villa he owned in town was a second home. A second home with servants and that’s where it always got messy. When you live in a small town where most everybody knows someone who knows your parents, you like to keep your private life very private. So while we were ‘dating’ the hired help got many nights off. One evening he handed me a cute little box that looked like it came from a jeweler. At first I panicked. What if it was an engagement ring? Fortunately, it contained a necklace made of red grenadine stones.

He looked at me with great expectation. I’m assuming at some point he figured out that all his good intentions and cleverness about the hard to find grenadine stones and the symbolism of the color red was wasted on me. It was then I learned about Valentine’s Day and the so-called connection with lovers. I also had to listen about his effort to find this necklace made of natural red stones. Don’t know where I lost the necklace or whatever happened to the Count. His villa sold years ago, by then I had left Italy and moved to the States where every February I see red hearts and people in or out of love who feel compelled to exchange Valentines. Why do I think it is a conspiracy? Hellooo! They brainwash little innocent kids. Tiny tots who can’t read or write force their parents into buying boxes with dozens of paper hearts derived from dead trees. A card for every classmate, regardless of race, sex or religion, this is an equal opportunity conspiracy. By the time they are out of school and working in an office cubicle, they are so indoctrinated into the custom that if they don’t have a legit Valentine, they send themselves flowers or candy just to save face. I know, I’ve done it myself. And who benefits from all this? It’s not called the Hallmark conspiracy for nothing. Okay, I found that on Google. But along with cards we have florists, jewelers, the works. My suggestion is this: let’s accept gifts from lovers EVERY day of the year EXCEPT on Valentine’s Day. Think about it, 364 days of giving and receiving, then on Valentine’s Day, we sit home and count our loot.

~Maria Grazia Swan

Maria Grazia Swan is an author and motivational speaker who shares
relationship advice and guidance for women re-entering the social/dating
scene. Maria empowers and encourages single women to be bold, fearless, and
sexy in their pursuit of life and love after age 45. An award recipient from
the Women’s National Book Association, Swan is the author of Boomer Babes:
True Tales of Love and Lust in the Later Years (Leisure Books). Visit

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Digs!

I know I’ve blogged before about the hazards of having a split personality, and I’ve never made any secret of the fact that Gemma is a pen name. When I first started writing romance, other well established authors I knew said they routinely got fan mail from prisoners. In prison. While I have nothing against having a broad reader base, the idea of some guy in a cell for twenty-to-life hand addressing a note to me was a little creepy. So, I figured that being the single gal I was, safely dictated that I take a pen name for my writing. That was eight years ago, and at this point I honestly feel as much Gemma as I do my given name. However, sometimes having two names can have its interesting moments.

Lately I’ve been getting so much spam at my personal email address, that I’ve started using my Gemma Halliday address almost exclusively. Which meant that when I recently went on the apartment hunt, I used my Gemma email address to write to potential landlords off of craigslist.

A couple weeks ago I found the perfect place and emailed the landlord. While the email came from my Gemma address, I scrubbed it of any writing related signature lines and signed it with my real name. The landlord wrote back and said we could come see the apartment that day at anytime between 2 And 3. I wrote back right away and said that was perfect, we’d see him at 2:30.

I didn’t get an email back, so around 1:45 I figured I should probably call to confirm. I did, and when he picked up he apologized and said he had actually made an appointment with someone else for 2:30 already, but we could come at 2 or 3. (You savvy readers see where this is going already, doncha?) With all the people losing their houses lately in this area, the rental market has become very competitive. So, being the sly dogs we are, we decided that we’d see it at 2 and beat the other guy to the punch.

So, at 2:00 we view the place, love it, grab applications, and cross our fingers that the person seeing it at 2:30 doesn’t have better credit than us. We talk to the landlord a couple more times over the next few days, and he keeps mentioning this other interested party. However… he decided to go with first-come-first-serve (I like this guy!) and ultimately offered the place to us. Yay!

So, we go to sign the paper and he lets it slip who this other interested party was:
Gemma Halliday.

Mental forehead smack.

He got confused by my email address, and when I called him using my real name, he thought I was a different person than the one who had emailed him about the apartment. So, apparently, my competition for the place was me. On the up side, I beat myself out!

We've spent the last week moving and we're almost settled in. We have the boxes out of the living room (yay!), but we don't yet have any living room furniture (boo!). My clothes are all still in boxes (boo!), but the nursery is finally coming together (yay!). In fact, it's the only room that's done, so here is baby's fab new room:

Sorry the quality isn't great - I took this on my phone. Because my camera is still in a box somewhere. Expect more home improvement updates a la Bullet Hole as things come together. I can't wait!

~Trigger (and home improvement) Happy Halliday

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The winter of my discontent.

I know. I know. You're sick of winter and sick of hearing me rail about winter weather, winter driving, winter period. Tough nubbies. I deserve a opportunity to rant. D.C. isn't the only place that has broken snow records. We've had snow on the ground here in the central plains since early November. We're set to break records for total winter snow amounts with the next round of white stuff due to hit Saturday.

And it's getting to people. Me included.

Monday I managed to get to work but by Monday night, I decided I just couldn't face another commute in a blizzard and found a decent 'snow rate' and booked a hotel room for the night. Then Tuesday morning my trusty ol' Jimmy wouldn't start.

Tuesday night it was another white-knuckle drive. But I gotta tell you, I experienced one of those moments when you see justice in action. On ice, no less.

We've all seen it. The bozo who thinks he can drive like Ernie Durr despite the icy conditions and he passes you like you're standing still. Now confess. Haven't you thought even a little how it might not be all that bad if the jerk ended up in a ditch somewhere down the line--unharmed, of course--and you, at your cautious pace, would just give the Queen's wave--or your version thereof--as you drove past?

Well, that's exactly what happened on my Tuesday night commute. I'm doing my white-knuckle manuever, hunched over the wheel, and in my rear view mirror I see these bright-beam headlamps appear out of nowhere. Now, I'm going a respectable speed given the conditions. The wind is at least 30 and gusting to forty, with blowing and drifting snow. The roadways are almost completely covered winter 'stuff', only one set of tire tracks are visible. I'm following those tire tracks. I'm watching the vehicle--a rather big pickup--close the gap between us. I'm beginning to hold my breath as it gets closer and closer and doesn't seem to be slowing down. My knuckles get whiter, my grip on the steering wheel a 'fear of impending death' grip. The truck bears down on me, then it finally moves to the passing lane (or what one could only assume was the passing lane as the roadway markings weren't visible) and blows around me, a blur of white as it kicks back snow and road crud from monster tires.

Here's where that 'bad wittle girl' thought popped into my head. You know. The wish that the jerk driver would end up in a median down the road. That wish. Well, I had just managed a tricky up-hill turn and was just coming out of it before approaching a second slippery incline when I saw the pickup in the distance ahead of me do one of those 360 numbers on the roadway. One minute he was going up the hill and the next he was going round and round until he slid off into the median, his bright-beam headlights shining back at me as I drove slowly by. If the roads had been better, I'd have taken a hand off the steering wheel to wave.

At least this tortoise finished the race...


Okay, I've admitted to a careless thought (okay, and a petty nature). But no one was hurt. The truck wasn't damaged. So I figure, no harm, no foul. Maybe the jerk will learn to drive for the road conditions and, ultimately, someone will benefit from a lesson learned down the road (pun intended, of course). Have you had any of these 'swift, sweet justice' moments? Any time where you've witnessed a fitting comeuppance for a deserving soul? Please share so I won't feel I'm an awful person for enjoying this dude's 'ice-capade' as much as I did.

Oh, and stay safe if you're experiencing winter's deathgrip. It's sure got a hold on us this year. Where is that Pennsylvania groundhog? I feel like kicking something...

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This Is My Brain On Winter...Any Questions?

A woodpecker's tongue has a thin bone in it and curls around its skull because it's so long. I was shocked, because I thought only bassett hounds and Gene Simmons could do that.

My next pet...a capybara, or Rodent Of Unusual Size. They're legal in Texas. It's like a prehistoric guinea pig...wearing a saddle for a monkey...

This is a duck and his penis. Kind of gives Vlad the Impaler's nickname a run for it's money, eh?

Because it's winter, and because I need a laugh (or I'll die), I'm offering a copy of your choice of one of the Bombay books, signed by moi, for the best caption you can come up with to these pictures. I'll pick a winning caption for each photo.

The Assassin

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Resolutions and Goals

New Year Resolutions

Okay, we’ve had over a month now, a whole freaking month to get ourselves in gear. Count ‘em--six weeks to kick ol’ habits and to become buds with the new habits. Six weeks to set out to accomplish what we said we were going to do.

How’s it going?

Are you following your new diet? Have you gone to the gym three times a week? Done that tummy trimming video you promised to do every day? Or is the thigh master what you need? Are you doing the back exercises that the physical therapist said you need to do daily? Have you stayed true to your oath of never inviting a whole half gallon of Blue Bell Chocolate Fudge ice cream to take up residence on your hips? Are your bedroom drawers cleaned out with panties you don’t wear anymore for fear you’ll be in accident? Have you gone through your stack of books and given away the ones you’ve read or won’t read? Have you used the new cookbook your daughter gave you for Christmas? Have you started the knitting project, started writing a new book, or signed up for that class in photography that you said you were going to start?

Or, are you cringing and thinking, “You know CC, I really don’t have to read your blog if you’re gonna make me feel bad about myself!”

I don’t blame you for thinking that. Believe me, right now there’s this little voice inside my head saying, “You know, CC, you could choose another blog topic--one that didn’t remind you that you’ve failed or one that didn’t tell everyone in Blogsville that you haven’t met your goals. Couldn’t you just blog about the guy whose New Year Resolution was to be able to burp the National Anthem. Or what about the guy whose goal was to learn to make armpit noises. It’s funny, people will laugh, you will laugh. And everybody will be happy. Why do you have to go get all serious and shit?”

Why? Because in addition to being a smartass and loving to laugh, I’m also a person who believes we play a big part in making things happen in our lives. The good things and the not-so-good things. Yes, I know that luck, both good and bad, can fall from the sky like bird poo. But I also believe in synchronicity, in fear of failure, in fear of change. I know all about comfort zones, about finding yourself stalled in this thing called life. About wrong turns and just plain ol’ bad decisions. And believe it or not, my goal isn’t to make you or myself feel bad. My goal is to help me and maybe help you reconnect with our values. To stop letting little things, and even the big things, get in the way of accomplishing the goals that we tell ourselves are little issues, but in truth, they are somehow connected to our overall happiness and well being.

Now, I have a lot of excuses, and a part of me wants to stand up and yell at myself, “But look what you have accomplished!” Hell, yes. I’ve done a lot. I took care of the things I had to do. Deadlines did NOT go unmet. Wait, that’s a boldfaced lie. The deadlines that were set by others, my editors, deadlines where other peoplewere counting on me, they didn’t go unmet. But what about my personal deadlines? What about the promises I made to myself? Isn’t it amazing, and a little bit sad, that the person we are most likely to let down is ourselves?

So, here’s what I am doing and what I encourage you to do. Spend some time reviewing your New Year Resolutions/goals. I already know there are a few I need to either kick to the curb or revamp. I mean, how important is it to make arm pit noises? LOL There are a few I just need to do—for example, that underwear drawer that needs going through and the books I need to find homes for. When done, these things will make me feel so good because these are things that poke at me everyday and make me feel bad when I face them. And seriously, it would only take me a couple of hours. The back exercises that I HAVE to do will either become a habit or I will find myself in therapy again. Telling myself I don’t have time is like calling the bird and making an appointment to get crapped on.

So . . . what is it that you are not doing that needs to be done? Or you setting yourself up to deal with crap because you haven’t met a goal? And if you, unlike myself, and probably a lot of people, have managed to meet your goals, please share a little about how you’ve stayed on track. Hey, we’re all in this together. Life is a journey and if we share a little and help the people around us, not only are we more likely to accomplish more, but we’ll have more fun doing it.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Gloomy Monday

Saints won!!!!!!!!! While I am enormously excited for my home-state team, I must say it is a gloomy Monday here in Dallas. Rain, rain and more rain. ugh My yard is a pond and I can't stand to step on it. It's like carpet that's been flooded. And it's gray and cold and pretty much miserable all the way around. I don't know some of you live in cold, gloomy areas. I am pretty much done with winter.

So I spent this weekend locked up with revisions for SHOWDOWN IN MUDBUG and I must say that door to door salesmen are some of the most annoying people in the world. I would just ignore the doorbell altogether, which is what I usually do, but I was expecting a delivery and I don't have a peephole. I know, I need a peephole.

Well, I answer the door one time and there's a guy standing there with a grubby backpack and a generic spray bottle and clearly he's wanting to sell me soap and water or diluted Windex or something that is supposed to be the cleaning solution of the century, but then if it was that great, would he be walking door to door? So he launches into his speech and the first thing he ask is "If I asked you to tell me the one product that cleans everything in your house, what would you say?"

I totally see where he's going and know that unless I head him off at the pass, I'll spend the next fifteen minutes with him spraying that crap on everything in my driveway. So I say "My housekeeper?"

Problem solved.

I swear, as soon as I come up for air on writing, I am going to hang a "All solicitors will be shot and buried out back." I'm thinking "No Soliciting" is going to be far too tame for this crowd.

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, February 05, 2010

Author Maria Grazia Swan

Um, yeah. I totally didn’t post a blog last Friday, did I? I have a totally great reason for that. I was moving and had no internet for 4 days. Can you imagine? 4 whole days without going online. I nearly broke out in hives. I’m still sorting through a million boxes, but I’m back in the land of the living (i.e. the internet) and will tell you all about my moving adventure… next week. Instead, today we have a super fabulous special guest blogger, author Maria Grazia Swan. So, take it away, Maria

Death to January and to New Years’resolutions.

Every January, first we celebrate the New Year, and then we make a list of New Year’s Resolutions. You know, that list of personal goals and aspirations? The list of things we want to, promise to, swear we’ll change, improve or modify, yet hardly ever do? And if we do manage to make a change, it doesn’t last past April? Yes, that list.
I call it the list of good intentions. Apparently, one of the most common intentions among us Americans, is to lose weight or to go on a diet--not necessarily in that order. Now you may think that these two goals are the same thing. Lose weight--go on a diet; same result. Wrong, wrong, wrong. For starters, not everyone who goes on a diet loses weight, and secondly, not everyone who loses weight has been on a diet. Chew on that for a while.
Another common intention is to get out of debt or at least have a workable budget. Again, don’t assume there is a connection.
But enough of my catty negativity. The only intention I’m really interested in discussing here is the one regarding the romance department. I’m sure many single women, have good intentions to get out more and mingle and meet new people, and therefore bump into Mr. Dream Mate. Well, we can all fantasize; yes I’m one of the dreamers.
Fact is, if you have been out of circulation for a while, it’s going to be tough to get started again. It is sort of like exercising or playing a musical instrument; staying in shape or staying in tune needs constant practice.
How about trying a different approach? Let’s live a little, be good to ourselves. Let’s give ourselves a gift. And I don’t mean intangible goods like spiritual good wishes and other karma stuff. No, no, I mean, let’s get out our wallet, credit card, checkbook, even cash if some of you have any left after Holidays shopping, and buy ourselves something we never thought we would. I know what some of you are thinking, but I’m not talking about sex for hire. I’m talking about something that changes the way we present ourselves to the world, and therefore change the way we think about ourselves.
It could be as simple as changing the color of our hair. Always been blond? Give strawberry blond a try, or be really bold and go auburn. Always had short or skimpy hair? Get hair extensions. Have too much hair where you don’t want it? Get laser hair removal. Or permanent make-up. Botox. Skin rejuvenation. All of these are non-invasive, temporary changes, so if you don’t like the result it will disappear soon enough. The only permanent damage will be to the budget.
I confess, I’ve tried most of these procedures already, and I can tell you they put a new bounce in my step, a bigger smile on my face and a certain twinkle in my eyes. Definitely worth the small dent in my wallet. When you feel “new,” it shows in more ways than just skin deep: it creates enthusiasm to share the new you with the world. You’ll go out and mingle, chat, and flirt and if you spend your dollar wisely, you may even bump into your Dream Mate—and don’t worry, he’ll definitely recognize you.

We are the hero of our own story
—Mary McCarthy

Maria Grazia Swan

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Accentuating the positives!

I can be a little, er, negative at times. I know. That's hardly front page news. And maybe the right word here isn't negative, but 'more like cynical'. As a long-term student of the school of hard knocks, I've had a lot of real life experience getting back up after being knocked down. Both literally (in my former life as a peace officer) and figuratively. Lately the trend towards general crabbiness has increased. Especially this past month. Maybe it's the winter I'm convinced will never end. (See. There I go again. Ms. Pessimist.) Maybe it's the fact things aren't moving quickly enough in the publishing realm. Maybe it's just the funky fluid in my ears that keeps giving me vertigo. All I know is I've become one of those individuals I used to sneer about. Whiners!

So, today I'm going to make a special effort to focus on only 'the good stuff'. I'm not going to complain, whine, mope, grumble, sigh, or scoff. I'm going to be Little Mary Freakin' Sunshine. If it kills me.

To get this day off to a positively awesome start, I'm going remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful for on this dark, depressing, soon to be snowing -er, I mean, this fabulous, incredible, just slightly overcast but it will get better someday day.

So what am I grateful for?

Well, family and friends, of course. And a good job that pays the bills. A nice home. My Jimmy, the little SUV that could (and does) get me to work on some challenging commutes. Good health--well apart from the inner ear thingy. My '09 taxes are filed. There's food in the fridge and chocolate in my secret hiding place. I have an ample supply of books to read and several shows DVR'ed to watch. I've got a snowblower ready to move the snow if it falls. (Notice I said 'if', not when! That's a positive sign!) And I've got an editor waiting for me to finish up my YA manuscript and proposal and email it to her. Today! Which, of course, I will do, and she will read it immediately, and she will fall in love with it and pick up the phone and call me and offer me a HUGE contract and--

What? Oh? I'm going a little overboard? A bit heavy on the optimism there?

Well. See if I try to be upbeat and positive and perky again!

But, seriously, I'm learning an 'atttude of gratitude' can be very good for what ails you. So, what are you grateful or thankful for this day? Big or little. Great or small.

Count your blessings!

~Bullet Hole who is also thankful for Killer Fiction fans~

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Things I Can't Make Up

This stuff was in the headlines today (I kid you not):

Baptists From Idaho Arrested for Kidnapping Haitian Children

Overheard at last Sunday's Church social;

"I've got a good idea! Let's get a bunch of us and go down to Haiti - and drive around picking up random children off the street and take them to another country!"

"Okay. It's cold here, and we're out of lemon bars."

Giant Squid Swarm the California Coast

At the End of days according to the Mayan calendar, of giant squid will appear to signal the arrival of Godzilla-the-Antichrist.

Pack of Feral Beagles Terrorize Long Island

This is worse than last time, when we had that attack by frisky kittens! Remember the year before that...when we were paralyzed with fear by swarms of fireflies with irritable bowel syndrome? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!

First Legal Male Prostitute - Markus - Former Homeless Man Who Says He is Good With Women Because His Mother Didn't Love Him

Oh yeah, baby. Nothing screams SEXY like "formerly homeless" and "mother didn't love me." Sign up quick ladies, at $300 for 45 minutes, there won't be any openings left on his dance card!

The Assassin

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Deep Thought that Came from Chocolate Martinis, Bean Dip, & Friendships

I researched weird and wacky New Year’s resolutions to blog about a few weeks ago. I found some real winners, too. Not that I needed a lot of material, I have hubby’s resolution that are strange enough. But a friend of mine wrote a short blog and about something we did, and I decided to ride on her coattails. So . . . you’ll have to wait until next week to hear about the man whose New Year Resolution was to be able to burp a song (And, no, I swear he’s not a relative.) Instead, I’m gonna tell you about chocolate martinis, bean dip, and friendships.

You may be thinking that chocolate martinis and bean dip don’t go together, for that matter you may not think bean dip and friends go together, and you may have a point in both instances. However, if you really looked at the four of us, downing the martinis and devouring the dip, and the one long distance friend whom we called and talked to while we ate and drank, you may have to stop and wonder if we go together. We’re not what you’d call a matched set.

There's Jody, born a army brat, turned into the colonel’s wife who has lived all over the world. Now she’s a competitive horse rider who owns and rents out stables. She probably has 15 years of life experience on us, but looks better in her jeans than any of us. Believe me, it pisses us off, too.

There’s Suzan, born in a small town in Ohio, who until the last few years practiced law. Now she homes schools and works at the mall. Her vast knowledge of all things legal is to be admired, but the reminders of “that would be illegal” can be viewed as a kill joy, though it has probably saved us all from embarrassment.

Teri is the only true Texan among us. She’s a laid-off technical writer married to a plumber/septic tank guy/entertainer. Oddly enough, Teri is the quietest and by outward appearances the sanest one of all of us. But don’t let that fool you, she’s as crazy as the rest of us.

There’s Faye—the long distant member—a Mississippian who took a wrong turn—okay, she followed a fat bald man there, but doesn’t like to talk about her ex—and ended up in up State of New York where she calls the snow names even I can’t write in my blog. She actually works for the State of New York, teaching others how to work on different computer programs.

Then there’s me—a short, blonde, ‘Bama girl living in Texas who can talk two and half languages, who is an ex-waitress and interpreter and who comes from a long line of gamblers, moonshiners, and an occasional murderer.

So what bonds us five girls? What brings us together? How in the hell did we end up at my house drunk on Chocolate Martinis and downing gas-inducing bean dip? What is that saying? Those of a feather, flock together. Yet from outward appearances we are not of the same feather. We’re as different as night and day. Okay, so you might have guessed that the thing that bonds us is the little thing I didn’t mention. We’re all writers. We all make up shit, put it down on paper, and get paid for doing it. (Believe me, it’s not as easy as it sounds.) Now, Teri, Faye and I are published in novels, but Jody and Suzan have broken into the freelance market and are working on their novels in the meantime. And yes, the writing is how we all found each other. But I have to tell you, it’s not just the writing that links us.

It’s not even the fact that we all have a few screws loose. (Yes, Teri, I mean you, too.) It’s not the fact that we have characters in our head who talk to us and sometimes we prefer their company over real people. It’s not that we all give up precious time to read and critique each other’s work. (However, it was the fact that they all gave up precious time over the holidays to read my book due on Jan. 5th that initiated the party. I love you guys!)

What I think bonds us are the things we have in common. Our willingness to dream big. Our willingness to be kicked, thrown, and run over by a horse and to get up only to go find the horse and ask, “Can we try that one more time?” (Yes, Jody, that line was especially about you.) Our pigheadedness to take rejection after rejection and never give up. Our willingness to admit we still make mistakes and are still learning. I think what bonds us, the feather that units us, is the inner strength that each of us possesses and recognizes in each other.

Yes, these are the traits needed to make it as a writer, but they are also the traits in any person who holds a dream and is determined to succeed. Sadly, it is the lack of these traits that often leads to a person’s failure. And what I think is sadder is that a lot of strong people fail due to the lack of having a Faye, Jody, Suzan and Teri in their life. I call them, as well as many others, my circle of influence. These are the people who not only support you in achieving your dreams—they are working on achieving their own dreams. They understand tenacity, grit, and hard work because they live it, too. They hold your hand when you fall, support your wins as their own, and inspire the best in you. They are the people you can drink too many chocolate martinis with while you eat bean dip because if you slip up, they might laugh at you—oh yes, they’ll laugh at you—they might even blog about it, but they still love you.

Don’t underestimate peer pressure. As parents, we fret over this in our children, but we forget that as adults we are still prone to it. Negativity is one of the easiest bugs to catch when you are around someone who has it. But hang around goal-oriented people, go-getters and you might find yourself following along the same path.

So here’s to chocolate martinis, bean dip, and positive, wonderful friends.

And what I’d like to hear from you is: Who is in your own circle of influence? Are you surrounding yourself with positive people? Come on, let’s share a little.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Thrill Me, Scare Me, Make Me Scream

I love a good horror movie. Granted, I don't love them very often, because most of them aren't really good, but I can't help trying a new one. Now that I have Netflix (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Netflix), I have all those instant play movies and there's a ton of horror. I play them all the time hoping that this one will be the one that does it.

Hasn't happened yet.

And this is what I think the problem is - I want to be scared, but I'm not. And I mean never. My mom will be the first to tell you that even as a child, the thing she worried about most is that I seemed to have no fear. I started watching horror movies in elementary school, and haven't had a sleepless night my entire life. BTW, my mom STILL hasn't forgiven me for getting her to watch CHILDREN OF THE CORN.

In fact, the more I think about it, the only time I get scared is when I do my taxes. So I guess, short of April every year, I'll be on the constant quest for the story or movie that gives me a sleepless night - that makes me scream.

What about you? Do movies scare you? If so, what kind?

Deadly DeLeon