Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Photo Caption Contest

WINNERS! Terri O, Susan M, Jane, & Janel. Please contact me via email at Christie (at) christie-craig (.) com. Tell me which book you want of mine. If you have them all including, WWW, I will offer you up a few other books. Thanks everyone for playing, I had a blast reading your comments.

Another photo contest. You've done it before, you know how it goes. It's easy. Just write a caption for the photos, 1,2,3,4, and the best caption wins. I'll be offering four prizes. One for each image. The winners can either pick one of my novels or a copy of Wild, Wicked & Wanton. If you have all of those, I'm offering some books of my writing buddies. So, even if you have all of my books, you can still play and win. So make sure you post.

Oh, and I must explain the first image. Laurie is a bookseller, And I told her she had to go out and pimp my books. Well, she takes her job seriously. She bought the floppy hat and everything. I love the picture, and it's deserving of a really funny caption. It sort of makes me wonder what scene in Shut Up and Kiss Me she was reading to get that expression. LOL. (Thanks Laurie for pimping my books!)

Okay make sure you leave those captions. Let's have some fun.


Photo #1

Photo #2

Photo #3

Photo #4

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Release Day Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the official release day of SHOWDOWN IN MUDBUG. For all of you who have been wondering who killed Helena, all your questions can be answered by a quick trip to your local bookstore or online. And no, I'm not giving you any hints. LOL

SHOWDOWN is the last of my Ghost-in-Law books, and I'm sorta sad to see it end, but I hate when people drag a series on too long. Helena was a fun character to write, but eventually, all good things must come to an end.

The wonderful, Allison, with Dorchester created this fun quiz that you can take to try and win a gift certificate. Give it your best shot!

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, June 25, 2010

Avoid Eye Contact

I need to find a new place to write.

Before Baby Boy came along, I was perfectly happy writing in my bedroom. It was relatively quiet (when Big Boy went to school at least), nicely decorated (even if I do say so myself) and had all the internet access a girl could ask for. Of course ,the quiet factor changed dramatically once Baby Boy came along. In fact, I’m pretty sure people two towns over can hear the noise from my house now.

So, I had to find a new writing venue. Since I as stopping at Starbucks for mass amounts of caffeine to combat The Baby That Will not Sleep anyway, I figured I’d settle in and write there. It only took me three weeks to figure out how to get free WiFi with my Stabucks card, and having caffeine readily available has been a godsend. Not to mention the yummy food they now serve. (I recommend the spinach feta wrap.) It’s not exactly quiet here, but at least no one is saying, “Mom, Mom, Mom, MOM!” In fact, I kinda dig the music selection they play here,

So why, you may ask, do I need to find a new place to write?

Here's the thing – I can’t just write with my nose to the computer screen. I have to stop and think now and then. I type like crazy, pause, look up, contemplate my characters’ next move, then go right back to typing furiously. And it’s in the look up and contemplate moments that I’m getting in trouble,

For example…

The ohter day I’m typing way. I get to pivotal point in my scnee. I look up, start the contemplation thing. My eyes wander over the room, not really seeing anything, but kinda just looking around. They rest on this guy across the room. He looks up, sees me, makes eye contact. I smile (cause it’s only polite once you’ve made accidental eye contact, right?) Big mistake. He walks over and asks what I’m working on. I say I’m writing a book. VERY big mistake! He sits down at my table, wants to know all about the book, then proceeds to tell me his life story and why I should write a book about him.

Half an hour of my precious writing time this guy wastes! I know, I could have just told him to take a hike. I should have pointed out that I write murder mysteries, so if I write about him, I’ll have to kill him. But he sounded lonely and I just couldn’t be that mean. Instead, I finally faked a phone call (“What’s that you say? The house is on fire? I’m on my way home!”), packed up my stuff and left.

I could chalk this up to an isolated incident, but it’s the third time this week it’s happened. Bottom line, I need to find a less friendly place to write. Somewhere where no one knows your name, where people mind their own business, they dislike and fear each other. Any suggestions?

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Some days are diamonds. Some days are big ol' boulders.

I've had a heckuva week. Record June rains have saturated the soil. With no place for additional water to go, subsequent gully washers often find their way into basements. MY basement in particular. With almost daily torrential rains, I purchased two sump pumps, two shop vacs, and a ginormous squeegie fit for Paul Bunyon. And still the waters came. Already worn out from my bucket brigade, I was really hoping to have an opportunity to relax on my day off yesterday.

Sadly. That was not meant to be.

My day started off as so many this month. Pre-dawn. Another freak cloudburst sent water into my basement. My son and I, shop-vacs at the ready, began to suck up water. And the lights go out. We're totally in the dark. (I can read your mind here. Like 'she should be right at home in the dark.' Nice.) Anyway, we grope our way to the stairs, feel our way upstairs, and try to find a flashlight to check the breaker box. Can't find the flashlight anywhere. I jump in the car and race to Walmart (remember there is water seeping into my basement) and buy a flashlight. I come home, get the power back on, suck more water. Call it good and then remember I have an appointment to get my vehicle worked on.

I shower and take my car over and walk back home. I'd broken my cell phone two days earlier so I had my daughter run me to the cellular store. After the appointment, we head to the Post Office. Enroute, my daughter's car begins to stink. Bad. Smoke begins to rise out from beneath the hood and the vents. We drive to the same repair shop working on my car, leave her car, and wait for my car. My car is completed and we drive off. I have a retirement event to attend so I get ready and jump in the Jimmy and head off to the capitol city. Fifteen miles down the road and I finally notice the Check Gages light is on. I check my temp gauge. In the red.

I turn around and head back, pulling off at a tiny repair shop. I end up sitting there 45 minutes before the engine cooled off enough to start back home. I get home and drive directly to the repair shop, leave the car, and walk home.

My wonderful day off continued with a meeting with a roofing contractor to provide an estimate for the hail damage to my roof, find out the insurance adjuster missed a bunch of damage, and 15 minutes before the repair shop closed, I picked my vehicle up. I'm taking bets on whether it will overheat on me tomorrow when I drive to work. You in?

Oh. I also got an agent rejection this week--albeit a very complimentary one.

On a positive note, I did squeeze some writing time in this week on my new project and I'm happy with the direction this story/series is taking.

Hope your week's been a better one.

~Bullet Hole pulling up her bootstraps~

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Things I’ve learned from Reading Romance Novels

Winner! Winners!

Okay the winner of the copy of WWW is MsHellion. However, because I still have a few ARCs left of the book, I'm going to give away two second place winners. And the Krisgils33 and Refhater. Send me your snail mail address at Christie (at) christie-craig.com

Oh...go check out
http://www.wildwickedwacky.blogspot.com/ My friend won over 60 books at the Brenda Novak auction. She's giving a lot of them away. Pop over and get your name in her hat.

Friday, June 18th, was the official release day for WILD, WICKED & WANTON: 101 WAYS TO LOVE LIKE YOU’RE IN A ROMANCE NOVEL, the humorous self-help/relationship book I co-wrote with Faye Hughes. We really enjoyed writing this book, and I can honestly say that I embrace its message that real women can learn a lot about men and relationship from reading romance novels.

I recently ran a contest through Dorchester Publishing for the release of my sixth humorous romantic suspense novel SHUT UP AND KISS ME. I’d asked readers to send me a short essay describing what they had learned from reading romance novels. Today, I’m posting the winning entry and the honorable mentions. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Winner: Virginia C

Romance novels offer the hope that true love is attainable, and "Happily Ever After" can be ours. They also provide an escape from everyday life. We can view the romantic entanglements and sensual experiences of the characters and imagine ourselves in their place. Some "romance stories" go much further. They present a more realistic look at characters with physical and emotional problems, financial difficulties, abuse situations, unplanned pregnancies and so much more. Sometimes, I want to read about life scenarios which are similar to my own. Other times, I want to be completely involved by characters and life stories far outside my everyday world. You can find all of these things by reading romance novels. Whether you search for the familiar or the exotic, chaste love or deep sensuality, you will find it all in "romance novels".

Honorable Mention – Zita

From romance novels I have learned that love is universal and worth fighting for. I have learned that showing someone you love them is not an embarrassment. And that it’s okay to love, even if it’s not returned. In fact, I have learned that love doesn’t need reciprocation at all, it just is, and it’s a good thing. I have learned that loving myself is vital to being loved, which only makes sense. I have learned that sex is not necessarily love and vice-versa. I have learned that love comes in all shapes and sizes. And that romance can be funny, sweet, serious, painful, hard, easy, emotional, dreadful, heart-breaking, renewing, rejuvenating, justifying, and the biggest mistake of your life. It can also be the best thing that’s ever happened to you, and that is the lesson I learned the most from romance novels: that happily ever after exists and to not be afraid if it comes knocking at my door. No matter how many romance novels I read, I will cheer for the spunky heroine and the misunderstood hero. I will root for their relationship through all the trials and tribulations authors force them through. I will laugh with them, cry with (and for) them, and celebrate their victories, because I have learned that life really does imitate art and the more romance novels are written and read, the more romance is released into the world. And there ain’t nothing better than that!

Honorable Mention – Joy

What I learned is some of what I learned in kindergarten:
1. Play fair.
2. You had better share your feelings.
3. Clean up your own messes and sometimes those of others.
4. Say you are sorry when you hurt somebody and forgive yourself.
5. Have a good sense of humor and forgive yourself.
6. Have fun and laugh a lot.
6. Judge others by their actions and not their words.
7. Love can hurt.
8. Don't be afraid of the dark-you can have a lot of fun in it.
and I learned that I need to read faster-too many books and not enough

Honorable Mention – Michele

I have learned that when you sit down to read a Romance Novel it takes you to another place, you can put aside your troubles. I’ve learned that lost love is not always lost. I’ve learned that the hero always has chiseled features and rock hard abs. I’ve learned that either one or both characters first fight or hide the attraction then the sexual tension builds things go well before things go wrong then things work out. I’ve learned that the “ordinary” girl can get the hot high profile guy. I’ve learned that someone always seems to have money. I’ve learned one or both characters will have another conflict besides their love life to overcome. I’ve learned that the guy always gets the girl in the end or the girl always gets the guy. I’ve learned that if there are interesting enough they will get their own book and finally what I’ve learned is that there is always a happily ever after

Honorable Mention – Colleen

Romance Novels, The one thing that stands out most for me is that I am addicted to Happily Ever Afters. No matter what romance genre, what type of hero or heroine there are, the settings or situations, I want to go along with the characters' journey to find their Happily Ever Afters! The variety of characters and their situations create a world in which I can follow along and experience their pain, anger, misunderstandings, adventures, and learning experiences all to lead to their Happily Ever Afters. The whole journey is a wonderful way to see a character develop and grow, but oh my should I even say it again, I WANT THE HAPPILY EVER AFTERS! ;)

Honorable Mention – Carolyn

What I learned from Romance novels is: The man that I most hate will be the one I end up with. I am most likely to meet him either when I look the worst or am in dire need of life saving. He will have a name like Dirk Bensen or Sir James Winchester. Our relationship will just be getting good, when we will have a huge fight due to the fact that I appear to be more interested in his best friend, who is a loveable rake, or due to gossip given him by my seductive female rival. He will apologize to me just as I am about to flee the castle for parts unknown. We will live happily ever after!

Congrats to all the winners!


I’m also running two contests right now – one is at www.WritewithUs.net to celebrate the release of Wild, Wicked & Wanton. It’s an essay contest in 250 words or less about the craziest, zaniest or worst romantic disaster you've ever had and what you learned from the experience. One entry will be drawn at random and will win the following: $50 Visa gift card (use it to pamper yourself with a pedicure/manicure/facial), a $10 gift card at Victoria's Secret (treat yourself!), a massage oil set (treat you and your special someone), a copy of Shut Up and Kiss Me, some chocolate and more. The deadline is August 31st. You can read more about it here.

The other contest is open to everyone who comments on today’s blog. To win, just post a comment and tell me why you enjoy reading romance novels. Do they uplift your day, make you smile, make you feel sexier? What’s the appeal? One lucky commenter will receive a copy of Wild, Wicked and Wanton, so don’t be shy. Post away.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Not Sure I'm Buying It

We all know that writers constantly struggle with eating right and exercising, because let's face it, typing is simply not the most strenuous physical activity. Granted, I'm shot mentally, but physically, the spread is on. One of my biggest problems is being a picky eater. And I'm a legitimate picky eater. I try things at least three different times before I declare them insipid, but that doesn't help me on the vegetable situation. I really don't like vegetable, well, except the startchy ones, which no one wants to count. Green leafy - ugh. I can eat a little salad, a little broccoli if it's cooked with something, but otherwise, not so much.

So I was talking to some writers on a forum who are healthy people (not sure how they manage that exactly) and one of them recommended fruit smoothies but adding a vegetable. She swears the taste is (hardly) to not different and I really won't notice. I'm not sure I'm buying it, but I purchased some peacharines and some spinach to give it a whirl. And boy, that doesn't sound good at all, does it?

Has anyone ever tried this? Anyone got a good combination that tastes only like fruit? You'd be providing me with green leafies for breakfast and that would be a good thing.

In addition to hassling with vegetables, I saw a movie - Splice. For the love of everything holy, do NOT see this movie. I am still angry over them getting my money and two hours of my time. Even the popcorn didn't taste as good sitting through that drek. If people have some greater meaning of life they wish to espouse or some great ethical battle they wish to put out there, please, I beg you, put it in a literary novel so that I know to stay away.

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, June 18, 2010


I live with three boys.  Now, boys are great.  They are very handy to have around when opening pickle jars, getting mixing bowls down from very high shelves, and figuring out what that weird noise coming from your car is.   I love boys, my boys in particular.

But boys suck at cleaning.

Ever since we moved in to our new place, somehow I have become the default housekeeper.  Mostly because I am the only one that sees dirt.  Seriously, I think the Y chromosome somehow fogs male eyes so they cannot actually see dirt.  In the four months since we’ve lived here, a boy has cleaned a bathroom a total of 1 times - and that’s only because I forced him to.

So, five weeks ago, I went on strike.  I was not cleaning anymore!  I would use seat protectors and wear flip flops in the shower before I cleaned another bathroom.  It was someone else’s turn, and I could wait them out.

Obviously, no one cleaned that week.

So, four weeks ago I wrote in red pen on the big whiteboard in our kitchen: Sunday cleaning day!

Sunday came… and went.  Guess who ended up cleaning the bathrooms again? Yeah, turns out I couldn't wait them out.  I have a low ick threshold.  Way lower than a boy's.

The next week, I took a slightly less subtle approach to getting someone else to clean.  I wrote on the white board:

I’m not in a terrible rush
But it would be nice to flush
A toilet that’s clean
If you know what I mean
So who’s gonna pick up a brush?

Despite my cleverness, nothing was cleaned.  No one appreciated my poetry.  Uncultured slobs. (Can you tell I was getting a little peeved at this point?)

The next week, I stepped it up a notch.  Shakespeare:
To be cleaned or not to be cleaned
That is the question
Whether tis nobler in the bathroom to suffer
The mold and mildew of a thousand showers
Or to take up Tilex against a sea of grime
And by scrubbing end them?
To sparkle, perchance to smell fresh
Ay, there’s the scrub
For in that cleanliness of tile what showers may come
When we have showered off our mortal soil.

I thought this would at least get a comment.  A smile.  A confused look from my ten year old… nope.  Nothing. (Okay, I might have gotten a ten-year-old eye roll, but nothing got cleaned.)


The next day, guess what appeared in the bathroom?  No, not sparkling countertops and a mildew free shower.  This showed up on the bathroom counter:

In answer to my pleas for cleaning help, The Man had bought an automatic shower cleaner.  I laughed so hard I almost cried. 

The sad part?  I still don’t think anyone’s pushed the button yet. 

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Floods, flowers, and not-so-funny business

It's spring. It's June. That must mean I should have had my ark built by now. Oops. Alas. Noah was a much wiser soul than me. However, I fought the flooding once again--and lived to tell about it. Here's the scene. Saturday morning. Way early. I hear the pummeling sound of heavy rain beat against my window. Lightning flashed. Thunder roared. I jumed out of bed and ran to the top of the stairs leading to the basement, held my breath, and turned on the light. I took a peek. Sigh of relief. The basement was dry. Whoo. Dodged that bullet, baby.

With the rain coming down in heavy, sideways sheets, I decide to go down and check the floor drains to be sure. One. Two. Three. Dry. Dry. Dry. I move into the room where the triplets' college stuff is stored for the summer and notice a small wet area along the wall. No big deal. I get the Shop-Vac out and start to suck the water up. I'm getting it cleaned up when my sleepy-eyed son comes down to investigate the noise. I tell him it's fine, just a little water from the window well. No big deal.

Several seconds later I hear those infamous words: "Mom. You better see this."

Not the kind of words that promote peace of mind or serene contemplation.

I follow him into the downstairs bathroom and discover water pouring in from the shower drain. As I stare at the rising water, I hear a weird sound and turn to see a mini geyser shooting out of the bolt that is supposed to secure the toilet to the floor. My son runs to check the other floor drains at opposite ends of the basement. Water. Water. And more water.

I grab the sump pump, shove it into the shower, attach the hose, and with the kid's help, get it pumping water out the hose down the front driveway. Meanwhile, the water is up to our ankles. I call around to get a second sump pump, run and pick it up, purchase a 16 gallon Shop Vac to go with my 12 gallon one and run back home, set the second pump up, and begin sucking water up with the Shop Vac. Water kept coming into the basement through the floor drains and toilet base until four-thirty Saturday night. You can imagine what my Sunday was like.

And all because of a 4-inch rain that came in less than two hours. Since June 1st we've had close to 10 inches of rain.

The basement is drying out.

Today the insurance claim's adjuster came. Nice guy. Like law enforcement officers, I imagine he doesn't get to see people at their best.

The downside of the flood? That's obvious by now. But what about an up-side?

All this precip is great for my vegetable and flower gardens. Here are a couple pics of my 'greenery'. One of my tiny zucchini blooms, itty-bitty Roma tomaters and a flower bed.

I guess I must acknowledge the truth in the idea if you look hard enough--you'll find a positive in most negatives.

However, I'm still looking for positives in my agent search as I await responses from agents who requested material. My mantra has become 'patience is a virtue'. At the same time, I'm getting ready to widen my net.

Hoping your weather is boring and uneventful and that you all have a fabulous Father's Day this coming Sunday. Happy Father's Day to my very own, 'Daddy Buck' who celebrated his 83rd birthday last Sunday. Luv ya!

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Just Called...To Say...Where's My Stuff, Mom?

This picture was taken by my friend, Todd Welvaert at the local Menards at Xmas time. Some employee there has a sense of humor - which is awesome. It has nothing to do with today's blog.

My mom used to complain, back in the '70's and then '80's, that my sister and I called her too much at work. I remember thinking A) we are her children and our voices bring rainbows and unicorns to her oppressive day, and B) Jenny started it.

I finally get it. Oh, the folks at my day job may not realize it because technology has evolved beyond the landline to texting on the cell. But my kids text me CONSTANTLY. My co-workers hear me swearing violently in the next room and probably think I'm having trouble with Photoshop or finding the right euphemism for "elder abuse." But they would be wrong, because A) my children's endless messages are not inspirational texts of love and joy, and B) Jack started it.

Here is an example of yesterday afternoon's texting:

Jack: Wheres my cell charger?

Me: I don't know. I'm at work. Look for it.

Jack: Where did u see it last?

Me: I didn't use it last. Seriously, I'm working here. Ask Dad.

Jack: This is Meg. My phone is dead so I'm using Jacks. Dad said he was busy.

Me: So am I. I'm at work.

Jack: Where do u think it is? It charges both phones.

Me: I think it's within 30 feet of you somewhere. Look for it and stop texting me.

Jack: If u were looking for it, where would u look?

Me: (not answering in hopes they'll go away and I can finish this damned newsletter)

Jack: Mom?

Jack: Mom?

Jack: Mom?

Jack: Mom?

Jack: Hello?

Jack: This is Meg. Helloooooo?

Me: Really?

Jack: Wheres my charger?

Me: I'm 2 miles away and can't see from here. Now stop it and leave me alone or I'll think of something really bad to do to you when I get home.

Jack: My phone's gonna die!

Me: You're gonna die if you don't stop texting me.

Jack: U r our mom. Ur sposed to be worried 4 our safety.

Me: No, I'm "sposed" to be working...bringing home a paycheck so you can have a nice birthday next week...a birthday you won't enjoy so much IF YOU ARE DEAD.

(Insert 10 minute pause here)

Jack: I'll just ask dad again. Bye.

The Assassin

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

If You Can't Say Something Nice . . .

Another contest! Pop over to http://wildwickedwacky.blogspot.com/ and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Shut Up an Kiss Me or a copy of Wild, Wicked & Wanton: 101 Way to Love Like You are In a Romance Novel. Contest doesn't end until June 17th.

Winner! And Winners! (Because it was such a big showing of people I'm giving away five second places.)
THE WINNER OF THE BASKET IS LAURIE SMITH. THE FIVE SECOND PLACE WINNERS: Susanhatler, tetewa, crystalGB, Scorpio, Baileythebookworm. YOU CAN CHOOSE ANY DORCHESTER BOOK FROM MY BACK LIST, OR AN ARC OF WILD, WICKED & WANTON: 101 WAYS TO LOVE LIKE YOU ARE IN A ROMANCE NOVEL. PLEASE EMAIL ME AT Christie ( at) Christie-Craig.com with your snail mail addresses and your choices of books.

***Please join me today at:

BookEnds to read my article, Five Pieces of Writing Advice that I'm Glad I Didn't Take and Romance Writers Revenge. to read my article on The Ins and Outs, and Pros and Cons, of Writing Secondary Characters who aren't so Secondary where one commenter will receive an autographed copy of Shut Up and Kiss Me***

I heard it a lot growing up. It was my grandmother’s motto. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuttn’ at all.” And I’ll be honest with you, Grandma’s advice and bits of wisdom were usually right on. I took her counsel to heart. So I spent a lot of my early years, not saying much, biting my lips, burying the truth behind a sweet smile, and by golly, I wouldn’t be caught dead complaining or whining.

If my steak was tough, I’d choke it down anyway. If Aunt Evelyn asked if that orange fall-fashion dress made her look like Two Ton Sally, I’d deny it. Not that it was an out and out lie. That dress made her look like a three-ton Sally wearing a Halloween tablecloth. The pumpkin literally winked at you as it got caught in her hindquarters as she walked. Then it happened. The world changed. And no, it really didn’t have anything to do with Aunt Evelyn or her hindquarters.

Suddenly, it was viewed unhealthy not to speak up, not to unload your stresses and tell people the honest to goodness truth. The hell with the consequences, getting things off your chest was heart healthy. Oh, and whining was not considered a bad thing, it was like vegetables, everybody needed to learn to like it.

And I’ll admit I was all into keeping my heart healthy. So, I pissed off Aunt Evelyn, got my share of free half-eaten steak dinners that could bounce off the wall. And I wasn’t shy about sharing my negative feelings with others. Then it happened.

I got sick and tired of living on the negative side of life. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I’d had it with all that whining, too. Oh, it wasn’t my own whining that bothered me, but everyone else’s. In their defense, they had a right to keep their hearts healthy, too, right? Well, maybe not. What was it grandma said? If you can’t say something nice . . .

Then again, I wasn’t altogether ready to go back to spending two hours trying to swallow a piece of beef that could have qualified as shoe leather. Aunt Evelyn’s wardrobe choices were much easier on the eyes, now that she’d retired several of her tablecloths. That’s when I decided Grandma’s counsel just needed a little alteration to work in my life.

If you can’t say something nice . . . and this next part is what I altered, …at least make it funny! That’s right, humor goes a long way. If someone asks me if those jeans make their butt look big, I just might answer, “Oh, you mean that wasn’t the look you were going for?” If I get that uneatable steak, I just politely ask the waitress “Can you check with the cook and see if the steak comes in a size 5 ½ because since I can’t swallow it, and I’m paying for it, I should at least be able to wear it.” The humor in the truth always softens the blow. People like humor even when you are telling them that their ass is too big or that their steaks could choke a mean horse with a new set of choppers.

As for how I dealt with the whining. Well, it goes like this. Not only do I work really hard to see the humor in all situations, and make my whines entertaining…Hey, you guys have laughed at my whines…but I limit the amount of energy and time I put into whining. And I expect my family and friends to do the same. My non-fiction writing partner and I whom I talk to every day made a pact. We can only whine on Wednesday. Now, mini humor-laced whines can be interjected occasionally during the other six days of the week. Seriously, by Tuesday, you have to let go of a few of them or you just might explode, but for the most part, you have to store those puppies up for Wednesday. And the more humor you can throw in into your Wednesday bitch session, the more whining time you’ll get.

Yeah, it might sound harsh, but it’s not a bad thing, it’s even good for you. Humor is better for the heart than whining. Laughing, even when it’s about something slightly painful, is a good way to deal with the stress of whine-worthy situations.

So today, I’ve come up with a perfect prize for this blog. It’s a “You Gotta Laugh” basket. I actually found a cup with my new approach to Grandma’s rule. (See it and the prizes in the picture below.) And because this is still release month, I’m adding a very special item to the basket. A skunk. That’s right. Because I think one of the funniest scenes in Shut Up and Kiss Me deals with the little stinker of an animal, I picked up one to give away. And because I’m all into the value of laughter, I have one more Oops A-Daisy Super Pocket Pooper that I’m adding to the basket. Yes, when you press on this little pocket size cow’s legs, it will crap you out some little balls of chocolate. And because chocolate is another great way to deal with stress, and because I’m not into eating crappy chocolate, I’m throwing in some better chocolate, too.

All you have to do to get your name in the hat is to leave me a comment, you can even whine . . . if you can make it funny. Hey…it’s not Wednesday. The winner will be picked randomly by hubby. And make sure you come back tomorrow to see the winner’s name posted on the top of the blog.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Television Heaven

It's television heaven time for me, which means I'm more rushed than ever trying to get it all done so I can watch my shows. Granted, I record everything so I can skip commercials, but still, look at the lineup: America's Got Talent, Hell's Kitchen and So You Think You Can Dance. This is my busiest tv time of the year.

I've already got a favorite for AGT. This guy sounds like a raspy Roy Orbison. VERY pure voice!

And so far, I'm liking the Howie Mandel as a judge. Kinda glad to see the drunken "Hoff" gone. But I still have this enormous problem. The name of the show is America's Got TALENT. The judges put through some stuff that is just plain stupid. The show is not America's got interesting people or people I like, etc. It decreases the credibility for me, big time. And I don't see the point of sending people into failure, but whatever.

So what about you? Are you watching? Any favorites?

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, June 11, 2010

Reading Between the Lines

Please welcome a special guest blogger today, Maria Grazia Swan...

 I’ve been divorced for a very long time. Here is proof: It happened before e-mail, and way before internet dating. Yes, that long.   

Back then we had singles magazines, the paper and ink kind and we posted personals. With or without a photo. You paid according to the number of lines. The challenge was to write a beguiling ad in only a few words—not an easy task. The photo was extra. However, like now, a photo would get you more attention. Or, as the cliché goes, a picture is worth a thousands words.   

Some of the necessary words had standard abbreviations like M=male, F=female, D=divorced. You get the idea. 

The process could take up to two weeks from the time you read the ad, wrote the letter, and waited for an answer Two weeks! 

In today’s dating scene, two weeks is the length of a relationship. Or by Hollywood standards, the length of a marriage?

This may sound like an oxymoron, but in my humble opinion, life was simpler then.

Oh, the excitement of turning the key to unlock the rented P.O.Box. No real address used—you never know! I shared my POB with a girlfriend who was as broke as I was. The real fun began when we both received a letter from the same man with the exact  same wording.  My friend was a pro. She had been playing the personals for years and could tell a fake from a real by reading between the lines. 

We would separate her letters from mine, make little piles according to the handwriting. Yes, you read correctly, handwriting. And yes, that was the equivalent of a first impression. Next, it would be, picture or no picture, and so on.

Did I find true love? No. I did, however meet some pretty interesting men, dated a few and, in a sense, that was my rediscovering-romance training period. I learned a lot. Most importantly I learned to read between the lines. Even though I gave up on online dating a few years ago, the read-between-the-lines still works today. People still fib and embellish what they post about themselves. It’s human nature.  

Here are the most common lies I’ve found;

Men lie about their height and their income.

Women lie about their weight and their age.

This is a general statement. Don’t go accusing someone of lying because Maria Grazia Swan said so...I don’t have a virtual POB and would like to keep it that way.

~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

My workshop, HOW TO BE A CONTEST DIVA starts on Monday!  If you're interested, I'm giving a 20% discount to all blog readers.  If you're interested in taking advantage, email me at: gemmahalliday at gmail dot com.  Here are the deets:

How to be a Contest Diva: tips and trick for writing contests

In this one week online workshop we’ll be going over some practical tips to becoming a contest diva! I’ll be focusing on all aspects of entering contests, from polishing your entry to turning that final and request into a sale. I’ll be specifically focusing on RWA chapter contests, and some of the the things we’ll be going over are:

- How to pick the contest for you
- Small contests versus big ones
- Polishing your entry
- How to make the most of a final and turn it into a sale!

June 14 - 18 Cost $20
For more information or to register for class, please go to:

Instructor Bio:
Gemma Halliday is the author of the highly acclaimed High Heels Mysteries, and the Hollywood Headlines series, as well as two new series debuting soon, including a teen mystery series and a hardcover adult fiction series. Gemma’s books have won a multitude of awards, including a Golden Heart, a National Reader’s Choice award and three RITA nominations. Her books have sold to both the foreign market and to Hollywood for production as a TV series. She is currently published with Dorchester Publishing, Harper Collins, and St. Martin’s Press.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh, those Yo-Yo Weeks...

Now that I have your attention...

Another yo-yo week. Up. Down. Up. Down.

Up: I received another agent request for material!

Down: I received a rejection from an agent query. Since this one didn't even ask for material, I tell myself, 'If they'd seen my stuff, they'd be clamoring for more.' Hey. Whatever gets you through the day, right?

Up: Finished another chapter on my new work-in-progress!

Down: It took me a week to do it.

Up: Thought of an awesome title for my wip!

Down: Googled it and found a release coming out in July with the same title.

Up: Settled for my second choice as a working title!

Down: Still holding an admittedly unreasonable grudge against the guy who beat me to the perfect title.

Up: Applied the second round of Creeping Charlie Annihilator on my grass!

Down: It doesn't appear to be working.

Up: Ate fresh fruit for lunch the last two weeks, walked and biked and lost five pounds!

Down: I still have blankety-blank pounds to go.

So. You see. I totally deserve to sit and stare at Gerard Butler's bare chest.

Okay. Your turn. No. Not to stare at Gerard's chest! To share your ups, your downs, or both. I could really use some cheering up. After all, I can't stare at Gerard and his manly chest all day.

Or can I?

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Ever Have One Of Those Days?

Seriously...ever have one of those days?

The brain that came up with "Gin Bombay" (besides being between my ears) is having some difficulty coming up with character names. It may not sound like much, but it's driving me crazy. I need your help.

I'm looking for a name for a female character, mid-40's, smart but tired, for an upcoming book. If you can give me that name, I'll use it in the book and you will have my undying gratitude in the acknowledgements. Okay, I'll throw in a knitted sea creature, just for fun.

Let me have it, the full force of your creativity, my minions. My reputation is on the line.

The Assassin

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Do you do it?


Okay, I pulled one out of the hat. And the winner is: Catslady. Email me your mailing address and I'll get you Lori's Wilde's book. You will love it.

Some of us are good at it. Some of us suck. Some of us were born with it in our DNA, and take pills to control it. Some of us teach ourselves to do it, others just refuse to go there. What am I talking about? Multi-tasking.

Now my hubby, he’s a multi-tasker to the max. He normally pays bills, watches a movie, and cleans out the litter box while he does our taxes. Of course it could be worse. He could throw love making in the mix and I’d be upset. Hey, taxes and sex just do not go together. Well, neither does sex and the litter box. Or as my hubby would remind me, neither does sex and talking to your parents on the phone. In my defense, that’s not a multi-tasking problem, I just have an issue about not answering the phone. Oh please, don’t pretend as if it hasn’t ever happened to you guys!

Our lives have become so busy that multi-tasking is often considered the norm. We almost have to do it to keep up, but there are some lines that shouldn’t be crossed, right? How about putting on make-up while doing 65 down the freeway and talking on the phone. I have a friend who does Pilates while buckled up and not speeding.

And then there comes in what is considered the favored pastime for me and most of you: reading. While I would like to think my books encourage you to abandon all chores and forget about sleep, the truth is that life has to go one. Lately I’m seeing people reading and doing a list of other things, some of them I don’t even recommend.

Reading and driving. (Do not try this at home.)

Reading and eating. (Uh Oh! I think she just got to the good part! Don’t choke!

Reading and Cooking. (Boy, I hope she doesn't blame me when she burns dinner.)

Reading and doing housework. (A good book can soften the sting of chores!)

Reading and sleeping. (So it’s a little late!)

Hey, as a busy writer, I can appreciate multi-tasking.

Now, you tell me, what do you do while reading? Come on, share a little. Today, I’m giving away a special prize. One lucky person who leaves a comment will win a hardback copy of Lori Wilde’s book, The Sweethearts’ Knitting Club. By the way, I’ve read the book and highly recommend it.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Jana DeLeon was Kidnapped By Aliens

Jana asked me to post that the reason she didn't blog today was because she was kidnapped by aliens, who took her up to the mothership where they didn't have an Internet connection/day. no, wait. That isn't what she told me to post. What she really told me to post was that Blogger was down and she couldn't get her post uploaded, so y'all just have to wait to read hers next Monday.

CC, who still thinks the alien story was better.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Vote for my baby!

Sprinkler update:  I finally got hold of my landlord who got hold of the landlord of the building next door who changed the horrible sprinkler!  Yay!  Now, instead of pelting the house at 3 and 4:30, it pelts it at 6 and 9.  Okay, 6 is still a little early for my taste, but I’m usually up feeding the baby at that time anyway, so I consider this improvement.   I slept for four straight hours last night.  Amazing.

Speaking of my baby…

He’s in a photo contest this week!  If he wins, he goes on to the semi-final round where he could win $25,000 for college, plus a trip to New York for a photo shoot and a chance to be on the cover of a magazine.  I may be biased, but I totally think he’s cover model material.  Unfortunately, he’s in 133rd place right now (which is way up from the 2859th place he started the week in  - geeze there are a lot of cute kids out there!).  If you have a few minutes to vote, we’d really appreciate it!


Lastly, my power editing class starts on Monday (I’m so excited - I love this workshop!).  If anyone is interested, or knows someone who might be, here’s the description and sign up info.  (I’m giving a 20% discount to anyone who reads this blog, so email me to take advantage! gemmahalliday at gmail dot com.)

What Not to Write: practical tips for power editing

In this one week online workshop we’ll be going over some easy ways to take your manuscript from good to polished and published.  I’ll be focusing on practical, easy to implement ways to amp up an already finished manuscript and what not to do as you’re starting a new one as well.  We’ll be going over:

-         Quick Fix Common Mistakes

-         Show vs. Tell

-         Backstory

-         Sensory Details to make your story pop

-         Common Grammar Gaffes

-         Guy Speak

-         Dialogue

-         and more!

June 7 - 11   Cost $20

For more information or to register for class, please go to:


~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Holding Pattern

I'm working on a new series. And I'm at critical mass. No, I'm not talking about my weight. I'm talking about plotting. You see, I can take the series I'm working on in two different directions. Option One blends certain elements of a stand-alone, single title that is in the queue--an action that would nuke the single title stand alone. Option Two keeps the stories totally separate. I'm conflicted. You see, I really, really like the stand-alone story idea and protagonist, but there are certain features of that book that don't lend themselves to a series format while other elements fit seamlessly within the series concept. So, I'm at a bit of a creative impasse here.

Yesterday in between laundry, errands and political phone calls regarding next week's primaries, I sat down and drafted informal plot lines for both stories. And I still can't make a final decision on whether to merge certain threads of the stand-alone into the series or not. As a result, yesterday was one of those 'two steps forward/three steps back' writing days. It happens.

But now I must make a decision one way or the other and move forward. Any brilliant suggestions on how to make that determination without second-guessing or regret?

On a much more positive note, I did get another request for materials from a third literary agency. Stay tuned.

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Tommy!

After 14 loooooooong months, Mr. Assassin has finally come home! It's FANTASTIC to have him back. I did things I didn't know I could do and I've actually learned a few things from this whole mess. I'd like to share my wisdom with you;

1) There are nights when Lucky Charms for dinner with ice cream and waffles for desert is a perfectly acceptable option. (And if you haven't gotten groceries in a week - it's sometimes the only option.)

2) A drink now and then won't kill anyone. On the bright side, it might keep you from killing lots of people!

3) If you pay a bill late, no one comes to take one of your kids away as collateral. For some, that might be a good thing...for others, no.

4) Kids are incredibly dramatic when your first guinea pig dies, insisting on a funeral worthy of a Pharoah. However, when the second one dies, the first thing out of their mouths is, "So, we can get a capybara now?"

5) A broken Hot water knob in the tub does not require you to run all over town to replace it with one that matches the Cold water knob. In fact, after a while it looks a bit charming...right?

6) You know all those times your friends tell you they don't care if your house is messy, they still want to see you? They really don't care if your house is messy and will politely ignore the dog hair tumbleweeds that roll over their feet. (A big thanks to Michele and Lisa.)

5) It's easy to ignore the dogs' habit of destroying the garbage under the sink because they make EXCELLENT (albeit tiny) shoulders to cry on.

And the biggest lesson was that Mom was right and yes, he eventually did actually and truly, come home at last.

The Assassin

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

What's In My Purse?

WINNER!!!!!!!!!!!! WINNERS!!!

Okay...hubby went to get the winner and he said I needed to give away two prizes. So he pulled two: First Place Winner-- is Jane. You win the pocket pooper, a $10 gift card to B&N, the pen, pad, and lip palm.

Second Place Winner is krisgils33 and you win a copy of any one of my books, a pocket pooper, lip balm and pen.

Please send me your snail mail address at christie (at) christie-craig (dot) com.

Contests! Contests!

Today, I’m holding one contest here at KF, and a couple more at two other places:

  1. Write By Bethany – She’s interviewing me. One commenter will receive an autographed copy of Shut Up and Kiss Me
  2. Romance Novel Sluts - I’m blogging about two books I loved, but my Kitties didn’t. One commenter will receive a $10 B&N gift card.

This is how the contest here at Killer Fiction works. It’s simple. Below is the beginning of a special feature I wrote for Dorchester’s website. It’s about my secret . . . uhh . . . fantasy. I’m only sharing the beginning with you and there’s a reason. During this secret fantasy, I pull something out of my slinky black purse. All you have to do to get your name in the hat to win some great prizes is to guess what it is that I pull out of my little back purse. You don’t have to be right to get your name in the hat, I’m just interested to know what you THINK I would fantasize about having in my little black purse. Come on, you guys have read my books, you should know how my mind works by now, right?

Yeah, this one is gonna be fun! And the winner . . . and this is where it gets even better . . . the winner will receive something you could all use in your own little black purse. Are you ready for this? It’s a genuine Oops a-Daisy Super Pocket Pooper. (Yes, you read that right. The picture is below.)

But that’s not all you could win, the winner will also receive a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble, some Shut Up & Kiss Me lip balm, and a Christie Craig pen and notepad. These are all objects that will fit in your little black purse. Okay…now that you know the rules and prizes, are you ready to play? Here’s the beginning of my feature. If you’re curious, after you post, you can go read my feature at Dorchester’s website and learn what it really was that I fantasized about being in my little black purse.

It’s Not All Fiction!

I have a secret fantasy—a deep, dark flight of my imagination that plays out over and over in my head late at night. I know, I know, this might not be the politically-correct place to share such fantasies, but I beg you to humor me for just a bit. Because I promise . . . I’ll humor you in return.

Now back to my fantasy. . . It goes something like this. I walk into a crowded room. It’s hot. Texas hot. A drip of sweat trickles down my neck and slips between my breasts. I’m thinner and taller than I am in person—hey, it’s my fantasy, I can be anything I desire—I’m wearing some slinky backless black dress, high heeled shoes that would kill me if this were real life, and I have a matching tiny black bag hanging off my shoulder. A man sees me across the room and saunters toward me. He’s tall, dark . . . are you visualizing him yet. . .

Okay…so a couple of paragraphs later, I pull something out of that little black purse. What do you think it is? Come on, let’s have some fun. Show me by your answers exactly how crazy you think I am. LOL. Seriously, don’t you want a super pocket pooper? And if not for yourself, isn’t there someone in your life who you just know would love one? Oh, and just for grins, imagine me buying them and explaining to the cashier why I wanted to buy several of them.

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my contest at my website, where you can win a bucket of summer beach fun. Contest.

To read more of my special feature at Dorchester, pop on over.