Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy last day of 2010! This year has been a challenge for a lot of people I know, several Killers included, so I’m really excited to give it the boot and look ahead to a brand spankin’ new 2011 tomorrow. So far, 2011 already looks like it’s going to kick 2010’s butt. For starters, right here we’re having a big two week giveaway party on Killer Fiction in January, where we’ll be giving away daily prizes plus on grand prize of a Kindle 3G eReader! (The one thing I did NOT get for Christmas!) The party will run from January 10th-21st. Details on how to enter to win prizes will be posted on the blog soon. So mark your calendars!

On a personal note, this year I’ve made a long list of resolutions to make 2011 the best year ever:

1) Not overextend myself! I’m planning to write three books this year, and that’s it. No more. No matter how much I want to. I have a couple little side projects planned, but they are deadline free, and I plan to make sure they stay that way.

2) Secure a new YA contract. (Mine will be up in March, so I’m hoping they’ll like what I’ve turned in enough to want more from me… really hoping!)

3) Do more promo. With a two year gap between print releases, I’ve let promo totally fall to the wayside. So much so that even I feel like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. I definitely want to hit this big time next year with a new website, new newsletter, and some fun giveaways.

4) Have fun with my social networking. So far, it’s felt like a chore (probably because I didn’t follow #1 this year). I want it to be fun and engaging for me as well as my readers. There’s a rumor that Twitter is actually cool. Go figure.

5) Stay healthy. My health has been very up and down every since Baby Boy was born. It’s doing much better now, but I’m really trying to make changes in my life to keep it on an upward trend this year.

6) Spend more time with my family. (Which goes along with #1.) This year is going to be about balance. No more feeling guilty that I should be writing when I’m with the kids and feeling guilty that I should be with the kids when I’m writing! We have resolved to get a nanny for Baby Boy a few days a week, so this should help free up some actual family time.

7) Cook real food. I noticed one week last month that my Big Boy had fast food for dinner every night. Gah! I’m making an effort to cook at least 5 days a week now, buying healthy, organic stuff and actually figuring out what to do with it. I’m not naturally the domesticated type, so this is a bit of a struggle for me. And for my family as they have to eat my experiements. Hmmm… maybe investing in a cookbook would be a good idea…

8) Put some money in savings. I feel like this year we’ve been living paycheck to paycheck (and credit card to credit card when that hasn’t worked), which is not good. Way too stressful. I’m hoping to budget realistically this year and be able to put some money aside for a rainy day, so that next time we have a year like 2010, we’ll have something to fall back on.

How about you guys? What’s topping your resolution list this year? Any great plans for the new year? Or, for the non-planners, any great parties you’re off to tonight?

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Year of Challenges Gives Way to a Year of New Beginnings

2010 was a crappy year. No getting around it. It simply sucked. From chronic basement flooding exacerbated by an inept city public works department to a devastating diagnosis for a loved one that included months of grueling medical treatment and putting my writing on the back burner, it's been a heckuva year. This good ol' girl won't be sorry to see 2010 in her rear view mirror, that's for sure.

That said, I've never been one to dwell on the past. So, I'm looking ahead to 2011 with hope and optimism. And let's face it. Things have got to get better.

2011 looks to be a year of change. And change is good. Or so I'm assuring myself.

Changes that are in the offing?

  • Empty nest syndrome, anyone? Looks like the first of the year will see the triplets all three away at college and Mom banging around in an empty house.
  • A move in the making? With gas prices on the rise and my 45-minute commute getting old, a hunt for a house closer to work and friends is definitely a possibility come spring.
  • Back in the book business? With more 'me' time on the horizon--and a ton of writing related 'to-dos', I'm itching to get back to a regular writing schedule.
  • Less is more. A simpler life with less 'stuff' and more 'substance' is a continuing goal.
I'm looking forward to new opportunities, new challenges, and a new prospective in the upcoming year.
What do you hope/wish/expect 2011 to hold in store for you? How do you plan to say adios to 2010?
Best wishes for a safe, healthy, happy new year! See you in 2011!
~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's all in the family

On a blustery weekend last fall, we went to a wedding on my husband’s side of the family, and as we waited for the ceremony to begin, something felt off. I couldn’t figure out what it was until the bride’s sister lit a series of delicate aisle sconces with a long, gold taper. And then it hit me.

No one in my family would do that – because someone else in my family would have crushed the dainty aisle sconces before the bride’s sister could get to them.

You see, I come from a family of klutzes. Pick an event, any family event, and somebody will fall, wipe out the buffet, hit another family member's car (Wrecks have happened on several occasions actually. We should phrase invitations: Come to the Fox Family Reunion. Bring your insurance card).

So weddings are always interesting. My brother was married in a lovely historic church in St. Louis. It had just undergone a restoration and had new everything. The caretakers obviously didn't know my family's history or they never would have let us set foot inside the place.

During rehearsal, they showed us a lovely table – original to the church –where the communion wine would be placed. To complicate matters, they wanted the table in the middle of a long aisle, surrounded by my family members. My soon to be sister-in-law protested. She’d been to enough Fox events to know what she was dealing with. Besides, the table was old, valuable and it had very thin legs. The wedding planner – who we likened to the blonde cheerleader in every horror movie who has to go outside to see what that noise is – disregarded sister-in-law’s concerns about her new family.

We took bets on who would accidentally knock over the crystal decanter first. I was especially concerned, given I had to walk past the delicate table, in a powder pink bell-skirted dress. You just don’t know what the clearance will be on an outfit like that. Thank goodness my cousin, Matt, got to it first. He was an usher, leading people to their seats. Before the ceremony even began, he backed into the table, breaking the crystal pitcher and soaking the new church's carpeting in wine.

Matt was embarrassed to say the least. I'm ashamed to admit that the rest of us were a bit relieved. We knew someone would "Fox-up" that day, and at least it wasn't one of us. Besides, the table survived. That’s success in our book.

So it was no surprise a few nights ago, on Christmas eve, when my uncle took out our next door neighbor’s mailbox. The hard part was acting surprised in front of our kind and understanding neighbor. You don’t want ot be too blasé about these types of things. But luckily, we Foxes carry plenty of insurance. My uncle is good for several mailboxes and truthfully (speaking for the rest of the clan) we were each glad it wasn’t us. At least not this time…

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Holiday Gift for You!

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

Happy Holidays to all my friends.

I found out that my first book in my Domestic Gods Series, Romeo, Romeo is available on Kindle and iBooks for free! Here’s the link for Kindle, as for iBooks, I could only pull it up on my iPhone and not my computer but rest assured, it’s there and it’s free! Yay!

I hope that if you haven’t gotten a copy of Romeo, Romeo already, you’ll go right out and download it to your iPhone, Blackberry, Kindle, or your Mac or PC.

To make this an extra special holiday my latest book, the forth in the Domestic Gods Series, Yours for the Taking, is coming out January 1st and has been spotted on the New Release Tables of several booksellers around the country, I’m going to pick one lucky person who comments to win not only a copy of Yours for the Taking, but also a Humpin’ Hannah’s T-Shirt.

I have three Humpin’ Hannah’s T-shirts to choose from. They’re all size Large because I love nothing better than big comfy T-shirts. As a matter of fact, I’m wearing mine as I write.

The colors from left to right are a stonewashed blue, stonewashed violet/purple and navy.

Humpin’ Hannah’s is a very real, very cool bar in Boise, Idaho. It’s my favorite place to hang out when I go home and I missed it so much, I made one of my favorite fictional characters, Karma Kincaid, in Yours for the Taking an employee there. The owner’s of Humpin’ Hannah’s (Darcy, Todd, and Dick) were nice enough to give me permission to take over their bar and play with it in Yours for the Taking and all my future Domestic Gods Gone Wild books.

So Happy Holidays to all, and when you comment, please tell me about your favorite holiday present, and what you wish you’d received.

My favorite gift was a lovely Kindle! The present I wanted but didn’t get? The life-size stand-up of Mark Harmon as Gibbs from NCIS. I’m still debating whether or not to get on the CBS Website and buy him. I want to put my very own Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the corner so that every time I look up from my computer, I have instant inspiration—so much for the dog.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Christmas Hangover

Not a literal hangover, but a hangover of no work and WAY too much food, especially the sugary kind. But it's all good. I had a fabulous Christmas with my family at my brother's house. I love going to my brother's because they have a mini-farm, so there's fancy chickens and horses and dogs and cats - a veritable slew of stuff to see. On the down side, it was a bit chilly for Texas at 34 degrees.

Now, it's Monday morning and I'm back at the office, trying to pick up speed again, at least until Thursday evening. We've got Friday off for New Year's, so another three-day weekend will round out 2010.

I've been thinking some about goals for 2011, but I haven't gotten very far. I've decided to completely give up on the whole weight loss as a goal thing. It's a recipe for failure. I can't set book contracts as a goal because I don't control the outcome, so I have to set submissions as a goal. Other than that, I have some pet projects I'd like to devote more time to, so I need to factor in a couple hours a week to devote solely to those.

In good news, just before publishing took off for Christmas break, I accepted another contract with Harlequin Intrigue for a third book. It's another spooky, gothicy, Louisiana mystery and will release early 2012. In other good news, the marketing department at Harlequin selected me for the author spotlight in their newsletter next March. On the downside, I had to give them a photo, but on the upside, the photo was so cute it got me a slot on the authors and pets Harlequin blog. Check out the cuteness of my Sheltie, Bogey.

How can you not love a dog that enjoys a good book? :)

So how was your Christmas? Are you setting New Year's goals?

Deadly DeLeon

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Before the Year Ends

Thought I'd recap my year for myself. Oh yeah, feel free to read on! Wait. I've run out of time to recap an entire year and this year is not over yet. Thank goodness! My birthday still hasn't come for 2010. Then again, maybe I shouldn't wish it would ever get here. There's that issue of...age...aging. Eeks.

Age. Hm. To me, let me say, at my age, it doesn't matter one hoot. As a matter of fact, last year my cousin sent me a note saying "Happy X birthday." (You've got to be kidding if you think I'm filling in the value of X.) And I said, "Thanks, but I am only Y." (Thinking I was a year older than I actually was.) She said, "No, your sister is Y and you are not twins." That much I knew. My sister is eighteen months older.

Yet, I thought I was the age that she actually was. Of course, my cousin said, "The mind is the first to go," and we had a good laugh. But, it kinda proved to me that age doesn't' really matter--to me.

I think once we are past 40, it all kinda blends in until maybe...80ish. Yes, I said 80. Eighty is the new ninety IMHO. My aunt is 96 and lives alone and has never had surgery or been hospitalized except to have her kids way back when. My other aunt is 91 and doesn't even wear glasses to read! My mother is nearly 89 (Jan) and still drives as does the 91 year old. So, it kinda makes me think that age doesn't matter as long as we are healthy and our minds don't go out of whack. You see it everyday when Willard Scott announces the Smucker's ages on TV. It used to be rare to see a 100 year old and now most ALL of them are that golden age.

Kudos to modern medicine, eating healthy, and staying active ( a key ingredient.)

Moral of this post: I decided I want to live to be 100........

Age schmage.

That's why I date a guy 9 years younger! LOL

2010: A Wonderfully Horrible Year

A lot of commercial women's fiction starts with the protagonist's world falling apart. By the end of the first chapter the woman we will all soon be rooting for has lost her boyfriend/husband, job, possibly a close friend (who inevitably slept with the boyfriend/husband or usurped her in her job)  and her sense-of-self.  For the rest of the novel we watch this female protagonist  learn to cope with her new unwanted reality and eventually take all those really sour lemons and turn them into a kick-ass lemon-drop-cocktail.  By the end of the book she is stronger, wiser and more self assured than she ever was before. It's not that the protagonist is now happy that she was hurt, betrayed and/or tossed aside but she's not at all unhappy about the new direction her life is heading because of those hurts and betrayals.

My 2010 was like the first half of a commercial woman's fiction novel.  It's tempting to say that it was one of the worst years of my life.  I had major career setbacks. I lost close friendships.  There were even medical problems to contend with. Financially things were as tight as they've ever been (and that's saying something).  I was unlucky in love and was betrayed by the one guy who I turned to for comfort.

To sum up, 2010 sucked.

Except now that I can see the bigger picture I realize it didn't.  Not exactly.  The career setback led to better and more exciting career opportunities. Now that I have some space from what happened on that front I can see that the career trajectory I was on was never going to get me where I really wanted to go. To get there I needed to shake things up, something I wouldn't have done if I had continued to be allowed to be comfortable with the status quo. As luck would have it the status quo was yanked away from me and thrown out to sea. That turned out to be a really good thing.  

As for the few lost friendships, well I won't say I'm glad those are gone exactly but again, now that I've lived without them for several months I can see that those friendships were extremely high maintenance and not all that healthy.  These particular individuals who I once called close friends are now friendly acquaintances and oddly enough I don't mind that. I wish them well and want the best for them but now realize that I don't want to be in the middle of the drama and disfunction of their lives. That's not to say that those who I continue to be friends with don't occasionally have drama but the drama is not a pervasive and core part of their existence. As a result I feel lighter.

The medical problems have worked themselves out and they even led to the discovery that I'm anemic and now that I know that (and I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't had medical issues this year) I've been treating it and I actually feel better than I have in years. And a lot less hair is coming out in my comb in the morning. If I hadn't had a small scare earlier this year I wouldn't be taking iron supplements now and I'd be investing in Rogaine for Women by 40. As for the finances, well they're still tight but the new developments in my professional life should start paying off within the next couple of months if not earlier so I'm not stressed.

And as for the guy who betrayed me...well that was a blessing in disguise too.  At the time I thought he was the straw that was going to break camel's back...okay, fine, I thought he was the twenty pound brick that was going to break the camel's back with me playing the part of the humpbacked desert animal.  But that wasn't the case at all.  I actually thought that I loved this guy, even though we weren't committed. But now it's totally clear to me that I loved him the way an alcoholic loves whiskey.  I just used him as a way to take me out of a difficult reality.  He was my means of avoiding dealing with the things that I really had to deal with.  I didn't even know him all that well.  He was just in the right place at the right time.  If someone else had been in the right place at the right time and if that someone else had let me use them as a distraction from reality for a much longer period of time I would never have gotten my act together.  Like the whiskey given to the alcoholic this man weakened me when what I needed was strength and like the whiskey he wasn't really to blame for that.  It was my fault for reaching for a crutch when I needed a cure.  Fortunately Mr. Whiskey screwed up big time and that sent my ass to metaphorical rehab. And guess what? Once I started dealing with the blows life had dealt me everything started getting better.  I'm now really grateful for his screw-ups.  He seriously did me a huge favor, no sarcasm intended at all.

On January 1st of 2010 I thought everything was fine. Now on December 23rd 2010 most of what I thought was "fine" has been blown to smithereens and I'm happier for it.  I'm ready for 2010 to be over but not because it was so challenging (and it WAS challenging) but because I'm excited about the promise of 2011.  At the risk of sounding corny, I'm the protagonist in the novel of my life and it seems that we are now getting to the part of the novel where it gets really good.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Leslie Langtry Holds A Tarantula

Actually, this is my daughter holding Rosie, the Chilean Rose Tarantula. I went first. And because I'm the only one in the family who takes pictures, I'm never in them. And that's not a bad thing.

We were in Denver this past weekend for a military thingy. We managed to scrape a few hours together to see the sights. And what do we do? See the King Tut exhibit at the Denver Art Museum? Drive thru the mountains? No! We opted for the Butterfly Pavillion and Insect Museum!

Of course you are not suprised. It's me, after all. AND, they had a giant preying mantis out front!

I highly recommend it. Unless you have a daughter like mine - who now wants a tarantula for a pet. I have to admit, Rosie was very sweet. It felt like q-tips walking across my hand. I wonder if they do back massage?

Don't worry, we didn't buy one in the gift shop (and yes, they were selling them). I wasn't sure how we could explain a tarantula going through airport security. They had a better deal on Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches...2 for $5. But somehow, I thought the airline might frown upon that even more. I did wonder if they'd let me carry on a 12 foot tall praying mantis...

I'll keep you updated on the pet front. If we get one, I'll have a naming the tarantula contest. Until then, have a Happy Holiday!

The Assassin

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Merry Crazy Craig Christmas & a Contest

Winner! Winner. Rfhater you won. Please send me your snail address to christie (at) to send the card. Thanks everyone one so much for playing along. The guesses were funny. But a lot of you guys were right on.


Merry Crazy Christmas & a Contest. Win a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card by guessing what’s under my tree. Contest posted a bottom of blog.

It’s December 18th, Saturday morning, as I sit down to write this blog. It’s seven o’clock and the rest of the house is asleep. The house is quiet. I wish I could tell you not a creature was stirring, but there is one. I hear it in my attic. I don’t know if it’s a raccoon, squirrel, or a possum. While it may not be in the spirit of the season, I’m gonna have to get hubby to throw some of that bad-smelling stuff that runs them off.

I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping yet. My tree stands outside my back door—naked--and waiting to be brought in and decorated. I think I’ll have to rinse it off first, I’m pretty sure my son’s dog mistook it for a fire hydrant. Not that it surprises me; he mistook my living room furniture for chew toys. The tree is a part of the gift our son gives us annually. And for some reason, they get bigger every year. The tree this year is probably seven and half feet tall. Heck, the animal in my attic probably used it to climb up to the roof.

I know I’m a bit behind with pulling Christmas together, but that’s okay. In the last eight weeks, I’ve finished Don’t Mess With Texas, the first book in my new series through Grand Central, I got the proposal done for the second book in the series, I did the revisions on my second YA, I gave two workshops and did one book signing. And for getting ready for the season, I plan to shop today, decorate tomorrow. Besides, the important Craig Christmas ritual has already been done. We all tracked our butts down to the mall and had dialogue with Santa. And that, by the way is the one and only Christmas decoration I do have out. Our yearly Santa pictures.

My daughter called me a few days before we had the date with the jolly ol’ soul, and told me she was taking my granddaughter out to buy her an outfit for the Christmas pictures. I envisioned some traditional red or maybe green dress. Ahh, but my daughter is for sure a chip off the ol’ block. She came back with a pink tu-tu skirt, and a bright pink shirt. We love traditions at the Craig house, but we’re always flexible. Being flexible brings a bit of craziness to life, but it also brings some laughter and memories.

My 22-month-old granddaughter was perfect sitting on Santa’s lap. She was mesmerized, not frightened, not crying, just in awe. Of course, she proved she had the Craig genes in her when, an hour later while sitting at a nice restaurant, the little angel dressed in a pink tu-tu looked at the waiter and announced, “I farted.” Hey, that will be one Christmas memory I’ll cherish forever and remind my granddaughter of for years.

The food I cook for Christmas day will be the turkey (Yes, I’ll be sticking my hand up a turkey’s butt again this year) and the dressing, mashed potatoes, and fresh green beans, rolls, gravy, it’s a pretty traditional southern holiday meal. Normally for Christmas Eve we have a spread of snacky foods: chips, dips, crackers, cheese, and usually some kind of fancy bread to make subway-like sandwiches. But this year, my fisherman of a son-in-law asked to cook us all fish tacos. Fish tacos may not scream “Christmas Eve” but hey . . . it works for us. As long as I don’t have to clean out its inners...gulp.

Now, I know I’ve blogged about this before, but here at the Craig house, opening gifts is always the highlight. And it’s not because of the gifts. It’s the game. We write clues on every gift and the person opening it has to try to guess what it is. You have to be fair; the clue has to be legit, one that when they open it, they think… “I should have guessed it,” but we purposely make it hard. I’ve already gotten about four calls from my daughter, who was itching to tell me the clues she’s written on the presents for everyone else. She told me yesterday, “I bought you some neat gifts. I don’t know if you’ll like them, but when I saw them, I immediately came up for the perfect clues, so I had to get them.” I have a feeling guessing my gift this year is going to be hard.

Not that I don’t plan to get even. I’ve bought a few gifts for the clues, as well. So what are all you doing for Christmas? Any crazy traditions you have? Below is the contest. Make sure you send your answers to my email posted below.


Guess what’s in the package. Below are three clues I’ll be writing on gifts that go under the Craig tree. By the way, there are also clues in the blog post that could help you guess.

One clue for my daughter’s gift is: Right there. No, to the left, no, to the right.

I have a gift to my son that states: It could be a foot long, or half that. But it costs more than five dollars.

One for my son-in-law states: It may be hard to swallow, but I think you’ll actually use this.

Can any of you guess what those gifts are? To the first person who guesses two of the gifts correctly (yes, I know they are hard,) I’m offering a fifteen dollar gift card. Email me your answers to christie (at) christie (-) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from The Craig Family.

Monday, December 20, 2010

You Really Shouldn't Have . . . by Diane Kelly

Finding the perfect Christmas gift can be difficult. I understand that. But when my daughter asked if I might like a pair of Spanx (the modern-day spandex girdle) for Christmas, it was all I could do to keep from choking the skinny teenaged twit. She thought the idea was hysterical. Let’s see if she’s still laughing when she finds her stocking full of cat box scoopings on Christmas morning. Then again, perhaps I’d asked for it when I complained about the roll of fat that has formed around my hips and belly since I turned forty awhile back. That’s the last time I’ll vent my insecurities to anyone with less than 10% body fat.

We’ve received some ill-fitting gifts over the years, and, no, I don’t just mean tacky Christmas sweaters. Back when my husband was working his way through his post-doctoral fellowship for slave wages (after working his way through graduate school at sub-slave wages), a family member gave us a lava lamp for Christmas. Now I’ve got nothing against lava lamps. In fact, we still have the lava lamp and it adds a touch of fun to the upstairs game room. Problem was, at the time we received it, we were living in southern California with two small children and an income that put us well below the poverty line. When you’re existing on a steady diet of reduced-for-quick-sale peanut butter and three-for-a-dollar boxes of mac-n-cheese, a lava lamp is about the last thing you need. We couldn’t even afford the electricity to run the thing. At that time, we also received an eighty-dollar bottle of Courvoisier cognac from another family member who is a wine and spirits connoisseur. When you’re breastfeeding a baby, alcohol isn’t exactly recommended, though on those nights when my son wouldn’t sleep I was sorely tempted. It’s not that the lava lamp and cognac were bad gifts, it’s just that the timing was off. These days, I’d love to get schnockered on high-dollar alcohol and watch gelatinous orange blogs float up and down inside a glowing lava lamp. But then? A month’s supply of diapers or baby formula would’ve come in handy. But I can’t blame the givers. They were at much different points in their lives than we were. Chances are they weren’t too thrilled by the economy-size boxes of off-brand laundry detergent we gave everyone that year, either.

Whatever is on your wish list this Christmas, I hope you get it! And if you’d love to share some of your less-than-perfect gifts, we’d love to hear about them. We promise we won’t tell.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dude. Craziness.

So, this week I’m sitting at Starbucks, minding my own business (don’t all great stories tart that way?), typing away on my netbook in hopes of finishing my wip before Christmas. It’s pretty crowded at Starbucks, and at least 20 other people are milling around, drinking, working on their laptops, etc.

Then in walks this guy. It’s cold outside – almost winter even here in Cali – but he’s wearing no shirt, these weird cut-off pants, shoes with no socks. He walks in the door and yells – I’m talking at he top of his lungs – “You can all drop dead!”

Needles to say, a few heads popped up from their laptops. The pace goes silent. We all kind look at each other, wondering, “um… say what?”

The guy gets in line. And then turns to an imaginary person on his right and yells, “I swear to God, I’m going to kill you!”

Clearly the guy is a) unbalanced, and b) off his meds.

A few women pickup their cups and leave. A few of the bigger guys get up from their tables and move forward, kind of standing at the ready in case someone needs to subdue this guy. I see the manager step out from the back.

The guy keeps moving up in line, waiting for his turn for coffee just like everyone else. Except that ever couple minutes, he yells out – “Drop dead! I swear I will kill you!”

So, Crazy Guy finally gets to the front of the line, pays for his coffee and even stops at the cream/sugar station to spruce it up. We’re all feeling a little relieved that while he’s off his rocker, he hasn’t actually made any violent moves.


As Crazy Guy is heading for the door, a guy in a trench coat comes in and get in line. He’s just arrived, so he hasn’t heard Crazy Guy shout yet. Crazy Guy brushes past him on his way out the door and drops an empty cup. The guy in the trench leans down to help him pick it up. Crazy Guy snatches the cup, then get right in the Trench Coat Guy’s face – I mean right in it, like he’s gonna kiss him – and yells, “Drop dead right now!”

The whole coffee shop holds its breath.

Luckily, Trench Guy is mart enough to realize this guy is off, and just ducks his head away. Crazy Guy backs down, but on his way out stops at the faces of two more guys, telling each of them at point blank range to drop dead, too, before leaving.

At which point the urge to pee my pants finally leaves me. (Yes, I was cowering in the corner, trying to make myself small and inconspicuous behind my laptop. But no way was I leaving. I’m on a deadline!)

Luckily during all this the manager called the police and four officers were waiting at the end of the parking lot to detain Crazy Guy.

I think next year, I may need to find a nice quiet library to do my writing in.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Conquering Fears and Rediscovering the Joy of a Challenge

I'm not known to be a wussie. A former state peace officer who made it through four months of a quasi-military state police 'boot camp', followed by years of road trooper duty, the divorced mother of triplets--these aren't the bona fides of a wimp. Yet we all have those little...phobias. And I have...a couple.

One has its beginnings in my early law enforcement career when I was assigned to the Iowa State Capitol before my transfer to the State Patrol. This was back in the days when school children actually behaved well enough to be trusted to take a tour of the capitol dome. Yeah. That was a lotta years ago. No. I don't plan to tell you how many. Anyway, on one occasion a youngster became scared on the trip to the dome and I was dispatched to assist in his descent. Which essentially translated into putting the kid on my hip and picking my way down a creaky staircase suspended over a vast, open drop followed by a wickedly spiral staircase manuever.

Since that incident, I've had some minor issues with heights.

So, it was with some trepidation that I recently signed up for a special employee tour that included the Statehouse attic and...gulp...the dome. I did this for several reasons:

1. To face my fear.

2. To research a future book.

I must confess, reason number 2 was what tipped the scales in getting me to agree to hoof it to the tip-top. And once I made it, the view was worth it. My own sense of accomplishment was a bonus. And the research? Pure gravy.

I see a parallel here to writing. Sometimes we have to take a risk with our writing, reach inside ourselves and pull out story lines or elements we never considered incorporating in our writing projects. You know. 'Go where no writer has gone before.'

In other words, surprise ourselves as writers. Embolden ourselves. Challenge ourselves.

I think is a good way to approach most anything in our lives. Embrace those possibilities you never considered before. Find a new way to 'be'.

For the holidays that could mean instead of cooking for a houseful this Christmas, volunteer at a homeless shelter. Or instead of buying more 'stuff' you really don't need, adopt a needy family to surprise this year. Or pick out someone buying gas at the pump outside and pay for their fill-up. Or drop a pizza off at your mechanic's shop (if he successfully fixes your overheating problem, that is), donate some new books to your local library, shovel your neighbor's sidewalk. You figure it out.

So be of good cheer. And be unafraid. Strike out with confidence and joy in all that you do.

May all the blessings of this holy season be yours!

~Bullet Hole Bacus~

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Attack of the zombie poodles

A few days ago, I let my six-year-old daughter watch Night At The Museum for the first time. She was really enjoying it, but about half-way through, she turned to me and said, "You know, mom, it would be more interesting if there were creatures trying to eat Ben Stiller."

I was so proud. And I had to agree with her. So for the rest of the movie, she started suggesting zombies in the Egyptian exhibit ("Mummies would be too predictable"), undead cowboys in the Wild West exhibit and werewolves throughout.

"Werewolves go good anywhere," she claimed. Frankly, I found it hard to argue with that.

I shouldn't have been totally surprised. After all, this is the first grader who, when asked to draw her family at the start of this school year, included a werewolf. And being the exemplary parent that I am (seeing as we were hitting up against bedtime on a school night), I told her to just tell her teacher it was a dog.

It's times like these when I wonder if my career as a paranormal romance/mystery writer hasn't influenced the child just a bit. She still wants to be a cashier when she grows up (hopefully somewhere where mommy can enjoy the employee discount) but it's amazing what she picks up just from hearing me talk to my writing friends on the phone.

Or perhaps it's in the blood.

On the way out the door to school this morning, she hugged our dog and then me (in that order) and said, she had a new book idea for me. Zombie poodles. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Please Welcome Our Guest, Grace Burrowes

I'd like to introduce everyone to my wonderful, funny friend, Grace Burrowes. Grace and I met a little over a year ago at the New Jersey Conference. I was walking down the hall not really knowing where to go, when I heard my name called. I looked around and my friend Terri Brisbin grabbed my arm and dragged me into a conference room. She introduced me to Grace who had just received an offer for nine--count them, nine books.

Needless to say I was thrilled for her. After a few months, we started keeping in touch and eventually became not only good friends but critique partners. Her Debut Novel, The Heir just came out this month and has garnered critical acclaim with starred reviews in both Publisher's Weekly and Booklist and was named one of Publisher's Weekly's Best 100 Books of 2010. Please welcome my talented friend, Grace Burrowes.

It is a pleasure and an honor to blog with you today, also a way to procrastinate buffing the WIP that’s due to my editor in just a few weeks. When Robin issued the invitation to join you, I opened up Killer Fiction, and tried to figure out what’s doing here.

I saw romance, and humor, and mysteries (and the new girl, who has an Issue about her Birthday. Jesus and my mother were both born in December—in that order—does that help?).

I figured the best way I can fit in here is to recount the mystery of How I Got Published. There are no dead bodies involved, and no villains yet (all ye commenters, take heed: This story does not need a villain, but one can be appointed).

Once upon a time there was me, Grace Burrowes, a perfectly harmless practitioner of family law (I am not the villain either. Y’all just hush.) But the practice of law is Not Fun some days, so I coped by reading romance novels at the rate of about one per day. I began this habit when Junior High was Not Fun, and it has served me well through both motherhood and marriage.

Alas for me, the day came when Beloved Offspring fluttered off into the big world, which was at least partly a relief (we live in a very small house, know what I mean?), but it left me more time to read romance novels. I was reading a bestseller one night when I was supposedly working late, and lo, that pernicious, oft-thought thought popped into my head again: I could write one of these.

Right behind that that thought, a fellow strolled into my imagination, one Gareth Alexander, Marquis of Heathgate. He was very handsome, very naughty, and suffering just enough vestigial honor that when a friend’s will put him up to teaching a decent spinster how to run a brothel in ninety days, he attempted to make good on the obligation.

Oh, I had such fun. I had 206,000 words of fun. And then Gareth’s handsome younger brother wanted a book, and their cousin, and their cousin’s former fiancé, and gads…

But, lo and behold, I woke up one morning and realized on that fateful day, I was turning fifty—you with me, Birthday Girl? I started going to writer’s conferences because I wanted to see if my stuff was Any Good.

A year later, I realized I was never going to do all that Goal/Chocolate/Whatever business and decided to start pitching. I rehearsed and practiced out loud, I thought of it as a closing argument (dumb idea No. 563), I paced around my hotel room pitching the air, and I went down to the bar and had two White Russians. While I was contemplating a hat trick, I noticed the woman standing beside me was one of the editors who’d participated in the kick-off panel—two White Russians had made me very astute indeed.

“Am I supposed to pitch you?”

Such patience was in her smile, such forbearance. She pulled a pitch out of me, and let me send her some manuscripts. The pitch letter began, “I am the buffoon in the bar at the RWA retreat who could not keep her heroines straight, could not look you in the eye, and could not stop blushing—and if that doesn’t narrow down the possibilities, your job is even harder than I thought.”

Now you see why the fact that I’ve been published is such a mystery, right?

My debut novel, “The Heir,” hit the shelves this month, and I am still pinching myself, squeeing in the kitchen, hi-fiving my horses’ noses, and generally being ridiculous with the fun of it all. This is a dream come true, the biggest birthday present life could give me right now, and the most fun I’ve had since I was a kid. Nobody tells you that when you’re rehearsing those pitches—being published is big, big fun. You get to play “let’s pretend” for twenty consecutive chapters, you get to dance with handsome swains, and hear all the confidences of lovely, headstrong women. You can give them all birthdays in December (I’m on to you, girl), and you get to blog with all kinds of interesting, charming people.

It’s Christmas, it’s the best birthday, and it’s time to go buff that WIP.

Grace Burrowes writes Regency romances for Sourcebooks Casablanca. Her debut novel, “The Heir,” was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best 100 Books of 2010, and is the first novel in The Duke’s Obsession Trilogy. She loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website:, or via email at

Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I won't be posting again before Christmas, so I wanted to get in my wishes that everyone have a safe, happy Christmas time. If you're traveling, be careful and don't rush! If you're still shopping, try to shop with a buddy during daylight hours and make periodic trips back home to leave your bounty. No one wants to replace their car window for Christmas. Also, it still amazes me that a lot of people have heard of this, but after Christmas, tear down your cardboard boxes to fit in your trashcan or haul them away. Thieves comb neighborhoods looking for all the electronic boxes to know which houses to rob.

Or if there's a neighbor you've been wanting to get rid of, put the boxes in front of his house....just kidding. Kinda. Maybe.

I've got my shopping done already. I try to do it early, but had to venture to Target this past weekend. ugh Too many people and apparently all of them have nothing to do but loiter and stare blankly into space while blocking entire aisles. I have also noticed a recent trend in traffic - between Thanksgiving and Christmas everyone who doesn't normally drive must be on the road. It is simply cluttered with people doing 10-15 miles UNDER the speed limit in the FAST lane. Seriously. MOVE. The rest of us have to get to work. You know, make that money that keeps us all with an economy?

Anyway, I digress, but if you haven't yet finished your shopping, I'll pray for you....long and hard.

So do you have anything special on your wish list this year? I have heard a lot of people saying they are asking for ereaders. I have been harping since the first generation Sony about how much I love my ereader, so that totally makes sense to me. I think as the prices continue to come down, more people will realize the advantages to buying from your couch, nothing to dust and a discount on everything. It's hard to beat.

Whatever you have on your list, I hope you get that and more and have a very Merry Christmas!

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, December 10, 2010

Welcome Lori Avocato!

I want to introduce you all to our latest addition to the Killer Fiction roster, Lori Avocato! I first met Lori before I was published, when I was looking for mentors and she was pioneering the “chick lit mystery” genre with a series about a former nurse turned crime fighter in her Pauline Sokol murder mystery series. I absolutely loved Pauline’s brand of irreverent humor, and Lori’s blend of laughs, romance, off-beat characters, and a great mystery had me hooked from book one. Not only is Lori a veteran of the publishing world, but she’s also served in the United States Air Force as a nurse, spending four years as a real life “Hot Lips Houlihan.” I can’t WAIT to hear some of the stories there!

We’re super excited to have her on board as our final Killer member, and she’ll be blogging regularly every other Friday. Starting today! So, take it away, Lori…
Thanks, Gemma, for the intro! Sometimes when I read one about myself, I think--who the heck are they talking about? lol (Usually they make me sound much better than I am!)

Well, as you said, I am an author, veteran, nurse and mother. Actually, today is my youngest son's 22nd birthday (I had him when I was very, very, very young!) It is so hard to believe and to make matters worse, my oldest son will be 24 next Friday! I must have been on the "gods of children's" shit list at some point in my life to have two kids in December.

My birthday is also in December (29th) so I know the universe has had it in for me in some aspect for quit some time. Any of you that have a birthday around the holidays understands. We are kindred souls of the "combination" gift. One boot for Christmas. One for my birthday. One tire for my birthday. One for Christmas. And this from my PARENTS! Around Thanksgiving, as my family makes their holiday plans, my sister usually says, "Let's have a cake on Christmas for Lori so we all don't have to come back to town for her birthday." Gotta love my sister's sentimentality!

I swore I would never have a child in December--and I had two. Thank you very much, Mother Nature. I always celebrated their birthdays in November when they were young. Now, it's a "Happy Birthday" text, a gift card to shop for themselves, and, if they are lucky and in town, a meal. Birthday boy today is getting his choice, rack of lamb, whenever he gets home.

Hey, maybe I'll start a blog for those of us who suffer the birthday combination gifts due to being born the wrong time of the year. Bright side: I am a Capricorn and although I'm not up on astrology, I seem to be pretty even keeled, definitely organized (I grew up with one of those mothers who said, "don't waste any steps, go to the bathroom before you leave, take a tissue, and wear clean underwear--okay that part was more for keeping face if sent to the ER, but the rest made me organized as all get out and it helped with my nursing and military career), and other Capricorn traits that seem to fit me. My mom is also a veteran. She was in WWII and not even a nurse!

So, enough about birthdays and when they fall. I have overcome the universe and am at a great point in my life right now. I've started a new series called "Lethal in Lace" thus the moniker "Lori Lethal Avocato" my fellow bloggers here have given me. The series involves Polish (yes, I am one!) lace makers and how they modernize a centuries' old craft--involving G-strings. Enough said.

I just finished the seventh book in the Pauline Sokol Mystery series Gemma had mentioned above and it is available on my website. It was fun to write, and I am about to write an epilogue to the series in the near future. Pauline is based on my late "kick-ass" grandmother who died on her birthday at the age of 92 and the first book of the series came out on her birthday! What kind of kismet is that!? Oh and I just got back from a fabulous trip to Spain, a day in Morocco and several days in Paris. That picture above is me in Paris, drinking my favorite drink there. Coffee with REAL whipped cream! We just don't have as good whipped cream here as in Europe. I admit, I do have a sweet tooth.

Well, it has been great fun chatting with all of you! Talk to you in a few weeks.

Lori Lethal Avocato!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Vegas: Shows, Fabulous Hotels and Incredibly Unappealing Rides

This last weekend I went to Vegas with my son and my mother. My first family-Vegas trip.  It was fun although I was forced to be much better behaved than I normally am in Vegas and as I posted on Facebook: Doing Vegas without cocktails is like driving into the setting sun without sunglasses, everything's a bit too bright and a little irritating. But then when you slip the shades on it's all fabulous.

But despite my inability to be sinful I did appreciate the Shark's Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay the zoo and Dolphin pond at the Mirage and Cirque Du Soleil's Ka was magnificent. You can see why this city is called the Disneyland for adults.  They even have rides.

Which brings me to another point. We went to the top of The Stratosphere, the highest observation deck West of the Mississippi, and there are lots of rides up there. Horrible, horrible rides.  There's a roller-coaster-like ride that is specifically designed to make you feel like you're going to go hurtling off the building.  The ramp lowers over the edge of the 108th floor roof and the car rockets down and stops just before you go off into oblivion. And then you're just hanging there, looking down. 1149 feet down.  And in case that's not enough for you, you can actually jump off the building being supported by nothing more than a cable and a hook.  

Maybe if I had consumed a few Vegas cocktails this would have made sense to me but sober I can't figure out why any non-suicidal person would want to jump off a perfectly good building.  It's not like the building was on fire. There was no structural problems with the building that I could see and the elevator was working just fine. And yet people just kept jumping off. My son suggested that perhaps they were just really bored but when I say I'm so bored I could jump off a building I'm joking.  I've never actually been that bored.
So apparently I'm missing the appeal. Do you see it? Would you sign a waiver then allow an hourly employee (who probably isn't paid too well) to attach a cable to the back of an old jumpsuit they suited you up in and then turn around and walk off a 108-story building just for kicks and giggles?

And if so, have you ever considered medication?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wild Hairs

Winner! Winner! Hubby pulled a name out of the hat and Loretta won! Congrats, Loretta! Loretta, please contact me at christie(at)christie-craig (dot) com


Contest! Contest! Leave a comment and one poster will win a copy of Born at Midnight.

Have you ever just gotten a wild hair and decided to do something out of the norm? Something that normally you would have never done? I recently took a walk on the wild side. Don’t worry, I didn’t cheat on my hubby with that cute grocery clerk, didn’t dye my hair rainbow colors, or get anything else pierced. I’m still tattoo-less. Nor did I decide to change careers and become a nun or world traveler, even though I saw the movie Eat, Pray Love. Nope, my wild hair involves home décor.

I know, you were hoping for something a lot wilder and crazier, but actually it’s a funny story. It started when my son’s dog ate my furniture. (That’s not the funny part, it’s actually really sad.) While waiting for the new furniture, due to arrive right before Christmas, I started thinking about décor and looking at my walls. Of all my walls, the one that really disturbed me was the entry room wall. I had some gawd-awful ugly wallpaper that had to go. I don’t have a clue why I liked it five years ago. It must have been a brain fart or another very bad wild hair. However, I decided to pull the wallpaper and get hubby to paint the entryway. Now, as much as I hate admitting it, I’m a white- wall person. Boring, right? So I decided to go with some color in the entryway. I envisioned a light taupe. I know, you’re thinking taupe is nothing more than beige and beige is just a shade away from white. And to be honest, that’s what I wanted, a shade away from white.

Do you know how hard it is to find a shade away from white? We make a trek to the paint store and we bought two little sample paint cans to try them out. Neither worked. One was too yellow, the other had hues of puke green. So back to the paint store to buy some more little bitty cans of paint. And guess what. One was orange and the other made my front door look pink. Hubby put his foot down. He’d already spent more on paint samples that the gallon of paint was going to cost. So I went back to the store, and picked out a gallon of taupe paint without testing it.

You should see my brown entryway. LOL. But you know what, once hubby finished it, I even liked it. And it hit me, if I could like brown . . . could I go with something even wilder? What about a wild and crazy burgundy wall? Add a little color to my family room.

Do you know that expression on our husband’s faces when you tell them something you want to do and they really, really hate the idea but you’ve trained them well enough that they say the right thing instead of blurting out what they really think. Never mind that what they think is clearly read in the horror on their face. Well, the look I got from hubby about my burgundy wall was the same look I got from him when I suggested he get a vasectomy. But I gotta give him credit, he picks his battles wisely. Not only did he get the vasectomy but he also went with me to the paint store to pick out a burgundy paint.

We arrive and some sweet older lady helps me pick the color. Hubby tells her which paint, and she informs him that he needs to upgrade to the better paint. Hubby doesn’t like that idea too much—only one woman gets to tell him what to do—but he agrees. Then the woman, obviously not knowing she’s pushed the limit, informs him he will need a primer. Hubby informs her that it’s only one wall, and he’s buying a whole gallon and he can just paint the wall with several coats. She shakes her head and tells him he will still need the primer. Hubby shakes his head and tells her it’s paneling and he thinks it will be fine. She stands her ground and says that with paneling, he really needs a primer. Hubby stands his ground, too, and says he’ll just take the paint. I stay out the argument. I can see from hubby’s expression, this is one argument he intends to win, but this sweet little woman isn’t going down easy. Wearing a frown, she rings us up, then she looks at me and says… “He needs the primer. You’ll see I’m right, but I know he’s not going to listen because I got one at home just like him!” I know immediately that her opposition is due to her husband-related issues.

So, the next day I’m in my office when I smell the paint, and I walk into the kitchen. “Don’t come in here,“ he says, waving me away from entering the room.

I stop. “You needed the primer, right?”

“No, it’s just it needs about sixteen coats of paint. But it will be fine. On the sixteenth coat. Really, it will be fine.”

My hubby can’t lie worth a damn. I walk into the room and . . . Oh crappers, it hurts my eyes. I mean. . . the color is barn red. Where’s my burgundy wall? In my mind and in my vision that wall looked so different.

He looks at me and asks. “What do you want me to do? I can stop now, or keep going. It might get better.”

I felt we’d gone too far to turn back. I shrug. “Go ahead and paint it, I’ll convince myself it’s for Christmas and after Santa leaves for the South Pole you can paint it another color and . . . use primer this time.”

He flinched at the mention of primer and the primer lady. Of course, he swears the change in color is not due to the lack of primer. But don’t you just know that there’s a lady in a paint store thinking…I told him so. Nevertheless, he keeps painting, and painting. A few days later, he calls me in there. “I know you are going to think I’m lying, but I think I like it.”

He’s right. I thought he was lying. But he wasn’t. Not that I was on board with his “I like it” frame of mind. I mean, every time I walked into the room and saw that barn red wall, I flinched. Seriously flinched. But he kept painting. And two days and about three coats later, I walked in and looked at the wall and guess what…I didn’t flinch. Okay, maybe just a little bit, but nothing like I had in the beginning. I don’t know if it’s because the shock is over with or if maybe, just perhaps, I’ve begun to like it.

And whenever I have to warm up to something, I worry. I mean, it was like the perm I got in the eighties. I hated it at first, but after seeing it in the mirror about three dozen times and crying my eyes out, I grew to accept it. Now when I see pictures of me with that perm, I think the only reason I kept it was because the fumes of the perm and tight curls had affected rational thought. Even worse, I wonder if it’s the paint fumes making me less disgusted with the barn red, without primer, color.

But I kept the perm, and I’m thinking I might even keep the red wall. At least until after Christmas. Oh, and I’m definitely keeping my hubby. Any man who will paint a wall with at least seven coats, knowing I might just have him repaint it, well, that’s love. Or maybe he’s just out to prove a certain paint lady wrong. Either way, I love the guy.

So what about you guys? Have you ever gotten a wild hair and made some rash change and regretted it, or maybe you loved it. Do wild-hair changes always shock us? Do we need to be shocked sometimes to get ourselves out of our white-wall status quo? Come on, share a little. Today, I will be giving away a copy of my YA, Born at Midnight. So post a comment. One lucky winner will win!

Crime Scene Christie

Monday, December 06, 2010

Not So Traditional Traditions - by Diane Kelly

It’s the holidays, time for family, feasts, and traditions. My husband, kids, and I have developed some traditions over the years and, well, some of them are not so traditional.

A few years ago, on Thanksgiving morning, my son gathered up every pillow and blanket in the house and made a cushy, comfy bed on the floor of the family room. Still in our pajamas, we all curled up in the soft nest to watch the parades. It was heaven! We decided to stay in our pj’s all day, though we still used our fine china for dinner. Thus, a family tradition was born. Every year since, we spend the entire day in our pajamas, watch TV from a pile of pillows and blankets, and sit at a fancy table, totally underdressed for the occasion.

At Christmas time, we watch the traditional shows – Charlie Brown, How the Grinch Stole Christmas,and A Christmas Story. But years ago, we added another not-so-traditional movie to the mix – Month Python’s Life of Brian. This movie tells the tale of a half-Jewish-half-Roman bastard named Brian who was born in the manger next to Jesus and grew up in the same world of prophets, gladiators, and crucifixions. The story opens with the three wise men following the North Star to the barn and initially mistaking Brian for the messiah. It’s totally irreverent and absolutely hilarious.

What are your family’s unusual traditions?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Getting in the Spirit

Today is my birthday, and I’m spending it doing one of my favorite things… shopping! And, in my book the only thing better than regular shopping is Christmas shopping. So, I’m going full force with my list of who’s been naughty and nice, my purse full of coupons, and a list of all the best holiday sales. Wish me luck!

While I’m out making merry at the mall, I’m leaving you with a couple of my fav holiday songs that always get me in the spirit. Here’s Bing Crosby singing White Christmas, my favorite Christmas song of all time.

And, since Hanukkah started this week (Happy Hanukkah all!), here’s Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah song - a total classic.

What songs get you in the holiday mood? Any favs?
(P.S. And any good sales I should hit up while I’m out there?)

~Trigger (and Holiday!) Happy Halliday

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Where Does Your Muse Hang Out?

I'm trying to get back in a regular writing routine. I know. I know. My timing sucks. So what else is new? Attempting this during the holiday season poses--shall we say--a significant challenge. Finding time to write is usually the biggest hurdle. Working full-time, having college-aged triplets I want to spend time with, plus all the added pre-Christmas 'to-dos' put writing time at a definite premium. Add to that the fact that it gets dark by five p.m. (and I have a tendency to want to hibernate during long winter nights) and it's 'Muse, we have a problem' time.

Yet, surprisingly, time hasn't turned out to be the biggest problem for me. Nope. Not time. But space. Writing space, that is. Here's the deal.

I have a five bedroom house. One of the bedrooms is my office. It's also the coldest room in the house. Of course, that's nothing a portable heater won't fix. It's got my files, bookshelves, printers, desk top and a comfy easy chair for hard copy edits. Yet for some reason I'm having trouble getting into the 'writing zone' in my office.

I've had my office in various places inside--and outside--this house. When I first moved here, my office was in the basement. After a rather unpleasant flooding experience, I moved my office upstairs, but there were too many distractions so I moved my office outside to the detached garage. You see, the previous owner ran a TV repair business out of one side of the garage so it was basically finished. I replaced the carpeted workbench top with a hard-service countertop and I wrote like a madwoman in that office. Unfortunately, another flood forced me to relinquish my garage office for use as a storage facility for spare furniture and plastic storage bins.

Goodbye garage office. Hello spare bedroom office igloo.

It's not working out all that well. I'm too accessible--as is the refrigerator, the high def wide screen machine, and my new exercise bike.

Any tips on how to find a place to hang out with your muse that will ignite that writing flame and bump up the word count totals? Where is the absolute best place for you to write? Starbucks? The corner cafe? A cubicle at the local library? A park shelterhouse or park bench? A tiny little corner beneath a slanting roof ala Stephen King?

Tell me. Where does your muse 'deliver'?

~Bullet Hole Bacus blogging from her laptop on the dining room table~

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Adventures in cooking

Last night, I made the worst pot of chili in the history of chili. In fact, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to all chili for the monstrosity I created.

Now in my defense, I didn't set out to blacken the name of potted dishes everywhere. I just wanted to make dinner. But sometimes I can't help but experiment a little.

I'd blame The Food Channel for making me think I could add a dash of this and a dollop of that and have everything turn out as beautiful as it does when Giada DeLaurentiis decides to whip something up, but alas, I've been doing this for years. It's fun to mix up the routine. I'm the person who likes to drive a different route home every day. I can't stick to one brand of toothpaste. And recipes that you follow every time can get, well, boring.

Naturally, I married a guy who loves routine and planning.

He's been known to loiter in the kitchen when I'm experimenting with cooking. "But the recipe is fine," he's been known to utter.

Silly man.

Of course it is fine, but maybe I can make it better. Or simply different. You don't always want to have a predictable dinner. And a lot of the time it turns out really great.

"What did you do?" My husband has been known to gush.

"I took the road less traveled." Which makes him groan just a bit because he knows he's encouraging me.

Of course the experimenting can backfire, like it did last night. I could have taken predictable last night instead of the too-hot-yet-flavorless, couldn't-even-save-it-with-a-mound-of-sour-cream-and-crackers monster. I did eat it, though. No sense wasting food.

Luckily for my husband, he was out at the basketball game. But I'm sure he's going to be watching me close next time...