Monday, February 28, 2011

Sometimes It's Hard to be a Woman - by Diane Kelly

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. Not that I’d want to be a man. I don’t have penis envy. Frankly, lugging one of those things around seems, I don’t know, cumbersome? The thing I find hard about being a woman is that what it means to be a woman is a very personal thing, a dynamic thing, a concept influenced by societal norms and expectations that are in constant flux.

When I took my first job with an international accounting firm in Houston in the early nineties, policy prohibited women from wearing pants to work. Skirts or dresses only. And this was back in the day where if you were dressed in a skirt, you had to wear panty hose. And, sheez, as long as you were going to wear panty hose, you might as well go all the way and wear heels, right?

So every morning I’d make a clattering dash through my Texas-sized apartment complex, hoping to catch the 8:02 bus into downtown. Not an easy thing to do in the Houston humidity and three-inch stilettos.

Sometimes I’d make it.

Sometimes I didn’t.

Had I been permitted to wear pants (and thus loafers rather than heels), my punctuality would have been better. Also, I would have been more focused on my research into multi-billion dollar mergers and acquisitions if I hadn’t been distracted by my itchy panty hose or - God forbid! - the threat of a run.

Of course the partners and managers in the firm were, by and large, middle-aged men. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they enacted the policy to ensure the female employees looked well groomed, though it’s entirely possible they simply liked to catch an occasional glimpse of young female leg.

I worked for the same firm two years later in San Diego. Entirely different story there. Pants were allowed. More of the managers were women, too. I’m not sure if the firm as whole had progressed or if it was simply a difference in office culture among the two branches, but I have to admit it was nice to ditch the panty hose.

It’s a difficult dichotomy. We women want to be respected for our capabilities, our skills, and our minds. But I have to admit, it’s fun to occasionally get all dolled up and girlie, too. Who says we can’t be professional, smart, tough, soft, and feminine all at the same time?

When I create the heroines for my stories, I find myself facing difficult choices. Who should this woman be? What are her ideals? What does being a woman mean to her?

In my upcoming “Death and Taxes” series, my heroine, Tara Holloway, is a smart, savvy IRS agent who can handle a Glock as well as a calculator. Yet she’s drawn to Brett Ellington, a landscape architect, in part because he provides a safe, secure refuge from her dangerous job.

What does being a woman mean to you? Was there ever a time when you were forced to conform to someone else’s idea of what a woman should be?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Art of Communication

Please allow me to introduce you guys to one heck of a sweet lady, Loretta Wheeler, writing under the pen name, L. Reveaux. We met several years back when I was doing a workshop and I've been buddies with her every since. Here's her blurb:
They say it's all smoke and mirrors down on Bourbon Street…but what do they know…
Smoke rises…as does heat…and fire…
And sometimes all of them are fed by the same unquenchable desires
Take a late night stroll with Rick through the French Quarter, preferably on a night when the moon is rising along with the heat level, and watch as The Lady Ryze steps under a street light...and sets the night ablaze…

And today she's going to away an e-copy of her book, so make sure you leave a post.

* * *

When I was first asked to do a blog at killer Fiction, I drew a blank on what to talk about. Like every other writer I know, I was nose down in edits, and my brain didn’t seem to be able to roll in another direction.

After two cups of coffee, I finally came up with something. What better thing to talk about as a writer than communication? Or lack thereof. What do we do when cultures and language collide?
I know a lot about this. I’m married to an Aussie.

Now, when I married him I thought, “No problem, at least we both speak the same language.” Boy was I wrong. We have to spell darn near everything—and neither of us understands what the other is talking about half the time.

For example: Did you know that if you say you go to bed with the chickens, mass confusion ensues? He was alarmed, thinking his American wife slept with egg layers. Takes awhile to explain the analogy and a lot is lost in translation. And by the way, chickens are called chooks in Australia. So, that’s good for another round of conversation. It could take you all arvo to explain it. An additional new word for you. Arvo. That’s afternoon.

Then there’s tucker. My hubby informed me we were going to see a Dog on a Tucker, an Australian landmark. It’s quite charming, a beautiful piece of Australiana. It’s a dog sitting on his tucker box. For us Yanks, it would be a dog sitting on his lunch box. I bet I could have figured that out if he’d given me a clue.

I’ll share one more example with you, and then I’ll give you a list of Aussie Slang and their definitions.

John took me shopping one day, pulled up to the curb to let me out and was amazed when I stepped onto the curb, and then promptly jumped back into the car. Still being newlyweds at the time, rather than grabbing his head in frustration, he waited patiently for the explanation.

A sign posted on the curb read, NO STANDING. I didn’t see how I could get out if I couldn’t stand there. If you ever decide to visit Down Under, don’t fret over the NO STANDING thing. It means NO PARKING. Go ahead and stand there if you want to. All of them do when they’re trying to get into their cars.

One last suggestion, if you do visit, you might consider doing what we’ve resorted to. Flash cards. They work wonders. Delete’s out both accents and you can stop yelling SPELL THAT!

Now, below as promised, are a few Aussie words to tickle your fancy. Pour yourself a cuppa (cup of tea or coffee) and sit a spell. (That’s a southern term; after all, it’s a southern gal writing this:) And print this thing out if you’re going over there. You’re gonna’ need it!

Fair Dinkum - Real Genuine
Esky - Igloo or Ice Chest
Mossie - Mosquito
Moggy - Cat
Ocker - Unsophisticated Aussie
Walkabout - Long trek somewhere, bring water, it could take awhile.
Grouse - Terrific!
Jillaroo - Cowgirl
Jackaroo - Cowboy

Bet you know what you’re ordering at The Outback now, don’t you? By the way, they don’t have Bloomin’ Onions over there, or Outback’s for that matter. Only the real one. See Walkabout.

Lollies - Candy
Jumbuck - Sheep
Bludger - Lazy person
Cobber - Friend
Dag -Nerd
Strewth - Exclamation or OMG!
Bonza - Great!
Bastard - Term of endearment. My hubby swears and spits that’s the truth.

These are just a smidgeon. It should be enough to get you by though, until you can purchase an Aussie Slang guide. I’m going to Rack Off now (get out of here). Wishing all of you a G’Day Mate!

And a, Y’all come back, ya hear? Had to slip that in so y’all could practice using those flash cards!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Glamorous Life of a Writer

A couple of weeks ago I got a request from a library looking for an autographed photo of me to put up a display of my books on their wall of authors. Totally cool, right? I was beyond flattered, and agreed to send one immediately However, this request assumed one thing: that I’m some famous author who has 8X10 photos of myself sitting around waiting to be autographed for fans at any moment. Ha! Yeah, not so much. Maybe actresses do, maybe models, maybe even Nora. But not me.

But, like I said, I was totally flattered by the request and who wouldn’t want a permanent display on a wall of authors, so I set about getting an 8X10 printed. Luckily, I do have a fairly decent author photo that was taken a few years ago, so it was matter of getting a high res enough copy of it and getting it printed. My printer is a dinosaur, so that was immediately out. But, I found out that our local Walgreens does a great job of printing low cost photos, so I ordered an 8X10 online and was set to go pick it up the next day.

At this same time, my 10 year old was doing his school play. Which, at our school, means his mom was putting in major volunteer hours. (sigh… how do I get roped into these things?) One of my duties was to provide 100 bottles of water for the cast and crew party after the show. Luckily, I noticed that bottled water was on sale at… Walgreens! Perfect! I’d just pick up the water when I picked up the photo the next day.

So, the next morning, wouldn’t you know it, Baby T had a cold. No prob, I think, I’ll just pick up some baby Ibuprofen at Walgreens while I’m picking up the water and the photo. (They really do have all the bases covered don’t they?) So, I pack Grumpy Baby into the car, and off we go.

Problem #1: they are out of baby Ibuprofen. Dude, what are the chances? Not cool.

Problem #2: Do you know how heavy 100 bottles of water are? That’s like 5 flats of water bottles. I had them shoved in the top of the cart, the bottom, stuck in the seat – everywhere! I could barely push the thing through the store, and water bottles were escaping their flats, falling out every couples of steps.

So, I finally inch my fully loaded cart to the photo counter to get my 8X10. At this point, Baby T has really had enough and is crying his lungs out, grabbing at the displays, wriggling from my arms, his poor little running nose dripping on my shoulder. I have him by one hand, my purse by the other, trying to run my credit card through and NOT bend the photo as baby screams at me and water bottles continue to fall from my cart, rolling across the floor and sticking in the automatic doors. I finally pay, pick up Baby T like a screaming football under one arm, and my cart gets stuck. It’s so heavy, it can’t make it over the door frame to the parking lot. I give it a big heave… and three flats of water fall out the front, spilling on the ground.

Glamorous, no?

I did finally get Baby T calmed down, the photo mailed, and the water to the school play. But in the future, I may stick to autographing books.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

P.S.  For all the non-ebook readers out there, THE PERFECT SHOT is now available in print at!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Three down--four to go!

I just got my third ebook up for Kindle and Nook delivery. Here's the latest cover compliments of my talented son, Erick. I was hoping to be able to get the Word files from my former publisher, but alas, that wasn't to be, so in between working full-time and taking care of a home and keeping tabs on three college kids, I'm spending every free minute going line-by-line through all seven of my books, editing and updating, before I make them available for digital delivery. Needless to say, I'll be very glad to get these books up. And move on to new projects.

Right now, I'm trying to decide what to do next writing-wise. I still get lots of email from folks asking for another Calamity Jayne book and I'd love to write another one (or ten!). I'm seriously weighing the pros and cons of doing another Tressa Jayne Turner misadventure. I also have a Young Adult series with the first book done that I'd like to work on. Plus I've got ideas for several more romantic mystery series that would be a blast to write.

Decisions, decisions.

I guess I'll see which character badgers me the most to tell their story and that's the story I'll go with. Gotta tell you, my money's on Tressa Jayne.

Have a terrific weekend!

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stuff Happens, And That's Okay With Me

Beware - I'm going to get all philosophical on you this morning, but I promise it has a point. You see, I was going to blog about how things happen for a reason and use my latest book as an example.

I'm on a fairly tight deadline for this new book, The Monster MASH, about a group of otherworldy surgeons in the middle of a supernatural war. It's a fun book to write and I'm enjoying every minute of it. But I also know that I have to stick to my writing schedule in order to have this puppy finished in time. So I'm typing away a few days ago, really excited that Chapter 12 is working out. It's a pivotal chapter and one that I need to get right. I'm almost to the end when - zap! My computer shuts off. When I re-start and go back to my file, it's gone. At least most of it is gone.

Yes, something like that can knock a writer like me off schedule, but it also has the tendency to convince me that whatever I wrote that I don't have anymore must have been great. It turns into Shakespeare in my mind. It becomes The Words that Never Were. Never again will I write words like that. Readers will know. They'll read the new Chapter 12 and think. "Wow - if Angie had only written it better. Somehow, I knew she could have."

Illogical? Maybe. But there you have it.

Anyhow, to get back into writing, I had to basically let go of what I'd created and start something new. Because of my particular writing style, there's no way to re-capture how the chapter came together. Sure the events are the same, but the interactions will not be. They can't be. I don't know what I did last time. Fortunately for this chapter, the new one turned out better. It seems that knowing more about the chapter going in helped me to write more fun, more focused conversations and interactions. I'd even venture to say it was good my first draft pulled a kamikaze.

And life can work that way too. I just found that out this morning. Again.

About an hour ago, I was driving back home from dropping my son off at preschool when the truck in front of me on the highway dropped a hay bale. There was no way to avoid it. In fact, I don't even remember thinking anything except "There's a big hay bale coming" before I hit it going 65 mph. Now I'm fine. My Jeep is less fine (RIP to the front wheel well), but it was generally okay. The truck stopped. The police came. They cleaned the parts of my car out off the highway.

But things wouldn't have been fine if I hadn't rolled a red light two weeks ago (boy, I'm making myself sound bad here). But yes, I rolled it. A police officer pulled me over and asked to see my insurance. I had this great file in my car with all my insurance cards. Every stinking one of them. From 2006 on. The poor police man stood there in the cold and chatted with me while I went through years of insurance cards. I simply couldn't find my most current card. The police officer thought it was kind of funny and let me off with a warning to stop rolling reds and to clean out my file. I think one of his comments was even. "You looked so organized." Ha. Well, after that, I got organized. I found my card and put it where it was easy to find. And today, on the side of Highway 44, I really needed it.

So yes, bad stuff happens. It happens more often than we'd like. But sometimes that's good. Because it helps you out when you really need it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Soundtrack of my Life and my Books

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

I’ve always been a total music junkie. Music and books have made more of an impact on my life, than just about anything else. Maybe it’s because I moved around so much as a kid, but those two things were the only constants. As long as I had my books and my albums with me, I was home. Yeah, I know I’m showing my age.

Music has given me a time line—I can tell you in which of the 30+ houses I lived when a particular song was popular. I know I lived on Ross Hall Boulevard in Piscataway NJ when the neighbor girls babysitting me sang Windy while swinging me really high on the swing set behind their house. I lived on Cleveland Avenue in New Port Richey, Florida when my sister sang Billy Don’t Be a Hero, off key on our way home from the bus stop. I lived in Reston, Virginia when in the songs Shannon and Afternoon Delight were all the rage. And on Morris Avenue in Mountain Lakes, NJ when the Bee Gees sang How Deep Is Your Love?. Get the picture?

My obsession with music continued through high school. I learned to play guitar (badly), wrote depressing songs, and started dating musicians. Eventually, I began working in the music industry—managing a singer/songwriter and his band. He’s since written songs for some heavy hitting country singers and has a few platinum records to his name, which I gotta say is pretty cool.

Is it any surprise then, that each of my books has it’s own soundtrack? I’m still listening to the soundtrack of my first book, which will probably never see the light of day. I turn it on and I’m in my book, or my characters minds, or skiing down Christmas Bowl in Sun Valley. The music takes me there.

Romeo, Romeo, Too Hot To Handle, Breakfast in Bed, and Yours for the Taking share a soundtrack that is eclectic to say the least—Death Cab For Cutie’s Coney Island, then rolls into Lou Monte’s Please Mr. Columbus (turn the ship around). The Pussycat Dolls’ Sway, Kristy MacColl’s Fairytale of New York, tons of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, Avi Vinocur’s L-Train, The Cranberries, James Taylor, Norah Jones, Landon Pigg…the list goes on. They all have one thing in common, I put it on shuffle and I’m home in Brooklyn.

When I got my first iPod, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I swore I would never have to listen to a commercial again and I haven’t. I bring my almost 15,000 songs with me wherever I go. Right now I’m listening to Jamie Cullum sing God Only Knows with a smile on my face how about you?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Boxes of Books

Because I am so happy with books and all good things, I decided to give away three copies. And the winners are:


Barbara E

Rebekah E.

Please contact me through my website and provide your mailing address. I will autograph all the books, but please let me know if you'd like it personalized. Thanks so much for reading!

I got my boxes of The Secret of Cypriere Bayou last week. The cover is the absolute coolest. It has a bayou and sunset and looks spooky and is perfect for the story.

Getting boxes of books is one of the best parts of being an author. I usually pour my books out on the floor and lay in them, just smelling the pages and pretty much wallowing in happiness for a moment. All the while, trying not to bend a cover, of course.

In other cool news, I was invited to guest blog on the Romantic Times Book Reviews blog next month, and my post will be in the point-of-view of The Secret of Cypriere Bayou heroine, Olivia, who writes horror novels while staying in haunted houses.

So because I'm so happy about books and super-excited about the invite to blog from RT (THE authority in romance reviews), I'm giving away a free copy of The Secret of Cypriere Bayou to a blog poster. Check back at this post Tuesday morning and I'll list the winner at the top!

I'll make it easy to post - I'll ask a question.

Last weekend, I saw Black Swan. While I was super impressed with Natalie Portman's performance, I was underwhelmed by the movie itself. Now, I am a hardcore horror and thriller movie buff, so when I saw underwhelmed, that's probably not most people's standards. But essentially, the movie did not create a visceral response in me.

So did any of you see Black Swan? If so, what did you think? If not, do you plan to and why or why not?

Deadly (I HAVE BOOKS!) DeLeon

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Make Your Voice be Heard

As you might recall from my first Killer Fiction post 2 weeks ago, my day job is as an intellectual property attorney. And once upon a time, I worked on the Hill as a legislative counsel to a Congressman, specializing in IP issues, including combatting piracy.

It is estimated that IP theft costs the US economy more than $100 billion every year, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. As a writer who is also an intellectual property attorney, it's not surprising that this is an important issue of mine.

During the last Congress, a bill (formerly known as Senate Bill (SB) 3804, the Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act), was passed by unanimous consent through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has indicated he will introduce similar legislation again this session.

"Bipartisan legislation aimed at stopping this criminal activity received unanimous support in the Judiciary Committee last fall. This hearing is another step in our efforts to determine how best to bolster tools to help law enforcement combat this illegal activity," said Leahy. "This is neither a Republican nor a Democratic priority. It is another essential part of our efforts to strengthen our nation's economy."

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 on "Targeting Websites Dedicated to Stealing American Intellectual Property."

Among the witnesses was one of my favorite authors, best-selling legal thriller writer and attorney, Scott Turow, who also just happens to be the President of the Authors Guild, the nation's largest membership organization of professional writers.

You can watch a webcast of the hearing here:

You can make your voice heard. Please participate in the legislative process by letting your Members of Congress know that you support their efforts to combat piracy.

Nora Roberts did her part. Can you read her letter of support for the former SB 3804 here:

(Can I take a moment here to go all fangirl? She moderated a workshop I taught a couple of years ago on basic copyright law at the RWA National Conference in DC. Nora Roberts moderated ME. What's wrong with this picture?)

But fangirl or not, Nora is right. People who pirate your book are stealing, plain and simple. As she told the Senate Judicary Committee:
"We look to you to make the laws that protect us, that protect our work, that protect and respect creative property. We look to you to stand up for us and against piracy and its growing sense of entitlement. Without writers there will be no stories. Without stories, the world will be a smaller and much less vibrant place. Please don't let that happen."

Please show your support for this important legislation by writing your local newspaper and contacting your Senators.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Benefit of Being a Mystery Writer

I had a blog all set to automatically post in a minute from now, but now I'm furiously typing up something new.

See, there's this manuscript I was writing before my daughter was born. I didn't get too terribly far into it before I went into labor 6 weeks early, but I was enjoying it. Of course, I then went on an extended maternity leave from writing, and by the time I returned, I'd changed gears and decided to work on something entirely new.

That didn't mean I would never return to it. Maybe someday I would. Some time down the road. Eventually.

But now I can't.

See, while I was browsing the "coming soon" titles on some book blogs, I came across a blurb that sounded suspiciously similar to my story. Like THE EXACT SAME plot-point-by-plot-point, and was even a remake of the EXACT SAME literary classic in the EXACT SAME way, using the EXACT SAME twists and resolution.

Now before you say "oh, but ideas can't be protected by copyright"...yes, I am fully aware. There is some debate as to whether plot can be protected and the general consensus is that where expression becomes so intertwined with plot that it becomes the expression itself, then yes, plot can be protected.

Without naming names or titles, I'd say that this is that type of plot. It was very unique. It's not one of those "oh, but everything idea under the sun has already been written" types of things. It wasn't a trope.

But my bad...all I had was the opening 20 pages or so, and a detailed synopsis. Of course, I'd spent countless hours brainstorming it in a semi-protected Think Tank thread in a popular writer's forum. But the writing world is a small community -- nobody would steal it, right?


I happen to know for a fact that this author had visited the writer's forum during the exact same week in question that I was stupidly brainstorming.

Despite what my husband thinks, I honestly don't think the author consciously intended to steal the idea. Rather, I think she might have read it, thought it was cute, and then forgot all about it until it came time to submit a new YA book proposal. At that time, she probably remembered it, but had no idea where it came from, so assumed it was her idea in the first place. And since there are no books out there with this idea (yet!), she decided it must have been her idea.

I honestly don't think it was deliberate. But that doesn't make me feel any better about it.

Anyway, since in my case it was an idea rather than complete expression, there's really nothing I can do about it. Oh, sure, I could push the issue if I wanted, but it would be me against her big publishing house and it's just not worth it.

I truly believe in karma and know that what goes around comes around.

Of course, now that I write mysteries, I can always name a character after her and let her die a really horrible death.

This could be fun...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

To Hell With Perfection

My gym gives one free "fitness-analysis-training-session" to all of its members.  Of course the purpose is to give the gym an opportunity to hard-sell personal training to every one who walks through their doors. I workout 4-6 days a week.  I don't need anyone to motivate me to do it because my gym time is my "me" time. It's the time when I can plug myself into my iPod and tune out the world.

Hard to tune out the world when a trainer is hovering over you.

However for the last few months the gym has been really pushing everyone to use their free sessions. Every time I checked in at the front desk something popped up on their computer letting the trainers know that I had yet to take advantage of this fabulous opportunity.  Personal trainers started following me around asking when exactly I would be scheduling it.  Eventually I realized that there would be no peace until I signed up for my free session.

So I did.  I arrived at my appointed time ready for a workout. But of course they don't just let you jump in.  First you have to fill out a form (and they wonder why I didn't want to do this).  Once I finished my paperwork my assigned trainer read over my answers.  Slowly his features twisted themselves into an expression of confusion.  "I've never seen answers like these," he said carefully.

"Really?" I asked as I tried to imagine what I could have said that was that out of the ordinary.

"On question 3, where it asks what part of your body you feel needs improvement you said," he paused and held the paper closer as if that would make the answer change, "you said you're happy with the way you are now."

"You've never seen that answer before?"

"No," he replied and then gave me a look that suggested he didn't believe I was serious.

"But I am happy with where I'm at," I insisted. "Obviously we're all interested in improvement in general terms but there really isn't a part of my body that I feel needs to change...although it has been a few days since I've shaved my legs. I guess I could change that."

The trainer continued to stare at me like I was some kind of creature from another planet before shrugging it off and leading me over to their body-composition machine.  "For your age group a good body-fat percentage is 24%," he explained. "Excellent is 21%.  Let's see where you're at and then set some goals."

Nothing like starting your day off by learning how much fat you have. But then again, I'm fairly confident in this area so I allowed the machine to do its thing. As it turns out my body fat percentage is 22.3%.  That's better than I had anticipated and since I have no emotional need to exceed my own expectations in this area I immediately started to think of all the deliciously caloric foods that I might add to my daily intake.

My trainer had other ideas. "Okay," he said,  "if you lose about three pounds you'll be at 21% which is excellent.  With a little work I can get you there."

Yes really. That's what he said. With a little work (and about $1000) he can help me lose 3lbs.

I realize that it's his job to sell personal training sessions but this whole thing reminded me of one of the few things I really don't like about Los Angeles.  There are all these people here who seem to think that, when it comes to physical appearance, nothing short of perfect will do.

And of course if I really wanted to lose 3lbs I wouldn't need a personal trainer to do it. I would just need to cleanse my system for two days with a liquid diet and then boom, I'd have my precious 21%.

But you know what? Perfect is boring! Perfect means that you can't take a walk in the rain because it'll screw up your hair. Perfect means you can't kiss in public because it'll smudge your lipstick. Perfect means you can't eat a red velvet cupcake at your friend's birthday celebration because you might end up being 3lbs over your ideal weight!  I like walking in the rain, kissing in public and I friggin' love red velvet cupcakes!  Furthermore, if I lose those 3lbs what will I have left to remind me of all those happy nights that I've spent sipping a martini and eating popcorn while watching Project Runway??? I refuse to give any of that up for something as mundane as perfection!

All these thoughts were going through my mind as the trainer handed me some boxing gloves.  "We're going to start your workout with a little upper-body and cardiovascular work," he said holding up his hands near his face.  "Okay, go ahead!" he said, "Don't worry if you don't know the proper technique, I can help you with that. For now just throw a punch."

I've taken boxing before. My technique is on point. I think on some level I knew that he wanted me to punch his hand.

But instead I punched him in the head.

"You know," I said as he staggered backward, "your reflexes are good but not quite excellent. With a little work I can get you there."

--Kyra "Fashionista Fatale" Davis

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Behold! The Noble Basset!

The Basset never wins Westminster. I have to ask why? A noble, French breed, meant to hunt rodents and badgers. His nose is Romanesque, to say the least.

Okay, so they may have a few flaws. Like a skull tougher than rebar (that feels like rebar when it connects with my shin on a weekly basis) and a tiny, tiny brain (his nose is bigger). They suffer from dwarfism, which is how such a big dog is so low to the ground. They step on their ears...a lot - in fact they never grow out of that.

And they drool. Our basset (above), Luke, when he shakes can spray his drool in a ten foot radius and I have scrubbed basset drool more than six feet high on the wall. And don't get me started on their nails. Luke's nails are thicker than my finger. I have used bolt cutters to cut them. Fortunately, bassets are so clueless, you can cut all their nails before they even realize what you're doing.

And they follow their noses. They KNOW they aren't supposed to get into the garbage, but they just can't help themselves. We had a basset who ran for 2 miles with his nose to the ground before he looked up and discovered he was lost.

But think of the things they can do! They are amazing counter-surfers for a short dog! They can look miserably depressed when they are at their happiest! They love, love, LOVE you! Luke can dig up an underground mole and pluck it from the ground before the mole knows what's happening. And they are amazingly easy to fool. My basset will eat and spit out the same nasty thing 30 times, even though he sees me feed it to him over and over.

So, Westminster judges - you've failed us for 135 years. I'm starting lobbying now. Give the noble basset Best In Show!

Or my next victim in my next book, will be you!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

To List or Not to List

It's up! Contest Alert! Win An ARC of Born At Midnight. Today, February 15th, Macmillan is hosting a giveaway of 25 ARCs of Born at Midnight, the first book in my new Shadow Falls YA paranormal series. That’s pretty cool but they’re also releasing the first chapter, which everyone can read. So here’s your chance to check out my new book. Just click on the link to Words N Stuff - - to enter to win a an advanced copy of the book, click on to the sweepstake button, or go straight to: and register. To read the first chapter go to wordnstuff and scroll down until you see the cover of Born at Midnight and click on excerpt.

To List or Not to List

As my life gets busier and busier, and since cloning myself hasn’t worked out so well, I’ve begun to attempt to find ways to accomplish more. Not necessarily to work more hours—I’m working too many already—but to work smarter. And one way I seem to achieve this is to make a To-Do list. Actually, it’s not even a To-Do list, it’s filling out my day planner. For me personally, seeing my chores written out and being able to check them off as I complete them offers me a sense of accomplishment and seems to have a positive effect on my daily output. Now, because I often get so overwhelmed with work, it’s not uncommon to see things like, Take A Long Hot Bath, Flirt With My Hubby, Take A Cat Nap, or Listen To The Birds, penned on my To-Do list. I see this as a way to make sure I’m still nurturing my spirit. Hey…my spirit is important to me. If I stop taking care of her, my daily output really suffers.

However, several years back, I remember a dear friend of mine telling me that she refused to do a To-Do list because it prevented her from being spontaneous. That a To-Do list meant she was too regimented, not allowing herself to live life to the fullest or to enjoy the little surprises in life. She believed even penning out the list would have stressed her out to the max.

While her point made sense, I argued that by accomplishing the things I needed to do, it lessened my stress. And if something was really important to me, it got on my list and therefore I was less likely to forget to take care of myself while trying to take care of other responsibilities. For me, making a To-Do list is like writing down the items I need at the grocery story so I don’t get there and buy tons of things I don’t need, or end up leaving and forgetting the toilet paper, which is the real reason I went there in the beginning.

Now, I’m not so certain that one of us is right and the other is wrong. I think maybe this may be one of those individual things that depends on the person’s personality. And just to give you an idea of what I’ve been doing with my time, here are the results of my labors:

Turned at Dark, available March 15 at for your reading pleasure. On March 29, the same release day as Born at Midnight, my short story Turned At Dark will be released as a free eshort story/novelette on all sites, such as BN, Borders, Sony, Googlebooks, IBookstore. How cool is that?

Independent and strong-willed Della Tsang hadn’t believed in ghosts until she saw her dead cousin darting into the shadows of an alley. She hadn’t believed in vampires until in the dark of that same night she is turned into one. Introduced to a strange world of supernaturals, she struggles to accept this new reality. Unfortunately, the boy she loves senses something different about her and can’t accept her. Should she follow her vampire cousin’s lead–walk away from everything she’s knows and loves—and fake her own death? Or should she set her pride aside and ask for help from the camp leader of Shadow Falls—a camp where supernaturals go to learn how to cope with their powers. Either way, her life as she knows it, will never be the same.

Born At Midnight--March 29th

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

Don’t Mess With Texas--August 23rd

Nikki Hunt thought her night couldn’t get worse when her no-good, cheating ex ditched her at dinner, sticking her with the bill. Then she found his body stuffed in the trunk of her car and lost her two-hundred-dollar meal all over his three–thousand-dollar suit. Now not only is Nikki nearly broke, she’s a murder suspect.

Former cop turned PI, Dallas O’Connor knows what it’s like to be unjustly accused. But one look at the sexy—though skittish—suspect tells him she couldn’t hurt anyone. The lead detective, Dallas’s own brother, has the wrong woman and Dallas hopes a little late-night “undercover” work will help him prove it . . .

Awake at Dawn—October 2011

Discovering who you are is one thing, discovering what you are is another.

Now that she’s settled in at Shadow Falls, Kylie Galen’s determined to discover the answer to her supernatural heritage. But with a ghost insisting someone Kylie loves is about die, a rogue vampire on a murdering rampage, and her six sense telling her someone is watching her, Kylie’s quest for answers is on hold. As if her life isn’t difficult enough, just when she’s about to give her heart to Derek, a half-fairy, he starts pulling away. When Lucas, a werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past, returns, Kylie’s feels more conflicted than ever. Her weekend with her mom should have been the just the break Kylie needs, but it turns out to be her breaking point. Someone from the dark side of the supernatural world has plans for Kylie--plans she would die to avoid. Finding out her heritage may not even matter if she doesn’t survive.

So, now you see why I’m having to write a To-Do list. What about you guys? Do you make To-Do lists or do you just wing it?


Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Is . . . by Diane Kelly

Here it is, Valentine’s Day. And I’m all alone. Well, not entirely alone. My mother’s aged Pomeranian is keeping me company. Yep, I’m out of town, dog sitting, while my mom is in Vegas partying with friends. I think it’s her way of paying me back for all the partying I did in my teen years. What goes around comes around, huh?

I miss my guy. But you know what? Being away from the one you love can be a good thing. It’s much easier to love each other when you’re not vying to be the first to get in the shower, fighting over the covers, or racing each other to get the last cup of coffee in the pot. Yeah, I believe in that old adage that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

As a writer of romantic mysteries, I’m always looking for clever and unusual ways to express love in my novels. In my research, I’ve come across some interesting quotes about love, some that I agree with, others not so much. Let’s take a look at some famous love quotes:

"I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Old Lizzie, got it right. If we’re crazy about someone, and they bring out the best in us, it’s a win-win. Then again, having someone who brings out your worst side can be fun, too. Who hasn’t enjoyed a passionate argument followed by a make-up make-out session?

“Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” Franklin P. Jones. You nailed it, Frankie boy. This quote is essentially the theme of the movie “Up in the Air,” which to me was so tragic. Life without someone to love would indeed be the equivalent of eating only airline food and never enjoying the happy picnic life can be.

“If you have love, you don’t need to have anything else, and if you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter much what else you have.” Sir James M. Barrie. Yes, sir! But is it too much to ask to be in love while wearing a really cute pair of shoes?

“Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.” Henry Louis Mencken. Hmm. Not sure if this is a veiled insult to those who fall in love or not. What do you think?

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller. Helen ought to know, right? Then again, a heart attack is felt with the heart, too. Yikes!

“Tell me whom you love and I will tell you who you are.” Houssaye. Wow. I have no idea who Houssaye is, but who says it better?

“Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Saint Augustine. This pretty much sums up the plot of “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Not sure how I feel about this one. To experience deep love is also to experience deep pain – the two go hand in hand. Would it be better to just feel “okay” all the time instead?

“Love stinks.” J. Geils Band. Yeah, yeah.

“Love can rock you. Never stop you. Love is like a rock.” Donnie Iris. Anybody else remember this song from the 80’s?

What quotes about love do you find inspiring? What quotes do you think are pure caca?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Forever Romance’s Valentine’s Day Twitter Party!

Valentine’s Day is on Monday this year, so I wanted to wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day filled with your favorite chocolates and curl-your-toes dreamy kisses. Before your SO whisks you away for a romantic evening tomorrow night, come join me and @ForeverRomance and celebrate love at our Valentine’s Day Twitter party. #4evrloveday is the hashtag we’re using so make sure you include it in your tweets. You may just win one of the free giveaways,

So, what is @ForeverRomance giving away during the Valentine’s Day Twitter Party? Well, books, for starters, and by some of your favorite Grand Central Forever Romance authors. (There won’t be any of mine, unfortunately, but maybe next year!) Plus, there will be lots of opportunities for Q&A and even a few surprises, so make sure you drop by.

The party runs from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET on Valentine’s Day.

Hope to see you there!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

On my to-be-read list:

Teacher Sara Hansen witnesses a shooting and leaves Detroit to stay in her brother’s empty home on snowy Sugar Island, certain she’ll be safe in the remote location. Former homicide detective Daniel Leeds hears a shot and races from his cabin to the property next door, where he finds Sara bleeding in the snow. Though local police believe it’s a hunting accident, he’s not convinced.
He allows Sara to recuperate in his cabin where he can protect her, but the arrangement soon begins to feel personal. Though they are drawn to each other, they know their lives are too different. His past has made him a virtual recluse, while Sara is compelled to help inner city youth.
When they’re apart, Daniel realizes the cops have made a critical mistake. He’s willing to lay down his life for her. But is it too late to save the woman he loves from a relentless killer?
Visit Cheri at

Friday, February 11, 2011

We have a nanny... and she knows me.

Last week we hired a nanny. Best day evah!! She’s awesomely sweet, and she’s coming to watch Baby T in the mornings so that I can get some work done. She works as an au pair for another family, too, but their kids are older and in school in the mornings, so she had free time. Score for us! We’re getting a fancy au pair at babysitter prices! So far, Baby T loves her. Then again, what’s not to love? She’s plays with him, takes him to the park, and basically gives him undivided attention for hours on end. Best investment I’ve ever made.

The first couple of days that she was here, I stayed with the two of them, working from the living room where all the toys and Wiggles dvds are, while Baby T got used to the idea of someone other than Mommy taking care of him. It was on one of those days that our new nanny turned to me and said, “You know, when I first met you, you looked so familiar.”

I tried to search what memory I have left (babies tend to make one lose their mind faster than a lobotomy), but she didn’t seem familiar to me. I suggested maybe she’d seen me around town somewhere - at the grocery store or the park. She kind of nodded and agreed that maybe it was possible. But I could tell it still bothered her.

Me? I forgot all about it.

Until today.

After a week of working with us, Nanny came in this morning and triumphantly told me she realized where she’d seen my before. Facebook. Apparently, one of her friends has read my books and is a “fan” of my author page on Facebook. My author photo has been showing up on her friend’s page! She told me, “I know you now. You’re that famous author.”

I was kinda flabbergasted. Okay, very flabbergasted. I stammered, blushed, and assured her that I am not a “famous author” (maybe Nora, but not me).

While the whole thing was a little weird, after I let it sink it, it was kinda cool, too. This is the first time someone has recognized me in real life after seeing my author photo.  And one of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more active on social networks. I guess I’m doing well on that front on Facebook at least.

So, what about you guys… anyone else ever encountered Facebook infamy before? Good or bad? What’s the oddest thing that’s happened to you on Facebook?

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, February 10, 2011

eBooks & Editing

As you know, I'm in the process of digitalizing my backlist. Last week I shared the e:cover for CALAMITY JAYNE, the first book in my Calamity Jayne Mysteries series. Here is the cover for the second book, CALAMITY JAYNE RIDES AGAIN. (Thank you, Erick, for your assistance!)

Anyway, the process is not going as quickly as I'd hoped. You see, when you turn in a manuscript to your editor, you do so by electronic file, as well as hard copy. Then, your editor does what an editor does. He/she edits your book. You then receive a revision letter or, more likely, an email (hopefully, a short one), and you make the recommended changes and send them to your editor. That's the last you see of your book until you get the hard-copy galleys to line-edit. This is your last chance to make any changes--and editors tend to want you to be very selective in the changes you make at this point.

Once you 'red-pen edit' your galley, you send it back to your editor and that's what ends up in the final book.

And unless you take the time to go page-by-page through the galley and transfer all the editing changes to the electronic file you originally sent in to your editor, your Word document for that book is, most likely, different from the version that actually hits the store shelves.

And therein lies the reason why it's taking me so danged long to get these eBooks up. I'm having to take each book and put it alongside my Word file and incorporate all the editing changes page- by-page-by-page for seven books.

I was hoping to find a shortcut. I contacted my editor to see if he or the Production Department still had electronic copies of the final version for any of my books but, unfortunately, they no longer have those files.


As of today, I've finished two books and I'm starting on the third. I'm hoping to have them all spiffed-up, updated, and ready to go in the next week or so.

Man. It better be worth it.


Have a great rest of the week!

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Confessions of a Book Addict

I was in the mood for vampires the other night, and nothing on my (overloaded) shelves was calling out to me, so I downloaded Vampire Vendetta off of Amazon (great book, by the way). I don't own an e-reader. I haven't yet been able to pull that trigger because I like print books too much. But I do have the Amazon for PC application on the computer and it's nice. I like it for when I want a book immediately (impatient much?) or if a book is coming out at 12:01 and I'm a dork enough (guilty as charged) to stay up and get it right away.

But there's one thing I discovered last night that makes me think e-readers may not be for me after all. When things get exciting in a book, and I'm all jacked up on the suspense and I need to know what is going to happen next...I flip ahead. I cheat. It's an awful, awful habit and it probably interferes with my enjoyment of the book, but there you go.

I knew the romantic ending of Shadowfever on page 23 - because that was the point where I snuck ahead and skimmed the ending. Want to know the end of Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls (the latest ghost hunter mystery), I knew before I ever left the book store. I admit that one was bad - worse than usual.

And it leaves me with a Kindle dilemma. Do you know how hard it is to flip ahead on an electronic book? I must have hit that little arrow key a hundred times last night. Didn't stop me, mind you. Or even slow me down. But it did make it 100% crystal clear that I am indeed a page flipper, an ending-peeker.

I like it that way. I've done it since I was a pre-teen reading Agatha Christie. It's just that nobody has ever made me think about it while hitting an arrow key over and over like a trained monkey. Curses to Kindle. Well, until next time at least.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Curiouser and Curiouser...

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

I’m cold, hunkered down in the house, and wondering why they chose a bleak month like February to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I concluded that in the days of old, there was little to do during the short winter days, so why not celebrate love, cuddle up with your Valentine, and enjoy. Imagine my surprise when, after a few minutes of research, I discovered I was wrong. Here’s what I found out about Valentine’s Day…

Valentiene's Day--You've come a long way, Baby!

Valentines Day began as a Pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia (February 15th), which involved nudity and whipping (and no, I’m not talking about whipped cream). During the festival, the boys whipped the girls’ bottoms to stimulate fertility— though I’m not sure whether it was the boy’s fertility or the girl’s they were aiming to stimulate.

In 197 AD a Christian known as Valentine of Terni was martyred and beheaded on February 14th by a Roman Prefect with the oxymoronic name of Placid Furius. This was the first Valentine reference I came across in my research that corresponded to the date of February 14th, but he was not the last. It happened again in 289 AD. This Valentine of Rome was jailed for aiding prisoners. While in jail, he converted his jailer and healed the jailer’s blind daughter’s sight. He supposedly fell in love with the girl and sent her notes signed “From your Valentine” which was, I suppose, the first Valentine’s Day card. Ironically, he is said to have died on February 14th. I believe it was under Pope Claudius that he became a Saint. However, it wasn’t until.496 AD, that Pope Gelasius made a bid for peace with the still popular pagans and their festival of Lupercalia, by declaring February 14th to be St. Valentine’s Day—a Christian feast day.

The first reference of Valentine’s Day that was linked to romantic love wasn’t until 1382 in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls. It was written to celebrate the engagement of England’s Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. Chaucer wrote “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day/When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate” but then since he was talking about mating birds, which doesn’t happen in February, this probably took place on May 2nd, the Saint’s Day in the Liturgical calendar. Still, the link between Valentine’s Day and romantic love was formed. Further cementing the correlation, in 1601, St. Valentines Day was mentioned by none other than Shakespeare in Ophelia’s lament in Hamlet “Tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day,/All in the morning betime,/And I a maid at your window,/To be your Valentine.”

So, you might ask where and when the tradition of Valentine’s Cards came into play. That one, as well as the whole romantic love connection can be blamed or attributed (depending on your point of view) to the English. In the mid 18th century, passing love-notes became popular in England. They were made of lace and paper and The Young Man’s Valentine Writer was published. By the early 19th century, love-notes became so popular, factories began to mass produce them.

In 1913, Hallmark Cards produced their first Valentine in the US. Since then, commercialization of the holiday continued and grew to include chocolate, flowers, cards, and diamonds. A few of my favorite things. Obviously, most men don’t take my husband’s view on the holiday. Last year, it’s estimated that Valentine’s Day sales generated $14.7 billion dollars in retail sales in the US alone—none of which was from my Domestic God. He’s not one for cards or gifts, but he’s the most giving man I know every other day of the year. Still, a little chocolate and a diamond or two would be appreciated. {grin}

May your Valentine’s Day be a memorable one. I’m looking forward to cuddling up with my husband and kids and enjoying some quality time together. I’ve decided that I’m glad Valentine’s Day is in February. Can you think of a better way to brighten up an otherwise bleak and depressing month?

Monday, February 07, 2011

A Memo to God

Dear God,

I know your job is crazy - the middle east is always a mess and there's volcanoes erupting and flooding and stuff and so many people are praying and you have to listen to them all - but could you please check your super-duper-weather scheduling map and remove the "bitter cold, ice and snow" from Texas? It's Texas, remember? Hot, sometimes humid, sometimes dry, rarely, rarely, rarely cold and almost never covered with snow?

Texans aren't prepared for snow. The word "counter-steer" is not in their vocabulary and they think anti-lock brakes are meant to be ridden every square inch of the road. Even worse, many, many people moved here from New England to get away from this weather, and not only are they right back in it, now they're in it with a bunch of fools.

So if you could just heat it up a little. Not much, just above freezing for the rest of eternity is all I ask.

Your Child,
Deadly (I've-been-locked-in-my-house-and-am-losing-my-mind) DeLeon

Friday, February 04, 2011

Welcome author Amanda Brice!

I have good news and bad news today.

First, the bad news: One of our Killers, Lori Avocato, has had to bow out of blogging with us, due to previous commitment overload. We wish her the best with her new projects, and hope she’ll come back to guest blog often!

Now for the good news: We have a brand new Killer!

Please join me in welcoming Amanda Brice to the Killer Fiction roster!

I met Amanda years ago through the RWA Chick Lit chapter, and she’s been a great friend ever since, keeping me company both at conference parties and through cyber-support as we both navigated the sometimes choppy publishing waters. Amanda writes both YA and adult books, which are fun, clever, and always entertaining. In addition to writing, Amanda is a mom of one of the most adorable one-year-old baby girls on the planet (who my Baby Boy already has his eye on), and, inspired by motherhood, her most recent project is a cozy mystery about a pregnant sleuth. So you can tell that her brand of deadly humor will fit right in here. ;)

Amanda is a two time Golden Heart finalist, who has had several short works published in the past. She’s currently in the process of digitally self-publishing a YA mystery novella, a revamped version of one of her Golden Heart finaling projects, that I can’t wait to read. So, without further ado, I give you the fabulous Amanda Brice… take it away Amanda!


I'd like to thank the Academy for this honor...oh, wait. Wrong speech.

But seriously, when Gemma asked me if I wanted to join the Killers I think my jaw dropped. And then I giggled like my toddler and danced around the room.

OMG! Squee!

And then I called my mom and told her that her daughter would be blogging with some of her very favorite authors. I'm not sure she believed me at first, but soon enough she was excited.

It's like getting an invitation to sit with the Popular Girls in the cafeteria. They like me! They really, really like me!

OK, now that I got that out of my system, I'm going to act cool. After all, we're colleagues now. Yeah, this is no big deal. It's cool.

Anyway, like Gemma said, I'm Amanda Brice. And I approve this message.

In my day job, I'm an attorney. It's nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds. In fact, most of the time it's pretty dry, and that's why I write fiction.

My earliest endeavors...well, you can't really call them fanfic, since that would imply I was actually playing in the author's fictional world with established characters. And I was quite adament that Nancy Flew was NOT Nancy Drew. She was totally different, duh! She even had a completely different boyfriend. Ted Tickleson.

See -- totally different.

No, it definitely wasn't fanfic. It was just blatant copyright infringment. But I was 9. I didn't know any better. I thought I was brilliant.

Fast forward more than 20 years, and I'm still writing teen mysteries, although I like to think I'm a little more creative today.

Like Gemma said, I'm in the process of digitally publishing my YA mystery, Codename: Dancer. I describe it as "Veronica Mars meets Dancing with the Stars." :)

Back when I was a kid, I wanted to be either an author or a ballerina, but my dad wanted me to "do something practical" so I went to law school. But Codename lets me do both!

Oh, for the final bit of irony...want to take a guess at what type of law I practice?

Yup. Intellectual property.

So I guess that means no more "Nancy Flew and the Mystery of the Lady Ghost", eh?

~~ Amanda "Baby Face" Brice

Thursday, February 03, 2011

AT&T Thinks I'm "Special"

The other day I picked up my phone only to discover that I didn't have a dial tone. I paid my last bill so obviously this was a technical problem. So like the responsible person that I occasionally am, I called AT&T on my cell and used their automated system to report the issue. While being prompted by the digital voice I came to a startling realization: AT&T thinks their customers are a bunch of idiots. My first clue was when I was asked if the problem was only on one phone or all the phones in the house. Obviously if only one phone wasn't working the problem would be with that phone. I'm fairly sure that's a no-brainer.

But I didn't really get the whole we-think-you’re-insanely-stupid message until they asked if I was calling from the phone line on which I wasn't able to get a dial tone on.

I guess they thought that I was confused; that I couldn't understand why there was no dial tone after I started pressing buttons or something.

The really sad part is that you KNOW the reason they have to ask these questions is because of experiences they've had with other  callers; truly "special" people who really need the warning label explaining that their hair dryer is not a bath toy.

And before you say it, I am the first to admit that I've had plenty of brain dead moments. But not knowing that you can't call from a phone that doesn't have a dial tone? That's pushing it.

--Kyra "Fashionista Fatale" Davis

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

70% More Sausage, and My Ass

Sorry for the suggestive name of this blog. I just got that. (Warning - upcoming photo might be for mature audiences or bruise fetishists only.)

After picking up Hot (Breakfast) Pockets for my son yesterday (his drug of choice), I noticed the package. It says (as you can see) 70% more sausage. What were these people thinking? I mean, how little sausage is in there to begin with if you need to add 70% more? Most things like this are 10% or maybe even 20% more. But 70%? Does my 10year old really need to have 70% more meat...or for that matter, anything? If there's 70% MORE sausage, and let's say, for the sake of arguement that there was 25% to begin with, doesn't that mean there's only 5% for the bread, the cheese and eggs? Shouldn't they just call it a sausage with bits of egg and cheese? I don't know. Maybe I'm the only one who sees it that way.

That's right, this is my ass - or rather, my left buttock. Last Thursday, I fell down the garage stairs (see, we have this sunken family room off the garage). I was carrying 4 bags of groceries, a tote bag and my purse (what?). Of course, I didn't see where my feet were going. Of course, the linoleum steps were wet from my kids tracking in snow. Of course, I'm a complete idiot.

Look at the size of this thing! It's 8"x10"! Impressive (painful, but also impressive)! And colorful! All I know is, this is the first time I've ever wanted to show people a picture of my ass...well, since I was 23.

Well, I'm completely snowed in. I might actually get some writing done! I think before I do, I'll go have one of those sausage Hot Pockets...

The Assassin

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Oh, Crappers! Did I say that out loud?

Winner! Okay...Winners.
Hubby, my cardboard stock expert, pulled three names out of the hat. Rebekah E., Sarah. Please send me your snail mail addresses to: christie (at) christie-craig (dot) come
Have you ever had that happen? When a thought ran through your brain and somehow it just fell out of your lips and it was so not the right time, or something that needed to be said in the present company?

Well, it happened to me recently. Thankfully, it was just with my hubby. Then again, it might have been better if it had been with anyone else.

Here’s what happened. I was at my desk, hand on my mouse, staring at my computer, when hubby stepped in and was telling me this fascinating piece of info about how some cardboard stock was down and how that could be a sign the overall cardboard box industry was on the fall. I mean…cardboard stock? Really?

Anyway, his riveting dialogue had me enthralled and sitting on the edge of my seat. Then a light ding announced the arrival of a new email. I had my hand on the mouse, so why not click on it, right? I mean, I could listen to cardboard stock info and click.

It was an email from my editor at Grand Central sending me photographs of the models as they posed for the my cover for my upcoming humorous romantic suspense, Don’t Mess With Texas. While my hubby continued with his electrifying dialogue, I somehow managed to pull myself away and did another click to view the images.

The pictures filled my screen. My mouth dropped open. I’ll bet my eyes widened, too. And that’s when the words just slipped out. “Wow, I got a half-naked man. I’ve sort of always wanted a half-naked man.”

A second or so after the words slipped out the did-I-just-say-that-aloud thought hit.

“What?” hubby asked, his cardboard box stock talk coming to a sudden halt.

I sat speechless for a couple of seconds and then said. “You’re the only half-naked man I really want.”

He didn’t look convinced. So I explained. “My cover. My new cover for Grand Central. The Don’t Mess with Texas cover, I got a . . . half naked man.” I pointed to the screen.

His expression grew grim. And not because I’d interrupted him, or that I just said I’d always wanted a half naked man.

“Why would they want to put a half-naked man on your cover?” he asked. “Your books are about the women.” Yes, my hubby does read my books.

“About women who fall in love with men,” I reminded him. “The books are about the men, too.” Obviously, for some reason he didn’t seem to recall the men in my books. Hmm . . .

Then I recalled that his favorite of my covers was Divorced, Desperate and Delicious. The one that was nothing more than a pair of boobs. Of course, at the time he didn’t refrain from telling me that the woman had enough room between her cleavage to park an eighteen wheeler. Not that he was complaining, mind you. It’s still his favorite cover. I guess wide cleavage isn’t all together a bad thing. LOL

But let’s move to the important part of this blog. I GOT A HALF-NAKED MAN ON MY COVER! A very hot looking, shirtless, Texan and in his arms is my very happy to-be-there heroine. And can I be honest? It’s not really the half-naked man I love. It’s the fun, flirty image. When my editor asked me to describe my dream cover,that’s what I said. I wanted a fun, flirty cover. One that was a reflection of the tone of my books. And I think this cover is pretty much near perfect.

Oh, and I also got some other riveting information in that email (and it has nothing do with cardboard boxes.) Don’t Mess With Texas is scheduled to be an August 23, 2011 release. That’s four months earlier than I thought.

I’m over the moon excited. So with no further ado, here’s my cover.
And for the record, my fabulous, sweet hubby is thrilled with the cover, too. (Yeah, I’m trying to make up for my earlier sarcasm about his exciting cardboard box dialogue.) I do love the man, seriously.

Anyway, have you ever had a thought just slip out of your mouth when you wished it hadn’t? Have you ever spoke first and thought later? Have you ever wished you could swallow up the words? And what kind of book covers do you like? Come on, let’s have some fun. Oh, and one commenter will win a bag of swag for my upcoming YA novel, Born at Midnight. (Yep, that book has a great cover, too.)