Friday, September 30, 2011

Wrong...just wrong.

Have you seen the trailer for the long-anticipated One For the Money movie, coming in January? What do you think?

Katherine Heigl? As Stephanie Plum? WHAAAA?

Seriously, what were the producers thinking when they casted this thing? I guess Heigl is a decent enough actress, but she is most definitely NOT the wise-cracking, down-to-earth Jersey Girl accidental-bailbondswoman written by Janet Evanovich. It really begs the question -- did anyone involved with this film even read the books?

Yes, I'm going to see it. (Well, maybe. It's due to release about a month after my son is born, so it's entirely possible any free time I get I'll just want to sleep instead of going to the movies. So I might have to wait until it hits DVD.)

And I really hope they don't ruin one of my favorite book franchises. (Although I admit I've been less excited about the misadventures of that ever-populr Stephanie-Morelli-Ranger love-triangle in the last few books, as it becomes more and more clear that they're headed towards no resoution whatsoever, despite Book #18 coming out in November. But the first ten or so were sheer comic gold!) But with Katherine Heigl as Stephanie, I just can't wonder what else they did to massacre the book.

Had they made this movie 10 years ago (the original book was released in 1994), Sandra Bullock would have been the ideal Stephanie Plum. Or even Marisa Tomei. But of course, it was filmed in 2011, not 2000, and they're both too old for Stephanie now.

So who would have been a better choice today? Anyone, really. Amanda Peet could have been good. Even Anne Hathaway would be a more believable Stephanie. But frankly, I think an unknown might have been a fantastic choice. Assuming they followed the Evanovich manuscript closely, the script would have been strong enough even without a household name.

But seriously...anyone but Katherine Heigl.

Let's have a look at the rest of the cast. Jason O'Mara as Joe Morelli? I loved O'Mara in Life On Mars, but who casts an Irishman as a stereotypical Italian-American cop?

Daniel Sunjata as Ranger? OK, this one I can live with. Sunjata is definitely H-O-T, although I do have a bit of a problem with the producers just expecting us to conveniently forget that Ranger is supposed to be Cuban, not half-African-American. But I'll give them a pass on this one.

Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur? The jury is out on this one. I bet she'll be funny, but she just seems, I don't know, too pretty to play this wacky Italian/Hungarian matriarch with a penchant for open casket funerals. (Wouldn't Betty White have been amazing?)

I must admit that Sheri Shepherd as Lula is a pretty darn good choice. At least they did something right.

So what do you think of the trailer? The casting choices? Are you going to see it?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Different Take On The Jewish New Year

"How would you like to observe the High Holidays?" I asked my son as I drove him home from his art class last Sunday.
"Let me think," he mused. "Well, for Rosh Hashanah I would like to do something very spiritual like go to the observatory and study the stars and the origins of the universe God has given us, and then perhaps for the first day of the holiday we could just be out in nature. We could end the day by going to the waterfall at Eaton Canyon where we'll cast bread crumbs into the water to symbolize casting off our sins as is the tradition."

"We can do that," I said, nodding my approval.

"But Yom Kippur is different," he continued. "On Yom Kippur you're supposed to feel guilty."

"Sweetie," I said in a gentle but chastening tone, "we're Jewish. We're always supposed to feel guilty."

"True," he agreed, "but on Yom Kippur we're supposed to feel extra guilty. So I think on Yom Kippur we should go to services and tell the rabbi that we didn't go to synagogue on Rosh Hashanah. Then he'll be disappointed in us, we'll feel really bad about that and it will be perfect!"

To all my fellow Tribe members, L' Shanah Tovah. May this be a sweet New Year. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Announcements, Announcements, Announcements!

Had an AWESOME time with Killer Kathy Bachus in Montezuma for the All Iowa Writer's Conference. Her presentation was great and she was so organized! She made sense compared to my rambling like a lunatic (something I tend to do too often). I think I even acted out the scene where I have to break my dead iguana in half in order to bury him.

Kathy's son Erick is ADORABLE! Did you know Montezuma, Iowa is known for it's monument to the Bill of Rights? Do you know what the Bill of Rights is without wiki-ing it (like I did)? And that's just sad, because I was a poli-sci major.

Paris Bombay's novella is coming soon! It's with an editor and will soon hit Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. And may I just say - this book was a bitch. How do you write a book with a perfectly nice guy in it? You can't change him or show any growth because he's not an arrogant ass in the beginning.

I can't tell you who gets Paris in the end. You just have to read the damn thing. When it's out. Which should be soon. I hope.

In other news, I've decided to grow out my gray hair. Just for the hell of it (something I do a lot). I've always been a bit restless where my hair is concerned. I'm kind of curious to see what I actually look like.

What's interesting is how so many people are telling me not to do it. Don't you know (or maybe you always suspected) that the more you tell me I can't or shouldn't do something - the more I want to do it? Besides, it's just hair. And once I grow it out, I may go back to coloring it. Maybe blue next time. So here's some pictures - and I'll keep you updated.

I should mention that I have not told Mom I'm doing this. Yes, I'm 45 and afraid of my 5'1" mother. In fact, last weekend at my daughter's cross country meet, I wore a hat so she wouldn't notice. Why? She threw a fit when my sister went gray. Now with me going gray - more silver really - she's gonna look weird with blonde hair with two gray-haired daughters (something I think will actually be quite hilarious).

So I'm not going to tell her. Not yet. She'll probably notice by Thanksgiving anyway. Mental note - have extra bottles of Two Buck Chuck on hand for T-giving.

Also a huge thanks to Teri for being my first ever beta reader for a book I once wrote but never published: THE ADULTERER'S UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO FAMILY VACATIONS. I'll be taking her opinion very seriously, so it'll be her fault if no one ever sees it.

The Assassin

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Forever Texas Blog Tour By Christie Craig

I’m on blog tour with one of my favorite authors, Jane Graves. Grand Central is giving away books, too. Here’s a list of where you can pop over to follow the tour. And guys, if you haven’t read Jane Graves, I recommend you go order her book right now. She’s an author on my keeper shelf.

Tues., Sept 27

Wed., Sept 28

Fri., Sept 30

Fri., Sept 30

Fri., Sept 30

And today I’m posting the Q&A from Mary Gramlich. She asked some very intriguing questions. If you haven’t checked out her blog, do so. She’s a very entertaining blogger: (Thank you Mary for hosting us!)

1) Why do we always think of Texas as much for its over the top events?

CC: Well, Texas is special, just ask any Texan and they’ll be happy to tell you in detail, and with Texas pride, how their great state was its own country. Why, heck, there’s even talk of seceding from the union. It’s probably that pride and independent thinking that explains why we have so many things named after us. We have Texas burgers, Texas toast, and we even have a dance named after us.

You know the saying, everything is bigger in Texas? Well, they might be fudging just a bit on that. Texas, like all states, has some big people with some not so no big ideas, and that’s why we have so many over-the-top events. Murders in this state aren’t your normal, everyday crime, Texans have to get a chainsaw, a Cadillac, or big-people diapers involved. Then, there’s the little disturbing fact that you can buy a gun quicker, and with less hassle, than you can purchase Claritin D at a drug store.

In all seriousness, I’m not a native Texan, but even with all this craziness, I hang my hat here because I love this zany, over-the-top place. It’s a one-of-a-kind state and just about anything can happen in Texas. Since I try to write one-of-a-kind plots with crazy things happening, it just seems natural that all my books are set in Texas.

2) What is the most romantic gesture you have ever had happen?

CC: I guess for my hubby’s sake, I should use him as the example, huh? Honestly, I got lucky in love—the second go round. I could name numerous things my hubby, aka my true life hero, has done over the years. I moved to California to escape an abusive relationship from my-then-soon-to-be-ex. The only thing I brought with me was a five-year-old and a duffle bag of possessions. Less than two months after I met Steve, I found a brand new car parked in my parking spot at my apartment. It was a gift from him, because he deemed the clunker car I was driving unsafe for me and my daughter.

Then, there was the honeymoon cabin he rented with a fireplace in the bedroom because I’d once said that making love in front of a fireplace would be so romantic. We had to crank down the air conditioner to light that fireplace on our wedding night, but I was right. It was amazing.

However, I think the most romantic gesture he’s ever done was something he said about seventeen years after we were married. We were out having dinner and he looked at me and said, “You are not the same woman I married.” My heart stopped, I felt blindsided and didn’t think I was going to like where this conversation was headed. Then he continued, “I married a young woman; she was a little vulnerable and a lot scared to trust anyone. She was practically a girl who didn’t really know what she wanted out of life. And look at you now. You’re a writer who has a passion for what you do, one who has faced more rejection, who has shown more courage to chase her dream, than anyone I know.” See why I love this man? You know, I may not have given my fictional heroes my hubby’s abs (Sorry, Babe) but I gave each and every one of them his heart, his sense of humor, and his ability to make a woman feel loved.

3) Tell me what you would like to see when you look out your back door?"

CC: First, let me tell you what I see when I look out the French doors of my office: A patio with a motorless, slightly rusted (okay a lot rusted), faded turquoise colored 1963 Falcon Sports Coupe up on blocks. In car talk you would say it’s missing the front clip, meaning it has no fenders, no hood, no grill, and no bumpers. Behind this beat-up car, there are a couple of tires leaning against the front of the garage. Adding to the ambiance is the scorched lawnmower hubby accidentally set fire to a month ago. (I blogged about that, by the way.)

Now, since this is a fantasy of what I’d think would be the perfect patio, I’d like to see some beautiful outdoor furniture with a cold glass of lemonade and a book waiting to be devoured. I can imagine a little bird bath off the side where I could watch a couple of Blue Jays frolicking in water. And maybe a couple of planters with some brightly colored blooms draping over the edge and swaying in the breeze. Oh, in my make-believe perfect patio world, I’d change the Texas temperature that hit 109 this week, to a high of 80. Ahh, there’s nothing like a fantasy. But seriously, if I really had the magic to snap my fingers and transform my patio, I wouldn’t do it. Well, maybe for a few hours, but that’s all.

Why? Because that car is my husband’s and my son’s passion. And when I see them out there, sweaty and greasy, fighting the heat, swatting at mosquitoes, and working together to bring life back to an old, rusted car, I know it’s better than any perfect patio scene I could imagine. Real life isn’t perfect, and a lot of times, it’s not all that pretty—at least not at the Craig household and not even in a Christie Craig novel. But if we look with our hearts instead of with our eyes, we’ll probably see there’s a lot we have to be grateful for, and a heck of a lot to laugh about. And that’s what I try to deliver in my novels: a story that will bring you laughter and a lot of heart.

And I’ll leave you with my motto for a good life. Laugh…love…read.

Monday, September 26, 2011


That's me and my mother in the photo. The photo reveals several things about me:

1) I'm not a real blonde. (Is anyone???)
2) I'm from Texas, also known as The Land of Big Hair.
3) I have a mother who's such a great sport she allowed me to use this photo in my blog! (Thanks, Mom!)

The hair. Wow, huh? I can't imagine why this hairstyle hasn't come back!

My mother's hair must have been the subconscious inspiration for the beehive worn by Lu "The Lobo" Lobozinksi, Tara's stuck-in-the-sixties boss in my Death & Taxes series. Lu's beehive plays a major role in Death, Taxes, and Extra-Hold Hairspray, which will be book #3 in the series and will be out next summer.

I've never worn a beehive, but I have sported some other questionable haircuts in the name of fashion. I was in high school in the '80's, during the New Wave/Punk Rock era. I once had my hairdresser cut the top of my hair in one of those spiky hairdos that made the strands stick up like a palm tree on top of my head ala Kajagoogoo. (Remember that band? I Googled them. They're still around!) My high school boyfriend had long bangs that he bleached to an odd shade of orange-blond.

I once got a spiral perm. The rollers were so heavy they nearly broke my neck during processing. Between the bleach in the blond dye and the chemicals in the perm, my hair was fried beyond repair. I looked like I was wearing a tumbleweed on my head.

Got a bad hair story? Share it with us! One lucky poster will win an ARC of my debut novel, Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure. The winner will be announced here at 9 PM central time, so be sure to check back! Thanks for stopping by to visit us at Killer Fiction!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Update on the new house

We’re finally settling into the new house. The kids’ rooms are 90% there, we have one working bathroom (yay!), and the kitchen is unpacked. I almost feel like a real person again. I even wrote a couple pages this week. Total shocker.

New house pros:
1. The deck is gorgeous. It’s me new favorite place to sit and write.
2. The location rocks. Big Boy even walked home from school a couple times this week.
3. I am LOVING having my own office. Even if it is full of half-assembled furniture and boxes at the moment.

New house cons:
The last tenant left the house in sad shape. The landlady is working on getting things fixed, but it’s sloooooow going. To date the issues are:

1. Unintentional two-tone paint job in Big Boy’s room. I had to paint the entire room two days before we moved in.
2. No smoke alarms hooked up in the entire house. They are all disconnected and out of batteries
3. None of the blinds on any windows work. They’re all broken. And it’s like 100 degree here, so all the rooms are baking in the direct sun.
4. The A/C only works in some rooms. And has a phantom unit upstairs that controls nothing. We basically have to freeze out the downstairs to 60 degrees to cool the upstairs to 90 degrees
5. The oven doesn’t work. Just fills the room with gas and never heats up.
6. The dishwasher doesn’t work – no hot water
7. The upstairs bathroom drain doesn’t fit the sink, creating a flood every time we use it
8. The family room carpet is bathed in dog-pee scented stains. (super fun smell!)
9. A banister on the stairs is broken, meaning Baby Boy can easily fit between the rails and fall to his death. Clearly we have this spot barricaded with boxes right now, but, um, yeah. Not so safe.
10. None of the doors fit the doorjambs properly. Big Boy was in his room yesterday. It was so hot in the direct sunlight and non-working A/C that he was sweating like he was in a sauna. He tried to get out… but the door was stuck. He was trapped. Luckily we heard him screaming for help and The Man was able to body-slam the door open.

So basically we’re expecting the wonky oven to create a fire that none of us will know about because the smoke detectors aren’t hooked up, but even if we did know about it we would all be trapped in our rooms since the doors don’t open. Hey, but once we do get out, we can jump through the hole in the banister for a quick getaway!

Ironically, that Tom Hanks movie The Money Pit was on TV a couple nights ago, and somehow was way funnier now than I ever remembered it being.

~Trigger Happy Halliday

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Great Openers

The other night, I was desperate to read something, but couldn’t figure out what. I ended up over by the keeper shelf. Still, I don’t know what it was – I couldn’t even settle on a favorite. I did, however, read a lot of absolutely fantastic opening lines.

“Looking back, I guess my first mistake was to assume that a rookie reporter could pursue both a hot story and a hot sex life.”
Bubbles Ablaze by Sarah Strohmeyer

“The day I died started out bad and got worse in a hurry.”
Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson

“The blackened shell of the house still stands on the edge of the moor.”
Greygallows by Barbara Michaels

“My philosophy is pretty simple – any day nobody’s trying to kill me is a good day.”
Dark Fever by Karen Marie Moning

“Two blocks from the restaurant, Zoe Tarleton knew she was screwed.”
Gone with the Nerd by Vicki Lewis Thompson

“Captain Crosbie came out of the bank with the pleased air of one who has cashed a cheque and has discovered that there is just a little more in his account than he though there was.”
They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie

“Falling out of Heaven is the easy part. It’s landing that’s difficult.”
Angel with Attitude by Michelle Rowen

“Sometimes, it seems like all I ever do is lie.”
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

“If you ever touch me again, I’ll pull off your ears and stuff them up your nose.”
The Royal Treatment by MaryJanice Davidson

There were even more, but darned if I’m going to type them all. It was fun to get drawn into my favorite books all over again. So what about you? Do you have any favorite opening lines? Post yours and you’re entered to win a brand spanking new copy of any of the books above. Winner’s choice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hanging out with our 'hit lady' is a real kill...

I had the pleasure this past weekend of attending the All-Iowa Writers' Conference in Montezuma, Iowa. Now, to put things in prospective, I must tell you that it's been a while since I've been to a writing event--any writing event. Since my work schedule includes more than a few Saturdays and that is generally the day writing conferences and writing chapter meetings are held, my attendance at or participation in writing events over the last year or two has been non-existent. And the effects of this long absence have not escaped me.

So, it was with great enthusiasm and eagerness that I accepted an invitation to present at the conference. What cinched the deal for me was the fact that Killer Fiction's very own 'Assassin', Lesley Langtry, had also accepted an invite to participate and present.

Now, I hadn't given a writing program for a long time. So, when I decided to speak about humor writing, I did so without a clue what I planned to say. Fortunately for me, sometime ago I found myself watching my triplets enjoy a sixty-year-old, black and white episode of I Love Lucy and the writer in me began to ponder how the writers, directors, and performers created a timeless humor classic for the ages and for all ages.

So, I decided to figure out how they did it and apply it to my own writing. As a result, EVERYTHING I LEARNED ABOUT WRITING HUMOR I LEARNED FROM I LOVE LUCY became my humor writing program.

Now, I'm a former state trooper and state fraud investigator. And while I write humor, I'm not known for my stand-up prowess. But hopefully, I gave the writers in the audience some helpful craft suggestions relating to humor writing.

Thank goodness Lesley 'The Assassin' Langtry's program, EVERYTHING I LEARNED ABOUT WRITING HUMOR CAME FROM MONTY PYTHON came after mine rather than before. Les is absolutely hysterical. Of course, she performed three years of Improv at the college level (and, no doubt, did it very well) so I don't feel as bad about my stiff presentation as I might've. Here's a pic of Les and I at the conference:

Besides getting to hang out with Lesley, I had the pleasure of having my English major son, Erick, attend with me. (We're pictured below with the Bill of Rights tribute on the grounds of the county courthouse.) He came away inspired and energized as only hanging out with a community of writers can make you. So, a BIG thank you to Les and all the attending authors who made Erick's first writing conference so special.

We hope to be able to attend more writing conferences in the future. Any suggestions on a good writing conference that is reasonably priced and has multi-genre appeal? I'm ready to get back out there.

~Bullet Hole~

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Infatuation and Love

By Robin 'Red Hot' Kaye

I recently read a blog about falling in love and the altered state of consciousness that is brought about by infatuation. Something I tend to suffer from with every one of my heroes. And as all great blogs do, it got me thinking. Always dangerous, I know.

The one question I’m usually asked by readers and interviewers alike is which of my heroes is my favorite? The answer I always want to give is the next one. I have a nasty habit of falling in love with my next hero—the one hero I’m not supposed to be writing about. I’ll be writing one book, and a secondary character will invariably appear and steal my heart. I’m fickle that way when it comes to fictional men. I’m just lucky that hasn’t been my problem in real life. I’ve been happily married to the same man for almost twenty-two years.

When I wrote Yours For the Taking, which was released in January, I met a bevy of new characters—several of which were my hero, Ben Walsh’s cousins: Trapper, Fisher, Hunter, and Karma Kincaid.

As I am wont to do, I fell head over heels in love with Trapper Kincaid. The man just knocked my socks off. He was new and exciting—probably because I hadn’t known him through two books like I had Ben. There was still so much to learn about Trapper. As his character appeared on my computer screen, I became more and more infatuated. By that time, poor Ben was like a tried and true beau. I already knew all there was to know about him, and although I loved him, the bloom was off the rose. But Trapper was, and still is, a mystery to me in so many ways. I couldn’t wait to finish writing Yours For the Taking so I could write about Trapper.

As always, real life intervened. In order to sell my new Domestic Gods Gone Wild series, I had to write a proposal. I’m a real seat-of-the-pants writer, so for me, writing a proposal is difficult at best because it involves nasty things like synopses. This proposal proved to be almost impossible.

For the life of me, I couldn’t come up with a heroine for Trapper. I racked my brain to find a woman deserving of the incredible man that Trapper had become. She would have to be smart, funny, and someone who could make Trapper want to commit for more than his usual seventy-two-hour fling. You see, Trapper finds it difficult to stay committed and well, nice, for more than seventy-two-hours at a stretch. I doubted my ability to create such a woman, or maybe it was the jealousy factor—I still want Trapper all to myself and, as wonderful as I am, I don’t think many readers would buy a younger, more slender version of me as a heroine.

But like most problems, there was a solution. I just couldn’t write Trapper’s book next. I get to keep him all to myself for as long as it takes to write one of his siblings books. Lucky for me, the perfect heroine for Trapper’s brother, Hunter popped into my head along with a plot for Wild Thing that demanded the book be written at a time when all Hunter’s siblings were single. Together, Toni Russo and Hunter Kincaid were explosive and I can’t think of a time I’ve had more fun playing with my characters. They are both a real departure from my normal heroine and hero. Hunter is the strong silent type, and Toni, while she’s feisty and independent; in the book, she’s completely out of her element and overcoming a life-long fear.

Now I’ve just finished writing Call Me Wild, Fisher Kincaid’s book and I’ve finally found the right woman for Trapper. Yay. I’m just hoping I have Trapper out of my system enough to give him up. But believe me, she’s going to be a handful. I figure any woman who can handle a man like Trapper has got to be pretty spectacular. And I think Bianca Ferrari is the perfect heroine for him. Someday, I’ll look back and think of Trapper as a tried and true beau, but until then, I’ll happily dip my toes into the raging river of my infatuation with him. Sigh, ain’t love grand?

So, tell me what fictional characters have you fallen desperately love with? Oh, and how long did it take for you to get over that little problem…just curious.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Morning News and Movies

First up, how cool is this:

That's a list of bestselling mystery ebooks at and look at the company I'm keeping. :) Many thanks to all my loyal readers who helped make it happen!

Second up - movie reviews.

Most of you know I'm a big horror movie fan, and I've seen quite a few lately. So let me give you some brief reviews and perhaps save you some dollars in a couple of places.

Apollo 18 - A good premise wasted on bad execution. The Blair Witch method of filming is old news. You actually need a really good plot and creepy stuff (think Paranormal Activity) in order to have a good movie these days.

Creature - This movie only lasted at the theater one weekend. What does that tell you? I am fairly sure, I am one of ten or so people that saw it and wanted the 1.5 hours of their life back. You couldn't pay me enough money to get over it.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark - A remake of an old movie that, in its day, was creepy. This remake was not creepy, unfortunately. IMHO, they lost momentum by showing the creatures too soon and making the movie more of a gremlins type show than a great horror flick, which should tease you with flashes of the evil things and only expose it completely at the end. Disappointing, as I usually love movies by this director.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil - Absolutely hilarious. If you can get your hands on this, watch it now. It's the Cable Guy meets Friday the 13th. There were scenes so funny, I had to rewind and watch them multiple times.

On a completely different note:

I read The Help and absolutely, positively thought it was one of the best books I've read in years. Saw the movie and it was also excellent. It kept very in line with the book, but of course, the book was better because it could go into more depth with the characters. If you're inclined to do both, I suggest reading the book first so the movie doesn't give away some of the best parts for you.

What about you guys - seen or read anything great lately?

Deadly DeLeon

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Guest Author Lillian Grant

The Ancient Art of Procrastination

Every November writers all over the world get a rush of blood to the head and think they can actually write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Last year I was one of them and signed up for Nano. I knew what I wanted to write, a futuristic sci-fi I had started over a year earlier. When I say started, I mean wrote the first chapter. With great gusto, I began my project, but the trouble with sci-fi is the need to do research. I hate research. Added to that, I don’t plot, I just go with the flow, and my novel was quickly getting out of hand. Characters with foreign names were popping up all over the place, and doing things that seemed to make no sense, and no matter how much I told them to behave they just kept going. I was starting to feel like I was swimming in treacle. Then one morning on my way to work, I had a brilliant idea! Procrastinate! I mean start on this amazing new story that had just come to mind.

What if wrote a book about a heroine who had just lost her marketing job, lived on ice-cream and had a pile of sexual hang-ups. She could be persuaded to start a male escort business by her best friend. A male escort business offering more than just dinner and a movie. Then how about throwing in her mother who is such a prude she won’t even admit anyone has sex? A great-aunt who can’t keep her hands off men. Then my heroine needed a hero. Oh, a flat mate who she has seen more of than she ever intended. Even better, make him a personal trainer who takes it upon himself to help her get over her body image issues by taking her to bed, no strings attached. Toss in an Irish rogue from her past who seems intent on seducing her, and you have a recipe for some very erotic mayhem. And so was born Male Order.

When I finished the story, I read back through it. It reminded me of the line from Pirates of the Caribbean when Capt Jack and Will are walking under the ocean with a small boat upside down above them, trapping air for them to breath. Will says something like, “this is either madness or genius.” And Jack responds, “Funny how often those two coincide.”

Worried my book could be madness I submitted it and waited. Within days, I had offers from two publishers. Apparently, they thought it was a sexy, funny read. The book is now edited, has a hot, hot cover and is ready to be launched on the unsuspecting reading public. So, will they enjoy it? Or will they think I’m as crazy as Capt. Jack? Regardless of the response, I intend to write a sequel, if only because I had so much fun with these characters I have to play with them at least one more time.

To read an excerpt of Male Order, click here.
(Warning: some content may not be suitable for those under 18.)

Lillian Grant
Order Male Order at:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Guest Author Lucy Woodhull

You’re Either with Us or Against Us

There are many great debates in life: Liberal vs. Conservative; Catholicism vs. Scientology; and, most importantly, pie vs. cake. For pie people, the crust is king. Cake lovers need no such flaky embellishments. The pie vs. cake question has divided sorrowful nations and households for too long! What is the answer? Hell if I know. I'm just a writer.

The hero and heroine in my romantic comedy space opera RAGNAR AND JULIET face just such a harrowing conflict. Sure, they're being chased by a psychotic king who enjoys imprisoning sex slaves in his spare time and stuffing the dead bodies of his enemies into artful poses, but what is that compared with the age-old animosity that cake lovers have faced from their crust-loving foe?

Juliet, a bounty hunter, bakes pies for fun. It's about the only typically "girly" thing she does, besides wear the most gravity-defying push-up bras known to Human-kind (or any species-kind). She makes a superb cherry pie, and her budding romance with Ragnar almost comes to a screeching halt when he declares himself a cake man. That's not the worst thing a romance hero can say on the first date (that would probably be "My genital bumps are no big deal. The doc says they'll go away in a month or two, tops!" or "Don't you think you've had enough fried cheese sticks?"), but it's close. Good thing Ragnar and Juliet have the super-hot-to-trots for each other, or yet another love would be torn asunder by baked goods. When will the madness end?!

Where do you come down on the great pie vs. cake debate? Would you be willing to date inter-dessert-ly? And is cheesecake a cake or a pie?

Personally, my name is Lucy Woodhull, and I am a cake girl. I had to take a huge leap of faith in creating a "pie" heroine because pies are so very inferior to cakes in every possible way. My husband's favorite dessert is a pumpkin pie. I know. WTF, right? But I love him anyway. He's got a great butt, and if that's not as important as chocolate cake, then the world just doesn't make sense.

Tell me your cake (or pie, I guess) story in the comments. Leave it anonymously if you fear retribution from the horrible pie people. I'll pick my favorite defense of cake or pie (and yes, I can be fair in my judgment. Mostly.) and that person will win a free copy of RAGNAR AND JULIET.

If you’d like to buy my book (and I think that’s a wise decision), it's available from Liquid Silver Books ( Here's a short blurb and a link to a sample.


Bounty hunting is usually so easy. Flash a little cleavage, mix a roofie cocktail, and Juliet has her man right where she wants him: out cold, ready to be swapped for cash. Her passions are freedom, trashy clothes, and pie -- not necessarily in that order.

Hunky alien ship captain Ragnar doesn't deserve torture at the hands of the psychotic king who hired Juliet; he liberated one of William the Nefarious' illegal concubines. Juliet can't ignore such a noble act. She doesn’t trust men, but this one, with the kindest smile she's ever seen, picks away at her resolve to stay aloof and clothed. He's just so...nice! Crazy she can deal with; sincerity is terrifying.

Before she gives in to her irrational urge to get a timeshare with him (and his cute tail), they're caught by the bad guys. Ragnar disappears and abandons her to her disgusting captors -- so much for togetherness. Perhaps he’s not such a saint. Even worse, Nefarious William (who prefers "Bob") has nominated her for Concubine of the Evening. This dubious honor does not thrill her, and only a few hours remain before the king’s mind-altering drugs obliterate her free will.

Sexual slavery might not be fatal, but Juliet would rather die. Of course, the third option (run away to a beach and hump Ragnar silly) is the best, if they can live that long.

Thank you so much, Killer Fiction, for hosting me today!

Yours in Cake Solidarity,

Lucy Woodhull

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Sunfire Series

A couple of days ago on the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood loop, a bunch of us were talking about the first romances we ever read. I will admit I can't remember what the first adult romance I read was, but for some reason, this whole discussion made me remember this fabulous historical romance YA series called "Sunfire."

I'd actually forgotten it was a YA series, but authors Vivi Andrews, Addison Fox, and Liz Bemis set me straight. The email thread turned into one big reminiscence as we all named our favorite heroine (mine was Heather, the spunky New York Colonial girl from 1665, but I also really enjoyed the book set during the San Francisco earthquake about a girl named Nora).

The premise of the series was simple. The series was written by a group of authors. Each book featured a teenage girl who was present during a particular notable historical event. She was always torn between two potential suitors, and the book cover were total spoilers...once you knew the pattern. The cover would feature the heroine flanked by both guys, and the one she was smiling lovingly at (or even touching) was always the one she gave the boot to in the end. The true hero of the love triangle was always brooding in the background on the cover, yet for some reason I was always surprised. (Maybe because I was only 10 or 11 at the time while reading these. I hadn't read Pride & Prejudice yet.)

The titles were exceptionally clever: Amanda, Susannah, Elizabeth, Danielle, etc. ;) Considering as both my first name and middle name were both used as titles, can you guess why my mom originally bought me my first one? And I was immediately hooked. A romance reader for life!

I mean, really, how could you resist a book with this premise:
With only a silk dress to protect her from the blazing frontier sun, Amanda fears she will die on the Oregon Trail. As the memories of Boston, the nightly balls, and Joseph fade, the hardships of life on the wagon train fill her days. Changing from a spoiled city girl to a strong young woman, Amanda finds drought and death, beauty and joy, and a love that will last forever.

Between the "Sunfire" series, the "Satin Slipper" series (about teenage ballet students at the San Francisco ballet academy) and Sweet Valley High, I was definitely hooked on 1980s YA romance. :)

Anyway, Liz Bemis noticed that although the series has been out of print since the 80s, apparently you can still find used copies on Amazon. So I am proud to say that sometime next week I will be devouring the Sunfire series once again! I hope they're just as good nearly 25 years later. :)

Do you have a favorite YA series from your youth that is out of print now, but you have a yearning to re-read? What was the first romance, either YA or adult, that you ever read?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Narcissism Is The New Black

DynamiteA while back NPR reported on a study which proved that the lyrics in popular music has become increasingly narcissistic over the last 25 years. In 1985 the #1 song was We Are The World. Now it seems like at least half the songs that are playing on the radio include lyrics that let us all know how fabulous the musical artists who are performing them are. It's easy to spot the trend, from Timberlake who claims to be Bringing Sexy Back to Taio Cruz and Ludacris who are going to Break Your Heart...but that's apparently forgivable because Ludacris doesn't "think there's anybody as bomb" as he is so we need to feel blessed that he's giving us any attention at all.

I asked my Facebook and Twitter followers what they thought about the issue and I got a lot of responses, many of which blamed the rise of narcissism in our pop-culture on the self-aggrandising nature of social media.  Others pointed out that narcissism is the foundation of most reality TV.

All that's true but I think the most interesting thing about this pop-culture phenomenon is not that it's on the rise, it's that the public seems to crave it. When I was a teen MTV's The Real World was the big reality show. It topped out at 5.5 million viewers.  The Real World San Francisco featured a man named Padro, who was gay and living with AIDS. He became a cultural icon and when he died the President actually issued a statement mourning our nation's loss and thanking him for helping to raise AIDS awareness.

Here's the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey ShoreNow MTV's big reality show is Jersey Shore which averages 8.9 million viewers. That's particularly impressive when you consider that The Real World had much less competition than Jersey Shore has (back in the Real World days of my youth most of us didn't have 500 channels and 2 television sets). And who are the Jersey Shore break-out stars? They're the most narcissistic of the bunch. Snooki and The Situation. And yes, we say it's because we like to laugh at them, and some of us do. But the we-just-watch-for-kicks-and-giggles argument sort of went out the window when Rutgers University paid her a $32,000 appearance fee to do a Q and A with their students. And then there are the Real Housewives. The more selfish their behavior the more likely they are to make it on the cover of US Weekly and that's not because US Weekly loves the Real Housewives, it's because they know that enough of us love them to justify plastering their picture on a cover. Many point out that viewers like to look down their noses at reality show stars and that doing so makes them feel like their own lives are more together than they once thought. I can't entirely disagree with that but I think there's more to it.

As for the music, well I'll be the first to admit that I love a lot of those narcissistic songs. When you dance, sing or simply blast them from your car stereo they no longer belong to the musical artists who created them, they belong to you. And therefore those narcissistic lyrics feel personally empowering. And although I'm not a Jersey Shore or Real Housewives fan maybe those who are are driven by similar motivations.  After all most of us wouldn't run around acting like a drunk diva (à la Snooki) or as selfishly as one of those bleach blonde Orange County housewives. But maybe part of us wishes we could every once in a while.  Maybe we wish we could have a taste of that level of confidence and entitlement. Maybe that's always been the appeal of rock-n-roll. Yes, it's true that Mick Jagger has never gotten on the stage, grabbed the mic and screamed, "There's nobody as bomb as me."

But he sure as hell implied it. And his badass energy continues to infect those of us who tune into it.

And we loove him for it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Woods are Lovely, Dark & Deep...

It's that time again! I took my troop camping - 8th year in a row!

You guys know me. Every year, I take these girls to the local girl scout camp for three days and two nights of dirt, bugs and outdoor fun. This year, I happened to take 10, 13 year olds and 1, 14 year old. Nothing says peace and quiet like newly minted teenagers. My co-leaders couldn't go. But this tradition means a lot to the girls. Besides, I've missed my sister's wedding and 25th high school reunion to keep it going so I wasn't about to start blowing it off now.

Many of you might think that sounds a bit insane, and I assure is. Sure, the girls wanted to do A LOT more cooking than normal, and sure, they were hyper giggly and obnoxious, but I was going to do it anyway.

Friday night was alright. We all slept in the lodge's loft. Well, I'm using the word "slept" as a euphemism for "didn't sleep at all." But you get the idea. In hindsight, it might've been a bad idea to have them all bring an item of junk food for the first night. But eventually, the sugar crash kicked in and all was well.

Saturday we hiked out to the lake for some canoeing. It was a gorgeous day and I think the girls didn't see me sleeping standing up on the pier. The sky turned kinda dark though, so we put everything away and raced back to camp - uphill the whole way. It started to downpour when we were about 100 yards from the lodge. Everyone made it but me and the kid who'd just had a hip replacement. She outran me.

You'd think the rain would've bummed them out - but after a feast of tacos and quesadillas, they ran right out into the rain and played. I had 11 soaking wet girls, laughing and muddy all borrowing MY towel for some reason.

The rain stopped and Mr. Assassin showed up so we went to the pool to practice rescuing each other in canoes. You've never lived until you've tried to tell teenagers how to haul their friends into a canoe.

Me: "Grab her under her arms and pull her up..."

Girl: "Ewww! Touch her armpits? No way!"

Me: "You can't pull her in by holding her pinkys like that. You need to grab her and haul her over the side of the canoe."

Girl: "I am NOT touching her like that."

Me: "So, the alternative is that she drowns..."

Girl: "I'd rather drown than have someone grabbing me inappropriately!"

And so it went.We swam in the rain, did archery in the rain and roasted hot dogs and s'mores in the rain. That night, I was heading up to the loft and the girls squealed at me to go back downstairs.

Me: "What? Why?"

Girls: (in creepy, Children-of-the-corn like unison) "We're talking about girl stuff!"

Me: "I'm a girl."

Girls : "No! It's like, almost a woman stuff!"

Me: "I'm a woman."


It rained all night but the next morning was gorgeous. So we hit the zip line. We bridged the 14 year old into Senior Scouts with candles and by sending her first. The girls begged me to stay another night, but I must admit - the idea made me want to kill them all. I politely declined.

That was Labor Day Weekend. And I'm still exhausted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Alpha Dog versus Alpha Mama

It happened a little over a month ago. And by “it,” I mean war. A war of wills, a war of power, a war over the Top-Dog title. I was stunned. I’ve never been one to walk around wearing my tiara. I do not particularly care for elitism. I’m perfectly happy with anyone being my equal. I actually prefer it that way. Ahh, but I learned the only thing I hate worse than someone attempting to bow down to me, is someone trying to make me bow down to them. And when that someone is a seventy-five pound dog, I have a big problem.

Rex, my son’s dog, has always exhibited a strong will and a mind of his own. I’ve always respected the fact that when he had his raw-hide bone, he didn’t want anyone to attempting to take it away from him. I sort of get that way when I have my Weight Watcher’s dessert. They are so small, and so good. I don’t want to share. And I’ve been known to growl if someone comes at me with a spoon when I’m trying to savor that tiny bit of heaven. (Just ask hubby or my son.)

However, the war wasn’t ignited over my Peanut Butter Cup sundae and not even over Rex’s bone. It was a bed. You see, the air conditioner went out in our house. My office, which is connected to the house, has a separate air conditioning unit. So while we waited to get a new a/c unit installed, hubby brought a mattress down and we slept in my study. My son happened to be out of town that week, so the arrangement worked out fine.

Rex slept on his doggy bed in the living room. But in the mornings, when I went to get coffee, Rex would storm into my office and snuggle up on the mattress with my hubby, the stand-in master, since his real master was out of town.

At first, I found it kind of funny that when I’d walk by the mattress and Rex would sort of growl at me as if to say… “This is the big dog’s bed.” But when his growl became a bit aggressive, it was no longer so funny or cute. Who did this animal think he was? Or better yet, who did he think I was?

Yes, I know that when he stands on his back legs, he’s over six feet tall, which means he was quite a bit taller than me. And having recently hit his one-year birthday, he considered himself a man. Oh, and because the two men in the household couldn’t bear the idea of removing Rex’s boys, Rex still had tons of testosterone running through his canine veins. A quick check on the Internet and I discovered that it was not uncommon for an unneutered dog to maintain a pack mentality and attempt to become the aggressor of the person he sees as the weakest link in the household.

Poor Rex hadn’t been around long enough to know the truth. Which is…When Mama isn’t happy, nobody’s happy! Plainly put, the Bitch is the queen of her doghouse, and you don’t piss off mama. We had a family meeting, excluding Rex, where I suggested Rex’s family jewels needed to be pickled and canned. You should have seen my two men, cupping their boys as if the mere mention caused them pain. Both son and hubby insisted that all Rex needed was some training. Not wanting to be the evil woman, I agreed to give the less evasive treatment a chance before the pickling began.

So son went and signed up Rex and his boys to Man’s Best Friend. Now, before he could go in for his intense training, he needed his last shot. So . . . off to the vet Hubby and Son went to get their manly dog his shot.

So picture the scene. Here’s Hubby and Son with their manly dog in a small vet’s office. In comes in a soft-spoken petite female vet. Can you guess what happened? Yup, Rex growled at her in an aggressive way as if to say… “Hey, me and my bros are hanging in here and you aren’t welcome.” She took one look at my two men and said, “That dog needs his balls pickled and canned.” Well, to be fair, she didn’t say it just like that, but it was close.

Now, since we’re using dog metaphors, can you imagine how my two men came home with their tails tucked between their legs when they had to tell me that . . . “Uh, the vet agreed with you.”

So the next day, poor Rex went under the knife. And when he came back, let’s just say he was a little shocked with what he left behind and what he brought with him. They had to put a cone collar around his neck to protect the incision. Now…still drugged when he came home, he didn’t seem to know where the collar began and ended. The poor dog couldn’t walk through the living room without getting caught on something. Son and I couldn’t help but chuckle.

Hubby didn’t think it was so funny. “Hey, he’s in pain. Don’t laugh at him.” Then he looked at Rex and said, “I know how you feel. She made me get a vasectomy.” Then he looked at my son and said, “Whatever you do, boy, don’t piss off your mama.”

So to summarize the outcome of this war, this battle of wills, let me give you the score. Alpha dog, zero. Alpha Mama, two. (Or if you consider Hubby’s comment, maybe I should say, Mama, four.) And after a few weeks when the testosterone is flushed out of Rex’s system, if he still exhibits any aggressive tendencies, he’s off to Man’s Best Friend. Hey . . . I’ll always respect his bone if he’ll respect my Peanut Butter Cup sundae. And I’ll forego wearing my tiara, but nobody growls as mama in her own home.

So, what about you guys? Any of you have pet trouble? Have you ever had a dog try to fight you for your Alpha title?


Monday, September 12, 2011

Better Days Ahead! by Diane Kelly

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 having just passed, many of us are feeling somber. That horrifying day will never be forgotten, nor will the people who perished.

I admit that I dread hearing the sad stories on the news. I listen reluctantly, out of respect for those who were directly touched by that day’s events. I find it all unbearably heartbreaking. I want to pretend that day never happened. But of course, I can’t. None of us can.

Among the many thoughts I had that day, I distinctly remember thinking This is not the world I wanted for my children. Having a father in the military as I grew up made me acutely aware of the threats we faced as a nation, at the time from Russia and the Iron Curtain countries. Growing up in the Cold War Era gave us a constant, underlying sense of fear that I had hoped my children could avoid.

No such luck.

Still, as hard as it is with these freshly re-opened emotional wounds, I am bound and determined to be positive. So, on that note, I’m going to share my list of things that I am glad have changed in our world so that it is, in many ways, a better place for our kids than it was for us.

1. Respect for women. Women are recognized for our skills and hard work and are now seen as much more than just baby-makers and housekeepers (at least here in the U.S. We’re still working on it in some other places.)

2. Animal rights. Our fellow creatures are getting more respect as well, and many laws have been enacted to protect both wildlife and domestic pets.

3. Creative opportunities. The internet has opened up vast new opportunities for people to create, whether it be stories, videos, or art, and to share their creations with the world.

4. Medical advances. Vast strides have been made in medical care. Treatments now exist for diseases that would not long ago have been fatal or debilitating.

5. The rise of the Beta male. Men aren’t expected to be macho sh*theads anymore. They can actually express their feelings and not be deemed wimps for doing so.

6. Individuality. Cookie-cutter personalities are going out the window as we come to recognize that there is no one ideal person we should all strive to be. People are more free to express their individuality without fear of intolerance or rejection.

7. Cultural interaction. As it becomes easier and less costly to travel internationally, we are better able to experience and understand other cultures.

What are your thoughts on today’s world? In what ways do you think it’s better than the world of your youth? What things do you think will be even better for our children’s kids?

Friday, September 09, 2011

Our new house!

I’m lame.  I should have had a blog all prewritten and ready to post today.  But I don’t.  Because my brains is totally fried from… wait for it… moving!  Yes, we finally found a fabulous house and we’ve spent all week taking car loads of stuff back and forth, meeting with handy-men, carpet cleaners, painters, cable guys, and A/C people (we got A/C installed – yaaay!).    

I’ll post a full picture tour later… once you can see anything but boxes in the photos… but for now here are a couple rooms you can kinda see past the boxes. 

This is the FABULOUS deck off the side of the house.  I think we’ll be doing most of our living here.   We’re up a little hill, so we have a great view of downtown San Jose at night, and gorgeous trees surrounding us.  It’s almost like living in the mountains, only we’re juts two minutes from downtown.  (And, yes, that is Baby Boy’s Harley Davidson big wheels in the shot.  The man couldn’t resist buying it now that we have somewhere outside for Baby Boy to play.) 

And this one is our kitchen.  If you ignore the boxes, you can kinda see the beautiful stone counter tops and farmhouse cabinets.  Very clean and bright.  It’s the only functional room we have right now. I love it!

 Okay, off to put together the Big Boy’s desk so he can do his homework tonight.  Have a great weekend everyone.  I know what mine will be spent on… unpacking!  

~Trigger Happy Halliday