Sunday, February 28, 2010

What I've Been Watching Lately

I’ve always been a self-proclaimed movie and TV slut. I need sound and sights when I write, so the TV is there to give me that needed stimulation.

Thanks to Netflix I can catch up on vintage TV shows and classic movies.

First I started out with classic western TV – Rawhide (with a baby face Clint Eastwood) about cattle drives from Texas to Missouri and adventures along the way. Sheb Wooley, one of the stars, can also be remembered for writing the classic song The Purple People Eater. Have Gun Will Travel, The Virginian (I had a mega crush on James Drury during the show and was lucky enough to meet him twice) Wagon Train and Laramie with Robert Fuller, total yum! The absolute classic Gunsmoke.

Then I left the Old West and I found some old Betty White episodes from two series she starred in. Yes, they’re very dated, but still fun to watch. Hotel with James Brolin and Connie Selleca. The storylines work even for today, but the fashions and hairstyles? Yikes! Scrap those shoulder pads and all the big hair. My Three Sons with Fred MacMurray, the boys and dog Tramp. Donna Reed who loves to meddle in her family’s troubles and anyone else’s that come around. The Real McCoys.

And let’s hear it for The Avengers! Emma Peel was an early kick ass heroine, wasn’t she? And Steed with his trusty umbrella. Talking about spies, we’ve also got The Prisoner. I loved that show and watched it every week on PBS. I knew for sure I never wanted to end up in The Village.

And cop and private detective shows – Mannix, Jake and the Fatman, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, yes, Magnum P.I., James Garner in Rockford Files.

I’m also a cartoon junkie. Not just Looney Tunes, my all time faves, but Mighty Mouse, Heckle and Jeckle, Tom Terrific and Crusader Rabbit that I remember from Captain Kangaroo’s programs. Tex Avery, and later on Duckman who inspired Horace the gargoyle. My husband got me a DVD set from HarveyToons that’s so fun to watch with Casper, Little Audrey and others.

And even vintage commercials on the Honey West DVDs. With her show you have to love her ocelot, Bruce, and a communicator in her compact and sunglasses. Although wouldn’t you think it was odd someone was talking into their sunglasses? Still, it was from 1965 and fun to watch.

It’s fun to see the changes in television over the years and catch up on shows from our childhoods.

What about you? Do you like to check out blasts from the past?


Friday, February 26, 2010

White Chocolate Macaroon Cookies

This is just a fun recipe and so easy to make. I’m a big fan of coconut and I even do this without the melted chips drizzled on top.

Since it’s cloudy and ready to rain here, I say it’s cookie baking time! Frank, our house ghost, loves cookies, so I'm sure he'll be there to help along with Horace, Fluff and Puff.


White Chocolate Macaroon Cookies

1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
1 cup flaked coconut
1 2/3 cups white vanilla baking chips
½ tsp coconut extract
1 tsp shortening
Colored decorating sugars or coarse white sparkling sugar

375 oven

In large bowl stir cookie mix, butter, egg, coconut, 1 cup of the baking chips and the extract until soft dough forms. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 9-11 min. Cool one min.

Microwave the rest of the chips and teaspoon of shortening until smooth. Drizzle over the cookies then sprinkle with sugar.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Take Me Away!

I admit it’s a gorgeous day here after a rainy night.

For now the sun is out and while chilly, you still want to go out and enjoy it.

Instead, I’m sitting inside working. But I have two large windows to tempt me with the outdoors.

So where does my mind wander?

Taking Barney out for a walk. There are some really nice parks nearby that he’d love to explore as long as he’s on his long leash.

Getting the works at our gorgeous European style day spa.

Driving down to San Diego to explore either the Wild Animal Park or further down for the zoo.

Walking San Diego’s gaslamp district including a historic haunted hotel.

Or Old Town San Diego with its rich heritage and number one haunted house the Whaley House.

So much to do, so little time.

But instead, I’ll stay in and work and look at the above as incentive.

What about you? What do you dream about doing?


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hex in High Heels Deleted Scene

Just like in DVDs, books can have deleted scenes. Hex In High Heels has one that I admit I really liked and I thought I’d let you have a look at what originally had been the beginning of the book.

Consider it a DVD bonus.


“Okay, where is Mountain Ridge Trail?” Blair muttered, peering out the windshield at the elaborately carved signs announcing either a homeowner’s retreat or road name. While easy to read during the day they were next to impossible to see after dark. “Light my way, make it day, make it so.” She smiled as a ball of light shimmered on the SUV’s roof, sending out enough wattage to illuminate the steep private roads she knew led to vacation homes set along the base of the mountain. She blew out a breath of relief when she finally spied a carved sign declaring the paved road on the left was the one she wanted.
While she normally didn’t make house calls, the message from Yvonne Gates had been cryptic enough to tempt Blair into making the trip.
Cristal Phillips said you’re fantastic when it comes to providing payback to those who deserve it. Can you come tonight? You’re the only one who can help!
“Yeah, yeah, I’m a regular Obi-Wan with a cauldron,” she muttered, slowly driving up the driveway. It was lit with solar lights, so she extinguished her light spell and slowed to a stop in front of a large two-story cedar planked house ablaze with light. “I really should charge for my services like Jazz does instead of asking the clients to donate to charity.” She climbed out and headed for the front door.
“I’m Blair Fitzpatrick,” she informed the uniformed maid who opened the door.
“Mrs. Gates and her friends are expecting you. They’re in the solarium,” the maid informed her, taking her coat from her and gesturing toward the rear of the house.
Blair skidded to a stop. “Friends? If Mrs. Gates has company, I can just come back.”
The maid shook her head. “Oh no, Mrs. Gates and her friends are waiting for you.”
Bair swallowed her unease and followed the chattering sounds. When she reached the doorway to the octagonal shaped glass-enclosed room she stared at ten women who stopped their talking to gawk at her.
Terrific, I’ve stumbled into a hen party! If this is one of those cookware pyramid schemes I am so out of here. She pasted a smile on her lips as a woman who was Botoxed, lipoed and tucked to extremes glided her way.
“Blair,” Yvonne Gates greeted her with a smile that stretched like plastic. “I am so happy you could come.”
“Would you care for some wine?” The perfect hostess guided her toward a bar set up with a variety of wine bottles and crystal stemware.
“Yvonne, what is going on?” Blair kept her voice low and tried to avoid the smiles and whispers of the assembled ladies who lunch. “I thought you wanted me to come here to talk about some private payback. I wasn’t expecting an audience.”
Yvonnne offered up a small smile that could have passed for embarrassment. “Yes, well I’m afraid I told a tiny lie about that. But I do need your help and so do they.” She waved a French-tipped hand to encompass her friends. “And since we all basically have the same problem, we thought it best to do it all at once. And we will all donate to whatever charity you request, so it’s more money, right? I hope you don’t mind.”
She smiled as if she was convinced Blair wouldn’t dare mind
Which proved she didn’t know Blair.
Blair accepted the glass of wine and drank half the contents in one gulp. “Are you saying you all have husbands cheating on you?”
Yvonne gazed around at the near carbon copies of herself scattered on settees and chairs around the room. “We don’t want revenge against our husbands.”
Blair resisted the urge to go ballistic. Couldn’t anyone just spit it out?
“Yvonne’s right. We don’t want revenge against our husbands.” One brunette with collagen-enhanced lips and a diamond necklace whose worth would feed a small country agreed. “Cristal told us how fabulous you were in getting payback on that realtor who cheated her on the sale of her estate. We want that kind of service.”
Blair felt her temper rising by the second. “Mine isn’t a service, it’s a need for those seeking justice. So tell me, just what kind of justice are you all looking for?” She’d give the woman ten seconds, which was nine point nine seconds more than she deserved and then Blair was outta there and back home before the opening credits of Supernatural finished because she feared she hadn’t set the DVR.
The women looked at each other in silent communication before Yvonne, obviously chosen as spokeswoman, said, “There is a man who has greatly wronged us.”
Your plastic surgeon because all of you really had way too much done. “They can be troublesome.”
“Serge is our Pilates instructor,” another woman chimed in.
Blair’s gaze flitted from one woman to the next. “And –“ She waited for the other Jimmy Choo to drop.
“And we recently learned he’s been giving all of us private lessons.” Yvonne’s eyebrow twitched a bit.
Blair didn’t need further explanation and she honestly didn’t want any. The plastic surgery may have made it difficult for them to display their emotions, but their eyes told the story. Not one look upset or hurt. They were all royally pissed and they wanted this Serge’s balls on a silver platter.
“He’s cheated on all of us,” Yvonne rushed in to explain. “And he needs to pay for his transgression. That’s where you come in.”
And what about you cheating on your husbands? Oh wait, obviously that’s a given in your social circles since there’s a good chance hubby has a honey on the side. Blair wanted out of there fast.
“This is not how it works,” she raised her voice so all of them heard her. “I craft revenge spells to be used against people who truly deserve a little punishment. I don’t do anything that would endanger their lives or health and the spells generally have a short shelf life, so to speak. I’m sorry, ladies, but revenge against your Pilates instructor because he cheated on you with each other is not what I do. I look for justice, not something that’s straight out of high school. Fine, you’re all pissed at him. The next time he wants to set up a private,” she used her fingers to form quotes “lesson, make sure all of you show up then pound on him with your Hermes and Coach bags”
“I don’t want him to get it up for anyone for the next five years,” one Chanel-clad woman growled with venom in her voice. Pretty soon the others chimed in with their demand that Blair do the witchy thing.
“I’m sorry, ladies, but you called the wrong witch.” Blair set the wine glass down on the bar and turned to go. Damn it! She should be home curled up on the couch drooling over Jensen Ackles in Supernatural.
Yvonne looked about as panicked as her nipped and tucked face would allow. “You don’t understand.” She grabbed Blair’s arm. “Serge was completely out of bounds with his behavior. He made fools out of all of us and he needs to be taught a lesson. Cristal said you could do what we want.” Her dark eyes glittered with fury.
Blair glanced down at Yvonne’s hand glittering with diamonds and fire opals and gave the other woman just enough of a magickal zap to make her point. Yvonne jerked away and backed up rubbing her hand.
“Let me make this very clear. What I do isn’t a parlor game,” she announced to them all. “It’s not to be taken lightly or used against someone just because he was a total horn dog and stupid. And yes, your precious Serge was stupid in having sex with women who obviously enjoy sharing confidences about their conquests. You know what? Be grateful it wasn’t your husbands contacting me about your affairs. That’s a job I would have gladly taken. Good night, ladies.” She headed for the door.
“We’ll pay you $10,000 along with whatever you want as charitable donations!” Yvonne called after her.
“Don’t you get it? I don’t do this for money. I do it for justice.” Blair shook her head at the conceit of a woman who thought money could solve all her problems.
“We’re the ones being wronged here! Why don’t you get off your high horse and do what you’re asked?” the growling woman shouted at her back.
Blair had her hand on the doorknob when she stopped and turned around.
“Justice be deemed for those who cackle against one whose nature matches their own. Let their true selves show. Let the selves they hide from the world be revealed to all. Make it so.” She threw her hands out and smiled at the waves of magick that danced on the air then wrapped around the women in streams of gold and silver.
“Wha—what have you done?” Yvonne cried out, as the glass darkened to mirrors and she faced the reflection of a Prada-wearing gangly girl with a serious case of acne.
“No,” another woman whimpered in fear as she curled up tightly on the couch with her arms wrapped around her body that had morphed from taut curves to stick-straight while the woman who had to be a size double zero blossomed into what Blair judged to be a lovely size four. The woman took one look at her body and fainted.
“My extensions. My highlights,” another woman moaned, as she ruffled her fingers through limp dishwater blond hair that hung to her shoulders. She screamed as her chin suddenly jutted out in a sharp point and sported red spots.
One woman started sniffling, absently wiping her runny nose with the back of her hand. “Is there a cat in the house?” she muttered. “I’m really allergic to cats.” She looked around. “And plants. I can’t be around plants. There are too many plants in here.” She rubbed her nose again. “All of this isn’t good for my allergies.”
Yvonne looked at her friends with horror as they each transformed into their teen selves when all their insecurities must have hit them like a tidal wave.
She wheeled around on Blair. “What have you done?”
Blair winced at the glass-shattering shriek. “Justice. Just look in the mirror, Yvonne. This is what justice can do. And if you want this to go away you’ll all consider a nice donation to the local children’s hospital.”
Yvonne spun on her heels and almost fell to the floor as she ran over to the mirrored wall. “No! I got rid of this nose in middle school!”
“Some people never listen,” Blair muttered, stopping up short when the maid appeared. The older woman looked past her with eyes wide as saucers. “Oh good.” Blair smiled and took her coat from the woman’s hands. She closed the French doors behind her and then shrugged on her coat. “Don’t worry, they’ll be back to themselves by morning and hopefully they’ll think twice,” she said as she walked to the door.
“That one never thinks twice. Too bad the mister isn’t coming up tonight. He’d have a good laugh over this,” the maid muttered, staring into the solarium.
Blair hurried out to her SUV and climbed in, cranking up the heater as soon as she turned on the engine.
“No more house calls. From now on they come to me.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

When We're Talking and Not Writing

Last week I spoke about writing at our local college. The library put it on and it was a great experience.

You always worry no one will show up, but luckily, quite a few did.

Writers are so insular that getting out and talking isn’t always easy. Plus, no way I’d want to cover my thirty years as a published writer in a little over an hour. Only if I wanted to put them to sleep. I offer up anecdotes, my own writing ups and downs, and what goes on in the publication process. I had a blast doing it since they were so receptive. Even better, they’re talking about having me back next year.

I was also contacted by our local senior center’s book club to come in and talk about being a writer and they’ll be reading one of my Hex books.

And this Saturday I’ll be speaking at my RWA chapter along with our Casablanca editor, Deb Werksman, about the writing process after the contract is signed.

I enjoy speaking, because it also means I meet new people. It’s fun to get their take on books and sometimes I even get recommendations for authors I haven’t read yet.

I’m also teaching a class at on writing a series with multiple main characters.

The good thing about all this is I never know where my next ideas will come from.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fluff and Puff Vs. Cupid

“Welcome to Romantic Spirits. We’re here to show you all the romantic places to visit,” the perky blonde with dark gold eyes and a feline cast to her features held a heart-shaped microphone stood in front of an old-fashioned wood building.
“Last week we interviewed Havelock Tennart, the troll with romance so deep in his heart, he actually spirited the love of his life off to the Midnight Dreams realm for a proposal she will never forget.” She heaved a deep sigh. “And today we’re visiting the witch who offers up more than just romance. She offers hope for the supernatural and mortal alike with sexy lingerie, romance novels and bespelled sachets guaranteed to bring love into your heart. Stasi Romanov is known all over the country and realms for what she can give a hopeful female in search of her soul mate.” She held up a bright pink heart-shaped silk sachet with embroidered roses around the edge. She held it to her nose and inhaled.
Her face took on a dreamy expression. “Now if it can do to my mate what it does to me. Ooh la la! I feel ready for romance already!” she laughed. “Now let’s go inside.
“Let’s not!” The corpulent creature that resembled Sidney Greenstreet more than the cherub humans knew as Cupid, glared at his heart-shaped flat panel television that sat on the white cabinet with its gold leaf edges. He blindly reached into the vivid red box and picked up a chocolate truffle, popping into his mouth and chewing furiously.
“Insipid creature,” he muttered, choosing another fudge truffle. “She is a witch. I am the god of Eros! The god who invented romance.”
He heaved himself out of his scarlet silk easy chair and paced a red carpet that belonged at a Hollywood film premiere.
He waved his pudgy arms about as he stalked and talked, casting curses (not the literal kind since at heart he still delivered romance, not disease or even a stomach ache) on the sweet-faced witch who was presently being interviewed.
“And you believe in love and romance for everyone?” The reporter asked Stasi.
The witch smiled and nodded. “Of course. There’s a mate out there for all of us.”
“Yet you don’t have one.”Stasi ignored the reporter’s sly look. “Maybe some day. For now, I like seeing others happy.”
“Happy? That’s my job, witch!” Cupid thrust out his arm, forefinger pointing at the screen. “You should be standing over a cauldron and casting your silly little spells. Not venturing into my territory.”
He suddenly smiled as the idea of the millennium came to mind.His jowls danced as he snarled and snapped, not missing a beat as he continued to feast on his favorite truffles. He sighed with regret when he realized the box was empty. He rubbed his oversize belly as he levered himself off the lipstick red velvet heart-shaped chair and waddled out of the room. His destination was a large sunlit room at the end of the hallway.
Cupid inhaled the rich scent of Belgian chocolate and cinnamon heart-shaped candies as he entered the room that soothed him best. He activated the stereo and headed straight to a black lacquered cabinet.
“Love and marriage go together,” he murmured the words that released the lock. The doors swung open and revealed a hand-size heart that shimmered red, silver and gold. He smiled as he picked it up and gently caressed the metallic surface.
“One particular witch will soon learn her place.” He carried the heart over to a nearby table and began his work.
Do you want to know what Cupid did to Stasi? All you have to do is read Wicked By Any Other Name.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Unforgettable Vacation

It was only four days, three nights, but when you win an all expenses paid vacation to a mountain lodge and spa, you’re sure not going to turn it down, are you? And my friends thought I was crazy for entering so many contests. Ha!
It was in the hills above Los Angeles, a lovely four-story building that looked so warm and welcoming that I practically skipped as I followed the bellman to the front desk.I was treated like royalty being told I would have the Royalty Suite on the top floor and everything I required was included in my prize.
The suite was of an elegance of a time gone by, but with the comfort not known back then. I ignored the large flat screen TV for the view from the room that showed the lights starting to twinkle in the city below. I stood on my balcony inhaling the fresh scents of the surrounding forest.
Dinner was room service, food so succulent I moaned with delight and when my chocolate orgasm cake was served, well, let’s just say the cake was well named!
When I was offered the services of a relaxing massage after dinner, I wasted no time in accepting. Talk about a wonderful way to wind down my evening. Especially since the masseuse was named Gabe and had hands like you wouldn’t believe. Not to mention a few other talents that I was only too happen to receive. This was a true fantasy weekend for me and I intended to enjoy every second of it!
My days were filled with massages from Gabe, and well … you know, an herbal facial that I’m positive turned my skin to pure silk and time in the mineral springs behind the lodge that also did wonders for my peace of mind.
I was waited on hand and foot. It seemed I only had to think of what I wanted and it was there! And so was Gabe.
I only wished my time there had been longer, but it was time to return to reality and my boring job. I knew I couldn’t normally afford even one night at the lodge, so I think I’ll start entering more contests that offer cash prizes.
All my friends were so jealous of my getaway that when the lodge sent me a DVD of my weekend I invited them over for a viewing. I didn’t think there was anything on there featuring Gabe’s and my private time. And if there was, well, the man was truly built and they’d be so jealous of me!
We sat there with our wine while I turned on the DVD player and the credits showed the lodge. Except it didn’t look the way I remembered it. It looked worn and rundown. And inside wasn’t beautiful with plants and comfortable furniture, but cobwebs, dust and cracked wood. The front desk looked as if it hadn’t been used in years.
But it was when the pictures started showing me that I went into shock. The drop dead handsome Gabe was a skeleton wearing tattered clothing while I lay there chatting away and smiling at him. My sumptuous meals were unspeakable. The mineral springs were filled with dead animals, but you wouldn’t have known it if you’d looked at me. How could I have bene so blind?
As the DVD rolled to an end, the lodge front showed up again with a sign stating Closed 1871.
A friend turned off the DVD because I couldn’t stop screaming.
Even after I was released from the hospital I never entered another contest and I never took another vacation.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Diary of a Mad Romance Writer

When I gave my first talk as a published writer I had no clue what to say. Then the idea of a writer's diary came to mind and this was born. It's been updated over the years, but the basics never go out of style.And I also think I should some day write the Diary of a Paranormal Writer. Or let Fluff and Puff do it. :}

When I had started high school, I began the habit of keeping a diary. Little did I know that I was already acting out the guise of a frustrated writer! I kept up the writing habit until I married. Upon the advice of my mother, wise woman that she is, I destroyed all my diaries not long before my wedding. What a waste of perfectly good research material!
What would a romance writer's diary read like? Mary Poppins or Fanny Hill?
Dear Diary,I've been reading romance books for the past few months and have decided there's no reason why I can't write one of my own. After all, they can't be all that difficult to write, can they? I'll give myself three months. That should be more than enough time to dash one off. First order of business, buy a computer. After all, I'm a professional now.
Dear Diary,I've decided to work out a profile on my main characters. The man should be a combination of Harrison Ford, Jeremy Northam and Keanu Reeves. I thought I should be subtle the first time. After all the first time is very special to a woman, isn't it?
Dear Diary, I wrote the first page today-three times. In my first draft the location seemed all wrong. Alaska can be pretty cold in the middle of winter. The second time it just didn't sound right. And the third time everything finally fell into place. Every word was a gem in my eyes and I knew it was exactly what I wanted to say. Trouble was, my computer lost it all. I just hope I can recreate something so fantasic.
Dear Diary, I can't understand my heroine at all! She insists on acting like Molly Shannon. She just doesn't seem to understand that she's supposed to be a cross between Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron.
Dear Diary, It's the big day. I wrote my first love scene. There's only one problem. I listened to soft music, lit candles, sipped a glass of white wine and even read the Kama Sutra. The love scene still didn't work out and I can't figure out where I went wrong! Oh well, I'll just wait until my husband gets home tonight. Perhaps I should add some vitamin E to his dinner. I have a feeling I'll need to do a lot of research.
Dear Diary, I've done it! My book is finished! It has everything it's supposed to have; the hero and heroine meet on the first page, the required love scnee and their declaring their love on the last page. There's only one teeny problem. It's only fifty pages. I guess I'll have to see where I can stretch it out.
Dear Diary, I read parts of my book to a few of my closest friends today. Unfortunately, they didn't get to hear all of it because two said they were on their way out to walk their dogs and the other suddenly remembered she had a dental appointment. Funny, I didn't know Janet and Carla had dogs.
Dear Diary, I've done it! I finished my book, all 300 hundred pages. I will admit it took a bit longer than I expected it to take. Actually, ten months over my estimated three months. Now it's in an envelope and ready to send off to a publisher. All I have to do now is sit back and wait for the royalties to roll in!
Dear Diary,I can't believe it! They actually turned my book down! They kept it there for eight months and then returned it saying that it didn't fit their guidelines and had too many cliches. What do they mean by that? I thought my story was pretty good.
You see it dealt with a 17 year old girl who is studying to be a nurse and falls in love with a 40 year old brain surgeon. He doesn't realize that her sister was secretly married to his brother and bore him a son not long before he was killed in the WAR and the sister then killed herself because she felt she couldn't go on and left the child to the heroine. Naturally, the hero thinks the child staying with the heroine is her son which naturally makes her a FALLEN WOMAN. When he does learn the child is also his nephew, he decides the girl can't take care of the baby by herself and insists if she doesn't marry him he'll have the child taken away from her. Naturally, the marriage will be in name only because she's too young for his jaded taste. She has no choice but to agree.
Also, she's been secretly in love with him since the first time she saw him at the hospital. He whisks her off to his country home run by his autocratic mother who had been hoping he would come to his senses and marry her best friend's bitchy daughter, who, by the way, hates children. Thanks to Mom and friend's daughter telling her how young and naive she is and she doesn't know how to dress properly or behave in a proper setting, the heroine easily believes she's all wrong for the hero and decides she must do the right thing by leaving him, so he can marry his mother's friend's daughter and have the kind of wife a man in his position should have.
The evening of a large party, he follows her to the garden gazebo where she's gone to think about her dark future. And there, he makes fierce love to her on a conveniently placed couch and expresses surprise to discover she's a virgin. He coldly assures her it won't happen again.
After this, she knows even more she has to leave and sneaks off taking her nephew with her and finds a job in another city. Quite a few months later, he tracks her down to find her heavily pregnant and singing in a piano bar and while the child is in the care of the landlady in the ramshackle rooming house they've been living in.
He immediately takes them back home. There, she learns his mother has been banished to Europe and they will begin their married life again because he admits he has always loved her. So you tell me what's so wrong with that? How can it be a cliche when I've read similar stories?Dear Diary, I've sent my book to six publishers and they all say the same thing. I do believe this is the time to find out exactly what I'm doing wrong by signing up for a writing class. At least, I'll find out what publishers consider a cliche.
Maybe I'll take a computer class too.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Girl Talk Monday -- The Perfect Black Shoe

Ever have one of those conversations with your husband that only another woman would understand?Him – “Why do you have so many pair of black shoes?”Her – “They’re necessary.”Him – “But they’re all black.” Holds up one pair in one hand and another pair in the other. “What’s the difference between these?”Her – “Those are casual sandals and those are dressy flats.”Him – “And these? Aren’t they casual sandals?”Her – “That second pair are my yucky casual sandals that I only wear around the house. The other pair I’ll wear out of the house.”Him – “Then why not throw out the yucky pair and wear the good casual ones all the time?”Her – “Duh! My good casual pair will wear out too fast.”Him – searching for aspirin – “And the dressy flats as compared to this pair of dressy heels, I suppose?”Her – “Oh no, those are my casual heels. The dressy heels are over there next to my dressy flats and dressy casual flats are there next to my dressy sandals.”Him – “But why are all of them black?”Her – “I’m set for every occasion that way.”Him – “And the colored shoes?”Her – “There’s times you don’t want to wear black shoes.”Him -- sighing – “So fine, you have twenty million pair of shoes to go with all that make up that one person can’t possibly wear.”Her giving him the duh look again – “You can’t wear the same lipstick, eyeshadow or blush with everything. It all has to go together.”Him – now in search of the hard stuff – “No wonder there’s no room in the closet or bathroom.”How about you? Does your husband sometimes do that to you? How quickly does it take to send his mind reeling while it’s all perfectly logical to you?
Mine still can't figure it out or the reason why I have four pair of black leather flip flops then we move on to the colors.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Campfire Stories

First off, my idea of camping out is a hotel that doesn't offer room service, but scary stories work for everything!

On to campfires, s'mores and scary stories!
Here we are, out in the woods, no human within 50 miles. So let’s sit around the fire and tell stories!
Hey! Put the marshmallows down! S’mores later. I got the flashlight and I’m telling the story. Although, maybe it’s not a story at all, maybe it’s the truth, cuz no one really likes to camp out here since IT happened.
They say an old man lives in a cabin about ten miles further up the mountain. He doesn’t like people and makes sure no one bothers him by covering the small road leading to his cabin with chunks of broken glass and razor blades. Rumor has it he had a secret road, but no one ever saw one.
Except one night a few years ago, a guy and girl from the high school ended up near his cabin when the guy’s car suddenly stopped for no apparent reason.
“There are lights up there.” Tess, a cute blonde petite cheerleader, pointed up the mountain. “Maybe they have a phone or can drive us back to town.”
Scott, the high school football team captain shook his head. “I forgot you didn’t grow up here. Old man Woody lives up there and he’s mean like a snake. Nobody goes up there. He doesn’t like people.”“We can’t walk back to town! It’s too far.” She climbed out of the car and absently pulled her top down.
Scott started to argue with her, but a sound among the trees caused him to look around.
“What was that?” Tess whispered.
“I don’t know.” He started to move toward the stand of trees to investigate, but Tess ran around the front of the car and grabbed his arm.
“Don’t leave me alone!”
“Fine, come with me."
"But a bear could be in there!”
“We haven’t had a bear sighting in years,” Scott scoffed.
Tess hung back.
“Fine, stay here.” Scott headed for the trees.
Tess chewed on a fingernail, vainly listening for any sound after he disappeared from view.
“Where are you?” she whispered, staring at the trees, willing him to return.
Her nerves were fraying fast when she heard an unearthly scream seem to wrap itself around her.
“Damn!” She scrambled for the car door but found it locked. She pulled on the handle as the screams intensified, but it didn’t budge.
Tess spun around when the trees seemed to separate and a shirt flew through the air and landed at her feet. She stared at the blood-stained polo shirt for a minute before she realized it was the shirt Scott had been wearing. She started screaming as she jumped backward even as an arm followed the shirt.
“Help!” She ran for the road and stumbled to her knees, gasping as the glass chunks and razor blades dug into her bare skin. She cut her hands as she scrambled to her feet and made her way up the road, hearing the unearthly screams behind her. “Help!”
She looked up at the cabin with its lights that looked like a sanctuary. The glass chunks shredded her flip-flops and halfway up she lost one sandal.
Tears ran down Tess’s face and she could feel the warm blood streaming down her hands and legs while the bottom of her feet were slowly but surely turned into hamburger. Tears clogged her nose and filled her throat as she gasped and choked during the climb.
“Please help me,” she begged, even though she doubted anyone could hear her by now.
Her voice cracked with each word. “Please.” Her brain seemed to stop on the one word.
She had no idea how long it took her to make the bloody painful trek up the road. When she reached the two steps leading to the cabin’s front door, she stumbled again and shrieked as she fell onto nails pounded point up on the wood.
“Help!” she screamed, finally reaching the door, blood shredded hand outstretched but the door slowly swung open.
Tess fell into the room and looked around. She gasped as she stared at a row of large jars. It took a moment for her to realize the jars held human heads and the one in front held … the head of … SCOTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The police found Scott’s car the next afternoon. Bloodhounds refused to even sniff the bloodstained polo shirt and howled when they were directed toward the woods or even the road leading to the cabin.
But the cops were undeterred.
After all, Scott was the town sheriff’s son and finding only the boy’s arm was enough to put the man in the hospital.
Four days later, the search group found the hidden path leading up to the cabin’s back door
When they got there, the cabin was empty except for an empty-eyed Tess hugging a jar with Scott’s head inside.
And that’s why it’s not a good idea to camp out here.
Wow. Did you hear that?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jazz and Nick Hang Out At the Full Moon Cafe

The ageless woman was the picture of pure goth in her black velvet gown that fit her like a glove, black lace fingerless mitts covering her hands that ended in blood red nails that matched her lipstick. Her dark eyes were lined with kohl pencil and appeared mysterious with their soul-stealing gaze. She sat in the chair as if it was a throne and fingered the tiny microphone clipped to the deep v neckline of her gown. She made a small gesture toward the vampire holding a camera and immediately smiled wide enough to display gleaming white fangs.
“Good evening, my dark of the night viewers. This is Drusilla with After Midnight Broadcasting and tonight we’re at the Full Moon Café with two special guests.“As you know, we love to hit the nightspots popular with the preternatural community and tonight we were lucky enough to connect with popular witch (a hint of sneer appeared on her perfect features since vampires aren’t too fond of witches no matter how popular they are) and curse eliminator, Jazz Tremaine and private investigator Nick Gregory. The two have been an item for the last 300 odd years. Hopefully, we’ll pick up some tasty tidbits from this couple as we talk to them about their unlives.”
Jazz, muttering – “Tasty tidbits, cute, Dru. And I have a life, thank you very much. Plus I don’t think Coby would appreciate being referred to as having an unlife.”
Dru flashed a hint of fang. “We all are grateful for Coby’s efforts to keep a neutral territory for our communities.”
Nick subtly nudged Jazz with the toe of his boot. She glared back then turned to the television celebrity with a snarky smile that outshone the vampire’s fangy beam.
Drusilla -- “Good evening, Jazz and Nick. It’s so nice to have this chance to talk to you two. Both of you have been so busy lately with adventures that rival anything you might read in a book, that I am truly amazed you’re both in one piece.” She stared at Jazz as if she’d hoped to see disfiguring scars while offering Nick a dazzling smile.
Jazz smiled back, definitely more venom showing. “Thanks for asking us, Dru.” She inwardly cheered at the vampire’s slightly pained expression since Drusilla preferred her full name used. Jazz looked warily at Nick’s coffee mug – “There’s no AB-neg in there, is there? Because I’m not even going to sit at the same table with you if you added something to it.”
Nick – looking a trifle pained – “No, just straight coffee and I’m not sharing. If you want more coffee, ask Coby for a refill.”Jazz – looking put upon – “He’ll come over here faster for you.”
Nick – raises voice – “Coby? Could Jazz have some more coffee please?”
The Were owner of the café, along with being a powerful pack leader for the area, walks over with the pot and tops off both mugs, but topping off Nick’s first. He ignored Drusilla’s wine glass that held a ruby red liquid that was more O-Pos than a nice Bordeaux.
Jazz – “Uh, ladies first?”
Coby – “Only when I see a lady.” He walks away.
Jazz – “Everyone picks on the witches.” Raises voice. “You wouldn’t have wards around this place if it wasn’t for us.”
Coby – calling back – “Wizards set them up, sweetheart.”Nick – chuckles – “No, they just pick on you because you’re so much fun to pick on.”
Drusilla, determines to keep control of the interview. “You two have been together for the last 300 years. Exactly how did you two meet?”
Nick – “I worked for the Protectorate at the time and was chasing down a Comte in Venice that was a rogue vampire.
Jazz was working for him as a personal maid for his wife.”Jazz – “The woman was a major slob.”
Nick – “Jazz was also accused of stealing the Comte’s wife’s jewels and was to be tortured as punishment. He loved to inflict major pain on his servants for the least infraction. Jazz was very lucky since I saved her from his whip.”
Jazz, shaking her head and rolling her eyes – “He called it a whip. I called it a speck of thread that a woman wouldn’t look at twice. Not to mention if he’d tried burying his fangs in me he would have been in for a big surprise. A witch’s blood being poisonous to a vampire is a definite plus.”
Nick – Then perhaps I should have let him bite you. It would have saved me having to destroy him.”Jazz – coos – “Ah, but then you couldn’t have saved the poor innocent little maid, could you?”
Nick shot her a look that indicated he didn’t view her all that innocent.
Drusilla cut in before she lost total control of the interview – “Tell me something, Nick. What do you feel is Jazz’s best quality? After all, witches and vampires don’t get along for many good reasons. Why would you have a relationship with her this long when it’s known vampires are the far superior race.”
Jazz – hackles now up – “Hey!”
Nick – ignoring the mini tantrum -- “One thing you have to say about Jazz is that she’s loyal to her friends to the extreme. She’s there to help out no matter what. But if you cross her, watch out, because she cannot only eliminate curses she can call up some doozies. And one of her closest friends specializes in revenge curse. Not to mention Fluff and Puff, her magick bunny slippers are good at getting even on her behalf.”
Jazz points her finger at him. “One time. Just the one.”
Nick – “They were my favorite boots and they turned them into leather jerky!”Drusilla automatically checked out her black satin Christian Louboutin pumps. If her lungs worked she would have drawn a breath of relief there were no fuzzy bunny slippers near her toes.
Jazz frowns at Nick. “You could have said I’m gorgeous, sexy, even smell good.”Nick – “That’s a given.”
Drusilla – “And Jazz, what do you see as Nick’s best quality?”
Jazz – sipping her coffee and nibbling on a piece of chocolate cream pie Coby left for her – “It’ll sound schmaltzy, but he really is an all around good guy. I know for a fact he was an excellent enforced for the Protectorate, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s an even better private investigator for preternaturals. Creatures know they can count on him to get the job done.”
Nick chuckles – “She’s such a romantic.”
Jazz chimes in -- “Don’t ask me what he doesn’t like about me.”
Drusilla – very interested in that statement -- “Why not?”
Jazz – “I probably wouldn’t like what he’d have to say.”
Nick ignores her – without hesitation – “Stubborn, tends to act without thinking, she inserts fashionably shod foot in mouth on a regular basis, has pissed off at least one member in every community, … “
Coby speaks up -- “You got that right.”
Jazz – “Hey! Our interview, not yours. You want to be interviewed flash those pearly fangs at Drusilla and maybe she’ll slot in you at the next full moon.”
Nick – nods – “’Nuff said about her attitude. But her good qualities do overtake the bad.”
Jazz, outraged – “I don’t have any bad qualities!”
Nick – burying his nose in his coffee – “And the witch’s nose grows yet again.”Jazz automatically touches her nose and finds it the same pert size it was before.
Jazz – “Fine, I love you because you do what’s right, you refuse to allow anyone, even me, to push you around, you are sexy as Hades, you look out for the little guy whether he’s vamp or even a troll, which, by the way, I wouldn’t assist for all the gold in the world. Nasty little guys.” She forks up a bite of pie and stuffs her mouth. “But there are times I wish you’d talk more.”
Nick – “About what?”
Jazz – “Everything.” She gives him THE LOOK as in you know very well what I mean. “Everything’s going so well for us now.”
Drusilla, still struggling to control the interview and seeing it swept out of her hands. “The two of you were in the supernatural news for destroying a serial killer of vampires and later on for killing a powerful wizard along with working to protect Fluff and Puff.” She glances around with a wary look as if saying their names would conjure them up. “They’re not here with you, are they?”
Jazz – “No, they’re home. Or at least, they should be.”
Drusilla continues to look around, just in case. Her shoes were new and she meant to keep them that way for as long as possible. “Do you really believe it’s safe for you to go against such powerful beings? You’re just one witch and while Nick is very strong, is it all right to expect his assistance so much?”
Jazz – “We’re here and they’re not. That’s good enough for me.” She stared at her now empty plate, obviously considering a second piece.
Nick – “We do make a good team.” He made eye contact with Coby and the Were brought over another helping of pie. Jazz flashed him a dazzling smile, but Coby didn’t smile back.
Jazz – digging into her pie – “Still, you’d think after 300 years we’d be, well, more together.”
Drusilla, looking at them both – “Together how?”
Nick – “Hard to do when you threaten to stake me.”
Jazz – ready to defend herself – “I only do that when you state you’d rather I was on the other side of the universe.”
Nick – “If you wouldn’t get into trouble so much I wouldn’t have to bail you out.”
Jazz – “Excuse me? You never bail me out! You’re always having me thrown in jail instead on some trumped up charge!”
Nick – “It’s the only way I can keep your cute little ass safe!”
Jazz opens her mouth then closes it again – “So you do think it’s cute and little.”
Nick – sighs – “Yes, even when you’re a pain in mine. Maybe there’s a story there. I’m meant to keep you out of trouble.”
Jazz – “I never get into trouble! Well, okay a few times. All right, more than a few, but I can get myself out of it without any help.”
Nick – shakes head as he gets up – “You keep that up and pretty soon your nose will be dragging on the ground.”
Jazz makes sure there’s no pie left on the plate as she hops to her feet. “What is this with my nose! Sure, I’ve had my bad days, but I’ve never been a wooden puppet!” She waits while Nick pays the bill then they head to the door as if they’d forgotten that a stunned Drusilla still sat in her chair.
Nick -- could be heard to say -- “Maybe you should have been a puppet. Then when need be you could be locked in a box.”
Jazz – hot on his heels – “You keep thinking that way and you’ll be sleeping alone for a couple centuries!”
Nick – flashes her a hot look that even includes a hint of fang – “I love it when you threaten me.” He hooks his arm around her neck and pulled her toward him for a kiss that heated up the whole area.
Drusilla stands up, adjusting her gown and saunters over to Coby. – “Jazz and Nick are very definitely an odd couple. What about you, Coby? Is it really true that the Full Moon Café is neutral territory?”
Coby shrugs as he idly wipes off the counter – “Most of the time.”
What about you? What would you ask Jazz and Nick? Could you keep control of the interview better than Drusilla did or would you just let them go on in hopes of hearing way more than they might want to let on?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

When Your Brain is on Overload

I’m finishing up my revisions for The Best Hex Ever. Sometimes revisions are miserable and you slog through them, and sometimes, like this time, they’re totally fun. The characters have made it fun, so I go through my editorial notes and mutter “oh yeah!” and weave more humorous layers into the story.

Revisions are a necessary evil. The author is way too close to the book and there could be scenes that need smoothing out or fleshing out or tightening. A slow scene that should be cut or changed. That’s where the editor comes in and sees what you miss.

Then there’s times you’re working on one book while one, or three, are competing for your attention.

That’s what’s happening to me now. I have my next Hex book after this along with some young adult ideas that I have to write.

Yes, have to write because there are characters in there that are having a party inside my head. They don’t want to stay in my imagination, they want their worlds related out there and I’m more than happy to do that.

Except, there’s those pesky revisions to finish. Luckily, they’re almost done, so I can move on.

Of course, that means when I’m revising another book I’ll be going through the same thing. Characters will chatter away inside my head and story ideas will float around. Chocolate doesn’t shut them up; only writing about them.

So what happens to you when your brain is on overload?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Girl Talk Monday -- Manis and Pedis

I’ve had acrylic nails for years. It’s just easier that way and I love experimenting with color on my nails.

After all my hands should look nice at book signings. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

But I think it’s also an extension of my personality. At least the colors are.

Like with anything else I go through stages of wearing pale roses or peaches for awhile, then on to brighter corals. Christmas and Valentine’s Day means a gorgeous red. And yes, Halloween is usually orange with a swipe of black on my ring fingers.

My husband is never sure what to expect and my favorite color is one that, well, he just shakes his head. It’s an OPI dark dark purple that looks black. Actually, it matches my SUV and it wasn’t intentional. I see it as a nice basic color. That and a China Glaze color that’s a silvery lavender. Or as my husband says “you’re not 19 anymore.” Hm, not a safe thing for any husband to say, is it?

And pedis. Oh yes! It’s said they’re excellent for foot health, but they’re also a great way to relax. The bubbling hot water, the foot and leg massage with scented lotion, and you just sit there and enjoy it all. At least, I do. My manicurist uses this great easy chair so you feel like you’re at home. Cheryl knows how to make her clients feel special.

There’s times when we need that time to ourselves and feel a bit pampered. Do you indulge in manis and pedis? Have that ‘me’ time? And are there certain colors that you prefer or do you go with the trends?