Saturday, March 27, 2010

Those Late Night Callers

It happens every so often where the phone rings in the middle of the night. You’re jolted awake, adrenaline pumping, and you instantly think, “what’s wrong?”

That was me last night when the phone rang at 3am. Just the one ring so obviously a wrong number and nothing showed up on Caller ID. But could I go back to sleep? No! Plus Barney got restless and everyone else in the house was still sound asleep. How dare they!

After sucking down a pot of coffee this morning, I remembered one night when the phone rang and rang and rang.

I was in college and my dad was out of the country on business. The phone started ringing around 2am and naturally my mom is afraid it might be something to do with him. Some of this is what she relayed to me after each call.

Mom – “Hello?”

Man’s voice very slurred – “Art’s Landing? I wanna make a reservation.” (Fishing boat rental)

Mom – “You’ve got the wrong number.”

Twenty minutes later, same thing. Fifteen minutes later same thing. Mom would have preferred ignoring the phone, but then you never know and no Caller ID back then.

By the fourth call she was yelling at this guy and you just know it wasn’t sinking in that he wasn’t calling Art’s Landing.

I told her to let me take the next call. Sure enough, it rang a few minutes later.

Me – “Art’s Landing. How can I help you?”

Man, oh yeah, slurred all right -- “Thank God! I’ve been trying to get you all evening. Lady said I had the wrong number.”

Me – “Oh, I’m sorry. What can I do for you?”

Man – “I wanna make a reservation.”

Me – “Of course. For how many?”

Man – “Just me.” And he gave me his name.

Me – “Terrific. Be at the dock at 4:30 sharp.”
Man thanked me and hung up.

And we had peace for the rest of the night!
I wonder if he showed up insisting he had a reservation or if he just slept it off.

Did you ever have anything like that?


Monday, March 22, 2010

Literary Orange at UC Irvine in April

I'll be on the romance panel!

Top 4 reasons to attend the 4th Literary Orange, April 10, 2010!
The 4th Annual Literary Orange is coming to UC Irvine on Saturday, April 10, 2010.
The daylong affair will feature a continental breakfast, banquet lunch and afternoon refreshments, speeches from keynote authors, discussion panels, book sales and signings.

Here are the top 4 reasons to join this Orange County's premier literary event:
Exciting array of over 50 award winning authors!
15 fascinating panels covering a variety of genres including Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Journalism, Romance, Memoirs, Children's Books, Graphic Novels and Poetry. The new panels this year: OC Noir, Motivation and History.
Our popular Keynote speakers:
· Dean Koontz is one of the best-selling authors of all times and an Orange County resident.
· Karen Joy Fowler has developed a cult of admirers after the success of her Jane Austen Book Club novel and film.
Lower ticket price of $25 (students with I.D.) and $60 (general admission).

Be sure to visit our fine website for registration and updated information on the authors, books and event schedule:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Recipes Galore

Visit the Casablanca blog to view our recipes then visit Barbara Vey’s blog at PW to win a chance at a book! You’ll find the latter link at the blog.

To whet your appetite, I’m offering an easy and fun one here.



Chow Mein Candies

12 oz pkg semi sweet chocolate chips
12 oz pkg butterscotch chips
6 oz chow mein noodles
½ cup peanuts

Combine chips and melt. Stir in noodles. Add peanuts and mix quickly to coat noodles and nuts. Drop by teaspoonful onto waxed paper. Cool.

How Barney Came to Live With Us

On June 29, 2009 I was out in our front yard and next thing I knew a white bundle of fur was wrapped around my leg with a “hi!’ smile. Collar, no tag. I didn’t want him to get hurt and I put him in the back yard then inside the house when it got too hot.
This little guy acted as if he’d always lived here and he got along with Bogie, my Chihuaua/Yorkie. What was I to call him? Barney popped into my head and he responded to it right away. Yes, I was good and called the shelter to make a found dog report. I told her I had a Westie who was probably 2 or 3 years old.
Barney is affectionate, loves to play, high energy, but good around Bogie, and even protective with him. It was love all the way around. Barney had a blankie in my office and would lie there or in my chair while I wrote on my laptop. He also hung out downstairs, sitting with my mom in her chair or on the couch.
Then it happened. Monday I saw a lost dog poster on a nearby lamppost, but said a white mini Schnauzer. Same color collar and was lost the same day Barney appeared in our yard. And I was positive it was Barney even if I thought he was a Westie.I was in love with this dog, but I had to do it! I called and it was him, and his name was Simon, although he responded to Barney better than Simon. :}
He lived maybe 15 houses down from us and it was the longest walk I ever took. The owner, a very nice widow, was so happy to see him back. And I was sad. She had another dog, but her life was also taking some serious turns. I left almost crying, because Barney had been such a strong part of our lives. But she said if she moved, she could only take the older dog and would I take Barney. I told her I'd take him in a heartbeat. I did the right thing and I felt like it sucked to be an adult. But it was a no brainer to return Barney to his owner.
Bogie searched for Barney all Monday evening and we all missed him. I love Bogie, he’s my spoiled baby, but Barney had become a part of our family.Then the surprise. I got a call two days after I returned Barney. The owner said she’d been thinking about it and she asked if I still wanted Barney. That she felt it was for the best. You can figure out my answer.
When I showed up, Barney looked at me as if to say "so where have you been?" When I brought him back he ran into the house as if he never left it and he was one happy puppy.
Funny thing – I was right. Barney’s two years old. He turned three in August. I have all his papers and we’re all one big happy family.
He's a total goofball, has what I call a Tigger hop when he's excited and very playful and vocal. Funniest thing he does is give us 'dinner and a show'. He drags out his huge green octopus every night after dinner and humps it. He came with one and for obvious reasons I had to replace it. Luckily, I was able to find the same thing.
So, that’s the saga of Barney. A happily ever after ending.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Hunt for the Pot 'O Gold

“Be vewy vewy quiet, we’we hunting lepwechauns,” Horace intoned, creeping along the lush grass covered path. He ignored the birds perched in the trees overhead, although he did growl when bird poo plopped on his head.

“Dude, you have got to stop watching cartoons,” Puff muttered, nudging him with his ear.

“Those cartoons are classics,” the gargoyle informed him, looking at the paths branching off. “We need to go left.”

“We go right,” Fluff argued.

“Hello!” Puff rolled his eyes. “We stay on this path for three more kilometers.” A small map hung from his ears.

“Dude, didn’t you ever hear of GPS?” Horace hooted, flicking his claw at a map corner.

“Dude.” Sarcasm dripped from the word. “Did you ever hear how our magick and electronics don’t mix?”

“Plus Krebs wouldn’t let us use his,” Fluff muttered. “He said we already ruined four of them and he didn’t intend to see us screw up a fifth.”

Horace came to a stop and stared at Puff, tipping his head to the side so far he almost fell over. “You dummy, it’s upside down!” He snatched the map and turned it around.

“Why’d you do that? Now we have to go back the other way!” Fluff smacked his brother slipper with his ear and flipped around. “And look there!” He pointed upward where a colorful rainbow hung in the sky.

The threesome already knew their destination was the end of that rainbow.

“We’ve got to get there before someone else finds it and demands the leprechaun give up his gold.” Horace rubbed his claws in gleeful anticipation. He already had plans for his share. Big screen Hi Def TV topped the list.

“How do we know he even has a pot of gold?” Fluff asked, starting to slow down.
”Because if someone gets the gold, the rainbow disappears,” Horace told him.

“Are you sure? My feet hurt!”

“We don’t have feet, dork.” Puff hip checked Fluff.

“Doesn’t matter, something hurts. And there’s rocks here,” he whined.

“Quiet. We’re getting closer and we don’t want the leprechaun to hear us,” Horace warned them. He began to wish he’d done this hunt on his own. But he needed Fluff and Puff’s magick along with his own just to get them to the Emerald Isle. Maybe he wouldn’t have to split the gold three ways. Rabbits can’t count all that well, can they? He vowed to keep a mega gargoyle share.

Lilting sounds of a flute reached Fluff and Puff’s ears first. They mined shushing Horace and the trio fanned out along the path finally reaching the center of the forest where they came upon a small glade covered in perfect four leaf clovers.

Bands of brilliant color ended in a large cauldron holding a dazzling amount of gold coins.

“Gold,” Horace whispered with awe, his eyes glowing avarice.

“We can buy a chocolate company,” Fluff breathed, staring at the pot.

“We can buy the world.” Puff was close behind.

Except seated on a nearby rock was a three-foot high red bearded man dressed in an emerald green jacket and breeches with a green bowler perched on his curly mop of rusty red hair. His round cheeks glowed red as he played a lively dance tune on his flute.

Horace tapped a clawed foot in time to the music.

“Mine, all mine.”

“Ours,” Puff reminded him.

“Why’re ye here disturbing Seamus’s playing, magickal ones?” The leprechaun looked up from his playing.

“For your gold.” Horace stepped forward with the slippers on either side of him.

Seamus laughed as he set down his flute and hopped off the rock, dancing around the pot. The buckles on his black shoes gleamed the same color as the coins that overflowed their container.

“Ye shall not have my gold, creatures,” he sang out, dancing a jig.

“It’s in the rules,” Horace argued. “We demand your gold. You give it to us.”
“You have to catch me first!” He laughed, continuing to dance. He snatched up his flute and began playing again.

The game was on. Horace, Fluff and Puff fanned out ready to catch the elusive leprechaun. But the little man hadn’t lived these many thousand years without tricks of his own. The gold was his and he wasn’t about to give it up.

Magickal keepaway began and an hour later, Horace was panting with fatigue – after all the gargoyle was more used to lounging around Stasi’s lingerie boutique than doing any form of exercise. Fluff and Puff weren’t doing much better since their idea of activity was taking vigorous naps.

“I told ye!” Seamus chortled, dancing away from them.

But Horace was determined. Damn it, he had that TV all picked out! And a Bose sound system. He ran at Seamus like a linebacker but tripped and skidded through the grass as Seamus winked out of sight and appeared nearby.

“Enough, I have no more time for this marlarky,” Seamus announced. “Ye didn’t even offer me a pint.”

“Then give us the gold!” Horace yelled at him.

The leprechaun stared at the gargoyle. “Ye three didna do me right. Ye three didna leave me sight. Ye three must pay the piper and see the light.” He picked up his flute and played a variety of notes that seemed to fly in the air like glowing gnats and buzzed around the trio.

“Hey!” Horace swatted at the intruders, but they only swarmed closer.

“No!” The slippers wailed as they were likewise attacked.

Just as suddenly, their assailants were gone. And so was Seamus and his pot of gold.

Fluff and Puff stared at each other; their razor sharp toothy mouths wide open. “We’re green!” They turned to face Horace who looked down at himself.

“What the –“ The gargoyle practically wheezed. “I’m – I’m –“

“Gold.” The slippers whispered the word with the reverence they usually only gave to licorice root and chocolate.

Horace threw his claws up to the sky. “I look like an Academy Award!” he wailed, before looking down. “Don’t even think it,” he growled, as the slippers advanced on him with the same intensity Elmer Fudd used in tracking Bugs Bunny. “What are you doing?” He fought the net that covered him as the slippers tipped him to the ground and began slowly, but steadily, dragging him out of the glade.

“Do you know what gold’s going for now?” Fluff asked his best bud as they made their way.

“No, but we can check once we get him home.” Puff ignored Horace’s curses and threats as they hauled their booty back to the magick portal that would send them back home. “We should probably pick up some bleach too. Green isn’t a good color for me.”

Just remember – you also need a dram of whiskey or a pint if you catch a leprechaun and demand his pot ‘o gold or you might end up green or gold too!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Visiting the Last Frontier

In February of 2001, friend and author Shawna Delacorte and I attended the Left Coast Crime Conference held in Anchorage Alaska.

It was the absolute best time of my life.

Not only did I have the chance to hang out with some awesome mystery writers – which we always did when we attended this conference – but I got to do things there that I hadn’t done before.

My introduction to Alaska was arriving at midnight and the city looked like a fairyland with houses decorated with twinkle lights. It might have been closer to Valentine’s Day than Christmas, but you’d never know it.

Good friend and fellow author, Shawna Delacorte and I were there to network, sign our books and I even got to do a ‘a talk with’ section. Along with incredible workshops and roaming the city, we participated in some fun activities.

The FBI held a get together at their building. We got to talk to the SWAT officers there, play in their Hogan’s Alley, tour the building – I saw a huge polar bear pelt on the conference room wall – and see items they’d confiscated over the years. I also had a great time talking serial killers with one of the agents. And my introduction to reindeer sausage. I’m sorry, I ate Vixen, Comet, and Dasher.

We also were part of a group that got to go dog sledding. Talk about fun for someone who’s a total dog lover! We visited the Alaska Native Heritage Center, which showed various tribal cabins and you were able to tour each one. And we took a three-hour cruise out of Seward in a small covered boat on a day that had ice rain along with visiting the aquarium in the town. Yes, Shawna and I did sing the Gilligan’s Island theme before boarding the boat! Going outside the cabin to take pictures was cold cold cold! Only one I missed was a Bald Eagle perched on a railing when we returned to port. We even ventured out into the Bering Straits a bit and saw a newborn Orca.

We saw a moose outside the hotel, walked what they call the snow shuffle down to the Snow Sculpture Contest, and visited the carnival and fur auction that went on for Fur Rondy.

It was new to us to go outside in the morning and find it still dark. Days were still short then. And having to watch our steps on the snowy and sometimes icy sidewalks.

I spent the week with hat hair, living in jeans, heavy sweaters, a borrowed down coat, and hiking boots. I met great people, had experiences I only could have dreamed of, and I’d happily do it again.
The state and friendly people allowed my imagination to wander and even nine years later, it’s still going strong.

You never know when it will show up in a book!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

How Fluff and Puff Came to Live With Jazz

“In a dark realm far far away there stood a tall castle, sinister and forbidding. Lights rarely showed at the windows and the moat was filled with man-eating crocodiles while a huge black dragon guarded the entrance so no one dared cross the drawbridge unless they had a death wish. Bats and vultures flying around the castle turrets added to the sense this abode would never be on the cover of Home and Garden.

The castle’s interior was just as menacing as the exterior since the owner didn’t appreciate visitors. Actually, he did tolerate them, but only when the crocodiles needed to be fed.

Rats crawled among the rushes in search of tidbits and dogs with eyes of red and razor-sharp canines guarded the doors. With tapestries damp with mildew and stone walls splashed with dots of a reddish brown that had nothing to do with paint, no one wanted to linger long there.”

"Get to the point!" Puff rolled his eyes. "Sheesh! At this rate, you’ll turn this into some kind of saga.

"It is a saga." Fluff took a moment to munch on some licorice root before returning to relating his tale. "You don’t take short cuts with sagas.

"It’s a story on how we were saved from Dyfynnog, not War and Peace." Puff made a gagging noise. He slid across the floor and snatched the last of the licorice root right out from under Fluff’s nose. The bunny slipper growled, showing teeth that belonged in a wild animal rather than a benign piece of furry footwear. "Scary castle, hungry crocodiles, smelly everywhere because hellloooo! it’s 1506, yada yada." His ears wagged back and forth with a ‘get on with it’ motion.

Fluff eyed the licorice root, but judging by Puff’s expression, he wasn’t getting it back anytime soon.

"Fine. The castle smelled like something had died in it, which wasn’t far wrong. And while that was bad, going down into the dungeon and Dyfynnog’s laboratory, was much worse. Because what could be found down there was the work of a dark wizard. One who relished subjecting pain and suffering to his victims. He wasn’t happy unless they screamed in their agony." Fluff stopped and gulped as less than pleasant memories moved forward.

"He used us to help him with his experiments," Puff continued softly, his earlier grumpy manner now gone.

"Bad spells," Fluff agreed.

"And we hated Dyfynnog for what he made us do," Puff said.
"We wanted to be free, but he said we couldn’t be free because we were of his making," Fluff said.

The two bunny slippers retreated to the past recalling stone walls dripping with water and covered with lichen, splatters of blood and gore on the rocky floor and the air tainted with fear, death, and the residue from dark magick spells.

In one corner of the large room was a cage glowing with spells that kept its occupants captive until their jailer released them.

Fleas crawled through their off-white fur that was matted and filthy and the bits of food left in a corner of the cage were old and moldy. They were cold, hungry and frightened because they knew the wizard had plans for them that were so terrible they didn’t want to consider it.

"We need to escape here," Fluff whispered to Puff.

"Dyfynogg made sure we can’t," Puff muttered, going so far as to bump his head against the bars, but the wards strengthening the bars only left him with a major headache.

Fluff curled up in a corner of the cage and shivered from the damp cold. He could hear Dyfynogg moving around in a corner of the laboratory before the wizard climbed the stone steps leading to the castle’s main floor. The heavy wooden door slammed shut.
"He wants to kill all the surrounding crops," Fluff muttered. "He wants all the mortals here to die. And he’ll use us to focus those spells."

The tiniest of sounds set their whiskers twitching.

"Who’s there?" Puff called out.

"The only things alive down here is us and rats," Fluff muttered, staying in his puffy ball.
Puff ventured to the bars and stared at a small window set high in the walls. A glimmer of color appeared then disappeared then a flash of red caught his attention.
"There!" He used his ear like a finger to point toward the window.

Fluff moved toward him and they watched as hair the color of rich fiery copper appeared in the window then the face of what they could only describe as an angel. They watched a slender figure wiggle its way through the opening then drop to the floor. She cursed as she slid on the damp stones and fell on her bum.

"Damnation!" She wrinkled her nose as she inspected the back of her muslin gown. When she saw the slippers watching her, she pressed her finger to her lips and quietly made her way toward them. "What are your names?"

"I’m Doom," Fluff replied, knowing he was looking at a witch.
"I’m Destruction," Puff admitted.

She made a face. "That sounds like something Dyfynogg would come up with. We’ll come up with something better than that. Do you wish to be free?"

"Yes!" Fluff hopped up and down.

The young woman’s moss-green eyes studied the cage and the spells holding it together.
"Releasing you will take more time than I have, so I’ll have to take you up in the cage." She held her hands over the top. "Be ye small. Be ye like a doll. Tiny ye shall be for me to hold, because I say so!" She slapped her hands on the top of the cage, which shimmered in a rainbow of colors before shrinking to the size of a small box.

Fluff and Puff’s tiny voices squeaked as she picked up the cage and tucked it into a hidden pocket in her skirts.

They were so excited they almost fell out of her pocket as she climbed up to the window and slid her way out. They listened to the snap of the crocodiles’ jaws as they swam the moat hoping for a treat, but she managed to escape them also.

It wasn’t until hours later when she was closed up in a small room in an inn that the witch took the small cage from her pocket and enlarged the enclosure then worked a spell to free them. The two slippers slid over her face and shoulders, kissing her with the joy of being free.

"You both need to be clean!" she laughed. "You smell terrible."

"Who are you? Why would you save us?" Fluff asked.

The witch smiled brightly. "I am Griet of Ardglass and I saved you because Dyfynogg doesn’t deserve to have you."

"He’ll report you to the Wizards Council," Puff warned her.

She shook her head. "If he does, he’ll have to admit he’d enslaved you for the purpose of strengthening his dark magick. But to be on the safe side, we’ll leave here and head for a warmer climate. I understand that Italy is nice this time of the year."

Griet had her few pieces of clothing and the bunny slippers packed up in no time and they headed for the seaside to catch a boat for Italy.

From that day the slippers never left Griet’s, now known as Jazz, side and they were never forced to utilize the magick that was inside of them. Instead, they were kept clean, never went hungry and if they indulged in a bit of mischief now and then, it was expected. After all, who says bunny slippers are just footwear?

copyright Linda Wisdom 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Where Linda's Imagination Takes Flight

Welcome to my fun place!

After back problems didn’t allow me to use my desktop I switched to a laptop with a comfy chair and footstool. As you can see, Barney, my white mini Schnauzer, likes to curl up with me. I usually have my witches brew coffee mug nearby since I can’t live without caffeine. I enjoy the wool throw my husband brought back from a business trip to England and my husband’s grandmother knit the afghan. This is a great spot for me and faces the TV since I have to have it on while I work. No silence for this author! I either watch DVDs or watch something fun on cable, since I have my guilty pleasures during the day. Plus you never know what you might see or hear that ignites the imagination.

Then there’s all the inspiration around me. There’s my collection of Halloween Barbie dolls along with the Wicked Witch of the West and Wicked Witch of the East. I like to think they give me inspiration for my witches plus they’re just plain fun to look at.

And the same with my collection of stuffed animals that I’ve picked up over the years at conferences or because something about them appeals to me. My collection of Pocket Dragons, other dragons, gargoyles (including one named Horace), Ganesha to keep my imagination in full gear, and other fun creatures that have shown up in my books. Not to mention a pair of bunny slippers usually on my feet.

We writers live an insolated existence. Our days, and many nights, are spent at the computer writing, promoting our books, and keeping in touch with fans and friends. I can’t imagine any of them working in a sterile space. I have the original artwork for my first Silhouette Special Edition, (and I see it’s time to dust my stuffed animals!) other posters and witchy signs friends have given me. I think they’re trying to tell me something. :}

You can also see the bookcase that holds copies of all my books along with the foreign copies. When the case was totally filled, I had to change it over to two deep, so I didn’t have to start filling a new bookcase right away.

Writers need a space that’s all their own. Not just comfort, but even visual inspiration. I know I do. And I think they show the true me.

So what’s the true me? Magickal, whimsical, eccentric thrown in for some spice, and comforting. I know the day will come when I’ll think about the painting my work space in a warm color to go along with my imagination. When I see the right shade I’ll know it. Just as I know when I’m here my mind is allowed to travel to wonderful magickal worlds.

I hope you enjoy this peek into my office where anything can happen. Even bunny slippers chasing Barney. :}