Monday, September 22, 2014


For the most part in my life, I've had a love/hate relationship with spiders.  I love to watch them.  I hate to have them on me.

Of course, I grew up in Michigan where the worst you could expect from a spider was a little bite that rarely was worse than a mosquito bite.  No biggie.

Here in Missouri?  We have brown recluses.  We have black widows.  (Don't click the links if you don't want to see the pictures.)

Oddly enough, the black widows are less of a concern for me.  I see one, I kill it.  And I have yet to see one in the house.  I've really only seen one outside.  She was guarding her egg sack on the back deck, and Hubs dispatched her and her progeny for me.  (Only because he's taller and she was up high - otherwise, I wouldn't squashed the holy hell out of her myself.)

On the other hand, the brown recluse - also known as a fiddleback spider - is a major nuisance for me.  They are all over the damn place in my house.  I killed one last week as it sat on the ceiling over my bathroom sink.  (I needed to brush my teeth dammit.)  These days, I see a spider and within seconds, I know if it's a recluse or a regular spider.  And utterances of 'it's a brownie' can be heard as I scramble for the fly swatter. 

Unfortunately for all other spiders, their species doesn't matter if they're inside the house.  For most of my life, I'd let inside spiders live.  They eat other bugs, which is totally fine by me.  Eat away, friend.  But not here.  They come inside, they die.  Indiscriminately.

Unless it's a daddy longlegs (which are technically arachnids, but not spiders.)  I try to get them back outside.  They never bite and they're nature's little clean-up crew.  In fact, the black widow family we smushed?  By the next day, the daddies had the area spotless of dead widow goo.  So helpful. And personally, I find them fascinating.  As long as they don't walk up my legs when I'm not looking.  ;o)

What's your take on spiders? 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Art Shots

In my living room, I have groupings of photographs I've taken.  Below are three shots I have in one such grouping:

I took them all around the area where we used to live in Colorado. 

They just kinda make me happy when I walk past, so I hope you enjoy seeing them, too.  =o)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Do you want fries with that?

It's National Cheeseburger Day.

What's your favorite burger look like?

B.E.:  At a restaurant, I love a good mushroom and Swiss burger where the sauce is all yummy and the cheese is all gooey.  But when I make burgers at home, I'm happy with ketchup, mustard, pickle, tomato, lettuce on a medium-rare burger with cheddar or American cheese. 

JB: Medium rare topped with cheddar and  lots of sautéed mushrooms and onions. A cheeseburger isn't complete without some salty french fries. NOT steak fries…I don't understand the appeal of steak fries...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Are you stubborn?

I am.

Sometimes it's a good thing. It takes a good deal of stubbornness to finish writing a book because believe me there are a million reasons (some of them even semi-legitimate) to not finish.

Sometimes it's a bad thing. I've been known to fight for a relationship that wasn't worth fighting for.

Sometimes it's the only way to get something done. Right now I'm trying to master a new skill. I don't have any natural ability for  (I'd even go so far as to say I really suck at it) and I don't love it. But I AM stubborn about it. I will master it. It won't be graceful or pretty or fun, but because I'm determined, I'll do it.

Sometimes people ask me which aspects of my personality are in my characters. I have to say that stubbornness is pretty high on the list.

Maggie from the Neurotic Hitwoman series fights for her family with an admirable stubbornness. Her grit helps her get things done that she's not very good at and doesn't particularly want to do.

Emily, from THE FIRST VICTIM (which is just 99 cents on ibooks and Amazon right now!) returns to a place and takes on an enemy she'd rather not, because she stubbornly won't give up on her baby sister.

Most of the women I know in real life are stubborn. They're not pushovers. They're the type that when they hear, "You can't" respond with, "Oh yeah? Watch me!"

Tell me Killer Friends: What are YOU stubborn about?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teaser Tuesday -- Hitwoman 8

Here's the first draft of the opening of the eighth Neurotic Hitwoman book:

You know it's going to be a bad day when your To Do list contains: Go to the Cemetery.
When you get out of bed with your bare feet and step into a pile of puke your drugged out cat regurgitated in the middle of the night, and you drive heave, your hopes for the day fall even further. And when a brown anole lizard chortles at your discomfort, it's enough reason to fall back into bed and pull the covers over your head, all the while keeping your damp, sticky, vomit-covered foot dangling over the side.
My name is Maggie Lee and that a pretty typical start to one of my days.
"You overslept," Godzilla, the aforementioned lizard, who prefers to be called God for short, informed me from where he lounged on a piece of driftwood in his glass terrarium.
I grabbed the corner of the pillow I'd used to cover my face, ready to chuck it at him. "I barely slept."
"None of us did," the lizard snapped. "You're not the only one who's worried about him."
"Too me!" My dyslexic Doberman Pinscher panted, jumping onto the bed and sticking her wet nose under the pillow. "Too me!"
Tossing the pillow aside, I stroked the dog's snout. "I know you are, DeeDee."
She laid her head on my shoulder, pressing her body weight against me.
"She's only concerned because he feeds her," God griped from his enclosure. "She doesn't really care about him."
"Too do," DeeDee growled.
The 'he' we were talking about is Patrick Mulligan. A hero cop, a feeder of animals, my almost lover, and my murder mentor. I'd found out from my mobster boss that Patrick had been poisoned. Unable to learn much more than that without attracting attention, I'd obeyed Patrick's Rule Number One: Don't get caught, and stopped asking questions. 
Instead I'd come home and told my pets what I knew.
I know everyone talks to their pets, but mine talk back. Really. A while back I was involved in a car accident which left me with the ability to hear and understand their replies. I know it sounds crazy, but my whole life is crazy. That same accident resulted in me becoming my niece Katie's guardian, responsible for her care and responsible for her medical bills. And the responsibility for the medical bills led me to the desperate choice to kill someone (a very bad someone, I swear!) for money, and that led me to Patrick.
Now Patrick was lying in a hospital room and I was starting yet another bad day with the Greek chorus of creatures complicating my morning even further.
"You're going to be late," God nagged.
"I know, I know." I dragged myself out of bed, careful not to step into the cat puke again and hopped across the basement of the Bed and Breakfast owned by my aunts,  not wanting to put my dirty foot down.
"Gotta," DeeDee whined softly, reminding me she need to be let out.
After wiping my foot clean with a dish towel, I climbed the short set of stairs and opened the basement's storm door to let her out into the yard. She bounded gleefully up the steps, almost knocking me over in her haste to get outside to nature's port-a-potty.
"Where's Piss?" I asked the lizard.
"Under the sofa."
Crossing the room, I knelt down, lifted the flap of fabric hanging from the bottom of the sofa and peered underneath. "How are you doing, sweetheart?"
"It hurts!" the one-eyed, one-eared cat yowled. "How in tarnation do you think I'm doing?"
Startled, I dropped the fabric and reared back.
"Your Southern Belle isn't so sweet now, is she?" the lizard mocked.
Lifting the flap again, I bent to get a better look at my feline friend.
"I need drugs," she hissed.
"Okay, okay," I assured her. "I'll open a can of food and get them for you. Chicken or fish?"

“You make it sound like she’s responding to a wedding invitation,” God interjected.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bad Ads

I like to read the local papers.  Not that they really have anything crucial in them - we live in the back of beyond after all - but sometimes they do have an interesting bit of news here or there.  Nothing ground breaking.  No one's winning a Pulitzer out here.  Especially not the people who write the ad copy.

Now, a lot of bad ads can be found in the wanted section.  After all, those are just regular people trying to sell something or find something.  I cut them a lot of slack - they aren't professional writers.  Still, it pays to check your ad before you pay to have it printed.  For instance, recently I saw an ad for a used generator, and I was all like 'hey, we've been talking about a  generator'.  Unfortunately, the ad had no price.  A lot of people don't put prices in their ads, so I figured I'd just call and... no phone number in the ad either.  That ad didn't 'generate' any cash for them, I guess.  ;o)

Yesterday, I picked up a free paper from the town south of us - because all I wanted was to pay for my coffee but the gal in front of me at the store wanted to cash in her stack of lottery tickets.  So, I snagged a paper to amuse myself.  Reading it this afternoon, I saw a lovely ad for cleaning services.  Sounded like the gal really knew what she was doing.  Except the only contact info in the ad was the area code.  I can dial those three numbers all day long, but all I'll hear is "You have not completed your call in the allotted time. Please hang up and dial again." Good thing I clean my own house.

Last week's paper had an ad for a local dentist office.  Their catch phrase was: "Chances are we take your insurance."  I'm so on that because that's the only thing I look for in a person who'll have their hands in my mouth. 

What are some fun local ads you've seen? 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fab Photo Friday -- Fuzzy

The picture is fuzzy. She's fuzzy. 
She gives me the warm fuzzies.