Friday, October 24, 2014

My desk -- Fab Photo Friday

I went about almost a year without a desk. I missed having a defined work space terribly.

Finally I found an old wicker desk. It took a while to refurbish it, but I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cookie Month

According to Holiday Insights, October is Cookie Month.  Time to talk cookies!

What's your favorite cookie?  Do you bake or do you buy?

JB: If I bake it's oatmeal or butter cookies.
If I buy it's Mint Milanos. (NOT Pumpkin Spice…tried 'em and was disappointed)

B.E.: I love making cookies.  I just wish I had someone to give the majority of them away to.  My favorites to make and eat are my coconut chocolate chip cookies, my peanut butter bars, and my layer bars.  Of course, a lot of the time, I'm too lazy to bake, so I just snag some from the store - or mug a girl scout.  Thin mints... mmmm.  And those peanut butter ones covered in chocolate...  (You can buy knock offs of Girl Scout cookies now, though, which is good because I live in a retirement community and Girl Scouts are scarce.)  Also, Pepperidge Farms macadamia white chocolate chunk.  And now I'm hungry.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm okay with you thinking my books are fluffy escapism

I've been told that my books are "fluff" and "mindless entertainment". While I know that the people who've said those things meant them as insults, I take them as compliments. There are times we just need our spirits lifted or our minds taken off our troubles. 

Sometimes people take the time to write to let me know how much they've enjoyed the momentary escape from their problems and struggles.

I enjoy and appreciate EVERY single fan letter I receive. What can be better than knowing that  complete stranger enjoyed your work? Every letter is a gift I treasure.

With that said, there are some letters that touch me more profoundly than others. I received one of those this weekend. It's the kind of letter that, even though it's short, I was crying before I reached the end. I asked the writer if I could share it and she graciously agreed.

"Just a word of thanks...I suggested that my daughter read your "Hitwoman " series. She is 40 years old and diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer, sad one day, angry the next. I thought your laugh out loud humor would be of help. Your books helped her to escape the moment and to prepare her forward to a year of fighting cancer with surgery followed by chemo. Again, thanks."

Are you weepy too? 

Tell me Killer Friends: What books do YOU enjoy escaping with?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Dying Embers

Here's a snippet from my suspense novel - Dying Embers...

Pushing off from the dock’s edge, Jace Douglas struck out across the lake, measuring the water one arm-length after another.  Even under the hot July sun, the water was cold and clear, making her relish each solitary stroke.  As she felt the surface tension pull along her skin, she could also feel the stress slipping away from her.  Twelve acres of solitude and reflection—twelve acres she only saw between assignments—but it was hers.  Still, if she had her own way, she wouldn’t be at home; she’d be at the office going over the same case for the millionth time. 
Swimming alone with nothing but the wind to distract her, she had to admit Graham was probably right.  It always did take some coaxing for her to admit she needed time away, if only for perspective, and out on her tiny ranch in the Piney Woods, she could finally admit her need. 
“If they find another…” she thought as she pulled herself through the calm water. “Not if, when they find another body I won’t have much time to breathe, let alone think.” 
The thought of her case pulled her from the single-mindedness of exercise.  Her strokes faltered and then stopped.  She tried to get back into the rhythm, but it was hopeless.  Too many unanswered questions assaulted her serenity.  Rolling onto her back, she allowed the gentle fluid to hold her up and her work to fill her once more.
She wouldn’t have let it go at all if it hadn’t been for her boss.
“Jace, you need a break,” he’d said right before he told her to leave the building and not come back until she could learn to relax.
At the time, she thought, “One day, and then I’ll go back.”  She’d fake it if she had to.  There was a killer out there somewhere and she had to catch him.  Before she knew it, her one day had stretched to three.
In retrospect, she knew she’d left her boss no choice.  She knew her ends would’ve been better served if she hadn’t blown up at her co-workers.  Six months on any case was enough to test the calm of anyone, especially when the case only provided more bodies without providing any more evidence.  But this case niggled at her in a way she hadn’t allowed herself to experience since before she joined the Serial Crimes Unit—maybe since that hot summer night when she was a teen.
Even with the tightest reins, sometimes you can’t control a beast as unruly as your past.
Just the thought of going down that path tightened every muscle in Jace’s body and she sank beneath the rippled surface.  She came up sputtering.  Another moment’s peace ruined.
Striking back toward the shore, she focused on putting one arm in front of the other until her dock was within reach.  As she began to pull herself up, she almost shrieked when a hand reached out for her.

Hope you enjoyed it.  =o)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tips for the Not-so Serious Dieter

1) A cupcake eaten before noon counts as a muffin.

2) Broken cookies have no calories.
  2a) Unless you break the cookie on purpose, then you've doubled the calories.

3) Fat free dressing negates the fat content of salad toppings.

4) Technically, all food is 'organic'.  If it was inorganic, we couldn't eat it.

5) Having a burger with lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles counts as having a salad.  If you make it a cheeseburger, you've had milk with your meal like a good girl.

6) Ketchup is a vegetable*. (Hey, if schools can count it as a veggie, so can I.)

7) Therefore, chips are also a vegetable. 

8) And Starbursts are a fruit.

9) Pizza, with the right toppings, contains all four food groups, so it's good for you.

10) Half a piece of pie contains 50% less calories than a regular piece of pie, so have two.

What are some not-so serious diet rules you've used or heard of or follow religiously?

* Well, technically, ketchup is a fruit.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dictionary Day

Today is the day set aside to honor Noah Webster - the Father of the American Dictionary.

Being writers, we owe a lot to Mr. Webster.  

So, tell us, Killer Friends... How often do you use a dictionary?  Online version or hardcopy or CD?  And for a bit of fun, go to the dictionary of your choice and find a random word that starts with the first letter of your last name, and tell us what it is in the comments.

JB: My hard copies of my dictionary and my thesaurus were left behind when I moved and I miss them terribly. Using an online version just isn't the same.

LYART -- streaked with gray

B.E.: I actually don't use a dictionary all that often anymore, even though I'm surrounded by them.  I have a 2-volume set on the shelf on my desk, a red Websters on the reference shelf, the Encyclopedia of Dictionaries my parents gave me for high-school graduation...  When I need one, though, I usually hit Merriam-Webster Online or just Google the word and 'define'.

STIBINE -- a colorless, poisonous gas.