Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Deck the halls!

So, Monday I was sitting at my computer trying to think of a post for Killer Chicks and I had no idea what to write about, so I decided to take a break and peruse the Christmas catalog that had just come in the mail.

Then it hit me.

It’s August and I’m looking at a Christmas catalog.

What is the world coming to? I’ve heard of Christmas in July, but in August? That’s just ridiculous.

It seems to get worse every year. The blurring of the calendar is bad enough as you get older and realize a whole year goes by in the blink of an eye [unless of course you’re waiting for a book release], but retailers are so desperate for the holiday boost in sales, they now want you thinking about Christmas before your sunburn peels and your bathing suit dries out.

I love Christmas, but give me a break. Please!

Can’t we go back to the old days when you didn’t hear talk of Christmas until at least Halloween was over?  I’m all for getting my shopping done early, but, to be honest, I haven’t even read all the books I got as gifts for last Christmas and I think I might still have an unused gift certificate or two hanging around.

Do you know anyone who lives by the retail calendar? Do you buy your Halloween candy in June and your Christmas decorations in August? How far back do you think the Christmas craze will reach? Or are you ready to Deck the Halls any time of year?

Monday, August 29, 2011

An agent phone call, an editor convo, and writing 10k

We hope that all those impacted by Hurricane Irene are safe and dry.




Last Monday I announced the sale of CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN to Avon Impulse (and The First Victim hit the Carina Press Most Popular list again!) which meant that I didn't get around to telling you about how my attempt to write 10,000 words in a day the week before went.

I participated in 10k Day for Writers through the Fear of Writing website. The basic idea is eliminate as many distractions as possible and carve out multiple two hour windows throughout the day in which to write. You don't edit. You don't research. You just write.

I enjoyed the experiment despite the fact I only wrote just over 5000 words. I loved the focus that clearing the decks beforehand provided. I loved that the object was to just write, which effectively muzzled my inner censor. I'm definitely going to give it a try again soon.

I'd planned on dedicating the entire day to writing my 10k, but life, as it often does, got in the way. I wasn't able to focus solely on my WIP as I'd hoped. First, I had to talk to my lovely agent, Victoria Marini, about other matters. Then I had the opportunity to speak to an editor about Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman. (Okay, I'd ASKED to talk to her, but that's the subject of next week's post!)

These were obviously wonderful reasons to be distracted, but I definitely lost some focus on the story I was working on because of them. I can definitely see the usefulness of eliminating as many interruptions as possible...I'm just not sure how feasible it is.

If you're thinking that 10k or 5k or even 1k doesn't sound feasible, I urge you to check out my crit partner, Cynthia Valero's 10 Minutes to the Universe where she shares her ten minute freewrites. Try one and post it!

Tell me Killer Friends: How do you block out time for concentrating on the things you love doing? (This doesn't just pertain to writing. I would imagine the same focus benefits everything from crafting, to family dinners, to self care, to exercise.)

And if you're a writer, tell me what your personal maximum output for a day has been -- words, pages, hours, scenes, chapters...it's all good!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Unplugged

I’m on vacation this week. It feels weird to say that because I haven’t been ‘on vacation’ in several years. I’ve had days off, days where I accomplished little more than watching a movie, days where my ultimate goal was to ‘relax’, but most of those days also included some type of work. As a freelance editor, I’m pretty busy and I really enjoy the work, so even when I’m supposed to be relaxing, you’ll usually find me with a manuscript open on my laptop. If I’m not editing someone else’s work, I’m hopefully immersed in my own.
It’s hard for me to unplug and nearly impossible for me to do nothing at all. I can’t stand being idle because I feel like I’m wasting time. It’s funny though, the most spiritually fulfilling, relaxing moment I can remember of the past few years was the last time my family went to the beach [I just can’t call it the Jersey shore anymore], and my husband and kids went swimming. I sat in a shady lounge chair with my feet up and a cool drink at hand and just watched the waves, and for the first time in years I actually felt completely at peace. That’s a wonderful feeling and one I don’t experience nearly enough.
Hopefully as you read this, I’ve found that feeling again. We’ve planned a relaxing week at the beach, and I’ve never been more desperate to get away from it all.
My dilemma as I write this [a week ago now] is can I actually go away and leave my laptop at home and not check my e-mail, my Amazon sales, the Forum at Romance Divas or the mind numbing flood of internet news for an entire week?
I’m debating just bringing a couple of books to read, [no editing], a blank notebook so I can work on a story if the mood strikes me, and a sketch pad and pencils, so my down time must be spent creatively, not surfing the web. It won’t be an easy decision.
When was the last time you went on a real, honest to goodness vacation? Did you remain plugged in to the cyber world while you were gone? If you didn’t, how did you feel after a few days?
I’ll let you know how I managed, and IF I managed to go seven days without accessing the World Wide Web.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I sold another book!


I've been biting my virtual tongue for a while, but now I can reveal my happy, happy news.

Technically, Publisher's Marketplace revealed it on Saturday, but I figured I'd start the week off with it.

From Publisher's Marketplace:

JB Lynn's CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN, about a woman with a tragic past and a dysfunctional family, who, with the help of a pet gecko and a sexy cop-turned-criminal, agrees to work for a mob boss to save the life of her niece - only to discover it's her own life that may need saving; pitched as One For the Money meets Dr. Doolittle, to Lucia Macro at Avon Impulse, by Victoria Marini at the Gelfman Schneider.

If you're thinking that it doesn't sound much like THE FIRST VICTIM, you're right. It's definitely a departure.

(BTW, can I just say I am so, so, SO pleased with the reviews The First Victim has been getting on GoodReads...at the time I'm writing this, there are 35 reviews and an average rating of 4.34 -- they like it, they really like it!)

I was so lucky to connect with Victoria Marini. She's an amazing agent who "got" what I was trying to do with the story and is an absolute delight to work with!

I'm really looking forward to working with Lucia Macro at Avon to make Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman (I'm sure they'll make me change the long-ass title, but for now I love it!) the best book it can possibly be!

I'll be using most of my Monday posts here to talk about what's been happening behind the scenes and I'll be updating you about the progress of the project. I hope you'll ride along with on this exciting journey!

Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman wouldn't exist if it weren't for something my critique partner Cynthia Valero said, but I'll tell you all about that in another post. In the meantime, I'm going to suggest you check out her blog 10 Minutes to the Universe. It's both entertaining and creatively stimulating!

I can't drink a whole bottle of champagne by myself, so tell me Killer Friends, what good news would you like to share?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rhythym

I finally got around to watching THE SOCIAL NETWORK last weekend and it made me sad.

It made me sad because it reminded me how much I miss The West Wing.





I miss the magical, smart, rapid-fire dialogue Aaron Sorkin (who just happened to win the Acadamy Award for the Best Adapted Screenplay for THE SOCIAL NETWORK -- you can watch his acceptance speech here)delivered in every episode. I miss his powerful monologues, no matter which character was delivering them.

Most of all, I miss the amazing rhythym the man manages to convey through his writing. Just like it's easy to identify the work of David Mamet when you hear it, Sorkin's rhythym is equally recognizable whether it's in The Social Network, The West Wing, Sports Night or A Few Good Men.


A few years ago I worked with two actors who had worked on The West Wing and they both told me, on separate occassions, that Sorkin demands his actors recite his dialogue as written. For him, each syllable, every nuance,is important.

I get the impression that writers as diverse as Neil Gaiman, Lisa Lutz, Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, Walter Mosely, Tess Gerritsen, and many, many more are equally aware of the rhythyms of their writing.

I know that there are books I've given up on reading simply because the internal rhythym of the story didn't flow for me, or the dialogue was too stilted to enjoy. There are books I've stayed with longer than I would have just because I enjoyed an author's ability to rat-tat-tat out a story.

Tell me Killer Friends: How do you feel about rhythym? Are you aware of it? Or does it only niggle the corner of your mind? Which writers have a rhythym you admire?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The art of surrender

I loved JB’s post on Monday about her determination and perseverance. She pushed through the pain and discomfort to finish her half-marathon, and she pushes through the doubt and difficulties that accompany writing in order to finish a book. I’m inspired by that, because I believe, as I said in the comments of her post, nothing worth doing is easy.
So this post is about giving up.
Don’t worry, it actually has nothing to do with writing, though I suppose the concept could be applied to that as well, or to anything in your life that’s not really working for you no matter how hard you try.
Of course there’s a lot to be said for pushing through, even when the odds are against you, even when you don’t think you can take another step or you think one more failure will knock you right over the edge. A whole lot of wondrous accomplishments were made after boatloads of backbreaking failures.  But sometimes you still have to know when to quit.
This week I read a book that encouraged me to quit, and I’ve decided to heed its somewhat controversial advice. I’m giving up the weight loss battle.
Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight [the Kindle version is currently only $1.79] is a treatise by psychotherapist Linda Bacon, PhD [yeah, the name sort of gets me too], about the futility of dieting. She explains how much of the current medical opinions on weight loss and its correlation to health are wrong and how traditional dieting [ie food restriction, often coupled with excessive exercise] is more damaging to us in the long run than a few extra pounds. She cites studies that have shown most dieters gain back all and more of the weight they lost, and many radical weight loss techniques leave people in far worse shape both physically and financially than when they started out.
The book doesn’t encourage popping open the Pringles can and parking on the sofa for the rest of your life, but it teaches that lifestyle changes geared toward feeling better are far more effective for maintaining health [and often a healthy weight] than endless hours of jogging and gnawing on nothing but celery.  
I’ve been battling the bulge since my teens and the one thing I’ve found consistently during diet after diet is that I always gain back more than I lose. I’ve tried shakes, bars, pills, soft chewy candies and teas; I’ve tried counting calories, fat grams, points and carbs. I’ve tried dealing meals and balancing meals and weighing and measuring everything and keeping a food journal and read book after book on how to conquer the demon in me that urges me to eat when I shouldn’t and eat things I shouldn’t . I’ve dreaded buying clothes and looking in the mirror and going to social functions and stepping on the scale. For probably 25 years, I’ve felt like a failure because I cannot stick to a diet for longer than a few months.
Nevertheless, I kept trying. I’ve compared it to writing – you know what they say. The difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer is the published writer never gave up. We rack up rejection after rejection and we just keep plugging away because one day someone will say yes and it’s all rainbows and moon beams from that moment on.
I applied that philosophy to weight loss. I figured one day I’d hit on the right combination of calories, or the right formula of diet aid or attain the coveted amount of self-discipline that would allow me to melt the pounds away and gain the respect and admiration of my family, friends and co-workers who would all clamor to know ‘how I did it.’ Giving up would be like allowing a single rejection to derail my writing career.
I’ve decided it’s time to get over that and start something new. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So I’m stopping the insanity that has kept me starting a new diet every Monday morning for decades. My concentration is on eating healthy when I can, but not losing my mind over it, exercising because I enjoy it – walking, biking, dancing, swimming, not because I have to burn so many calories a day to justify eating a cookie, and not wasting any more time and money on gimmicks or regimes that only leave me hungry, cranky and feeling sick.
I may not ever be The Biggest Loser, but I’m more than happy to be a Quitter.
How about you? Have you ever quit something and been happier for it?

Monday, August 15, 2011

"I am NEVER doing this again"

I am NEVER doing this again.

What the hell made me think I could do this in the first place?

I forgot how hard this is. I forgot how much it hurts.

Oh my god, I'm only halfway there. I'll never finish.

Look at all of those other people who are so much better than me. It looks so easy for them. Effortless.

Only an idiot would voluntarily put themselves through this.

I hope I'm going the right way.

I'm never going to reach the end.



Those were some of my thoughts last weekend as I trudged through the pouring rain for 13.1 miles. At about the ten mile mark when I was feeling particularly disheartened (fatigue, pain, and being soaked to the skin has that effect on a gal) I realized that my litany of complaints sounded awfully familiar.

I think pretty much the same things EVERY time I'm writing a book.

There comes a point (for me it's just about the midpoint) when I throw up my hands and swear, "I'm never doing this again." Just like there is inevitably a moment when I wonder what the hell made me think I'm capable of writing a novel. And I always, ALWAYS forget how hard and yes, painful, the process can be. I run through the entire list of complaints and then some.

But I don't quit. I keep moving. I grit my teeth and accept that all the discomfort is part of what makes the undertaking something exceptional. Lots of people say they want to write a book, but few sit down and do it.

By showing up every day to write, YOU are doing what others deem "impossible".

Speaking of the impossible...if conditions permit, this Wednesday I'm going to tackle the challenge of writing 10,000 words in a day. You can sign up too! I'll try to post my progress on Twitter throughout the day.

Tell me Killer Friends: What have you done more than once, even after you swore you'd never do it again? How do you get past those bumps in the road that all writers face?

In case you're wondering, I did finish the half marathon and as I crossed the finish line I was thinking, "That was fun. I can't wait to do it again!"

And then I hobbled back to my hotel room to take some Aleve.....with this HEAVY finisher's medal around my neck.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Feed me, Seymour!

I borrowed the title of this post from Little Shop of Horrors for two reasons. One: It’s summer and I’m too lazy to do much else. And two: I consider having to cook when it’s hot out to be a horror.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like to cook. Heaven knows I love to eat, but I like roasting a turkey breast on a chilly autumn day, or making pancakes and French toast on Christmas morning, or slow cooking a stew on a freezing Sunday afternoon in the middle of winter.  In the summer, I don’t like preparing anything more complicated than a glass of iced tea.

In fact, between June and the beginning of September, I prefer my food handed to me on a paper plate along with anything to drink that just came out of a tub of ice. The thought of cooking dinner just makes me want to curl up and take a nap.

My ambition for the summer is to find things to make for dinner especially that don’t require the oven or the stove to be turned on. [I prefer recipes that involve calling for delivery, but since money doesn’t grow on trees, occasionally I have to actually make something myself.]

I thought I’d share one of my own creations for summer sandwiches that’s easy, fairly nutritious and can be thrown together in about ten minutes.

Craisy Walnut Chicken Salad
Note: All measurements are approximate, use more or less of any ingredient to taste

½ lb. broiled or baked chicken breast, cut into small pieces or shredded *[you can use precooked chicken breast if you’re really lazy like me]
¾ cup unsalted walnuts, chopped or broken into small pieces
¼ cup dried cranberries [Craisins], chopped
½ cup mayonnaise [light or regular]
Salt
Black pepper

Combine all ingredients, stir well to coat with mayo and serve on crackers or whole grain bread. Goes nice with green grapes as a side and cubes of Swiss cheese.

Voila.

What’s your favorite lazy summer recipe?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Harry Potter and the Pinnacle of Awesome

Not too long ago JB asked about Your Favorite Harry Potter Characters – to commemorate the release of the final movie in JK Rowling’s YA omnibus. For some people, the Harry Potter universe has become as real as the one we live in and some people just roll their eyes at the idea of a boy wizard and people riding around on broomsticks casting spells at one another.
Whichever camp you’re in, though, you can’t argue with the success of the Harry Potter franchise. The extent of Ms. Rowling’s influence on our world hit me the other day when my husband and I took our kids to the Harry Potter exhibit in Times Square.
Shown jointly with an exhibit on the last days of Pompeii, the HP exhibit probably gets ten times the traffic. We bought the dual admission ticket so we could foist a little education on the kids along with their much preferred dose of pop culture. We waited on line to get into the Harry Potter exhibit which consists of displays of movie props and costumes showcasing incredible attention to detail and imagination. The museum prohibits photography of any kind so I can only direct you a website if you want to learn more, but suffice it to say, it’s something to see if you’re a Potter fan. All I could think as we wandered through the two-story exhibit hall was how all of this came from the imagination of a writer. I wondered if Ms. Rowling ever dreamed people across the pond would be plunking down hundreds of dollars for the opportunity to see objects inspired by her stories and oohing and aahing as if they were looking at a piece of history.  From the perspective of a writer who is happy to earn enough money to take my family out to dinner now and then, I was humbled by the extent of the HP phenomenon. I can’t even imagine creating a cast of characters so beloved that they would eventually have their own dedicated museum exhibit.
An interesting contrast was the Pompeii exhibit, for which there was no line. We strolled right in and were treated to a stunning filmed simulation of the day Mount Vesuvius obliterated a city. Even more humbling than standing in a small replica of Hogwarts Great Hall complete with floating candles at the ceiling, was standing before the plaster casts of human beings who had perished under twelve feet of burning volcanic ash, some with the folds of their clothing still intact.
It amazes me how we can juxtapose fiction and reality and treat them with equal reverence. I wonder how many people who saw both exhibits will remember Pompeii over Harry Potter and how many years into the future Ms. Rowling’s characters will still draw crowds.
Have you ever thought what it would be like to have your creative works gain that type of recognition? Can you picture yourself strolling through a museum exhibit dedicated to the characters in your books? I can’t. It’s almost easier for me to imagine a volcano erupting in my backyard.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Write 10K in a Day?

Last week I read PD Martin’s post “10,000 words in one day? No way…WAY!” over on Murderati.

The idea of spending an entire day immersed in my story has great appeal, but I wondered how feasible it really is. I was unfamiliar with 10k Days so a little research was necessary.

Basically the goal for the day is to try to write 10,000 words. (Even NaNoWriMo doesn’t expect you to write that many words in a single day!)

Jennifer Turner explains the principles here.

Some of the suggested rules are:

1. Write in four 2 hour blocks, taking a 15 minute break after each session to ensure you don’t die of hunger or dehydration. This will also prevent your butt from becoming permanently embedded in your chair.

2. Eliminate all distractions. Turn off your phone and internet. Kiss your loved ones good-bye for the day.

3. No rewriting

4. Report in to your writing buddies during your break to keep yourself motivated/honest.

5.No editing.

6. No research.

7. Kick your inner critic to the curb. Allow yourself to write a shitty draft.

(Personally I’m thinking an IV drip of caffeine might be a good idea.)

This may be just the sort of creative recharge I’m in need of. My progress on my projects has been painfully slow lately because I’ve had a lot going on. The idea of totally immersing myself in the creative process for a whole day sounds simultaneously decadent, scary and impossible.

Therefore, I want to do it!

But I don’t want to do it alone. So I hope you, my Killer Friends, will consider doing it with me.

Thankfully I don’t have to do any organizing because Milli Thornton who runs the FEAR OF WRITING site conducts 10k Days every Month (one on a Wednesday and one on a Saturday). This month they fall on Wed Aug 17th and Sat Aug 20th.

The 20th is already booked up for me, so I’m going to sign up for the 17th. I already know that my first break will be longer than the allotted fifteen minutes because I’m taking the Dog of Death to be groomed, which means I’ll pick him up during my first break. It also means I can’t turn off my phone in the morning because I need to know when the groomer calls to say the mutt is ready to be picked up. So I’m already breaking the rules, lol.

I’m going to give this a try. What about you?

What do you think of writing 10,000 words in a single day? How many do YOU write on a normal day? What’s your best writing day been? A lot of writers would be happy with a 10,000 word WEEK, what’s your bare minimum?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Speaking of villians...

After reading JB’s awesome ‘I heart villians’ post over at the Not Your Usual Suspects blog I got to think about some of the villains I’ve created. I think two of my favorites are the ‘stars’ if you will of my new paranormal romance Devil’s Due.

In the excerpt below, my heroine has an icy encounter with the smarmy manager of her brother’s rock band and his chief groupie. Russell Hackett is a composite of, dare I admit it, some real life people I’ve known. You know the type – the guys who can double cross you while wearing a big ‘ol innocent grin. That strikes me as a special kind of bad, the kind that comes with polite conversation and artificial sweetness.  Minx is the girl every mother prays her son won’t bring home to meet the family. This is only the beginning of Ceara’s troubles with Russell and Minx. To find out more, visit Ellora’s Cave.


EXCERPT: 

Russell Hackett loosened his grip on Ceara’s wrist and she yanked her hand away from him. In response he held out his arms wide, the bewildered expression on his doughy face calculated. “Oh, it’s the sister. What are you doing sniffing around back here all by yourself, Sunshine?”

“I came to see Kevin and he looks terrible. I’m tired of this, Mr. Hackett. Whatever you’re doing to him, whatever you’re giving him, it has to stop. What’s your plan with that stuff in his car? Will getting him arrested help your cause?”

Hackett’s beady eyes widened, as did his crooked smile. He shrugged and shook his head. “I’m so sorry you think I would do anything to hurt Kevin. He’s my rock. He’s my star, sweetheart. Pillars of Stone is going to go far. I’ve told you that already. This is the road you have to travel to make it to the top. It’s not pretty. The hours suck, it takes a lot out of the talent, but the rewards, baby, the rewards are worth it.”

“Dying from a drug overdose is not worth it.”

“Kevin isn’t taking anything illegal. He has a prescription for some sleeping pills and something to help him handle the stress, but that’s all.” Hackett made a show of peering into the car. “I don’t know what that stuff is, but I’ll make sure he gets rid of it. You can count on me to take care of him.”

Ceara stiffened as Hackett brushed past her. His short, bulky frame, padded from lord knew what type of excesses, reminded her of the torn shipping envelope. If only he’d end up the same way, useless and with his stuffing spilling out. He eyed her and moved a step closer. She shivered. Her skin tingled just beneath the surface whenever this man came near her. Like the bone-rattling buzz of touching a live wire, it made her feel ill. He patted her shoulder and she endured it, but her fists balled at her sides.

“He won’t need the medicine forever. Just until the band gets a recording contract, and I’m working on that. Any day now they’ll be right at the top. I’ve got three labels begging for their demos. Once that happens, he won’t have to play these seedy clubs anymore. He’ll spend his days in a studio, nine to five, singing his heart out.”

“That all sounds wonderful, but will Kevin be well enough to handle it? He could barely stand up on stage.”

“He’s tired. You try his schedule.” Hackett reared back, again feigning indignation that she would have the audacity to doubt him. She wanted to slap the false concern off his face, but she didn’t dare.

“Look, honey, I get that you’re the big sister and all. Parents are out of the picture, you take care of him. That’s wonderful. Give him a month, sweetheart, and he’ll be taking care of you. He’ll be able to buy that little gallery where you show your work ten times over, and you can sit back on easy street. Don’t you want that?”

It bothered Ceara that Hackett knew where she worked. Had Kevin told him the details of her art career, or had he dug into her life on his own? She dismissed the slithery feeling it caused in her stomach and put her hands on her hips to keep from clenching them. “I want Kevin to be happy and he can’t do that if he’s high all the time.”

Hackett’s saccharine veneer began to crack. His voice became gravelly, and this time when he loomed close, Ceara shuddered. “He’s not high. And I resent the implication. You start saying that stuff around town, some places won’t book the band. If I lose gigs because of your big mouth, sweetheart—”

“What? Are you threatening me, Mr. Hackett?” Ceara’s surge of bravado drained all too quickly when she became aware of a presence behind her. The overpowering scent of Minx’s perfume reached her and her blood chilled.

“I’m just saying, baby, this is your brother’s career and it’s mine too. If you do anything to screw it up…I will be angry with you.”

Hackett tapped her shoulder hard and she backed up. Minx’s hands came up, and Ceara heard the icy whisper of a blade. How easy would it be for Minx to murder her right here in the secluded parking lot? She and Hackett could claim it was a mugging.

Ceara let out her breath very slowly. “I’m leaving now, Mr. Hackett. I hope you’re right about everything you said.”

“I’m always right, sweetheart.”

Ceara caught the barely perceptible nod Hackett gave, and in a heartbeat she whirled around, prepared for Minx to slip cold steel between her ribs. She’d never been so scared and so angry. She raised a hand to ward off the attack and found herself staring at a familiar face.

Keb stood between her and Minx.

“Is there a problem here?” His question held no malice and barely any curiosity, but his tone spoke volumes. Minx backed up and something clattered to the pavement.

Hackett gave the newcomer a scathing glare and shuffled past them. “Careful who you pick as your friends, sweetheart,” he muttered as he waddled back toward the club.
Ceara stared at the object Minx had dropped. A black-handled switchblade lay at the edge of the pothole, its scarred blade covered in road dirt.

Minx shrugged and whirled around. “That ain’t mine.” She tossed the dismissal over her shoulders and sauntered back toward the club.

Indignant and unable to speak, Ceara sputtered at Keb.

“I’m sure a good forensics specialist could pull her prints off that,” he said.
Ceara studied his face. Here in the garish fluorescent glow of the security lights Alexander Quinn’s security guard looked a bit different than he had in the subdued lighting of the Kimono Club. His severely cut sideburns stood out, almost crimson against his light skin, and his eyes seemed amber-hued rather than just plain brown. “Are you all right, then?”

“Uh…yeah.” She shook herself out of her stupor. Minx probably would have killed her, or at least left her bleeding in the alley. If Keb hadn’t come along, who knows what would have happened to her.

“Quinn sent you?”

“Hmm. And a good thing too.”

“But why? He wouldn’t even admit to—”

“Alex has a weakness for damsels in distress, to quote the cliché. And you were very clearly in distress. I’m not sure he could have foreseen how much. Will you allow me to see you home safely?”

She eyed him. Slim but sturdy, Keb looked like he possessed a controlled strength. She’d felt those coiled muscles beneath his impeccable blazer back at Kimono. His mild manner belied a hidden reserve of strength and a keen intelligence. She got the feeling he could look into someone and know more about them than they knew about themselves. That made her uneasy, but everything else about him made her feel inexplicably safe.
“Fine. My car is this—”

“Mr. Quinn would prefer I drive you. I will see that your car is delivered to your apartment.”

Ceara crossed her arms over her chest. “And just how are you going to do that?”

Keb’s upper lip tilted up in a knowing half smile. “Actually, I already have.”


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What bugs you?

I’m a firm believer that creatures who come with more than four legs are evil. [I don’t count undersea creatures – crabs and lobsters certainly have their place in the world – for instance, as dinner. And octopi and squid are cute and all.] No, I’m talking about bugs.
I really don’t like them.
Of course, last week, they decided to gang up on me. The week started off when I went to the ‘office’ office. Not five minutes after I arrived one of my co-workers announced: “There’s a giant bug under that desk. Somebody has to get it!”
Chaos ensued.
The bug:

Which looked like this, waited patiently while several adults ran in circles around it [including me] expressing their disbelief and disgust at its overall buggy-ness. My boss, to whom fell the task of slaying the bug, called over the new guy to show him what his duties might entail as one of the two men in the office. The rest of us, all women, stood well back until the creature made a break for it. Then we ran away and finally my boss stomped on it.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s skeeved by things that can run up my leg faster than I can scream ‘Get the RAID!’
Two days later, my older cat decided he’d had enough of being shown up by the middle cat [who last week caught himself a bird and dragged it into my home office as a gift for me]. So, while out on the upstairs deck, he too caught something and brought it in the house. [Note to self: STOP letting the cats out on the upstairs deck.]
I wasn’t aware anything had happened until I noticed middle cat staring up at the staircase. Then I heard this Godawful noise, like an angry cricket on crack.
I knew. I just knew it was going to be bad. I ran upstairs and looked for the source of the noise, but didn’t see anything right away. At this point I’m mentally calculating how long it will take to get a Hazmat team here, evacuate the house, tent it and find, neutralize and remove said creature.
I ended up in the bedroom where older cat was tormenting his prize. One of these:

I ran around in a circle a couple of times then decided to get a big towel, throw it over the bug and carry it outside. Much to older cat’s disappointment, since he’d acquired it as a gift for my husband and seemed to be planning to leave it by his side of the bed.
Lots of stuff doesn’t scare me. Snakes, stray dogs, thunder, bridges, Smurfs. I’m cool with all those, but bugs reduce me to the emotional  equivalent of a headless chicken.
How about you? Do bugs bug you?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Character Approved

If you watch the USA Network, you're no doubt familiar with their "character approved" tagline. Personally, I think their focus on character is what's been responsible for the success of their original programming.

Since I'm not a fan of legal shows, I wasn't going to watch USA's newest offering SUITS (well that, and I thought the promos made the show look lame)but I decided to give it one shot. I'm glad I did.




Like all of the other USA shows, the characters are quirky, but charming.

More importantly, like the other programs on the network, each episode hinges on the interactions of the characters rather than the case of the week, unlike, say, the CSI franchise.

The characters of SUITS are fabulously good at what they do, while being terribly flawed human beings. Each week I find myself caring more about which character needs to learn and grow (and ultimately redeem themselves) more than whatever case they need to win, which is why I keep tuning in.

Not to mention the show features my favorite female character on TV at the moment, Jessica Pearson, played by the always lovely Gina Torres.




A woman who is smart and driven (she's one of the founding partners of the law firm) but also sexy and kind.

Plus, any show that can manage to throw in dueling Stallone impressions AND lines from Top Gun within the context of the story is pretty damn awesome.

Tell me Killer Friends: Who are your favorite characters in books, TV or movies?

I've recently joined the Not Your Usual Suspects blog. (A group blog featuring an international array of mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers.) I'll be posting there for the very first time on Wednesday. I hope you'll stop by and say hello!