Thursday, February 28, 2013

Just an Old-Fashion Love Song

Isn't it amazing how a love song can just transport you?

CLARICE: Okay, don't laugh, but Cher's A SONG FOR THE LONELY is my favorite inspiring sound track. The line - 'When heroes fall in love or war, they live forever...' sort of sums up the kind of books I want to write. Needless to say, I've played that track plenty of times while setting up my heroes to fall in love.

B.E.: Oh yeah.  Music can really take me back to times when a particular song was important in my life, or transport me to a world of feeling.  Any song.  And as far as love songs go, that can be a good thing or a bad thing.  I can't listen to some songs that were 'our song' before the relationship failed.  Those songs, no matter how wonderfully written they are (or how glad I am to be out of said failed romance) can still wrench my heart.

But even today, listening to Frank Sinatra transports me to a cozy spot in front the fire and the night my husband and I fell the rest of the way in love. 

JB:  It doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing, if I hear our wedding song I'm filled with warm fuzzy memories. (Fuzzy because we've been married a long time!)

Whenever I hear Runaround Sue I wonder whatever happened to the couple I knew that chose THAT as their wedding song (the bride's name was Sue).

Tell us Killer Friends: What love songs mean the most to you?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What would you NEVER do voluntarily?

This weekend Long Suffering said, "I'd never voluntarily watch a small movie."

He said that after we'd watched ROADIE.  (Not the Patrick Swayze-starring classic Roadhouse.)

I'll wait a sec while you try to remember the plot of ROADIE, or who starred in it, or if you ever heard of it.

I'm guesing most readers will fall into the "never heard of it" category since ROADIE was a small independent film starring Ron Eldard, Jill Hennessy, Bobby Cannavale, and Lois Smith.

It wasn't the best independent film I've seen, but I liked it well enough and Long Suffering didn't hate it.

Just so you don't think I subject Long Suffering to an endless string of "small movies" I'll tell you that we watched the JJ Abrams/Spielberg Super 8 filled with lots of explosions and senseless stuff. Again, not the best, but I it entertained me for a couple of hours.

Now that I've prattled on about our scintillating viewing habits (DOCTOR WHO returns next month!) I'll get to the point of this post.

What would you NEVER do voluntarily? 

That's a question my characters tend to struggle with a lot. In CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN Maggie Lee struggles with the question of whether she can kill someone for money.

In FURTHER CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN she wrestles with the notion of killing someone who "used to be" family.

And in THE FIRST VICTIM poor Emily Wright has to return to her hometown, something she'd never voluntarily do, and left the nightmare she thought she'd left behind.

Personally I'd never voluntarily jump out of an airplane, or bungee jump, or zipline (see a theme here?).

There was a time when I'd never voluntarily speak at an event (over that one) or kill a spider (now it depends on just how big the scary spider is, lol).

I'll never voluntarily wear stilettos, douse anything in ketchup, or watch an episode of HoneyBooBoo.

Tell me Killer Friends: What would YOU never do? And what kinds of dilemmas do you like to read about/watch?

(and do you have any "small" film recommendations? I'll suggest of my faves of all time!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Teaser from an Unfinished Work

Here's a little bit from a story I never quite finished.  Oh, I had big plans for this.  It was supposed to be the first book in a humorous mystery series starring private detective, Jordan Almond. 

Jordan Almond: Cut and Dried
Chapter 1
I’ve heard it said there are a million stories in the naked city.  I don’t know about the naked cities, but here in Flint, nothing is as obvious as that.  Of course, if things were laid out for anyone to see, I’d be out of a job. 
You see, I’m a private detective. 
I know what you’re thinking, but trust me, I’m not living the dream.  I mean, it pays the bills, and I could be doing a lot worse things with my life, but to paraphrase an old country song I hate, ‘Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be P.I.s’.  It’s harder work than it sounds, and sometimes you piss people off enough to want kill you.
Seems to happen to me a lot more than I’d like, but that’s the way life goes sometimes. 
Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not in this for the money; I’m not in it for the prestige either.  This business isn’t as rich and glamorous as Hollywood would have you think, which is too damn bad.  There’s a silver lining here somewhere.  I haven’t found it yet, but a gal can hope, can’t she?
Who am I?  The name is Jordon Almond.  Yeah, yeah.  I’ve heard all the jokes, so don’t bother.  My parents thought it was funny.  I don’t. 
From what I was told, the name was actually Allman up until the ‘60s when my father took a bad trip and ended up changing it to something more in tune with Mother Earth.  After he woke up a few years later, he kept it Almond because he thought it was a good joke.  Now I’m stuck with it.  I would’ve changed the name years ago if my father hadn’t made me promise to keep it.  He knew I never broke a promise.  I wish I’d remembered my father’s sense of humor before I agreed.  He up and died before I could wiggle out of it.
He also roped me into the family business, but he did that after he was gone.  His last will and testament said that as soon as I finished college, the whole kit and caboodle was mine.  So I stepped off the platform—degree in hand—and right into the gaping hole of my future as a private detective.
Now you see why I never bothered to change the name on my office door.  Even after my father died, I left it like it was:  Eddie Almond Investigations.  Hell, even in the crappy neighborhood where Eddie bought this office, I don’t want to take a chance on someone stopping in to buy candy.  I don’t do candy.  Hell, I barely even eat the stuff. 
Not that taking over the family business was the worst day of my life.  Oh no.  I’ve had plenty of worst days in my thirty-five year existence, and most of them had nothing whatsoever to do with dear ol’ Dad.  In fact, one of the crappier days I couldn’t really blame on Eddie at all.  If I had to blame it on anything, I’d blame it on my own desperation. 
You see, it was like this... 

Looking at it now, I guess I really should finish this and get cracking on those others books, eh?  What do you think?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Michigander Born and Bred

Well, I'm in Michigan.  And I wrote this post before I left, so here's hoping everything with the flight out went smoothly.  I imagine right now, I'm chilling out with my sister - chatting over coffee or some such thing.

I left Michigan back in June of 2001.  Just packed up everything, rented my house out to the gal who would eventually buy it, gave my dogs away, and took my daughter to what I hoped would be a new, great life in Florida.  It was new.  And it was pretty great for a while there.

About a year and a half into it, the man I was engaged to at the time got an awesome job offer in Utah.  So we packed up everything, got out of our rental agreement, and drove across country to SLC for what we hoped was a newer, better life in Utah.  It was new.  And despite the trials, it was pretty okay.

Now I'm in Colorado.  (Did that Dan Fogelberg song pop into anyone else's head?)  It's a better life.  Not so new anymore because this is coming up on my 9th year here.

But ya know what?  No matter where I am or how far I travel, I'm still a Michigander.  I lived there for 31 years.  I was born there.  My family's still there.  When I hear a cardinal (on TV because they don't have them here), I think of what I still consider my home.  When I meet someone who's also from the Wolverine State, it's like old home week for me.

I guess it's just in the blood.

I love Derek Jeter more because he's from Michigan.  I get giddy when I see the old 'Great Lakes State' license plates on some passing vehicle.  I bleed Blue and Gold.  And no body of water will ever be as impressive or as wonderful to me as Lake Superior.

Yep, I'm a Michigander - born and bred - no matter where else I live or what else I experience.  Probably until the day I die. 

Where are you from?  Do you still live there or have you moved on?  Is the place you grew up still in your blood?

Friday, February 22, 2013

The other side of procrastination

I’ve written here about procrastination and how good I am at. Now it’s time to confess that I also suffer from the opposite of procrastination. I’m not sure if there’s a word for it – but instead of putting something off, it’s when you try to rush ahead of yourself to do something before it’s really time.

I don’t know whether to call myself an expert at this, or a victim of it.

My problem, in addition to trying to find creative ways not to write, is that my brain is always months ahead of me. Once I decide I want to do something, I want it done already. I don’t want to wait for the allotted time, or follow a carefully planned schedule. I just want to already be there.

It’s like planning a sun-drenched vacation and wishing you were already there while you’re still making reservations. Only much worse. It’s more like packing your bags and waiting at the airport for a month before your flight takes off.

Last year, I came up with my series idea – and I spent twelve months working on it, wishing all the stories were already finished. Now I’m procrastinating with the last four stories and wondering how I can get them done on my original timetable without working on them on my original timetable, or my adjusted timetable…or at all.

My plans for 2014 have already formed in my head. I consider them simple and elegant and joyful, and hence I cannot actually wait for them to get started.

Hence my problem. I can’t attain my goal of simple, joyful, elegance until my current project is put to bed, and I can’t finish my current project while my mind is a year ahead of myself enjoying the joys of simple, joyful, elegance. Didn’t someone once say that getting there is half the battle? Or half the fun. I’m not sure, but I disagree with the latter. Getting there is not the fun part. Already being there is the fun part and getting there is a battle – one I’m constantly fighting and haven’t figured out how to win yet.

So I’m looking for advice. How do you get something done when what you really want to do is the thing you can’t do until you do what you haven’t done yet? Do you ever jump ahead when you know you shouldn’t? Does waiting for something to happen or arrive make you utterly insane? How do you deal with it? Do you think sometimes it’s just better to go for it than to wait for the ‘right’ time for something?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Guys (and Gals) Who've Stolen Our Hearts

We admit it, our hearts have been stolen!


My heart is owned by both a guy and a gal.


Here's two of the three boys I affectionately call "Mommie's Babies."

But I lost my heart to this handsome guy first.

B.E. Sanderson: 

This is my furbaby, Kira - when she really was a baby... Hard to believe she was ever that small.

And the man who strolled into my yard and my heart a few years ago - Max.

Tell us Killer Friends: Who owns your heart?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Do You See What I See? (I hope so!)

I don't know how it is for other writers, but I "see" the scenes I write. Sometimes (okay, MOST of the time) it's a challenge to get what's happening in my head onto the page.  It's what I think of as one of the great writing pitfalls: can I make our thoughts/feeling compatible?

I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who struggles with this. Otherwise I'd finish every book I pick up to read. And I don't. By a longshot. If I can't connect with a book I simply give up on it, which is no big deal as a reader, but feels like a HUGE deal as a writer.

I do my best to convey the story I'm experiencing, but until someone actually READS what I've written, there's no way to know if I've met with a modicum of success or fallen flat on my face.

Yesterday I posted a teaser from one of the books I'm working on. It's here. You can go read it.

No, really.


As the author, it was interesting to learn what people "saw" in the scene. Here are some of my favorite observations from yesterday's comments and what my reaction was to each:

"Very creepy look through the eyes of a child snatcher."  

Good. A child-abduction SHOULD be creepy.

"but I actually found some humor in this snippet"

Awesome! I like to keep readers off-balance.

"a very nice pace"

Thank you! You have no idea how many times I rewrote the scene in an attempt to get the pacing "just right".

"You've succeeded in making the child-snatcher sympathetic"

Great! That was my intention, but it wasn't easy to do.

"I can't wait to meet Mary"

A HA! I've got you hooked! The scene's done its job.

"that freaked me out"

My work here is done.

Tell me Killer Friends: 

Were there any comments you didn't agree with? (It's okay. I've got a fairly tough skin. Tell me so that I can figure out how to fix my shortcomings. PLEASE!)

What makes YOU put down a book? What keeps you flipping pages?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


This is an unedited snippet from one of my current WIPs.   (It's nothing like my CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN've been warned.)

Bernard hadn’t counted on the damn dog.
He’d thought of everything else, planned everything down to the last detail, and mentally rehearsed every single step.
            Grabbing the girl should have been easy. After all it wasn’t like a six-year-old would put up much of a fight. He’d studied her schedule and decided that the easiest place to take her wasn’t from the school playground or bus stop, but from her own backyard. Every day at four o’clock the kid was sent out to play by herself outside while the housekeeper planted her ample ass in front of the television. He’d snatch her at the top of the hour and it would be almost sixty minutes before anyone even realized she was missing.
            By then he’d be long gone. For the past week he’d parked a white panel van, with bogus magnetic house painting signs plastered all over it, on the block that backed up to the girl’s backyard. The neighbors probably hadn’t even noticed it, but in the event there was some nosy neighborhood watcher around he was prepared. He’d just rip off the painting signs, change the license plates (which he’d snatched off a car in the long term parking at the airport) and put up new signs saying he was delivering medical supplies.
            Crouching behind the shed in the backyard, his 40-year-old knees aching in protest, he waited for Cecilia to come out to play.
            She was a cute kid, dirty blonde hair, big brown eyes, and a smile that could melt ice cream on a winter day. She reminded him of Betty Jo at that age. That’s why he’d chosen her. It was why she was first. Hopefully she’d be the last. The more he took, the greater the risk would become.
            He’d tried to explain that to Mary, but she hadn’t listened. Then again, she never had paid much attention to his concerns…or the law’s. She wanted what she wanted when she wanted it and there was no stopping her. He fingered the scar slicing through his right eyebrow that he’d received courtesy of Mary. It was a decades-old reminder of what could happen if he refused her.
            Hearing the telltale creak of the screen door swinging open, he tensed. This was it. He fervently hoped she was the one. Despite his genetics, he really wasn’t cut out for a life of crime.
            Celia sang  to herself, some happy song with nonsense lyrics, as she moved closer to him. She headed for her swing. She always did.
            Closing his eyes, he imagined what would happen next. She’d climb on the swing and he’d grab her from behind. He pulled the cloth he’d presoaked with chloroform out of his pocket. He’d slap it over her mouth, smothering any frightened cry she might make, and knocking her unconscious. Then he’d lay her in the paint splattered tarp laid out on the ground behind the shed, wrap her up, and carry her to the van.
            She started in on another verse of her song and he smiled. Everything was going according to plan.
            He stepped out from behind the building, taking care not to make any noise. She never noticed him. Just like in his plan, he yanked her off the swing and covered her mouth. She struggled for a moment, kicking and making pathetic mewling sounds, but she quickly passed out.
            This was too easy.
            And then the damn dog came at him.
            He’d never even seen the dog outside. The tiny bundle of white fur broke through the screen door, streaking toward him intent on ripping him limb from limb, or at least taking a nip at his ankles. Yipping, yapping and making way more noise than something its size should have been able, the damn dog charged at him, tripping him up.
            Losing his balance, Bernard dropped the girl as he fell. By the time he’d scrambled back onto his feet, the housekeeper had spotted him. Shrieking in her native tongue, brandishing a kitchen carving knife, she charged at him like an oversized warrior princess..
            Bernard took one last longing look at Celia, a sleeping angel on the grass, oblivious of the hell being raised around her. He glared at the damn dog snapping and snarling, eight pounds of fluff and teeth, standing between him and the treasure he’d come to steal. Lastly he looked at the housekeeper. She was moving faster than someone with that much jiggling flesh should have been able. Spewing foreign curses, she was almost upon him.
            Bernard had no choice but to leave Celia behind. Crashing through the brush at the rear of the property, he headed for the van.
            Mary was going to kill him for returning empty-handed.
            Maybe literally.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Letting Go

Wednesday of this week, I'll be hopping on a plane or two and moving my only child to Michigan.  Fly and be free, little bird.

It's the right thing to do.  She needs to find employment and start her adult life.  She can't do that in this little pissant town in the middle of nowhere.  She can't do that living under the wing of her oppressive mother.  (Yeah, that's me.)  She needs to find friends and try new things and fail a little without the 'rents hovering around to catch her.

Of course, I'm not just pushing her out of the nest without a parachute.  That's why she's going to Michigan.  My family is mostly all still there.  She'll have aunts and uncles and cousins and my mother within close range. 

But it's still really freakin' scary - for me as much as for her.  For the first eleven years of her life, I was a single mom.  For all intents and purposes, it was her and me.  And even though I've been married since then, and my husband has picked up the dad part of the slack, I still have the 'her and me' mentality.

This is the year of 'Embrace Change', though, so we will weather through this.  She will soar.  I will watch from way over here, with my fingers crossed and my heart in my throat.  And I'll hope that whatever bobbles and turbulence come her way, she'll be able to still stay aloft.

So I will let go.

Have you ever had to let go?  How's that working out for you?  Tell me your story so I don't feel so freaked out.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Picture of the week

I was shocked this week to discover that the life of a pickle isn't all sunshine and moonbeams. This one looks decidedly unhappy. Or maybe he's just offended by something the mayonnaise said.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Best or Worst Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

We're talking our best (or worst) Valentine's Day memories.

CLARICE: Once again, I'll start by saying, don't laugh. My favorite Valentine's Day really is more silly than romantic - a few years ago my daughter was performing in a school activity that happened to fall on Valentine's Day. In order not to miss her performance, my husband and I had to be at a school in another town around 5:00 PM and we had no idea how long we'd be, but we knew we didn't want to have Valentine's dinner in a high school cafeteria, so we decided on the nearest place - Arby's. There aren't many Arby's in our area, so it was sort of a treat, and we had such a good time that the following year my husband joked that he wanted to take me to our special spot for dinner again. Arby's. We've been having Valentine's Day dinner at Arby's for  several years now, and we bring the whole family. It's silly, but it's fun. Okay, you can laugh.

B.E.: I don't really have any 'best Valentine's Day' stories.  For years, I've been the Scrooge for this particular holiday.  Valentine's Day?  Bah.  Humbug.  I think my venom for the day started back in college.  You see, I was dating this man.  I was so head-over-heels in love with him that against all better judgement, I chased him (even though he was my boss at the time).  And I caught him.  Or I thought I did.  We dated from sometime in August until February 14th.  He took me to a lovely Italian restaurant.  We ate awesome food.  And then he took me back to his place.  "Where do you see this going?" he said.  I don't remember what I said back.  I stammered something, I think.  Then he told me he didn't see it going anywhere.  And he needed it to be going somewhere, I guess.  Especially since I learned later that his old girlfriend came back to town about a week before he dumped me.  They got married the following summer.

But the happy ending is that I eventually found my true love and every day is Valentine's Day for me now.  (The good kind - not the horrible kind.)

JB:  I feel pressure to put up a good Valentine's Day memory. So even though I'm writing this before Valentine's Day, I'm going to put up this year's "memory" even though it hasn't happened yet. (I'll confirm or deny how well it went (or didn't) in the comments.)

We don't usually make V'Day plans, but  I caught Long Suffering off-guard this year when I actually said I wanted something. No lingerie. No flowers. No chocolate.

What I really, really wanted, was to see Straight No Chaser perform.  (You know your man loves you when he doesn't hesitate to agree to go to an acappella concert, lol.)

Tell us Killer Friends: What V'Day memories make your heart pitter-patter?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Know You SAY You Want It....but I don't believe you

I'm coming up on a birthday. Not a milestone birthday, just A birthday. Birthdays tend to make me introspective. A dear friend and I literally wish one another "Happy Pensive Day."

So, in the spirit of introspection and the post I wrote last week about Thinking Less and Doing More, I've been thinking about what I want.

Meanwhile I've been talking to people about what THEY want. And after many conversations, I've come to what I'm sure will be an unpopular conclusion: While they SAY they want things, I'm not sure they do.

Now before you think I'm judging others harshly, let me explain how this theory applies to me.

I SAY I want to lose weight/run faster/be a nicer person, but the truth is, I'm not willing to do the work to actually do that. Sure I'll lose a few pounds/improve my running time a bit/make an effort to reach out to others-- but I won't REALLY commit to any of those things heart-and-soul and my results will reflect that.

We all know someone who, against all odds, has committed to one of those things (or something else equally impressive). We marvel at their dedication and wish we had their passion. We covet their results.

Just like we all know someone who wants to lose weight, take up running, get out of an unhealthy relationship, write/sell/publish a book, or do something else equally impressive, but NEVER makes more than a half-hearted effort to do it. They binge on Girl Scout cookies (is there a better food to binge on?), make excuses not to exercise, complain about a relationship, fail to write/send out query letters/listen to and learn from criticism.

If we're honest, most of us (all?) fall into the second category (I do!) where we CLAIM we want something. We might even BELIEVE we want it, but it's not what we really and truly want....because if we really, REALLY wanted it, we'd do everything in our power to make it happen.

So I'm going to make a radical suggestion: Focus your energy on what you really, truly, down-deep-in-your-soul WANT. Not what society wants, or your family, or your friends, but what YOU want. Not what common knowledge says can be done, but what your wildest dreams can imagine.

The other "wants" are just time and energy sucks -- black holes of aspirations you'll never achieve.

In a couple of weeks, when it's closer to my actual birthday, I'll tell you what my WANT is and what I'm doing to make that happen. (I will tell you that I've already started pursuing it and that those privy to my plans have reacted with a myriad of reactions...everything from "wow" to "aren't you afraid...?" to "I don't think..".)

Tell me Killer Friends: What do YOU really, really, really want? What "wants" are you willing to put aside to help bring your dreams closer to reality?

*Please forgive me a moment of braggage (good made-up word or not?) but I am SO FREAKING HAPPY that FURTHER CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN is numbers is STILL in the Top 30 of Kobo's Humorous Fiction List!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - Devil's Due

In DEVIL's DUE, by Jennifer Colgan, Ceara Landon makes a deal with soul broker Alex Quinn to save her younger brother, a promising musician, from a life of misery ruled by his addictions. In this scene, Ceara has already agreed to trade her soul for her brother’s, and after a romantically charged evening with the sexy night club owner, she prepares to seal the deal and discovers the initial price for her brother’s freedom might not be so difficult to pay.


Ceara stood at the window again, overlooking the harbor. Behind her, in the living room of the luxurious penthouse, Alex Quinn stoked a fire in the glass-fronted hearth and set a plate of aromatic chocolate truffles on the gleaming teakwood coffee table.

The evening so far had been sublime, a date any woman would have envied. Dinner had been delicious, and while they ate by candlelight in a dining room fit for royalty, Quinn had told her stories about the Kimono Club and Keb’s many adventures as his business manager. A few times she’d even laughed, telling herself her problems were solved now. Kevin would be safe, happy, able to live his life to its fullest without his dependency on Russell Hackett’s pharmaceutical brand of stress relief. If the band suffered a bit, if some of their gigs dried up, well, they’d find more. Talent and hard work would get them places deals with the Devil could not. She believed that wholeheartedly.

Alex met her at the window and offered her a chocolate. She accepted more because she wasn’t sure exactly what her role here was now. Did she have to obey his every command? She shivered at the thought, but the feeling wasn’t entirely unpleasant.

She tasted the confection and licked her lips. Smooth as silk and flavored with orange and amaretto, the candy made her mouth water for more. He held her gaze while she swirled the sweet remnants on her tongue and swallowed. “It’s very good.”

“Hmm? Let me taste.” He leaned in slowly, clearly giving her enough time back away, but something held her still, entranced by him, his size, his scent. His lips brushed hers and something in the middle of her tightened, like a rope being pulled taut. Her muscles flexed, and her back arched just slightly. Her lips parted and she let him in to taste.

He explored tentatively at first. His tongue was warm, smooth and flavored with a hint of brandy. He smelled like expensive musk and almonds and her head spun when he deepened the kiss.

Was this what losing her soul felt like? Was he controlling her reactions? For some reason she didn’t mind when his fingers slipped under the hem of her blouse and traced the waistband of her slacks. Her skin tingled, and despite her wariness of this man and her fear of everything he stood for, her nipples hardened and she let out a faint moan.

“Mmmm. It is good,” he said, pulling back just far enough to break contact. His words hummed against her lips, and she involuntarily pressed her hips against his.

He held her gaze for a moment, a question in his eyes, but the expression fled too quickly for her to form the words to ask about it. She tilted her head back as he gently pushed the blazer from her shoulders. The fire had ratcheted the temperature up just enough to make the jacket uncomfortable, so shedding it was a relief. Without the layer of wool between them, she felt naked. Her silk blouse might as well have been gossamer.

Ceara closed her eyes and waited only an instant for Alex to touch her again. He pressed his lips to her throat, pulling her collar aside to give him access to the hollow beneath her collarbone. He’d said she would burn tonight and he was right. His lips branded her, and the heat of his tongue when he flicked it over her bare skin caused every muscle in her body to tense.

A second later he’d opened the top button of her blouse. Her breath hissed out, and she put her hands on his chest. The heat of him seeped through the fabric of his shirt, and she swore his cologne took on a smoky essence. Maybe it was just the fire crackling insistently at her back or maybe it was her own self-control going up in smoke. It didn’t matter. If this was the gateway to hell, Ceara was more than ready to plunge ahead. She’d made the deal, Kevin was safe and all her problems would be nothing but ash by morning.

She was ready to burn.

Alex didn’t question Ceara’s sudden lack of will. The fight had seemed to leave her the moment she’d downed her last swallow of brandy back in the kitchen. He understood her relief and her fear, and he felt both in the tremors of her body as he scooped her into his arms and carried her to his bedroom.

He might have experienced a moment of guilt or remorse as he placed her on the down comforter that covered his bed. He might have taken a moment to explain exactly what parts of her he now owned and what parts he didn’t as he knelt over her and began to open her blouse, one small, fragile button at a time.

He could have let her know none of this was necessary before he slipped the straps of her white satin bra from her shoulders or as he slid her slim navy slacks from her legs. He could have. But he didn’t.

She didn’t protest. She didn’t whimper. She kept her eyes on his and her luscious lips slightly parted. Her breath left her in quick puffs as he freed her breasts and ran his eager hands over her flesh. She posed no argument when he lifted her hips and removed her panties, and she made no sound except an appreciative sigh when he stripped off his own shirt and lay next to her.

“You’re more beautiful than I imagined,” he sighed into her ear as he ran one finger up and down the center of her body. She trembled and bit her lower lip so sweetly when he stroked her thighs, urging them open.

“So are you…” She moaned when he touched her intimately, arching to give him better access. He smiled darkly, fully aware that he could ask anything of her right now and she would comply.

He nuzzled her neck, nipped her ear and then rose to shed the rest of his clothes. “I have condoms,” he said softly. “But they’re not really necessary. My own deal with Lucifer assures that I contract no diseases and create no offspring. You’re perfectly safe.”

She gazed at him as he moved back to the bed and lifted her arms, accepting him into her embrace. “I guess all the rules have changed for me now, haven’t they?”

Alex settled himself above her, taking his weight on one hand so he could brush a fingertip over the bridge of her nose, across her cheek and her lips. He kissed her once, deeply, before his first claiming thrust and whispered, “In more ways than you can imagine, Ceara.”

Read more about Ceara Landon and Alex Quinn in Devil’s Due by Jennifer Colgan

Monday, February 11, 2013

My First Crush

Since it's Valentine's Week and everything, I thought I'd share a little bit about my first crush...

One day as I was out walking the country road where I lived, I stopped to pet the horses over the fence of the nearby stables - as I was wont to do.  A totally tall, dark and handsome man saw me and invited me onto the property where I could really pet the horses.  That was my first encounter with Itzik and probably the day I fell in love with him.

I was, of course, 13.  And of course, he was 27.  He never knew about my crush and he never returned my affections on any level beyond 'little sister'. 

Itzik was here from Israel on a student Visa, working at the Arabian breeding facility to pay his way through college.  I think he was pre-med.  :swoon:  He taught me how to ride in exchange for cleaning stalls.  Hip deep in muck, and I was in heaven.  Not only did I get to spend hours in the company of horses (yeah, I was a horse crazy kid), I got to spend what felt like forever in Itzik's company.

And he'd talk to me like I was a real person.  Not some stupid gawky kid (which I was).

He was long and lean, with the most gorgeous brown eyes and what I always imagined was the softest hair.  And he was superb at everything he did.  :double swoon:  He was like a hero out of one of the romance novels I was inhaling at that time.  I totally imagined that once I got old enough, we'd ride off into the sunset together.


That was almost 30 years ago.  He's off who knows where doing who knows what.  And I'm here, writing.  And remembering.  And making him a love interest in one of my books*.  (Hey, just because I couldn't have him doesn't mean my heroine gets jipped, too.)

How about you?  Who was your first crush?  Was it as silly and unrequitable as mine?

* For those of you who follow me elsewhere, Itzik was the basis for Zeke in Djinnocide.  :smirk:  Hope he looked like you thought he did.

Oops, I almost forgot.  The winner of last week's pimpage contest is Marsha Sigman! Congratulations!  Please contact me via email: besanderson at gmail dot com with your choice of ebook or regular and where to send your book. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lazy me

I totally forgot about my post today. But I have a bunch of excuses. First, I've been sick - that cold that's been going around knocked me out for a couple of days. Then last night, instead of doing my post, I had to go food shopping ,just in case this nor'easter hits like they're predicting and we're snowed in for like - a day - [it's 7:00 AM right now and not a flake to be seen, btw], and the cat ate my homework...oh, wait, that's my son's excuse...back to had to watch Vampire Diaries, and then I got tired...

Well, you get the picture. And in case you don't, I asked Ranger to demonstrate. I promise I'll be back next week with an actual post. For now, I'm going to take a cat nap.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Favorite Romantic Couple?

Just a week until Valentine's Day and love is in the air. Today we're talking about our favorite romantic couples.

CLARICE: I think I was born a 'shipper' - in fact I was a shipper before there was a word for it, I think. I vaguely recall watching 'The New Zoo Review' [I bet nobody else remembers that show!] and thinking the human guy and girl on it would make a really nice couple. [All the other characters were dancing zoo animals]. I've had hundreds of favorite couples since then, but right now I think my favorite duo is Nick and Jess [Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel] from The New Girl. These two don't even know they're a couple yet, but as far as I'm concerned the show is only about them.

JB: The New Zoo Review "where the animals talk and sing"! (Who could forget a hippo, a frog and an owl??.....hmmmm I wonder if that's where the inspiration for Godzilla and Doomsday come from....)

I'm going to pick a classic couple as my fave -- Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT...((swoon)).

B.E.:  The first couple that came to mind when I thought about this week's topic was David and Maddie from Moonlighting.  I was only 15 when they first hit the television, but the back and forth between those two was sooo romantic.  And now that I'm concentrating, I have to throw the romantic duo in Remington Steele in for consideration.  OMG, I wanted to be Laura Holt (and who wouldn't when Remington was played by Pierce Brosnan?)

And, of course, who can forget the tragic pairing of Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre?  Now there's a romance to last the centuries.  :swoon:  

Tell us Killer Friends: Who are YOUR favorite couples?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Rules to Live By --Talk less, do more

1) Don't get caught
2) Dead is dead
3) Don't get emotionally involved

Those are some of the rules Maggie Lee's murder-mentor Patrick Mulligan has given in my CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN series.

I was thinking about those rules and those that I try to live by when I read the blog post Parisa put on Kate Perry's blog. (They're pretty good/funny....go ahead and check them out.)

Here's the rule I'm trying to live by:

Talk less, do more.

Talk less about writing and just freaking write already.

Talk less about running and (to steal from Nike) Just Do It.

Talk less about getting my shit together, and take the necessary steps to get it done.

I hear people talk a lot about the books they're going to write (or "are" writing even though they've made little progress in the last month/year/decade) but I don't see a finished project.

When a writer I follow goes fairly silent on the internet, I figure one of three things is going on:

1) They've got a family/personal emergency
2) They're failing sooooo badly at their writing goals that they're embarrassed to emerge from their caves.
3) They're getting a hell of a lot done. Actual work. Not talking. Doing.

Just to be clear, when I say "talking" it's not only in the sense of a face-to-face conversation or even communicating via a blog or email or social media. It's also the scripts running our heads.

Sometimes the "talking" that's going on in my head...about why I "can't" do something or why something's going to be difficult drowns out all my other good intentions.

Talk less, do more. 

Tell me Killer Friends: What do you think of my "Talk less, do more" rule? What rules do YOU live by?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pimpage for a Friend: Kerry Schafer

Hi all!  I know you might have been expecting a typical Teaser Tuesday, but for the second week in a row, the gals and I decided to mix it up a little and try something different.  The idea is to use the day when we would have otherwise posted a teaser from our own work to pimp for some other writer's work.

Today, I'd like to do a little promotion for a friend of mine - Kerry Shafer - whose debut novel Between hit the shelves last week.  I haven't read it yet*, but it sounds amazing.

From the Amazon listing:

Vivian Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours.

All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes—forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real.

And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once—a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control…

I first 'met' Kerry via the Word Whores, but you can find Kerry all over the web now at Twitter, Facebook, her blog,  and when you google her, you find numerous articles about her awesomeness.  She's a pretty incredible person.  Not to mention a pretty incredible writer.  And if you don't believe me, she so graciously allowed me to post a taste of Between today:

Her sneakers made sucking noises on the linoleum, all the way down the hall to bay five—squeak, squeak. She definitely needed to rethink her footwear. Outside the drawn curtain she paused, a cold finger of apprehension running the length of her spine. Dizziness rocked her as reality collided with dream. She stood still, listening to the rapid thudding of her own heart, until she was able to pull herself together, knock, and enter.

Arden Douglas, sixteen, location of parents unknown, resident of the small town of Krebston. Also a nameless player in one of Vivian’s dreams. This much she remembered, along with a general sense of cold dread. But the details floated around the edge of her brain, elusive as mist when she tried to capture them.

He lay unmoving on the exam table, shirtless and barefoot, his faded jeans torn and grass-stained at both knees. Chest, right arm, and face were reddened, as if from a long day at the beach, and beginning to blister. A blood pressure cuff on his left arm automatically tightened and released, one hundred over sixty. A little low, nothing to worry about. Pulse at one hundred. O2 sats good at ninety-eight percent.

But something was off; there was a subtle wrongness in the air that set her skin to crawling.

“What happened?” She gloved and masked, then squeaked over to examine the damage. First-degree burn; a couple of areas maybe second. It was going to hurt like hell but should heal up okay. No scars for the kid to worry about.

He spoke through a jaw clenched around pain. “I already told the nurse. She thinks I’m fucking crazy.”

“So tell me again.”

Tell me you got too close to a fire—a campfire, a grease fire, a blowtorch. Got dunked in a cauldron of boiling water. Something explainable. Not— 
She shivered, but kept her tone light. “A dragon? In Krebston? Now there’s one I haven’t heard. Open your mouth. Say ah.”

His brown eyes were opaque, almost black, the pupils dilated with pain and fear.

“Ahhhh. Like I said. Nobody believes me.” Airway clear, no signs of inflammation or swelling. 

“Okay. So you saw a dragon—”

“I’m telling you, it was a dragon. Breathing fire.” He sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the gurney. “You know, fuck this shit. I’m leaving. You all think I’m crazy—”

Vivian put a gloved hand on his shoulder, gently pressed him back. “Look, I’m sorry. It’s not a tale you hear every
day. Lie down, and tell me. Please.”

So, if you've got a little money laying in your book budget for a new and exciting author, give Kerry a try.  I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

And just because I'm feeling generous, one lucky commenter will win a copy of Between - either ebook or hardcopy, winner's choice.  Comment between now and Sunday the 10th - one chance per person.  Winners to be announced in my regularly scheduled Monday post on the 11th.  (Unless I forget and then someone out there has to poke me with a stick.)  Available in the U.S. and Canada only (because I'm not that generous).

*I started Between last night and inhaled the first few chapters.