Friday, August 30, 2013

Fabulous Photo Friday - Mittens

Hi All!  I thought today I'd introduce you to a new friend we made...


Yep, that's a bobcat hanging out by our trash can.  Good thing she left before the truck got there.

I imagine that would've been one hell of a surprise for the trash guy.

She's such a sweet, fuzzy-wuzzy, boo-boo baby.  Not.  But I named her Mittens anyway.  At least now we know what's making the deer stomp and snort deep in the wooded acre. 

We've seen her once since these pics were taken.  It was a rainy day about a week later and the Hubs caught her laying under one of the trees.  By the time I got my camera, she'd moved, so I walked around the house trying to see if I could find where she went.  I couldn't see her, so I stepped out on the porch (after verifying she wasn't ON the porch).  I still didn't see her, so I walked to the edge overlooking the garden.  I didn't see her... until I looked down.  She was right almost beneath me.  I looked down and she looked up, and we scared the crap out of each other.  She took off around the side of the house... and like a bozo, I forgot I had a camera in my hands.  Better luck next time, I guess.

Now to catch a pic of the cougar rumored to be around these parts...  Heeere Socks!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

National Marshmallow Toasting Day

Tomorrow is National Marshmallow Toasting Day. Is there a sweeter, gooier way to celebrate the end of summer?

JB: I LOVE toasting marshmallows. What's not to like about caramelized sugar? I like to roast the outside skin, pull it off (carefully, it's hot!) and roast the center again.

When I was a kid, part of the adventure of roasting marshmallows was finding the perfect stick for the that wasn't too long or short for the job.  Not a big fan of s'mores....why dilute the marshmallow???

B.E.:  OMG, I haven't toasted marshmallows in forever.  Sure, we'd do the whole stick thing and roast them outside when Dad would decide to grill (which was rare, if memory serves).  But my middle sister got the idea that we could toast marshmallows any time we wanted if we used candles.  Quick Tip: Do NOT use scented candles.  We learned that one the hard way.  They made the marshmallows taste gross.  But if you pick up some of those tiny unscented candles, you can toast to your heart's content without the trial of building a fire.   Grab a fork, some Jet-Puffed, and off you go.  And with this method, you can use mini-marshmallows if that's all you have in the house.  =o)

:wanders off to see if there are marshmallows in the house:

Tell us Killer Friends: Do you toast marshmallows? Do you have favorite memories of toasting marshmallows? Do you dip just once into the fire or multiple times? How do you feel about s'mores?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


So I've got this character who's trying to hijack my story.

He was supposed to be a one-off background player in one scene toward the beginning of the book. Then he showed up again. And then a third time.

He's clever and charismatic and is doing his level-best to have me flesh him out. 

But there isn't time for that. 

We're in the last quarter of the book. It's time to build to the climax, wrap things up with the resolution.

But this guy is distracting me. He's trying to get me to spin him his own story. 

But I won't. I'll be strong. I'll resist him.

(but I may give him his own book down the road, lol)

Tell me Killer Friends: 

If you're a writer: Do your characters try to hijack your stories?

As a reader: Do you sometimes wish that supporting characters WOULD take over the books they're in? Have you ever suggested it to an author?  (I've told Kate Perry to her face that I prefer her secondary characters in her Laurel Heights series to the main characters.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - My Own Junk for a Change

Mornin' All.

This week, instead of Random Fandom or a little pimpage, I decided to throw a snippet of my own junk out there for your amusement. 

Here's a bit of my last unfinished manuscript - Sleeping Ugly.  Jeni, the model, went to bed with a one-night-stand and woke up the next morning alone and ugly.  In this scene, after a few days of hiding and wallowing in self-pity, she finds a very pissed other participant in her naughty night at her door...

“I know you’re in there,” he said just before jiggling the door handle.
I didn’t recognize the voice but that didn’t mean anything.  Any number of guys had paraded through my life recently—I couldn’t be expected to remember what someone I’d spent a night with would sound like days or weeks later.  Lucky for me, whoever he was wouldn’t recognize me either.
Of course, the person banging on my door could’ve been one of the whackjobs you hear about on the news.  A home invader who’d somehow accessed my building.  The place has pretty good security, but every building’s armor has its chinks.  Someone slips in behind a resident.  Or he could’ve buzzed a different apartment and the resident there didn’t bother to verify who they were letting inside.  Mrs. Guterson on the fifth floor had a terrible reputation of doing that.  I’d need to talk to her about that—again.  If I survived this encounter, maybe I’d pound on her door when she wasn’t expecting it and see how she liked it.
Exercising too-little caution and too-much irritation, I crept to the door and placed my eye against the hole.
“Son of a…”
Seeing who stood there meant I couldn’t get the chain off the door fast enough.
“You!” I said as the last man I’d seen before the curse hit me pushed past.
“Where is she?”  His bellow echoed across the concrete and glass space I called home.  “Jeni!  Come out here right now, you witch!”
Trying to compose myself, I played stupid.  If he didn’t know who I was maybe he’d let something slip.  Maybe he even knew what happened to me.  It sure as hell didn’t look like he’d suffered any ill effects from our one-nighter.  Last I saw of him, he waited until his breath was back to normal and then rolled out of my bed.  I feigned sleep to make it easier for both of us, but I watched as he dragged his pants up, gathered the rest of his clothes and left the room.  I can only assume he finished dressing in the living room because I never saw him again.  Since I didn’t hear the door clothes, chances were better than even I fell asleep before he left.
“Jeni’s not home,” I said.  “And you’re trespassing.”
“I thought she said she lived alone.  You sure weren’t here the other night.  Who the hell are you?”
“I could ask you the same question.”
“Listen, lady,” he said.  I tried to ignore his tone—like I was something to be scraped off his shoe—while trying to remember his name.  It began with a G sound.  Grant?  Guy?  Gus?  Gus.  That was it.  “I’m not talking to anyone but Jeni.”
Good luck with that, I thought even as I said, “She might be back tonight.  Maybe if you came back, you could catch her then.”  If everything about this damn curse or whatever it was worked the way it had before.
Gus turned a little gray.  “I…  I can’t come back tonight.”
“Hot date?” I asked before I could help myself.  If anything my words made Gus turned a little grayer—which was shocking enough.  I mean, I thought the guy was going to have a coronary for a second there.  His next words almost took my own heart along for a ride on the infarction express.
“Do you believe in magic?”  He dropped into my favorite chair and planted his face in his hands.  “But you can’t.  No one does.  It’s crazy.  It’s all so crazy.  And what’s even crazier is here I am talking like a lunatic to some chick I don’t even know about how crazy this all is.”
I patted him lamely, which pissed me off.  I was the injured partner here.  I should be slapping the crap out of him.  Unless…
“Do you feel bad about what you did?  Is that what this is all about?”
“Feel bad?”  His head jerked up until he stared me in the eye.  “About what I did?  What I did?”  Then his left eye narrowed.  “What did that bitch tell you?
“I… I… Nothing.  What are you talking about?”
“Because she picked me up in that bar.  I was waiting for someone and she waltzed up to me, looking like she was picking out a ripe piece of fruit.  Everything we did was totally consensual.”  He grabbed my wrist.  “Is that the excuse she gave for doing what she did to me?”
Since I hadn’t done a damn thing to the guy, I couldn’t figure out what he meant.  And then something occurred to me.  I didn’t do anything to him; he didn’t do anything to me.  But something had happened to me.  I looked him over from top to bottom.  He still didn’t look any different than the night we’d gotten wet and grunty. 
“What is it you think Jeni did to you?”
He shook his head.  “I’ll wait and talk to her about that.  You got anything to drink in this place?”
“Hair of the dog?  I think we both need to stay away from the joy juice for now.”  I took a chair opposite the man.  “Now tell me what you think she did to you.  I swear it won’t leave the room.”
“I don’t care about that.  No one would believe you anyway.”
I thought about my own situation.  “I totally understand.”
“Did she do something to you?  Is that why you’re…?”
He didn’t need to finish the sentence and I appreciated him not doing so. 
“As far as I know, she didn’t do a damn thing to make me this way,” I said.  “Could be she didn’t do anything to you either.”
“It’s not in my head.”
“That’s not what I’m saying.  I just think you have a problem and maybe Jeni isn’t the cause of it.”
“The hell she’s not.  The whole thing started after I slept with her.  She has to be the cause.  If she isn’t…”
Then he was as screwed as I was when I realized he didn’t have anything to do with this damn curse.  Somehow, some way, we’d both pissed off someone either very powerful or very wealthy. 
“What?” he said and I realized I’d mumbled that last part out loud.  I still wasn’t sure I trusted Gus, but it seemed like we were traveling down shitcreek in the same boat.
“I said, it seems we both pissed someone off the other night.”
His eyes narrowed and he stared hard at me.  When he shook his head, my heart sunk.  Even after careful study, he couldn’t see the real me inside this face.  “I don’t know who you think you pissed off, unless you’re talking about Jeni.  What are you, her sister or something?”
I waited for the joke about Jeni getting all the good genes, but he was kinder than that. 
“Something like that,” I said.  “Look.  Tell me what happened to you, and I’ll explain what I mean.  Deal?”  I held out my hand and almost snatched it right back.  I knew my face and body sucked, but my pretty, soft hands were all red and craggy.  I looked like the before image in a psoriasis treatment ad.  He didn’t even flinch.  He took my hand and shook it once.
“This is going to sound totally batshit nuts.”
“Go for it.  I won’t judge.  You wouldn’t believe what I’ve had to deal with lately.”
“Well, as soon as the sun goes down, I…. change.”
My stomach dropped.  “Change how?” I asked, afraid to hear the answer, but needing it just the same.
“It’s like I fall asleep for a minute and when I wake up, I’m… I don’t look like myself anymore.”
He was trying to spare my feelings, bless his stupid heart.  The time for spared feelings was long passed.
“You get ugly.”
“As sin.”
“And you get better looking through the night?”
“I wish.  I look like the ass end of a baboon until sunrise.”  Well, it wasn’t exactly the same curse, but it was close enough.  “I told you it was crazy.  I understand if you don’t believe me.  I can hardly believe it myself.  For all I know, I’m having some kind of psychotic break.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” I blurted.
“Hey.  You said you wouldn’t judge.”
“I wasn’t judging.  I was agreeing.  Because you see, I have something to tell you that sounds crazy, too.”  He stared at me waiting but the words were hard to push past my throat.  What if he really wasn’t over being pissed at Jeni… err, me?  He could seriously hurt me before I could scream loud enough to get help.
His one word, spoken in so patient a tone, made up my mind. 
“I’m Jeni.”
I waited for him to laugh.  I cringed, fearing he’d gag or retch over the thought he’d slept with Quasimodo’s homely little sister.  Instead his brow crinkled and he tilted his head to one side.  He looked straight into my eyes for longer than I was comfortable with.  Recognition blossomed.
“Well, I’ll be damned.  There you are.”  Gus grinned like he’d put the last piece into a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle.  “If I’d been paying attention better, I might’ve guessed.”

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hip Deep

We've been hip deep in a foundation sealing / landscaping project over here at the Sanderson Jungle all week.  Which means I haven't thought about writing in a while. 

Haven't thought about it other than reading a post which talked about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month - in November) and doing the little panic dance in my head because I haven't thought about writing in a while. 

Haven't thought about it other than reading the email from someone who just beta read the first draft of a book I haven't allowed anyone else to see yet.  (Because I never let the first drafts out of their cages.) 

Now I'm thinking about writing.  Thinking about it only because I'm still hip deep in this project - one where starting first thing is necessary because it's so damn hot and by the time I get done, I'm so tired and sore I can't envision sitting here and typing my brains out.  My brain wants to start loosely planning the next book.  It wants to finish editing the current book I'm working on so I can be ready to hit NaNo full stride when November arrives.  And it's doing all this wanting as I'm trying to fall asleep at night.

Yep.  Let's just say I'm drinking a lot of coffee.

Almost Finished
The hip-deep-ness should taper off shortly.  We hit the project so hard this past week, we're nearly finished with what we can do - until and unless I order plants for the new beds and they're delivered in a timely fashion.  Once that's all done, I'd like to be hip deep in writing again.

What have you been hip deep in lately?  If you had your druthers, what would you rather be hip deep in?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fab Photo Friday -- Fresh Faces

I didn't take any interesting photographs this week, so I thought I'd share the pictures of some of the dogs I worked with this week.

Since it was POURING when I walked them, I've borrowed the pictures from the Eleventh Hour Rescue site.

All of these great dogs are available for adoption. So if you know someone who's looking for a new canine family member.....


(Yes, she really IS that cute!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Friendship Week

It's Friendship Week.

Since we're online, lets talk about our online pals. Where did you "meet"? What are your relationships like?

JB:  This is a fun topic for me because this month I've gotten together in "real life" with two friends I met online.

I met Jennifer Colgan online on Romance Divas years ago. Then we made it a point to meet in person at a New Jersey Romance Writers Conference. We've been roomies/pals ever since.  In fact, she her hubby, and her daughter were all over at our place for dinner Saturday night. (Yes, we tortured our loved ones with a LITTLE shop talk, lol.)

Since it was longer ago (not because I'm old and feeble of mind) I'm not quite clear as to my first connection with Kate Perry. I know that I discovered her because she was the former critique partner of a writer I admired. I THINK I started commenting on her blog after reading her first book PROJECT DADDY and our friendship grew from there. Now I consider her to be my publishing Guardian Angel. (or a giant pain in the depends on the day)

There are a lot of other online friends I'd love to meet (especially B.E. Sanderson!) but even if I never see their faces or give them more than a virtual hug, they're important people in my life. Some are fellow writers, some are readers, some are people I've just "clicked" with...but I'm grateful that through the magic of technology, I've had the chance to meet them all.

B.E.: I have yet to physically meet any of my online pals.  I'd love to meet them all, especially JB up there, Silver James, Janet Corcoran, and Natalie Murphy.  I 'met' JB here after following former Killer Chick Jennifer Hillier from her personal blog.  I met Silver through... OMG, I can't remember now (maybe she'll stop by and remind me)... maybe it was Murder She Writes.  I met Janet through Silver's blog, I think.  And I met Natalie through our interactions on Monica McCarty's blog.  I know each time I thought 'hey, that's a neat person, I think I'll drop by their blog' and the rest is history.

My most important friendships - other than those I have with family members (the Hubs, my mom, the Kid, and my sisters) - are with people I've never met.  I can write back and forth with my online pals whenever we need to.  Sometimes it's every day and sometimes not for weeks, but no matter how much time has passed it's like we never stopped talking.  And we always understand how busy each other's lives can get. 

But hey, that's what friendship is like.  I don't need to see these people or talk to them every day to care about them.  =o)

Tell us Killer Friends: Who are you celebrating during Friendship Week? Where did you meet? What do they mean to you?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Neurotic Hitwoman Books as a TV Series

I've been keeping a secret from you Killer Friends.  (and you have NO IDEA how difficult that's been!)

A few months ago a television writer/producer approached my agent about the possibility of turning the CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN into a television series. Wouldn't that be cool???

Exciting stuff, right?

But what does it really mean?

Right now, not much. He's been working feverishly on a pitch (proposal) for the series and will be taking it to various talent and networks to see if we get any nibbles.

Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to play: Who Would YOU Cast in the TV Series?

Tell me who you imagine in the roles of Maggie, God, Patrick, Doomsday, Armani, the aunts, etc.

Also, because I'm the curious type, what tv shows/movies based on books have you enjoyed?

If anything develops on this front, I'll let you know! Keep your fingers crossed?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Personal assistant to a vampire? C.A. Burke provides today's Tuesday Teaser from Queenie Baby on Assignment

Please give a Killer Welcome to C.A. Burke author of the romantic comedy Queenie Baby series!


Meeting your hot new boss in a bar while singing karaoke—bad. Being fixed up with your old high school boyfriend by your meddling sister—annoying. Making out in your sister's minivan with said boyfriend—embarrassing. This week is shaping up to be a doozy for aspiring singer/songwriter Diana Hudson.
'On the wrong side of thirty' according to her mother and still living the bohemian lifestyle of a musician, Diana is having a double martini day. Although a sought after performer on the not-so-happening Annapolis, Maryland bar scene, Diana works as a temp at Greene's Staffing to pay the bills. Her assignment this week: help the cape-wearing Mr. Vann Pyre find love online. Unfortunately for Diana, the only man in her life for months has been Max, her fluffy, white Shitzu-Poodle with a crooked overbite and a bad attitude. But unexpectedly, Diana finds herself up to her chin in men. Her mysterious new boss, Mark Greene, smells so good she'd like to hang him from her rearview mirror, and her chiseled, super-sexy high school sweetheart, Rick Ellis, is back to sweep her off her feet. When Diana's love life goes from nonexistent to off the charts, will she give an old romance a second chance? Or will she take a chance on new love?

So I'm not technically a rock star—yet. “Rock star” might be too strong a term for my musical ambitions. My name is Diana Hudson and I like to think of myself as a working musician. The reality is that sometimes I'm working as a musician and sometimes I'm broke and working as a temp. As in temporary worker. Not exactly the most glamorous job, but it pays the bills between gigs.
My most recent assignment was as a personal assistant to a vampire. Of course, Carol didn't tell me I was being assigned to a vampire when she offered me the three-week position.
"He's a visiting professor from Yugoslavia," she explained. "You’ll be working out of his hotel. A nice one. He’s a little eccentric, but we've worked with him before. And he pays well." 
I was, of course, between gigs and it sounded easy enough. Show up at ten a.m., work until four typing a manuscript—piece of cake, right? 
A little bit about me. I live in Annapolis, Maryland, but I'm originally from a little town in southern Delaware. I had just turned thirty, no man in the picture unless you count my dog, Max, and, according to most of my family, no actual career. I'm freakishly tall, with long straight blond hair and blue eyes. I might be described as having a willowy kind of elegance if I weren't so clumsy. Think one part Grace Kelly and two parts Lucille Ball. 
Anyway, back to the vampire. So I showed up at the hotel fifteen minutes ahead of time, dressed in a professional Banana Republic pantsuit. He answered the door wearing—no lie—a black cape. His hair was flowing salt and pepper with a high widow’s peak. His skin was a chalky white. 
"You must be Miss Hudson," he drawled. "Please come in."

Available at:
AmazonKoboBN, and iTunes

Meet Christina:

Christina wrote her first novel, a time-travel romance, more than twenty years ago. Writing fell by the wayside as family and career obligations took over. She earned advanced degrees in business, taught for colleges, managed staffing agencies, and started several entrepreneurial ventures, until she found her way back to fiction writing through the unlikely avenue of metastatic breast cancer. She believes laughter is the best medicine and hopes her readers find a cure for what ails them following the wacky antics of the characters she creates. Christina, her husband, Jim, and their two children live in Dover, Delaware with the family sidekick, a shitzu-poodle mix named Max.

Connect with her at: