Friday, November 29, 2013

Fab Photo Friday - Post Thanksgiving

I don't know about all y'all but I had a great day yesterday.  The food was amazing thanks to the culinary wizardry of my fabulous husband.  He only really cooks once a year, but it is so worth the wait.  And even though yesterday was all about relaxing and enjoying life, I'm still kind of in a turkey coma. 

I guess this guy is, too...

Or maybe he's just happy he didn't make it onto anyone's table this year.  ;o)

How was your day yesterday?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!



We're grateful that YOU are a part of our lives!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Launching a New Series and the Nerves!

Nearly Departed: A Spring Cleaning Mystery (releasing 12/1, but available for pre-order) will be the third series I've launched. I'd love to say it gets easier, but it doesn't, lol.

The Spring Cleaning Mysteries feature Victoria Spring, a crime scene cleaner who sees ghosts....hey, it's a lot more logical to run into ghosts where they died, as opposed to say, an antique shop...isn't it?

I really thought telling these stories would be easier. After all, unlike Maggie, the heroine of my Neurotic Hitwoman series, Victoria isn't going around killing people...by that virtue alone, audiences shouldn't find her repulsive. (I hope.)

I actually really love Victoria (and I'm gaga for the guy she hires to help her with the clean up jobs, Smoke. He even passes the puke test!).

So what's the problem?

I'm terrified that readers won't love Victoria and Smoke as much as they love Mags and Patrick. TERRIFIED.

So not only have I been worrying about the logistics of this launch, but I've been worrying that I'll alienate readers. It's been awful. Instead of being easier, it's been the hardest launch so far.

Still, fingers crossed that this story will resonate with readers. Otherwise Victoria and Smoke are destined to roll around in my head forever...

(Yes, I AM working on a "sequel" to THE FIRST VICTIM if you're one of THOSE readers. The problem I'm facing is that the original version of that book had the FBI agents, Chase and Sebastian, as the leads, but because of editorial input, they became secondary characters. But I still REALLY want to give them their own book....so I'm working on it....)

Tell me Killer Friends: What are YOU worrying about? NaNoWriMo? Thanksgiving dinner? Holiday shopping? Do share! I did.  ;-)


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

One last Sneak Peek

I'M so excited that NEARLY DEPARTED is almost here for everyone to read! It releases 12/1...still time to pre-order it on Amazon and Kobo!

Here's a quick look at the heroine, Victoria Spring and a phone conversation with her mom:

I took a deep breath before answering. "Hi, Mom."
"You answered your phone!" She sounded surprised.
I slammed the back of my skull into the headrest of my seat. Great, just what I needed, a maternal lecture.
"Vicky?"
"I'm here."
"Oh good. For a second there I thought I'd imagined you answering."
"I'm taking my lunch break." I didn't bother to explain why I didn't answer my phone while I was working. I'd already gone over it a dozen times with her, but she persisted in thinking I was screening her calls. She wasn't all wrong. "Did you need something?"
"I need you to eat the lasagna left over from Jerry's party."
"There are two trays of it. I have to get it out of the house before Dad eats it. It's loaded with full fat cheese. It's not part of his heart healthy diet."
"Why don't you just freeze it?"
"You know your father, he'll sneak in and chip away at it, like a squirrel raiding his supply of winter nuts!" My mother has had a deep and abiding hatred of squirrels ever since she swerved to miss one while driving, crashed her car, and broke her nose. Being compared to what she called "furry-tailed rats" was one of the greatest insults she could deliver.
"You don't want him to have another heart attack do you? And that's what this is: a heart attack in a tray."
"Heart attack on a plate," I corrected automatically. "And that's what they call Fettuccine Alfredo, not lasagna."


Tell me Killer Friends: What are YOUR favorite leftovers?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I don't know if all of you already have your dessert planned for Thanksgiving, but here's a little recipe to help you decide how to finish off that sumptuous meal...  (And if you aren't in the U.S., here's a recipe to help you get through whatever day you're dealing with wherever you are.)



Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:

1 3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 butter or margarine (melted)
1/4 c sugar
dash cinnamon (to taste)
dash ground cloves (to taste)
dash walnut extract (to taste)

Filling:

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
3/4 c packed brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 c whipping cream
1/2 tsp brandy
1 tsp cinnamon
dash ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter standard 9" diameter pie pan.  Mix together cracker crumbs, spices, extract and sugar.  Add in melted butter and stir until well combined.  Press crumb mixture into pan as evenly as you're able - along bottom and up the sides to the edge.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  (Some shrinkage will occur.)  Allow to cool completely before adding filling.

Re-preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat cream cheese with brown sugar until smooth.  Add in eggs, cream, brandy and pumpkin - beat until smooth.  Add in remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake 35-45 minutes or until center is set.  Chill overnight, slice and serve with whipped cream topping.


Enjoy! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Moon -- Fabulous Photo Friday



The picture I snapped earlier this week of the moon doesn't do it justice. It was GORGEOUS.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

FALSE CONFESSIONS

In honor or False Confessions Day (seriously, who comes up with these things??) here are ours:

B.E.: I confess (falsely) to hating to read.  Ugh, who wants to spend hours slogging through words - half of which I bet are made up anyway.  And the stories?  You really expect someone to want to read about dragons?  And unicorns?  Even discounting the obviously silly, why would anyone in their right minds want to read about things that aren't true.  Don't even get me started on romance.  Bleh.  As for nonfiction... isn't that what cable TV is for?


JB:  I confess (falsely) to being a shoe addict. Specifically, I  ADORE high heels. I've named my guinea pigs Choo and Manolo. I've tattooed Gucci and Prada on the soles of my feet. I've had three closets built just to house my footwear. My personal motto is: She who laughs last, has the most pairs of shoes.



Tell us Killer Friends: What are YOUR false confessions? 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tell me how YOUR NaNoWriMo is going and some helpful hints

I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo this year, but I'd like to cheer on everyone who is, so post your progress in the comments.

You're more than halfway through. Keep up the good work!

Here are some tips that may help you keep going:

1: Drink lots of caffeine
2: Eats lots of sugary treats
3: Remember that dust bunnies never turn rabid
4: Interesting fact: people don't REALLY need clean clothes
5: Never forget: You're BRILLIANT!

What tips can you add?

I'm very excited that my publisher is running a Goodreads giveaway for NEARLY DEPARTED.  Make sure you enter.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday's Random Fandom - Larry Correia

What can I say about Larry Correia?  I only discovered his books a couple years ago (if that... I don't really remember how long it's been).  I don't even remember how I found the first book of his that I read: Monster Hunter International.  All I know is I read that book and I was hooked.  This is urban fantasy at its best.

Then he came out with his Grimnoir series, and Hard Magic hooked me even harder.  I mean, for petesakes, he combined urban fantasy with hard-boiled crime noir and set it all in the 1930s.  Oh holy crap.

THEN he went and did a military action novel with Mike Kupari called Dead Six - which I have to admit I thought would have some paranormal in it, but didn't.  Still loved it.

As I said in my Goodreads review of his last Grimnoir novel, I will never write as well as this guy.  But I can try.


;o)

:Disclaimer:  I don't agree with all of Larry's opinions, so if you're familiar with his blog and don't have a fine appreciation for him, leave your comments there at his place, not here on ours. Regardless of his personal opinions, I still think his books are awesome.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cookie Time is Fast Approaching

Now, I'm a staunch opponent of anything Christmas prior to Thanksgiving.  Still, with the holidays coming up on us fast, it's always good to do a little pre-planning for cookie baking time.  So, in honor of that, and not the holiday it's too damn early to celebrate, here are a few recipes to help with your holiday baking...

First off, the easiest cookies ever:

Cake Mix Cookies

1 box cake mix
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 - 1 cup of whatever goodies you like in your cookies (chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, white chips or nuts or raisins, etc.)

Mix the first three ingredients until well combined.  Add in your goodies.  Drop by rounded spoonful onto ungreased sheet.  (They will spread, so space them accordingly.)  Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Next, my daughter's favorite cookies to make:

Coconut Rum Cookies



1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup unsweetened flake coconut
1/2 t rum extract
1 cup flour (sifted)
1 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly grease baking sheets.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light.  Beat in egg.  Add coconut and rum extract.  Mix well.  In a separate bowl, soft together flour, and baking powder.  Gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture, stirring until well combined.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 9-14 minutes or until edges of cookies are golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool briefly on baking sheets before removing to cool completely.

Lastly, for those people who might have extra pumpkin sitting around:


Pumpkin Cookies

½ c butter, softened
½ c brown sugar
½ c white sugar
1 egg
½ t vanilla
½ c pumpkin puree
1 c flour
½ c quick oats
½ t baking soda
¼ t salt
¼ t ground cloves
1 c raisins or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, cream together sugars and butter until smooth.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Stir in pumpkin.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves.  Gradually stir dry mixture into wet mixture until well combined.  Stir in raisins or walnuts.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned around edges.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before transferring to cool completely.

--------

Enjoy!  

What are some of your favorite cookies to bake at this time of year?  Frankly, since my daughter moved away and I'm pretty much baking everything myself, I'm partial to store bought.  ;o)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fab Photo Friday - Arches National Park

Back when I lived in Utah... 2002/2003... we tried to take little day trips to wherever was close enough to drive to.  One Easter, we decided out of the blue to drive down to Arches National Park.  (Cuz, hey, we weren't near family and the ham would keep to another day.)

If you ever get a chance to go there, it's gorgeous.





Best Doggy Bag Ever? Fabulous Photo Friday




This amused the heck out of me when I got one of these in real life.

If you've read my Neurotic Hitwoman books you know why I suspect Patrick keeps a supply of these bags on hand.  ;-)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oops

Obviously we forgot to put together a post for today.  Blame it on National Novel Writing Month.  Perhaps if we'd been paying attention on Forget-me-Not Day (11/10) we would've remembered. Maybe Chaos Never Dies Day (11/9) is still in effect.

Since yesterday was World Kindness Day, perhaps you can see it in your hearts to forgive us.  We'll try to get it together and provide something fun next week.

Until then, have a wonderful day. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

From Failure to Best Seller

Once upon a time, a long time ago (or 2011) I wrote the book that was to become NEARLY DEPARTED

My agent submitted it to my editor (at the time). She passed.

How depressing!

Then my agent subbed it to multiple publishers. It moved up the food chain with some of them, but ultimately they all passed.

How frustrating!

In the meantime, I was working on writing and self-publishing more Neurotic Hitwoman books, so I shelved Nearly Departed.

Then, former Killer Chick and my pal and crit partner, Jennifer Colgan, told me about an interesting opportunity connected to Gemma Halliday.

Thanks, Jen!

Long story short, Gemma was opening a publishing company and she offered to publish NEARLY DEPARTED.

It's been a great experience working with Gemma and her team. NEARLY DEPARTED will be released on December 1st. It's now available for pre-order on Amazon and Kobo.

And last night I noticed this on Amazon:


How cool is that?!?!

So that's my story of how Nearly Departed went from a failure (and yes, it was pretty devastating when no one wanted to publish my "masterpiece") to a best seller.

Huge thanks to all those who believed in it from the beginning, and all of you, who've helped by ordering it now.

Victoria Spring hates her job. The last career a reluctant medium should pursue is crime scene clean up; it would have been nice to know she could talk to ghosts before taking the job. 

As the co-founder of SPRING CLEANING, most of the hard work should be covered by her business partner & brother, Jerry. And it was...until he was shipped off to Afghanistan and declared missing in action over two years ago. Determined not to disappoint her parents, Vicky keeps the business afloat "just until Jerry gets back." But when she agrees to clean up the murder-suicide of three college students, she knows she'll need help. Ex-cop Smoke Barclay is more than a little mysterious, but he has great references, passed the puke test, and has a decent hand shake, so he's hired. Smoke's help should make this job a breeze, but when the ghosts of the three victims show up at the scene claiming all three were murdered by someone still on the loose; Vicky knows nothing about this job is going to be easy. 

Helping the ghosts move on means finding out what really happened to happened to them...even if it means Vicky may be the next victim.