Friday, May 30, 2014

Fab Photo Friday - Sweetpeas

Last year when we did our retaining wall and flower beds, we had four blocks leftover.  We decided to use them as a barricade so no delivery personnel accidentally drove over our wellhead - which is inconveniently located just off the beginning of the driveway.  Hubs came up with the idea to plant stuff in the block holes.  Last year I stuffed pansies inside.  This year, it's sweetpeas.

Looks pretty awesome, if you ask me. (And you can't even see the manhole cover over our well stuff.)  =o)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

National Barbecue Month

May is National Barbecue Month. What's your favorite Barbecue food?

B.E.:  The Hubs has been really giving our new grill a workout this past month.  Steaks and brats and burgers and pork chops and kabobs and chicken.  It's mostly been a meat extravaganza.  Non-grilled, I love me some BBQ ribs - in the slow cooker.  Then I can have ribs without slaving over the heat all day. 

JB: Marshmallows. Roasted. Multiple times.  Roast the marshmallow. Pull off (and eat!) the toasted skin. Roast it again. Pull off the skin. Eat. Repeat until ready to puke.  ;-)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Second Half of the Year

Last Thursday was National Recommitment Day (I recommitted to swimming 3 times per week…but lightening every night has put a damper on that, lol) which got me to thinking about revisiting my goals for the year.

I'm fairly satisfied with how the first half of the year has gone.  Thanks to this:

and this:

and this:

Sure there's stuff I could have (maybe should have) done differently, but all-in-all, considering what I've been contending with personally, I'm okay with how the first six months of the year went.

I spent a couple of hours figuring out my work schedule for the next few months. (Yes, I'm so nuts that I spend hours planning work.) My plan is pretty ambitious, but I'm excited about it…..of course that practically guarantees something unseen will blow in and mess everything up, lol.

I've also signed up to train for a half marathon in November.  This is going to be a first for me because all of the long runs will take place with a training group.

Tell me Killer Friends: How was the first half of 2014 for you? What do you have planned for the second half of 2014?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


The manuscript is at the formatter (the last step before it's loaded on various retailers) but in the meantime, here's another sneak peek!

The ride, as we followed the ambulance with its flashing lights and blaring siren, was uncomfortable.
Detective Brian and Marshal Mike sat in the front seat of their government-issued sedan while I perched in the middle seat in the rear, sandwiched between Aunt Susan and Aunt Loretta who were living up to their witches nickname.
Susan had started the moment wed piled into the car.  This is all Archies fault.
You dont know that, Id automatically countered. I knew it could be my fault because of my illegal dealings, or Templetons since he frequented poker games with mobsters and was a regular at the local pawn shop.
Dont you dare defend that man, Susan railed. Its bad enough when your mother does it, but you dont get to do it too.
Leave the child alone, Loretta admonished. Shes right. We dont know its Archies fault.
We dont know? We dont know?
Both men in the front of the vehicle flinched as Susans voice hit a note that set my teeth on edge.
What we know is that every time he comes back into our lives, every single time, something terrible happens.
Not every time, Loretta corrected, twisting the mascara-blackened tissue shed used to blot away her tears.
Name one. Name one time.
In a misguided attempt to keep the peace, or maybe he was trying to protect his eardrums, the marshal entered the fray. Ladies, we dont know—”
We know. We know! Susan screeched.
I shrunk down in my seat, wishing I were anywhere else besides there.
Sit up, Margaret. Susan grabbed my shoulder and tugged upward as though that would fix my posture.
Why are they going this way? Loretta fretted. They should have taken Dogwood to Elm.
Im sure the ambulance can find its way to the hospital just fine, I soothed, deciding it was more appealing to deal with her hysterics than the ravings of Susan.
She patted my hand gratefully. Of course youre right, dear.
Susan couldnt help but butt in with, Just like Im right about Archie.
Will you please just shut up? I requested in a roaring whisper.
Margaret! You werent raised to be so disrespectful.
I said please, I reminded her.
Girls—” Loretta dabbed ineffectually at fresh tears.
Susan and I rounded on each other and said in unison, Now look what youve done.
We stared at each other accusingly; each convinced we were in the right. Who knows how long our duel would have lasted if the sound of laughter hadnt drifted to us from the front seat.
Incredulously, I turned to discover the source. Detective Bashfuls shoulders were shaking uncontrollably as he leaned over the steering wheel.
Young man, Susan warned indignantly.
Imagining how it all must have looked and sounded from his perspective, I found myself chuckling to.
Dont you encourage—” Susan huffed.

Unable to hold back any longer, the shy detective guffawed. She said please.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day

As you enjoy the end of your three-day weekend and the cookouts and the fireworks and the beaches and the time with family...

Remember the men and women who fought to make sure you had the freedom to enjoy stuff.  K?  No, seriously.  Remember them and then go enjoy your life.  It's what they fought for - so we could be free enough to have fun and enjoy our lives.

For my part, I'm remembering Dad.  He never saw combat, but he provided support for the boys who did.  Thanks, Dad.

One of his last wishes was that he might finally get to go fishing with his own Dad - who passed on when my father was only 10.  Hope you're catching the big ones today, Dad.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Yeah, this is how I think -- Fab Photo Friday

So last weekend I went to a Hummingbird Festival…wait for the punchline….

1 - There were no hummingbirds

2 - This was the best thing I saw at the festival.  (Thanks to T for capturing the special memory.)

And thanks to the museum employee who has a sense of humor. This gave me a chuckle.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Recommitment Month -- Are you game?

Did you know it's National Recommitment Month?


Don't worry. We didn't either, but now that we do let's all figure out what we're ready to recommit to.

JB: I'm going to recommit to my goal of learning to swim better. I've been slacking on this one. I'll commit to swimming two to three days per week for all of June and then revisit the goal then.

B.E.:  Well, that's a happy coincidence.  I already re-committed to writing this book for the month of May, so I'm golden. Maybe I should recommit to actually trying to get published for the rest of the month.  I'll let y'all know how that goes.

Tell us Killer Friends: What are YOU willing to recommit to?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Are Creative People Different?

What I'm rolling over in my head this week: I heard variations of "Creative people think differently than normal people" from more than one person recently.

Do you think that's true?

A quick Google search of "do creative people think differently?" resulted in the article 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently over at HuffPost. 

Here's the (paraphrased) quick list of things (but I think it's worth reading the whole article):

Observing everything
Work hours that work for them
Time for solitude
Turn life's obstacles around
Seek out new experiences
Fail up
Ask big questions
People watch
Take risks
View life as an opportunity for self-expression
Follow true passions
Get out of their own heads
Lose track of time
Surround themselves with beauty
Constantly shake things up
Make time for mindfulness

Do you consider yourself to be creative? Whether or not you do, do you indulge in these habits?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Nature of Destruction

Here's a bit from a villain's scene in my second novel - written in 2005 and edited through to about 2008.  It's also probably not going to be published any time soon.

“You’ve done well,” Fisher praised, feeling as if he should have added the words ‘my son’ to his comment.  It would have been a fitting preamble to the act Fisher knew had to come next.  He laid a gentle hand on the boy’s shoulder.  “Did anyone see you leave?” he asked.
“No, sir,” the boy lied.  His mind flashed to the sentries and wondered what they would say about his brief absence.
“That’s wonderful because I am certain no one will see your return,” Fisher stated with a smile the boy took for confidence in his abilities.
The youngest engineer on the control station project was smiling in return when Fisher slipped a knife under his chin.  The boy never felt the sting of the sharp blade, but he suddenly felt a heat spreading down his neck and chest, soaking into his shirt and his parka.  His last thought was how good it was to finally feel warm.

Fisher drove with the boy slumped over in the passenger seat.  He hadn’t intended to kill the boy like that—not in the truck, at least.  Still, having the body in the car made his job easier—to transport it away from the spot they’d arranged for their meeting, and therefore harder to trace the incident back to him.  If his body was found, the authorities would, of course, put Tony’s death together with the death of this boy and trace it back to him—but he could care less what the authorities pieced together.  What he couldn’t afford was for any of his other followers to find out what he had done and, because of the death of one minor pawn, for them to lose faith in him at this point in the game.  They were acolytes and wouldn’t understand; in the battle for the protection of the great mother, a few foot soldiers had to be sacrificed along the way.
If the boy were lucky, someone would find his body and bury it before the wolves found him.  If Fisher were lucky, they wouldn’t find it before the spring thaw.  “Although,” Fisher thought as he pushed the boy’s remains into a gully beside the road, “the wolves finding him would be a glorious end.  He’d finally get the chance to become one with nature.” 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Weird Research

I was going through my research links yesterday and it occurred to me that writers research some really weird things.  (And yes, I expect the NSA has me on some watchlist somewhere due to my extensive research of the Washington, D.C. area and various tunneling machines.  Bwa ha ha.)

So, in the interest of showing you just how weird things can get here in writer land, I thought I'd share some of these links with you. 

Behind the Name: the Etymology and History of First Names (not so weird, but hey, we're just getting started.)

The Centers for Disease Control

Dictionary of English Slang - and by English, they mean British English, not American English

Encyclopedia Mythica - "... the award-winning internet encyclopedia of mythology, folklore, and religion. Here you will find everything from A-gskw to Zveda Vechanyaya, with plenty in between..."

Gemstones - the gemstone identification page at Bernardine Fine Art Jewelry

Gulfstream - The commercial website for 'The World's Most Advanced Business Jet Aircraft"

The International Cocoa Organization

Mythical Creatures Guide - a list of mythical creatures with links to what they're all about.

Necrosearch International -"...a volunteer multidisciplinary team dedicated to assisting law enforcement in the location of clandestine graves and the recovery of evidence (including human remains) from those graves."

Nigeria - Language, Culture, Customs, and Etiquette - at a site called Kwintessential

Sonic Weaponry - the Wikipedia entry for "... weapons of various types that use sound to injure, incapacitate, or kill an opponent."

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The Roermond Witch Trial - another wikipedia entry for one of the bloodiest witch trials in the world - where 64 people were burned to death.

It's been so long since I needed the tunneling information, I no longer have that link.  Sorry. 

What weird things have you researched?  Any good links to pass along?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fabulous Photo Friday - Fat Pregnant Deer

Ah, Springtime in the Ozarks, when the deer are running around fat-pregnant (which is to say they look just about ready to burst.)  On the one hand, I feel really bad for them.  They look so uncomfortable.  On the other, I'm so excited because soon we'll have fawns!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

National Chocolate Chip Day

We Killer Chicks do our best to keep you informed about important things. Chocolate chips are important, aren't they?

What's your favorite kind of chip? What's your favorite food that features chocolate chips? Care to share a recipe or two?

B.E.: Lately I've been on a Hersey's Special Dark chip kick.  Slap those bad boys into some of my coconut chocolate chip cookies and they're heaven.  They also work well in seven layer bars.  Mmmm... and now I must go bake something gooey.

JB: I'm not a huge chocolate person, but I do love a fresh-out-of-the-oven, warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookie…with a glass of cold milk.  ;-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This, That and the Other Thing

I’m struggling, really, REALLY struggling with the edits for THE HITWOMAN AND THE 7 COPS, so I’m going to keep this brief because quite frankly I’m burning out brain cells at an alarming rate.

This: (I was just talking to B.E. about this earlier this week

I’m going to come right out and admit something that’s practically taboo to say in today’s world:

I am not a good multi-tasker. Are you?

This article calls multi-tasking, "task switching" and that's what I do.

I don’t feel like I’m getting a lot done when I multi-task. I feel like I’m not getting anything done. Or at least done well.

Right now I’m juggling five projects. I keep thinking I’m going to drop one and here a resounding SPLAT.  ((sigh))

I miss being able to focus. I hate feeling like all I do is rush around putting out one fire or another.

 I'm seriously considering cutting back, but I have to figure out how, and in the meantime I've got to do V, W, X, Y & Z.


I found this article about Law Enforcement adding texting to their crisis negotiation arsenal interesting. 

I don’t own a smartphone so if they were trying to negotiate with me this way,  we’d be in for a LONG standoff.

The other thing:

Just a quick note to say that if you’re around Friday between 6-8 pm (EST) I’ll be chatting away at The Book Club.
I’d love it if you joined me.

Tell me Killer Friends: Are you focused or frenzied? Do you multi-task/task-switch or do you do one thing at a time? (I'm open to any and all suggestions.)  What distractions are you facing this week? (I got new glasses and the headache that's accompanied them is a distraction, lol)