Friday, February 28, 2014

Fabulous Photo Friday -- Before and After OJ

Got to make OJ with my niece last week. She said it was one of the best parts of her vacation. Ahhh, to be 7 again, lol.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What did YOU read this month?

Reading check!  Time to sound off about what you read this month.

B.E.:
Since I finished my rewrite and it was so damn cold, I read like a bad devil this month.  Here's the list (copied from my 'books read page').  You can see I'm kinda mixing it up right now.  A little this, a little that keeps the ol' gray matter flowing for me. In fact, I've just started a Western.

23. Ringworld by Larry Niven (2/24/14) - SF
22. Lazy B: Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest by Sandra Day O'Connor and H. Alan Day (2/16/14) - Memoir
21. Up From the Grave by Jeanine Frost (2/15/14) - Urban Fantasy
20. The Hitwoman Hunts a Ghost by JB Lynn (2/13/14) - Mystery*
19. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (2/13/14) - Literature*
18. The Way You Look Tonight by Bella Andre (2/11/14) - Romance*
17. A Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follett (2/9/14) - Historical Fiction
16. Dirty Little Secrets by Liliana Hart (2/7/14) - Romantic suspense*
15. How to Drive a Dragon Crazy by G.A. Aiken (2/6/14) - Fantasy
14. Fatal Affair by Marie Force (2/3/14) - Romantic Suspense*
13. What Dead Women Want by Linda Schmalz (2/1/14) - Paranormal Romance*
(The asterisk denotes ebooks.)

JB:  

If you asked me what I read the most of this month, it would have to be the topic of Florida horticulture. I'm trying to save my orange tree (which I assume suffered years of neglect). I'm trying to figure out how to save my lawn (totally stymied on that one since the front hose is connected to the water softener so I can't use it to water the lawn because of the salt). And I'm trying to save two outdoor crotons.

In terms of books, here's what I read/re-read:

Shadow Creek by Joy Fielding

The Intercept by Dick Wolf

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (a 20 yr old re-read…so basically I remember nothing, lol)

Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb

Coach Yourself to Success by Talane Miedaner (this one I re-read once or twice a year)

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (another re-read, but so worth it)


Tell us Killer Friends: What did you read?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Shark Tank for Writers?

I MAY be slightly obsessed with Shark Tank.  If you don’t know, Shark Tank gives various inventors and small business owners the opportunity to pitch their idea/product/business to five gazillionaires (okay, one billionaire and 4 millionaires…but add ‘em together and I’m SURE you end up in the gazillions) in the hopes that one or more of them will invest in their company.

The gazillionaire Sharks are a varied group. Most weeks they tend to have a mix of the following people (although sometimes they throw someone new into the mix for an episode or two)

n  a venture capitalist (a money guy)
n  a chick from QVC who has a boatload of patents (an invention/product pusher)
n  a merchandising/branding guy (the marketer)
n  a guy who’s made a mint selling computer/technology companies (he’s the serial entrepreneur with the American Dream story)
n  a real estate mogul (providing a service and building an empire)
n  the billionaire who invests in a lot of companies (diversification)

I’m not an inventor and, quite frankly, I don’t have the slightest interest in the majority of products/services that are pitched. So why the obsession?

Because where else can I get the perspective of a money guy, an inventor/saleswoman, a branding expert, a technology guy, a service provider at the top of their field, and a billionaire all offering their varying opinions about the same product?

I don’t have the opportunity to sit down with a business manager, a book seller, a marketing guru, a tech guy, a top selling provider and a guy who seems to do it all.

So what have I learned from Shark Tank that I can apply to my writing career?


1)    It must be a marketable product. (Just like with writing, it doesn’t count if the only people who like what you’ve got are your mom and your best friend)
2)    You need to be prepared and you have to sell it like a pro. (Chances are that if I wince during a pitch, the Sharks aren’t going to invest. The same goes for books.)
3)    You need to have a plan to grow and to know the next step. (Unless of course you’re the former CIA guy who instead of running a camp in Utah is going to run workshops around the country…yes, sometimes, like in publishing, I end up thinking “WTF?”)
4)    You’ve got to know your money details. (Know them, but don’t inflate them.) Know ‘em cold.
5)    If you’re being given advice from worthwhile people, SHUT UP AND LISTEN! You don’t have to ultimately agree with or implement it, but the worst, dumbest, most idiotic thing you can do, is to ignore or argue it.

****This is an important one…If you don’t believe me, further support of this tip can be found in every freaking episode of Kitchen Nightmares.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Wish In One Hand

Sorry I'm late, folks.  It's been one of those days.  You know the ones. 

Anyway... here's a snippet from Wish in One Hand...  Wherein Jo has just gotten back to Colorado from an adventure of rescuing a rather uncooperative genie...



Seeing all the goodies in that mansion made me miss my father’s wealth, but not nearly as much as seeing the Colorado storage garage I landed in. Nothing like an unwelcome glimpse into my current reality. I might’ve chosen this landing point, but four stark metal walls plus my vehicle didn’t equal mahogany floors and Persian rugs.
A wolf spider scuttled across the concrete. Plus, I never had to worry about creepy-crawlies back home, I thought. And one of these days I’m going to have to decorate the place. Or at least deodorize. The mouse rotting in the corner almost proved more than my djinned-up olfactory nerves could tolerate.
They hadn’t quite recovered from the stench minutes later when I pulled up to a low-slung commercial building. Estes Park wasn’t much more than a quaint tourist town at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, but it suited our needs. Quiet for the most part, most of the year, Estes stood far enough away from Denver to separate us from the mortals and yet close enough to do business with the rest of the world.
The sign outside my little slice of corrugated steel heaven says Mayweather Antiquities. The way I look at it, we’re not really lying. Few things are more antique than your average genie. Besides, when I started this racket, I needed some kind of legitimate enterprise to show the mortals. If they had any inkling what my business really did, we’d be screwed blue and tattooed. I didn’t want anyone coming after us with torches and pitchforks or picketing outside begging for a few freebie wishes. Needless to say, neither of those options appeals to me.
I shudder to think about the other possibility—being captured and studied.
Of course, the fact we actually do sell antiques helps us hide. After living a few centuries, genies accumulate a lot of crap. When they want to unload, we’re their huge garage sale—filled with antiques from ancient people. I can’t imagine how else we’d fund everything we do. Djinn should have a place to acclimate to freedom. They also need vocational training, if they choose to become human again. It’s not like we can wish up the tuition. The Feds would be all over us, thinking we were counterfeiters. And wishing up gold disrupts the world market. Rather than deal with the hassle we sell old things.
Everyone’s got to make a living somehow—even those of us with phenomenal power.
I shook myself out of my musings and remembered our annual auction was rapidly approaching. Then came the thought that I really wasn’t in the mood to stand in a room full of dealers haggling over china cabinets and the Blue Willow to fill them. Still, between the influx of moolah and all the people who count on attending, I couldn’t avoid it.
Maybe I could talk Basil into handling this without me.
With that shoved into the recesses of my mind, I took my bag of Bedouin into the building. All I wanted was a hot shower and a cold drink. Deep in the bowels of the building, my home and a fifth of Tanqueray called my name. I cursed the fact that the pulsing personage I picked up in the Empire State needed to be attended to first.
 “Mayweather Antiques. How may I direct your call?” said a professional tone as I pushed through the doors. The strawberry blonde behind the reception desk looked up. “I’ll see if Miss Mayweather is available. Please hold.”
I shook my head. Whoever it was could either wait or they could talk to Basil.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Reading and Writing Pet Peeves

I was scanning down my Facebook newsfeed the other day and ran across a statement by a writer that she had thrown the book she was reading across the room.  Why?  The author had written a sentence using 'fisted'.  As in 'she fisted her hands at her sides'.  Which I take to mean that the character made fists. 

Personally, I can't stand 'fisted' but for a totally different reason.  (And one I won't go into on this blog.  Suffice it to say, the word has a TOTALLY different other meaning in a non-'family friendly' way, and that other meaning grosses me out - so you can see why reading along, in an other wise 'safe for the eyes' book, that word throws me.)

For my own part, my biggest pet peeve when I'm reading is the word TILL when it's used as a shortened version of UNTIL.  In my opinion, the correct way to write that is 'TIL - because, ya know, it's a shortened version of another word.  Yeah, I know.  Till has become a socially accepted way of writing that, but it still burns my butt.  TILL means to turn over the earth for planting.  It can also mean a place where you keep money.  Like "Gus took the twenty and placed in the till."  It doesn't mean UNTIL.  Sheesh.

Some editor someday is going to change my 'TIL to TILL... I just know it.  And then the sparks will fly because I can't help myself.  I have a tough enough time tolerating TILL in other people's books.  I don't think I could stand it in one of my own.  =o(

That's what pet peeves are all about - little things that burn our buns until we throw a book against the wall or start a fight over accepted spellings. 

Now, it's your turn.  What reading or writing thing drives you to distraction? 


Friday, February 21, 2014

Fabulous Photo Friday

I pulled this one out of my 'Art Shots' folder.  I called it Forlorn.  I took it August of 2012.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Love Your Pet Day

We may be Killer Chicks, but we're also pet lovers. Tell us about a pet you love.


B.E.: 

The above is our former dog - a Rott-n-Lab named Sheba.  She was awesome and we loved her.  Our current pets - that we love very much, but who aren't nearly as well-trained as Sheba was - are...

Kira:


And Max:

JB: I love my Teddy (even though I've been known to refer to him as Little Cujo).



Because I'm a pet lover who loves pet lovers I'm running a contest where you can win a gift card from Petco for yourself AND a donation to your favorite pet charity. Check it out!


Your turn Killer Friends...  Who's the pet that you love?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This and That


This is going to be one of those This and That posts since I've got a ton going on and family is visiting.

This:

I'm so glad that readers are enjoying THE HITWOMAN HUNTS A GHOST.   I'm already working on the sequel.

That:

Ummmm….if you're among those who'd like to see the Neurotic Hitwoman as a tv series, this MIGHT be a good week to send that particular thought out into the universe. (Sorry, can't say anything besides that.)


This:

I've been sick. My poor dog has been sick. I'm sick of sickness.

That: 

NEARLY DEPARTED is currently not for sale because I parted with my publisher in January and she was kind enough to return the rights.

This:

I've almost finished a stand-alone romantic suspense novel. It's one of those projects that's taken me years to finish, but I'm really happy about it. (today….tomorrow I could be back to thinking it's total dreck, lol)

That:

Just a couple more weeks until Sleuthfest. I'm looking forward to it!

Tell me Killer Friends: What This and That is going on with you?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Start of Something New That's a Take on the Old

Hi All!  As I promised yesterday, here's a snippet from my latest WIP (work in progress) for Teaser Tuesday.  This is the third book in a series I haven't even gotten an agent for or sold yet, but I love the world so much, I had to write another book. Sorry that it's totally first drafty quality.  I already see some things that need changing, but at this point, I don't edit.  The purpose of a first draft, at least for me, is to get the words on the page.  I can fix everything once it's done.

Otherwise Untitled Djinn 3 (wherein our heroine Jo Mayweather finds herself up wish creek* without a paddle):

...Life as a genie is long, but hey, unless you really work at it, it’s not boring.
Sometimes I wish I put forth the effort.
Especially when the ceiling collapsed on my head.
I didn’t do it.  I was minding my own business—which is to say I was rescuing a djinn from his latest, wish-sucking Master.  Who knew how he got into the hands of the self-professed booby-trap king, but I don’t ask these things.  Questions like that make my head hurt.  I just go where I’m needed.
So, I slid on my latex gloves and snatched that bad boy’s receptacle off the pretty stand where it lounged.  Who knew the place was going to go all Raiders of the Lost Ark on me?
Lucky for me, I can’t really die—at least not that way.  So far the only way I’ve discovered for a genie to die is for some asshole Master to make the ungrantable wish.  And after going a good many decades without a Master, I’m not about to let myself get caught in that trap again.  Whoever wants the dubious distinction of owning Josephine Ephigenia Mayweather will have to crawl over my dead body—and like I said, that ain’t happening.
Still, having a ceiling crumble on anyone’s head hurts like hell.  I think at least a dozen of my immortal bones snapped like twigs.  Several vital organs popped like ketchup packets.  I’m pretty sure I lost an eye.  I know I was out for at least a few minutes because when I came to, I found my bruised ass in a cage… 



*Hey, there could be the title!  Up Wish Creek!

Monday, February 17, 2014

At a Loss

I am so wrapped up in my own busyness that I am totally at a loss as to what to talk about today.  I started to do a post about reading - and realized I did a post about reading two weeks ago.  I could do a post about writing, but I'm not really at a place where I have anything to contribute to what's already been said on the subject.

I thought about talking about the Olympics, but frankly, after the initial excitement, my interest is flagging.  I mean, we're not doing nearly as well as I'd hoped we would.  I still watch, but I'm no longer glued to the TV.  In fact, most times when it's on, I'm reading with the TV on in the background.

Basically, I'm at the point where I'm just here yammering at you.  Tomorrow, I'll post a bit of the new book I started over the weekend.  It's Book 3 of a series I haven't sold, but I can't help myself.  I need to write in this world again.  I missed the characters.  I want to know what happens next (because I don't plan very far ahead, so it's as much a mystery to me as anyone else what will happen.)  

I could've talked about some current events, but meh, I don't want to get into the news.  Too depressing.

What do you want to talk about?  What's going on in your life?  Anything exciting or interesting happening that you want the world to know about?  Dish away in the comments!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pinkifying

Happy Valentine's Day!

I don't have anything red to feature, so I thought I'd show off more of my "pinkifying". 

I'm halfway through the makeover of two chairs. 

Before:



After:


I love pink!

Tell us Killer Friends: What or who do you love this Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sick of Winter? Let's Talk Spring

I don't know about all y'all, but the Killer Chicks are ready for Spring.  So...

What's your favorite flower to see in the Springtime?

B.E.:  Personally, I can't wait until everything I planted here last year comes up - just so I can see what my new landscaping will look like.  The first up should be the crocuses, and then the tulips and daffodils!  Nothing says 'Spring's here' like seeing their pretty blossoms.  =o)


JB: I know it's weird and I know it's a weed, but I always find dandelions to be particularly cheery.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Get By…With A LOT of help from my friends…and YOU

In case you missed it yesterday, THE HITWOMAN HUNTS A GHOST was released into the wild yesterday.  

It's already available on Amazon and the other retailers should have it soon.

According to the first Amazon review:

"Another great book in the Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman series. I could not put it down. I just love this series and following Maggie's escapades as she struggles with the various situations she finds herself in. Fun, funny, with plenty of snark and a bit of mystery. The characters have continued to develop throughout the series and I am already looking forward to what might happen in the next book. While this is a series, each book is a stand alone book."

Not too shabby, eh?

Big thanks goes out to my amazing editor Parisa Zolfaghari for her patience and guidance, Amy at THE EYES FOR EDITING, and Kim and company at HOT DAMN DESIGNS





Also, while I ALWAYS appreciate the support of my friends,  I'd have been completely lost while writing this particular book (because of personal issues) without the support of these amazing ladies: B.E., Cyndi, Jen, Jenny, Joann, Kathia, Misty, Tammy and a host of others I'm not naming.

Lastly, I'd like to thank YOU the readers and reviewers who kept asking for the next book. You didn't know it, but you were helping me through a very dark period in my life. Thank you for loving Maggie, God, DeeDee, Piss and the rest of the crew as much as I do.

Since most of my readers seem to be animal lovers, I'm running a contest where you can win something for your pet and something for the animal rescue organization of your choice.
Check it out. 
Share the news.

Thank you ALL!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Snippet and a Contest!!

Since I'm celebrating the start of my Animal Lovers contest I thought it would be appropriate to share a snippet from the upcoming THE HITWOMAN HUNTS A GHOST.  


“Dinner,” DeeDee panted hopefully.
“Shut up,” I muttered. “Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.”
Patrick spun around. “But you asked.”
“Not you. Her.” I waved dismissively at the Doberman who was giving me her best pitiful puppy look. “She wants dinner.”
“Awww, are you starving?” Patrick leaned over to pet the dog.
She sneezed.
“Is she sick?” The redhead was always concerned with the well-being of my canine companion.
“She has a cold.”
“Poor girl.” He rubbed the spot between her ears.
She grinned her approval.
“Don’t give her sympathy. If she hadn’t taken off after a bunny and knocked me off my feet and yanked the leash from my hand and worried me sick by running away, she would have already had her dinner.”
Patrick looked from me to the dog before leaning down to whisper, “I’d be careful, DeeDee. She’s seems to be nursing a grudge against you.”
The dog flattened her ears and hung her head. “Maggie sorry.”
“Maggie’s sorry for a lot of things. Including bringing you home, you flea-ridden, grammatically-challenged nincompoop,” God intoned from his hiding spot.
“Be nice,” I said sharply.
“She’s trying,” Patrick protested. “Look at her. She knows she messed up.”
“Make me,” God taunted.
“Is that your lizard making that noise?” Patrick asked, trying to identify where the sharp, chirping notes were coming from (because to me, God sounds like a snotty, superior Englishman, whereas to every other human it sounds like he’s squealing).
“Well bless your heart,” Piss purred icily, moving toward a dark corner in full-stalking mode. “If you aren’t nicer to that poor dog, I’ll make you be nice.”
I was pretty sure I heard an audible gulp from God, then nothing else.
“Maybe Piss is going to eat the lizard,” Patrick asked, watching the feline’s intense progress.
“She’d better not.” While Patrick thought the response was meant for him, I was really warning the cat to back off.
She twitched her tail, looked back at me with a self-satisfied smirk, and changed the direction she was traveling in.

Monday, February 10, 2014

What Did You Want to Be When You Grew Up?

Last week, I took one of those fun quizzes you see on Facebook.  (Okay, I've taken a lot of those, but that's neither here nor there.  Maybe I'll talk about that next week.)  This one had to do with what profession I was best suited for. 

I did not get writer.  The quiz said I should've been a professor.  Makes sense in a way.  I do like to tell people stuff.  I did homeschool my kid.  I don't have a problem talking in front of people.  (At least, I didn't.  It's been a lot of years, though, so I haven't tested that in a while.)

But I am a writer.  I came to this writing thing late, though.  Sure, I dabbled here and there for much of my life, but I never really thought of it as a profession until I was 33, and even then I didn't get serious until I finished my first draft of my first book.

Nope.  I wanted to be a lot of things when I grew up, but writer wasn't one of them.  I wanted to be an oceanographer at one point.  In fact, I did a 'future career' paper on it in 7th grade Careers class.  That paper pretty much cured me of that. 

In 8th grade, I wanted to be a truck driver.  No kidding.  Really.  But I was enamored with the lifestyle as seen through the eyes of BJ & the Bear. 

By 9th grade, I was certain I would be a veterinarian.  I even joined the Explorers and went to their Veterinarian post meetings.  But I suck at science and while the thought of helping hurt animals appealed to me (still does), I couldn't actually bear to see an animal in pain.  Plus, the idea of having to put an animal down made me cry.

Long around 11th grade, I made up my mind that I would become a psychologist.  (Not a psychiatrist - because I'd have to go to medical school and... well, again with the science thing.)  I aced my Psych class.  I even majored in it... for a year and a half.  Then the idea of actually working with the insane kind of soured me on it.  Neuroses I can handle.  Full blown psychoses?  Not on your life.

So, my sophomore year I got practical.  I switched my major to Speech and Communications.  (Hence the lack of a problem with Public Speaking.)  I had spent some time down in Chicago and after reading the want ads, I saw that a lot of the Personnel jobs - my new chosen field - asked for either Business or Speech/Comm degrees.  I would've done it, too, if I'd ever completed my damn degree. 

But life derailed.  I spent a lot of years in different occupations.  I really did enjoy the sales job, except for the dealing with morons.  I also enjoyed being a secretary, except for the dead-end nature of that occupation. 

So, now I'm a writer and I have been for 10 years now.  It's my chosen field and I really don't want to do anything else.  (I'd just like to eventually make some money at it, ya know?  LOL)

What about you?  What did you dream of being when you grew up?  Are you there or did life get in the way?  If you could do it all over again, would you follow your childhood dreams or would you follow the occupation of your adulthood?  Or would you be something totally different?