Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Hitwoman and the 7 Cops -- Cover Reveal

The Hitwoman and the 7 Cops

All reluctant hitwoman Maggie Lee really wants, is to have a calm, normal life.

She doesn’t want to go around killing people for money.
She doesn’t want her sister to be terrified of her ex-pimp.
She doesn’t want her Dad to disappear from the Witness Protection program.

But Maggie rarely gets what she wants.

Instead, she finds herself trying to keep everyone out of trouble.

With the help of her ragtag team of supporters: her semi-psychic friend, a handsome, charming con man, her almost-lover cop/hitman mentor, her curious Southern Belle cat, her haughty lizard, and her sweet, but dumb Doberman, Maggie does her best to stay a step ahead of Law Enforcement, while helping those she loves.

But will Maggie end up being the one who needs to be saved?


If you haven't read the rest of the series, now is a great time to catch up!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Teaser Tuesday from Zoe Dawson

Today the Killer Chicks are pleased to share this teaser from author Zoe Dawson's HANDLED:

A companion novella to Groomed for Murder Going to the Dogs, #2. Your reading enjoyment would be enhanced if you've already read Groomed for Murder.

Brooke and Drew are getting married and Brooke is happy juggling all her responsibilities with her wonderful fiancé, Drew and her playful Bulldog, Boxer. She’s in her element running both Pawlish, her doggie grooming spa and Bone Appétit, her dog treat franchise.

But, even though Drew hasn’t been demanding, he’s unhappy. Whenever he brings up slowing down, she reassures him she can handle everything. But the reality is that she isn’t and their relationship is suffering. It isn’t until the honeymoon that things come to a head. Brooke is spending more time putting out fires with her businesses than she is quenching her new husband’s fire.

Will her need to handle everything cause her to lose…the only thing that matters?

Drew’s gaze zeroed in on her, and she noticed he also carried a box. A shoebox. He disappeared down the hall and came back with just the shoebox.
She was still watching his face, but he’d masked that look. Had she really seen unhappiness, or had Harper planted that idea in her head? Ron droned on in her ear, but she was focusing on her gorgeous fiancé, thinking about how horribly she’d neglected him, sick that even for a moment she’d made him unhappy.
He opened the box and she gasped. The sound made Drew smile, and it warmed her heart.
“Brooke? Have you heard a thing I said?”
“Ron, sorry. Could you repeat that last part?”
He slipped one shoe on her foot as she braced herself on his strong, muscular shoulder. When he helped her into the second shoe, he ran his warm hand up the back of her calf. She closed her eyes, her whole body throbbing at his touch. She sighed at how perfectly they fit and how Drew just knew what she wanted. “You always know what I need,” she whispered as he kissed his way up her leg, burying his face in her stomach.
“Brooke, hang up the phone,” he said, his words muffled.
“Brooke. This is a pretty sweet deal. Can we talk about this?”
Drew dropped his head. Then looked up, capturing her with his green-eyed stare. “It’s been too damn long.”
She was just about to tell Ron to call her back as her whole body tightened at the desperate need in Drew’s voice.
“Brooke, get off the goddamned phone.”
Her eyes jerked to Drew’s at his firm and commanding tone. “I’m going to take your clothes off and have my way with you, but I’m going to leave those Mary Janes on your feet.”

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Zoe Dawson writes romantic comedy and new adult contemporary romance, but will soon release urban fantasy, syfy and erotic romance.

When she's not busy with writing or her full-time job, she's painting or killing virtual mmorpg monsters, where getting armor for her characters is better than jewelry. She lives in North Carolina with her two grown children and one small, furry grey cat.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Sweet Spot

When we lived in Colorado, we were positioned on the eastern plains - an area that was pretty much like Kansas in its tornadic activity.  Time and again, we'd watch the radar and see huge storms roll across the plains toward our little town.  And time & again, we'd see the storm veer to the north or the south just before it reached us.  They'd even, on occasion, split in half - with part going one way and part going another until it passed the city and then it would form up again once it passed.

Oh, sure, every rare once in a while over the course of 9 summers, one would pass over town.  I remember one day back in... oh, it had to be 2007... where a massive cloud formation, edged in creepy green, swirled above us until it looked like the bottom of a very slow tornado encircling the entire town.  That one moved on and dropped a twister east of town. 

Some of those suckers even set down a few swirly bits right before they got here, then sucked them back up and mozied away. 

Well, it seems like we were in the sweet spot there.  And it seems like we've hit the sweet spot again with our new digs. 

You may have heard about the storms in Missouri last night.  It's early yet and I haven't really seen much of the news, but I saw enough last night and first thing to know all the crap passed either to the north and west of us, or to the south and east.  As of bedtime, we'd only lost one big limb and it was already dead when it dropped on the little tree beneath it.  (Hubs got it out before it caused any damage.)  Daylight will tell whether the trees sustained any other damage.  All I know for certain right now is that the power didn't even burp here.

So, yes, we're all safe and well.  My thoughts go out to all the others who aren't this morning. 

How are things in your neck of the woods?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fabulous (or foggy) Photo Friday

Many mornings I wonder why Florida is called The Sunshine State when it's so freaking foggy…

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Take a Chance

It's Take A Chance Day.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

What person, goal, or thing are you going to take a chance on?

B.E.:  I've taken a lot of chances in my life - some of which turned out well, like marrying my husband after such a sort acquiantance and buying this house sight unseen.  I also took a chance recently and sent a submission off to a publisher.  Here's hoping that turns out well.  Not sure if I have any new chances coming up today.  Maybe I'll take a chance and send out some more queries today, after all it's been about a month.

JB: I'm not much of a gambler, so you won't find me buying a lottery ticket or anything. I AM going to take a chance with Armani Vasquez from the CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN books. I'm not quite ready to make a certain project public yet, but she figures heavily in it.

Also, while it hasn't panned out (YET!!) I'm glad I took a chance on the possibility of the books becoming a tv series. If nothing else, it's been an interesting experience.

Tell us Killer Friends, what are you taking a chance on?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Those Goals We Can't Quite Give Up On

If you've been following me for a while, you probably know I'm a big believer in setting goals and going after them. You probably also know that I don't always achieve my stated goals (sigh).

Some of us have goals that we fail to meet year after year and yet we're loathe to give up on them.

For some it's Reading More, for others it's Writing More, for others it's Lose Weight, and for others it's Stop Wasting So Much Time on the Internet (not that you're wasting time now).

Back in January of 2013 one of my publicly stated goals was to run multiple times with someone other than my husband or my dog.  (If you're a stalker, you know that I tried this once, failed dismally because I'm so slow and was thoroughly disheartened by the whole thing.)

Now it's April of 2014 and I no longer have the dog, and I no longer have the husband. And yet, because it was one of those things I couldn't give up on, I've finally achieved my goal of running multiple times with others,

And guess what? It's pretty freaking wonderful. Not the running (I'm still not a huge fan of that) but the camaraderie.  I've found a group of people who are more than willing to cheerily slow down and cheer others on. I've FINALLY achieved this goal and it's more awesome than I imagined.

I'm telling you this because I suspect you have at least one of those nagging goals rattling around in the back of your head. I'm telling you this because maybe you've given up on trying to achieve it because you've failed so many times before…and yet you really haven't because otherwise it wouldn't be hanging out back there, poking you with the "what if" stick.

I'm telling you this because I want to drown out the "I can't" voice in your head.

You CAN read more.
You CAN write more.
You CAN lose weight.
You CAN stop wasting so much time on the internet. (but again, you're NOT wasting time now, lol)
You CAN run  a marathon.
You CAN raise a ton of money for charity.
You CAN start a business.
You CAN quit the job you hate.


I'm not saying this just because I finally found a running group. I'm saying it because after having watched two dear friends struggle with their respective books for years, I'm witnessing them preparing to publish them.

I'm saying it because I'm so tired of hearing people (including myself -- myself most of all) saying they can't do things.

Tell me Killer Friends: What CAN you do?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Fear Itself

Time to jump into the wayback machine and post the beginning of my very first novel Fear Itself.  Yes, I picked out quotes for the beginnings of every chapter.

Chapter 1
“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance—it is the illusion of knowledge.”
– Daniel Boorstin
 “We’re on in two.” 
Scanning the copy for tonight’s broadcast, Alex McKenzie couldn’t bring herself to believe what she was reading, not that any of it was new.  The world she once thought was so constant—so stable—was falling apart. 
She reported on the same types of things for the past two months, but she still couldn’t shake the feeling something wasn’t right about it all.  As if the action would erase her unease, she ran a trembling hand through her hair.
Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a flash of movement; a monitor just off the set showed a woman’s profile.  Her long black hair was perfectly coiffed, but hung limp around her pale face.  Her slender fingers quivered over the papers in front of her.  The corner of her mouth twitched as though she held back a tide of tears. 
At the edge of her consciousness, Alex heard the lead-in, but she couldn’t seem to focus her thoughts.  The camera in front of her indicated she was now on-air.  The woman on the monitor straightening to speak.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” said a familiar voice, “and welcome to GBC News.  It’s Friday, May 1st, and I’m Alexandra McKenzie standing in for Craig Jamison.” 
The woman sat rigidly behind the news desk and looked, for that brief moment, as if she would rather be doing anything else than reporting the news.  It took a moment for Alex to realize the woman was herself.  Shaking away the detachment she now realized was visible on her face, she replaced her harried expression with the steely gaze of the hardened reporter she used to be.  She looked directly into the hearts of her audience and began.  “What would normally be a day of celebration for the coming of spring is instead a day of trepidation.  This time of year we should all be thinking of beaches and bikinis, cookouts and ball games,  but instead our thoughts are of Fenrir and its rapid descent toward Earth.” 
Her face twisted as she fought against the pain coursing through her chest.  She had no hope to offer about its course and no new reports of anyone who could divert the catastrophe headed their way.
She looked at the text in front of her.  It couldn’t be true.  If she didn’t read the words, it wouldn’t be true.  But it was her job.  “Tonight, Paris is in flames.” 
The whole world was a gigantic jigsaw puzzle being dismantled bit by bit; one more piece taken out and tossed into the jumbled pile that once made a picture and now only made a mess.  “Over the past few days, a mob has moved across the city leaving death and destruction in its wake.  This morning, we showed footage of their attempt to destroy the Eiffel Tower.  As of late this afternoon, that same mob focused their anger on the Louvre.  Beginning with the glass pyramid that has become as familiar a part of Paris as the gallery itself, a full frontal assault on the historic structures ensued.  We have reports several of the mob’s members were trampled in the crush to escape the pyramid’s falling shards.  At least two have been pronounced dead from their injuries.”  She stopped, swallowing hard while the director looked on, horrified.  Motioning nervously, he tried to get her to resume, but she sat battling against a twisted urge to burst into hysterical laughter. 
After several more seconds and many more gestures from the director, she took a deep breath and forged in again.  “The assault on the museum escalated with an attack on three security guards who were attempting to barricade the doors.  Our thoughts go out to them and their families, but at this time hope for their safety is bleak.”   She paused as a lump in her throat threatened to choke her.  Each word drained a little bit more color from her face and a little bit more light from her eyes. 
Her hands shook as she pushed past the pain.  “Once the mob entered the museum, the carnage was overwhelming.  Attempting to save such famous artifacts as The Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, several noted historians lost their lives.  Men on the scene report nothing of significant artistic value made it out of the blaze.”  Splaying her fingers on the desk, she nodded curtly in response to a signal from behind the camera.  “I just received word GBC’s reporter on the scene is coming through.  For up to the minute news on the fires, we go now to John Clanton.”
As the feed began, the on-air light flickered out and Alex surrendered to her misery, sagging in her chair, her head slumping forward to rest on her arms.  Even as she tried to block it all out, she could hear the GBC reporter speaking and the sounds of the scene behind him.  The cries of the mob were like a thousand hyenas in her ears. 
She felt the urge to run, to get away from the horror she reported day after day, but a single thought held her in place:  “Tomorrow someone… anyone… may come forward...”  She never finished the thought; she didn’t know what was left to hope for.  Like the billions of people around the world, she once held out hope the scientists were wrong, but as time passed and the comet came closer, her hopes withered.  
“I don’t know why hope doesn’t just die,” she thought. 
No matter how bad everything got,  she knew she had to be there to report the news; to relieve the minds of the millions and speak the words: “Fenrir is no longer a danger.”

Yes, there are flaws, but this was first written in 2004 and edited ad nauseum between 2004-2008.  I don't think I have the heart to edit it again - not without some kind of industry interest anyway. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

You Can Take the City Manager Out of the City...

...but you can't take the Manager out of him. 

That's pretty much the refrain here at Sanderson, Inc.  Last year, about this time, my husband retired from being a city manager and we moved to our 'retirement' home.  I put the retirement in quotes because even though he's officially retired, he's still working.  Now instead of managing a city of about 3500, he's managing a city of 2 (four if you include the cats).  Instead of dealing with a large infrastructure where there are 4 wells, an electric distribution network, a drainage/sewage system, park, recreation, library... you get the gist... he's dealing with a small infrastructure in one house.   (I'm in charge of Parks and the Library.  LOL)

Anyway, he left the city behind, but he's still got projects.  Just now instead of 30-some employees, he just has himself (and me, when I can be helpful).  Right now, he's working on the insulation project.  I don't know how many rolls and bats he ordered, but here's pretty much what it looks like in the garage:

(And yes, that is Max up there on top of the pile - or as he likes to think of it, his new extra-comfy cat bed.)

Lest you think he's the only one who can't let his old job go, though, look at me.  I haven't worked for other people in ten years, but I'm still doing my secretarial duties when it comes to backing up the Manager.  I'm also still working the sales angle, and I haven't done that as an occupation for 13 years.  It's kind of engrained. 

I think our occupations kind of become who we are - if they weren't who we were already.  And even if someone told me I had to stop writing books, I'd still be writing something somewhere fifty years from now. 

What about you?  Do you have an occupation you no longer work in that you find yourself doing anyway?  Do you think if you left your current occupation that you'd still be trying to work it?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fab Photo Friday - Easter 21 Years Ago

Which was actually the Kid's first Easter.

Whether you celebrate or not, have a lovely weekend, Killer Friends.


And eat some Cadbury Eggs for me. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

National Humor Month

Since it's National Humor Month, it's time to break out the jokes.  (Just keep 'em clean, folks.)  And tell us about your favorite comedian(s).

B.E.: Personally, I'm a fan of Steven Wright.  "I spilled spot remover on my dog and now he's gone."  "I read the dictionary.  I thought it was a poem about everything."  "On the other hand, there are different fingers."  I also love Robin Williams.  And Gilda Radner.  But my lifelong favorite has to be Bill Cosby.  My parents had a record of his when I was growing up and I still quote it from time to time.  I even found a copy on CD for my very own, so I could share it with the Kid. 

And one of my favorite clean jokes goes like this: What do you get when you cross a German Shepherd and a giraffe?  A watchdog for the second floor.

JB: Sooooo….did you hear the one about the humor writer who really isn't into comedy? The one who dislikes sitcoms and has never seen a full espisode of Friends, Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men or Modern Family?  Yeah, that's me.

Jokes aren't really my thing, but since B.E. is an avid birder, I thought I'd share the one about The Foo Bird, but then she said to keep things clean…and it's not…in multiple ways, so I'll just link to it. ;-)

Like B.E.,  I like Bill Cosby, but I think I'll have to bestow "Favorite" status on Tim Conway.

Tell us Killer Friends: What your favorite joke?  Make us laugh.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Characters and Personality

I've been trying to figure something out about Armani from the CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN series.

The semi-psychic has been in seven stories, but I couldn't get a handle on something about her. (Could I be any more vague?)  

Finally, pretending to be her, I answered a bunch of questions for the Jung Typology test which can be found here.

Armani, it would seem, is an ENFP ( Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving).  You can read the whole description of her personality type here. (But I found this description easier to read.) Here's just a bit of it:

The Inspirer

As an ENFP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system.
ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it.

Sure some people might think this is as accurate as reading tea leaves (or Scrabble tiles) but it did the trick for me. I figured out what I needed to know about Armani based on something on this description.

The method might be a bit unorthodox, but I thought some of you might find it to be an interesting experiment. You could play with it for a character or for yourself. Or maybe for someone you're pissed off at, so that you can better understand them….

Tell me Killer Friends: Have you taken a Personality Test? Do you believe in them? Or do you use/believe in horoscopes, numerology, or psychics??

I've taken a few of these tests and I always get the same answer for myself. I'm an INFJ. Yeah, most of the description is pretty much me in a nutshell. **eye roll**  Go ahead, take it and let me know what YOU are.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Teaser Tuesday…with an extra tease

This scene is from the upcoming: THE HITWOMAN & THE 7 COPS:

Spinning around, I saw DeeDee bounding up the driveway. “Hungry. Hungry Maggie.”
“DeeDee,” I dropped to my knees to envelope her in a big hug, but she didn’t slow down her run.
 I ended up flat on my back with seventy-five pounds of dog panting in my face, “Hungry. Hungry. Hungry.”
Needing to breathe, I shoved her off of me. “Where were you? Where did you go? Bad dog. You scared me to death.”
She cocked her head to the side and whined softly, “Bad?”
Stumbling to my feet, I shook a finger at her. “Yes. Bad dog. We’ve talked about this. You can’t go running off. Bad, bad dog.”
“Sorry?” She lay down and rolled over on her back in supplication, begging my forgiveness.
Putting my hands on my hips, I frowned at her, unswayed by her apology.
“Chill, Chiquita. She was with me.”
Turning slowly, I saw Armani Vasquez limping up the driveway toward us. Her eyes sparkled mischievously.
“What do you mean she was with you?” My tone was deceptively quiet.
“I borrowed her.”
“You borrowed her?” My voice cracked on the last word. “You borrowed her?” I marched toward Armani, all the worry and frustrations of the past couple of hours ready to spew out like a soda bottle that had just been opened after being vigorously shaken.
As though they anticipated I might do the other woman harm, the marshal and the detective stepped between us.
“You can’t take something without asking and then call it borrowing,” I yelled.
Mike held up his hands to hold off my attack. “Miss Lee, maybe you need to take a breath.”
“Maybe you need to call me Maggie.”
“Fine,” he soothed. “Maggie. I understand you’re upset.”
Peering around the two men, Armani stared at me worriedly. “Your aura is all screwed up. Is something wrong?”
“You’re the psychic,” I spat. “Shouldn’t you know that?”
Brian hung his head. “Oh god, a psychic on top of everything else.”
“She’s a terrible psychic. She only gets things half right,” I told him.
“Hey,” Armani protested. “I’m just learning how to interpret my gift.”

So here's the extra tease: This is somehow connected to an upcoming secret project that I'm really excited about!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Reviews - Your Mileage May Vary

Nowadays, it seems like everyone's got an opportunity to review just about any old thing - from the pet steps you bought at Amazon to the guy who installed your toilet to the books you read and the music you listen to.  In fact, I was just reviewing our new sheets and comforter last night - after a little prompting from Walmart itself.

And as I was typing my reviews - both five-stars, btw (I love my new bed clothes) - I was tempted to add at the end - your mileage may vary.  Because, really, it might. 

Take the sheets, for instance.  They're jersey material and I LURVE them.  They're so soft and so light and infinitely warm.  They're perfect for me.  But jersey material is kinda stretchy, so I do notice when I wake up that the sheets got bunchy somewhere in the middle of the night.  (I'm a mover when I sleep.)  A fact which might irritate the whole bejeezus out of other people.

But my opinion is that they are the most awesome and wonderful sheets I've bought for spring/summer/fall.  (Sorry.  Nothing beats a good set of flannel sheets for cold weather.  Again, my opinion.) 

That's the thing about opinions, though, isn't it?  They're one person's view of how they like or don't like a given thing.  My opinion is that brussels sprouts taste like used armpit guards.  My mother loves brussels sprouts.  I would never offer her my opinion - although if she remembers my childhood, she already knows - because she doesn't need to hear exactly how gross I think her beloved veggies are.  On the other hand, I love blueberries and she thinks they're gross.  (Even after all the blueberry pies she slaved over throughout raising her kids. After she told me, I realized I'd never actually seen her eat a piece.)

So, when you leave a review, be kind enough to remember that what you're offering the general public is your opinion.  And when you read a review, remember that the person writing it has offered theirs.  Neither your opinion or mine or the man on the street is infallible - and often what is trash to one person is freakin' awesome to another.

(And yes, sometimes I need to remember this myself.  Even I've left book reviews that weren't necessarily as thoughtful as they should have been.)

Friday, April 11, 2014

I'd like to see a Weeping Angels Peeps Diorama

This time of year I become a bit obsessed with Peeps dioramas. So I went in search of one with Weeping Angels.

I couldn't find one.  :-(

So if YOU come across one, please point it out to me.

Tell me Killer Friends: Do you like Peeps dioramas??

My gratitude to whoever made and shot this one!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tell us what we shouldn't miss!

Recommend a book, tv series, movie, recipe, food, music, candle, household cleaner, or anything else that brightens/enriches your day/life.

JB:  Here's a random list of what I'm enjoying:

Since right now I'm reading GET REAL by Donald Westlake, I'll recommend his entire Dortmunder series.

JUSTIFIED got its mojo back! Now I have to rematch the entire run of the show before next season and the series finale. I could write a whole post about this…in fact, I may.

Lately I can't get enough of the ILLUMINATION CD by Jennifer Thomas.

I'm also slightly obsessed with a Yankee candle, Moonlit Ocean.

Also, if things continue to go well, I may soon add "my running group" to this list.  ;-)

B.E.: Wow.  Tough category for me this week.  I'm embroiled in home repairs, gardening, etc.  To that end, you shouldn't miss Spring Hill Nursery.  They're having some awesome sales right now. 

I'm also really enjoying the show Rehab Addict on HGTV.  Nicole Curtis finds old homes that are about to be demolished and restores them to their original beauty.

Another thing that's making me happy is all the birds beginning to sing around here.  It's like a symphony in the mornings.  When we first moved here, we weren't used to it and it was beautiful, but so LOUD.  Heh.  It's still pretty loud, but it doesn't wake me up at the crack of 'too damn early' anymore.

As for music, I'm really groovin' on Bastille's Pompeii right now.  And American Authors.  And Imagine Dragons.  of course, as soon as I told my Kid I loved Bastille, she sent me this link to their song Poet - because, in her words, it's writery.  ;o)

Tell us Killer Friends: What are you loving?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What makes you nervous?

I was invited by the lovely Maureen A. Miller,  to participate in a release party for DANGEROUS DOZEN (a collection of romantic suspense novels by twelve authors…amazing how that works out, isn't it?).

During my segment we tackled the question: What makes you nervous?

There were some common answers: spiders, heights, crowds.

And some uncommon answers: football??????

Here's a quick list of things that make me nervous:

     Creepy crawlies of any kind

     Heights (a "height" is defined as anything as high, or higher than, the first step of my step stool)

     Running out of coffee (Duh!!!)

     Gunfire (a neurosis I've developed since moving to Florida -- a neighbor a couple of blocks away indulges in regular target practice)

    When my dog barks at absolutely nothing late at night (is my place haunted?)

I realized that Maggie Lee from the CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN series isn't nervous about any of those things (except maybe the coffee thing…and even if she did run out of coffee, you know a certain red head would bring her some).

While I think anole lizards are cute to look at, you'll never catch me picking one up.

Maggie enjoys climbing. (She IS crazy!)

Gunfire doesn't bother her.

She understands what her dog is saying. (Assuming she's got someone around to translate the horrendous grammar.)

Tell me Killer Friends: What makes you nervous? Will you read/write/watch books or movies that contain subject matter that explore your phobias?  (I won't watch spiders!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Sym's Stories

Today I'm honored to bring you a bit of The Jane Project by Sym Murray.  It's a serial story written by my friend, and it's a whole lot of fun.  I hope after reading this, you head on over to her site and become as addicted to the story as I am.

The Jonesville Journal had been so thoroughly crammed into Jane Greene's apartment mailbox that she had spent ten minutes trying to dislodge the thing without tearing it to bits. In hindsight, she should have yanked the thing until it resembled confetti then she wouldn't be standing in her kitchen gaping at the picture of her ex-husband and his secretary under the heading "Marriage Announcements". At least they were decent. The last time she had seen them Ex-husband had been in the middle of a strange form of dictation where Secretary straddled his lap wearing nothing but hot pink Victoria Secret bra and panties.
Jane opened the refrigerator. The can of Rediwhip caught her eye. A couple of shots later she was ready to move onto something more substantial in order to kill the pain. While digging out the leftover pizza from the night before, she calculated the total amount of time she had been single. 452 days, 18 hours, 37 minutes! Funny, it seemed like only yesterday she had stood on the threshold of Ex's office and watched Secretary arch her back and grind her hips further down into Jane's husband's groin.

She tore off a chunk of pizza and washed it down with another shot. The newspaper drew her back like a bad reality show; it was bad, but you couldn't not watch and then have nothing to contribute at the water cooler the next day. Yep, they were still there, smiling pretty and looking like a black and white version of Ken and Barbie. Jane stuffed more pizza in her mouth and read the announcement:

Mary and Todd Richardson are pleased to announce the upcoming marriage of their eldest son, Todd Richardson to Rachel Penhold, daughter of Cynthia and Robert Penhold of Chicago, Illinois, on July 17. Ceremony to take place at the Garrison Inn with reception to follow.
Mary and Todd had been pleased to announce the previous marriage of their eldest son, Todd Junior, to Jane Greene at the same bloody Garrison Inn. Jane shot some Rediwhip onto the pizza crust before popping it into her mouth. She licked her fingers, giving extra attention to her middle one as she positioned herself correctly before the newspaper picture.

Then, reality set in. Her ex-husband had moved on with his life and she had moved into a one-room apartment and gorged herself on crappy food to try to forget. She sank to the floor, luckily, right next to the cracker cupboard. A sleeve of crackers may not dry the sting of tears threatening to spill onto her cheeks, but it would keep the accompanying snot at bay. She couldn’t believe the amount of tears still available for Todd.

The phone rang. Jane's pain deepened. If she was reading the weekly edition of the Journal, then so was her mother. She let the answering machine pick up the call.

"Jane? Jane, I know you're there." There was a pause, but Jane only curled into a fetal position and waited for her mother's words of wisdom.

"Well, I don't know where you are, but if you get the paper, don't read it."

Too late! She swiped at her eyes and fished for another cracker.

"Just throw it out. Don't read it. I'm serious. I'll call you later and explain. I love you, Honey."

The click echoed in the small apartment. If Jane had received that message before she had opened the paper, she would have thought someone from home had died and she hadn't been notified. Her mother's "I'm serious." was not to be taken lightly. And, like the dutiful daughter she was, she would have placed the paper on her the table and phoned her mother to get the dreadful news accompanied by a dose of love and platitudes that everything was going to be fine.

The phone rang again. Jane crammed two crackers in her mouth and waited for the answering machine to click into action. No question as to the caller being her best friend, Kate. Pity call, anyone?

“Jane? It’s me, Kate. Did you get the paper?”

Cracker crumbs fell to the floor as Jane nodded her head.

“Can you believe this? This is so exciting.”

Jane’s stopped chewing.

“Are you going? I’m going to get a new dress. I haven’t had a new dress since before Danny was born. Ooh, maybe I'll come to Chicago first and we can have a spa day”

Kate was a pretty upbeat person, but unless she was attempting reverse psychology, Jane couldn’t believe what she was hearing. There was an actual singsong quality to her friend’s voice. She swallowed the lump of cracker goo and lunged for the phone.

“Ooh, I hope there’s a dance – ”

“You’re kidding right?”

“Jane! Were you in the bathroom?”

“I was on the floor. Crying.”

“What? Why?”

“I got the paper.” She glanced at the offending picture again and shoved the whole thing off the counter.

“I’m confused. Why were you crying? Oh, you think you’re going to need a date. Don’t worry, I’m leaving Mike at home. I’ll be your date.”

“Kate! I hate to disappoint you, you sound like you have your heart set on going, but I don’t think either one of us will get an invite.”

“Why wouldn’t we?”

“Well, I don’t think Mary and Todd want me at their son’s wedding. First time was good, I was the bride, but the second time being the ex-wife might be...”

“Todd’s getting married?” Paper rustled in Jane’s ear.

 “Yes. What are you talking about?”

“The reunion.”


Like I said, this is the beginning.  So far there are 13 installments (give or take) and she tries to put one out every week.  I hope you enjoy!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Gardens

Several of you commented on Friday that you wanted to see my gardens.  They're not in full bloom yet, but the way I have them planted, not everything will be blooming at the same time anyway.  Anyway, here they are...

The above three shots are the front bed - with tulips and daffodils along the house, hyacinths in the middle near the stepping stones, and peonies spaced in the middle, too.  (The peonies are still kinda small and pathetic right now, though.)

On the north side of the house in the shade bed, I have three astilbe's coming up.  The lilies of the valley that I planted haven't shown their faces.  I'm afraid the squirrels killed them.  =o(

Here's the rosebed.  All three rose bushes survived, but they're still pathetic.  The green you see is the end of the crocus extravaganza.  They looked like this a few weeks ago...
But that one is in the iris bed, and those are down to just leaves now, too.

The rest of iris bed is looking awesome.  I can't wait until they bloom.  And the little lilac on the right side of the bed seems so much happier since I moved it.  I wish I could say the same about the crepe myrtle which looks dead.  And the hydrangea I bought last fall looks pretty dead, too.  I'm giving them another month to get with the program before I tear their corpses out.

The azaleas are still sleeping.
But the snapdragons I just put in seem to be doing well.
And the last bed up there will be seeded with wildflowers - at least until I can figure out what to put in there that would grow well between two big cedars. 

Well, Killer Friends, how do your gardens grow?