Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Teaser Tuesday -- THE HITWOMAN AND THE POISONED APPLE

Here's a quick, unedited tidbit from the eighth story in the CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN series:


After seeing him out, I returned to the basement where I heard Piss purring, “Big, juicy purple mice.”
“Is she asleep?” I whispered to DeeDee.
The dog licked my hand in silent confirmation.
“Big, juicy purrrrrrrple mousie,” Piss practically cooed.
I snapped her leash on her collar and then went to retrieve God from his terrarium.
 “How ya doin’, big guy?”
“There’s no tv in here,” he groused, scampering from my hand up to my shoulder. “The drugged out feline carried on for most of the day. She’s definitely got a problem. We need to schedule an intervention.”
The three of us slipped out of the B&B unnoticed through the cellar door.
“An intervention for a cat?”
“She’s displaying definite drug seeking behaviors. She’s demanding, exaggerating symptoms, exhibiting mood disturbances, and I’m pretty sure I spotted track marks on her legs.”
“You think a cat is shooting up?”
“She’s crafty,” God said defensively. “Okay, maybe not the track marks, but even the slobbering beast can confirm the other symptoms.”
“True,” the dog who was considering eating a pile of poop left behind by who or what knows what confirmed.
If I hadn’t been nursing my own suspicions about the cat’s behavior, I wouldn’t believe them, but since they were pointing out the same things I noticed, I had to face the knowledge that I had drug addicted cat.
“Okay,” I told God. “We’ll figure out a way to help her tomorrow.”
“Excellent decision. Maybe you can send her to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting with Leslie.”
“Maybe I can consult a vet for professional advice,” I countered.
“Whoa!” the little gu

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dispatching the Dust Bunnies

I don't know about the rest of you, but I totally suck at keeping a clean house.  Oh, I keep things tidy, so I'm not worrying about an episode of Hoarders, but I don't often clean.  Heck, I've had both vacuum and dust on my to-do list for a couple weeks.  The dust bunnies* were growing to mammoth proportions around here. 

Every once in a while, though, the mess gets to me and I have to clean like a mad woman.  Which is what happened last week. 

So the floors are done - including under the bed where Kira likes to shed... I mean sleep.  (Ugh, she had a whole area devoted to her collection of unattached fur.)  And the dusting is done.  I even stuck my hand down the garbage disposal and wiped the gunk out of there. 

And every time I go through this mad dash to clean, I tell myself that if I did it regularly, it wouldn't be such a marathon when I get around to it.  Makes total sense, but I still don't keep up with the cleaning. 

I wish I could say it's because I'm too busy writing.  But that's just an excuse, because when I really am busy with writing, I use cleaning as a way to step away from the work - so my house is probably cleaner then. 

Lucky for me, Hubs isn't a neat freak - although if I do leave the dishes for too long, he does them.  So I try not to forget to do those.  ;o)

What about you?  Are you a tidy person or a hoarder or somewhere in between?  What's the one chore you tend to put off until it drives you mad?

*technically they're dust kitties - since they're most comprised of cat hair.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Miss this face

Last night my dogs napped next to each other for the first time, but I wasn't able to get a picture of it.

It made me miss my old dog terribly and I wondered if the little guy misses her too.



And then I wondered if she misses us (probably not, she's sweet, just not the sharpest) and then I got all weepy which caused the dogs jump into my lap and me to post this old pic.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

National Comic Book Day

Today is National Comic Book Day.  Do you read comic books?  What are your favorites?  What do you think of the movies they've been making based on comic books?

JB: I've never read a comic book so I have low expectations for the movie versions, but I must admit I've liked most of the X-Men movies. I've never gotten into any of the Batman, Spiderman, or Superman films. I'm the only person I know who disliked The Avengers movie. (yeah, yeah, Whedon -- whatever)

B.E.:  I used to read comic books a lot when I was young.  My favorites were X-Men, Dr. Strange and Thor, but I also enjoyed Iron Man and Wonder Woman and Superman and... Well, actually I can't think of a comic series I read that I didn't enjoy.  My father also subscribed to The Savage Sword of Conan, and while it's more what they would consider a graphic novel type magazine today, it worked for me in the comic book realm back then.  As for the movies...  I can take or leave them.  The first couple X-Men movies were pretty good, but I can't bring myself to watch the Iron Man ones.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ghosts of Manuscripts Past

Maybe they know October is almost upon us,, or that the witching hour is near, or maybe it's because I've been laying down massive word counts lately so my internal censors are snoozing, but lately a bunch of my unfinished manuscripts have been haunting me.

They pop up  in the weirdest places, like the shower, my car, my walks around the lake, or, worst of all, when I'm trying to fall asleep. They taunt me with their unfinishedness. (that totally should be a word)

I can't escape the characters. They're with me always.

I know writers who only work on one book or idea at a time. I'm jealous of their focus. I WISH I had just one idea instead of the jumble that rattle around in my brain making it a challenge to concentrate. No matter what idea I'm working on, a newer, or even just different, one is "shiny" and vies for my attention like a pit bull with a t-bone.

So what's a writer to do?

Next month I'm hoping to work on the edits for both the second Matchmaker Mystery (with my editor now) and the 8th Hitwoman book (should be with my editor next week).  Instead of starting another book, I'm going to finish one (maybe two!) even though they don't fit in with my current brand.

I'll give them to my agent and hope she can work her magic. If not, I'll self-publish them since enough people seem to enjoy The First Victim that there seems to be a market for my darker stuff too.

In the meantime I'm finishing up Hitwoman 8, trying to come up with a decent title for Matchmaker Mystery 2, jotting down notes for three half-finished manuscripts, and ruminating about how to launch a new series I want to write.

My brain is a busy, loud, disorganized place.  :-(

Tell me Killer Friends: Are you the "one at a time" kind? Or a blabbering mess?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Wish in One Hand

Here's a little snippet to give you a glimpse into the world of Josephine Eugenia Mayweather - resident genie and antiques dealer...



The sign outside my little slice of corrugated steel heaven says Mayweather Antiquities. Which is as close to the truth as I can come. Few things are more antique than your average genie. Besides, when I started this racket, I wanted some kind of legitimate enterprise to show mortals. If they had any inkling what my business really did, we’d be screwed blue and tattooed. Villagers coming after us with torches and pitchforks or picketing outside begging for a few freebie wishes don’t appeal to me.
I have nightmares 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 the place. Without antiques from ancient people, I can’t imagine how we’d fund everything we do.
We’re the first step between the slavery of a Master and running loose around the world. As such, we provide a place to acclimate to freedom. Plus, we give them vocational training, if they choose to become human again. Education isn’t cheap—no matter who you are, and 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.
Turns out everyone’s got to make a living somehow—even those with phenomenal power.


I really sincerely hope to be able to offer this to you for sale one day.  I can only hope that by the time that happens, you'll all still be teased enough to buy it.  ;o)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Spiders

For the most part in my life, I've had a love/hate relationship with spiders.  I love to watch them.  I hate to have them on me.

Of course, I grew up in Michigan where the worst you could expect from a spider was a little bite that rarely was worse than a mosquito bite.  No biggie.

Here in Missouri?  We have brown recluses.  We have black widows.  (Don't click the links if you don't want to see the pictures.)

Oddly enough, the black widows are less of a concern for me.  I see one, I kill it.  And I have yet to see one in the house.  I've really only seen one outside.  She was guarding her egg sack on the back deck, and Hubs dispatched her and her progeny for me.  (Only because he's taller and she was up high - otherwise, I wouldn't squashed the holy hell out of her myself.)

On the other hand, the brown recluse - also known as a fiddleback spider - is a major nuisance for me.  They are all over the damn place in my house.  I killed one last week as it sat on the ceiling over my bathroom sink.  (I needed to brush my teeth dammit.)  These days, I see a spider and within seconds, I know if it's a recluse or a regular spider.  And utterances of 'it's a brownie' can be heard as I scramble for the fly swatter. 

Unfortunately for all other spiders, their species doesn't matter if they're inside the house.  For most of my life, I'd let inside spiders live.  They eat other bugs, which is totally fine by me.  Eat away, friend.  But not here.  They come inside, they die.  Indiscriminately.

Unless it's a daddy longlegs (which are technically arachnids, but not spiders.)  I try to get them back outside.  They never bite and they're nature's little clean-up crew.  In fact, the black widow family we smushed?  By the next day, the daddies had the area spotless of dead widow goo.  So helpful. And personally, I find them fascinating.  As long as they don't walk up my legs when I'm not looking.  ;o)

What's your take on spiders? 


Friday, September 19, 2014

Art Shots

In my living room, I have groupings of photographs I've taken.  Below are three shots I have in one such grouping:



I took them all around the area where we used to live in Colorado. 

They just kinda make me happy when I walk past, so I hope you enjoy seeing them, too.  =o)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Do you want fries with that?

It's National Cheeseburger Day.

What's your favorite burger look like?

B.E.:  At a restaurant, I love a good mushroom and Swiss burger where the sauce is all yummy and the cheese is all gooey.  But when I make burgers at home, I'm happy with ketchup, mustard, pickle, tomato, lettuce on a medium-rare burger with cheddar or American cheese. 

JB: Medium rare topped with cheddar and  lots of sautéed mushrooms and onions. A cheeseburger isn't complete without some salty french fries. NOT steak fries…I don't understand the appeal of steak fries...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Stubborn

Are you stubborn?

I am.

Sometimes it's a good thing. It takes a good deal of stubbornness to finish writing a book because believe me there are a million reasons (some of them even semi-legitimate) to not finish.

Sometimes it's a bad thing. I've been known to fight for a relationship that wasn't worth fighting for.

Sometimes it's the only way to get something done. Right now I'm trying to master a new skill. I don't have any natural ability for  (I'd even go so far as to say I really suck at it) and I don't love it. But I AM stubborn about it. I will master it. It won't be graceful or pretty or fun, but because I'm determined, I'll do it.

Sometimes people ask me which aspects of my personality are in my characters. I have to say that stubbornness is pretty high on the list.

Maggie from the Neurotic Hitwoman series fights for her family with an admirable stubbornness. Her grit helps her get things done that she's not very good at and doesn't particularly want to do.

Emily, from THE FIRST VICTIM (which is just 99 cents on ibooks and Amazon right now!) returns to a place and takes on an enemy she'd rather not, because she stubbornly won't give up on her baby sister.

Most of the women I know in real life are stubborn. They're not pushovers. They're the type that when they hear, "You can't" respond with, "Oh yeah? Watch me!"

Tell me Killer Friends: What are YOU stubborn about?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teaser Tuesday -- Hitwoman 8

Here's the first draft of the opening of the eighth Neurotic Hitwoman book:

You know it's going to be a bad day when your To Do list contains: Go to the Cemetery.
When you get out of bed with your bare feet and step into a pile of puke your drugged out cat regurgitated in the middle of the night, and you drive heave, your hopes for the day fall even further. And when a brown anole lizard chortles at your discomfort, it's enough reason to fall back into bed and pull the covers over your head, all the while keeping your damp, sticky, vomit-covered foot dangling over the side.
My name is Maggie Lee and that a pretty typical start to one of my days.
"You overslept," Godzilla, the aforementioned lizard, who prefers to be called God for short, informed me from where he lounged on a piece of driftwood in his glass terrarium.
I grabbed the corner of the pillow I'd used to cover my face, ready to chuck it at him. "I barely slept."
"None of us did," the lizard snapped. "You're not the only one who's worried about him."
"Too me!" My dyslexic Doberman Pinscher panted, jumping onto the bed and sticking her wet nose under the pillow. "Too me!"
Tossing the pillow aside, I stroked the dog's snout. "I know you are, DeeDee."
She laid her head on my shoulder, pressing her body weight against me.
"She's only concerned because he feeds her," God griped from his enclosure. "She doesn't really care about him."
"Too do," DeeDee growled.
The 'he' we were talking about is Patrick Mulligan. A hero cop, a feeder of animals, my almost lover, and my murder mentor. I'd found out from my mobster boss that Patrick had been poisoned. Unable to learn much more than that without attracting attention, I'd obeyed Patrick's Rule Number One: Don't get caught, and stopped asking questions. 
Instead I'd come home and told my pets what I knew.
I know everyone talks to their pets, but mine talk back. Really. A while back I was involved in a car accident which left me with the ability to hear and understand their replies. I know it sounds crazy, but my whole life is crazy. That same accident resulted in me becoming my niece Katie's guardian, responsible for her care and responsible for her medical bills. And the responsibility for the medical bills led me to the desperate choice to kill someone (a very bad someone, I swear!) for money, and that led me to Patrick.
Now Patrick was lying in a hospital room and I was starting yet another bad day with the Greek chorus of creatures complicating my morning even further.
"You're going to be late," God nagged.
"I know, I know." I dragged myself out of bed, careful not to step into the cat puke again and hopped across the basement of the Bed and Breakfast owned by my aunts,  not wanting to put my dirty foot down.
"Gotta," DeeDee whined softly, reminding me she need to be let out.
After wiping my foot clean with a dish towel, I climbed the short set of stairs and opened the basement's storm door to let her out into the yard. She bounded gleefully up the steps, almost knocking me over in her haste to get outside to nature's port-a-potty.
"Where's Piss?" I asked the lizard.
"Under the sofa."
Crossing the room, I knelt down, lifted the flap of fabric hanging from the bottom of the sofa and peered underneath. "How are you doing, sweetheart?"
"It hurts!" the one-eyed, one-eared cat yowled. "How in tarnation do you think I'm doing?"
Startled, I dropped the fabric and reared back.
"Your Southern Belle isn't so sweet now, is she?" the lizard mocked.
Lifting the flap again, I bent to get a better look at my feline friend.
"I need drugs," she hissed.
"Okay, okay," I assured her. "I'll open a can of food and get them for you. Chicken or fish?"

“You make it sound like she’s responding to a wedding invitation,” God interjected.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bad Ads

I like to read the local papers.  Not that they really have anything crucial in them - we live in the back of beyond after all - but sometimes they do have an interesting bit of news here or there.  Nothing ground breaking.  No one's winning a Pulitzer out here.  Especially not the people who write the ad copy.

Now, a lot of bad ads can be found in the wanted section.  After all, those are just regular people trying to sell something or find something.  I cut them a lot of slack - they aren't professional writers.  Still, it pays to check your ad before you pay to have it printed.  For instance, recently I saw an ad for a used generator, and I was all like 'hey, we've been talking about a  generator'.  Unfortunately, the ad had no price.  A lot of people don't put prices in their ads, so I figured I'd just call and... no phone number in the ad either.  That ad didn't 'generate' any cash for them, I guess.  ;o)

Yesterday, I picked up a free paper from the town south of us - because all I wanted was to pay for my coffee but the gal in front of me at the store wanted to cash in her stack of lottery tickets.  So, I snagged a paper to amuse myself.  Reading it this afternoon, I saw a lovely ad for cleaning services.  Sounded like the gal really knew what she was doing.  Except the only contact info in the ad was the area code.  I can dial those three numbers all day long, but all I'll hear is "You have not completed your call in the allotted time. Please hang up and dial again." Good thing I clean my own house.

Last week's paper had an ad for a local dentist office.  Their catch phrase was: "Chances are we take your insurance."  I'm so on that because that's the only thing I look for in a person who'll have their hands in my mouth. 

What are some fun local ads you've seen? 


Friday, September 12, 2014

Fab Photo Friday -- Fuzzy

The picture is fuzzy. She's fuzzy. 
She gives me the warm fuzzies.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

No silly question today

Just a moment of solemn remembrance and the hope that all who are suffering on this terrible anniversary find a moment of peace.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I had SOOOO much fun at Writers' Camp!

This weekend I attended the Writers' Police Academy.

Here's what I learned or (relearned):

-- I truly suck at anything that demands physical contact. I was HORRIBLE at both disarming people and handcuffing them.

Here's Danielle Girard is disarming me.  (Yes, I WAS attempting to stab hr with a pen.)



She's deadly!


-- The sound of a fireman's uniform alarm (I'm sure it has a technical name, but I didn't catch it) going off (because he wasn't moving) still triggers a pretty strong 9/11 PTSD reaction from me. I had to walk away as I got choked up and my eyes filled with tears. (Yeah, I'm a crier.)


-- I'm an okay shot. Considering I don't consider eye-hand coordination to be one of my strong suits, this surprised me. BUT I actually did pretty well in the shooting simulations. I didn't shoot any civilians (hurrah!) and I usually shot the bad guy (just not always center mass).

-- I don't succumb to motion sickness in an ambulance. (I get dizzy easily and was afraid I might.)

-- I've got pretty good reaction skills. I didn't get shot during the building search.
**Fan girl moment: I was part of Alafair Burke's team!**

-- Workshops over 45 minutes long put me to sleep. (Literally in one case.)

-- I prefer quality over quantity.

-- I'm quiet. (I know this because three different people commented on it on three different days.)

-- I can't wait to go back to WPA next year!!




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Bloodflow

Okay folks, sorry I'm late.  Here's a little piece of what I'm working on... and I'm almost done.  Just a few more chapters to rewrite, then some polishing, then sending it off to beta readers so they can tell me how awful... awesome it is. 



“Looks like you finally got your wish, Kruz,” Supervisory Agent Jim Klein said from the entrance to Randi’s cubicle.
Agent Miranda Kruz looked up from the reams of data laying across her desk.  Above them a different set of data stared at her from her monitor.   She’d been in the process of comparing the two to find disparities that might point toward a lead.  Of course, she’d been at the task for better than a week and hadn’t found a single thing with the odor of domestic terrorism.  Just a never-ending list of dates and numbers with no correlation to anything.  No one promised her work on the Terrorism Task Force would be fun.  Then again, no one told her it would consist of this much drudgery either.
“Pardon?”
Klein nodded at her work.  “You hate this paperwork shit.  Well, Tweeg wants you working in the field again.”  He tapped the clock on her desk.  “Starting… Geez, it that the time?  Kristen is going to kill me.”
“Sir?”
He stared at her like she had a third eye on the end of her nose.  “What?  Right.  Tweeg just sent orders down from on high.  You’re on the Reynolds ‘murder’…”  He actually bothered to make air quotes. “…effective immediately.  Of course, as late as it is, he probably didn’t mean tonight.”
She wasn’t so sure.  If Deputy Director Anton Tweeg had anything to say about it, she’d work until the bats went to bed.  Still…
Tweeg wants me on an active case…


Randi really needs to be careful what she wishes for, but she'll learn that soon enough.  ;o)