Friday, May 29, 2015

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I'm not a big contest type person.  I don't even gamble anymore.  I let my poker accounts lapse years ago when the federal government cracked down on online poker.  I'm not a risk taker like that.

Except when it comes to the lottery. 

Oh, I've never been one of those people who spends very much money. Hell, I used to go to Vegas on business every year with strict gambling rules - $20 a day and never gamble with the winnings.  (The only time I ever left Vegas penniless was the time I broke that rule.) As for local lottery stuff, I've never been one to buy tickets every week.  Just a scratch off now and then, or the occasional Powerball, Lotto, Megamillions thing.  I win some.  I lose some. 

Since I moved to Missouri, though, my luck's been on the craptastic side.  I couldn't even win $2 on a scratch off to recover my money.  Nope. 

Until last week.  Little hits here and there.  Nothing amazing.  Certainly nothing life changing.  Just enough to make me want to visit the convenience store more often than usual - to turn in the winner and buy more tickets. 

And it lasted about a week.  The tickets I bought Wednesday were all a bust except for $1.  I turned that in Thursday while I was out to buy a few things before the weekend.  (I live in a tourist area.  You learn to shop Monday thru Thursday or not at all.)  I have one last ticket.  If this doesn't win, I'm done buying lottery tickets until the next time I get an urge and I'm feeling lucky. 

In the past, I'd say sometime next month I'll have $3 burning a hole in my pocket. I'll buy a Crosswords scratcher (because they take longer and they amuse me) or $3 worth of state lottery numbers for the nightly drawing. 

Oh, and as for the 'chicken dinner'.  I won enough money on a scratch off last week to treat Hubs and I to a KFC bucket for lunch.  And that's pretty darn good, if you ask me.  ;o)

What about you?  Do you play the lottery and scratch offs?  Or do you play for bigger stakes?  Ever won anything worth crowing about?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Visualization is not part of my skill set

Last week I tried out a new hairdresser. We got off to a rough start. First she peppered me with what felt like a million questions. Then she had me flipping through one of those magazines with a gazillion hairstyles because she was trying to visualize what I wanted.

Finally I told her, "We speak different languages."

She looked at me strangely.

"You're SEEING something," I explained. "I'm not. I understand the words your saying, but I can't visualize it."

While this is not a terrible problem to have, it does sometimes get in the way.

I assume my lack of  visualization skills is why I have a terrible sense of direction. (At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

I also assume it's why I was so hesitant to choose paint colors.

I hated the color of my bedroom, a bright peach...a blindingly bright peach, that offended me every single morning. And yet it took me forever to paint over it because I couldn't VISUALIZE what color would look better.

Finally I decided that ivory would look good enough. I mean, can you get any more neutral than ivory? I went off to the hardware store in search of the perfect shade of ivory.

And I couldn't find one. But I did find EVENING SUN by Valspar, which I kind of liked even though it's a tinge on the yellow side.

I brought home a sample container and slapped in on over the peach.

And decided I was really wrong.

See, I really can't visualize!

So I tried the sample color I'd bought to paint my office with and decided I liked that better, not JUST because I like the name.
TINSEL BEAM, which either looks blue or grey depending on how the light hits it.

Tell me Killer Friends: Are you good at visualization? Or are you impaired like me?

Monday, May 25, 2015


You might not know this about me but I love sandwiches. Years ago in another city, in a little dump of a cafe, I found what remains my favorite one. I don't remember the cutesy name but it was essentially a chicken, almond, grape sandwich. OMGosh, so good! But I love all kinds of sandwiches. My daughter's favorite is a grilled cheese. My husband likes subs.

(This is where I desperately wanted to insert the photo of a sandwich I made last week but can't figure out to download off of the Cloud. So you'll have to use your imagination. Because it was amazing! Stupid cloud.)

My mom used to make her version of the dagwood sandwich. Remember that cartoon! Yummy. But my infatuation really kicked into overdrive once I read Lawrence Sanders and his mysteries back in the day. Put your hand up if you've read them. If you have, you know what I'm talking about when it comes to sandwiches. I loved his character Police Chief Edward X. Delaney and his Deadly Sin Series. I couldn't tell you specfics on plot or storylines anymore, it's been a long time since I've read any of his books, but I remember Delaney's sandwiches. They were either wet or dry. Wet ones were eaten right over the sink. Dry were taken to his study to be eaten while solving his cases. The different mustards, the variety of meats, the various onions and pickles made my mouth water.

I love when an author mixes food with a story. I haven't done this but I have it in the back of my mind as something to add to the next series I'm plotting out.

Sandwiches performed by Fred Penner, Canadian performer.

Sandwiches are beautiful,
Sandwiches are fine.
I like sandwiches, I eat them all the time;
I eat them for my supper and I eat them for my lunch;
If I had a hundred sandwiches, I'd eat them all at once

Do you have a favorite sandwich? Remember Lawrence Sanders and PC Edward X. Delaney? How about Timothy Cone (he was my favorite of LS's characters. He was such a mess.) Do you like when authors add food into their themes?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Teaser Time!

Hey Everybody!

It's release week for me.  My second book came out Monday and I wanted to share a bit with you - maybe whet your appetite.  Cuz, hey, this is the Killer Chicks and who likes murder better than the Killer Friends?

Here we are not long after Detective Dennis Haggarty discovers a body outside the small town mortuary where his brother-in-law's funeral is being held.

Outside the gazebo, a million pinprick stars pierced the shroud of night. Inside, a few men stood like statues over the body of a woman who’d been full of piss and vinegar only a short time before.
“Sure looks like she slipped and fell,” one of them said as he pulled at the collar of his uniform. In the time it took Dennis to call 911 on his cell, and for the authorities to arrive, the wind had picked up. He gazed longingly down the street toward his SUV, where his gloves lay on the front seat, and jammed his hands deeper into his pockets.
Another officer shook his head. “It’s too damn bad. Must’ve hit her head on the way down. Snapped her neck like a twig, I bet.”
“Nah. She cracked her head on the cement,” the first officer said. “Seen it before. Remember Dave Johnson a couple years back? He bled like a bitch, but his head musta been too hard—”
“More like his brain was too small.” Several of the men chuckled before they fell back to silent staring.
When the stillness became too much, speculation began again. “Been out here a while from the looks of it. Blood’s already froze. Course, it’s mighty cold tonight.”
“Maybe so.”
Dennis watched them all shuffling around and chatting for several more minutes, unable to believe none of them were doing anything to actually investigate the incident. From where he stood, it looked like the only thing they’d done according to procedure was string yellow tape around the area. They hadn’t bagged a damn thing from the detritus in and around the gazebo. Already, any trace evidence had been trampled into the snow along with any usable footprints, so making molds of those would be moot. The sons of bitches weren’t even wearing latex gloves to protect the scene from contamination. Unless they lifted latent prints off the corpse or found an inch of the structure one of their own hadn’t already touched, the officers would have one hell of a time tracking down the truth.
It took every ounce of willpower for Dennis not to start barking commands at them like they were rookies under his supervision. He had to keep reminding himself this wasn’t his pond to piss in.

If you want to read more, Omnimystery News posted the first chapter on Wednesday, and the book is available for sale right now at Amazon or Createspace.  I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Do you play?

A few months ago I sat in a workshop about creativity where one of the participants, a woman in her fifties, said to the leader, "But I don't know how to play."

I admit that at this point in the workshop, I'd gotten a little tired and was doodling, but when the woman said she didn't know how to play, I put down my pen and paid close attention, because that was literally a concept that had never occurred to me.

A person who doesn't know how to play.

The woman then followed up her assertion with a question, "How do you learn how to play?"

Are you as dumbfounded as I was?

Wait! It gets weirder.

Two more people in the workshop said that they didn't know how to play either.

At that point I could have sworn I heard the Twilight Zone theme music.

Then there was an entire back-and-forth about "How to Play".

And yes, I WAS the first person out of the room the moment the workshop was over -- I was afraid the boringness might rub off on me.

Tell me Killer Friends: Do you play? What are your favorite forms of play?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Little Pieces of History

So, I found some forgotten treasures in amongst the clutter I've been trying to deal with. While being on this crazy organizing carousel I've come across a couple of things. Special reminders of two of my very favorite people - my grandmothers. Both passed away in their 90s. Both were strong talented women who couldn't have been more different if they tried.

When I was a young girl we had this little books we collected sayings written by others, nuggets of wisdom, and signatures in. This is the only one I kept. It was written by my Grandma, who I loved dearly. She was an incredibly talented musician, choir director, and artist. There was a sense of calm about her that always appealed to me. I'll be framing this and placing it in a special spot.

I've searched these pages o'er and o'er
To see what others wrote before
And in this lonely little spot
I'll write the words
Forget me not.
The other was  a piece my oldest cousin wrote for the column LIVES LIVED in The Globe and Mail (I believe that was the newspaper) about my other Grandma, who I also loved dearly. She was an German orphan who grew up in Poland. Not allowed to go to school because she was a girl, she taught herself to read German. Later in Canada, she taught herself how to read English. She was a passionate gardener and talented cook, nothing made her happier than feeding people.

This was her favorite saying:

Versuche mit Jedem in Frieden die Fuesse treten. (Seek to live at peace with everyone, but let no one trample you underfoot.)

I came across little gem of advice -  Keep it if...It's sentimental gold. "The more memorabilia you have, the less emotionally valuable each individual item becomes," says Emily Wilska, an organization consultant in San Francisco. Instead of saving every card your beloved uncle ever sent, pick the one that captures his spirit best.

I love words. Their words have meaning for me. They say a lot about the women they were and how they lived their lives.

What treasures have you come across? What words of wisdom have people left you with?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Where's My Head?

I've been running around this week like a chicken with its head cut off.  Like the hapless chicken, I have no idea where my head is at.  It certainly doesn't feel like it's attached.

You see, it's launch week.  Sort of.  My next book - Accidental Death - doesn't actually arrive until Monday.  But I did get it set for pre-order.  Click the link and see for yourself.  Pre-order that puppy and it'll be on your Kindle first thing Monday morning. 

One of my beta readers said it reminds her of the old hard-boiled mysteries.  Another said the end gave her the sniffles.  It's mystery with a tinge of romance.  And it's my first attempt at writing a male protagonist.  I hope I did Detective Dennis Haggarty justice.  Time and reviews and sales will tell.

And, as if that wasn't enough, I sent my next book - Wish in One Hand - to the editor this morning.  Plus, I have it on the calendar to start the process of making Dying Embers available on other retail outlets.  (It's 99 cents right now, so if you're so inclined, snag yourself a copy.)

So, yeah, headless chicken right now.  I'd cluck at you, but headless chickens can't cluck for obvious reasons.  ;o)

Anything got you running in circles right now?  Dish about it, gripe about it, share your pain.

Oh, and here's the print cover for Accidental Death.  (Paperback should be available by the end of the month.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One of the things I'm working on now

Here's a quick look at one of the projects I'm working on:

“Call the cops!”
Detective Brian Griswald stopped cold in his tracks, listening intently to the conversation taking place on the other side of the brick wall.
“Call the cops,” the unseen male voice said again nervously.
“We’re not calling the cops,” a woman answered, clearly annoyed by the situation. “I’ll handle it.”
“She could die,” the man argued.
Grabbing his badge in one hand and resting his other palm on the butt of his gun, Brian ran around the wall. “Police!”
A man and a woman, their backs to him, were staring up into a tree.
The man spun around, hands in the air, signaling his surrender. The quick action sent the strange hat he was wearing tumbling to the ground.
“Shhh!” the woman ordered, without moving.
“Don’t shoot,” the man begged.
“Shut up, Stanley. You’re scaring her,” the woman warned.
Brian put his badge away. “What’s going on here?”
The woman waved him away dismissively. “We don’t need the cops or the fire department. I’ve got this.”
Brian frowned at the man, hoping to intimidate him into giving an answer.
Stanley retrieved his fallen hat, and stuck what looked like a mortar board, minus a tassel, back on his head. He pointed at the tree. “She’s stuck up there.”
Brian squinted at the tree, but didn’t see anything out of place. “Who?”
“A kid?” Brian moved closer.
“A dog,” Stanley said.
“You mean a cat?” Brian scanned the branches.
“No,” the woman huffed. “He means a dog.”
Brian closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. It was bad enough that he was here because he was investigating the disappearance of a woman who claimed to be a psychic matchmaker.  Now he had to contend with a dog stuck in a tree. He was pretty sure his job description didn’t include animal rescue.
“C’mon, Gracie,” the woman called in a much sweeter voice than she used on humans. 
As she moved past Brian he thought he smelled honeysuckle.
 Leaning against the tree, she cajoled, “Come down, sweetheart.”
Following her line of site, Brian finally spotted the gray and black ball of fluff perched between two tree branches fifteen feet off the ground.
“How the hell did she get up there?” Brian asked, stepping beside the woman to get a better look at the wayward dog. He definitely smelled honeysuckle, but there were no vines in the vicinity.
Twitching her pointy ears, Grace looked back at him with dark, inquisitive eyes.
The woman sighed. “She’s a climber. Stanley, go find me a ladder and some food to entice her down with.”
“Of course.” Stanley hurried away.
“He’ll probably bring back a macaron,” she muttered.
“A what?”
“Macarons. Meringue-based French pastries.”
From the note of longing in her voice, Brian guessed that she was quite fond of these pastry things.

Monday, May 11, 2015

It's a Stretch But Give It a Try!

It's Mother's Day and it's late (and I wasn't organized enough to get this post scheduled earlier) and I'm feeling very full and very spoiled. So this is going to be short. But hopefully helpful!

I've been feeling a bit tight lately - okay, years really - so I decided to go for a massage last week. It was marvelous, don't know why I waited so long. The massage therapist gave me a sheet of stretches to do since I spend a lot of time at a desk. Stretches are one of those things I know I should do but don't.

The above link is a pdf copy of some stretches that are basically the ones the therapist gave me. Simple and easy to do to. You can print off the page and put it by your desk or work area to remind you to get up and stretch. Give your muscles a break and help your body feel better.

Remember to go slow. You should feel a slight easy stretch. Hold for 5 to 20 seconds. Breathe slow. Don't worry about how far you can stretch. Limberness will come with continued stretching.

Also, I was on a roll last week and I signed up for a Restorative Yoga class, went, and survived. In fact, it too was wonderful. This class is not so much about a lot of different poses but a few poses held for longer periods of time while you concentrate on your breathing and meditiating.

So, I'm all totally zen now.

Not really. It might take more than one class. Or one massage. But I'm working on it. Have a good week and remember to stretch and take the time to enjoy the moment. When was the last time you treated yourself to a massage? How about a yoga class? Pilates? Paintball? What helps you relax?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cover Reveal

Hello, Everyone!  This is cross-posted from my blog B.E. Sanderson - Outside the Box - because I wanted to be able to share this with all of you, too.

As promised, here it is - the final cover for Accidental Death:

Not bad for something I created myself, eh?

And here's the final copy for the back cover:

Murder doesn’t happen here.

Serenity is the safest, little town in Colorado.  But residents are dropping like flies. No big deal. Accidents happen.

Or do they?

Detective Dennis Haggarty came to town to comfort his recently widowed sister, not investigate a homicide.  However, finding a corpse means he can’t avoid doing his job—especially since the local authorities are determined to disregard the facts.  Delving deeper, he finds a string of deaths everyone wants to ignore even when all the evidence points to murder.  Lucky for the detective, only one person in town has means, motive, and opportunity.

Too bad he’s falling in love with her.

Barring flood or Armageddon, I've promised to have this book live on May 18th and I will do my damnedest to stick to that promise.  (At least for the ebook.  Print may take a little longer.  We'll see.)

Sorry for making you wait, but I'm trying to build suspense here.  Did it work, or did you just find it annoying?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Inspiration in the daily news

Please understand that I'm not making light of this terrible real life event. I'm just using it as an example of how my mind works.

I should never read or watch the news because I often don't believe it and sets my imagination spinning. Maybe it's the suspense writer in me?

This week I'm following the story about the death of Dave Goldberg, chief executive of Survey Monkey. If I was going to pitch the idea as a novel idea it would be something like this:

High-powered executive, married to an even higher-powered executive dies at an expensive resort in a foreign country after suffering a mysterious head injury.

Okay, so the mysterious head injury is attributed to him falling off a treadmill.

If I was the detective in a novel, I would wonder how someone injures the back of their head falling off a treadmill.  I'd wonder how he went undiscovered for almost three hours.  I'd wonder who benefitted from his death.

For the record, there's been no report of suspected foul play in the real life story.

Tell me Killer Friends: Does your imagination go wild when YOU follow the news?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Determined To Be Organized

I think I have spring organizing fever. Mercy. Things are getting done around here. Recycling. Sorting. Decluttering. Filing. Tossing.

I organized my purse (you may call it a handbag or pocketbook). No more lonely TicTacs rolling around the bottom. Broken pen? Gone. Receipts, coupons, grocery lists,  or any other random slip of paper has been dealt with most harshly.

Okay, that's a purse you might say. A small area of space in the grand scheme of things. It probably took you all of five minutes. Fair enough. Then I tackled my office and the filing. FIVE years of filing. Sad, I know. But when I procrastinate I like to give it 100% percent. Luckily, my sister-in-law phoned at the exact right time and since those conversations last a good hour I got A LOT done whilst chatting. Two of my favourite things: productivity and talking.

If it doesn't fit into this one drawer or into this one file box we're not saving it. Executive decision made. This went over better than expected. So, win!

Spare room full of junk? Managed. Closet in our bedroom? Organized. (Mostly because I convinced my husband to put his suits and work clothes in the spare room closet. Then I suggested we move his chest of drawers in there because we bought a new, bigger bed and didn't it just make sense. He's beginning to get suspicious. (But that's a blog post for another day.) 

All in all I'm feeling pretty good about things. Now if I could only organize my teenage would be nirvana around here. 

It's May! How do you celebrate?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Drowning Worms

Yesterday, Hubs and I went fishing.

Back up a bit.  In January, we bought him a fishing boat. 

I would back up even farther to him loving to fish but never having time so when we looked for a retirement home, we chose on based on its proximity to lakes we could fish in.

The first time I went fishing I was five years old.  Dad took me out with the brothers to the little creek near our house.  I was so excited.  And then I wasn't.  Fishing was kinda boring for a five year old.  I got excited again when someone mentioned lunch and then I got distracted.  Wouldn't you know it, that was the moment when I got a bite.  Damn fish took the bait, the line, and the whole pole right up the creek.  Man, was Dad ticked.  After all, it was his pole.

Over the years I went fishing many times.  I always found it enjoyable.  Then I dated a guy who was so into fishing, he made me sick to death of it.  After we broke up, I was relieved I could take some time off from fishing.

That time off turned into twenty-six years.  For Hubs, it was a lapse of about half that.  Life gets busy.  Things happen.  And the simple pleasures float to the side. 

Fishing is a simple pleasure. You put a worm on a hook.  You put a bobber on the line.  You toss it into the water and you wait.  Sometimes you jiggle it a little.  The fish either bite or they don't.  Sure, it can get way more complicated than that, but that's it at its most basic.

Yesterday, we got on Hubs new boat for the first time.  The last time I was on a fishing boat was around 1982, I think.  Maybe Dad's pram later than that.  I don't remember now.  Suffice it to say, I had a little trepidation.  Since my accident, I've been plagued with motion sickness.  Merry-go-rounds make me ill.  Wouldn't you know it, I forgot my motion sickness wristbands (acupressure - so much better than Dramamine.)  But I didn't get sick!  Huzzah!

So, we puttered around.  Checked out the sights.  Got back to the basics with a couple of worm laden hooks and bobbers.  We didn't catch a damn thing, but it was a lovely day.  Better luck next time.

What's something you haven't done in years that you used to love to do?