Monday, June 29, 2015

A Very Canadian List

On July 1st we Canadians will be celebrating confederation. Or what was once called Dominion Day but is now called Canada Day. The changing of the name of the day created quite the polite controvery back in 1982. However, growing up I don't remember calling it anything but Canada Day.

There are some things I consider very Canadian, although these things show up in various other countries. My apologies if you take exception to my claiming of them.

Moose. There is something very Canadian about the gangly yet graceful moose. We have somewhere between half-a-million to a million moose in Canada. Supposedly, but that's according to Wikipedia, so... I spent two summers working for Moose Mountain Provincial Park. Tourists (from across the border) used to come into the office asking where the moose were located. I think one elderly moose roamed about the park at that time. Thankfully, there are more now. Please, tell me there are more.

Margaret Atwood. You don't get more Canadian than Margaret Atwood. I'd recognize her steel-grey curls and delightful monatone voice anywhere. Besides being a novelist, poet, essayist, activist, etc., she has made a significant contribution to the theorizing of Canadian Literature. Yeah, I'm not sure what that means either. But I do know I love her books. My favourite being Princess Prunella and The Purple Peanut. That's right, she's written children's books. So. Much. Fun. To read aloud.

Politeness. Okay, so there are polite people everywhere. But we're famous for it. So there.

Tim Hortons. They sell coffee and donuts, but you can also get a flatbread breakfast panini - delish. We go nuts when it's Roll Up The Rim To Win time! I don't drink coffee. It's the honest to goodness truth. I have drank a total of half-a-cup of coffee in my entire life, and that was just to be polite.

The Word "eh". Which we know how to use and when to use it. You can't just tack it onto every sentence and be, like, all Canadian, eh.

So Happy Canada Day on the 1st! Or Independence Day on the 4th! Or whatever day or event you're celebrating this week!

What makes where you live unique? What are you celebrating?

Our Canada Day Tradition!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Day Late

Okay, I think we've all determined by now that B.E. doesn't know what day it is on any given day of the week.  So, yesterday was Friday??  Yeah.  Missed it entirely. 

My world blurs together.  One slips into the next, into the next, into the next... and before I know it, half the freakin' year is gone.  Seriously.  The end of June is just a few days away.  How did that happen?  And where was I?

I could blame it on the books.  I'm walking around every day with my head up my manuscript.  I'm lucky I remember to buy groceries or we'd all starve. 

I could blame it on the retirement.  It was much easier to remember what day it was when Hubs still went off to work every morning.  Not that I didn't still forget, but less often.

I could blame it on my brain, but let's face it, that sucker has been tweaky for over 20 years and the excuse is lame at this point.  If I haven't figured out by now how to keep my life straight, it ain't the brain injury talking - it's me.

I could blame it on age, but since my mom is 30 years older and still sharp as a tack, that won't fly either.

Hey, I could blame it on the news.  I mean, sure, that's effecting us all in one way or another, so we would all have an excuse for losing track of time, but if that were true, then we'd all be way more screwed than we already are.

Oh, I know I'm not the only one who misses dates and appointments and deadlines.  And I'm sure I'm not the only person in the world irritated by her own scatterbrainedness. 

And this one day of regret won't change a damn thing.  I bet you that tomorrow, I'll wander out to the road to check the mail.  Only after I see the box is empty will I realize my error.  Then a resounding "D'OH!" will echo through the neighborhood.  :shrug:  It is what it is.

So, if you're around today, tell me about some scatterbrainedness in your own life.  Forgetfulness loves company... I think.  ;o)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


If you're not signed up for my newsletter, do it now.

No, seriously, NOW.

I'll wait.

Can you hear me humming the JEOPARDY theme music?

Okay, back?

A WOOF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING  will be released in a couple of days. But I'm sharing a sneak peek here:

Stephanie watched the detective stumble away with curiosity. Her stomach had fluttered when hed caught her studying him from behind.
Part of her was curious about what had happened to Armani. Shed been distrustful of the flamboyant woman the moment shed set eyes on her. She knew the type, promising bright futures and magical signs to those desperate enough to believe them.
Her own sister was under the influence of a con artist, and no matter how much Stephanie tried to convince her that no one could predict the future, she still paid her psychic weekly.
She was surprised to find that she was also curious about the detective. It had been quite a while since shed found herself interested in a man, any man. She had her career, her friends, and her pets. Shed convinced herself she didnt need anyone else in her life, but there was something about this man that made her want to get to know him better. 
Not that that would ever happen. After this afternoon, she didnt expect to ever see him again.
She wished she could say the same about the man who interrupted her thoughts.
“Hello, pretty lady.”
She didnt need to turn to identify the speaker.
The voice of Quentin Dubois slithered over her like a snake, giving her the heebie jeebies.
If the low growl Rascal gave was any indication, she wasnt the only one creeped out by his arrival.

While investigating the disappearance of a psychic matchmaker, Detective Brian Griswald meets dog trainer Stephanie Browne, a beautiful woman who can be just as prickly as the rescue mutts she works with.

Like her dogs, Stephanie’s not quick to trust, which is why she rejects the charming detective when he tries to pursue a relationship with her, but when Brian is dragged into a case involving Stephanie’s beloved dogs, the two must work together to find the truth.

Solving the mystery proves challenging for both of them and dangerous for Stephanie. Can Brian and a canine cavalry save her before it’s too late?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Not Quite Rational Reasons Why I Love The Musketeers TV Show

The television show - not the real Musketeers, for whom life was nothing like the television version, I'm sure. Lately I've kind of been obsessed with secret societies. I've got an idea brewing and I'm doing research. And I know, the Musketeers weren't a secret society. I also know I'm not about to get a lot of valid information from a TV show. But it is so delightful in it's cheesiness that I simply can't resist.

The heart wants what the heart wants. And right now it's the crazy antics of Athos, Aramis, Porthos, and D'Artagnan. Oh, and Harvey from Suits, but that's a whole other blog post.

The other lovely thing about this show is the strength of it's female characters. I'm really impressed by that. I love Constance. I admire Queen Anne. Hate Milady de Winter. From the abbey of nuns more than willing and able to defend their ground, to a royal lady saving young girls from arranged marriages and insisting on the importance of education for women. To a female spy. Perhaps not probable, but indeed possible.

It's so delicious.

And there's leather. Lots and lots of leather. And sword fighting. And muskets, of course. Which is somewhat ironic to me because when I think of Musketeers I think sword fighting (and there's plenty of that, thank goodness) but they were in fact soldiers equipped with muskets and largely served in the infantry on the ground, sometimes on horseback, and were the precursor to a rifleman. Let it not be said you don't learn something here at Killer Chicks. Or maybe it's just me who learning. Because even though there is musket in the word musketeers I had no idea.

I know.  Moving on.

So, what television show or book series are you obsessed with right now?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Reviews Help Sell Books

Yesterday, I was on Goodreads updating my reading status and I noticed something.  The book I was reading - one I'm really loving and that had enough people fund it through Kickstarter to actually get it in print - has next to no reviews.  And it's the third book in a much-loved series.  Something in my brain went all 'WTF?'

It has 6 reviews on Amazon and 2 reviews on Goodreads (with two additional rankings).  After two months of being published.  Even if all of that was from different individuals, that's 10 people who gave enough of a damn to leave some kind of feedback. 

Now, I realize not all readers are good at writing reviews.  I get that.  Really I do.  And not everyone who reads a book is willing to take the time to go to a site and leave a review.  I mean, it takes time and effort and that stuff is in short supply sometimes.  I get it. 

For my part, I've been up to my ass in alligators and haven't been reading as much as I want to.  But when I read a book, I leave at least a rating on Goodreads, and if possible, a short review.  (Sometimes as short as 'wow, this was amazing', but it's something.)  Okay, so I'm horrible at remembering to carry that over to Amazon, but when I remember, I go back and get several of the books I'd forgotten.  I need to get better at that.

And I guess prior to becoming a published author, I didn't realize how much of a difference reviews can make to gaining sales.  For instance, in order to advertize at certain places, they need to see how well-received your book is going to be - so they check your reviews.  No reviews and you get a no thanks letter.  Or let's say you're a reader browsing for something to spend your money on.  You're more likely to pick up a book other people have had some kind of reaction to than one that's totally untested.  Right? 

Think about it.  People don't often say to themselves, "Hey, here's a book no one else has read.  I think I'll take a chance and slap my $4 down."  Not bloody likely. 

So, I'll say here what I said on Twitter yesterday: Reviews help sell books. Selling books means fundage to write more books. If you love to read, leave reviews. Sprinkle them everywhere.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some reading to do so I can add another review to that awesome author's pile.

(No, I'm not giving the book's title or the author's name here.  She didn't authorize me to say this and she didn't ask me to pimp for reviews for her book. And no, she isn't affiliated with this blog in any way. In fact, I don't care which books you review or what kind of reviews you leave - although if you don't have anything nice to say, it's better to stay silent.  Just leave reviews when and where you can.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


This one will be out before the end of the month!

While investigating the disappearance of a psychic matchmaker, Detective Brian Griswald meets dog trainer Stephanie Browne, a beautiful woman who can be just as prickly as the rescue mutts she works with.

Like her dogs, Stephanie’s not quick to trust, which is why she rejects the charming detective when he tries to pursue a relationship with her, but when Brian is dragged into a case involving Stephanie’s beloved dogs, the two must work together to find the truth.

Solving the mystery proves challenging for both of them and dangerous for Stephanie. Can Brian and a canine cavalry save her before it’s too late?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Remember Those Summer Jobs?

I was lucky. I never had a truly awful summer job. For instance, I've never had to stand on the sidewalk wearing a gorilla suit and a sandwich board trying to get customers to stop and buy a vacum. 

As a teenager I worked for the provincial government at a provincial park in a historic stone chalet with beautifully terraced gardens that led down to the lake. The two-story structure was built in the Dirty ‘30’s. It was originally a thirteen-room hotel, dining room and beer parlour. When I worked there it had already been converted to administrative offices but you could feel the history every time you walked through the front door. Often I worked the evening shift, in the quiet I sometimes sat and tried to picture it as it was back then, a bustling dining room, and rooms with beds and washstands. The same rooms that I knew as offices. What would the women be wearing? The men? The staff?

Also, the chalet was supposed to be haunted. I never experienced anything 'weird'. Thank goodness. I'm not exactly the brave-in-the-face-of-paranormal-activity type. 

Kind of neat, huh? It was! We had a lot of fun. Probably too much fun. There were a lot of us. There were also kids that worked at the other resort hotels, cafes, restaurants, cabaret halls. We all got along and we were there for a good time, not a long time. 

The unsavory part of the job was cleaning out the residence we lived in during those summer months. Which was also a blessing because it meant we didn't have to pay rent. But in those days we stayed in the residence that young offenders stayed in the winter months. During the tourist season they moved to their summer camp away from the families of campers into the bush.

Yeah. They were teenagers. They didn't necessarily want to be there. They were great kids on the whole, ones who'd made unfortunate choices, but they weren't neat. Or tidy. And they didn't care about the space. Believe me, it was obvious. Shudder.

First the sanitation crew went in to hose it down. Then the housekeeping crew did their thing. Then we went into the rooms with Lysol and whatever else was needed and scrubbed it down again. But other than that it was a pretty sweet summer job!

How about you? What did you do for a summer job? Any horror stories? Any sweet summer job memories?

Friday, June 12, 2015

We Couldn't Get Away With That Today

Admission time.  I like watching reruns of The Love Boat during the day sometimes.  I think POP has Throwback Thursdays where they do a Love Boat marathon.  Hour after hour of the wacky hijinks of The Pacific Princess crew.  And a while back, something occurred to me during one of these old shows.

They could never get away with half that stuff today. 

There was one particular episode where Red Buttons played a handsy old lech.  He spent most of the episode trying to get Julie, the cruise director, into bed in the most overt ways.  Yeah, sexual harassment today.  Lying, cheating, subterfuge, sex... all good clean fun with a laugh track in the background.  Back then we didn't think anything of it.  Today?  Do we ever stop thinking everything of it?

Another time, I was at my favorite used bookstore.  The owner had just gotten a ton of old crime paperbacks and she was sorting through them while I perused her old SF titles.  Every once in a while, she would hold up a book to show me the cover.  The old covers of crime novels were the best back then. No shame.  No hiding of sex or murder or lewd behavior.  And the verbiage on the covers... Whoa, nelly.  Hot stuff.  And totally politically incorrect.  Hell, one of Mickey Spillane's novels is called The Erection Set for petesakes.  (He didn't write erotica, btw - he wrote awesome crime.  Check him out sometime, if you haven't already.  Start with I, The Jury.)

I told her we couldn't get away with that today.  With a dismayed look, she agreed.  And then she went back to happily sorting through books from a time when they could get away with it.  I even bought a couple.

Personally, I love the old shows and the old novels.  They harken back to a simpler time.  One of the best compliments I've gotten so far about my second book - Accidental Death - was that it reminded the reader of the old hard-boiled crime novels.  I'm pretty pleased with that.  Oh, there isn't lewdness by anyone's definition, but I like to think it has that same unapologetic tone.  Life is rough and when there's murder afoot, who's got time to be all soft and fluffy?  People are rough.  Why soften their edges?  Or maybe it's just me.

Right now, I'm reading a gothic novel from the early 1970s.  Loads of fun.  And that's really the point isn't it?  Read what's fun for you.  Old crimes novels are fun for me. 

What's fun for you?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What If You Were Fated to Never Fall in Love?

I had SUCH a good time at the book signing of  LOVE FORTUNES AND OTHER DISASTERS this past weekend, a novel that tackles that very question.

Here's my pal, the fabulous author, Kim Karalius

The local Barnes & Noble did a great job at getting her all set up.

She had a line of people waiting!

But she was nice enough to have her picture taken with me

Tell me Killer Friends: Who (or what) would you stand in line for?

Make sure to tune in next Wednesday when I share information about my latest project A WOOF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING!!!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Online Favourites

I'll be honest, most days I'm still trying to find my way around most social media sites. Take Facebook - for some reason I can't access my author page's home feed. No idea why. So, if you have one please let me know. I'm feeling a little lost, kinda like I did in high school. I didn't know what I was doing there either.

I'm hearing things about Snapchat.

There's always somewhere new to be on the web.

I can't keep up.

But I do have some favourite sites and people that I like to like, or follow, or hashtag, or whatever.

Facebook Likes

Jann Arden is a singer/songwriter who could also find work as a comedian. She's so funny. Right now life isn't so funny for her though, as both her parents are suffering from some form of dementia. She is sharing their journey on Facebook. The good times, the heartbreaking times, her joy, and her frustrations. She's got a real talent for storytelling. And if you follow her on Instagram too LOTS of pics of her dog, Midi.

Anne Lamott is a novelist and non-fiction writer. I love her posts. They are full of wisdom, insight, and personal stories of inspiration and motivtion.

BookBub lets you know about free and discounted ebooks! What's not to like?

Instagram Pics

Jamie Oliver Yummy Food! Gorgeous food pics. And he's such a cutie.

Saskatchewanderer The Official travel blog of the province of Saskatchewan - the province I call home.

Jessica Kane Fashion blogger and Body Confidence Crusader. I like fashion. I've also been known to enjoy the odd online shopping experience. The other kind too.

Twitter Love

Anna Kendrick: She's so entertaining and funny.

What are some of your favourite online personalities?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Drive / Time

I was having a fangirl moment the other day.  During an email exchange with one of my writing heroes, I actually asked her how she gets it all done.  She's a mom, writing books, taking photos, doing crafty things, juggling mail from people like me, and she still has time to read.  Her answer - she doesn't watch TV and she only sleeps 4 hours a night. (The first she totally recommended and the latter she didn't.) 

I thought about what she said a lot of last night. 

I would love to have the level of success she's had.  But I just don't have the drive behind the want to actually make it happen.  Oh, it's not like I can't stop watching TV.  Half the time I'm watching something I've already seen, and probably 90% of the time, I'm reading or working with the idiot box yapping in the background.  How much I actually watch it?  :shrug:  I know I can't sleep less.  I lose an hour of sleep and I'm a freakin' zombie.

Regardless, it's an issue of drive not of time.  I love my work.  But I also love the time I spend not working. When I'm under a deadline, I can let everything else fall away.  Otherwise, I meander.  I spend a few hours here in the mornings - networking, marketing, chilling out - then I spend time watching TV and reading and editing.  In the evenings, more marketing, networking and then, of course, writing. 

I have upped my game.  I needed to in order to achieve what I want to achieve.  Will I ever be as focused as some writers?  Nope.  And I'm okay with that.  A little jealous, true, but okay with it overall. 

How driven are you? 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Have you been to an author signing?

I'm so looking forward to this weekend when I get to attend the local signing for Kimberly Karalius, author of LOVE FORTUNES AND OTHER DISASTERS.

I'm excited for a couple of reasons:

1) Kim's my friend.  (Lucky me!!!)

2) Her book is a Middle Grade novel and I can't wait to see enthusiastic young readers.

3) Authors are my rock stars. Need I say more?

Tell me Killer Friends: Have you been to an author signing? Who are your rock stars? Do you have autographed books? What else do you own that's autographed?

In the tradition of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, one girl chooses to change her fortune and her fate by falling in love.

Love is real in the town of Grimbaud and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita’s famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It’s a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love.
Fortunately, Fallon isn’t the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate—even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian.
Will Fallon and Sebastian be able to overthrow Zita’s tyranny and fall in love?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Working In Your Jammies? Maybe Even Partying In Them?

Do you or don't you? Being a writer, this is an option. Personally, I can't. Maybe because I feel too comfy and cozy and less like working. Maybe I need different pajamas. Whatever happens, it doesn't work for me. I'm more productive after I've gotten up taken care of a couple of things, made tea, and had breakfast. But everyone is different. And no way is the right way. Thank goodness.

Tonight I might not be partying in my jammies, but I'll be partying just the same. During my first ever Facebook Party. Myself and five other lovely authors are hosting Romance: Past, Present and Future.

The Grand Prize is a $30 gift certificate and there will be individual prizes offered through the three hours. 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm MST. There will be lots of fun games, trivia, and little snippets to tempt you. 

Drop by and join us. The more the merrier. There's also a little something for everyone: historical (1940s), contemporary, suspense, paranormal/urban fantasy or science fiction. Some are romance and some have romantic elements. 

I'll be talking about my romantic suspense, BACKLASH. But only a bit, it's really just a chance for us all to get to know more about our readers. To share some fun and some laughs.

When dedicated teacher Lily Wheeler interrupts a vicious gang attack on one of her students, she vows it won’t happen again. But her rash interference puts her in the path of a cold-blooded killer and the constable tracking him — a man she has little reason to trust, but can never forget.

Constable Chase Porter returned to Aspen Lake to see justice done, not renew old acquaintances. But when he rescues the woman he once loved from a volatile situation, he realizes his feelings for Lily haven’t lessened over the years.

Now, the dangerous killer Chase has sworn to capture has Lily in his sights. Can Chase and Lilly learn to trust each other again before it’s too late — or will old insecurities jeopardize their future? you, or don't you? Wear pajamas to work that is! Care to describe your favourite pair?