Friday, December 30, 2016

The End

Years ago, when I was first dipping my toes in the social media pond, I ran across Jennifer Hillier's blog and after hanging out there for a little while, followed her to Killer Chicks.  Here is where I met someone who would become one of my most awesome writing friends - JB Lynn.  Time passes and people come n go.  Eventually, JB - the only remaining original Killer Chick - invited me to join in the fun and become a Killer Chick myself.

And it has been fun.  I really have enjoyed my time here.  But all good things must end eventually.  It has been decided that the Killer Chicks blog will stop regular posts at the end of 2016.  And since the last posting day falls on a Friday, and I'm the Friday Chick, it falls to me to lay down this last post.

I guess blogs are going the way of the dinosaur.  For a while now, few people are stopping by.  Fewer people are commenting.  And while I love my fellow Killer Chicks, it's gotten to where it seems like we're talking to ourselves most days.  Fun, but not exactly productive.  JB's got a billion things going on. Karyn's busting her hump.  I'm doing what I do.  We've all got things we could be doing that are more productive than writing blog posts no one else wants to read.  You know how it goes.

It's not that we don't love our Killer Friends.  Seriously.  You've made it awesome to be here.  But I think you'll agree that 'fewer distractions = more books' is what readers really want.

To that end, we'll all be out there in the world writing books for you to enjoy.  We might stop from time to time over the next few months and post if we have anything exciting to talk about, but other than that, Killer Chicks is at an end.

Thank you for being our Killer Friends for all these years.

-B.E. Sanderson

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sale! All My Books Are 99c/.99p

Just in time for Christmas! All my books are on sale for 99c/.99p. 

US list (

UK list (

(Scroll down. The covers across the top of the pages show regular prices but the list below has the sale prices. Not sure why.)

They'll be on sale until late Tuesday (12/27) night. That way, if you still need a few things for prezzies, you can order cheap now, AND if you want some books after the holiday, you can order cheap then.  Send them to friends.  Pick up any you missed for yourself.  Have a ball. 

Happiest of Holidays to you all.   Ho ho ho.  =o)

Friday, December 16, 2016


Hey all!  I kicked my own ass yesterday helping Hubs with some necessary winter prep work, and my hands are kinda ouchy this morning.  So here's a picture instead of a long post I would have to type.

This is Chip. 
He has the teeny-tiniest antlers I've ever seen.  More than a button buck.  Less than a spike.  He just has little antler chips. Hence, Chip.  So cute.

Have an awesome weekend, Everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Why I'm taking Improvisational Comedy classes (damned if I know!)

I love the reactions I get when I tell people I’m taking an Introduction to Improvisational Comedy class.

Some people have no idea what I’m talking about. I tell them that it’s “Who’s Line Is It Anyway” for rank amateurs.

Other people sort of grimace. (That’s pretty much the end of the conversation.)

A few people respond with, “That sounds like fun!”

Some people want to know “Why?”

And if they’re people who know me well, they say, “You?”

But by far my favorite reaction was from someone who knows me really well and asked, “They haven’t kicked you out for swearing?”

So here are my answers:

1) If you’re not familiar with “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” just pop it into YouTube and laugh.

2) Grimacing people should lighten up.

3) “Sounds like fun!” people should try a class of their own, because I can almost guarantee you’ll have a good time.

4) For those who ask “Why?”:

Because it’s fun and is a weekly appointment to laugh.

Because I moved to a city where I didn’t know anyone and I thought it would be interesting to meet people who don’t take themselves too seriously.

Because I like learning new things and taking on challenges that force me to grow…or die. I really did think the anxiety might kill me the first class.

Because it’s good to have interaction where characters (also known as strange things called “people”) don’t behave the way I command them to. (Believe me, if you spend all your time telling imaginary people what to do, you start to think you should be able to do the same with real live human beings.)

5) For those who say “You?” with a mixture of awe and certainty that I’ve officially lost my mind:

Yes, me. The woman who can go to an Introverts’ Anonymous Meeting  (also known as a writers conference) and be told, “You’re the quietest person I’ve ever met.” MORE THAN ONCE.

And yes, me. The person who can’t start writing a book unless she knows exactly how it ends and who’d MUCH rather make plans than do anything spontaneously, is willingly partaking in an activity where we’re constantly being reminded “Don’t think too much”.

6) As for the swearing bit…I literally curse my head off in the car rides to and from class, kind of like a pressure-valve. (Yes, I do it with my windows closed.) But yeah, I sometimes find it hard to get a line out, because I’m trying so hard not to curse.

So those are some of the reasons why I decided to take the class. Next week I’ll talk about what I’m learning in it. (It’s probably not what you think!)

Tell me Killer Friends: Do you watch Improv? Have you ever tried it? Do you too think I’ve lost my mind?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Don't Buy Me Books

I saw something on Facebook the other day.  It said: "All I want for Christmas is you... Just kidding.  There better be some books under that tree."  I read it to Hubs and we both laughed.  Then something occurred to me and I told him "Don't buy me books for Christmas.  Seriously.  You wouldn't know what I've read or what I might want to read."

I read a lot.  He sees me reading a lot.  Sometimes he asks what I'm reading.  Sometimes he just looks at me funny when I laugh out loud or snort or makes whatever noises the words spur from me.  And then I tell him what I'm reading.  Or I read the passage aloud so he can hear what I was reacting to.  But he doesn't keep track of the books and, since I read so widely, he wouldn't be able to pick out what I might want to read in the future.  Hell, I don't know what I might want to read in the future unless something about a book grabs me in some way.

So, I asked him not to buy me books. 

Maybe it's just me.  I mean, as a kid, I loved books for Christmas.  Then, though, I was too new to have read a whole lot and I wasn't exactly choosy about the books I read.  Now?  I couldn't begin to list all the books I've read. And I read widely but I'm particular about what I choose to read. 

What about you?  Do you like when someone buys you books?  How does that work - do you give them a list of what you want or let them choose for themselves?  Do you like the books other people choose for you or do you smile and nod only to leave them sitting on a shelf forever? 

Monday, December 5, 2016

You Are Enough

 The Emily McDowell Studio is a favourite site of mine.  This hangs on my office wall as a daily reminder.

This time of year can be tough for a lot of reasons! So this holiday season remember you are enough. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Last Month of 2016

2016 is winding down.  There are a ton of things to do in this last month, but I feel like a bear ready for hibernation.  Sort of a 'wake me up in January' kind of thing.

This, of course, has been an unusual late fall.  It hasn't even snowed a little yet where I'm at.  Which I'm not complaining out, believe me, but it is worth noting.  We usually have at least a little somethin' by the end of November.  But no.

The leaves are almost entirely off the trees now.  Finally.

The fish are finally beginning to act like 'Fall fishing' and it's almost Winter.

Not quite sure what this month will bring.  Snow?  Probably.  Christmas?  Definitely.  Albeit a truncated kind.  (I'm not feeling at all Christmasy.)  And this year will come to an end.  I know a lot of people are ready for 2016 to be over.  Eh, this hasn't been a better or worse year for me than any other.  I say, let this one end and the other begin with all hopes it will be a better coming year and not a worse one.

Does it feel like December to you?  Are you ready for this year to be over?  Excited for 2017?  What's on your agenda for this month?  For next year?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

10 Gifts for the Writer in Your Life

I was inspired to write this post when I saw that Donna at GIRL WHO READS included The Hitwoman Under Pressure in her fabulous list of 10 BOOKS TO BUY THE BOOK LOVER IN YOUR LIFE.

So here's my list of 10 gifts for writers:

1)  Coffee (or whatever their liquid fuel of choice is). If they like to write outside of their home, a cafe gift card is always welcome.

2) A massage (or a gift certificate for one). It's not easy to be hunched over a keyboard for hours at a time.

3) Your attention and support. Look, I get it, most of what a writer does take place in his/her head, but that doesn't mean it's not real for him/her. Find out what your writers is excited about, or worried about. Ask if there's anything you can do to help.

4) Books -- Writers love to read. Again a gift card will be most appreciated.

5) Headphones -- So they can shut out the real world. So they can rock out while pounding the keyboard. So they can listen to audio books.

6) An artist date. -- Help your writer refill their creative well. Museums, concerts, plays, botanical gardens, a trip to the sea, a hike in the woods, a short class in an artistic discipline other than writing.

7)  Something for the writer's workspace. A candle, a chair, a lamp, a timer, a piece of art, office supplies (can't go wrong with a gift card for this either!), a planner. (I used the Your Best Year in 2016 and will use it again in 2017. Just be warned that it's designed for Creative Entrepreneurs so if you're writer isn't at that point yet, it won't help them as much. )

8) Technology -- Hardware, Software, Apps -- Oh my!

9) Write a review of their book (if they're published).  Trust me, we love them!

10) A fun and frivolous writer's gift. Just look at the choices you get when you search for "writer gift"
at Etsy. Soooo much fun stuff!

Tell me Killer Friends: What are your favorite writer gifts?

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Writer Walks Into A Bar...

I spent six days in Toronto recently visiting my sister. In case you're unfamiliar with Toronto, it's Canada's largest city. To put that in perspective it's also the fourth largest city in North America. It's a great city and I love spending time there. A short amount of time anyway. After five or six days I crave the quieter pace of my much smaller city, which boasts a population of approximately 240,000 folks.

That means Toronto does things on a bigger scale like the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Very impressive places and I was fortunate enough to see the AGO's latest exhibit - Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces by Monet, Van Gough and others. It was fantastic and inspiring and a host of other things. Being in a bigger city also means sampling a host of unique boutique type places like Famous Last Words, a literary cocktail bar.

It's named after a classic book of the same name written by Timothy Findley. With bookshelf wallpaper, 11,000 Scrabble tiles covering the bar, and hundreds of books on the shelves the ambience is set . The menu resembles a book with pages numbers and a glossary. Be still my heart, the drinks are named after books. One of the ones I sampled was called Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shyteyngart. They give as much care and attention to their list of mocktails as they do their cocktails.

It go me thinking of what cocktails I would create for my books. But since I'm not a mixologist I'm having a challenging creating new ones. But I believe Lily from BACKLASH would prefer a nice pinot grigio. Kate from EXPOSED doesn't drink alcohol but downs coffee. Grace from GONE, my work-in-progress, sticks to beer.  

Right now, with the weather turning chill,  I'm wishing for a nice dairy-free hot chocolate. What do you like to sit and sip? Morning, evening or anytime in between?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black What?

Okay, so we all know today is Black Friday - that day when people shop with rampant abandon to get 'blockbuster' savings on a 700" flat screen or that tiny car for their kids or whatever.

I don't do Black Friday.  In fact, I did all my regular shopping so that I wouldn't have to be near any stores through Monday.  If we run out of milk before then, we're screwed.  Ya know what I'm sayin'?  I do not want. 

Yesterday, I heard about stores opening on Thursday for Black Friday savings.  Umm... Black what?  I also heard about Black Wednesday.  Black what? 

I'm confused.

I know when I lived near family, we made it a big deal to gather together and go to the mall on the day after Thanksgiving.  We never got up early.  We never waited in long lines.  We got there when we got there and if there were savings involved, great.  We gals (it was always the gals + kids) would shop and then do lunch and then shop some more, if we were so inclined.  Oh, there were lines at the checkouts, but not like there are today.

If I remember correctly, the worst lines were at Toys-R-Us.  That place was always a madhouse.  But each of us Meissner gals - having either kids or grandkids - needed to make a stop there.  It was all good, though.  No fighting over the last Cabbage Patch doll.  (Mom tells a story of the year those came out.  Madness.) No crying over missed opportunities.  Okay, maybe there was some crying.  We did have the kids with us after all. 

We shopped in a pack.  If my daughter wanted something but she was in my cart, a sister would put it in her cart when the Kid wasn't looking so we could maintain the Santa factor.  I did the same for them.  Or they would distract her so I could put something in my cart - under my coat - and I did the same for them.  It was nice.

I don't need to do any of that anymore.  I don't buy gifts in stores, for the most part.  Everyone I love except Hubs is hundreds of miles away.  Online catalog shopping in the best.  Or cash for the Kid.  Or I pick up little things while I'm grocery shopping.  I might pay a little more because I'm missing out on the Black Friday deals, but I'm okay with that.  Which proves I'd pay money to stay away from crowds. LOL

So, yeah, all this Black Friday, Pre-Black Friday, Black Wednesday stuff confuses me.  But, hey, if it's your thing, have at it.  Stay safe.  And good luck with your bargain hunting!

Do you do Black Friday?  If it a nice experience for you, or are you one of those who hate it but do it anyway?  I know Mom and one of my sisters will be out there in the crowds sometime today, so remember to be pleasant to your fellow shoppers.  ;o)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

What Do They Look Like?

Eons ago, in another life, I was having a book discussion with my then significant other.  Okay, it was more like an argument.  He absolutely insisted that a particular character was a brunette and I was totally certain she was a blonde.  It actually got to the point where he stomped over to the bookshelf, flipped through the pages furiously, and stabbed a finger at the passage that proved he was right.  Well, I'll be damned, she was a brunette.  :shrug:  In my head, though, she's still a blonde.

And, for me, that's what it's all about.  Not whether the author created a character to look a certain way, but the way that character looks in a reader's head.  This is probably why adaptations of books for movies or television irritate me so.  I have my own concept of a character in my head and it never matches what the casting director has seen fit to put on the screen. 


As a writer, I understand the need to have readers see what is in my head, to describe everything exactly.  But I also understand if the reader doesn't adhere to my image.  I want readers to see what they want to see.  So, I try to describe just enough to let the reader come up with their own idea.  The only time I've gone beyond this, I think, is with my Once Upon a Djinn series.  I found a cover model who is the embodiment of how I see Jo.  (My apologies if she doesn't match how you saw Jo, but I needed a full frontal model for this series.) 

When you step in, though, you run the risk of changing a reader's image.  Humphrey Bogart will always be Sam Spade to me.  Gary Sinise is now and forever Stu Redman.  That little girl actress will pop up as Scout whenever I read the book.  Dorothy will always have the face of Judy Garland.  It is what it is, but I had different ideas of Stu and Dorothy before I watched the movies.  (Yes, I read The Wizard of Oz before I watched the movie.  Long story.)  Now, my original images are erased and replaced.  Which is kind of sad, but there's nothing I can do about it.

So, anyway, I hope I provide enough information to give readers a platform on which to build their own image of my characters.  I suspect for some it's not enough, but I can only do what I can do. 

What do you think?  Do you like everything described perfectly or would you rather build your own mental image? 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Maggie and the gang are back!

Order on AMAZON

Maggie Lee’s done a lot of questionable things that have made her question her own sanity. Chaperoning her niece’s class trip is one of them.

Not only must she attempt to corral a bunch of energetic kids, but at the same time she has to argue with the talking lizard in her bra, avoid a mysterious doppelganger, and chase down runaway horses!

And that’s just the beginning.

With her relationships and alliances in flux, Maggie is uncertain of what her next steps should be. Caught between the family drama caused by the return of her sister, Darlene, and her own efforts to save an innocent boy, Maggie struggles to make the right decisions and protect lives that hang in the balance.

Can Maggie navigate these latest landmines, or will relationships, or even a life, be lost?

Monday, November 14, 2016

My Self-Care Regimen

I know many of us find it challenging to take care of ourselves. We have a lot going on and little time to get it all done. Each of us have our own unique challenges that are no more or less difficult than our neighbours. Add to that, the world seems to be in an angry, scary place right now. War, strife, conflict, and disillusionment to name a few of the dizzying forces at work right this minute across the globe.

And some of us are headed into the holiday season, which according to an already prolific amount of commercials we need to start thinking about posthaste. I gave up on the notion of holiday perfection several years ago, that doesn't mean I'm not tempted to go overboard every. Single. Year.

I stumbled upon this micro poem by Nayyirah Waheed some time back. Beautifully said. Radically true.

all the women.
in me.
are tired.

All this means I try to practice self-care. Here are some of things I try to remember to incorporate into my week:

Restorative Yoga: Even though it's class I've paid good money to sign up for, there are weeks I'm tempted to just say home that evening. Like a lot of things, the tough part is getting there. Once I'm stretched out on my mat and doing the breathing exercises, everything else fades away.

Breathing: Deep breath in for three seconds. Deep breath out for three seconds. For three minutes. Morning and night. It really does help me focus.

Reading: One study suggested that reading for a scant six minutes can reduce stress by 68 percent!

Mindfulness: Being in the moment means I spend less time worrying about the future.

Organization: I like things to be neat and tidy therefore I embrace organization. On the other hand, if you couldn't care less about whether things are neat and tidy, don't waste time working your butt off to achieve something that doesn't matter to you.

Also, these things: massages, dancing (in private), walking, hugging, and laughing.

And don't forget to alter your self-care regimen to match the season. Fall and winter mean more baths, hot drinks, movie watching and stews and soups.

What are some of the things you do to take care of yourself?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Eschewing the Extremes

I'm a pretty laid back person for the most part.  And I think that has a lot to do with my preferences.  You see, I like everything pretty much middle of the spectrum.

I don't like spicy food for instance.  Or heavily seasoned.  Everything is created with a light hand.  For instance, my chili is savory and flavorful, but I don't use more than a dash of this or a pinch of that.  A whisper of chili powder, maybe.  Salt, pepper, dill, tarragon - everything in any dish is very light.

I don't enjoy either hot or cold weather.  Ideally, if the outside was between 60f and 80F, I'd find it heavenly.

I don't appreciate loud music but too quiet puts me to sleep. 

I don't drive fast or slow.

I don't do confrontation, but I also can't stay silent when things need saying.

I have no interest in seeking thrills, but I also can't stand being bored. 

About the only extremes I can think of that are part of my makeup are: I used to drink to excess and now I don't drink at all.  But I think with alcohol, when you reach one extreme, then embracing the other is probably the best idea.

Middle of the road.  And it works for me. 

How about you?

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Gardening Bug

I've always dreamed of having a lovely garden and beautifully landscaped grounds.  When I bought my first house back in '98, I used what little extra funds I had to purchase shrubs and perennials.  I did my best to make my place look nice.  A viburnum here, some butterfly bushes there.  Mums and marigolds and irises.  Not everything worked out.  The hydrangea I bought died quickly.  The pepper plants didn't survive either.  I think the big mulberry tree killed those, though, so I'm totally not taking the blame there.

Snowball Viburnum
Now here I am in my second house.  And once again, I had the idea to make the yard something of a showplace.  In the past three years, Hubs and I have done a boatload of work.  We had to dig up the foundation and seal it.  (Who puts in a foundation and doesn't water seal it? Ugh.)  Then we had to find a way to prevent water running down the hill from undermining the foundation.  Those two things gave me my front garden bed.
Then we put in the iris bed.
And the shade bed.
All of those are filled with plants now, of course.  (And the orange paint is gone now, thank the gods.)

It's been interesting trying to find the right plants for the right areas.  And finding plants the deer won't eat.  And finding plants that will survive with the minimal care I offer them. 

Everything was going  pretty awesome until this year.  A super hot and dry June led to a long summer which led to a lot of my plants either dying or looking pretty harsh.  My mums that were so beautiful a couple summers ago look like crap this year.  My forsythia gave one last gasp, dropped all its leaves in July and died.  My lilac bush is pathetic.  Everything I planted in the new sun bed either died or is on its way there.  (Except the marigolds.  Thank goodness for marigolds.)
It all almost makes me want to give up and let the forest reclaim the yard. 

But I have a gardening bug.  Fall is the time for planting and pruning.  It's the time for separating the iris bulbs again.  (Those are motoring right along, despite the weird weather.) Next year, the gardens may be back to their former glory.  Or they won't.  Time will tell.

What about you?  Do you like gardening?  Landscaping?  Do you do it yourself or have someone come in and do it for you?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

JB's Week in Review

Besides writing, this is what my schedule looked like last week:

Wednesday: I'm taking a class on Creating a Beautiful Life...basically I'm already doing most of what the teacher is suggesting. And yes, I DO think I have a beautiful life -- I was just looking for some extra tips. Nothing wrong with knowing you have room for improvement, right?

Thursday: I took a drive to see a friend who was in from out of state. We had lunch, laughs, and some deep, meaningful conversation. She's a balm to my soul and I felt refreshed when we parted...which was good, because there was a car fire on the bridge I had to take to get home and I sat in traffic for quite a while, lol.

Friday: I attended an evening sponsored by the local SISTERS IN CRIME chapter at a local library. A real life Crime Scene Investigator and a police detective spoke. In particular I found the CSI's perspective to be interesting. Then there was a panel with 4 mystery authors, moderated by another mystery author.  Good stuff!

Saturday: I spent the day helping someone move. I spent the evening at the home of friends who happen to be writers. Interesting conversation and shared laughs.

Sunday: My introvert day. (I needed one!)  I took the dog to a local nature preserve. It's like taking a shot of inner-peace.

Monday: I attended a NaNoWriMo planning meeting at another library. Unfortunately the turnout was low, but there was still lots of writing-related conversation.

Tuesday: I participated in the Introduction to Improv class I'm taking. A lot of hard work (for me anyway) but SOOOO much fun.

Tell me Killer Friends: 

What did YOU do last week? Any great plans for this week?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Candy Favs!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Or not, depending on how you feel about Halloween. You know who I feel the most sorry for? Teachers! They have to put up with sugar-infused kids for the next four days.

Everybody has an opinion on everything these days. And I'm no exception! Although we try not to air our dirty laundry here, I'm about to come clean. I have very strong preferences when it comes to candy. And chocolate. Although I'll eat pretty much any kind of chip out there - except type.

Recently we took a mini-vacation to a place called The West Edmonton Mall. At 5.3 million square feet, it's home to a hotel, an amusement part, a waterpark, an ice rink - just to name a few things. And many, many stores. One of which is a must stop place that's a chocolate shop delight called the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Oh my word, they have these chocolates called Bombs! I fell in love with the dark chocolate Sea Salt ones. I won't tell you how many I ate. Since I'm supposed to be avoiding dairy and sugar, it's safe to say I not only fell of the wagon I leaped off straight into bliss.

Wrapped in caramel and dipped in chocolate. Chocolate Bombs have soft chocolate centres while Tiger Bombs have chocolate and peanut butter centre that are available in plain or flavoured with almonds or peanut brittle. Milk Chocolate Bomb centres have flavours too, including plain chocolate, Oreos, peanut brittle, coconut, sea salt, almond, or English toffee with almonds. White Chocolate Bombs have cheesecake and espresso bombs come in milk or dark chocolate. 
Top Five Halloween Candy Favourites!
  1. Arrow Bars
  2. KitKat Bars
  3. Little Bags of Ripple Chips
  4. Rockets
  5. Dairy Milk Bars

Least Favourite Top Five Halloween Candies
  1. Candy Corn
  2. Little Bags of Dorritos
  3. Raisins
  4. Those individually waxy toffee candy things
  5. Cookie and Cream Bars

How about you? Favourites candies or chocolates? Dislikes? 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fun Questions

Here's a little, fun questionnaire for a Friday morning.  Nothing too taxing.  Especially if you're reading this before you've had your coffee.  (Or wakeup beverage of your choice.)

What is your wakeup beverage of choice?

What's your favorite color?

Are you wearing socks this morning?

If yes, what color?

If no, why not?

Approximately how many pairs of shoes do you own?

What's the oldest thing you own?

Think quick... What's your favorite book?

Name one thing of no monetary value that you treasure.

Who's the last person you had a long telephone conversation with?

My answers:

coffee, hunter green, yes, white, about 8, a book from the 1800s, a pine cone from the tree my sister and I planted at the house where we grew up, my mom.

Hope that was fun.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

If you don't like it, paint it

Lately I've been on a bit of a refinishing kick, so I thought I'd show you a couple things I've been working on.

I REALLY disliked these chandelier shades

but I couldn't find any that I really loved. So I decided to paint them.

NOTE 1 -- According to Martha Stewart it can be done. If Martha says it, it must be true, right?

NOTE 2 -- I was leery of the potential fire hazard that might occur so I did not paint the inside of the shades.

Here's how they turned out:

(In case you're wondering why you can see part of a UPC code, it's because I stuck the shades on water bottles while I painted them.)

(Left one shade a little crooked so that there's a view of the underside.)

I still don't love it (then again, I don't like brass) but it's an improvement.

I wish I'd taken a decent BEFORE shot of this desk, but hopefully you'll get an idea of how dark it was. What you can't see is how banged up the veneer was and how dingy the once brass-colored handles were.

Now it looks like this:

I'm THRILLED with the way this turned out.

It's the original hardware, but I used nickel-colored spray paint on it and it made all the difference.

Tell me Killer Friends: 

Is there anything you'd like to give a facelift? 
Is there anything you've refinished that you'd like to share?  
Or do you think I'm totally nuts for spending hours on this kind of stuff when it would be quicker to just buy new?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Real Men Wear Shirts

So this happened! I saw an actual book cover for a romantic suspense holiday romance with a hero on the cover sans shirt, of course, BUT wearing a jacket left tantalizingly left leaning against an outside horse coral surrounded by SNOW. Piles and piles of the white stuff. Because it's WINTER.

Seriously? All I could think was...his poor frostbitten nipples.

In case there's some confusion over the apparent shortage of men's clothing, I found some options for the poor guy.

First off, I found this at Zeus Factor. Okay, I really found it on Pinterest but the clothes are Zeus Factor, I don't know who the guy is. But look! He has on not one but two shirts and still manages to look sexy.

Woolrich Inc. says yes you can be a rancher and be warm an appealing too!

Sexy in a toque. 

Don't get me started on the firefighters! Maybe they don't wear clothes under their gear...

There's still time to enter to win my giveaway by signing up for my Newsletter! Up for grabs is a $25.00 gift certificate to one of the following: Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

I'm away this week enjoying a short vacay. At a mall! Where I'll be doing further research. If you want to follow my shenanigans find me on Instagram! What are you up to this last week of October?

Friday, October 21, 2016

My Opinion on Remakes

I am totally not a fan of remakes.  'Reboots' are especially heinous, imo.  Don't even get me started on the new 'Star Trek' movies.  I grew up watching old Star Trek episodes on TV. This new thing?  Arrgghh.

Lost in Space the TV show?  Good.  Lost in Space the movie?  Dog.  (Entertaining in its own way, but still a dog.)

About the only time it works out is if they take an really good old thing (movie, play, song, etc.) and twist it around so it has the same basic premise but it's totally different.  Like You've Got Mail, the premise of which was done in The Shop Around the Corner.  Or Ten Things I Hate About You, which is a retelling of Taming of the Shrew.  Ever hear The Lemonheads doing Mrs. Robinson.  Totally rocks in a totally different way.

Anyway, I guess I'm a stick in the mud.  Set in my ways, perhaps? 

I haven't watched Lethal Weapon the TV show yet.  Once upon a time (before both Gibson and Glover had meltdowns), I loved that movie.  This new thing?  Not even kinda interested.  I have heard some people say it's pretty good, but meh.

I read yesterday that they're doing a 'prequel' to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (One hopes they chose the original version and not that Johnny Depp thing.)  I don't really see how that's possible since Roald Dahl never wrote a before and he probably wouldn't have wanted to. 

Not sure if they've just run out of new ideas in Hollywood or what the dealie-bob is.  I only know I don't like it.  But that's me.  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Have you always wanted to write a book?

In case you don't know, National Novel Writing Month, (NaNoWriMo for short or just NaNo for even shorter) is almost upon us.

Since they explain it better than I ever could, here's the description from the NaNoWriMo site:

"National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. 
On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel."

I know, I know, it sounds intimidating...and to be honest it is quite the challenge, but it's not impossible. If you don't believe me, check out this list of best sellers that got their start as NaNo novels.
This year I'm going to try something different and I'm going to attend some in-person NaNo meetings/write-ins and I'll be sure to report in on what they're like and report in on my weekly word count progress. 
Tell me Killer Friends:  
Are you one of those people who say "I always wanted to write a book"?
Have you been a NaNoWriMo participant in the past?
Will you be NaNo-ing this year?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Small Town Inspiration and a Giveaway!

My fictional small town of Aspen Lake was inspired by a resort area I grew up close to and where I worked a summer job for a couple of years. I've talked more about settings on my author's blog and if you're interested you can check it out. My third book of the Aspen Lake series, GONE, has scenes that take place at The Back Forty Bar (and sometimes Grill), The Pines, and Grace's house. I'm hoping by sharing some snippets you'll get a feel for each place and a picture in your head.

The Back Forty Bar (Modelled after every small town bar that ever existed.)
Every available door and window were propped open anticipating a non-existent breeze. The Back Forty didn’t have air conditioning. Sweaty people swilled more beer. “If you don’t like to sweat what the hell are you doing at the lake?” was the question her boss tossed back at any outsider stupid enough to complain.
In a place where everyone knew you by your first name and judged you by what you did last night, the Back Forty put up with tourists but it catered to the locals.

The Pines (Modelled after another inn and restaurant, Banbury House Inn, in Wolseley, Saskatchewan.
Grace smoothed down the sides of the black dress she pulled out for funerals and gave the hostess her name. If you needed upscale you came to The Pines. Two brothers had overhauled the heritage building, abandoned by French aristocrats in the late nineteenth century and several owners since, and converted it into a first class steakhouse renowned for it’s cowboy cuisine. Nothing said let’s put a ring on it like popping out a jewellers box over the Pine’s Blackened Bison steak strips. Or so they said. 

Grace's House
Arms full of cat Grace walked into her kitchen unrecognizable in its current state of tidiness. Balls of yarn were stacked in a funky crate. Her hand-woven place mats rested under a sunny yellow bowl of apples. Her sister Hope stood at the kitchen counter unpacking what looked like a brand new stand mixer and beside it were a set of mixing bowls and a cluster of baking utensils.

Now for the chance at my giveaway! Sign up for my NEWSLETTER and be entered for a chance to win a $25.00 gift certificate from one of the following: Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. 

Do you love stories that take place in a small town?


Friday, October 14, 2016


Just now... "Oh, holy shit, it's Friday."

Yep, that's why I'm late.  No clue of what day of the week it is.  I've been off all week.  I seriously thought it was Saturday today.  That's what I get for looking at the schedule for tomorrow's football games first thing.

Of course, it didn't help that I started out the morning weird...

In the middle of the night last night, I got up to answer the call of nature.  And discovered a mouse on a sticky trap in the middle of the kitchen floor.  Being the middle of the night in a freezing cold house, I simply picked up the trap and put it in the garage, so I could deal with it in the morning.  This morning comes and the mouse is gone.  The mouse is gone.  The trap is gone.  No signs of where any of it could've disappeared to.  Great.  And I hadn't had any coffee yet.  So I go in to get my first cup, notice the sugar bowl is almost empty, and attempt to pour sugar into it from the canister.  And dump sugar all over the counter.  Screw that.  I left the sugar.  I filled my mug and took it into the office where I could enjoy my first caffeine of the day along with my first nicotine.

I'm better now.  Cleaned up the sugar.  Found the sticky trap - sans mouse.  The day is looking up.  Then I remember it's Friday morning and I haven't done this post yet.  AND I have no clue what to write about anyway, because I'm lame my creative well is dry.

So here we are. 

How's your Friday morning going?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hitwoman Flash Fiction -- An Armani led Seance

Big thanks to B.E. and Karyn for holding down the fort while I was gone.

In February I'll be taking part in the COASTAL MAGIC CONVENTION which promises to be a lot of fun.

As a featured author I was asked to write a piece of flash fiction for Grave Tells.

I love writing flash (short!) fiction based on prompts, but I must admit that including Fundies was a bit of challenge!

Still, I think that they make perfect sense in Maggie's world so make sure to check out Maggie, Armani and God in my original piece HERE.

And hey, if you want to join me at Coastal Magic (fun, sun, authors...some people might find that combo heavenly) make sure to do that too!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Better Late Than Never!

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada!

We celebrated with all the usual food groups of turkey, gravy and pie. As usually happens when I'm cooking there is drama involved. We ate an hour later than we had originally intended on account of me trying to cook the turkey on broil instead of bake. Encase you're interested, it doesn't work. Thank goodness there was baseball to watch and our Toronto Blue Jays won! Sorry Texas fans...

Last year the power went out for five hours. Thank goodness for barbecues.

See always something to be thankful for!

Here's to everyone having a great rest of the week. And if it can't be great I hope it's manageable.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Reading Old Books

I stop by the thrift store on a semi-regular basis to load up on books.  Which means, for the most part, old books.  The local thrift store here rarely has anything new.  The majority of their offerings are, I'd say, from the '70s, '80s, and '90s.  Those work for me sometimes, but I prefer older.  Especially when it comes to crime novels. 

They're easy to spot.  Their covers have a certain style - even when I can only see the spine.  Pull 'em out, take a look, and if they're something that sounds interesting to me, put 'em in the stack.  At 25c each, I don't even care if I end up with a dog. 

Of course, sometimes they fall apart in my hands.  They're old, so it's expected.  I was reading one the other day and I kept having to jam the pages back together so I could hold it.  Most of the time, though, they're solid. 

My copy of I, The Jury is like that - old and falling apart.  I keep looking for a new old copy, but that one's hard to find.  Most people who have that book want to keep it.  (If you haven't read it, get thee hence.)

Anyway, like I intimated, some of these older crime stories are dogs.  For the most part, though, I'm finding 'new-to me' authors to love who have a backlist that could keep me reading until the day I part ways with existence.  Rex Stout - author of the Nero Wolfe books - is a new favorite of mine.  Sax Rohmer - author of the Charlie Chan books - is another.  I just picked up four books from a series by an author I found by reading one of his 'non-series' books - Donald Hamilton.  It was excellent, so I hope his series is excellent, too. 

Oh, I'm still reading newer books, too.  I sprinkle them between the older books. 

I like to think reading the old books makes me write better.  And reading new books keeps me fresh.  But, then again, I read everything according to my whims, so whether any of this actually helps with my writing is for the readers to decide.  All I know is I love reading.

What are some older crime titles you've read and loved?  Any suggestions for me to keep an eye out for when I'm at the thrift store?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Here's What's Up In October!

It's October but you probably already knew that. I started this month off with a very author-type activity by giving an author reading, along with Annette Bower, at the very lovely Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre. Annette, by the way, pens entertaining as well as thought provoking women's fiction with romantic elements and has a new book out called Fearless Destiny.

I also bought a new daily planner for my writing life.

 I'd share some of my answers to the Currently: This Month feature with you.

Reading: The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern, which is our book pick for this month. I'm listening to Kylie Scott's Dirty from her Dive Bar series. And on the nonfiction front I'm reading Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course by Jerry Cleaver.

Planning: I'm organizing a giveaway for this month at my website and am working out the details.

Watching: The Blacklist, Blindspot, and Chicago P.D. I call this research!

Cooking: Gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free meals. Yeah...sounds crazy restrictive, I know. But it makes my stomach happy.

Eating: See above.

Drinking: Tea and water, as I've decided a detox is in order after a bit of a free range summer attitude.

Pinning: Fall clothes. This is my favourite time of year. 

Crafting: insert laughter

Writing: I added this one! I'll be working diligently on finishing Mike and Grace's story, my 3rd Aspen Lake book. Seriously, I'm going to finish it. Finally.

Also, we'll be celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in October too! What plans do you have for October?