Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Morning Breakfast Serial/Boone Carter

"I don't know yet."  I admitted.  "But I'm going to find out." 

I realized I'd just basically told him what the old woman specifically told me not to.   Oh well.  She'd be pissed if she found out, and there'd probably be some nasty consequences.  But hey, Rock/Hard place and all that.  Besides, if I was actually going to do anything I'd need access to information, the kind of information "Jimmy" was in a perfect position to give me.  And I like collecting my paycheck.  So sue me.

"What do you need from me?"

I asked for the usual, a recent photo, address, hangouts, names and contact information for friends.  He gave me everything he had, although how accurate it would be was up for grabs.  Parents think they know their adult kids--and in a way they do.  But most of the time the memories of the child and the teenager get tangled up with and color a parent's perception of current reality.  Sometimes that works to everybody's benefit.  Most parents don't want to believe that "their" Melody is a strung out meth head, turning tricks for the money to score.  Unless there's something seriously twisted about the relationship most kids don't want their parents to realize it either.  So there's a tacit agreement that makes everybody happy.  All right, maybe not happy.  But happier. 

Yeah, yeah, there are exceptions.  But most of the time it's been my experience that nobody knows anybody as well as they think they do:  Husbands, wives, parents, kids, friends, lovers, what have you.  We all have secrets.  Bet on it.

Carmichael reached into his back pocket, pulled a photo from his wallet and passed it across the table.  "I want you on this full time.  I'll tell Joe.  You'll get your salary.  But this is all you work on, until it's fixed.  My mother is a real piece of work.  But she's never wrong about shit like this.  So you fix it.  Whatever it takes.  Got it?"

I took the photo.  "I'm going to tell you exactly what I told your mother.  I'll find out what's going on, and I'll tell you whatever it is.  If I can fix it legally, I will.  But I won't do anything that's going to land me in jail.  You want that, you'll have to get somebody else."

He didn't like it any better than the old lady had.  "Aren't we the fussy one."

How bitchy.  I stayed calm, kept a pleasant expression on my face.  Carmichael and his mother have money and power.  They're used to getting what they want.  They're not used to a peon like me telling them no, particularly when they waive lots and lots of dollar signs in front of them.  I understand that.  Don't like it much.  But I understand it just fine.  So I kept my voice level and pleasant when I answered.  "I have a strong sense of self preservation.  I'll find out what's going on.  And I'll pass on whatever I find.  What you do with the information is up to you.  Fair enough?"

"It'll do."

I was going out the door as Darlene was headed back in.  I held it open for her, and was rewarded with a big smile, a whole-body wiggle, and two of the four burritos.  No donuts, but hey, life's not perfect. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Saturday Evening Post

People aren't commenting. 
Hmn...  surely it doesn't mean I'm BORING. 

NAH.  Couldn't be.

And even if I am, my guests aren't. 

So I have to figure that it's going to be a long, slow haul getting people talking about the blog.  Especially since (according to all the right people) blogs are DEAD unless you've already got an established following. 

So followers---ESTABLISH ME BABY.  I wanna be the ESTABLISHMENT.  LOL.

The one I want the most comments on though, the one that I need feedback for, is the serial.  I need to know if you're liking Boone.

On a totally different note (B flat?  C (Cie/See) sharp?)

Today I'm in the middle of about a thousand day-to-day things.  Laundry, housework, writing the first book of the new series that I wanted to have done before the end of the year, but life intervened.  The cats got sick in the laundry basket that had all of my socks.  Had to wash what seemed like a thousand socks.  Seriously, the drying rack, the entire clothesline, all socks. How in the HECK did I get that many socks?  I only have two feet.  If I wore a pair a day (assuming that none of them are "stray" socks, which, of course, isn't true.  There are bound to be a BUNCH of unmatched socks in the batch) I probably have enough socks to wear a different pair for most of a year.  HOLY CRAP-WTF? 

Whatever.  I've got a ton to do.  No time to do it.  And it's sunny and pretty out, so that there's a part of me that SERIOUSLY wants to play hooky (How in the H do you spell hooky/hookey/hookie?)


Apparently there is going to be a super bowl commercial with an updated FERRIS BUELLER.


Okay, off to the salt mines.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Visiting Dignitary Kristan Higgins!


Guys, I met Kristan on the Levy tour a few years ago. Since then she's had great success writing what I consider to be a perfect blend of romance and humor -- with dogs. Please give her a warm welcome. (Shouts and applause inserted here.)

Yay! Thank you, Cie! Happy to be here!

 So, I've got to ask -- WHY DOGS?

Because dogs rule! That’s why! Let’s face it: if our dogs could take on male human form, we’d marry them. They’re loving, faithful, only want to be with us…and if they eat a shoe here or there, hey. Small price to pay.

 Seriously, I’ve been a dog person all my life. NOT having a dog would be weird to me, so my heroines just naturally had pooches. The exception is Lucy from The Next Best Thing; she has a cat named Fat Mikey. And Posey in Until There Was You owns three cats…well, they own her, let’s be honest.

Most people take romance, love and passion very seriously, and I'm sure you do too, but there's definitely humor in all of your books thatI've read. Why do you choose a lighter, funnier approach?

 It’s just part of who I am. I think I can get as emotional as anyone, but life generally puts us in a stew of emotions, rather than doling one out at a time. I think romance novels make readers feel good by delivering on the promise of a happy ending; I want my readers to feel good all the way through, and even better at the happy ending. That being said, if you don’t cry at least once while reading one of my books, I’ll feel a bit disappointed.

 When did you start writing? Was it always your goal/passion, or did you stumble into writing after another career? If so, what did you do before?
 It wasn’t always my passion by a long stretch. Reading was my passion (is my passion). I worked in PR and advertising for about 10 years before I gave writing fiction a try, so I’d always had those muscles in action, as it were. When my kids (now teenagers) were little, I wanted to find something to do that was just for me, as opposed to grinding up homemade baby food or taking the kids to the duck pond. I also wanted to continue to be astay-at-home mommy and somehow contribute to the family finances, so I said, “You know, Higgins, you’ve certainly read enough romance novels in your life. Bet you could write one.” And the rest, as they say, is history.

 It wasn’t easy, of course; nothing worthwhile is. But it was joyful work, so I knew I was onto something right.

 If you were stuck on a desert island with one of your characters, who would it be? Why?

 Oh, lawd have mercy, that’s a tough one! I’m going to have to say my current hero, because I’m totally smitten with him (obsessed is another word). His name is Levi. That’s all you’re gonna get. Okay, okay, I’ll tell you more. Hot, brooding…sleepy blue eyes, reluctant smile, unconventionally heroic. Sigh!

What animal is closest to your personality? (If you were an animal instead of a person, what would you be?)

 I would be the majestic Lone Wolf, Cie, roaming the dark, cold forests of the North—oh, wait, that’s not quite right, is it? How about a giraffe? I’m pretty laid back, like to hang out with others and eat. Giraffes always seem to be eating, so that works for me.

 Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind?

 I do, and it’s terrible. I think I have OCD when it comes to music and writing because I listen to one song over and over and over. I do a vast and exhaustive search, usually with the help of my Facebook fans, and try to find a song that suits the mood of the book, or one scene in the book. Once I’ve found it, that’s all I play. In the car, at home, in my office, and if I had to live with myself, I’d kill me. Currently, the song is Us Against the World by Coldplay. I’ve currently played it 224 times on my computer. But I’m only chapter four. And for the record, I have no idea what Chris Martin meant this song to express; I only know what it means to me and this book.

I’ve found that having The Song puts me in the mood to write almost immediately. A Pavlovian response, if you will, and as you know, writing is hard, so I’ll take any help I can get.

Do YOU have any pets?

I certainly do! I have a rescued mutt named Willow, who is tremendously adorable and snuggly. And I am owned by a cat named Huck, whom we adopted from a shelter. I’m a big believer in rescuing and adopting animals. I don’t think I’d ever buy a dog or cat when there are so many in need of homes. Will get off my soapbox now.

What's one bit of advice you'd give to aspiring writers (and is itokay if I post this on the website I share with Cathy?)


 My advice to writers is this: believe in yourself, and get over yourself. You CAN become a published author. It’s hard, and you may have a long road in front of you, but if you believe and work toward that goal and do what you need to do, whatever that might be, you can do it! Everyone who really wants it can get it. I truly believe that.

And then the second part—get over yourself. I think being hard on myself is one of the reasons I’ve gotten this far. I don’t think I’m all that, in other words, but I do think I work hard, I feel deeply and I try really, really hard to write a great book. The day I think I’m amazing is the day my career starts to tank.

You have a fairly extensive catalog at this point. Would youcare to share a link or give us a list? What do you have coming out in 2012.

All my books are listed on my website in the bookshelf section., and on my Facebook page, My ninth book comes out in April; it’s called SOMEBODY TO LOVE, and readers will see some familiar faces including…yes!…Maloner the Loner. He seems to have a cult devoted to him. At any rate, readers will visit Gideon’s Cove, Maine, once again for a new story in which Malone and Maggie and a bunch of great characters from CATCH OF THE DAY all appear. That epilogue you guys wanted for Maggie and Malone? It’s in there. 
Who are some of your favorite authors, and why?

That’s always a tough question because there are literally about a hundred authors whose work means so much to me. In romance, they’re Eloisa James, Robyn Carr, Jill Shalvis, Rachel Gibson, Sherry Thomas, JuliaQuinn. But I also love Thomas Hardy, Edith Wharton and Stephen King. My taste is eclectic. Sue me.

 What's a fun fact about you that most readers don't know?

Oh, let’s see. I had a horse named Jenny when I was growing up. I was probably thrown at least 100 times (she was a naughty horse), andthis was back in the days when we rode without helmets. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

 Well, thanks for coming by. I really enjoyed having you here. I'm hoping to run into you at one of the cons sometime soon. Again, thanks.

Thanks, Cie! It’s lovely to visit with you again, even if it’s via the web. Hope to see you soon, too!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cheating a Little/The Sunday Morning Breakfast Serial

Okay, it's Saturday morning.  I actually slept in to 6:30!!!  WHOOO HOO.

My schedule for the next few weeks is completely nutsoid.  There are edits coming back.  I'm finishing a book.  (Which is taking much longer than it should because of said nuttiness.)  There are Visiting Dignitary interviews to go out, come back, be posted, the blog, and, of course, this story. 

I am about to make a confession.  I cannot keep 3 worlds straight in my head for any length of time.  Just doesn't work.  I drop the ball somewhere.  Since I don't want any of the three to be crap I have made a decision.  (Don't panic.  It's not what you think.  Keep reading.)

Instead of writing the serial in segments off the top of my head for the next month or so, I'm going to do one massive(ish) shift of writing today on it, break it into chunks, and schedule it to post on the next several Sunday mornings.  Then I can get my head where it needs to be for the book and (toes crossed, fingers are for typing) have it done when the edit letter comes back.  Maybe.  I hope. 

But before I do that, I'm going to give you all a chance to catch up (or get started if you haven't been following yet).  Below is the Sunday Morning Breakfast Serial Boone Carter to date:
Who in the Hell is Boone Carter?

“This is Boone Carter. I have good news and I have bad news.” I spoke into the cell phone. It was an old one, a little bigger than they make them now, so I didn't feel like I was talking into a credit card. It also had the advantage of being cheap. It was a pre-paid model, the kind they call a“burn phone” on tv. But I've had it longer than my most recent apartment. Then again, that's not saying all that much. I tend to be pretty mobile.

“Tell me.” The client sounded tense. Then again, from what I could tell Melodee Bigbee was always tense. Probably the meth. But maybe just her nature. I didn't know. Didn't much care either.

“The good news is, I found your car. The bad news, the police are going to be asking you lots of question and I'm not sure you're ever going to get the smell out.”

She started swearing and hung up on me. I wasn't surprised. I'd be willing to bet that a visit from the cops would be a life-changing experience for Melodee, and not in a good way. Particularly not when they were going to be asking her questions about the murder of her dealer/boyfriend-maybe-commonlaw-husband Dirk. Ah well, not my problem. She'd paid me to find the car. I found the car.
I closed the cell phone and slid it into the back pocket of my worn jeans.
"Let me guess," Trey said "she hung up on you."
Trey shook his head, smirking. Let him smirk. I've got a thick skin. And I learned a long time ago to get paid, in cash, in advance. None of this "in trade for sex" or whatever crap. Show me the Benjamins or I walk. It's one thing Trey and I absolutely agree on.

Trey Jefferson is my current roommate. His full name is Theodore Thomas Jefferson III. He hates it. So he goes by Trey. Trey is everything I'm not: Small, wiry, and black, he's quick, and clever. He gets a lot of exercise jumping to conclusions. I stand 6'7" in my bare feet, am whiter than your average lily, and tend to think things through very carefully before I take any action. The latter is a product of my "colorful" upbringing.

I met Trey at my most recent job. I'm a roofer for Carmichael & Sons Roofing Professionals in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I wandered out here in search of sunlight and warmth after spending a couple years working on cleaning up the aftermath of Katrina and establishing my identity. We hit it off well enough. He needed a roommate. I needed a place. So far it's worked out better than most of my living arrangements. Trey knows enough not to ask too many questions.

Smart man.


Trey and I clattered down the stairs to my battered old pick-up. We needed to hustle if we were going to make it to work on time. No surprise. It's like this every day. Every day I swear I won't wait for his sorry ass; and every day as I'm headed to the truck to leave without him he comes dashing down after me, swearing under his breath and threatening a whole lot of shit he has no intention of actually doing to me.

When we reached the front door, though, I stopped in my tracks suddenly enough that Trey rammed into me from behind.

"What the . . ." he complained.

"We have company."

He shoved past me to look out through the lace curtains that adorned the window built into the front door. His eyes went wide. "A limo."


"And they've blocked in the truck."

"Right again."

He gave me a long look. "You know somebody owns a limo?"

"No. You?"


"Who do you 'spose it is?"

"Only one way to find out." I pulled open the door and we strolled out onto the porch. Trey waited as I pulled the door closed and set the deadbolt. It was a waste of time really--what good is a deadbolt on a wooden door that is almost half window? But old Mrs. Cunningham gets pissy if we leave it unlocked, and she's the landlady.

Trey and I walked over to the limo together.

The car was a 2010 Rolls Royce Phantom, cream colored with long, beautiful lines. Nothing tacky about this number. Pure elegance. The driver was pretty elegant too--a leggy blonde with wide blue eyes, her short hair slicked back under the traditional driver's cap. Her gray driver's uniform was fairly effective at hiding her figure, but there's only so much camoflage can do when a girl's got a body like that.

"Which of you gentlemen is Boone Carter?" She asked.

I raised my hand. "That would be me."

The blonde opened the door to the rear compartment. "Get in," she ordered. I stepped forward. When Trey started to follow she blocked his path. "No. This is a private conversation between Mr. Carter and the boss."

I took a look inside the passenger compartment of the limo. The only person there was a little white-haired old lady. Maybe eighty pounds, and probably at least eighty years old. I was betting I could take her in a straight-up fight. Reaching into my pocket I pulled out my truck keys and tossed them back to my roommate. "It's all right. You take the truck. I'll meet you at the job site."

He looked at me doubtfully. I've never let him drive the truck. It's not much of a vehicle, but it's all I've got. I don't usually trust him with it because he has the attention span of a gnat on speed. He's always distracted. He can't help it. But today I was willing to take a risk. Mainly because I was curious. Who was the old girl and what did she want with me?

"You're sure."

"Positive. Just don't wreck it."

"I," he assured me with a huge grin, "am a great driver."

Yeah, right. And if you believe that one I've got this land in Florida . . . I sighed and climbed in the limo. Either my truck would make it to the job site in one piece or it wouldn't. I'd made my choice. Still, I felt a little chill run down my spine when the driver closed the door with a solid, almost ominous, thunk.

I sat across from the "boss" my weight sinking into butter soft carmel colored leather that still had that new car smell. The woman across from me watched me with the bright dark eyes of a bird magnified only a little by the pair of rimless glasses she wore. She wasn't a beautiful woman, never had been. Even softened by age and wrinkles her features were too harsh for that. But she was striking, and impeccably neat. Not a wrinkle marred the dark rose suit she wore, and her jewelry was both conservative, and obviously expensive. Even if the limo hadn't clued me in, I would've known she had money. She wasn't being crass about it. Wealth was just a fact of her existence, like the sun and the tides.

"Mr. Carter."


I heard the front door slam, and the car started up. A moment later we pulled smoothly away from the curb. We sat in silence for a few blocks. I wondered if we were following Trey in the truck. The driver hadn't asked for a destination. I did hope I'd wind up at the work site eventually. I like my job, and Mr. Carmichael has no sense of humor about missing work.

"You're not much of a talker." She observed.

"I figured you'll tell me what you want when you're ready."

She gave me what might have been a smile, or not, just a bitter little twist of the lips. "My son is Jimmy Carpenter Carmichael."

"Jimmy" Carmichael, as in Mr. Carmichael the owner of the company I worked for. So maybe I wouldn't get in trouble for being late. Assuming, of course, she told him we'd met.

"Jimmy is a good boy." She told me. I didn't mention that at 56 he was twice my age and hardly a 'boy'. He was her son. He'd always be a boy to her. "A little weaker than I'd like. Not like his father was, or even his brother Ron."

I'd worked with James Carmichael long enough to know he wasn't exactly a sissy boy. Which meant that Mr. Carmichael Sr. had probably been a world class asshole. Ron, had been the Carmichael's older son. If rumors were to be believed he'd been killed in a bar fight. He may have been tough, but obviously someone had been tougher. Then again, there always is.

"So I can't count on him to do what's necessary."

I didn't like where I thought this was heading, but I kept my mouth shut. I've found I can keep myself out of an awful lot of trouble just by staying quiet.

She paused, waiting for me to say something. When I didn't she gave me an irritated look over the top of her glasses.

"I need someone smart, tough, and ruthless. I had someone check discreetly with the men working for my son. Your name came up repeatedly. They also say you do odd jobs for people, for a price."

"That would depend on the job."

"And the price I assume."

Not necessarily. But I wasn't about to tell her that---yet. "What exactly did you have in mind?"


The limo dropped me off a block from the worksite. Apparently Mrs. Carmichael didn't want her "boy" knowing what she was up to. I didn't mind. It gave me time to think. I had a lot to think about.

Jacob Chester.


I really hoped it wasn't him. But it probably was. And if it was, Mrs. C was right. Jacob is, was, and always has been, someone with his "eyes on the prize." Just not the prize Mrs. C was thinking of.

Not that he wouldn't take the girl's money. He would. In a red hot second. He'd also take the girl, up to the mountains, to the Children of Abraham encampment where she would be indoctrinated so thoroughly that, if she ever was seen again, her own parents might not even recognize her.

I'm a big fan of God, think he/she does great work. I mean, take a look at the Grand Canyon, a waterfall, the average sunset. Pet a kitten, watch a puppy romp. Look at a newborn baby in its mother's arms. God is good. The Children of Abraham are not. They are a cult, pure and simple, created by Abraham Keene out of his enormous ego, greed, and lust for power.

I'd know.

I was a Child of Abraham. 

# # #

I arrived at work fifteen minutes late, and caught hell from the foreman for it. He was standing toe to toe with me, pointing his index finger into the middle of my chest and shouting when Mr. Carmichael came up.

"That's enough Joe. He gets the message."

Joe turned, mouth open to argue, until he realized just who it was talking to him. His eyes got dark, and narrowed, but he didn't argue. He just stepped back a couple of paces, giving me a look that said as clearly as words that this isn't over. I didn't doubt that. Not for a minute. Joe Sanchez hates me. Pure and simple. Don't know why. Don't particularly care, either. I show up every day, on time, do a good job, I keep my nose clean, don't argue or mouth off. So he doesn't have any ammo to fire me. But he would if he could.

"Boone, come with me to the office. We need to talk." Mr. Carmichael smiled, nice and friendly. It just pissed Joe off more. Carmichael cared even less than I did. Old Mrs. C might not think he was tough, but everybody on the site sure did. If Joe crossed him, Carmichael would fire his ass faster than you can say jackrabbit, despite the fact that Joe's worked for the company twenty years and has a passel of young kids to raise.

I followed Carmichael to the corner of the site where one of those classic silver Airstream travel trailers was parked. For small jobs it stays on the company lot. But we'd won the bid to re-roof all of the dorm buildings for the local college, so we were going to be here a while, and the old man wanted to be on site making there were no grounds for complaint about how we behaved around the co-eds. Thus far, everybody'd been behaving pretty well. A couple of guys got injured because they were distracted by some sunbathers, but that had been bound to happen.

Carmichael climbed the trio of metal steps and opened the door "Darlene," he called. "Go buy yourself some breakfast or something."

"Yessir." Darlene hustled up from the back, where the bedroom area had been converted into an office. She took the twenty he pulled from his wallet with a big smile. "Can I get you anything?"

"Naw. I'm good. And Boone here won't be staying long."

"All righty then." She squeezed through the doorway past the boss with a little extra wiggle and teetered off toward the parking lot where the "BurritoMan" truck was waiting. We both watched her go. Today she was dressed in jeans that were practically painted on, and that had been bedazzled as heavily as one of Elvis' jumpsuits. Big hair, big boobs, high heels: she was flashy, a little trashy, and hard as nails. But somehow the whole thing worked for her---at least as far as Carmichael was concerned. I pretended not to see his hand twitch as he fought not to patt her on the ass as she passed.

"Come in. Sit down." He gestured through the door at the built-in dining area across from the miniscule kitchenette.

When I was comfortably seated he pulled a pair of cups from the cabinet, pouring us each a cup of coffee. He set mine in front of me and took a seat.

"So, tell me Boone. What did my mother want you to do that she doesn't want me to know about?"


I took a long pull from the coffee, buying myself time to decide how to answer.  The drink was smooth, rich , but with enough caffeine to give me the requisite kick in the ass to start the day.  You'd think it was a completely different beverage than the harsh brew the "BurritoMan" serves of the same name.

Carmichael stared at me.  He started out with a good, hard glare.  But as I took my time his eyes started to sparkle, and the muscle at the corner of his mouth began to twitch.  A relief really.  I didn't want to piss him off.  I like my job, and I'm good at it.  Also, unlike a lot of the folks I've worked for he doesn't have 'cash flow problems.'  He makes his payroll.  On time.  Every time. 
"Let me guess, she told you not to talk?"

I smiled.

"Okay, fair enough.  I'll tell you what I think.  You just sit there.  Don't say a thing.  I'll know when I'm getting warm."

I wasn't too sure about that.  I'm an excellent poker player.  On the other hand, keeping the boss happy is seldom a bad thing.  So maybe I'd be a little less stoic than usual.  Or not.  Either way, I was stuck here.  Might as well enjoy the coffee, make the best of it.

"It's a family thing.  Mom only sticks her nose in on family business." 

I sipped my coffee.

Carmichael smiled, sure he was right.  "Okay, it's not me.  She knows better than to interfere in my life."

I doubted that, but kept my mouth shut and wished, heartily, for something to eat.  If it hadn't been for Mrs. C I'd have arrived in time to buy myself a breakfast burrito.  Now I wouldn't be seeing any food until lunch.  Dammit. 

"So, I have three daughters.  Amanda's married, moved off to Utah.  No problems there.  Paid off the ex and she's remarried, so she's out.  That leaves the twins -- Cookie and Candi."

I didn't say anything, unless you count my stomach growling, which it did . . . loudly.  Carmichael rolled his eyes.  Hauling himself awkwardly up from his chair he strode down to the door, threw it open and bellowed loud enough to be heard in the next county.  "Darlene, grab me a couple burritos."  He glanced back at me, taking in my size and changed his mind.  "Make that four of 'em, and a couple of donuts."  He slammed the door and stomped back over.

"Where was I?"

"Cookie and Candi."  I prompted him.  After all, he was buying breakfast, and the coffee really was excellent.  I'd have to find out what blend it was.  Maybe I'd get some for the coffeemaker back home.  Of course I'd probably have to share it with Trey.  But still, it might be worth it.

"Right."  He turned the chair backward and swung his leg around it.  Leaning forward, he rested his forearms on the chair back.  It was supposed to look casual, tough and masculine.  But he was too short to really do it well.  He looked uncomfortable as hell.  But I didn't say anything.  Nope. 

"Cookie is tough and smart.  She can handle herself."

I didn't laugh.  I didn't snort.  Hard as it was, I maintained my composure.  Even when the words 'a tough cookie' flashed through my mind. 

"So, it has to be Candi."

Bingo.  Right on the money.   I took another sip of coffee and prayed he wouldn't say Candi was sweet.  I mean, my self control is good.  But there's only so much a man can handle---boss or no.

Carmichael stopped talking. Just . . . stopped. He was thinking hard enough that I could almost hear the gears whirring, half-expected smoke to come out of his ears. After what seemed like an eternity he looked me straight in the eyes and asked a question I had no answer for -- yet.

"How much trouble is my little girl in?"

# # #

Saturday, January 21, 2012


ALL RIGHTY GUYS -- The "rain" has let up.  SO I can now post a bonus Visiting Dignitary.  I give to you a wonderful guy and terrific writer.  BRAD SINOR (WILD APPLAUSE AND CHEERING PLEASE).

Hi Brad!  It's been a while, but I hope you and Sue are doing well.  Thanks for stopping by the blog.

I’m glad to be here

So, what have you been up to lately?

Writing like a madman at times. It seems like I finish one story and there are several more that are waiting to be done. I’m currently editing a novella, attempting to get a long delayed collaborative story finished, working on another collaboration (my collaborator just sent me her additions to the manuscript), I have one novel waiting to be edited, another waiting to be finished and I’m researching and outlining another. Spare time? Hmmm…isn’t that between 3:10 and 3:15 a.m.?

Any new projects out? 

I had a new collection of stories come out last year, along with a Where The Shadows Began and Other Stories from Merry Blacksmith Press, along with a bunch of short stories in various anthologies; like the revived Heroes in Hell series

What's your calendar like for the next few months?

I have a story in The Many Faces of Arsene Lupin (Black Coat Press) coming in the next couple of months, I’ll also have a story in the next entry in the Heroes in Hell series, Adventurers in Hell which will be out soon. There are several other things but I don’t have release dates for them yet.

You have a pretty substantial backlist, when did you start writing?

The earliest thing I can remember writing was scripts for comic books when I was in grade school. I started submitting stuff in high school but that all got rejected. Thankfully copies of what I was writing then no longer exist.

Can you give us a link to your full backlist and where we can get copies? I’ll be setting up a new website in the next few months and will have a full bibliography there.

Right now you can find most of my stuff through Amazon. Also if you check the Grantville Gazette website, which is part of the 1632 series created by Eric Flint you will find stories I have done, in collaboration with the highly talented Tracy Morris, in various issues.

If you had to be stuck on a desert island for say, a week, with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

Now that’s a tough one. Probably it would be Lancelot du Lac (yes, the dude from Camelot). I’ve done 5 stories about him and have more planned. Yes, he’s a vampire but I don’t hold that against him. Besides he’s survived for over 1,400 years so he would have to have some serious survival skills, not to mention some really neat stories to tell; he did hang out with King Arthur and Merlin after all!

Who are some of your favorite authors? 

You mean besides myself or Sue? (Grin). Seriously though in SF/Fantasy that would probably be C.J. Cherryh.. In mystery/thriller that would have to Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. In the horror genre Christopher Golden, Brian Keene and Jonathan Maberry.

 What draws you to their work?

They create characters that you care about, that you want to see survive even though the world itself is teetering on the brink, and in some cases has gone over the edge, of totally insanity.

Do you listen to music when you write?  Very rarely.

If so, what?

When I do it’s usually instrumental stuff, Celtic and jazz with a mixture of some movie sound tracks thrown in.

What one bit of advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Write, write and then go back and write some more. Don’t try to look at a market and see what the hot trend is, write the story that you want to read.

Would it be all right if I post this onto the website I share with Cathy?

Of course.

I have to admit I had huge fun doing The Rosie Hughes Project (for those of you who don't know what it was, I did a "blog ring" with Brad, Sue,  Cathy Clamp, Rachel Caine and Jackie Kessler that was based its very own vampire mythos.  It was a HOOT.  You can follow it by looking in my blog for "The Rosie Hughes Project" and following links). 

I had a blast doing my part of it. Maybe at some point we can come up with a way to do a print version or perhaps an e-book.

What other fun things have you been doing with other authors, if any? 

Actually I am. Sue and I are collaborating on a new story. Tracy Morris and I have started work on the 5th story in a series we are doing, people keep telling me its funny and I credit that all to her.

Will you be at any of the cons this year for appearances?  (Note to readers -- 'Rosie' was cooked up in the computer room of one of the cons.)

Sue and I will be attending ConDFW in Feb., then there will be several cons in May and June.

Thanks so much for coming by.  Hope to see you and Sue soon!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


LADIES AND GENTLEMEN -- Faith Hunter is our Visiting Dignitary this week and has decided to give us a very different take on the usual "interview".  Instead of interviewing Faith, we will have a Chinese Portrait of Jane Yellowrock and Beast.  ENJOY!  And thank you so much Faith!

Chinese Portraits have been around for years, but they are a Q&A interview unlike any other. Instead of the usual, “Tell us how you got started writing,” type of query, the questions in a Chinese Portrait dig deeper, into the psyche of a person (or a character) and reveal the hidden depths. Or, God forbid, the lack of them!

Jane Yellowrock is the main character of the series that bears her name. Skinwalker, BloodCross, Mercy Blade, and Raven Cursed are the current books, with out in Oct. 2012. Author Faith Hunter

Chinese portrait of Jane Yellowrock and Beast

If you were a work of art?
Jane: A fine, handmade blade, with a crosshatched handle for a good grip. Oh yes!
Beast: (Chuffs in displeasure. Flicks ear tabs, annoyed.) What is art? Beast does not need blade. Beast has claws and killing teeth. I am not some word I do not understand. Not silly game I do not understand.
Jane: Art is like a painting or a … Never mind.

If you were a quality?
Jane: I would want to be strong, like the oak that bends but doesn’t break, or the willow that flows with the wind rather than trying to stand up to it. Lately, my life nothing but fighting and trouble and I need the calm strength of nature. I need a vacation, maybe camping near a river.
Beast: (Chuffs.) Silly Jane. Jane cannot be tree. Jane is animal. But Jane is alone and needs mate. Strong mate. I would look for good mate for Jane.
Jane: That’s not what a quality is, Beast. A quality is—
Beast: Good hunter. I am good hunter. (Turns nose away.) Hunter is good quality. Silly humans.

If you were a flaw?
Jane: for the last few months I’ve been nothing but guilt, even though most of the poop-hits-fan-stuff has not been my fault. Hmmm. I need to stop being guilty.
Beast: Beast is good hunter. Beast has no flaws. (Flicks up ear tab and looks away, bored. Spots movement out the window. Squirrels racing around tree.) Squirrels are small and tasty but hard to catch. One bite and gone. Need deer.
Jane: We’re in the middle of an interview, here.
Beast: (Huffs with disdain.) Want to hunt.

If you were a sound?
Jane: Hmmm. The sound of blades clashing.
Beast: Jane needs mate. Should be sounds of mating. Want Bruiser. And Leo. And Rick. (Chuffs and shows Jane image of very big bed. Covers are slashed by claws.)
Jane: Oh crap. We can talk about this later. Later!

If you were a song/music?
Jane: (Shakes off irritation with Beast.) I like drums. Something primitive and building in tempo and intensity. Something I can dance to.
Beast: Scream of Puma concolor. Scream–song that challenges, that claims hunting ground.

If you were a word?
Jane: I would be persistent. Unrelenting and determined. Of course, when my writer was growing up, she was told that persistence was the Devil’s finest quality, so perhaps that isn’t such a good word after all.
Beast: I am Beast and beast. Do not understand this game. Need to hunt, to bring deer. (Looks around. Squirrels are gone.)  No deer here. Rabbit? Goat? Writer wrote new scene. She let me eat a goat in book 5.
Jane: She did what?!?
Beast: (Huffs with laughter) I like writer. She feeds me.

If you were a book?
Jane: (Looks back at previous question-and-answers. Worries. Shakes head. Sighs.) Dangerous question, that. You know. Since I’m in a series. If I pick one I’m not in, will I disappear?
Beast: Not a book. (Lifts lips to show killing teeth.) Not a book.

If you were a motto/a quotation?
Jane: Have Stakes Will Travel.
Beast: Embrace Your Inner Beast.
Jane: (laughs)

If you were a movie?
Jane: The Vampire Lestsat. Or the Buffy TV shows.
Beast: Born Free. (Huffs with amusement.)
Jane: (Rolls eyes.)

If you were a time period?
Jane: Anytime where women can wear pants. Fighting in a dress is just stupid.
Beast: Time before yunega came and made Cherokee to leave land in mountains, and then took trees, and burned the land. White man is evil. Time before he came was good time. (Turns away.) Stupid question.

If you were a personage of fiction?
Jane: Hmmm. Cat woman?
Beast: (Snorts with amusement) Jane is cat woman.

If you were an animal?
Jane and Beast look at one another.
Jane: Ummm. Have you not read my books?

Faith Hunter

Life, the Universe and Everything

Okay, went back to the oral surgeon.  The incisions are not infected, just healing a bit slowly.  Good news.  As long as it's not infected I'm going back on the exercise track.  Which is cool.  All of the weight I had re-gained over Christmas is going (although more from my bust than anywhere else AGAIN) or gone from the whole "oral surgery" diet.  So I might as well continue the healthy trend.

Life right now is interesting.  I am at a stage in my life where I need to think hard about direction and my future.  What do I want?  What don't I want?  What am I willing to do to get it?  What am I not willing to do?  These are the big "directional" questions I ask myself periodically to make sure I am headed where I need/want to be and not letting life sweep me off somewhere I consider less acceptable.  Simple questions.  Not such simple answers.  

But being seriously thoughtful takes time.  Which is important.  But which also means that something else is being shoved out of that time slot.  I am behind on EVERYTHING.  It's annoying.  So as I am now coming close to having my current batch of answers I am scrambling to get back on track. 

I THOUGHT I had the interview in my file for the Visiting Dignitary today.  Darned if I can find it.  I wrote the said Dignitary.  If SHE can find it I will post it today.  Otherwise, this will be the second week with a rain delay as it were.  My fault.  Should have been on top of things.  But I have come to the conclusion that I can't do everything perfectly all the time.  So we will fix it and move on.

I also can't undo the past.  If there's a screw up back there, all I can do is fix it to the best of my ability and move on. 

I am not perfect.

Ah well.  Today, at this precise moment, I like me anyway.

So there.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Evening Post

"Good Evening, and Welcome to Masterpiece Blogger, I'm Alistair . . ."

Yeah, right.

Okay, it's Saturday, it's evening.  It's time for the Saturday evening post.  If only I had something scintillating, titillating or anything else lating to post.  Alas, not so much.  So I'll just blather a bit.

First, the neighbors across the street are moving.  He got promoted and relocated.  They haven't sold their house yet, but they're making a leap of faith.  This is fine.  Wish them well, etc.  Except the movers have been going back and forth in front of the house and it's driving Lucky the Wonder Dog absolutely bug bats.  In order not to endure that, I packed my purse and headed off to the nearest city and did some serious grocery shopping.  Spent too much, which right now is just about unavoidable because of prices and the fact that it's the beginning of the year and all the beginning of the year stuff is due.  But there you go.

We've gotten some of the reviews in on The Isis Collar and it's a mixed bag.  Some are wonderful.  Some are not. But until we hear from the actual readers I don't get too excited or too worried either one.  The readers are the ones who count.  I know that I don't look at reviews when I buy a book.  In fact, only one person I know does.  But be sure to let me know what you think when the book comes out, and those of you who got ARCs might let me know now if you get a chance.

The proposal has gone out.  I am excited.  I'm hoping to get the first draft of the silly thing finished before the edits come back on The Eldritch Conspiracy.  I HAD hoped to get it done before the end of the year, but it didn't happen.

Okay, I'm running out of blather and I am HUNGRY.  I missed lunch.  So off to an early dinner.



Thursday, January 12, 2012


All righty then.  First, the teeth are improving.  Still draining/seeping a bit, which is a pain in the patootie (well, actually a pain in the mouth) and tastes foul, but every day they hurt less and the swelling is going down.  Still, I think I'll call the oral surgeon and see if he thinks it's taking too long, or that the foul taste might mean an infection.  Better safe than sorry. Still haven't had a Pepsi, which is HARD, but while this oral surgeon said I could have carbonated beverages, all previous ones said NO, and I do worry until it stops seeping.  But I DO miss my Pepsi. 

On the other hand, the oral surgery diet (which doesn't exist officially, but has, in fact, consisted of a lot of soup) has done wonders for getting me back on track.  I'd re-gained some of the weight I'd lost over the holidays, and it is mostly going the way of the dodo again.  Yay.

It has been a rough couple of weeks for the Adams clan.  My father is (YAY, YAHOO, YIPPEE) out of the hospital and recovering, but a bit slowly to his tastes; my son fell at work and sprained his ankle (and has been trying to use crutches in snow and ice); my sister had oral surgery to remove one tooth; I had oral surgery to remove two.  But we are all recovering, and I'm grateful.  Here's hoping Mom and Tim both stay healthy!

AND THE GOOD NEWS IS -- got the proposal and pages back from the agent.  She actually LIKES them.  :)  Yes, there were edits.  There are always edits.  But while I can write a book (and have been do so for a decade now), I normally suck scum covered pond rocks at writing proposals (even after the book is written, which would technically make it a summary for sale I suppose, but they call them proposals).  I mean, seriously, you want me to summarize an entire novel, the world, all the characters and show any future plans in a couple of pages?  AND you want me to do it in a way that hooks professional editors who are notoriously wary of said hooks?  Oh, CRAP. 

But it is done.  It is edited.  It is back with the agent for a second review.  Toes crossed that I have addressed the concerns she had.  (Fingers are for typing). 

And now I must get back to life, exercise, get ready for the day job, and all that happy schtoof.  But today it is HAPPY schtoof. 

Everybody have a great day.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Visiting Dignitary/Brad Sinor - Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.

For those of you who aren't old and Catholic, and/or haven't brushed up on your Latin.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa is very loosely translated to "my fault, my fault SOOOOOOO my fault."

Today my friend Brad Sinor was scheduled to be the Visiting Dignitary.  It's been on the books for a while.  But then the holidays came.  And my oral surgery came.  And guess what?  I didn't get the questions for the interview out to  him.  Nope.  Just didn't.  Complete screw up. 

The only thing I can say in my defense is that I'm completely and totally phobic about the dentist.  So oral surgery was a HUGE bad thing for me.  Took up all my thought processes just getting myself geared up and doing it.  That I did is a BIG PROUD MOMENT for me.  BUT now my schedule is screwed and the resting and recuperating, while necessary, aren't helping me get back on my feet.

SO, instead of a clever interview with Brad, you get an apology from me, and a note that I DID finally get questions to him, and as soon as he sends them back I WILL put his dignitary post up, it just may not be on a Wednesday, and won't be today. 

I'm sorry. 


Monday, January 09, 2012

Teeth are Healing, Life is Pretty Good

Had the oral surgery I was dreading on Friday.  It went well and quickly.  I have spent the weekend recovering.  It'll be a few more days, but thus far it's going well.  I no longer need the pain meds unless something stupid happens (like the cat stepping on that side of my face when I'm asleep).  

Once it's healed then I have to move on to the next things.  I'm behind on everything because, oddly, when I'm having all sorts of panic about something I'm not good at taking care of ordinary business.  And yes, I'm phobic about the dentist.  There's a long story behind why.  But it doesn't matter.  I am.  That's enough.  So I am also, oddly, proud of myself for digging up my courage to take care of this. 

I did post on the blog over the weekend, including the Breakfast Serial.  I'm not sure how good it was (pain pills and all), but I did it.

But now it's time to get ready for work.  Be well, be happy.


Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sunday Morning Breakfast Serial

Who in the @#$% is Boone Carter?

I arrived at work fifteen minutes late, and caught hell from the foreman for it.  He was standing toe to toe with me, pointing his index finger into the middle of my chest and shouting when Mr. Carmichael came up.

"That's enough Joe.  He gets the message."

Joe turned, mouth open to argue, until he realized just who it was talking to him.  His eyes got dark, and narrowed, but he didn't argue.  He just stepped back a couple of paces, giving me a look that said as clearly as words that this isn't over.  I didn't doubt that.  Not for a minute.  Joe Sanchez hates me.  Pure and simple.  Don't know why.  Don't particularly care, either.  I show up every day, on time, do a good job, I keep my nose clean, don't argue or mouth off.  So he doesn't have any ammo to fire me.  But he would if he could. 

"Boone, come with me to the office.  We need to talk."  Mr. Carmichael smiled, nice and friendly.   It just pissed Joe off more.  Carmichael cared even less than I did.  Old Mrs. C might not think he was tough, but everybody on the site sure did.  If Joe crossed him, Carmichael would fire his ass faster than you can say jackrabbit, despite the fact that Joe's worked for the company twenty years and has a passel of young kids to raise. 

I followed Carmichael to the corner of the site where one of those classic silver Airstream travel trailers was parked.  For small jobs it stays on the company lot.  But we'd won the bid to re-roof all of the dorm buildings for the local college, so we were going to be here a while, and the old man wanted to be on site making there were no grounds for complaint about how we behaved around the co-eds.  Thus far, everybody'd been behaving pretty well.  A couple of guys got injured because they were distracted by some sunbathers, but that had been bound to happen. 

Carmichael climbed the trio of metal steps and opened the door "Darlene," he called.  "Go buy yourself some breakfast or something."

"Yessir."   Darlene hustled up from the back, where the bedroom area had been converted into an office.  She took the twenty he pulled from his wallet with a big smile.  "Can I get you anything?" 

"Naw.  I'm good.  And Boone here won't be staying long." 

"All righty then."  She squeezed through the doorway past the boss with a little extra wiggle and teetered off toward the parking lot where the "BurritoMan" truck was waiting.  We both watched her go.  Today she was dressed in jeans that were practically painted on, and that had been bedazzled as heavily as one of Elvis'  jumpsuits.  Big hair, big boobs, high heels: she was flashy, a little trashy, and hard as nails.  But somehow the whole thing worked for her---at least as far as Carmichael was concerned.  I pretended not to see his hand twitch as he fought not to patt her on the ass as she passed.

"Come in.  Sit down."  He gestured through the door at the built-in dining area across from the miniscule kitchenette.

When I was comfortably seated he pulled a pair of cups from the cabinet, pouring us each a cup of coffee.  He set mine in front of me and took a seat.

"So, tell me Boone.  What did my mother want you to do that she doesn't want me to know about?"

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Saturday Evening Post (a little early)

Hi Guys!

Okay, I'm currently awake and not due for the pain meds for a little while, so I am coherent enough to post. 

Had two broken teeth surgically removed yesterday.  I was very good, and reasonably brave.  (Which considering I am phobic about dentists was very good indeed).  Once these heal up I will be able to get my mind back on other things, but my life sort of stopped when I was worrying about this and all it entails.

Thus, I did not have a visiting dignitary this past week, did not mail prizes to winners, and did not get the artwork so that I could make the revisions and get the individual website up and running.  It will happen.  Just not for a few days.

Sorry, but just couldn't.


Sunday, January 01, 2012

Sunday Morning Breakfast Serial Thoughts


Okay, that's done.

Now, at this point in a story I usually ask myself a couple of questions.

1)  How's it going?
2)  Does it have legs?  (i.e., is it going to be a marathoner [1 or more novels] or a sprinter [short story], or is it falling on its face and need to be put down like a rabid dog?
3)  Do I like the character?  Does he/she interest me?   Do I "know" him/her?  (In the best stories the characters come to me pretty much fully formed.  As I write I get different perspectives on them, learn various complexities, etc.)  I figure if I don't find the character interesting, why should readers?
4)  Do I have ideas as to where the plot is going?  It's very easy to get caught up in character and forget that there's supposed to be a story going on. 
5)  Is this making sense?
6)  Should I continue, or drop it?

SO, looking at Boone.

1)  Not bad.  Not perfect, but I'm having fun.
2)  Yup.  This one's a runner.  In fact, I've actually had ideas for a freaking SERIES of books off of him.  Don't know if I have time to pursue it, but it definitely has legs.
3)  Yup again.  Boone is unique.  Tortured past.  Shady present.  Very male. 
4)  Yup.  Can't seem to write the silly thing fast enough.  Which I CAN'T afford right now.  I have a book to finish, and all sorts of work to get done.
5)  To me, yes.
6)  I would like to continue.  But should it continue on the blog?  The blog is a freebie, and doesn't have much of an audience?  BUT, I don't have time to do this as a book right now, and the blog lets me explore and get input from my few faithful followers. ("FFF's")  And it's wrong to be a tease, to start here and then leave people hanging.  Do that any I may not have even FEW FF's. 

So, for the moment:  Decision made.  Continue with Boone & Co. here on the blog.

Sunday Morning Breakfast Serial


(Hey Cathy - rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.)

People make New Year's Resolutions/Goals.  I have lots of them.

It's good to have goals. 

One of my goals was to be in an anthology with Neil Gaiman.  Neil Gaiman is one of my son's favorite authors.  He (and Jim Butcher among others) are freaking brilliant.  Since at one point Mr. Gaiman and I had the same agent I pulled together my courage and tried to interest him in participating in an anthology. Sadly, since I have the social skills of a rabid skunk, I wound up sounding like a particularly deranged fan girl.  Drove him away (in a Maserati doing 90.)  Sigh. 

BUT as luck would have it.  I WOUND UP IN AN ANTHOLOGY WITH NEIL GAIMAN.  Pure luck, fate, kismet.  Whatever.  It didn't sell worth a damn as far as I can tell, but I was (and am) delighted.  I have a copy (it's a HARDBACK no less).

I have a new goal.  I would now like to wind up in an antho with Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, and Laurell K. Hamilton.   (Not necessarily all at once.  I'd probably swoon and make a fool of myself.  At least the Maserati could only seat two of them as it sped off.)  Besides, I actually have met and spent time with these three folks.  They know I am no danger to them.  (Even if I do have the social skills of a rabid skunk).

Okay, enough of that.  I am in a wonderful mood and it is time to write.  My first project, the next installment in the serial. 


Who in the @#$*&@#$ is Boone Carter

The limo dropped me off a block from the worksite.  Apparently Mrs. Carmichael didn't want her "boy" knowing what she was up to.  I didn't mind.  It gave me time to think.  I had a lot to think about.

Jacob Chester.


I really hoped it wasn't him.  But it probably was.  And if it was, Mrs. C was right.  Jacob is, was, and always has been, someone with his "eyes on the prize."  Just not the prize Mrs. C was thinking of.

Not that he wouldn't take the girl's money.  He would.  In a red hot second.  He'd also take the girl, up to the mountains, to the Children of Abraham encampment where she would be indoctrinated so thoroughly that, if she ever was seen again, her own parents might not even recognize her.

I'm a big fan of God, think he/she does great work.  I mean, take a look at the Grand Canyon, a waterfall, the average sunset.  Pet a kitten, watch a puppy romp.  Look at a newborn baby in its mother's arms.  God is good.  The Children of Abraham are not.  They are a cult, pure and simple, created by Abraham Keene out of his enormous ego, greed, and lust for power.

I'd know.

I was a Child of Abraham.