Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Spooooooktacular!!!!

by Jeanne Adams, AKA The Halloween Maven

Let me start by saying those immortal not THOSE words...these words:


There, now that we have that out of the way, I want to talk about pumpkins.

And Witches.

Not more, you ask? Not warlocks, or mad scientists, or rubber-masked villains or superheroes?

Nope. Pumpkins and Witches.

Before I begin, however, I will be making a large disclaimer, note of excusement, proviso, etc. which says, in large letters: THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL BLOG post, nor should it be construed as such.

Ahem. Now that we have that out of the way....

A recent comment by a candidate which went something like this (I'm paraphrasing): "I'm not a witch, I'm just like you"

This actually made me laugh out loud. Really. Right there in my living room, I was having a snork-fest.

The woman in the ad is wearing a twin-set and pearls, is gently coiffed and well groomed. The only thing she apparently has in common with any witch I know is that she's wearing black. But a lot of people wear black and look quite good in it. Doesn't make them a witch.

So, I laughed. I'm sure many people did because she's not what most people think when they think "witch" - seriously, do you immediatly think sweater-set and pearls, when someone says, "She's such a witch!"?

Hollywood portrays witches as both good and bad - its actually very even handed these days - in movies like Practical Magic (good witches, fabulous love story), Hocus Pocus (bad witches, engaging story), Bewitched (good witch, bad movie, great tv show), and The Witches of Eastwick (good witches, bad warlock).

Seriously, you wouldn't ever think of Sandra Bullock as a traditional Bad Witch. Sandra? REALLY? Nope. The image just won't form.

Cher was pretty cool as a witch too, in Witches of Eastwick, as were Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Buffy, while technically not a witch, had one as a friend and hey, every Slayer needs a witch-y pal, right?

I've met many a witch, and you and I could meet one every day for a year and never find one who was haggle-haired, snaggle-toothed, muttering or otherwise behaving in typically wicked-witchy fashion. Most of them don't even like pointy black hats, or cooking in cast iron pots. Nor do they have an odd penchant for brooms for that matter. While even witches can have the occasional cranky day, most real, modern witches only mutter darkly whilst in the grocery store as they try to remember that third item on their list. They may cook in cast iron if they're Southern and like cornbread, or they may even wear a pointy hat, for Halloween.

Just a note on the hat thing? Those things give you a wicked case of hat-head, and they are SO 13th century, you know? Snork.

However, the point is, Witches, like pumpkins, come in all shapes and sizes.

There are anime witches, pin-up witches, old witches, young witches, running witches, cooking witches, witches who like cats, and witches who are deathly allergic to them. There are thin witches, fat witches, and witches who need dialysis, chemotherapy, or their daily dose of insulin.

It occurred to me as I was drafting this blog that except for the medical stuff and the allergies, you could substitute the word "Pumpkin" in there and get the same result. Pumpkins, like people (and witches) come in all shapes and sizes. Big, little, tall, thing, skinny, fat, and every shade of orange, white, green and reddish brown you can imagine. They still have seeds, they still have slimey guts, and through and through, no matter how they look or what their color, they're pumpkins, people and witches.

I think it's a DNA thing. If you need further clarification, we can call in the mad scientists. Snork.

That said, it has amazed me to see the sheer artistry of the pumpkin carvers today. From the simple to the masterfully complex, pumpkin carving has been elevated to an artform. There are gruesome pumpkins, Obama pumpkins, puking pumkins, haunting pumpkins, happy pumpkins and pumpkins that appear to be suffering from post-traumatic-carving symptoms.

Now why, you ask, would this occur to me now? Why would I juxtapose all this nonsense in my fevered, writer's brain??

Blame Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.


Their rally was this weekend here in DC and several friends went to it, and the news made great fun with it. One photo showed a woman with a sign that said "Keep Your Laws Off My Cauldron" Another was carrying a carved pumpkin head and a sign that said "Zombies for Colbert, Keep Fear Alive."

Still another said, "My Witch is Bigger."

Not sure if that last one was meant to be a compliment, a warning, or some kind of personal statement, but the drawing was very cool. Ha!

Now I know that you're wondering if I overspiked the Halloween punch - totally possible, btw - to bring all this together to be comparing pumpkins, witches, Snoopy, and the First Amendment (which guarantees Freedom of Religion and the press), but that's John Stewart for you. (For those of you outside the US, who have no idea who these people are, they're comedians and they staged a rally in Washington to "Restore Sanity" - Jon Stewart; and to "Return to Fear" - Stephen Colbert. It turned up a massive attendance.)

Everything's all mashed up and somehow, even Charlie Brown and witchcraft are part of the political agenda. It's very Comedy Central, don't you think?

Me, personally, I VOTE FOR Pumpkins. I think we should all buy them, carve them, cook them into pies, cakes, cookies, rolls, jam and otherwise generally enjoy the heck out of the big orange/green/white fruits that they are.

(Yes, they really ARE fruits because they have seeds.) Grins.

As for witches, I think we should respect them, just like we respect all our neighbors, whether they be tall, thin, fat, short, green, pink, purple, or even orange. And several of my neighbors were all of those colors at my Halloween party this weekend.

And, in the immortal words of three fabulously Hollywood Witches, I'll wrap this Halloween craziness up:

"My darling girl, when are you going to understand that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of Courage." - Aunt Frances (Stockard Channing), Practical Magic

"There's a little Witch in Every Woman..." - Aunt Jet (Dianne Wiest), Practical Magic

"AMOK! AMOK! AMOK!" - Sarah Sanderson (Sarah Jessica Parker), Hocus Pocus

So, Have you seen any of the witchy movies I mentioned? Do you have a favorite?

Did you carve pumpkins this year? Happy or sad, scary or gruesome?

How many pumpkins did you carve? I did seven this year....

Did you go to the Colbert/Stewart march? If you lived closer, would you have gone? Did you see it on the news?

Are you afraid of Zombies? Grins.

(Had to see if you were still awake....)

Happy Halloweeeeeeen! Let me know if you're going trick-or-treating too...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What Won't You Do?

by Jo Robertson

When I was a young mother, I visited my sister in northern Virginia. We stopped at a gas station to fill up and she asked if I would do the honors. I did so, got back in the car, and said, "I can show you how to fill up the tank if you don't know how."

My sister is very petite. She's barely five feet tall, but incredibly independent and rather ferocious when she wants to be.

She looked hard at me and said, "Oh, Jo, I know how to fill up the gas tank. I just like to maintain the illusion that I don't, so my husband will do it for me."

Now, there's not a truly deceptive bone in my sis's body, so I -- a true California independent woman -- was amazed at her subterfuge. She claimed she had no intention of ever putting gas in her -- or any other -- car.
There were plenty of other meaningful chores to occupy her time. She's also one of the most efficiently aggressive housekeepers I've ever known, always has a well-balanced hot meal on the table (even though there are only the two of them now and no longer the four children she raised), and maintains a well-stocked food supply in her larder and freezer, lest we should be attacked by aliens and be without water and other necessities at some point in the future.

I began thinking about the things I refuse to do or conveniently allow Dr. Big to do. Here's my list:

1. Yard work -- I see no redeeming quality about ploughing my fingers into Mother Nature's bosom to dig up weeds or in pushing a lawn mower around our massive backyard. I don't like to sweat unless it's on the treadmill.

2. Change a light bulb -- Any idiot can perform this menial task, but I've learned well from my big sis and convinced Dr. Big that (a) I'm too short or (b) I'm too dim-witted to change a light bulb. However, he seems rather to enjoy this little job.

3. Run the vacuum cleaner -- This is Dr. Big's own fault. I warned him when he bought that big-ass 200 pound vacuum that I would not push it around my deep piled carpet.

4. Open the mail -- Unless the mail is addressed directly to me in someone's handwriting, I figure it's junk and belongs where all junk goes.

5. Write letters in long hand -- God made email for a good reason.

On the other hand, I love to do these things:
1. Change the paper towel dowel or toilet paper dowel with surprising regularity -- This is a very good thing because Dr. Big seems anatomically incapable of doing either.

2. Iron -- There's something very soothing about ironing although I seldom do it any more. Many of you have agreed with me on this.

3. Bake -- Bread, cakes, cookies, candy, pies, love, love, love baking, not so much with the regular cooking.

4. Clean toilets -- mainly because dirty ones gross me out.

5. Write -- Seriously, I can spend hours and hours on writing a book when the going is fluid and smooth and comes out of my brain and fingers like a gift from God. Shiver.

What about you? What's on your refuse-to-do list?
What chores do you get husband, brother, father, or son to do for you?
What household chores do you enjoy doing? Any weird hobbies or pasttimes?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun

by Susan Sey

I know it isn't Halloween just yet but it's the Friday before, which means it's officially time to party like the undead.

Now if you're a kid this means the Weekend of Free Candy is upon you. Get out there & shake down the neighborhood, kiddoes!

A word of advice, though? If you can shave, drive a car or appreciate an ironic costume, you're too old to trick or treat. Same goes if you either a) want to go as a Naughty Nurse or b) have what it takes to fill out the costume. Time to move on, 'kay? Hand out candy at home, or get out there & TP the cranky neighbors. (Yes, I know I'm asking for it, but seriously, I'd rather get TP'ed than stare down the six foot tall college freshman at my door wearing a t-shirt that says, "This IS my costume.")

But I don't want to talk about kids & costumes. Today I want to talk about grown ups. Because grown ups have totally co-opted this holiday.

I'm not whining. Certainly not. I love Halloween. I met my husband at his annual Halloween bash. (He used to turn his entire basement into a haunted house every year. Then we had kids who lose sleep over movies like UP--"The talking dogs were BAD!"-- & that nonsense had to end.)

For us these days Halloween is all about dressing up our little princesses & carving smiley faces into pumpkins but one day... day I want to do the Zombie Pub Crawl.

I want to dress up like the undead, parade all over town & drink like my liver really has kicked it. I can't explain this fascination with zombies. I don't normally enjoy dead things, or movies about dead things. Or movies where people make previously alive things dead.

But I thought Shaun of the Dead was one of the funniest movies I'd ever seen.

This shocked the heck out of my husband who, if he wants me to watch a scary movie, has to promise to walk me to the bathroom at any hour of the day or night, and take charge of any household chore which involves going into the basement after dark.

And Zombie Land! Oh! Comic genius! This is a movie in which Woody Harrelson (so often underestimated as an actor) watches a female zombie chowing down on some poor guy and remarks offhandedly, "There's a lady who likes her Manwich."

I cried laughing. I still chuckle every time I walk past the cans of Manwich in the grocery store.

Based on this, I feel confident it would give me no end of enjoyment to get dressed up in raggedy clothes and stagger through the streets of St. Paul in search of brains (by which I mean beer) this weekend.

How about you? What are you doing this weekend to celebrate? Are you celebrating kid- or adult-style? Any traditions? Let hear 'em!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Different Kind of Heroes and Heroines

by Suzanne

I'm a romance novel addict. Everyone knows it. I don't see a need to change or am in any need of an intervention. Nope, like myself just like this. But there is one thing I do get tired of. Perfection. Physical perfection. In either the hero or the heroine.

Hero: Tall, dark, brooding, sexy. Maybe a bad boy with abs to die for. Maybe he has a sculpted face, with a scar down one side.Or maybe a cool, aloof once jilted blond rake, cynicism masks the pride he has in his own beauty, a male beauty that attracts young women and their scheming mamas.

Heroine: Tall, lithe, long flowing blonde locks. Or perhaps she has a black bob and a compact, petite body, seeming in need of protection, but capable of taking out a platoon of bad guys. Or maybe a sassy redhead sculpted to seduce every man who comes near.


Yes, it's fiction. But just like too many packages of Whoppers stolen from the kids' Halloween buckets, (Oh, wait that's me), anyways, too much of a good thing, well, it can either give you a toothache or a bellyache!

Occasionally there's a hero or heroine who is less than physically perfect. A love story that touches your heart. The hero is bald. The heroine a super tall, gangly mess with no social skills and an ability to blend into the woodwork in a room alone. Perhaps the heroine or hero is fat. OMG. Did I just say that about a romance character? Could it be possible? Could one or both be on the large size and still be worthy of love? Really?

Actually, one of my favorite books, WISHES by Jude Devereaux, features just this sort of heroine. Nelly Grayson, a plump, kind and hardworking heroine takes backseat to her thinner, beautiful sister, until a new man comes to town. Jace Montgomery is able to see past Nellie and her sister's outer trappings to the soul inside, and falls in love with Nellie. I LOVED this book, especially when Nellie realizes that even when she starts mysteriously losing weight that Jace loved her just the way she was. Sigh.

So why this wanting the less than perfect hero or heroine? Mike & Molly. Yep, the new CBS comedy. If y'all haven't seen it, I have to tell you, when he kisses her the first time, it makes you go, Yeah!!! with a fist pump.

Uhm, did I tell you how they met?

Over eaters anonymous.

This show is funny and touching by turns. It makes me laugh and gives me the "ahhhh" moments, too!

Recently someone did a blog titled, "fatties get a room". Didn't read it, didn't plan to. Why can't the hero and heroine on TV or in a book, or hell, just walking down the street, hold hands and have a very tender kiss? Yeah....that's what I'd like to see. Some regular peoples finding love!!!

Another actress I love to see doing romantic movies, is Queen Latifah. She's beautiful and not a size 0. She's talented both in singing, (Have you heard her Dana Owens album?) and in acting. I recently watched  Just Wright. She was magnificent in it! I also loved her in Last Holiday. Both movies gave her the hero in the end, but I think mostly she sparkled as the heroine finding herself and discovering she was worth a good man's love, even if he wasn't smart enough to figure it out at first.

So, have you seen Mike & Molly? Have you seen a movie or TV show where the heroine or hero is not body perfect and still gets the guy or girl in the end? How about another great book with a plus size heroine for me to read?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bring on the BOOTY!

posted by Cassondra

Yes, I'm late, as always. *scuffs toe in dirt, looks embarrassed*

I've finally managed to hold my husband down long enough to get him to draw the winners from the October 12th "Bring It On" blog with guest, Dianna Love.

These three Buddies won a copy of Blood Trinity:

a.k.a. Dianna, Carol L, and LilMissMolly!!!

The winners of the limited edition Blood Trinity tour t-shirts are:

Gannon Carr and Catslady!!!

Wooooot!!!!! Congratulations!

Y'all email us with your snail mail addies, so Dianna can ship your loot!

Dr. Nightmare

by Cassondra Murray

I have a new hero.

He came into my life only two weeks ago.

Okay...I admit that I've never actually seen him.

But he's stunningly handsome, I just know it. His voice is so deep and resonant. He's very low-maintenance. It does take him a little while know...recharge.

But really..what's a small thing like that in a perfect relationship?

Honestly, we were made for each other!

I'll never forget the moment we first met. He drove up my driveway in a big brown truck.

Well...okay he didn't drive up, exactly......he rode up the driveway.

Oh, all right. The UPS driver carried him to my door. In a small cardboard box.

But that doesn't matter, does it? I mean, it's true that I've known him only a short time, but I've come to depend on him. You don't think that's unhealthy, do you? Too sudden, perhaps?

You see....he's my new Garmin GPS. A friend set me up with....uh...sent him to me.

The thing is, he's not like other GPS units. Honest.

See, friends have tried to set me up like this before. I would have none of that. Those units--they were sterile. Cold. Their perfect voices enunciated every syllable succinctly. Peerfectly. Hoity-toity, that's what they were. My friends never got lost or anything, but still....there was no emotion. No real feeling. I needed more. And then he arrived. And he was like the baby bear's bed in Goldilocks. He was just right.

Well...okay....I did have to work at it a little. We both had to adjust. When he first appeared in his snazzy cardboard box, complete with his little sandbag stabilizer which kept him solid as a rock on my dash even around curves....well...he looked good and all, but---don't say anything, okay?----I'll admit just to our friends here in the lair that he was not quite the fellow he is now.

My friend who set us up....she made sure my Garmin came fully loaded with all the right maps and even a special customized vehicle. Instead of a little car, I have a flying eagle who flaps and soars along the highways while I travel. But voice....voice is so much of a relationship, don't you think? The real work--it was finding the right way to communicate--it was that voice we had to work on. We tried all of the built in voices, male AND female. Hey, I'm a modern girl. No prejudice here. I even tried listening to his directions in Cantonese. Anything to give the relationship a fighting chance.

Then I clicked on the links in the user's manu...uh....relationship self-help book....and found the Garmin Garage. (Did you know you can download all kinds of little vehicles? A canoe? An airplane? A broom? Is that not awesome?)...ahem...I checked out the available voices and that's when I found his true essence.

I found the voice of Dr. Nightmare.

The first time he spoke to me in that rich, rumbling tone-- so strangely reminiscent of Count-Dracula-meets-evil-sorcerer-- and said, "In one quahtah mile you'll be arriving at this dreadful destination," I knew we were perfect for one another.

That's right. Dr. Nightmare is no ordinary GPS unit.

He has personality.

He's not like the others. If you take a turn and they don't approve, they get snotty. They say, in their snide, "I know better than you" voices, "Recalculating".

Not Dr. Nightmare. He's very genteel. If you miss a turn, he says, "Let me consult my magic book." And then he points you in the right direction.

Of course, with Dr. Nightmare, it's not all about work. It's about fun, too! If you're driving for a while and nothing's going on, he's likely to just start talking. Now, some people might call his chatty moments shocking, but I prefer to think of Dr. Nightmare as "refreshing".

On our first trip together we were driving home on a long straight stretch, miles from our next turn (I was listening to Tom Petty on the CD player, so he must have sensed that I was bored) and out of the blue he said, "Other GPS units would die to be a Garmin." He's confident that way.

And then, a few minutes later he said, "Would you mind if we made a stop for some rope and a shovel?" I haven't seen evidence of his handyman skills yet, but obviously he must have some.

And on a bit further down the road, he said, "Did you just feel a chill? I did."

He's so considerate that way. Who knew a small digital box could be so caring?

It was the beginning of a perfect relationship--once I got through the first stages of mistrust. I've been burned by technology, you see. I'm an old fashioned girl, and I love maps. I'm good at directions as a rule, and I've never needed the latest techno-innovations. But a recent date with mapquest had left me cold and abandoned, lost in downtown Atlanta during rush hour.

Dr. Nightmare would never do that.

A day or so after our first date, we were driving along together, him giving directions, me admiring all of his...uhm...features....when he said, "There's something particularly wicked about this place." I got the heck out of there, pronto.

Just two days ago, on a longer trip, he said, "Never mind that noise coming from the trunk." He must have sensed I was nervous. Isn't that just the nicest thing? A little later he said, "You're driving as if your life depended on it! WONDERFUL!!!"

So encouraging.

We went on a long drive yesterday. Five hours to another state. He was with me the whole way. Pulling into Starbucks he said, "How about a side trip to the bone yard?" I think maybe he wanted ribs for lunch.

Then he said, "Let's make a stop by the cemetary." Obviously a whole new aspect of his personality. Into genealogy I suppose. A few minutes on into the drive, he said, "Have you seen my spider? It was crawling around here earlier." How did he know I hate spiders????

About the time I crossed the border into West Virginia, he errupted into a hearty, "Bwwwwuuuuaaaaahahahahahaha!" I never did see what he was laughing at, but what a great sense of humor!

Other GPS units are so boring compared to Dr. Nightmare! And we're growing closer with every trip we take. Just this afternoon he finally confided in know those things about your crazy family or your past--the stuff you're afraid to tell somebody until you get really close? We were just driving along and he piped up, "Congratulations! You've chosen a possessed Garmin!"

So tell me, Bandits and Buddies, do you have a GPS unit?

If yes, what kind do you have?

If not, do you have any friends who have GPS units? Do you want one?

Are you good at reading maps? Do you freak out when you get lost, or do you think of it as an adventure?

What do you think of these newfangled techno-gadgets? If you have one, what voice and what accent does yours have? Male or female? American English, British, Aussie, or other accent? Something different?

Do you give your GPS unit a name? (One of my friends named her Garmin "Jill", but Dr. Nightmare came with his own name.)

And do you prefer the sterile, computer generated voice, or would you like one with more personality--one that would just decide to get chatty at random, like mine?

Oh, and in the words of Dr. Nightmare, "Trick or Treat! Bwuahahahahahaha!"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kate's Booty!

Thanks to everyone for coming to my pajama party book launch!! The totally random winner of a signed copy of THE LIES THAT BIND is ...


Congratulations, Janga! Please write me at and give me your snail mail address. I'll ship your copy to you ASAP!

AND ... somehow, the winner of my July 25th blog was never announced, so here it is ... the winner of the $15.00 Amazon gift certificate is ...

Louisa Cornell!!!!!!

Congrats to you, too, Louisa! Please write me at and I'll send you the GC - ASAP! !

Cheers to all!

More of the Same but Different

by Nancy

Many published authors have told me, "when you sell, be prepared to write more of the same but different." The first time I heard this, it sounded really, seriously weird to me. "The same but different?" Isn't that a contradiction in terms?

Well, no. Not when I sat down and thought about it. That's what I look for as a reader--something that will give me the SAME buzz but with a DIFFERENT plot. I've found that I get this from reading series. Or trilogies.

I suppose I could blame the late J. R. R. Tolkien for my tendency to read trilogies and connected plots. His massive trilogy, that Lair favorite The Lord of the Rings, continued its story over many, many pages. It was more and more and more of the same--same characters, same Middle Earth setting--though in different areas--same quest, to destroy the ring of power. But the characters faced different, escalating problems as the story progressed. That's the first trilogy I remember reading, but I cut my teeth on series books.

I have only vague memories of Dick, Jane, and Sally, but I loved the Bobbsey Twins, two sets of fraternal twins who went around solving mysteries. The Bobbseys never aged, and their lives never changed.

The same went for Nancy Drew, whom I also loved. Nancy and her "chums," the very feminine and pretty Bess and tomboyish George (short for Georgina or some such). Nancy did eventually acquire a boyfriend, Ned, but the relationship was the same from one book to the next. Nancy started around 1930 and drove a roadster. She went through an updating in the 1950s or 1960s, and the roadster became, I think, a convertible. She had another updating in the 1980s or 1990s, but the cast of characters and the basic structure of her life didn't change. Only the mysteries did.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson shared "rooms" at 221B Baker Street through several adventures. Watson's marriage changed their living arrangement (for which Mrs. Watson was undoubtedly grateful), but they continued to solve crimes in much the same way.

The same went for series television. Captain Kirk sailed where no man had gone before with the same crew in the same ship week after week. Ensign Chekov arrived at some point, but that was the main change to the crew. But the space sector and the specific problem changed.

Then trilogies and series with continuing plots became popular, especially in science fiction and fantasy. Romance started doing series in the form of linked books. More of the same--same characters but with different hero/heroine combinations and different problems. Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, and Lost did evolving storylines, kind of like soap operas but with fewer recaps and less sex.

Now I've come to prefer series in which characters evolve. That's one of the reasons I like the In Death books so much. Eve Dallas grows in every book, and her relationship with Roarke evolves, not always smoothly. They clash over the same issue--where the line of what's right or wrong is--but the cause of the clash is always different. It's more of the same but different.

And just by the way, Tuesday of next week--one week from today--is the launch of Indulgence in Death, the latest Eve Dallas adventure.

Jessica Andersen's Nightkeepers place different characters front and center in each book, but their problems are usually seeded in earlier books, opening the way. Jessica will be back next Wednesday to give us a peek at the next book, Blood Spells, which resolves Patience and Brandt's ongoing issues.

Sabrina Jeffries' current series, The Hellions of Halstead Hall, puts a different sibling in the featured couple of each book, but the rest of the family is still around, and we're getting hints of pairings to come.

Claudia Dain's wonderful Courtesan series also features connected characters. Daring a Duke, the most recent book, features several couples from earlier books in addition to the courtesan, Sophia Dalby, herself, with enticing peeks at Sophia's past.

In Julie Kenner's series about Kate Connor, Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, Kate's marriage changes as she becomes involved in demon hunting again and her husband eventually learns of it.

What about you? Do you like your books, movies or TV shows to be "more of the same but different?" Or do you prefer them as different as possible? Why did you choose what you did? What's your favorite series?

Bandita Booty

We have a winner!

Gillian Layne wins a copy of Jules Bennett's From Boardroom to Wedding Bed?

Please send your contact infomation to Congratulations Gillian!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Launch Party: The Lies that Bind by Kate Carlise

Today, we’re celebrating the November 2 release of THE LIES THAT BIND! Can I hear a “Woo hoo?” Yeah!

I have to confess I LOVE this book! My protagonist is back in San Francisco, teaching a class on bookbinding—and investigating murder, naturally! All my favorite characters are back, too, and some fascinating facts will be revealed about several of them. I hope y’all love the book as much as I do!

Now for the par-tay! Bring your PJs because this is a good, old-fashioned slumber party! We’re going to play games, eat way too much sugar, and in honor of Halloween, we’re going to read a spooky story.

But not too spooky.

(Yes, the story we’ll read is THE LIES THAT BIND. Hey, it’s my party! THE LIES THAT BIND is a cozy mystery, so the emphasis is on the mystery, not the blood. No nightmares.)

Here’s a new game we’re going to play—and it makes for a fun ice breaker. Just go to your favorite search engine and search for the following phrases, with quotation marks. Then come back and tell us what you learned about yourself.

1. “[Your name] loves to”

I searched for “Kate loves to.” The first two things I love to do (apparently) are X-rated, so we’ll just skip right past those as I pretend I’m not blushing. Some of the other phrases that appear are:

“A tall blonde bombshell, Kate loves to have fun!” – Okay, I can go for that.

“Kate loves to read.” – That’s certainly true.

“Kate loves to say, ‘I don’t look like a Rodriguez.’” – This was apparently from Kate Hudson but holds equally true for me.

2. “[Your name] hates to”

“Kate hates to be without a man in her life.” – Also from Kate Hudson, and also somewhat true for me. I do love my husband.

“Kate hates to sweat, and this was just another opportunity for her to be difficult.” – It’s like they can read my mind.

“Kate hates to leave the kitchen when a customer wants to compliment her on one of her special dishes.” – So not true. I am always happy to leave the kitchen. In fact, I’m happy to avoid going into the kitchen.

3. “When I met [your name] she”

“When I met Kate she had to ask somebody to check the ladies toilets before she'd go in to see if any spiders were lurking…” – What can I say? Spiders have it in for me.

“When I met Kate, she was working as an art director for a top agency in San Francisco.” – This could be me! Except it’s not. But it could be!

“As a sailor, I had had a few sexual encounters, but they all ended when I met Kate. She had told me on our wedding night she was a virgin…” – Wow. I have led an exceedingly interesting life.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Do your google searches (I’ll wait here!) and let us know what you found out about yourself. And if you have ideas for other fun phrases to search, share them. It’s fun to be a girl! (I’m pretty sure men don’t do things like this.)

What’s your favorite slumber party snack? Cheetos? Candy Corn? Pizza? (I’m leaning toward Kit Kat bars and Bailey’s on the Rocks. :D)

I’m giving away a signed copy of THE LIES THAT BIND today! Just leave a comment for a chance to win!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


by Jeanne Adams and KJ Howe

This is the story about recruits Adams and Howe, and their foray into the fascinating world of police and danger...

Setting: Greensboro, North Carolina

Players: Experts in the field of police, fire, bombs, SWAT and more!

The two green recruits entered the Writers Police Academy neophytes in the world of guns and ammo, but left as savvy sharpshooters with a back-up team bar none. The experts went above the call of duty to provide insight into the world of law enforcement, including a live simulated school shooting to demonstrate their organized response to an emergency situation.

Three action-packed days included the following workshops:

Psychology: Dr. William Lanning introduced the recruits to the world of psychopaths and sociopaths, describing the differences between spree killers, mass murderers, and serial killers. The recruits were granted an insiders' look into deviant minds. And Dr. Lanning didn't just talk about evil-- he showed it through a selection of slides taken of Mexican drug lords as they disposed of a dead body through the use of vultures. This disturbing footage captured the essence of cold-blooded killers and those images are imprinted on the minds of the recruits forever.

Action: One word says it all--FATS (Firearms Simulation Training Simulator). Adams and Howe had the opportunity to experience the same training as actual police recruits. They were given real Glocks and Sig-Sauers that had been converted to laser guns. Police scenarios were presented on film and the recruits had to make instantaneous decisions on whether to use lethal force.

Recruit Adams proved to be a commanding force with a deadly shot whereas Recruit Howe seemed to have a penchant for head shots.

Hmmm, what would psychology expert Dr. Lanning have to say about that?

Arson: Arson investigator Jerry Coble led the recruits into the world of fire starting, explaining the top seven reasons behind arson: fraud, pyromania, crime concealment, vanity, spite/revenge, civil disorders, and actions of juveniles. They also learned that fire burns up, then across, then down while continuing to move upwards. Fire investigators work like archeologists, moving from the least burned to the most burned to avoid mistakes.

Autopsy: Dr. Jonathan Hayes from the New York Medical Examiners Office took the recruits into the world of autopsy and he covered everything from methods of death to body storage.

Recruit Adams was pleased to find that her data was quite up to date in her own class while gathering even MORE gross, disgusting and fascinating information about how to dispose of, and investigate bodies and/or gross out your friends and fellow writers.

Fingerprinting, handcuffing, jail searches, tasers, pepper spraying, bombs, hazmat, and guns were just a few of the other topics covered. The instructors were generous with their expertise, staying after class to answer questions from the recruits.

If you're looking for a way to bring authenticity to your suspense, mystery or paranormal police procedural writing, think about attending the Writers Police Academy.

You won't be disappointed. For more information about this annual course, visit

Agent Adams, Reporting for Duty, Ma'am! Sir! Grins.

What a rush it was to go to Greensboro and hang out with all these experts. No question was deferred or slighted. This crew of experts understood that writers are trying to get the details right the first time, and were generous and knowledgeable down to the nitty-gritty of how to start fires in cars, blow up gas stations (no, not like they do in the movies!) and follow the flames.

They also broke down the weapons they featured into their component pieces and gave us the data on terminology and structure. Going through the steps of crime scene analysis, bomb squad duties and riding a State Highway Patrol motorcycle were all made equally fascinating by the presenters.

From procedure to cartel-mentality, there was a wealth of information for every mindset in the crowd. We even got to interview the Sheriff of Guilford County (Greensboro) who readily admitted that he never thought his job would require him to be a rancher. (The prison farm raises cattle)

Agent Howe reporting for duty. If adrenaline is your addiction, the WPA is the place for you. Non-stop action, thrills and chills, and the chance to meet people in every area of the law.

From Boardroom to Bedroom

Hosted by Donna MacMeans

The always fashionable and incredibly well-coifed Silhouette author, Jules Bennett, is joining us today with a dream and a challenge:

What would YOU do with one meellion dollars (that was my bad Dr. Evil impersonation, you just didn't see my pinky at the cor
ner of my mouth:)

Ahhh, the question you've asked yourself at least once. Right? Let's be honest, you ask yourself this at least once a DAY. I do anyway:)

A million dollars could go a long way, depending on what you do with it. You could get a new wardrobe for each season (with fabu shoes and matching handbag, of course). Maybe you'd buy a house for a family member or good friend in need. Oh, I know, you'd donate it all for the good of mankind:)

What would I do with the money? So glad you asked!

First, I'd go pick a little bit at a time off the tree in my backyard (yes, this is an

actual pic from my yard complete with money tree and dog house). I like to think I'd pay all my bills first (though I really don't have many now that I'm thinking about it), but I know me and I'd go shopping. I'm not gonna lie:)

I'd certainly send my parents on a cruise because they've always wanted to go on one, but never have. I'd also buy my dad a Cadillac because he's always wanted one, but swears the only one he'll ever ride in is the hearse that takes his body to the cemetary...yes, the man is a bit morbid:)

After I made my parents happy, I'd take an all girl trip to somewhere amazing like Italy, Ireland, Scotland. Maybe all three!

Oh, I'd certainly set my girls a nice cushion aside for college and a bit more so they can have a little to fall back on in case of unexpected emergencies.

I'd have to invest wisely (if such a thing is possible anymore).

Ugh! I just remembered I'd have to pay taxes on these to begin with, so my million isn't really a million, now is it? (Donna, what would I take home?)

Do you like how I act like this is a real possibility? Hey, I like to plan ahead and you never know!

Perhaps that's why I write for Silhouette Desire. My agent asked me years ago if I'd ever consider writing for them. She claimed my voice would fit with Desire perfectly. I guess so, huh? I love to daydream about lavish spending and now I get to write about yummy heroes who do just that! A match made in writer's heaven!

Here's the blurb from my October release, FROM BOARDROOM TO WEDDING BED?:

He'd been faced with the toughest decision of his life—a future full of wealth and power, or the love of Tamera Stevens. And self-made billionaire Cole Marcum had never regretted his choice. Until now, when circumstances forced him to work as partners with the woman he'd left behind.

The brilliant CEO was determined to keep their relationship strictly business. Even so, working so closely with the only woman he'd ever cherished had Cole rethinking his priorities. This time, was he prepared to choose love over money?

So, what would you do with a million dollars (minus the amount Donna tells us is taken away for taxes)? I didn't even get to all of my list, but I think I'd need more than a million;)

I'd love to hear some of your ideas! I'll chose one random winner to receive an autographed copy of my October Silhouette Desire, FROM BOARDROOM TO WEDDING BED?. Who wants to share their dream spending spree?