Saturday, April 28, 2007

Do you believe?

On October 31st of last year I was having an ordinary day.

The kids were all at school, anxiously watching the clock to go trick-or-treating. I was sitting in the waiting room of a garage anxiously watching the clock while mechanics worked on my van. I'd been sitting there for two hours, which was one hour longer then I expected. I hadn't brought my laptop, a book or a snack. I was bored and hungry. Then I remembered the fortune cookie sitting in my purse left over from a Chinese meal the night before. I eagerly chomped into the cookie and consumed the entire thing before reading my fortune (pictured above).

Then my cell phone rang. It was my agent, Miriam Kriss, telling me that Penguin had offered me a three-book mystery deal.

Cue the Twilight Zone music.

At the time, I was too wrapped up in the details of the deal and absently tucked the message into my purse. When I discovered it again later that day, I put it up on my bulletin board and there it remains.

I ate another fortune cookie last night. It read "Your life will be full of true friendships".

So are you a believer in the ways and wonders of the cookie? Do the predictions of palm readers and psychics come true for you?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

When Good Ducks Go Bad

A few weeks ago, when my sister was in town, I had an incident involving a Mallard duck. I was driving along just a block away from my house when a male duck decided to plunk himself down in the middle of the road. There was road construction making it impossible to drive around him. I carefully inched forward until I was about two feet away, gunned my accelerator and honked my horn. The dumb quacker refused to leave. Finally, I rolled down my window and shouted a few obscenities. Not my finest moment but, hey, my sister and I had lunch reservations and I was not going to be late due to a duck. Finally, he glared at me and waddled to the edge of the road to let me pass.

When I got home to pick up my sister I told her about the duck. She was like, “Um. Sure. Whatever you say.” We have a long history of her thinking that I exaggerate.

Well, we piled in my car and headed for the restaurant. We were about a quarter mile away when a duck flies at my car like a bombadeer and narrowly misses my windshield! I kid you not. My sister looked at me and said, “Woe. What have you done to piss off ducks?”

I admit me and mother nature have had a long running feud. Don’t even get me started on the spider incident that caused me surgery and a five-inch permanent scar on my right elbow. However, I have never had any kind of altercation with ducks. Until now. And our neighborhood isn’t exactly a haven for these feathered freaks. We have no large ponds or duck breeding grounds nearby. We’re near the ocean for Pete’s sake and I don’t think Mallards nest near salt water.

Anyway, since it happened a few weeks ago, I’d forgotten about the whole duck thing. Until this morning. I’m sitting in my family room enjoying a cup of coffee when my eleven year old son says, “Hey mom, there’s a duck in our back yard.” My blood ran cold.

I got up slowly and walked to our patio doors. Sure enough, there's a Mallard sitting on my back lawn glaring at me. He had this whole, make-one-false-move-and-you’re-quackers look in his eye. I swear. Bravely, I grabbed my camera and slid the patio doors open (a whole five inches) and snapped this picture. I apologize for the poor quality. In my defense I was terrified he’d attack so my hands were shaking.

Next, I catch movement out of the corner of my eye and I see this! Yup, a female mallard at the other end of my yard. I think, Oh my God they’re multiplying! I quickly slammed the door shut and locked it.

On the drive to school one of my smart ass kids pointed out the whole thing might have something to do with the fact that the Anaheim Mighty Ducks stomped all over our Canuk hockey team last night. My kids tend to have vivid imaginations.

So tell me, are you one of those people who make friends with wildlife like Snow White? Do the woodland creatures consider you their friend? Or are you like me, resigned to live your life in fear mother nature will extract revenge?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm in the News ... Kind Of

Come join me over at Muse, News today. We're talking about dowsing and other wild stuff :)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

T-Rex is a Chicken?

I'm a big fan of all things scary and mysterious but I'm a big chicken at heart. Apparently, I'm not the only one.

A friend sent me an email link to an article that said scientists took protein from a t-rex bone that was millions of years old.

They now have genetic proof that the great, powerful T-Rex is cousin to the chicken.

As an author, I'd have a hard time making up this kind of thing, yet here it is in the news.

I really hope somewhere down the line they don't find humans are related to slugs or worms or something. Personally, I'd rather be cousins to, say, lions or any other animal I can't picture on my plate. How about you? What animal would you like to be related too?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Marketing and Exploding Cows

If you haven't already seen this on YouTube, go ahead and click over there and then hop back.

Silly? Sure. But if there was a book title mentioned, you'd probably remember it, right?

Maybe my book isn't about The Secret Life of Cows, but I still have to fine tune my promo plan. I want my book title to be planted in your memory long enough for you to get to the book store or place that Amazon order :)

I've been thinking a lot about marketing. Sure Remains doesn't come out until December but I'm hard at work at the PR end of things. I've already booked a couple signings, booked myself to give a workshop at a big conference this fall and sent out a newsletter to booksellers. I'm thinking of contests too.

So, first of all, did you enjoy the exploding cows? Secondly, if I exploded things for promo, do ya think I'd sell more books?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Desperate Characters

I love the show Desperate Housewives. I thoroughly enjoy the darkly comedic undertones but it's the characters that bring me back. What's not to like about a seemingly perfect suburb that's chock-full of sex-crazed women, murderers and secrets?

I watch Felicity Huffman playing Lynette Scavo and I think, I know women just like her. Of course the women I know aren't as vocal or as eloquent when telling off their husbands (or anyone else) but, hey, they WANT to be. When Lynette tells her husband she's been working her butt off to keep the family afloat and she doesn't have time to take care of him too, I'm sure I heard a chorus of women in the world shouting *Yes!*

Maybe that's the key. Creating larger than life characters who mirror people we know, or people we can relate too and making those characters bigger in every way.

So if Housewives isn't your cup of tea, what characters are you drawn to watch or read about?

Virginia Tech

I worked for most of the day today. My mind was in a make believe world. On paper I can make people do terrible things. Still, I can't create the kind of horror that I heard when I turned on my radio. It made my blood run cold.

I was on my way to pick up my children from school when I heard about the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy and I couldn't contain my tears.

My heart aches. I can only offer my sympathies to all those who have suffered loss and pain today at Virginia Tech and throughout our broken world.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Warning Labels

I'm blogging about fun warning labels for books over at Muse, News today. Drop by with your opinions!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My pal, Bully Bob

I have stress. I hear you thinking, don't we all? Yes. For me, today's stressers are:

* Four children (one a teenage girl) = Stress.
* Deadlines + computer woes = More stress.
* A warren of cute bunnies + newly planted lawn and garden = Stress.

But through it all, Bully Bob is there.

I love his durable, plastisol exterior. Though he has a scowling face, his inner cavity is filled with soft, urethane foam. Ahhh the pleasure I get from beating the crap out of him!

Everybody should have a Bully Bob punching bag to pummel on those bad days but, of course, not everyone does. How do you relieve stress?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Eggs, Gloves and Tess Gerritsen

This weekend is a mixed bag.

I dyed eggs with my kids and my fingers are still blue. Tomorrow we'll celebrate Easter by gorging on chocolate bunnies. The kids will be on a sugar high that should take them half way into next week.

It's also baseball opening weekend and I'm a baseball mom. That means that I spent this morning driving over my son's new baseball glove to break it in. I kid you not. We have four games in the next seven days and I'll be catching a lot of practice balls in between. I have a love-hate relationship with the insanity of baseball season.

The other day Tess Gerritsen mentioned my name and used my idea in her blog. Yes, I just about passed out from the thrill. I think no matter how many years I write, I'll always be a reader first and I'm a HUGE Gerritsen fan. Her plots and characterizations make me ache to find that strength in my own work.

I've been busy as a bee trying to come up with unique places to kill someone off. Um, not that bees do that. A public bathroom was suggested by a writing friend. I'm open to any other suggestions you may have, or you can just let me know if you are among the many with dye on your fingertips this weekend. :)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Talk of Remains

Brilliant comedic mystery writer, Jana DeLeon, is blogging today about Appropriate Characterization and is using my book, Remains of the Dead, as a good example.

How cool is that?!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Obsidian Mysteries

According to Publishers Marketplace: NAL is launching a new imprint, Obsidian Mysteries. Led by senior editor Kristen Weber, the line launches this September with both hardcover and mass market originals. Publisher Kara Welsh says in the announcement, "We've been publishing extraordinary mysteries for years, and this seemed like the perfect time to bring them all together under one imprint."

My marvelous and knowledgeable editor, Kristen Weber, tells me that my book THE REMAINS OF THE DEAD, (out in December) will be one of the featured launch titles! I'm thrilled about this! You can tell how thrilled I am because I've gone exclamation point crazy LOL!

I'm also thrilled with Anissa for her blog posting about my novel, Dating Can Be Deadly! It's always great to hear from readers :)

Those are the things I'm thrilled with today. C'mon, tell me what you're happy about!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Mix Mash

For all those who emailed me wondering about gunshot residue in wax (nice to know my readers are as crazy as I am LOL), here are the facts as I was told: "It would be good detective work to search the wax for GSR and might work if the manicure took place within a few hours of the shooting, and the shooter hadn't washed her hands. The salon might be reluctant to give the police the wax, but if they had probable cause, the police could get a warrant. If the salon gave the wax without a warrant, the defense would no doubt claim illegal search and seizure."

So there you have it :)

It's been a weird few days. Woke up this morning to snow. That's right. Snow. It was like a bad April Fools joke a day late. It was gone by noon, thank goodness! And speaking of April Fools, my hubby thought it would be cute yesterday morning to hide my glasses (I keep them on the nightstand when I go to sleep). He also hid my contact lenses. Needless to say he will so NOT be doing that again. Funny thing how hot sauce found its way into his stuff he he he. I also gave the kids fortune cookies where I'd stuffed my own fortunes. Things like, "You've got a wonderful mom." and "You'll grow up to be rich and give your mom all your cash" and also "You're going to dream of a purple frog" (it was late when I started and I got tired).

Also on the weekend I took the kidlets to see Meet the Robinsons. I have to admit I love the commercial, "Bake those cookies Lucille!" But I was disappointed in the movie. It just felt all over the place. I did like the ending as well as the general theme and the animation was pretty good.

To end on another wierd note, a vegetarian friend sent me a link to this. If you follow that link, come back and tell me if you laughed as hard as I did :)