Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Schoooool's out for summer

School's out for summer
School's out forever
School's been blown to pieces

Last day of school. The only day of the year my children truly appreciate Alice Cooper's contribution to rock'n roll.

Yes. It's true. The kids are officially home for 68 days straight. I admit it. I'm afraid. Very afraid. Very, very, very afraid.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it's called MOMMY'S GOING TO NYC IN 11 MORE SLEEPS :)

Before that though, I have to survive my daughter's 14th birthday party sleepover and I have to finish going over the page proofs for The Remains of the Dead and all the while I have to keep the four kidlets from killing each other.

After that, I'm solving the problem of world peace.
How about you? What's your challenge this week?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The hardest thing ...

Paris Hilton described her brief imprisoment as "the hardest thing I have ever done".

Wow. Now I hate to jump on the Hilton bandwagon with the rest of the media but when I read this line, I gave my head a shake. Then I felt like shaking her but, hey, I'm not (except on paper) a violent person he he.

I guess the reason I found myself a tad annoyed was that we aren't talking ten years of hard time here. It appears like more of a time-out. "You've been a naughty little rich girl and now you must sit in a small room and think about what you've done".

Paris is young and rich so I will cut her a little slack. After all, she hasn't experienced a lot of what would qualify as "hard" things in her life, right?

For example, she hasn't given birth. Without pain killers. Four times.

If she had, she might change her mind and say that prison was the 5th hardest thing she's ever done.

Probably what she needed in jail was something positive to focus on. I know that a lot of writers if locked away for weeks and allowed a computer or simply a pen and paper would write the days away.

But what if that wasn't possible. Let's just say they plopped me in a cell for a few weeks. Provided me meals that I didn't even have to shop for or wash dishes after. Gave me clothes I didn't have to buy, iron or wash. And they let me sleep without someone waking me in the middle of the night because of nightmares or at the crack of dawn to say they had a sore tummy and then vomiting next to me. Sheesh, it already sounds better than home but I digress. Let's say I couldn't write but the jailers were willing to provide me the simple tools to learn a new skill, what would I choose? Hmmm...

1) I'd listen to language tapes and learn Italian
2) I'd learn to crochet or knit. (Mom tried to teach me but I was too distracted.)
3) I'd re-read all the classics.

Come to think of it, a few weeks might not even be enough.

So how about you? Given a few weeks to yourself, what would you do if you couldn't write?

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Writer's gotta do, what a writer's gotta do...

On Saturday night I was on a mission. The kids were in bed. The husband was out of town. It was late but I couldn't sleep. It was just me and my computer. There was no avoiding the scene from Hell I'd been avoiding for days.

But when I sat down to write it, nothing came. When I did find words I wrote then deleted, then wrote and deleted. Ugh! My ugly side, Inner Editor, was telling me all the reasons the scene wouldn't work. And every word I wrote seemed to prove Inner Editor right.

Now I know it's easier to fix a badly worded scene then it is to deal with a blank page. Still, I couldn't seem to write a darn thing without re-writing it seconds later. Back and forth. It was driving me crazy so I did what any self-respecting writer would do to drown out the voice of her inner editor.

I popped my cork.

Of Lindman's Shiraz that is lol. I know what you're thinking and, no, I do not usually sit around drinking myself into a stupor before I write. However, Saturday night it was either me or Inner Editor. I decided IE was going down! It took 2 1/5 glasses of wine (truthfully, I was probably good to go after 1 but I didn't want to take any chances). I sat down at my keyboard and flung out the 7 page scene in 90 minutes.

Now there are many days when I can't get 7 pages out of me all day long so I was pretty pleased with getting that scene done. Of course the draw back of writing a scene while you've had some wine is that you can pretty much guarantee there's going to be more then the usual amount of editing involved in the second draft. Oh well. Inner Editor can have her fun with the scene when the first draft is complete.

That was my excitement for the weekend. How about you?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Where's the McService?

I'm not a huge fan of fast food. That said, it's true that with my busy schedule and four children to drag to various events we've been known to visit the golden arches.

This morning I was early for an appointment and hadn't had breakfast so I went through the local McDonald's drive thru for a coffee and muffin. I left with an orange juice and hashbrowns. Let's not get into the fact that I drove away, turning out of the lot onto a busy road with no chance to turn around, before I actually noticed I held juice in my hand instead of coffee. Did I mention it was really early?

The real point is service. The young lady taking my order didn't repeat it back but gladly took my money while talking over her shoulder the entire time to another employee. At the pick up window my order was thrust into my hands without a word of acknowledgment for my business let alone a thank you.

Now had this been the first time I'd received both rude service and the wrong order at McDonald's I would've been surprised. Shocked even. Nope. I barely blinked. As a matter of fact, I'll go so far as to say I'm more shocked and surprised when I encounter good service at McDonald's. I believe founder, Dick McDonald, is rolling over in his grave at the state of his company.

On the other hand, I took my daughter to lunch at a Red Robin restaurant the other day. The service was superb. I've eaten in some mighty fine high class establishments in my time and many of them could learn a lesson from Red Robin.

So what's my point? I think it's time to lower the price of fast food and start allowing the servers to accept tips. If their own pockets were directly affected by the actions of the service I bet we'd see a marked improvement. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Love Cats & Dogs?

Come visit me over at Muse, News blog where I'm talking about two very unique animals.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Clean House = A Disorderly Mind

My house is clean. Even the ironing is done. You're probably thinking, well good for you. Nope. Not good for me.

Sure, it was nice to have the place tidy to entertain a half dozen relatives for Father's Day but it wasn't my usual Quick! Company's coming so dash around and pick things up kind of clean. I'd actually even cleaned out the closets the week before. I know. The truth is hideous.

When my house is clean and doing the dishes is more appealing than parking my butt at my desk it's sad. It means I'm avoiding writing a difficult scene or the hamsters in the basement just aren't sending up the stuff I want.

However, this morning I woke up with no urge whatsoever to sweep the floor or wash dishes. In fact, as soon as the lil ol' rug rats are off to their institution of learning, I'm snagging my Dana and the two of us are going off to Starbucks to write a very nasty lil ol' scene. Someone will die. It won't be pretty. And I'm just about gushing with enthusiasm LOL.

I'm quite looking forward to leaving the breakfast dishes in the sink until later in the day.

How about you? What are your plans for the day?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Hamsters in the Basement

Today I received an email from someone who'd read my first book, Dating Can Be Deadly. She loved the book (thanks Tara!) and said I could talk about her question here on my blog :)

It was THE question. You writers know the one. It's the most common asked question most authors are asked:

Where do you get your ideas?

Well, I've heard Jenny Crusie say the girls in the basement just send those ideas up when she needs them. Stephen King said his boys in the basement send 'em up. For me, well, it's prolly more likely hamsters in my basement. I visualize a dozen or so little hamsters running on their little wheels whenever I want a new idea.

Silly? Yeah. My ideas come from all around and inside of me. My new Ghost Dusters series came to me while researching another book. I asked a retired crime scene analyst who cleaned up crime scenes and I was surprised to hear that cleaning crime scenes was an entire industry onto itself. My hamsters got pretty excited about that LOL.

As I busily write book two in the series, my mind is flirting with another idea. No, I won't tell you about it. Not yet. Maybe not for a long while. It needs to percolate in my mind. The hamsters have to do a few more miles on the wheels and then the thoughts have to kick around in the grey matter for a while.

So for those of you who are writers, tell me where you get your ideas? For those who are readers, what's kicking around in your grey matter this week?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Werecats, Romance, and Vampires ... OH MY!

I've spent my weekend enjoying myself with three great friends. They've been with me on the sidelines at baseball, in bed and relaxing in the hottub.

Unfortunately, none of these friends were here in person but (almost as good) were their words bound between gorgeous covers.

I've been wanting to read Rachel Vincent's, Stray, ever since I first heard of this sale. Stray's heroine is Faythe Sanders, a grad student who is also a shape-shifting werecat. So far, I'm loving Faythe's kick-ass attitude. Lots of action is fueling me to quickly turn the pages. I know I'll be looking forward to the next in this series! Oh and I've heard Stray is # 107 on the USA Today list so WOO HOO!!

I've already read Mary J. Forbes' novel His Brother's Gift. A wonderful romance about rugged Alaskan bush pilot, Will Rubens, who inherits his special needs nephew (who's also his biological son). The compassionate social worker, Savanna Stowe, is another of Mary's rich and vibrant characters. I loved the Alaska setting too! You probably won't find this one on shelves until July 1st but you can pre-order it now ;)

Rises the Night is the second in Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles. I absolutely loved the first book, The Rest Falls Away, but don't worry if you haven't read it yet (although you should.) This next book definitely can stand on its own. I haven't finished reading it yet but, so far, I'm fully engaged in the tale of Lady Victoria Garella Grantworth and her delicious role as Venator, vampire slayer.

Have you read any of these books? If yes, tell me what you thought. If not, what are you waiting for? :)

Friday, June 08, 2007


Not edited yet, but here's what it'll mostly look like :)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

It's not easy being green ... or is it?

Today is pet day around the Roberts' house. Starry the hamster got fresh shavings and a grape for behaving while I shoveled out his cage. When I picked him up he snuggled against me and squeaked his chirpy kind of squeak as a thank you. Every time I walk into my son's room, Starry runs over to the cage and stands on his back paws to greet me. You can understand why Starry (or Hammy # 4 as I commonly call him) gets a lot of attention.

Then there's Skippy our White's Tree frog.
He is neither cute nor cuddly. He doesn't rush to the side of his aquarium to visit me, preferring to hide under his vine covered rock. He has a loud raucous call that's like a stick against a washboard and, because he's nocturnal, he'll only make that sound in the middle of the night. He doesn't like to be held and if you must hold him be prepared because he'll most likely pee on you.

He's also a fuss pot. Flies, mealworms or grubs are supposed to be part of his diet. Nope. Medium sized crickets please. Anything else and he'll drown the thing in his puddle of water or ignore it. I don't go stomping around in my back yard looking for crickets. I have a cricket account at a local pet store. Transferring a couple dozen grotesque hopping bugs from a little bag to the aquarium without setting a couple loose requires much skill and dexterity. If one gets loose, the sound of a cricket chirping will be my night call for weeks. Trust me when I say the sound of crickets is only kind of cool when you're camping.

Still, it's Skippy who is closest to my heart. I like him much more then my friend's leg-humping dog. I like him much more than my other friend's eye-scratching cat. I like Skippy so much I'm thinking of giving him a hop on role in book 2 of the Ghost Duster series.

Since the series already has Hairy the bunny, do you think another hopping creature is a little, well, over the top? Any other unique creatures you can suggest for starring roles?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I am absolutely in LOVE with the little ghosties in the lettering :)

Tell me what you think!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Nooks and Crannies

Look who visited me at my desk today.
I admit it. I. Freaked. Out.
First, I ran to my Tupperware cupboard convinced that Tupperware would save my life. After much MUCH screaming and cursing I captured the spider in the little bowl, made sure the lid was on tight and then put a book on top of it just to be sure. (It was Colleen Gleason's new book Rises the Night which is AWESOME btw).
Anyway, with only a thin layer of plastic protecting me from the ugly little arachnid I did some internet research.

At first I thought for certain it was a black widow because I remember black widow spiders have the red markings. Well, yes and no. The red hourglass marking is on the underside of a black widow's abdomen. My guy definitely was red on top, not down below.

Turns out my visitor was a redbacked jumping spider. Not venomous. Whew! But painful bite when threatened. I looked over at my friend in his Tupperware jail. He looked pretty pissed. Uh oh.

I don't have a very good history with spiders. A few years ago I attempted to rescue my daughter from a daddy longlegs on the ceiling of her room. I stood on a chair. Fell off the chair. Shattered my elbow requiring painful and ugly surgery. Since then I've had a live and let live attitude about spiders. Usually I get my 9 year old son to capture them and set them free outside. But he was at school. And Mr. Redbacked Jumping Spider could probably jump. Possibly at my face. Shudder.

I did the only thing I could do. I introduced Mr. Redback to my toilet bowl and flushed. Of course I'm not sitting down on that toilet seat any time soon. Just in case...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Mr. Brooks

Saw Mr. Brooks on the weekend. Kevin Costner as a serial killer, what's not to love? He was brilliant! I thought William Hurt did a wonderful job of playing Marshall (Earl's imaginary enabler). I'm not a big Demi Moore fan and thought someone more believable should've played detective Tracy Atwood but I can't think of anyone specific.

Mostly, I saw this movie for the plot. I'd heard the movie did a great job of making you want to cheer for the killer. Since I try to create sympathetic antagonists in my stories, I found this intriguing. I didn't come away thinking, Yay, Earl, go murder more people! You're my hero! But I did feel I was getting a somewhat realistic glimpse into the heart and mind of a killer.

The movie had one moment that was a little startling but I'd already kind of figured it out so I didn't jump (even though my hubby did ha ha). The part of the daughter was interesting but it felt just thrown out there.

So if you've seen this movie, what was your opinion? If you haven't seen it, do you plan too?