Monday, November 24, 2014

This is a SHORT post!


Because here in the U.S., Thursday is Thanksgiving.

It doesn't much matter whether you're having four or forty for dinner, the preparation is the same.

First the house has to be ready. For those of you who are writers, you know that's easier said than done.

Then there's food.

Our gathering will be small this year. Some family will arrive on Wednesday. Others will be here on Thursday only.

What with one thing and another, it's doubtful I'll actually be making three meals a day from Wednesday through Sunday for the in-house bunch, but I have to be prepared for that possibility.

As you can see, I'm going to be a little busy. I'll do my best to respond and return all comments, but it may be the weekend before I get there.

I'm sure many of you will be just as busy. No one has time to read a long rambling treatise--especially when there's pumpkin pie on the horizon!

I also want to remind you that Sunday will be the last day to enter the contest on my website. November's giveaway is by Jan Christensen: a signed copy of PERFECT VICTIM plus a gorgeous bookmark handcrafted by the author. Just click the WIN button at the top of the right sidebar and complete the entry form. Easy!


From one turkey to another ☺

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gracie and the Peach Thieves - Part One

Hi, everyone. My name’s Gracie. Carol's a little busy, so she asked me to tell you a little bit about myself.

I was born thirty-two years ago in Fredericksburg, a small town in the Texas Hill Country about an hour and a half west of Austin. The town was established in 1846 by German settlers and named after King Frederick of Prussia. I grew up in a limestone house built not long after that date by one of my great, great and more grandfathers. Except each generation added on to it, so it’s now filled with all sorts of nooks and crannies perfect for afternoon daydreaming.

Of course I wasn't aware of any of that back then. I was the youngest of five children, with three brothers and a sister to keep up with. By the time I entered kindergarten, I knew the key players on the Cowboys, Longhorns, and Red Raiders teams. And the words to a whole lot of George Strait songs. I also knew how to throw a baseball and how to braid my hair.

When I was ten, my two oldest brothers were away at college, and my sister was a senior in high school. By the time my sophomore year in high school came along, I was the only one still at home. It was also the year I became an aunt for the first time. For a few years, I learned what life was like for an only child—the good and the bad.

Daddy worked as a handyman and generated more business than he could handle. All five of us—even Trinka, who is THE girliest girl ever—learned how to do all kinds of things to help him. He also made a pretty good living raising cattle and growing peaches.

Mama kept the peaches from the best trees. What we didn't eat, she turned into prizewinning cobbler and ice cream at the Gillespie County Fair. She still makes those two treats for a few of the priciest bed-and-breakfasts that now dot the local landscape.

The summer I was nine, Mama’s cobbler brought about my first attempt at solving a crime.

She’d sent me out to pick enough peaches to fill her cobbler basket. I’d climbed the tree and filled about half the basket when the voices of two men drifted up through the leaves.

Probably Daddy and Buster, the man who helped him with the peaches every year. I peeked out through the leaves.

The men were strangers. Each was carrying a stack of bushel baskets—not the kind Daddy used for market peaches. If they weren't helping Daddy and Buster, they were peach thieves.

I’d heard about those. Two or three farms got hit every year. Where were Petunia and Daisy? Our border collies were usually too alert for anyone to sneak up on our peaches unnoticed.

The men passed my tree and stopped at the next one. No! All the trees at this end of the row were Mama’s. And the men were too close for me to climb down and find Daddy. 

What should I do?

Want to know more?
How this story ends?
Who I really am?

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Cheese Spirits Are Here - Bring Crackers!

Guess who's visiting here this week? The lovely Crystal Collier!

We know Crystal loves cheese, so I checked my fridge.
   Monterey Jack
   Queso Fresco
   Sharp Cheddar
   And leftover cheesecake.
We're a cheezy bunch :)
Somewhere in there Crystal should get her fill. I hope.

I'm now handing the cheese over to Crystal

First of all, huge thanks, Carol, for inviting me here today!

With the release of my second novel, SOULLESS, I've come to realize that every book has its tricky aspects.

While writing a series that deals with time manipulation, I've come across my fair share of pitfalls. Ready to bend your brain?

Top Ten Troubles with Twisting Time

1. Memories: If you could step through time, you'd find yourself in a place where you remembered events that have yet to take place. Say, the Berlin wall coming down. The fall of the Roman empire. How would that mess with your interactions with others? 

2. Paradoxes: So he saved the day, but then the person he saved stepped through time and saved him. But, what if they didn't? Then the whole time stream would collapse, right?

3. Crossing paths with one's self or ancestors: What if you accidentally influenced your ancestor to take a different path? What if you accidentally (or intentionally) influenced yourself to take a different path? Does the current you cease to exist? 

4. Forgetting someone doesn't know you: When seeing someone you care about or met three years in the future, you might react on instinct. There's no denying the lighting up of your eyes when you recognize someone, but what if you slipped and went too far? 

5. Learning HOW to control time: Alexia has trouble with this. She even over shoots once. Almost to the detriment of those she's trying to help. Oops. Imagine if you overshot by a century or so? (Not saying my characters do that.)

6. Learning your limits: Does traveling through time have a cost?
Physical strain? 

7. Anachronisms: This is a fancy word for taking customs, events etc. to a time where they don't belong. How about a hand shake, a piece of history or governing aspect, a word that has yet to come into existence?

8. Food: It's no small secret that people have eaten differently throughout the ages. What if your stomach couldn't tolerate the current foods?

9. Sickness: Same as food. What if you didn't have the same immunity as 90% of the population, and contracted a common illness, and died?

10. Language/reading: Unless you're blessed with a Tardis, how on this holy earth are you supposed to communicate with people from a different era?

So if you ever come across an author staring into space with a pained expression on his/her face, now you know why. Give them a wedge of cheese, a pat on the shoulder, and assure them the world is not about to explode. They'll appreciate it. 

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

MOONLESS: Alexia must choose safety and an arranged marriage, or true love and being hunted by the Soulless every moonless night.

SOULLESS: When Alexia's wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power and risk losing everything.

Any brain benders you can add about time manipulation? Have you ever wanted to time travel, and if so, to when?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hot Scorpios with a Side of Peanut Butter

Scorpio, Topaz, and Chrysanthemum - all things belonging to November - astrological sign, birthstone, and birth flower.

Also, November is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, National Pepper Month, and National Good Nutrition Month. Hmmm...

Happy November!

This week I'm visiting Christine Rains and talking about CLUES. Check it out!

The new contest on my website is in full swing. This month my critique partner, Jan Christensen, is giving away one autographed copy of PERFECT VICTIM, the first book in her Paula Mitchell, P.I. series. Jan is also giving away a beautiful handmade bookmark - made by Jan herself! All you have to do to win is enter the contest on my website. Just click the WIN button at the top of my right sidebar, view the photo, read the short vignette, and answer the question. Everyone can play, but the winner will be chosen from US entrants only.

A few days after Sylvia Leominster is murdered, private investigator Paula Mitchell interviews Sylvia's fiancé in their small-town Rhode Island jail. Warren Wade's fingerprints are all over the murder weapon, he has no alibi, and Sylvia broke up with him the night she was killed. After another young woman friend of Sylvia's is bludgeoned to death, Paula is dismayed when the police keep Warren in jail. They claim the second murder could have been committed by a copy-cat and remind her Warren's fingerprints are still on the weapon that killed Sylvia.

Working with her best friend who often hires Paula to investigate cases and who is Warren’s lawyer, Paula searches for answers. Paula and her computer guru lover narrow down the suspects to the victim's friends. The group is led by a mesmeric young man with political ambitions. Paula doesn’t trust him, especially when she learns that all of Sylvia's friends have lied during her interviews. At the preliminary hearing, some answers begin to emerge. Paula zeros in on the killer and sees firsthand how friendship and loyalty can be used for personal gain. With Warren’s freedom on the line, she has to find a way to capture the real killer. But in doing so, she doesn't realize she’s putting herself and her own best friend in danger.

NEWS FLASH! The winner of Holly Sinclair's 365 NIGHTS from the Tiki Hut last week is: LEXA CAIN! Congratulations, Lexa, and Happy Cooking :)

Who's doing NaNo?

For the first time ever, I'm starting a project in November. Wasn't my original plan, but that's how it worked out. So that's my own personal NaNo-ish tale. However, I won't be working at NaNo speeds. Doing so would probably send my little raft right on around the bend.

I'm going to be working on all the pre-writing things that come with a new novel. You may not see as much of me on Facebook and Twitter this month, but I'll still be there - and here. In the meantime,