Death, Taxes, and a Sequined Clutch

CONTEST! Today, I’m giving away ten copies of Diane Kelly’s new novella Death, Taxes, and a Sequined Clutch to some lucky commenters!

Please help me welcome my friend, Diane Kelly today to Laugh, Love, Read.  She’s a phenomenal writer and a great lady!  You’re gonna love her. . . she’s a hoot!

So let’s get to the questions!

What is the craziest experience you’ve had as an author?

One of my former coworkers is an avid reader, though her taste runs to authors like Fannie Flagg who write stories much less sassy and sexy than my books.  Before I got published, she was one of my best cheerleaders, encouraging me and always asking about my writing. When my first book came out, I was extremely excited and gave her a copy even though I knew it wasn’t the type of book she typically chose for herself.  She came to my office a few days later, closed the door, and gave me a sheepish look. “I didn’t like your book,” she said.

I was taken aback.  I know she meant well and wanted to give me honest feedback, but how do you respond to that?  Half of me wanted to laugh, half wanted to say, “Well, give the d*mn book back then!”

In retrospect now, it makes me chuckle.  No book will please every audience, and this type of honest feedback keeps an author humble.

Name three things you have in common with your heroine.

#1 Bra size. Enough said.

#2 Both Tara Holloway and I majored in accounting at the University of Texas in Austin.  Hook ‘em Horns!

#3 Tara and I like to see justice be done and to do what we can to right wrongs.  But while IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway uses a gun to exact justice, I wrote letters on behalf of clients in my law practice.  Still, the pen can sometimes be as mighty as the sword. Though I wasn’t always able to get justice for my clients, I did my best and was often able to make things better. If I’d carried a Glock like Tara, I probably could’ve accomplished even more. ; )

If you had to be locked in a closet with one person, who would it be?

My gut reaction is to say George Clooney but, truth be told, I’d really rather be covered in chocolate sauce and rolling around on a king-sized bed with him than stuck in a closet!

Ironically, the person I’d most like to be locked in a closet with is someone who came out of the closet years ago – Ellen DeGeneres.  I have so much respect and admiration for her both professionally and personally.  She’s an incredibly talented and funny writer, actress, and talk show host, with a rare sincerity and genuineness about her. I like her message that we should be more accepting and tolerant of each other’s differences.  I’m also a huge animal lover and I like that she promotes animal welfare and rights.  I’d love to pick her brain on humor, her secrets of success, and basically just shoot the breeze with her. It would be a hoot!

LOL, love it!

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Big laughs at a small price!  Get Diane’s latest release, an electronic exclusive novella entitled Death, Taxes, and a Sequined Clutch, for only $1.99!

IRS special agent Tara Holloway isn’t going to let a perfect opportunity to collect pass her by. Especially when she can do it in sequins and a bedazzled hip holster …

Death and taxes wait for no woman. And if anything can take Tara’s mind off gorgeous temptation Nick Pratt, her new coworker, it’s a case at her old accounting firm—involving none other than the arrogant womanizer who humiliated her years ago. Taking down brothers who’ve lied and cheated their way into millions is a professional satisfaction, but catching Nathan Jamison with his pants down is the most fun Tara can have without Nick. That is, until the bullets start flying…

Read an excerpt here: http://www.dianekelly.com/death-taxes-and-a-sequined-clutch/?action=excerpt

Find Diane Kelly online at www.dianekelly.com, www.facebook.com/dianekellybooks, www.twitter.com/dianekellybooks!

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Thanks so much for being here, Diane!

Now, I’ve already asked who you’d like to be locked in a closet with.  So, now tell me about your crazy experiences in your job for a chance to win an e-copy of Diane’s novella.  Be sure and check back next week to see if you’re one of my ten lucky winners!  Good luck!

Mystery Solved

WINNER!  The winner from last week’s flying pig blog is . . . Julie S.!  Please email me at: christie (at) christie-craig (dot) com and let me know which of my books you’d like, along with your mailing address.  Congratulations!

Mystery Solved:  Hubby Does it Again

Most of you have read my blogs concerning my hubby.  He’s just so dang good at giving me blog material. From plumbing disasters to setting the lawnmower on fire, he’s always up to something.  But this time, his predicament wasn’t just blogable, it was a mystery.  One that had us all scratching our heads and laughing our butts off.  But, as of a few minutes ago, the mystery is solved.  But I’m still laughing.

Okay, let me give you the background info first.  We have cats.  Too many cats.  Four to be exact.  They are all indoor kitties, but we have a dog run with a kid’s fort/playhouse in it in our backyard, and sometimes we let the cats go outside and play in the dog run.  If they really wanted to, they could climb out, but they’re not young kittens, and they pretty much just enjoy their little play area.  And sometimes we’ll let the two who really love the outdoors sleep in the garage at night.

Well, the other night it was around eleven o’clock and it was raining, and hubby remembered that Mama Socks, our black and white kitty, was still in the dog run outside.  So he put on his shoes and trudged out into the dark and the rain to bring her in.

He comes in a good four minutes later shaking his head, but without the cat.  “What happened?” I asked.

“She got pissed at me,” he said.

“Why?”

“Hell if I know.  She was hiding and staying dry in the covered portion of the fort, I reached in and picked her up, and she went psycho.  I swear she was trying to bite me.  I barely managed to hold on to her.  She fought me like a devil so I just put her in the garage with Bob.  Why the hell she’d want to stay out when it’s raining is beyond me.”

Now, let me stop right here and ask if any of you have seen that commercial about needing glasses where the woman is walking back in the house and saying, “Good kitty,” and a raccoon is following her inside?  You know where I’m going now, don’t you?  And yes, hubby has really bad eyes.  But in his defense, it is really dark back there.

Anyway, the next morning I went to let the dog out.  It was still raining and I heard this very insistent meowing coming from the dog run.  I looked out and Mama Socks was standing in the rain, wet, and looking very upset that we’d let her spend the night outside in such dire weather conditions.

So I go grabbed her and brought her in.  Hubby sees me and says, “So you got her out of the garage?”

That’s when I remembered his story about the cat last night.  “No,” I said, “She was in the dog run.”

“She couldn’t have been,” he said.  “I put her in the garage.”

I started laughing.  “I don’t know what you put in the garage, but she was in the dog run.”

He stood there looking at me as if I was making the whole thing up.   “This ain’t funny.”

Oh, but it was.  I got this image of him picking up a possum or a raccoon and tossing it in the garage.  I went to the garage to see what was in there.  Bob, our other cat, who was already in the garage before the whole Mama Socks incident, wouldn’t even come out.  I was worried that the pissed off raccoon he threw in the garage could have injured Bob.

But, finally, Bob showed up, looking as if he had a rough night, too.  Hubby swears he could not have mistaken a raccoon or a possum for a cat.  “It would have bit me,” he insisted.

I reminded him that he said it almost did, and then I started to laugh.

Now I wasn’t so sure it wasn’t a raccoon or possum until three days later.  You see, I was writing and looked up and saw a black kitty, same size and eye color as Mama Socks, staring at me from my French doors.   Our neighbors had gotten a new black cat.  Poor Fluffy will probably stay out of our backyard from now on.

You know, I think hubby is gonna be a tad more careful what he picks up in the dark from now on.

When Pigs Fly

WINNERS!! The winners from last week’s blog with the lovely Janet Nash are: Anne and Ellie.  Congratulations!  Please email me at: christie (at) christie-craig (dot) com and let me know if you’d prefer your ebook via Amazon or B&N.

Contest!  Contest!  This week one person who leaves a comment will win an inspirational rock (yeah, a rock with an inspirational saying on it) as well as a signed copy of any of my novels.

When Pigs Fly

I spotted it in the sky.  “Stop!  Pull over!  Now!”  I yelled all the while trying to rescue my camera from its case.

Hubby was driving; we were in California.  I believe it was Topanga Canyon.  I’d seen the object just as he turned a corner, half hidden behind some trees.  I blinked twice, thinking I was imagining it, but when it didn’t disappear, I knew I had to have a picture of it.

Hubby of course thought I’d lost it when I first started yelling.  But then he saw it.  Like a good hubby, when he heard the determination in my voice—a tone that basically meant you stop this car or you’ll be in the doghouse—he pulled over, told me to be careful exiting the car, and then watched me in the rearview mirror walk back a hundred feet, aim my camera in the sky, and take a picture of the flying pig.

“It’s for my blog,” I told him when I got back in the car.

“I figured,” he said.  “When pigs fly, right?”

I just nodded.  I guess after you’ve been married to someone as long as we have, they even know the monster’s dialogue that lives inside your head.

I’m not sure where the monster got that particular dialogue.  But it was probably from me, and I probably got it from some negative-Nellie person who crossed my path.  I was probably young and impressionable, because the saying stuck with me.

It stuck so strongly that it became my inner monster’s mantra.  Do you know the inner monster I’m talking about?  The ones who lives inside our heads and hearts.  The ones who gnaws on our souls whenever we attempt to accomplish something.  And by something, I mean something positive.

You no more get an idea to achieve some feat and . . . bam, that monster starts piping up in your head with negative script that makes attempting your goals twice as hard.

I think most of us have those ugly little gremlins living in our head.   Some people call them self-doubt, some people call them insecurities.  I call them a lot of things, including a bunch of four letter words.

Years ago when I first started writing, that negative gremlin popped up in an attempt to stop me from even trying.  I wanna write a book, I thought, and that ugly little voice spoke up and said, Yeah, you didn’t even finish high school, you can’t spell, you’ll write a book about the same time . . . well, when pigs fly.

I managed to finish that book and few others, and my goals grew bigger.  I wanna become a published writer.

“When pigs fly,” that scratchy voice insisted.

You’d think that after accomplishing some of my “wannas” and finishing a lot of books, and then accomplishing the seemingly impossible dream and selling a book, I would have managed to send that ugly monster packing.  At the least, I should have been able to slap some duct tape over his foul mouth.  But nope, with every step forward I went to take, with every goal I set, the little sucker somehow managed to be there, taunting me, yanking off the duct tape I’d smacked on his mouth, trying to rob me of my confidence.  And the sad truth is, he’s still here.

“I wanna. . .”

“When pigs fly.”

“I wanna . . .”

“When pigs fly.”

You see, it doesn’t matter what you’ve accomplished, those gremlins hang on.  Yet, somehow, even with that little monster whispering in my ear, I’ve managed to keep going.

Some may assume I simply got a break before I broke.  However, I wasn’t on the fast track.  There was nothing quick or easy about accomplishing my wannas.  God knows, I’m not an overnight success.  I started writing in 1984, my first novel came out a short ten years later.  For ten years, I kept slapping tape over that gremlin’s mouth.  And it only took me thirteen years later to sell the second book.  And while I started writing freelance and sold articles along the way, I received enough rejections to wallpaper my house and about ten of yours, and I’m not talking small houses.

You know, it’s hard to believe in yourself, to set out to accomplish your dreams–and I don’t care what kind of dream– when you have a negative-Nellie monster living in your head.  But I think it helped me to learn that a lot of us have those gremlins.  And while we may never completely rid ourselves of them, we can get better at ignoring them.  And we can be successful as we battle them, armed of course, with a lot of mental duct tape.

Here are five tips for how I handle my gremlins.

  • I set small, easily reached goals, baby steps to achieving my dream, and I celebrate each one.
  • I surround myself with positive people, people whom inspire me and believe in me.  If you don’t have those people in your life, find them.
  • I give myself the time and schedule to pursue my dream most every day, even if it’s ten minutes.  If you stop working on a dream consistently, it’s easy to stop all together.
  • When the monster starts talking, trying to shoot down my confidence, I do what my mama told me never to do.  I talk back.   When I hear that voice say, “When pigs fly,” I give him hell and say “I’ll show him.”   And now I have the photo to prove it.
  • I keep visual reminders out for inspiration. A plaque, a good critique, a copy of your first book, or maybe even a rock are all good examples!

So, do you have a negative-Nellie monster living inside your head?   How do you deal with him/her?  Today one person will win an inspirational rock along with a copy of any of my novels.  So make sure you leave a comment.

Powerless Consent

WINNERS! WINNERS!  Ye-haw!  Last week’s winners from Lori Wilde’s blog are in!  Please email me at: christie (at) christie-craig (dot) com and let me know if you’d prefer a print or e-book, and either your snail mail address for delivery or the email information I’ll need, as well as if you’d prefer Amazon or B&N for e-books.

Drumroll, please . . . Michelle Harlan, Penney Wilfort, Meghan Higdon, Brandy Bosquez, Gail D., Na S., Maude, Kathleen O., Cyndi Riccio, Sabrina Robert, Shari Parker, Mo, Sarah S., Sandy Thurber, and Janie Adams – CONGRATULATIONS!

Now, onto my special guest for today.  She is a 2012 Inspirational Category Golden Heart Finalist, whose debut book, Powerless Consent, released this week.  She’s also one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.  Please welcome my friend, Jan Nash!

It’s an honor to be here. Thanks, Christie, for the invite!

It’s time for me to hit the SHIFT KEY! My debut novel, Powerless Consent, graduated from ‘draft to published’ this week.

That’s wonderful!  Can you tell us about the book?

Kate Ballard thinks attending a gala on a luxury yacht honoring her old college friend will be the time of her life, but secret cell phone videos, threats to her family’s safety, and a hidden sniper force her into a world of deception and lies. Can her faith erase such horror? Though powerless, she relentlessly tries to outsmart her captor and return to the love of her life.

Her husband, Tom, refuses to accept his wife’s decision to leave and discovers that he must revisit his past. With the help of an unlikely ally, he finds evidence of theft and murder tucked away in an old storage locker. When his investigation starts to uncover the truth, he struggles with who to believe. Will he trust his heart or the deception before his eyes? One thing’s for sure, nothing can stop him from reuniting his family, not even a force as great as Invisible Surveillance.

Sounds intriguing!  Now, let me ask you some questions . . .

You know I’m a wine drinker. What wine would you pair up with your book?

Messina Hof Angel Reisling, of course! It’s my heroine, Kate Ballard’s, favorite, and mine, too!

Which three words best describe your book?

Tough question, but after much thought, I’d have to say:

IntrusionPowerless Consent spotlights a high tech concept called Invisible Surveillance. The technology monster possesses the ability to receive live video from cell phones. What if they’re watching you?

Intrigue – Who, what, where, and how build from chapter to chapter as the secrets of Invisible Surveillance are revealed.

Inspiration – Can faith extinguish fear? With a plotline revolving around spying and deception, a heartwarming ending reminds us that love never fails.

What’s your favorite scene in the book?

The turning point. The moment Kate is forced to abandoned her family is etched in my mind. Imagine being thrust into a situation where you discover you’ve been watched for 15 years and your family will be murdered if you don’t comply with the requests of a psychopath. The inspiration for that scene came to me in a dream. I can still feel the surge of emotion and overwhelming sense of powerlessness. I worked hard on getting it right, and so far, all reviews are a ‘thumbs up’.

Wow, Jan, sounds exciting!  Thanks so much for being here!  How can we find you and your book?

You can find me at: www.janetnash.com

The book is available through Soul Mate Publishing right now and will be up on Amazon this week and other retailers very soon.  You can see my website or my publisher for the latest information: www.soulmatepublishing.com.

Perfect!  Thanks again, Jan! 

So, tell us, have you ever had a powerful dream that set you on a new path?  Or had your faith tested?  Big or small?  I’ll be giving away two copies of Jan’s book to some lucky commenters, so tell us your story.