Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria

BlameItOnTexasWINNERS!  The winners from last week’s blog with Joan Reeves are: Kimber Burks Reece and Julie S.  Please email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com and let me know if you’d prefer your e-book from Amazon or B&N.  Congratulations!

Now, I’m tickled to welcome back my good friend, Diane Kelly, as she celebrates the release of her newest book – Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria.

So, Diane, what do you think is the biggest occupational hazard of being a writer?

Time!  There’s never enough of it!

Writing is a very open-ended profession.  An author can always write more or edit more or promote more, and it’s easy to let the career take over our lives, especially because we enjoy what we do so much.  It’s almost an obsession, really.  I’m still trying to figure out how best to allocate my limited time without giving up the non-writing activities I enjoy and without negatively impacting my personal relationships.  So far it’s been a lot of trial and error.

If the Ten Commandments were really a list of eleven, what do you think the eleventh should be?

Thou shalt laugh every day!

Life can sometimes be difficult, and days can feel like drudgery.  But if we learn to see the humor in the negative things in life, we can tolerate them more easily.  It’s critical not to take life or people too seriously, too.  When you get down to it, we’re all just a bunch of goofballs living on a wacky, screwed-up planet.  God is probably looking down at us and laughing his butt off at the trouble we get ourselves into!

What did you want to be when you were a child?

Truthfully?  I wanted to be a dancer on Solid Gold.  Remember that TV show?  Those girls had the moves!

As a child I didn’t really have a clear vision of where I wanted to go with my life, but looking back I see a lot of hints that I was destined to become a writer.  I played with Barbie dolls much longer than most girls, and didn’t retire them to the back of the closet until I was 13 or so.  I had four trunks full of clothes and accessories, not to mention the cruise ship and pink convertible.  I would dress the dolls up, think through a scene, then act it out.  Rarely was I happy with the way it turned out the first time around. I’d think some more, maybe change the set or the doll’s clothing or the dialogue, and act it out again.  I realize now that what I was actually doing was writing and revising scenes.  It was good practice in storytelling.

That reference to the “Silly Putty pecker” in my first book?  Totally autobiographical.  It bugged me that Ken wasn’t anatomically correct, so I made him a penis out of Silly Putty.  Does this make me warped?

Nah, not warped at all, right, guys?  LOL! 

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Today marks the much-anticipated release of Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria, book #4 in Diane Kelly’s hilarious Death & Taxes series! Read an excerpt at: http://www.dianekelly.com/death-taxes-and-peach-sangria/?action=excerpt

For more information about the series and to read excerpts from earlier releases, visit her “Books” page at www.dianekelly.com!

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

Diane Kelly (small)

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Thanks so much for hanging out with me again, Diane.  It’s been fun!

Now it’s your turn . . . tell us what you wanted to be when you were a kid.  Did you make it to your childhood dream?  Or did your dreams change as you got older?  Ten lucky commenters will win an e-copy of Diane’s book.  Good luck!

Old Enough to Know Better

BlameItOnTexasHi, all!  I’m so happy to welcome my friend, Joan Reeves today to Laugh, Love, Read!

Take it away Joan!

I’d like to tell you about my romantic comedy, Old Enough To Know Better, which just came out as an audio book. Old Enough To Know Better is Book 1 of The Good, The Bad, and The Girly, a four book series. (Book 2 is Good Girl Conspiracy and will be published June 2013.)

Old Enough To Know Better is a funny, sexy romance to warm your heart during this cold January.

Every woman makes mistakes. Meet Stormy Clarkson, haunted by the three whoppers she made that changed her life forever. She keeps her distance from men, but now she’s crushing on totally gorgeous, sexy Sean Butler, owner of Sierra Verde Winery. Sean’s been after her for six months, but she’s resisted every advance. She can’t risk another mistake, and Sean scares her because of the way he makes her feel.

Stormy learned some hard lessons from the men who wanted her for her face and her body, but not for herself. Armed with iron self-control and the desire never to risk her heart, she’s determined to deny what she feels for Sean.

Then, one night he kisses her, and that changes everything.

Sean Butler was once an interrogator for the U.S. Army. He knows a lie when he hears one, and that’s all he hears in Stormy’s icy refusals. Sean’s smart enough to know that the only way to deal with a control freak is to make her lose control.

The beautiful blonde had better be on her guard because Sean’s got a plan to win her heart. His plan? Whatever it takes.

Old-Enough-To-Know-Better_by_Joan-Reeves

Sounds fun!  Can I ask you a few questions?

Which three words best describe your book?

Sexy. Romantic. Funny.

What is your biggest fear?

That I’ll kick the bucket before I write all the stories that keep me awake at night. *LOL*

What is your favorite scene in the book?

When Stormy tells Sean that she is not interested in a relationship, and he tells her: “Fine. I’m not either.” Then he proceeds to tell her exactly what he IS interested in. After all, he knows that Stormy is a control freak. The only way to deal with a control freak is to make her lose control, and he has a plan to do just that!

Sure sounds like a fun read!  Can you tell us how to get it?

Ebook available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/ENOUGH-KNOW-BETTER-Girly-ebook/dp/B006CRV9IW/ and at all the other ebook sellers too. Audio book edition available at Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00AYKQ2EE and Apple/iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/old-enough-to-know-better/id592929455

Perfect!  Thanks so much for being here, Joan!  Now, fess up, people!  Tell us your biggest fears and two lucky commenters will win an e-copy of Joan’s book!

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Joan Reeves, a bestselling Kindle author, is also multi-published in print — book-length fiction and regional and national periodicals. She’s published all over the Internet under her own name, various pseudonyms, and as a ghost. Joan publishes Writing Hacks, a free weekly subscription newsletter for writers ( http://eepurl.com/fX7JT ), Wordplay (http://www.joanreeves.com/newsletter.htm?newsletter= ), a free subscription newsletter for readers,  and her long-running blog SlingWords ( http://Slingwords.blogspot.com ) for readers and writers. Visit Joan on the web at http://www.JoanReeves.com or catch her on Twitter @JoanReeves

 

Antique Cups…Expensive, Christmas Eve Tea Party Memories…Priceless

BlameItOnTexasWINNERS!  The winners from last week’s blog with Suzan Harden are: Sarah S., Kris Fletcher and Cara.  Please email me at christie (at) christie-craig.com and let me know if you’d rather have your e-copy of Zombie Wedding from Amazon or B&N.  Congrats!

Now, I have a fun holiday story to share with you.  Imagine if you will . . .

It was two days before Christmas, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off and a lit stick of dynamite up its back-end.  You know, doing all that pre-cooking and last minute wrapping.  Then, the phone rang.

“Mawmaw.” That sweet little three-year-old voice filled my ear and the holiday stress faded like magic.  Now, my granddaughter is extremely verbally talented.  There’s nothing she can’t say or talk about.  I mean, a couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I were over in my daughter’s neck of the woods and were taking our granddaughter to a park. We were about five miles from their house when she piped up from the backseat and said, “Mawmaw, you see that white building?  That’s where Mama and me went and voted for president.”  Yes, she’s three years old and this kid is blessed with language skills and intelligence.  I mean, she already knows where she has to go vote.

About the only time I can’t understand everything she says is when she’s really excited.  And on that pre-Christmas phone call, she was very excited.  I heard, “Mawmaw, Mama said I couldn’t, but . . . blah blah blah,” and, “tea party blah blah blah,” followed by . . . “Okay?  Is that okay?”

Wanting to make her happy, (Hey, I’m Mawmaw and that’s what we do) I said, “Okay.”  And I wasn’t worried at all until I heard the little darling voice say, “See, Mama, I told you Mawmaw would say yes.”

My daughter gets on the line and says, “Mama, you didn’t have to agree to that.”

I stammered just a second.  “Wh . . . what did I agree to?”

My daughter starts laughing and then she tells me the story.  My granddaughter had decided they needed to have a tea party.  So she went and found her little play tea set.  But she found it swept under her bed, so it had something in it. And not just anything in it. We’re talking Texas mold growing inside tiny plastic tea cups.  She was so upset when my daughter told her she couldn’t drink out of them anymore.  She was still pouting, but then my daughter said my granddaughter’s eyes lit up and she said, “I know, when I go to Mawmaws, we can have a real tea party with real tea cups.  Not play tea cups, not regular tea cups, but real fancy ones.”

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You see, years ago I collected antique tea cups.  So around the house, I have about a half a dozen of some of my nicer cups set out on shelves and such.  My granddaughter had never really had an interest in them . . .  until now.  The next day, Christmas Eve, my daughter, her hubby and my granddaughter showed up, wrapped presents in hand.  We were still setting the gifts under the tree when my granddaughter comes running up with about four antique cups and saucers stacked in her arms. “We’re going to have a real tea party,” she squeals with the biggest, sweetest smile on her face.

My daughter’s face grows pale seeing her three-year-old so haphazardly carrying my hundred-year-old tea cups as if they were building blocks.  I know my daughter is remembering when she was a teen and broke my favorite cup.  She had felt terrible and even went out and bought me a replacement.   But I have to tell you, seeing my granddaughter all lit up with joy over us having a “Real” tea party was simply priceless.

I told my daughter to relax, if a cup or two got broken, it would be okay, because the memory would be worth it.  So I just helped my granddaughter bring them into the kitchen and we made tea and sat around the table, pointing out our pinky fingers, eating cookies that we called scones, and we had ourselves one fine Christmas Eve tea party.

You know, I’ve had some of those antique cups for over 20 years, but I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed them more than right then.  Happy New Year again, guys.  Even if you break a cup or two, I hope you all take the time to sit down with a three-year-old, point your pinky fingers out, share some tea, laughter, and make some memories.

tea party

Zombies, Twinkies and Thriller

BlameItOnTexas

 

Hey, all! Welcome to my first official blog after the New Year!  And, let me tell you, it’s gonna be a humdinger!  I’m excited to introduce you to my friend, Suzan Harden, who writes all sorts of wonderful things from paranormal to the erotic.  And today, she’s telling us about one of her newest books, Zombie Wedding.  (Told you this was gonna be a fun one!)

 

So, Suzan, why did you make your heroine a zombie? Isn’t that just “ewwwww”?

Actually, Samantha “Sam” Ridgeway isn’t a traditional zombie. She was used as the guinea pig in a nut case billionaire’s efforts to save his daughter’s life. Her body’s filled with nanites, microscopic robots, that are re-writing her DNA to give her the benefits of a vampire but still have the ability to walk in sunlight and consume normal food. Unfortunately, the side effects include going insane if she’s not constantly eating.

What are three things you have in common with your heroine?

We both love junk food, but Sam is half my age and a zombie, so she can get away with eating an entire case of Twinkies. (It’s probably a good thing for my pant size that Hostess has gone out of business.) We both have smart mouths that get us in trouble. And we both have a thing for tall, hot guys. Mine’s not British though.

What’s your favorite scene in Zombie Wedding?

Sam’s the maid of honor for her brother’s wedding. She plans this fabulous shindig at Chippendales in Las Vegas for her future sister-in-law’s bachelorette party. So of course, traditional voodoo-style zombies invade the showroom while the dancers are performing to “Thriller.” I got the most complaints/compliments from readers about coffee snorted out their noses while reading this scene.

Sounds like a riot!  LOL!  Can you tell us a little more about the book?

Samantha Ridgeway thought being turned into the walking dead by a freaky lab experiment was the worst thing that could happen to her. She was wrong.

Not only did her creation cause an uproar in the paranormal community—the fairies want her dead permanently—but her vampire boyfriend is pushing for an eternal commitment, she’s a bridesmaid in her brother’s shotgun wedding, and now a necromancer has emerged, wanting revenge on her for something she did when she was still alive. The hungry corpses he raises from the dead are relentless killers. Can Sam protect her brother’s wedding guests from becoming appetizers for the flesh-crazed zombie army? And how can she keep herself from ending up as the main course?

And how do we find the book?

Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Wedding-Bloodlines-3-ebook/dp/B006RD9DSO/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1334943987&sr=8-5

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zombie-Wedding-Bloodlines-3-ebook/dp/B006RD9DSO/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1357242117&sr=8-6

Apple – Log into your iTunes account

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zombie-wedding-suzan-harden/1108107627?ean=2940013796492

Diesel – http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000118442/Harden-Suzan-Zombie-Wedding-A-Bloodlines-Novel/1.html

Kobo – http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Zombie-Wedding-Bloodlines-3/book-jaaJkx5sG0GJVYKb2gGikw/page1.html?s=sq31jF8ILkCYH10chMxdew&r=5

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/118442

Sony – https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/suzan-harden/zombie-wedding/_/R-400000000000000741753

Awesome!  Thanks so much for being here, Suzan!  Now, does anyone out there have any fun wedding stories?  I’ll be giving away three copies of Suzan’s book to some lucky commenters! Zombie Wedding

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Suzan Harden grew up on a working farm in Ohio Amish country, though she’s not Amish. Mucking out pig stalls gives a girl lots of time to make up stories. She currently lives in southeastern Texas with a husband who believes writing is a practical career option, a kid who thinks she’s too enamored with zombies, and a beagle who wants his belly scratched.

To Resolute or Not to Resolute

BlameItOnTexasAre you one of those people who sets New Year resolutions?  I know a lot of people who tell me, “I don’t do that.  Why set myself up to fail?”  I know, I know.  We make them every January 1st and most years we let them fall by the wayside.  Then, when it doesn’t work out, we blame the whole resolution custom.   I know this because I’ve been there.  Done that.  Worn the T-shirt.  Worn that T-shirt out.

But here’s my question.  Is it the custom’s fault? Or is it us?

Doesn’t that question make you feel all itchy inside?  I mean, who wants to take the blame when we can just shift it away.  We blame it on the whacky tradition of setting those resolutions.  It’s not our fault.  It’s a stupid tradition, and we should just stop believing in it like we stopped believing in Santa and the red-nosed reindeer.  (Although, I do still believe in Santa just a little bit.)

Anyway, this line of thought got me thinking about the whole goal-setting process.  And yes, I do see New Year’s resolutions as goals.  And I’m a big goal-setting fanatic.  Seriously, I didn’t finish a book, sell a book, and hit some major publishing lists without setting and achieving goals.  And the process of goal setting isn’t algebra.  It’s rather simple.  We want something, we map out a plan of requirements/steps/tasks that we must do to accomplish said goal.  Simple, right?  So why the heck are my resolutions this year almost identical to the ones I made last year? Can you guess which ones they are?

scale

Oh, heck, I’ll just say it.  For some reason any goals that involve controlling what yummy stuff goes into my mouth or what yucky stuff I do called exercise are nearly impossible to achieve.  Not that I’ve been totally bad about the exercise.  I’ve managed to keep a good walking routine.  At least four days a week I walk for about an hour.  But guess what I learned?  I have other muscles in this body other than those I use to walk.  So here I am again this New Year, thinking about what I need to do to get in better shape and setting a new list of resolutions.

And why am I doing this again when realistically I’ve already proven I might fail?  Well, I gave it some thought and realized, I’m not a realist.  I’m an optimist.  Besides, for me to say I don’t believe in resolutions is like saying that I don’t believe that I can accomplish something.  That I’m going to stop pushing myself to be better.

And I’m a pusher by nature.

So I decided to join the YMCA gym with a neighbor.  We’re going together two times a week, so hopefully I’ll stick to this resolution and work out those muscles I forgot I had.  But, there is more to this story that I’ll tell in a future blog.  And, in the meantime, I’ve also got my other neighbor, friend, writing buddy, and partner in crime – Susan.  She joins me on those treks through our neighborhood and has been a big reason I’ve kept up on my walking goal last year.

Now for my other goals.

  1. Controlling yummy stuff—I’m thinking of trying to talk a friend into going to Weight Watchers with me.
  2. Try to stay on top of book deadlines—focus on getting more pages done daily.
  3.  Balance work with play—make more plans to do short vacation trips. Use the trips as a dangling carrot.  i.e. If you get two chapters done this week, you can go to New Orleans for the weekend.
  4. Read more and watch less television.

We’ll see how I do this year.  Okay…so there you have it.  My resolutions.  Anyone want to share their resolutions and how you plan to meet those goals?

Happy New Year!

new year