Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The HO HO HUMP DAY Winner Is...

It is now officially set in stone.

Photo courtesy of

In camel stone, appropriately enough for this fine Hump Day.

I loved everyone's Naughty and Nice confessions. (Okay, I probably liked the Naughty ones the best. I'm, um, naughty that way.)

Since there was no way I could possibly decide among them myself (and since it's what I said I'd do), I assigned all entrants a number and tossed them (the numbers, not the entrants themselves, the logistics of that being beyond me) into the random number generator over at, and let the impartiality roll.

The winner of the HO HO HUMP DAY prize is...

(Drum roll, please.)

Susan Swiderski!

Susan, if you'll email me at linda(dot)grimes(at)gmail(dot)com with your address, I will send you the signed copy of In a Fix, and set you up to receive Quick Fix ASAP.

Thank you to everyone who played! Your nicenesses warmed my heart and your naughtinesses made me giggle. Life is all about the balance, right? :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hunky Holidays!

Hmmm. Ciel and I can't decide who we'd rather have playing Santa tonight:

Mark...........................................................or Billy? 

If they look a little fuzzy, it's because I *ahem* borrowed them from the In a Fix book trailer.

(Click here and scroll down a little if you've somehow managed to miss seeing that. Though as much as I was shouting about it when it came out last summer, I don't know how you could have. *grin*)

My DD put the hats on Mark and Billy for me after they assured me they didn't mind taking time off their day job to pay me a visit here. Especially since I haven't been keeping them very busy in the WIP (Work In Progress) lately, what with the holiday craziness and all.

So, who's it going to be, Mark (those arms!) or Billy (those charms!)?

Yup, Mark has the guns...but Billy is fun. Decisions, decisions...

Oh, heck. They do work well together. Why choose? *waggles eyebrows*

REMINDER: You only have until midnight EST to enter the contest to win a signed copy of In a Fix AND a pre-order of Quick Fix! Click here, follow the (simple & fun) instructions, and presto! You'll be entered. It's even open internationally, not to mention intergalactically.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Woo-Hoo! QUICK FIX Cover Art!

Hey, y'all, looky what my editor sent me for Christmas:

Yup, that's the cover art for my next book.

I like it!

I like how it's similar enough to the cover art for In a Fix that readers will connect it with the series, and yet different enough in color and background that they won't get confused and think they've already read it.

I also like the backdrop of Central Park (pertinent to the plot) and the glow-y energy surrounding Ciel.

AND they spelled my name right! (Not that they didn't before. Still, it's always nice to see.)

Anyway, I just couldn't wait to show y'all, so there it is. :D

P.S. It's not too late to win. See my last post to find out the particulars.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


So here it is, the last Hump Day before Christmas!

Look who showed up early at my house:

Yes, that is a camel pulling Santa's sleigh! Santa's having a little trouble with the reindeer union. They're refusing to work until Christmas Eve, so Santa was forced to employ a stand-in.

 (Hey, it's Hump Day. You know I had to get a camel in here somewhere.)

And what's that in the sleigh with Santa? Why, it's a signed copy of In a Fix!

Santa has agreed to make a special stop at the home of one of my awesome commenters to drop it off for me. (Me & Santa, we're buds. He'll do that for me. Or at least take it to the nearest post office.)

All you have to do is tell me one NICE thing you've done this year AND (here's the fun part) one NAUGHTY thing you've done this year. 

Then Santa will throw your name into one of those random winner generator thingamahjigs, and TADA! A winner will be selected.

What's that you say? You already have a copy of In a Fix, so why on Earth would you enter (and divulge your naughtiness) just to win another one? Well, this one will be signed!

What? Still not enough? Huh. Rough crowd.

Okay, how about a pre-order of Quick Fix, too? (Sure, it won't be released until next summer, but still. It's never too early to line up your reading, right?)

Santa (aka "The Random Winner Generator") will make his selection from among all eligible participants on Christmas Day. (Though it might not be announced until the 26th, because, yannoh, Christmas Day tends to be a little hectic around here.)

Yes, the contest is open internationally. Heck, it's even open intergalactically, so if you know any aliens into LUF (light urban fantasy), tell them to stop by!

In the meantime, MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!

And if you don't celebrate Christmas, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! (I'd say HAPPY HANUKKAH, but that's over for this year. Alas, I am late.)

And if you don't celebrate any special holiday this time of year, HAPPY HUMP DAY!

Remember, you don't have to celebrate Christmas (or anything) to enter! All you have to do is tell me something Nice and something Naughty. I'm pretty sure anyone can do that. ;)

So, what are you waiting for? Give me a peek at your personal Naughty and Nice list, and let's get this show on the road!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Things I Probably Shouldn't Be Proud Of...

...but am nonetheless.

Photo courtesy of Doesn't he (she?) look proud?

1. I'm quite the punster. I know, I know...lowest form of humor, yadda-yadda. I don't care. Twisting words around is funny. (Nothing makes me happier than making someone groan. Just ask TG. *waggles eyebrows*)

2. If there is an innuendo to be found in any given turn of phrase, I will find it. (See above.)

3. My daughter can cuss like a sailor when the situation warrants. No, make that more like a retired sailor who is now a longshoreman. (She gets that from me. *buffs nails on shirt*)

4. So can my son. (He gets it from his sister.)

(Let me hasten to add that they don't swear in inappropriate situations. They've never, for instance, dropped an F-bomb in front of their grandparents...on Christmas Day...or Easter...that I know of...)

5. The range officer at the shooting range called me the next Annie Oakley. Said I was a natural. (Hmmm...though he was kind of trying to cop a sneaky feel at the time, so in retrospect he may not have been talking about my aim.)

6. I can eat half a pan of brownies without blinking an eye. Or throwing up. (No, I don't do this often. But I can.)

7. I can tie a knot in a cherry stem without using my hands.

8. I have never had a pedicure. (Well, other than the ones I've given myself.) Yes, I have virgin toes. Probably about the only way that word still applies to me.

9. My thumbs are double-jointed, aka "hitchhiker's thumbs." I have no idea why this makes me proud, except that it's a part of my dad that lives on in me.

10. I can yawn without opening my mouth.* (A skill I picked up in an evening class--"Decision Making"--back in college. Three hours straight, every Wednesday night, about making "balance sheets" for every decision in your life. I *cough* decided practicing my covert yawning skills was a wise use of the time.)

*Though my nostrils do flare a bit when I do it.

So, what are you proud of? (If you absolutely can't come up with something inappropriate, then something appropriate will do.) 

Happy Hump Day! Be Proud. Be very proud. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing for Me and Ciel!

The marvelous Kerry Schafer (one of this year's Debs over at The Debutante Ball where I blogged every Friday last year) has convinced me to participate in The Next Big Thing meme that's been wending its way through the blogoshpere. Click here to read about her next big thing, which sounds really cool!

Here are my answers to the question:

What is the working title of your next book?

QUICK FIX. Actually, that was the working title, and now it's the official title. I waiting for my copy edits on it. Sometime after that, I'll get the first pass pages (where it looks all typeset, like a real book). That's my last chance to change anything--after that, it's out of my hands.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The deep, dark recesses of a deranged mind. Bwah-ha-hah!

What genre does your book fall under?

Urban fantasy. Specifically, light urban fantasy, which I like to call LUF. I LUF the funny!

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I see Ciel (when she's being herself) looking something like this version of Hannah Spearritt, only with greener eyes. Ms. Spearritt is probably a little too old to play Ciel now, so I'm open to other suggestions.

Billy I've always seen as a Matt Bomer or Ian Somerhalder type. Again, they might be a bit long in tooth to play Billy, so I'd have to go back in time and fetch a younger incarnation.

Mark? Hmm. A rough-around-the-edges, hunky blond. Maybe Charlie Hunnam, or a younger Daniel Craig, would do.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Gaaah! I HATE trying to sum up a whole book in one sentence.

Okay, how about: "QUICK FIX, like its predecessor IN A FIX, is one damn thing after another, only with a baby orangutan instead of Vikings."

Photo courtesy of

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm repped by the incredible Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency. QUICK FIX will be published by Tor. It's due out Aug. 20, 2013.

Oh hey, look...apparently you can already pre-order it! Alas, no cover image yet. Unless they've put one up since I wrote this post.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

That's hard to say. I had started it even before IN A FIX sold, and then I had to stop while I edited IN A FIX. With all the pauses...maybe a year? I'm really lousy at keeping track of stuff like that.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I've heard that if you like humorous paranormal stuff, like books by MaryJanice Davidson and Katie MacAlister, you should enjoy my Ciel Halligan books. I hope that's true!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Not to sound too woo-woo about it, but I have to say Ciel herself. She started talking to me one day (after I saw her name on a license plate), and just wouldn't shut up.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Let's see...did I mention there's a baby orangutan? And booze and food and sex, oh my! Oh, and you get to meet Ciel's parents, her other two brothers, and Auntie Mo. You think your family is complicated? Ha! You got nothing on Ciel.

This is the part where I'm supposed to tag other people to play. A lot of you have probably already participated, so I tell you what...anyone who wants to do it, consider yourself tagged! You may blame me for it. :)

P.S. Sorry, but you'll have to hump along without a camel pic this week. I'm hoping the baby orangutan will make up for that. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

You think YOU'RE having a bad hair day...

Even your worst hair day can't be this bad:

Photo courtesy of

Though I've had a few that were close...

The absolute worst was bad not only for the hair itself, but also the timing. TG and I were just about to set off on our Big European Adventure. We had sold the first house we bought (we'd been eating mac-n-cheese casseroles for a year and a half to make the mortgage payments) and decided the absolute best thing we could do with the tidy profit we'd made was to spend six months visiting my relatives in Sweden, and Eurailing around the rest of the continent.

(I know. Not really all that practical of us, considering we didn't have any jobs lined for when we got back. But, hey, "young and stupid" is a valid life phase, right? Besides, we didn't have kids yet, so we were only responsible for ourselves, and figured what the hell.)

Anyhoo, before we set out, I decided curly hair would be easier to take care of while traveling than straight hair. So, naturally, a perm came to mind. I mean, then I wouldn't have to bother with packing a power adapter for my curling iron. Or, yannoh, the curling iron itself. Brilliant, huh?

But I didn't really want to pay a whole lot for the permanent. I wanted to save every penny possible for our Big Adventure.

(You can see where this is heading, can't you? Uh-huh. Pinching pennies on perms is not a wise thing. But, hey, "young and stupid," right?)

So I selflessly chose the local beauty salon that was offering $15 perms. (I know! Stupid, stupid, stupid...)

Have you ever seen a $15 dollar perm? No? Well, you're not going to here, either, because I am no longer young or stupid -- I destroyed all the photographic evidence.

After my hair was totally fried by the perpetrator who went out to smoke a cigarette while the permanent wave solution "set," I went to visit my darling TG at the theater where he worked. Mainly to cry on his shoulder, but also clinging to the fragile hope that it wasn't as bad as I feared.

TG, bless his heart*, was getting the theater in shape for his imminent departure, and thus terribly, horribly, completely busy with all sorts of crap. So when I stepped up onto the stage, tremulous smile on my face, he could be** forgiven for walking right past me with barely a nod and not one iota of recognition on his face.

Yup, folks, that perm was SO HEINOUS my own husband didn't recognize me.

I (of course) burst into tears, which was a totally cliched and girly thing to do, and something I couldn't have prevented even if Gloria Steinem had been standing there shaking her finger in my face.

The tears finally got his attention. Have you ever seen a deer caught in the headlights? But, in spite of his fear, TG stepped manfully up to the plate and told me I was beautiful. Hugged me until I had it under control, offered me his hat, and took me out for ice cream.

And that's why we're still married.

*Anyone from the South knows exactly what this means. For those of you not from below the Mason-Dixon Line, let's just say it's not as complimentary as it sounds, and leave it at that.

**Could be, but wasn't...not before many, many trips to Baskin-Robbins, anyway. Even now, if the subject comes up, he offers to take me out for ice cream. It's almost a Pavlovian response.

What's the worst hair day you've ever had? 

(If you've never had a bad hair day, I'm sorry but I'll be forced to hate you.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Humpy Turkey Day!

Hi, y'all!

Just popping in to say an early Happy Thanksgiving to my US compatriots. May your turkeys be large and your pies bountiful!

If you're a vegetarian, um...enjoy that tofurkey.

If you don't eat meat OR tofu...well, you can still enjoy look at turkey like this one:

Photo courtesy of
It may not be all that tasty, but at least there's a lot of it.

(Hmm...come to think of it, that's what was said about the last turkey I roasted. See, there's something for everyone to be thankful for -- I'm not cooking a turkey this year!)

But enough about turkey. This is Hump Day! I can't let you go without a camel pic:

Photo courtesy of
Hoo-boy, get a load of the look on, her...well, its...face. Let that be a reminder to you:

The right attitude will carry you through even when your humps are drooping.

Happy Thanksgiving to those to whom it applies, and Happy Hump Day to all!

And may your humps stay perky. ;)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Hump Day Winner! (And some really pretty eyelashes.)

Know why this camel is so happy?

Because she's* pleased to announce the winner of the signed Diane Henders book! (If you missed my interview with Diane, click here to read it.)

Without further ado, the winner is...

Carol Kilgore!!!

If you haven't yet visited Carol at her blog, Under the Tiki Hut, you're missing out on a treat. While you're there, check out her book, In Name Only, another treat. A yummy, romantically suspenseful treat. Mmmm.

Carol, you can email Diane at diane(at)dianehenders(dot)com to see about collecting your prize. Just tell her which of her books prefer. Personally, I recommend Never Say Spy. It's fast-paced, funny, and sexy -- a combo I happen to find irresistible.

That's it from me today, folks. I'm buried over here in my reality for the next little while, and I have to keep shoveling. But I wish you all a HAPPY HUMP DAY!

Oh, wait...the question. Question, question,, what's your favorite day of the week? 

*No, I'm not sure that's a girl camel, but I figured I had a 50-50 shot at being right. Besides, just look at those eyelashes. They belong on a girl. ;)

Monday, November 5, 2012


[I originally posted this on the blog two years ago. Since it still applies, I thought I'd share it again. I figure a lot of you haven't seen it yet, anyway, so I don't feel too guilty about the rerun. Plus, I changed the pictures, so it's kind of different. A little. Sort of. Oh, heck, work with me here...]

If you're at all involved in the online writing community, you already know about NaNoWriMo, affectionately truncated to NaNo.  Basically, you sign up to write a whole novel between November 1 and November 30. Lots of my writing buddies have attempted this. Some have even succeeded.

I have never even tried. Let me tell you why.

The Top Ten Reasons I Say No-No to NaNo

10. The temptation to cheat would be too great. I just know as soon as I slipped behind on my daily word count goal, I'd dip into something I've already written, doctor it up a bit, and cram it in to make it fit. And cheating would be wrong.

9. I've never really written a "first draft." By which I mean: I fiddle with the parts I've already written all the way through, so by the time I reach "The End," I'm probably on about draft 25 of the early chapters.

8. I'm too competitive. If my friends who are participating were to tell me they'd written 2000 words for the day, I'd have to write 2001. (I know. It's a sickness.)

7. I may be *cough* ever-so-slightly contrary. If somebody is telling me I have to do something, I can usually find a way not to. Which explains why I haven't yet read Twilight or seen Titanic. Too many people told me I "just had to!" 

6. I'm too superstitious. I know, deep down, as soon as I commit to writing a whole novel in a month,something will happen to keep it from happening. My computer will blow up. I'll come down withbubonic plague. There will be a rare November blizzard, and I will be shoveling out until Christmas. The Zombie Apocalypse will descend, and my brain will be eaten. Take your pick. 

Possibly even with zombie pirates!!! (

5. November zips by fast enough as it is. I can't afford to age any faster than I already am.

4. Turkey coma. I will eat so much on Thanksgiving that my brain won't be functional until the first week of December.

Yes, I will eat turkey, despite the dirty looks. Lots and lots of turkey. (

3. I like to get the laundry done during my daily writing time. We don't have enough clothing to get me through NaNo.

Not my real washer. Though some days it feels like it.  (

2. If I were to manage to write a whole novel in a month, how would I ever live up to it with future novels? Say I were to take six weeks for the next one? or seven? or even eight? Think how inadequate I would feel. Who needs to feel inadequate? 

And the #1 REASON I'm not doing NaNo? Because I know I'd never be able to keep up with regular blog posts if I did. Either writing mine or reading the ones I follow. Yes, dear readers, it's a huge sacrifice, but I'm DOING IT FOR YOU. :)

So, are you NaNo-ing this year? How's it working out for you? 

P.S. The winner of Diane Henders' book will be announced soon! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Spicy Suspense Served Hard-Boiled -- An Interview with Diane Henders

For me, one of the joys of being a writer is getting to meet other writers in the great big online writing community. Cyberspace is loaded with us, and provides a great avenue to connect with like minds. Or in this case, like potty-mouths. I stumbled across Diane's blog a while back, and have been laughing myself silly at her posts ever since.

Diane in her own words:

By profession, I'm a technical writer, computer geek, and ex-interior designer. I'm good at two out of three of these things. I had the sense to quit the one I sucked at.

To deal with my mid-life crisis, I also write adventure novels featuring a middle-aged female protagonist, Aydan Kelly. And I kickbox.

This seemed more productive than indulging in more typical mid-life crisis activities like getting a divorce, buying a Harley Crossbones, and cruising across the country picking up men in sleazy bars. Especially since it's winter most of the months of the year here.

It's much more comfortable to sit at my computer. And heck, Harleys are expensive. Come to think of it, so are beer and gasoline.

Oh, and I still love my husband. There's that. I'll stick with the writing.

Diane Henders

P.S. If you want to know the truth about why Aydan Kelly looks like me, visit my website at, and click on the FAQ link.         

And here's a little about the first book in her series; i.e., the one that got me hooked:

Never Say Spy
Despite her penchant for weapons and ripe language, Aydan Kelly’s resumé reads ‘bookkeeper’, not ‘badass’. She’s leaving the city to fulfill her dream of rural tranquillity when she gets carjacked by a man who shouldn’t exist. When RCMP officer John Kane kills her would-be abductor, Aydan thinks her troubles are over. But Kane’s investigation implicates her in an international espionage plot, and criminal charges become the least of her worries when she’s targeted by the very spies Kane suspects her of aiding. Pity her enemies. Because nobody’s tougher than a middle-aged woman who wants her dream back. – Spicy suspense served hard-boiled –

Okay, you can see why I read that first one. I mean, come on...a badass middle-aged woman? Those are rare to find in fiction! I had to investigate. I've since devoured all five books in the series. Honestly, they're like potato chips--I couldn't stop. 

Which is why I wanted to share her with you guys. Here's the interview:

Hi Linda –

Thank you so much for letting me come and play today.  I’m a big fan of In A Fix and I love your blog, so I’m pumped to be here!

1.      I couldn't help but notice—and admire!—Aydan's impressive potty mouth. Where on Earth did you learn those words?

I wish I’d had Aydan’s Uncle Roger to teach me the good stuff, but sadly, I had to learn it all on my own.

Let’s just say I had various unsavory sources.  And I’m a quick study - my mind seems to naturally retain filth.  I can recite three obscene limericks about testicles without a moment’s hesitation, but classic literary poetry?  Yeah, not so much. 

I’d say I’m embarrassed to admit that, but you’d know I was lying.

2.      There are five books so far in the Never Say Spy series. Will there be more? (Your answer better be a resounding "Yes!") Do you have a particular number of books in mind, or are you just going to see how long Aydan will keep talking to you?

Yikes, threats!  Lucky I’m working on Book 6 right now.  It should be released in spring of 2013, and I’m pretty sure there’s at least one more coming after that.  I never intended to write a series, but every time I think I’m writing the last book, the next one starts banging at my mental doors. 

I really have no idea how many books there are going to be.  I’m having a blast writing them, so I guess I’ll just keep going as long as the voices keep talking. 

Everybody has voices in their heads, right? 


3.      Aydan, in her late(ish) forties, is a bit older than many kick-ass heroines. Was it a conscious decision to go with that, or is that just how she came to you?

Definitely a conscious decision.  I was having a major mid-life crisis.  Everywhere I looked, the media message was that if you’re female and pushing 50, you’d better get out the Depends and hope you have children to give meaning to your pathetic existence. 

And I thought, “Give me a f***ing break!” (Wait, can I say “f***ing” on your blog?  If not, then what I really thought was, “Golly jeepers whiz, give me a break”.) 

Anyway, I went looking for some fiction featuring kick-ass, sexy 40+ women, and I found… nothing.  Which is preposterous.  Middle age is when we actually have the attitude and confidence to go out and find what we want and kick ass if necessary to get it.  So I wrote what I wanted to read.

4.      Are Hellhound and Kane based on people in your real life? If so, can you introduce them to me? *waggles eyebrows*

Oh, don’t I wish?  I won’t say I’ve never encountered guys like them, but Hellhound and Kane aren’t based on anyone currently in my real life.  It’s probably a good thing - it might complicate matters with Hubby…

5.      Aydan has some *cough* interesting clients in her bookkeeping business. (I'm thinking of a certain "adult toy" shop.) How much research went into your descriptions of the merchandise?

Bawdy Pillows and chocolate-scented leather are mere fig-newtons of my imagination.  But if I ever find a four-foot-tall penis-shaped body pillow with an air bladder in it, I’m gonna buy it just for laughs!

6.      I notice your publisher is listed as "PEBKAC Publishing." I assume that means "Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair." Brilliant! Can you tell us a little about your decision to go this, um, "problematic" route on your publishing journey?

Oh, you’re good!  PEBKAC is an old joke among help-desk geeks.  Since my novels are generated by the disturbed mind located between my keyboard and chair, it seemed a natural choice.

I decided to self-publish for a few reasons:
1)      I never intended to write fiction at all.  In fact I swore I never would (that story’s on the FAQ page of my blog), so I wasn’t hugely invested in ‘getting published’.
2)      I’m too impatient to wait around for a legacy publisher to get my books out there.
3)      I’m a notorious do-it-yourself-er.

I sent out exactly one query letter and got rejected faster than humanly possible.  Literally.  I got an automated email saying the agent was out of town and would return on the 5th of the month.  On the 4th , I got my form-letter rejection.

That’s when I decided, “Screw it, I don’t need this” and PEBKAC Publishing was born.  My original plan was to gather a few smartass indie authors under the PEBKAC label, but I’ve been too busy writing to do that… yet.  I had fun sketching the mascot, though:

7.      You just released a new book with a title I wish I'd thought of first: Probably Inappropriate. You don't have to sell me on it, because I'll pounce on anything you write, but how can we convince others to give it a go? Do you find bribery or threats more effective in these situations?

Aw, thanks!  Actually, I kinda discourage people from buying it.  It’s a selection of posts from my blog, and they’re all up there for free except the first essay in the book.  And if you’re really serious about getting that for free, you’ll find it in the “Look Inside The Book” feature on Amazon.

I know, I know.  I’m such a good salesperson.  It’s just that I’d feel awful if somebody bought the book expecting brand-new content.  But for bookaholics like me who’d rather read a book (or e-book) than scroll text online, I give you… *drumroll please*  ……“Probably Inappropriate”. 

And I would never threaten anybody (in any way that would leave evidence).  Bribery, on the other hand… well, hell yeah! 

Folks, leave a comment here on Linda’s blog, and we’ll randomly choose someone to win a signed copy of either “Probably Inappropriate” or “Never Say Spy” (the first novel in my series) – winner’s choice.  Thanks for reading!

[Aside from Linda: Since you can always go read Diane's blog for free I'd advise going with Never Say Spy. Because, yannoh, John Kane. And Hellhound. Just sayin'. ;) 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mysteries, Hats, and a Winner!

Photo courtesy of morgueFiles.

Remember the contest? (If not, just read the post right before this one.)

Anyway, thank you to everyone who entered by leaving a comment at Heroes and Heartbreakers, and then came back here to tell me about it. I appreciate your following me over there and reading my *cough* highly scientific explanation of indiscriminate lust.

Through my own Mysterious Alchemy of Winner Selection I've come up with a name.*

The Winner of the Cheap and Tacky (and Possibly, but Not Necessarily, Edible) Prize is...

LD Masterson!!!

L. D., if you'll email me your address at linda(dot)grimes(at)gmail(dot)com, I'll send you your prize. Be sure to tell me if you prefer Cheap and Tacky** or the alternate prize of a signed copy of IN A FIX.  (Granted, some may think they're one in the same. But I prefer to think of IN A FIX as a "bawdy bargain" instead.)

*What? Names in a hat can be very mysterious. For instance, I'm not going to tell you what kind of hat I used. Was it a knit cap lovingly made for me by my DD? TG's patchwork leather hippie hat, a relic from a youth ill-spent in theaters? A collapsible top hat left over from a stage production? My very own old-as-the-hills straw beach hat? Ha! You'll never know. Now, that's mysterious! 

**Notice how I cagily neglected to mention the specifics of the prize. See, that's mysterious too. I'm in a very mysterious mood this morning. Much like Christine Lavin expresses in the following song.

(If you can't/don't feel like listening to it, I've included the lyrics after. But the music really adds to the atmosphere of...well, mystery. Still, I know listening to a song a blogger includes on whim requires a certain time investment we don't all have when plowing through our blog rolls, so I understand if you can't.)

Mysterious Woman

from Good Thing He Can't Read My Mind

Words and Music by Christine Lavin

I want to be a mysterious woman
I want to write mysterious songs
I want everyone to wonder
what is she thinking about?
existentialism? nihilism? wrong
I am thinking about
defrosting my refrigerator
but I could get into mysterious mood
watch me ask the bartender
for a drink he cannot make
watch me order mysterious food
food even Julia Child
cannot pronounce right
from cookbooks that time has forgot
then maybe I will read
Crime and Punishment for fun
then again, maybe not

I want to be a mysterious woman
tantalize you with my come-hither stare
maybe it will work a little better
if you pretend I'm not wearing underwear
If you pretend I was never a Girl Scout
and I never learned how to twirl baton
I feel a mysterious song coming on
I think I hear I scream
I think I hear ice cream
melting all over
the rock hard bread
which is stuck to
the chicken parts
long since dead
they're in a cold box
within a cold box
within a warm box
(which is my room)
there's a ceiling
there's a floor
there's a wall
there's a window
look at the moon
it's a marble, it's a button
it's a sequin, it's a polkadot
stiched into the velvet sky
the pocket of Sir Lancelot
who is riding on Pegasus
who is fighting with the Pleiades
who is fighting Cassiopeia
who is fighting with Hercules
who is fighting with Betelguex
who is fighting with the Milky Way
that is stuck to the Bird's Eye Peas
that is stuck to the ice cube tray
that is stuck to the chicken parts
that is stuck to the rock-hard bread
hey, what am I doing here? I should be home defrosting my refrigerator instead

But I want to be a mysterious woman
I hate being so easy to read
hey, bartender, give me a light yeah, a Bud light
and a plate of pommes frites
is all I need.

Question for you: What's the biggest mystery in your life right now? 

Alternate Question: Are you a fan of the mystery genre?

Monday, October 15, 2012

On Heroes, Heartbreakers, and Lust


*Sighs* Doesn't that picture say it all? LUST.

I mean, it's obvious she has the itch, if you know what I'm sayin'. (What? Looks like she's scratching to me.) And who knows if she's ever even met that sailor before. *waggles eyebrows*

But it's not her fault the mere sight of him made, "happy." There's a scientific excuse--er, I mean reason for it.

If you want to know what it is, just click here to read my guest post at the Heroes and Heartbreakers website, where you'll also get to read my nifty theory on why love triangles and bromances are so popular with certain members of the reading crowd.

Come on. You know you want to.

What? You need more incentive?

Okay, anyone who leaves a comment over there, and then comes back here to tell me, will be eligible to win one of my cheap and tacky (sometimes edible, other times amusing, and if you're lucky, both) prizes*.

Which by rights you should be frothing at the mouth for, since I haven't done a Cheap & Tacky Giveaway in quite a while.

Besides, it will make me look good to the nice lady who invited me to do the post. Think of it as your good deed for the day. It's like...good writer karma. Yeah, that's it. Writer karma. Hey, don't knock it! Writer karma works!

(You buying this? Yeah? Thanks! :D )

[Contest will close at midnight (midnight always sounds so dramatic, doesn't it?) East Coast time on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012. But don't use that as an excuse to procrastinate... *grin*]

* Or a signed copy of IN A FIX. Winner's choice.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What an Ass Taught Me about Reviews

Photo courtesy of

As you *cough* might be aware, my debut novel, In a Fix, came out last month.

All right, yeah. I may have mentioned it here, as well as a few hundred other places in cyberspace. Sorry if it got boring, but it's hard not to dwell on what's preoccupying you. I did cut back on my blogging in order to spare you complete overload, though. (You're welcome.)

By the way, I'm going to stick to the reduced blogging schedule for now--once, sometimes twice, a week instead of the three I was doing before. I think that's probably enough to stay in touch while still allowing me time for other writing. Like, yannoh, books. Besides, it was either cut back on my own blogging or else severely curtail my visits to all of your blogs, and I'd really miss reading them.

But now to the point of this post: reviews. And asses.

Please note that I am by no means saying that reviewers are asses. Well, not all of them, anyway. (Er, sorry. That just slipped out.)

When In a Fix first ventured out into the Great Big Reading World, it was kind of an adjustment to realize people really were reading it.

People I didn't know from Adam. People who didn't know me.  Not only that, but they were getting all judgy about it. Huh. The nerve.

Okay, happen. It's normal. It's natural. It's to be expected. 

Still, it's kind of a shock to when it actually happens to you. Sometimes it's a good shock, like when a reader waxes effusive with the praise. (Yeah, I love those--who wouldn't? I'm human.) Sometimes it's a punch in the gut, like when a reader not only doesn't enjoy your literary effort, but takes the time to go into painstaking detail--sometimes even illustrating it with pictures!--about all the ways it sucks. (Yeah, those sting. See above--human.)

But, good or bad, I figure at least it means people are reading. In that sense, all reviews are "good." (Er, not to be all Pollyanna-ish or anything, but I do happen to believe this.)

Anyway, here's where the ass comes in. No, not the negative reviewer. I'm referring to Aesop's ass. (Not that ass either. Though I'm sure it was a very fine one. I hear he worked out.) I mean Aesop's donkey. The one from his fable.

You remember that one, right? A man (in some translations it's a farmer, in others a miller) and his son are traveling to market with their donkey. They pass some people who comment on what fools they are for walking when they might be riding. So the man tells his son to get up on the donkey.

The next person they pass grumbles about how awful it is that the strong young man rides while his poor old father wears his life away walking. So the father tells his son to get off and let him ride instead.

Naturally, the next person remarks on how terrible it is for the father to ride while he makes his poor son walk. So the father tells his son to jump up behind him, and (of course) the next comment is from someone who notes how cruel it is to abuse the poor donkey by overloading it, saying something to the effect that they could carry the donkey more easily than it was carrying them.

So (you see where this going, right?) the father and son get off the donkey and pick it up, and between them attempt to carry it over a bridge. The uncomfortable donkey begins to kick, and they drop it into the water below, losing it for good.

Moral of the story: It is futile to try to please everyone. 

EDITED TO ADD: In case you missed this down in the comments, Diane Henders offered up an alternative moral, one that I like even better: "If you plan to carry the burden of everybody else's expectations, sooner or later you'll have to bend over and kiss your ass goodbye". Brilliant, huh? Thanks, Diane!

Which I think is a pretty good thing to remember when you're reading reviews.

For the writers among you, I hope you'll just keep riding your donkeys the best way you know how, and take with a grain of salt* any commentary on your riding technique.

*Sometimes it helps if the grain of salt is on the rim of a margarita glass. ;)


EDITED TO ADD: I'm being interviewed today over at Book Brats. (Isn't that the best name for a blog? I love it!) Stop by and say hi if you get a chance! You know, so they don't think nobody loves me.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Happy Hump Day!

Ahem. It has been brought to my attention that I haven't posted a Hump Day camel pic in a while.


Wish I could say it's because I've been...

...drinking on the beach, but alas. No such luck. I've just been plain old ordinary busy.

But at least it's been (mostly) a good kind of busy. A lot of book promo stuff, which, while it isn't my favorite part of this writing gig, does make it possible (I hope) for me to continue with the part I love: the actual writing of the books. So I think I have to put it in the "Good Busy" column.

As opposed to the "Bad Busy" column. You know, the laundry and vacuuming and toilet cleaning and grocery shopping and banking and ...gawd, it's too depressing to continue the Bad Busy column.

So, what's been keeping you busy these days? Is it Good Busy or Bad Busy? 

Feel free to brag if it's good and whine/complain if it's bad. This is a safe place--you won't be judged for either. :)

P.S. Your camel fix today brought to you courtesy of

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

THREE Releases Leave Me with a Happy Glow!!!

Wow! This is a big day! HUGE, in fact. Because THREE-count'em-THREE of my very best writing buddies have books being released today!!

How awesome is that?

Well, I'll tell you. Pretty darn freakin' awesome!!!

For those of you who popped over to visit me when I was at The Debutante Ball, you might remember my Deb Sister, Erika Marks. If you're really lucky, you've already read her debut novel, LITTLE GALE GUMBO, which came out last year about this time. It's a totally, completely delicious read, and I highly recommend it. (Click on the title for more info about it.)

The good news? Her newest book, THE MERMAID COLLECTOR, is now out, and  I cannot wait to read it!

Book description:

More than a century ago, lighthouse keeper Linus Harris left his beloved wife and waded into the ocean with three other men to reunite with their mermaid lovers. The mysterious Mermaid Mutiny of 1888 has become legend for the residents of Cradle Harbor, Maine, honored by the town’s Mermaid Festival every August, when wind chimes are hung from seaside porches to drown out the alluring sound of mermaid song.

For thirty-five-year-old Tess Patterson, the legend is more than folklore; it’s proof of life’s magic. A hopeless romantic who is profoundly connected to the ocean in which she lost her mother, Tess ekes out a living as a wood-carver and longs to find a love as mystical as the sea. But when she’s hired to carve the commemorative mermaid sculpture for the coming festival, a chance to win the town’s elusive acceptance might finally be in her grasp.

For Tom Grace, life’s magic was lost at eighteen, when the death of his parents left him to care for his reckless brother, Dean. Now thirty-five and the new owner of Cradle Harbor’s prized lightkeeper’s house, Tom hopes the quiet town will calm Dean’s self-destructive ways. But when Tom discovers Tess working on her sculpture, an unlikely and passionate affair ignites between them that just might be the stuff of legend itself—even as it brings to the surface a long-buried secret that could tear everything apart. 

I can just see myself curling up with a cuppa and THE MERMAID COLLECTOR. Make me happy just anticipating it. 

AND two of my critique partners have their debut books coming out today, too! How cool is that? 

Tiffany Schmidt's SEND ME A SIGN:

Book description:

Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death.

And Emily Hainsworth's THROUGH TO YOU:

Book description:

Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.

I have, of course, read both of those already (hey, being a CP of such talented writers has its perks), and, you guys, let me tell you that they are both astoundingly good reads. And no, I am not just saying that because they are my friends and CPs. I promise you that. I would genuinely love these books even if I didn't know their authors from Adam.


So, have you read anything lately that has knocked your socks off? Spill! :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Babbling About Invisibility and Other Things

Hi. I'm not here today, but I am babbling about books (and more!) over at a blog entitled (oddly enough) "Babbling About Books, and More."

I'd sure love it if you clicked over and said hi. :)

So CLICK HERE to find out how truly crazy I can be. (Oh, sure. Like you didn't already know.)

P.S. I will be getting to the Reviews and Asses post (in which there will be gratuitous usage of the word "ass" -- but only (okay, mostly) in genteel and proper ways) soon. I promise.

P.P.S. I was going to post a picture of me being invisible for this post, but ... well, you can see my dilemma. How about one of me at the NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association) conference I attended over the weekend?

That's me at the table my wonderful Macmillan rep set up for me at the Author Reception. Don't let the lack of other people in the pic fool you. This was early on, and they were all still over at the open bar. They really started thronging around all the authors once their *ahem* priorities were seen to. *grin*

Monday, September 24, 2012

Yes, you CAN polish a turd!

There probably isn't a writer out there who hasn't by now heard (or read) Anne Lamott's advice on allowing yourself to write shitty first drafts. But in case you haven't, here are a couple of quotes from her book Bird by Bird:

“For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts."

~Anne Lamott

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper. What I’ve learned to do when I sit down to work on a shitty first draft is to quiet the voices in my head.”

~Anne Lamott

Now, I have to admit, when I first read Ms. Lamott's views on shitty first drafts I was a little skeptical. I understood what she meant--how paralyzing perfectionism can be, how fearing that what we spit out onto the page isn't good enough keeps us from writing anything at all, yadda-yadda-yadda.

But a niggling little part of me thought that if you start with shit, no matter what you do with it, it's still going to stink.

Until, that is,  I happened upon an episode of Mythbusters that changed my whole perception of "shit." Apparently, shit is just another malleable substance that can be elevated beyond its humble origins.

The next time you look at the first (or second or third) draft of whatever you're writing and think, this is utter shit, remember--it is possible to polish a turd. 

I know this for a scientific fact, because Adam and Jamie proved it on Mythbusters:

So just keep polishing.

Come on, everybody, shout it with me (and Anne and Adam and Jamie)!

"Bird by bird, polish that turd!" 

Or, if you remain skeptical, at least remind yourself that a fertile imagination is a prerequisite for a good writer. Polished or not, shit is a great fertilizer.

And if you still can't stand the thought of writing a shitty first draft, think of it instead as preparing the soil in which you're going to plant the seeds of your brilliance. ;)

What's your take on first drafts? Just how shitty can you stand them? 

Bonus Question: Did I squeeze the word "shitty" into this post enough times?

Bonus-Bonus Question: Should I have substituted another word for "shitty"? Maybe "crappy," or perhaps "shizzle-y"? *

* I thought about it, but ultimately decided if it was good enough for Anne, it's good enough for me.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Book Signing that came close to being Gone With the Wind almost left me In a Fix

I survived my first book signing event!

Um, yes, I know I should have posted this last week. But this month has been eating my head. Busy, busy, busy! Book launch, signing, birthdays (many, many family birthdays!), anniversaries, a fund-raising ball...whoo-eee! Lots of excitement for a tends-to-be-solitary writer.

So I took a little blogging break just to, yannoh, breathe.

Anyway, I know I promised you posts on polishing turds and advice about book reviews from an ass--and I'm gonna get to those soon*, I promise!--but first I thought I'd subject you to a few signing photos.

Because it's my blog, and I'll bore if I want to, bore if I want would bore too if it happened to yooouu... (You have to imagine that set to music. Or maybe not... Listen, let's just forget I ever sang said it, okay?)

Barnes & Noble set up a table for me:

Tor had sent the foam-board poster ahead of time, which I thought was very nice of them. And I got to keep it. Yay!

They also sent what I considered an optimistic number of books (these, plus the ones in the window display), but apparently we sold most of them, so that was good:

If you're wondering what that thing on the end of the table is, it's a model of a catapult. Or, as my daughter called it, the "candy-pult." There's a connection to the book (how's that for a teaser?), and flinging Hershey's Kisses into the audience after each question encouraged, um, intellectual discourse on the nature of genre fiction. *cough*

Here's a close-up of it:

A special guest came to the signing with me:

(That's Jen the Amazing, one of my Twitter buds. She couldn't be there in person, so I made Popsicle JenFace. That's her "buy Linda's book" expression.)

I chit-chatted for a while...

(There were some more rows of chairs behind these, and people standing behind them, too. Of course the people standing back there may have just been trying to get to the romance shelves I was blocking. Or, yannoh, hoping to catch a stray piece of chocolate. Still, it was nice to see them there. Not too bad a turn out for a totally unknown newbie author.)

After I yakked for a while, I read a short passage:

(Note the audience's rapt attention to the words "half-naked man.")

And then people actually asked me to sign books!

(I know! It amazed me too. I'm still kind of befuddled by the whole idea of it.)

During the whole event the weather kept getting worse and worse. The store manager announced there was a tornado warning, and told everyone to get away from the windows. Fortunately, the store was spared any major damage.

(Though I did miss out on a good headline. Just think of it: "Local Author Takes Area By Storm." Alas. Maybe next time.)

After the signing, TG took me and our kiddos out to my favorite restaurant, where I indulged in this ...

... and collapsed.

I guess the store manager was happy with how it all went, because she invited me back for another signing before the holidays. I'm thinking of hiring a some actors to dress up as Vikings for that one. ;)

*Always a relative term with me.