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*