Monday, December 14, 2015

THE FIX UP releases today!

You read that right. TODAY!

I know. Sounds like it could be one of my books, huh? But no, it's not a Ciel Halligan book. Though it's such a hot and hilarious read I'd totally take credit for it if I thought I could get away with it. Alas, it has the rightful author's name right there on the cover, so I suppose it would be pointless for me to claim authorship ... unless, wait ... would anybody buy that my new pen name is Tawna Fenske? 

*sigh* I thought not. Too bad.

Still, since it is such a hot and hilarious read (like all of Tawna's books), and I am such a nice person (no, really, I am--hey, stop snickering!), I'm going to tell you where you can find this fantastic read. And, because Tawna's blog post today is all about confessing laziness, I'm going to do it by telling you to click here

Seriously. Click. Go. Enjoy! You might even win an Amazon gift card! Worth enough to pay for the book, with a little left over! Honestly, with all you do for others, don't you deserve a little something-something for yourself?

Hope you're all in the middle of a Happy Holiday Muddle, like I am. But no matter how busy you are, remember -- "me" time is important to your sanity. And *cough* reading is great "me" time. 

Tell you what. In the giving spirit of the season, I'm going to give one lucky commenter here a digital copy of The Fix Up. Just say hi (or ho-ho-ho!) below, and you'll be entered. :D 

P.S. Bonus points if you share a way you've been naughty this year.

Edited to Add: The contest is now closed. I threw the names in a hat and pulled out ... *drum roll*... Susan Flett Swiderski! Susan, I know you're going to enjoy Tawna's latest. Get ready to laugh!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


So, a writer buddy of mine is having a birthday soon. One of the biggies. You know, the kind that ends in a zero. This one begins with a five, so it's extra special, which is why she's getting a whole month's worth of celebration for it. Including, of course (because this is a Wednesday on my blog), this:

If you don't know Patty, you can check out her Amazon page here. As you can see, she's written quite a few books, both YA (Young Adult) and Adult fiction. Trust me, they are good

Anyway, Patty, for some reason, is finding this birthday to be a bit of a challenge. So a bunch of us are helping to ease the sting by showing her it's not all bad. (Check out Patty's Virtual "30 Days of 50" Birthday Party here.)

See, it's all about the attitude. About putting the right spin on it:

There. Doesn't sound so bad now, does it, Patty? Everything is more palatable with chocolate. 

Also, birthday greetings from the right person can soften the blow:

And if that doesn't help, you can always wear this:

Seriously, Patty, don't worry about it! The fifties are fabulous! Take it from one who knows from experience. Lots and lots of experience. ;)

And if all that doesn't help, there's always pure escape. Might I recommend a little "vacation" with Ciel, Billy, and Mark to help put it out of your mind? A signed copy of The Big Fix will be heading your way shortly. Because if fifty isn't fun ... fuhgeddaboudit!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

#ThrowbackThursday: Goosey Gourds and Naughty Poetry

Thursday again? Already??

Huh. Funny how that happens on such a regular basis. One might almost say weekly. 

Anyhoo, how about another Throwback Thursday post? Here's one from October 2011 that particularly amused me (three guesses why): 

And the wiener is...!

You know, some women have to settle for getting flowers from their significant others, and then only on special occasions. But not me. Nope, my TG knows the best way to worm his way into my heart is via my funny bone, so he brought home this for me instead...

...just because he knew it would make me laugh. Plus, gourds are seasonal. Who doesn't need a good seasonal laugh? (I'm thinking of putting a knee-high stocking on it, and seeing if I can make visitors blush. Then again, my in-laws might come over unexpectedly, so maybe not.)

TG's gift inspired a visit from my muse's evil, limerick-spinning twin, who planted this in my brain:

There once was a gander, so fine,
Who saw a watermelon stuck to a vine.
It was lust at first sight--
So he goosed it all night--
And the result is apparently mine.

Okay, okay...enough about my peni--er, goose gourd. On to what you're really waiting for!

Thank you all so much for cracking me up with your entries to the Angry Camel Caption Contest! They really got me giggling. So much so that I had to ask TG to help me decide the, I mean, winner.

We both zeroed in immediately (and, knowing us, unsurprisingly) on...

*drum roll*

"I don't care WHO Catherine the Great is! I'm not in the mood!"

Dianne, if you'll email me your address [linda(dot)grimes(at)gmail(dot)com], I'll send you your prize, which is not only dumb and edible, but also in keeping with the October Halloween season.

Why, YES! That is a glow-in-dark Jack-o-lantern Pez dispenser (complete with Pez candy) and a package of ghost Peeps!*

Dianne, you lucky so-and-so, do realize how jealous all those other entrants are now? I know! It's tough to envision the extent of their envy.

Oh, and since conventional blogging wisdom dictates one should always end a post with a question or two for the readers:

How do you like my gourd? Do you have a gourd, too?

Bonus third question: Is your gourd bigger than my gourd?

*Dying plant included in pic only for atmosphere, and not part of the Pez/Peeps Prize Package.

[Back to the present]

Sadly, my gourd has long since withered. I'll have to look for another one, because I really miss it. Seriously, it was quite the conversation starter, and such a poetic inspiration! 

May the Halloween Fairy bring you all lots of candy! Or gourds. Gourds are fun, too. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cover News! (With bonus inappropriateness.)

Hey, y'all! All Fixed Up has a cover. Yay!

I likes it, I does! 

Here's a closeup of the picture:

Aren't those sparkly stars great? They not only allude to the magical quality of Ciel's aura-adapting ability, but also to the NASA theme of this particular book.

CAUTION: If you are under the impression that I am a sweet and decorous lady (though, if you've been reading my blog--or my books--for any length of time, I don't see how you could be), you might want to stop reading this post now. Nice cover, blah-blah-blah, so forth and etc. See ya on the shelves!

But if you happen to appreciate the occasional descent into juvenile humor, please proceed.

Now on to the *ahem* bonus inappropriateness. 

Really, I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but according to one of my (admittedly notorious for her inappropriateness) critique partners, Tawna Fenske, it's too good not to share. 

And, after all, it is a peek behind the scenes of the publishing process, so I suppose we could call it educational. Yeah, let's do that.

Just don't tell anyone I showed you, okay? Shhh...

See, when my editor first sent me the cover picture it was fresh out of the Art department, and a certain *cough* wrinkle hadn't been, um, ironed out yet. 

Which made for a very happy picture indeed. 

Now, most people probably wouldn't even notice this, um, anomaly, but it popped right out at me. (What? Attention to detail is an important quality in a writer.)

Oops. Do you see it? No? If you're reading this on a small screen, you might have to blow it up. Er, so to speak. 

Yes, I admit it. My first thought when I saw it was, "Oh, my God! Is that a rocket in Mark's pocket, or is he just really happy to see Ciel?" 

(Imagine me giggling. Because I was.) 

And then I noticed that Mark isn't really looking at Ciel. He's giving Billy the stink eye. 

(Now imagine me giggling hysterically. Because I was.)

I gave brief thought to not mentioning it to my editor, because yeah, it would have made a fun cover (at least for those who, like me, pay attention to detail). And who knows? It might have even created a little buzz, which could conceivably help sales. But my higher self took charge and pointed out the "problem," whereupon someone in the Art department airbrushed that "crease" away.* (Yeah, right. Crease.)

Now, if I were the decorous type, I never would have dreamed of mentioning it here. But we all know better than that, don't we? ;)

Besides, Tawna was right. It is too good not to share. 

*Pro tip to photographers: make sure your cover models' suits have been adequately ironed ahead of time. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Very Important Lesson about Writing. With Random Fartage. (#ThrowbackThursday)

Hey, I'm kind of digging this #ThrowbackThursday thing. Even if it involves plagiarizing some of my earlier posts. 

(Is self-plagiarism a thing? Oh, well. I'm fairly sure I won't be suing me. Not unless I get really desperate, that is.)

This week's edition of #TBT is from March 2010, and involves an actual lesson in writing. If you dig deeply enough, that is. 

If you're not a writer, please just sit back and enjoy the flight. :)

Epiphanies in the Air: Flying, Fartage, and Phobias

I hate flying.

Well, it's not really the flying I hate so much as the not being able to get off the airplane if--and precisely when--I want to. So it's really more like claustrophobia, plane-ophobia?

Maybe if I could wear a parachute, and be assured the flight attendant would open the door for me if I wanted off, maybe then I'd like it better.

Nah, that wouldn't work. There's that whole being terrified of jumping out of planes from thirty thousand feet up to consider.


So, what I do with it. The rare occasions when I must fly, I suck it up (along with a martini or two) and deal. It's worked for me so far. Sure, I get a few looks on morning flights, but that's a small price to pay for avoiding a major panic attack.

What I can't seem to avoid on planes is the person who is operating under some sort of divine imperative to Tell Me His Life Story. (And by "his" I mean, for the most part, "her," but I try not to impugn my own gender when speaking in generalities.)

It's my own fault. I exude a talk-to-me vibe. I realize this. There's just something about me that says "I am utterly fascinated by every aspect of your being--please share!" Maybe it's the glow from the martinis.

The last time this happened (on a looong flight to Seattle) the woman sitting next to me pounced before I could pull my book of crossword puzzles out of my over-sized, stuffed-to-the-gills handbag (hey, when I travel, I like to be prepared for any eventuality--you never know when you might need a tape measure, three Chinese take-out menus, or an industrial-sized bottle of Tums).

So, my new traveling companion--let's call her, oh, I don't know...does "Gabby" work for you?--caught my eye. I hadn't even scored a freakin' martini yet, so it couldn't have been the glow. Maybe she smelled the fear and, predator-like, struck while the opportunity was ripe.

I tried to look away, but it was too late. She smiled at me. I can't be rude to somebody who smiles at me, especially twinkly little gray-haired ladies who look like everyone's favorite grandma. It is physically impossible for me to cold-shoulder them.

An obvious pro at getting right down to the nitty-gritty before the possibility of being cut off, she started with her recent gall-bladder surgery, apologizing in advance for the emanations she feared might waft over from her general direction. Sadly, the operation had upset her system.

Oh, joy. So not only would my ears be assaulted, but if I was interpreting her delicate references correctly, my nose was in for quite a ride too.

I wanted to jam my hands together in the classic time-out signal and squeal "TMI! TMI!!" (that stands for "Too Much Information," for those of you not up on interwebz lingo), but courtesy forbade. Instead, I beckoned the flight attendant and tried to pre-order a martini using an elaborate system of hand and eyebrow gestures. She wasn't amused, and I'm sure she put me on a List.

From there Gabby segued directly to grandchildren (the visiting of whom was the reason for her own flight). Takes a while to get through every milestone of cuteness in the lives of three children. And then came the pets. Two cockapoos and an ancient pekenese, all with impacted "you-know-where" glands that required regular draining (she could warn me about impending fartage but couldn't bring herself to say "anal"?), and she was terribly worried her pet-sitter would neglect to do that while she was away.

Huh, I thought while smiling blandly (the first martini having been delivered somewhere around her granddaughter's first ballet recital...or was it her youngest grandson's honorable mention in the Junior Golf Championship?), you can bet your sweet bippy I'D be skipping that particular chore if I were pet sitting for you.

But of course, I only nodded sympathetically and chewed my olives.

THAT, dear blog reader, is when I had my Great Backstory Epiphany.

And here it is: Nobody cares.

Simple, huh? Nobody who doesn't know you gives a flip about the minutia of your life.

(Unless you're a celebrity, and really that's only because they feel like they know you. Or sometimes if you're really pretty, because they think listening attentively will get them laid.)

Here's the writing connection: it goes for your characters, too.

Early in your book, before the readers have learned who your characters currently are--right now, in the characters' "present"--they aren't interested in what happened to them before. It has no relevance until the reader knows enough about what's happening "now" to care about what happened "then." (Unless the "then" is a terribly sensational scandal of some sort, fascinating in its own right, in which case it should probably be part of your main story, not your backstory.)

[I KNOW. It's been said thousands of times before, highlighted in every book on writing you've ever read. But sometimes it takes a real life connection to make it sink in. It did for me, anyway. Maybe you're better about learning vicariously.]

So, when adding in your backstory (which is not entirely avoidable--your main story must have context), try to use a light hand. Reveal the past on a need-to-know basis. Retain a little mystery. Trust me, your traveling companion--*cough* I mean, your reader--will appreciate it.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

#ThrowbackThursday: A Lesson in Juggling, AKA Knive and Wives and Girlfriends

Still digging through my archives and resuscitating posts that most of you might have missed. This one harkens back to September 2010, and recounts a tale that harkens back even further. 

(Sidenote: The word of the day appears to be "harkens.")

Knives and wives and girlfriends, oh my!

I'm so excited!!!

Why, you ask? What could possibly have Linda jumping up and down to the extent she wishes she'd invested in a heavy duty sports bra?

Well, I'll tell you. I just found out The Flying Karamazov Brothers are coming back to The Barns (the theater where TG is the reigning deity) next month, with their show entitled "4-Play."*

These guys are fan-effing-tastic! A comedy troupe that juggles. Yes, a juggling comedy troupe! Sooo funny, sooo talented, AND they sometimes wear KILTS!

Didja hear that, ladies? I said KILTS! And they all have really nice legs, which would be enough to make me watch them, but did I mention they also juggle while wearing kilts? What's not to love about that?

Aah, memories... *loses self in reverie*

You see, this is not the first time the troupe of kilted jugglers has been here. Many, many moons ago (as in, the '90s -- you know, the Dark Ages), The Flying Karamazov Brothers came to play at The Barns. The troupe has morphed since then--only one of the original members is left--but the spirit of F-U-N is the same.

On that memorable occasion, I actually got to be up close and personal with the guys. They were doing two shows--a matinee and an evening performance--so naturally TG, being the hospitable guy he is, invited the whole troupe and crew to our house for a meal in between. Even though we had two little kids at home, I don't really cook, and my elderly aunt from Sweden was visiting. Not that I'm holding a grudge or anything. I mean, I agreed and all. Still, I think he owes me for pulling it off.

Yeah, I know. Me, cooking. It is to laugh. But it's amazing what you can do with two frozen lasagnas (one with meat and one without, because there's always a vegetarian in an artsy crowd), bags o' salad, and baguettes from the bakery. If there's anyone who can throw together a passable meal without actually cooking, it's me.

The first thing you should know about jugglers is, duh, they juggle. All the time, apparently. Whatever they can get their hands on will go flying through the air. Yes, they're always honing those mad skillz.

Honing is what makes them professionals. *looks meaningfully at all writers reading this* Take from that what you will.

Part of The Karamazov Brothers' schtick is a trick called "The Gamble," in which one of them (designated "The Champ") juggles any three items provided by the audience (as long as the items weigh more than an ounce, less than 10 lbs, are no bigger than a breadbox, and are not live animals**). Said items are voted on by the audience members, so the guys don't know in advance what they will have to juggle.

TG says the most memorable thing an audience member brought to The Barns for this trick was a pig stomach stuffed with green jello. Eeew.

(I believe animal parts have since been added to the list of no-nos, at least at The Barns. So if you're planning to come to the show, don't bring any. Frankly, TG doesn't want to deal with it.)

They have another bit, called "The Terror Trick," wherein they juggle a salt shaker, a cleaver, a flaming torch, an egg, a block of dry ice, a fish, a ukelele, a bottle of champagne (with the safety wire removed), and a skillet. By the end of the trick, they're frying the fish and egg in the skillet, and drinking the champagne.

(Huh. Maybe I should've let them cook...)

At my house, they limited themselves to juggling a peanut, a bottle from the bar, a banana from the fruit basket, and a knife. Oh, and one of them was also juggling his girlfriend and his wife (who showed up *cough* unexpectedly to visit him on the tour). That was rather awkward.

What could a good hostess do? Other than seat them all at separate tables, smile brightly, and engage the wife in a halting Swedish-English conversation, with the help of a handy visiting aunt, while TG enlisted everyone else's aid in keeping the girlfriend from drinking too much wine and spilling the beans to the clueless wife over dessert.

Gotta love showbiz.

(No, I won't tell you which Karamazov brother it was. Contrary to the impression I may have left on loyal readers of this blog, I do have some discretion. Doesn't matter anyway--he's no longer with the troupe. I suspect the on-the-road "juggling" became too much of a challenge for his personal life to sustain.)

Anyway, I cannot wait to see their new show. TG hasn't said yet if he's invited them over for an encore meal. I suspect he's waiting to see if any of them have additional *cough-cough* baggage to deal with before making the commitment.

*Admit it. You were expecting me to make a crass foreplay joke here, weren't you? Well, some set-ups are just too easy. No challenge. Besides, you were already thinking it, so what's the point?

**TG tells me the items also cannot present a danger to the audience or the juggler, should a mishap occur. So you wouldn't be allowed to give them, say, a balloon full of sulfuric acid or a piece of dynamite. In case you were considering it.

[Back to 2015]

Yes, the Flying Karamozov Brothers still perform. If you ever get a chance to see them, do it! Though you might not want to sit in the front row. Just sayin'. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Huh. Smells a little fishy to me (a #ThrowbackThursday post)

Wow. It's already Thursday again. Seriously, Universe, stop it already with this warp speed stuff. It's messin' wit' my head!


Okay, so in honor (once again) of #ThrowbackThursday, I dug into my archives and am resuscitating a post from a while back. If it smells a little funny, bear in mind it's almost five years old, and we all know fish start to stink after a few days. ;)

Bam-Bam, the Fish, and the Universe

My dad died when I was twelve and my baby brother was three.

(Relax. This isn't going to be a maudlin post.)

My older brothers and I did our best to help Mom with, oh, let's call him "Bam-Bam." Because that's what we did call him. See, he had this little wooden hammer, and was not bashful about using it...but that's not really germane to this story.

One of my dad's favorite pastimes was fishing. We'd go to the lake in the summer, and stay for a few days or a week, depending on how much time off Dad could get. He would spend every spare second down on the dock, fishing. My older brothers spent their fair share of time there with him, proudly holding their rods. (Heh-heh.)

I'd join them sometimes, mainly to watch. And *cough* possibly to make a lot of noise, trying to scare the fish away before they were hooked. (Yeah, imagine how popular I was with the menfolk.) What can I say? I was a soft-hearted twerp. Besides, the worms were icky. I couldn't bear to squish them onto the hooks myself, and even when my dad did it for me, it still freaked me out. I mean, eew. Worm guts.

So I spent most of my time in the camp's rec room, playing ping-pong and drinking Delaware Punch (the only non-carbonated beverage in the soda machine. Oh, and reading, of course. Good times.

Bam-Bam wasn't old enough for any quality dock time before Dad died, but he'd heard stories. When he was about six, he got it into his head that he wanted to go fishing, just like his daddy. My other brothers were busy doing teenage boy things, and Mom didn't fish, so I figured it was up to me.

Trouble was, I still couldn't stand to, you know...

 Which was really fine, because I sure as heck didn't want to deal with... actual fish.

See, what I had in mind was a nice afternoon bonding with my baby brother while he dangled a worm-less hook in the water. Pretending to fish. After all, just holding the pole was the important part. (Honest to God, I tried to come up with a way to not make that sound like a double entendre, but I don't think there is one.) Anyway, no worm, no possibility I'd have to deal with a fish, right?

Ha. Hahahahahahaha. HA! (That would be hysterical hindsight laughter.)

So, what do you suppose happened the very first time Bam-Bam dropped that hook in the water, and jerked it back out in his sheer enthusiasm for the activity?

That's right. He hooked a fish. Through its back.

There, dangling from Bam-Bam's fishing line, was a four-inch, silver-gray fish who was suddenly having a very bad day.

Picture it: you are the Einstein of fishes, much too smart to snap at a worm on a hook. No, you'd rather starve than place your mouth on any strangely still, hook-shaped worms. Because you know better. And then out of nowhere comes a freakin' worm-free hook, speeding through the water above you, and before you can wiggle your tail and swim away you are suspended in front of a six-year-old human boy shrieking, "Can we eat it? Huh? Can we eat it?"

Like I said. Bad day for the fish. (And me--I had to *shudder* take the hook out.) But Best Day Ever for my baby brother, even though I had to explain to him that we had to throw the fish back because it was too small to keep. Didn't matter to him. He'd caught his fish.

There's a lesson in there somewhere. Something about never taking anything for granted. Or about how life can surprise you in the damnedest ways. Or how, even when the odds are against you, things sometimes work out. Or perhaps how point of view is everything (think of the fish). Take your pick. Me, I just look back on it and laugh.

How about you? Has life handed you any small surprises? How'd they work out for you?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A #ThrowbackThursday Post about my Sordid Criminal Past

I was perusing the archives of my blog, marveling at how the quality of my posts went downhill after I sold my books. Who knew writing novels under deadline would drain so much creative energy? Alas, 'tis true. *sighs*

Then I thought, hey, I bet a lot of visitors here haven't even read my earlier posts, and might be surprised to learn I can write about something that isn't, you know, one of the books I'm trying to sell!

Then I thought, hmm, #ThrowbackThursday is a good excuse to dig up something from the past and post it now. (I'm quick that way.)

So, here ya go. A relic from 2013 relating an even older relic from my dubious past (geez, I hope there's a statute of limitations on my criminal behavior youthful antics...):

My Sordid Criminal Past

WARNING: The following post contains such words as "h*t p*le" and "t!t" and "chickensh!t" and "bad*ss." Read at your own peril.

(Oh, come on. This is me. How bad can it really be?)

Even before my walk on the wild side as an almost-gunrunner in Ireland, I had already dipped briefly into a life of crime. Difficult though it will be for you to believe it:
I am an international smuggler.

There. *bites knuckle* I've said it. Think of me what you will. But it's not my fault! I was young. I was impetuous.  

I was Double-Dog Dared.

And we've already seen what depths I will stoop to when dared, haven't we? So you can hardly be surprised to learn that this behavioral tendency has its roots in my murky past.

It was my junior year of college, and I was studying abroad in Stockholm. (TG says he studied a broad in college, too--several, in *waggles eyebrows*) Over spring break a group of us international students went Russia. We stayed five days in Moscow and four in St. Petersburg. Since we were tagging along with a high school study group, you'd think we couldn't manage to get into much trouble, wouldn't you?

Yeah, you'd think that. But you'd be wrong.

Listen, all I can say is, it's not that tough for five college girls to ditch one harried high school chaperone, who was naturally way more concerned with keeping tabs on his underage charges than on those of us who were supposed to be "mature." The poor man may even have been under the impression we would actually help him ride herd on the teenagers.

[Pause for interlude of hysterical laughter.]

Shortly after we arrived in Moscow (getting there was a harrowing experience in itself--I'm not sure how it is today, but back then there was a good reason Aeroflot was commonly known as "Aeroflop" *shudders*), one of our motley crew of college girls--let's call her TUNS (short for "Thinks Up Naughty Stuff")--decided it would be fun to take a cab to the nearest fancy restaurant and dine spectacularly on caviar and vodka.

Well, the only thing was, the exchange rate from Swedish crowns to Russian rubles was not so great. None of us poor college students could afford it.

"Ha!" says Tuns. "No problem. I know a guy..."

Know a guy she did. He was a Pole (as in from Poland, not a staff, and quite classically handsome, if physical considerations are important to you) from our International Swedish language class. He happened to be visiting his Russian cousin at the same time as our trip.

What a coincidence! I'm sure the timing of his trip had nothing to do with the fact that Tuns had been seeing him on the sly back in Sweden. He was married to a Swedish woman, purely, he assured us all, to gain residency. Didn't stop him from trying to date me, Tuns, and every other American girl in our language class. I think he had aspirations of U.S. citizenship. Tuns had no intention of marrying him, even if he did divorce his Swedish wife, but she couldn't see why that should stop her from letting him *cough* try to persuade her.

Long story short (or is it already too late for that?), Hot Pole's [Heh-heh. I said "Hot Pole."] Russian cousin was a taxi driver who dabbled in, um, unofficial currency exchange. Apparently, this sort of "moonlighting" was quite common then. Might still be, for all I know. He gave us an exchange rate approximately ten times better than the official one, assuring us that "nobody really minded" as long as we didn't try to take any Russian currency out of the country with us. We'd have to spend it all while we were there.

This did not strike us as an especially bad hardship. *blink*

Russian Cousin also said he could give us a very good rate on a cab ride to a nice restaurant. So five of us girls, plus Hot Pole (heh), squeezed into (heh-heh) a tee-niny cab, built to hold three passengers, tops.

Have I mentioned this was March, and that this particular March in Moscow was colder than the proverbial witch', bosom? (Bosom is better than tit, right? I'm working on my restraint.) With four-foot snowbanks along the sides of the roads? Also, apparently it's illegal for taxi drivers to over-stuff their cabs, drive without their meters on, and then not report the income to whoever the Russian equivalent to Uncle Sam is?

Yeah. Well, it is, it is, and it is. So we spent the whole cab ride caroming around icy streets, avoiding cop cars, and finally wound up slamming head-on into a snowbank. Fun stuff.

To give Russian Cousin his due, he did get us to the restaurant...after we all helped dig is car out of the snow. And the restaurant was spectacular. The food was amazing, the wait staff so attentive we felt like celebrities, and the vodka flowed freely enough that none of us felt our whiplash.

But back to the main point of this post. After lots more antics along those lines, one of them involving all of us getting kicked out of Lenin's tomb for inappropriate laughter (what? he looked like a reject from Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum), we found we had some rubles left over as we packed to head back to Sweden.

Tuns told us the rubles would make wonderful mementos of our trip to Russia, and that she fully intended to take hers with her. Went so far as to say if we didn't do the same, we'd bechickenshits, and she would spend the rest of the semester clucking at us whenever she passed us in the hall.

Then she did it. She double-dog dared us. 

What choice did we have? The other girls stuffed rubles in their bras, but I thought that seemed too obvious. So I pried open my dental floss case, folded up my 5-ruble bill really small, crammed it beneath the wound-up white thread, and closed the case back up, good as new. Squeezed a small blob of toothpaste on the outside case for authenticity's sake, and to discourage any official who happened to rifle through my bags from actually touching it. (I thought that was a rather clever touch.)

Then I proceeded to have heart palpitations until we were safely through airport security. No one checked any of our bags, but I didn't breathe easily until we were back on Swedish soil. Badassthough I am, I don't think I'm cut out for a life of crime.

How about you guys? Have you ever broken an international law? Do share in the comments. I swear your secret is safe with me.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ciel needs a vacay! (Why, yes, it's a contest.)

And you can go with her! 

Just visit my Facebook author page (click here) and let me know you're interested in having Ciel as a traveling companion. 

US only please. Because, sadly, it's expensive to send big packages to other countries. But international commenters could still win one of those little clapper-board key chains you see at the bottom of the pic, because they're a lot lighter than books. ;)

Hope you're all having a fantastic summer! 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Me, Emerging from the Revision Cave

Image courtesy of

What can I say? It's been a busy few months. First The Big Fix release in May, followed by a round of promo, including a fun visit to the RT Booklovers Conference, and then I had to dive right into revisions for All Fixed Up, the next Ciel Halligan UF/Mystery/Action-packed Romantic Romp. 

Next up: copyedits and cover-choosing. I'm told the cover will be similar to The Big Fix (yay!). Same cover models*, but posed in a way to reflect the contents of All Fixed Up

*I'm currently trying to come up with a good reason they should invite me to the cover shoot. You know, to provide helpful artistic input. Adjust the guys', collars. Powder their sweaty brows (hey, I'm sure it gets hot under those lights!). Or something. *cough

Or maybe just stand on the sidelines and drool. Whichever. I'm sure I'd be a valuable presence. 

So, what have you guys been up to while I've been turning all mushroom-pasty in my cave? Hope your summer (or winter, for those of you down under) is going well! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Yes, the day has finally arrived! THE BIG FIX has officially been released. I think that calls for a trumpet fanfare, don't you? (Never let it be said I don't enjoy my "moments" to the fullest. *grin*)

Photo by Glenn Brunette, via Wikimedia Commons.
I tried to get that town crier who just announced the birth of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana to record a similar announcement for me, but apparently some things are Just. Not. Done. 

Oh, well. 

By the way, have you seen the new cover yet? (...asked Linda disingenuously.)

What's that you say? It looks the same? Ah, but it's not! Look closer. See there at the bottom right? 

They added "A Novel." 

That's how you can be sure it's not, you know, my autobiography or something. ;)

And here it is NAKED:

It's hard to tell from the pic, but the lettering and Tor logo are in a metallic raspberry pink. Pretty! :)

And now I have a small favor to ask. (Don't worry, it doesn't involve lending me money.) All I'm asking is, if you have the opportunity, that you help me get the word out about THE BIG FIX on any social media platform you happen to participate in. It can be something as simple as a tweet with the hashtag #TheBigFix, or a mention on Facebook, or Tumblr, or Pinterest, or Instagram, or even Google+ (does anyone even use Google+?).  

Anything to raise awareness would be great! Because I'd kind of like to sell enough of these suckers to convince my publisher to let keep on writing them. 

P.S. I'm leaving for the RT Booklovers Convention day after tomorrow. If you live near Dallas (or will be in the area), stop by the Hyatt Regency on Saturday (May 16th) between 11a.m. and 2p.m. I'll be signing at the Giant Book Fair, and I'd love to see you!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

And the Caption Contest Winner is ...

Last week I posted a picture of a camel and asked for captions. (No need to take my word for it. Click here to see for yourself.)

I said another camel would be here this week to announce the winner, so here ya go:

Photo via; words via moi.
If you can't see what the camel is proclaiming, it's Renee' Ross!!!

Her winning caption? This:

Photo via

"It's Wednesday, you say? Darlin', in my world EVERY day is HUMP Day!"

I'd say that expresses what that camel is thinking quite nicely. Or, rather, quite naughtily. Which, to me (of course), is hilarious. 

Renee', if you'll email me at linda(dot)grimes(at)gmail(dot)com, I'll make arrangements for you to receive your pre-order of The Big Fix.

Anyone else who left a caption, email me and I'll arrange a digital copy of Pre-Fix for you via Amazon (for Kindle) or Barnes and Noble (for NOOK). Well, as long as you live in the US. I'm not sure how to give digital copies internationally. 

Thanks to everyone who participated! 

And may everyone have a Happy Hump Day! Whether it's Hump Day or not. *waggles eyebrows*

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Writer, a Camel, and Monty Python all walked into a bar...

Okay, who misses the camels? 

One person that I know of, at least. You know who you are. 

In case anyone else has been pining for camel pics*, here ya go:

Photo courtesy of

I love the smile on this camel's face. Makes you wonder what it's thinking. 

Hmm. What is this camel thinking? Something nice? Something naughty? Something totally outrageous?

I know! Why don't you decide? 

Caption-the-Camel Contest:

1. Study the picture.
2. Imagine yourself to be the camel. (If you're into method acting, that is. Otherwise, skip this step. It's not like I'll ever know the difference.)
3. Tell me in a comment what "you're" thinking.
4. Amuse me! Move me! Enlighten me! Make me groan! (Your choice. You don't have to do all of them.)
5. You know I'm difficult to offend, but do try to keep in within the realm of decency. If you find that you, in your new camel persona, are thinking bad words, mask them in the customary way ("@#$!"). Trust me, I'll fill in the blanks just fine. ;)

The First Ten participants will receive a free download of PRE-FIX (if you want it; if you already have it, you may transfer it to another party, or simply receive my gratitude for the smile you've no doubt given me).

The Writer of the Caption I Like Best (hint: this typically involves laughter on my part--I love to laugh), will receive a free pre-order of THE BIG FIX. Even if you're not in the first ten, you're still eligible for the main prize. (Again, this is transferable. Might I add that books make a great gift?)

Let's give it a week. The caption contest will end at 8 a.m. EDT next Wednesday, May 6, whereupon another camel will announce the winner. 

(This contest is US only, I'm afraid. But never fear, within a few weeks, in a guest post I'm doing on another blog, there will be an international contest! Details to follow.)

On your mark ...
Get set ...

*As opposed to pining for the fjords.**

**Yes, that was a gratuitous Monty Python reference.***

***If you don't know Monty Python ... oh, come on. Nobody doesn't know Monty Python. But if your memory is cloudy on the Dead Parrot sketch, here's a refresher:

P.S. Yes, I know. There is no bar. The camel, Monty Python, and I are not, in fact, having a drinking contest. Which is sad, because that probably would have been fun. Sorry about that! (Geez, writers will say anything for attention, won't they?)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Exploding with News! (Not as messy as it sounds...)

Yikes! So much to share today. 

First of all, Pre-Fix is out there as of today--yay!

Meet Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire, in this charming introduction to Linda Grimes' "sparkling series" (Publishers Weekly).

A genetic quirk means Ciel can take on the appearance of anyone she meets by projecting their aura. This startling ability presents endless possibilities, and she's one of a rare few who has you'd think it'd be easier finding a day job that lets her put it to use. Actress? Model? Ethically dubious and possibly criminal activities, like her best friend Billy? Ciel's long-time crush and fellow aura adaptor, Mark, has found his calling as a CIA agent-a life of intrigue, danger, and the perfect utilization of their rather unique skill set. It seems like the obvious choice to Ciel: She could do good and spend time with her crush. What could be better?

If you'd like to buy a copy ($0.99--it's cheap!), you can find it in these fine establishments (and others, I'm sure):

Oh, and lest I forget my poor neglected QUICK FIX -- it's out in mass market paperback today. Which means you can get it cheaper. (Hey, I don't know about you, but I am totally down with cheap books. Feeding a reading habit can add up.)

It's available here, among other places:

Barnes and Noble
Indie Bound
Google Play Store

And, finally, a bit of awesome news I just got today: THE BIG FIX got a starred (!!!) review from Publishers Weekly!

I'm over the moon and grinning from ear to ear.

Funny thing: the "slightly discordant" moment the reviewer is referring is the absolute favorite scene of my agent, my editor, and the vast majority of my CPs, betas, and early readers. *grin* Whatever. I'm just thrilled with the rest of the review. 

And the star. I'm thrilled with that, too. My first PW star. :D

Anyway, sorry to unload all this on you at once, but that's how things in the publishing biz apparently work. Long stretches of waiting, punctuated by busy-busy-busy-ness. 

Hope all is well in your neck of the world. :)

Edited to Add Breaking news: Tor just dropped the price of the IN A FIX ebook to $2.99! (See above about stuff happening all at once.) So, if you haven't gotten around to reading it yet, for whatever reason, now you can grab it for a pretty good price. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Coming Soon -- PRE-FIX! (In other news, I'm still alive.)

Yeah, yeah. I know. I haven't been around in a while. But it's not my fault. Somebody has apparently been speeding up time while I wasn't looking, and now weeks go by at the same pace it used to take a day or two. 

Whoever's doing that -- STOP! Just stop it now!

So, I wanted to give you a heads-up about the upcoming release of the first Ciel Halligan short story. It's a prequel to the series, and it's called Pre-Fix. (Get it? Ha-ha!) If you've ever been curious about how Ciel got her start in the fixing biz, here's your chance to find out. 

Or, if you know someone who hasn't started the series yet, this might be a good way to introduce them to it (and earn my undying gratitude at the same time). 

It's being released March 31, 2015, but you can pre-order it now for your Kindle (here) or your Nook (here). Best part? It's only 99 cents! So not only is it easy, it's also cheap. Cheap & easy--what better combination is there? ;)

Oh, and as long as I'm sharing happy stuff, I just found out that RT Book Reviews has made THE BIG FIX a Top Pick!

I'm completely over the moon about that. :D 

Heck, now I don't even mind (much) that it's snowing/sleeting here on the freaking first day of spring. To quote my daughter, "Spring, you had one job..."

Anyway, that's all for now. Hope you all are doing well. If any of you have any good ideas about how I can slow down time, please tell me in the comments. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

An ARC tour of THE BIG FIX, aka Read It Way Early and Super Cheap

So, it has been brought to my attention that I haven't yet organized an ARC tour for THE BIG FIX, even though I've actually had some ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) for *cough* a little while now. 

Sorry! My mind has been totally focused on finishing FIX4, to the detriment of all else. (Seriously. All else. You should see the dust bunnies tumbling by me on the floor right now.) But now I'm done with phase 1 of FIXER UPPER* (getting it out the door to my critique partners, beta readers, and agent), so I can concentrate on TBF again for a while. 

Anyway, I did an ARC tour for the first two books, and I completely adored the feedback of the participants. Everyone who had an early read signed the ARC before sending it on to the next person on the waiting list, and at the end, I got back Very Special copies of the books. Those two books are among my most prized possessions. 

Here's what my editor (Tor's fantabulous Melissa Frain, recently promoted to Senior Editor!!) tweeted almost a year ago, when she was working on TBF:

*Ahem* If that's any inducement to sign up for an early read ... 

Once again, the magnificently bad-ass Karla Nellenbach has agreed to be my Tour Director, and will be juggling emails and plotting the best route for the book. 

To participate, all you have to do is email me at linda(dot)grimes(at)gmail(dot)com and tell me your address, and agree to mail it on to the next person on the tour list when you're done reading.

I'll forward your info to Karla, who will be the one giving you a heads-up when its on its way to you. 

Once you have it, it would be great if you could finish in under a week, so the others don't have to wait longer than necessary for their turn. 

Oh, and if you would leave an honest review on Goodreads, Amazon, or B&N (after release day--May 12--for Amazon and B&N), that would be great, too. But not mandatory.

Since I'm asking people to pony up the postage to send it on to the next person, I'm afraid I'll have to limit participants to the US. It doesn't cost much to mail a book within the US. Cheaper than buying the book, anyway. ;)

Hope you guys will enjoy it! Ciel, Billy, and Mark hope so, too. :)

*Yes, that makes it FU for short. Yes, that tickles my immature funny bone. (Heh-heh. I said "bone.")

P.S. Even if you don't want to join the cruise, please feel free to say hi in the comments. I miss you guys!