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Friday, December 4, 2015

The Weekend That Wasn’t

Forget Black Friday.
Forget Football.
Forget Shopping or eating leftovers.
 
My four-day weekend, which I’d planned to spend with family and friends was spent fighting the flu.  For a while, I was certain I was losing the battle, and before you ask, yes, I had the shot. Worse yet, I came down with it Thanksgiving evening, so there’s a chance I infected my whole family.  At least I had a fun time doing it, right?  Our family got together and had a great time with cousins, siblings, even ex-spouses.  So hopefully no one else will come down with it. 
 
Finally I’m on the mend, so I can ditch the over-the-counter remedies and cough drops and reclaim my work spot that the dogs took over while I was ailing.  Now, I think, I’ll return to my  WIP, and the wilds of Wyoming.  There’s a hero and heroine who’ve been waiting for me to explain about that nasty little murder . . .

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Skinny Behind Deep Freeze

A few years ago my editor was visiting and he said he had a great idea for a new book.  Since we often work out plot details together, I was excited to hear what he had to say.
He said, “I’d like to see a story where the killer only kills in winter.”
I said, “Okay, but why does he only kill in winter?”
His reply?  “I don’t know.”
That was his great idea? 
A killer who only kills in winter? 
Not a lot to go on.
 
http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/lisajackson
 
 
Surprisingly though, just that little germ of a plot set me off,  and the idea of a woman on the run from her previous life,  a woman who had two teenaged daughters and needed a fresh start came to mind.  I thought she should be running from the glitter and glitz and heat of Hollywood. 
What if she wanted to slow down a face-paced life that was beginning to run off the rails?  What if she hoped for a more “real” life and a more normal or serene lifestyle?  And what if that more “real” life was really much worse and turned into a deadly nightmare in the middle off a frigid storm?  
 
The more I thought about the idea, the more it grew on me and eventually DEEP FREEZE was born.   The book was a bestseller and has now been reissued.  It’s sequel, FATAL BURN will be released again as well.  To top things off, AFTER SHE’S GONE, the story of Jenna’s now grown daughters, Cassie and Allie Kramer will be available at the end of the month. 
 
I find it amazing that from that comment of my editor wanting to see a story about a killer who only murdered in winter, three books have been born.  And who knows if there isn’t yet another sequel to be written? 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving and Christmas are bittersweet this year...

Thanksgiving and Christmas are bittersweet this year.  In the last month my family has lost two wonderful people. 
 
Aunt Susie was a ray of sunshine, who had a smile for everyone.  Outgoing and effervescent, she was the mother of my two first cousins and I never saw her without her signature grin.  She was married to Uncle Blair my mother’s brother who passed away over thirty years ago.  Cousin Dave said everyone in her family was a smiler, which I’d not noticed, but was true.  Her wide smile and sparkling blue eyes are missed.  Aunt Susie, you were a beacon.
 
Now, my uncle, married to my father’s sister, yes, the beloved Aunt Doris has passed.  Uncle Mal was solid as a rock.  A quiet, reserved man, he was small in stature but strong as an ox and as they aged my grandmother, father and aunt all steadied themselves on his always quickly offered arm.  Mal never complained, had a soft chuckle and quick  mind.  He was married to my aunt for 57 years.  They had no children so Sister Nan and I counted them more as step-parents than uncle and aunt.  Uncle Mal, you were the rock and you are already missed.
 
The commonality in these two very different people, aside from the fact that they were married to my parents’ only siblings, was that I  never once heard them say a negative word against anyone.  Never.  Nor did I ever hear either of them brag.  They were simply the best.
 
And so, the holidays are a little less bright this year.

Friday, November 20, 2015

STAY-CATION

 
 
“To kids from one to ninety-two . . .”
 
Or so the lyrics of The Christmas Song go as I remember them.  Well, in my case it’s “from five to ninety-three.”  I’ve been off work for a week, but staying at home.  Yesterday I helped my ninety-three year old aunt put on her shoes, then later, I heard my grandson call out “G-Ma, can you help me with my shoes?”  Yes, sir, I can!   As I helped the five-year-old with his shoes, I thought of the lyrics. 
 
Right now the kids/grandkids are camping out with me and my sister and I are helping our aunt and uncle into an assisted care facility that’s only a stone’s throw from our homes.  So it’s been a family staycation week which meant I put away my computer.  Let me tell you, it’s been worth it.  Aunt Doris LOVES her new digs and this past week, listening to five-year-old and three-year-old philosophies has been invigorating and exhausting.   (Oh, my aching back!)  Each night, rain or shine, we walk outside, touch the Christmas lights and make a wish to Santa.  “Shhh.  It’s a secret!”
 

 
Tomorrow most of the staycation ends and I’ll find myself back in the wilds of Wyoming, finishing my section of the sequel to SINISTER a novel I cowrote a few years back with Nancy Bush and Rosalind Noonan.  I’m having great fun with the story, but I’m glad I took a break for time with the grandkids while they really are still “littles.”   It’s amazing how kids see the world.  Maybe I’ll take a lesson!
 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Removing the Halloween decorations, Charming Christmas, and Sinister sequel news

This week I took down the Halloween decorations, well except for the yellow Crime Scene tape which is still cordoning off the office where I’ve started stashing Christmas gifts.  The tape is supposed to keep the grandkids out.  (Yeah, right.)  Anyway, I hated to see the jack-o-lanterns, black cats and witches leave, but I guess there’s a time for everything and I’m already turning my sites onto Thanksgiving and Christmas.
 
On Sunday I got into the spirit of Christmas early by watching CHARMING CHRISTMAS on the Hallmark channel.  The movie was inspired by my friend Rosalind Noonan’s  CHARMING CHRISTMAS which is in the stores in book form now.  So it was fun to sit down with dark chocolate and wine and good friends.  We watched at Sister Nan’s house and had fun.  Roz and Nan had visited the set while the movie was being filmed so they were familiar with some of the scenes! 
 

Roz has been a friend for years, ever since she was an editor at Silhouette Books and bought Nan’s first novel . . . that was a few years back.  It was a young adult book originally titled ABBY’S CHANCE but was eventually renamed DARE TO LOVE.  Now thirty-odd years later the three of us write together at times.  Our first book was SINISTER, set in Wyoming.  SINISTER was a thriller with a murder mystery and a suspense/cowboy angle.  The book was out a few years back and sold well, so, now we’re working on the sequel, as yet untitled.  I’m almost done with the first section, then I’ll pass what I’ve written on to Roz.  When Roz has written her section and melded the two existing plot lines, she’ll pass it on to Nancy for her section and tying it all together.  Yeah, it’s a little complicated, but a lot of fun!   The new story is as yet unnamed, though we refer to it as Wyoming II or Sinisterer.  When it’s finished and we have a title and release date, I’ll let you know.  In the meantime, I’ll keep working on it and pack up all the skeletons and ghouls  to hide in the garage until next October.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Just Call Me A Hypocrite

 
 
Yeah.  I talk a lot about hating the holiday season start around Labor Day.  I mean, you can buy Christmas wrap in the stores when August is barely over.  And artificial trees are lit in the big box stores by Halloween, which kind of frosts me.  But . . . yes, I have partaken.  I’ve bought the wrap early, the occasional gift in July, if I see “just the right thing” for someone on my list, but I try not to get into the spirit too early.  I think it ruins the electricity and fun of the season.  However, I have a confession:  This year my Christmas lights are already up.  Why so early?   Here’s  my excuse.  You can buy it if you want.  Because of all of Ken’s surgeries he can no longer climb high on ladders and string lights,  (he fell off a few years back and ended up with back surgery).  I’m not climbing above two feet any longer, so I have to schedule with a company that comes and puts up the lights (at least the high ones that require extension ladders.)  This year my appointment choices were limited. I opted for the earliest to put up and the latest to take down, because, really, I’m a sucker for the lights.  Not all the other goo-gah, glitter and glitz, mind you.  But I do love writing on my laptop near the window, dogs on the big chair with me, coffee at my side and colored lights glowing through panes.  So, yeah, I’m that person, and a hypocrite to boot!  I’m sure my neighbors are rolling their eyes, and I did think about unplugging the string, but that seems a waste.  After all, I’m the “eccentric writer” in the neighborhood—boy does that handle come in handy at time.  So, for now, the lights are winking brightly as I sit with the doggies and write about murder and mayhem in Wyoming.  ‘Tis almost the season.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Falling Backward into Stupidity

 
I started off November realizing that the smart phones/clocks/televisions/whatever are smarter than I am.   Sheesh.  I woke up knowing full well that I needed to set my clock back, so I waited as long as I could stand it and finally got up.  I still thought it was around 4:30 and it was sooo dark out.  What did I know?  Then I looked at my phone.  It agreed with the clock that hadn’t been set back, but the oven and microwave were still an hour ahead.  The computer was behind and I had to assume that half the clocks in the house had fallen back, the others were like me, not of the “smart” variety.  I think now everything is as it should be.  No, wait.  The car!  It’s new.  Could it’s clock be off?  With all of its blue tooth, GPS, warning sensors and the like, surely it fell back.  Right?  I’d better check. I’m thinking the machines should be more stupid or I should be smarter.  (Probably the latter.) Whatever the case, the whole ordeal called for lots more coffee before I tackled my current work in progress.