Monday, December 30, 2013

In 2014 I will drink more wine

New Year's Eve is almost here, which means it's time for me to make yet another list of resolutions I have no hope of keeping. That's how it usually goes anyway, but this year I've decided to try something different. This year I am actually going to do everything on my list. Some of these resolutions, like finishing 3 books, will be challenging to keep. Others, like drinking wine and writing questionable genre fiction, will not.

Here goes...

1. In 2014 I will drink more wine. Because I am nothing if not committed to flooding my body with antioxidants. Kale, shmale. Cracking open a bottle of Cabernet is much less work. Besides, I tried that recipe where you are supposed to bake little snippets of greens in the oven and fool your children into thinking they are chips ... really? Last time I checked, children weren't stupid. And until the fine folks at Frito Lay can find a way to package kale into a Dorito, I'll stick to the vino.

2. In 2014 I will rewrite two books, I will finish one sequel, and write at least one of my "other" projects. I've neglected the regular writing to crank out a few less-than-appropriate stories as my alter ego. This year, I'll do them all. While somehow not losing my sanity or my day job, because oh yeah, I got one of those. But, glass half full - writing at night will keep me sane while I toil in the cube by day. I'll be kind of like Batman, only without the cool costumes or piles of money.

3. In 2014, I will eat more pecans. Because I like them. Also, they are the state nut of Texas, so it's sort of patriotic. Which would make some kind of bizarre sense if Texas were its own country, but many people here already think it is.

4. In 2014, I will vacuum less. This will be difficult, only because I rarely vacuum now -- but somehow I will manage.

5. In 2014, I will finally figure out how to use punctuation correctly between quotation marks. JUST KIDDING. I will never figure that out. Like my seven-year-old's math homework, it will remain shrouded in mystery.

6. In 2014, I will get my bangs trimmed more often. At least frequently enough that they remain actual bangs and the rest of my hair does not reclaim them - and so that my very nice, but very blunt hair stylist from Aghanistan stops telling me that "without bangs, you look like housewife."

7. In 2014, I will do more push-ups. Because you never know when you're going to get invited to an impromptu arm wrestling contest, and I want to be prepared. Also, because someone has to pick up all the soccer gear, 30,000 stuffed animals and overturned furniture that magically appears every day in our house. And clearly, it won't be anyone I birthed. Or married.

8. In 2014, I will learn what Spotify is - and how to use it. Or at least how to use it properly in a sentence.

9. In 2014, I will find someplace that carries the old Atomic fireball jawbreakers and I will order a big old mess of them. Because they are my favorite non-chocolate candy ever. My first Easter in college, my dad and stepmother-at-the-time sent me a shoebox full of fireballs and Black Mountain Breakdown by Lee Smith. To this day, whenever I smell cinnamon I think of Southern literary fiction. But I haven't had an Atomic fireball in years - and what if I got hit by a car and never, ever got to have one again? Life is too short, I will buy fireballs.

10. In 2014, I will not let silly things like full-time jobs or fear of failure keep me from writing and I will remember every single rejection because it will only make me stronger. Either that, or I'm just Forrest Gumping it and praying that life really is like a box of chocolates. I just hope it's a box of sea salt chocolates.

11. In 2014, I will buy more lipstick. Because ... why not?

Happy New Year!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Do you remember your first dance?

The other night I let the boys watch Mamma Mia. They like a good musical and sequined jumpsuits as much as anybody, and for days afterward, I could hear their voices humming butchered ABBA lyrics.  I had to smile. Not because I love to hear my children singing Swedish disco hits from the 70s, which of course I do – but because for me, ABBA doesn’t conjure up Broadway or Meryl Streep. When I hear ABBA, I think of a night long ago, when a gallant older man made me feel like the prettiest girl in the room. When I hear ABBA, I think of my first dance. 

Many first things, dances included, don’t really measure up to our expectations. And if they don’t, we romanticize them in memory, and let ourselves pretend that the first time was magnificent, not mediocre. But sometimes, those firsts really are better than the fantasy. Sometimes, a first time is so perfect that the rest pale by comparison. 

It was 1981, in the People’s Republic of China, and I was eleven years old. My father had taken a sabbatical from his job teaching English at a small liberal arts college in Kentucky to travel to Wuhan University, where officials had hired a team of American and French professors to boost their graduate program. I would have preferred Paris, New York, or at least someplace with a McDonald’s. But nobody consulted me, so I spent a year in China, where both my parents spent most of their weekdays in classrooms, leaving me and my younger brother Will to fend for ourselves. 

The days spent unsupervised led to adventures, like the time we captured a baby bat or tiptoed along the tiled roofline of a nearby building. Our freedom wasn’t quite so thrilling the day we spied over the hill and witnessed a pig butchering. I’m not sure who screamed louder; me or the pig.

The two French boys Gilles and Christian, who lived next door, were in the same plight. Out of boredom, we routinely staged wars – all three boys against me, or when my brother remembered a little family loyalty, a Franco-American battle royale involving pseudo karate kicks, tree-climbing, and plenty of middle school insults.

We’d run out of the schoolwork imported from home months ago, and my only diversion was a daily French lesson. At first, those lessons had been conducted by Joelle, a glamorous hairdresser from Lille with long blonde hair and red lipstick. She would giggle and fuss over me as I learned new vocabulary words. That hour every day was my escape-- from the boys, from our dreary apartment, from the mounting tension between my mother and father.  For that hour, I basked in the compliments she lavishly bestowed and the girl talk we cobbled together in broken English.

But after Christmas, she’d gone home to France, and left my lessons to her husband Bernard, a biology professor. Bernard had a deep, crusty laugh like a Gallic Santa, but he was less into giggles and lipstick, and more into verb conjugation. French lessons were still a welcome distraction, but I missed the perfume and silliness. 

The Chinese government, which had brought my parents and a smattering of other foreigners to this university, discouraged mingling with the locals. So our makeshift neighborhood hunkered down in a grim apartment complex. A cafeteria prepared our food, a bus took us into town, and most weekends, we had a party.

I guess the parties were the school’s way of making sure we didn’t wander into town on a Saturday night and accidentally spread democracy – enough records and rice wine, and even grown-ups could be kept under control. But regardless of the reason, those parties made the long, dull weeks seem tolerable.

The dances were held in the recreation room of one of the apartment buildings. Jacques, a twenty-one-year-old math teacher who looked like a short Christopher Reeves, spun records as the adults danced and smoked. 

Jacques and I had a sort of older brother-cynical younger sister relationship; he joked and I scowled. He teased me during our weekly Saturday bus trips to town and I glared in return, both embarrassed and wonderfully flattered by the attention. But he was cute, he knew how to pick a tune, and whenever I requested a song, he’d make sure it was the next one played. Once he took me for a ride on the back of his motorcycle – sending my mother’s blood pressure sky-high. I didn’t care – I was still reeling from the secret thrill of wrapping my arms around his back as we careened down a narrow, dusty road with no guardrail.

Every Saturday, he brought out his vast record collection, transforming the nondescript recreation room into a delightful, tipsy, dance party. The women took extra care with their clothes, the men laughed too loudly over cocktails, and everyone danced, regardless of ability or sense of rhythm. Everyone danced. The drinks flowed freely – sometimes too freely, as I downed a couple of glasses of rice wine one night before my parents caught on, much to the delight of all the French who thought I was a charming, if young drunk. My mother wasn’t nearly as amused, but in my defense, I wasn’t allowed to drink the water and there wasn’t any milk or juice, which left tea, coffee, or an occasional contraband Coca-cola. Really, my mother should have expected nothing less than for me to turn to booze.

One warm spring Saturday, the apartment complex buzzed with excitement. The school year was almost over, which meant everyone would be going home soon and leaving the artificial confines of our little enclave. That evening’s party would be my last, and I meant to make it a good one. 

At my request, my mother braided my hair into scores of tiny, thin plaits early in the day. When she took them out that evening, my long brown hair was a flowing, wavy mass that, I was sure, would have made even Donna Summer proud. I chose my outfit carefully that night; a peach, pinch-pleat skirt with enough polyester and glitter thread to suit any budding disco queen. The skirt had a blouse to match, but the short puffed sleeves looked too babyish. A peach-colored swimsuit with a ruffled halter neckline matched perfectly -- and when I looked at myself in the mirror, I was impressed. The ruffles hid my total lack of anything yet resembling breasts, and the peach shade transformed my freckles into a tan. My mother raised her eyebrow at the ensemble, but I ignored her.

When we arrived at the party, Sondra, the sophisticated Yale graduate who during our stint in Wuhan, had committed the impossibly romantic sin of dumping her fiancĂ© in a Dear John letter for a darkly handsome Zou-Zou, complimented my get-up, and I knew I’d hit fashion gold. I felt like I was floating as I drifted across the dance floor to trade barbs with Gilles and Christian. The music started, the beer and cigarettes came out, and my mother left me alone. Glaring at my brother as I angled for another conversation with Sondra, I barely noticed the tap on my shoulder. But Sondra did, and she nodded behind me.I turned around.  

Jacques stood in front of me and held out his hand. “Would you like to dance?”

I nodded and followed him to the middle of the floor as the static of the record needle dropping onto vinyl pierced the silence. I was conscious of everyone watching us, the adults all wearing identical expressions that said “Aw, isn’t that cute?” But it didn’t matter. My favorite song, “Fernando” by ABBA began to play and Jacques put his hand around my waist, and gave me one of his crooked smiles. 

As he propelled me around the room, I stood taller, willing my feet to follow his. Luckily for both of us, his lack of height meant we could actually move together without listing from side to side. I glanced at his face, and then embarrassed by his grin, I looked away.   The windows were open and the scent of dogwoods wafted in through the smoke, a sweet-smelling breeze mussing the heavy curtain of hair falling down my back.  I listened to the song, to the words that sang about how there was something in the air that night, Fernando. 

We talked, I don’t remember about what, but I remember his eyes and the way he smiled at me. Not patronizing, or indulgent – but like we were equals. Like he asked me to dance, not because it was the nice thing to do, but because he actually wanted to. Even I knew that wasn’t probable, but his ease and unrelenting charm let me believe it, even if only for a few short moments.

When the song ended, he bowed, and returned to the records. I headed back to the boys, who were already making faces at me, ready to tease me for the unforgivable transgression of trying to act grown-up. Rolling my eyes, I pretended a casualness I didn’t feel. What I felt was alive, a spark running through my body as the wind picked up outside, and Jacques switched the record to something faster.  I traded glances with Sondra, who looked suitably impressed, and I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face as I walked over to the window, letting the air cool my warm cheeks even as my hips twitched to the beat of the music. I turned around to face the dance floor, a crowd beckoning me to join the adult chaos that suddenly seemed like a place I belonged. Behind a table, Jacques slid another record from its sleeve and, catching my eye, he winked.

A few weeks later, my family left China. After we drove away from the university, I never saw Jacques again. But I still remember him and that dance. Probably, I always will. Because life is full of less than perfect moments. Moments that shake my confidence, and make me forget that I used to be a fearless eleven-year-old girl with dreams of a disco dress and an ABBA song. On that night, in that moment, I felt beautiful and sure of myself, and like anything I wanted in life just might happen. 

One spring night, I danced with a Frenchman in China. 

And it was magical.

Monday, September 2, 2013

So I saw The World's End this week . . . Best. Soundtrack. Ever.  The movie's great, too - obviously, anything with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is going to be kickass. But the music - all I can say, is that hearing the Sisters of Mercy again for the first time in possibly two decades made this soccer mom very, very happy. Remember when you wore black not for its amazing abilities to hide juice box stains, but to look cool and mysterious?  Ha ha ha ha...

On another note, here's a couple quickie reads for Labor Day weekend. The first is an excerpt from The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms. The second is an excerpt from the sequel, which I'm working on right now.  Enjoy!

(The Getaway Girls - From Chapter 3)
Hey, girl.” Audrey nearly jumped as a tall, skinny blonde man wearing obscenely tight jeans and a tattered Madonna t-shirt appeared out of the fog with an unlit cigarette in his hand.Audrey could see the shadowy figures of Declan and Beth just beyond the mist. They had already exited the alley into Jackson Square.
The skinny man put his hand on his chest, saying, “Oh, honey, did I scare you? Y’all, I am so sorry.  I was just lookin’ for a light.  Do y’all have one?”
Audrey took a deep breath and nodded.  “Uh, sure.”  She fumbled with her purse, looking for her lighter.  Then she remembered.  “Oh, crap, I lost my lighter.” She looked up at the man to apologize.
The tall, thin blonde man was gone. 
Carl was standing in his place.  He stared down at her with intense, black eyes and spoke in his chocolate-rich British accent. “No need to apologize.  I believe you left your lighter with me.  Now,” he said, coming in closer as Audrey tried to shrink back against the window, “where did we leave off the last time we met?”
Audrey’s breathing sped up and out of the corner of her eye she tried to see Declan, but she couldn’t see a thing in the cool, damp gloom.
“Oh, yes, I remember.” Carl’s finely chiseled face loomed over Audrey as his eyes traced the curve of her neck down the plunging line of her purple dress. His nostrils flared as though he’d just smelled freshly baked cookies.
Audrey’s throat tightened, suffocating the scream she wanted to let loose. She prayed that Carl hadn’t seen Syd, who had backed up behind the restaurant sign.  Audrey tried to feel inside her purse for something, anything to use as a weapon but her fingers were clumsy.  All she could feel was a half-empty chewing gum package. 
Carl’s lip curled as she flailed around in her purse. “I think you’re out of lighters, Audrey.”  A curious look flickered in his dark eyes.  “I see someone has cleaned up your face,” he noted. “I do hate to hit a woman, but you left me with little choice.  You really ought not to bite a man’s ear when he’s trying to kill you.”
Audrey began to sweat as Carl stared at her.  “Lift up your hair,” he ordered.
Because she didn’t know what else to do, she complied, twisting her brown hair around her finger and holding it at the crown.  “Why?” she pleaded.
Carl cocked his head. “You have a very supple neck, Audrey.” He stroked his lower lip. “I’m trying to decide from which angle to break it.”
Audrey’s chest burned, shooting acid up through her throat and she screamed, “Declan!”
Carl looked quickly over his shoulder and then turned back to Audrey and shook his finger, saying, “I don’t think so, Audrey; I’m not into threesomes.”  He inched forward and wedged his muscular thigh in between her legs. “Now shut up and fuck me.”
“No. Fuck YOU!” Syd jumped up from behind the sign holding a can of hair spray, and she pushed down the nozzle as hard as she could.  “That’s real aerosol, motherfucker, you better run!”
Carl stepped back as the fumes filled his mouth and eyes.  “You’re going to regret that,” he growled.
 “Get away from her, Carl!”  Declan snarled as he leapt in front of the women, yanked up the wooden placard and swung it at Carl’s face, keeping a healthy distance as Syd and Audrey scooted further down the alley.
“She’s mine.  This isn’t your business,”  Carl said, wiping his eyes and looking at Declan with mild annoyance. 
Declan shoved the women behind him as he swung the sign again, but Carl sneered at him and merely swatted at the makeshift weapon. “You know you can’t save her, Declan,” Carl said, walking toward him.  “Just give her to me, and I’ll leave the rest of them alone.”
 Suddenly the gleam of red and orange flames swirled through the alley, flashing through the mist.   A long, thin stick lit on both ends sailed through the air, the smell of sizzling fire sharp and close.
Audrey gasped as a young Hispanic man back-flipped in front of her, snatching the fiery stick just before it reached her face.  She looked beyond him into Jackson Square, where street performers waylaid straggling tourists on their way out of the Quarter. A nearby crowd watched the man, oohing and aahing as he tossed the stick up in the air again and caught it with a quick flick of the wrist.

The man came closer, juggling his flame near Carl, who hissed, “I’ll find you again, Audrey,” before melting away into the mist.  The man winked at Audrey, before turning his stick upside down and swallowing the flame first on one end and then the other.  The crowd cheered, he blew Audrey a kiss and then flipped back to his audience.

(Getaway Girls Sequel - as yet untitled.... Warning: this is 1st draft stuff, so yes, there will be typos)
Jean-Paul grabbed her waist and swung her so that she straddled him. She could feel one very unvampire-like part of him hard against her bikini bottom. Her very flimsy, easily ripped off bikini bottoms.  She pulled away. “What am I doing? What are you doing?”
Jean-Paul grinned. “I’m about to make love. But if you want to pretend we’re doing something else, I can role play.”
Beth opened her mouth, a retort on her lips, when a loud BOOM startled her.
Jean-Paul looked to the window and yelled, “DOWN!”  He shoved Beth off his lap, and crouched over her body.
CRASH! Bullets disintegrated the window, sending deadly splinters everywhere, missing Beth by inches as Jean-Paul rolled her to the side, pushing her out of the way. He jumped to his feet and punched keys on a small black panel mounted to the wall.
Another window shattered and Beth felt the cool slice of glass against her thigh. She began crawling toward Jean-Paul as the panel flashed a green light and opened, revealing a long, barrel-shaped weapon. Jean-Paul heaved it easily over his shoulder, putting his finger to his lips as he directed Beth to the opposite corner.  He pulled a trigger and a compact ball of flame shot through the gaping remains of the window and Beth heard a loud explosion outside.
Another bullet pierced glass, this one lodging in Jean-Paul’s bicep with a loud, wet thud. Beth gasped as Jean-Paul squinted into the scope of his weapon, aimed, and sent another fiery missile toward the unseen shooter.  And another. And another.
Finally, after lobbing what seemed like an endless barrage of explosions outside his windows, Jean-Paul backed up and reached down with one fluid movement and plucked Beth from the floor. “Come. Now.” He grabbed her hand, and pushed buttons on the panel again.  This time, instead of revealing a hidden compartment, the wall itself slid open and Jean-Paul tugged Beth inside.
The door slammed neatly shut behind them and Beth looked quickly around. They were in what appeared to be a safe room, walled in marble threaded with streaks of grey and gold. The air was cool and stale, but from somewhere within the house, Beth heard a pump kick on, and a small vent in the ceiling began dispersing an almost invisible mist.
“What is that?”Beth demanded, panicked that somehow biological weapons were now involved.
“Oh, that’s just humidity.  It gets very dry in this room if you’re in for any amount of time,” Jean-Paul answered almost absently, as he picked at the bullet in his arm.
Beth let that information sink in, picturing Audrey and Evie sitting safely with cocktails by the pool. If she just hadn’t taken up Jean-Paul on his invitation to tour the gardens, she’d be with them, enjoying a Bloody Mary that she could certainly use right now. Goddamn flowers.
Then she turned back to Jean-Paul, who frowned as he tried to pry the bullet out of his arm with a pair of tweezers. His large fingers fumbled over the slim tines, and the tweezers slipped from his grasp.
“Here,” Beth picked up the tweezers and started to hand them back to Jean-Paul. “Do you want me to try?”
Jean-Paul sighed, “Please. I can usually do this myself, but today I seem to be clumsy.”
Beth stepped closer, her head bending over his arm as she slowly lowered the tweezers to the pulpy red wound. She was conscious of the smell of him; the spiciness of his cologne and the bitter scent of his blood, as she maneuvered the delicate tongs around his flesh. But decades of eyebrow maintenance had given her an edge over Jean-Paul in the tweezing department, and eventually she wormed the bullet out.
“Thank you,” Jean-Paul murmured as he slapped a sanitized wipe over the hole in his arm, which already appeared to be healing, and then sat down on the floor, looking tired.
“Who was shooting at you?” Beth asked.
“That’s the problem I need your help with – an unfriendly neighbor, you might call him.”
“Scavenger.” The name rolled off Beth’s tongue and she shuddered.
“Yes, a scavenger – well, his human guards, probably.” Jean-Paul shook his head. “They have the worst timing.”
“But why would a scavenger’s guards try to shoot you?  They do know you’re a vampire, right?”
Jean-Paul stretched. “Yes, of course, but they weren’t trying to shoot me, Beth.”
“Then . . .” Beth found it hard to finish her question.
Jean-Paul looked up at her. “They were They were aiming for you.”
“But,” Beth paused, “you shot him first. You saved my life, kind of.”
Jean-Paul continued his even, dark stare into Beth’s eyes. “What kind of host would I be if I brought you here and left you unprotected?”
As soon as the words left his lips, what sounded like a heavy hailstorm rocked the walls. A video monitor inside the room showed a dark figure jumping through the window with an automatic weapon.
Beth began to shake.
Jean-Paul put his finger to his lips. “It’s okay,” he whispered. Then he reached into a built-in metal drawer, pulled out a long, sharp machete and turned back to Beth. “Just a minute,” he said. Pushing the keypad, he slid the safe room door open just enough to lob the knife out into the living room, aiming straight for the dark figure, who slumped to the ground.
Jean-Paul quickly slammed the door shut again. He leaned against the cool metal for a moment, and then his eyes met Beth’s again. She didn’t look away. He strode over to where she stood, stopping inches away from her. He seemed to hesitate for just a moment until Beth licked her lips. Then he kissed her again. This time, Beth didn’t pull away. She didn’t think about her husband or her friends. She didn’t think about anything. She just kissed him back and she didn’t stop.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Getaway Girls New Orleans Top Five Best Things I've Eaten This Summer

It's hot here in Dallas and there is nothing summery left to do. Picnics in the park stopped being fun in June, unless you're into fried egg a la sidewalk or instant food poisoning. And you can forget the pool. That water's been baking for the past two months and now that it's 102, it's like a super chlorinated, non-bubbly jacuzzi. With little kids. So I'm making a list of the best things I've eaten this summer because I'm too hot to cook, and I've run out of things to daydream about to distract myself while at the gym. Food fantasies may not be the smartest option while on the treadmill, but a little Cuban food goes a long way.

I usually like to tie a Top Five list in with my book, i.e. Top Five Reasons Not to Take a Flesh-Eating Scavenger to the North Texas IrishFest - but a top five list of foods for something that eats flesh would be pretty pointless. So here's my list - feel free to comment with your fave foods of the summer...

1. Tacos y pollo at Taqueria San Julian in Naples, Florida.  Best tacos ever. I live in Texas so I probably shouldn't be saying this about a Florida taqueria - but it ain't treason if it's true. No beans and rice, or fancy add-ons, just really fresh-tasting tacos with three kinds of salsa - and the spiciest one is the kind that makes your mouth tingle but you just can't stop putting more on your taco anyway. I prefer the chicken, but they've got it all - beef, pork, chorizo, tongue. Guess which one I didn't try?

2.  Bratwurst and German potato salad from Pepper's Deli in Naples. I've always been a Johnsonville Brats kind of girl - and I thought that was the best I could do. But then I had the bratwurst from a real German deli and I'm a changed woman. Give me sausage or give me death! (But, please, also give me the fancy mustard. I forgot the name but it's ruined me for French's. Forever)

3. Dark chocolate sea salt caramels, the dark chocolate sea salt cashews and the peanut butter and chocolate ice cream from Sweet Firefly in Richardson, Texas. Here's how this works: I distract the kids with ice cream, buy the candy, stick in my purse and tell them I will share with them later.  I lie. I will hide those salty chocolate jewels in my sock drawer if I have to, but they are mine.  All mine.  As for the ice cream - it's like the Dos Equis commercial: I don't always eat ice cream, but when I do, it's peanut butter and chocolate from Sweet Firefly.

4.  Macaroni and cheese from the Holy Grail Pub in Plano, Texas.  I fix the kind of macaroni and cheese that comes in a box at least once a week, so I'm a little jaded when it comes to this dish. But when it's done right, I remember. There will always be a special place in my heart for the Friday macaroni and cheese from Cambridge House in Chicago, served with a peach on top. I don't know why - maybe the canned fruit was intended to counteract the massive fat infusion from the cheese sauce? But it worked. And it was the best.

Until I had Stanley's, also in Chicago - and maybe it was eating it on my bachelorette party weekend that made it taste so unbelievable, but I swear there was magic in that mac.  I've tried other "gourmet" versions, but nothing's ever measured up to Stanley's or Cambridge House. Jasper's in Plano, Texas is supposed to be incredible, but gouda? Girl, please.

So when the server raved about the macaroni at the Holy Grail last weekend, I thought yeah, right. But my husband ordered some and I took a bite. Lots of cheese, with a snappy bite - none of this smoked Dutch silliness, just really good, sharp flavors. And gooey.

5.  Roger sandwich and black beans and rice from Fernandez the Bull Cuban restaurant in Naples. If my last meal was Cuban food, I'd die happy. The Roger sandwich -  chorizo, cheese, these weird little potato pieces, and hot sauce - all on fresh Cuban bread, was the Best Thing I Have Eaten All Summer. Possibly all year. Garlicky chorizo, vinegary hot was divine.  And could someone please tell me the secret to making black beans like that?  It does not matter how many recipes I try, mine will never even think about tasting that good. Also, the sangria was fabulous. And the chocolate cake. And the Cuban sandwich. And probably everything else, we just didn't get through enough of the menu. We didn't have time. Maybe next year...

So . . . what's the best thing you've eaten this summer?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Working on the sequel to The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters. Mayhem and Moms. Unfortunately, right about now it should be titled, The Getaway Novel: A Book That Can't Make Up Its Mind Whether To Take place in Jamaica or Dallas.  Books are like children sometimes - very stubborn and one day they seem glorious and you're in love . . . and the next you're wondering what the hell to do with them for the next hour.

So, here's my list of pros and cons - I'm taking suggestions, so if you have a comment, feel free to leave:

Pros for having book take place in Jamaica:

1. The book ends with a hint that the women will reunite in Jamaica
2.  The lush tropical setting and relaxed ambience . . . or as the Getaway Girls would put it: beaches, boys, and booze
3.  Ian Fleming wrote James Bond books in Jamaica - how can I go wrong?

1. Only one, but it's a biggie. I've never been there.  Was supposed to go there on a tenth anniversary trip a few weeks ago, but those plans had to be canceled for multiple reasons.  Filing a passport application with my destination listed as Jamaica was as close as I got. I have Red Stripe beer in my fridge right now, does that count?

Pros for having book take place in Dallas:

1. I live here, I could describe this place blindfolded. Except that would be pretty dull, so I won't. (It was hot. Real hot. It smelled hot.  It felt hot).
2. The lush (mosquito-plagued) 102 degree scene outside my window right now would make an excellent place for mayhem and murder. Not that I'm planning anything, just pointing out the obvious.
3. Did I mention the heat? Seriously, if you were a flesh-eating scavenger, wouldn't you want to romp through the woods, taking out sweaty joggers and heat-crazed soccer moms?  Again, perhaps that's just me.

1. It's not Jamaica. Sniff.

You see my dilemma.  Of course, the most obvious choice of venue would have been New Orleans again, but I'm saving that for Book 3. (And of course, I'll need another NOLA visit to refresh my memory, won't I?)

Happy Friday - and remember, nothing says TGIF like a book about flesh-eating scavengers, kickass moms, some snippy vampires and a cocky Irishman.  Well, except maybe that Loverboy song about working for the weekend, but that's not gonna last you the weekend, is it?  Get yourself a copy of The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms  and a bottle of cheap vino - voila, instant Friday fix. You won't be sorry, I promise!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Top Five Reasons Not to Take a Scavenger to 4th of July

So it's a little late, but after spending a week or so on vacation, I thought of...
Top Five Reasons Not to Take a Scavenger to See 4th of July Fireworks

1.  Um, there's fire? And if you've read my book, you already know they loathe fire.  And you know what's worse than random fire shooting into the air? A bloodthirsty maniac with a healthy fire phobia.  Either he'll eat everything in sight or cling to you like a kid to his blankie. Either way your night is screwed.

2. Port o'potties = easy pickings for a flesh-eater.  And really, aren't portable toilets bad enough without worrying that your date for the night is chomping on anyone inside?  Yuck. Plus, afterwards you know they'll just ask you for hand sanitizer.

3. Sand in your shoes means it's way harder to run for your life - and really, having to race from a flesh-eater is bad enough, without picking mosquito bites and bits of shell from your toes.  Is it too much to ask for a flat surface?

4. A crowded beach full of folks is simply too much temptation for anyone with a tendency for homicide, and your flesh-eating pal is no exception.  Do you really think Carl would wait for the grand finale to wipe out half the shore? Talk about a holiday buzz-kill.

5.  Scavengers are notorious for many things.  Knowing the words to the national anthem is not one of them. They cannot carry a tune to save their lives - or yours - or anyone else's. Frankly, they're tone-deaf and it's just plain painful. As is having your throat ripped out.  'Nuff said.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


So - on vacation, suffering sunburn and drinking wine and cooking. The upside? After you go to Florida and see that everyone and their grandmother wears bikinis, you are suddenly no longer so self-conscious about wearing one yourself. Despite the "yeah, I had 2 kids" belly.  Which I am trying to tan in the hopes it makes everything look smaller.

Saw a fantastic movie, which I have to recommend - The Heat.  Why don't they make more female-driven buddy cop- movies?  Melissa McCarthy kills, as does Sandra Bullock. Also, that hot Hispanic dude who was in Weeds. I think.  Only thing that would make this movie better? Um. Dwayne Johnson or Channing Tatum. Just sayin'. But seriously, the movie rocked.  And I say this after going to a new and uber-overpriced theater in Naples where they obscenely overcharged for the privilege of sitting in a theater where I could order cocktails.  Which I didn't because - see price o' movie tickets.

But you know what I watched on Netflix from my condo this afternoon? Double Jeopardy. New Orleans. No matter where I am on vacation, that magical city remains magic.  Laissez le bon temp roulez!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Getaway Girls is finally in hard copy!  Well, technically it's a quality paperback, but if it hit you it would feel hard.  Anyway, it means you don't have to have a Kindle to read - so order one today, pack it in your beach bag and sip on something cool while you read about flesh-eating scavengers this summer.  Because nothing says fun like monsters and mayhem.  And Moms.  Who kick ass.

Click here to check it out!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Top Five Reasons The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms makes the perfect Mother’s Day present

1. It’s got Mom in the title, so she can tell you care. Sure, you could have gone with poetry for moms or inspirational verses for moms, but doesn’t she already have enough of that shit? Wouldn’t she prefer an actual novel that gets her away from her life for a minute, instead of a bunch of phrases about how selfless and wonderful she is for washing the dishes and cleaning up everyone else’s crap?  

2. It’s got hot guys. Maybe you don’t think moms care about hot guys anymore.  And maybe you think the tooth fairy still owes you for that root canal. News flash: moms aren’t dead. Or nuns. So yeah, they like hot dudes as much as anybody and there’s plenty of man candy in my book. Sure, most of the guys are killers, but here’s the upside: when a flesh-eating scavenger’s done with you, you don’t have to pick his dirty socks off the floor. Because you’re dead. Glass half full, kids.

3. It’s cheap. I mean, what else can you get her for $4.99?  (Please don’t say wine). Buy her my book, a $10 dollar bouquet from the grocery store, her beverage of choice and a hunk of dark chocolate and – bingo – instant awesome!  Not that I’m advocating pinching pennies when it comes to moms, but if you were just gonna order some flowers from FTD and ugly earrings, I can think of better ways to spend your money.  Order my book and you’ll still have cash leftover – which will come in handy in a few weeks when the hard copy of The Getaway Girls comes out and you can buy her that, too. Win-win! 

4. It’s about women on a girl’s getaway trip – and let’s face it: this book might the closest she’s coming to a weekend away.  Now, I’m not gonna lie – a bachelorette party in Vegas it ain’t. These ladies deal with some bad shit. But they have fun and they kick ass. Which is way more fun than kicking dirty soccer cleats out of the way for the @#$% time because nobody else ever puts anything away.  

5. For once in her life, could your Mom get to read a book where the main characters are actually her age instead of teenagers? Don’t get me wrong – young adult fiction’s fine, but sometimes you gotta wonder – are leggy young girls the only ones who get to have fun around here? Hells no! This Mother’s Day, buy her a book where the hot young girls are hot women.  Like her.

Happy Mother's Day!  Check out The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms on - currently available as a Kindle e-book, hard copy coming soon!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Check out the new Darker Times Anthology Volume Three- short stories and poetry from a bevy of  writers, all covering "dark" themes including horror.  And yes, I am totally biased - I wrote one of the stories included, so yeah, I kind of think it's worth reading.

I haven't blogged in almost a month because I've been struggling with my next Getaway Girls book.  It's always fun to write about flesh-eating scavengers, but they're not the most cooperative of characters. You give someone a lust of human flesh, superhuman hearing, and a hot body and suddenly they're out of control. Divas!

So here's a quick snapshot from my current book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms  - and hey, if you like it, you can read the entire first chapter for free on Just a thought . . .

Beth hurried out of the casino and scanned the front entrance but there was so sign of Syd or Audrey. 
She walked quickly around the side of the building, her eyes darting back and forth to make sure no one was following.  Something moved in the darkness and she held her breath.
 “SYD!”  Audrey’s voice screamed.
“Audrey!”  Beth called out as she ran toward her friend.  Audrey’s dress was spattered in blood and dust, her brown hair hung in her face and dried red speckles dotted her cheek.
“Shit, you’re bleeding!” Beth said, but Audrey shook her head.
“No, it’s not mine. Chet killed a girl in the bathroom.  Syd and I were there,” Audrey panted, looking around the empty lot.
“Where’s Syd?” Beth demanded.
“I don’t know!” Audrey replied, “I left her in the bushes to go find her some clothes, and when I got back with this coat she was gone.”
“Why’d she need clothes?” Beth asked.
“Long story,” Audrey answered.  “Short version is that Syd just danced in the Burlesque Ball.  She’s wearing a g-string and pasties and now she’s disappeared.”
“Shit.” Beth bit her lip. “Naked and missing is not a good combination when we’re getting picked off one by one.” She turned back toward the casino entrance and beckoned. “Come on, let’s get a cab.”
“Where are we going?” Audrey asked.
“The Ninth Ward,” Beth replied grimly. “Declan told me to go there right before he flipped out.”
“What do you mean he flipped out?  Where is he?” Audrey looked around, suddenly realizing Declan wasn’t there.
“He went looking for you and Syd in the bathroom,” Beth said as they hurried toward the taxi line. “And then the place was on fire and Declan stumbled out looking like three kinds of crazy. He shoved me, acted like he wanted to fuck me or kill me, and then he said to head for the house.  He said Chet had killed some girl and told him that Carl had you and Syd.”
“Chet was there all right,” Audrey said, shuddering. “But not Carl.  Chet blocked us from leaving the bathroom, so we climbed through the air vents till we hit the stage.”
“Whoa, that’s so Die Hard!”
“It was so scary is what it was.” Audrey said, wiping a sticky strand of hair from her face.  “But I can’t believe we made it out of there to lose Syd in the bushes!”
“You didn’t lose her, somebody took her.  Let’s get out of here before we’re next!” Beth said, flagging down a taxi. 
The driver, a middle-aged black man wearing wire-framed glasses rolled down his window.  “Where you ladies want to go?”
 “We need to go to the corner of Clouet and Roman.”
The driver raised a graying eyebrow and looked Beth up and down. “You don’t want to go there, Miss.”
“Yes we do,” Beth insisted, reaching for the door handle.
The driver immediately pushed the automatic lock button and shook his head. “Not with me, you’re not. That’s just bad news waitin’ to happen and y’all ain’t got no business there.”
Beth opened her mouth again to argue when a shiny black van squealed to an abrupt stop behind the taxi.  The driver looked in his rearview mirror and swore.  He looked at Audrey and shook his head, mouthing the word, “Run!” before he gunned the gas pedal and took off down the street.
The door slid open and a white hand gestured from within, as an unfamiliar voice called out, “Get in now!”
Beth and Audrey looked at the door and didn’t move.
A man’s head popped out.  He was tall, thin, and dark-haired with cool gray eyes that scanned the women in quick appraisal.
 “Why should we get in with you?” Beth asked, as she and Audrey took a step back away from the curb.
The man took an iPad from the van and held it out in his hand for the women to see.  On the small screen they could see Evie draped across a couch, her eyes closed.
“Evie!” Beth cried.
The man answered in a smooth, lilting voice, “She is safe.  For now.”
Beth hesitated and the man sighed.  “Oh, all right.  We have the other one, too.” He tapped the screen and a different image appeared, a woman wrapped in a black cloak looking at once frightened and extremely pissed off.
“Syd!” Audrey said, and angrily demanded, “What have you done with her?”
The man pursed his lips.  “I’ve done nothing.  And I will take you to both of them, but I must insist that you come with me. ”
“This seems like a bad idea,” Audrey whispered and Beth nodded, just as a giant blonde hulk of a man emerged from the driver’s seat and moved swiftly around the corner of the van.  Beth looked up in surprise and his thick arm swept her straight into the vehicle, Audrey tumbling in beside her. The door slid quickly closed behind them and the automatic locks clicked into place, the sound chillingly loud in the dark, quiet interior.
 “Where’s Syd?” Audrey repeated as they huddled in the soft black-carpeted interior of the van.
“She’s with us,” the gray-eyed man replied from the front passenger seat.  “We found her naked in the bushes, where you left her.”
“I left her to go find some clothes!” Audrey said defensively.
The man shrugged. “If my friend was naked and Carl was on the hunt, I wouldn’t leave her in a shrub.”
“Hey, fuck you!” Audrey said, and Beth tugged on her arm.
“Remember, he’s got Syd and Evie. Don’t piss him off.” Beth murmured. 
The man gave a self-satisfied smirk to Audrey before turning his gaze back toward the iPad, where he’d changed the image back to Evie again.  He gave a luxurious sigh.  “I’ve been enjoying Evie’s company, she’s a delightful girl.”
Audrey glanced at the screen.  “She looks unconscious.  How exactly have you been enjoying her company?”
The man’s mouth curved up into a dangerous smile.  “Oh, I find women don’t always have to be awake to be enjoyed.”

Want to read more?  Check out The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms on

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who doesn't love a leprechaun? Happy St. Pat's, enjoy . . . 
Sunday afternoon and the bar was empty. Audrey sighed as she sipped her wine, tucked into a window booth overlooking the antique shops on Royal Street. She wished Declan hadn’t left so soon.
A glint of gold caught her eye and she peered around the dusty drapes.  Was that an earring in the corner?  Something green moved just out of sight and she turned suddenly to see a small, fat hand poised over her wineglass.
“Hey!” Audrey snapped and grabbed the arm of a tiny man wearing a soiled emerald jacket and a sour expression. 
“Damnit!” The little man cursed as he slumped into the seat opposite her.  He had a whiskery red face with untidy eyebrows and sharp, yellow teeth.
“Who are you – and what’s in my drink?” Audrey demanded, looking into her glass, where a suspicious powdery substance left a filmy white trail.
“Just call me Frank.” He growled in a nasally Brooklyn accent.
“And my drink?” Audrey pressed.
Frank shrugged. “Hey, my lucky charms ain’t what they used to be.”
 “You’re a leprechaun?” Audrey looked skeptical.
 “Well, I ain’t Santa.” Frank snorted. Wiggling a scruffy brow, he rasped, “Wanna ride my rainbow?”
 Audrey shuddered. “I’ll pass.”
Frank scowled. “Your loss, girlie.  Not all my parts are pint-sized.”  He leaned over the table. “That ain’t what I want, though.”
“Then what do you want?” Audrey asked.
“I’m . . . hungry.” Frank looked at Audrey with wet, rum-tinged eyes.
She shoved a silver bowl of snack mix across the table.  “Help yourself.”
Frank shook his head. “I’m an Atkins man, girlie.  Meat only.” He licked his lips and stared longingly into the v-neck of her sweater. “Tastes just like chicken.”
 “Whoa!” Audrey grabbed her purse to her chest.
Frank’s rubbery lips curved in an unconvincing smile. “Aw, don’t be that way.  Just a taste?”
“No!” Audrey hugged her bag tighter.
“How ‘bout a toe,” Frank pleaded, “you got ten, you won’t miss one.”
“No!” Audrey shoved her feet under the chair rung.
“Come on!” Frank moaned, his nails scraping the table.  “I’ll give you a pot of gold for your pinkie.”
Audrey scooted to the edge of the chair, eyeing Frank’s greedy fingers.
 “Don’t make me beg, girlie.”
But Audrey wouldn’t budge.
“Bitch!” Frank hissed. Suddenly he was beneath the table, sinking his sharp teeth into Audrey’s ankle.
“Ow!” She cried, feeling Frank bite down harder, scraping bone.  Blood spurted onto her jeans as Frank’s strong, fat arms tugged on her legs.  Panicked, she smashed her wineglass over Frank’s head and he shrieked, relaxing his grasp.
“Let go, you little troll!” Audrey kicked him hard and he rolled into the dark space beneath the piano while she ran out the door.
Under the piano, Frank the leprechaun sat up slowly, rubbing his jaw.  He picked a strand of Audrey’s flesh from between his pointy teeth and pocketed a gold earring from the floor. Straightening his vest, he grimaced.
“Next time I pick a fucking blonde.”
Like Audrey? Want to see her kick some flesh-eating scavenger tail?  Click here to read the first chapter of my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms for free!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

First, I wanted to write a little post-Oscars recap, but the week got away from me.  I'll just say two things:

1.  My Mississippi peanut-butter brownie mud pie turned into Mississippi cardboard, due to my miscalculations on the baking time. That's what I get for trying to turn it into pie in honor of Life of Pi.
Math. It always gets you in the end.

2.  Say what you will about Seth McFarlane - the boy can sing.  Yes, he sang a very dumb, offensive song about boobs, but if you're going to offend people it helps to have a nice voice.

3.  Sorry - I know I said two things, but what can I say?  Math.  Anyway, my South Philly meatballs kicked ass.

Enough about movie awards - I won something myself this week.  My short story, The Closet won February's Darker Times flash fiction award.  And another story, The Runaway, received an honorable mention.  Check out the awards page for the full list:   (But of course, please read mine!)  The Runaway is actually a rough excerpt from my second Getaway Girls book, as yet untitled. I'm still noodling with it, but it does have a nasty flesh-eating scavenger scene, so enjoy!
(Note - the site is having weird paragraph spacing issues to be fixed, please ignore)

It's Irish-fest weekend here in Dallas.  Normally we go every year and attempt to listen to music while chasing after our children who only care about the dogs and the bounce house.  This year, with everyone recovering from sinus infections we're skipping the festival.  So I've come up with a little top five list in absentia:

The Getaway Girls New Orleans Top Five Reasons Not to Take a Flesh-Eating Scavenger to the North Texas Irish Festival:

1.  The Cleavage. Attire at the Irish festival is like the Renaissance Faire meets Hooters. You can't take a flesh-eating scavenger to a place chock full of women sporting busty corset tops on full display.  It's like taking someone on Atkins to a cake pop party, and it's just cruel.

2.  The Kilts. For some reason, the Irish festival brings out a bizarre impulse among otherwise normal-looking men to wear kilts without anything underneath.  And I know this because their t-shirts tell me so.  That's right - somebody's dad's walking around with a shirt that says "What's under my kilt? How warm are your hands?" Euwwwww.  Bump into a couple of these guys and you'll be tempted to let your scavenger pal eat one, just to put the silly shirt out of its misery.

3.  The Beer. After you've walked around and seen all the Irish wolfhounds and step-dancing you can stand, you'll want nothing more than a patch of grass and a nice cold Harp.  But flesh-eating scavengers are like children - take your eyes off them for a minute and it's mass destruction.  Sit down with that beer and I guarantee there'll be one less wolfhound on the fair grounds. Just say no.

4.  The Bagpipes.  Little known fact: scavengers hate bagpipes. That impressive-looking line of men in kilts (again, why?) marching down the aisle will drive your flesh-eating friend into a frenzy before you can say Amazing Grace.  

5.  The Plaid. If there's one thing scavengers loathe more than bagpipes, it's plaid.  And you couldn't find more plaid in an L.L. Bean catalog than the North Texas Irish Festival.  Unfortunately, as we've already established, most of it's in kilts.  But there's also plaid skirts, plaid shawls, plaid blankets, plaid ponchos, plaid dog sweaters with wee little plaid dog berets.  That folksy green and black pattern will drive your scavenger into a flesh-eating fashion intervention faster than you can say Project Runway.  Not only will he rip out throats, he'll rip a lot of perfectly good ponchos in the process.  And that's just wasteful.

So - in conclusion, I say either go to the North Texas Irish Festival sans-scavenger or stay at home and get your Gaelic fix watching The Commitments.  Again.

Or you could watch my video or buy my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms.  I can guarantee there won't be any plaid.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I’m taking a break from my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms this week in honor of The Academy Awards.  Because nothing stops a flesh-eating scavenger in his tracks like goddess-styled chiffon and diamond-studded heels.   

The Oscars are to me what the opening day of baseball is to my husband – a holy day of television, food, wine and fashion-ogling. (OK, perhaps the last one is not quite the same for my husband, but you have to admit those Rangers uniforms are striking.  Especially when worn by Nelson Cruz).

I love movies. My husband and I have almost nothing in common – I’m a Democrat, he’s a Republican.  I prefer dark chocolate, he’ll take milk.  He likes sushi, and I think if you’re going to serve me fish the least you could do is cook it.  But we both love Midnight in Paris.  We may argue politics till we’re blue in the face (much like Mel Gibson in that movie all guys love and I can’t ever remember the name? There’s a bunch of fighting and stuff – you know what I mean). 

But we’ll always have movies.

Every year, I concoct a special menu for the Oscars in tribute to the nominees for Best Picture.  Used to be only five films and those were the salad days.  Asian pork chops for Crouching Tiger, no problem. Risotto for Gladiator?  Piece o’ cake. French bread or wine for anything remotely French?  Duh.  (And there’s always something French. Trust me).

But then the Academy went and added a bunch more nominees just to screw with me.  Like, come on – it was bad enough trying to whip up 4 courses with 2 kids underfoot, but now I gotta fix five more? Am I running a buffet?

So I slid downhill.  First I tried only picking the movies I’d actually seen (sorry Academy, you pick 9 movies, I pick which ones are worth precious babysitter time).  Then I picked the ones I liked.  Some years, when the movies are especially dreary, this list got real short. Then there was the year I flat out gave up, made pasta and claimed each ingredient represented a nominated film.  Black pepper was Black Swan.  Weak. 

But no more.  This year, I’m putting on my big girl apron and bringing Oscar back into my kitchen.  Here goes:

The Getaway Girls New Orleans 2013 Oscar Menu
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – Hush puppies (of course!)
  • Lincoln  – bourbon. Yes, I am aware Lincoln didn’t actually drink.  But he was born in Kentucky, I grew up in Kentucky – it’s like we’re related.  So I feel entitled to take a certain Bluegrass liberty here.  However, like Lincoln was reported to have done at state dinners, I will only put the glass of bourbon to my mouth without actually drinking any.  And then I’ll have a beer, which probably goes better with hush puppies anyway.
  • Argo – Hummus with pita chips.  Because I like hummus and I like Ben Affleck. Match made in heaven, really.
  • Zero Dark Thirty – Middle Eastern salad.  Maybe not so historically accurate - for all I know, terrorists might all be on Atkins, but something in this menu needs a vegetable.
  • Silver Linings Playbook - South Philly meatballs with rigatoni and vodka sauce. Because really, any excuse for meatballs is good by me.
  • Django Unchained – Mississippi peanut butter brownie pie
  • Life of Pi – same thing.  But wait, I’m not cheating! The brownie recipe isn’t actually for pie, so I have to do fancy magic to figure out how to adjust the cooking times for a pie pan.  That’s math, people.  Like Pi.  
  • Amour – French bread (told you!)
  • Les Miserables – Fat Bastard Cabernet.  Because Doomed Prostitute Chardonnay just didn't sound that appealing.  

And hey, if you get bored during the Oscars or just want to tune out a spouse who periodically pops in to say “they’re all fixed!” (which I have heard every year since Russell Crowe didn’t win for A Beautiful Mind), you could always read a little of my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms.  Or watch my video, The Getaway Girls New Orleans Rap.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

After seeing that some virus thingy sent an annoying tweet about losing body fat in 2 weeks from my Twitter account, I just wanted to clarify that wasn't me.  In case you don't believe me, may I present:

The Getaway Girls New Orleans Top Five Reasons I would Never Send a Dumb Tweet About Losing Body Fat

1. Seriously?  If I knew the fastest way to lose body fat, I would live on red wine, dark chocolate with sea salt, and spaghetti.  Instead of trying endless diets where I only eat soup.

2. If I knew the fastest way to lose body fat, that’s such a kick-ass nugget of knowledge I’m sure I would find a way to work it into every single thing I wrote.  Like instead of flesh-eating scavengers, maybe my book would feature a fat-sucking incubus.  Which sounds awesome, but Melissa Marr’s already sort of covered that in a terrific short story called “Flesh for Comfort” in the book Faery Tales & Nightmares.  Which I got for Christmas. I love short stories.  Flannery O’Connor and Dorothy Parker rule.

3. I’m not tech-savvy enough to tweet anything with one of those super short “bit.lyz whatever” links.  I’m really not.  It took me two weeks of tweeting before I figured out you could actually put URLs into a tweet because I thought oh man, this is gonna be longer than 140 characters. Two weeks.  Yeah.  Someday I hope to decode Tumblr.  Or at least figure out what the hell it is.

4. A tweet from me at 9 pm on a Saturday?  Please.  At 9 pm on Saturday night I better be tucked under an afghan watching Downtown Abbey or Dallas. (Damn right – in our house, we watch both the big Ds).

5. I hate changing passwords. Because somebody sent out those lame tweets I had to change my password on Twitter and I can barely remember any password, so I. Did. Not. Appreciate. That.  I realize the smart thing would be to keep track of them all somewhere but I don’t, so every time I try to download a song from the iTunes store I am so screwed.  Like, come on Apple – I just want that damn Imagine Dragons song, do I have to give you some bizarre combo of uppercase letters, numbers, and my percentage of body fat?

Which, as we all know, is zero because I know the fastest way to lose body fat.

Happy Sunday!  Check out my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms.  Or my video, The Getaway Girls New Orleans Rap.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day from The Getaway Girls New Orleans!  Nothing says romance like a top five list,  so in case you're considering accepting a date from that gorgeous, potentially murderous dude with an appetite for blood and filthy nails, may I present:

The Getaway Girls New Orleans Top Five Reasons a Flesh-Eating Scavenger is a Bad Valentine

1. Sharp, bloody claws mean someone desperately needs a manicure and it’s not you.  Guess who’s getting the spa certificate this year?

2. If you think getting a table is tough now, wait till your date eats the hostess.  Forget dinner reservations at that cute little bistro you’ve been eyeing – you can’t even risk Red Lobster. That’s okay, you think – lots of couples opt to stay at home on the busiest restaurant night of the year, which brings us to Reason #3 . . . 

3. Nothing kills a romantic meal at home like homicide.  And when you bring home a scavenger, your date thinks you’re on the menu – and that’s not a euphemism for anything sexy unless you’re into having your leg gnawed off.  In which case, I guess we know who doesn’t need a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey this year.

4. Flowers and candy? Think again.  You can’t trust this guy to cross the street without killing someone – you think you can trust him to pick out anything decent for Valentine’s Day?  Please. He’ll show up at your house with a chewed up foot and expect you to ooh and aah like it’s friggin' Godiva.  I’m so over it.

5. And the number one reason a flesh-eating scavenger is a bad valentine – he’s bad in bed.  Sure, he’s hot and hung like a hippo, but seriously?  Necrophilia is so 2012.   

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Mardi Gras, y’all!  I’ll be honest – I’m having to work at my Mardi Gras mood this morning, looking out at the cold, grey Texas rain with a cup of coffee and a chunk of grocery store king cake.  A girl’s gotta summon a little imagination on a day like this.  And what better way than to dive into my book, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters,Mayhem and Moms?  Sure, Tolstoy it ain’t – but if you’re up for a quick, wild ride through New Orleans with some kickass ladies, a cocky Irish actor, a crew of petulant vampires – and of course, flesh-eating scavengers – then this book’s for you!  It’s a little bloody, a little bawdy – but it’s fun.  Really.   Check out my video if you don't believe me: The Getaway Girls New Orleans Rap.
So to keep up a NOLA spirit, I’m thinking about one of my favorite places in the Big Easy – the Hotel Monteleone. As Syd says, “nothing bad could ever happen to you in the Monteleone.”  Or could it?  Read on . . .
Evie had been tapping furiously at her phone when she noticed a tattooed man standing too close and staring at her through a heavy curtain of black hair. 
He towered over her by at least a foot and his greasy hair fell past his shoulders.  Skin-tight jeans that needed washing clung to his thick legs and he wore a battered leather jacket over a mud-colored t-shirt.  Although Evie couldn’t make out his face, she caught a glimpse of tribal tattoo designs wrapping around his neck, his hands, and presumably the rest of his flesh.
“Can I help you?” Evie asked in a snotty voice.
“No,” he answered in a deep, scratchy grumble, “But I can help you.”
Evie raised her eyebrow.
“I know Carl’s after your friend. And I saw who’s in the bar with you. Declan. That stupid movie star’s telling you crap about how he’s gonna save you, I bet.”  He leaned closer and whispered, “He’s lying.  You should call the cops.”
Evie peered at his face, but still she couldn’t see a thing but the hair. “I’m trying to, but my phone won’t work in this damn lobby.”
The man pointed to a hallway, “You can get service over there.  Come on, I’ll show you.”
Evie hesitated. “Why don’t you just tell me, and I’ll get my friends.”
He shook his head, muttering, “You can’t let Declan know you’re gonna call the cops, he’ll try to stop you.  Come with me now.” He grabbed Evie’s elbow.
She jerked it back out of his grasp. “No offense, but I know you even less than Declan, and he at least has manners.  Thanks, but no thanks.”  She tried to walk past him but suddenly he was pushing her down the hall.
“You gotta come with me.  Call the cops before Declan sees you’re gone.”  He shoved her around a corner and disappeared into a doorway.
She peered into the room, a small windowless enclosure fronted by a wooden counter guarding suitcases and empty wheeled luggage carts.  The creamy white paint peeled just a little and the carpet was green and musty; it was not a room meant to attract attention.  A slight vibration stirred the hot air but the man was nowhere in sight. 
 “Hello?” She called out, and stepped one foot inside the space. She held up her phone and with trembling fingers, pressed the 9 and then 1.
Suddenly, thick arms jerked her off her feet, quickly hustling her behind a stack of bags where her struggling body was hidden from sight.  A hot, hairy hand covered her mouth, and bristly whiskers brushed her cheek as the man whispered, “Shut up!”
Scared, she did as she was told.  The stench of English Leather and stale cigarettes filled her nostrils and then she smelled something fruity.  A Styrofoam cup sloshing with icy red liquid was at her mouth.  “Drink it!” The man ordered, lifting his hand off her lips to yank open her jaw and pour the sickly sweet hurricane down her throat.
“Good girl,” he snarled, as she gagged.  “Drink it all down.”  She gulped as much as she could, until the cup was empty.  The man tossed it to the ground and leaned over her, his jacket shadowing her eyes. She could feel his stubble pressed against her neck as he laughed.  “That should keep you quiet till the others come for you.”
“My  friends?” Evie asked, panicked.
He laughed again, coldly. “Not your friends.  Someone’s looking for you, and they asked me to babysit.  I slipped something nice and strong in that drink, honey. You won’t even know your name by the time they get here.”
Then he shifted so she could see his face.  A thick silver ring pierced his septum and the tattoo Evie had spotted on his neck curved around his cheeks and chin, framing his face in permanent black ink.  He brushed hair back from his forehead and Evie gasped.  His eyes were bright, traffic-signal yellow. The pupils on the colored lenses were narrow feline slits. He stared her without blinking, looking less like a man and more like a shaggy black panther.
“You’re cute,” he said.  “Too bad for you.”  Then he cold-cocked her in the chin and all the lights went out.
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