Archive for March, 2006

March 29, 2006

OH, HONEY! HAVE YOU GOT TROUBLE NOW!

I got another (where do these people come from?) love-crazed email this morning. I’m calling this one Honey here, to protect the potentially guilty. I’ve copy/pasted what she said:

“Hotclue, please tell me what to do. I don’t know what to do. I’m seventeen years old. I’ve got a nice boyfriend, but his father is making passes at me. At least I think that’s what he’s doing, but he’s so sneaky about it that I’m not sure, so I thought I’d ask you what you think. He sits down on the sofa on the other side of me when my boyfriend is there with me and he presses his knee up against me. Sometimes he drapes his arm across my shoulder but he always makes it look like an accident. If we’re all having dinner together, he keeps looking at me and he keeps filling my plate and buttering my bread. The looks he gives me makes me feel really nervous, like, you know, it’s freaky. I mean, he hides it from everybody else but every chance he gets he gives me this really hot look. The trouble is, it excites me. It’s fun, kind of. I can’t help it. But I have the feeling maybe it’s wrong and I’m not sure what to do because I really do like my boyfriend. But here’s the bad part. I like his father too. Oh, and like, by the way, my boyfriend doesn’t know about this.”

Oh, Honey. OHHHHHHH, Honey! Don’t move a muscle, just listen to Hotclue.

Daddy-o is waaaaaay overstepping his boundaries, and yours, and his son’s. Trust me, he definitely is. And he’s doing it with one thing in mind. And you know what that one thing is. And it sounds to me as though you like it, you really, really like it.

So you have a choice to make, and you’d better make it fast, because this situation sounds like it’s getting a little too hot to handle and it’s not going to go away. Fires seldom do until someone hoses them down. You better whip out the garden hose fast.

You could fall for the old man’s passes and maybe cause a divorce, a split between you and your boyfriend, maybe a murder or two, what the hell. Because these are the kinds of situations that cause things like–oh, burning down houses, cutting brake lines, blowing up cars, a gun shot or two, maybe landing in your own soft, flat, young little belly–because my bet is, his wife knows exactly what he’s up to but just hasn’t said so yet. The key word here is “yet”. Memorize it.

You don’t want to be around when she decides to speak, burn, cut, blow up or shoot. Trust me, OH trust me, you don’t. There’s nothing more dangerous than a raging wife. Haitian revolutionaries with machetes and hand grenades are pussycats by comparison.

Or, you can always speak up loud and clear next time he does his thing, which will cost you your boyfriend, his father, a huge ugly scene, his wife will never allow you in the house again AND she’ll call your parents. Bummer! But there’s a bettter way.

You can do the smart thing and get completely out of the entire situation now, which means divesting yourself of this entire family, including your boyfriend.

Oh, you think you might love your boyfriend? Unh uh. Think again. You’ve been looking at another man with more than a little prurient interest. That means you’re not really in love with your boyfriend. He is not the love of your life. His father is definitely not the love of your life. So get that out of your head.

I think the number three choice is your best bet, and here’s why. The father is never going to stop what he’s doing. He’s just not. Men (and women) like that love living on the edge. If they do it once, they’ll do it again. If they don’t do it again, they’ll want to do it again. We choose our patterns pretty early in life, and fooling around on your wife, which he is doing, is a pattern he chose. Not to mention that he obviously doesn’t give a damn about his son’s feelings.

You’re seventeen. Right now is when you’re choosing your pattern. Are you going to fall into this situation where not only is he sneaking around on her, but you’re sneaking around on your boyfriend? Wait! You’re not fooling yourself into thinking maybe this feeling you have for his father might be fate, are you?

It’s not fate. He wants to cheat on his wife. He’ll want to cheat on you, on the off chance you wind up with him. That’s a given. He’s picked his pattern, and my bet is, there have been others before you and there will be others after you. It is a pattern, you see. Once men (or women) have picked that pattern, they don’t often change.

It may be hard. It may be uncomfortable. But you need to call your boyfriend and tell him you won’t be seeing him anymore because you’re thinking things over, you don’t want to be so serious, you need your space. That’s a good one. Everybody understands needing your own space. He may not like it, but he’ll at least understand the terminology.

Main thing is, you can’t do this halfway, not with a situation like this one. You can’t just decide to stick it out and think maybe his father will back off.

He’s not going to back off, not until he completes his pattern. It’s not you, realize that right now. It’s the pattern. You don’t even matter, not really. You’re just the means to the end he has in mind (which just happens to be yours right now).

You have to get out and stay out. Never go there again. Never call there again. Tell your boyfriend you met someone new, tell him whatever you want, but tell him now and be done with it and don’t look back.

Otherwise, one day very soon this creep’s wife will probably look you up and at the very least, beat the living hell out of you.

Hotclue. Has. Spoken.

Advice to the Love-Crazed | 2 Comments  

March 23, 2006

BWAHAHAHA! I FINALLY KNOW WHODUNIT!

I really had to fight to get it, too, because *unless* Beth’s under a tight deadline, in which case she works like a mad dog pawing its way into a loaded chicken yard, she’s the world’s biggest procrastinator. Just listen to what happened yesterday, when I finally forced her to spill the beans on paper, so to speak.

She comes into our writing room, where I’m sitting and patiently leafing through an L.L. Bean catalog in search of a safari outfit because Count Baballalapaloozo has promised to take me on safari next week. She sits down at her computer and heaves this huge, dramatic sigh.

Beth: “I don’t feel like writing today.”

Me: “Why not? Don’t you want to finish this book and Get The Damn Thing Out There?”

Beth: “Well…yes. But I really don’t feel like it today.”

Me: You didn’t answer my main question. Why not?”

Beth: “Well, (Please notice that everytime she’s procrastinating she uses “well” a lot. Which is why editors don’t want authors to use ‘well’, it makes the person sound too indecisive. Even I know that.) the thing is, Hots, it’s got to be a highly emotional scene because this is where Raven learns who the killer is and she knows Jack won’t believe her.”

Me: “So? Get emotional!”

Beth: “But I don’t *feel* emotional right now.”

Right about then, she actually opens her document. Big step when she doesn’t feel like writing, right? THEN she immediately minimizes it and clicks on the email icon.

Me: “WHAT are you DOING?”

Beth: “Uh…checking to see if anything important is there.”

Me: “Beth, is ANYTHING in your email EVER really important?”

Beth, peering at the screen while email loads: “Well (There she goes again, ‘well’. Told ya!) there might be. This time. Maybe.”

She scans her email. Deletes three definite spams, stares at a ‘might be spam’, takes a chance, clicks on it, sure enough it’s spam, she says “Damn!” and deletes it fast, but not fast enough because it might have planted something nefarious on her computer. Which looks to be about as close to nefarious as anything we’re going to see today. She clicks on AdAware and I sit there tapping my toes for five minutes while she deletes everything it comes up with.

(I’m still pretty patient at this point.)

Me: “So are you ready to write yet?”

Beth: “Uh, yeah, soon as I do a couple of things.” Those couple of things consist of reading the N.Y. Times, cursing because they charge for her favorite columnists, clicking to check her bank balance, which is exactly the same as it was at 7 a.m. this morning, clicking to check her website stats, THEN clicking on Yahoo Games.

I jump down from the big cabinet where she keeps her doll collection. Even the dolls are getting disgusted at this point. I stand behind her.

Me: “Turbo Solitaire is going to get you a contract for The Scoutmaster’s Wife?”

Beth: “Just one game, okay?”

Me: “You always say that, then after three games you say, ‘I’m only playing till I win one.’ And you never win! Beth, get off that thing and open your document!”

(You can see she’s getting me very upset, I’m beginning to use exclamation points.)

She sighs again and gets out of Turbo Solitaire, re-opens her document, goes to the end.

I’m thinking, she’s gonna write it. FINALLY!!

She starts scrolling up, up, up…UP?

Me: “WHAT are you doing NOW?”

Beth: “Well…something I wrote yesterday might need editing.”

Me: “Nothing needs editing. Get on with it!!” (Notice she’s got me using two exclamation points now?)

Beth: “But it might.”

Me: “You KNOW you can do that later. GET THE DAMN SCENE DOWN!!!”

She knows I mean business. I just used three exclamation points. (Which you never use in real manuscripts, even I know that, but this is an emergency, right?)

She scrolls back down to where she left off the day before.

Sits staring at the screen.

Not moving a muscle.

I tap her on the shoulder.

And I take full credit for the scene that flew out of her fingers right after that because if I hadn’t tapped her, she’d still be sitting there looking at a blank screen.

She writes the entire scene almost without stopping for breath. When she finishes, her blood pressure is sky high and so is mine because OMIGOD, she finally put down IN HER MANUSCRIPT exactly who the killer is and REALLY racked Raven over the coals doing it!

Me: “Oh my God!”

Beth turns around, looks at me: “What do you mean, ‘Oh my God’?”

Me: “Oh my GOD!”

Beth: “What’s wrong NOW?”

Me: “OH MY GOD!”

Beth: “Hots, stop saying ‘Oh my God’! What’s the matter?”

Me: “How can you DO that to Jack? I thought you LOVED Jack!”

Beth: “I do love Jack. I adore him. He’s my all-time favorite male lead so far.”

Me: “But–OH MY GOD, look what you just DID to him!”

Beth turns around and gives me the most deliciously evil grin I’ve ever seen on a human being, one I never thought I’d see on her because normally she’s a total wuss: “Heh, heh, heh. That’s nothing compared to what’s going to happen to him in the next chapter. But don’t worry, that’ll be the end of the book.”

Me: “You’re serious? After you did THIS to him, there’s MORE?”

Beth: “There’s always more, Hots. Even you know that.”

Hugs till next time, my loves. Maybe we’ll even have a book by that time. But I’m not holding my breath.

Hotclue The Ever-Patient

The Writing World | 4 Comments  

March 19, 2006

Hotclue to George:

I’ve read quite a bit of advice about author blogs recently. Some say, “For God’s sake, don’t blog about politics!”

Well, why not, as long as you keep your nagging bi-partisan. We have minds too, some damn fine ones, in fact. And this is the US of A. We get to speak up if we want. Besides, always blogging about nothing BUT writing is preaching to the choir if a writer’s reading it, and maybe boring as hell to civilians who read it.

As y’all already know, I’m a different kind of blogger. I’m like that man in Alabama who does a one-man, one-block parade every St. Patrick’s Day. He does his thing, has fun doing it and everybody around him has fun. Hotclue does her thing and has fun doing it, and hopefully gets the same results. Hopefully.

This morning I was watching the Sunday Morning shows–Prime Time for Politicians, I call it, although Face the Nation and Meet the Press are what the television networks call it. I watch them every Sunday whether I want to or not, since Beth and I are, so to speak, joined at the hip.

This morning I came up with an idea I’d like our President to at least consider, regarding what to do about Iraq. Not that he asked me, you understand. And not at ALL that I’m taking the Iraq situation lightly. I’m definitely not or I wouldn’t be concerned enough to blog about it. But I was thinking–as I told you before, I do that sometimes.

Anyhow. People are saying, here lately, “Mr. President, tell the Iraquis it’s their country, and either they get their act together and run it or we’re leaving.” But nobody ever tells him exactly how he should do that and my take is, he’s fumbling around with the wrong people for advice.

BUT: Hotclue To the Rescue! So listen up, George, honey:

First, invite all of their newly-elected officials to the White House. Send Air Force One after them. If there’s not enough room, send the other Air Force One, too. We know you have more than one.

Pick them up in stretch limos at Andrews Field. Have the drivers go really slow all through DC, but not because we want them to be jealous of what we have. (After all, we don’t want to remind them that we sort of messed up their country ourselves, either. I know, I know, we’re repairing things as fast as we can. But still.)

We just want them to see for themselves what they CAN have if they’ll just stop screwing around fighting each other over things like oil–ummmm, on second thought, maybe we shouldn’t mention the word “oil”. My point is, maybe they need to be made a little more aware of what democracy really can bring to the table if they’ll just settle down and help it happen, and seeing it first hand should help.

Hold a huge state dinner for them. Don’t forget to tell the chef what kind of food they like. No pork, I think–probably lamb, but the chef can check all that out. (Just eat it, it won’t kill you.) After dinner have some entertainment, but no Can-Can dancers or anything like that, remember what happened with Kruschev. If you don’t, there must be a history book in the White House to remind you.

Next morning hold a big televised meeting. Make sure everyone is there.

THEN tell them, “Folks, Iraq is YOUR country. We don’t want it. We want you to take over and control it yourselves, folks, we really do. We went over there and got rid of Saddam and Icky and Ucky for you. Now it’s time for us to leave you alone.

We want to be out of there by December. We want our guys to come home home and take care of our own bad guys, because we do have them. But if you’re going to take over in Iraq, stop fighting with each other and go after your BAD GUYS, for Allah’s sake! (A little diplomacy helps here, George. Allah is what they call Him even if you do call Him God. Give them Allah, it can only help.)

Then tell them that if they can control the people who want to create carnage every time we even TRY to rebuild anything for them, we’ll finish the job, but ONLY if we can rebuild in peace. If we can’t, then we’re sorry but adios, fix it yourselves.

Here’s the reason I’m speaking directly to you, George, honey. You can’t keep sending your number two people over there to do this for you. This message needs to be delivered with some teeth, and although Condy clearly has teeth, her message isn’t getting through. You need to do this yourself. If you do, this should accomplish two things.

First, as long as you don’t let anybody brag about anything we have, just feed ’em well, then say what you’ve got to say so they know you mean it, they might listen. At the very least it’ll give them something solid to think about, rather than vapor-talk like, “We plan on sometime in the near future starting to wind down the number of our troops,” which says nothing.

Second, it’ll get US off your back because we’ll believe you mean it too, if you bring them here and do it on our territory like I told you. It could be a real historic moment for you and we know how much you love historic photo shoots.

In short, ya gotta do this yourself.

I guess that’s about it for today, folks, but don’t go making up any Hotclue for President campaign posters any time soon, please. First I’d have to see how much money I can raise and I think Hillary’s already got me beat there.

Ta ta till oh, Wednesday night, Thursday or so. Beth and I have a book to finish and we’re almost there. I PROMISE to talk about writing next time, even if it’s boring. Which it won’t be. After all, remember, this is Hotclue Live.

Love y’all. Even George. Even Dick.
Hotclue

Current Events | 2 Comments  

March 17, 2006

KISS ME, I’M HOTCLUE!

So I wake up this morning, expecting at the very LEAST an emerald and gold four leaf clover pin with a huge diamond in the middle for my St. Patrick’s Day present. Instead, Count Babalallapaloozo gives me a deed to some castle in Spain, attached to a little green gecko. A live one.

And guess what. I LOVE the gecko! Adore him! (Or her, how do you tell?) Anyhow, the Count and I are giving a St. Patrick’s dinner party for a couple hundred of our closest, dearest friends. Okay, so they’re people we met at a casino last night. Anyhow, we’re celebrating in style with a big corned beef and colcannon dinner. If you don’t know what colcannon is, I’ll tell you in a minute.

I’m bringing my gecko to the dinner. I’ve already arranged to have a chair and a complete table setting for him. He can climb around on his plate to eat his dinner if he wants to, because I LOVE the little green critter and I can’t bear to be away from him for a single second. When I love something I do tend to go all out, don’t I. Well, that’s why they call me Hotclue. The passions run hot, but I don’t have a clue.

I’ve composed a little Irish ditty for all of you who are celebrating today, you can sing it to that tune, you know the one, it goes Da de da da da da da de da da de daaaaa, yeah, that one. Anyhow, here’s the ditty, which it would be nice if you’d sing it with an Irish brogue, please, just to keep it official:

Ohhhh today’s the day we’ve waited for,
The wearin’ of the green,
We’ll start with green martinis,
The brightest ever seen.

Just haul out all your jewels,
And drop them at the door,
And I’ll be glad to keep them,
(Well, what’s a party for?)

Doesn’t matter what your color,
No matter what you weigh,
Ohhhhhhhhhh, everybody’s Irish
On this St. Patrick’s Day!

(Ohhhhhhhhh, EVERYBODY’S Irishhhhhhhhh on this St. Patrick’s Day!)

I knew you’d love it. I made it up just for you. You’re welcome.

Colcannon? Oh, there’s a dish to die for, although it sounds kind of sloppy, but flavor? To die for, like I said. Here’s how you make it–I’m getting this recipe from my French chef, who specializes in Irish food. Today, anyhow.

Take a bunch of potatos, peel them and cut them in little pieces. You don’t have to use a ruler, just cut ’em, for God’s sake. Put them in a pan with water and salt and cook till they’re done. Simple, right? Wait, there’s more,

Cut up a head of cabbage. A small head. Just chop it like in one inch pieces. Put that in a separate pan with a cut up onion, lots of butter, (don’t forget the salt and pepper). Cover all that mess with milk and set it to a slow simmer. Don’t go off reading a magazine now, when you’re cooking with milk you have to watch it.

When everything’s cooked, drain the potatoes, sort of mash them only leave them chunky, add the cabbage mixture to it, milk and all, stir it all together, and, as my chef says, “Voila! Colcannon!”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, my loves. See you again oh, Saturday night, Sunday morning.
Ta ta!
Hotclue Herself

Happy Holiday | 4 Comments  

March 8, 2006

Author Lonnie Cruse NOT Murdered in Metropolis

Today I’m being halfway serious for a change and interviewing Lonnie Cruse, author of MURDER IN METROPOLIS, MURDER BEYOND METROPOLIS and coming up, MARRIED IN METROPOLIS, due out sometime this spring. All three are part of the Sheriff Joe Dalton series, set in the small midwestern town of Metropolis, Illinois, and all published by Quiet Storm Publishing. She’s currently working on more of the Dalton series as well as another series she’s developing (glutton for punishment that she is). We already know it’s going to be wonderful.

Her website is http://www.lonniecruse.com/ and her blog, where she interviews a different author every week, is at http://lonniecruse.blogspot.com/ . That’s the reason I decided to ask her if she’d like to (or dare to) let ME interview HER for a change. Lonnie interviews everyone else in the universe, right? I thought it’d be a good thing to let her have her turn on the hot seat, so here we go!

Hotclue: There has to have been one defining moment, one exact point in time when you suddenly realized you were going to write a book. When was that moment for you? When you were small, or when you were growing up, or just recently? What made you realize this was what you wanted to do more than anything else you could think of?

Lonnie: Hehehe, you’re gonna love this one. I’d wanted to write a novel for eons, particularly when I was a young mom in my twenties. But no computer back then, and hand writing for very long periods is difficult for me as a lefty. AND I often can not read my own writing when it goes cold. I was under the impression ALL writers had journalistic backgrounds and the author police would nab me if I attempted to write without one. Then my kids grew up, I hit my mid-fifties, I read TWO books with HUGE plot holes that the editors for their very large, very important publishing houses didn’t catch, and I learned to use a computer. I figured, hey, I couldn’t do any worse than those authors, could I? Well, yes, I could, but ignorance is bliss, and I’m about as blissful as they come.

Hotclue: I do love it! But you’re not one bit ignorant and we’re all so glad you’re blissful! After you started trying to write that book and then discovered how hard it is, what made you continue on? Did someone inspire you, and if someone did, who was it and how did they inspire you? Did that same book turn out to be the first book you got published?

Lonnie: What made me continue writing that first book was that I believed so much in the story. I made up my mind I’d get it published even if I had to self-publish it. Did I mention ‘ignorant bliss’ yet? I’d have to say I was inspired by the many authors I’ve met on the Internet who publish with small publishers. They all admitted how tough it was to get recognition with small publishers and none of them thought in terms of “rich and famous.” They just wanted to get their stories out there and so did I. And yes, the first manuscript I wrote was the first book I published, done through a small publisher. But it had to go through a ton of revisions before it was even ready to submit.

Hotclue: That’s important to tell people, because so many people think no small publishers edit, but we know better, don’t we. Lonnie, your books so far have been set in the small town of Metropolis, Illinois. Do you envision ever setting a book in a major large US city, or even another country? If your answer is yes, what city or country would you like to start with? Would you want to visit there first, or do you feel confident you could do it with enough research?

Lonnie: Setting my books in Metropolis has been the key to my success thus far. While I do sell across the country and even in other countries, the local folks have supported me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I have started a new series and the first in that one is also set here, but with new characters. However, I’m branching out. The second book in the new series (I’m about five chapters in to it) is set in Pigeon Forge, TN. We’ve visited there several times, so I feel confident with the amount of research I did, even though I didn’t realize I was researching it at the time. I’d also love to set a book in Las Vegas, NV because I was born and raised there. But I’d either have to go back there and do TONS of research (because it’s changed so much over the years) or set it in Vegas in the 40’s and 50’s, which would be great fun to do. Vegas was a wonderful place to live then. We visited Jamaica in the early 90’s, teaching Bible in the back woods areas, VERY rural and poor. I’d like to set a book there some time.

Hotclue: Oh, I can’t wait to read a series set in Pigeon Forge! That should be great fun! Now, on a different note, do you envision ever writing a romantic suspense, with all the angst and emotional conflict and sizzling hot love scenes?

Lonnie: I have a zinger of a romance in my head. Will I ever put it on paper? Dunno. I’ve toyed with the idea. Let me just say it’s a positive maybe. Would I write hot love scenes? Nnnnoo. I can’t write and/or publish anything my Christian friends or grandkids can’t read without blushing. BUT I believe it’s very possible to lead the reader up to the bedroom door, gently close it in her face, and leave what’s going on behind that door to her imagination, and still make it “hot.” I think most people’s imaginations are far better left to their own devices. Besides, as an editor or a reader, I get reeeeaaallly bored with scenes that include graphic accounts of who touched who, where, when, how, and why.

Hotclue: I couldn’t agree with you more. Now, have you taken any of your characters’ personalities from your family or people you know in real life? Can you tell us who and what they were?

Lonnie: Yes, all of my characters are taken from people I’ve met in real life. That said, they are usually a mixture of traits, stirring in a little of this and that from several people. For instance, when I visualize my lead character, Sheriff Joe Dalton, I think of actor Brian Dennehy. I met him when he was in Paducah, KY making the movie River Rat with Tommie Lee Jones. (Our middle son, Craig, had a one line part in the movie.) Dennehy is a very nice guy. But the personality traits Dalton has are a mix of several men I know. Ditto for the females. A friend of mine read the first draft of the manuscript for the new series I’m beginning with a female lead. She swears it’s me. Maybe some, but a lot of other women are in that character as well.

Hotclue: Personally, I couldn’t imagine a nicer heroine than you. When I grow up I want to BE you! Who is your favorite character from your own books so far?

Lonnie: Hmmm, tough one. I enjoy writing Dalton, but his wife is even more fun to write. I enjoy writing Kitty Bloodworth for the new series. I think my most fun character so far was Leonard, a bratty five year old who helped Dalton solve the mystery in my second book of the Metropolis Mystery series, Murder Beyond Metropolis. And I’ve had a lot of readers tell me he was a fun character to read.

Hotclue: He definitely was fun and he was certainly real! Have your family and friends always reacted as you would have expected to the fact that you’re a published author, or have there been some big surprises? What were your biggest surprises?

Lonnie: Lonnie: For the most part they have been even more supportive than I’d hoped, which was the big surprise. I expected them to be supportive, but they went far beyond. I’ve heard more than one author say his/her family isn’t supportive. That would make writing VERY difficult for me if not nearly impossible. I think my sons are a bit shocked that mom is now a published author. But they seem to enjoy my books.

Hotclue: You’re a lucky lady to have all that support! What has so far been your absolute all-time favorite signing event so far?

Lonnie: Probably the first because so many people showed up and bought books. And the snacks were terrific. What to hear about the worst? Signing with another author at a Kroger store. They forgot we were coming. We had to use those plastic square milk boxes turned upside down for a table, decorated with a Christmas flower arrangement. Thankfully I always bring a tablecloth. I sold ONE book. And they didn’t pay me for it for months. Other than that, it was fine.

Hotclue: Good thing you have a sense of humor AND carry a tablecloth. Inquiring minds want to know: Is Lonnie your real name, or is it short for something else? 😉

Lonnie: Sigh, it’s my real name. My mom and dad decided before I was born (which was waaaay before ultrasound technology) that they would name me Lonnie for my dad’s best friend, whether I was a boy or a girl. Since they used the male spelling, it has caused more than a few problems over the years, like when Uncle Sam tried to make me register for the draft. I did talk my way out of that one. I’m just thankful the friend’s name wasn’t Horace, or Oswald, or something like that. I considered using a pen name, but when I mentioned it to my publisher, he advised me to stay with my own because it’s distinctive. I’m sooo glad I did. Much easier to keep records, etc. And some days I have trouble remembering my own name, so I’d never be able to keep up with a made up one.

Hotclue: Just be glad they didn’t name you Hotclue. 😉 If you could have only One More Thing in your life than you have right now, what would it be?

Lonnie: Eeeek, only one? Then I’d have to say a trip to some really romantic place like Hawaii with my hubby. The only other thing would be to win an Edgar for one of my books. (Notice I did manage to put the selfish wish second?)

Hotclue: We did notice, and you probably will win an Edgar one of these days. Do you have any rituals you go through when you’re writing? What are they?

Lonnie: Check e-mail, work on my blog, play Spider Solitaire, look at my story board, check the laundry, have a snack, look at my story board again, sigh deeply, pick an index card with a story idea on it for the next chapter, start typing. Get excited about where the chapter is going, kick myself for messing around so much that morning when I could have been writing this chapter, finish the chapter, check the word count, wish it was much longer, read it over a couple of times and try to add words, decide it’s done because there isn’t room for one single more word, get excited, go have another snack, switch out the laundry, check e-mail again, quit for the day. I do keep pictures of the setting for my books on my story board for inspiration.

Hotclue: Sounds about like an average procrastinating–I mean, working–day for any good author. So do you watch the news or would you rather make up your own world?

Lonnie: I watch the news sometimes but not regularly. When I click into Yahoo to check mail, if there’s anything world shaking going on, it’s posted on the Yahoo site and I read it. I read the newspaper regularly and get a LOT of story ideas and research information from there. I like to create my own world, but I like to use real-world stuff in it.

Hotclue: It’s a good thing you don’t live in Chicago, you don’t EVEN want to watch our news on television. 😉 What’s your favorite television show?

Lonnie: Law & Order Criminal Intent and Closer. Plus anything on HGTV. Cops. I’ve kinda quit watching some of the forensic reality shows lately, because some of the really violent murders they solve tend to stay with me.

Hotclue: I’m always afraid to watch Cops; I might see myself in it. What has so far been your all-time favorite book written by someone else? Was it this book that helped inspire you to want to write?

Lonnie: I’d have to say We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson. I read it last year, so I was already published. I love her writing, even though it usually has a dark twist at the end. I love Bill Crider’s Dan Rhodes series, he always inspires me to write. Ditto for Anne George’s wonderful Southern Sisters series. Too bad there won’t be any more of those.

Hotclue: Jackson’s book is one of my favorites too. You have several books in progress. Do you find it hard to concentrate when you have so many different people and plot events running around in your head?

Lonnie: Not really because I tend to focus on the one that’s working at the moment. If I hit a stall, I switch to the other. However, I just finished a manuscript last week, and it needs to “sit” before I try to do more to it, so I’ll go back to the one with five chapters and see where I am. I’m taking a few days off.

Hotclue: Hope you enjoy them, but I’m betting your book is on your mind the whole time, am I right? Is there anything else you’d like to say to your readers today?

Lonnie: Lonnie: Yes, thank you so much for this opportunity. I hope your readers will read my books. AND I hope they will read YOUR books because I love your writing as well! I wanted to learn to write in first person after reading your Night Sounds!

Beth: From your mouth to God’s ears. Thank you so much for dropping in on my blog and adding an air of some kind of legitimacy to my usual silly blatherings. It’s been a real pleasure learning more about you and I wish you all the good luck in the world with your current and future books. And hey, say YO! to everyone in Metropolis for me!

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