Archive for September, 2011
September 14, 2011
OH NO! HOTCLUE’S BACK!
Folks, I don’t know what to tell you. I moved all the way from Chicago to the Upper Northwest, Washington state to be exact, thinking I’d be rid of her once and for all, but look what happened now. I heard a familiar laugh, turned around a few minutes ago, and there’s Hotclue, perched on top of the brown desk that holds all of my important papers, all of which I’ve been ignoring ever since I got here. And what is she wearing this time? Black leather bustier and black leather Daisy Mae shorts, for God’s sake. With black leather high-heel boots all the way up to there.
Me: Hots. My God. Black leather?
Hots: Well, Count Bobbalallapaloozo bought the whole outfit for me in France last week. (Preens a bit.) Don’t you like it? He did!
Me: Well, it does fit, I’ll give you that. Don’t you think the thigh-high boots are a bit much, though?
Hots: Beats what you’re wearing. Look at you! What happened to your fashion sense? I thought I taught you something, at least, but I pop in and what are you wearing? Orange scrubs. SCRUBS yet! White low-cut socks. Beige t-shirt at least two sizes too big. Good lord, woman, let you out of Chicago for a month and you lose every fashion trick I ever taught you. But–the good news is, that’s why I’m here. We’re going shopping.
Me: Uh…well, it’s been awfully hot here, and…uh…
Hots (Fanning herself): Don’t ‘uh’ me, lady. You didn’t even do your hair today. You’ve forgotten everything I taught you about good grooming, I can see that.
Me: But…but…I’ve been writing. All those blogs for that 14 author blog tour…
Hots: You call that writing? In that outfit? I wouldn’t be caught dead in that mess.
Me: Well, it’s comfortable…
Hots: Comfort? You want comfort? You can be comfortable when they wrap you up in a body bag and carry you out. You’re in a terrible rut. I KNEW I should have come back before now. (Hops down, does a pretty fancy soft-shoe ramble, doesn’t miss a step.) See? I’m comfortable too, and I can even dance in this outfit. Let’s see you do this! (Executes a fast Michael Jackson slide across the room, not easy considering she’s doing it over thick carpeting.)
Me: Just out of curiosity, how the heck do you do that in four-inch heels?
Hots: Imagination, my dear. I have a wild imagination. Anything I imagine comes true. You just need a complete leather outfit like this. Only…(Pauses for a second to think)…I think yours would need more pizazz. Anything would help. How about some feather tassles on the jacket, right about…
Me (Screaming): Noooo, no feathers! I already did that, don’t you remember? At that party, years and years ago, all those black feathers, and the kid who lived there found some of the feathers and asked her parents the next day what the heck kind of a party did they have in their attic last night? That one?
Hots: Oh, I remember, alright. Wasn’t that the one where our husband and his buddy had to carry you home and put you to bed? That one? The night you don’t even remember how you got home?
Me (Averting my eyes, trying to fluff my hair, which won’t fluff, and trying for an innocent tone): I don’t recall anything like that.
Hots: Oh, yes you do. I was the one embarrassed that night, I can tell you. That poor woman’s kitchen sink–
Me: Stop! Stop!
Hots (Relentless, now that she’s got me): You had plenty of black on that night. Untill they got you home and–
Me: Okay, okay, keep the black leathers. At least you’re not loaded down with jewelry this time.
Hots (Patting her hair) Only because my jewelry is being cleaned at the moment. At the jewelry cleaners in France. But YOU–look at yourself! I can’t believe it! Not even one single diamond on you. I’m SO embarrassed!
Me: Hots. These are my writing clothes. Some of them.
Hots: And the others? I bet there’s not a jewel or feather on them, either! What happened to you?
Me: I mostly wear…well, jeans, when I’m writing. And, I guess, T-shirts. Or sweats.
Hots (Smirking): Do your fans know that?
Me: Uh…no…probably not…at least I never came right out and said so.
Hots: So. You need a new image. One you can talk about. Are we going shopping?
Hots: Beth, Beth, Beth. We’re going to Paris, of course. Count Bobbalallapaloozo has kindly offered his jet, it’s waiting at the airport in Seattle.
Me: Seattle’s quite a ways from here, Hots.
Hots: I’m always prepared for anything where you’re concerned. We’re taking the Count’s helicopter, it’s waiting out in the yard. You ready for some couture originals?
Me: But…but…wait a minute, why do I need couture originals to write murder mysteries?
Hots: Oh. My. God. Don’t tell me you’re still writing those things. How about a hot romance?
Me: I don’t do hot romances. On purpose anyway. I do murder. Which I feel like doing right now.
Hots: Piffle. Did you EVER finish the one about Jack and Raven? The one in Alaska? Or are you still diddling around with Chapter One?
Me (Huffily): I finished it and it’s published and people are loving it, so there!
Hots (Stopping in mid-pirouette): It’s actually a BOOK now? With actual pages?
Me: It is. It’s an e-book too. And I’m getting ready to start a new one. Any day now.
Hots: But another murder mystery? In the same town? In Alaska? My God, didn’t you kill off enough people in that poor town in the last book? What’d you finally call that thing, anyhow? Last I heard you had three or four separate titles for it.
Me: My publisher decided to call it RAVEN TALKS BACK, and well, I didn’t kill off EVERYONE there.
Hots: Why not?
Me: Well, actually, some of them are in prison.
Hots: So, you almost wipe out a whole town in Alaska and now you’re going back to finish off the rest of the population? Is that it?
Me (Grinning): Something like that.
Hots: You have a strange mind, you know that? Sometimes you frighten me.
Me: Not as much as that outfit you’ve got on frightens me, that’s for sure.
Hots: Forget my outfit. Just stand up now, come on. Get your shoes on, and for God’s sake, not your tennis shoes. We’re going to Paris.
Me (Sinking): Well…okay, but I have a favor to ask you.
Hots: Anything, I’ll do ANYTHING to get you away from that computer and out of those things you call clothes.
Me: Uh…could we make a quick stop in Alaska? Like a month or so? I need to do a little more research.
::::From Paris:::: Hey, folks, I’ll be back to my computer in a few days. Stop by again soon, I’ll leave the porch light on for you. I love y’all, you KNOW I do! Gotta go now, Hots is trying to talk her hairdresser into coloring my hair in tiger stripes. Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me…
XOXO, Beth, who is determined to stay blonde.
Oh, and PS, Sarge back in Washington still hugging her new Birkenstocks says Hey!
September 2, 2011
I’m BAAAACK and Guess What I’ve Been Doing!
My gosh, peeps! Here it is Labor Day Weekend already, and it seems like forever since I’ve posted here, but I have a good excuse…I think. I moved from Chicago to Washington state. Yes, I did. Close to Yakima, if that’s any help.
Anybody who thinks this kind of a move is easy is just plain crazy. All kinds of things you didn’t think about pop up after you decide to do this, all of them extremely time-consuming and frustrating.
For instance, try, just TRY switching your insurance from Illinois Blue Cross to Washington Blue Cross. That in itself is almost a full time job, because for one thing, you have to cancel your insurance in Illinois before they’ll give you a new policy in Washington. You can fax some things in Washington, Illinois won’t hear of it. They insist they have to send you documents by US mail, the slowest possible way, and they take their own sweet time doing it too. I’m still waiting for one piece of paper I requested from them three weeks ago. I suppose the excitement of a holiday coming up was too much for them.
The new driver’s license and voting registration was a snap…once you got your number called. My daughter told me she never could understand how so many people could want so many drivers licenses in one day’s time and I believe her because the place was jammed. Eventually they got to me, but it took a big hunk out of that day.
Every day it’s something else, but oh, it’s so beautiful out here. Everywhere you look there’s gorgeous scenery. Miles and miles of grapevines bearing this fall’s wine crop, apple orchards, peaches, pears, you name it and it’s growing everywhere here. This truly is God’s country and I’m living in it, on a mountain, in a place cut out of that mountain so a house could be built ere. Trees everywhere, tall pines mostly. A two foot built in rock wall in the back, behind lush, deep wine colored bushes with red berries, green bushes almost as tall as the pines behind them, leading upwards to the top of the mountain. On windy days, the wind roars down the mountain and into the valley below. You see farms below being irrigated every day because this is the sunny side of Washington, and believe me, on hot days it really IS the sunny side, but I’m told it’s only that hot in August. Hmmm…
Above is Sarge, my little girl cat, who traveled with me in a folding cat holder. Trust me, you have not begun to live until you go through Chicago airport security with a cat, which you have to take out of the holder and try to hold her still and walk through the X-ray contraption with her. And then put her back into the folding cat holder which is, by then, lying flat on the moving belt. When you figure that she didn’t want to get into it in the first place, and then she had panicked and clawed my entire back while I tried to keep her from running lose through the entire airport, all in all, it was not the favorite part of my trip. Actually, I’m not sure I had a favorite part, unless you count putting alcohol on my back when I got here. That was fun too. (NOT!)
By now I’ve already had time to begin to start my new book, which means I haven’t done anything rational about it except research, but I hit pay dirt last week reading a book about Alaska and I have a crucial scene all mapped out in my mind. I know, I know, that doesn’t really count. But at least I’m ready to start. Sort of.
Some good news is, I’ll be volunteering some weekends for Special Olympic kids, which my daughter and her husband have been doing for some time, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do myself. My daughter heads up a Special Education class in one of the middle schools around here and I’ll be going in one day a week to do fun things with her class. I absolutely do believe they need the same chance at education as other kids.
In this class, because of the extent of their basic needs, they very much need to learn basic living skills. Things they’ll need to know later on in life as well as right now in some cases. These kids don’t need Calculus, they need to learn to print their own names and they need to learn how to take care of themselves as much as they can, and with some of them, that’s a lot to learn. But I met some of them one day last year and I’ve thought about them every day since then. We’ll be going on shopping trips, making Christmas decorations, painting pumpkins for Halloween, all kinds of things like that. So I’m going to be One Busy Person, and happily so.
Along with this, I’ve joined up with a new author’s blog tour, which we’ve already started preparing because it’s going to be a two-week marathon of one blog every day the last week of November and the first week of December. But the real work, writing the blogs, will be done ahead of time, and HURRAH, I just learned how to upload and schedule them on my blog so that each of the 13 blogs by 13 other authors will automatically open up here on my blog for those 14 days, during which my own written blogs will be at 13 other blogs, one each day. I hope.
Don’t worry if it sounds complicated, I’ll keep y’all posted as to where we’ll all be. This is the 2011 Winter Mystery We Write Blog Tour and we have our own logo, designed by our leader, Anne K. Albert. Watch for us, we’re coming to get you and tell you about many things: us, our lives and our blogs, how we scope out the books we write, and then write them. You won’t want to miss them, so stay tuned! When it’s time, I’ll put the logo and author list up here on my blog so you can pick your favorites, and some of them will be on the list. But we hope you’ll visit all of our blogs. You can never have too many favorite writers, right?
I love you all, you KNOW I do, even though I’ve been MIA this past few weeks. Life moves fast, you have to move fast with it, it seems. Stop back by next week and have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend. I hope you all are having a three-day vacation from an actual job. My heart goes out to anyone who needs one and doesn’t have one. Better days are coming, folks. They have to. This is the United States of America, and there’s nothing we can’t do.