Friday, December 30, 2011

Guest post by John Kenyon, editor of GRIMM TALES

If you're wondering how the anthology of fairy tales came into being, here's the scoop from the guy who started it all. I welcome John Kenyon to my travels today!

John Kenyon is the  editor of and the forthcoming print debut of Grift. He has stories in the first two issues of Pulp Modern, and upcoming in Needle, Beat to a Pulp and All Due Respect. 

Here's his post:

painting by Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann

If one reads the original Grimm Brothers tales, they are quite dark. Over the years, however, the audience for these tales has shifted. No longer are they frightening cautionary tales aimed at adults. No, they now are aimed squarely at children, sanitized lest their little minds conjure too terrifying a scenario before bed.

It was while reading one of these toned-down versions that I began thinking of a story that was decidedly adult in its composition. In the version I read, there is only the hint of menace; everything always works out in the end. This book, Mary Engelbreit's Nursery Tales, bolsters each story with fanciful drawings that depict everyone involved as some sort of post-Precious Moments cherub, all rosy cheeks and broad smiles.

"The landscapes glimpsed in her meticulously rendered pictures more closely resemble a park or playground than a wild wood," writes children's literature historian Leonard S. Marcus in his introduction. "Really scary things couldn't possibly happen here."

That's all well and good for children -- I've rushed into my three-year-old's room to quiet the swirl of images brought about by a nighttime tale that was a bit too vivid for his young imagination -- but, um, bleeds much of the power from these classic tales.

My idea was simple: recast these stories as modern-day crime fiction tales. It wouldn't take much. In each there is a protagonist who, while not always entirely innocent, at least has the reader firmly in his or her camp, and an aggressor who is trying to take what isn't rightfully his. Add a few guns and some coarse language, and "The Three Little Bears" or "Little Red Riding Hood" aren't too far from the latest story revolving around a robbery or a heist.

I wrote a story, but feared it would get lost without the proper context. I held a contest, asking others to do likewise, and came up with the batch of stories that eventually became Grimm Tales.

My own story updated "Puss in Boots," recasting the mischievous cat as a thigh-high boot wearing stripper. Others dug deeper, going for more obscure stories that nonetheless translated well to the world of modern crime fiction.

"Let the big bad wolf huff and puff if he must," Marcus writes to conclude his introduction to the illustrated book I read to my kids. "Happy endings await."

Not here. The real world doesn't operate that way. As Ken Bruen writes in the introduction to our book, "Ever imagined what would have come down the dark pike if The Brothers Grimm were more Brothers Coen and wrote mystery?"

PS. If you MUST read these tales, the links are just to the right.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Two Excerpts

I'm down to the wire to get my Agatha-eligible stories presented here in December, since one just got published last week--a good problem to have!

So I'll give you a bit of the new one, HENRY, GINA, AND THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE, which appears in its entirety in GRIMM TALES from Untreed Reads. It's an e-book of stories based on fairy tales, a fun project!

At the end of this excerpt, I'll give you the whole story, DRIVING OUT OF DUMAS, since it's very short and is available free at Apollo's Lyre.

Be sure and come back here Friday when the editor of GRIMM TALES, John Kenyon, will be my guest.

Here's the excerpt first (it won't be hard to tell what fairy tale this is based on):

"Get in there and fess up, you little hoodlums." Vanessa shoved Henry and Gina toward the door of the Gingerbread House. "And quit sniveling, Gina. I know you're faking."

Gina leveled a cold laser stare at her stepmother. And quit sniveling. It hadn't taken the bitch long to figure her out, Gina reflected. The fake crying had only worked for about a month or so. Henry had had the same luck with his stomach aches. Except Gina knew those were real. That red-headed she-devil could give anyone a stomach ache.

A bell, shaped like a heart, tinkled innocently as Vanessa flung the door open and pushed the children inside the candy shop.

The blowsy bleached blond owner, Brenda Pritchard, ambled through the beaded curtains from the kitchen and squinted at them.

"Can I help you?"

Her voice was light and thin. Gina thought it was a nice contrast to the heavy, thick goodies in the glass cases, Brenda's heavy, thick body, and her heavy, thick glasses.

Vanessa put on her sweetness-and-light face, but it almost cracked under the thick makeup from the effort. "Yes, you can. The children would like to tell you something."

Both women waited and stared at the kids. Gina considered trying the snivel again. Henry bent over slightly with a pained look on his face.

Gina grimaced and stepped forward. "We shoplifted some crap. The old lady wants us to tell you that."

Brenda's eyes grew large in her smooth, bland face. "Such language from such a young child," she said.

Not all that young, thought Gina. She and Henry were ten, after all. Not babies.

"Yeah, well...." Gina jerked her head toward Vanessa. "She made me say it."

Gina could almost detect the steam rising from the top of Vanessa's red hair.

"I did not tell you to--never mind. The children stole from your store and need to make restitution."

"What did you take?"

Gina thought Brenda gave Henry a look of pity. He was bent over even further, pressing his small fist into his belly.

"Just some chocolate shit, a couple truffles," said Gina.

"And?" prompted Vanessa.

"Some turtles," Henry said through clenched teeth.

"You had half a dozen truffles left when I found you with them," sneered Vanessa. "And at least that many turtles."

"Yeah, well, you enjoyed ‘em, didn't you?" said Gina. She ducked, expecting a slap, but Vanessa apparently didn’t want to abuse them in public. It was the first standard Gina had discovered in the woman. What had her father been thinking, bringing that bitch into their home?


I'd been thinking of breaking up with Aldon, but I didn't know how to do it. Given his temper, I didn't think it would be easy.

That afternoon he picked me up from my job at the convenience store.

"Go for a ride?"

"Sure," I said. "Sittin in the car beats standin on my feet for eight hours." It wasn't too hot out yet, only getting up to the mid-80s during the day. Our Texas panhandle gets a lot hotter.

Aldon shifted through the gears on his ancient pickup, mashing in second like he always did, and we blew past the grain silos and hit the open road. The wind from the open windows felt good,
better than the AC in the store, which was always cranked down to a freeze-your-ass-off temperature. I took off the sweater I always wore to work and threw it behind my seat. Then I reclined the seat and let the air flow over me as I closed my eyes and relaxed.

After awhile I woke up. I watched the cloud-dotted sky skim past the window, then glanced at Aldon. He looked sorta grim.

"What's the matter, Al?"

"Nothing's the matter," he snapped. He was in a mood.

I sat my seat up. "Hey, where are we?" We usually drove out through the fields, dotted with irrigation circles, to Dalhart at the farthest, then turned around and headed back home to Dumas. I knew the local land pretty well, and this rough open rangeland wasn't it.

Aldon didn't answer.

"Where we goin?"

"I gotta do somethin. You sit tight. Don't worry about it."

Well, that wasn't gonna happen. I got a bad feeling that worsened with each mile. I snuck a peek at the gas gauge--we weren't due for a refill.

Then I spotted a gas station in the distance. "I gotta pee," I said. "Real bad."

Aldon looked at me for the first time since we'd started the drive. "Okay. I'll pull in. Make it quick."

I had second thoughts when I saw how run-down the place was. The bathroom wasn't likely to be too clean. But I needed to break up what was happening, somehow. Even if I didn't know what it was. I spent as long as I could inside. When I got back Aldon was scowling.

He took off before I got my door shut.

"Hey, you tryin to kill me?"

He didn't answer.

We eventually crossed the border into New Mexico. I wondered if Aldon was ever planning on returning home. Were we running away? From what? He was never an easy person to talk to. Today I was afraid of him. That grim look, this stupid car trip--I thought maybe I'd get out and stay out the next time we pulled over.

We slowed down, finally, for a little town a few miles across the border. I'd been dozing and missed the name of it. The sun was setting in front of us, shooting a blinding glare through the windshield off the blacktop.

"Can we get something to eat?" I asked.

"Later," he said. "I want you to do somethin for me. Just take a few minutes."

He headed down a curbless side street, turned around and pulled over. He left the engine on and climbed out.

"You get in the driver's seat," he said. "I want you to keep the truck runnin. When I get back, take off. Don't say anything, just take off, back the way we came from."

There was a convenience store around the block from where we were parked. Was Aldon going to rob it? Geez, I lived in fear of that every time I pulled night shift. I didn't want to help him rob a store, but what could I do?

I sat and fretted, trying to figure out how I could get out of this awful mess, but I was still there when Aldon came running back. He jumped in, threw a sack behind the seat and yelled, "Go!"

All I could do was react. I floored it and took off.

"What the hell did you just do?" I yelled while I ground through second gear. I got it to third and fishtailed a little. The truck didn't handle too well for me at high speeds.

Aldon had a big grin on his face. "I just raised us a little capital." He spit out the window. "Slow down to the speed limit. No one knows what vehicle to look for. If we don't get pulled over, we won't get caught."

"You mean *you* won't get caught. *I* didn't rob nobody."

"Sure you did. You're aiding and abetting, don't think you're not."

Damn, he was right. I was driving the getaway vehicle. "I think we better switch places pretty soon. I don't drive your truck all that good."

"You're doin fine. I need a nap." He put the seat back down, folded his arms on his chest, and was snoring inside of three minutes.

I kept driving--he'd wake up if I stopped--but I reached back to pull that sack into my lap. The sun had just set and dusk was falling, bringing a moist smell with it. It was a beautiful night.

My fingers fumbled inside the sack. I felt bills, but at the very bottom I struck something hard. And warm. A gun. That he'd fired. Shit.

Maybe he'd sleep till we got back to Dalhart and I could pull into the police station. I didn't know where the damn station was, though.

We were twenty miles out when he stirred.

"You never got me anything to eat," I said, wracking my brain for a solution.

"You can have steak when we get home."

"OK, but I gotta pee again."

"Hey, me too. Stop here. It's dark out. The truck can shield us."

Breaking up turned out to be that easy. He got out. I drove off.


Hope you enjoyed the stories!

Friday, December 23, 2011

I'm keeping good company

Buy here

I'm thrilled and honored to be part of a new anthology, just out from Untreed Reads! Here's the description of GRIMM TALES, edited by John Kenyon, to show you what a great crew is there:

Grimm Tales is a collection of stories by some of the top names in online crime fiction, all based on classic fairy tales. As novelist Ken Bruen writes in his introduction, "Ever imagined what would have come down the dark pike if The Brothers Grimm were more Brothers Coen and wrote mystery?" The collection is edited by John Kenyon, editor of Grift magazine, and contains 17 stories by Patricia Abbott, Absolutely*Kate, Jack Bates, Eric Beetner, Nigel Bird, Loren Eaton, Kaye George, Blu Gilliand, Seana Graham, Eirik Gumeny, R.L. Kelstrom, John Kenyon, BV Lawson, Evan Lewis, B. Nagel, Sean Patrick Reardon and Sandra Seamans. 

I had fun mistreating the Hansel and Gretel tale. Read this to see how John got the idea for the collection. Oh, and to buy the book, available in multiple digital formats.

PS. If you're near Georgetown, TX, and need a last minute gift, come see me at Hill Country Bookstore between 4 and 7. I have just the thing!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Excerpt from The Bavarian Krisp Caper

Have you ever had one of those days? This story stems from a time I was in Boston, craving a donut, and not finding a parking space. To read the rest of it, click at Untreed Reads. If you're attending Malice Domestic in April, I would love it if you'd please consider this story for a possible Short Story nomination. Even if you don't consider it, I'll see you there!

By Kaye George

Life was looking a little better. At last.

Mandy hummed to herself as she watched her niece, Ella, run from one duckling statue to the next. Mandy clutched a bag that held two fragrant donuts, a chocolate frosted for Ella and a Bavarian Krisp for herself. She sipped her coffee and waited for the curly haired toddler to finish greeting and patting each small, sturdy bronze sculpture. Ella came running, a big grin on her little freckled face. She tugged at Mandy’s hand and they headed for the swan boat ride, the conclusion of their sunny afternoon outing at Boston Common.

Mandy had offered to watch Ella while her mother, Mandy’s sister, ran errands. She might as well. She loved watching her niece, but hated the fact that she’d been free to do so for too long now. Money was getting tight.

Mandy salivated, thinking about that donut. Bavarian Krisp was her favorite snack in the world. There was nothing better. Nothing. She was lucky to have a boyfriend who understood her passion for them. He’d gone out early and brought the doughy treasures to her before he went in to work this morning.

The thought of Carl brought a smile to her face. He knew how devastated she’d been since losing her job three months ago. Her teeth gritted whenever she thought about it. It was so unfair!

“That’s twice this week you’ve been late,” her pointy-headed boss had remarked.

Mandy tried to edge past him into her tiny cubicle. She was laden with her purse, her lunch sack, and her water bottle. When the idiot refused to budge, she tripped over his big feet and lost her grip on her lunch. It arced onto her desk. The ripe strawberries inside made a squishing sound and started to bleed red onto the report she’d left front and center last night. The urgent report, due this afternoon.

She felt steam rising inside her, threatening to blow her head apart.

“The bitch in the cubicle behind me is late every week,” said Mandy. “Why don’t you say anything to her? Is it the size of her sweaters?”

The frosty look from the pointy-headed man tamped down her steam. He called security to escort her out.

Her humiliation had been complete when the bitch snickered behind her hand as Mandy passed.

She wanted to stop for a donut that day—the office was next door to a Dandy Donuts shop—but she’d been laden with the contents of her desk in an awkward sized box and didn’t think she could manage it. She’d eaten one on the way in, of course, which was why she’d been late.

Mandy had applied for twenty-five jobs but had gotten exactly one response so far. Aninterview was set for tomorrow, but she wasn’t sure she was qualified for that position. It called for more accounting knowledge than she had.

Her mood had gone from bad to worse and she’d almost canceled her outing with Ella, but Carl said it would do her good, take her mind off things. He’d been right. The sun felt glorious and the air carried the faint aroma of early spring lilacs to compete with the smell of baked goods wafting up from the sack she held.

After they climbed into their seats for the boat ride, Mandy handed Ella her donut, then picked up her own with two fingers. Ella peered over the swan figures on the sides of the craft and crammed most of her donut into her tiny mouth. Mandy shut her eyes in anticipation; this first bite would be the best moment of her day.

“Aunt Mandy! Look!” Ella grabbed Mandy’s arm and pointed at a mother mallard swimming beside them, a row of babies paddling behind her. Mandy’s donut flew into the lagoon. Tears sprang to Mandy’s eyes as she watched it float away. Six squawking mallards swam to attack it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Review: Threat Warning by John Gilstrap

Here's my review, for "Suspense Magazine" in October, of this excellent thriller. I should mention that you can always get 4 free trial copies if you're thinking of subscribing. Just click on the link above and read the copy below the cover image.

“Threat Warning” by John Gilstrap:

There’s no need to wonder how Gilstrap gets the rave reviews and best-selling status that he gets. Just start reading and it all becomes clear.
A bizarre group calling themselves “The Army of God,” and calling each other Brother-This and Sister-That, have a secret goal so lofty it’s worth killing for. At least in their minds it is. The story opens with young Colleen Devlin preparing to mow down motorists on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac during the afternoon rush hour. She’s at one end of the bridge and Brother Stephen is at the other end.
Jonathan Grave is driving across the bridge at the moment they open fire, stuck in traffic, chatting with his friend and passenger, Father Dom D’Angelo. Jonathan instantly recognizes the sound of an automatic weapon, creeps out of his car, and whips out his Colt .45. Although he hits the shooter in the chest, she runs away just as he realizes she’s a female and not a young man. A misguided Secret Service agent gets the drop on Jonathan, thinking he’s the perpetrator, and both shooters escape detection.
Colleen commandeers a minivan for her getaway and, in the process, takes the driver and her teenage son hostage to a mountain hideout. The Army of God is well-organized and supremely motivated, but their captives, the wife, and son of a deployed Delta force operative, and their opponent, Jonathan Grave himself, are formidable. Grave and his team watch as other fatal mass attacks are carried out across America. They struggle to get to the people behind the carnage that continues splashing blood and leaving bodies across the country before even greater havoc ensues.
Hang on, it’s a wild ride!

Reviewed by Kaye George, Author of “Choke” for Suspense Magazine

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What are Agatha-eligible works? (& book signing!)

This is the time of year to get excited about Agatha awards. They're given out at the Malice Domestic conference every year. Everyone who signs up for the conference before the end of the year receives a form in January. On that form they can nominate mysteries, non-fiction mystery related books, and short stories for Agatha awards. These are prestigious in the mystery community. Even to say you've been nominated is an honor. I think so, at least, since I was nominated in the Short Story category in 2010. That was one of the most exciting events of my life!

If you've signed up for the conference, or if you're thinking of going, I'll offer the stories I've had published this year that are eligible, just in case you want to--you know--nominate one of them.

Here's the first part of "The Truck Contest" which was published in FISH TALES: The Guppy Anthology, by Wildside Press. The whole anthology, where you can read the rest of this story and the other Agatha-eligible stories in it, can be purchased at Amazon as a paperback or an e-book.

[But before you get started on this, I want to let you know I'll be signing at Hill Country Bookstore in Georgetown on December 23rd. If you need a last minute holiday gift, come on by!]

first 1215 words

The first time I saw it I assumed it was an accident. Assumed some poor schmuck had
left a truck out on the ice just a little too late. Every morning on the way to work I drove
the winding road around Lake Minnetonka and followed the progress of the yellow
pickup, sinking lower and lower as the early spring sun picked up strength.

That first winter in Minnesota, I had noticed, right away, how Lake Minnetonka becomes
a huge playground in the cold weather. The natives use it for snowmobiling, ice skating,
and ice fishing. They cavort outside in frigid weather as if it were summertime. I was
most fascinated by the ice fishing, though. My Dad had never taken me fishing when I
was a boy. Hell, he’d never taken me anywhere, except to the track.

I had done a lot of hard outdoor work in a hot climate recently and had no desire to repeat
that sweaty experience. The cold weather did take some getting used to, but I had the
example of the Minnesotans to follow. I would follow their lead and they would show me
how to enjoy it. And anything was better than being locked up. I bought a lot of new
clothes. That helped me keep warm.

At the beginning of that first winter, I observed people driving their pickups onto the
frozen lake. They unloaded dozens of one-room wooden fishing shacks, mostly
homemade, and created a temporary village between Excelsior and Big Island. At work
they told me it was called Ice Town. Some of the guys in shipping were avid ice fishers.

The little shacks really did look like a town out there on the frozen lake, with narrow
streets laid out where guys drove back and forth to their houses. Some of them even spent
the nights there. They hauled in carpeting, huge coolers full of beer, and satellite dishes to
give them some of the comforts of home. It was mostly a guy thing—I never saw more
than a couple of women. It looked like fun and I thought about giving it a go the next

When spring approached, the natives hauled off their fish houses and drove their trucks
home. One lone pickup remained, however, that yellow one, parked in a widening puddle
on the thinning ice. It was obviously too dangerous to go out and get it. I shook my head
every time I saw it and felt sorry for the slob who had left his truck to sink into the lake.

One morning, I arrived a couple minutes late, not unusual for me. So why did Karen, my
chubby little boss, give me the evil eye?

Get used to it, I thought. Some people don’t live for this sorry job. Who would want to? I
inhabited a cubicle, an invention of the devil himself, I’m sure, and processed orders for
imported junk. Little plastic bracelets and gifts bags, shit they sold at the Dollar Store. I
was as far from my previous address as I could get, and the company didn’t do
background checks. That’s why I worked there. Karen as my boss lady I could handle. I
even flirted with her some when I started there. The one that got to me, though, was

That day, in the break room, Clark mentioned the Truck Contest.

“What’s that?” I asked, waiting for him to quit fiddling with the sugar packets so I could
get some for my coffee.

Clark cleared his throat wetly, one of his least obnoxious mannerisms, raised his superior
eyebrows almost up to his wig, a toupee that might have been a squirrel in its former life,
and informed me that bets were placed on when the truck would sink.

“So that yellow pickup doesn’t belong to some poor sap who just procrastinated too

“Hell no. What a stupid thing to think.” He picked his nose, stirred a small mountain of
sugar in his styrofoam coffee cup, and strolled off to his cube, the one next to mine.

Clark was not a desirable cubicle neighbor. Most mornings his radio blared stock market
reports, and in the afternoon he listened to, as far as I could tell, the worst music ever
recorded, big band and polkas. Where did he find those stations? My protests would
prompt him to lower the volume for half a day, then he would twist the dial back up and
dare me to say something. I decided I had to start raising my issues with Karen.

It really didn’t bother me, working for a woman. I know a lot of guys couldn’t do it. But I
was just lucky to have a job, and, if I had to work for a broad, I could handle it. This
broad, however, wasn’t the one I’d pick. I think the feeling was mutual. She’d flirted
back when I started, but was always too busy to meet me anywhere after work. I dropped
the act eventually. I wasn’t going to get any from her.

I rapped on the door to her office—she had an actual office, with a door—and entered
when she told me to come in, after the second knock.

I walked up to her desk, remained standing. “You know Clark, in the cube next to me?”

She looked up from her paperwork and frowned. Those little plucked eyebrows were
cute. “Jesus, Roy, how would I not know Clark? I’m his boss, or hadn’t you noticed?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“You have a problem with Clark?” She drew out his name, those fleshy lips caressed it.
Not good.

“Well, not with Clark. With his radio. It’s hard to work with it turned up so high, you

“No, I don’t know.”

“Can you say something to him?”

“I’ll see.” She bent her head to the papers on her desk and I left, not hopeful.

I tried a few more times, but Karen barely listened to my complaints. She only mentioned
the radio to Clark once and, when she began picking up the phone and dialing it as soon
as I walked through her door, I gave up. Her office nauseated me anyway, the way it
reeked of Obsession.

One day I grabbed my dictionary off the metal shelf above my monitor to check the
spelling of a word for the report I was writing. The page was missing. I looked up and
Clark stood in his cubicle, leering at me over the short wall that divided us.

“What are you so happy about?” I asked. He didn’t answer, just kept smirking.

“Do you know anything about this page that’s torn out of my book?” I asked him, trying
to be as civil as possible.

“Oh that. Yeah.” He scratched his armpit. “They were out of toilet paper in the john.”

I stared. “You used my dictionary for toilet paper?”

“Worked pretty good.” He turned away and plopped down into his chair.

I felt my sanity straining against its mooring, threatening to float off, out of my Cubicle
From Hell. There was no way I was going to go through the job hunting process again. It
had taken months to find this indoor position. Most other people checked references more
thoroughly than these people did.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book Review: Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry

I reviewed this book in September for Suspense Magazine. I hope you enjoy the review.

William Monk has a new job, head of the Thames River Police. His battle is not a new one, however. He failed to convict child-trafficker Jericho Phillips in the past and the abuse Phillips facilitated continues, funded by someone still unknown. The child Monk and Hester rescued from the clutches of that evil, Scuff, is settling in, although they still hear him crying in the night. Scuff says he’s eleven, but looks about nine. If Monk can’t stop the most recent manifestation of abuse, he will feel he’s failed the boy.

It seems to me that the Victorian England of this book was a time when morals were more sharply defined, more black and white, than they are now. The horror of an underground industry, one that panders to the perverted, juts starkly through Perry’s lush prose. Some of the situations are quite vivid, just to warn you.

A squalid little man, Mickey Parfitt, is found dead at the edge of the river. He’s been bashed on the head, then strangled with a distinctive silk scarf. His unsavory companions, ‘Orry (short for ‘Orrible or Horrible) Jones, Tosh, and Crumble are questioned first, obvious initial suspects. But the scarf belongs to an aristocrat wastrel who is a benefactor of Hester’s clinic for rescued women of the street. The abuse, and pornographic live shows involving very young boys, is taking place on a boat, so the murder and the trade are all within Monk’s jurisdiction.
          No one is very interested in finding Parfitt’s killer, since the world is better without him, but Monk is determined to find out who is supplying the money. If he doesn’t, nothing will stop. The upper class seems united against Monk investigating and solving this crime. Depending on who murdered Parfitt, funding could be cut off for Hester’s clinic and Monk could lose his job. Especially if Monk goes after the wrong person.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Chris Redding, Be the Chihuahua

I welcome Chris Redding to my travels today. She has hosted me in the past and it's time to pay her back for her kindness. Chris is a multi-published author in romantic suspense, including some paranormal romantic suspense. For those of you seeking to be published, here's what she has to say about that--and Chihuahuas. Thanks for being here, Chris!

Be the Chihuahua

By Chris Redding

            My degree is in journalism and for about 5 months I actually worked in that field. Did I crave the hard news? Nope. I loved the feature stories, but I went at them with no less vigor than I did the breaking stories.
            Frankly, people’s jobs are interesting. I once spent a half an hour on the phone with a guy named Ted E. Behr (no joke)  talking about effluent. It was fascinating because he found it fascinating.
            What does that have to do with being a Chihuahua?
            Well I always warn my interviewee that I will keep asking questions until I either get an answer or understand what the person is telling me. I liken it to those little dogs that grab onto your pant leg and won’t let go.
            Gotta admire the little guy’s persistence. He’ll hang onto your pant leg and he only weighs eight pounds.
            And I think this is a great attitude on many levels for a writer.
            First you have to be persistent and finish the damn book.
            Then you have to learn all you can about writing and how to make your gem shine.
            And of course you have to submit. No matter how many rejections, you have to keep polishing and keep submitting. Until someone says, “yes.”
            You must write another book. And another. Until you write one that someone wants to publish.
            And when it is published, you have to get out there and network with your readers. You have to do signings. You have to do workshops.
            You have to be persistent.
            Especially because lots of people around you won’t be.  I’ve seen writers come and go and never get published. And it wasn’t because they couldn’t write, it was because they gave up.
            So be the Chihuahua.

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, one dog and three rabbits. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in Journalism. When she isn’t writing she works part time at her local hospital. 

Blonde Demolition
Corpse Whisperer
The Drinking Game
A View to a Kilt

Find Chris on the web:

Here's a bit about her latest book: Blonde Demolition

You just can't hide from the past...

Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security.

Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.

Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Two signings and a Holiday Celebration!

Somehow, it happens that I'm doing TWO signings tomorrow at Hill Country Bookstore. From 10-1 I'll sign CHOKE. If you need a holiday gift for a mystery reader, you can't go wrong with CHOKE.

At 2:00, fellow short story writer Mary Ann Loesch will join me and we'll sign ALL THINGS DARK AND DASTARDLY. A great stocking stuffer for a reader who likes dark, quirky, little tales. After all that, I'll go home and collapse!

There will be, at the very least, chocolate in the shop. But outside, you can catch the Christmas Stroll on the historic square. This Stroll is PACKED with happenings and charm:

Be sure and check the parade route if you're coming around noon.

I sure hope to see a bunch of you there!