Deadline Diaries

Five Romance writers tell all.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The snow thing...

Posted by Susan

I have, at best, an uneasy relationship with snow. I grew up in Los Angeles, where there never is snow. Except for day trips to the mountains, I did not understand the phenomenon of snow in the wild.

Several years ago, I was asked to be part of a special project at Silhouette Books. They have a very popular series called Montana Mavericks. Different authors write different books and I wrote one called “Married in Whitehorn.” Married in Whitehorn came out as a 2 in 1 Special Edition with the title of A Montana Maverick Christmas.

I think there were 3 books in all, the first and last being full length and then the middle “Christmas” book being the 2 in 1. Anyway, I wrote my story, sent it in, got approval, went through the editing process, then continued on. In November of that year, the first book came out…written by our own Christine Rimmer. I distinctly remember lying down on the sofa, book in hand, prepared for several hours of fabulous reading pleasure. Chris is one of my favorite authors. I got about two chapters into the book before sitting upright, shrieking, terrifying the cat who had been, until that moment, blissfully sleeping on my stomach.

Did I mention these were *Montana Mavericks*???? Guess where they’re set. Uh huh. Montana. Around the holidays. When it’s…you got that right. Cold. As in very cold, as in snow. I was reading Chris’s book and there it was. The white stuff fallin’ down like—snow.

The shriek from my comfy position on a sofa in a townhouse not 2 blocks from the Pacific Ocean? I hadn’t put snow in my book. Swear to God. You can read the book yourself and see I’m not lying. No snow. Why? It *never* occurred to me. I hadn’t lived with snow, didn’t think of snow as happening in real life. Snow is something you see on TV or in the movies. The funny part—my editor was from upstate New York, my copy editor lived in Canada and no one noticed. The warmest thing my heroine ever put on was a sweater. I didn’t even get any reader mail. But still—I was humiliated.

Flash forward about 2 years. I’m asked to do another Montana Maverick holiday book. This one—Christmas in Whitehorn. By now, in my real life, I’m living in Eastern Washington State…oh, about 9 miles from the Idaho border. I’ve seen snow. Lived in it, shoveled it, hated it with an intensity that can only come from being snowed in on a day you really, really want to go to the mall.

Christmas in Whitehorn has plenty of snow. It had snow chains, ice, wind chill. I am redeemed as a writer and life goes on. Unfortunately our recent move to Seattle has been followed by a freakish November. After record breaking rain, we’ve had snow and ice, followed by record breaking lows. The above picture is not pulled off the internet. It’s my street. I took it from my front door Tuesday!

So what weather bloopers have you found in the books you read?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What's In a Name???

posted by Maureen

So, I’m starting a new book and I’ve got Name The Characteritis.

And yes, I’m sure that’s a word. At least to writers. See, we’ve got to name all the people in the book. Even those with a walk-on role...(you know, the cute waitress or the lazy parking lot attendant or the snoring minister)... they’ve all got to have names. And you don’t want to have the hero named Jack and his friend named Jerry and his brother named Joe and the heroine named Josie.

Sigh. See where I’m going with this? You have to watch out for those pesky first initials. You don’t want three people with J names. It’ll get confusing for the writer, let alone the reader! And last names count, too. You can’t have the same initial there and if the last name has one syllable, you’ve got to try for a two syllable first name and what about a nickname? Is it a stupid one that embarrasses them or do they like it more than the real name and so on and so on...

So we pull out the Baby Names books. Or the phone books. Or we watch movies and read the credits. (There are some fairly oddball names in Hollywood, I’ve gotta say. But then again, hey. Hollywood.) I’ve used old pals from high school, grocery store checkers and my favorite Barrista. I’ve used my kids’ friends’ names and dead relatives. I put my mom and my aunt into almost every book and they love it. But there are soooo many names still to be decided.

THEN I discovered yes, The Internet! Turns out that finding names online can open up whole new avenues of Displacement Activity. For example...

On the Pagan Name Generator, My name becomes Devi Tiger Fairydust

In case I want to stop writing and become an evangelist, go here and I instantly become Reverend Royle La Carlson.

At the Fairy Name Generator, I am known as Columbine Goblinglitter. (did it HAVE to be litter?) Okey dokey.

And in the U.S. Name Generator, my Irish American name becomes Rachel Allison. Not bad and certainly better than Goblinglitter.

And just for fun, there’s the Prison Bitch Name Generator here And in the joint, I’m apparently known as Snaggle Tooth. Can you feel the magic???

But in the end, I’ve got to come up with faboo names for my people. Names that feel real to me. That seem to fit the character. Names that resonate with the reader enough that they’ll be remembered long after the book is finished and hopefully sitting on a keeper shelf... Think about it.

Rhett Butler, Roarke, Tucker Longstreet, Eve Dallas, Stephanie Plum, Scarlett O’Hara.

Great characters all, but what if they’d been named
Irving Butler, Ralph, John Shortroad, Dawn Houston, Jennifer Orange, Emerald O’Shaughnessy?

Not quite the same, are they?? So next time you read a great hero or heroine in your favorite book, take a moment and think about the poor writer who slaved for days to find just the right name.

What about Jeff? Have I used Jeff lately? Or Mike? Is Mike too boring? Maybe Michael. Or Miguel...sigh. HELP! Got any great names you’d like to share??? And hey, what’s YOUR Prison Bitch name???

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Animal in You and Me...

Posted by Christine

Years, ago, when I lived in East Hollywood, I had a dear friend named Vilma who lived just across the courtyard from me. Vilma had this dog. I loved this dog. She was a miniature Dachshund and her name was Violet. What a gal, that Violet. She had the most intelligent big brown eyes and when she was your friend, well, she’d stick by your side no matter what.

Vilma, Violet and I had many amazing adventures out there in Hollywood. I won’t go into them here as I eventually have another point to make with this blog—I hope—but I will just say that Violet was not only wonderful, she pretty much ran the world in which she lived, inspiring my sister, Boo, (who also lived in our courtyard apartment complex at that time) to remark, “When I die I want to come back as Vilma’s dog.”

I remember thinking back then that it wouldn’t be bad at all to be Violet, smart and gorgeous and delicate and aristocratic with those eyes to die for…

But no. In the end, my real animal affinity is…okay. The picture gives me away, right?

I’m a raccoon.

In my heart, deep down where I live in my fantasies and my own private nature, I’m a raccoon. Somehow, I am always drawn to collect raccoon figurines. I have pewter ones and china ones, pottery ones and ones carved out of wood and bone and stone.

Way back when I studied acting in college, long before I knew Vilma and Violet, it was the raccoon I chose to “be” during our Animal Image exercises.

I love that raccoons are smart and sweet and damned resilient. I love their bandit eye markings. I love how, when they want to get in your stuff, almost nothing can stop them. I love that my dad, the mighty hunter, who lives in the Sierras, can never bear to shoot one, no matter how often the clever little buggers get into his carefully bungee-secured garbage cans. I love how they never do anything that they don’t want to do.

So that’s the question for today. If you were an animal, which one would you be?

And today’s the day, folks. Christie’s latest, Must Love Mistletoe, is on the stands. Don’t forget to pick up your copy. And remember, post a comment any time this week and you’re eligible to win a great book from Christie’s backlist!

Monday, November 27, 2006

American Title Update -- And Speaking of Contests...

Posted by Kate

The American Title III Second Round of voting is over and two finalists have been eliminated. But you know the drill: if I told you who they were, I’d have to kill you.

Sorry, but rules are rules! (Don’t you just hate hearing that?)

And somebody said that you're not supposed to try and bribe me for the results! I don't get that! Whoever thought up that stupid rule is the one who should be voted off the island. Just my opinion.

But while we wait to hear the American Title contest results, I want to mention that to celebrate her latest book, "Must Love Mistletoe," Christie's giving away free books!! Just leave a comment anytime this week and you're eligible to win!!

Now that's the kind of contest I can get behind!

I've spent the last year entering contests. I don't recommend this route for everyone, but I realized last year that the best way for me to get my work and my name out there was through contests. So I began to look around for the ones that might be right for me and I started entering them. I had three full manuscripts and one partial that I began to send out.

For some reason, the planets were aligned and the universe was paying attention to me, because I was lucky enough to be a finalist and a winner in many of the contests I entered. It was exciting and also nervewracking--and expensive! Most contests cost anywhere from $15 to $50 and when you're entering two or three manuscripts in each contest and you're entering one or two contests each month, it gets a little crazy. And then there's postage and return postage and supplies. It adds up. But money was no object. I was on a mission!

The mission culminated with RWA's 2006 Golden Heart contest. I decided to go for broke and enter all three completed manuscripts. This was definitely not cheap, by the way! The Golden Heart fee is $50.00 per entry. But lest we forget, I was on a mission, so I sent off the check and waited.

And incredibly, all three of my entries finaled. The day I received those three separate phone calls, I was thrilled, stunned, and yes, slightly embarrassed. I mean, wasn't I the little piggy, taking three finalist slots!

Then I saw that there was a triple Rita finalist and a number of double finalists in both the Golden Heart and the Rita, including our very own Maureen Child! I wasn't the only piggy! LOL

Yes, I won the Golden Heart! But really, the unexpected benefit of jumping into the contest circuit is that I've met so many great people along the way. The other nine American Title III finalists talk every day and it's great to have nine new friends who completely relate to what I'm going through. My fellow 2006 Golden Heart finalists still chat daily on an email loop we set up last March. One of them just had a baby, several are on holiday cruises, they're winning other contests and making great book deals and we all celebrate the good times and commisserate over the bad times. They live all over the world. It's very cool!

This year's Golden Heart entries are due next week and the Ritas will be due soon, too. If you've entered, I hope you enjoy the trip and are lucky enough to find new friendships along the way. No one else can relate to your life and your fears and your triumphs as much as a fellow writer can. Good luck!

Have you entered the Golden Heart this year? The Rita? Another contest you're excited about? Let us know so we can cheer you on!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Make a Comment...and Win FREE Books!


This week, in honor of my Christmas book, MUST LOVE MISTLETOE, hitting the shelves, I'll be giving away free books. All you have to do is make a comment sometime between now and next Friday. It doesn't have to be today, just sometime this week. Check in and say "hi" or answer one of our scintillating conversation starters.

On Friday, I'll randomly select and announce a commenter to win autographed copies of two of my backlist. You can give them as Christmas gifts--to someone else or to yourself!

In the meantime, I hope you'll pick up my new book next week when you're out doing your holiday shopping. I know I'll be at the mall, looking for inspiration when it comes to a gift for my father-in-law. Who is the most difficult person to buy for on your list? And if you have a great gift idea, please share!

Double-O Wow!

Posted by Christine

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And Speaking of the Holidays...

Posted by Christine

About Christie's latest:

Bailey Sullivan can't stand Christmas, even though her family's business is a store specializing in the perfect holiday. But now her hometown's chief supplier of rooftop Rudolphs and treetop angels is in danger of going under—it's up to Bailey to save the shop.

She has it all planned: She'll arrive on December 1 and be gone by Christmas. Plus there's always spiked eggnog to ease the pain.

But "Humbug" Bailey's not the only one home for the holidays. Finn Jacobson—legendary local bad boy-turned-Secret Service agent and Bailey's long-lost high-school sweetheart—is once again the boy next door. Only this time he's all grown up, and the sparks are flying faster and hotter than ever!

Bailey believes in true love about as much as she believes in Santa Claus. But as the holiday draws closer, she's starting to think about one thing she'd like to find under her tree . . .

Can we all say...deeelicious? And it's available Tuesday. But you can pre-order from Amazon now!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Bond + Bird

Our Thanksgiving almost always includes a movie. We pop the bird in the oven and then head off to while away some of the cooking time with the big screen instead of the small screen and football. Last year it was "Rent" which I loved but was a bit of a downer. This year I made the choice and decided on "Casino Royale" not because I was dying to see it, but because it played at a convenient time. I'm not a huge Bond fan and this new blond Bond...well, I wasn't sold.

Well, I was SO wrong! The movie, like all Bond movies, has over-the-top, non-stop action sequences. My brother and I were laughing at how much the guy could survive and still get up for more, yet my adrenaline was pumping. And then once the action slowed a little and we got to see a bit more into Bond's head...aaah. It got me.

This is a kind of "Bond Begins" story, and we see a less smooth, more reckless-for-the-sake-of-recklessness side of James. This is a guy with a few rough edges still, and it really worked for me. It worked for all of us, from my twenty-one-year old niece who has a whole new appreciation for older men, to my fourteen-year-old son who was wowed by the action sequences. So I highly recommend it if you're looking for a fun time at the movies.

It's long, though, and I was worried about my bird, at home alone in the oven with only two dogs for company. (I was also worried about the homemade cookies on the counter, as one dog was not ours and I wasn't sure how mannerly she was.) But while we were all Bond-ing happily at the multiplex, turkey roasted away and dogs kept their noses out of the baked goods.

So all in all, an entirely wonderful day, including the boys glued to the new Wii and our dip in the hot tub to end the evening. We're not shopping until later this morning, but I'm thinking I'd forego all that for another movie. It's been a long time since I had so much fun with popcorn.

Any movies you're planning to see this season? I still want to see "Deja Vu" and "Apocalypto" looks intriguing but scary (saw the trailer yesterday). Son 2 wants to see "Happy Feet."

P.S. Don't forget my new book, MUST LOVE MISTLETOE, will be out on Tuesday. Romantic Times gives it 4 1/2 stars and says, ""Ridgway delights yet again with this charming, witty tale of holiday romance. Not only are the characters sympathetic, intelligent and engaging, but the sexual tension between the main characters is played out with tremendous skill. The plot is well constructed and the characters' emotional responses are satisfyingly believable, both in dialogue and in action."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!! May this day be filled with fun and family--be it the family you were born with or the family you created yourself.

I have so much to be thankful for this year. My family--both kinds--my friends, my work, being settled, health, happiness. So many blessings.

May your day be filled with all the things you're thankful for. May the holiday season fill your home with laughter and the best memories possible.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


posted by Maureen

I was going to do a blog on thankfulness, but then I thought, hey. Let's do traditions instead. Why? I don't know...

The traditions in my family state that everyone will be on the 91 freeway tomorrow crawling to my mom's house. We used to go out the night before until the year it took us 4 hours to fight traffic. Now we sneak out early in the morning and head back early afternoon.

But in the few hours between, we have family time. The TV will be blasting every football game in the known universe. We'll laugh over the same stories, argue over the same points and carefully avoid the subject of politics!

We divide holiday hosting in my family. My sil takes Easter, I have Christmas (I called it first because I was the first to have kids who wanted to stay home with their toys) and mom gets Thanksgiving. Well, mom insists this is the last year for her, so I'm thinking sil is going to take this holiday next year. Fine by me. We'll take the 5 to her place in San Diego instead.

But some traditions remain the same. Mom has to make deviled eggs, because according to my dd, it wouldn't be the same without them. My brother has to have football on, because he's a coach and can't live without it. And I have to make a reindeer cake. I found the directions for it a Looooooonnnnggg time ago and the kids loved it. They fought over the 'antlers' and dipped fingers in the frosting. And now, the reindeer cake is as much a part of Thanksgiving as the turkey.

Traditions are important. They're the glue that keeps your family together. The filling between the cookies. They're what tells us we have history. We share memories no one else does.

So I'm wishing you a wonderful holiday with your families and asking....What's your favorite tradition???

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Most Terrible Thing Happened Yesterday...

Posted by Christine

It was in the morning. I’d had my shower and I was on my way through the dressing area in search of something loose and comfy to wear for my usual day of staring at a computer screen, arguing with imaginary people until blood pops out on my forehead….

And my wandering gaze just happened to fall on the dressing room scale. And yes, I know, you’re way ahead of me here.

I shouldn’t have done it. It was a stupid idea. Thoughtless. Wrong. But I did it anyway.

I weighed myself.

It was not a good moment. Seriously. Not.

I weighed myself and I let out a cry—one of abject misery. Of suffering. Of fury. Because. Hel-lo. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet. And being fat before the holidays even start…

So not my M.O.

But there you have it. I have extra pounds to shed. And I have a really scary feelin’ that it’s not happening. Not till after Thursday.

Or maybe not till after Christmas.

And then there are those totally wonderful New Years feasts a certain friend of mine is prone to offer. You know the ones. A table so beautifully decked out it brings a tear to the eye. Sparkling china, gleaming silver. Candles. Flowers. And the food…

Oh, the food. Lobster with drawn butter. Or maybe prime rib. Mounds of lovely, fluffy butter-and-heavy-cream laden potatoes. Fat, white rolls. With more butter.

Say it with me: Butter, butter, butter…

And then dessert.

Oh, I just can’t bear to describe dessert. It’s too painful. So I won’t.

And hey. I’m not even through Thanksgiving yet.

One thing I know, I’ll be eating the creamed onions. No matter what else I manage to deny myself, I won’t go that far. I love them. Nobody else does. But oh, I do. And I only make them once a year.

How ‘bout you? What is the one thing on your Thanksgiving table that you would never deny yourself, no matter how horrible the incident earlier with your bathroom scale?

And, whatever you do, don't forget to check out the American Title III hero and heroine descriptions for Kate!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Holiday Reading

I’m on deadline!!

I love saying that! Doing the work? Not so much! But I’m going to be quick today because I've got to get back to it.

I've been thinking about my favorite holiday reads since last week when Dianne Castell at the Brava Authors Blog brought up the subject, and I mentioned a few of mine in the comments section.

Do you think it’s telling that my favorite Christmas read is JD Robb’s “Holiday in Death?” Seriously, that’s the first one I came up with and since it’s about a really nasty serial killer, I’m wondering if that says something…weird…about me.

Well really, we all know I’m weird. But since I’m on deadline (oops, I said it again!) I don’t have time to think too deeply about it. Although I will say that since I live at the beach in sunny SoCal, I pretty much consider any story that takes place where there's snow a holiday read.

The good news is, we’re about to have a new favorite holiday read added to the list! Christie Ridgway’s Must Love Mistletoe comes out next week and I can’t wait to read it!!

Which books made it onto your Favorites List this year? Do you have a favorite holiday read you return to year after year?

Happy Thanksgiving to All!!

(Oh, and thanks so much for Voting for Kate!)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

And now, for Saturday....

Posted by Christine

Back by popular demand...

More Rusty

And even...Rusty wet!

And did I mention...Rusty pensive.

Oh, yes!

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Perfect Tee

Here at Deadline Diaries we have our beloved Fan Girl. Well, I’m your girl when it comes to fashion. I love clothes. I love shopping. I love the smell of Nordstrom (and have posited that perhaps it pumps something in the air akin to the super-oxygen that supposedly flows through the casino ducts in Las Vegas). I love the feel of clothes that have been de-wrinkled by the steamers at a department store.

But I’m no clothing snob. It doesn’t have to be designer. I think that comes from my mom who sewed a lot of my clothes when I was a kid. And she’s a bargain-hunter too, so I never thought something had to be expensive to be worth owning or wearing. So at any given moment (well, when I’m out of my sweats) you might find me in my skirt from Nordstrom, my shoes from Off Sacks Fifth Avenue, and my cute little jacket from GTM.

Do you have GTMs in your area? Word reached me via the Pilates class at the gym that GTM gets the clothes from Costco once they bring new merchandise in. And at GTM, it can get really, really inexp—okay, fine—cheap. Last summer I bought some really cute capris there as well as a darling cotton blazer, some running shoes, and a swimsuit (and Good God, who wants to pay full price for something so horrifying to wear?).

But GTMs exist at the mercy of Costco. So, the cute things in your size might be limited, or that size isn’t there at all. It’s one of those hit-or-miss places. Ah, but then there’s Target.

Over the years I recieved compliments here and there for pieces I picked up on occasion. But last summer I found the best-fitting cropped jeans and really cute tops and I started to look there more often and more closely. And now I’ve found the perfect fall tee!

I was breezing through looking for something to go with black jeans. Just a black T-shirt. Simple. And there was this plain shirt in many colors. Now, it feels a little like those leotards we use to wear as little girls for ballet class (okay, it’s very much like those leotards—it’s nylon and spandex, I just checked) and when I first lifted one up it looked long. Like below my butt, reaching to my thighs. I must have been in a hurry or willing to take a chance, because I brought it home anyway ($12.99) without trying it on. (Note to my Target: your dressing rooms suck. I think if I sneeze I’ll take the whole contraption down.)

At home, I put on black jeans and this long T-shirt, thinking, well, maybe with a belt? But I don’t look good in belts, because I’m short and I don’t need to halve my body that way, so I just pull the shirt down and found out…

You don’t stretch it down. You let it sort of cling around your hips and this material is so super it doesn’t look bunchy at the waist/love handles. As a matter of fact, it HIDES ANY UGLY LITTLE BULGES. Not that I have any. Not that I know what the horrid term Son 1 taught me, “muffin top,” even means. I DO NOT HAVE A MUFFIN TOP.

But if someone did, this T-shirt would totally make it unnoticeable.

I now have one in black, white, and pale green. Highly recommend. And if you do buy one, you know that I know it’s NOT BECAUSE OF ANY MUFFIN TOP issues.

Anyway, the horrid muffin top phenomenon would be a thing of the ugly past if fashion would dictate that the waistbands of our pants belong a few more inches toward our actual waists, thankyouverymuch.

Do you have a special place to find bargains? Don't keep it a secret!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Conspiracy Theory

Posted by Susan

I think my appliances are rebelling. I’ve mentioned that we bought a house about 2 months ago and it’s pretty fabulous. The previous owners did a great job taking care of things and they put in an amazing cook’s kitchen. Which could be part of the problem. I don’t cook. Okay, I’ll prepare dinner, but it’s not anything fancy and my idea of baking is to break apart those prepared cookie dough thingies and put them on a baking pan!

I’ve decided all the appliances really miss the previous owner, they’re bitter about my lack of culinary skill and they’re taking it out on me. For example…the refrigerator. It snorts at me. It’s a real snort. Plus, it makes a weird hydraulic noise and I’ve checked the manual…there’s nothing hydraulic inside. The dryer likes to mess with my mind. I’ll set it on “wrinkle prevent” which means when it’s done, it continues running on a low heat until I can get down to the laundry room to pull out the clothes. It also buzzes to let me know it’s done drying and I can get my clothes anytime. But then it gets impatient and crabby.

I can hear the dryer from my office and I swear, it shuts off. While it should be on the wrinkle prevent cycle, it just shuts off. Then when I go downstairs and open the door, it starts up again. If I leave, it stops!

But the worst one of the bunch is the dishwasher. When we moved in I had dish drawers. Two high-tech drawers instead of a regular dishwasher. Very fancy. They were so sad about losing their previous owner that they broke down on me twice in less than three weeks, so I replaced them. Now I have a new dishwasher and I think it’s trying to impress the other appliances and fit in by making me crazy.

When I first got the new dishwasher, the wash cycle was 109 minutes. Great. Then it was 111, then 109, then 110. I could accept that. Now it’s suddenly 126 minutes. Then 125. I swear, eventually it will be running all the time and I’ll be forced to stop it mid-cycle and toss in dishes and glasses.

I’m thinking I’m going to call a meeting and try to state my case to the appliances and hope they’ll accept me. The microwave seems happy with me, as does the cook top, but that oven!!

Speaking of stating one’s case, have you voted for Kate yet? You really, really need to. The button is right there. Just over a couple of inches. Seriously, click on it. Couldn’t be easier!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's Thanxmas!

posted by Maureen

Have you noticed?? It’s the newest holiday! A mixture of Thanksgiving and Christmas! Next time you’re wandering through the mall or Target or Walmart, check it out. There’s Santa, propped up next to a turkey platter. Oh, and the Christmas lights and Hannukah stars alongside plastic Horns of Plenty. Sniffle. It’s just so special.

Basically, it seems to me like the merchants of the world are in such a big rush to get the annual spending rolling along that they’ve created a new holiday. Thanxmas. This way, you can shop for both at the same time. Or, like me, you can have both of them sneak up on you at once. Also a time saver.

The worst part of this? I didn’t even NOTICE the holidays headed my way! I was talking to Susan yesterday and we were planning out our schedules for the next few weeks when she broke it to me that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!! I didn’t even believe her. I ran back to check the calendar and didn’t believe IT. Yet there it was. Staring at me.

Thanksgiving in one week and Christmas hot on its heels! How did this happen? How did I not notice the year was ending??? But I know how. I’ve been busy, okay? I’ve written six books this year and to do that, you’ve got to spend most of your time staring at the computer. Now that I know it’s holiday time though, I’m going to take a breath and enjoy.

But, I’m taking ‘em one at a time. Thanksgiving Day will find us out at my mom’s. Now, mom’s been doing Thanksgiving dinner for, well...ever. She loves it. Loves the mess. Loves the turkey cooking. Loves having everyone over. And hey, I don’t have to cook a turkey. Big plus. The only problem being (and I know mom’s reading this, hi mom!), that mom’s house is WAY smaller than it used to be!

When my dad died four years ago, mom sold their house and bought a cute little condo. It’s a chick nest, is what it is. Gorgeous, cozy, just right for her. But when we’re all inside, cozy doesn’t even cover it! We’ve got to take turns breathing! So this year, I figure I’ll toss a blanket on her front lawn, sit outside where I can cut my turkey without slapping my brother off his chair, and give thanks that the family is together.

Wherever we are.

What about you guys? Thanxmas plans?? And oh yeah, don't forget to VOTE FOR KATE!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tag, I'm it!

Posted by Christine

Well, okay. My turn. Five things about moi....

1. I took a man and a cat and drove across America in a Volkswagen Bug seeking stardom in the Big Apple. The man was my first husband. The cat was named Alice. She was a very strange cat. And after that trip, believe me, stranger still. We settled in Brooklyn to start our climb to the top. It was…a fine life experience. I’ll say that much for it. My big moment in the Big Apple? I starred in The Importance of Being Earnest in a church in Flatbush. I played Gwendolyn and got to say my favorite all-time line from a play. “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” Thank you, Oscar Wilde.

2. My maiden name is Smith. Chris Smith. That’s the first real me. My dad’s name? Tom. My mom tells a funny story about checking into a hotel right after they were married under the names Mr. and Mrs. Tom Smith. The clerk looked at them like, Oh right. Sure you are. And then there was my first really cool doll that wasn’t a baby doll. She was a big doll, at least two feet with silky brown hair and gorgeous pink skin and big blue eyes with long lashes. I was about two. My mom said, “A doll like this needs a special, special name.”

And I said. “Ummm…Smith.” So that was my gorgeous doll’s name: Smith. At least through kindergarten, I thought Smith was a truly glamorous name. And I still love it, to tell the truth. It’s one of those names where you’re always going to find other people who have the same name as you. And I like that. I do.

3. I met my husband at a Parents Without Partners discussion group. He had a son and so did I. But I never dreamed we might hook up. I thought he despised me. He was so serious—except when he was funny. Really funny, a wit sharp enough to cut. Deep. He talked about things like personal responsibility and how we can’t change other people, only ourselves and if our marriages didn’t work, blaming the spouse was not going to make our next relationship any better. He would level those ice-blue eyes on me and I would think, okay, well, yeah. I guess I could use a little personal growth. Or maybe a lot. But this a**hole. Him I could just kill. And then, one evening, he called me and…asked me out. We went to dinner and walked down by the Sacramento River. We talked until dawn. Shared our first kiss. I found out how sweet and tender he could be. How he listened. And then there were those really muscular arms and big shoulders…
I knew he was the love of my life that night. I was right.

4. I was once a really good coffee shop waitress. Yes, all right. It’s something of a cliché, the struggling actress spending her lunch hour in duty shoes. That was me. I lived the classic waitress/actress cliché. I worked at the Riss Restaurant (among other fast-paced venues) on the Upper East Side and I could deal ‘em off the arm with the best of them. It’s one tough job, waitressing. You’ve got to be fast and efficient and smart and know how to prioritize. And smile while you do it, if you want to make good tips. When I started making a living as a writer, I hung up my duty shoes for good. But I still have those dreams where I’m workin’ the lunch rush and I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing, and can’t keep up. It’s almost as bad as the dreams where I’m back in college and it’s finals week and I suddenly realize I’ve got a class I’ve never bothered to attend… EEEK!

5. I was a crystal runner. Twice, I drove cross-country from LA to Arkansas and back in a Chrysler New Yorker name Hal. It was a while ago. I would go with my friend, Deborah Lou. She owned the New Yorker and had named it Hal because it was one of those talking cars. You know, “Your door is open.” And “Please fasten your seatbelt.” Sounded just like a certain computer named Hal in a very old movie, 2001, A SPACE ODYSSEY. This was back when quartz crystals were all the rage for healing and channeling energy. Deborah Lou would get them from the crystal mines in Arkansas and bring them back to LA to sell to…well, I forget exactly who she sold them to. But those trips were really fun.

And I know that Kate (Did mention Vote For Kate? Well I am now: Vote For Kate.) has put off her five things until next week. But I figure this tagging thing is viral, right? We should spread it around. So I’m tagging my fellow OK Outlaw, Blaze author Jill Monroe, because I get a real kick out of her blog, Off the Keyboard.

And I’m also tagging you. Won't you please post at least one interesting thing about you in comments? Because you are so the best!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Kate Makes It To Round Two of American Title Contest!!

I've got happy dancing feet! I made it to Round Two!! Woo hoo!!

And now I'm shamelessely begging you to vote for me again!

The easiest way to vote is to click on the button over there on the sidebard, the one that says "Vote For Kate!!!" Yes, that button! Click on it, and it takes you to an email form that's all filled out and ready to go. Just hit “SEND,” and that's it! Go ahead, I'll wait right here! *g*

Your vote this month will determine the “Best Description of the Hero and Heroine.” Here's my entry...

Strait-laced librarian Gracie Sinclair’s fantasies are working overtime ever since she stumbled on a rare edition of the Kama Sutra. Now she wishes, just once, she’d meet a man who enjoys wild s-e-x, unlike ex-boyfriend Hubert. Sadly, wild men aren’t running loose in the library, so Gracie’s girlfriends recommend an online dating service. It’s not that she’s desperate, but it sounds like fun, so Gracie joins, sending her application and photograph into cyberspace. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Secret agent Cane Winslow has emerged from deep cover to salvage a mission that’s suddenly in jeopardy after a photograph of his secret operative’s twin sister appears on a monitored website. Cane is desperate to get Gracie Sinclair under cover before the enemy finds her, but once he meets her, Cane’s got to remind himself he’s a tough, commitment-phobic career operative and not the wild man of Gracie’s dreams.

So...will the judges hate my twins-separated-at-birth plotline? Will they be enraptured by my Librarian-Bodyguard scenario? Will Cane and Gracie live happily ever after? Will I make it to Round Three? It's up to you!! Be sure to vote, and tell all your friends to vote, too!!

To read all the entries, go to


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Susan's First Silhouette Desire is a HIT!!!

Posted by Fan Girl

The Substitute Millionaire is available now and it's a hit!! That's right, Susan Mallery's first Silhouette Desire debuted at #2 on the Waldenbooks Bestseller list!! Woohoo, Susan!!!

Fan Girl is trying to calm down but how can she when she's holding this hot little book in her very own hands?? Fan Girl just re-read the first chapter and she's laughing out loud at the fabulous dialogue between the hero and heroine! This book is sexy and funny and--whew! You're gonna love it!

For a taste of what's inside, here's the back cover copy...

Successful businessman Ryan Bennett had agreed to masquerade as his wealthy cousin for a blind date.

But from the moment Ryan saw Julie Nelson to the moment he should have said good-night, he was captivated and couldn't resist an invitation to share her bed. In the hazy afterglow of their heated lovemaking, Ryan confessed his true identity, claiming the passion between them was real despite his deception, but Julie wasn't buying it. Obviously she considered him the enemy.

Except now she was having the enemy's baby….

Oh, yes!!! Fan Girl is beside herself with excitement and needs to sit down. But why are you still here, reading Fan Girl's words when you should be rushing right out to buy Susan's fabulous book?? You'll love it!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Making Hunk Day About Even More...

Posted by Christine

...Not that there's a thing wrong with it as it is. ;)


A couple of weeks ago we were talking about “What makes a hunk work—or not—for you?”

So that’s the question. Note hunk. Does he work for you? Why—or why not?

Oh, and PS—Madame Maureenie has a terrific interview up at a Slice of Orange. In case you haven’t checked it out, click the link and enjoy!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Christie's It!

Five “fun and interesting” (you be the real judge) about me:

1. Family lore had it that we were related to the famous “Hoosier Poet” James Whitcomb Riley (pictured). Over many get togethers and holiday meals this piece of ancestral trivia was trotted out and he was credited with conferring upon me my interest in writing. Then, my aunt became interested in genealogy and to our dismay discovered we are not related to Riley. However, we are descended from a man registered with the first name of “Punkin.”

2. I knew my husband and I were made for each other when we discovered that both of our mothers had refinished the family pianos in antique green. Don’t you think we have to be the only couple in the universe with green pianos in the family? Lucky for us, we have our very own (non-green) piano and so are able to graciously turn down the offer of taking over one of theirs at some future date.

3. My maiden name consists of three simple letters, but it was the bane of my growing-up years. Though many friends have kept their own surnames when they married, or at least use them as a middle name, I was ecstatic to wave mine buh-bye for good (sorry, Dad). But you can’t know the pain of sitting through years of roll being called, knowing that there’ll be the pause, the squint, the mangled pronunciation and then the surprise when the short caucasian girl answered “here,” to however they decided to say “Yeo.” Yup. That is my maiden name. It’s Welsh. It’s weird. Of course, my mother didn’t have a say in taking on her husband’s name (choosing not to wasn’t done in her time), but I have to admit she was probably happy to become a Yeo after spending her childhood with the last name of…Beaver.

4. One of my very best friends from high school is the current governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm. She was just re-elected Tuesday night! I visited her at the “Governor’s Summer Residence” on Mackinac Island and now hope for a repeat. Sophomore year, I was assigned “New Girl,” and asked to show her around on the first day of school. As she was blonde and incredibly beautiful I should have hated her on sight. Not so! She was warm and fun and smart and hasn’t changed in any of that over the years.

5. I’m on pins and needles about Kate’s Monday announcement regarding the Amercan Title II contest. (Does that count as fun and interesting about me?) Well, anyway, I am. So I’m stretching across the weekend and tagging Kate. You’re it! Tell us five things fast and then all about the contest.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Because I was tagged...

Posted by Susan

Okay—per Maureen’s last post, I’m tagged. Five interesting or funny things about myself… Here goes:

I’ve moved 8 times in the past ten years. From Texas to Orange County, Orange County to South Bay, South Bay to Eastern Washington State, Eastern Washington to Seattle, Seattle to Los Angeles, three times in Los Angeles (don’t ask) then back to Seattle. That’s 8, right? Or maybe nine. I’m darned good at the whole packing/moving/unpacking thing. I even have a master list for my change of addresses. With luck, I’m not moving again for a loooong time, but if anyone needs advice on the subject, e-mail me!

I met my husband on-line. Seriously. I have witnesses. I was showing a couple of friends the wonders of chat rooms and the DH sent me an instant message. He seemed normal which, after two whole weeks experiencing chat rooms, was thrilling. We moved to the phone the next day, talked for a week, met the following weekend and the rest is history. We’ve been together ten years now.

Apparently my cat and dog have become brother and sister. Despite a shaky start to their relationship, Jake and Nikki have become family to each other. I never guessed, what with all the chasing and hissing going on around here. But recently I had to take both of them to the vet. I had Nikki on a leash, like a real dog, and Jake was in his carrier. While we were waiting in the examination room, I put Nikki up on the table, figuring she would want to look around. (For those of you new here, Nikki, possibly the world’s cutest dog, is all of five pounds.) Jake’s carrier was open. She walked in, curled up next to him and closed her eyes. Jake rested his head on her and started to purr. It was an amazing moment and I really wish I’d had my camera!

I went to a Tom Jones concert. It was about 12 years ago, in Houston and it was a fabulous night. I knew who he was, of course, but had missed his climb to fame in the 60’s or 70’s. Whenever it was. I only got the tickets to support a charity and had no plans to actually go, but then I did and it was amazing. The whole arena was filled with “women of a certain” age. There were almost no men there. Tom sang his heart out and I was surprised he was so good. Then, about half way through, the panty-throwing started. Now these were new panties and most of them were much, much smaller than the women doing the throwing. But it was terrific. They loved it, he loved and by the end of the concert, he was literally ankle deep in panties. I have no idea how he kept from slipping on all that nylon. It was also the first time I heard the song “Walking in Memphis” which I deeply love.

I have a thing for leather. No, not in nasty way—ick. But in clothing. Tacky, gaudy leather. Lace-up and fringe. Dresses, pants, jackets. Left on my own with a healthy limit on a credit and having just lost 5 pounds from having the flu, I could do some serious damage in a leather store. I’ve been literally dragged out of stores by friends carefully explaining that no, I really don’t have a place to wear a turquoise and red mini skirt with a matching fringe and rhinestone jacket.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tag! You're It!

posted by Maureen

Well, I had this great picture of Tigers playing tag, but Blogger won't let me load it. So I'll try for it later! Meanwhile, back to the blog...

Okay, I got tagged by Dana Diamond a week or so ago and I’m just now paying up! The object of this little exercise is, someone tags you and you have to come up with 5 interesting or funny facts about yourself.

Not as easy as you might think...

1. Cary Grant called me ‘Darling’. Yes, my all time favorite movie star actually spoke to me when I was a kid. At Disneyland. My friends and I were there, heard a sales clerk talking about him and I set off on a HUNT. I did laps around Disneyland until I finally tracked Cary down by the Jungle Safari ride. He was with his daughter and his bodyguards and largely being ignored by a crowd who apparently didn’t notice the STAR in their midst. I stopped about ten feet from him and shouted, “Mr. Grant?” and asked for an autograph of all things. And he said, “I’m sorry Darling. This isn’t a good time.” He was gray haired and long past his prime and still one of the most sexy men in the known universe. Of course, as soon as he spoke, he was ENGULFED by a crowd of people. So I probably ruined his day at Disneyland even though he MADE mine!

2. I saw my dog’s ghost A couple of weeks after my darling Golden Retriever Abbey died suddenly, I saw her again. She was sitting right beside me, just as she always did and for a minute, I almost forgot the pain of losing her.

3. My daughter and I got drunk and burned Christmas dinner. That sounds really bad, doesn’t it? A couple of years ago, I was making Lasagna for Christmas dinner. It should have turned out great. My Sicilian mother in law’s sauce recipe alone made it worthwhile. Then Sarah and I started drinking wine. We had a great time until we checked on the Lasagna and found tomato sauce flavored crackers. And the DH got my daughter and I laughing hysterically on video tape! Oh, and we had sandwiches for Christmas dinner!

4. I was once surrounded by hunting dogs. Yes, went to the mountains with the DH. We scaled what felt like Mt. Everest and when we reached the top, I was so proud. Until I saw a group of people walking toward us and the DH told me “they took the road”. Uh-huh, thanks, babe. And later, while looking for a little girl’s room out in the Great Outdoors—six hunting dogs showed up out of nowhere at a very inconvenient moment and fought me for space! Needless to say, I won. And, also needless to say, that was my last foray into the Great Outdoors.

5. I crashed the roof of my car. Yep, that’s right. My VW bug had dents all over its poor body. Then my dad noted that the only place that hadn’t been touched was the roof. You guessed it. Two days later, I drove the car into the DH’s shop, wrapped the rope handle for the giant door around the front bumper and brought the gazillion pound door down on the roof. My dad learned to not challenge me in any way!

Now, I’m tagging my other DDer’s. That’s right, girls. I want to see blogs from you all, with your best 5! And everyone else...tell me what you’ve got! Trust me, it’s not as embarrassing as the hunting dog story!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Me and My Big, Fat TV...

Posted by Christine

May I just begin by saying, it’s all Susan’s fault. Yes. Our Susan. Fabulous Susan. With the amazing skin and the equally uncanny ability to write way more excellent books in any given time period than should be humanly possible…

Our sweet Susan. She’s the one. She got me started. She told me all about her big-screen TV.

It was years ago. Six, seven, at least. Probably more. During an innocent phone convo, Susan just happened to mention that she and her DH had a big-screen TV. In fact, they had a room they used just for watching movies. They watched…DVDs. At the time, we had two VCRS in our house, but no DVD players. The whole idea of watching a DVD just seemed so futuristic and fantastical. Yes, it’s amazing, isn’t it? How fast technology changes these days.

Now we have TIVO and DVRs. Everything’s digital and, even more wonderful, user-friendly. Wow.

Anyway, back then, long before the dawn of time, Susan told me about her big-screen TV. And I went in my living room and saw the wood-veneer 24-incher that was older than the J and thought, “Hmm. Are there possibilities I haven’t been considering here?”

A week later, Hunky Mensa Man and I went to one of those big electronic warehouse stores. We saw our first 65-inch television. It was love. For both of us.

We brought that baby home. We kicked the old 24-incher to the curb. Since then, we’ve been watching our movies mostly at home, DVDs we order from Netflix or find browsing at the local video store. The ones we love, we buy. Our movie library is growing.

These days, I must confess, I mostly wait until a movie comes to video to watch it. I hardly ever go to movie theaters anymore. My friends try to remind of the whole “community experience” feeling of watching a film in a movie theater. Oh, hello. I’m sorry. Mostly, I find that movie theaters are good places to catch a cold. I mean, why is it that people with upper respiratory ailments just have to go to the theater where they can hack and cough on everyone else? And why is it that so many people in theaters insist on talking when the rest of us are trying to watch the movie? What is that about?

Uh-uh. I’m home, thank you. In front of my giant-sized TV, comfy in an old pair of sweats, with a big bowl of popcorn I popped up myself. I’m sure this is more proof of the death of civilization as we have known it. But hey. I’m lovin’ it while it lasts.

And you? Do you still go to the movies? Do you love it, still? Why? I need more reasons to get out of my sweats and off my comfy couch. And you know, if you’re like me and you love watching your movies at home, say so. I also like to be right. I like that a lot.


Oh, and if you haven’t already, don’t forget to vote!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Catching Up with Kate

Monday’s my day to blog here at Deadline Diaries and after two days off, I feel like talking a lot. In fact, lately I can't seem to settle on one specific topic to blog about, so I've made a list of possibilities and I'm hoping you'll help me decide.

1. Romantic comedies -- Everyone was talking about scary movies last week, but I'm not a scary movie fan. I like romantic comedies. Goofy, sappy, I love them all. Here are a few of my faves: The Philadelphia Story, Pretty Woman, Bull Durham, Moonstruck, America’s Sweethearts, Legally Blonde, Clueless, What A Girl Wants, Grease, Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill.

2. American Title contest results -- The results are in and if I told you what they were, I’d have to kill you. Did The Kama Sutra Chronicles make it to the next round? Come back next Monday and I’ll reveal the answer. Meanwhile, thanks so much for your support and your votes. I really appreciate it!

3. Migraine headaches -- Really, I should be writing a migraine blog to help other sufferers because I’ve been dealing with these for too many years. I do have a really good drug that works for me and plenty of advice for anyone who wants to know.

4. Nora’s latest trilogy -- I thought I’d hate it. I mean, Vampires? Come on! But I’m absolutely hooked and I was up until midnight last night, trying to finish book three. At the last minute, I decided to stop, just so I can savor the last two chapters. But oh, my God, how does she do it? She is the goddess.

5. The online class I’m taking -- I absolutely love this class, given by Louise Knott Ahern, possibly the world’s best teacher—or shall I say Drill Sergeant, because after all, the class title is PR Boot Camp. Talk about insecurities! When I did my “Goals” homework--yeah, she gives homework! Isn’t she harsh?? LOL--I thought, Goals? Duh, a book deal! But then I read the published authors' goals and saw that they ran more along the lines of "Hitting the USA Today Bestseller list," "Higher Sell-throughs," "Strong Pre-Orders." Huh? You see my problem. It’s like that old Peanuts cartoon, where Charlie Brown and Schroeder are staring at the clouds and Schroeder says “Look, Charlie Brown, that cloud over there looks like Beethoven composing his Ninth Symphony as the battalion of soldiers rides into the Valley of Death.” And Charlie Brown says, “Oh, I see a duckie.” That’s me. I see a duckie. Sell-through? I’m not even sure what that means.

6. Favorite cocktail recipes -- My current favorite is the gimlet. So simple, so refreshing, it’s 2/3 vodka and 1/3 Rose’s lime juice, with an extra squeeze of lime and lots of ice, shaken not stirred. Tart, like me!

7. Favorite romance euphemisms -- No, it’s not manroot, but that’s a good one. My favorite is mossy grotto. Yeah. Paints a picture, right? I think I first heard that one from Maureen.

So.....What are your favorite euphemisms? Cocktail recipes? Romantic comedies? Sell-through numbers?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hooray for Saturday!

Posted by Christine

Friday, November 03, 2006

The California Report: Autumn

Posted by Christie

Gap-toothed jack-o-lanterns still sit, grinning, at the bottom of my front porch steps, but I’ve taken out my vintage John Alden and Priscilla figurines. I’m the family’s Official Thanksgiving Hostess, so I’m making my lists in preparation. However, I’ve already had my quintessential California autumn experience.

Over the weekend I attended a two-day interscholastic surf competition. My friend from South Carolina thought I was kidding when I said Son 2 is on his school’s surf team. It’s no joke. He competed in the body board and long board categories for the first time last Saturday. The weather was incredible. 75+ degrees on the sand, water temp, 67.

Now, I’ve watched plenty of surfing, but this was my first competition. Each school had a tent with tables inside loaded with food and drinks. The federation has its own tents for judges and a PA system to broadcast announcements and results as well as to play music across the long stretch of sand they’d reserved. The song selections were everything from rap to rock and no one seemed concerned about the sometimes-questionable lyrics, but me. This is a laid back kind of crowd.

Competition occurred in 15-minute heats with up to six surfers on the waves. Judges awarded points to the competitors based on their two best rides. But I learned more about the surfing culture the hours I was there. Farther down the beach was the general surfing area and let me tell you—the girls are braver than the men out there. 67 degrees is pretty darn cold and most of the young women on the waves were in bikinis instead of wetsuits! Surfer Guy explained that surfer girls aren’t out on the water just to show off their moves. Those that were in wetsuits wore their hair loose and long…which seemed anti-athletic but awfully Ariel. Each one of them a mermaid of the Pacific.

On the second day I was strolling beside Son 2 toward our car. He’d just been shut out of the semi-finals, but he was smiling. Unlike summer, only the top quarter-inch of sand was warm and cool grains sifted through my Croc sandals, even though the sun was hot on my bare shoulders. We walked between the dozen beach volleyball courts where a Halloween tournament was in play. A young woman dressed in a mini-poodle skirt chased after a ball, almost plowing into a guy player dressed in janitor overalls.

Son 2 looked up, his smile going wider. “It’s been a good day, huh?”

Yeah, a very good, very California autumn day.

Have you had your quintessential autumn experience yet? Maybe it was just a smell or a shift in the light. I’d love to hear about it!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tell me what you know....

Posted by Susan

The world is filled with experts and I find that fascinating. We are all experts of our small corner of the world. The things we know dazzle the uninitiated. With the right press release and set of circumstances, you could get a call from CNN right now.

I learned all this in a fabulous PR class I’m taking. The instructor talks about recognizing our expertise and using it to our PR advantage. But it goes beyond that. Experts are everywhere.

Last week our cat’s vet did 10 minutes on thyroid trouble in cats. Yesterday, Janet, our drapery lady, gave me a brief but inspiring explanation of patters, scale and placement in a room. Bruce, our landscaping professional, knows the name of every single plant in our yard…including the ones I recently killed. The DH keeps describing the acceleration of my car as “continuous acceleration, like a jet.” I had to gently explain that not everyone knows how a jet accelerates and, unfortunately for him, most of us don’t care.

Experts are everywhere. For a writer an expert provides that one little detail that provides the story with authenticity.

As writers, we become our own experts. We store up details and information to be used later. Years ago I walked through the Las Vegas Venetian hotel lobby at 5 in the morning. It’s probably one of the few hours it’s relatively empty. My footsteps were impossibly loud and, due to the odd shape of the ceiling, the echo sounded false and eerie. That noise appears in my current work-in-progress, as my heroine explores a palace for the first time.

You are an expert on a number of topics, cheerfully provided to you by the life you’ve lived. So tell me…what are your expert secrets? What do you know that would surprise us?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


THANK YOU, BLOGGER! posted by Maureen

Okay, day after Halloween, had to talk about scary movies. And have to admit, I’m a big chicken when it comes to being scared. I love to read suspense, mysteries, but seeing them on the screen creeps me out faster than anything!

And yet...when I was a kid, I saw an old movie on TV that both fascinated and terrified me. THE UNINVITED, a black and white movie (always scarier for some reason, than color), was about a ghost haunting a young woman who lived in this amazing house on a rocky cliff in England. Of course, there was a love story and a mystery and ooh. A GOOD ghost trying to defend our heroine from the BAD ghost. No blood, no gore and it still gives me chills. I dreamed about it for weeks.

By the time I was a teenager, I figured I could handle scary movies. Could I have been more wrong? My little brother and I watched PSYCHO one night when our folks were out to dinner. Mom and dad came home and every light was on, doors were locked and chained and Eddie and I were armed with his two best Louisville sluggers. Our parents practically had to show ID to get us to open the doors.

Later, my dh hounded me into going to see ALIEN, by telling me it was no big deal. I’d survived childbirth, hadn’t I?? Oh, big mistake again. When that alien wormy thing popped out of the guy’s chest, I ran for the lobby. And sat there for a half hour. Made friends with the ushers, helped out at the candy counter and only went back in after they told me who else in the cast died, so I could relax.

And then the ds insisted his dad, sister and I go with him to see THE BLAIR WITCH. He’d already seen it and swore it was great. The best movie ever. So we went. How many times can I say BIG mistake? But this time I wasn’t scared. The jerking camera sort of made me seasick, the whispering had our daughter asking “what’d they say?” and at the big Ta-Da ending, the dh laughed out loud. Our son was seriously disgusted with all of us and come to think of it, hasn’t gone to a movie with us since.

So, is there a movie that really creeped you out? Do you watch it anyway? And yes, you really can watch a movie through your fingers.