Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DRIVING MR. DEAD is now available from Audible.com

My new novella, DRIVING MR. DEAD, is now available as audio exclusive at Audible.com

To order, click here . You can only find it at Audible!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Driving Mr. Dead will be available on TUESDAY!

My new novella, DRIVING MR. DEAD, will be available from Audible starting Dec. 27. That's TUESDAY!! The eBook version will be available from Pocket on Jan. 31.

The synopsis is below.


After failing as a magician's assistant, a photographer, and most recently, a bride, Miranda Puckett takes a position as a driver for Beeline, Half-Moon Hollow's premiere vampire concierge service.

Miranda's assignment? Driving Collin Sutherland, the world's most fastidious vampire from Washington to Kentucky, so he can deliver a mysterious black case to Council official Ophelia Lambert.

Collin, a paranoid, aristocratic vampire with a debilitating fear of flying, refuses to let the case out of his sight. Miranda needs this time on the road to decide whether to permanently cut her ties with the fiance that had an "emotional affair" with a childhood pal, but Collin’s neatnik tendencies are driving her around the bend. The man acts as if leaving a fast food wrapped on the passenger seat is reason for a full-on CDC de-contamination scrub-down of the car. All she can do is promise to stop intentionally doing the things that make his stiff upper lip twitch with irritation.

As more and more mishaps occur on the road trip from hell, Miranda and Collin work together to meet his delivery deadline. Hotel rooms are destroyed. Beloved cars are defiled. And somewhere along the line, client-driver hostilities become snarky flirtation.

Will Collin and Miranda make it to the Hollow in one piece? And if they do, will Miranda leave old, safe relationships behind for something new and well, just plain weird?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I shouldn't have encouraged them to speak

My children are ruthless.

Darcy, 7, and Carter, 3, burned David and I twice today in a thoroughly humiliating fashion.

Exhibit A: This morning, we took the kids to Steak-n-Shake for breakfast. I told Darcy that I used to come that very restaurant when I was in high school. She pointed to the original Steak-n-Shake pictures from 1937 and asked, "You mean back when those pictures were taken?"


While David nearly choked on his coffee, Darcy patted my shoulder and said, "Don't worry, Mom. You're still cool, even if you're old."

David wasn't laughing for long.

Since he wears closed toe shoes all of the time, David is usually our, "What does this nail polish color REALLY look like?" guinea pig. His silvery pedicure was getting strange looks in the gym locker room, so I gave him a more subtle champagne polish with shimmery gold glitter. I was just finishing up with his toes, when Carter walked into the room. I asked if he wanted his toenails painted and he responded, "No thanks, I'm not a girl."

I have no one to blame but myself. Clearly, sense of humor is genetic.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Stockings are Hung by the Chimney With Care...

Christmas stockings are my favorite part of the annual Christmas gift exchange. My mom used to put together some fantastic stockings for the three of us kids. So when I Christmas shop for my husband and kids, I always leave healthy room in the budget for stocking shopping. The kids are always easy, some candy, some smaller toys, Pez dispensers and bath products that smell like candy, and they’re done.

Stockings for adults are more difficult, particularly if you’ve been married to that person for a while. David and I are coming up on our 20th Christmas together, and its official, I am relying on themes to direct me. I’ve done them all. The Movie Stocking, the Bizarre Candy Stocking, the Fishing Gear Stocking. And generally, they’ve been well-received. The Bacon Stocking did not go over as well as I’d hoped. (See below)

So here’s a list of ideas for that special someone, to help you out in these final days of Christmas shopping.

The Traditional – A cute Christmas ornament, their favorite candy, one of those frighteningly large candy canes, and your favorite Christmas DVD. A Christmas Story is a good choice. We always end up watching it way before the Christmas Eve mega-marathon.

The “Do You Remember Everything About Our First Date?” Stocking – Recreate your first date with the DVD of the first move you saw together, gift cards to the restaurant where you first had dinner, etc. Remember to include silly reminders like game tokens, movie candy, or a big fluffy Scrunchie like you used to rock in the old days.

I put a big red lollipop in my husband’s, because my mother-in-law scheduled a doctor’s appointment for then-16-year-old David right before he was supposed to pick me up. So our date began at his doctor’s office.
This is sort of a long-term-relationship only theme. If you’ve only dated a few weeks, this might come across as sort of psycho.

The "Athletic Support" Stocking – Did you know that Jelly Belly makes jelly beans for runner’s? It sounds like a racket, but they’re called Sports Beans, and they include extra caffeine , carbs and potassium that runners need mid-race. There are all kinds of weird little pick-me –ups you can gather for your favorite athlete’s stocking, gels, powders, beans and cubes. I also threw in some special supportive socks, a bright orange hat, and nipple shields. I know that sounds weird, but if you or your spouse have ever run a marathon, you know why.

The Bacon Stocking - Go to a site called ThinkGeek and go to the Zombies and Bacon section. Last year, David got bacon jelly beans, bacon lip balm, a bacon-and-chocolate bar, bacon soap and bacon salt- a substance that makes everything taste like bacon. He did not appreciate the bacon lip balm or jelly beans, for the record.

The “This is Our Last Christmas With Just the Two Of Us” Stocking – When I found out I was pregnant right before Christmas, I prepared a stocking that included Be Prepared- The Practical Handbook for Dads and The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook for Parenting because he finds that kind of thing amusing.

I also included a Baby’s First Christmas ornament for the next year, restaurant gift cards, and information on getting his fishing renewed because the coming spring and summer was going to be his last chance for a little while.

The Camping Stocking – It’s amazing how many little gadgets you can find for camping. Pocket knives, compasses, small first aid kits, all-in-one utility tools, and funny headlamp LEDs. I avoided the little rolls of quick-dissolving toilet paper, because that seemed mean.

The Kitchen Stocking – Again, go to any cookware web site and you can find dozens of little gifts for your favorite chef. Digital meat thermometers, weird little measuring tools , exotic spices (Spanish smoked paprika is our favorite), small cookbooks, and other gadgets like garlic presses and “no ouch” veggie peelers.

Like I said, we’ve been together for a while and David loves to cook, so there been several variations of this theme, including the Baking Stocking, the BBQ Stocking, and Candy Making Stocking.

The Chuck Norris Stocking – Yes, this can be accomplished. Books, t-shirts, post-it notes, coffee mugs- there are any number of small gifts celebrating America’s favorite badass. Google it. Of course, this Christmas stocking list only exists because Chuck Norris allows it.

A word about XXX-Rated Stockings. This is not an amateur move. This is for well established relationships only. And you should be VERY VERY careful before selecting each and every item you put in that stocking. If you don’t understand what it does or what it’s for, ask the clerk at the adult store, even if he creeps you out. Which he inevitably will. The bottom line, which is a bit of an unfortunate pun, is that you should not put any adult toy or prop in your loved one’s stocking unless you’re willing to use it. Otherwise, you’re sending a bit of a mixed message. Feelings will be hurt, parts can be chafed- it will spell Christmas disaster.

Just put some thought into what your partner really likes and have fun!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ho Ho Holy $#@%!

Christmas Eve has always been sort of special for David and me. As teenagers, we went on our first date on Dec. 22, 1992, and then, two days later, I informed him that I wasn’t dating anyone else- and neither was he. Clearly, this wasn’t enough of a warning sign for him because six years later, he proposed on Christmas Eve. In his truck, in the middle of a snowstorm, because his elaborate plan to take me to the Christmas-lit gazebo was ruined.

Cutest, frustrated new fiancee ever.

So, now, after having Christmas Eve dinner with his family, it’s our tradition to put the kids to bed, put out the presents from Santa- (Who is totally real, kids. We’re just doing his assembly-work.) and then open our presents to each other.
Because we’re movie buffs, who enjoy somewhat “off-beat” titles, these gifts inevitably include some DVD of a slightly raunchy comedy.

And because we’re sort of weird, we spend our Christmas Eves, watching inappropriate movies, over-eating and drinking cocktails that taste like snowcones. Most wonderful time of the year, indeed.

Our Off-Beat Christmas Eve tradition began years ago, with Saving Silverman. A truly bizarre romp in which two lovable losery-goofs – Steve Zahn and Jack Black- try to assure their friend’s happiness by separating him from his scary controlling girlfriend, Amanda Peet. Low-brow, cringe-worthy and utterly hilarious. What other movie can offer iconic drill sergeant R. Lee Ermey playing Jack Black’s unlikely boyfriend?

And it makes us feel sort of uncomfortable that we can now watch Jack Black and Amanda Peet in a kids’ movie, Gulliver’s Travels.

So what do you need to create this tradition in your home? Besides children who sleep through really loud laughter?

Start with snacks. Sausage balls, bacon pinwheels, and Chex Mix are ideal. But once you pick a flavor group (savory and crunchy vs. sweet and gooey) stick with it. Mixing too many types of snacks with fruity mixed drinks will not lead to a happy Christmas morning.

Add any of the following titles.

The Hangover – I will admit, I did not expect to like this movie. I do not like Bradley Cooper, sexiest man alive or not. (I mean, he might be sexy or not. I’m pretty sure he’s alive.) But I was able to ignore him for the hapless charm of the rest of the weirdos in this movie. I do, however, duck every time I open my trunk. Because you never know.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall – If you can survive Jason Siegel’s uber-awkward prolonged frontal nude scene in the opener, everything else is cake.

Hot Tub Time Machine – I’m not sure about the time-travel science behind this movie, but it involves John Cusack being adorable and confused, so I’m in. Hide the forks from your angry girlfriend before watching.

Friends with Benefits- Funny, great chemistry between the actors, lots of well-choreographed sex scenes. Occasionally, it falls victim to the very clich├ęs its mocks, but overall, very enjoyable.

Due Date – I can sympathize with Robert Downey, Jr’s., character since I have fallen victim to people capable of derailing one’s entire life while traveling. In my case, however, these forces of destructive nature were related to me and escape was impossible.

Dinner With Schmucks – Once you get past the creepiness of the mouse taxidermy, this is a really charming, silly movie. Lots of quotable lines, chaotic group dialogue scenes, and Zack Galafinakis in a dickie.

So, there you have it, a recipe for an irreverent, relaxed Christmas Eve. Taking a little bit of time for yourself really helps recharge your batteries before the marathon of “joy” on Christmas Day.