15 Weird Things About Me

When I was a kid I was horrified at the idea of being weird. The weird kid was the one who was bullied and lost their lunch money all the time. Nope, I wanted to fit in. Not so easy, since I am weird. These days, I’m letting my weirdness hang out.   It takes off the pressure and helluva lot more fun.

  1. I don’t remember learning how to read, but I do remember I was reading before I started kindergarten.

2. In my alternate reality I am a homicide detective and I solve crimes constantly.

3. I wrote my first novel, The Addict, when I was 10. It was 30 pages long and it sucked. But my dad read every word. Bless his heart.

4. I talk to myself. In public. In private. I always have, since I was a kid. Nobody knows why.

5. I love to garden and though I’m not very good at it, my biggest tomato weighed almost 3 pounds. Oh and I talk to my plants – is that weird?

6. My favorite family pet was Rusty, a gorgeous collie who showed up on our porch one summer night and scratched on the screen door. He looked exactly like Lassie and I believed he was my soul mate.

7. My guilty pleasure is binge watching mystery shows (usually British) online. If I watch too many I start talking in a British accent.

8. Motown music will always inspire me to  get my freak on.

9. I had two nicknames when I was a kid; Neener and Rodg. I preferred Rodg

10. I’ve had many jobs in my life but the weirdest one was bus buffing. Hard on the back but definitely builds the pecs.

11. My first car was a VW Bug and it had temperamental brakes – meaning, I never knew when or if they would work. Usually, the back wall of the garage stopped the car before the brakes. My nickname for it was  “Death Trap.” I nearly gave my dad a stroke when I took him for a spin and ended up in somebody’s front yard. After that, I refused to drive a stick shift ever again.

12. When I was a kid I wanted to be a fireman or a ballerina but was forced to become a writer because I couldn’t stop making stuff up

13. I love dollar stores. It’s an addiction. I will buy anything if it costs a dollar. I’m their ideal customer.

14. If you want to make me cry show me a Hallmark commercial.

15. I really do work in my pajamas. In fact, I pretty much do everything in my pajamas. But you know, I live in California, so it’s allowed.

How about it, are you a weirdie too? Have you given in to your inner weirdness and let it shine in the light of day? Tell me all about your weirdiness in the comments, so we can revel in it together.

Writer Chick Predicts 2017

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Every year, I take a shot at predicting what the new year will bring. I’m usually wrong, though that doesn’t stop me. Here are my best guesses of what will happen in the coming year.

1. Amazon will fold CreateSpace and Audible into its KDP platform by the end of the year. Since they own both outlets it makes sense for them and will probably make it easier for authors to track sales of various publishing platforms. However, I fear the scammers that tend to descend on Amazon will cook up some new scam to hurt indie authors if this comes to pass. Look for something weird on this front.

2. Democrats will make impeaching Trump a priority with the new incoming Congress and possibly make it their first order of business. They may even try to overturn the results from the electoral college. I predict they will be unsuccessful if they try this and will probably make things worse.

3. Serious steps will be taken to distance the U.S. from the UN. Perhaps we will cut ties altogether. But whatever happens, count on protest both for and against on the city streets, with some kind of bizarre tragedy that results.

4. Anti-Trump protests will continue and major colleges will officially create Trump-free zones. These zones will come with their own specified rules of behavior, safe words, calming sports drinks and new age therapy.

5. Mickey Dees will be the first major retailer to employ robots to man their order windows. Once their first cost effective report hits the news other fast food establishments will follow suit. Think it can’t happen, read this.

6. Fox News will change its name to Faux News (Fake News)

7. Hillary Clinton will become the major spokesperson for a new email security software retailer.

8. With its recent success of rebooting old series, Netflix will pull out all the stops and do reboots of: The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, All in the Family, Maude, My Favorite Martian, Starsky & Hutch, and the Courtship of Eddie’s Father.

9. The new iPhone8 will be unveiled in early spring and be the size of a 4-slice toaster but not to worry, it will come with a complimentary backpack to carry it in.

10. Amazon will launch a new beta program for indie authors to make movies of their books.

11. A new haircut called “The Trump” will become popular with middle aged, hair challenged men and women.

12. California will distinguish itself as the first state to drive smokers into total apathy and become a ‘smoke free’ state. Authorities will be very proud of themselves until they realize they have billions of dollars in lost tax revenue to make up. Look to the dubie tax to come next.

13. In a weird pop culture salute to Trump’s election, red ball caps will dominate the fashion world and be seen in all the spring collections on the runways in 2017.

Not a pretty list, I’ll admit, but there you have it. What about you? What do you think will happen in the coming year? Will it be good or bad? Fun or a disaster? Could it possibly be worse than 2016? Feel free to let loose with your own predictions in the comments.

Happy New Year. 😀

Writer Chick Predicts 2016

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Yup, it’s New Year’s Day and time to make a few predictions (about which I will no doubt, be wrong). Because, well because it’s fun to predict the future and considering all the drinks we had last night, a few laughs might be in order. Am I right? Okay, so Writer Chick predicts…

  1. After an unsuccessful Kick-starter campaign, Barnes and Noble will go belly up – blaming Amazon for their failure.
  2. The Author’s Guild will start selling ‘information products’ for writers that promise secrets methods to beat Amazon’s algorithms. Of course it won’t work, but Amazon will be (very) publicly blamed for their author members’ low royalties.
  3. Amazon will be voted the “Person of the Year” by Time magazine – this will drive NY Times  writers into a frenzy.
  4. Apple will release the long awaited iAlarm. The innovative gadget will wake you in in ten different time zones, provide unreliable weather forecasts, and give you ten affirmations to utter before rising.
  5. ABC, NBC and CBS will engage in a bidding war for the new TV pilot based on the Star Wars movies.  However, while the major broadcast stations are mired in entertainment warfare, Fox will create a kick ass show based on Hugh Howie’s Silo Series.
  6. Amid the Star Wars mania that Disney is spending millions to generate, Ford Motor Company will come out with the limited edition Darth Vader – an SUV hybrid that comes only in black and has a hissy sound system.
  7. The Big5 publishers will team up with Walmart to create a book co-op in hopes of driving Amazon under – instead, they will drive Walmart under.
  8. In a last ditch effort to gain votes, Donald Trump will auction off his hair in a Vegas style, online event.
  9. Apple will also come out with the iPhone Jumbo which users will wear like a backpack. Some will complain about the inconvenient size, however, all will agree that the awesome clarity on streaming videos cannot be beat.
  10. PETA no longer satisfied to just fight for animal rights, will kick off a campaign for animal marriage. Next up – inter-species marriage.
  11. In a stunning revelation on the end of the year, Barbara Walters special, Michael Moore will reveal that he is a genetically modified life form created by Monsanto.
  12. The cost of oil will topple to an amazing $19 a barrel. However, California drivers will still be paying upwards of $3 a gallon, for reasons only Gerry Brown knows.
  13. Apple will also develop a new product- the iHologram – an eReader accessed by a computer chip, placed in your brain. Google will file an intellectual property lawsuit, claiming the brain chip was to be their next succession in the Google Glasses evolution.
  14. An anonymous whistle blower will reveal that Google has been an arm of the NSA since its inception. Finally, somebody will use Yahoo to search on the Internet.

How about you? What are you predictions for 2016? Tell em like you see em in the comments. Happy New Year.

Annie

 

 

 

Technology, Computers, and Me

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So about a week ago, while I stepped away from my computer to refill my coffee cup my computer refused to boot. Odd thing was that it had already booted up. Naturally, the dreaded thought of all computer users popped into my head: Virus.

I was ever so glad that I have an external hard drive that I use for back up. Because otherwise I’d have had to shoot myself.

Well, despite my crying, pleading, and begging the computer just wouldn’t boot up and in fact gave me the boot. I called around and spoke to a couple of computer repair guys who apparently didn’t need the work because they told me I could buy a new computer for what they’d charge me.

I didn’t believe them, but lo and behold they were not lying. I found just the baby I wanted and ordered it on Black Friday. Gotta love it when timing and big sales come together right?

Of course that meant it would be a week before I had my new computer. So, I pulled out my ancient eMachines (do they even make those anymore?) computer which I shoved in the closet seven years ago and set it up. It groaned, it whirred, it made this awful grinding noise but it worked. Of course doing anything more than writing in Word and checking my emails was about all I could get out of it. And even then it was iffy. But somehow I managed. (Still, I felt like Fred Flintstone trying to work with a chisel and stone tablet).

It is funny though how we get so used to things going lightning fast that when they don’t, we get upset and tense. Could explain some of the road rage you see these days, right?

Then I got the new computer and you want to talk about fast – wow – I had no idea what I was missing. I really must come out of my cave more often and see about all this new-fangled high technology stuff.

So, I guess the moral of this story is that I’m an idiot but things worked out in the end anyway.

mre thumbnailBTW, I’m doing a Kindle countdown on M.urder R.eady to E.at (Book 2 of Scotti Fitzgerald Series) tomorrow and Wednesday. You can get all that fun and adventure for a mere 99 cents. And please do. Okay – end of plug.

Hopefully, once I learn how to ride my new computer I’ll be able to do things like tweet and facebook and other fun stuff.

Annie

Ten tips to prepare you for Cyber Monday

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Okay. So, you’ve had Thanksgiving, Black Monday, Small Biz Saturday and Sunday you got to rest. Next up, Cyber Monday. The online answer to Black Friday (I think) or maybe just a another way of saying Holiday Sale. At any rate, the following tips will help you enjoy Cyber Monday.

1. Call in sick. You’ve already been off work for four days, what’s one more?
2. Make a list of everything you’ve been wanting to get yourself just in case you see some incredible deals. Freelancers, this is a great time to do end of year purchases for equipment, software, office furniture and supplies.
3. Have your Christmas list handy. You may not get everything on your list but having a list will (hopefully) prevent you from buying stuff you dont need.
4. If you’re searching for a specific item and Googling, include ‘free shipping’ in your search terms. This is the time of year that free shipping is a big come on used by retailers. Why shouldn’t you get some of that. Just a cursory search showed me that Harry & David, Best Buy & the Cracker Barrel are all offering free shipping deals.
5. Use PayPal. I suppose there are different schools of thought on this but I personally feel safer using PayPal – you’re not debited until the product ships and they have a no hassle reversal policy if the product is funky. Credit card scammers are out in force this time of year too.
6. Don’t buy things just because they’re a good deal. Of course, logical right? But once you get your bargain hunter buzz on, things can get out of control fast. That’s why #2 and #3 are on the list.
7. Take a break. Or give yourself a time limit. If you stay online all day shopping you will undoubtedly buy things you really don’t need or want, or God forbid, click on the wrong thing. Give yourself a 3 or 4 hour limit, then stop. If you can’t because you want to do all your shopping today, then take a break every hour. Step away from the computer, go outside, take a walk and for heaven’s sake eat something besides cheese doodles. And drink water too.
8. Shop in categories. Divide your list into categories – electronics, clothes, sundries, toys, etc. Then shop by category. It might require going back to a couple of sites but, this will also help to keep things organized and prevent you from being distracted by shiny objects.
9. Consider refurbished, used, vintage, consignment. We often feel that giving others things that were previously used might be tacky but usually if a person wants something and gets what they want, they don’t generally care about that stuff. There are some incredible computer deals on refurbished computers for example. And what fashionista wouldn’t want a vintage handbag that was the real deal? What writer wouldn’t want an original copy of a favorite book?
10. Consider smaller sites and retailers. There are thousands of small artisans and retailers on sites like Etsy and Zazzle for example, who make some very awesome, one of a kind items. And it’s also a cool way to support small businesses, indies and freelancers. For example, this hard working creative gal is offering some very cute tees for writers. Myster Writer Clued In

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And in honor of Cyber Monday (starting at 8 AM Pacific Time), I’m offering Coffee & Crime for 99 cents (Kindle Countdown). Tuesday it goes up to $1.99, Wednesday it goes up to $2.99 and then returns to the normal price on Thursday.

Okay, so go to bed early, lay out your clean jammies for tomorrow and set the coffee pot on brew. And happy shopping. Let the season begin!

Have a great week.

Annie

Time to get your mojo on for Nano and other cool links

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It’s October and that means  you have a few weeks to prepare for National Novel Writing Month. I’m jumping in. I hope some of you are too. If you are, let’s be writing buddies and keep each other motivated.
Ready, Set, NaNoWriMo! – How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo by Gary McLaren. Good nuts and bolts on what you can do to prepare for NaNo.

How CSI Gets it Wrong. Great post by an expert witness in forensic pathology that dispels rampant myths about crime scenes and forensics. Don’t forget to sign up and get the free download of crime writing tips. Excellent!

New Laser Turntable Plays Your Records Without Even Touching Them 

If you’re a big fan of vinyl but worry about damaging your collection, this may be an interesting solution. Kind of cool when tradition and modern tech come together.

JetBlue Book Vending Machines Dispense Free Kids’ Books in D.C. Neighborhood

Wow, if this isn’t a nod to getting kids to read, I don’t know what is. Kudos to Jet Blue for encouraging kids to read.

Person Asks Online For Advice On How To Deal With Grief. This Reply Is Incredible.

Be prepared to tear up on this one. This post I believe went viral a few weeks ago. But there is a good reason that it did. You rarely see such a heartfelt example of empathy and understanding on the Internet.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Annie

Chuck Wants a Title

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So Chuck is at it again. His flash fiction challenge is to come up with a title which  will be used in a future flash fiction challenge.

The problem is I can’t just come up with one. No, I can come up with titles all day, all night, all the time. Which is not to say that any of them are any good. Still, it’s a fun game. Here is a smattering of the titles I’ve come up with:

  1. Knock on Any Door
  2. Negative Space
  3. Aces Wild: The case of the missing poker king
  4. A Tale of Two Murders
  5. Banjo and the Worm Hole
  6. Murder by Moonlight
  7. Dance of the Mystery Underpants
  8. Between the Lies
  9. Magnolias at Midnight
  10. Secret of the Magic Crypt

And so on…

My favorite is Banjo and the Worm Hole.

Thoughts?

If you don’t like any of these, maybe you should think of your own and go on over to Chuck’s to post it/them.

Cheers!

Annie

 

Why Waitresses Make Good Detectives

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When I was contemplating writing a series, I looked to my own personal experience to see if there was something unique that I could use to create an interesting character. Though I’ve worked in many fields, the industry where I had an abundance of experience was food service. My very first job was working in a doughnut shop before school. And I quickly learned the joy of working for tips.

For several years after that and whenever I was in a pinch for fast money, I waited tables. Diners, greasy spoons, family restaurants, or dinner houses – it didn’t matter what kind of house, as long as it was popular and had a lot of regulars.

Contrary to popular opinion and stereotypical characterization, waitresses are not airheads. Somebody who isn’t sharp, can’t think on their feet or control ten things at once will get eaten alive in the food biz. In fact, some of the sharpest people I ever knew waited tables. So think again if you believe that woman serving you your food isn’t as smart as you, makes as much (or more) money than you and has a dead-end life. Because chances are you’d be wrong.

A good detective is:

  • Observant
  • Critical thinker/Sharp mind
  • Independent
  • Flexible/able to adapt to changing situations
  • Understands human nature, can read body language and other cues
  • Can intuit what others think/want
  • Curious/Nosy
  • Good with details
  • Can talk a good game
  • Organized
  • Knows how to bend the rules when necessary

Any good waitress has the same skills

  1. A waitress who can’t observe won’t make it. She has to have eyes in the back of her head, be able to sense that toddler zooming around the corner while she’s carrying a pot of hot coffee or full tray – and do it all with a smile and grace.
  2. A waitress who can’t think critically will never be able to juggle orders, customers, special requests – know what table is turning or how to sweet talk the cooks she’s working with. She’ll fall apart and walk out.
  3. All waitresses are independent. In their minds, their stations are their own little franchises and they keep their own going concerns humming. They also know if they do it right, they’ll be validated with good tips. Instead of begging some cubicle king for a 50 cent raise after slaving away for two years.
  4. Waitresses have to be adaptable, they have to be able to think on their feet. It’s how they’re wired. You can go from one coffee drinker in your station to an entire football team in ten seconds. They have to remember who is sitting where and who is drinking what and which person had that special order. This is not a job for sissies.
  5. To work in the food biz you have to like and understand people. You have to be able to read the cues, intuit what they need before they ask. You won’t have to ask a good waitress for crackers for your baby because she’ll bring them and the high chair when she brings the menus.
  6. If you work with and around people all day then you have to have a sense of curiosity. Know how to make small talk. Show interest. With regular customers you better remember their favorite meals and drinks and just how they like their stake. Chance are you’ll know their kids’ names, when they’re graduating from high school and their anniversary or birthday.
  7. Since food service is practically nothing but details, you won’t survive as a waitress if you can’t keep the details straight. Ditto with organization. How could you ever feed 30 people at once if you aren’t organized?
  8. A good waitress also knows when and how much she can bend the rules. And she’ll do fine if she does it in order to give better service to her customer.

So you see, waitresses and detectives have a lot in common. They’re sharp, quick-witted, adaptable multi-taskers who can see a bullshitter coming from two blocks away but can still handle them with finesse and a smile.

How about you? What do you think of waitresses? Have you ever waited tables? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Would you make a good detective? Tell your tales in the comments.

Coffee and Crime new release

Ruth Harris Offers the Best Writer Reference Post Ever and Other Cool Stuff this Holiday Weekend

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Depressed? Anxious? Stressed? A Must-have Guide to Must-lists For Writers
Get Instant Relief Without Dangerous Drugs, Messy Creams Or Exhausting Exercise! By Ruth Harris. I have to say this is the best reference post for writers I’ve seen in a long time – possibly ever. Personally, I copied the whole thing to a Word file and now have it and the links at my fingertips. Thanks Ruth!

Crime and Science Radio Returns With Some Great Shows This Fall. Awesome, online radio show dedicated to crime talk. Great find for mystery and crime writers.

Agatha Christie was actually a poison master. From the Daily Beast. Did you know that Agatha Christie was a poison expert? I didn’t. Fascinating.

Compact Camper Is Perfect For Traveling. Awesome compact camper that will blow your mind. Especially good methinks for holiday weekends such as this.

Just for fun drop by this site and cartoon yourself.For free.

Have a fun and safe holiday weekend everybody.

Annie