Monthly Archives: October 2011

A Treat for Halloween: An Outtake

Today is your last chance to enter to win an e-copy of my romantic suspense, Whirlwind. All you have to do is leave a comment on any of my posts from 10/28-10/31 and you’re entered! Whether you win or not, here’s a little treat – a little outtake/prequel of the story. And don’t forget to check out the other authors and giveaways on the Romance Girls Gone Goblin Halloween Hop.

Click HERE for a peek at the blurb on the back of the book.

What’s your favorite Halloween story? Do you like spooky or silly?

An Outtake from Whirlwind

Email email email

Image by RambergMediaImages via Flickr

This outtake takes place the Halloween before main characters Melissa Williams and Jason McAlister meet in person. Melissa and Jason got to know each other online first. After a couple formal emails, they fell into a comfortable, if not lewd, conversation.

Here’s Jason’s side of the conversation regarding Halloween.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

I checked my watch. We’d been studying for a couple hours. While I enjoyed organic chemistry, I’d had enough.

“I think I’m done,” I announced and closed my book. “You?”

At the desk next to me, my study partner, Greg Lawson, slowly turned toward me. His slate gray eyes didn’t stray from the page in front of him until the last second. “Damn, you’re fast, Jason. I have one more chapter. Just a few more minutes.”

“No problem.” I stretched. My arms were tight—it’d been a couple days since I’d had a chance to swim. Tomorrow, I promised myself. I should be able to fit in some laps between class and the party.

Making sure Greg had gone back to reading, I pushed my book away and opened my laptop. I had email. A thrill made my fingers tingle…and a guilty twinge settled in my gut.

It’s just email. It’s not like you’re cheating. Besides, it might not even be her.

It’d been a while since I’d heard from Melissa. Her midterms had to coming up—just like mine were—and I figured she must be busy. My email buddy for almost a month, Melissa Williams had kept me in stitches with her naughty humor. If she weren’t two thousand miles away in California, I’d be in big trouble.

Greg flipped a page, causing me to jump. I should’ve closed the laptop, but instead I angled it away from him. The last thing I needed was for him to find out about Melissa.

I clicked on the email icon. Two new messages had arrived, one from my brother, Mitch, and the other from Melissa. Her subject line made me snicker: Dress Up

“I can’t get through this if you’re laughing. Take it in the other room,” Greg said.

“I’ll shut up.” I pressed my lips together. My girlfriend was in the next room, so that was out of the question.

I repeated the mantra I’d adopted when our conversation had gone from business to social. This girl, Melissa, was nothing to me. Just a screen full of words. I’d never seen her, never would see her. And yet, those words—her light, witty, laughing words—were the highlight of my day. But if my girlfriend found out, I’d have to stop. All fun aside, I wouldn’t risk my relationship with her, no matter how much I liked my phantom Melissa.

But that didn’t mean I had to give her up just yet. Skipping Mitch, I clicked on Melissa’s name.

This email, like most from her, started without a salutation.

Sooooo, are you looking forward to playing dress up tomorrow?

I quickly covered my snort with a cough.

It’s taken me a while to come up with a good Halloween costume this year. But I think I’ve got it now. It’s a little dirty, so I don’t know if I should show it to you.

Do you have plans for Halloween, or is it too cold in Michigan to go Trick-or-Treating?

The thought of finally seeing Melissa sent all kinds of conflicting feelings through me. I wondered for the tenth time if she had a boyfriend. Was she hiding my emails just like I was hiding hers? Something in me said no. She was best friends with my brother, and he hadn’t said anything about her dating. He hadn’t said anything about her at all since he found out I was talking to her. Selfish bastard.

I hit REPLY.

Dirty, huh? I paused. Melissa loved words, which probably meant she wasn’t going as a French maid. I’d be happy to clean you up. You’d like my costume. It’s got a sports theme, sort of. Your favorite—hockey. The worn goalie mask I’d used for a costume for the past three years hung on the wall above me. The Halloween movies had made my holidays easy. Mitch had always teased me that going as myself was cheating.

Without thinking, I continued typing.

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

We’d never talked about sharing photos before. Something inside me told me it was a bad idea, not because seeing Melissa would ruin her mystique, but because it might do just the opposite.

I erased the last line.

Unlike the kids, I don’t have to brave the cold for candy. We’re having a party here. It’ll be nice and warm.

I thought about attaching photo of my costume, but decided that was just another way to invite her to send a picture. Instead I pressed SEND.

Greg slammed his book shut. “Finally. I wish I had your memory. You’ve got it so easy.”

I closed my laptop. “Not as easy as you think.”

* * *

Two days later, I was convinced Melissa was gone. She hadn’t replied to my last email, and since Mitch was knee-deep in midterms, I assumed she was too. I knew it was for the better, but I missed her sexy teases.

I wished I had something like midterms to distract me, but they were another week away. I still checked my inbox way too many times a day. This afternoon I was in class, trying to take notes, but kept my eye the corner of the screen, watching for the NEW MAIL icon to appear.

When it did, I switched windows. Next to me, Greg continued to type. I’d get the notes from him later.

Unfortunately—or not?—the message was from Mitch.

Look, I went as you this year.

Beneath the words was a photo of about fifteen people. In the center stood Mitch, hands on hips and red cape billowing. Across his bright blue chest were the letters SA.

The caption had been added by someone else. It was a list of names, including “Smart-Ass-Man Mitch.” The bastard. But it was another name that caught my eye.

Tight-End Melissa

I scanned the photo again. On the left was a girl with pompoms and long dark hair, but after counting the names, I realized she was Beth somebody. Next to her was someone in a mud-covered green football uniform, complete with shoulder pads and helmet. Melissa.

“It’s a little dirty,” she’d said.

I tried to zoom in on the helmet, to get a glimpse of the girl inside, but only got blurry gray squares.

It’s for the best. You know what you need to do.

I clicked DELETE, and the photo disappeared.

“Happy Halloween, Melissa,” I whispered. “Goodbye.”

Don’t worry, Jason and Melissa get together in a big way in Whirlwind. And if you’ve already read the book, you’ll be seeing more of Jason, Melissa, Mitch, and even Greg in book 2, tentatively titled Quicksand, coming next year, I hope.

Happy Halloween, and Happy Monday!


Filed under excerpt, giveaway, Holidays

Whose Costume is the Best?

No, I’m not hosting a costume competition. Well, not exactly. I’m asking about your household. If you’re a mom, do you put more into your kid’s costumes thank yours? (assuming you dress up) Or are you the over-the-top costume-er in your house? No kids? Do you try and out-do your co-workers?

Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (right) and Padawan O...

Qui-Gon is on the right

Personally, I love Halloween, and I almost always dress up some. I’ve got all kinds of costume stuff socked away – an old poodle skirt, a clown costume, Star Trek uniforms (TNG), and even an old piece of upholstery I used as a poncho when I went as Qui-Gon Jinn one year. (Apparently I look a lot like Liam Neeson.) Other years I tweak regular clothes I have – Add a pocket protector and I’m a nerd, a little black hat and I’m a chauffeur. This year I’m planning on going as a roadie – so all I need is a concert shirt and a roll of duct tape.

I suppose I work a little harder on my costume than my kids do. My son likes simple, store-bought costumes (he’s going as bacon again this year – yes, I said bacon). My daughter has started creating her own look, putting together clothes she has with some purchased accessories to make her costume. This year she’s going as phantom of the opera, combining a cape and mask with her own dressy shirt.

How about you? I know I’ve seen some amazing costumes out there, on both kids and adults. Who has the most elaborate costume at your house?

Comment to be entered to win your own treat!

All commenters will be entered to win an e-copy of my romantic suspense, Whirlwind. Be sure and check out the other authors handing out treats on the Romance Girls Gone Goblin Halloween blog hop! Open from Oct. 28-31. Click HERE or on the picture at the right to follow the hop.


Filed under Uncategorized

Trick or Treat or Stay at Home?

Photo of a Halloween trick-or-treater, Redford...

Trick or Treat!Image via Wikipedia

A big question facing parents every Halloween is: Do I stay at home and hand out candy or take the kids Trick or Treating? At my house, my husband and I divide the duties and trade off every year, but it’s still a challenge when one kid only wants to go to a few houses but the other wants to go for hours.

I like going around the neighborhood with my kids. I love the decorations and seeing my neighbors. Fall evenings here in Northern California are mild, and usually dry, so the walk is pleasant. But handing out candy is also fun – it’s the best way to see the costumes.

How about you? Do you prefer to Trick or Treat with the kids or stay home and give out treats? Or do you do something else?

Comment to be entered to win your own treat!

All commenters will be entered to win an e-copy of my romantic suspense, Whirlwind. Be sure and check out the other authors handing out treats on the Romance Girls Gone Goblin Halloween blog hop! Open from Oct. 28-31. Click HERE or on the picture at the right to follow the hop.



Filed under giveaway, Holidays

Candy Sushi & Giveaway

Welcome to the Romance Girls Gone Goblin Halloween blog hop! For the next few days (Oct. 28-31) we’ll be talking Halloween, spooky, and fun, and one lucky commenter here on my blog will win a free e-copy of my romantic suspense, Whirlwind! Come talk Halloween with me and you might win! Be sure and check out the other sites on the hop, too – everyone has a trick or treat! Click HERE or on the picture at the right to follow the hop.

Today, we’re talking about a very special treat for Halloween:

Candy Sushi

I know what you’re thinking: I HATE sushi! Raw fish? YUCK!

But wait – this isn’t your ordinary sushi from the sea, this is all made out of CANDY. And I guarantee you’ll come home with an empty plate, it’ll go so fast.

You can find detailed instructions HERE, but if you’ve ever made Rice Krispie Treats, this’ll be a snap.

Besides the makings for the Treats, you’ll need some kind of candy for the centers of the round sushi. Gummi worms (sweet or sour, your choice) work well, as does licorice (any color). You’ll also need green fruit rollups or Fruit by the Foot for the outside. For the single pieces, I like to use Swedish fish, but because my kids love raw salmon which is orange, I also do some with strips of orange fruit leather.

A couple of tips: Butter your hands like crazy when working with the warm marshmallow treats. If the hot sugar sticks to your hands, it’ll burn. You want to form the sushi before the marshmallow stiffens.

A sharp chef’s knife is the best for cutting the sushi into smaller pieces. And just like real sushi, the fancier it is, the better. Check out photos of real sushi and substitute candy look-alikes. Red hots can double for red salmon eggs, orange sugar for tobiko.

I’ve taken candy sushi to parties for several years now, and it’s always a HUGE hit. It’s also a great activity for the kids to help with, so have fun, and Happy Halloween!

What’s your favorite Halloween party treat to take or eat? Remember, every comment is a chance to win a free e-copy of Whirlwind!


Filed under Holidays, recipe

Boo! Time for Trick or Treat

Halloween is right around the corner, and that means it’s time for the Romance Girls Gone Goblin Halloween hop and giveaway. Starting TOMORROW and lasting through Halloween (10/28-10/31), you can enter to win an e-copy of Whirlwind by commenting on the post of the day on my blog. I’ve got lots of fun Halloween goodies planned, so you don’t want to miss out! And I’m just one stop on the hop. There’s lots of prizes to win!

  • Friday (10/28): A Halloween dessert idea sure to please ghosts and goblins of all ages
  • Saturday (10/29): Trick or Treat traditions. Do you go out or stay in?
  • Sunday (10/30): Costume Competition. Who’s the best dressed?
  • Monday (10/31): Treats for readers. What’s your favorite Halloween story? Also, an outtake from Halloweens past with Jason and Melissa and an update on Books 2 & 3.

Come join the fun and the discussion. Every valid comment is an entry into the drawing to be held 11/1 for an e-copy of Whirlwind. Open internationally (spammers can stay home, though).

And be sure and check out the other authors on the hop. There’s lots of e-trick or treating to do!

Author! Author! Blog Bounce

Click here to check out the Blog Bounce

It’s Thursday, and that mean’s it’s time to bounce!

What’s the Author! Author! Blog Bounce?? Well, it’s a fun way for readers to find new authors and for authors to connect with their readers!

All you have to do is click on the picture!

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Filed under giveaway, Holidays