Tag Archives: thrillers

Evil Seagull Lady

The other day I was down at the ocean (and I’m still thrilled that I can get there in fifteen minutes).  This is my favourite time of year to go to the beach – the days are crisp and the tourists are gone, so it’s only me and the waves and the seagulls.

And the Seagull Lady.

An elderly woman drove up and parked as I was walking down to the water’s edge, but I didn’t pay much attention – I was focused on getting to my favourite sandbar while the sun was turning the waves blue and silver.  I made a beeline for my special spot and stood there smiling, tuning out everything but the gentle hush of the waves and the cries of the seagulls.

Except… there seemed to be more seagull cries than usual.  And they weren’t the normal squawks that seagulls emit while they’re casually flying overhead deciding whether to shit on you.  These were more urgent squeals that were easy to translate:  “Feed me!  Feed me!  Feed me!”

I glanced over to see the Seagull Lady seated on a big driftwood log holding a bread bag and surrounded by gulls.  She tossed handful after handful of bread to the greedy crew, who gobbled it up and screamed for more.

I had several thoughts in quick succession:

  1. “Aw, that nice little old lady must love gulls.  That would make a great photo, with her sitting on that big log backlit by the sun and surrounded by birds.”
  2. “Jeez, I’m glad that’s not my house right next to the parking lot.  Now I know why there are always dozens of squawking gulls and a river of birdshit on their roof.  I bet the homeowners would love to smack that nice little old lady.”
  3. “I wonder if that nice little old lady knows that bread is unhealthy for gulls and she’s not really doing them any favours?”

That’s when my brain took a hard left (as it frequently does) and kickstarted my urge to create stories of mayhem and betrayal.

My next thought was this:

“What if that little old lady actually hates gulls?  What if she’s purposely feeding them bread in the full knowledge that it will make them malnourished and less able to fend for themselves?  OMG, what if that little old lady is actually a twisted psychopath who intentionally inflicts suffering on all living things?  That would make an awesome storyline!”

…And that’s what it’s like to live inside my head.

So the next time you see a woman at the beach gazing across the waves and smiling, don’t assume she’s all zen-and-happy-meditation.  She might be devising evil plots…

*

P.S. I’m travelling, so I’ll catch up with comments later in the day.  “Talk” to you then!  🙂

Book 14 update:  I hit the 50% mark this week, hooray!  This is where the plot gets complicated…

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Filed under Humour, Life

My Life’s A Thriller

The weeks leading up to a new release are always stressful for me – so much to do!  So little time!  And after spending the last five years immersed in writing, I’ve developed a few habits that spill over into my ‘real’ life (such as it is).  For example, the habit of building as much tension as possible into even the smallest events.

Sometimes I get a little too caught up in my work…

caught up in my work

And, in other thrilling news:

First:  Is that a turtle in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?  http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/ont-man-fined-for-smuggling-nearly-40-live-turtles-in-his-pants-1.2792723

I suspect it wasn’t much of a thrill for the turtles, but, as my blogging buddy Beth Younker points out, if one of them had been a snapping turtle it might have been an exciting time for both smuggler and border guards alike.  Sadly, no snapping turtles were included, but the article does have a rather questionable reference to ‘red-eared sliders’.  Sounds like a euphemism to me…

And this:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/wynne-photo-op-goes-wrong-1.3470752. ‘Cause seriously, how often do you get to see a premier posing with a giant pink phallic object?  I doubt if it did much for her, but the media got a cheap thrill from it… and the rest of us laughed our asses off!

Any thrills in your life this week?

Pre-orders are available for Book 11: The Spies That Bind!  So far Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Apple are up, but I’m still waiting on Kobo (as usual).  As soon as they’re all available, I’ll send out an email to everyone on the New Book Notification list.  I’ll also send a second email on March 18 when the book is released. 

If you’d like to sign up for new release notifications, just click here.  (If you already signed up for a previous book, you’re still on the list unless you unsubscribed or changed your email address.)

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Filed under Cartoons, Humour, Writing

Bouchercon Special: Free E-books

I’m honoured to have been one of the mystery/crime/thriller authors selected to promote Smashwords at Bouchercon 2015, the world mystery convention being held this weekend in Raleigh, NC.

Never Say Spy (Book 1) and The Spy Is Cast (Book 2) were included on the Smashwords USB drive given to all Bouchercon attendees.

North Carolina is a helluva long trip for most people, though, so I’m making both e-books free to everyone this weekend.  (Never Say Spy is free through all retailers, but The Spy Is Cast freebie is only available through Smashwords.)

Get the freebies from Smashwords here:

Never Say Spy (Book 1):  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/96058

The Spy Is Cast (Book 2):  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/100014 (Enter coupon code NH25H and click the ‘Apply Coupon’ button when you check out.  The price will reset to $0.00.)

Note:  This series contains coarse language and adult content.

This deal ends tomorrow (Sunday, October 11, 2015) so please spread the word.  Thanks!

 

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Filed under Writing

The Scariest Word: ‘Oops!’

A couple of weeks ago I was scooping ice cream out of a one-gallon pail when my hand slipped and a gob of ice cream hurtled across the kitchen to land on the floor. Not surprisingly, I yelped, “Whoa! Shit!”

Hubby looked over at the scene of the crime and said, “You know, ‘shit’ is one of those words you just never want to hear coming from the kitchen.”

That’s very true.  But after considering it for a while, I think ‘oops!’ is probably the scariest word on the planet. For instance, here are just a few of the times and places you really, really don’t want to hear anybody say ‘Oops’:

  • In the hairdresser’s chair
  • In the operating room
  • At the accountant’s office
  • At the lawyer’s office
  • Any time condoms or birth control pills are involved
  • In answer to the question, “You remember I’m allergic to (fill in the blank), right?”
  • When checking in for a flight/hotel/rental car
  • At the bank
  • In the dentist’s chair

The list (and the potential for scary situations) is virtually endless, but if you’re lucky ‘oops’ isn’t always disastrous.  I emitted a benign ‘oops’ a few days later. It was quickly followed by a facepalm, but it made me laugh because it was such a quintessentially Canadian mistake. Here’s what happened:

It’s been an unseasonably hot summer here in Calgary, and Hubby and I were driving to our garden outside the city. We had a plastic gas-can in the trunk to fuel the rototiller, and the fumes were strong (we discovered later the can was leaking, but that’s another story).

Anyway, I rolled the window down.

After a few miles, I thought to myself, “Why is it getting so warm in here?”

Uh, DUH! *facepalm*

It’s hot outside. You’re letting the air conditioning out and the hot air in, dummy.

You can tell I’m from Canada, where we always expect it to be colder outside than inside.

* * *

But that’s enough about words you don’t want to hear. Here are some words you do want to hear (at least those of you who are waiting for Book 10 to come out):

The beta readers are hard at work and I’m well into my first round of edits.  And… We have a cover and blurb!  (These aren’t finalized, so if you spot any ‘oopses’, please let me know.)

Bookkeeper-turned-secret-agent Aydan Kelly has barely begun to relax after her last mission when a shotgun-wielding man kicks in the front door of her country home. She doesn’t recognize the would-be assassin, so who hired him and why?

As evidence mounts against her abrasive co-worker, Aydan begins a deadly game of cat and mouse with herself as bait. If her suspicions are correct, the Department’s security has been breached and no one is safe.

With the lives of her dearest friends at risk as well as her own, Aydan must stop her unknown enemy before the next assassin succeeds.

More good news: I can now set up pre-orders, and all retailers will release the book on the same day. Pre-orders for Spy Away Home should be active in another couple of weeks (if you’ve signed up on my New Release mailing list, you’ll get an email when the pre-order pages go live), and it looks as though the final release date will be at the end of August. I’ll keep you posted with more details as I get them confirmed.

If you’d like to have a say in which day Spy Away Home gets released, please vote in the poll below.  Thanks for your help!

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Filed under Humour, Life, Writing