Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Book Cover

I generally love getting e-mails from my editor. For one thing, I've been blessed with a string of great editors who happen to also be nice people. Beyond that, each e-mail gives me something I need: advice, encouragement, or the next set of instructions on how to improve my current work-in-progress.
Today was an especially good day. My editor sent me a copy of my newest book cover. I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this particular image. This story was one I really enjoyed writing and was especially pleased with how it turned out. Seeing what it's going to look like makes this book feel so much more real! Of course, I expect the time will drag by until it comes out in February, but at least now I know what it will look like!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Time is money...except on black Friday

Only once before had I dared to get up early and go out shopping on Black Friday. . . and I swore I would never do that again. I remember going into Toys R Us, the lines winding through the whole store so that you couldn't even walk down the aisles to find the empty space where the item you wanted desperately should have been. I remember the grumpy faces, the me, myself, and I attitude. Over the past few years, I have happily stayed in bed, enjoying the fact that I wasn't among the masses fighting over the last item in the store with the unbelievable price.

Unfortunately, with time memories fade and I forgot just how bad it really was. A friend and I were looking over the ads, thinking how we could get most of our shopping done in just a couple of hours before our children woke on the day after Thanksgiving. So I pulled up at her house at 4:45 this moring (already concerned that I had heard a neighbor's car leave an hour earlier) and we drove our minivans to the local Wal-Mart -- after all, we might need separate vehicles to carry all of those wonderful purchases.

Oh, how naive we were. We got separated on the way over there, but I wasn't worried. After all, how many cars would be at Wal-Mart at 5AM? Well, I honestly wasn't willing to count that high. The lot was nearly full. Two sets of deputies were on the scene in addition to the Wal-Mart security personnel to make sure that people didn't cut in line as the store opened. The line stretched down the full length of the store and around the corner. Ten minutes after the store opened, the end of the line finally came into sight.

By this time, my girlfriend and I had found one another and decided that early though it might be, we weren't completely insane. So we went to our respective cars and went home. Though the temptation to go back to bed was huge, I got online and did the next best thing. I managed to buy over half of the items I wanted at Walmart, several of which will be shipped for free to my local store where I can pick them up when there isn't a line that stretches out of sight.

So once again, I am vowing to avoid the stores on Black Friday. I may however consider the 5AM on-line shopping spree for next year. Best of luck holiday shoppers! And don't forget the holiday cheer!

Friday, November 9, 2007

And the truth is...

Number 1, 2 and 3 are all true. Josi and Stephanie guessed correctly that number 4 isn't true, although there is a lot of truth in it. Since I worked for the CIA, I do have a lifelong secrecy agreement, but I only have to submit manuscripts and other things that I write that pertain to intelligence. My book, Freefall, which comes out in February, is the first book that had to go through the review process with the CIA. In fact, the reason my first books were about FBI and Witness Protection is because I could avoid this step!

As for the other statements, they are all very true. My sister used to be the personal assistant for the actor Bill Murray, so I have been to his New York estate and spent time with his family. While spending the summer in Caracas as a foreign exchange student, I usually had my foster sister carry my passport in her purse and twice we were stopped to show our papers. On one of those occurences, my foster sister was in a different car and the cops didn't believe that I was from the U.S. Even yelling at them in rapid English didn't completely convince them until my foster sister arrived with my passport.

As for the coke incident, it is completely true. I guess you could say I ended up Mormon because of a lie. One way or another, I'm grateful for the friends that helped me find my way into the church. I can't imagine how difficult life would be without an understanding of how much the Lord loves each of us.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I'm a liar - meme

Josi Kilpack tagged me for this meme. I am supposed to list four things about me, one of which is a lie. I should tell you now that I'm not a very good liar, which is rather ironic since I used to work for the Central Intelligence Agency. (Yes, I really did work there. This isn't one of the four things I'm listing about myself.)

Okay, here is goes:

1. On the way to my uncle's house several years ago, I was invited to stop and visit the home of actor Bill Murray. My kids and I drove up for the day and hung out with Bill's family on his New York estate.

2. While living in Venezuela, I was stopped by the local authorities and nearly deported ... to Columbia. The authorities thought I had illegally entered the country from Columbia and that I was a native Spanish speaker. When I started speaking in rapid English, they thought it was just a ploy to convince them I was a legal resident. Only when a friend showed up with my U.S. passport did they finally let me go.

3. I joined the Mormon church because I didn't like Coca-cola...sort of. I was at a party and I didn't want a coke, but that was all they had. Then some of my Mormon friends said they couldn't drink coke because they were Mormon. I piped in and said that I was Mormon too so I could drink something else. My friends blackmailed me into going to church with them since I had said I was the same religion as them. A couple of years later I ended up getting baptized.

4. Like all former and current employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, I had to sign a lifelong secrecy agreement. Because of this, all of my novels have been reviewed by the Central Intelligence Agency before publication to make sure I didn't inadvertently give away any classified information.

Now that I've given you my list of things about me, which of these isn't true? I'll give you the answers next week. As for who I'm going to tag, I choose Michele Paige Holmes, Tristi Pinkston, and Stephanie Humphreys.