Monday, September 15th, 2014 | Author:

Coming up with a good title for a book is an art form. Truly, it’s a gift some people have and some people don’t. Personally, I can write an entire novel and yet when it comes to coming up with a title I’m stymied by the worst writer’s block of my life.

I’ve been trying to come up with a title for my new book, pestering my close friends for days with various possibilities. They’ve all been fabulous sports, thank goodness, but I thought it might be time to open this up to the public a bit.

Feel like helping me figure out a title for my book? Of course, it’s subject to my publisher’s approval so we can’t just call it Silly Pudding Noodle Face or something, but if you see a title here that speaks to you, please cast a vote.

Or, better yet, leave a comment with an entirely new idea! Do my job for me!

Again, here’s the gist of the plot:

It’s about an inexperienced CIA case officer whose boring assignment gets complicated by a North Korean plot to bomb South Korea. Rather than allow the North Koreans to irradiate the entire Korean peninsula by mistake, Bai has to flip a North Korean operative to help him destroy North Korea’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

Pick one that grabs you:

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Friday, September 12th, 2014 | Author:

That’s a pretty cool date up there in the title, huh? It’s close but still kinda far away, in the spring when the weather up here in Seattle is starting to think about getting nice again, right before the tax deadline but not so close that everyone is panicking.

Rather than baring my winter-pale legs in an ill-advised pair of shorts as I frolic outside in anemic sunshine mixed with sleet, I’ll probably be spending that day hunched over my computer, trying to remember to update all the things that’ll need updating that day.

Why, you ask?



Yes, folks, that’s right. The first book of my new espionage series is coming out, published by Champagne Books, in both print and eBook. Now you can finally figure out for yourself what I’ve been blathering on about for years at this point.

What’s it about, you ask? It’s about an inexperienced CIA case officer whose boring assignment gets complicated by a North Korean plot to bomb South Korea. Rather than allow the North Koreans to irradiate the entire Korean peninsula by mistake, Bai has to flip a North Korean operative to help him destroy North Korea’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

This book has it all: Chase scenes, hand-to-hand combat, banter, and explosions, and that’s literally just in the first chapter.

Stay tuned for more details to come, I’ll be sharing teaser chapters, cover reveals, and giveaway here as I get them.

Thank you for all your support over the years, I couldn’t do this without knowing I have fantastic readers like YOU to entertain!

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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 | Author:

DIGITAL CAMERAWes and I had the pleasure of having dinner at a lovely restaurant on the water last Friday. He talked me into ordering the five-course tasting menu with him (something my waist regrets but I do not) and we sat there for almost three hours, eating, chatting, and watching the sun go down over the water. Gorgeous.

Of course, there was a bit of an elephant in the room while we dined. Well, not in the room. Tied to the dock. A gargantuan (and I do mean that in the traditional sense wherein it’s meant to convey sheer, enormous size) luxury yacht.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking of the nicest yacht you’ve ever seen. I’m sure it’s lovely. What you need to do in order to understand the sheer size of this thing is to double that yacht you’re thinking of. In height, width, length, everything.

This thing was so humongous, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it had a bowling alley and perhaps a wine cellar, too. There was a yacht docked next to it and I actually felt kind of bad for the smaller yacht because, even though it was a very nice yacht and probably more expensive than anything I’ll ever own, it looked piddly next to the grand empress of the seas that was this mega-yacht.

Wes and I took a stroll past it on our way back to the car and it must have been 150 feet long. At least. What we could see through the windows was absolute elegance with very good taste. The leather on the upholstery looked soft enough to chamois a car with, and the deck had to have been made of teak. A crew member was walking around outside the boat, patrolling the deck for any unwanted riffraff, and we passed pleasantries with him before heading home.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that boat, though. How fun would it be to invite friends to come for a cruise with you? I’m pretty sure a maritime party is even better than a land party because the water compounds the coolness. Everyone knows this.

I was looking up information on this kind of mega yacht, though, and apparently a vessel of this size requires a crew of eight to run. I think that might be a bit weird. Even though the crew have their own quarters on board, I just think it’d be weird to be confined on a boat with eight people who work for me.

Of course, the thriller writer in me thinks this is just begging for a murder on the high seas, where the motives are unclear and the mystery unsolvable until the final pages. Come on, that story practically writes itself.

In an attempt to prevent the crew from hating me and wanting to murder me for my money, I’d probably be tempted to help them clean up and do their jobs all the time out of some awkward embarrassment over being waited on.

Who knows, though? Maybe if I ever have hundreds of millions of dollars, I’ll get over that shyness real quick. That is, unless inflation keeps getting worse, in which case my hundreds of millions of dollars will be worth approximately enough to buy a postcard of what that yacht looks like.

Monday, September 08th, 2014 | Author:
I SO wanted to be the one high-fiving someone over an orca.

I SO wanted to be the one high-fiving someone over an orca.

I have an unpopular confession. It’s definitely less ignominious than admitting you attend dog fights, but certainly less sanctimonious than saying you rescue cats and then train them to be firefighters or something.

Okay. Here goes.

I love SeaWorld.

I do. It can’t be helped. I know, I know, I know. “Blackfish” and animal rights and all valid points considered but still. Regardless. My love for SeaWorld cannot be ruined. There’s just something about all those brilliant animals engaged and learning and living with a purpose. Fantastic natural athletes with clear-cut reasons for getting up in the morning, I love how the animals bond with their trainers.

In point of fact, I wanted to be one of those trainers for a really long time. You know, me and about half the other southern California children who loved SeaWorld too. It just looks like fun, doesn’t it?

I’m sure part of my interest in animal training comes from my parents. They both trained dogs when they were younger and my mom continues to be a gifted animal trainer. You’ve never seen a better-behaved dog or horse than my mom’s dogs and horses.

Anyway, the reason all this is on my mind is, Wes and I took the kids to the Seattle Aquarium on Saturday and happened to arrive at the Harbor Seal exhibit at the exact moment the seals’ trainers were working with them.

Imagine my delight to watch these trainers working with fish and whistles to train the seals to do tricks and differentiate between shapes! Of course, when my son asked what they were doing, I had to stop my psych nerd self from answering, “They’re using operant conditioning to elicit desirable behavior from the seals!”

Wes and I had a good long talk the other night about what I want to do when I grow up. You know, when my kids are grown and my skills are irrelevant and I’m trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

Maybe I’ll train seals! Maybe I’ll ride horses all day! Maybe I’ll join an orchestra! Maybe I’ll write stories!

Or, probably more likely, some awesome heretofore unimagined option I have yet to think of.

How about you? What do you want to be when you grow up?

Category: Just plain nonsense  | Tags:  | Leave a Comment
Thursday, September 04th, 2014 | Author:

hypocrite.jpgI’ve been slinging a diaper bag and parenting with the best of them for almost five years now. During that time, I’ve lost much in the way of dignity and coolness.It’s just hard to feel like a bad ass when you can sing all the Thomas the Train sings by heart and yet have no idea who most of the musical guests are on SNL anymore. To say nothing of the fact that I wear sweatpants in public, regularly, and without shame.

Despite my sartorial failings, I’ve always considered myself more or less a straight shooter. If I say something to my kids, I want them to trust that it’s the real deal. If they start questioning your word, it’s a straight shot from realizing “Don’t have sex because you’ll immediately get pregnant and burst into flames” is a lie to questioning the wisdom of “Don’t stick forks in the electrical sockets.”

Ain’t nobody got time for that many emergency room visits.

Lately, though, I’ve realized that, while not a liar, I am somewhat of a hypocrite. Last weekend, I put on a movie for my kids to watch. It was a totally age-appropriate, animated movie teaching numbers that I thought would be a hit until my son started whimpering and covering his face. Apparently animated accountant pirates and silly anthropomorphic sharks are TERRIFYING.

I used the Socratic method (because I went to college, yo) to help him realize there was no need to be scared of pictures on a TV screen. It didn’t do much to assuage his fears, however, and we eventually moved on to a different movie.

Later that night, Wes and I watched The Cabin In The Woods. It’s a Joss Whedon (whom long-term readers will know I LOVE) horror movie. I was curious enough about what Joss’s take would be to watch it, even though I normally don’t watch horror movies because I am a big ol’ CHICKEN. The images are far too vivid in my head and I take everything personally.

When a character is getting dragged, sobbing, through the forest by a bear trap embedded in his/her back, in my mind it’s ME getting dragged through pine needles and I have a hard time parsing reality from horror.

Anyway, when the movie was over I asked Wes, in a very tiny voice, to turn on all the lights and escort me to the bathroom because, I’ll admit it, I was spooked. It was a good movie, but it was horrifying. As advertised.

I fully realize the irony of trying to convince my son not to be scared of something on the screen and then turning into a whimpering wuss less than ten hours later. Hypocrisy, thy name is Erika.

Same thing happened again with my daughter and thunder the other night. How am I supposed to convince my daughter that thunder isn’t scary when my heart starts pounding every time a particularly loud thunderclap sounds overhead?

Who knows? Maybe candor would be better than a brave face. Anyone have an opinion they’d care to share on the subject?

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