Saturday 31 December 2011

Morticia's Massage Parlour and Advice Academy Presents Frightfully Useless Holiday Advice!

She's Back!  Just in time for the New Year...

Dear Morticia,
Do you get into the Spirit of Christmas?
Signed, Curious

Dear Cur,
I’m not interest in the Spirit of Christmas and I’ve told him that a hundred times!  (Honestly…it’s these office Christmas parties.  Everyone gets embalmed.)

Dear Morticia,
For Christmas, may I interest you in private flying lessons?  Free of charge, my dear…
Signed, Ace Pilot

Dear Ace,
No thanks.  I’m not much on school.  A ghost tried to teach me how to walk through walls once…he had to go through it again and again…

Dear Morticia,
Can I interest you in custom-designed fruit baskets for your dearest friends.
Signed, The Custom Grocer

Dear Cus,
No thanks.  I gave a Christmas food basket to Thing last year and it bombed horribly.  He just didn’t have the stomach for it.

Dear Morticia,
I’m quitting smoking starting Jan. 1.  Are you making any New Years resolutions this year?
Signed Sincere

Dear Sin,
Yup.  As soon as the vulture dinner is over, I’m becoming a vegetarian.  (At least when you carve a pumpkin, it doesn’t try to eat you back.)

Dear Morticia,
I was a good girl all year, and all Santa brought me was a large frog.  Frankly, I feel cheated. 
Signed, Princess

Dear Princess
Honey, I don’t blame you, so be sure to follow my advice: Be very bad next year and Santa may bring you a Prince. (And if you don’t get the Prince, at least you will have had a smashing good time all year!)

Morticia will return to these pages unless someone pays off her creator big time.

Wednesday 21 December 2011

'The Night Before Christmas' - Morticia's Version

(reprinted with permission)

T’was the night before Christmas
Just right for a fling
Not a creature was stirring
Not even dear Thing
The relatives were hung
By the chimney with care
And spiderwebs shimmered
Like wreathes in the air.

When all of a sudden
There was such a clatter
I rose from my coffin
To check out the matter
T’was the big guy himself
And in situ quite dire
Missed his step in the flue
Landed square in the fire.

He cursed and he blustered
And rolled on the rug
I shook my head, scolding
“Don’t you be such a mug,”
“Santa,” I said
“If you want to get hot
Step away from the fire
And come see what I’ve got!”

His eyes were like saucers
He straightened up quick
Then he yelled to an elf
“Hold my sack for a bit”
And I’m happy to say
Though his belly may jiggle
The rest of him functions
With nary a wiggle.

A few hours later,
The clock ticked away
But ole Santa, the rascal
Seemed inclined to stay.
“Darling,” I said
“While I hate to remind
The children are waiting
You’re right out of time!”

“Oh damn,” he exclaimed
Tripping over his suit
“Get the reindeer all ready!
Where’n hell is my boot?”
He dashed to the graveyard
In a manner most hardy
To find reindeer engaged
In a whale of a party.

“Yo, Dasher!  Yo, Dancer,
Stop it, Prancer and Vixen!
Who’s on her?  Oh Donner…
Where’s Cupid and Blitzen?
Get off her you bugger,
Mind the top of that wall.
Oh, dammit all! Dammit all!
Dammit to hell!”

He had them reharnessed
As quick as a wink
Then he mounted and muttered
“Could I use a drink!”
And I heard him proclaim
As he rose out of sight,
“Merry Christmas – Hey doll!
Be back later tonight!”

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Christmas Newsletters Unmasked - what REALLY went down last year!

One thing I hate even more than the current gang of thieves in Ottawa is the annual Christmas Newsletter brag sheet.  You know the type…when people who couldn’t be bothered to pick up a phone all year long suddenly feel you can’t possibly survive another day without knowing their intimate business.

Have you ever noticed that nothing BAD ever happens to these people?  Where is the heartbreaking stuff?  The flunked tests?  WHERE ARE ALL THE STUPID FINANCIAL DECISIONS? 

Luckily, I’m learning to read between the lines.  Here is my version of what really happened:

Hello to all our dear friends!  Here it is, Christmas time once more, and I still haven’t gotten around to spring cleaning again.  Oh well – good thing nobody ever comes here.  They wouldn’t be able to get around the empty cases of brew in the front hall. 

I’m happy to report that things are back to normal after Ted broke his leg trying to resist arrest.  It was all a silly mistake; he never would have smashed into the cruiser if they’d had their lights on.  Luckily they have terrific medical facilities in the Don Jail, and Ted is on the mend.

And just when you thought it couldn’t happen, young Wally flunked grade 10 for the third time.  The Principal seems to think this is a record, which just goes to show that Wally can be outstanding when he puts his mind to it.

You may have heard that we’ve added a son-in-law to the family.  We also have a new grandchild, who arrived about the same time.  The birth was easier than the wedding, and luckily the father of the bride missed both, as he was otherwise detained <see above>.

Dear Grandpa is just a spry as ever.  He totters around town waving to all the girls and showing them his new trench coat.  He’s really proud of the plaid lining, too.

Aren’t families wonderful.  And as for me…well you may have heard about Ted’s last foray into the stock market before he lost his job.  They took the house, but I still have the dog, and frankly, except for a little touch of pneumonia, we do fine on Queen Street.

Well, that’s it for now.  How was your year?

Thursday 8 December 2011

Hold the Fur, Santa! (reprinted with permission)

Time for the annual pilgrimage to Santa’s Workshop with the Christmas wish list.  I prepare the troops for major action.

‘Who wants to go see Santa tonight?”

Number one daughter turns several shades of scarlet.

“Oh no.  No way.  Remember last year?  I nearly died of embarrassment.”

I admit we did cause a bit of a fiasco.  Even Santa was surprised when I plopped down on his lap.

“Hi Santa.  Hope you don’t mind me bringing a list – whoops, there goes the end – but I’ve been saving up these past few years."

“What can I do for you, Darlin’?  (He’s such a charmer.)

“Well, for starters, I’d like to hear the occasional ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.  You know, like: “Thank you for making this terrific meal, Mom!” instead of “Oh no, not homemade Linguini alla Romana AGAIN?”

“Sounds fair.”

“Wish number two: I’d like, just once, to wake up to a house that didn’t look like someone picked it up and shook it.”

“That’s a might big wish,” said Santa.

“Well, how ‘bout if you make it so I can get to the front door without kicking my way through the shoes?”

“That’s what you’d like for Christmas?”  He was dubious.

“You want to get your milk and cookies?”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

“And another thing.” (I was on a roll.)  “No Lego for the kids this year, please.”

“Don’t they want it?”

“Sure they want it. I don’t want another thousands pieces to pick up around the house.  Consider it a personal favour.”

“Gladly.  Have you been good this year?”

“Better than you.  Watch those hands, Santa.”

“Sorry.  Any stocking stuffers?”

“Lots.  How ‘bout the following: a clean floor for more than one day; a doorbell that works; a bath by myself; the kids to sleep in past seven just one Sunday; to find the five missing socks the dryer ate; complete laundry service; all meals planned, prepared and cleaned up by someone else; and lots of time to do nothing by myself.  Oh – one last thing: a diaper that changes itself.”

He was impressed.  “That’s a good one.”

“Thank you.  I’m an expert.”

Santa looked puzzled.  “Most girls your age ask me for diamond rings and fur coats.”

“Skip the fur.  I want a maid.”

Later in the car:

“Sorry to tell you this, Mom, but there is no Santa Claus.”

My eldest daughter is a cynic.  But it takes more than that to bring me down.

“Don’t be ridiculous.  Who do you think stuffed your Christmas stockings all these years?  And what about Rudolf?  Where did those carrots go to on Christmas Eve?”

Kids today.  They don’t believe in anything.  “Why, you probably don’t even believe in the Easter Bunny,” I accused.

“You’re right.  I don’t.”

“Careful, kiddo.  He might decide not to come.”

A cynic, but not stupid.  “Oh, well in that case…”

“I thought you’d see it my way.”

Wednesday 30 November 2011

She’s BACK! Morticia’s Massage Parlor and Advice Academy gets ready for Christmas!

Dear Morticia,
Call me a stick in the mud, but I don’t like Christmas.  Every year our house gets filled with all those strange sounds and smells.
Signed Hum Bug

Dear Bug,
They’re called relatives.

Dear Morticia,
Help!  All these Christmas chores need to be done and I’m exhausted.  What can I do?  The baby was sick again and kept me up all night.
Signed Tired

Dear Tired,
Sorry honey, but you married him.

Dear Morticia,
I’m a rather well-heeled gent dating a younger lady.  Is it crude to give money for Christmas?
Signed Loaded

Dear Loaded,
Of course not!  I like my men the cruder the better.

Dear Morticia,
I love the old Christmas traditions.  Do you still hang stockings by the fireplace?
Signed Sweet Sue

Dear Sue,
Frankly, I hadn’t thought of it.  But really, it wouldn’t be a whole lot of fun.  They’re already dead, aren’t they?

Morticia will return before Christmas unless Santa promises to be really crude.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Guy Alert: What NOT to Buy Your Gal for Christmas!

Pet Frogs and Other Gifts (reprinted with permission)

My first gift from a male was a pet frog.  Jimmy was five, and the frog was his most prized possession.  Unfortunately, when the hopping box was thrust in my face, I screamed, and threw it back.  Jimmy was not impressed.

Men have given me pet frogs all my life.  Gifts they would like to receive and thus gleefully assume I would want.  And I am not alone.  Last year, one female friend of mine reported receiving a set of mag racing wheels for the family car.  Another opened a big pink box containing – I kid you not – a filing cabinet.

This year, men, it’s time to shape up!  No more socket wrenches for your lady (unless she asks for them).  So what do you buy?  Here’s what you don’t:

No kitchen appliances.  By this I mean, washers, dryers, dishwashers, toasters, can-openers, or meat-slicers.  These are gifts for a house, not a sweetheart.  The same is not true of men and tools.  Men play with tools, so that makes it okay.  But I defy anyone to play with an electric can opener.

Don’t believe me?  Ever heard a couple of men discussing the merits of a brand new motorized saw?

Ed (proudly): “Radial arm.  Craftsman Cabinetmaker’s.”
George (whistling): “Power?”
Ed (caressing):  “1.5 hp high-torque 3450 rpm direct drive induction-run.”
George (scrutinizing):  “Blade?”
Ed (triumphant):  “20-tooth carbide-tipped.”
George (drooling):  “Wow.”

Women don’t behave in this manner.  You don’t see women standing around a vacuum cleaner, remarking:

Betty:  “Just look at these stats!  120 volts, draws 8 amps with powerhead, 6.6 amps without, triple prong plug, replacement hose, and seventeen thousand attachments.”
Marge:  “Gee, I wish my George would buy me a vacuum cleaner like that for Christmas.  Mind only sucks dirt.”

No, women are much more likely to say:

Betty:  “Ed bought me a vacuum cleaner for Christmas.”
Marge:  “Ed has the soul and finesse of a long-dead lake trout.”

Which is to say, he stinks.

Monday 21 November 2011

NIghthawk Radio interviews Rowena Revel, star of 'Rowena Through the Wall'!

Nighthawk Radio tracked down Rowena Revel on one of her brief trips back to Arizona, 2011.  Read what it's like to have a foot in two worlds, and still manage to keep your wacky sense of humor...

Click here

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Guest Author Chris Redding, and a riveting excerpt from her new novel, Blonde Demolition!

A bomb.
One with a timer and wires and all the parts necessary to blow up the beer trailer and all in its vicinity. Including all of her fellow firefighters at the Coleville Volunteer Fire Company.
Mallory Sage had seen too many bombs in her former life with Homeland Security. Her heart raced and anger streaked through her.
"Jesse, get out," she said to her chief..
She wouldn't lose him. Not now. Not this way. She would not have her lover blown up.
Jesse Moran licked his lips and moved in her direction. He stopped and backed away from her as if he couldn't make the decision to leave.
"Get out of here, Mal."
Even in the face of a bomb, he was willing to protect her. Her heart sank. She might never be able to return that loyalty.
She clenched and unclenched her fists, her breath coming out in pants. "Not without you, Jesse. Mark, call 911. Tell them we need the bomb squad," she said, still looking at the chief.
When Jesse reached her, she yanked him out. He had one hundred pounds on her. She had surprise on her side. "Get me some wire cutters."
Jesse looked at her as though she had three heads.
"Do it."
He shook his head. "No, you don't know what you're doing. You'll blow up."
She made eye contact with one of the bystanders. "Get me wire cutters and clear everyone out of here. Someone make sure no workers are on the fairgrounds."
The last thing the struggling fire company needed was to lose this fair. It was their sole method of raising needed funds. No jerk with a penchant for bombs would do that to them. Not to the guys who missed dinners and family events to put out fires.

Back cover text for Blonde Demolition

You just can't hide from the past...

Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security.

Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.

Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Meet Guest Author Kate Hill


Though romance isn’t necessarily funny, humor usually has its place in romantic stories.

Some romances are based on humorous situations. Not that these stories don’t have their serious moments, but the humor interwoven in them makes them feel-good reads that provide an escape from reality.

At times books are so serious that a character or event is used for comic relief. When you just need to briefly step back from an intense plot, some characters bring a smile to your face.

While I enjoy reading all kinds of romance including comedy, in my books, with the exception of the satirical GreatSword’s Woman, I tend to have moments of humor interspersed with horror, action or drama. Though I usually find comedy difficult to write and truly admire authors who have mastered the art of creating romantic comedies, some characters have such outrageous personalities that they can’t be written without humor.

Two characters I feel very close to and who were easy to write, partly because of their sense of humor, are Vincent Dilorenzo and Sir Lock. I received a lot of mixed feedback about Vincent. People either loved him or hated him. They either got his humor or they didn’t. Both types of comments were nice to see because he stood out enough to provoke a reaction either one way or the other. Vincent was so much fun to write because he used humor as a shield. He preferred playing the buffoon to confronting the shame and guilt of his past. Sir Lock also used humor as a coping mechanism. Both guys could be wild, crazy, and obnoxious. They drove other characters nuts, but they were liberating to write, mostly because they weren’t trying to impress anyone and didn’t care about appearances. The usually went out of their way not to conform.

Some of my favorite romantic comedies are Vampire Vintage by Ashlyn Chase and the Shelby’s Angels series by Stephanie Burke. If I’m in a bad mood, these stories can help get me out of it.

How do you feel about humor in romance books? Do you have any favorite romantic comedies or humorous characters that always make you smile?

About Kate

What do trips around the world, endless nights of breathtaking sex, and a muscular, 6-foot 3-inch, brown-haired, blue-eyed significant other have to do with Kate Hill? Absolutely nothing, but she can dream, can't she? In reality Kate is a vegetarian New Englander who loves writing romantic fantasies.

When she's not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, and researching vampires and Viking history.  You can visit her online at

Friday 4 November 2011

Rejection Slips and Other Ciphers

Ever wonder if there is a hierarchy of rejection slips?
I'm an expert.

This week, my humour column is a guest post on this U.S. blogsite.  Please visit me there for:

Rejection Slips and Other Ciphers!

Friday 28 October 2011

The Ultimate Weapon - Bad Guys Take Note

Reprinted with permission

Recently, I’ve taken a lot of flack regarding the size and tonnage of my handbag.  Not surprisingly, most of the flack has come from the other sex – that one that can’t find the butter in the fridge and has yet to come to grips with the purpose of a dirty clothes hamper.

Personally, I adhere to the “Purse as Weapon” school of fashion, mace being illegal in this country.  Which is why I carry a large envelope shoulder bag. Very large.  Imagine the Roseanne Barr of purses.  One swing from the shoulder can knock a runaway truck back 30 paces.  In fact, I’ve been known to clear entire subway cars in rush hour.

But the most effective use of a purse I’ve ever seen is this story from back in my bank manager days…

One day, a young man with a gun tried to force his way to the front of our lineup to make his demands known to the teller.  Unfortunately, he chose to do this on the day the Old Age Pension cheques arrived in the mail, and worse, the person he chose to cut in front of was old Mrs. Pereira.  Now, Mrs. Pereira may have been only four and a half feet tall, and probably weighed only 90 pounds, but so did her purse.  And being somewhat shortsighted, she may have failed to see the gun, but she certainly did not miss the sudden appearance of a very rude long-haired youth stealing her place in the line.

Being old school, she did not call for help; instead, she commenced whapping him over the head with a particularly lethal black patent handbag with heavy brass corners, while kicking him smartly about the shins.  The hapless bank robber was last seen howling and limping from the branch, followed by a verbal stream of indignant Portuguese.

Which only goes to show that one should always walk softly and carry a big purse.

Wednesday 19 October 2011


Morticia's Massage Parlour and Advice Academy

Just in time for Halloween…

Try Morticia’s relaxing noose therapy (patent pending)
We’ll have you dead calm in minutes…

Dear Morticia,
I am a novice writer attempting my first novel.  Can you give me any advice?
Signed, Stephen Kingsley

Dear Steve,
To be honest, I’m not much of a fiction writer.  I have a lot of plots, but sadly, my characters are lifeless.

Dear Morticia,
Are you personally acquainted with any spirits?
Signed, Tele Pathic

Dear Tel,
Well, I’ve gotten to know Jack Daniels quite well over the years.  I’m also acquainted with Johnny Walker (…deadly for long spells, frankly).

Dear Morticia,
Whatever shall I do?  My eighty year old father has just been arrested for exposing himself – do you think they can make it stick?
Signed, Aghast in Agincourt

Dear Ag,
Couldn’t say for sure.  I once knew a ghost who was caught flashing, but they couldn’t pin anything on him.

Dear Morticia,
I’m a firm believer in the Occult and participate regularly in seances.  Are you a medium?
Signd, Spirtually Inclined

Dear Inc,
Nope, I’m a large.  Especially where it counts, hon.

Dear Morticia,
Do you actually get all this ridiculous mail, or do you make it up yourself?
Signed Sceptic

Dear Scep,
Of course I don’t make it up!  I have a ghostwriter.

Unless you all go out and buy my book, expect more Graveyard humour next week

Thursday 13 October 2011

Age Gracefully? No Way! (reprinted with permission)

I celebrated a birthday recently.  I didn’t celebrate it very well, mind you. I don’t celebrate anything well anymore.  I don’t know how to, primarily because the only time I stay up past midnight is with sick kids.

This was not your run of the mill, once a year, sort of birthday.  No, it was more your “SOB!  Not me!  I can’t have lived this long and still not paid off my charge cards” kind of torture.

The thing is, nobody needs birthday parties in order to feel older.  Our Drivers License photos do it perfectly well on their own.  Besides, you know you’re getting older because the cops keep getting younger and younger.  Soon they’ll be putting little cub scouts in uniforms and sending them out with toy guns to man the speed traps.
Getting older is particularly discouraging when you realize what other people have accomplished by the age of 40.  Attila the Hun had conquered most of Europe before he was old enough to vote.  Cleopatra had vamped the entire Mediterranean coastline while tossing Caesar Salad on the side, and Beethoven managed to write all sort of world class symphonies and go deaf by the time he was my age.  Actually, he was dead by the time he was my age.

The worst thing about growing older is not the weight you gain, but the dreams you lose.  For instance, I’m having trouble coming to terms with the fact that I will never be a major Vogue model.  For one thing, we older broads can’t walk in high heels anymore without toppling over sideways.  Something to do with the weight distribution further up.  For another, we can’t see five inches ahead without our glasses.  So unless Vogue wants a model crawling along the catwalk on her hands and knees, modeling is out.

No question, this birthday signals in new stage in life: when your furniture is much too nice to have another baby.

On the bright side, one of the minor irritants of aging is you tend to forget things.  This has certain advantages.  I forgot to phone my inlaws last week.  I haven’t weighed myself in weeks.  Any day now, I might forget I am married… oops, I forgot: this is a family column. 

Friday 7 October 2011

Meet....Author Stephen Brayton


I am pleased to invite Stephen Brayton to these pages, with this delightfully original post from his heroine.

Dear Mom,

I’m sitting here in my office on a Friday afternoon waiting for my next client who’s a half hour late. So, I thought I’d write out a quick letter since I’ve been very busy lately and we haven’t spoken for a few days.

By now you’ve heard I’ve been published. No, I didn’t write the book; a man named Stephen L. Brayton is the author. My secretary, Darren, gave Mr. Brayton the information about one of my cases. The book, entitled “Beta”, was released by Echelon Press on October 1.

Do you remember the time I was hired to find eight year old Cindy McGee? She had been kidnapped by a child pornography ring. I followed a trail around Des Moines and discovered that she had been transported down to Oskaloosa in south central Iowa, then onto the Quad Cities. Surely you remember Lawrence Cameron, the handsome detective I met when I stayed with Grandma in Moline.

He became my partner for the day as we searched the metropolitan area for places Cindy might have been hidden. I ended up fighting the ringleader back in Des Moines. You and dad visited me in the hospital while I recovered from injuries incurred during that final violent conflict.

As a result of the publication of this book, I expect I’ll be hearing from many more goofy clients. However, they won’t be too much of a change from who I deal with now. Except for rarities like Cindy McGee, my cases usually stray to the nuttier side of life.

On the other hand, my taekwondo school is doing very well. Since the resolution of the case, I’ve signed up many new students. They all want to learn self defense and martial arts from the ‘famous’ Fourth Degree Black Belt.

I know you and Dad will want to read the book and because of the subject matter, don’t let the neighbor kids see it. Even though I hope many of my taekwondo friends will buy the book, it is not for children. Don’t worry, though, Mr. Brayton does a fine job of weaving some of my more humorous moments during the case in with the horror Cindy suffered. The graphic details are very well handled.

Since “Beta” can be purchased at, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble as an eBook, I have nothing to autograph. However, I understand the author will send you and dad a personal message to your Kindle, Nook, or your computer if requested at

I understand Mr. Brayton also has another book, entitled “Night Shadows.” If you would like to know more about him, please visit his website at Darren and I have also read his blog at as well as his book reviews at

Apparently, Darren has also given Mr. Brayton the details of the case I worked on before “Beta”. I thought you’d like to know Mom, you’re featured in one particular scene. Stephen is working on this sequel, the sequel to “Night Shadows” as well as a few other projects.

Well, I’d better now, mom. Darren just poked his head in the door to tell me my appointment has arrived. He has this snarky smile on his face which tells me it’s another lulu. Call me when you and Dad have a free weekend and I’ll see if I can get down for a visit. Until then, I hope you enjoy the book. Please tell your friends.


Mallory Petersen