Online edits are proceeding well, as long as I remember which names I finally decided on for my main characters. ;)

35% of the way there. Things are looking very good for reaching my October 31 deadline. Not that anything heinous will really happen if I don't reach that deadline...well, except for that overwhelming feeling of failure, I suppose.

I've also decided to enter this novel into RWA's Golden Heart competition. Crazy, I know, but why not? You only live once. And I'll be 40 next year anyway. :::blinks rapidly to hold back the tears:::

Even the finalist pins look nice. Or so I'm told.

But enough about that novel, let me share with you a tale even scarier than a writer's Visa card statement: the winter coat that almost got away.

It was a cool fall morning when Bonnie opened her closet door in search of her winter coat. What she found was a rumpled heap that screamed 'bag lady' instead of blond babe, so she called a friend and arranged a visit to the local mall.

For some reason, the mall was filled with...people. Couples, singles, families, all kinds and shapes looking for, you guessed it - winter coats.

Insert blood-curdling scream here.

A few stores offered many choices, but all left Bonnie wanting. Her girlfriend Michelle encouraged her to try on some jackets that she might have never tried on in the first place, but they were butt-ugly.

Until they saw the mighty fine red wool coat.

"But I don't like red," Bonnie said, eyeing the coat on the rack warily.

"Who cares what you think?" Michelle replied. "Shut up and try it on."

Bonnie put on the coat, and it felt wonderful. She went to the mirror and was pleased with what she saw. The fit was roomy yet slimming, the length perfect for wearing with pants or skirts, and the sales associate even told her it looked nice. With a degree of sincerity.

Only trouble was, it was a little over Bonnie's pre-determined budget of...ten bucks. Not wanting to purchase on impulse, she decided to take a short cooling off period.

"We'll hold it for you until 4:00," the saleslady told them. "But if you're late, we'll have to summon the floating head of death and everyone in the mall will die."

"Cool," Michelle said. "Lunch?"

They shopped for a while longer, then had a lovely meal at a restaurant with extremely slow service.

"Ohmigawd, it's almost 4," Bonnie said, freaking out.

"Chill, the coat will be there," Michelle replied.

Bonnie waved her arms in the air to attract the waiter's attention.

"It's not the coat I'm worried about, it's the floating head of death."

Michelle yawned. "No big, it happened at the mall near my place last week. It only took out a few people in The Gap."

At 4:01 Bonnie felt an odd sense of loss.

"My coat won't be there," she said as they raced through the mall, drop-kicking the people who chose really bad places to stand and have a conversation with each other.

Suddenly the path before them cleared as shoppers ran screaming in all directions.

"Someone has summoned the floating head of death!" they cried, clutching their purchases as they bolted for the exits.

"We're all gonna die!"

Despite the screams of panic and the threat of human carnage, Bonnie and Michelle entered the store.

There were only two coats left on the rack; both a size 6.

Insert another blood-curdling scream here.

Bonnie raced to the counter and saw her jacket, waiting patiently on the rack for her return.

The evil store manager stood between her and the jacket.

"You're too late," she sneered.

Bonnie pulled out her frequent shopper card and rapped it against the counter.

"Check code 49-F: A frequent shopper has the right to pick up on hold merchandise whenever they damn well feel like it, because they are always right."

"NO!" the manager screamed.

Bonnie tapped the card again. Peaceful Muzak played through the speakers, people grew calm in the hallways. Some small children even stopped crying.

Michelle found a really nice handbag, but put it back when she remembered her condo fees.

The shopper and coat were reunited, and now Bonnie is actually looking forward to winter. Michelle, again playing the part of stylist, returned home without a damn thing.

The floating head of death? We're not sure where it ended up...buyers beware. Bwa ha ha ha.