Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from Nicolas and Damian


What do werewolves eat for Thanksgiving?


Anything they want.... grrrrooowwwlllll


THE EMPATH, Nicolas's story, is now in stores! My first Silhouette Nocturne. If you like werewolves, check it out.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

A break

sniff, sniff. Dh made me all weepy. He just bought me a very sweet anniversary gift.



We're leaving Tenneseee right now. Wow, I love love love it up here. I want to move. The people are sooooo sweet and friendly, and the scenery is gorgeous. We drove into North Carolina. I like N.C. but TN, that's where I want to go.



Maybe. Some Day.



Two glasses of Pinot Noir before a flight really help to destress. I dread returning. Rainey has cancer and I know we'll have to put her down soon. Work is crazy. Being in the mountains, and nothing but peace, quiet and relaxation.... I'm shocked at how productive I was. I decided to throw caution to the wind, and go with my gut. I started a new story, one I haven't sold yet and may never, and I wrote 14,000 words. It's gripping, emotional and I love it. I wrote for ME, not my editor(s), agent, or readers. Just for moi. It was wonderful. And I really really love these characters. There's such depth to this story.



When I get home, I'll get back on deadline, back to the day job, back to reality and a dog that is dying. But this week, we relaxed. We needed this. I researched areas that are going into this book, long hikes up to see waterfalls, quiet inns, colorful fall leaves. And I have the guts of a story that I can't let go of. Maybe I'll have to... because I can't sell it, but for this week, it was just what I needed.



In the meantime, DH and I went to a gorge in NC yesterday. We walked along the train tracks and this was our conversation:



Me: "Wow, this is so pretty, so quiet, I wonder if they ever use these tracks anymore?"

DH: "Yeah, they do. Look at the wear on them. They use them a lot."

Me: "Sure, right."

Nearby: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo

Me: "Oh &*#&@#"

DH: "I told you the train uses these tracks. Maybe you should get off them now before you get run over..."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Blogging

“When we got to Guillermo it was too late. His body could not fight anymore. Guillermo fought until the last second and kept saying that he did not want to leave his little brother. The last word from Guillermo’s mouth was his little brother’s name. Guillermo was holding a teddy bear until the moment he died. What we experienced in the last minutes of his life is something that I hope we will never have to go through again. Tears rolled down his face at the end. All we have now is an empty bed and his memories.” Missionary I know talking about the death of a six-year-old child from starvation

I wrote about this today and it’s pretty damn depressing, but at least I can try to make a difference. I have a photo of this kid on my desk to remind me what’s really important in life to me. When a child perishes every 5 seconds in the world from hunger, it puts everything into perspective for me.

In other news, I’m turning to the dark side; my writing. I have serious deadlines to meet and I’m a serious deadline person. So I’m not blogging for a while, except for my monthly post on Unusual Historicals. I will be posting an excerpt of my December Nocturne on my website as soon as I get through these deadlines.

On a lighter note, a reader emailed me yesterday that she found The Falcon & the Dove for $3 at half.com. Yay! So if you’re searching for that book, don’t give up. The book is due to go back to print, but I haven’t a date yet. I love used bookstores. And I don’t care if that’s politically incorrect for an author, I just love ‘em. When a reader who wants to read a book can finally find it and not have to pay a ridiculous price, I say here’s to the UBS!

What’s important to me:

The work I do in the Third World.
My writing.
Reading.
DH
And rum runners.

‘Nuff said.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Paranda music

Yesterday was grueling... was up at 3:30 a.m. and didn't get home until 9:30 p.m. because our plane was late. At least we got home...

I am emotionally drained from working, working, working, and all the travel this month to Haiti and Honduras.

But one of the best things about the travel is learning about different cultures. While in Honduras, I wandered into a gift shop on some down time and heard this fascinating, driving music. And I became introduced to Paranda music. I bought a CD by Aurelio Martinez.

Paranda music is a wonderful blend of African and Latin music, acoustical, with lots of guitar, drums and a beat that makes you want to shake your booty. It originated with the Garifuna people; those people who settled along the Caribbean coastline of Central America; Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and on the island of Roatan (where there are very very nice beaches, not that I will ever have the chance to go there, lol)

The people are descended from African and Amerindian roots. They're best known for the punta dance in which they dance on their toes and move their hips and lower body.

The music is lively, driving, and emotional, even if you don't understand the lyrics, the language of the music speaks to you. One of my favorites on "Garifuna Soul" is "LUMALALI LIMANIGA." Here are the lyrics in English from Stonetree Records, they correspond well with what we saw in the field this week; the sad sad orphans, the hungry, the homeless:

"Why is it that organizations are more powerful than the people? Why is it that the leaders are more powerful than the people?Look at the children in the streets Look at the children freezing in the cold
With hunger, freezing in the cold
I am the sound of silence
We are the sounds of silence
Voice of the children The elderly The unheard The Garinagu Pech Misquitos Sumos Mayas
Like me
The voiceless
Andy, how sad But it's true, Aurelio Their bed and sheets are made of cardboard. Where are the authorities at midnight?"

Check out Aurelio's album at this link:

http://www.stonetreerecords.com/albums/paranda.php

Friday, May 25, 2007

The wake


Yesterday we drove into Santa Rosa to look at a very nice housing project. The community has formed teams to build the houses and one person from each family must contribute. I met a woman who was laying cement on a wall of her home. She told me that the house is a dream come true. She was terrified that the Chagas insect would bite her or her family because she lived in a very poor mud and stick home where the insect likes to live.

Chagas is a horrible disease... this insect passes these deadly parasites on in their feces and bites a person on the face when they are sleeping. The victim gets infected when they scratch the bite. Treatment is only effective in the initial stages. Eventually the victim dies of cardiac failure.

We also saw a dead baby.

At another mud and stick home, a grandmother was holding a wake for her infant granddaughter, who had died the previous day. Only 26 weeks old. The mother had a c-section but the baby was too underdeveloped. The baby was in this tiny tiny white coffin, with plastic flowers surrounding her. the grandmother had a candle burning on the table for the baby because they are too poor to afford oil for the lamps.

The contrast was so striking...the pristine tiny white satin-lined coffin on this plastic table, the crude mud brick walls of the home and the dirt floor and the grandmother's sad sad face...

I think the hardest part of this trip was the visit to the HIV orphanage. All the children are HIV positive. They have a strong family bond among each other because almost all of them lost their parents to HIV. They are on drug therapy, thank God, but still.... Carlos told us on one visit, when a child was asked what he wanted, he replied, "I want to live longer."
Damn, what the hell do you say to a child who tells you that?

Going home today and I am so exhausted I can barely drag myself to pack. I wrote about 4 pages this week and they suck. I don't know how the hell I will finish this book. I'm working two jobs this year, at the day job and writing these books and this month with a trip to Haiti and now this Honduras trip.... I'm burnt out.

I feel like I almost don't even care anymore... and maybe it isn't worth writing romance. Even the day job... do I really make a difference? Does anyone really care? I work and work and work and I need a break, but I can't take one because I have two books due and I have a day job. Some days I just wonder if it's really worth it, when I collapse into bed and all I can see are those kids in the HIV orphanage with their sad sad faces who just want to live.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The garbage dump


This is Angela. I met her at the garbage dump today in San Pedro Sula. She's 10. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. she works with her mother and two brothers picking out plastic bottles to resell. Her family makes about $2 US a day doing this. She said she does it so they can save money to buy food. I asked her if she could have one thing, what would it be?


She shyly said she'd like "ropa" clothing, so she could change her clothes and have pretty clothes. Angela was wearing her only real clothing... a dirty shirt and shorts that she wears to work in the dump.


This morning we visited an orphanage and met a 10-year-old boy whose mother told him she hated him and wished he was a girl. SHe used to whip him with an electrical cord and once made him hold a live wire in his palm. He still has the burn mark on his palm.


The kids, always the kids, you just want to scoop them up and hold them and make it all go away for them. All of it...

Monday, May 21, 2007

A great view on life...

We had dinner tonight with Carlos and his wife, Rosanna. They speak fluent English and I had a great time at dinner. They're so cute together and lively and make a great couple. We talked of everything from work to Carlos' hobby of triathlons. Dinner was at a restaurant that was an historic house.

Carlos, who is the project coordinator here for the organization we're working with, told me that his job isn't a job. It's so much more. He loves getting up in the morning and going to work. "I love my job. I make people happy. I give them things that make their lives better. I'm like Santa Claus. How can I not love my job?"

It was very gratifying to hear, and a good reminder. Kinda like a pep talk without asking for one. Because I basically do the same,only by raising the money instead of working with individual projects. My job is seeing mostly the bad stuff... and so far today, everything has been a good reminder of how very good the good stuff can be.

And here I am...


This is funny. Because I'm in Honduras logged onto a server here, blogger is all in Spanish. I will not publish my post, I will "publicar entrada."


We didn't end up driving to Santa Rosa. That's Thursday. We're in San Pedro Sula all week. OMG, it is hot here. The sun is brutal. I think even my eyelids are burned. Now I know why the windows are all deeply tinted on the buses and why the men wear cowboy hats. Dusty as well... it's their rainy season, but it hasn't begun yet.


We saw a few projects this afternoon that made me feel good. One is a papaya and guava and tilapia co-op that is very successful. They've had two harvests already of papaya and are doing great, even exporting the fruit next time to El Salvador, as well as giving the locals a very low cost source of nutrition. The above photo is the field. The Taiwanese mission project, I forget the name now, trains them and stops by every 15 days to see how they are doing. The papaya trees are a special hybrid from Taiwan that produces twice the amount of fruit.
The tilapia ponds are my favorite; a low cost project that produces excellent fish. Honduras is the number one exporter of tilapia.
I asked our projects guy about doing more projects for WOMEN to teach them self-sufficiency and work with them in an arena where there is a need. Not just teaching them to sew, but teaching them to sew, setting them up in cottage industries to fulfill a need and teaching them independence.
Translation: You're a single mom. You don't need a man to rely on. Or tell you what to do.
He is going to do just that... which will be really cool. And the organization we are touring with this week, the one we work with a lot here, is headed by a woman who is very very enthusiastic about development projects for women. We're seeing one tomorrow...
I need to see fulfillment and hope because it's been pretty much a downer in the stories I've gotten, which is necessary... because the gut-wrenching stuff raises the money. But for me personally, I have to see the good side, the fulfillment, which makes me feel more cheery and realize we are making a difference.
I did interview this woman today... she was born with both feet backwards, but walks just fine. No one will give her a job because they just assume she can't work because of her disability. She has no house, but is living in a borrowed room with her two sons and her nephew. Her bed is bricks and a board.
She was also gang raped. Literally. By one of the local gangs that terrorizes the communities down here.
I didn't ask her about that. I just didn't want to know... I guess that makes me sounds chicken, but it wasn't necessary to the story... I can't use the violent angle anyway. And I know we'll build her a house. And get her a little project to sell stuff and support her kids.
I just didn't want to hear any more horrific violence stories. Not today... today I just wanted to gaze in peaceful contentment at the field of papaya and guava and the tilapia ponds, and remember the good stuff. Not the bad...


I don't want to go but...

I really do NOT want to go to Honduras this week. I want to stay home with DH. Play with the dogs. Write. Watch American TV. Listen to American music. Eat American food. Drive to work and talk with my co-workers, brainstorm ideas for creative campaigns (the schedule today).

I don't want to drive 45 minutes south to Miami, sit in an airport, get on an American Airlines flight for 2.5 hours with elbows in my side, people oozing over their seats and the drink cart banging my elbows. Then arrive and drive 2.5 hours to our destination, a town north of San Pedro Sula.

I don't want to see any more poverty.

I don't want to see hungry children, orphaned children, women who need help, who just want a little dignity and a little hope for their kids.

I'm burned out. Nearly 14 years of this type of work, seeing suffering, destitution, need, haunted, pain-filled faces... has worn me down.

And then I start to think, what if? What if I didn't go? What if I were wealthy enough from my romance books (insert big laugh here) that I could simply stay home and write and could give up the day job forever?

Wow. It would be really really tough. Because as much as I don't want to go to Honduras, I must. I'm compelled.

So much pain and suffering in the world. And I have a chance to make a difference.

Yeah, it sounds corny and sentimental, but it's true. I come home, write appeals, raise $$$ and feed children, build decent homes for families, give women self-help training and help them try to achieve economic independence.

I keep thinking of the restavek girl I met in Haiti two weeks ago. The call made to authorities to find her a new home, take her away from slavery.

What if I weren't there that day?

If I have a chance to make the world a better place, I must take it. I have to keep slogging.

I'm not trying to sound noble or wave a banner calling people to action, I'm just stating the facts in my particular case. I work at a day job that can and does make a small difference in the world. So I have to keep trying.

Because trying is better than not trying.

RWA

I registered for RWA. Not sure if I will make up, but I registered anyway. It's a big big loss if I can't make it, just like I couldn't make RT, but I badly want to go, so I figured I'd take a shot and register, save the early registration fee and guarantee a slot before they are full up.

Reasons I want to go: See friends, cheer on Jennifer and Pamela for the RITA awards, drink heavily at the bar, see my editors, agent, etc. Drink heavily at teh bar. Take in a couple of workshops, find out what's going on in the industry.

Reasons I don't want to go: The Deadline. DH. Time home just to chill.

I figure registering will give me a kick in the arse to really go full speed ahead on this book, a reward of sorts. If I'm very good, I get to play in Dallas.

So this is why I'm packing my laptop when I leave for Honduras this morning. I'm hoping to get a little work done this week ... not sure what the schedule holds, but I'm going to try like hell to write. I fell short 19 pages of this week's writing goal. Need to make up for it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Blowing rocks

Surprise! Dh put away ALL the laundry and cooked and cleaned up so I could pack. Whew... I feel much better now!

We went to Blowing Rocks Nature Preserve this afternoon to watch the waves crash against the rocks. Brine in the air, cool breeze, and the ocean. Very relaxing. Just what I needed to download before leaving tomorrow.

Not sure if I'll have internet, if I do, I may post photos from the road...

A leetle crazy...

I feel like one of those donkeys struggling uphill with a big burden that's so heavy, he doesn't notice until another donkey asks, "Wow, how did you get up that hill with that load?"
And the first donkey asks, "Duh, what load?"Just call me an ass, lol

Haiti last week, running around, touring, all the while escorted by four armed security officers, first time I've ever toured in 13 years in Haiti escorted by armed guards. We were in a large group for part of the trip, that's why...

I interviewed kids who lost their parents in the violence that is Cite Soleil, one said, "My father's head was chopped off by gangsters." I hugged a little boy who stood as cold and silent as a stone statue because he's so numbed by the violence he can't respond to affection. And I saw a voodoo ceremony, which was kinda cool and made me want to ask the houngan if I could swipe a bit of his very powerful clarin( rum).

Came home Friday, FIL was in the hospital, we went Saturday to take him home with us for the weekend. That was my weekend last week. Not a heck of a lot of time to write. I had a sick FIL to care for, laundry from Haiti, unpacking, etc. etc. No time to write. But I still have a book due in September.

So I took Monday off, wrote 15 pages. Yay. But then self-doubts kicked in. These pages suck, blah blah blah. Worked Tuesday through Friday. Wrote yesterday, 11 more pages. I have a better grip, I think, on this story. I always panic when writing, thinking the story isn't this or that. How can I make it stronger, the hero sexier, yada yada.

I keep forgetting the mantra, JUST WRITE IT.You can always change it later.

Last night I had a dream about Nora Roberts. Not that I WAS Nora Roberts, that would have been quite funny. This dream was funny in itself. In the dream, Nora and I were sitting on a bed in someone's room, like a girls' sleepover, like at RWA National. And I looked at Nora and I gushed, "Wow Nora, how do you do it? You're soooo amazing! Look at all those books you put out! You must love to write!"

And Nora replied, "Hell no. I'd rather be shopping."

That made me feel better, even though it was only a dream.

In the meantime, today I need to spend quality time with Dh since I'm leaving him again for the second time in two weeks, clean the house because we're picking up FIL and bringing him over for dinner tonight, finish laundry, and pack for my trip to Honduras tomorow in which I'll see more poverty and more destitution and more starving kids. The dog threw up on the carpet and judging by the smell, there is something dead in our attic. DH is busy with yardwork and arguing with me that there isn't something dead in the attic, it's probably his dirty socks.

I have a hero who wants to have hot sex with the heroine and I'm leaving him in a state of sexual frustration because I have laundry to finish and stuff to mail and I have NO time to attend to his arousal.

I'm leaving the country tomorrow and leaving him with a permanent erection, kinda like a literary Viagra state.

Nora, if you're out there, ever reading this, I'd rather be shopping, too.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

How much do you masticate?

The more you masticate, the healthier you are.

That's what Horace Fletcher advocated.

Watching Animal Planet about camels chewing their food and they mentioned Mr. Fletcher. Not that he's a camel. He's a guy known as The Great Masticator.

Known for his health beliefs, he believed in the doctrine of "Fletcherism," from 1895 to 1919, in which all food must be chewed and not swallowed until it turned to liquid.

He thought all this extreme mastication helped reduce overeating, and was good for your health. Any food you didn't chew enough should be spit out.

So remember. Always masticate a lot every day, then don't spit, but swallow.

This has been a public ridiculous announcement brought to you by a writer who is overtired and needs more sleep, not more mastication.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Whistle of a different sort

ONe I'd love to see... blows much better smoke, too!

The Farting Preacher 5

REALLY silly, really funny

Heaven only knows

Juvenile but hilarious

Monday, May 14, 2007

Something for "hump" day

Even though today is only Monday... hee hee

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Back from Haiti










Here's some photos... it was a good trip, very tiring, somewhat sad, somewhat not. I'm kinda numb now...




















Friday, May 4, 2007

Release date for my first Nocturne

Is this December. It's official.

The name is staying the same as well. EMPATH.

Cool.

Here's a brief description: A veterinarian is a gentle-natured creature until she is seduced by an embittered warrior werewolf who has to mate with her and turn her into a killer to destroy the shapeshifters stalking his pack.

The coolest thing about this book, besides the paranormal elements and the romance, are the Morphs. Morphs are former werewolves who turn bad by killing relatives and sucking out their energy. Then they can shapeshift into ANY animal form. Any. Alligators, birds, bees, ants.

It's very dark and wicked... I love it. Except one scene I wrote did make me squirm for a while.. and keep checking where I walked in the backyard for anthills... yikes.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Pulling up the bridge

I'm not talking about what Fefela posted about the whole "public lynching," though I saw it and inwardly cringed the more and more I read the comments. I'm talking about something else, but it's not worth mentioning here. I need to pull up the bridge and fill the moat. Spend some quality time this weekend thinking about life and other issues that matter most to me.

I'm going to Haiti next week, country of real public lynchings, place where people are shot, stabbed, kidnapped, violence, etc. Where they put gasoline on tires, set them on fire and put them around their enemies' necks. Where people I know were kidnapped. During Mass. During a freaking MASS. At gunpoint.

I hope I get to see him next week. Then again, that means he has to come out of his house to see me. Maybe he's better off staying home... maybe I am as well...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Ghosts of Cité Soleil

Gripping reality... this documentary releases next month.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Immortals


Jennifer Ashley's great new paranormal series, THE IMMORTALS, starts today! Woo hoo!

Here's a synopsis of THE CALLING, the first book. Authors Joy Nash and Robin Popp are doing the other books and Jen is wrapping up the series.

Created at the dawn of time to protect humanity, the ancient warriors have been nearly forgotten, though magic lives on--in vampires, werewolves, the Celtic Sidhe, and other beings. But now one of their own has turned rogue, and the world is again in desperate need of the IMMORTALS.
He burst into the battle, his leather jacket billowing and his huge silver sword flashing. Amber had no idea why this windswept warrior would rescue her, but there he was--fighting the same demon who'd killed her sister. Though he was a stranger, she immediately sensed he'd come to protect her. And with the first touch of his lips on hers, she knew he was bound to her, his body meant for her. Yet the shadow of evil is spreading quickly, and more death will follow unless they can discover the secrets of...THE CALLING.


Cool, huh? You can buy THE CALLING HERE.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Now these are gators!







We went on a swamp tour in Louisiana and saw four small alligators. The big ones were hiding. So yesterday we compared notes... went to OUR swamp in the Loxahatchee wildlife refuge and saw real Florida gators. These boys would eat a Louisiana gator for breakfast. It's nearly mating season, when they get VERY aggressive and since we're in a drought and water levels are low... look out. It's happened before... gators wander into people's backyards and into their pools... looking for love. Yoikes.
We saw at least 14 gators hanging out in the canal by the pier yesterday. It was a little eerie, as they floated in the river, waiting for the people to catch fish... good thing no one fell in...














Saturday, April 28, 2007

Exhibition of the Vatican Mosaic Studio


This was well worth the $10 entry fee... It's at the Ursuline Convent (yes the haunted one but you can't get past the first floor, so don't worry!). This mosaic is worth about $1 million and is on loan from the Vatican. It's called VIRGIN OF THE CHAIR and is created from Raphael's "Madonna della Seggiola", 1513-1514.


Perspective


This is our house after Hurricane Wilma dumped the tree on it. Below this post, you'll see a small house with a yellow mark running around it. That's a home in Lakeview, where the 17th street canal breach took place. That's a watermark, how high the water came up. We were lucky. We could repair. We didn't lose much, compared to New Orleans.

photos from New Orleans











































Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's 5 o'clock somewhere


again

and again

and again! We fly a few hundred miles across Florida and other states to visit... what we visit in Key West? But on a balcony in n.o.... that's unique!



P.S. Dennis, our driver last night on the ghost tour, told us that Nicolas Cage now owns the most haunted house in New Orleans. The old Metarie house, where M. Metlaurie tortured her slaves. According to Dennis, he hangs out here more than CA, same as Brangelina, who also hang out here at their house, I guess when they're not out making movies or visiting developing countries (you go girl! One thing I like about Angelina... wish she would visit Haiti. )

boo

Soooo, our room at the Hotel Provincial is tres nice. A mini suite. It backs onto Ursuline AVenue. Last night we took a haunted tour on a carriage. And I found out about the legend of the Ursuline convent, which backs up to our hotel. Seems the casket girls' "coffins," the odd coffin-sized trunks shipped back from FRance, are stored in the attic. Rumor sez the attic windows are never opened, because there are vampires in those coffins. Ok.

Our bathroom window actually shows a decent view of those dormer windows. So when I shower and step out, I look up to see if the dormer windows are open and there's a nosey vampire peering down at me. Not yet. Could happen.

This hotel is haunted. Not our building, but the 500 building in the back where there was an old Civil War hospital. GUests have reported seeing surgeons sawing off limbs, and bloody sheets in the bathtub or when they turn down the covers for the night. Ewwwww. If I were to encounter a ghost, I'd want a pretty, debonair one.

Took the street car today down Canal all the way to City Park. Saw some sobering reminders of Katrina. The St. Charles streetcar still isn't running yet. I wish more people would come here... the french quarter is back to business as usual, but the crowds... aren't here. We ate lunch at the Coffee Pot and met a couple from Pensacola whose condo was severely damaged during Ivan. they're just getting their place back together. Our waitress, Pearl, is fighting with her homeowner's insurance company... her home got swamped by Katrina. We told her to hire a private insurance adjustor, which is what we did after Wilma dumped the tree on our house and wrecked our backyard and front yard. Pearl thanked us and went off to wait on the drunken birthday party that was ordering more $300 bottles of champagne. At least SOMEONE was spending nice, big bucks.

I hope they gave Pearl a big, fat tip. It was an odd, bonding moment, lunching there with the couple from Pensacola and Pearl waiting on us. All of us having experienced some big wreckage from Hurricanes named Ivan, Katrina and Wilma. I sure hope we never see another one again, except in bars on Bourbon Street. The kind you drink, not the kind that causes you headaches over damage to your home.

Monday, April 23, 2007

My birthday

We're in Nawlin's. Yesterday we had jazz brunch at Muriel's with Molly and Kay from BENT PAGES bookstore in Houman. Molly and Kay are sooo funny. They kept us laughing the whole time.
Today was my birthday and we started out with breakfast at the Coffee Pot, then took a ride on the Natchez. Then tonight we had dinner at Brennan's... omg the food! I had the redfish, Dh the steak diane. It was everything I'd heard... we sat by the glass wall overlooking the courtyard. The Pinot Noir was excellent.








Then, just as we thought we couldn't handle another bite, the staff came out singing "Happy Birthday" with a




slice of chocolate cake and my "leetle" friend, made of French bread and assorted garnishes. Our waiter M.R. named her Ruby. I told M.R. the friend had to have a name. So he named it Ruby.


Great birthday, excellent food. And I'm getting tons of research done for the next Nocturne. Yay!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

And more eye candy, before I depart


We're leaving in a little while, so here's my parting gift. Remember, it's always important to have a good mattress for a good night's ... rest?


Saturday, April 21, 2007

More eye candy


I love this pix of Gerard... looks like he's saying, "My sword, it is SOOOO large, it is a deadly weapon, I love my big, long sword..."


Reminds me... anyone who's seen my March release, The Sword & the Sheath... YES, it was an inside joke to name the book that. I know all about the metaphor. hee hee.

Waldenbooks


Sad... Borders made the announcement last month they are closing 250 Waldenbooks stores (lots of malls) and converting their international stores to franchises. They're revamping. Have to. Business is down. Borders has 1,200 stores globally. One of my favorite Waldenbooks, where I loved doing signings, closed a few years ago. The manager was top notch, loved to read romance and promote it. Sigh...

The indies are also suffering... it's tough out there in bookland. I love independent bookstores, both used and new. The sellers are friendly and have this incredible knowledge of romance titles and authors, The service is personal.

In other news, here's more eye candy to round out a depressing news week... lift your spirits. Yee haw. Ride 'em, cowboy. Wonder what he'd look like in JUST the chaps...

Friday, April 20, 2007

My birthday present


Monday's my birthday and I'll be in New Orleans for book research. DH is taking me to Brennan's for dinner.
Then we'll go back to our room and guess what I'll be watching?
8 p.m. Mondays on Fox (hate the news, love the shows).
Firefly is gone, but Capt. Mal is back in DRIVE.

It's butt naked FRIDAY!!


As promised, more eye candy. Do you like the beach as much as I do?




Thursday, April 19, 2007

More eye candy


I'm tired of the news flashing the disturbing photos of that sicko who killed all those people this week at V. Tech, so in protest I'm running eye candy the rest of the week. I'd rather look at Gerard or other more soothing images. Enjoy. Tomorrow may be naked butt Friday.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The tower of writing

It's happened again. I'm stuck. Was writing merrily along, skipping on that path toward my goal when I hit a roadblock. Usually when this happens, I detour. Figure out what's next. Not this week. This time, I made a huge mistake. I read a negative review of one of my books.

Reality is, readers have a perfect right to post their opinions. I'm all for it. But reality is, writers shouldn't read it. Not when they can't afford to let the doubt demons kick in.

Publishing is a business. I have two more books due this year. I have contracts, legally binding contracts. The historical, which is at 20,000 words, is due in four months. Usually it takes me 6 months to write an historical. Then the day job has its own stress... I'll be in Haiti in three weeks. Then Honduras. May will be a crappy writing month and one I can't afford to take off.

So reality is, I can't afford to get stalled by those nasty doubt demons. If you're a writer, you've probably experienced them at one time. Those doubts that scream out that your writing sucks, your books suck, you're the worst writer in the history of publishing, all the way back to the Gutenburg Press. (1490) It's just your own self-doubt kicking in. But wow, those self-doubts can weigh in. Usually I can shrug them off, like a cloak, and go on my merry way. But this time, pressured by time and a deadline, I'm stuck like a motorist on I-95 at the Golden Glades during rush hour.

I keep thinking of that campy movie, Village of the Damned or Children of the Damned or whatever Damned title it is...where Christopher Reeve is thinking of a brick wall and the alien children with the flax hair and the glowing orange eyes are trying to kick it down mentally, get into his head and he's straining and straining and gasping to keep up the wall...

That's me (Reeve) and the doubt demons (the alien kids). Sooner or later, they storm in, kick my imagination around and wreck the place. It takes a day or two to corral them, herd them back to their pen and kick their collective butts.

I can't afford that time. Not this year.

I recently was curious about Lisa Valdez' next book and went searching to see if it were coming out next month. Then I read her website. Wow. I truly feel for Ms. Valdez. The doubt demons didn't just kick down the brick wall, they stampeded over it, assisted by the flood of negative email/etc. she received.

On her website, she says she's retreating to her tower and not receiving email. Good for her. Should an author shut herself off from cyber space and readers like that? Yes, when she has a book due and she knows those doubt demons may storm the brick wall.

Does this mean readers shouldn't post negative reviews or say stuff on message boards and only be nice? Of course not. The great thing about the internet is more readers have a forum to express their opinions, trade information, and talk about the genre they love. But as writers, when we know we are suspectible to those doubt demons, we should avoid them. Email is different... unless you can have a friend or associate screen your email.

Many writers have thin skin. We're sensitive, which can go along with the territory of being creative. One author I did a booksigning with recently advised the audience to grow a thick skin, this was after she received a barrage of angry emails about a blog post she wrote in jest that they took seriously.

Growing a thick skin isn't easy. I've tried. Now my skin isn't as thin as an onion peel. Maybe it has the density of a kumquat. But it's still thin and I'm still sensitive. Fact is, the negative and the positive things people say about your work go with the territory. You have to learn to deal with it. I thought I did... I had, until this week.

I hope Ms. Valdez is able to recharge and produce more books out of her tower. And I hope I can once reinforce that brick wall and keep out the doubt demons. Kick their collective booties back to the recesses of my mind, and move on past this roadblock.

Maybe I need a mantra, a writer's chant like the soothing one Buddhists recite to prepare them for meditation. Hmmm.

I will not let the doubt demons rule.
I will move on and continue to write.
I am an energized, vibrant, creative writer who has a wonderful story to tell that deserves to be told.
I am in control of my creative process.
The Gators will once more kick butt in sports next year. (too much to ask for, let's just stick with the priorities)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Time for EYE CANDY


The Virginia Tech shootings have left me sad, so I need to post some nice eye candy. How can you go wrong with this?


"Come to my villa, and I will make you dinner. You will like eating my big, long linguini. I promise."


Hee

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Heather Graham's The Dead Room



DH and I went to her booksigning tonight at Murder on the Beach in Delray Beach. OMG, if you EVER have the chance to attend a talk by Heather, go. She has the best stories. Riveting, fascinating history about all the places she's traveled, including New York City, where this book was set and it's history.





Now if I only had more time to read... sigh...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I need a hero!

I’m in mourning today. All of America should be. Kurt Vonnegut died, at the age of 84. Vonnegut was brilliant. Sharp, biting, his satirical novels and short stories carved him a place in American pop culture, a culture he mocked. Slaughterhouse-Five is his best known work, but I remember him most for having the guts to go his own way, not give a damn what anyone else thought and shock people, not to be popular, but to make them sit up and pay attention to what’s going on in the world. To think for themselves for a change.

An iconoclast who was a POW during WWII, (you know, the big one?), he was against censorship, was for saving the planet (he once suggested writing on the wall of the Grand Canyon, "we probably could have saved ourselves, but we were too damned lazy to try very hard... and too damn cheap," as a message to aliens who might landed there) and soul-growing society through diffuse art to block the increasing numbing of America through TV.

We need more folk heroes like Vonnegut. Folk heroes who stand for intelligent debate, shock us with their brilliant wit and crude humor and make us think for a change. Instead, we have shock jocks whose main goal is to increase their ratings and in the process, say cruel and racist things. I seriously doubt Vonnegut would have called the Rutgers female basketball players, “nappy-headed hos.”

The whole Imus debacle makes me wonder about the so-called dumbing down of America. A few months ago, Dh and I rented Idiocracy. The flick (Ethan Cohen co-wrote it with Mike Judge) was hilarious, and disturbing. It’s about the true dumbing down of America. In the movie, (spoiler alert!!) people in present-day America are intelligent and evolved. In the future, they’re dumber than shit. Honestly. That’s the only way to describe it. The mega corporation Brawndo manufactures a sports drink that people use for everything, from flushing their toilets to irrigating their crops, which is causing a food shortage and they don’t know WHY the crops won’t grow. The Brawndo advertising slogan is recited like we used to mumble Sunday School cathechism.

The movie left me disturbed because although it’s satire, you can see flecks of it here and there in today’s society. When American Idol is the number one show, and newspapers are struggling to breathe (look at the Tribune take-over, I have friends who work for Tribune papers) and people are more concerned with what happens to Anna Nicole’s rotting corpse than anything else, will Idocracy become our future? Are we becoming more passive as a nation, nodding like those head bobble dolls at everything thrown at us?

I sometimes wonder if it’s because we’re trying to do too much, cram too much, work too much, play too much and at the end of the day, we’re so freaking tired that shows like American Idol are all we can stand. I work at an emotionally draining day job. I also write romance novels at night. There's bills to pay, family health problems, birthdays, dogs to care for, you name it and I have two more books due this year. And sometimes I’m so exhausted all I want is mindless entertainment.

I too, am in danger of becoming a bobble doll. It’s times like that when I need a good kick in the brain and remind myself make the effort to reach for something better. It’s times like that when I find myself weeping for the demise of brilliance like Vonnegut. We need more folk heroes like him.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter!

Wishing you and yours the peace, joy and renewal of the Easter season. And may the Easter Bunny never attack you!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Well this is good to know

Today's horoscope:

Taurus (April 20-May 20). Today is a 5. You're not dead, you're only resting.

My life is so glam

Last night we visited the accountant for taxes. We have to pay, not as much as I'd feared. Still, it's a lot. But at least we're through sweating that out.

So today I rush to work, get the call that the plumbers are on their way, then rush home. They've been here about 2 hours. I'm stuck in the house while the plumbers are replacing both toilets. Both. Rainey is locked up with Tiger and keeps barking, and barking. I go in there, pet her, leave and she's barking again.

And I'm sweating bullets here on the couch... because I have to use...

You guessed it. Can't leave until the plumbers leave. Can't use THAT room. Yet. I am having fond recall of trips where I was trapped in a car in Haiti, only open fields in sight, and not a gas station for miles while I'm screaming in broken Creole at the driver to GO GO GO!! Because I have to GO GO GO!!

Yup, my life is so glamorous. I bet Paris Hilton never has this problem.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ritas, life, taxes

I'm very very happy, even though I'm cranky and depressed. Does that make sense?

First, why I'm happy. I'm thrilled and very very excited b/c two very good author friends got THE CALL that they finaled in the RITA's!!!!!!!!! OMG, I'm sooooooo excited for both of them. I was thrilled to hear about one, but two of my friends? This is terrific news! They're both splendid, damn good authors and it's about time they got this nod. I know how hard they've worked, and how talented they are. They're both in separate categories so I can cheer them on in both!!!

Why I'm cranky and depressed... I'm home all day doing taxes. It's a nightmare. A living nightmare. And I'm just very tired, and have to work tomorrow at the day job and it's my boss' last week. I keep telling myself it will be okay and will work out. Sure, right. I did get the proposal in the mail that I needed to send out and I think it's time to take a break from writing and the internet. Just a few days, maybe. Concentrate on getting these &#*@&#* taxes done and family stuff. And maybe ME for a change.

Plus it's coming up to the anniversary of when we discovered Tia was dying of liver cancer. Yeah, I guess some would think it's silly of me to get sad over that... but Tia was more than my dog. I still miss her.

Back to the real world, taxes. Sigh...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Meet DAMIAN


He's the leader of the pack in my upcoming Nocturne and Nicolas' best friend. I'm writing his story now. Needed a model and wow, this is it. Yeah, looks like Christian Bale, huh? I think Christian Bale would make a hellava werewolf. Howl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Late fees

So last night I head to the video store to return a DVD and as I'm about to pull into the side parking lot, I notice...

Two unmarked cop cars, 8 cops in black surrounding a guy flat on his stomach on the ground, hands tied behind him. Two cops are all over his car like dogs on a bone, tearing the side panels apart.

When I was a reporter, I did some ride alongs with cops and I know what they were doing. Classic drug bust.

I find an open parking spot, return my DVD and go inside to select another movie. As I'm checking out, I ask the clerk,

"So, the guy on the ground, is that what happens when you don't return a movie on time? Your new late fees policy?"

He gives me this blank look. "Huh?"

I tell him about the cops. He shrugs as if it's everyday the cops chase down someone and arrest them in the parking lot.

I love S. Florida. I really do. I do. Where the action outside the video store parking lot is more dramatic than the movie I just rented...

Pardon my mood, I'm cranky this week. The boss who's been great for our department is leaving next week, and who knows what kind of trained monkey will replace him. Maybe I should stock up on bananas now. About six years I've worked with this guy, and it's been great, we have such a good team together now, all dynamic, creative, great at our individual jobs, we'd make a great team at an ad agency. Raise all kinds of money for the poor and now my boss is leaving...sigh...

Then my FIL has to have surgery. He's 90 years old this week and any surgery is risky. When did he schedule the surgery for? My birthday. Happy birthday Bonnie. Last year your birthday was mourning the news your beloved Tia, your dog, was dying. THis year you get to spend your birthday in a hospital waiting room.

Some days...some days... some days.... sigh...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ah, yes, the KILT!




Yesterday was my friend's birthday and we partied at a local restaurant on the water, perfect day, sunshine, cool temps and lots of beer. AND this hunk in a kilt came over and wished Mo a Happy b-day and kissed her cheek. Black kilt, muscled hunk, omg. Kilts are verra sexy, be it an Irish kilt or a Scottish, mmmmm!


A friend asked him, "What's under it?"

Hee hee.

Nice day, no breeze, though, so we couldn't see what lies beneath. Darn.















Friday, March 16, 2007

Busy week

Been a while since I blogged... stuff happening this week at work, big changes ahead, yikes, trust in the moment that things happen for a reason (ok, yes, I will) and FIL needs surgery and I've been preoccupied with writing a proposal that is due soon.

Plus, I had to cancel RT. I'm soooo sorry I won't be there to sit on Cindy's panel and watch her and MJD stab each other with shrimp forks and trade zesty barbs (sob!) and see friends like Jennifer Ashley and everyone, and meet readers and booksellers. But life's shifted a bit with work, and I had to cancel due to priorities.

But on a brighter note, DH and I are headed to New Orleans next month! Yay! I need to do book research for the Nocturne book and I'm really looking forward to it. I love the Big Easy, and though the city is still struggling to recover, the Quarter, where we're staying, has been cool. I went there last year for Heather Graham's workshop and it was wonderful!

Ok, back to work, I think I have the solution to a problem in chapter two. Answer? Cut, cut, cut.

In other news, very very very sad news, Ellen Fisher's dear husband passed away... if you wnat to wish her condolences, please pop over to her blog listed here. What a wonderful, special relationship they had...

Cancer sucks. It really, really sucks. :-(

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I'm done, done, done!!! YAY!!

Been a hectic week, trying to finish the first Nocturne book early so I can sorta relax the rest of the month.

And...

Yayyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!! I'm done! I'm done, done, done, done!!! MAILED THE BOOK OUT TODAY!!! yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My first Nocturne book! It's done and IN the mail! Now I'm starting in on the 2nd book. I'm very excited about writing it.

Also, got home tonight to a big surprise in the mail. My friend, Jennifer, sent me an ARC of her first Immortals book. OMG! I'm so excited! I can't wait to read it! I'm going to read it and then give it to one very lucky person.

The Immortals debuts in May. Can't wait!!!!

Off to celebrate by cooking dinner? Huh??? Oh well. I have a bottle of wine and DH rented a movie. Yeah, we be living the high life. LOL!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Interview

Author Jennifer Ashley has a new blog for aspiring authors. She posted an interview with me. Check it out here. Jennifer has great advice in her blog.

In other news I'm feeling much better, yay! Working on the Nocturne book and cutting it. Sob! Actually editing a book is easier for me than creating. I'm used to cutting copy. Here goes...

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Watch my new book video!

This version of blogger won't upload it, so here's a link to my old blog where you can watch the video. Let me know what you think. I'm blog switching. Feeling much better. Yay! And The Sword and the Sheath is officially in stores!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Pain is...

Interesting. Especially when it starts out with a few little dainty heels skipping across your intestines and then accelerates into a chorus line wearing metal spike-tipped golf shoes doing the Riverdance all through your guts.

The FRW conference this weekend was awesome, terrific, great. Fun. Until yesterday, when I woke up with food poisoning that had begun Saturday, but didn't kick in full force until late Saturday night.

So I'm home sick today, having spent 3 hours at the doctor's office, and on antibiotics and a strict liquid diet for today. I've already lost 8 pounds in 2 days, the diet my doctor bugged to start, but not THIS way. If this keeps up I'll be looking thinner than Nicole Ritchie in no time.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sherrilyn Kenyon inspires me

One reason I like conferences like this one, Florida Romance Writers (where I've been all weekend, it's my chapter's conference), is to get together with other writers. I enjoy talking with them, listening to how they do it, their challenges and struggles and how they overcame them, and their successes.
This weekend it's been Heather Graham (always funny and classy) Eloisa James (intelligent and down to earth, the kind of professor I'd love to have in college), chatting with Lori Wilde at the booksigning, who is really super nice and I'm just amazed at her productivity!! and many more.
But I have to admit the person who I really needed to hear, who inspired me the most this weekend was Sheriilyn Kenyon. Not just because she's sweet and friendly (having met her, I already knew that) but because her speech was a good reminder never to give up, that when the hour seems at its darkest, and you have to take a stamp from your husband's wallet to mail that last proposal, after that multiude of rejections, that can be the proposal that gets you the contract that launches you into fame. She's very humble, and sweet and the struggles she went through...
I'm so happy she's attained that level of success... it just tickles me to think that someone came through such tough times is doing so well now. Every time I think of her speech, at how she triumphed over the darkest points of her careeer, it makes me smile, even now when I'm wiped out and have conference fatigue

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Katie wants a fast one

DH is playing music now while I'm trying to write a love scene for Empath. The song is "Katie wants a fast one" by Steve Warner ... it's about cars but the title makes me think of a quickie. Or a quickie in a back seat, windows steaming up, leather seats squeaking... ok, I know it's because I'm writing a love scene.

Whatever makes your motor run...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Virgin Spider Sex!!

This is funny... NOT the inspiration I need to write a love scene, but I stumbled across this tidbit while searching for info on how wolves mate. Don't ask how I Google.

"While mating, female Physocylus globosus spiders emit
high-frequency squeaks to let males know what they should be doing, a new study finds.
Called stridulations, the shrill cries sound like squeaky leather and are made in response to the rhythmic squeezing actions of the male's genitalia from inside the female during
sex....

A male spider's genitalia are located at the end of its pedipalp. During sex, he inserts this tip into the female. Muscles near the base of the pedipalp flex during sex, creating the rhythmic squeezing motions that cause a female to cry out... The researchers mated 68 virgin P. globosus females with two males. They found that the number of squeezes the males made were associated with the number of times the females cried out during sex. " From "Spider Cries Out While Mating by Ker Than, LIveScience Staff Writer."

68 virgins with two males??? Sounds like a Regency era romance novel. The rakish spiders of London. Hmmm. I could write a love scene based on spider sex... maybe Regency spiders...

Herman: "Oh my dear Constance your eight legs are so slender and hairy, you make me go wild. I will make you mine. You are one of the mothers of my children."


Constance: "Be gentle with me, Herman, you rake, I have heard of your prowess among the females, for was it not last night in London when you mated with over 2,000 females in the dusty corner of Lord Maplethorpe's ballroom?"

Herman: "They matter not to me, only you, Constance, you with your glistening fangs and your rounded abdomen. I will plant my seed into you now. I am hot for you, you little arachnoid. I am squeezing my huge manly pedipalp, cry out for me, my virgin lover, do it do it!"

Constance: "Oh, OHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!"

Herman: "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" Collapses atop his crawly lady love.

Constance: "Get off me before I eat you."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Writing conference, etc.

Been swamped trying to play catch-up. Next weekend is my RWA chapter conference. The Florida Romance Writers Miami Heat conference takes place at the Marriot in Dadeland. Keynote speakers are Sherrilyn Kenyon and Eloisa James. Woo hoo! Editors and agents will be there, including from Harlequin and Kensington. I'll be moderating a couple of workshops and sharing a room with my CP, who is a most delightful person to room with at a conference. We share the same inner glint of humor.

Also doing Myspace and a book trailer for The Sword & the Sheath. Also trying to polish the Nocturne book which is ALMOST DONE, yay! I really like it, hope my editor does as well. I'm trying to get ahead on this book so I can jump start the next two projects, the Dorchester book and a proposal due in May.

I saw the draft of the book trailer yesterday and it's really cool! I'll share here when it's done.

In other news, DH and I had a loverly V-day on the beach with strawberries and champagne. Mmmmmm. He's working this morning and I'm spending the time on projects I've pushed aside. Like cleaning the house. I think the dust bunnies have formed their own rabbit farm.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I guess she failed the driving test...

Incredible.

Another senior steps on the gas instead of the brake and crashes into a building... common in S. Florida, but this time, the driver drove into...

The Driver's License Bureau building.

Yup, the Department of Motor Vehicles building. The 80-year-old woman arrived to renew her license and crashed through the building. 11 were injured. She was charged with careless driving. Ya think?!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

News! Ancient Egyptian tomb discovery!

I love stuff like this...In Sakkara, the ancient burial place, archaeologists found the tomb of the Pharaoh Akhenaten's seal bearer.

Happy Valentine's Day


Here's some eye candy to celebrate! I love the color red...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

As promised, more Mar-a-Lago


This is the salon you enter as you go through the entrance to the club. Mar-a-Lago was built in 1924 and was home to Marjorie Merriweather Post. To find a location in Palm Beach for what eventually became her 110,000 foot palace, she crawled on her hands and knees through underbrush. The mansion is built on a solid limestone rockbed, one reason she chose the location.



The Grand Ballroom, where Trump married Melania Knauss in 2005. The old ballroom was too small, so The Donald built a new 18,000-square-foot one, complete with marbled columns. The mansion has 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms, and 12 fireplaces.





Look at the gold leaf on the walls.

I saw some Palm Beachers I recognized from my Palm Beach days as a reporter...socialites, mainly. Conrad Hilton, Paris' cousin, was there as well.


The evening was a fascinating study in people watching. Got some interesting story ideas as well! But when all was done, I'd rather remain in the field, interviewing the poor we help.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Poverty & Mar-a-Lago




This is how the poor people live. An example of a poor family we help. No latrines, plastic stretched over poles.







This is how the rich people live. One of the bathrooms at Mar-a-Lago. Gold sinks. Italian marble counters. Gilded mirrors. Two chandeliers in the bathroom.
It was a fascinating night. I'm wiped. Will post later. I hope we raised enough money to build lots of homes for people like those in the first photo...
Yes, I actually took my camera out and took a photo of the bathroom. :-)

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Panther & the Pyramid nominated for a Hughie!

The RBL romantica board has posted the nominations for the 2006 Hughie awards and my book is among them! I'm very honored and flattered to be nominated for "Best 'Other' Historical." Up against some very tough competition, but it's an honor just to be mentioned.

You can check it out here.

Dahling, meet me at The Donald's tonight!

Ah, the glam life of a romance author! Guess where I will be tonight? Yes dahling, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach! The Donald's hang out.

Will you be doing a booksigning? Attending a fab. fete? Showing off a new Dolce and Gabbana purchase, you may be asking.

No, moi will be there in my JC Penney little black dress... volunteering. Tonight is my charity's event to raise money in Palm Beach and I'll be monitoring silent auction items.

I prepared for this fab. event tonight by...

Plunging the toilet this a.m. An interesting metaphor, if you think about it. I didn't do it dripping jewels or in my Choos, but in my Eyeore PJ's.

The reason I wanted to volunteer is twofold:

1) I always wanted to see the inside of Mar-a-Lago, The Donald's club and the famous Post estate that's been a part of Palm Beach's landscape for decades.

2) Having been to Jamaica last week and seen tin shacks I could send toppling with a well-placed kick, I thought it would be interesting to see the other side of life. The people I met last week live in fear of being gunned down by stray bullets. Their children are malnourished.

I used to work as a reporter in Palm Beach, but have never been inside the dishy interior of The Donald's private club. I used to attend society pah-ties and write glowing reports of who was with whom or who was draped all over whom. Tonight will be different. At least when my tired, sensible shoes leave The Donald's, I'll feel a glow of satisfaction knowing that amid the glam and riches and jewels, we raised money to help some of those people I met last week.

In the meantime, I'm home today and have a book to write. I must return to the Nocturne book. Hmmmm, I wonder.... would a very Alpha male, fierce warrior werewolf fit in tonight at a very glam Palm Beach fundraiser?

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

RT review for The Sword & the Sheath

Four stars for THE SWORD & THE SHEATH!

The RT review is out. Yay!

"Known for stirring romances set in exotic locales that sweep readers into another time and place, Vanak has a gift for creating exciting stories, memorable characters and a passion hotter than the Middle Eastern sunshines.

From childhood, Fatima dreams of being a Guardian, a warrior sent
to protect Tarik, their tribe's heir. Not her gift of the Sight, her
education in England or the fact that her twin brother is to be a Guardian will stop her from fulfilling her destiny to safeguard Tarik.

Trained by her father in the art of war, Fatima is a formidable fighter, but she's still a woman: beautiful, sensual and already in love with Tarik. Though she saves his life several times, he's intent upon making her his wife and not his protector. The battle of wills that ensues between them makes the real battles they fight with their enemy pale in comparison. Though others try to tear them apart, it's the heart of a warrior that keeps them together. (Leisure, Mar., 416 pp., $6.99)" Romantic Times Book Reviews

The biggest surprise about this review? 416 pages. Originally this book was estimated at 352 pages. I knew the manuscript was long, but my editor told me not to worry and he didn’t cut anything, which is really cool. So this is my biggest book yet. Had to fit in all the love scenes, lol, since there are eight of them, the most I’ve had in a book. I think this is my hottest historical yet because the passion between Tarik and Fatima is so intense.

So far, the reviews for Sword have been good. Now if I were writing a review of my life… it would probably read like this:

2 Stars for Bonnie Vanak

Known for arriving to work late and muttering curses beneath her breath at elderly drivers, Vanak has a gift for forgetting to pay her bills, thinks dust bunnies are cute and likes to collect them, borrows her husband’s tools and loses them, has a nodding acquaintance with the treadmill at the YMCA, is a bleeding heart sucker for charity causes such as cat juggling (see reference to The Jerk with Steve Martin) and has no tact as evidenced when in Port Royal, Jamaica, the once infamous pirate hangout, she asked, “Hey, when flagging down a prostitute around here, does one shout, ‘Yo ho ho?’”



Sunday, February 4, 2007

Caving in!




Caved in and tried to move my blog to the new blogger because I have an upcoming post date at Unusual Historicals, but Blogger said phhhhhttt. My blog was too big. So I created this new one.
I'm back from Jamaica, the work trip for the day job. Still tired, but happy to be home. Shocked by the tornadoes in Central Florida, very grateful a friend's parents weren't affected.
In Jamaica our last day, we went to Port Royal. The old pirate hang-out. 2/3 of the city fell into Kingston Harbor in the June earthquake of 1692. It's pretty sad because you can scuba dive into the harbor today and see exactly what the city looked like back then, but the harbor is polluted with raw sewage.
One guy was sucked up by the earth only to be spit out. He was a slaver, guess the earth said, "Yuck." Sir Henry Morgan, infamous pirate, became governor of Jamaica and made piracy illegal. Only in Jamaica does an ex-pirate turn into a politician and then outlaw his old profession to cut out the competition. Hey, his rum is damn good, so I can't complain.
Anyway, this is a photo of what they call "The Giddy House." Old ammunition storehouse in Fort Charles, built in 1888. They call it the Giddy House because you feel giddy when you walk in it. This is probably what I'll look like tomorrow morning... Jennifer Ashley would like this fort because she writes terrific pirates.
Writing is meh on the new Nocturne book but I'm ahead of schedule so all is okay. I'm not panicking anymore about writing 3 books this year, working nearly FT and traveling. I'm trying to be more flexible and adaptable this year to whatever life throws my way. Plus I am home and it was good to see hubby... I really missed him. Dogs are doing fine. Tiger has gained a little weight, which is great, and Rainey has a new nickname. DH calls her "Queen Rainey." She rules the household.