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

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...


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.