Sunday, July 31, 2005

REAL RWA news you can use

Blog slogging and found some very useful info on the RWA conference. Check out Alison Kent’s blog. She narrows down the best blogs with the best market news. Thanks Alison!

Of all these, I think Helen Kay Dimon has the most in-depth news on what’s happening or what advice best-selling authors have. Check out her blog here.


That’s it for now. Must get off computer. My neck feels like a road show of Manolo-stomping chorus girls are doing the Riverdance on it.

http://www.bonnievanak.com

Friday, July 29, 2005

Report NOT from Reno; Editor/Agent Appointments or the Time Traveling Cuke that resembles Oded


Ah yes, the highlight for many writers at RWA. The editor/agent appointment. Having been on the writer's side of the table many times, I thought I'd imagine a scenario from the editor's side of it. The nightmare pitch.


Writer comes to editor’s little table, smiles politely. Starts talking about how great the hotel is, the bar, and so sorry, she didn’t mean to STALK Editor in the lobby last night, she was just getting a feel for what editor looked like so she could best prepare for her appointment and did Editor know this hotel has simply marvy pina coladas? Editor says very politely that she doesn’t drink and asks writer what she is working on.

Writer: “I have a story about a time traveling cucumber. A woman, who prefers natural relief over battery-operated, keeps this very large green cuke in her fridge. One night as she is fetching it, she notices the cuke bears a distinct impression of Oded Fehr’s face. She says, “Oded!” and suddenly she is transported back in time to ancient Rome where she meets this barbarian in a toga who used to be a Navy Seal, but he traveled back in time. So now he’s a gladiator and he gets into the ring with these big guys who all are converted Christians and they refuse to fight, but the gladiator HAS to fight them or he’ll be slain by the mad hippos that the Romans let loose in the arena…”

Editor: “Hippos? Um, the Romans sent lions into the arena to eat Christians.”

Writer: “Oh yeah, but that is BORING. So I’m changing history. So anyway the Christians run away from the hippos but the Navy Seal barbarian gladiator escapes from the ring and the hippos, who end up eating the Christians…”

Editor: “Hippos are herbivores. They don't eat meat.”

Writer: “Oh? Okay, I can change that. Maybe they just maul them to death. Well then the Navy Seal barbarian gladiator finds the heroine, who is clutching her cucumber and he realizes she’s from the same time period and they get together and start talking about sushi and how they both like to watch the Jerry Springer show.”

Editor: “Um, um, where’s the romance?”

Writer: “With the barbarian gladiator. Oh, and he resembles Russell Crowe.”

Editor (gritting teeth and smiling): “Okay, what about the conflict?”

Writer: “It’s all about a fight over the magical traveling cucumber. See the hero, the barbarian gladiator tries to get it back from the heroine so he can travel back to his day and age because he was on a mission to fight union terrorists in Reno. They’ve taken over the casinos and every time someone gets a triple 7 on a slot machine, the slot machine spews red paint all over their clothing and a programmed voice shrieks, ‘Stop buying imported clothing made in Guatemala! Look for the union label!’

So the heroine and the hero are fighting all over the cucumber, and then they get into bed and have great sex and the heroine realizes she doesn’t need the cucumber anymore, because the hero is much better and besides, no refrigeration needed. Then after sex, they smoke a cigarette and have a snack.”


Editor: “Uh… What happens to the cucumber?”

Writer: “The barbarian eats it.”

Editor (frantically glancing at time keeper and praying the five minutes is up): "Well, it sounds, er, interesting, but we publish only contemporary inspirational romance that do not have any loves scenes and I think…"

Writer: “Oh, but you see, my book is all that! It’s got a heroine who lives in contemporary times before she time travels and then it’s got Christians as well! Virgin Christians!”

Editor: (feeling the beginning of a migraine) “But the hippos eat, er, I mean they maul the Christians to death.”

Writer (looking thoughtful) “You do have a point there. Maybe I can have the hippos spare the Christians after the Christians convert them. I think you should publish this book. It’s got everything and I know if you publish it, I’ll get on the NY Times best-selling list and it’s sure to be nominated for a RITA.”

Editor (looking desperate) “I need a drink.”

Writer (frowning): “I thought you didn’t drink.”

Editor: “I do now.”


http://www.bonnievanak.com

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I'm NOT in Reno, part deux

PW has an entertaining blog post on why not to be in Reno. Check it out. I almost had forgotten about the rubber chicken.

Workshops, though. I do miss the workshops. RWA has terrific workshops where you can learn a lot. But there are workshops you will never find at an RWA conference. Like these.

1) Your hero’s wiener: How small is too small? Does size really matter?


2) Paperweights are fun! Writing the manuscript that will sit on an agent’s desk forever.

3) The Regency Joy of peeing in a chamber pot

4) Inspirational workshop: Is satan really such a bad ass dude?

5) Pitching a story to a Big Deal Editor over lunch while speaking with your mouth filled with
rubber chicken. It’s really the manuscript that matters.

6) How to stalk an agent into the ladies room and strike up a conversation while in the next stall.

7) Spanking the monkey: writing the self-gratifying erotic romance

8) The time traveling chick lit: Manolo heel imprints on the ceiling of my Neanderthal’s cave.

9) Eliminating conflict from your story: Can’t they just be friends?

10) Writing the impotent Alpha hero that will sell.

11) Manuscript presentation: Pointers on writing a single-spaced manuscript in script font

12) Paranormal panel: Writing the inspirational vampire

13) How to switch POV in mid-sentence

14) Creating the TSTL whining, weak-kneed virgin heroine

15) Why you will never be me so just suck up and buy my books: A day in the life of a
egomanical best-selling author

16) Show me the debt! How to survive on eating cat food so you can enter gadzillions of RWA contests and try to get published

And sadly, the workshop you will never see, at least this year…

17: The sweet historical romance: a hot new market for the times.

http://www.bonnievanak.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I'm NOT in Reno

Thought I’d post a report from an author NOT in Reno at the RWA national conference. No hanging out at the bar, no book signing today, no worrying about a dress for the awards ceremony, no meeting with friends, no lining up to get a signed copy of Suz Brockman’s newest. Nope.

Instead, today I went to the neurologist. Very, very nice lady, practical, upfront and professional. I like her a lot. She’s ordered a nasty test that will pinpoint muscle damage, etc. Basically they will stick me with needles and then send tiny electrical shocks through my body.

She warned me, “It’s painful.”

When a doctor tells you it’s painful, you know it’s not a trip to Disney.

I thought about it though. I’m not really concerned. I could be stocking up on Crayolas to write with just in case the technician gets too happy with the current and I end up drooling all over myself and saying things like, “I love lima beans.”

But… there is worse stuff getting news that they are going to wire me up like Frankenstein’s monster and zap me with electricity like some mad patient whose brain cells need unscrambling. I could compare it to being in Reno this week and the worst that could happen there, which would feel LIKE painful electrical shocks following these revelations. For example…

1) I run into my editor, a very nice guy, and he tells me, “Hey Bonnie, I read your option about Rashid, and to tell you the truth, I got distracted reading the emergency exit instructions in my office because they were much more interesting than your manuscript. I phoned your agent and told him if I ever have to read another manuscript of yours, I think I’ll gouge my eyeballs out.”

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! Zap! Yeow! Yikes!!!

2) In the smoke-filled bar I see Teresa Medeiros, one of my favorite authors. In a forgetful moment I gush and turn into Stark Raving Fangirl about how great her books are. She retreats in horror and runs and hides among the urinals in the men’s room to avoid me.

Zap zap zap! Yikes!

3) My author friends, Pamela Clare, Alice Gaines, Linda Broday, and others consort to tell me the wrong place to meet for drinks so they don’t have to see me. Like in Missouri. In December.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! Ouch! Ouch!

4) My editor from Ellora’s Cave, a very nice lady, sees me in the bar babbling to myself, wondering if my friends really DID mean to meet them in Missouri. She says she changed her mind about publishing my vampire story and that I’m the first author she’s ever encountered who can write a boring, celibate vampire... with a very tiny winkie.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzap!!!! Yikes!

5) I am trapped in an elevator during a sudden power blackout with a group of opinionated drunk women who just left the bar, who find out I write for Ellora’s Cave. They try to baptize me with their wine spritzers, shrieking at me, “YOU DO NOT WRITE ROMANCE! YOU WRITE PORN!”

Zap zap zap! Ouch!

6) I leave a copy of THE COBRA & THE CONCUBINE on my nightstand and the maid leaves me a polite note. “Read it. It sucked. Can I have my money back?”

Zap! Zzzt! Zzzzzzzzzzzzt! Ouch! Yikes!


7) And worst of the worst of the worst… I attend the Saturday night RITA awards to cheer on my fellow Dorchester authors who are up for a RITA… And they announce the winner in ALL the categories is…

Danielle Steel.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! YOW!!!!!


http://www.bonnievanak.com

Monday, July 25, 2005

SNARK ATTACK!




Yesterday DH and I visited the beach, all warm, smooth sand, a garden of colorful beach umbrellas, and the burning sun frying us to a crisp. I had gotten distressing news that my hand numbness is a result of cervical disc disease. This week I’m seeing a neurologist. I must curtail my computer time as well.

In the meantime, we had to cancel our plans to go jet skiing, but opted to visit the beach instead. All I wanted was to float in the ocean, let the water bathe me in saline buoyancy. With temps soaring over 100 degrees at our house, we basked in the cooler ocean breeze and then ventured into the turquoise waters.

Some days, I love living in Florida.

We’re bobbing up and down in the gentle surf, talking, and yet all the while I’m aware of the recent shark attacks and the sightings of bull sharks in our hometown only a few weeks ago. But being a brave Floridian, I keep swimming and then all the sudden…

I see it.

Blood turns to ice in my veins. I am immobilized with fear. I try to speak, but a whimpering gasp flees my trembling lips. DH looks at me in concern and says, “What is it?”

Finally in a tiny, breathless voice, I whisper, “Snark.”

Dh turns paler than ivory soap. “Oh-My-God.”

“Just ignore it and maybe it will swim away,” I tell him, knowing it is swimming even closer.

But I know the truth… it won’t. It’s there in black and white, the chortling swirl of snark floating like dead seaweed. It’s the ongoing, never-ending comments by some authors about WHY RWA should NEVER have allowed Ellora’s Cave to join its ranks as a recognized publisher of romance or HOW those covers are nothing but PORN and Ellora’s Cave writes nothing but PORN and PORN doesn’t belong in RWA. It’s swimming near me, the yawning black-mouthed cavern of contemptuous remarks… and I just want it to go away. I don’t understand this warped animal. I’m an author who respects all genres, even if I don’t read them or want to write them. I just want the snark to start feeding on itself like the big ugly snark it is, cannibalizing until it belches or goes Yark all over itself.

But it’s still circling in the water.

“Hit it on the nose and maybe it will retreat,” suggests DH.

With the heel of my hand, I smack it. It retreats a bit and makes a yipping, cowardly sound, but then continues its circling.

“There’s only one thing to do. I have to do it,” DH says with a resigned look.

I cry out. “I can’t have you sacrifice yourself.”

“It’s all right,” he says soothingly. “If it will make it go away for you, I’ll do it.”

My eyes water with tears. My big, brave husband, I love him so much. Dh takes a deep breath, and then…

He divests himself of his swim trunks.

The snark circling us shrieks, “OH NO! NAKED MAN, NAKED MAN! I can’t stand to look at a NAKED MAN!”

Suddenly the snark swims away, leaving us in quiet, peaceful waters once more. DH dons his swim trunks. I embrace him. “My hero,” I cry out. “Thank you for rescuing me!”

He gives a modest shrug. “Any time.”


http://www.bonnievanak.com

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What if all of Houston's population died?

Today I read a heartbreaking statistic.

Writing a brochure about Haiti, I came across a stat that said 28 percent of Haiti’s children under five die of starvation. That amounts to about 2 million children.

A statistic is just a number. You have to translate that number into meaning to give it the true impact.

Take the city, Houston, TX, with its population of 2 million (US census 2002). Now imagine the entire city populated by pre-school children under the age of 5. Two million innocent children.

Now, wipe them off the face of the earth after they die a slow, lingering, very painful death from starvation.

Two million smiles and laughter, two million faces gone forever.

Two million children dead from hunger.

Those are the empty, silent cries of hunger in Haiti.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Naked butts, medical stuff, etc.

I don't know why I'm so attracted to men's tight naked butts. Give me the posterior any day over the frontal. There is just something about the squeezable gluteus maximus... hmmm... sounds like circus maximus... maybe a title for a medieval romance? SEDUCING THE GLUTEUS MAXIMUS. In ancient Rome, Phoebe finds herself in the amphitheater, tossed to the lions, aka Tony, Dave and Mike, the famed naked GLUTEUS MAXIMUS gladiators. To win her freedom and avoid being eaten alive, she must squeeze their butt muscles until their facial expressions (or something else) twitches. Then again, perhaps Phoebe does not mind being eaten alive by the infamous trio...

Went to the MD today and she suggested my wrist/finger numbness and tingling may be a neck problem. So I'll be wearing a cervical collar to see if that reduces the pain that flares up now and then.

My other personality, Blair Valentine, had started writing another fairy tale erotic romance but stopped. She's a bit weary and has suddenly realized Bonnie at the day job has a deskload of work and it's not good to have wrist and hand pain. So I've stopped writing romance at night for now to give both Bonnie and Blair a break.

http://www.bonnievanak.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I feel violated

Someone stole DH's credit card number, made a fake card and ran up our bill with purchases at Walmart and a Latin restaurant.

I bet they went to Walmart and didn't even buy my book, sons of whey-faced rats they are.

I'm pretty depressed right now. Between news of Dawn's death, and now this... Having Dh's credit card number stolen makes me feel violated. We work very hard for our money. DH works hard, and I have a day job in addition to writing romance. We are not rich, contrary to what some people think when they discover I write romance. Yeah, I had a couple of my historicals for sale in Walmart. Very cool. No, I'm not ready to start my own reality TV show called Who wants to be a Vanak?

More likely, "Who wants to be in debt and clean up dog yark from the carpet?"

It's not the first time I've been robbed. Years ago, I was helping out at a charity event, setting up for a black tie dinner when someone stole my purse from a very posh ballroom. I thought it was safely stowed beneath a table skirt. But someone had been watching, and it vanished, along with stuff I can never replace. Forget the hassle of the credit cards, money, etc. I had two rosaries in that purse. One was made by my aunt, a Dominican nun, for my wedding. She died before the wedding. The other belonged to my grandmother, also dead. When the police called and told me they found my purse, I was overjoyed and so hopeful. I retrieved it and dug through it. Here's the irony... everything was inside it, but the rosaries, the only items I really wanted back. The very personal gift my aunt, the nun, had made me was gone. I cried and cried over the loss. The rosaries were probably sold in some pawn shop, somewhere. I highly doubt it was a good Catholic who just wanted to pray a lot.

So here I am again, feeling icky and violated because someone stole from us. Like before, I feel like retreating from the world and the icky people in it. No more blogging, posting updates on my website, just retreat from the public and vanish. I just have to remember there are good people out there. But on days like today, it's tough. Very tough.

http://www.bonnievanak.com

Monday, July 18, 2005

Then, again maybe the meaning of life is...


A fine naked ass. Like Oded's. Up against the wall and spread 'em. Like good artwork, a man's bottom can lift a downtrodden spirit. Life is too damn short not to appreciate the finer things it has to offer. This one's for you, Dawn. I think it would make you smile. I'll miss you. :-(

Bonnie

Rage, rage against the dying of the light

I’m sitting here a bit shell-shocked. Today I received some news that a friend’s wife, also a fan of mine, died suddenly. Cancer. Diagnosed only three months ago, she developed a sudden infection and died. She was one of the most generous and kindest women I’ve known. Never had a mean thing to say about anyone. Helped out at animal shelters, finding homes for strays. A decent human being with a big heart.

She loved my first book, my second book, and she was looking forward to reading COBRA, my third. She never got the chance. She was diagnosed the month it came out.

Lately I’ve been struggling a lot with the meaning of my life. My last trip to Nicaragua raised some thought-provoking questions. I feel restless and uncertain. I’m struggling with a mid-life and spiritual crisis. Should I be doing this? Or that? What direction should I take? Should I continue with writing romance and trying to get published? Or delve into something entirely different? Introspection, self-examination.

And then I get news like today and I realize how precious little time we all have. Maybe the lesson is, live your life as if you’re going to die tomorrow. Because you just never know. You might.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Defiant and damn proud of it


Well, not if it gets me fired, lol...

Decided I was going to find a home after all for my Ellora's Cave calendar I had hanging up at work I was forced to remove. Where? My office at work, of course. Behind the door, where the map of Haiti used to hang. The map of Haiti everyone in my department always comes in to consult. I took down the map, hung up Mr. July, CJ Hollenbach, naked chest and all.

So this morning, my office mate and I have the door closed... which means, since our wall facing the hallway is glass... you can see what's on the wall behind the door when door is closed. The photographer I work with is strolling by, does a double take. He raps on the glass, points to CJ and says, "Uh, interesting map'."

Yeah, interesting map. Hee hee!

http://www.bonnievanak.com

Some days...

the publishing business just plain sucks. sigh...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Is that a banana in your towel or...


Started writing another erotic romance... paranormal fairy tale. In the meantime, I offer some eye candy. This is James Purefoy, who was in RESIDENT EVIL. Now just imagine moving the towel a tad over...mmmm...

http://www.bonnievanak.com




Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Buh bye Dennis, hello Emily?

Maybe I should spend the rest of hurricane season in a drunken stupor...

Dennis missed us, of course. A little wussy puff of wind that knocked out power for 4 minutes, but sent DH scurrying to the hospital to work when the AC failed for the whole damn building! At 5 AM!!!

So we waved good bye to Dennis, glad to see that the damage to the Keys and the panhandle wasn't that bad. And now Emily has popped up on the horizon.

Looks like this season will be as bad as last season. I really think that a magnum of 12-year-old Nicaraguan or Jamaican rum is in order. With a straw. I'll just sit sipping it for the next five months, watch the Weather Channel in a drunken stupor, give up writing romance and the day job, and wait for disaster to drop upon my door. And for that damn tree, which we keep forgetting to trim, to fall on the newly repaired roof. I can't even count on hurricane sex, which everyone else has, because hubby has to WORK during a storm.

Damn hurricanes. They ruin everything, even my sex life!

Maybe we should move to Alaska, which may not be such a bad idea. I mean, they have mosquitoes bigger than my fist, but hey, so does Florida.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Here we go... again...

Hurricane Dennis on its way... Fla keys being evacuated south of the seven mile bridge. Up here we'll probably get gusty winds and 5 inches of rain. Hope Cindy C and Mary Stella will be okay. I LOATHE hurricane season!

In other news, my deepest sympathies to victims and their families of the terrorist attacks in London. We grieve with you. If only people would spend half their energies on love as much as hate, wouldn't the world be a better place? Sigh...

http://www.bonnievanak.com

Back from Nicaragua, with a side trip to Guatemala. Great trip, but returned with food poisoning AGAIN. Still, it was worth it. Trying to catch up... in the meantime, Blair V sold another story to Ellora's Cave, a vampire story. Here's my model for the story. Oh yeah...those penetrating green eyes...mmmm! Posted by Picasa