Monday, February 27, 2006

New Yawk, New Yawk, it's a hellava town

Mixed feelings about this weekend... sad my uncle died, but delighted to see my cousins again and my other uncle, who is very sharp and doing great. Ah, New YAWK! Queens! Manhattan! those accents! A rush of nostalgia came over me when I heard my cousin say, "We can wok from heah." It was wonderful! How much I've missed hearing that!

Will post more on the weekend later. In the meanwhile, had to show off my cover. YAY! I LOVE it! I went to Dorchester's offices in Manhattan and chatted with Leah, the nicest person, for a long while as my editor was out. And I got a scan of my cover! My heart raced. It's perfect, especially with the back cover copy, which reads like this:

Red hair, the color of blood. Green eyes, the color of emeralds. And that face, that body — the memory threatened to consume him. True, he was a dangerous man, accepted back to the ton despite his upbringing. But there were those who dared oppose him, and in certain ways he remained untried. In his dreams, this woman threatened all he sought to protect, all he thought to hide. She was more perilous even than the ancient treasure that would draw him back to Egypt, back to the shifting sands where he’d been raised: This woman would uncover his heart.

Take a look at that guy on the cover. It looks like he's VERY protective of something... which he is. His heart.

More later. I have to wake up now.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Erotic romance & funerals

My Uncle Ed died yesterday. I wish so much I had gone up to NY last year to see him and everyone. Now it's too late. I'm going to his funeral this weekend. This photo was taken in the 1930's of my Uncle Ed, my dad, and my Uncle Don. Ironically, my dad was born the same year as the romance I'm currently writing - 1919.

USA Today had a big article on erotic romance as a new market. Yeah, hello? Old news, people. Oh yeah, today I got my contract for the new werewolf book from Ellora's Cave. I really like this book. Very, very sexy. It was challenging going from writing about sexy werewolves to sexy desert warriors. I keep wanting to have Tarik howl at the moon.

I'll be gone a few days, not blogging. Why is it we always wait until it's too damn late to realize family isn't always going to be around forever?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wash me

Almost at the part of my book where Tarik finally makes love to Fatima. There will be a bathing scene. Very sexy. Speaking of bathing, I see something missing from this pix. Handcuffs, attached to the curtain rod. Then a big, fluffy sponge, lots of soap and water...hmmmmm.... you're been a very dirty boy. Very dirty.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Home again

There were good parts of my trip as well. The hotel I stayed at, only $35 US a night with its cool breezes and pampered, lush grounds. The ex-pat Americans I glimpsed in the coffee cafes with their woven Guatemala bags slung over sloped shoulders, the awesome view of Lake Atitlan, clouds ringing the volcano, and the Mayan woman I met who remained childless at 40, and adopted a newborn abandoned in a clinic, her dream of becoming a mom coming true at last.

They say Americans and Europeans gravitate to Lake Atitlan because it resonates with a sort of deep spiritual power. I don't know. All I know is there is kind of a cruel beauty, a primitive haunting air to the lake, with the volcanoes standing guard as they have for thousands of years, their jagged edges possessing a serene and yet terrible power.

For those indicating they want to help, I'll let you know when I have more info. Thanks.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

"It's a cemetery now"

Spent yesterday in Panabaj, western Guatemala, where the mudslide buried 700 people during hurricane Stan last year. 15 feet of mud is now dry earth, bodies buried below the surface. You walk on top of the mud, and as one villager said, "It used to be a village. It's a cemetery now." They recovered the last body 15 days ago. Bulldozing while collecting rocks to errect a stone wall to prevent this from happening again, they saw a hand sticking out of the earth.

The villagers, all Mayan Indians, planted palm trees to mark where their loved ones lived and died. These two grandmothers, who errected a small shrine, lost all but one person each. Their husbands, children, grandchildren. Concepcion sobbed as she told us how she prays for her family, entombed in mud below the shrine. All she found was this hat, which her children used to play with. She also lost her one-month-old grandbaby.

I can't imagine... and don't want to. The fear they live with at night, that the water and mud river will happen again, rushing down on them and entombing them or sweeping them out to Lake Atilan, as it did with little Francisco, who was found buried up to his neck in mud, but thankfully alive.

I'm exhausted and depressed now. Too much to write my book, though I have a deadline and brought this laptop to write. I've gotten some writing done, but I keep thinking the real world isn't being an author and books and the sometimes petty crap that can go with being an author. It's there, in that little village of grieving people, who only wanted to live their lives as they did, a tight-knit community who worked and played and prayed together, and now have lost entire families. It's going to take me a while to recover from this trip and all the emotional angst. In all honesty, I don't care about romance writing right now. I'm too wounded now to think about it, like a little piece of me was left behind on the silent mudfields of Panabaj, where mothers weep during the day for the children they lost, and children who survived wake up screaming, dreaming of it happening again.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Grandma's house

She dreams of having a new house with a real floor she can mop. Wind rattles the tin and plastic covering her current house. Cardboard lines the mud walls and gets soaked when it rains. Cold up here in the mountains of Guatemala. Very cold. Tears spilled down her cheeks as she told us how difficult it is to raise her grandchildren with her daughter working as a maid in the city. Each day she prays for a new house. She told us, "I don't think my dream will come true in my life, but maybe when I die, my daughters will finally get a nice house."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Smiles in Guatemala

Lester, my favorite. Look at this cheeky grin! It was great seeing him. Maria is gone, home with her parents. I only hope she stays healthy... Camera chip works great in the new notebook. Ah yes, technology. A good thing, when there's a modern hotel and electricity.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Guatemala tomorrow. Frantically trying to pack, get ready. Carpets done yesterday. Dogs eyeing clean carpets with a gleam in their eyes. Uh-oh...

Going to village buried under mudslides from Hurricane Stan last year. Not going to be an easy trip, but you do what you must. I am looking forward to seeing Maria again from Sister Cristina's. It's been six months and I'm sure she's looking much healthier. I bought her an outfit and a little black velvet hat so she can "style." Malnourished kids get cold more than other children. But I'm sure she's quite plump and healthy by now.

Will try to post from the road, as I can, though internet access will be limited.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Romance v.s. real life

Romance is the sweep of desert wind across the plain, the proud stance of a warrior surveying his dry kingdom.
Reality is the sweep of the Hoover over the rug because DH just tracked in mud.

Romance is a Khamsin warrior's dark gaze burning into the heroine, making her tremble with anticipation.
Reality is the dog staring at me when I'm trying to write a love scene.

Romance is Tarik gently wiping away Fatima's tears after she's had a disturbing psychic vision.
Reality is me sighing as I clean up the carpet because I couldn't forsee the dog was about to yark.

Romance is Tarik telling Fatima, "Surrender now, Tima. We will be lovers. This I promise."
Reality is DH telling me at 5 p.m., "Hey, I promised Robert we'd have dinner with him tonight. Forgot to tell you."

Romance is a fierce Khamsin warrior, devoted to his lady, vowing to protect her to the last drop of his blood.
Reality is the roofer vowing to take every last drop of our money, and yeah, we'll start in 4-5 weeks.