Wednesday, June 28, 2006

3,000-year-old Egyptian tomb found!

How cool is this?

They may have
found the tomb of King Tut's mother. According to my research, Kiya, Akhenaten's second wife, mothered the boy king. Kiya's death and disappearance was the basis for my first Egyptian historical, THE FALCON & THE DOVE.

News reports said, "Zahi Hawass, who heads the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, said he believed the new tomb could have belonged to King Tutenkhamen's mother. Closely related Egyptian royals tended to be buried near each other, and graves of the rest of Tut's family have already been found, he said. "

“It would make sense, his tomb is so close that it looks like he chose to be buried next to his mother," who died years before the young king, Hawass said.”


In the very tight, shrinking historical romance market, we receive this glimmer of hope. All you need to secure a book contract without writing one single word, let alone a proposal, is “lots of love, sex, and battles.”

Course it helps to be the Duchess of York.

Sarah Ferguson, said duchess,
landed a $1.9 million book and movie deal for a book she hasn’t written yet. After authoring children’s books, she now ventures into this new territory. UPI reports that, “The book titled ‘Hart Moor’ is described by a friend as containing ‘lots of love, sex and battles.’”

Hart Moor?

Couldn’t she at least have come up with a title that grabbed you by the throat? Say, “Truth about the Royal Shaft, or, Andy’s got a gerkin?”

According to Ladies Home Journal, she gushed, "I've just signed a deal... to write a historical novel -- the next Gone With The Wind. I sold it without one chapter written! It's all in my head."

"Mommy, where do books come from?"
"They're all in your head, dear."

Someone else noted, “"People who underestimate her literary talents might be surprised when Hart Moor is finished. This book is going to be a huge success."

Note to self: Write lots of “love, sex and battles” for next historical. Oh wait. Been there, done that.

I need a royal title for my next book contract. Hmmm. Maybe… Bonnie Prunehomme, Duchess of Bling. String gold chains, maybe even a lucky rabbit’s foot, around my neck. Then write an historical with love, sex and battles.

I’ll call the book, “Love, sex & battles: The story of England’s royal family.”

Monday, June 26, 2006

Week 12

Tia's on Week 12 officially. The vet gave her only 12 weeks after the liver cancer diagnosis. She's doing okay, though I catch her whining a little when she lies down. I wish I could read her mind. Is she in pain? What can I do? Is the prednisone making her stomach upset?

She didn't eat much yesterday, then gobbled down her food after the pill.

She has bouts of her old self but in the mornings, especially today... she lacks any energy. Just getting her to go outside is tough. I don't know... I'm pulling a Scarlett. I won't think about it today. I'll think about it tomorrow.

I finished edits for my EC book yesterday. Now I'm working on a new project. I feel rushed to complete the proposal. Not because I'm meeting with my CP this week and owe her chapter 3. Only because I'm very afraid when the time comes to make that tough decision about my dog, I won't be able to function that week. Been there, done that with death. It knocks you over, like a wrecking ball slammed right at your face. And it takes a while to pick up the pieces of yourself, that lie broken and bleeding and scattered, and get on. You don't get over it. You just get through it. And life goes on.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Egypt's pit bull

Have to hand it to Zahi Hawass. He asked museum officials at a preview of the King Tut display to remove a corporate sponsor after learning the CEO owned an ancient Egyptian coffin. Hawass is Egypt’s pit bull of antiquities, censuring those who hoard ancient artifacts. He’s trying to get many artifacts returned because he believes they belong in museums, not in private homes. I agree as well. Go Dr. Hawass!

Got a fascinating book this week written by Theodore Davis on the discovery of Horemheb’s tomb in 1908. It details the opening of the tomb, the artifacts, and has sketches and photos. I’m toying with writing an Egyptian romance/mystery in that time period. Finding books like the one Davis wrote makes history come alive for me. And how cool is that?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Raise the lingam!

Pilgrims trekking for miles in Kashmir to worship a giant penis made of ice received news that it made have been artificially erected instead of naturally raised. One devotee claims the giant lingam, which is honored as a symbol of the god Shiva, is “made of soft snow and not ice.”

A giant, soft penis. Hmmm.

A Hindu cleric called for a judicial “probe” of the giant dong to see if it were indeed raised manually or is the product of mechanical erection. Say, by Viagra. But I thought cold causes shrinkage? Didn’t these guys ever see “Seinfeld?”

I can envision Elaine, George, Jerry and Kramer trudging to view the Big Lingam, arriving at the cave and critically analyzing it.

George: I can’t believe you dragged me here to worship a giant penis, Elaine.

Elaine: Not worship, George. Prove a fact. I told you the cold/shrinkage issue is just a myth. See? You were wrong. Does THIS look like shrinkage?

George: I was NOT wrong and this is an artificial penis so it doesn’t count! It was shrinkage, shrinkage!!!

Kramer, musing: I could sell replicas of this in Times Square. Like popsicles. Call it Kramer’s Giant Miracle Dongsicles.

Jerry: Kramer, no don’t chip off the …

Crash! Giant penis lies broken in tiny shards on cave floor.

George: See? I told you. Cold causes shrinkage, Elaine! Shrinkage!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Aurelia's house

A co-worker’s husband died of cancer yesterday. Their son is military, served in Iraq. Happy Father’s Day. It was a long, painful struggle. She’s such a strong, gritty woman of deep faith. I knew they had one of those deep, loving relationships.

His death made me spiral into a “what’s the purpose in life” mood. Too many I know have wasted away from cancer… and now of course Tia, my dog. She’s on week 11. The vet gave her 12 weeks. I told a friend this weekend it’s like watching someone on Death Row. She’s still doing well, but animals can take a sharp turn down in one day.

And then I got an email from another co-worker. She told me Aurelia’s house is finished.

That one sentence hoisted my spirits.

Aurelia’s house has been a personal quest since October, when Hurricane Wilma walloped my house. Wallowing in self-pity about the crushed Florida room, the two-foot hole in the roof, all the damage, I sought to dig myself out. I sought inspiration in the poor. I dug through notebooks, interviews of the people I’ve met.

I searched for a purpose.

And then I found Aurelia’s picture. Aurelia is very poor, elderly, living alone in a house where the roof partially collapsed. During a torrential downpour, the house was surrounded by floodwaters. She got trapped in her own home. Night terrified her. Aurelia feared the entire roof would collapse on her as she slept. Yet she had a deep faith that God would come to her aid. When I met her, she started weeping in relief that someone finally arrived to help.

“You could have passed. But something of God touched your heart so you are able to hear and see my cries, how I am living,” she told me.

She deeply touched me with her heartfelt trust in God. After our visit, she went on a waiting list of thousands of poor people needing homes.

This past October, she became my personal mentor. Funny, huh? How an elderly, poor woman living in a tumbledown shack can become a mentor. On my computer, I stuck the photo of Aurelia standing before her wrecked house. And every time I felt sorry for myself while trying to hire a roofer, deal with the insurance company, struggle with all the damage, I’d look at her photo. I’d remind myself how fortunate I was. I had insurance. I had resources. I wasn’t frail, elderly and alone. I had Dh to patch the leaky roof, fix the broken water main, and I could help him cut up the downed trees and haul pieces to the curb.

Aurelia trusted God. She had faith everything would work out okay. Aurelia was a gentle nudge to remind me to have a little faith as well.

I became determined that she’d get a new house. I contacted someone who hustled, promised. Then I let go and let God.

Today, I got the news that Aurelia’s house is finished.

I wonder if her house got completed when we finally got the finishing touches on our new Florida room. Parallel kismet, you might say. It doesn’t matter. Her house is done. And now she can sleep in peace, just like me. Aurelia without fear of the roof collapsing on her. Me without fear of the rain pouring inside my home.

I needed to hear this news today. I needed assurance that when life seems stuffed with pain, suffering and death, there’s good amid the bad. One elderly woman, one new house, one shining beacon of hope. There is purpose to life. Sometimes you just have to dig a little hard to find it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

My husband's Climax

DH has a Climax in our living room.

Last night we discussed how we need a great vacation this year, barring any more hurricanes. We discussed Alaska, Colorado and then as I'm thumbing through the book of train rides throughout the country, I hit upon Cass, West Virginia. Home to the most Shay engines still operating in this country. And they have a Climax. A Climax is a type of logging locomotive.

We watched the Cass video and started daydreaming about heading to West Virginia. I've never seen a real live Climax. I'm looking at the video and I ask him, "So do you have a Climax?"

He points to the train tracks above the sofa. "I keep my Climax up there."

It's a G scale Climax, like the other trains he has that we run throughout the house and in the garden railroad.

So I'm itching now to go to Cass, and see a real live Climax for myself. I've never witnessed a Climax in action. I can only imagine what it's like, the steam, the smoke and the sound... :-)

On another note, the train tracks we have running through the living room, kitchen and attic are hosting a critter train. A possum. It's living in the attic. Have NO idea how it got up there, but the other night I saw it using the train tracks to get from the garage to the attic. DH sealed the attic access for the train tracks and put a live trap up there.

No free rides in this house.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Gone with the wind

Alberto, the first storm of the season, is battering the west coast of my state now. When Alberto appeared on the radar, a bit of my serenity fled. Though not a hurricane, it was a bonk on the head as a reminder that yeah,

1) We are in hurricane season
2) I don't have enough deodorant to last all hurricane season
3) Sometime in the next six months, I'll probably have to eat canned Barfaroni for at least a day
4) Our generator has no gas and it's buried beneath a pile of Christmas decorations
5) Some time this season, I'll be fighting the little old ladies at Publix for that last can of tuna, and they'll probably win. AND they'll probably have a coupon for it.

Finished page proofs for The Panther & the Pyramid. Gosh, I forgot how much I love Graham. When I finished, his story stayed with me. He's such a complex, powerful character. Deep, mysterious and tormented. The last half of the book, where they are in the Western Desert, is the most emotional. I have a naughty word in the most pivotal scene. My editor left it in. I rejoiced. I don't normally use swear words in my historicals, but this scene needed a hard action verb. Using the right word can make an enormous difference. In this case, it was the right word.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The drink's on me

Is this blond guy a hunk or what? Absolut-ely.

dorchester is working on the cover of my March release. Did I mention THE SWORD & THE SHEATH will be out next March? Yup. This is Tarik's story. Jabari's son. Tarik resists having Fatima, his childhood friend, become his Guardian and the first Khamsin warrior.

Anyway, Tarik is my first blond hero. He's got dark, penetrating eyes, like his father, but his mother's hair. I've always liked writing dark-haired heroes, because I have a weakness for dark-haired men (DH has dark hair, very sexy brown eyes). But blonds can be fun, too.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Me enchanta!

Here's the cover to my first Spanish release! THE FALCON & THE DOVE, El halcón y la paloma, is being released this month by Roca.

I love this cover, very exotic, mysterious and sexy. Mucho gracias to Nieves in Spain for sending it, and also to Yolanda!

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I'm done with the first round of edits for CAPTIVE MATE, Blair's EC werewolf story! YAY! I had thought I'd never get to them. Yay! I'm making progress!

Some more terrific news... my first three Egyptian historicals are being published in Spanish! How cool is that? The Falcon & the Dove is out this month by Roca Editorial. I'll post the cover tomorrow. I'm thrilled.

Tia got groomed Friday. Friday was a bit hairy. Tiger ran away...briefly. Opened the door and WHAM! He's gone. Dancing around in the driveway. My heart was in my throat. He NEVER does that. So I took him with me as I carted Tia to the groomer. I think he sensed something was weird. He kept her company while she waited, then I picked her up right away. She can see now. No more fur in her eyes.

She's not eating great, though, which worries me, but I'm trying not to obsess. I kicked her pills back to 1 whole tablet a day. But that doesn't seem to help. Still, she's acting okay. Has her little bouts of energy.

I'm so tempted to take a break today and just read for pleasure. And read. Treat myself. I finished DARK DEMON by Christine Feehan, great book! Now I'm itching for an historical since I just finished editing a wereworlf parnormal.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Giant flamingos invade home at start of hurricane season!

Giant killer flamingos, fearing the start of the 2006 hurricane season, invaded the Vanak home today. They sought refuge at a residence finally repaired after Hurricane Wilma. However, upon learning that the home had been dropped by its insurance company, the flamingoes abruptly fled, first leaving a sizeable fertilizer deposit on the newly planted lawn.

Yeah, okay, I've been a bad blogger. Buried since returning from RT. Writing. Working FT. House is almost done with repairs. Yay. Came home to find these on our lawn. I laughed
until I cried. DH thought they made a nice replacement for the tree we lost during Wilma.

Here's the "before" photo of the guys working on the roof a couple of weeks ago. Yay. Almost there. Florida room just need windows, and then we start on the back yard.

Tia is still doing okay. She had a bad day this week, but I'm praying and holding my breath she'll still hang in there a while longer. The vet gave her 12 weeks at the most when she was diagnosed with the liver cancer. She's on week 8 now. God, I hate counting the weeks, but...

One day at a time.