Wednesday, August 30, 2006

An interview with Graham from THE PANTHER & THE PYRAMID

Ernesto is still lingering and blowing weakly. Yesterday was the official release date of The Panther & the Pyramid. I was too busy cooking lasagna, doing laundry, cleaning and watching The Weather Channel to celebrate. So I’ll mark the occasion today by bringing you an interview with Graham Tristan, the Duke of Caldwell, the book’s complex hero.

Bonnie: Graham, thank you for taking time to be with us today…

Graham: Is this going to take long? I’m presently occupied with a very important matter.

Bonnie (gritting teeth): What matters? I’m trying to give you exposure here, dude.

Graham: I already have exposure and it is that present exposure that is requiring my complete and undivided attention.

Bonnie: Of what?

Graham: Jillian’s bare bottom. It’s quite a lovely, rounded bottom.

Bonnie (sarcastically): Well, why don’t I just give you a minute to admire the view?

Graham: I can’t. It’s obscured.

Bonnie: By what?

Graham: Me.

Bonnie, growing embarrassed: Oh sheesh, don’t tell me you’re boinking her again! I only wrote in six love scenes in PANTHER!

Graham: Eight. I’m on page 240. Then I’m skipping the rest of the book and going onto the next love scene.

Bonnie: You can’t! You just can’t! You have treasure to find, battles to fight, enemies to engage, damnit! WHAT ABOUT THE PLOT?!!

I just want to have sex. It's all your fault. If you hadn't made me lose my virginity in the first chapter, I never would have become so obsessed.

Bonnie, grumbling: MY fault? Men!!!! That’s ALL THEY THINK ABOUT ALL THE TIME. SEX, SEX, SEX!!!!

Graham: And your point is? I must leave. Jillian’s asking me why I stopped and I told her that you, our creator, interrupted. She has two words for you.

Bonnie: Thank you?

Graham: Sod off. We’re busy. Good-bye!

Bonnie, sighing: Characters. You nurture them, sweat blood and tears over them, give them a book and this is the thanks you get.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Is rain headed your way?

Um, yeah... I'd say so. Tonight's forecast? Rain, wind. Life in paradise. But this radar, cool huh? Back to making my 10,000 pan of lasanga (it freezes well in a storm, only time I ever make lasanga.)

What hurricane?

What Tia chooses to do before Tropical Storm Ernesto hits. While I'm running amok doing laundry, should the power go out, cooking, should the power go out, cleaning because FIL is spending the night, charging cell phones, should the power go out.

Tia decides to relax in the grass. Maybe it's a good sign. Night before Wilma hit, she did not want to go outside. At all. Dogs are smart.

Back to doing my 29,000 load of laundry...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hurricane Watch

Officially under a hurricane watch, though Ernesto is a tropical storm. They expect it to strengthen after it passes Cuba. The track shifted eastward, bad, bad news for me. Ironically, I’m supposed to fly out to New Orleans the end of the week. At least they’ll have electricity. Us? Probably not.

DH got gas for the generator, I got food, and water and tonight we’re putting up the storm shutters. My biggest worry is Tia. I am concerned about her health, she’s doing fine now, but stress makes her sick. I have enough food for her. For a dog that the vet said wouldn’t live past June with the cancer, she’s doing pretty good for now. I have enough of her meds. Hopefully Ernesto will be more a rain than wind event. We have a new roof and a new Florida room, and hey, we have only 2 trees left to fall on the house! I’m trying to look on the bright side.

Note to self: buy more rum for blender drinks.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


We're in the CONE OF DOOM again. Sheesh. Even with hurricanes on the Gulf Side, there's no relief, as Wilma, which dumped a tree on my house, crushed our Florida room and left my insurance company bankrupt, was a Gulf coast hurricane. Poor Haiti. They'll get 12 inches of rain, mudslides and death. There's just no protection for that country... Sigh...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Graham's role model

Missy M over at RBL asked me in an interview if I use role models for my heroes. I told her I start with DH (he's my real life hero!), then layer on the individual personality traits. I didn't use a physical role model for Graham in The Panther & the Pyramid, but realized if he had a double, it would be close to Hugh Jackman. There's the lighter side, ah, that smile...melt your heart!

Then there's the serious side, this photo of a furred Hugh resembles Graham in the desert when he morphs from stoic Englishman to deadly Khamsin warrior... dangerous as a wounded panther. Watch out...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Haiti's child slaves

Today is a day of irony. Today is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

Yet in Haiti, the first country to be founded by slaves, the slave trade goes on today.

It plagues that country in the haunting faces of child slaves called restaveks. Restaveks are children who are handed over by their impoverished parents to wealthier families to work as servants in exchange for food, education and a bed. Many work 12-14 hour days, are beaten, and sexually abused. They are underfed, criticized, unloved. Estimates are one out of every 10 Haitian children is a restavek.

The Cobra & the Concubine, my last Egyptian book, featured Badra, a child slave. In Cobra, Badra is an adult who overcomes her traumatic past and ends up in the arms of the man who loved her for years. In real life, restaveks seldom have happy endings. I’ve met former restaveks in my travels in Haiti. I can only hope that some day all the restaveks will be free and this horrific practice will be a sad part of Haiti’s past. Naive of me to think so? Yeah. I'm a dreamer. I write romance novels. But I have hope it can happen, some day.

To find out more about child slaves in Haiti,
click on this link to read an article.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What I'm hoping to buy in New Orleans

I just hope Christine has it at the booksigning at Heather Graham's Writers for New Orleans Workshop. It's officially not released until Sept. 5. I need a Carpathian fix.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Limp weapons on NY city streets

Next time you think your day job is tough...

I write about manly protuberances in romance novels. The purple-headed warrior of love comes charging home in victory, always at the ready, an enormous weapon of passion to conquer the quivering heroine as she breathlessly awaits him...

I never encounter one in the day job, well, not always. There was that naked guy one time in Jamaica, but... that's another story. And I've never had one pointed at me as a weapon.

A limp weapon.

Poor NY hack. It ain't easy being a NY cabbie, let alone having to deal with d**ks like this guy. I'm glad he didn't snap a photo of said offensive weapon. Then again, he didn't have a telephoto lens on him...

The Burning by Bentley Little

Read like a fiend this weekend. Two Linda Howard books, including Cover of Night, and a Bentley Little book called The Burning. The Howard books were both good. I’m in awe of her research on rock climbing, she’s very detailed. I also snickered at her corn chip campfire scene, remembering when my friends and I camped in Ginnie Springs and built the Bonfire from Hell, tossed in everything, INCLUDING lawn furniture, we started it with a bag of Fritos.

However, as much as I like the Howard books, the Bentley book blew me away.

Really Blew Me Away.

Never read him before. He’s a horror writer Stephen King reads. I know now why King does. I haven’t enjoyed a non-romance book like this in…years. The last non-romance book I read, Wicked, depressed me. Terrific writing, riveting plot but when Fiyero died, sob sob! I got depressed.

The Burning didn’t depress me. Probably because none of the main characters died. It hooked me in, kept me frothing at the mouth to keep reading more, more, more! The book consists of four individuals hooked together by a growing evil. Each chapter switches back and forth between the characters. Normally this makes me cross-eyed, but in this book, Bentley so completely nailed the characters and finished each chapter with a delicate hook, enough to make you curious about their next incident, but not so much you want to skip ahead. There was some gore, but I’ve read King, and the gore wasn’t bad. The plot fascinated me… it’s based on prejudice and revenge and the history of the Chinese people in the U.S. And it had a train in it, a ghost train, which totally hooked me in first. The cover features a burning locomotive. I adore ghost train stories. DH and I collect them when we travel out west.

I read it in the ride back home, snatched some time in the car on the way over to visit FIL, devoured chunks as I could. I gorged myself on The Burning. It reminded me of when I was in an advanced sixth grade reading class. We’d order books we wanted from the catalog and when they arrived, were allowed to indulge ourselves. I’d eagerly anticipate reading, like a famished soul waiting for a good meal.

Bentley reminded me of King in both his attention to scene detail and his gripping characterization. The characterization is what had me so riveted. Had Bentley merely glossed over characters as some mainstream authors do, and concentrated on the plot, I’d have set aside the book. Instead, I HAD to find out what was happening with Angela, why Dennis chose to flee The Keep, how Jolene dealt with Skylar’s terror, and why Frank was both drawn to the twins and repelled at the same time. I stayed up until nearly midnight finishing the book. It was so good it was like a movie. I haven’t read a book that gripping in a long time, at least not a non-romance.

Now I want to acquire his backlist, especially The House, but I’m a bit afraid. The main reason I’m afraid is because reading horror books for me is like walking a tightrope. I loved The Burning because it was low on my graphic gore scale, none of the main characters died, and the ending was satisfying, in that evil was vanquished and life went on. There are some King books I can’t read again because they’re too intense, involving the death of a child (Pet Sematary) or the resolution leaves me chilled (The Dead Zone). I might wait on the Bentley backlist.

Today is a visit to the orthopedic surgeon. Joy, joy, joy. I want to bring a book, but I’m reluctant to start anything new I’ll have no time to finish. Maybe I’ll just listen to Evanescence instead. Wake up inside, after my knee is fried…

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Cobra & Concubine

I'm on the west coast. Soothing salt spray, scent of brine and thunder grumbling in the background. I love Florida in long as there are NO hurricanes. Went to the Edison Museum for book research. Fascinating stuff, like how he was nearly deaf and he tapped out his marriage proposal to his second wife via Morse code, which he taught to her, BUT neglected to teach her the code for "no."

Dorchester did a second printing of The Cobra & the Concubine! YAY!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wash me

Life is a tad settled. I am concentrating on clearing my schedule to do… laundry. New washing machine. Dh did first load. He was itching to test it out to see if it worked. Ha ha! My ploy of helpless female who knows nothing about new appliances has worked! I am invincible Superwoman who can convince males to do ANYTHING! Next, I take over the world!

Bummed about Bombshell folding. I never read the line, but ANY romance line folding bring on the funeral dirge. There’s an interesting
blog post by an agent who speculates what happened. This is why chasing trends is like a soccer game, everyone chasing after the ball, then back the other way and then sometimes, sadly, everyone ends up crashing together. And someone gets hurt…usually the authors who are contracted for more books in that line. :-(

Sunday, August 13, 2006

To Shannon, the reviewer

I had to post this quick note while I have a minute.

Shannon, there is NOTHING to forgive. Yeah, I'm disappointed you didn't like Panther, but hey, we're all different and a review is an opinion. What one person likes another will not. I respect the fact you posted an honest review and I'm glad you explained why you didn't like the book.

Anyway, I'm glad you liked the first three. And thanks for being honest in posting in the review. I've always liked Romance Reader at Heart, and respected your reviews. And that's not going to change just because I got a bad review.

Okay, back to business... life has not settled down, still dealing with the medical crisis from last night, but at this point, I'm getting numb to lack of sleep and dealing with one crisis after another.

On a lighter note, I'm going (I hope at this point) to Heather Graham's Writers for New Orleans Workshop Sept. 1-3. Cherry Adair, Heather, and Christine Feehan will all be there, giving talks and autographing books. I'll be autographing copies of Panther. Check it out if you can, we're raising money to help the New Orleans Library Foundation by auctioning off autographed books.

Taking a break

I'm simply overwhelmed. Family medical crisis yesterday. Spent all last night in the ER. I'm taking a break from blogging until things settle down.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New Egyptian cover!

OMG, I'm freaking out, I LOVE this cover! It's for my March release from Dorchester. It's perfect! Fatima has green eyes and black hair, and I love the way she's holding the sword. Because of her psychic talent and her fighting abilities, she becomes the first female Khamsin warrior of the wind and Tarik's bodyguard. Tarik, the sheikh's proud son, fights to have her removed and assign her to a different position... in his bed. ;-)

Tia better

Thank you, God. She didn't eat yesterday, today perked up a tad. She ate a little and then came begging, a sure sign she's hungry. I fed her sparingly, not wanting to repeat my mistake. So she's sleeping now, and everyone else. I'm the one with insomnia. I have a stack of books and I can't sleep. Guess what I'm going to do now?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Long night

Tia was very, very sick last night. I overfed her. She was doing so well, happy, bouncing around, and very hungry. And I fed her too much.

I got about 3 hours sleep as I stayed up with her most of the night. Then this morning at 6, I cleaned the carpets. :-(

Stayed home from work this a.m. to watch over her, she got worse. I called the vet, mine was on vaca again, so I took her to the vet filling in. She's very nice, and told me there's still bacteria in Tia's system, gave her a shot to make her feel better, and pills. My poor dog. She could barely walk, she was so sick. I was terrified when I got up to the vet's that they'd shake their heads and say there was nothing more they could do. Dh's birthday is in two weeks, I keep hoping and praying she'll hang on past that. She was diagnosed with the cancer right around my birthday.

The stress is pretty bad... I'm just trying to cope, and remembering that one lovely day last week when I did nothing but write, write, write. I said earlier you have to make writing a priority if this is a business, but then there's your personal life, and emergencies, the day job and other stuff. I did write three pages last night. At least I got that much done.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Aid workers killed

It’s not easy being an aid worker in these troubled times. I just read about 15 workers killed in Sri Lanka. They were caught in a battle between government and rebel forces over water supplies. The workers were from Action Against Hunger, a French agency.

They were just doing their job, providing relief to the thirsty and hungry after 2005’s crippling tsunami.

It chills me to realize how easily aid workers can get caught in either the crossfire, killed or used as hostages. Haiti is seeing even more kidnappings, many of aid workers and missionaries. Thugs kidnap them, hold them for ransom, sometimes beating them or mentally terrorizing them with threats of killing them or pouring boiling water over them. They’re kidnapping foreign missionaries, something they’ve never done before. Being an aid worker in Haiti is a risk these days.

I don’t think I’ll be going to Haiti anytime soon…

The sad thing is Haiti desperately needs those aid workers and missionaries, and the volunteers who come to Haiti to help, who are now staying home. A recent AP article quoted Adriano Gonzalez, UNICEF’s Haiti representative, as saying that “Missionaries run or support 2,000 primary schools attended by 600,000 students -- a third of Haiti's school-aged population. Because of missionaries, half a million children can go to school," Gonzalez said. "They are irreplaceable."

Had a very quiet weekend, except for the washing machine breaking down. No writing. I read four books instead. Some romantic suspense, and two contemps. Pure luxury. I forgot what it felt like to indulge in reading. After I went and read the Amazon reviews just to see what others said. I’m glad I read the reviews after, because I read these books for fun, relaxation, enjoyment. Some reviewers ripped apart one of the books I enjoyed. I didn’t care. The book provided me with what I needed, a fast-paced, engrossing read. I’m on a romantic suspense kick now, and I’m going to treat myself to another as soon as I write one more chapter of my WIP.

Friday, August 04, 2006

RWA follow-up, from celibacy to sex

Cindy Holby mentioned something interesting the day I left Atlanta. She was talking about inspirational books and sexual tension, how she’s read manuscripts in which the hero and heroine part in an emotional scene with no more than a “See yah.”

Wouldn’t it be better, she surmised, to show their angst, their desire, to make it real and show them not giving in?

I agree. Just because a book can’t have sex in it doesn’t mean it should lack sexual tension. The desire two people feel for each other can be balanced with their strong belief in waiting until the ring’s on the finger. It’s great conflict and terrific sexual tension.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are the erotic romance novels. Raelene, publisher of Ellora’s Cave, said at RWA that EC wants books that aren’t just “sex thrown in there.”

You can’t take a novel, slap some kinky sex and then call it an erotic romance. There has to be a purpose to the sex, a reason, not just written in to steam up the book.

In the end, it’s about the characters and their conflict. Sexual tension between two celibate characters in an inspirational is terrific conflict. (I WANNA, but I CAN’T). Same is true for an erotic romance. (I CAN AND I WILL but if I DO this bondage/submission/multiple partners thing, will I discover a part of me inside that I am afraid to face?)

BTW, I did hear from two sources a rumor that Harlequin’s Bombshell line is on hold and they’ve stopped buying books. If it isn’t true, someone please inform me and I’ll post a correction. I hate it when lines threaten to fold.

I’m glad I got to attend a workshop on Tips for Writing a Page Turn given by Rita Herron and Jennifer St. Giles. They mainly addressed conflict in writing romantic suspense. Stuff I already knew, but refreshing to hear it again. Some pointers:

Create the world that tortures your hero/heroine the most
Make sure secondary characters are there to create conflict with the h/h
Every three chapters put in a twist, a change, introduce a new suspect or plot problem
The greater the conflict, the greater the characters
Make your character have to change to succeed, or make changes to their world in order to succeed
From the first page, you should know what the character stands to lose, raise the stake through jeopardy
For the BBM (Big Black Moment) think of the worst catastrophe that can happen, and do it. (I loved this part, I adore torturing my characters, hee hee, yeah, I’m a meanie but then I give them lots of happiness and great sex, so there you go)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Turn over the dog

Tia snored so loud last night she woke us up at 2 a.m. and DH had to roll her over. I don't mind, though I'm exhausted. It's music to my ears. For the moment, she's doing really well. Came home and she licked my kneecaps and was bouncing around, so happy to see me. I just hugged and hugged her, and Tiger.

Chris has dissolved into a much weaker blow job. Yay. Now it looks like we won't have to put out an APB for the generator, which is buried beneath lawn tools and a rug in the garage. Or wait to win the lottery so we can afford to buy gas for it. I hope Chris doesn't turn nasty in the Gulf...those waters are very very warm and fuel hurricanes.

Today we talk travel at work. Not sure about Haiti, they're kidnapping missionaries again. National pasttime...sigh...

Did get some writing done last night, about two pages. I got 32 done Monday at the B&B. Nothing else to do! It felt wonderful, all that energy poured onto the pages. I have nearly the first chapter finished of the new Egyptian book and did several pages on the paranormal.

And I really, really like the characters in the new Egyptian historical, which is an excellent sign. Hopefully I can keep up the momentum. It helped that I brainstormed the synopsis on the long drive to Atlanta, talked the book over with my editor, we discussed the conflict, he made suggestions. All this without writing one word, so I didn't have to tear anything apart and start over.

It feels wonderful to be writing again!

Oh, got a very nice note from Elsie Hogarth and a wonderful new book thong. Elsie told me the cover of The Panther & the Pyramid features Cherif Fortin. I'm in awe that she knew that. My editor told me who the cover model was, but Elsie could tell just from the eyes. I can never tell anything from looking at eyes except if they are bloodshot. :-)

Patti O'Shea's new book, Eternal Nights, is finally out! I got an autographed copy at the literacy booksigning and saw the book in BAM the other night. This is the long-awaited sequel to Ravyn's Flight, which I loved. Now if only I had time to read...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hurricanes & bondage

Home, yay! Great conference, very productive time writing afterward. Will post more later. Right now a tropical storm due to turn into a hurricane has my attention. Named Chris. It's forecast to brush or come close to my state.

Why is it hurricanes stalk me after I return home?

In the meantime, Blair got her cover for her December release. I'm posting it here. Wow. I love it. The only thing that ever has me tied up in knots are the hurricanes.