Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Covers

I’m having fun writing The White Falcon. Wrote another four pages last night. Not bad. Wrote the scene where Fatima dances in the moonlight, drawn by the exotic beat of Tarik’s darbuka. Then they have almost nooky in the sand. Sacrificed an hour of writing time to catch up on zzzzzz’s. Feel so much better today. This morning got an idea for a scene where Fatima goes hunting. Wrote for 15 minutes to get the gist of the scene, went to work.

My new toy, the Sharp M4000, is making life easier. Powers up fast, battery life lasts for 5 hours, and it weighs only 3.7 pounds. Full sized keyboard, too, a must. Most light notebooks have cramped keyboard. Taking the Sharp to Guatemala to next week so I can write in the hotel.

Holding my breath on The Panther & the Pyramid’s cover. My editor wrote the back cover copy, and production is working on cover art. News flash: I hated the cover to The Cobra & the Concubine. The warrior looked like he escaped from a circus tent and the shield resembled an RV hubcap. The horse looked nice. But readers told me they loved the cover. So I vowed to never complain about covers again.

Then I read Paperback Writer’s blog about a sci fi writer who bragged about how his book cover features his testicles.

Breathe sigh of relief Dorchester isn’t into testicle art. I’ll take an RV hubcap wielding circus tent warrior any day over dangly male parts.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Previews

Dorchester has previews of upcoming books I'm anticipating. If only I had time to read...sigh. Still have oodles of books in my TBR list. Two books I want are Pamela Clare's SURRENDER and Jennifer Ashley's Penelope and Prince Charming. Check them out.

Been busy writing Fatima and Tarik's story. She's evolved as a strong character with a determination equal to his. She wants to be a warrior and his Guardian. He wants her as his lover.

She wants to be at his right side, protecting him.
He wants her naked, beneath him.

So much is going on that my dreams are getting bizarre. Last night Tarik and Fatima made love in the condo we're going to list on the market soon, after we renovate it. Then the sheikh, his dad, comes home and Tarik hides in the shower while Fatima hides in the smashed Florida room that needs rebuilding. Tarik looks at the shower, hoping he's not caught and pulls aside a curtain that resembled a yard sale reject. He's thinking the bathroom needs sprucing up as he's shrinking into the shower.

I really do need a vacation when my characters are thinking about my state of home repairs.


Last week I discovered Tarik's weakness - her strength, which will make for the book's drastic turning point. The book is coming together nicely and I'm having fun writing it. Wrote 12 pages this weekend, not a lot, but I also cut and edited as well. Progress. This in between doing three giant loads of laundry, cleaning the house, a train party at a friend's house all day Saturday, and fighting a nasty head cold threatening to surface.

Guatemala all next week. Already I'm exhausted thinking about that trip. Three hour car rides at the crack of dawn to misty, far-away places of poverty.

Friday, January 27, 2006

News Flash

After a blizzard of angry responses to her Larry King phone call, Oprah admits on her show she was wrong. James Frey is commissioned to write a book about it. Says he'll toss in some drama, like that she wept tears like pearls when she wrung her hands before her audience and then admitting to him backstage she once snorted baby powder and spent a night in jail reading book club selections to prostitutes. Art department says they'll photoshop pix of O, making her hair blond. No one will notice much and it will improve sales.

Big NY publisher gives Frey $1,000,000,000 advance and much back slapping congrats for inventing new genre -- non-fictional fiction. Somewhere between the lines, truth reigns.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sometimes...

You just have to say screw it, push forward and forget, and watch Eric Cartman do his rendition of Scarface on South Park.

that's all for now, folks.

Stuff

Lots of things going on. So much my head is spinning. I'm looking forward to Guatemala in two weeks. Sometimes when I travel, away from distractions, I can think more clearly. Focus. I'm eager to see the kids again at Sister Cristina's, to see Maria and how she's improved, and maybe get the chance to accompany some nuns as they do home visits among the poor in the slums. Real gritty stuff. A chance to make a real difference.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Jesus, toilets & poetry

So I'm at work today, writing about toilets, showers and Jesus.

See, I'm writing a project about sanitation blocks, which have toilets and showers. And I'm trying to get a spiritual angle on it, which is hard, but I managed. Spirit of community, fellowship, stuff like that. Jesus and the last supper and fellowship and love one another. But today writing was a real struggle. My mind is going 10,000 different directions at once. I couldn't finish the last paragraph.

I'm thinking it sounds too weird, the connection between Jesus and toilets. Then as I'm desperately shiting, er, I mean shifting words, I'm thinking about toilet blocks and latrines. My Khamsin warriors pop into my head. I start thinking about how my warriors have sanitation blocks in the desert. Maybe Tarik and Fatima dig new latrines. Very romantic. Not. But toilets are essential to communities. Which gives dignity to the poor. Which brings me back to helping the poor by building toilets and there's the Jesus angle again, if you love your fellow human beings who have to worry about disease and their kids getting typhoid, you'll help them by building toilets. Which brings me back to love. Does digging a latrine demonstrate your love for someone? If Tarik and Fatima dig latrines together, are they bonding in love? And back to community and bonding and the spirit of fellowship. Jesus again. Did our Lord ever scratch his head as he looked at his disciples and say, "Oy. Don't you guys GET IT yet? How many times must I say it? Love one another. Hello? It's not that complicated."

I finally did finish that paragraph and turned in the project. And then I'm reading
Alison Kent's blog where she's talking about writing and poetry and how to make your sentences snappy. I'm admiring her. Because Alison Kent has a clear enough mind to think about sentence structure and making it so lovely, while here I am struggling with latrines and Jesus while Egyptian warriors pop into my head and swirl about like a sandstorm in the desert where they bond happily ever after in the human dignity of fellowship and happy toilets.

I think I need a vacation...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mr. Romance candidate


Mary Stella said on a loop I'm on that RT is looking for Mr. Romance candidates. I don't know who this guy is, but wowzer, I nominate him. Okay, must drag self into work and write about slums and bad housing in Haiti. I don't know where Brad and Angie exactly went on their trip last week, but it surely wasn't to the places I've visited. Then again, I don't travel to Haiti surrounded by those white UN tanks...

http://www.bonnievanak.com

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Yo ho, oh oh oh OH!!! Pirate porn

Why I love Florida... Pirates, the new porn movie, is shooting aboard the HMS Bounty in St. Pete.

The ship's owner, who was miffed because he thought they were filming a Disneysque flick (with a Depp lookalike instead of Long Dong Silver?) gets my two thumbs up approval for this quote.

“We actually looked at the concept of canceling it, but with the contract, I couldn’t do it for no reason,” Hanson said. “Just because they’re porn stars doesn’t mean they can’t come on the boat ..."

Yo ho ho and a bottle of ... hint: rhymes with rum.

Pirates. Gotta love 'em.

http://www.bonnievanak.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Rodentia

Decided I'm having entirely too much fun with Ferfela to post in my own blog. She has an interesting "outing" on Amazon reviewers.

In other news, hurt my back. Wrenched a muscle. Putting up fencing with DH. More hurricane repairs. It hurt so much I could barely breathe. Thank you, insurance company, for stalling our claim so we have no money to hire someone to do it ourselves. Can I put in a claim for painkillers now?

http://www.bonnievanak.com

Friday, January 13, 2006

eat me

That's what a new study sez the Donner Party didn't do.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060113/ap_on_sc/donner_party

Would you like fries with that?

Reviews

I broke one of my New Year’s resolutions, not to respond to controversial topics. Geez, that didn’t take long. I had to post a comment on Romancing the Blog’s column about reviews. I swore to myself, don’t get involved. Ever. And I jumped off the cliff, like a sheep. Baaaaaa.

I had to comment because I see both sides, as a reader and an author. Reading is subjective. I don’t care if you graduated summa cum laude from the University of Reviewing. I don’t care if you’ve been reviewing for years. A review is just that, your opinion.

Let’s get one fact straight. Nasty reviews hurt. Any author who tells you they don’t is lying. It does hurt when someone slashes and pokes fun at your creation. Been there. Done that. Ouch.

Bad reviews are like rejections. It’s life. It will happen. You’re not going to change it. You cringe, lick your wounds, and move on. Or if you find something funny and useful, like I did with the Mrs. Giggles review, you use it.

Because if you dwell on them, it’s going to really hurt you where it counts most. It will detract from your writing. You’ll spend all your precious writing time musing over your reviews.

My editor a long ago gave me great advice. He told me to listen to what readers are saying, but never let them influence my writing. Because he knew what I’ve finally found out. In the end, you have to write for yourself. Write to please everyone, and you’ll burn out, quick.

My writing is me. Words gurgling up from the darkness of my subconscious, my twisted and delightful imagination. Not everyone will like it. Some will. Some won’t. But essentially, it’s irrevocably, undeniably me. Five stars, one star, think what you will. I’m sticking with what I love.

That's my story. Enough on this. I need to write. I have a book to grind out, more grist for the bad review mill. ;-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Haiti is too dangerous

This is a photo of me with girls from one of our Haiti orphaanges.

I'm heading for Guatemala next month. Haiti is too dangerous. They just released a captive, thank God, who was one of our people in Haiti. Kidnappings are getting crazy. They'll stop your car on the street, whisk you away to Cite Soleil and there you go. Kidnap central. They're kidnapping poor people as well. Some they torture with boiling water.

Sigh... Elections postphoned next month, too. I love that crazy, insane country. But will it ever be any better? I guess all I can do is think about the positives, like the kids we are raising, the ones we've saved.

Think about anything else and you go nuts. Like missionary "Mama Carol" Herget (who died of cancer) once told me. "Haiti is too big. You draw a circle around an area and those are the ones you help. It's all you can do. You can't save everyone."

http://www.bonnievanak.com

Sexual fortune cookies

DH bought a box of fortune cookies. I have a fortune cookie weakness. I love cracking the cookie open, reading what life has in store for me.
Last year one read, "You will suffer many hurricanes, a tree will fall on your house and your insurance company will make the Chinese water torture seem like a fun day in the ocean."

I threw that one out.

I have to add a phrase to fortune cookies that an acquaintance once told me. It changes everything to a sexual fortune cookie. "In bed."

"Great things will come to you." IN BED.

"Your wish will be granted to you next year." IN BED.

"Success comes with patience." IN BED.

"Faith will see you through anything." IN BED.

"Success means competition." IN BED.

"Your income will increase." IN BED.

"Good things come in small packages." IN BED. (I don't think so!!)

"You can always find happiness at work on Friday." IN BED.

"True friends remain friends forever." IN BED.

"Something you lost will turn up." IN BED.

"Your artistic talent will win the applause of others." IN BED.

Someone is speaking well of you." IN BED.

"Be prepared to accept a wonderous opportunity soon!" IN BED.

And finally, one I'm considering seriously to lure the roofers to put us first on the list for a new roof:

"The time is right to use your influence." IN BED.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Give her a Barbie instead

15 new cases of bird flu have popped up in Turkey. Scary. The World Health Organization is keeping track of the virus because the more humans who become infected, the more likely the virus is to shift into one more easily transmitted to humans.

Creating a pandemic.

Not good, people. Then I read that one of the victims, an 8-year-old girl, contracted bird flu from hugging and kissing dead chickens.

WTF?

Turkish authorities are advising parents to keep their children away from dead chickens. Just say NO to dead chickens. Can't they just send them a shipment of Barbies and GI Joes?

Kissing and hugging dead chickens. How foul is that? (You knew that was coming)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

34 degrees? Am I in Florida?

Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a hand across my head.
Went into the kitchen to drink h2O,
And looking up, I saw the temperature was low.

Fell on my face, numb with surprise,
Why didn't the temperature rise?
34 degrees, the thermometer said,
The hell with the water, I ran back to my warm bed.

When it's warmer in the fridge than it is outside,
I just want to duck under the covers all night and hide.
Heat waves in summer, humidity and hurricanes will pass,
But right now Florida is freezing and so is my a**.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Win my book

I really don't understand someone selling a USED copy of my first book for more than $100. But it is out of print.

But someone charging nearly $20 for a copy of The Cobra & the Concubine? When you can order it new or pick it up at BAM still (I was told it's on the shelves still, though it's a May release) for only $5.99?

What kind of copy is it? Not signed. Does it have gold-leafed pages?

It angers me to see those kind of prices for my books (has nothing to do with the fact I'm not making money off it, hells bells I would not even sell one of my copies for that much!) ItI know how frustrating it is as a reader to want to read a book and be unable to find it at a decent price. Like FAIR BAY, the kids book I desperately want to buy, can't afford because the rare copies are too expensive.

I write books as an escape for myself and hope to provide readers the same. I understand business is business but come on people! $20 for a book that's still in print or you can get from the library?

So I'm offering a contest to win a FREE, personally autographed copy of The Cobra & the Concubine. I'll even pay for postage. Just send an email to me, I'll announce the winner on February 14, Valentine's Day. Your own copy. Pfffffftt to the people charging $20.

http://www.bonnievanak.com

Romance Novel Titles that will never make it

With apologies to Lisa Kleypas, among others...

My Meh Lover
The Highlander’s Halitosis
To Catch an STD
Then Came You, and 9 months later came Baby John
Taming the Accountant
Almost a Virgin
The Rake’s Hoe
An Unexpected Disappointment
Seducing the Mailman
Simply Average
The Duke of Pox
Lord of Sweat
His Every Flatulence
The Passion of Herman

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

DONE!

Phone lines working again. AND...ta da! My werewolf book is finished!

Yay! I'm so happy. I really struggled to write this one after all the hurricane damage. It was very difficult to write, mainly because I had no energy and little time.

I feel like howling with victory! I did it!!

Now onto the Leisure book due in April. Gulp!