Monday, March 27, 2006

vultures

people are like vultures. they wait until you're lying on the ground bleeding and then attack. they're not nice.

i'm going off line for a few days. can't stand to deal with the vultures right now.

Sex ed

DH doing much better. We actually went bike riding yesterday at a favorite park. 70 degree temps, wind blowing slightly, a nice 4 mile ride. After he was wiped out, but the exercise did us both good.

Did get some writing done this weekend. Everyone has a different writing style. Mine resembles that of a jackrabbit pumped up on cocaine driving a PT Cruiser. It’s all over the place. I have a synopsis as a road map, and end up detouring, crashing sometimes, speeding up and slowing down. Usually I save love scenes for when I have enough time to concentrate on them. I like my lovemaking slow and sensual. ;-)

This weekend, I wrote a scene in which Tarik demonstrates oral sex to Fatima using a fruit. It’s very sensual and has humor as well. Didn’t plan on it, but it fit in so well because she’s a warrior now, and all warriors are taught how to deliver the secret of 100 kisses to bring a woman release. Jabari, Tarik’s dad, taught his son by using a fruit and so Tarik shows Fatima how his father taught him.

Sure beats the book we got in 7th grade health class which labeled all parts and how they worked, as if a man or a woman’s body was a ’67 Mustang needing a tune-up. I remember co-ed sex education. Taught by Coach DeFalco. Coach DeFalco gave us a test where you had to correctly label the male and female parts. There were dittos back then and you’d bring them to your nose and inhale, as if you could get high off printer’s ink. And as Coach was handing out the tests, he realized, er, some of the copies were missing vital parts.

One guy’s copy showed only half of his male part. Coach looked at him, grabbed the sheet and smirked and said, “____ got his cut off. Guess we’ll have to find him another one.”

I’ve never seen a guy blush as much as ____ did that day. I think he would have appreciated a nice, private lesson like Tarik gave to Fatima, using candles, a fruit and lots of love language instead of harsh fluorescent lights overhead, a smirking basketball coach who was all of 5’7” and a room filled with snickering classmates.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

What I want for my birthday

This is what I want. Mmmmm. Was thinking about maid service for my birthday next month, but this beats the nice girl from Brazil my friend recommended.

Can I get mine with a big red bow on his...mmmm?

I borrowed this link from author Sylvia Day when I was blog hopping about. I'm dying to pick up her Bad Boys Ahoy book, but I swore an oath to stop buying books I have no time to read until I meet my deadline. Okay, time to get back to the WIP. 'Nuff goofing off and daydreaming about maid service and having time to read.

Linnea Sinclair

Is nominated for TWO Rita awards. Go visit her website and offer congrats! Linnea is a super funny, friendly talented author. I'm on a workshop panel with her at RT in May.

In other news, life is drier at work and I'm heading into the home stretch on my book. I feel less pressured now and I'm actually going to visit the gym (gasp!) to exercise, something I haven't had time for in weeks. DH is feeling great, so I'm optimistic about life today. Okay, note to self. Ignore fact that doggie just yarked on the carpet. (sigh).

Friday, March 24, 2006

Floods and general mayhem

So Dh has his surgery, and the doc sez all is well, it went fine and suddenly about two hours later the nurse breezily informs me, "Oh no one told you? We had to rush the doctor back in because we couldn't stop your husband from hemmoraging and his blood pressure skyrocketed."

arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

So they take care of that and he's fine now, home and doing great, up and about. And yesterday I'm at work, and it starts raining like a Noah's Ark flood. I'm thinking the four horsemen are coming galloping up soon, and then the lights go out in the building.

ok, no big deal. Then all the sudden someone yells, "OMG there's water pouring inside!"

The roof of our building, which got torn off by Hurricane Wilma nearly FIVE MONTHS TO THE DAY, has given way again. We're running about like monkeys, fetching buckets, bags, garbage pails, to catch the water flooding into our offices. It's like hurricane season all over again, but wait, isn't this MARCH??

Is this week over yet?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

No sleep

last night, too worried about dh's surgery today. it's not a big surgery, but still, last time I waited for someone to come out of the operating room, the surgeon came out and told me my mother was dying. it's just a stupid psychological thing, right? Right.

Next month we are going away for the weekend for my birthday to the west coast. Our first weekend away since the hurricane. The book will be turned in by then. I'm getting there. Slowly. This has been the worst deadline because of all the distractions, between the work trips to Guatemala and the unexpected one to Haiti (I lost about a full week of writing over that one) and my uncle's death and the trip to New York, and now this surgery.


I feel like a race car driver navigating brick walls. Where's the finish line?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The light at the end of the tunnel...

Isn't always an oncoming train. I had a weird experience the other night in which my wineglass cracked. Just cracked all the sudden. Very eerie. DH advised, "Maybe it's your mom telling you to stop worrying about all this &#*@&# and get cracking on what really matters."

Okay mom, I hear you. Yesterday I shoved aside all the worries and stuff I have no control over, and I concentrated on what counts. I wrote. I wrote, and continued writing. I attacked this book like Tarik attacking the enemy during a battle. I accomplished a lot. 12 pages. That's the most I've written in a long time.

No distractions like house repairs, bills, worries about the publishing industry, depression over my last trip to Haiti, DH's surgery next week, etc. etc. Just writing. I think it was Susan E. Phillips who said, "Protect your muse." I've suffered "muse abuse" with all the distractions and it's about time I pampered her.

Then maybe, MAYBE, next month my muse and I will celebrate with a weekend away with "the girls" in the Keys. We talked about it last night at a party (the girls, not my muse and I).

Okay off to write again...muse, get ready to put thy butt to work. We're ramming the fort and no one is stopping us!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A wee bit 'o humor for St. Patty's Day

A preacher who wanted to raise money for his church was told there was a fortune in horse racing, so he decided to buy a horse and enter it in the races. However, at the local auction, the going price for horses was so steep that the preacher ended up buying a donkey instead. He figured, however, that since he had it, he might as well go ahead and enter it in the races. To his surprise, in the first race, his donkey came in second. The next day the paper read: PREACHER'S ASS SHOWS

The preacher was so pleased that he entered the donkey in another race. This time, it won, and the paper read:

PREACHER'S ASS OUT IN FRONT

The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the preacher not to enter the donkey in another race. The new headline read:

BISHOP SCRATCHES PREACHER'S ASS

This was too much for the Bishop, and he ordered the preacher to get rid of the animal. The preacher, being a charitable chap, gave it to a nun in a nearby convent. The headline the next day said:
NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN

The Bishop fainted! He told the nun that she would have to dispose of the donkey, and she finally found a farmer who would take it off her hands for ten dollars. The paper said:

NUN PEDDLES ASS FOR TEN BUCKS

They buried the Bishop the next day. The following day's paper read:

TOO MUCH ASS RESPONSIBLE FOR BISHOP'S DEATH

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Having a blonde moment

I decided to save Ferfela's brain cells from eternal torment and deleted the last post in case someone fails to realize I was NOT serious. What can I say? People tend to do strange things, hmmm.

Speaking of strange, how is it I can mistake orange Ducolax laxative tablets for bright orange M&M's? Did Haiti suck out all MY brain cells? Whoa boy...

Go pop over to Ferfela's blog for RT updates.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Win a copy of SURRENDER by Pamela Clare

Blog hopping and I see Alison Kent is giving away a copy of SURRENDER on her blog. Go participate in the discussion for your chance to win. I have this book, and NO time to read it. I read the first page and was forced to put it down last week in Haiti because of work . Can someone just read it to me while I'm working like they do at storytime for kids in the library? I wish!!!!!

I eny my heroine

Ok, how is it possible for me to go to Haiti, eat less, have "Aristide's revenge" and gain weight? HUH? I almost dumped the scale into the hot tub. Well, I would have except it's still not fixed and there are enough problems with that.

I want to be like Fatima, the heroine I'm writing now. She has it all together. yeah, she's got flaws, like being stubborn and her hips she thinks are a little too curvy, but Fatima's tent is neat, organized. My domicile looks like a herd of turtles ran through it. Her hair is long, black and curly. Mine is all frizzed today like I stuck my finger into an electrical socket. Fatima doesn't have to deal with a lazy Shih Tzu snoring beneath the bed, another dog so paranoid he JUMPED INTO THE BATHTUB at 7 a.m. (WTH?) because he's scared of the garbage trucks.

That's right. My poor dog is terrified of garbage trucks.

And I don't know what to do about it. Fatima doesn't have to pay bills, worry about the roof leaking (still!!) microbes she might have picked up in Haiti that could be dancing a conga line in her stomach or her man getting surgery next week and being on edge because he's dreading it. Fatima just gets to have great sex, sex, sex!!! and argue with Tarik about a woman's role and being a warrior and then have more sex, sex, sex. Oh and try to find out who is trying to kill Tarik.

Minor stuff.

I want to be my heroine. I want a tent stuck in the middle of the desert, a sword, an attitude and above all, psychic vision like she has. Because I have NO idea if I will ever see the ending of this book and it would be nice to get a glimpse of finally being able to write, THE END.

Monday, March 13, 2006

omg

One of my co-workers, the one who was supposed to go to Haiti but I took his place, is in the hospital. Strep. infection caused by a bacteria, probably one he got from eating in Haiti last year. He's in severe pain, can't walk and now they are testing his heart for muscle loss and damage. If left untreated he could have died. OMG... I'm a bit freaked out over this...

You just can't be too careful of what you eat in Haiti. OMG, I hope he's going to be okay...tomorrow I'm getting my blood tested, just to be safe. Paranoid? Go ahead, call me so. I'd rather be healthy than worrying about heart damage from bacteria infecting a meal I digested last week while in Haiti...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

TUT!!!!!!!!!


I'm home!!! And we saw Tut today at the Museum of Art. Finally!

Yesterday we got to the airport and were told our plane was going to Miami, not Fort Lauderdale as we had been promised. argh!!!! We did finally fly to Ft. Lauderdale. In line for immigration, we met the missionary who was shot three times by would-be kidnappers. He had bandages on both arms and his neck, and was shot last Saturday. He and the pastor fended off the attack with rocks and a hammer. His wife told us, "My crazy husband went after them with a hammer." Yoikes. It was in Croix des bouquets, where we have an orphanage, a normally quiet town. Not anymore...sigh...

Anyway, today we went to see TUT!!! OMG!!! It's everything I ever dreamt of!! I stood at the plexiglass case surrounding Kiya's canopic jar lid and just stared. I wanted to cry because I had researched, read about Kiya, and seen the jar in photos, but to see it in real life...it was amazing. I think the one that moved me the most was that one, and the relief of Akhenaten. It was so real, and after all this time, knowing these artifacts only through photos and then seeing them up close... it was deeply moving. I'm going back again. Wow, if the exhibit has this kind of effect, imagine what visiting Egypt would do? I'd probably faint, or peer out at the shimmering sands for a glimpse of my Khamsin warriors.

DH was equally fascinated. After we had lunch and rum runners at one of our favorite waterfront restaurants and talked about the exhibit. I'm now fired up to continue Tarik and Fatima's story, and have new ideas to layer the book. From poverty and suffering in Haiti to the precious artifacts of Tut, what a journey this week has been....

Friday, March 10, 2006

Paradox

I'm sitting at the table in the hotel's dining room, overlooking the serene, azure ocean. The sun is glinting off the flat water, shimmering like a mirror. A cool breeze washes over me as I'm typing. Joggers huff as they pass by. Many enjoy running on the road that parallels the ocean.

This morning I woke at 5, got up and prayed for hot water. I'm sick with a bad cold. There was hot water...in the spigot. But when I turned on the shower, it was cold. I took a very very quick, brief shower, and I'm still shivering and shaking.

I have this odd love/hate relationship with this country. Love the people, their strength, their spirits, their fierce determination and will to survive, hate the crushing poverty.

I hate not having hot water at 5 a.m. when I'm so cold I just want to curl up under the covers and lie there.

Haiti is a paradox. Beautiful turquoise ocean waters that are overfished, rugged, majestic mountain peaks that are stripped of trees, gentle people whose serene smiles mask a relentless struggle to make it just one more day. To rise each morning, with hope in their hearts that maybe, just maybe, today will be better than yesterday.

Lynx air lied to us. They said our plane yesterday was grounded because it failed inspection. They sent emails to us saying this. But here in Haiti, we found out they weren't grounded. They bumped us. We were supposed to leave yesterday. Had we left I wouldn't have met that mother and her two, sad, hungry children. Now they can get food, and help. When we get food in the warehouse. For that I'm grateful...that at least they will be helped. It's worth it to stay the extra day to know they will be fed. But dear God, right now I need to go home. I need my husband, chicken noodle soup, a warm blanket and sleep.

Good-bye Haiti.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I want to quit


Today almost did me in. We returned to the swamp, and met a young mother with two babies who cry ALL THE TIME from hunger. Ceaselessly. She had these dull, sad eyes as she told me how her two year old doesn't walk. She told me how other people make fun of her daughter and call her "doll" because she merely sits there, while the other children run and play. The two-year-old just kept crying because the mom had nothing to feed her. When I left their frail shack with its dirt floor, I wanted to cry too.

A few experts from Taiwan who were with us this week tested the water at the swamp where this mother lives. They said it's filled with bacteria, salt water and disease. And this mother lives here, no latrines, no real home, no food, only a swamp that floods, where people have to wade through the muck and filth, and her faith.

I really wanted to just toss down my notebook and cry when I left. I didn't. I wrote instead. Not Tarik's story, but about Haiti. I can't write about Tarik and romance now. What's the point anyway? I'm horribly depressed, homesick and left with this hollow ache in my heart.

Haiti, ah, Haiti. When will you stop breaking my heart? When will your children with the dirt smeared faces, the woeful, listless eyes and the sad smiles ever stop clawing me with a hungry soul, begging for what I alone can never give? I feel this horrible empty ache inside me, wishing I could give you more, feed you more, knowing it’s not enough because as one mother put it, “you always have to save some for tomorrow, because what about tomorrow?”

What about tomorrow Haiti? What will you do? Where will you be? When will your children stop crying from hunger, stop dying from starvation and your mothers stop weeping because they have nothing, just nothing, to feed them? Nothing but prayers and throwing themselves flat on the ground, praying and crying out, “Jesus give me something to give my children.”

Haiti, when will you stop making me weep?

Egypt in Haiti

Last night spent an hour writing Tarik and Fatima's story. No choice...the deadline is fast approaching. Wrote about two pages. Sat outside in the dark on a patio overlooking the ocean, writing about Tarik's struggle with Fatima's fiercely independent side. I'm like a clock slowly winding down... I'm too wiped out by the travel these past few weeks. I like this story, but who knows if anyone else will? I'm at the point of a crossroads with my romance writing and my life. What's the point? Why should I bother. I shouldn't delve into this too deeply as it's part depression brought on by the stuff I see in Haiti and just being plain exhausted.

So let me write about funny stuff, like t-shirts in Haiti. People wear these t shirts from the US with sayings that they don't know what they mean. Like this elderly, dignified woman wearing a shirt that read A BOY IN EVERY PORT. Or the guy wearing a shirt that said, MY TEACHER SAID I CAN BE ANYTHING I WANT, SO I DECIDED TO BE AN A-HOLE.

Today we are returning to the garbage swamp where families live. Must muster myself to do this... get the energy from somewhere.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A garden of children

Today we headed out to an area where we built houses, but the children are hungry, so we are starting a feeding program soon. We traveled with a nurse who brought a scale to weigh the kids so she can track their progress. She wasn't prepared for ALL the children who showed up. A sea of small children packed into the community center we built. We wandered around the area, talking to people. It's a nice housing development, like a garden in some areas, a garden where children are growing.

Met these adorable little ones returning from school. I won't show the malnourished baby in her bright yellow dress and thin arms and her listless, sad eyes, and missing hair. How dehydrated she was. The paradox, the baby in her Sunday best, her only dress, dressed up to be weighed and assessed and determined that she needs food. Her tiny, thin body bedecked in a pretty dress. She is 2 years old and weighs about 20 pounds. She can't walk yet, no leg muscles.

ON a happier note, got some good news from hubby yesterday when I called to tell him our trip is delayed one day because the plane failed inspection (gulp!!!). My last two books, Tiger and Cobra, are being translated into Russian. How cool is that?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Labadie, cruise ships and hungry kids


Went to Labadie this a.m., a cushy resort where cruise ships dock. Passengers have no idea they're in Haiti. There is a white sandy beach playground, fenced off from the rest of the area, so they can play. I didn't play. I went to the village of Labadie, where the fishermen struggle to make a living.

The photos are of the water taxi we took, with the big cruise ship in the background. This afternoon we went to a slum with a bridge over the muddy water to a house that I couldn't cross because it was too rickety. I stayed on the other side while shouting questions across. But things happen for a reason, because I was stranded, I met this woman and eventually, her husband, who took us to see their tiny home with their 10 kids, four of whom they took in when their mom died. They have no food to eat, but they took the kids in anyway. They said God will provide and trust in God for their daily bread. Talk about faith...wow. Good day. Lots of good stuff. No jet skiing like the tourists, or fishing or sunbathing, just visiting the poor and trying to see what we can do to improve their lives.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Cool ocean breezes in Haiti


Back in Haiti, at the hotel where we stayed last September. We returned to Petite Anse, the oceanside slum we visited last year. Fishing boats dot the sands, sitting lopsided like drunken sailors. Wind is too high to go out today on the boats. All is very quiet, the same Haiti as it was last year before elections.

We met Rose Marie and her children. This is where they sleep. She's widowed. All they have to eat is a little flour, sugar and water, which she feeds mostly to the baby. The two-year-old is so malnourished she can't stand. Her tiny legs, the size of matchsticks, have no muscles.

Kinda puts life into perspective for me, worrying about all the things on my plate. When she has nothing on hers, no food, no real place to sleep, just flour and water and hunger.

4 a.m.

What? Oh, yeah, Haiti, airplane, I'm leaving. Restless night. Two hours sleep. Started coughing. Took cough syrup. No good. Woke poor DH, who told me to take Sudafed. Getting sick. Took extra pillow to prop up head, neck hurt, tossed pillow down. Still no sleep. Finally alarm blares at 3:30 a.m. Bleary eyed I stumble out of bed. Dog snoring away blissfully on abandoned pillow. Glad someone around here can sleep.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Travel weary

Tomorrow's trip to Haiti is my third trip in four weeks. No wonder I'm weary... and not looking forward to waking at 3:30 am to leave an hour later. Is it possible to sleepwalk while interviewing people? I tried writing this weekend, did manage to get some done on Tarik and Fatima's story. Taking my laptop in the vain hopes I won't be too wiped out from the 12-14 hour workdays, trudging through slums, to write at night. I'm more tired than apprehensive about visiting Haiti.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Going to Haiti

Leaving 4:30 a.m. Monday. Co-worker supposed to go pinched a nerve, had a death in the family, poor guy. So I'm flying out in his place. Gulp. I have the condo we're trying to sell, the roofers are dumping all the roofing material at the house next week, the contractor is tearing down the Florida room next week, I still haven't done my taxes and I have a 100,000 word book due in four weeks.

Gulp.

If I get kidnapped, all I'm gonna ask is for bottled water, a semi-clean latrine, electricity so I can plug in my laptop and FINISH THIS BOOK, and Tic Tacs. Oh yeah, clean panties. Mom always said never be caught dead without clean underwear.

Friday, March 03, 2006

HOT cover!! WHOA!


Man, I LOVE this cover! Pamela Clare just sent a copy of her new cover, her next RS, HARD EVIDENCE. Wowzer! Talk about STEAM! I read parts of this book and it's yummy!!!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

You can drive?


Decided to delete the last blog post. People will think what they want, no matter what I say. Don't want to look defensive, it's a waste of time. Instead, I want to talk about my trip to NY. My cousin, Amy, is now grown. Has an adorable baby of her own. Last time I saw Amy, she was about 10, running about our yard in Jersey. At the wake, I got a ride with her back to her mother's house. She slid into the driver's seat and I just stared.

"You can drive?"

Duh. See it's hard for me to envision this 10-year-old driving. I remember her playing with sparklers and looking at my pet rabbit. This is a family photo of when Amy, sitting on my brother's lap, was just a kid. I'm the one standing behind Drew, with the glowing eyes. My cousin Regina is next to me, and her parents are in the chair. It was taken at our old kitchen in Jersey.

Amy was just a kid. Now she's driving. I think that shocked me more than her having a baby, like getting a driver's license is harder than having a child? Amy, all grown up and driving in New York. Wow.