Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Take my advice


1) Read this blog entry by an editor. Just like Kate Duffy, she cautions authors on what you post on the internet or your blog, especially when it comes to other authors, editors or agents. Readers have that luxury to say what they want. They are the consumer.

Like I've said before, I try to avoid posting on reader message boards/blogs/etc. It's their turf.


2) Very important.

Disco is dead. Do NOT dress like this.

Those days are gone, gone, gone. Thank you, God!

I will NOT break into a chorus of, "Disco Duck." No, no, no!

Chat tonight and celebrity sex

I'm doing a chat tonight at Noveltalk at 9 p.m. eastern time. Drop by to ask questions, see what's going on, or whatever. Maybe we'll even discuss celebrity sex. Who would you sleep with?

Because that's the poll Toni Andrews is taking on her blog today. Stop by and give your list of five. Mine is shocking. Very. Shocking.

Very little writing done last night, sigh. However I got hooked on a re-read of THE SWORD & THE SHEATH, my March 2007 release. All I can say is...wow. I LOVE this book. The characters are a perfect match for each other and the passion between them is nuclear. My editor was right. It IS my best book ever. Not to say I don't love the others, they're all different. But this book... there's just something about it that makes me smile. Panther is a great book, but it's dark, very very dark and not everyone will like it because it will touch certain raw nerves, just like Cobra did.

But Sword... whoa. It's fun and zesty and action-packed...and touches on the subject of women's rights and features the historical first march by women in Egypt to protest England's occupation of their country. I really enjoy weaving real history into my stories.

I can't wait for this book to come out. I already put the first chapter up on my website. It foreshadows the conflict between Tarik and Fatima... Fatima's stubbornness in wanting to become a warrior, and the very real danger Tarik will face from unknown forces...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Doggies in the window


See anything out there interesting? Besides the fact that mom needs to wash the windows?

I love this photo. Tia on the right, Tiger on the left. Took it the other day. Too cute. I'm taking photos of Tia like crazy... preserving memories. Sigh...

El Halcón y La Paloma

Queridos lectores,

Galopaba a través del desierto - un jinete alto, moreno con un lustroso caballo árabe. Vestido en color azul índigo, un velo cubriendo parte de su cara, inspeccionando su silencioso reino de arena. La luz de la luna llena revelaba su cincelado perfil y el cruel pero sensual firme rasgo de su boca. Sus hombros anchos y fornidos revelaban la arrogante autoridad de un líder preparado a sacrificar su vida a fin de proteger un secreto que está enterrado en la arena.

Esta fue la imagen que concebí en mi imaginación cuando pensé en crear a Jabari, el héroe del “El Halcón y La Paloma.” Era un “sheikh” (jefe árabe) orgulloso protegiendo un antiguo tesoro. Encuentra a su alma gemela en Elizabeth, una mujer de gran energía, determinada a desenterrar ese tesoro.

Comencé a escribir “El Halcón y La Paloma” después de leer un artículo fascinante acerca del Faraón Akhenaten de la decimoctava dinastía egipcia. Fue considerado el primer faraón monoteísta y tenía una segunda esposa, Kiya, que desapareció misteriosamente. Su nombre fue borrado de los carteleros de las paredes del templo, lo me hace pensar que hizo algo pícaro. Tejí una historia alrededor de un tesoro mítico que por protegerlo Kiya falleció y por su amor por un guerrero invencible que no moría. Cuando Jabari y Elizabeth se conocieron, cada uno sintió que se habían conocido en otro tiempo y en otro lugar. ¿Es Elizabeth la reencarnación de Kiya y la realización de una leyenda de 3.000 años?

Gracias por escuchar acerca de mi primer lanzamiento en español de “El Halcón y La Paloma.” Espero que disfruten las aventuras de Jabari y Elizabeth tanto como yo he disfrutado escribiéndolas. Les deseo una vida llena de romance, aventura y buenas lecturas.

Sinceramente,

Bonnie Vanak

P.S. Gracias, Nieves! ;-)

Contest!

My chapter, Florida Romance Writers, is holding our first writing contest. If you want to get your work before an editor or agent, this is a great way to do it. Finalists will be judged by editors and agents. Here's the official announcement. To get an entry form, click here.

Just five days to go for the Florida Romance Writers first annual Golden Palm Contest!If you have not been published in book length fiction in the past five years, send the first 25 pages of your manuscript and an un-judged synopsis via email by September 30th, and if you are a finalist, your manuscript will be read by some of the top editors and agents in the business!Winners will be announced at the Florida Romance Writers' "Fun in the Sun" Conference in Miami, February 2007.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Drivers from hell


Bad Cat reacts to S. Florida drivers, taking Ferfela's advice to her that she needs to embrace her inner bad driver. Esp. when she came home today and some &#*@&# was driving down the MIDDLE of the freaking road and Bad Cat had to HONK to get said driver, yaking on cell phone to MOVE over or there would have been a head on accident.

Bad Cat. When Angry Pussies Attack.

It's been a day... hard to get creative when you're had a fugly day and come home to find out Tia yarked all over the rug, poor baby... I DID get out the proposal I promised myself I would finish by week's end so I met one goal (there you go Patti!) so that's done at least.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Dry me


I'm trying very hard to be cheery, not let problems drag me down and face the coming week with a positive attitude and change. I'm writing for two solid hours today and determined to make progress on the proposal I must finish.

So here's some eye candy to share to kick off the weekend to a good start. It's Victor Webster, who played Cupid on Charmed. Cupid, you can sling your dart of love my way any ole time you like.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Kissing and licking

This is to show Ferfela, yes, though I am very sad lately, Bonnie still has a sense of humor.

A man in a Perry, Ga, Walmart was
performing a religious ritual when he began licking a woman’s feet.

And it wasn’t even the Walmart greeter. Or the Rent-a-Cop.

I could see it maybe in the underwear aisle. Man sees his S.O. finally bypassing the stolid white briefs and consider a pair of sexy black thongs. Starts licking and kissing her feet in hopeful worship.

Nope, said ritual happened in the curtain aisle. It was a complete stranger. Not even his wife, who finally decided to toss away those awful dancing daisy swags in the kitchen.

I’ve been tempted to lick things at Walmart. Book covers, for example.

I adore sexy book covers. Half-naked men. I want to lick them. When my second book, The Tiger & the Tomb, was in Walmart with a half-naked guy cover, a heroine at his feet, I wanted to lick his chest. Almost did, but the woman staring at my tongue halfway out convinced me to put the book back, with a loving pat.

Licking happens a lot in romance novels. Molly Bolden, who runs Bent Pages in Houma, LA, told us at Heather Graham’s workshop about how her mom reads romance novels. Her mom is 82. She likes romance novels, but not the sexy parts. Molly goes through the books, highlights the beginning and ending of each love scene and tells her, “Mom, skip over those parts.”

To which her mother replied, “Honey, it isn’t the sex I mind so much. I just don’t understand why they have to do all that LICKING!”


Here’s to licking. Long may it live.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

One brown shoe

Her name was Alicia. I was flipping through old notebooks at work and I found her story, written in chicken-scratching blue ink. I need to tell her story. She’s one of the invisible ones in Haiti, probably dead by now. I need to tell her story because I’ve been so sad, and I must remind myself I am blessed when there are people in this world who have absolutely nothing. Not even a dying dog to lick their knees and bark joyously when they get home.

I met Alicia in southern Haiti in July 2001. It was the summer I wrote The Falcon & The Dove. I wanted to write about an Egyptian sheikh and an American heroine because I figured I’d never get published and I wanted to write what I wanted to read. The old warhouse laptop came with me, and I'd write in the room at night. During the day we toured, and one day we visited a nursing home that was refuge to those all alone in the world. Except it wasn’t like any nursing home you’d see in the States.

They had no running water. No electric. The elderly and frail residents used water from a runoff canal to bathe, water contaminated by farm animals defecating in it. The water was grayish and foul-smelling, and made their skin itch. The residents were growing corn to take to the market to sell, but they ended up eating it because they were hungry and there was no other food.


There was no soap. Most of the residents shuffled along the cracked concrete floor in their bare feet. Many of the beds, lined up dormitory style inside, were rotting, stuffing leaking out of their sides. Windows were broken in the building, ceiling tiles missing, like a gap-toothed smile. An elderly man kept his spoon hidden under his pillow because he feared it would be stolen. Your spoon is like your life in this little corner of Haiti. It may be cheap tin, worn at the edges and scratched, but it’s all you have when people are competiting for food scraps like, well.

Dogs.

Alicia was sitting outside on a broken wooden bench. She thought she was 80, maybe 82. Most people in Haiti don’t live past their 50th birthday. One brown shoe and one dark blue one adorned her feet. She didn’t have a pair that matched. I kept staring at the one brown shoe. It was frayed, scuffed, old and worn. Like Alicia’s life.

Alicia had no teeth. But you don’t need teeth to tell your story. She told hers. I listened.

“My mother died when I was young. I am in pain from my head to my legs. I don’t have any relatives. There’s no one to care for me so God placed me here. I have children, but no one cares for me. God gave me three children, one died, but it’s okay. God is taking care of me because my children do not. My daughter was in the States and last year she came back to Haiti. She never came to see me.”

She rambled on, as if glad to parlay her tale. Glad to have someone, anyone, listen to an old Haitian woman who had beaten the odds and lived, and was all alone in the world with no one to listen. No one to care if she had soap to wash with, food to eat, shoes on her feet.

“I liked to dance when I was young,” Alicia reflected.

“Can you do a little dance for me?” I asked. “Show me.”

She grinned a toothless smile, struggled to stand and picked up her skirts. Then she shuffled her feet, doing a twirl. The other residents watched. Laughed. Applauded.

Alicia sat down, arranging her skirts primly like the belle of the ball. I thanked her for her dance. I asked her about her children again.

“God knows my children’s names,” she said. “I don’t remember them.”

Maybe she didn't want to remember them. Maybe it’s less painful not remembering names when your two grown children forget you, when your last days are spent in a ramshackle building with only corn to eat, foul water to bathe with, and hopeful faith as your companion. But Alicia said she was fine. I had to believe her. What else could I do?

God only knows I’d go stark raving mad if I lived like that. If I had nothing else in this world. If no one else cared if I died alone, broken, in pain, no one to stroke my forehead and whisper a prayer as my body gave up the fight. But Alicia said she was okay.

“I’m all right,” she insisted. “God knows I am really all right.”

Then we met a priest who was struggling to help the home. I asked the priest, who was poor himself, and begged for the people in the home, why he kept trying to help them.

“These are my people. They are all alone. The first day I came here, an elderly man saw me and said, 'Father, welcome, I know you will do something for us.’ They are so happy to see me. I promised I will do whatever I can to help,” he explained.

The priest was hopeful someone would help. Someone would care about people no one cared about. “One of these days we will get what we need. I am an optimist,” he insisted.

Even then, long before the riots, the kidnappings, the deterioration of Haiti to what it is today, he had hope. I couldn’t have optimism. But I could cheer on his. And I do have hope. Hope that he still maintains that endless optimism that life will improve for the forgotten residents … and that more people will care. Some day.

Maybe.

“Even the poverty in Haiti, I have hope that it will change,” he said. “One day. I have hope. I do. Someone will care.”

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma

She's got maybe 6 months. Maybe 12. Bleeding internally.

Do I watch Tia slowly die...? Wasting away...?

Or do I put her through surgery and watch her die on the operating table with a 50/50 chance? Bring her there, afraid, confused, upset and put her through all that pain? (Mom, WHY are you doing this to me? Don't you love me?)

Quick death from surgery?
Slow death from cancer?

Is it better to walk the green mile slowly, rotting away from the inside?
Or quick?

Never wake up?
Or remain awake in slow agony?

My mom had both. The knife, and the slow, agonizing death...Curled up in a fetal position...the cancer munching away her insides... a living skeleton wracked with pain who only got morphine the day she died, thanks to a huge goof by Hospice... (We want to GIVE HER AS MUCH QUALITY OF LIFE!!! AS POSSIBLE WHILE SHE DIES!!!!) (No, you made her live in suffering and pain while I prayed for her to die, please mom, die, so you won't be in agony anymore)

Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma
Canine Hepato Cellular Carcinoma

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tia


Got some bad news today from the vet about Tia. Just trying to take it one day at a time. Look at this precious face. Isn't she a sweetheart? I've never met a dog with such a sweet disposition. She never, ever gets mean. Ever.

Each day is precious. This dog, she's not just a pet, she's a friend. Who else would bound at the door when I come home, bark with joy and lick my knees?

I've been trying to teach DH to lick my knees. No dice. Yes, I'm joking. I always try to joke when I'm sad. :-(

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Christian vibrators

are okay, according to this preacher, who lectures on hot sex and the faith. He lectures couples on how to have oral sex, that vibrators are okay, and even gives an approving nod to anal sex.

Madame Bonnie and her crystal ball sees the romance market suddenly turning to inspirational erotic romance. Possibly even infiltrating television. A remake of old 50's TV shows.June Cleaver and Ward together on a four poster with June's happy little whirring friend.

Then Ward says to June, " Turn over, June. I'm in the mood for back door action."

June: "But Ward, what about the Beaver?"

Ward: "I just took care of the beaver, dear."

Gives a whole new meaning to "Leave it to Beaver."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I want to go!!!!! EGYPT

Oh wow, I'm itching to go. TRAVEL specials sent to me via email. Let's see. Egypt and the pyramids or... paying a new homeowner's insurance policy... that will cover some of the damage (but not all) if we get slammed by another hurricane.

Egypt and the pyramids or insurance. Egypt!!! Egypt!!! Egypt!!!

Sigh... homeowner's insurance. Oh well. SOME day I WILL go!!! I will see the land where my Khamsin warriors roam, riding over the barren sands with their horses, fierce, proud, protecting their women and their people. And Fatima, my favorite heroine (coming this MARCH!!!) who rides with them, and proves herself as a warrior AND a woman when Tarik takes her into his arms for a wild, wanton night of passion (did I mention the papaya sex scene?).

One day. One day. I WILL GO TO EGYPT!!!

More New Orleans


I love this city.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Romance titles (mine) that will never make it

Didn’t write last night, must make it for it tonight. Last night I did a chat with the lovely ladies at writerspace. My friend Jennifer Ashley was there as well. Jennifer has an historical out in December, a sequel to Penelope & Prince Charming. It’s called The Mad, Bad Duke.

I LOVE this title.

Titles are key to a book. I’m writing a paranormal and I NEED a decent working title. So I did stream of consciousness thinking about the book, the characters, plot, to arrive at title ideas. The book is a very sexy werewolf romance. I associated werewolves, fur, you name it. This is what I dreamed up for possible titles.

A werewolf in heat
Hairy armpits
Full Moon Moxie
His Bad Thang
His Big Bad Thang
The Penis from Venus (don’t ask where that came from, thinking of a manly love part and the goddess of love, my mind is scary)
Forever Stubble
This is NOT another vampire book
Howl baby howl
Moonlight magic
Meat eater magic (Is this a story about a meat packing plant?)
Only Fur You (omg, I’d better stop now! Someone stop me!)
Leash me (dog walking?)
I’d crawl on all fours for you, baby (Bad C&W tune)
My Loins are on fire and only you can put them out (REALLY bad C&W tune)
One Hairy Night (WTF?)
Collar Me (S&M book? No, this isn’t an EC book)
The werewolf wore Armani (it’s NOT a comedy!)

Maybe I’d better concentrate on thinking about the heroine.

I can kick your ass, even though you’re great in bed (Too abrasive and too long)
Don’t go Changing on me
Hold me, thrill me, kill me with passion (gahhhhhh)
Magic kiss (lame, lame, lame)
His big, bad hairy bal.. *(forget it, time to move on to something ELSE)

Monday, September 11, 2006

I took back my beach tonight

We ate dinner, I fed the dogs and then we drove to our beach. Deerfield Beach. DH and I walked the sidewalk alongside the beach, near the motels where the terrorists stayed in the days before September 11. A balmy breeze was blowing. We then sat on a bench and talked. About September 11. About his day at work. About life, fate, everything.

Then we linked hands, and walked back to our car. It was a healing walk for me, normalcy in a small city where people like us, average Americans, mingle with tourists and people of all nationalities. All faiths. All beliefs.

It felt good, cleansing. I felt like I was taking back my beach. My way of life.

As we sat at a traffic light near where the Panther Motel used to be, a car pulled alongside us. It was filled with kids...a young Jewish guy wearing a yamaka, two girls on cell phones and another guy. Music blared out the open windows. Then they all started singing along, and rocking to the music. And they saw me looking, laughed more, and kept rocking.

They were kids, young, happy, having a good time. It was so damn normal, so American, I wanted to applaud. Then we drove off, and I was grinning. September 11 will forever be stamped in our minds and hearts, and we'll never forget, and we will mourn the dead.

But damn, you'll never take away what is the essential part of us. You can't take away my beach and you won't silence the kids who laugh, sing, have damn FUN doing things American kids do...

You'll never silence us. Never. Ever.

September 11, 2001

I will never forget where I was five years ago today.

It was slightly after 9 a.m. I was at work, sitting at my desk when someone said, “A plane hit the World Trade Center.”

I dismissed it. Thought it was a joke. Then my co-workers in the office next to mine turned on the radio. I thought it was a small prop plane.

Wrong.

We sat listening in horror. Then we turned to the Internet.

The World Trade Center was on fire.

No one could work. Five of us ended up in an office that had a TV. We sat in the darkened room, watching the fuzzy reception.

We watched, horrified, as the news replayed the second plane hitting Tower 2. We watched, dumbstruck, as Tower 2 crumbled. We watched footage of the Pentagon after it was struck. I remember distinctly thinking, “OMG, this is like the end of the world, nothing will ever be the same again.”

We watched chilling footage of people trapped in Tower 1, waving white sheets, desperate for rescue that would never come. We watched the jumpers falling down, rather than remaining amid the smoky inferno.

I remember my friend, Gina, saying that just last week, she’d been in the towers, on the observation deck. Her trip to NY to visit relatives included a little sight-seeing.

One week later, they were attacked.

For weeks after September 11, I would lie in bed at night, wondering how anyone could hate so much. I’d cringe when a plane would fly too low overhead. DH, who had his private pilot’s license, quit flying that day. He hasn’t flown a plane since.

A few weeks earlier, I had just finished the first draft of a book I loved. It was an historical called The Falcon & the Dove and had an Egyptian hero. I figured I’d never sell the book after the attacks. I set it aside and began working on a Colonial to pour out my emotions. The book, featured an American Patriot spy in pre-Revoluntionary War Williamsburg. It never sold.

The Falcon & the Dove did. It was my first published book. How ironic life is.

After September 11, information trickled out about the hijackers. And I got chilled anew.

They were here, in my backyard, my hometown. I could have passed them by, literally, and never have known.

Deerfield Beach is a lovely, middle-class city of about 60,000 people. DH and I met here, at a church group, where we played volleyball on the beach. We were married at the same church 11 years ago, and when we bought a home, decided to settle in Deerfield Beach. It had a small-town feel about it that Fort Lauderdale lacks. Boca was too snobby for us, Pompano too meh, and we loved the neighborhood where we bought our house.

We enjoyed walking in the evening on the sidewalk bordering Deerfield Beach’s beach. It’s very charming, where seniors sit in lounge chairs and play swing tunes on their radios as they gossip, joggers huff by and tourists push strollers. The sidewalk is a walking path that takes you straight down to the big bend, where the Embassy Suites is, past little mom and pop motels like the Crystal Cay. As you come off the bridge on Hillsboro, there were a cluster of small motels where you could rent rooms for as little as $45 a night off season. One of them was the Panther Motel.

It was the Panther Motel where Marwan al-Shehhi checked in August 26 with a group of men. He checked out Sunday, September 9.

On September 11, Marwan al-Shehhi flew Flight 175 into the South Tower.

On September 9, the motel’s owner found a bag they’d left in the trash. It contained flight manuals and airport listings. An employee later found a box cutter.

Al-Shehhi took three others to the Crystal Cay Motel, just down the street from the Panther Motel. One of the news reports I read interviewed a bystander who used to sit outside his efficiency, watching the world go by. He watched al-Shehhi drive the three men back and forth. One time they returned from grocery shopping and their neighbor noted they had a box of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes.

They probably bought groceries at the same Publix where my FIL shops. Drove down my streets. Maybe even walked my beach. They blended. And yet inside, they were boiling with hate for us.

I believe that the seeds of hatred come in any form, and any kind of religion can twist such fanatics into ugly vessels of destruction. Muslim, Jew, Christian, it doesn’t matter. I once worked with a man who proudly professed his Christian faith…and in the same breath would ramble on about the true Aryan race. He kept a book about Hitler, his hero, in his desk. He hated. Deeply.

I don’t know what happened to that guy. The world knows what happened to al-Shehhi and the others.

You can’t stay at the Panther motel anymore, in the room where al-Shehhi and the others spent their last days plotting, waiting, and hating Americans so much they were willing to toss away their lives to kill innocents. It’s gone, just as the World Trade Center is gone. In its place are high rise condos. DH and I don’t like them, for they’ve forever changed the landscape of our pretty little beach area.

Some things in life are forever changed. And will never be the same again.

Friday, the highway patrol stopped a flatbed truck headed north on I-95, in Deerfield Beach, my small, cozy hometown. Suspicious cargo. News helicopters swirled overhead. A camouflage tarp was thrown back, exposing what looked like torpedoes.

What were they?

Pontoons for a boat.

The world has changed. And it will never be the same, ever again.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

New Orleans


Images from New Orleans last weekend. A broken lampost near Royal Street, one of the few signs of damage in the Quarter; author Christine Feehan, always classy and friendly, with her daughter, Denise.








Saturday, September 09, 2006

Dreams

Last night wrote 6 pages. Six! Yeah baby! I wrote even as we were on the couch watching a movie. The pages are still rough, but I wrote them. I kept remembering what Heather Graham said in last weekend's workshop, about how she wrote with a baby in one arm. Life doesn't stop because you are writing, and in my case, I must learn to write with distractions.

Very odd dreams last night. Like I said, I'm paying more attention to my dreams. This one was telling. I was sitting outside in my Florida room, just looking around. The wind was rattling a shade that was pulled down (my Florida room doesn't have shades) and I was musing over all the hurricane warnings from last year, and how many times we had to board up the house. And I yearned to do something totally different with the yard and the house. Suddenly I started crying. Just sobbing for no reason. And I realized what it was. Post-hurricane stress. All the stress last year of preparing for hurricanes nearly almost every other week!, shuttering the house, buying supplies, the anticipatory, slight fear that turned into very real fear when the tree crashed onto our roof...

I think when you have a disaster in your life, the aftershocks still rattle you months later. I'm sure the victims of Hurricane Katrina, even if they rebuilt, are still dealing with the damage to their psyche. Maybe like me, it's something that affects them mainly in their dreams.

It's still very much in my mind because DH and I are determined to redo the back yard, since we lost those two big trees back there. We want to put down pavers and make that section into a party area, where I can have another hammock and we can have tables and chairs near the hot tub. The backyard is the last scar from Hurricane Wilma's damage.

We will redo our back yard. We will. And when we do, and the tree roots are finally gone and our yard resembles a nice place to sit and reflect, instead of a junkyard storage space, we'll have a party. A big one, to celebrate life in Florida and the hell with the damn hurricanes.

Of course we'll check the Weather Channel first to make sure one isn't heading our way the night of the party...

Friday, September 08, 2006

She should be a romance heroine

What a classy lady. Kyle Paxman got jilted six weeks before the wedding, he was cheating on her. Instead, she's turned her reception tomorrow into a charity event. A real life heroine, in my book. AND she refused to name her would-be groom, embarassing him in public. Rock on, sister.

Can you hear me now?

Ring, ring! Ring, ring!

Excuse me but your colon is ringing. You gonna answer that?

Inmates in El Salvador were found to harbor equipment in their bowels, including a cell phone. Can you hear me now?

They could pass along hints to Paris Hilton, since this generation’s “blonde icon” (her words, not mine) was
arrested this week for DUI. Her spokesman said, “It was probably the result of an empty stomach and working all day and being fatigued.” Maybe she should have eaten her cell phone…

In other news, I did not write one single word last night. Failed to meet my goal of writing at least one word each day. Too distracted with other stuff, alas. I have been paying attention to my dreams, however. The New Orleans psychic advised me to do so. Last night I dreamed I fought a battle with Mothra, and my weapon was a bottle of hair spray. I lost. I think this means I’m forever doomed to have bad hair days…

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Please don't read my book if...

You are 12 years old. Please. I got a reader letter that deeply disturbs me. I wrote her back. ____, I'll tell you and other 12-year-olds this quite frankly.

Please don't read Panther. Not because of the sexual content, but because the subject matter is too mature for your age. Call me old-fashioned, but I did not write this book for young adults or children. And at 12, you are still a child. There are lots of romances you can read and enjoy out there. I don't want you to read this book... if you like my books and must read one, wait for The Sword and the Sheath. That book has less disturbing content in it.

I am so upset that 12-year-olds are reading this book... out of all my books, this is the most tragic, and the most graphic. It's not meant for a 12-year-old. I wrote it because Graham's character NEEDED this kind of book. Icouldn't ignore what happened to him as a child and gloss over his past. I had to do justice to the character.

But oh wow... the idea of a 12-year-old reading it... makes my guts clench. I know there's way too much information out there now. Kids can learn anything by surfing the internet, reading, etc. But I don't want to be part of their gleaning that kind of hard knowledge.

Teddy bears for children in Iraq

Writing achievement last night: Two pages. Not too bad. I did edit, however, so that counts as well. My friend Jennifer Ashley (check out the cover to her upcoming The Mad, Bad Duke) has a great blog post on career time wasters for writers. If you’re published or not, check it out.

I don’t get political on this blog. I will not give my personal views of the war in Iraq. However, I will say this publicly. I do support the soldiers and I do support efforts to brighten the lives of children, the most innocent war victims. So that’s why I donated two stuffed animals to The Romance Zone. Jai lives overseas and has organized an effort to give teddy bears to hospitalized children in Iraq.

I had found only one Teddy, then a stuffed puppy. I wasn’t sure if they wanted only Teddy Bears, but I sent both anyway to Jai a couple of months ago. This is the note she sent me yesterday.


"There was a young boy about 10 to 12 who was being wheeled out of the hospital after his foot was bandaged up. He had been hit by schrapnal from a mortar. He had been badly injured but his foot was saved.

My hubby stopped the wheel chair and went to "the box" . He pulled out that little stuffed puppy you sent. The kid just looked at it and his mother let out a gasp and put her hand over her heart.

The child reached for it then and a huge smile spread over his face. The mom said something to the translator.

Seems her son's pet of many years passed on. It had been very sick recently. The boy hadn't smiled since and had been very depressed. Seems the little dog you were worried about sending not only healed the son's heart but brought joy to a mother. Thank-you for your support. It really meant a lot. "


If you wish to send a teddy bear to Iraq and make a child’s life brighter, visit this link to donate a bear. You just might put a smile on the face of a sad child.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Writing

Life is hectic as usual. Poor Tiger has a corneal ulcer and is miserable. Tia is doing okay but confused as to why Tiger is wearing a satellite dish on his head.

I thought about the business plan Cherry Adair put together for her writing career, the one she shared with us in an impromptu session after a panel. Cherry is a warm, witty author who, like many at last weekend's conference, is generous with sharing what she learned. It boils down to how many pages a day you must write to achieve your goal. Yesterday I took the whole day off and spent it doing everything from rushing back and forth to the vet, to laundry, to cleaning the carpets, you name it. I did write about 5 pages. Not bad, but I mean I had the ENTIRE day to write. Life gets in the way. You just have to make the most of it.

Being flexible is important, but so is being determined to achieve your goals. Even if I can write only half a page today, I will do it. I'll post what I accomplished tomorrow. One thing that can really throw a writer off track is listening to what others tell her she should do instead of listening to herself. Allowing others to influence the writing to the point where they kill the muse, beating it to death with criticism or even well-meaning advice.

Getting some very nice feedback on THE PANTHER & THE PYRAMID. Have to catch up on responses. Dial-up is like watching paint dry. I want my DSL line back!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Save $1 on Cobra & the Concubine

I noticed suddenly, that the price of The Cobra & the Concubine, my 3rd historical, went up to $6.99 on Amazon and other sites. Yikes. However, Barnes and Noble still has copies for $5.99, the original price. Here's the link to order it.

Now, a word about New Orleans. My husband himself told me he's gotten the impression New Orleans is devastated, everything is shut down, and nothing works (got it from the media).

NOT true. The French Quarter, where most tourists go, is thriving!

Most restaurants, including Brennan's, are open. Bourbon Street is loud, noisy and crazy as ever. The only evidence I saw of hurricane damage in the Quarter were two street lamps and the building that we all saw on TV that had crumbled. The rest? Working fine.

My advice is if you're looking for great food, a place for real atmosphere and life, go to New Orleans. It's SAFE. Police are everywhere...on horses, on foot, in cars. I walked the Quarter by myself, feeling very safe.

Heather's conference was wonderful. I had a chance to meet people from Bent Pages, among them Molly Bolden. Molly is a very funny lady with a very dry sense of humor, and I met others as well, including Bonnie and James Moore, Tammy. There are authors I met and got to know better who are totally classy and friendly. Christine Feehan (of course), Heather Graham, Kathy Love, Erin McCarthy, Cherry Adair (wild and wacky) and Deborah LeBlanc. A conference like this is a great chance to mingle, and get the benefit of others' knowledge. Christine shared marketing ideas during a down moment at the booksigning. Cherry had an impromptu business plan meeting for anyone interested after one of the panels.

The session with Kate Duffy was very low key and informative. Kate talked about paranormals and how having a different idea for a vampire book can make you stand out in the crowd. Yes, the market is glutted and you MUST have a different spin on a vamp to sell.

She also mentioned something very interesting. Author attitudes. People who put on appearances and it’s all about them, not the book. If it’s a good book, of course, that’s the most important thing… she usually doesn’t know what the author is like until after the contract is signed. But there are some authors who make it all about them, not the book, and prove difficult.

Kate also mentioned about going to author websites and blogs, and yes, editors DO that. She was amazed at how much information someone will put out there that can damage someone’s career. Like talking about their advance, how their book is late, posting rejection letters, etc.

It amazes me as well as to how some don’t care, or don’t realize… if you put it out there on the internet, it will get read, somewhere, and if you’re saying negative things about an editor, house or agent, they will find out.

Today I took off from work to get caught up and write. Ah yes, the glamorous life of a romance author. What have I done? Got up this a.m. and BOTH dogs had diarrhea so I spent the morning cleaning the carpets. Then I rushed Tiger to the eye vet, as he has a corneal ulcer that developed, poor baby was in pain. Then I did laundry and unpacked.

Now I'm going to write. I hope.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Eeyore on Royal Street in New Orleans

So last night, my roomate, Jan Zimlich, and I are beat. We decide to crash at 10:30. It's been a great conference, small, intimate, very informal, and later I'll blog about how very frank, open and informative Kate Duffy was.

But now I want to share about the fire alarm.

Dead asleep. 11:30 p.m. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AN EMERGENCY IS ON YOUR FLOOR. HEAD FOR THE NEAREST EXIT IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR.

I think I nearly had a heart attack. Being woken from a dead sleep to a shrieking fire alarm is like having someone dump a bucket of ice water over you.

I do not panic. I grab laptop, camera bag and wallet, Jan and I grab hotel robes and we leave, not sure it's a joke or real. I'm not taking chances.

So we walk... down 12 FLIGHTS OF STAIRS.

Get out onto the street. I had no time to don the robe. I'm walking down Royal Street at night in New Orleans in my Eeyore pajamas. And then I realize, hey, it's southern decadance weekend and I"m probably one of the more conservatively dressed people here. After seeing the guys in the chain metal thongs, I KNOW I am. I put on my robe should anyone made cracks about Eeyore looking kinda droopier than normal.

Turns out to be a false alarm.

I see people in the lobby from the conference... Pat, Jo Carol Jones, and I walk up to them and open my robe, flashing them Eyeore and I warble, "They say New Orleans is a party town! I'm just ready to party all night."

They laughed. Politely.

Finally Jan and I return upstairs. Using the elevator.

Now I'm in Altanta, waiting for my flight home. My home, a nice single-story house. NO stairs.

Note to self: Next time book hotel room on 2nd floor.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bourbon Street

Sights last night. Kilts on guys with short hair, muscles, celebrating Southern Decadance. Guys wearing grass skirts and beads. I'm in a city with 5,000 gay men celebrating the weekend. Women throwing beads at guys from the balconies, but the guys don't have to do anything. Party on. Went to Old Opera House and the Cat's Meow with Kathy Love and Erin McCarthy. Old Opera House had a rock band that hurled me (the onlyhurling I did) back in time to the 70's. Long-haired rockers belting out Kiss tunes, you name it. Kathy Love cracked me up with her Gene Simmon's imitation. The woman is hilarious.

This old timer gave in at 2:15. Now it's 7:45 a.m. New Orleans. The city is coming back, the French Quarter rocks on. Party on.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Woke at 4 a.m. I am NOT a morning person. It's 6:26 and I'm at the airport, getting ready to board my flight to Atlanta, then to New Orleans for Heather Graham's Writers for New Orleans Workshop. I'm glad the panels aren't until tomorrow. I can no more be perky and coherent now than I could dance atop a pin head. I had one cup of coffee, had to toss b/c no liquids allowed now on airplanes. Ah, the good ole days of air travel, before we had to strip down to our underwear and toss away our hair gel.

I'm anxious to see the city, eager to see friends again and meet new ones I've only met online, and looking forward to this weekend. The booksigning is Sunday and I'll be signing copies of Panther. Just wish I could get there faster without air travel and with more coffee...