Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Insomnia

I deleted the last blog post, again, b/c I'm afraid. I know people there, and they're still at risk and my gut says I'm better off not blogging about the topic.

Can't sleep. Knew it would be that kind of night again. Keep thinking maybe it's time to quit. 13 years of this, and the heartache...what's the point? I could make more money and work less if I freelanced. Make a few calls to a few key people, spread the word. I figure I've raised more than $65 million the past 13 years. I'm damn good at my job, even if no one acknowledges it, and a friend last week told me that there's money out there to be made. She knows, she did it a few years ago.

Thing is, it was never about the money. Always about the heart of the work, helping the poor, planting those little seeds and watching them blossom, a hungry person fed here, an orphan helped there, a soul nurtured. I feel like I'm doing my small part to make the world a better place. Except on days like today when I feel crushed and beaten, and heartbroken. I always felt deep in my heart that God called me to do this work. But maybe it's time to quit. Take a break.

There's a lot to think about in the coming days. Then there's the romance writing. I love writing romance, and entertaining. I love creating a world where conflict is resolved, always, and I get to fashion the world. Shape it, shift it, weave it like a spider's web.

I hope I can get to sleep soon. I hope the bad images dancing about in my mind stop, and there won't be nightmares tonight. Maybe I can train my mind to think happy thoughts. Ferfe blogged about her DH telling her that if he got laid, he'd get more stuff done around the house. I think I'll go read her blog again for a smile at least. Not a laugh. No laughter today in this corner. Maybe tomorrow.

Maybe.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Haiti, life and writing

Just got word the guy I know was released in Haiti, thank God! I had blogged about it last week, then removed the blog b/c I was paranoid that someone might read it, think he's associated with an author (money? sure, right, but they don't know that) and jack up the ransom. You'd be shocked at the connections these people have...and how fast they can move...

It happened right in the middle of a church service. Sickens me. Kidnapped at gunpoint, but he's okay now and home. He had stayed in Haiti because he couldn't bear to leave his country. I remember him saying how he was thinking about moving to NY, where he had some relatives.

I wish he had.

Haiti hasn't gotten better, only worse, in the 13 years I've visited there, worked there, raised money to help people. I try not to get discouraged, but it's so damn tough some days. I try to focus on the bright spots, like the girl in our orphanage who is now in an international baccalaureate program in Europe. I have high hopes for her. Maybe she'll be the one to help bring about change. In the meantime, what else am I going to do? Quit my job? Do nothing?

Doing something is better than doing nothing because at least I know the tiny seeds I'm helping to sow, like in our orphanages, can yield good fruit. Even despite all the rotten apples, the ones who have turned kidnapping good, decent people into a profession. Resume: Kidnapped xxxx people in xxx amount of time. Good with threats and guns.

I was going to spend the weekend working on the WIP, but the news of the kidnapping, a neighbor's house burning down last Wednesday (she's elderly and lives alone and is now homeless) and Tia getting sick again left me drained. I needed a break. I gave myself permission NOT to write. To mull over ideas, think about my hero's POV and his emotional character arc, and where the story needed to proceed. I think I have it now. I feel the itch to write, which is great.

I love writing romance, crafting worlds and relationships, in which love and a happy ending are guaranteed. Too bad it doesn't happen always in real life. Were I to write Haiti's happy ending, it would include a world without AIDS, slums overflowing with raw sewage where children play barefoot, mothers sobbing as their children die from starvation and the blank, empty hopelessness I've glimpsed in soft brown eyes.

My happy ending for Haiti would be the orphan in school, learning English, burning with the desire to better herself so she can, as she told me, "Go back and help my country." There is hope there. There is.

Maybe she will.

the sword & the sheath

Amazon finally has The Sword & the Sheath listed for sale. Only their release date is Feb. 27, 2007, not March 2007.

Okay.

This may, or may not, end up being my last Khamsin book. If it is, makes for a nice ending. I always wanted to tell Tarik and Fatima's story, ever since the first book.

Friday, November 24, 2006

OMG Ferfe!

I'm so glad you don't work at the Miami Herald building anymore. As of this moment, a former employee, a political cartoonist who got fired, is inside with a machine gun.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

FREE read of the Mad Bad Duke by Jennifer Ashley

I'm still melancholy over this morning's bad news, so in trying to cheer myself up, I'm eagerly anticipating buying my friend Jennifer Ashley's sequel to Penelope and Prince Charming. It's called THE MAD, BAD DUKE, and has a cool cover. You can read an excerpt here on Barnes and Noble. The book is in stores in December.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Writing & stuff

Erased yesterday's blog because it made me too sad. Tia is back to "herself" today, and it's a gorgeous 72 degrees out. She explored in the back yard, and then, nosy dog, wandered into the garage when I fiddled with the sprinklers, but I did NOT see her do this. Finally got the controls to work, switched off the light and closed the door. Headed to my Florida room (yay, I have my writing room back!) to write on the laptop and I hear this faint...

RUFFFF!

Ignore it, keep writing and it's there again. Get up and look all over the house for Tia. Calling for her. Tiger is on the bed in the computer room, dozing.

There it is again. RUUUFFFF!

She's locked in the garage. Open the door and she sprongs out, wagging her tail.

Good writing news abounds in blog land. Fefe labat is over her writing funk, glad to see. Fellow Dorchester author Carolyn Jewel (Crimson City series) sold two books to Warner (yay!) And of course everyone knows by now that Anne Stuart made the NY Times list with Cold as Ice. I have finally, Black Ice, in my hands to read but have to get pages done first.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

17 years ago today

In memory of the six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her 16-year-old daughter who were murdered 17 years ago today in El Salvador by soldiers of the Atlacatl Battalion, trained in the USA’s School of the Americas.

May the faith and courage you exhibited to speak out against world’s injustices never die.


"suddenly i know i'm not sleeping
hello i'm still here
all that's left of yesterday"

Hello by EVANESCENCE

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Captive Mate by Blair Valentine


Blair got the news that the release date for CAPTIVE MATE, her erotic romance featuring werewolves, has been moved up to next Monday. Yup, it's being released Monday, November 20, as part of Ellora's Cave celebration countdown to their anniversary.

You can check out
EC books here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Worst album covers EVER

Great slideshow. I especially am quite fond of "The handless organist."

Yesterday


In the Everglades, walking along Shark Valley's roadway.

Me, spotting the tram coming and knowing the rules, that you must STOP when the tram passes by: "STOP. The tram is coming."

DH: "Yeah, stop, Bonnie. Do you see that?"

Me, finally seeing the 7 foot alligator on the roadside that is about 8 feet from my feet because I was too busy looking at treetops for BIRDS: "Holy (unmentionable)."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sex with Oded (dream warning)


Treated myself to a day off from writing (sorta) and went bike riding as I'm doing 10,000 loads of laundry, catching up on housework, cleaning toilets, cooking for Tia and trying to brainstorm the WIP.

I had a dream last night that Oded was my new housekeeper who was cleaning house dressed only in a frilly apron. He demanded sex instead of money as payment. Damn. I hate waking up. I'd even pay him if he scrubbed toilets.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Desert passion

Been wrapped up in finishing edits this week for The Sword & the Sheath. Now I have to wrench myself out of Egypt and back into the real world. In this book, which is set entirely in Egypt, Fatima's psychic vision and fighting abilities enable her to become the first female Khamsin warrior and Guardian to Tarik, the sheikh's heir. Tarik wants her in another position... in his bed.

Here's a scene from the book that I especially love, because it demonstrates the intimate bond of Khamsin life that Tarik and Fatima share, one that ultimately seals them together. This book is a March 2007 release by Leisure.

The Sword & the Sheath, copyright 2006 by Bonnie Vanak


Beneath the full moon, Fatima spread her arms wide. She whirled, long midnight hair flinging out as she pivoted in perfect grace. Sinuously, she undulated to the drum’s urgent pounding. Her hips rotated. The diaphanous gown outlined her body, displaying each sensual curve.

Desire flamed at the teasing sway of her rolling hips, shrouded by the gown’s virginal white fabric. He saw her naked beneath him, writhing in passion-drenched sweat. Her hips rising eagerly to meet his demanding strokes.

Caught in an eerie moonlit trance, his future Guardian performed a desert dance, arousing his deepest hunger. She moved as if in a dream, his dream, a Fatima mirage, a sensual being created from starlight and dark promises. Masses of wavy curls rode the wind as Fatima whipped her head around. Silver strands of moonlight combed the silk mass. Fatima’s head dropped back, exposing the long curve of her throat. A shapely turn of ankle flashed as her nightdress billowed out with each graceful pivot.

Tarik fully understood the wild desert call she answered, for his own heart thrilled to the beat. It roused to full flame as much as it responded to the Khamsin’s wild war call. They belonged here, the children of sand and dust and the sharp blue skies. Conceived in the heat of their parents’ desire, raised in a barren land made fertile by the passion of its people.

Arid heat warmed their bodies by day and a blazing Egyptian moon burned in their blood by night. Small wonder he’d felt sluggish in cold, mist-shrouded England. His blood and bones demanded heat. Their plaintive cry begged for the tactile sensation of sun beating upon his skin, sucking sweat from his open pores. Tarik surrendered to the ancient desert rhythms. He soared, his spirit joining Fatima’s. His soul danced with hers to the drum’s fierce pounding, the frenzied mating of his music to her movements.


He stroked the drum’s goatskin head, each rap a trembling caress across her naked flesh. Tarik drummed harder. Sweat dripped down his temples, licked by the cool desert breeze. Muscles contracted, tension thrumming through his body increasing with the drum’s thrilling cadence. His member hardened to granite as his burning gaze swept over the exotic vision of Fatima dancing. Dancing only for him, in the arena of towering canyons and ghostly moonlight. Ragged breaths tore from his lungs as he coaxed music from his spirit, to rise and mesh with each sway of her lovely body.

Panting, Tarik stopped. He backhanded sweat from his brow, watching with hungry eyes as she slowed, a dust devil whirling, then no more. Fists clutched the soft white gown.

Abandoning the drum, he stepped from the gray shadows, into her vision. “Fatima. Come to me.”

Monday, November 06, 2006

Living the author's dream

Mary Stella, who was at the Barnes and Noble booksigning with me at Altamonte this weekend (hosted by the Central Florida Romance Writers) blogged about Living the Author's Dream. Great post!

I thought I’d write a C&W song about my experience living the author’s dream this weekend…

Driving up the turnpike, Florida looks pancake flat
Dh going 90 mph, the bugs hitting the windshield going splat
I’ve got my notebook open, doing edits that I should have done
But it’s Saturday a.m. and again I’m on the run

Booksigning at 2 p.m. but we started on the road kinda late
Dog pooped in the living room, I think it was something Tia ate
We left the laundry in the dryer and the dishes in the sink
And now with three hours of driving, I have some time to think

Fatima in my story is riding with the men
Being a warrior heroine, her dream since she was ten
My editor wants to know why she was stabbed in the back
So I’m typing like a fiend, trying to resolve all that

Next I’m on the sex, she and Tarik are having nooky in his bed
I’ve got to explain a little more what’s going on in his head
I look up from the screen, as Fatima screams for more! MORE! MORE!
And see the tractor trailer swerving next to us, right toward my door

All thoughts of hot sex, pleasure and the Big O vanish in a snap
I’m thinking squished cars and me inside like a burrito wrap
We’re hugging the concrete barricade and I choke back a scream
Oh yes, here I am, living the author’s dream

We finally get to Altamonte and I’ve got three edits done
My hair looks like a wild woman’s and my panty hose has run
I have no make up on, my face kinda has this greenish cast
I wish they had a Jiffy Lube for women ‘cause this body needs a tune up fast

Get myself together and we speed over to the signing
No time to spare and my tummy is a whining
Had no time for lunch, but at the signing hope is there
My tablemate Dolores Wilson has Hershey’s kisses to share.

So that’s the author’s dream, I’m living it right down to the wire
Sometimes it’s fast and frantic, like my panties are on fire.
I love being a writer, and I’m learning more each day
This weekend’s lesson? No more edits on the highway.

Friday, November 03, 2006

booksigning



Tomorrow, Altamonte Springs Mall food court, from 2-4 p.m. I'll be signing copies of THE PANTHER & THE PYRAMID and perhaps THE COBRA & THE CONCUBINE. If you're in the 'hood, stop by just to chat. I may have stuff to give away. Like my DH. He's cute, very attentive and does electrical work. Naw, on second thought, I'll keep him. I'll give away pens and bookmarks instead.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

How much am I worth?

Suddenly, the pressure is mounting. Today at work our boss realized we have a slew of deadlines coming up... more work. The work is okay. But travel is now looming on the horizon before the year's end. Including a trip to Haiti.

Our destination may be Cite Soleil, depending upon how nutty it is at the time. Haiti is like the lottery. You never know what you will get. Ironically, just after that meeting, an acquaintance who lived there stopped by. She told me a relative was just kidnapped. Yup, Haiti's national pastime is still thriving.

Kidnapping foreign missionaries is also a new twist to this old profession. I think I can blend in.

So if I go, my big question isn't the usual... like will I puke my guts out again, have the kids, as they always do, run up to me, grab my hands and say, "Blanc, blanc!" Or struggle to contain my emotions as I'm interviewing people, trying to get the gut wrenching stories to bring back, write, so hopefully people will care.

It's this:

How much am I worth if I get kidnapped? Haitians love to barter. I hate paying cash. I mean, I'm AMERICAN. I live on credit.

I see a Mastercard commerical in the making.

Maybe I could trade them my old laptop instead. Or how about a week in Florida, expenses paid? The Holiday Inn is still reasonable this time of year, and it's on the beach. I'd even throw in a coupon for happy hour at the local bar. Not Barbancourt, but hey, the local rum will suit you fine.

Okay, back to work and edits... I'm way far behind. My editor wants to know if the virgin they threw in the Nile back in ancient Egypt was an annual sacrifice. Yup. Virgins always had it rough in the old days. Much better to be a 'ho and make $$$$.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I want to be a WRITER

In The Wall Street Journal, Toby Young wrote a sarcastic review of David Goodwillie’s summer release, Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time. Mr. Goodwillie is a writer who chronicled his post-graduate struggles to pursue his literary dreams after arriving in New York with $10,000 from his father. Kirkus called it “A memoir of bilious excess, related with humor and just the right amount of acidic sadness.”

I don’t know why I’m in the mood for some bilious excess. Maybe because I’m saddled with edits for the upcoming book, finishing new proposals, working FT in a day job, and a booksigning out of town this weekend to help raise money for literacy. I want Mr. Goodwillie’s book. In my ordinary world, I want to read about a man searching for meaning in his life while working at Sotheby’s doing baseball card auctions and struggling to fulfill his dream of becoming “a writer.”

Notice the quote marks. This is because in the literary world, although I’ve published four (five in March) mass market paperbacks, and three e-books, I am not considered a ‘writer” because I write (gasp!!!) romance novels. You know, those sex books.

I want Mr. Goodwillie’s book because I’ve never pursued the bohemian dream to become “a writer” because I was too busy doing mundane stuff like working to pay the electric bill. I’ve never lived in the Big Apple or squirreled away my life experiences like acorns to bind them together in print. I suspect Mr. Goodwillie’s book will fuel my secret dream to abandon all my responsibilities (like the mortgage) and leave it all behind to climb a mountain in Tibet and smoke dandelions while staring into the sky, listening for the ghost voice left behind by the Dali Lama.

I too, have a bleeding heart, but it’s not gushing blood. Instead it weeps, clotted over by my pragmatic knowledge of how the world works. I work in a job that raises money to feed the hungry, house the homeless, care for orphans. One of those orphans who lives in Haiti has a bright future ahead of her, which is the roundabout way of how I chanced upon David Goodwillie. He’s a graduate of the college the girl is considering. My bleeding heart weeps for this orphan to attend college, and fulfill her dreams.

As for me, all sarcasm aside, I’ve always wanted to BE a WRITER. Live those literary experiences like William Sydney Porter (O. Henry), travel and stay at seedy hotels while pounding away at my keyboard, sweat out the dream in dim, smoke-filled rooms where writers sip whiskey and philosophize about words while experiencing “My Struggle” to write them. Maybe even have sweaty, squeaky anonymous sex on a thin mattress in a room with onionskin walls.

I want Mr. Goodwillie’s book because perhaps if I can’t live the dream of “becoming a writer” than I can fulfill this desire through his words. Besides, his last name makes me smile.


Mr. Young, the critic, also wrote a memoir that was released this summer, called The Sound of No Hands Clapping. It is with a glimmer of amusement that I notice that
Mr. Young’s sales rank of said book on Barnes and Noble is much higher than Mr. Goodwillie’s, meaning that Mr. Goodwillie’s memoir is selling better.