Sunday, January 28, 2007

A werewolf Alpha

Bonnie hands the microphone over to her evil twin, Blair, so Blair can tell everyone about the great review CAPTIVE MATE received from Just Erotic Romance Reviews. FIVE stars! Thanks Claire Skye for the review!

"As the pack’s Alpha female, Alyssa has a lot of responsibility weighing on her shoulders. Most importantly, she must mate with the Alpha male and produce an heir. The child will usher in a new generation of Alpha warriors who will guard and fight for the pack. But Alyssa wants nothing to do with the Alpha. After ten of the strongest males fight over the privilege of bedding her, it’s Marcus who comes out on top. He’s her bodyguard and the only werewolf she can’t resist. But Alyssa has a secret, and she knows that her secret could contaminate the bloodline and bring ruin to her pack. So she vows to do everything in her power to keep that from happening, even if it means denying Marcus what he wants the most: her. But when Marcus comes home after six years of fighting in the Vampire Wars, he’s determined to claim his mate. And once an Alpha were sets his mind to something, he won’t be denied.

Ms. Valentine’s werewolves are unlike any mythical characters I’ve encountered in a book. They’re strong and sure of themselves, arrogant and supremely skilled in lovemaking and more violent pursuits. But it’s their unique sense of humor and charm that really sets them apart from the rest. Ms. Valentine manages to bring the world in which her werewolves exist to life through vivid detail and precise dialogue that always rings true. And the sex scenes? Oh… my. The sexual heat between Alyssa and Marcus sizzles from the very first page. Their first encounter is scorching, and things only get hotter from there. The more Alyssa tries to resist, the more Marcus turns into a true Alpha hero, one who knows exactly what to do to satisfy his mate. And if that wasn’t enough, an intense werewolf bonding orgy really sets this marvelously smart, sexy novel apart from others of its kind. With Captive Mate, Ms. Valentine has quickly propelled herself to the top of my “must buy” list." CLAIRE SKYE, JERR

You can find CAPTIVE MATE here.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Alphas everywhere

A delightful 74 degrees out and I'm writing the Nocturne book in the Florida room. Rainey wanted to keep me company so I threw this old comforter on the tile for her. Cold weather the other day made her frisky.

She started humping Tiger. Poor Tiger looked at me as if to say, "WTF?"

She's definitely the Alpha.

Writing Nicolas and Maggie's story is fun. Nicolas is definitely an Alpha even though his official position is a Beta. I'm heading into the home stretch with this story. Very hopeful I can get most of it written before I leave for Jamaica Monday. We're heading into rat-infested slums where there have been outbreaks of malaria and leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is caused by rat urine. Already some in Jamaica have died from it. There was flooding in the area where we'll be headed, which causes the outbreaks.

Speaking of rodents, last night I was leaving the pharmacy and as I passed a trash can outside, tossed in my receipt. As I threw the paper in, a rat jumped out.

A Rat. Jumped Out.

I didn't even flinch. I just shruggd and laughed at my reaction. I guess after the hellishness of last week, even jumping rats are nada in comparison...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Writing progress!

Feeling very good today. This weekend I've made real writing progress on the Nocturne book. Worked out a key scene, thanks to my friend, author Norah Wilson, that had to do with transmission of the strange disease that confounds Maggie. I layered the plot with more emotional conflict and I have that wonderful, excited feeling about this book.

It's really coming together and if I can get the rough first draft done by next week, before I leave on my work trip to Jamaica, I'll be happy.

I read an interview a while ago with Karen Marie Moning in which she said she uses emotion to drive the plot forward. I made a note of that and try to employ her tactic while writing. Action-packed plots are great, but layer them with emotion and rich character development and you've got a story that gives you that wonderful feeling inside that says, "Hey, it's jelling!"


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Grooming issues

Nearly one week since we adopted Rainey. This is Rainey in the old bed she had at the Shih Tzu rescue center. She likes sleeping here, but will switch to the carpet or the dog pillow. She's really adjusted to our home and likes walks with Tiger (who escaped his collar this morning, giving me a near heart attack as traffic streams past), food, glorious FOOD (I should rename her Oliver Twist) and lying at my feet. She loves attention. She gets along fine with Tiger, who actually is eating more this week and doesn't seem as depressed as he was.

So getting another dog so soon after Tia's death has been good for him. Not great for the rug! But so far, crossing my fingers, no more accidents on the rug.

She hates having her paws touched. She snapped and tried to bite DH when he examined her paws because she was licking them. Between that and the bald spot on her head where a bow probably was, DH and I came to the conclusion she had a very bad groomer who hurt her in the past. Fortunately, we have a very good groomer.

Today I'm making progress on the Nocturne book. Tearing up parts and rewriting, but it's shaping up nicely. I'm really feeling for Nicolas. I gave him more angst and much more internal conflict and it's working out nicely. Love torturing my heroes. He's very noble and courageous and inside, very lonely. Maggie is turning out to have a gentle strength. It's fun watching the characters evolve.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Mean people

I forgot to add... Rainey has a bald spot atop her head. A small one, but it's very marked. Dr. G examined it and said it looks like in the past someone tied a bow too tightly to her head when she was groomed, and all the fur was yanked out.

I bet she was one of those long haired Shih Tzu's who had her fur tied in a bow, and when her owner fell ill, the fur got terribly matted and Rainey's bow came off, along with her fur. Or maybe someone was just cruel and did her fur too tight in those silly bows. How terribly painful for the poor baby! I do know they had to shave her when she first came to Shih Tzu Rescue because she was such a matted mess.

I don't understand they could be so cruel to animals.

Even if it wasn't done deliberately... I like Shih Tzu's because they are loving dogs. Not to dress them up for the Dog Show. Sheesh. The first time our groomer did that, and she's a great groomer!!! I looked at our dogs and sighed and took the bows off.

She's a fast learner. She's stubborn, but knows "inside" and "outside" already... when we go to let her outside. She follows Tiger. I think she's having trouble seeing as she walks/bumps into the sliding glass doors. She's patient when Frank does her ears, as he did again tonight but still hates having her face touched. I think she had huge grooming issues with a bad groomer.

But today when I came home she bounded toward me, tail wagging furiously. Maybe because she sees me as the Lunch Wagon. I don't know. I don't care.

I'm just glad we're able to give her a good home, with lots of TLC that every dog deserves.

A better day, a healthy dog!

Yesterday was a little better.

Today is even better. FIL is home from the hospital with strict orders NOT to exercise and I took Rainey to the vet. The Shih Tzu rescue people said she didn't need to go right away, but I wanted to play it safe.

Our vet, whom I last saw when we had to put down Tia, is the greatest, nicest vet. He didn't even charge us for this visit. He said she's in good health, and advised to take her to the pet eye doctor. Her tear production is low and her eyes are cloudy. We have to keep her on the U/D food and NOT feed her anything else because of the she's had urolithiasis in the past. (kidney stones). This can be fatal in a pet if not treated. He told me to start putting Vit. B?, have to check what he wrote, in her food, which helps.

He wished he had her records, but other than the kidney stone risk and the eyes, she's fine. Frisky. She barked at the vet's and was NOT a happy dog.

So I bought dry canine U/D and I"m feeding her kibbles of it as treats. She loves it. Just have to watch it so that Tiger and Rainey are fed separately.

Anyway, have to run back to work... tomorrow I'm working from home. I am hoping to get some writing done on the Nocturne book tonight. I am wayyyyyyyyyy far behind on my goal.

This is a photo I took of Rainey, who has claimed nearly every chair in the house. She's eyeing this one as a possible resting place.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A mind of their own

I'm trying to think of them as challenges. Today was not a good day.

All these adjustments at work, the day job, and then a huge problem that was solved, but one that sent my blood pressure soaring with frustration... having to do with $$$ and work hours. Then I get a call on voice mail that FIL is in the hospital. One week after his angiogram, he's bleeding.

Ok. Dh is informed, he calls over there... and then a family friend calls me and tells me the bleeding is really bad.

I'm thinking, "gusher." ICU.

I'm chewing my nails, I have a sinus migraine. Finally DH is at hospital, it's not a big problem, they did a procedure, stopped the bleeding and FIL is in the hospital overnight, hopefully. He did too much. Of course. He thinks he can do everything and then he ends up in the hospital because he's supposed to TAKE IT EASY and instead he's doing what he wants.

He's got a mind of his own.


Come home. Rainey and Tiger come up to greet me (DH is still at hospital). They go outside, all is well, DH comes home, I'm making dinner. I feed her because she's really acting very very hungry. Then she's sniffing around like she has to go outside and fearing she'll whiz on the carpet, I let her outside.

She goes outside to the hibiscus bush, snatches a dead blossom off the patio and begins eating it.

I panic.

I pry open her jaws, grab her and she snarls and yips and tries to bite me.

I scream, "FRANK!~"

Run after her, panicking.

why am I panicking?

This from an article about pet poisons: "After ingesting hibiscus, a dog willvomit persistently, may vomit blood and have bloody diarrhea. "The loss of body fluid maybe severe enough to be lethal in some cases."

OH God.

Frank comes out and pries her jaws open, while she's snapping and yipping and trying to bite him, and he gets out the blossom. He shows me what to do in case I'm alone when that happens. Luckily she didn't eat any...

But my nerves are so shot, with this day, I go inside, and I start to cry. I was so scared. I had a feeling hibicus was dangerous, and I was right.

I think we need to cut down that tree. I love that tree because it survived the hurricane, and all the damage to the house, and it was like a symbol of strength.

I was so damn scared. she could have eaten it and died. Then I started thinking about Tia.

I miss Tia.

I miss her so much and I'm still grieving her.

Not that I don't love Rainey... it's just that I miss my Tia. We'll all adjust and I'm just too stressed out today.

It will get better. But wow... I sure hope tomorrow is a better day. I have a very stubborn FIL with a mind of his own in the people hospital, and a stubborn rescue Shih Tzu with a mind of her own who just barely avoided going into a pet hospital.

I need a drink now...

More Rainey photos

She likes the chairs in our house. She's claimed about three so far. This is her favorite, I think. She's beginning to settle in. Slept through the night Sunday and last night as well. Only a couple of accidents yesterday and it was my fault as I didn't make her go outside but thought, "Let me wait until I take a shower."


Shih Tzu she is, she sneaks off while I'm showering and does it on the carpet. So this morning as DH is getting ready for work at 5:30, I take her outside. She's looking at me in sleepy protest, but I was firm. Then she came back and found the dog pillow and she's sleeping again now. We walked both dogs last night and I think we wore them out.

The advantage of adopting an older dog is they are already trained, and they like to rest, which means you can rest. I think there's just an adjustment period on everyone's part.

She's a real sweetheart, very laid back, and was lying down at my feet last night when I was on the couch. She doesn't get scared at loud noises, even when my clock radio is blaring out rap music to wake me up. Tiger is still scared of her, but I think that will ease up as well. She likes bones, and loves to eat. Last night we had dinner and she was begging, but each time she tried to jump up, I firmly told her, NO, and she sat back down.

She's inquisitive and loves her comfort. Barks when she wants more food, and her favorite place is the kitchen. LOL!

Yesterday was the first day of work in the new building, and I had a new dog. Came home for lunch, spent my lunch hour taking care of her and Tiger, and then had to rush back. The drive is a little longer, which makes a big difference on your lunch hour. But yay! I'm working from home Fridays now, so that will really help.

The new building is gorgeous, but our area for the writers gets the sun all day long and it's so glaring we can't see our screens. I may resort to sunglasses today.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rainey is making herself at home

Some adjustments ahead, and we're getting to know each other. She barks when we eat and looks at you with these big doggie eyes but we don't cave in, as she's on a special diet. We took her to Pet Supermarket to get her a collar and ID tag. Tiger sniffed her, ran away, as expected. Rainey has a bone she likes and she's claimed this chair. She loves her comfort!

I think Tia would approve. I still miss my Tia. Always will.

We'll see how she does tonight with sleeping. Tomorrow is the first day of work at the new building, more adjustments for moi.

Tiger's getting a new friend!

Her name is Rainy. She's 11 years old, has minor health problems and is very sweet and laid back and affectionate. She's a rescue dog.

DH and I met her yesterday at Shih Tzu and Lap Dog Rescue of South Florida and fell in love. We had agreed we would only get another dog for Tiger, who has been very very lonely, if it were a rescue dog. A puppy? Forget it. Too much. Tiger would look at it and think, "turn this thing off!" He's 12 now and very nervous.

She'll be here at 1 p.m. so I have lots to do. I'll post pix when I have a chance. It's going to be an adjustment for all of us, but I hope a very good one.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Reviews, writing, and my new toy

Whew. FIL is okay, test went fine, and he's home now after spending the night with us. I can now attempt to write. I'm home from the day job, as we are moving our offices and they gave us two days off while the moving company attempts to deal with the mass chaos.

I think moving our company is like herding cats.

I'll miss the old building in a way... so many memories there, good and bad. The new offices are only a little further away. Change is good for the soul, I keep telling myself.

I have a new toy that should make life easier. I bought a wireless air card for my laptop. I have internet on the go now, and I'm blogging from the Florida room. The new Cingular air cards have internal antennas, so no risk in breakage like the old ones. Now I can bring my laptop anywhere and not have to worry about hitting T-Mobile hotspots.

Only wrote one page so far this week. It's okay, I figure I will play catchup today. There's a crucial scene I need to rewrite and it will give the hero a chance to show his growing feelings for Maggie, as well as his tenderness and his concern.

Got my first review for The Sword & the Sheath from Historical Romance Writers. 9 out of 10, across the board, for general, history and sensuality. Yay! Lettetia wrote, "THE SWORD & THE SHEATH is passionate, richly detailed, action packed and fun, all rolled into one. Tarik and Fatima are antagonists that just won’t give an inch; neither wanting to reveal their feelings and give the opponent an advantage. They are well matched; the sparks leap off the pages whenever they are together. The author makes the Egyptian sands come alive on the pages in a way few can; allowing this reader to step back in time on a grand adventure. I highly recommend this book, and will gift several friends with a copy. Bravo!"

I'm glad she liked the book. Tarik and Fatima are two of my favorite characters. This book is less intense than Panther, my last Egyptian historical, and has more adventure in it. And more love scenes, too. :-)

Okay, must get back to work now. On my days off, I write. Saturday I have to work at the day job and there's a chapter meeting of my RWA group, and DH and I... may be visiting a Shih Tzu we might adopt. Maybe. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Is there a jail cell for me?

Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

A Miami guy over the weekend drove his Chevy, not to the levy, but into into the gates guarding the Broward County Jail. He was trying to break in. Broward Sheriff's deputies immediately arrested him. A spokesman commented, "He wanted to get into jail and we were happy to accomodate him."

Glowing on the post-victory of my alma mater, University of Florida, winning the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP last night, I'm sucker punched with reality this a.m. FIL is going into the hospital today. Just a procedure, and they'll do the surgery at a later date... but at 8 a.m. I get a call from DH. We think FIL will be spending the night in the hospital.

"He's spending the night with us," DH informs me.

This as I'm leaving for work. We're moving this week at the day job and it's like the exodus. Moses trying to coordinate more than 200 confused, disorganized employees into a cohesive unit that will pack, then unpack and organize with brisk efficiency.

I Do Not Think So.

My stress levels are rising like, say, the ocean's temperature. No such thing as Bonnie's blood pressure rising or global warming. I'm trying to write 30 pages this week to meet my goal. I need to get the first draft of the Nocturne book done by the end of this month. I'm leaving for a week for Jamaica on a work trip and will take that week to let the book simmer, like a cook brewing a recipe.

Writing 30 pages when I have to cope with an elderly in-law living with us, and moving our offices at the day job seems like a major leap.

But I am starting to think of writing as if it's an obstacle course. Because that's life. The goal is the finish line, but in the way are the obstructions life tosses at you. Moving. Sickness in the family. Just like that movie, O Brother Where Art Thou? The blind trainman tells George Clooney, "You shall meet with many Ob-sta-cles."

Learning to be flexible is a good asset to possess as a writer. You're not always going to be able to produce that day you planned to write 15 pages. Or something will happen. The car gets a flat, a friend needs a big favor, a hurricane rips apart your house, your dog dies, a relative gets sick and needs medical treatment. Things happen. You work around them as best as you can.

How am I going to write 30 pages this week with all the current obstacles in my life? Just like I did last night... when I wrote one page. Section off time as much as I can, try to focus and just do it. Get words on paper. Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird said her goal is to write a shitty first draft. That's what a first draft is. So this week I'll try to write and turn off my internal editor. Just get words on the screen. Editing will come later. I'll get out my wolf book that I keep on the coffee table and study wolf photos for inspiration. And I'll write as much as I can, despite the Ob-sta-cles, the confusion, chaos and noise.

And if that doesn't work, maybe I'll smash my Saturn into the gates of the Broward County Jail.

I hear the cells are quiet, and the food isn't so bad.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tia, again

All we had to do was ask, "Who's that? Who's outside?" Tia would jump on the chair, Tiger as well, and Tia would bark and wag her tail. Company? Who's there? She always barked at the doorbell, bounded toward me when I came home and licked my kneecaps.

The photo of Tia and Tiger outside was taken before our Florida room was rebuilt. Tia always sniffed around outside, snooped, investigated while Tiger is more sedate and an indoor dog. She was such a happy dog.

Tia sleeping

I always loved how she sometimes slept like this against the wall. What a personality she was. Playful, fun, so very very loving.

Tia pix

This is Tia, positioning herself just outside the kitchen, as she waited for me to cook her special meal. She loved to eat, always, and would look at you with these huge eyes as if to say, "Feed me. I'm adorable. Right?"

Animal shelters and more Tia photos

Actually got quite a bit of writing accomplished... 12 pages. Felt very productive, had breakfast with a friend, then yesterday DH and I decided to visit the animal rescue shelter to see the puppy we were interested in adopting.

Big mistake.

The puppy was already adopted, and we were shown around... all the cases of animals suffering from neglect, abuse... including one dog they saved from euthanization ... the dog came down with kennel cough. As soon as the dogs contract it, they put them down. it broke my heart. Emotionally, I wasn't ready to see that. Neither was he.

We're still searching for a new dog, but decided to try adopting an older female. As long as the dog has the right personality and gets along with Tiger.

In the meantime, I'm posting Tia pix I've never posted before. It's been a month since she's been gone, and I still miss her, but I'm trying hard to remember the happy times.

Friday, January 05, 2007

New year, new changes, NO new blogger!

Sorry Blogger. I refuse to switch to the Google version. I have enough changes in my life right now.

Today I booked a trip to Jamaica for later this month... a work trip. Haven't been there in a couple of years and Haiti is still too dangerous. On my monitor at work I have a photo of ____, the girl who once lived in our girls home who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered and then her body dumped in a trash heap, after the ransom was paid. I don't know why I have it hanging there... to remember, I guess. I hear the tide has turned, though... and the people in Haiti are now attacking the kidnappers once they are identified. After the murder of the six-year-old boy and the kidnapping of the kids from the school bus (those kids were set free, thank God!) the people are taking justice into their own hands.

DH and I have decided to adopt a rescue dog. Tiger isn't doing so great. He isn't eating well, and I can tell he's quieter than normal. I think he really misses Tia. So hopefully a new dog will help. I don't know if I'm ready, but... I guess we'll see. Maybe a new dog will be a good distraction.

Next week FIL is having surgery and at the day job, we're moving to a new building. Gulp. I hate moving, and I've been at the same office for 13 years. Lots of memories... I worked there before I got married, when my mom and dad died... then there was the hurricane in 2005. The new building is nice, and not too much further from my home, but it's a huge change. And being a stubborn Taurus, I don't deal well with change.

I'm learning. Slowly.

I'm concentrating on writing Empath, the first book due. Not much progress yet. I'm trying to flesh out a critical scene that comes right before they make love in the cottage. Did a load of laundry as I'm pondering it. Always try to multi-task when not doing actual writing. Saves time.

Next month is our chapter's conference. Florida Romance Writers. Keynote speaker is Sherrilyn Kenyon. I can't wait. I seldom get together with my chapter anymore due to time constraints, and seeing Sherrilyn will be so exciting. She's such a nice person.

Read a book last night because I was too tired to write and was disapointed. The suspense was good enough, the plot well-paced. But I felt that the chemistry between the characters lacked. They didn't mesh. I wasn't convinced they fit together by the book's end. It was a case of the plot overshadowing the romance. But it was a fast read and it felt good just to read. Now...

back to writing. I will. I will.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

For Jen... ODED! He makes a nice sheik

“Tarik gave her a long, speculative look. Fatima stared at his lower full lip, accented by the beard. Not a child. A man grown, with a man’s sinewy, muscled body. A man’s needs. His words haunted her. We will be lovers. Rest assured. You will be mine.

From The Sword & the Sheath, Dorchester, March 2007, copyright 2007 by Bonnie Vanak