Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Falcon and the Dove now available on KINDLE!



Success! The Falcon and the Dove is now for sale at the low price of $2.99 on Kindle. Click here.

This was a year-end goal to upload my first Egyptian historical onto Kindle and I'm so glad I accomplished it. Thanks to friends who helped out a great deal!

The process made me return and re-read some of those original Egyptian historicals I wrote, and I got a hankering to write ONE more... to wrap up the series. I always felt The Lady and the Libertine would not complete the series.

Instead, I wanted to write a love story between Nadia from The Sword and the Sheath, and Kareem from The Lady and the Libertine.

And that is my plan for 2011, after I finish with my latest Nocturne deadline. I'm going to write The Lover and the Legend, an Egyptian historical set in 1923 that surrounds a mysterious golden dagger, reincarnation of two tormented lovers, and Kareem the sheikh abducting Nadia, Jabari's beloved daughter and Tarik's sister.

The story revolves around the historic opening of King Tut's tomb... and the finding of a golden dagger that has not seen the light of day in thousands of years.

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Falcon & the Dove on Kindle!


Coming soon! Hopefully this week, when I upload THE FALCON AND THE DOVE to Kindle! Here is the cover.






Email me at
bonnievanak@aol.com to let me know what you think. I wanted a sexy cover to show off Jabari's great bod. I think it works!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

How to wrap a Shih Tzu


From our house to yours, Merry Christmas, happy holidays and all the best for a peaceful, healthy and joy-filled New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The story of Lady the Christmas dog



She was cold. Thin. Hungry. Her fur was matted, and she’d spent the night on the street, in a manure-filled pasture in Davie, Florida, shivering and afraid. The nice warm home, the dog bowl with food, the toys were all gone. Once she’d had a litter of puppies. They were gone, too.

Somehow she made it to the parking lot of a store. Christmas was in one week and many people busy with last minute shopping passed by. She wagged her tail, hoping for a little food, a little warmth and kindness, but no one wanted to get near the dog covered with manure.


A man in the pickup truck saw her, tossed her in the bed of his truck. She was friendly, wagging her tail. She bounced up and down and then THENICELADY saw her and asked the man in the truck where he was taking her. The man said to a shelter known as a high kill shelter. The NICELADY said she would die there. The man shrugged and thrust the dog at her. “Then you take her. She stinks.”

The NICELADY took her home, bathed her twice, tried to comb the mats out of her long, silky fur. Her tail was still a mess. She gave her food and hugs, a warm bed for two nights and called SOMEFRIENDS.

On Monday she went to the home of SOMEFRIENDS, women who rescued abandoned Yorkies. She settled in with the Yorkies, ran and played and listened to Christmas music and this pine tree that danced and sang when you barked at it.

Later, the BONNIEPERSON came and took her and brought her to the WARMHOUSE, which had a big Christmas tree and trains and lots of colorful decorations. She ran around the house, sniffed at the trains, and then the BONNIEPERSON opened a door and two Shih Tzu dogs, one bigger but with the same coloring, ran out. She sniffed them and ran away, afraid of COOKIE and DOLCE, and jumped into a rocking chair in the Florida room to get away.

When DOLCE came near, she growled at him. The BONNIEPERSON petted her and reassured her it would be okay. She snuggled into the BONNIEPERSON’s lap, a little afraid of DOLCE. Then she paced through the house, sniffing and examining it. There was a nice, soft couch and chairs and the BONNIEPERSON let her jump up on all of them. Then the FRANKPERSON came home and petted her and scratched her and talked to her. She liked the FRANKPERSON.

It was dinnertime and the FRANKPERSON was making something delicious that smelled like tomato sauce as he and the BONNIEPERSON talked. The BONNIEPERSON got dog food out of a green container and fed it to COOKIE and DOLCE. She hung around the kitchen, looking hopeful. She knew the kitchen, knew about good things to eat. The BONNIEPERSON gave her a bowl, but she didn’t like the smell and wouldn’t eat. Then the FRANKPERSON got a different can and the BONNIEPERSON said, “This is good for your digestion.”

It was good food and she gobbled it down. The BONNIEPERSON said, “You’re so thin, but don’t eat too much or you’ll get sick.”

After, the BONNIEPERSON went into a room and shut the door because of something called a NEWBOOKCONTRACT and a deadline. The FRANKPERSON cleaned up and gave her a dog biscuit. She buried it in the couch in the Florida room and came back into the living room.

DOLCE and COOKIE weren’t as scary now. And there was a nice warm chair with a new red blanket to lie on.

The BONNIEPERSON said, “Tomorrow you’re going to see the NICEVET to see how you are and if you have a microchip. You’re such a sweet dog, you must belong to someone. Then we’ll see about getting you groomed.”

She spent the night in the nice, warm bed, her belly full, near COOKIE AND DOLCE, whom she realized was just curious and wouldn’t bother her. The BONNIEPERSON said, “We have to give you a name. Let’s call you Lady.”

Lady the dog slept that night in the soft bed knowing she was warm and no one would hurt her or yell at her, make her shiver in the cold. As she fell asleep, her tail wagged. Christmas promised to be good.

At last, she was safe.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Brrrrrrr, is this Florida?

This is what we did tonight.

Temps are 44 and dropping to 38 tonight. First real cold snap of the season. So DH built a fire in our fire pit and we sat outside, playing Christmas carols on my iPod. Very relaxing, peaceful, fun.

What can be better than snuggling by a fire during the holidays with the one you love? :-)

Happy holidays, everyone.

Friday, December 03, 2010

It's that time of year again...


When the dogs decide to be helpful and help me "decorate" by pulling the toys out of the boxes. Happy December!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The baby died...

Word today from Catherine, an update from Haiti. Fritznel's wife is out of the hospital and doing much better, but sadly, her baby died.

She was full term. The baby was a sweet little boy. Probably cholera victim Number 1,251.

Each day, the death toll from cholera mounts in Haiti.

Have a good Thanksgiving, everyone who lives in the States. and all you ex-pats abroad. Give thanks for your blessings, large and small.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Haiti during the time of cholera



"Momma, momma, I want my momma." The plaintive cry from the little girl lying in the quarantined tent soon gave way to soft snuffles. Then she dozed again, her thin arm hooked up to an IV dripping lifesaving fluids into her dehydrated body.



Suddenly she began coughing, leaned over the side of her cot and threw up on her pair of sandals.



Haiti, during the time of cholera.




My visit this week was my first trip back to Haiti since February. The images of rubble and destruction have faded, replaced by the white tents tucked away in the back of hospitals. The misery is worse.




We met these two children, in the photo, at a hospital our organization has helped extensively over the years. To get inside the quarantined area, you step on a dirty sponge soaked in bleach. The tent is behind the hospital building, away from prying eyes and other patients. You wash your hands in a bleach solution, don a disposable gown to gain access.




The father of the two children was coaxing his son to drink the serum that rehydrates. The father's name is Fritznel. His pregnant wife, due any moment, also contracted the disease and was in another clinic across town. Fritznel's house was destroyed during the earthquake and he lives in a tent city. Two older children were at home, watched by neighbors.



Fritznel has no job. No home and no money. He was extremely worried about his wife, who was very ill. When I asked him what he was going to do, what he would eat tonight and feed his healthy children, he began to weep.



In all my 16 years of traveling to Haiti and talking with dozens of poor people, I have never seen a Haitian man cry.



Later in the week, Fritznel took us to visit his tent. The tent city, near the half million dollar flagpole Artistide had erected in Cite Soleil, but never added a flag, is called Aviation Field Number 3. The thousands of residents here came after their homes were destroyed because it was the closest open field they could find.




The original tent where he lived is abandoned. He sleeps at a neighbor's tent because he worries the original home is contaminated with cholera. Behind this tent is a deep gully filled with trash and excrement. There are few latrines in Aviation Field Number 3. There are gullies and an overpowering stench.


It doesn't take much to see how quickly cholera can spread among the people.







We then visited Fritznel's wife in another cholera clinic. The same procedures of washing your hands, having your shoes disinfected. Patients lie on cots listlessly. Some had IV's attached to their arms. Fritznel tenderly helped his wife sit up, got her cot out of the sun. His worry was a living thing, eating at his face with deep lines much like a freshly plowed field.

His wife complained her belly hurt. The doctor told us she could go into labor any day. There had been a fetal heartbeat, but it was faint. There was some question about if the baby would live, since the mother had been dehydrated and on an IV for more than 3 days.

At night, I'd lie on my hard mattress at the small but clean motel and think about Haiti since the days of the earthquake, and Haiti now during the time of cholera. Much of the rubble has been cleared, but you still see buildings tilted crazily on their sides like lurching drunks. Our motel is next to one building. It still tilts at a dangerous angle, as if it would come crashing down with a hard shove. In the morning, I'd get up and nod at the Russian aid worker sharing a room with his colleague, both with the World Food Programme. He'd sit on a lavender chair, shirtless, and chain smoke.

The heartland of the outbreak is the Artibonite Valley. As we visited villages in Grande Saline, which is fed by the now-famous river filled with Vibrio cholerae, we drove alongside a canal the color of milk chocolate. Vibrio cholerae is probably present in this c
anal as well, as it's fed by the river.


It's the only water the villagers have to drink, which is why our organization installed a water purification unit.


Mounds of rocky brown dirt cover the graves of a few cholera victims buried in the local graveyard. The simple mounds, covered with memorials of plastic flowers, are a sharp contrast to the surrounding stone mausoleums. Children following us to the cemetery recited the names of those buried. "Madeline. Titi."

The small government hospital in Grande Saline had only 5 patients when we arrived. "Four," the medical assistant corrected. "One died this morning."


The man had been brought into the hospital on a bed. He lived only an hour away, but they had to find a boat to cross the river. By the time they reached the hospital, he was dead.

This is why there are so many dead bodies in Gonaives. Doctors told me people live so far away that by the time they get to the city, they drop dead in the street. Cholera can kill in 4 hours if not treated.


In the morning, the city dump trucks come by and pick up the dead bodies and burn them, salt them with lime so they decay faster.

The hospital is small and usually quiet. It wasn't when the cholera first arrived. The assistant said she knew the exact date when the sickness started. "October 20," she recalled. "Hundreds of patients began arriving. We had people all over, in beds, on the floor. I've never seen anything like it in 14 years."

On the first day, only a few died, but then the death toll started multiplying. Five a day. Fourteen a day.

On our way back to the city, we passed by the black smudges of burnt tires. There had been protests and blockades. Most of the violence was centered downtown by the still-crumbled presidential palace.

All over the city, the country, were posters of the 19 presidential candidates. One of them, with a white gleaming smile, sharp as a shark's tooth, is wealthy. Very wealthy, I was informed. He has 80 million dollars for his campaign.

Eighty million dollars.

The thought circled in my head like a buzzard. Eighty million dollars, while the streets of the city are potholes, the cholera clinics are filled with the sick, and the tent cities are filled with potential victims. If he gets elected, will he effect change?

Doubtful. The only certainty these days in Haiti is that cholera is here to stay, it's getting worse and spreading fast, and the death toll continues to rise.

As I write this, cholera is now in the largest prison and it's infested Cap Haitien, the port city where we have a large operation. They are putting patients in a gym because there is no more room.

This is Haiti, during the time of cholera.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Excerpt from my December BITE


Courage of the Wolf, copyright 2010 by Bonnie Vanak

Just another day in a tropical paradise filled with demons. Right. If only it was just a typical day and not the very one he’d been dreading..

Ambling backwards on the roadside, Michael Anderson scanned Florida’s Alligator Alley for a silver Lexus. As always, Sabrina Kelly was late. The Draicon werewolf would be late for her own funeral.

The thought sobered him.

Minutes later, Michael pushed a hand through his long, ragged hair as Sabrina’s car pulled off the road. He breathed in her scent of fresh lavender as the Draicon werewolf hurried toward him.

Dressed in a pink sweater set and a floral skirt, she looked like spring. Cut razor straight, her black hair swung just below her jawline. Wide, sea-green eyes shone with intelligence.

When she threw herself into his arms, he hugged back, feeling a lump rise in his throat. The vision came to him again. Blood. Death. Sorrow.

Michael set her back down on her feet. As much as he wanted to use his powers as an Immortal Justice Guardian to direct destiny, he could not. Punishment would be severe if he broke Guardian laws. He’d already broken a big one to buy Sabrina time.

Years ago, when he was still a Draicon werewolf, he’d made a promise to keep her safe. The burning need to protect her had never stopped. It wasn’t love, but a fierce admiration of her strong spirit and honoring the deep friendship they’d shared in the past.

“Why did you want me to pick you up on this road? Forget how to dematerialize?” she asked.

He shrugged. “I like walking. And I thought it would be nice to ride with you in the Lexus to your grandparents’ anniversary party.”

“You knew I was taking the Lexus and not the Expedition? Oh, of course, you know everything.” She shook her head. “Even what type of underwear I have on.”

“I don’t know everything.”

When she turned, he flicked his fingers. A microburst of air sent the fabric swirling upward.

“White lace,” he noted with a grin. “Very nice.”

“Michael!” she scolded him with a smile.

A faint blush raced across her cheeks. It was like watching the sun chase away the night. Enchanted, he watched her moisten her pink lips. What would her petal-soft mouth feel like beneath his as he took her, hard and fast?

He swallowed hard at the startling, sexual thought. Sabrina was off-limits.

He was a Phoenix, an Immortal Justice Guardian who’d died and been reborn to his powers. Michael patrolled the earth, doling out justice and destroying predators of paranormal creatures.

He’d succeeded at his job until a year ago, when the Hellfire demon Ambrosis slaughtered Sabrina’s parents and five siblings as Sabrina tried to save them. Her family had been heading to visit her grandparents when the demon attacked them as they took a brief respite from driving.

If he could, he’d die to keep her safe. But he couldn’t die again. Sabrina had to face her own demon. Guardian laws demanded he must not interfere.

“Let’s go,” he muttered.

The sun sinking toward the horizon warned they were running out of time.

Inside the car, his senses drank in her scent as if he were still a Draicon werewolf. Trees, palms and scrub brush passed in a blur as the car sped toward Florida’s west coast.

“Michael, you’re the only friend who still bothers with me. Thank you,” Sabrina told him.

“I’m not just your friend, Brie. I’ve watched over you since I became a Justice Guardian. You’ve shut yourself off from the world.”

She blinked hard. “If not for you, I’d never have done this. I can’t bear the memories.”

White showed on her knuckles as her fingers tightened on the steering wheel. “All I can recall is fighting. Pain, and then nothing. Nothing except waking up to see my family was dead.”

“You still don’t remember what happened to you?”

“It’s a blur, except I have the scar to remind me. I have nightmares about Ambrosis, and this voice keeps telling me I must have the courage to face him again. But ever since I lost my family, I’m terrified of something else happening.”

Michael looked away. “You should pay attention to your dreams. Often, they contain messages.”

She inhaled deeply. “Dreams are just dreams. Let’s not talk about it. It’s hard enough for me to drive on this road again. I haven’t been this way since Ambrosis killed my family.”

A fist of guilt slammed into his guts. He stared out the passenger’s side window.

I’m sorry, Brie, but I must do this. It’s my duty as a Justice Guardian.

Familiar landmarks appeared on the roadside. Sabrina’s hands shook. “This is the place. If I’d never insisted on Dad stopping so we could hunt in the swamp, they’d still be alive. I’m going to speed up .…”

“Pull over,” he told her.

“Here?”

“Now.”

Blood drained from her face, but she steered the Lexus onto the narrow shoulder.

“Stay here,” he ordered, hating her fear, smelling it like burnt wood.

He got out. Clouds the color of lead hung low in the gathering dusk. He breathed in the fertile scent of dank earth. The task before him lay on his wide shoulders like twin weights. A haunting loneliness gripped him.

He hated this part of the job.

In the canal paralleling the Alley, an alligator swam by in silence, its eyes peeking through the dark brown water in cool indifference.

Michael vaulted over the chain link fence, and walked a path through cypress and pine trees until he reached a tree island surrounded by shallow swamp water. At the northwest side, he touched the earth where a great battle had raged. Sorrow squeezed his insides.

From his backpack, he withdrew a single white gardenia, the blossom fresh and preserved by magick. He laid it on the ground where the blood of Sabrina’s family had been spilled.

A mocking crow cackled overhead. Michael fisted his hands as he walked to a small pool. No animals ever drank from this vile water — the home of Ambrosis. Michael had imprisoned him here after the battle that claimed Sabrina’s family.

Hellfire demons were attracted to paranormal beings possessing enormous integrity, strength and courage. They siphoned off those qualities for energy then killed the victim.

Beneath his palm, the dark water rippled. His immortal senses “saw” Ambrosis. With his index finger, Michael traced a sacred pattern in the muck below the shallow water. The ground vibrated.

An eerie, haunting scream rent the air. Disturbed by the sound, a great blue heron resting in a nearby cypress tree flew off.

The face of Sabrina’s nightmares appeared in the pool. Nasty laughter echoed through the swamp. The demon vanished below the water.

It was done, consequences be as they may. His duty as a Guardian was fulfilled.

“Forgive me, Brie,” Michael whispered.

He stood, dusting off his hands on his jeans. Shouldering his pack, he headed toward Sabrina’s car, but not before the earth gave a mighty shudder and the demon’s triumphant roar echoed through the silent clearing.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

News


Some news to share. First, this is the Slovak cover to THE FALCON AND THE DOVE, my first Dorchester Egyptian historical. My books have now been translated into 10 languages, not including English. A nice accomplishment!


Second, this book will probably be my last foreign translation for my Dorchester books, because this week I got the rights to all SEVEN Egyptian historicals back.


This is great news for me, although bittersweet that it is the end of an era.It also means these books now will be out of print, so if you are planning on purchasing any of my Egyptian books new, please don't. I have to request now that Dorchester takes down the books from all the online sites.


I plan to put the first two books, The Falcon and the Dove, and The Tiger and the Tomb, up on the Kindle, soon as I finish with my current project.


Right now, Bonnie is taking a rest and letting Blair, her evil twin, write a new project. Blair hopes to have the new erotic romance ready to send out by the end of the month. It's a fun project and very, very sexy. If you have read Captive Mate, the heat level is along those lines.

My next books out will be in December, when Harlequin releases CHRISTMAS WITH A VAMPIRE in an HQN paperback, and COURAGE OF THE WOLF is released as a Nocturne Bite.

Thank you to all those who have read my Egyptian historicals. It's been quite a ride, and I hope you have enjoyed being with me on this special journey.




Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where did the time go?

So, DH and I are at a home improvement store, scouting for blinds for the new windows because now that we have some hurricane impact resistant windows, I realized we have old blinds. Can't have new windows and old blinds. As we are touring the mile-long aisles, DH remarks, "I saw Christmas decorations in Target today."

I shake my head. "Yeah, Christmas in summer. Go figure."

And then I realized, douh. It's nearly October.

Whaaaaa? Where did summer go?

Summer in Florida means heat, more heat, a/c bills and hurricane season. Yet this summer has slipped through my fingers like sand. Today I finished writing a Nocturne proposal and proudly sealed the envelope to mail to my editor. And then I checked the calendar.

Why did it take me all of summer to write this?

And I realized, no, I only started concentrating on this project three weeks ago. With a demanding day job, finishing a proposal in three weeks is pretty good for me.

My sense of timing is all screwy because when I get buried in a project, in life, in whatever, I lose track of time. Next thing I know, my neighbors have Halloween decorations out and I'm shell-shocked to realize it's past Labor Day and the stores down here all carry the fall sweaters, even though it's 92 degrees out.

So, for now, I'll take a break. This weekend I'll be at Moonlight and Magnolias. Immortal Wolf is up for a Maggie award. I doubt I'll win, but it's such an honor to be nominated. And I'm really looking forward to Michael Hauge's workshop Saturday. Have a great week!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Catching up

Quick catch-up... finally have emerged from a couple of projects. My zombie/werewolf story has been edited and turned in. This is the short story I wrote for my chapter's anthology that will be for sale on the Kindle later this year.

Then I made my writing goal of 18,000 words on another project, finished that proposal and sent that in. It's a paranormal erotic romance under my evil twin's name. Blair was nagging to write a story, so I gave her free rein.


Now it's time to return to writing another proposal. I'm also doing edits for my December Nocturne Bite, Courage of the Wolf.


Saturday at my chapter's meeting, we were treated to the delightful, acerbic wit of author
P.J. Parrish. Actually, our speaker was Kristy Montee, one of the sisters who writes the thrillers.


Kristy gave an excellent presentation on putting suspense in your novel. It wasn't merely for crime and thriller writers, either, as she gave excellent tips on how to structure a novel. As she put it, "Suspense is simply the need to know what happens next."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

To my readers...


This is a difficult post to write. Earlier this month, Dorchester Publishing announced they are transitioning from mass mark paperbacks to ebooks and trade. For reasons of my own, I haven't said anything on this blog regarding this issue, but today a reader expressed alarm when I told her my backlist with Leisure Books is going out of print. Already on Amazon, my first two Egyptian historicals are out of stock. That's it. When the paperbacks are gone, they are gone.


I thought it best to notify you that if you are interested in getting these books in paperback, it's best to do so now. I have seven Egyptian-set historicals published with Dorchester and the reading order is listed on my website.



As an author who has been deeply proud of her historicals published by Leisure Books, it saddens me greatly to see them go out of print. However, times in publishing are changing, and with change, comes sometimes painful and necessary adaptations. If you have any questions regarding my Egyptian-set historicals with Leisure Books, please feel free to contact me at the email address listed on my website. Thank you for all your support and understanding.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

#RWA10, Linda Howard talks about sex

I had to attend Linda Howard's workshop at RWA last week. You see, I've always wanted to listen to Linda Howard talk about intimacy and sex. Because she does it so well.

Writing wise, I mean. Hey, she could be great in other arenas concerning that venture, but I'm interested in how she does it between the sheets... of her books.

So it was with a heaving breath (I was running late and couldn't find the room, which was the biggest challenge for me at RWA last week) that I ended up in her workshop. Settled down into a chair, opened my notebook and fished out my shiny new blue RWA pen to jot notes.

The fabulous Linda started off talking about prehistoric man, apes and sex. Fascinating. Then she mentioned a fact that was biologically interesting.

"The human male has the largest erect penis of all the primates."

So I tweeted this fact.

Now, for me, RWA was the first conference in which I tweeted. I'm interested in social media, and have finally linked my Twitter account to my phone. So texting a Tweet was easy!

Then I sent the tweet and realized, "I have probably just issued an open invitation for porno followers. Or zookeepers. Or both."

Oh dear.

I continued to take notes. Linda's talk is well worth it, if you've never heard her give this workshop before. She goes into the twelve steps of intimacy, the stages of attraction.

But what I liked best about what she said was how she mentioned the emotional bonding that takes place between a man and a woman. And how she gently, but firmly, advised all in the room to treat sex with the respect it deserves.

Thank you Linda for your workshop and for all the great books you write. Your workshop was one reason I'm glad I made it to RWA2010.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

#RWA10 New cover!!



This is the Mills and Boon version of CHRISTMAS WITH A VAMPIRE, my HQN anthology coming out in the UK this November.

It will be released in the United States in December.

Wicked eyes, huh? I love the dark intensity.

I'm still in Orlando, got a late check out so I can relax a little before heading back home. After the RITA and Golden Heart awards, I went to Kimono's to hook up with Piks, Traci Hall, Kathy Love, Heather Graham & Co. again for karaoke.

It was lovely seeing all my peeps like Jennifer Ashley, CL Wilson, Cindy Holby, Renee Ryan, and Nocturne buds like Caridad Pineiro and Pam Palmer, and so many more people my tired brain can't recall right now.

RWA was great, lots of interesting things on the horizon for publishing, will do another blog later on what I learned. It's a fascinating time to be in publishing.

Friday, July 30, 2010

#RWA10, Karaoke with Heather Graham

Exhausted, but having a great time! Last night karaoke with Heather Graham was so much fun. Here they are, members of my chapter, some of whom braved the stage. Not moi.

The workshop Jennifer and I did on writing the novella went well. I was shocked at all the attendees. I had printed 50 handouts thinking we'd need only 25 and we ran out. I will be putting the handout on emotional conflict in a nutshell on my website.

Then it was dinner with the lovely Tara Gavin, Harlequin editor and director of the Nocturne line, and fellow Nocturne authors Barbara Wallace and Cindy Cooke. I was good and stuck to the grilled salmon, though the hazelnut crusted chicken sorely tempted me.

After, went to karaoke at the sushi bar, listened to Heather sing "House of the Rising Sun" and then left with Linda Conrad and her editor to attend the eHarlequin PJ party. Met Jayne from eHarlequin wearing the cutest sushi roll PJ's, and hung for a while. Saw Winnie Griggs and Margaret (can't remember her last name, but I'm sure she writes for LI) in matching Mickey PJ's. I hung for a while, then returned to karaoke.

I knew it would really be swinging by then. And I was right. I didn't brave the stage, but sang along with everyone else.

Now it's time for coffee and today I'm hitting a lot of workshops, including one Linda Howard is doing., R

Thursday, July 29, 2010

#RWA10, I need a golf cart

Arrived at the Yacht Club around 5 last night. Wow, great hotel, very posh. Love my room and its quietness. I unpacked and then went to the Dolphin to register. It was a short walk, I was told by the front desk.

Ten years later, I arrived at the Dolphin, registered and then went to the booksigning. I ran into Sharon Hartley and she was sitting on a bench, a glorious bench! My tired feet joined her and then some of my chapter mates like Kathy Pickering, Ona Bustos, Debbie Andrews and Susannah Gautier came along.

Then I went into the booksigning to find a few specific people. One is Claudia Dain, whom I adore and is extremely smart. I always have to find her at RWA. I remember my first conference when I was newly published with Dorchester and she acted like a "mom" and invited me to lunch with herself and few others. I listened more than talked at that lunch, and learned about the business.

I also saw Susan Squires and a few others and then returned to my room to get ready for my little wine and cheese party. A few people I had invited couldn't make it because of awards or agency book dinners. But those that came had a great time! To name a few, Piks, Aleka Nakis and her son, Rose Letson, my fellow Chatelaine CL Wilson and her friend Kelly, Mike Meeske, Linda Conrad, Heather Graham, and I finally got to meet Marianne Strnad who is on FB with me.

Some left after a couple of hours to get dinner, and then Linda, Marianne, Aleka and her son and me went to find food at around 11:15. It's Disney. They shutter most restaurants at 11 so we ended up having pizza on the boardwalk. We took the boats. Boats are slow, but good.

And now the Disney birds are chirping, the sun is shining and I have a white wine hangover. Which is what happens when you stop drinking and then have three glasses of white wine.

Today I'm chilling by the pool, which looks like its own attraction, and this afternoon I'm giving a workshop with Jennifer Ashley on writing short stories. That's at 4:15. After, it's dinner with Tara Gavin, HQ exec. editor, and then after it's hitting the sushi bar for fun times.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Good news, just in time for RWA!

My editor at Nocturne loved The Shadow Wolf and it's scheduled for release September of 2011! Woot!

The Shadow Wolf is the fourth Nocturne paperback about my Draicon werewolves. The Empath was the first, followed by Enemy Lover and then last year's release of Immortal Wolf (which finaled in this year's Maggie Awards).

The Shadow Wolf is Gabriel's story. Gabriel is one of five Draicon werewolf brothers (Damian, Raphael, Indigo, Alex are the other four). He is the most dangerous of all the brothers, and hides a terrible secret. Gabriel meets his match in Megan, an outlawed Shadow Wolf who turns invisible to hide from enemies pursuing her.

When I return from RWA, I'll be tackling a new proposal for Nocturne. This proposal is about Alex, the widowed brother who lost his mate and child in a terrible tragedy. Alex finds a new lease on life and facing a ticking time bomb from a demon threatening to destroy those he loves.

Tonight I'm packing and trying to figure out how I can get everything into a single suitcase. I solved the problem of walking back and forth from the Yacht Club to the Dolphin with a pair of white flip-flops, and will change into "professional" shoes when I get to the Dolphin. I've worked out my schedule and I'm pretty sure I know where I should be at what time.

First on the agenda after tomorrow night? Poolside at the Yacht Club! I'm taking Thursday morning to relax and recharge after Honduras last week.

Then Thursday at 4:30 I'm helping the multi-talented, best-selling Jennifer Ashley present a workshop on writing short stories. Look for me there if you don't see me at the pool!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back from Honduras, packing for RWA


Home and getting ready to leave again for RWA. Exposed to dengue fever (big outbreak there) and TB, but I feel good and healthy! Just tired. Honduras was a tiring trip, spent each night in a different city.






I'm leaving Wednesday to drive to Orlando and I have a list of stuff to pack, things to bring, and stuff to do. It's a weird transition, going from a developing country and visiting poor villages to the fun and frantic pace of a national romance writers convention.


Here are some photos from Honduras. This photo is of a woman and her children standing before the "house" they lived in for more than 15 years. They couldn't afford anything else. We are building them a new concrete home. The entire community is so excited about getting houses.

"The donkey's hideaway" is the name of the community. Very nice people, they hold church services in each others' homes twice a week. We stopped to see their outdoor service held on the foundation of the house we are building for them. As I stood in the road, a herd of cows started coming toward me. Running fast.

"Stampede!" I had to get in front of the truck to avoid getting run over. By cows. Like I was an extra in a Wild West movie, lol.




This is a mother and her severely malnourished baby whom we are helping. The mom got a supply of formula and the baby is being enrolled in a nutrition program at the local hospital. Honduras has a lot of caring, committed people determined to help those who are poor.

My next post will probably be from RWA or just before I leave.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A mother's tears




5:30 a.m. I sat in the lobby of our hotel in Tegus, waiting to ride to the city garbage dump. Last time I went to this dump it was about 5 years ago, and men doped up on sniffing glue chased us out. They dumped on the car and pounded on it, screaming at us in Spanish.




Today's visit was different.


I met Angela, 57, and her daughter Reyna, 9. Angela was kicked out of her house years ago when her husband died. His parents threw her and the four young children out on the street to fend for themselves. Angela had no where to go, slept at her cousin's home at night and needed to find work for her children.



She began picking on the garbage dump. For years, this is how she has lived. She sorts through the garbage, looking for items to recycle. Plastic, cardboard.



It's dangerous work. Tears began streaming down Angela's face as she told me how she was nearly raped two days ago. Two men approached her and her friend (the women work in pairs for safety) and one had a butcher knife. Angela barely escaped.



She shakes in fear as she relays the story and glances at her daughter. Yesterday, Reyna, who goes to the dump to help her mom after school, pricked her hand on a syringe filled with blood. She didn't see it sticking out of the trash.




Angela is desparate to get Reyna out of this lifestyle. She even tried giving her away to an orphanage so Reyna could receive a good education. But since Reyna is not an orphan, they turned her away.



We took Angela and Reyna to the dump so they could show us how they work. As we stood watching, the priest we are working with explained there are 70 to 200 children at a given time working in this dump. "Newborns to teens," he said. "The women take the babies to the top of the hill so there is less danger from the trucks and one woman watches over them while the others work. They take turns."



I glance at the top of the hill and see a row of black vultures surveying the scene below. A group of men pick through the garbage, some distance away from Angela.


Four children approach us and begin to talk. They mug for my camera and then Besy Yolanda, who is only 9, tells me how she wants to go to school. But her mother is too poor this year to afford the registration fee. So Besy works in the dump starting at 7 a.m. and goes home at 5 p.m.




They work among the men who get high on glue. The children sniff glue as well, some of them. The hungry ones sniff it because it eases the pain of an empty stomach.



Reyna climbed into the back of the pick-up truck as we prepared to leave. I took this photo of her, a solemn portrait with the hard granite rock wall behind her. Little girl between a rock, and the hard place of the garbage dump.



The children climbed into the bed of the pick-up as well. As we drove off, the two younger boys dipped dirty black rags into a small bottle and began inhaling the rags.



They were sniffing glue. Just like the men today, and the men who chased us years ago.



I bite my lip to keep my emotions from showing.



Generation next.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The fine art of kidnapping

Here I am in Honduras. Been an interesting trip so far and it's only Tuesday.



Today we went to an area by a river that floods at least once a year. The woman driving us had a bullet-proof SUV and two armed bodyguards. We talked as she drove. Seems the violence has grown increasingly worse in the city and you have to be extremely careful. One of her friends and her toddler were killed as they were at a shopping mall in a robbery that went wrong. This was only last week.



Kidnapping is also on the rise. You have to bargain with the kidnappers because if you don't, chances are the loved one will be killed even if you pay the ransom. The professionals are the ones who usually don't hurt the victim because they are all business. They are in it solely for the money and the victim is their commodity.



When the gangs kidnap, they are more desperate and more violent.



On the way back from visiting this community by the river that had flooded three days ago and dumped more than two feet of mud and water into people's homes, the air conditioning in the SUV quit. Since the front windows don't roll down for security purposes, it started to get pretty steamy inside. Fortunately, it wasn't too long of a ride.


Where we are headed tonight there has been a huge outbreak of dengue fever. If it's not caught in time, your blood platelets drop and you go into shock and can die in 2 days. Note to self: Get mosquito repellent.

The talks about the women's program have been good and informative and I have a good feeling about all of this. The group we will be working with are dynamic and very dedicated and into women's rights and training women to become self-sufficient and financially independent. The biggest thing they do is give the poor women self-esteem so they believe, finally, in themselves.

That's something you can't put a price on. Or list as a budget item.

More later, including photos, when I get the chance to post.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Immortal Wolf is a Maggie finalist!


My Nocturne, IMMORTAL WOLF, is a finalist in the paranormal category of the prestigious Maggie awards!


I'm thrilled at the news. This book was special to me, because I wanted to write Raphael's character after he appeared in ENEMY LOVER.


Ok, off to finish packing for my Honduras trip tomorrow. We're meeting with the president of a small, very resourceful and dynamic NGO about starting a new women's program to give indigent women a chance to become self-sufficient. This idea has been a dream of mine for two years, and I'm so happy it's finally coming full circle.


I'll try to post from the field if I have internet. Have a great week!

Friday, July 16, 2010

News

I've received word that COURAGE OF THE WOLF is officially approved for publication. Woot! This story is the first featuring my immortal Justice Guardians. Michael, a Phoenix, must convince Sabrina, a Draicon werewolf, to fight the demons that killed her family.

As soon as I hear of a publication date, I'll post it here and on my Facebook page. Here's the link to my FB page. I've been updating it on a regular basis with news of projects and information like links to the free online read I did for Harlequin, so FB is a good way to get news from me the fastest on current writing projects.

I'm also finishing a short story for my chapter, Florida Romance Writers, to raise money. Our brilliant former president, Kathleen Pickering, came up with a great idea that has some of us writing stories. More later on this as details emerge. My story is a werewolf/zombie short.

Short stories dovetail nicely into the workshop I'm helping Jennifer Ashley present July 29 at RWA. It's titled "Put on your shorts" and it runs from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Jennifer's a fantastic, talented and NY Times best-selling author who has all sorts of wonderful advice on writing shorts. I'll be presenting tips on emotional conflict for your characters.

All next week I will be in Honduras for the day job and after that, off to Orlando for RWA! Honduras promises to be very interesting. The region we're visiting on the second half of the trip is a remote, mountainous area that promises to be very very hot. Jungle-like. I am most excited about the women's development program we are finally going to launch. This has been a dream of mine for two years since I first came up with the idea, and it's wonderful to finally see it come full circle.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

RWA National in Orlando, bring an umbrella


In three weeks, I'll be at RWA in Orlando, helping Jennifer Ashley present a workshop on "Putting on your shorts." No, it's not a workshop related to the image here, but we'll be talking about writing short stories for publication.

The workshop is 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

RWA was a last minute decision for me. I was saddened to hear of the tragic flooding in Nashville, but when the conference was moved to Orlando, I gave it a second thought. And made a decision. Mickey World is only a three-hour drive, so no plane fare, no struggling with baggage and trying to pack light.

If I truly wanted, I could pack a U-haul and take it with me to the Yacht Club where I'll be staying.

However, the one essential I plan on tucking into my purse is an umbrella. You need this during Florida summers. Every afternoon, rainstorms gather on the horizon and the downpours start.

I'm in the middle of organizing my schedule of where I need to be, and need to do, and need to pack (comfortable shoes for the walk to the Dolphin, where the workshops will be). It will be a bit hectic the week of RWA, because the previous week I'll be in Honduras for the day job. I'm excited about visiting Honduras, because the first half of the trip will be to set up and outline the parameters for a new women's program that's been a dream since I came up with the idea two years ago.

The program will not only provide food for poor single mothers and their children, but teach the mothers skills and give them their own businesses so they can become self-sufficient.

So I'll be in Honduras, come home, and barely be unpacked before packing again for RWA. Should be an adventure!




Friday, June 11, 2010

TGIF Hunk


In celebration of the opening day of the World Cup.


Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No oil here in Key Largo!

The beach at Pennekamp Park in Key Largo. Dh and I went there Sunday and the water was gorgeous. Fish swam right by our feet and we even saw tarpon leaping!

No trace of oil here reported by vigilant Floridians. It was refreshing to finally get to the Keys, one of our favorite places for a day trip. As soon as you cross into Key Largo, you can feel the tension slide away, as if someone were removing a cloak from your shoulders.


We ate lunch at our favorite Key Largo restaurant, Snappers, and watched enormous tarpon hanging out by the pier. It was a wonderful, relaxing day.

The BP oil spill has left me sickened and grief-stricken. As a Floridian and a nature lover, I fully understand the importance of the fragile ecosystem, marine and bird wildlife. But at least in the Keys, I didn't see any evidence of tar balls.

We didn't have enough time get to another favorite place, the Dolphin Research Center. This is a wonderful organization where you can swim with the dolphins or just watch them play. They also do important manatee rescues and this is a place where injured manatees and dolphins are tended and brought back to health.

The entire oil spill crisis has left me feeling powerless, but I realized this week as an individual I do have the power to make a small change. I can't volunteer, but I can donate.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Contrasts




This is a crocodile head from the ruins in Honduras. His teeth are pretty good shape for being nearly 3,000 years old.

















This is a church we visited last week in Honduras that is associated with the orphanage we are helping. The church is Greek Orthodox but the founders are of Arab descent, so the murals are written in Arabic. A Greek Orthodox church in a predominantly Catholic, Spanish-speaking country. How cool is that?

















And this is the dancing Jaguar from the Jaguar Plaza. Love the grin. He looks like he's doing a 70's disco move a la John Travolta.










Here's a grandmother we met in Suyapa, a small village where we'll be building houses. I loved her careworn face. Behind her is the kitchen of the house. They cook with clay stoves.













And this is a little girl who received a pair of tennis shoes we gave out at a school in a very poor neighborhood. The past, the grandmother, and the present and future, the little girl.





Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Breath of Heaven



Cindy Holby has a new release!



Breath of Heaven is about a knight who has known honor but never love; a mysterious huntress with a closely guarded secret; a long-standing feud between rival lords; an arranged marriage with a surprisingly sensual consummation.

It's a fantasy spin on historical romance. I love this cover.

You can buy BREATH OF HEAVEN here at Amazon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Next time I complain about laundry...



Someone please remind me of Luz Maria. This is her washing machine; a stack of rocks she built and an oil drum filled with rainwater.

She does laundry by hand to support her children.



She's 43 and looks ten years older. She Lives in Honduras with her six children, all of whom she is raising alone. Her husband abandoned her years ago.

Her house is nothing more than a shack made of clay and straw.

She does laundry to support her children, and earns about $10 a week. Her greatest hope is for her daughters to find easier work.

Luz has been doing other people's laundry by hand for 15 years.

"My hands get numb because I have to scrub the clothing, and my back hurts from bending over," she said. "Mine is a killing job."

Her greatest desire is to grow old enough to see her children become adults and have good lives, and be able to provide for them until they do.

"I have ages of washing clothes so I can provide for my children," Luz said.

Ages, indeed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Now what?



Gabriel, my Draicon werewolf whose eyes turn a gorgeous shade of amber when his wolf emerges, has reason to to celebrate.

He finally got the girl, had wild and crazy sex, resolved all his problems and is living happily ever after.

Yes, his book is DONE and was mailed off to New York this week.

Can I shout with relief and giddy joy that I finally finished the book?

YAY!!

It wasn't an easy book to write. Back in January, when I got final approval on the synopsis and the green light to write the book, a terrible catastrophe happened. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti diverted all my attention. I worked long hours at the day job, took nearly back-to-back trips to Haiti, and struggled with my own emotional response to the disaster.

I've worked in Haiti for 16 years and what I saw broke my heart.

I also could not write romance for two solid months afterward. So I took a vacation to recover from the turmoil of Haiti, and to make a good, solid effort in writing Gabriel's story for Harlequin.

It worked. During the two-week vacation, I finished and turned in a Nocturne Bite. I also wrote an amazing 20,000 words on Gabriel's story, thanks in part to spending three days at a neighbor's cottage they kindly loaned me. I worked from morning until late night, concentrating on my writing.

When I returned to the day job, I finally had recovered my writing stride and was able to stay productive.

For three years, I've worked at a demanding day job, traveled, and had numerous deadlines and author responsibilities. And a home life!

And now, for the first time in three years, I'm without a contract.

It's a feeling of relief, not worry. It means it's time for me to take a break.

When you work at a day job and you're an author, you have different demands and different issues than when you write FT. The benefits of having a day job are simple:

Money!

A steady paycheck and benefits like vacation time mean you're not relying on contracts to pay the mortgage. I can honestly say I don't know one single author who writes FT who doesn't work extremely hard for every single dollar she earns. I have lots of respect and admiration for their productivity and talent.

The down side to working a day job, especially when you travel like I do, is time.

You must effectively budget your time. It's not easy, especially when life has a habit of interfering. Family health problems, job demands, sudden twists of fate, they happen. But the deadlines remain.

Writing is hard work. If you want to publish books, you must treat writing like any other demanding career. Publishing is unpredictable at best. But it's an amazing feeling to walk into a bookstore and see your name on a book where your ideas and imagination took flight...

or having readers tell you they loved your work. And receiving a check for the work you did and realizing you are being paid to do what you love.

I honestly don't know what's next. The fact that my brain is saying "Beats me, Bonnie" is a sign it's time for a break. Already I started playing around with two new story ideas, just for fun and because I'm a writer.

I can't stop writing!

But for now, I'm sitting back and not worrying about what comes next. Instead of spending the weekend writing and editing and gulping down caffeine, I'm going to the gym this morning. DH has obligations with his club, so I'm meeting a friend for lunch I haven't seen in way too long.

Next week I'll be in Honduras for the day job. It will be the first trip in three years I've not had to worry about writing in the hotel at night, or having a deadline hang over me.

I'll take my netbook and write for fun if I feel like it. But at night, if I'm too wiped out from the day's visits, I'll set it aside.

The other day I told a friend that every time I pick up The Falcon & the Dove and read a certain scene, I don't envision the desert and the hot sand and the handsome sheikh.

I see the hotel room in Haiti where I wrote that scene years ago at night, while visiting that country for the day job. I still can see myself sitting on the bed, typing like mad.

It's freeing knowing that I have no more writing obligations. It's a good thing as well because it enables me to visualize new ideas, have fun with my imagination and envision new possibilities.

I don't know what the future brings. What I do know is I've published more than 12 romance novels and short stories in the past 8 years, had a great time doing it, met lots of wonderful people and readers and publishing professionals, made some terrific friends, and achieved a dream I've had for years.

I'm grateful for the opportunities given to me, I've worked extremely hard once granted those opportunities and now...

I'm taking a break!