Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
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
Monday, July 26, 2010
"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
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.
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.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
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
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
Thursday, July 08, 2010
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.