Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I was in Miami over the weekend for the Fun in the Sun conference and we did have fun! Later, my hubby and I took a side trip to Key West because we'd never been. I must say, I was a bit disappointed in the drive. I thought it would be 120 miles of bridge over the water. The reality was bumper to bumper traffic on a flat road with very little view of the water. Where did I get the idea that the bridge experience was like driving Lake Ponchatrain? Uh, how about the movie True Lies.
Anyway, Key West proved to be a very colorful place. Lots of interesting characters to send an author's mind to spinning ideas. Of course we did the Hemingway's House thing. My poor hubby. He's had to endure Mark Twain's boyhood home, the last house Carl Sandburg lived in, the apartment where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind and many other writerly haunts. He patiently trails me in my homage to writers past. I loved the cats at the Hemingway house. They have a cat cam and the cats are on the web. They're all descendants of Hemingway's cat.
Lunch was a surreal. We were trying to find someplace off the beaten path and so asked a couple of locals for a real Key West experience. We were directed to this shack, and when I say shack, I mean shack. The place was made of unpainted, sea weathered lumber and slabs of tin stacked inward like a teepee. You literally walk through this hole in the wall--no kidding.
Inside we find completely mismatched plastic tables around weathered picnic tables carved with the names of all those brave souls who'd dared slip through the hole. There were manikins lounging all over the place. (I could have sworn I'd seen this dive in a horror movie) Anchors, barrels, detoriating life perservers and rusted licenses plates from all around the country were tacked to the walls. Christmas lights stuck inside wine bottles mounted from the ceiling served as lighting (That plus the holes in the teepee shack).
People were coming and going from other holes in the walls. Around the front side of the place was a wooden bar that fronted the street. Tenatively, we ordered our food and gingerly took our seats. Behind us was an elderly couple from Sweden. They were arguing with the visibly stoned waiter over global warming. The Swedish couple was winning the arguement because they were clear headed and the stoner kept losing his train of thought.
A drunk dude and his pissed off girlfriend slip in through one of the holes. They have an Alaskan husky on a leash. They sit down. The dog hops up on the picnic bench beside them about six feet from where we're sitting and starts licking the table. Now, I love pets, I have a dog of my own, but this was getting to be too Fellini-esque for me. The guy is pulling of hunks of dog hair and letting it fly around the "restaurant". (I use that term loosely) His dinner companion is bitching saying he loves that dog more than he loves her. The stoned waiter staggers over with what looks to be our order, but oops! gives it to the elderly Swedish couple who have already eaten. After finally figuring out the food belonged to us, Stoner boy plunked blackened Mahi-Mahi and conch fritters down in front of us. It looked good and smelled great. Telling myself it was all about the experience, I girded my loins and took a bite.
And you know what? The food was great. Although half-way through the meal I felt something brush the back of my bare calf. I stifled a shriek and looked down to see an inquistive pullet staring up at me. I gave it a French fry. He was happy.
We didn't stay for dessert.
Today I'm giving away a copy of YOU ONLY LOVE TWICE. This book is a finalist in both the Smoky Mountain Laurie Award and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. If you'd like a copy just post here and I'll pick the winner tomorrow.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Diane Perkins: Why do you want me to interview you anyway, you..you..pest!”
Diane Gaston: I have a book coming out in March.
Diane Perkins: I know. How could I not know? You’ve been dancing around the house all day singing, “I’ve got a book coming out. I’ve got a book coming out.” I mean, it’s great that you do, but, gee, do you have to--
Diane Gaston: (glaring) Ask me about my book!
Diane Perkins: (rolling eyes) Okay, what is the title of you book?
Diane Gaston: Innocence and Impropriety. It is published by Harlequin. And here is the beeeeyoutiful bookcover!
Diane Perkins: Very nice cover. The hero looks like a nice guy. I preferred the guy on your A Reputable Rake, though. Or the lovely men on my books, The Improper Wife and The Marriage Bargain. Nathan Kamp was on The Marriage Bargain--
Diane Gaston: (impatiently) Yes. Yes. But my book will be in bookstores March 1 both in North America and the UK.
Diane Perkins: (mouth drops open) How can it be in both places at one time?
Diane Gaston: It’s coming out from Harlequin Historical and Mills & Boon simultaneously.
Diane Perkins: That’s nice. Did you know my books have sold to Spain and Germany and --
Diane Gaston: Yes, but back to me!
Diane Perkins: (Sighing) All right. Tell us what kind of book it is.
Diane Gaston: A Regency Historical
Diane Perkins: (Eyebrows shooting up) I write Regency Historicals! (Eyes narrowing) What is your book about?
Diane Gaston: (Looking smug) It is connected to my other Harlequin books, The Mysterious Miss M, The Wagering Widow, A Reputable Rake, my RITA winner --
Diane Perkins: My next book, Desire in His Eyes is connected to both The Improper Wife and The Marriage Bargain.
Diane Gaston: (Waving a dismissive hand) Well, my book, Innocence and Impropriety, tells the story of Rose. You remember her from A Reputable Rake, don’t you?
Diane Perkins: Of course I do.
Diane Gaston: Well, she becomes a Vauxhall singer and there is this marquess who wants her for his mistress--
Diane Perkins: So this is a romance between a Vauxhall singer and a marquess?
Diane Gaston: No. Between the singer and the marquess’s secretary. The marquess tells his secretary to arrange things with the singer for him, but the secretary falls in love with Rose instead.
Diane Perkins: So then the marquess and the secretary fight over the singer?
Diane Gaston: No, not really because Rose and Flynn, that’s the secretary’s name, don’t tell the marquess. There is this other guy, Lord Greythorne and he wants Rose, too.
Diane Perkins: Lord Greythorne? Wasn’t he that sadistic guy from your short story on eHarlequin, The Diamond?
Diane Gaston: I didn’t know you read that! Yes, that’s the guy. He adds an element of danger to the story.
Diane Perkins: Well, that sounds interesting. You come up with such interesting plots.
Diane Gaston: (blushing) You do, too, you know. I loved your books!
Diane Perkins: (smiling) I love yours, too. I hope readers will like Innocence and Impropriety.
Diane Gaston: Me too!
Diane Perkins: It will be in bookstores March 1, right?
Diane Gaston: That's right! But I'm going to offer a contest on the Risky Regencies blog next week.
Diane Perkins: (eyes lighting up) A contest?
Diane Gaston: Yep. Go to Risky Regencies next Monday Feb 26 and comment on my books--or your books. I'll select the winner at random on March 1.
Diane Perkins: (turning to the blogging audience) If any of you have any questions for Ms. Gaston, I shall endeavor to twist her little arm to make her answer you. And I, of course, will graciously answer your questions..... In the meantime......
Sunday, February 18, 2007
I put everyone's name in the proverbial hat and drew out -- Principessa! Congratulations! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address so I can send you a copy of TWILIGHT MAGIC.
Till next month,
Friday, February 16, 2007
My schedule for the past few weeks has been so badly disrupted that I don’t have a semblance of a schedule to call my own. We are remodeling. I hear some of you wickedly laughing.
It started innocently enough. We wanted to replace a badly designed and inconveniently placed island (3 cabinets with a countertop) in the kitchen. Which meant we must replace the flooring and should do an upgrade of all the countertops. And as long as we were doing all that, we really should do something about the lighting. And as long as the workmen were there anyway . . . oh, my.
Then there was the tile in the master suite’s bathroom we both disliked. I’ll spare you the details. Needless to say, one thing led to another in that room, too.
The good part – I didn’t have to cook for an entire week while the kitchen was torn up because both the stove and refrigerator were parked in the living room. (No, I didn’t remind my husband that one can do more with a microwave than heat water and defrost hamburger.) The bad part – I don’t dare go near the bathroom scale, which I can’t do anyway because it’s buried in one of the dozen full boxes stacked in the spare bedroom.
I know that soon I’ll no longer have workmen invading the house, and through diligent sweeping/vacuuming/scrubbing, I’ll get rid of the drywall dust, sawdust, and ceramic tile grit that’s coating nearly every surface. I will someday be able to look back on all of this and laugh and wonder why I was feeling so discombobulated.
We’ve all had something happen, either through our own design or by accident, that made life tough for a while but we are now able to laugh about. What was yours? On Sunday, Feb. 18th, I’ll randomly select one winner of a copy of TWILIGHT MAGIC from among the comments. Let the tales of horror begin!
On MySpace? Come be my friend! www.myspace.com/sharianton
Monday, February 12, 2007
Valentine's Day = Chocolate
Everyone has their favorite form of chocolate.
When I was a kid, I liked Nestle's Quick. I mixed it carefully, then drank the milk down just to get to the fudgy goo at the bottom. With Oreos, I'd gladly pass on the creamy filling to get to the cookie outside, which is why I don't understand the Double Stuf concept. Reese's? Yum.
Once I learned how to bake, I became Queen of the Chocolate Chip Cookie, a title I retain to this day with a cranberry-studded version at Christmas, a dried apricot delight, and one laced with espresso powder that will have you bouncing off the walls.
There's nothing quite so delightful for a Gemini like myself than the box of assorted chocolate. Yes, you get those nasty molasses bon-bons and mediocre honeycomb crunches, but to my mind, it makes the walnut chews and mocha truffles all that much tastier in contrast. Whitman's is a waste of money. Ditto for Russell Stover. See's, a West coast institution, is good. So is Godiva. But the best comes from Europe. There's nothing as rich and delicious as Lindt or Teuscher.
For ice cream, Ben & Jerry's new Vermonty Python is fabulous, and I always go for the homemade brownies at bake sales. If I'm trying to lose weight, I'll settle for a banana dipped in Hershey's syrup or a few chocolate-covered Altoids.
My husband is a minimalist. He chews on chocolate nibs, bitter pieces of raw chocolate. It's kind of like crunching on coffee beans. Bleah.
Then there's Nutella. It's in a class by itself. Considered de rigeur for French children, who slather it on bread for a snack, I like to refrigerate it and eat a naked spoonful. But my best Nutella experience was walking recently arm in arm with my husband under the Eiffel Tower on a freezing night, sharing a steaming Nutella crepe, hot off the griddle.
What about you? What's your favorite form of chocolate?
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER - Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART - Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE - Stealing your heart April 2007
Friday, February 09, 2007
Thursday, February 01, 2007
I HAVE SHREWS IN MY KITCHEN!
I thought it was kinda cute when my youngest said there was a black mouse running around the kitchen. "Huh," I thought. "Who knew that mice came in different colors?"
Turns out they don't.
Shrews are small, nocturnal rodents with no ears and tiny, tiny eyes, and apparently, they eat insects and worms and "baby mice" (all together now, EWWWWWW!) Their saliva is poisonous and they're supposed to live OUTSIDE. My Peterson's Field Guide to Mammals makes no mention of shrews living in houses, but evidently the shrews haven't read my field guide.
The whole shrews-in-the-kitchen thing kinda sent me over the edge. I mean, what with icky revisions on my work in progress, another book that I had to start then stop in order to do the icky revisions (I hate that,) dogs eating butter off the kitchen counter (don't ask), teenagers having dramatic screaming fits, and general chaos all around, it was all just too much.
Which is why I've decided to contemplate Jack. Please. You can join me. Let's all contemplate Jack. His steady blue eyes, his golden stubble because he's been up for 24 hours, his slightly rumpled hair because he has no time for combs...
There. I feel better already, don't you? I mean Jack puts it all into perspective, doesn't he? I have to deal with shrews in the kitchen. Jack has to deal with nuclear bombs. My life could be worse.
And y'know, I bet Jack is the kind of man who could take care of those shrews. He'd come into my kitchen all rumpled and slightly weary (been up 24 hours) and wearing a Kevlar vest (that Kevlar vest is sooooo sexy!) and he'd look at me sternly and say in his deepy growly voice, "Stand aside, ma'am. I'm a federal agent," and he'd take out his big (BIG) black gun and...
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!
No more shrews.
PS: Tell me how you'd like Jack to save your day and I'll send one lucky poster an autographed copy of THE RAVEN PRINCE. Just because I care.