Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I am outta here for the week!

I am at my timeshare in Snowbird Utah today!

I absolutely love the mountains this time of year, and I have been lucky enough to have semi-inherited a fabulous two-level luxury condo suite at one of the most stunning winter and summer resorts in the USA...Snowbird.

This is one of the oldest time share setups in the USA (or so I am told). Iron Blosam Lodge was built in 1976-78 and the various units were sold before the building was halfway finished. Later, the Snowbird Corp built several other lodges and centers at Snowbird, and attempted to buy out the owners of the Iron Blosam, but the nice man who built the lodge put it in his will that when he died, the land and the buildings were to be ceded in perpetuity to the owners of the condos...unless the owners sold their timeshares to the Corporation.

My sister and BIL bought in when the first offer came out, and I bless them every year for being so wise! When my sister asked me if I wanted to buy it from them, I jumped. They let me purchase it from them for the amount they paid for it back in the mid seventies.

This is my week to rest, relax, and enjoy. I am within 20 miles of my home, so if I run out of stuff or need to do laundry, I can take an hour and make the trip back down and back up. Sooo handy! I did bring up my laptop, but only to keep me writing instead of totally vegging.

It's a wonderful restful getaway.

Do you have a special getaway place you love most? A place where you can recharge your batteries and kick back? Tell me about it.

Fran Lee

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Serenity, Courage, Wisdom

This column is a reprint from November 2007. Many of my friends are suffering discouragement, loss, and even tragedy. I was looking through some of my old posts for a specific quote (never found it!) but found this post instead. It spoke to me. Perhaps it will speak to those who need it. Blessings on your day.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change; the courage to change the things i can;and the wisdom to know the difference. The Serenity Prayer is the common name for an originally untitled prayer written by the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in the 1930s or early 1940s. For more information about the Serenity Prayer...

A friend and I were talking about why I'm called the Zen Queen. She asked, "How can you be so calm?" I had to think about it for a while. I think it's because I took the Serenity Prayer as my general "motto" for life. Everyone has some tenet that they live by. It may be the Golden Rule or a quotation or a religious saying.

Many years ago when one of my children was involved in all sorts of dangerous behaviors, I attended Families Anonymous. In many respects it saved my life. At the beginning of each meeting we recited the Serenity Prayer. And I found it good.

There is a lot of old wisdom contained in this relatively short sentence. The sentence as printed at the beginning of this blog is the way it was originally written. Did you notice that the i's are lower case? That's one of the first things you learn in any of the anonymous programs... that it's not all about you. So. Small i's.

Serenity is a product of acceptance. There are certain things in life that we cannot change. I will never be five foot ten. I'll never be younger than I am right now. I know that you're thinking well that's just silly. Everyone knows you can't change things like that. What about bad judgment, hurtful words, or stupid choices? They're in the past. Things in the past are simply that--past. They cannot be changed. You can ask for forgiveness. You can make amends. But you can't change the past. "Grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change."

Courage is a little understood word today. We equate it with the military mostly or heroic deeds. But courage is really taking a leap of faith. It requires an immense leap of faith to make some changes. Changing a job. Changing a life style. Changing an address. Eating healthier. Going for a walk. Getting up an hour earlier. All of those require us to take a leap of faith that there is something better out there. Change is uncomfortable. Just ask anyone who's moved recently. We like our comfy little niches in life. Change requires us to move out of our comfort zones and try something new. "Courage to change the things i can."

Wisdom is mistaken for intelligence or education. Some of the wisest people I know are small children. They cut through the trappings of adulthood and go right for the heart of the matter. Unfortunately, as adults we don't gain wisdom without experience. Frequently the experiences are painful or bitter. It takes a while to understand the difference between "book learning" and "horse sense". With that hard won wisdom, we can determine whether the circumstances require change or acceptance. Sometimes it's best to simply accept the place we are in life. Other times we need to seize the courage to change. The wisdom we've accumulated helps us decide which choice to make. "The wisdom to know the difference."

I use these three short phrases to get through life. My child calls with an emergency. Not my emergency--but her emergency. The immediate visceral response is to leap in to save her. But wait. That would deprive her of hard won experience so that she can gain her own wisdom. So what exactly is required of me? Perhaps... all she really needs now is encouragement to follow the path of serenity, courage and wisdom.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wonderful Things

Lots of wonderful things happened to me at Romantic Times in Columbus, OH. First, and in my opinion always the most fun, is making new friends and hooking up with old ones I met at my first RT in Pittsburgh, PA. I can’t tell you how very much I enjoy the mix of authors—both aspiring and published—readers who recognize my name and books and people attending other conferences at the same hotel.

I’ll always cherish seeing my newest romance’s cover art on the really, Really, REALLY big screens at Ellora’s Cave first night party. I don’t have a release date yet, but that cover started my conference with a big O—and I don’t mean tires.

“Courting Kel” will debut soon, hopefully in time to make your summer sizzle.

At the e-book fair a fan stopped to tell me her favorite book of mine is still the first erotic romance I wrote and the first book I ever sold. “Passion’s Four Towers” allowed me to enter the world of “published author” and I’m still floating on those “I made it!” mists.

The print book fair taught me a lesson in graciousness. Heather Brewer, mistress of “The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod” series sold out within the first hour. But Heather stayed—signing books her minions had brought from home and somehow squeezing her autograph onto antenna balls she’d brought as giveaways—thanks to EC author Paris Brandon loaning Heather a metallic pen. And Heather invited young fans and old to have their pictures taken with her. Her “minions” always thanked her and went away with smiles so wide they made my jaws ache with happiness—for them and for Heather. And I silently thanked the parents for teaching their kids good manners—never mind encouraging them to read!

And when sister-signer Allesia Brio mentioned she’d signed her first “brought by a fan from home” book, I realized that same special moment had happened to me. Oh, wow! Wish I had a picture of that for my memory book and to send to the fan. In all honesty I hadn’t noticed. I’d signed, stickered and given it back before I realized I still had the same number of books for sale I’d had moments earlier. Thank you, dear fan, whoever you are!

And while I can’t claim being the only person queried, who wouldn’t feel flattered when Kathryn Falk asked which of two potential sites for 2012 I preferred?

For those of you who’ve heard that RT is just one big party… Yes, it is. There’s always something going on—from dinner and dancing to ice cream socials and high teas, to editor/agent appointments and some of the most professional and informative workshops I’ve ever attended.

For those who might be analyzing the cost/benefit of attending RWA in 2011 New York, I recommend you also look at RT. It will be held April 6-10 in Los Angles, CA so you won’t melt when you go outside. For westerners, your travel expenses might be less. The conference site is at the Westin Bonaventure which figured prominently in the suspenseful end of “In the Line of Fire.” And as always—at least in my experience—you’ll get every benefit of other conferences and have lots of fun, too!

And don’t forget those breath stealing, sexy Cavemen and other Mr. Romance contender hunks! That alone may be worth the price of admission.

Have a wonderful day.


Monday, May 17, 2010

New man in my life! I get CARRIED AWAY

This slurpilicious guy?
A security expert. Owns his own company. His own private jet.
He's got a big staff. A lot of electronic toys. And a big fat heartbreak over a cute trick in bad shoe leather who left him flat three years ago. No reason given.
End of story.
He watches her sail toward him on a vaporetto as he eats his lunch in Venice...and when he learns she arranged the business meeting that follows, Grant Warwick is not happy.
But he is intrigued.
By Coco Dalton's reappearance, the reason she has a super-duper cat suit made of fabric only super-duper agents ever get and her apology for leaving him three long years ago.
Hope you will come read more about my guy. Or rather Coco's.
She's got a lot of explaining to do. And he, dammit it all, has it so bad for her that he's gonna stick around, figure out why she's got the slick suit and why she wants him back.
He's inclined to listen--and save her pretty ass. This time, for himself. Alone. Forever. If he can....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Coming Soon - Sliding Home

I wish I had cover art to share with you, but I don't. This is a blurb and excerpt from my second M/M coming from Aspen Mountain Press on June 4th.

Sliding Home

Alex loves baseball, so when the majors come calling he is thrilled. The only thing that would make his happiness complete is a partner to share it with. Although his best friend, Rick, knows Alex is gay, he doesn't know that Alex has been in love with him for years. And with his departure for the major leagues imminent, he's not sure now is the best time to tell him. But after an evening of celebration turns into a night of pleasure, Alex is confused. Does Rick want a relationship with him? Or, will he walk out of Rick's life forever, wondering what might have been?

Baseball, friendship and feelings are put to the test. Who will win and who will lose?

He thought he’d seen something earlier. A spark in Rick’s grey eyes. He couldn’t have imagined it, could he? Again, when he’d rubbed up against him while they were playing pool, he saw the look.
It was desire.
Then Rick had stormed off to the bar for another drink. Was he afraid of hanging around and letting Alex see his raging hard-on?
Too late.
Alex had noticed it and got hard instantaneously. He was so hard he’d thought about going into the bathroom and rubbing himself until he felt relieved. Somehow, he knew relief wouldn’t come from masturbation so he decided against it.
Besides how would he explain his long absence?
No. Alex had suffered through.
When he asked if he could crash at his friend’s house he’d had an ulterior motive. He wanted to see if things would be different when they were alone. He wanted to know if Rick would mention how his body reacted to Alex’s.
He didn’t. In fact, he’d never mentioned it once. Even when they entered Rick’s apartment, he never said a word. He retrieved the blanket and pillow for him, before heading to his room.
One thing was certain; Rick couldn’t get out of the living room quick enough.
It was like he was afraid of what would happen if he stayed too long. Could he be wrestling with the same feelings Alex was? He wasn’t sure, but he didn’t want to act on it just yet. If his friend did have feelings for him, he wanted to address it before he had to leave.
Knowing Rick was waiting for him would make his transition much easier.
Alex wondered if he should go into Rick’s room and see if he was still awake. If he was, they could talk about what had happened. Worry settled into the pit of his stomach. What if Rick did feel something, but refused to act on it? What if he rejected Alex?
Alex couldn’t handle being rejected by his best friend. He cared for him too much. He didn’t want to ruin the friendship they had by stepping over any lines. No, it was best for him to stay put on the couch. If Rick wanted him, he would have to be the one to make the first move. That way, Alex wouldn’t be treading into uncertain waters.
Disappointed, but satisfied with his decision, Alex closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on anything other than his aching balls.
An hour later he was still struggling with the tightness in his crotch. He thought about relieving himself numerous times but was afraid of Rick walking in on him or worse—overhearing his moans.
Unable to fight the urge, Alex jumped off the couch and headed toward Rick’s bedroom.
“Screw it.” He had nothing to lose at this point— except his friendship with Rick.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why I love writing "THE END"

I just wrote the last words on Feiral WIP that I'm thinking of titling Desperate Measures simply because the situation that leads the heroine to the hero is one of those times that call for that. Naming that thing is giving me more trouble. Sigh.

Now back to the original reason for this post the reasons why I love finishing my latest WIP and I'd like to know if any of you have any other reasons.

1. I finished the story. My hero and heroine are finally together and they've grabbed their happily ever after. Woohoo!

2. I finished the story. I know I put this twice, but sometimes--like this time--getting to the end is a reason to celebrate in and of itself. Over a week ago, I'd thought I had a scene and a half to finish. I thought okay a few days at most and I'll be done. That grew to over two chapters and four scenes.

3. I can start another book. I love beginning work on another book, getting into the characters to find out what they like and what they don't and getting into their world.

4. I even love going back to revise and rewrite in my own personal edits. I get to revisit my friends and make their story as tight as possible before I send them to my editor.

5. I finally know how they came together, fell in love and surmounted the obstacles they faced. Sure, I had an idea at the beginning of the story, but I'm not a plotter so through the characters twists and turns what I first envisioned usually isn't the end result.

Have an absolutely fabulous day,