The Ides of March

Well, it’s a wee bit past the Idea of March, but it’s never too late to celebrate women with knives.  . I’ve been recovering from the flu, which is a bitch and a half, even though I got Tamiflu before I was even symptomatic and had the flu vaccine. This sucker just holds on.

I’ve been throwing myself into the business side of writing. They had to drag me, kicking and screaming, but the I’ve finally dropped my resistance and am enjoying the whole thing. The main problem is that it keeps me from writing but I hope to find out the opposite. If I have a business thingy to do (like arrange for an editor or write cover copy, my task du jour) it reminds me of the stories I want to be writing, and it puts my ass in my writing chair. So I’m hoping that will make a difference. I’ve been too freaking sick to write for a couple of weeks and I feel it. But today I am determined to be better (I was determined to be better on the weekend but the flesh was weak). So, business and writing and then maybe some sewing for my new hero figure.

I’ve got him an Emma Watson girlfriend, though I find I keep pinning women with long red hair on my heroine board on Pinterest. Wonder what that’s all about? I like Emma’s sweetness and strength. I could have had Angelina Jolie, Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johannsen and a number others, but Emma just felt like the right heroine. Now I get to make clothes and get them kitted up to look like my characters. Fun!

In the meantime I’m going to get back to something new I’m working on while I keep doing all the stuff for Heartless – Emma and Brandon’s story. I’m hoping for a release date of April 15th. Here’s what I have to do:
Arrange for a cover, which I have, and it’s gorgeous
Arrange for an edit (in process but it’s a long book)
Write cover copy
Get it formatted
Look into pre-orders
God, there must be other stuff I’m supposed to do. After I do some fresh writing (well, all my writing is pretty fresh) I’ll do some more reading up on indie publishing. I’ve got books from Audible so I can learn while I keep working on the Blob.

One problem is what to call the war Brandon was wounded in (in which Brandon was wounded, I know, I know). I called it The Afghan Wars, which is how history refers to it, but it was the first, and how would Brandon etc. know there’d be more than one? It was also called The First Anglo-Afghan War, the Disaster at … something, I forget. But they wouldn’t know there was going to be a second and the disaster was a battle, not a war (though that is how he got wounded). So Eliza and I have decided upon The Afghan War, despite what I may have called it in SHAMELESS. Tant pis.

And now, back to work!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Hello, my children!  What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a new book?  WILDFIRE is the latest in the FIRE and ICE books – a member of Committee travels undercover to a private island in the Gulf of Mexico.  His job is to terminate the megalomaniac who lives there who’s trafficking in weapons of mass destruction.  Getting in his way will be Sophie, the man’s wife, and a former agent herself.  She’d had the original mission, and instead she’d fallen in love with the man and betrayed the Committee.  His orders are to terminate her if she gets in the way, otherwise leave her to herself.

But that was before he saw her.

Lots of sex, just a soupçon of violence, an evil, megalomaniac billionaire (is there any other kind?) and you have WILDFIRE!  It’s out in audio with Jill Redfield, a wonderful narrator, in paper and in e-book format.

On top of that, the first two in the current series, Driven by Fire and Consumed by Fire are on sale this month, both in paper and in ebook format, plus they’ll go on sale in the UK around February 20th, I think.  And who doesn’t love a bargain?

Anyway, lots of good stuff out there, and I’m really pleased with WILDFIRE.  The hero is loosely based on Hiddles, though I’d already finished writing it when NIGHT MANAGER came out.  Probably just as well – I might have gotten carried away.  If Hiddles isn’t your cuppa (foolish people) then Daniel Craig or anyone else sinuously sexy and lethal will do.  Head on over to Pinterest if you want to see some photos I gathered for inspiration at the time I was writing it.

In the meantime I’m busy writing the final Rohan book, HEARTLESS, the story (at last!) of Emma and Brandon.  I’m just at the point where I’m about to put them in bed together, and it will be a complete disaster on almost every level.  Can’t wait!

(I feel like I’m catching up with long lost friends – sorry I get so distracted and forget to come here).  Anyway, politics and this country are insane, the winter up in Vermont is very cold and very long, I’m playing with dolls (using my child’s American Girl dolls to dress them like my characters) and learning Danish, which I find highly entertaining (I’m 50% Danish, and in a melting pot like America being 50% anything is unusual).

This is my Danish family in the 1930s – the little old lady is my great grandmother, my mother is to the right and my grandmother to the left. They travelled through Nazi Germany to visit the old country when my mother had a fellowship.

Coming soon will be reissues of some of my very best books, like NIGHT OF THE PHANTOM.  In the meantime, WILDFIRE was an absolute treat to write, and I tend to feel the ones that practically write themselves are some of the very best.

Go forth and purchase!

Chief Eagle Feather Rides Again!

I spend my summers acting.  Sometimes I’m a Shakespearian court member or a soprano in the chorus, sometimes I’ve got something juicier. I don’t really care — I just love being a part of our wonderful group.  I’m greedy, so this year I’m in both productions, Annie Get Your Gun and To Kill a Mockingbird.  For Annie I’m Chief Eagle Feather, complete with blonde hair and Danish complexion, as well as singing as high as an A (below high C).  Don’t think I could sing a B or a C, but fortunately I’m not called to.  And our theater group, Greensboro Art Alliance and Residency (GAAR( is wonderful in finding ways for me to participate even though I can barely walk right now.  I just limp onstage and cop and squat, then do lines or sing from that vantage point.

In Mockingbird I’m a 98 year old racist/morphine addict.  I was also supposed to weigh 98 pounds but that seemed unlikely.  Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose is downright nasty, but beneath it all she’s a romantic.  I can’t really soften her much, but I’m having fun saying awful things to the actors playing Scout and Jem.

Unfortunately I haven’t gotten much writing done.  So today I’ve printed up what I have of HEARTLESS (working title for Brandon and Emma) and I’ll work on that during the downtime.  I’m in three scenes in Act One and not sure how many in Act Two.  In Mockingbird I’m dead by Act Two, so that should give me lots of time to work before curtain calls.

Acting is a great way to open your mind up to different forms of creativity.  It’s easy-peasy for me to create a backstory for my characters, to know them in and out.  It gets my mind going in different directions, which is always a good thing.  And most of the actors (lots of them Equity members from NYC) are wonderful, particularly our artist in residence, Marla Shaffel, who was nominated for a Tony award for lead actress in a musical a few years ago.  We’ve got a couple of stinkers, and every year I make a tentative gesture of friendliness towards them, only to be iced out.  And then I ignore them.  I do have a hard time understanding why people are unpleasant when it’s so much nicer to be warm and sharing, but that’s the way it is.  I’m not cut our for a competitive environment (one reason I haven’t gone to RWA for a number of years.  The other reason is that’s our theater season, and I get a lot more joy and satisfaction out of the plays).

Some summers I’ve written every spare moment and cherished the time I had.  (Two summers ago).  Some summers I’ve written grudgingly and resented it but I had a deadline (last year).  This year my only deadline is my own, and I intend to do exactly what I want to do.  Which is write this book — I need to live partly in my fantasy world to feel truly alive – and rehearse and hobble around and be glad I’m not in the madhouse at San Diego (though San Diego is a wonderful city).

Next year’s going to be a harder decision — it’s a choice between GAAR and our brand new multi-million dollar theater or Disney World.  And I really really love Disney World.

Fortunately I don’t have to decide this year.  I just have to get to rehearsal in 45 minutes and sing my little heart out as a Scandinavian Native American.