Today I’m bringing you another long-distance friend and a flashback to summer two years ago. Tawna Fenske is one of those people I became friends with online. We exchanged blog comments, tweets and Facebook messages, eventually graduation to instant messages. She likes to point out that, when we finally met in person, I went to bed with her immediately.
Can you blame me? Tawna is smart, witty, open-hearted and full of a sincere joy in life that makes her a delight to be around.
Believe me, that all comes out in her romantic comedies, too. Tawna is giving away a signed paper copy of her second book Believe It or Not today!
Same rules apply as in the introductory post. Share the love on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. Use the hashtag #JK12DayGifts if you can. Comment here, on Tawna’s blog or elsewhere and let us know what you did!
Bonus points for interpretive dance.
Today marks the start of my Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway! For the next twelve days, I will be giving away special treats to mark the countdown to Christmas. Yes, I know that the first day of Christmas is really Christmas Day and it counts up from there – I promise they do it correctly in my naughty holiday novella, Five Golden Rings.
But this is way more fun!
And, because this is the season of appreciating good friends, look for some of my writer buddies to be participating too! More details as time passes….
So, for today’s Goodie Giveaway, rather than 12 Drummers Drumming, I’m offering a Create Your Own Cookie Collection from Wolferman’s Bakery, plus a digital copy of Five Golden Rings. (Or one of my other books, if you already have one.)
At the very end, I’ll draw a from all the entries and draw a winner for this really pretty sterling silver Partridge in a Pear Tree pendant (or a $100 gift card, if overseas shipping becomes an issue).
To enter just comment on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads. Share the Facebook posts, Retweet the tweets, say something about how much you like the author or books. Either tag me there or comment on this post to tell me what you did. Easy peasy! I’ll draw each day’s winner the following morning and the Grand Prize Winner on Christmas!
The schedule so far!
12/13 12 Drummers Drumming
12/14 11 Pipers Piping
Darynda Jones, $25 iTunes gift card and a digital copy of any of her books!
12/15 10 Lords-a-Leaping
12/16 9 Ladies Dancing
12/17 8 Maids-a-Milking
Katie Lane with goodies and copies of her Cowboy Christmas books!
12/18 7 Swans-a-Swimming
12/19 6 Geese-a-Laying
12/20 5 Gold Rings
Something very special from Jeffe
12/21 4 Colly Birds
12/22 3 French Hens – TBA
12/23 2 Turtle Doves
My fabulous agent, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg is offering two lovey-dovey opportunities for a query and first chapter critique!
12/24 And a Partridge in a Pear Tree
Pendant Grand Prize!
The first morning at the RWA conference saw us playing. There’s not much going on that first day, until you get to the Literacy Signing that night. (There’s a great video of the madness that is the Literacy Signing here, if you care to see.)
So, with no need to attend the business meetings, we took off on a long walk with my roommates. The lovely Tawna Fenske already did a blog post (she’s so efficient) about me and Marcella as bunk mates. The thing is, we had a great time together. I wanted to see Rockefeller Center, Tawna wanted to see Central Park.
Of course we did the carriage ride.
Our driver had a lovely Irish accent, too. Amusingly his patter consisted of him pointing out sites where movies had been filmed. Most of which we’d never seen. I finally asked him if he’s a movie buff and he admitted that, no, it was just part of the job. He seemed surprised to be carting around a carriage-full of romance writers, particularly when I told him what I write.
More and more, conference for me is about spending time with friends like this. People I usually only “see” online. Laura Bickle is one of those. She arrived later that day, with just enough time to tie a little wine on before I had to work the registration desk before the signing.
Turns out that’s a great time to work the desk, because a lot of the big authors arrive right before the signing. The best part? They’re all registered under their REAL names.
So when Eloisa James stepped up and I couldn’t find her packet, I had to ask her if she has another, legal name. At this point, they look abashed and glance around to see who’s nearby. She leaned over the desk and said, “…” See, I swore not to tell. But I learned at least five secret identities. And yes, it’s totally enough just to know that I know the secrets.
The other funny thing was that the big speakers, like Diana Gabaldon, were done the great favor of having their registration stuff put in their rooms. Only a lot of them hadn’t BEEN to their rooms yet. Ironically, they couldn’t enter the signing without a name badge. When I told Diana her stuff was in her room, she gave me the terrified puppy-dog eyes. This was half-an-hour before the signing. She was afraid that, if I sent her to check-in and go to her room, she’d never make it through all the people in the lobby.
I ranted once before about how writers will never be rock stars. But Diana Gabaldon at a huge gathering of romance writers and readers? Totally a recognizable rock star.
We printed her up a special name badge. She was charming and grateful.
As I do every year, I also attended the Secrets of the Best-Selling Sisterhood seminar with Jayne Ann Krentz and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. This time I asked how they’ve maintained their friendship over all these years – if they have strategies. They seemed taken aback by the question and I wondered if maybe it wasn’t always easy. Finally they said that they don’t live near enough to irritate each other.
See? Just another reason to value those online friendships.
But it was really lovely to spend some in-the-flesh time with them, too.
I took this pic near my folks’ house in Tucson. The agave plants are sending up their spires, with varying kinds of blooms. Some of them will use up all of their resources to make the spire and flowers, much like a spawning salmon, dying to reproduce. That’s my biologist lens coming into play.
Tawna Fenske would undoubtedly find a rude joke to make, perhaps even run a contest about it.
Marcella Burnard would undoubtedly buy a huge textbook on agaves and write a mini-dissertation on them.
Linda Grimes would find an array of dirty pictures derived from cactus to share.
We all see these things differently because we all have different ways of processing the world, particularly sexual matters. Even if it’s plant sex. Sex is a deeply personal and intimate thing. It’s also one of those things where what we SAY about it doesn’t necessarily match what we DO. Because the doing, except in certain circumstances, is usually done privately with only one other participant, or maybe several, plus the dog.
(Had to throw that in, for my CPs!)
At any rate, this is on my mind, not just because of the prodigious agave spawning we witnessed, but because of this article. The author’s intent is to make the argument that if a married man isn’t getting satisfactory sex at home, then it’s better for him to pay a professional than to have an affair.
It also has the, perhaps unintended, effect of illustrating how the author feels about sex in general. To sum up, she finds it normal that she declined sex with her husband so as not to mess up the nicely ironed sheets.
Worse, *all* her friends that she polled agreed. They don’t like sex, don’t want to have it. From this she extrapolates that women don’t like sex.
See, I have a really different circle of friends.
Most of whom still have their mouths hanging open, muttering “she IRONS her SHEETS???”
This is, of course, why I love you all. And hey – if you’re a sheet-ironer out there, you can still hang with us. Then you can explain where you find the time!
I once went to one of those Chippendales shows, back in small town Wyoming. You know the thing – the male dancers take over the bar, women patrons only, they strip and strut about, dancing sometimes an overstatement. I went with this group of gals I worked with. Over the evening, they transformed. Some of it was the drinking, sure, but there was more. These usually demure wives and mothers, who would be disgusted if some cowboy in a bar stripped his shirt off and grabbed their hands to run over his chest were screaming in delight and tipping guys to do this.
You could say it’s a power thing, which could be true, but I suspect it’s more that it’s how they thought they should behave. After all, the guys like that kind of thing. Men are openly honest about enjoying sex and sexual things, whereas women range over the spectrum in how frank they are.
There are lots of reasons for this. But it’s not that all women don’t like sex.
In fact, my main response to that article was a fervent wish that the author would seek counseling. You don’t have to be that woman, screaming with desire and pawing young dancers, but if perfect sheets are more important than being intimate with your life partner, then something likely needs revisiting.
Actually, if perfectly pressed sheets takes priority over anything at all, I think you need to come sit on my patio and have a glass of wine.
Why sleep when the day has been called out by the sun
From the night? Cuz the light’s gonnna shine on everyone.
Why sleep when the sleep only closes up our eyes?
Why sleep when we can watch the sun arise?
It goes on from there in a perky fashion. And all you former Girl Scouts out there? You’re welcome for the ear worm.
Now, I’ve mentioned many times that I am not a morning person. Never have been. At girl scout camp, when they programmed us with the song and then encourage us to go on the sunrise hike? I opted out. (Actually “sunrise hike” is a misnomer. It was a pre-dawn hike UP the mountain to then watch the sunrise. One girl in my group got hit in the face with a backlashing branch that split her eyelid open, so I felt totally vindicated.)
I used to make smart remarks like, why bother to watch a sunrise when the sunset is the same thing in reverse.
Over time, however, I’ve taught myself to get up early – not to hike up mountains in the pre-dawn dark, which still sounds insane to me – but to get all the things done that are important to me. And I’ve found that sunrises do look different.
I kind of like seeing them. I like how the sky goes from dark to day. It is like the fulfillment of a promise.
My friend, the fabulous writer and blogger, Tawna Fenske, let everyone know last week that her marriage is breaking up. Then she went on to mention conversations she and I had about her next husband, Xavier. I made him up for her partly to make her laugh when she was sad.
But also, I believe it’s important to remember that there will be new dawns. It’s easy, in the depths of despair over a breakup or loss, to think that you’ll never meet anyone ever again. Building the fantasy of the possibilities is part of dragging yourself out of that mindset.
Why not imagine the fabulously wealthy man with a chateau in the South of France who learned sensual secrets in Thailand? Dreaming something wonderful lifts us up and opens our eyes.
I learned this from my mother, who’s been widowed twice. And married three times. Always she looked beyond the dark days of grief to sunlit days ahead.
That’s probably even worth getting up early for.
I was inside the house and David stepped out onto our patio, with his hands outspread. He was warding off the coyotes, I realized. There they were, streaking through the draw just below us. Only they were blue. Blue like jays.
The coyotes have become an odd subconscious symbol for me. I love to see them, in all their wild and beautiful glory. I’m also afraid of them. Not for myself, but for the cats. One day – the day of this photo, actually – one had a fresh-caught bunny dangling from its mouth. The coyote happily tossed the dead rabbit about. And I pictured Isabel in its place.
I can’t deny Isabel and Teddy the joy that going out into the sun gives them. And yet I fret about them being unsafe. It’s the eternal push/pull of suffocating what we love by keeping it safe.
And yes, I know I’ve written about this before. I said it’s become a major symbol for me.
The blue coyotes, though – they were different. Both more fantastic and more dangerous. How David could hold them off, I don’t know. I’m just grateful he could.
Perhaps that’s my valentine today, to David, the man who keeps us safe from the Blue Coyotes.
(Thanks to the amazing and fabulous Tawna Fenske for saving my whiny behind and helping with with this pic. All hail Queen Tawna!)