My mama worked very hard all her life. She was an amazing cook, and her cakes and pies would make you weep. Her cornbread was so good people would come to the restaurant where she worked and order a slice of cornbread with a cup of coffee as a treat. Most of the time my mama smelled of the things she worked with. Good wholesome food, vanilla, cinnamon and sometimes coffee. A devout gardener, sometimes she smelled of earth and plants. Fruit and delicious things she’d grown. A pragmatic woman, she seldom indulged herself in much, but she loved three things; red lipstick, beautiful lingerie and the fragrance Tabu. She had slips that were so elegant they would be worn as evening wear today. My all time favorite was chocolate brown and it had four inches of the most amazing lace on the border. We buried her in a fabulous yellow suit, with that gorgeous slip underneath. But more than anything I will always associate my mama with Tabu; the fragrance and the lipstick.
I remember the violin shaped bottle on her dresser, and every now and then she’d take a long soaking bath, slip into one of her beautiful pieces of lingerie and spritz on some Tabu. I guess these days we’d call it “self-care,” but I think sometimes she just wanted to remind herself that she was a beautiful woman. Not just mama. Not just the chief cook and bottle washer. But a woman in her own right.
I read an article about the fragrance today. The designer was told to create a fragrance for a prostitute or puta, hence the name Tabu. That made me laugh out loud. Mama was always such a lady, but I’d like to think she would get a similar kick out of the history of her favorite fragrance.
Today I ordered a bottle of Tabu. I love a red lipstick too. My favorite is Revlon Cherries in the Snow. I doubt if I’ll ever find any lingerie as beautiful as hers, and I must admit I feel incredibly womanly in a pair of delicious cotton pjs. Still I’ll buy one sinfully beautiful gown in her honor. For remembrance. This bond of womanhood that we have, and that will never be broken. I understand so many things now that were dark and mysterious when I was a child. And the memory. Tabu.
As you know, I’m a Craigslist devotee. I’m slowly revamping my house, and I came across an awesome light fixture. The previous owner of this house had no respect for its Mediterranean bones. For instance, she put this ugly light fixture in the foyer. I think she was going for a Hollywood Regency look. But the fixture is cheap, and the beads on it are even plastic. And it’s a horrible pewter color. Just no. Well, I was perusing Craigslist the other day and came across this beauty:
The fixture is vintage, and has a definite Spanish Mediterranean feel. It’s very likely that there was a similar fixture in the foyer originally. I plan to put a sunburst medallion on the ceiling, and paint it a pretty yellow gold color, like a sunset.
Yep, that’s all she wrote. IMO this is the funniest (and pithiest) review I’ve ever gotten. The disgust in her tone is so clear that I laugh every time I see that review. Do I agree with her? Nope, I don’t think I’ve ever written a dumb book. Certainly I’ve written some that were better than others, but to my mind Dark Star is an excellent book, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
And yes, I’ve gotten reviews that don’t make me laugh. Reviews that were mean spirited or inaccurate. I’ve even had authors send their flying monkeys after me. Some have pissed me off, and y’all know I can be hot headed, but I learned long ago that it’s unprofessional to respond to a review. Let alone the lengths that crazy woman in The Guardian article went to. I know it’s a common trope that we authors think of these books as our children. (Don’t ask me where that comes from, after all, we don’t sell our children! At least I hope not. To me it ranks right up there with that “I would write for free bullshit. No hell I wouldn’t!) But they are like our children in one way only; once we launch them into the world there’s nothing we can do about how the world receives them. It’s crucial that we as professionals recognize this fact, and, if nothing else, get some friends who will reign you in when the crazy strikes. Because, damn,
I’m extending my offer indefinitely. Give to Africare and receive a free copy of any book in my backlist. Simply email me the receipt and get your free book. And thank you ever so much.
And no, this is never a good plan. I am working on the latest Pussycat Death Squad book, Pussycat in Peril. Astaria, whom you might remember from the first Pussycat Death Squad book is in a green card marriage with Kaeden, a Egyptian-American Marine. Kaeden has had feelings for Astaria almost from the beginning, but he doesn’t want her to be with him because she feels beholden, so he’s waiting until she gets citizenship before he speaks up. Then, she returns to her home country to rescue her family and disappears. In the middle of a revolution. A revolution that has cut the entire country off from the rest of the world. And of course, our hero has to go find her. This book is so much fun, especially in light of current events.
The other book I’m working on is Love Me Some Him. This is the long-promised book about Dare from Dark Star. Well, it starts soon after events in the Lion in Russia, so yes, Dare shows up at Tonya and Nate’s wedding with a black eye from being sucker punched by Leo in that story. And well, things go downhill from there. These two have got the Hillbilly Mafia, the Department and at least one prison gang hot on their tail. Chances of survival don’t look good.
Oh, and that big ass gun up there? That’s a British made Lapua Magnum .50 caliber rifle. With a confirmed kill from nearly 3000 yards, it’s favored by snipers everywhere and by Astaria, heroine of Pussycat in Peril and an accomplished sniper in her own right. She’s been known to keep it hidden under her burqa.
I love this bookcase like damn and whoa. It’s perfect for Luke’s room. Problem is, I can’t find the darned thing, or even anything similar. His room is really tiny and the bookcase with drawers would be perfect beside his bed. And he really, really needs drawers beside his bed. Otherwise I find Legos and other teeny tiny toys IN his bed. Have you seen anything similar? I don’t care about the color as I can always paint it. Apparently the original is some custom interior design deal that probably cost more than my house. I’ve thought about making them, but I’m not good enough to build drawers, so I need to find something like it. Any ideas?
I just got a brand spanking new royalty check from Amazon, which I’ve donated to Africare for Ebola relief. I’m challenging all my fellow interracial romance authors to donate as well. Come on ladies, do it for the sisters.
And for those of you who aren’t authors, make a donation to Africare through Gina’s link between now and midnight on October 3rd 2014 and get a FREE copy of any book from my backlist. Simply email me the receipt and tell me which one my books you want and in what format. Now come on, you can’t beat that one with a stick.
As the primary caregivers during this epidemic women are more likely to be exposed to this disease. Gina McCauley of What About Our Daughters has started a fundraiser with Africare to purchase protective gear for those women. Imma need all y’all to do me a solid and help out our sisters in this time of crisis. Please give what you can, and thanks ever so much.
According to their site, a $25 donation will buy 200 exam gloves, $50 can purchase 5 isolation gowns, $100 purchases a complete set of personal protective equipment including a body suit, goggles, gloves and shoe/boot covers, $250 purchases 10 pairs of rubber boots and $500 purchases 5 cases of face masks and 10 boxes of sterile syringes and needles.
This is a post on Gina’s page directly from Africare explains in detail what an “unrestricted” donation means.
We completely understand that an unrestricted donation can feel, at times, like a bit of a risk for an individual. Currently, all unrestricted money raised is being directed to Ebola. What does that mean? It might mean direct cash contributions to families who have lost loved ones, and thus lost income which sustained an entire family. It might mean paying for gas for our staff in Liberia to deliver personal protective gear to healthcare workers in more remote locations. It might include equiping microphones and sound systems to trucks to blast messages to communities about ebola, educating them on methods of contraction and prevention. It might include working with local organizations to trace individuals who have come in contact with disease. As What About Our Daughters notes, unrestricted money allows our Liberian staff in Liberia to direct the funds to where the need is the greatest. We are audited every year, and 92 cents to every dollar, including unrestricted money, is allocated to projects. Please do check out our ebola page — http://www.africare.org/ebola, but also, our president’s message on how money is allocated http://bit.ly/1aaqpNC The rate has decreased slightly due to the cost of doing business, however, the premise is the same. Please feel free to contact us on twitter with any other questions! @africare
If you want your money to go only to Ebola specific items, please use this link and indicate you heard about it from Gina’s page where indicated.
I’m an absolute NPR junkie and listen to it constantly. I’m also obsessed with songwriters and their uncanny ability to compose in four minutes a story that would take me thousands of words to write. The other day I was listening to a story about Allee Willis, who co-wrote “September,” one of my all time favorite songs, by the legendary Earth, Wind and Fire. As the writing process went on, she was concerned about Maurice White’s use of the nonsense phrase, “Ba-dee-ya,” and kept asking him when they were going to replace it with real words.
‘What the f- – - does ‘ba-dee-ya’ mean?’ And he essentially said, ‘Who the f- – - cares?’” she says. “I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him, which was never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.”
I think this is an important lesson for writers in every genre. Years ago when I was working on Let’s Do It Again, I got into a bit of a situation with the editors over the use of the word “slingshot” as a verb. I know slingshot is not typically used as a verb, but in this particular scene where the heroine is flipping mashed potatoes at the hero across the dinner table because he’s kissing up to her mother, the word “slingshot” evokes imagery that the word catapult does not. A slingshot is a child’s toy and I envisioned the heroine as being childish in her aggravation at the hero. Well, after it was pinged for the third time in the edits, I finally told them I was prepared to die on that hill, but slingshot stayed. IMO that is one of my funniest scenes and I’ve gotten more email about it than pretty much any other scene I’ve ever written.
What does ba-dee-ya mean? You can’t use “slingshot” as a verb. Don’t write books with rock star heroes. And the list goes on. There’s always someone who will be bogged down in the minutiae of a story, but never forget that you are the ultimate arbiter of what goes into your books. That doesn’t mean you should throw a hissy fit over the use of basic grammar or reject perfectly reasonable suggestions about continuity and such. But you’re the only person who knows the story. You are the queen of the universe in a world that you’ve created. Never, ever forget that.
This post has nothing to do with Milk & Honey, I just think that cover is delicious.