The book is available in paperback, audio and as an e-book.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to be teaching my favorite and most popular 5-day workshop in beautiful Spain next summer.
You’ll find all the details here. Space is very limited.
Come join us and get that novel going in the right direction.
Yesterday the World Health Organization released a study that said that processed meat is a carcinogen. They base this not-so-startling finding on over 800 studies.
Of course PETA was ecstatic, and the meat industry dismissive. But what confounds me is the reaction of my friends.
One says 800 studies are not enough. We need more. In other words, you can have my bacon when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. In fact, another friend actually said that.
Another said, since she was already smoking, she might as well pile on the sausage. I have another friend who said that every one she knows who has quit smoking has died of cancer, so she is not quitting.
I am astonished and dismayed by this very small, simple, unscientific survey of those I interact with on Facebook.
Those who have had cancer know that it isn’t funny, it isn’t something to be taken lightly. It takes a terrible toll on general health, finances, and families. It burdens our health care systems and makes our health insurance premiums go up. It causes excruciating pain, and horrific treatments that can be worse than the actual disease. Just listen to the drug commercials on the nightly news. Listen to the side effects they’re required to list.
And you think it’s fine to risk all of that because you want bacon? Are you insane? Have you ever talked with someone who has endured the treatments for colo-rectal cancer? Being so dismissive of this finding is an insult to everyone who has ever battled cancer.
So next to the “pray for Jennifer’s healing” post with a photo of a bald teenager fighting to graduate high school, and a call for a congressional inquiry into crumb rubber on soccer fields, is a friend of mine posting photos of plates of bacon and saying “yumm…”
We’ve all done stupid things in our lives, things that we should have known better to do. I baked myself in the sun in my teens and twenties, and am reaping the melanoma harvest of those stupid decisions. They say that God looks out for drunks and fools, and I think that’s true. But once you know that what you’re doing is likely to turn out horribly wrong for you ten, twenty years down the line, don’t you think you might forfeit a little sympathy when that time comes?
You risk not seeing your kids grow up. Never meeting your grandchildren or great grandchildren. We all die, but we don’t have to welcome the early onset of a horrible disease. For ham.
I am shocked and saddened.
If you don’t like the WHO’s 800 studies, do your own research. There is plenty of information out there.
Don’t be a fool. Make the right decision for your health, for your family, for the environment.
I have come slowly to audio books.
While I love to listen to music on my iPod while doing this or that — pulling weeds, washing dishes, puttering around — I have always thought that reading should be a quiet activity, a reward for having pulled weeds, done the dishes and done all the necessary puttering.
But I’m changing my mind about that.
Several of my books are now available in the audio format, and I have discovered that I enjoy listening to audio books. My favorite way to listen, of course, is still sitting quietly–so I knit and listen. But I can also listen while pulling weeds, doing the dishes and puttering.
Lizard Wine is now available as an audio book, narrated by the astonishing Voice of America, Jim Tedder. This is one of my perennial bestselling thrillers, and Jim brings a very nice depth of emotion to the narration. You can download a sample and then decide whether or not you are interested in listening to more.
Baggage Check, my latest thriller, is also available, narrated by Roger Wood.
Sadly to say, my time to read for pleasure has shrunk in the past few years, but with audio books, I can “read” while driving, and while I’m doing almost anything else.
And, like browsing in a bookstore, I can “sample” a book before I buy or borrow.
Audio books have changed the way I read. I’m sorry that my life has come to this type of multi-tasking, but that is the current state of affairs. Maybe some day I will have a hammock and the type of leisure time to while away the day with superb fiction, but that isn’t my world today.
The point is, whether I have headphones or a tablet or paper book in my lap, whether I’m listening or reading, I’m still engaging with wonderful literature.
And that is my lifeblood.
From my new book, now available for the Kindle, the Nook, and other electronic readers.
I decided to write this small book right after I got yet another call from a writer’s conference director asking me if I would come give my sex talk at her conference.
My sex talk.
For years, I’ve been teaching weekend workshops on writing erotica for women (and one memorable one for men—more on that later) and giving short conference-sized workshops on how to write well-crafted sex scenes. Sex scenes are crucial to good fiction; they’re excellent opportunities to reveal character, and there’s a simple structure to it. These classes are wildly popular, and they have made me an “in demand” instructor at writer’s conferences and conventions all over the world.
In fact, occasionally I will walk down the hall at a writer’s conference and hear furtive whispers: “There goes the sex writer.”
Sex writer! As if I were a pornographer. I could be insulted, but I’m not; I’m amused.
The classroom is packed with expectant faces. What is she going to do? (What do they think? Unbutton my blouse?) What is she going to say? (What do they think? Run down a list of dirty words?)
I talk about writing. I talk about the sexual nature of their fictional characters. I talk about the three-act structure of a scene, and the three-act structure of a sex scene. I talk about practicing writing. I talk about vocabulary and what to call body parts. I talk about the difference between pornography and erotica. I talk about revealing character to the reader, and revealing character at a most vulnerable moment.
Those in the audience, they hear me—they’re taking notes—but I know they’re not thinking of their fictional characters. They’re thinking of themselves. This is what makes these classes so popular. I don’t use any dirty words. I don’t name any body parts. I talk about writing, but they’re all thinking of themselves. They think of themselves as fictional characters and they look at their sexuality. My class gives them permission to do that. And it’s fun, because they can ask thinly veiled questions: “My character has this problem…” And we pretend she’s talking about her character. I make light of it, and I can do that without insulting her, because we’re not talking about her, we’re talking about a character in her novel. She can laugh and learn and everybody else laughs and learns.
Sex is, after all, pretty funny.
Occasionally, it gets a little heavy, a little dicey, and I am always the first to hold up my hand and claim that I am not a therapist; I am a writer. This class (or seminar) is not about pain or healing your sexual issues. We’re talking about fiction here. And even that gets a laugh.
Then I give them an assignment and ten minutes to practice what they’ve learned in the past hour. After ten minutes, I open the microphone and they line up to read the portion of a sex scene they’ve written.
It’s hilarious. It’s moving. It’s astonishing. They have no problem saying those words, naming those body parts.
And we all go home thinking of ourselves and our sexual nature in a little different way. Certainly none of us ever looks at our fictional characters in the same way again; most of us look at our spousal units in a very good way later that evening.
I think that’s the real reason these classes are so popular. Even though I don’t talk dirty, I don’t tell smutty jokes, I don’t demonstrate anything vulgar on stage, everybody in the audience employs their largest sexual organ—their brain—for the hour and a half (or weekend) we’re together, and they learn a little bit about human nature. Their nature. Which is what writing is all about: Fearless, relentless introspection.
Of course the writer in me is always worried that I’ll drop dead some day soon and be remembered for giving the sex talk instead of the short stories, essays and novels that I so agonize over.
But in the meantime, I’ll go to another writer’s conference and give my “sex talk” and laugh and have fun, learn a little, teach a little, and best of all, spend time with other writers.
And now there’s a book.