Thanksgiving 2011

I am grateful for: my family, my friends, the fact that I live in Italy. I’m grateful we have one last year left before the world ends on Dec 21, 2012 because there’s a lot you can do in one year. I’m grateful for all the many amazing books there are, covering every possible human emotion and allowing me to grow as a person by reading them. I’m grateful for the fact that after finishing Robert Harris’s The Fear Index, I have King’s 11/23/63 on my Kindle. I’m grateful I have 350 books on my Kindle. I’m grateful for the fact that Mario Monti is Prime Minister of Italy. I’m grateful I have the best, most frustrating job on earth–writing. I’m grateful I have a fantastic friend who is not just an amazingly talented writer but also a remarkable singer. Shannon McKenna. Just listen!

ENSEMBLE CALIXTINUS El Rey de Francia

Best Erotic Romance

The annual RT Book Reviews nominees were recently released, and I’m pleased to announce that Hotter Than Wildfire was nominated for the Best Erotic Romance of 2011. According to RT, more than 3,000 books were reviewed this year. Winners will be announced in the May issue of RT!

SEALs and why we love them

I just handed in a novella to be published in Avon’s new Impulse line—ebook only. It’s a great new line, very fast-to-publication, very open to new voices and ideas. Look for it in October.

The novella, FATAL HEAT, features a Navy SEAL.

Anyone who has read my books know I often write about SEALs simply because I admire them so very much. I’m a romance writer and so part of what makes my writing heart tick is the appeal of my characters and on that level, any SEAL is off the charts. They are almost caricatures of manliness—brave and strong and with that relentless male focus that can be so effective and yet can sometimes drive those of us who are married or in a relationship crazy. (I can hear you smiling).

Their macho is in their mind not their muscles. I’ve read lots of books about SEALs and memoirs by SEALs and what shines through is the incredible intelligence of these men (for they are all men). They are smart in every way there is. They are book smart and street smart, an unusual and unusually attractive combination. Reading the memoirs, in particular, these men take an often chaotic world and make some kind of sense of it.

The world they operate in is neither orderly nor rational nor kind, and they must act in ways that are orderly, rational and, yes, kind. They are bound by rules their enemies do not in any way respect, so we’re asking them to go out and fight for us, put their lives on the line for us and—oh yes, forgot!—do it with one hand behind their back. And they do it, because it is right to operate that way, even though they sometimes pay for it with their lives.

I really admire human excellence, particularly the kind that isn’t innate, the kind you have to work really hard for. The med student who spends her weekends practicing tying sutures on the bedpost, the pianist who practices those extra hours to be able to put soul and not just technical perfection into that Bach sonata, the scientist who runs that test for the ten thousandth time and it turns out successful, when everyone else would have stopped at the thousandth iteration. That is, perhaps, the quintessence of being human.

And, contrary to popular myth, SEALs are human, very human. They are not supermen. Bullets do not bounce off them. They bleed and they hurt and they die. They do what they do in the shadows and they do it for us.

Hats off and my heartfelt gratitude.