Thursday, February 23, 2012

How I put myself in my books

I was just working on my latest manuscript (revising-- I love revising; so much easier than actually creating pages), when I reached a tiny event in the story. In the novel, my heroine's father has left her his journal, and she treasures it not because of its contents but because of the handwriting. Here's where that incident originated.

My father never went shopping for Christmas presents early. He was notorious for going out  the afternoon of Dec. 24, and coming back with the coolest presents for my mother, my sister, and me. But in December 1989, my father died about two weeks before Christmas. Several months after his death, my mother gave me a Christmas present that my father had bought for me (he purchased one for my sister as well) early that year.

Apu (that's Dad in Hungarian) was a mechanical engineer, and one of his last projects was designing a nut or bolt--I don't know which--for the stealth bomber. Lockheed Martin made silver coins available for purchase to the people who helped in the production of the bomber. My dad bought one for each of his daughters.

I collected coins as a kid, and still keep interesting ones. When I received the commemorative silver coin, it wasn't the coin itself that held my attention. Tucked into the box, written on a tiny card made from the cut-out corner of one of the extra invitations from my wedding (my family was nothing if not frugal) were the words, "Love you, Apu." I have the coin to this day, but the treasure in its official box isn't the silver, but that piece of repurposed paper with three simple words in my father's handwriting. I would recognize that script anywhere.


Books I'm reading now:
The Other Guy's Bride by Connie Brockway
Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bah Humbug

I think I may have a genetic trait that appears on days like today (it’s February 14, in case you didn’t know). Call it the cynical gene, call it the disbelief gene, call it what you will. I like to call it my rebel gene (because if you knew me, you’d know how funny that was). I don’t get excited about Valentine’s Day. My husband and I (I think he may have the same gene) don’t celebrate. There’s nothing wrong with a day to celebrate love, but we don’t like to be told that today is the day, especially when commercials and ads bombard you with messages about the importance of the day.

I was in a store last week and ran into a friend who was buying Valentine’s Day presents for her kids. Really? Don’t get me wrong. I totally spoiled my kids (and still spoil the kid at home), but not in the name of a non-holiday. I have the same reaction to my anniversary, my birthday, St Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, the Superbowl, and Halloween. I think I may just feel that these “holidays” have spiraled out of control with bigger and bigger expectations each year. Oh, we give each other presents on birthdays, but if we can’t do it on the day itself, that’s no big deal. And for our anniversary this year we decided to get a bed (not the mattress; we have one of those; I mean a piece of furniture that holds the mattress; I’ve never had one), but we still haven’t bought it. The last anniversary we decided to get a bed (clearly not a new idea), we spent two days shopping, and then decided it would be more fun to take the family to Hawaii instead.

It could be that I’ve trained myself not to expect anything. After all, I married a man who can’t understand the appeal of buying metal with rocks in it that has no express purpose (jewelry, for you non-engineering types). In the dark ages before the Internet really existed, he gave me a modem for a present. I had no idea what it was. Turns out, he was right about its importance.

Now there’s nothing wrong with celebrating family, milestones, events, etc., but to me celebrations mean more when they are not prescribed by the day. When I’ve had a bad day and my husband bring home a bunch of flowers just because, that’s romantic. When he calls up and offers to pick up dinner, that’s romantic. When I ask for help and he drops everything to do what I’ve requested, that’s romantic. When he takes the dogs to the dog park because the last time I went some idiot hit my dog and yelled at me because she’s high energy, vocal (she barks when she’s exuberant—you should see her talking to me while I’m in the kitchen), big, but so sweet and has never hurt anyone or any dog, that’s romantic. When he got down on the floor and played with our children when they were little, and even now takes our developmentally delayed daughter to basketball games and takes the time to play video games with her, that’s romantic. And when we still plan our future and what we want to do together despite having been married for 27 years, that’s romantic. And when we laugh together, and discuss politics together, and watch movies together, that’s romantic.

So go ahead and celebrate Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing wrong with it. I’ll do nothing special today except what we do every day. And I will love every minute of it, even the bad ones.

But I still expect special treatment on Mother’s Day. Oh, yeah. Nobody gets out of that one.

P.S. I have a giveaway running here until Feb 19. See the following blog entry.

Books I’m reading now
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's February...

It’s February, and you know what that means.
That’s right! My mother’s birthday. Photobucket Image Hosting Anyu (That’s “Mom” in Hungarian) has reached an age where I’m sure she’d prefer using only the term “significant,” and in a “significant” age, she has reached a “significant” milestone (one easily divisible by 5 or 25). An incredible woman with an incredible history: She escaped from Hungary at the age of 18; married to the same man (my father, also Hungarian) for thirty-four years until his death; survived a burglary that robbed her of many sentimental Hungarian artifacts, an earthquake that damaged her house, and just two years ago a fire that burned her condo to the ground (she likes to joke—yes, joke—how she’s been the recipient of Red-Cross care packages three times in her life—once when she was a refugee, once after the earthquake, and once when her house burned down). She speaks and reads English well, but we still laugh at some of her mangled idioms: just this past Christmas, she was speaking with my daughter about never having received a speeding ticket, “knock on the door”.
So in honor of February and my mother’s birthday, I’m giving away three Kindle copies of TEMPTATION’S WARRIOR, my ebook release of an earlier hardcover novel (don’t worry; other formats coming very soon—and I’ll do a giveaway then too). Coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, TEMPTATION’S WARRIOR is dedicated to my mother. And if you’re confused about the author name, Gabi Anderson is the name I published TW under. TEMPTATION’S WARRIOR is medieval light—look for fun, not density. (See this post for more details)
So if you’d like to be entered for one of the three Kindle copies, please leave a comment here telling me you’d like to enter or shoot an email to Be sure to leave me a way to contact you or heck back on Feb 20. I’d also love to hear a story about your mom. I’ll draw the winners on February 19. That’s Anyu’s birthday.

Books I’m Reading Now:
One more RITA® book to go. Still not telling.