Friday, 31 October 2008

Interview alert!

Stephe has posted her interview with me today, so run, don't walk, over to the Dynastic Queen's journal and have a look!

Doesn't the cover look pretty against that dark background? Didn't she ask the greatest questions? I'll be filching some for my own blog interviews, you authors out there, so forewarned...

I'm convinced you'll be hearing a lot about Stephe in the future. She writes fiction because " frees me from Earth's gravity. It's my drug of choice, my high. And it's free."

My sentiments exactly.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The problem with erotica

Erotic Pompeii wall painting

I once owned a book of erotica. I was browsing a bookstore and bought it on impulse, anticipating robust stories of love and lust, impossibly endowed, abandoned couples in Kama Sutric configurations pleasuring each other in unlikely locations, enjoying ecstatic but improbable sensual marathons. I never finished the book because my stomach just wasn't strong enough to handle it, not even for the sake of research into the genre.

I'm not a prude. I'm a normal, healthy heterosexual female who could never understand the 'not in the mood' phenomenon. Hey, sex is good stuff! I assumed that my first brush with true erotica had been ruined by a particularly nasty example of the genre. Since I had a young child in the house back then, I burned the book. Yes, burned, as in took it outside, tore it apart and set it afire, then breathed a sigh of relief as I hosed away the ashes. Was I glad to see the back of that one - and how I wished I could erase some of those images from my internal memory drive! Unfortunately, that kind of stuff tends to stick harder the more you try to wish it away.

Since then I've read erotic romance novels and quite enjoyed them so, buoyed by these positive forays, I ordered Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin a few weeks ago, fully aware that it was erotica, but with a difference, to my mind: her work is described as literary erotica. I've read a bit of Nin's bio, I'm fond of some of her quotations, and I anticipated a treat.

Now, I know that judging a collection on the basis of a partial reading is not exactly fair to the writer, but the four or five stories I've read thus far, including the very first, have served up an appetizing smorgasbord of incest, rape, genital mutilation, drug addiction, necro.philia, best.iality and pedo.philia - just to name a few. What else is in there, I wonder. Dismemberment? Human sacrifice? The stories also have a tendency to be plotless, consisting of the mindless wanderings of some character from one tasteless and depraved activity to another. I'm not a fan of no-plot, and the activities do not, for me, constitute a great romp.

Maybe I'm missing the point. Maybe it's too exalted a point for my limited faculties to appreciate, but this is not fun for me, it's not exciting, it's not entertaining and quite frankly, it makes me sick to the stomach.

I won't be visiting that particular buffet again, and I don't understand how we can be collectively horrified when this kind of thing turns up in the news in real life, yet endorse and enjoy it in literature. I can't seem to distinguish between this 'literary erotica' and some of the depraved porn out there. What am I missing?

[In case anyone can't figure out the gratuitous dots in some words, they're to (hopefully) keep sickos googling these topics on the net away from my site.]

Monday, 27 October 2008

Guest author: Jeff Rivera!

As part of his blog tour to promote Forever My Lady (Warner Books/Grand Central Publishing) due out October 28, author Jeff Rivera is visiting Wordtryst and he's giving away a copy of his novel! You know the drill: leave a comment in the trail and you're automatically entered in the draw. He'll also answer any questions you might have, so fire away!

Who is Jeff Rivera? He hails from my second home, Miami (Florida) and he's not your everyday, run-of-the-mill author:

"Once homeless and living in his car, award-winning novelist Jeff Rivera writes passionate stories of those often forgotten and neglected by society. He believes even in the eyes of a gang member, even beneath the soiled clothes of a bag lady or behind the tears of a lonely kid in the back of the class, there lies a common thread that links us all, the universal human story. He has made it his personal mission to help change the way the world thinks in a positive way through his stories." -

Originally independently published, Forever My Lady went on to be acquired by Warner Books/Grand Central. It tells the story of a juvenile delinquent named Dio who is sentenced to prison boot camp. Everyone whom he has ever trusted has given up on him except one special girl, Jennifer, who promises to stay by his side no matter what. He promises he will turn his life around for her and she promises she'll never leave him. In fact, they plan to marry one day. But when Dio is released from boot camp he discovers Jennifer is about to marry someone else.

Jeff, welcome to the blog! What impelled you to write Forever My Lady?
The story sort of fell into my lap. After I was homeless, my first job was working at K-Mart where I met what would become a friend of mine who was in a gang and was trying to turn his life around for "his lady". That sparked the idea and I decided to create a story from scratch based on my own experience of love and people I know and that's how it all began.

Have you experienced heartbreak?
Very much so. I mean, especially during high school or when you're a teenager, you have these crushes. But sorry to say, usually I'm the heart breaker in the relationship. I never intentionally do so, but maybe I break it off so that I won't be the one who is hurt when it gets too intense. The characters Jennifer and Dio are together for so long and she really stays by his side even after gang violence haunts her life.

Why do you think that she puts up with Dio for as long as she does?
I do believe that Jennifer really does love Dio, but there comes a point when she realizes it's a very dysfunctional co-dependent relationship. Lord knows I've been through that before. I have a good friend now who's in the same situation and she's been with the same guy for years and they just cannot break up with each other no matter what even though the relationship is very unhealthy. I think a lot of people can relate to that.

What advice do you have for others who want to be published?
Besides the old cliches of "don't give up" and things like that? Definitely I would say something that was simple yet profound that my father said, he said "Be the best." So be the very best you can be because eventually the publishing industry does reward talent. You have to focus on your talent and be the very best you can be. The other thing I think I would say is to realize that agents and editors WANT you to be good. They pray to God that today will be the day that they get something across their desk that's actually worth publishing. So, they're rooting for you.

Thank you for being my guest today. Congratulations on the release, and I wish you continued success and truckloads of sales!
You're welcome, Liane. It's been a pleasure.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Hunk du jour - Charles Divins

I've been neglecting those hunks again, so without more ado... Presenting the divine Charles Divins, a former model who now plays the character Chad on a soap opera I've never seen, Passions.

32 year old Divins is a native of Dallas, Texas. He has modeled for Tommy Hilfiger in magazines like GQ, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Gear. He was also a winner in the Male Spokesmodel category on the television series Star Search. He appeared in a commercial for the Nissan Maxima.

What do I find so attractive about him? Well, there's the pretty face, of course, and that neat, trim body. I'm not into huge bulging muscles, and Divins appears to fit at the rangy end of the spectrum - right where I like 'em.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Terse meme

Been seeing this meme around the blogosphere lately, most recently from Flowerpot so I decided to borrow it. The winners of this award have to answer these questions, in one word per question.... so here we go:

1. Where is your cell phone? Bed
2. Where is your significant other? Who?
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? Tall
5. Your father? Gab
6. Your favorite thing? Love
7. Your dream last night? Weird
8. Your dream/goal? Self-realization
9. The room you're in? Bedroom
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Loss
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Vancouver
13. Where were you last night? YouTube
14. What you're not? Driven
15. One of your wish-list items? House
16. Where you grew up? Trinidad
17. The last thing you did? Listen
18. What are you wearing? Shorts
19. Your TV? Bore
20. Your pets? Gone
21. Your computer? New!
22. Your mood? Balanced
23. Missing someone? Always
24. Your car? None
25. Something you're not wearing? Perfume
26. Favorite store? Book
27. Your summer? Daily
28. Love someone? Alas
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Last night

Won't pass this on either. You like, you take.

Friday, 17 October 2008


The courier notified me that my latest Amazon order will be delivered today. It's 5.11 p.m. and I'm still waiting, Mr. Driver. I hope you realize that I have plans for this weekend that involve lots of lolling and reading! Here's the latest motley bunch:

Ray Bradbury needs no introduction. This one has been on my wish list for a long time.

My sister, the family equestrian and horse fanatic (is that a tautology?) introduced me to Dick Francis with Driving Force. Good story, vigorous and virile storytelling. Mr. Francis has won several Edgar Awards for his novels, including Forfeit which netted the one for best novel in 1970.

This one is strictly for my sis, although I'll probably read it too. She doesn't celebrate birthdays and Christmas, so I give her gifts whenever I feel like it. She's one of my favourite people and the person I trust most in this world. I have a wish list on Amazon that's just for the books I'd like to get her.

Anaïs Nin, famous for her diaries and erotic writing, fascinates me. I have a collection of quotations by this writer, things I wish I'd said: "We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are", and "Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live." She was "a friend, and sometimes lover, of many leading literary figures all of whom she describes frankly in her diaries." I'm envious of her life, although my ingrained Catholic guilt and annoying moralistic proclivities might have made her lifestyle a bit of a problem for me to pull off. Would have had fun trying, though! :)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

One World Singles Blog

Café au Lait is being featured on One World Singles today: A Romance Novel for All Seasons. Thank you, Vivienne!

One World Singles is "a magazine blog for people of all colors, ages (18+) religions, ethnicities and lifestyles. It includes links to popular blogs, dating and pen pal sites, dating and relationship articles, singles' events, merchandise and columnist Miss Know It All who will help to give fun and humorous answers & advice to your dating and romance questions."

Vivienne D. Neal is the founder of One World Singles which was launched in February 6, 2006. Ms. Neal is not new to the singles' market and has been bringing singles together since 1986 through her printed and online publication HMCS Romance International. She writes articles and short stories on love, romance, and dating for AssociatedContent and keeps busy managing her dating and online stores:

One World Singles Online Dating
One World Singles Online Store
NaughtyTees Boutique
Vivienne Neal's Book Store

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Kicking myself

So there I was standing in the Chinese food place, waiting for my chunky vegs and shrimp and gazing out the plate glass windows.

A blue car pulled in to the car park. It's an unusual model, and the only one I know in that colour belongs to my sister-in-law who was obviously returning home after picking up the nefarious nephew and naughty niece from school. I could barely see her through the tinted windows of the car but I smiled and waved, and she waved back. I returned to the counter, waited about five minutes, wondering why she was taking so long to get out, and figured she must be talking on the phone. I sauntered back to the glass and waved again, smiling like an idiot. I could see her returning my wave.

My food arrived and I picked up my bags and walked out. The car was parked right in front of the door and the first thing I realized as I exited into the bright sunight was that there were no children in the back seat. My eyes dropped to the number plate and I almost stumbled: it was a strange number.

The driver, a man, was indeed talking on a cell phone. He waved at me again. I gave a half-hearted wave, barely glancing at him, and walked past.

The next day I told my sister-in-law the embarrassing story. "Oh, I know the guy who drives a car like mine!" she exclaimed. "That's..." And she called a name from my past.

See that pool of ooze on the floor? That's me. This was a man who tried pursuing me years ago, a man who thought he was a real hotshot - lots of ego, sharp suits, fancy cars, and, I gathered, very few scruples. I wasn't impressed then, and I'm not now. The closest I ever came to slamming a door in someone's face was when he appeared on my doorstep uninvited and proceeded to hug me against my will!

Now he probably thinks I'm all into him. Or something. All that waving and smiling!

Kick, kick, kick. That'll teach me to go around waving at people I can't see.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Blogging vs. Life

A recent post by a blogger pal, his birthday post, and another by one of the Novel Racers awhile ago, both made me stop and think. Both, without going into specifics, referred to setbacks and problems in their lives, or in the lives of those closest to them, and each made me re-examine my assumptions.

When we come on here we're all upbeat, in total control. Even when we blog about imperfections in our lives it's done with humor, or at least wry self-deprecation. Yet every now and then I get a glimpse behind the veil: in the case of the second blogger, an indication that her life was in turmoil; the other, that everyone that he cared about had undergone some kind of disappointment or setback recently.

When I come on here I put on my public face, and I tend to forget that's what most of us do. When I'm grappling with tough realities, I assume that I'm alone with them, that everyone else is a-ok. I don't blog much about the fact that a close relative of my mother was shot by unknown gunmen and succumbed to her injuries a few days ago, never having regained consciousness. That neighbours of an in-law were robbed and slaughtered in their home yesterday. That everyone I know lives in terror of being the next victim of some sort of senseless violence, that I feel my heart squeeze and my breath shorten even as I type this.

And that's just the major stuff. There's the rest: the bad things that happen not just to good people, but to good people we love. The bad things that happen, or have happened, to us. Our internal struggles. Our failures and shortcomings. Our ongoing troubles and challenges.

Clicking around the blogs I enjoy never fails to lift my spirits: there's humour, sharing and camaraderie, support and encouragement everywhere. And that's great, that's the way it should be. But every now and then I get a glimpse behind the scenes and it reminds me: I'm not alone with my challenges; we all have them. Behind the light touch we're coping with birth, death, sickness, divorce, breakups, betrayal, debts, aging, tortured relationships, painful memories, raw fear - the whole gamut. For a moment I put aside my assumption that everyone else is leading a charmed life.

Then I get back into gear and try, like my fellow bloggers, to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians (thanks D, for first showing this to me):

"Finally, bretheren,

Whatsoever things are true,

Whatsoever things are honest,

Whatsoever things are just,

Whatsoever things are pure,

Whatsoever things are lovely,

Whatsoever things are of good report;

If there be any virtue,

And if there be any praise,

Think on these things."

Friday, 10 October 2008

Happy birthday Anti-Wife!

is 60 today. I hope I look as good as she does when I get there, but I doubt I will! More than that, I hope I've acquired the degree of peace and wisdom that she has. I think I'm on track with that one...

Happy Birthday, Anti-Wife! Wishing you many, many happy, healthy, blogging years!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

What font are you?

Found this over at JJ's Tea Stains. Times New Roman indeed! I would've guessed something exotic like Papyrus, or elegant like Parisian Script. So much for self-knowledge...

You Are Times New Roman

You are formal and conservative. You're concerned with how you appear to others.

For you, maintaining a good reputation is important. You want people to trust you.

Elegant and classy, you always maintain your composure. You are never crass.

You are professional, competent, and upstanding. And it shows!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Birthday boy

The boy with his trusty surfboard. They're inseparable.

Last week my son turned 25. I'm still in recovery. Honestly, I don't know how it happened: doesn't seem that long ago since he was enchanting us with his baby ways, and now he's a man. Does that mean I'm old? How do parents deal with this growing up business? I think I need some kind of therapy.

It's been quite a journey, and throughout I've always been acutely aware that I'm a lucky mom. My friends tell me I did a great job raising him. I think he raised me as much as the other way around.

So, to one of the best people I know, one of the kindest, the gentlest, the wackiest, with that great big heart: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May God continue to bless and protect you, to guide you through life's testing times, and to strengthen you to meet the challenges that always lie ahead. Luv ya, boy!