Adventure Ho! Off to Bangladesh we go!

So we are about to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, through 12 time zones, halfway across the world to Bangladesh. This is a bittersweet trip. We were originally supposed to visit in winter, with my parents. My dad was as excited as a kid going to a circus. He'd appointed himself tourguide for my kids' first trip to the first country I had ever known. Instead, my cowboy husband and I are leading the trip.

Part of me keeps thinking of all the people and things that won't be there: my dad, my maternal grandmother (the one who told me my first djinn stories), my favorite teacher, the house I grew up in. But another part of me is determined to do my best as substitute tour guide. So here are some things I'm hoping will get done:

1. Visit with my dad's extended family, many of whom will be meeting the kids for the first time.

2. Tasting my way through all my dad's favorite foods. He loved grocery shopping and I hope to visit one or two of the markets while I'm there.

3. Visiting my old school and haunts with the kids in tow. Show them the trees I grew up with.

4. Visit my mom's village where we spent many wonderful summer holidays.

5. Go on some crazy, bone-jolting, fun rickshaw rides.

And on a personal note, I hope to be taking many pictures, collecting stories, and learning to see Bangadesh through my kids' point of view.

I'm going to help my kids know the country like their grandfather used to, I'm going to make Bengali memories for my family. I'm going to embrace this trip as a joyous adventure and know that my dad is along for the ride in spirit.

I don't know when I'll be able to post may your summer too be fun, safe & full of happy adventures!

Bangladesh Biman, the official airlines of Bangladesh

Remembering Dad & UNICEF Project Update

This is my father as a young sailor. He loved adventure so much that he lied about his age to go off sailing around the world. Yet, when it came to my school and studies, he gave up the sea and settled down. He wanted the best for me.

He had family and friends in Bangladesh, his favorite sweet shop, and all the shopkeepers in the marketplace knew him. But then both my sister and I settled in Texas. Me, having fallen in love with a cowboy....So they picked up and moved halfway around the world to be with us and the grandkids.

This is my first Father's Day without him. And I miss him. Terribly. Not just today, but every day. When I lost him early this year, it made me stop in my tracks and reflect on life. I knew I wanted to make a difference in his name through my writing. So I wrote a story, A Tale of Two Djinns, and I pledged half of all proceeds to UNICEF.

Thanks to my readers, I'm glad to report that I wrote my first check to UNICEF for $266. 80 cents this last week. What does that mean? Well, according to the UNICEF website, $250 provides “School-in-a-Box” kit containing basic education supplies for 80 children. Wow.

So a big thank you to those who took a chance on my story and contributed to this important project. You made this gift possible. If you have enjoyed A Tale of Two Djinns, please consider writing a review somewhere so others may learn about it or just tell your friends.

But more than anything else, go celebrate the dads in your life. I know I will be spending this Father's Day toasting  my 86-year-old father-in-law, my darling husband & the memory of my dad. Happy Father's Day to all the father figures out there!

I love my father as the stars - he's a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart. ~Terri Guillemets

Author Laura Kaye's Sources of Inspiration & Replenishment

Woot! I'm so glad to welcome Laura Kaye to the blog.

I met Laura two different ways: on a loop for Harlequin Nocturne authors (we were both relative newbies to the Cravings line) and also through book recommendations on twitter. So, she's not only a sister scribe, but also an author I really enjoy reading. Her stories are emotional, and her men are sooo delicious!

Another thing (out of many) that impressed me was Laura's so very prolific. She seems to always have a book coming out. Actually right now she's got two new stories available. Check out the covers:

So I asked what we all want to know: what keeps you going day after day? Here's her answer:

Thanks to Mina for hosting me here today to talk about what inspires me, keeps me going, and gets me excited about life and writing. Here’s what I came up with:

Time to myself. I find that I am replenished by having time to myself without anyone else’s needs, demands or expectations needing to be considered. I don’t mean this in a selfish way—I love my two girls (ages 8 and almost 6) and have tons of fun with them—but sometimes I just need to be me—not a mom, not a wife, not a professor—just me doing what I love on my schedule and according to my own whims. Maybe this need for a little quality alone time comes from being an only child and spending a lot of time by myself growing up (we were way poor, and my mom had to work two and three jobs to make ends meet—I admire her greatly for that, but I spent a lot of summer days and weeknights by myself).

Girl time. Time with my girl friends is also energizing and inspiring. First, because women just rock, and it’s easy to be inspired to be better by the other women in your life. Second, because your girl friends just get you, they understand and support you in a completely unconditional way. They act as a sounding board, let you vent, and cheer you on.

Family. There are a lot of ways my family inspires and motivates me. I want to be a good provider. I want to be a good role model for my children. I want to teach them they can follow their dreams, as I’m following mine as a writer. I want them to be proud of me.  All of these push me and make me want to do more, be more. The support of my family can also replenish my spirit when things aren’t going well or I hit roadblocks in my path.

Music. I have always been inspired and replenished by music. I have always felt I could lose myself in it, purge myself of feelings through it, and have my mood changed by it. A life without music would be a much less inspired place, for me.

How about for you? What inspires you, picks you up, and keeps you going?

Thanks for reading! ~Laura

To celebrate Laura's stories, I'm giving away book one of her Vampire Warrior Kings Series.

All you have to do is answer Laura's question and leave your E-Mail in the comments section so I can contact you if you win the giveaway!

Want to know more about Laura?

About Laura Kaye:
Voted Breakout Author of the Year in the 2011 GraveTells Readers’ Choice Awards, Laura is the bestselling and award-winning author of over a half-dozen books in paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance. Hearts in Darkness is the EPIC eBook Award Winner for Best Novella and HOLT Medallion Award of Merit Winner for Best Romance Novella, Forever Freed is the NJRW Golden Leaf Winner for Best Paranormal of 2011 and is a finalist for two GDRWA Booksellers’ Best Awards, and North of Need, the first book in the Hearts of the Anemoi series, is a finalist for a FF&P PRISM award, was named GraveTells’ Best Book of 2011 and won their 5-STAR Gold Heart Award, and won Sizzling Hot Read of the Year at Sizzling Hot Books.

Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

The Importance of the Right Word

mot juste

noun \mō-ˈzhuest\
pluralmots justes\same\

Definition of MOT JUSTE

: the exactly right word or phrasing

Origin of MOT JUSTE

First Known Use: 1912

Being a writer, I'm rather obsessive when it comes to finding and using the precise word or what the French refer to as "mot juste." This makes life hard and drives me and everyone around me crazy (I'm sure other writers reading this are nodding along in sympathy). So there I was, happily typing away on my current Work In Progress (WIP) and the Hero faces the Villain for the first time. Pretty cool situation, right?

And then I typed: "There's nothing more creepy...." and I stalled. Now I would use the word, but would my hulking, tattoo-covered djinn H? I heard author & writing guru Candace Havens in my head sharing how she was reading somebody's pages and the hero kept saying "Lovely!" Um, doesn't work.

So I checked the thesaurus and got a bunch of words, from eerie to sinister...but which would a manly man use?

Of course, there's never a man around when you need one. So I sent out an SOS over twitter and facebook. Thank goodness for friends & tweeps!

Several wives volunteered that their husbands did indeed use "creepy." Okay, but I think these married men might have different vocabulary than a manly-man djinn who hasn't benefitted from being around the influence of a woman (that's the whole reason we have a heroine -- he has to meet her, fall for her, win her heart as she wins his, save her ass while she saves his...and then...he can use words like "creepy" and recognize colors like "fuschia.") <--Just saying.

Now here are some words from guys: fucked up, weird, strange, bizarre and disturbing. Whacked out. Dodgy, shifty, slimy.

Then the teen contingency chimed in: messed up, weird, disturbing.

In the end, I chose weird...but depending on who your character is and what backstory you've given him, anyone of these could work. So, do you have a word or two to add to the list?

UPDATE: So I was leaning toward "weird," but couldn't let go of "whacked out." Had a twitter conversation about it and my twitter bud M. Price came up with "Whacked." LOVE it! Yeah, my Hero is definitely a W-word kind of guy...isn't it amazing how writing gets done?