Eight years ago today

Eight years ago today, we flew to Vegas anyway, despite what had just happened with airplanes and the fear people felt about traveling. We’d made plans and had tickets; we elected not to change.

Eight years ago today, we had massages at the hotel and got dressed and you warned me not to get lost.

I got lost in the casino anyway.

I also got turned around the right way, and found the chapel.

Eight years ago today, we held hands and said, “I do” and had the best ceremony ever, with just my parents there to witness, and then we went to watch jousting at Excalibur.

Best decision I ever made. I love you.

Barbara Samuel on writing and balance

"Write like it will make you drunk. Write as if you will save the world. Write as if it will save someone’s life. Write to make yourself laugh—and everyone along with you. There are two caveats: your children will grow faster than you can even imagine, so spend plenty of time with them. And make time for your partner. Other than that, do what will support your writing. It will reward you, I promise."

Read the whole article here.

Banned Books and Why I Love Them

It’s Banned Book Week. Fight censorship and read a challenged book this week!

From the list, here are just a few I’ve read and why I loved them and found them important.


1. Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien. First of all, considering that many credit JRR with CS Lewis’ Christian conversion, it’s beyond hypocritcal for the religious right to attack this book. Tolkien not only writes with lyrical beauty, he writes about deep themes such as friendship, the impact of a single life or a single act of faithfulness, and also the reverberating consequences of a single act of evil. I loved this series and recommend it for the beauty of the language, the importance of the themes, and the sheer awesomeness of his world of Middle Earth. Everybody ought to at least know Lothlorien exists, even if they don’t choose to open the book and visit themselves.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. Again, sheer power and beauty of language. Read it just for her descriptions, which any poet would weep in envy over. And it’s the story of Scout growing up in a world which is more complicated than she suspected, a world that contains prejudice and bigotry and where justice isn’t guaranteed. Since this is still the world we live in, this is still an important book.

3. 1984, George Orwell. Dude. Not enough people have read this book. The dangers of revisionist history, of spinning language to alter meaning, of surrendering control of one’s thinking to Those Who Know Better (and one of the really interesting things about this book is that it’s pretty much clerks operating in ignorance who decide) are worth thinking about. And reading about. Also, don’t you want to know who Big Brother is and why he’s watching?

4. Lord of the Flies, William Goldberg. One of the most powerful novels I’ve ever read, beautifully constructed, a work of sheer staggering literary genius, and for that alone it should be preserved for the future. But it’s also a very accessible story of Ralph and Piggy and what happens when anarchy reigns. How easy it is to influence herd mentality and sway the majority to acts of evil, step by step. I think it’s also rather bleak in that it didn’t show that the opposite can happen, too; influencing people to acts of generosity and greatness. But still a powerful book, one that says something important about human nature, and even if it isn’t the whole story, it’s a well done story.

5. Catch-22, Joseph Heller. The description of the pilot naked in the tree and the poor chaplain who thought he was having a holy vision alone is worth reading this book for. Like Lord of the Flies, not the whole story, but still an important one.

6. Slaughterhouse Five (or the Children’s Crusade) by Kurt Vonnegut. Everybody should read Vonnegut. He may have been one of the most important American authors to ever hold a pen, and if you don’t read him, you’ll never know why. It’s not my favorite work of his, but I do understand why it’s viewed as one of the most significant. I also recommend Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and Bluebeard; Bluebeard is to art what Slaughterhouse Five is to war. 

7.  Call of the Wild, Jack London. London captures the soul of the wilderness and why it matters, I really can’t sum it up better than that. Since visitors to national parks have drastically declined, it’s time for more people to read this book. And go visit someplace that isn’t paved and doesn’t have electricity and running water. (I have to note that I liked White Fang better)

I don’t love every book on the challenged list, but I stand by your right to read anything you want to, even if I think it’s bleak, depressing or boring. And that’s what Banned Book Week is all about.

Now I’m off to pen some trashy adventure fluff. Because it’s fun.

Shoot to Thrill snippet and it’s up for pre-order

Shoot to Thrill will appear in the Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance in May, 2010. I love the cover.

special ops romance

Here’s a snippet, not edited yet so subject to tweaks/alterations in final form:

Shoot to Thrill

copyright 2009 Charlene Teglia

Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance
all rights reserved

“All right over there?”

“F-fine.” Miranda forced the word out, then shook her head and abruptly flipped over, facing Gabriel. “Actually, no. I’m not all right. I’m jittering like a junkie going cold turkey, my body feels like lead, and my brain keeps replaying the worst parts of the last few weeks plus bonus extras of what might have been.” She sucked in a breath, expelled it, and reached for her shirt before she thought better of it. She peeled it up and over her head, then unfastened her pants and began wiggling out of them.

“What are you doing?”

“Getting naked.”

“That’s not a good idea.”

“It’s the best one I’ve got.” Miranda finished pulling her feet free of entangling cloth and pressed her nude self up against his fully dressed form. “We’ve both had a lousy day. Tomorrow might be worse. If they catch me, they’re not just going to shoot me. They’re going to have fun with me first. I can either lay awake for the rest of the night thinking about that, or I can give myself something a lot more enjoyable to focus on.”

Gabriel’s arms closed around her in a move that might have been intended to hold her still. “You don’t have to have sex with me to distract yourself. We can talk.”

She shook her head. “I don’t want to talk. I need to do something. Think of it as stress relief. Or a bonus for a job well done.”

“Dr. Gray.”

“Nice distancing technique,” Miranda muttered. She groped for buttons and zipper, dealing with them with more brute force than dexterity. “My name is Miranda. And I don’t want to be professional or reasonable right now so you can save yourself the effort of appealing to my title.”

“This isn’t happening.”

“Yes, it is.” She finished unfastening and bared some skin to press hers against. Warm. Human. “You want it, too.”

“I don’t want you to do something you’ll regret.” But he didn’t try to push her away.

“I’m not going to have regrets tomorrow. You can’t tell me you have everything but condoms in that bat utility belt of yours.”

“Bat utility belt?” He let out a laugh, then sobered. “Miranda.” He moved to rest his forehead against hers, keeping his hands still. “Did they hurt you?”

“Not like you mean. Not while they needed me for their plans. But I knew everything would change the minute I became disposable. And Gabriel, there were a lot of them.” A shudder wracked her. “It would’ve gone on and on forever before they killed me. If they killed me.”

“You’re sure this is what you want?”

She nodded. “I’m sure.” She could doubt a lot of things, but she knew to her bones that she needed this, needed him.

Pre-order now! You know you want to. Includes stories by Sydney Croft, Cheyenne McCray, Jordan Summers and more!

Unpacked and Shadowlight

I’ve finished unpacking. Booyah! Bye-bye, boxes and dust. It’s so much nicer to live in organized space.

While unpacking this week, I’ve been working on Adventure Lover and reading Shadowlight, Lynn Viehl’s latest. It’s a spinoff on the Darkyn series, and the start of a related series. Yes, there is crossover; I cheered when Sam and Lucan showed up.

Shadowlight is a complex and fascinating read. It works as a standalone book, and as a series book, and it has a depth of feeling in it and a fully realized quality that made me look at my novella with different eyes.

There’s no comparison between what you have space for in 100,000 words versus 20,000, but I want the same rich experience, a story a reader can sink into, even if it’s for a shorter time span. I wrote something highly streamlined recently (Shoot to Thrill) and while it was fun to write very spare, I want to go the opposite way with Adventure and make it as fully realized and rich as I can in the space I have to work in.

There’s a difference between a book that seems three-dimensional, a full immersion experience, and one that you skim the surface of. PBW inspires me to immerse.