Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ode to a Mentor

To Romance Authors, Kathleen Woodiwiss was a legend - the godmother of the modern romance novel.

Her first book, THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER was published in 1972 when I was only seven years old. While I didn't read this book until 1980 or 81, it truly changed my life. I knew, in that moment, I wanted to be a writer. To this day, two of my all time favorite novels are THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER and ASHES IN THE WIND.

While her earlier titles might seem dated now, at that time, her work set a new standard of excellence in the industry and the modern romance novel was born.

Kathleen didn't make many personal appearances during the 1990's though she continued to write bestsellers such as MARRIED AT MIDNIGHT and PETALS ON THE RIVER. Basically a shy woman, she was very nervous about attending conferences and this is how I met her.

A mutual friend was acting as her publicist and official hand-holder for Kathleen's return to public life in 2000. I received an email from Judy, our mutual friend, and she asked me to give her a hand in befriending Kathleen and easing her way into the circus that is the romance world.

Me and Kathleen Woodiwiss, one of the greatest romance writers of all time?!?!? Are you KIDDING me? I would've paid just to stand next to her let alone chat her up and put her at ease. I wasn't too sure *I* would be able to get a coherent sentence together as I'd be groveling at her feet.

Looking back now, I'm not sure what I expected from the first goddess of romance! Boas? Spike heels? Red Lipstick?

When Judy introduced me to Kathleen, it was one of the most exhilerating moments of my life. I can attribute my getting into writing to many things and this woman, this amazing creature, was such a huge inspiration for me. She was everything a role model should be. Intelligent, kind, humble and with a smile that immediately put people at ease. I'll never forget how completely out of touch she was with her standing in the literary world.

"Do you think some of these readers would like to meet me?" she whispered to me while sitting in the lobby of the Doubletree Hotel in Somerset, NJ.

It took everything I had to not start fawning and bowing at her feet. I can't imagine any romance writer NOT wanting to meet her. I mean - come on, the author of THE WOLF AND THE DOVE and SHANNA?? By the end of the conference Kathleen was much better able to circulate on her own and just kick back and enjoy herself. I ran into her a couple of years later at another conference and she was having the time of her life.

Kathleen Woodiwiss passed away today. She survived thirty years in the romance industry and that alone speaks to her talent and longevity. She was an amazing woman, an awesome writer and a legend in her comfy slip-on shoes. For the rest of my life I will treasure the time I was able to spend with her along with the many, many hours I spent losing myself in her work. Kathleen Woodiwiss changed my life with her work, and if reach one tenth of the people she did, I will consider my life a success.

To sum it all up, I will let KW have the last word - she would've loved that. :)

"Dear Readers, I'm delighted with the opportunity this website is affording me in being able to converse with such ease with my readers. Although The Flame and the Flower may have launched a whole new genre in the publishing world, I'm usually the one dragging my heels when trying something new and innovative in the area of communication, preferring all the bugs to be worked out before I venture forth. Although websites may not be as archaic as I'm getting to be, I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear comments like "Kathleen-come-lately" in reference to my emergence on the web, but here I am nevertheless, old as Methuselah and green as fresh corn stalks. Kathleen "

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Giving Birth Only To Have Your Child Stab You In The Back

Yesterday I spent many hours (10), watching the History Channel. They were showing their series, THE REVOLUTION which covered the how, whys and when this country declared Independence from England.

In one word: Fascinating.

I've always had a passion for history. After I graduated from high school I took a hiatus from book learnin' and didn't go to college until I was 24 or 25. My major was computer programming (insert maniacal laughter here) and that lasted about a year. I became distracted by my history classes and never did get a degree.

All of the founding fathers went to extremes to give this country a solid foundation from which to live and govern. After being the Commanding Officer of the army and the chief architect of the war plan for eight years, without pay - he was called upon to head the constitutional congress and draft the first part of the constitution.

The men who wrote that document worked hard to come up with a form of government that couldn't go off the rails. The colonists had had it with England and their wild taxes and restrictions and these men were careful to line up a set of checks and balances to ensure the new government couldn't do the same thing later on.

But isn't that exactly what is happening now?

I admit I am fascinated with politics and seeing just how far men will go to debase themselves in pursuit of their own ambitions. The moment I think we've hit rock bottom, something new comes along to prove me wrong.

I'm not going to declare my political leanings as I don't feel it is necessary in the context of my next statement - Political Parties aside - what would the founding fathers think of Bush granting a pardon to Scooter Libby? Does this mean it is no longer illegal to lie to the court system? It is no longer illegal to deliberately impede an investigation into possible wrong doings of a political official? According to this latest move - it isn't illegal if you're covering up for someone else.

I think we all know that Libby had little to nothing to do with the un-masking of a CIA agent and that he was the fall guy for someone else. Who? Why? What else is this administration hiding from us?

And where does it stop?

I can't help but think that George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and all of the founding fathers are screaming for justice from their graves.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


is over for me. (sniff) When I hurt my right hand I lost some function along with it and repitive motions are out of the question for me. Bummer as I really enjoy crocheting when I watch tv - also, this was going to keep me busy in my golden years.

Hmm, now I'll have to take up bungie jumping...