Keep Your Pets Safe in Hurricane Season

.Animals are Victims Too
After Katrina, Time Magazine ran an online article in which it stated the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which runs the New Orleans animal shelter, estimated that of 70,000 pets that remained in the city during the storm, only 15,000 were rescued. On top of that, only 20 percent of the rescued animals were reunited with their owners.
 September is national Preparedness Month. Anyone who loves animals hates to see statistics like that, so it makes sense to include your pets in the preparations you make for any kind of disaster. This is imperative if you live in an area where tornadoes and hurricanes, even fires and earthquakes could happen. 
Here are some tips for pet owners who may find themselves in the path of a hurricane:
— Keep a traveling crate handy for each of your animals, complete with clean bedding and food and water bowls.
— Keep a printout in your car of your pet’s medical records and rabies’ tags. Some hotels may request such documentation.
— Make sure you have enough food and water set aside. The Humane Society of the United States suggests you have a five- to seven-day supply of food and water for each pet.
— Keep your pet’s medications all together in a portable container so you won’t forget any of them if you have to evacuate in a hurry.
— Ask your veterinarian about tranquilizers or mood stabilizers, and purchase them ahead of time if you think your pets may be traumatized in a storm or if you have to move them.
— Pack a box with cleanup supplies—litter box, litter and scoop for cats and plastic bags for dogs—and keep it in your car, together with extra leashes and comfort items like treats and toys.
— Research and make a list of hotels that take pets, or ask a family member or friend who lives outside the disaster zone if they will allow you to bring your pets and stay for a while in the event of a disaster. Alternatively, find out if there are any emergency shelters that will allow you to bring your pets. Most of them  do not.
— If you find an emergency animal shelter, be aware that the pet owner is usually responsible for the animal’s food and water, and exercise periods/potty time.
— If you have large livestock like horses or cows, make arrangements well ahead of time to move them to higher ground and/or a safer area.

A Tribute to Mothers

I think most people in the world would agree that mothers are amazing creatures. Their love and sacrifice for their children surpasses all other love.
I just lost my mother, and although she lived on the other side of the world, I will miss so many things about her. I’ll miss her wise advice, her beautiful sense of humor, her knowledge, and her unconditional love.
Most fiction writers know that a mother is someone who makes us what we are, and they include information about their characters’ mothers to help the readers understand them better.  
In Redneck P.I., Twila gets that awful phone call in the middle of the night to tell her that her mother has been murdered. The event changes the course of her life when she decides to make it her mission to find her mother’s killers and bring them to justice. In the sequel, Kickassitude, (to be released in March 2013) she has moved back to her home town and everything she does is meant to lead her closer to the killers.
In Way Out of Line, Hal’s parents have been killed in a car crash, and he is thankful his mother is spared the pain of seeing him go to prison. Trent’s mother is a little overbearing, but only because she loves and wants the best for her teenage daughter. When Trent is kidnapped by a militant group and taken to Africa, her mother never gives up hope that Trent is alive.
In the book I’m currently working on, Impassioned, veterinarian Riley Shaughnessy desperately wishes her mother hadn’t died of cancer so many years previously.
So although it isn’t mother’s day, I salute mothers all over the world. You are amazing creatures.

What to Read?

As a romantic suspense author, reading is like homework for me.

I read as many best selling suspense and romantic suspense novels as I possibly can, and work hard to learn something from each and every one.

My most favorite author of all time is Wilbur Smith. He writes what I can only define as exxxtreme romantic suspense, although actually, his books cannot formally fit into the romance genre, as they don’t necessarily have a happy ending. They are immoderate, intense, terrible, wonderful, exceptional and graphically passionate. Maybe they are so vivid because he comes from Africa, like me, and Africa is a very vibrant place. It’s the first thing that always hits me when I go back to visit. There’s a unique pulse to it, and even the colors are brighter.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell has to be my most favorite love story of all time. Now that I live in the south and have visited some of the places she wrote about, it has really come alive for me. It too, cannot be termed a romance in the true sense of the book world.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak comes a close third. Maybe I just like sad endings? I don’t write them, though. I like my heros and heroines to get together in the end.

Other romantic suspense authors whose books I adore are Danielle Steele, Sidney Sheldon, and of course, Nora Roberts.

I’ve read and enjoyed romantic suspense novels by plenty of other authors, but I’d love to get some recommendations from other readers and writers, so I can expand my knowledge of romantic suspense, and hopefully keep improving as a writer.

Please feel free to comment.

Peace and Love.

The Aurora Shootings

I know everyone who reads this will, like me, want to send loving thoughts or prayers, and condolences to the victims of the horrific attack in Aurora Colorado last night.

I cannot begin to imagine the shock and pain of the wounded, and the families of all the victims.

If only there were some sort of magic spell we could cast on all of society so bad and crazy people would all change their ways, and everyone could just be happy and live in harmony.

The sad thing is–if anyone were to write about a world like that, it would be a fairy tale–and readers would get bored.

In the fantasy world of fiction,and even stories based on true events, readers thrive on conflict and tension.

It can be romantic tension, where we live through the minds of the lovers, willing them to kiss, or take the next step, longing for them to touch one another.
Tension and conflict are also present in the lives of people who have to make choices, because we can never be sure if we are making the right choice. Even in our own lives, we all go back and wonder what would have happened if we had chosen the other path.

I know I don’t have to describe the tension created by horror or fear.

Sadly, most of the ideas for suspense novels come from real life events and people. Truth is stranger than fiction, so they say.

Maybe if we all wish for a world without evil our wishes will one day come true and evil will only exist in fiction..