Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speak Loudly

Wesley Scroggins, an associate professor of management at Missouri State University, recently wrote an opinion piece in the News-Leader of Springfield, MO in which he labeled Laurie Halsey Anderson's Young Adult book SPEAK as a filthy, immoral, and soft-porn novel because the subject matter involves rape.

I read Ms. Anderson's book a few years ago and found it a compelling, honest look at the problem of rape for young women.

As I write this blog, writers and readers are decrying Scroggins for his attempt to censor SPEAK. I wonder how Mr. Scroggins would feel if a young woman in his family was victimized. Is the man so ignorant that he doesn't realize the horrifying statistics? RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network reports 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.

And those statistics reflect only what is reported.

Shoving the problem under the rug will not stop the abuse. And it most certainly will not help the victims who suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome.

Frankly, I'm appalled that such ignorance still exists. Many years ago when I was a freshman at the University of Texas, our dorm resident assistants counseled us, guys and girls alike (we lived in a co-ed dorm), about rape. To give you an idea of how long ago this occurred, let me say I have a grown son and a daughter in college.

A writer has spoken out about her own horrifying experience. You can read her brave story here: The Last Word.

Do you know someone who has been a victim of rape? I wish I could say no, but I do. Their stories will always haunt me.

Laurie Halsey Anderson's novel SPEAK ought to be required reading in high school classes everywhere. Teens need to be aware and informed. Parents should use the book as a springboard for discussions with their teens. Information is power. Ignorance leaves our teens vulnerable to peer pressure and violence. They need to know they can turn to their parents for help.

Most of all, young women who have suffered from abuse need support. They need to know that they are worthy.

In my book HOW TO MARRY A DUKE, the heroine confesses a traumatic experience to the hero. I hope young women who have suffered bad experiences at the hands of scoundrels will read what my hero Tristan says to Tessa, my heroine. As a writer, I sometimes feel as if my characters take over. And in this case, Tristan's words brought tears to my eyes.  Because he recognized that Tessa's past did not define the woman she is now.

The past is past. All that matters is who you are now and what you contribute to the world. Lift up your hearts. Extend a helping hand. Give encouragement to those in need. Be a true friend. And love your family.

May the Magic Romance Fairies be with you.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Books & Blogs

First, check out that photo of my first book HOW TO MARRY A DUKE. Several readers have contacted me on Facebook and Twitter to ask when the book will be available. The publication date is January 3, 2011. If you're interested, you can see the back cover copy and some wonderful quotes on Amazon.

Now off to other good stuff. Once again, I've found some really cool links to share.

Amazing Books!

Young Adult

If you're a Young Adult fan (Raising my hand!) or have a teen who loves reading, don't miss Sophie Jordan's fantastic YA debut FIRELIGHT available 9/7/10. 

Another great Young Adult is  ReVAMPED from my agent Lucienne Diver. If you missed the first book VAMPED, you might want to get it at the same time. Gina is such a fun character.


I've waited more than a year for Michele Lang's wonderful LADY LAZARUS, an incredible fantasy set against the backdrop of WWII. Highly recommend!


THE SURRENDER OF A LADY a debut by my Twitter buddy Tiffany Clare. Can't wait to read it on Sept. 28th!

A SEASON OF SEDUCTION by Jennifer Haymore. I'm a huge fan of Jennifer's books, so I'm really looking forward to this one on Sept. 28th.

SINFUL IN SATIN by Madeline Hunter, also available Sept. 28th.  I've been a big fan of Madeline's books since reading her first book BY ARRANGEMENT. (To see her backlist, go here:

THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT by Miranda Neville sounds like so much fun. I just love books where all the best laid plans go awry.

THE DEVIL WEARS PLAID by Teresa Medeiros is available 9/8/10 & of course I already ordered it! Teresa is another author I've been reading for years. In fact, I got her first book as a gift along with a promotional I Love Romance nightgown. I think it was A WHISPER OF ROSES. (You can also see all of Teresa's backlist here:

Great Paranormals Available in September:

CHAINS OF FIRE by Christina Dodd is on sale 9/7/10. Check out the yummy guy on the cover!

EAT PREY LOVE by Kerrelyn Sparks will be available on Sept. 28th.  The excerpt on Kerrelyn's website is really compelling. Check it out here:

Intriguing Blogs!

Using Facebook to Amplify Your Reach (and Not Annoy People). Great advice from Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest.

What Makes a Great Writer. Another great post from Kristen Lamb. I recommend you bookmark her blog.

Why Bad Girls Get All the Best Lines. Justine Musk's blog is an auto read for me. She's got a unique viewpoint. Bookmark this blog.

Finally, a funny (but a little raunchy) video I first saw on Kristen Nelson's blog Pub Rants. Check out The The Impotence of Proofreading (that's not MY typo LOL).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

And the Golden Heart Goes to...

Every year, I love attending the Romance Writers of America Awards Ceremony for published and unpublished authors. It's as glamorous & exciting as the Academy Awards. This year was especially poignant as my friend and fellow writer Pat O’Dea Rosen won the 2010 Golden Heart for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements with her book A PLACE AT THE TABLE. At my request, Pat graciously agreed to guest blog about where she gets her writing ideas.  I know you'll adore her as much as I do. ~ Vicky

I love newspapers. I began reading Ann Landers’ column in the long-defunct Newark (N.J.) Evening News before I understood some of the problems her readers described. The New York Daily News’ headlines hooked me early, and the New York Times showed me newspapers didn’t need comics to pull in readers. I’d turn the pages of its magazine section and picture myself in the glossy ads. Human-interest stories were and still are my favorite read.

These days, I live in Texas, where a subscription to the daily New York Times qualifies as a luxury item, but subscribe I do. In this mean economy, newspapers have cut the number and depth of the feature stories they run, but the Times’ budget still allows for longer, thoughtful pieces.

The heroine of A PLACE AT THE TABLE, my Golden Heart-winning manuscript, was inspired by a Times series on people in unusual medical/hospital jobs. One of the people featured was a social worker/hospital-discharge planner. As I read her story, I remember wondering what kind of person writes detailed instructions about a to-be-discharged patient’s on-going therapy, prescriptions, and care? What kind of person chooses to run interference between patients and insurers and between patients and their frightened or exasperated loved ones? As I was reading fact, I spun fiction and decided, with apologies to the real-life planner in the article, that such a person had control issues. I even decided such a person was the adult child of an alcoholic and had been the type of kid to keep track of her mom’s AA meetings. Later in the article, when the real-life planner alluded to a relative with an addictive personality, I wasn’t surprised and felt free to go deeper into make-believe.

On September 1, the Times did an article about a candidate for public office who makes a point of hugging people to win their approval. His advisors refer to these hugs as “mind melds,” and a photo shows the candidate cheek-to-cheek with a supporter. By the time I finished reading, I pictured a boss who manipulates those who rely on her for a paycheck. I don’t think my fictional boss uses hugs, but her father might have. Or did he withhold them?

Newspaper stories jumpstart my imagination, and I’m detached enough from the events and people described to go where it takes me. A friend recently confided a secret, and my primitive brain screamed, I’m using that. But I can’t. My mind won’t travel to worst-case scenarios when a friend’s involved, and it refuses to see humor in her dilemma.

The Times’ Sunday wedding feature, “Vows,” is an auto-read for me and so is “The Boss” feature in Sunday’s business section. I read about athletes whose sports I don’t understand and devour travel articles about places I’ll never visit. It’s all fodder.

Pat O'Dea Rosen writes family stories that mix drama and humor--a blend that duplicates dinner conversations at her house. Between two long teaching stints, she spent a decade in the newspaper business, seven of them as a reporter. A newpaper editor once told her: "You know your problem? You think everybody's interesting." She doesn't consider that a flaw. Pat lives in Houston with her husband and two cats. Her grown children live nearby and keep mealtimes lively.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happiness is Holding Your First Book

I got a package in the mail today. Here's is why I cried.