Renee Bernard

Monday, February 19, 2007

What Happened?!

Renee Bernard
Okay, my lengthy (and dare I say it, damn funny!) blog about the Chocolate Affaire ended up in a cyber black hole apparently... but when I said as much to Cindy she said, "That's like saying the dog ate your homework." Sigh.

I hate it when the dog eats your homework.

So, let's see if I can recap. Glendale was wonderful, but the ladies of the Desert Rose/Valley of the Sun were incredible! Everyone was so nice and the event was just a blast. Except I now have to diet like a mad woman after all the chocolate I consumed. Apparently they don't just name the Chocolate Affaire on a whim, people. Bottom line, I'll never forget the hospitality and warm welcome I recieved and (fingers crossed) they'll let me sneak in again next year.

So, back home again. My daughter has her first two teeth, and honestly, I never knew that someone who was pre-verbal, drools and possesses zero control over their bodily functions could be so overwhelmingly fantastic. I fall in love every single day. She's addictive.

My husband had to back out of going to Houston RT with me, so I'm trying to talk Ferfe into rooming with me. (It's a dangerous proposition, but enough years have passed since she last agreed to it, that I'm sure she's forgotten everything by now.) If not the Ferfester, then I'll go it alone (at least this guarantees me control of the remote...)

Also on the home front, it seems to be the season for life and path altering events. A friend died suddenly last week and before I could regroup another called to say her husband has gone kookoo for coacoa puffs and announced he wants "space" and what should she do...and all I could do was selfishly throw up a prayer of gratitude to the gods for balance and happiness. I'm dispensing the best wisdom I have, and all the while knowing it's just sand in a well.

Loss is the worst and cruelest of all teachers, but those are the lessons you never forget.

I just look at Geoff and our girl and try to breathe normally.

I guess that's all anyone can really do.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

No, Seriously...

Renee Bernard
Okay, I'll try to be better. It's just that everytime it occurs to me to blog, my next thought is "Who in the world cares what I think about...or what happened today...Isn't this me talking to myself in public? (which by the way is a terrible habit of mine--grocery store, the car, you name it, there I am having a verbal dialogue with yours truly. It's frightening.)

But Cindy has commanded me to blog or she'll come slap me. A tempting risk since it's always great to see her and there would be a sliver of evil pleasure in making her fly cross country just to smack me. But she wouldn't hold back and I fear pain, so see how weak I am? I am indeed blogging.

This weekend I'm off to Glendale Arizona for the Chocolate Affaire. A weekend away from the baby, hiding out with adults, and hopefully giving the vague illusion of calm confidence at the event with other romance authors. Unlike the hometown booksignings, this one is pure terror, as No One knows me and I have the sinking feeling that left alone at a table with a pile of my books and with no one to talk to, I'll revert to type and start mumbling to myself about "What would Deepak do?" or even better, make finger puppets and work out a few plot points for the next book... oh, god.

Worst case...I get to buy my own books and slink back home.
Best case...hmmm.....there is chocolate....how bad can it be? Even if I end up buying all my own books, there is chocolate. It's hard to slink when you're on a chocolate buzz.

Better news. Total strangers are sending notes to say they liked the book. This is humbling and thrilling and very strange, but I answer each one and save them in a little binder so that one day, when no one sends notes, I can be maudlin and read the old ones.

Even better. The anthology made the USA Today Bestseller list so now by a lightning freak twist I get to say I'm a USA Today Bestselling author. Or at least, I could if I could keep a straight face. Too bizzarre.

And just when it was really good... RT nominated me for an award (best first historical romance of 2006). I think I was more excited about that than anything else. Only because I am guilty of snoozing through those award lunches (or worse, sneaking out after the dessert is served because there are certain speeches I simply can't survive from certain people. Ferfe knows.) Chances of winning are beyond "not going to happen". But you know when people say, "It's just a thrill being nominated."? Who knew they weren't just saying it???

Okay, I blogged. No flight reservations need be made by the Cruciger. I am safe until tomorrow.

Okay, where's the chocolate?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Alive and Well!

Renee Bernard
We're back! The journey was beyond hilarious and I discovered that a sense of humor is a must have when flying with an infant. Luckily, we seemed to be surrounded by grandmothers either on their way to visit grandbabies or going through grandbaby withdrawal, so all was well.

One poor businessman fled his seat without even saying hello at the sight of us, but I don't blame him. After all, it could have gone badly. It didn't! But it could have... So if the man preferred to play it safe, who can pick on him?

Bottom Line: We survived and my daughter had a wonderful time with her grandparents, saw snow for the first time, ate cereal and in general, made sure her Nana and Oji are securely fastened around her little fingers.

Next question: Is it even physically possible to prevent my parents from spoiling her rotten??? I'm guessing--no.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I'm Taking "The Boys" on the Road!

Renee Bernard
Controversy abounds as I face the inevitable...I have to take "the boys" on the road when I travel to my parents for the holidays. Of course, the boys go with me everywhere but things are different now.

I should clarify right away that while some women refer to their breasts as "the twins" or "the girls", I have always called mine "the boys". Because while the grass is always greener on the other side, I've had them since I was eleven, they are mostly a hassle (i.e. 'No, Victoria's Secret doesn't have your size, ma'am.' and 'Ummm, my eyes are up here, guy!') So, somehow, "the boys" just seems more appropriate.

Anyway, flash forward to now. A woman was asked a few weeks ago to step off of a plane for breastfeeding. Big fuss, and the inevitable flurry of protests and apologies...no big deal most people would say. Except now I'm eyeing my plane tickets and praying for mercy...because my daughter is coming with and as you guessed, 'the boys' play a Critical Role in her nutritional intake. (aka the Only Role to date.) And while the normal person doesn't have to worry... I'm never that lucky. "The Boys" are hard to hide, and juggling a wriggling baby, a pillow, aforementioned boob and then the socially required shawl/blanket/scarf is...well, a challenge. Last time we attempted a public feeding (it was an emergency) at a public park, I believe we did more entertaining of the crowd than anything else. I kept trying to picture all these serene pairings of woman with child during a tender moment, and instead probably looked like a woman determined to lose a wrestling match topless to a ten pounder with attitude.

sigh. Beyond modest, it is my lot in life to face the inevitable. It's not a political statement. It's sustenance for my daughter. I'm a first time mom and while other women seem to be able to feed their babies and balance a book on their heads, I've never been that graceful. And so, here it comes. It's inevitable that this won't go as smoothly as I'm hoping and you know what they say about 'good intentions'. Odds are high I'm going to sit next to someone openly displeased with the two of us (or is it the four of us?)

I'm blushing already. But she's worth it. So, if you're the unhappy soul sitting next to us on the plane, glaring at me, baby and the boys--what can I say? "Excuse me, could you hold this scarf for me?" Or should I throw caution to the winds? "Got milk?"

mercy.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

First Booksigning

Renee Bernard

And speaking of torture... Okay, it wasn't that bad. Not bad at all. A lovely Friday evening in my favorite local bookstore, Hidden Passages, chips, cheese rolls, a vegetable plate, wine and even a cake (the store owner made it with flames coming off of my book title...it was just too funny!) Oh, yes. And me. Digging in my heels and refusing to read a single paragraph out loud, but having a great time.

After all it was a nice small crowd of extremely familiar faces. Friends and family and ex-coworkers and shop owners from the store next door, and I kept thinking..."Does it count if people show up only because they know you personally?" "Or does it count more?"

It felt very surreal and very comfortable. I'm not sure anything compares to the 'home town' crowd...and it was really more about seeing everyone and celebrating the moment. They bought every book we had in the first ten minutes and then just hung out to talk and enjoy the nosh.

Bottom Line: There's nothing like your first time.
Lessons Learned: Wine is Wonderful to have on hand at booksignings, but the dark chocolate is always the biggest hit.
Best Moment: When a sweet five year old asked if I would sign her Dr. Seuss book... after a panicked thought of 'omigod...is this illegal to sign a dead guy's book?', it was really just wonderful to see her face light up to get a signature just like her mommy had. (though I'm sure the reading experience will differ greatly).

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Last to Know

Renee Bernard
So, I finally blog, start poking around...and I'm realizing that I've missed more than I realized by avoiding the cyber-plane of existence.

Friends are describing the colds they have, that bizzarre guy at work's latest cubicle decoration, and insights into their lives I could never have guessed at. They share all of this online in their blogs and nowhere else... Not in phone calls or emails...

And there I was. Thinking I was a socially connected and happy camper. Now I'm thinking I was out there in a pup tent by myself and unaware that there was a raucous party (complete with hot showers and a full bar) just a meadow or two over.

Yeesh!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Blind Aphrodite

Renee Bernard
I've been asked a few times about this one, and I thought I would try to clarify things here...especially since the title is appearing on searches at Amazon, etc.

A few years ago, I did the unthinkable *gasp* and published my book, BLIND APHRODITE, with iUniverse, a print-on-demand online publisher. It was a wonderful learning experience, and while the reviews were great, it was barely a blip on anyone's radar. (Ah, the joys of rookie self-promotion vs. a distinct prejudice against print-on-demand books!)

Undaunted, I simply shelved the lesson under "fun but painful", and decided that I'd brave the more traditional route on my next outing. I did, which led to this next trilogy and anthology with Pocket Books and my debut as a now, truly published author (others word choice, not mine).

So, there you have it. I may see about reviving my poor little book one of these days--perhaps with a redraft to make it steamier and a bit heftier...but I'm afraid that once you've put the duckling in the wrong pond, you can never take it out again. For now it is out of print, I own the rights and who knows...

Anyway, thanks for asking about that "first book"!