A Quick Reminder and a Sneak Peek into HOT UNDER THE COLLAR

I’m not sure how many folks who read my blog live in or near the San Diego area, but if you do or if you happen to be in San Diego this weekend, I want to remind you that I’ll be speaking at the San Diego Chapter RWA meeting on Saturday, March 17. The morning session will be a panel on The Agent’s Role in the Digital Age including me, Avon author Anna Randol, and our wonderful agent, Kevan Lyon. In the afternoon, I’ll be giving a workshop on self-publishing, including a lot of the nitty-gritty ins-and-outs as well as a look at costs, sales figures, and income. If you can make it, I’d love to see you there!

And now, for something completely different, I’ve been working on the next Lords of Lancashire novella, Hot Under the Collar for the past few weeks. Given my sparse writing time, I’ve been eking out only a few hundred words per day, but I’m really enjoying Artemisia and Walter’s story so far. Here’s a little tidbit, just to whet your appetite:

By the time she reached the entry hall, she was more amused by the prospect of shocking her young visitor than annoyed by the interruption. Smiling, she pulled open the front door, prepared to find a scrawny, spotty-faced adolescent on the other side.

Her smile collapsed. Her amusement shriveled. Her skin tingled with heated, feminine awareness.

The man who stood on the doorstep was anything but scrawny or spotty faced. He was, in fact, as fine a specimen of manhood as Artemisia had ever encountered…and she had certainly encountered her fair share. Including this one, although in the past, fifty or more feet of a churchyard in which she could never again set foot had separated them, insulating her from her own unattainable desires.

For there had never been a man more unattainable than Mr. Walter Langston, Grange-Over-Sands new vicar.

“Good afternoon, Miss Finch,” he said, making an amiable half-bow as he spoke. His shoulders were quite broad, and his black coat pulled just enough over his back for her to imagine the lean, corded musculature that must lie beneath. He wore his hair longer than was currently fashionable, past his shoulders and pulled back into a queue with a black ribbon. When he straightened again, she could not prevent herself from thinking that he had the least vicarly face she had ever seen, possessed of neither a weak chin nor bushy eyebrows nor sunken cheeks and eyes. In fact, were it not for his black coat and white necktie, she would not for a moment have believed that he was a man of the cloth.

He most certainly should not be a man in clothes.

With that utterly inappropriate thought, she realized to her humiliation that she was gawping like a virgin on her wedding night.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Langston,” she returned, though she decided to pass on dipping an answering curtsey. That was far too proper and demure a gesture for Grange-Over-Sands’ reigning trollop. “You must be here to see my father. I’ll just go and fetch him.”

Horace Finch spoke highly of the new vicar, describing him as intelligent, friendly, and an excellent orator. Her father attributed the recent surge in church attendance to these qualities, though Artemisia suspected that phenomenon owed more to Mr. Langston’s youth and marital status than to his ministerial qualifications. Notwithstanding, it was kind—and perhaps a little foolhardy—of him to call on her father, whose few remaining friends had stopped coming to see him as soon as it became apparent that Artemisia had no intention of leaving.

“Ah, but I’m afraid you’re mistaken, Miss Finch. I came to see you.”

A Small Rant about the Birth Control Debate

In case there’s any misunderstanding, let me state for the record that I fully support insurance coverage for contraception–although I’m not necessarily convinced all forms of birth control need to be available with co-pays. I pay a lot for my health insurance and pretty steep co-pays for a lot of my covered medications, so I don’t see that “covered” and “free of charge” are necessarily the same thing.

But here’s the thing that’s getting on my nerves. A lot of people are justifying the Obama Administration’s position on the basis of the medical benefits of oral contraceptives outside of birth control. Now, I’m well aware of these benefits and it’s certainly important that we talk about them, if only to raise awareness of women’s health issues.

BUT…and this is a big but if the ONLY thing oral contraceptives did was to prevent pregnancy, insurance should still be required to cover it. It bothers me that we feel like we need to justify the use of contraception by pointing to other reasons women might need it. What’s WRONG with using it just to prevent pregnancy? What’s the big deal with allowing women to choose when (and if) they will have children? Why are we afraid to say we want to be able to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling sex life without having to give birth every few years whether we are prepared to bring children into the world or not?

I’m here to say this loud and clear. I have an IUD which I’m getting replaced in a couple of weeks (it’s reached the end of its 10-year lifespan). And I have one so I can have sex without the possibility of pregnancy. I don’t care if it has other health benefits. I wouldn’t have it if I wanted to get pregnant, whatever those benefits might be. But I don’t want to get pregnant. (Yo, I have three kids already, and at my age, the risk of Down Syndrome and other birth defects is very high.)

So, to all the conservatives out there, yes, I want to fuck without consequences. Get over it. You should be GLAD I don’t want to bring endless children into the world who I will bring up to be bleeding heart agnostic liberals like myself. (Come to think of it, maybe I should reconsider my position on this…)