Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Love, Romance, Passion

Get into Bed with Jeanette Baker (Author Interview)

by Keira on January 23, 2012 · 0 comments
Keira: What about rags to riches stories appeals to you?
Jeanette Baker:  For the same reason we cheer for the underdog and search for a tissue when something happens to an animal or a child in a film, we applaud a spunky hero or heroine. Fairness is an issue for most of us. Injustice is difficult to tolerate. Novels and films that speak to injustice invoke our strongest emotions. I’m one of the crowd when it comes to that sort of conflict.
Keira: I love how you and the heroine both share big moves. Half of the year you spend in California and the other half in Ireland while your heroine, Meghann McCarthy changed countries. What’s the best part about living in two countries, what’s the hardest part?
Jeanette:  Where do I begin?  :) Leaving California for Ireland is like flying to a different planet. California is home, with all its comforts, its predictability and its choices. My family lives in California. My friends are available for a leisurely lunch or a quick cup of coffee, for shopping, happy hour and yoga. Because I live in the community where I teach elementary school as well as an occasional Emeritus writing class, it is impossible for me to attempt an excursion outside my home without meeting someone I know. My life is busy. Choices are plentiful. Organization is a must and writing moments are few.
The countryside of Ireland, on the other hand is an adventure, the small villages, dimly lit pubs, the music and afternoon tea, the friendly people with their lovely brogues and the biggest draw of all, a thousand years of history. However, it is also, for an American, an extremely inconvenient country. Garbage disposals are nonexistent, as are window screens, Splenda, ice in drinks, coffee refills, maple syrup, temperature controlled buildings and Starbucks.
I know my way fairly well around the tiny, traffic-clogged streets of Tralee. I’ve learned to drive with confidence on the other side of the road, negotiating the roundabouts with my manual transmission. I convert Fahrenheit to Celsius like a pro, grocery shop daily and grow fuchsia and hydrangeas like the natives, but I’m still a stranger, a blow-in, they call me, one of those who is not, and will never, be “a local.” Except for my soon-to-be husband, the primary reason for my annual trek, I know no one beyond a pleasant, “Hallo,” and I like it that way. In Ireland my days are my own. In Ireland, I write. The inspiration is huge. Around every bend of the road, every lichen-shrouded ruin, there is another story to tell.
Keira: Defending a loved one – in court or not – your take:
Jeanette:  I’m not an attorney, but I imagine defending a loved one in court is similar to performing surgery on the loved one. I don’t know if it’s forbidden but for obvious reasons it’s frowned upon. Most of us, including attorneys and physicians, are typically not objective about those we love. I believe objectivity is a necessary factor in the courtroom.
Keira: How do you define love?
Jeanette:  For me, love is whatever makes me step back, give up, endure discomfort, inconvenience or pain to be sure those I love do not. Love is serious and lasts forever.
Keira: Bragging time – tell us about yourself and what you are working on next!
Jeanette:   Nell, an Irish paranormal similar in style to Irish Lady, will be released later this year by Sourcebooks. After that, my newest endeavor is a contemporary paranormal set in Tralee. The working title is HANNIE RISING. It’s the story of a man in his prime who believes he’s been taken to the pearly gates too soon and negotiates his way back home in the form of a stranger to befriend his wife, and grown children. Meanwhile, Johannah, his wife has come into her own, becoming a person he doesn’t quite recognize. Tralee, its inhabitants and their wicket wit feature strongly in the story.
Buy: Irish Lady
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– who has written 1031 posts on Love Romance Passion.
Keira's favorite type of heroes are blind, scarred, and tortured... yes, she understands those should be separate, but all 3 at once is also nice! She enjoys historical romances best and adores audio books because great narrators turn books into auditory/mental movies (and she loves her romantic dramas like Pride and Prejudice/North and South!) Learn more about Keira in My Instant Turn Ons, Offs, and Ifs.
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Generation of Men

I’ve been thinking about this new generation of men, those born in the mid-70s and later. They’re different from their fathers and grandfathers. They’re more educated, they know wine, they expect their wives to contribute financially, and they’re hands-on dads. They walk their children to school, attend parent conferences and participate in doctor visits. They cook and clean and take their turns at staying home with a sick child. All good.
However, with all good things, there comes a price. One can only do so much. Sometimes the price is the disappearance of a do-it-yourself competence. More often than not, today’s young men call Triple A to change a blowout or Angie’s List to mend a fence, build a deck, install a skylight.
  My father was old school. He didn’t cook and he didn’t clean. He knew nothing about wine and he never walked us to school, nor did he stay home with us when we were ill. What he did was navigate our road trips, take us sailing, wait up if we came in late and sentence us to weed pulling when he deemed our infractions serious.
He also supported our family and paid our bills. Whatever money my mother earned was hers. He kept up the yard, painted the house, fixed the cars, checked our tires, put up Christmas lights, solved all plumbing and electrical issues and authorized final decisions. His voice wasn’t loud, but it was mighty. In the early years, he held three jobs while earning his degree, a credit, he was quick to point out, to the GI bill. He was the father of daughters, “an incredible piece of luck,” he would say. With the wisdom of Solomon, he administered a gentle justice. There was no doubt in our family that discipline prevailed.
Growing up in a family where father knew best was a gift I didn’t appreciate until I became a parent. The security of having an intact family, of knowing that wouldn’t change, the comfort of being a phone call away from the sane and deliberate response of a man who weighed his words carefully, and with discipline and integrity gave his children a balance, a basic optimism, a belief that, no matter what, the world would eventually right itself.
His insight was priceless and completely different from my mother’s. It was a masculine insight and it, inevitably, awed us into behaviors that have carried us through the hard places. My father died 16 years ago, yet there isn't a day I don't remember his words, words like, "You won't learn anything by listening to yourself talk," or "An education is never wasted. The years will pass anyway. You may as well have something at the end of the journey."
There’s nothing wrong with knowing wine and it’s commendable and convenient for both parents to share roles. But, sometimes, it’s nice to have someone around who can contribute what you can’t.